Thursday, June 30, 2005

buttered crumpet

here in the south, people like to eat fried stuff. also, stuff made with lard. i'd like to report that, like the french, they are miraculously and mysteriously thin, however my small amount of reasearch shows that this is not the case. a trip to atlanta's stone mountain last weekend revealed a population of rather large folks.

dinner at the mountain's "mountain view restaurant" helped connect the effect to the cause: all you can eat buffet, with fried fried fried everything. it was scrumptious and nauseating all at once. i ate:

fried chicken
mashed potaters
brunswick stew (think: pork)
ice cream

this was followed by the stone mountain laser and fireworks show which featured a medley of patriotic tunes and country ballads. truly bizarre.

the best part of a georgian meal, but something not featured at the mountain view buffet, is a good ol' fashioned biscuit. the one from ria's bluebird was divine, and certainly made with shortening or animal fat or something disastrous like that. i have had a few biscuits now from the legendary flying biscuit cafe. whereas the place is unimpressive overall (despite my fond memories from 10 years ago), the biscuits are excellent. not terribly traditional, but i love them. and i just happen to have the recipe (vicked from the flying biscuit cookbook on the shelf of the house i am staying at. back in NYC i make the recipe from the new basics cookbook):

3 cups all purpose flour (pref. white lily brand--so southern!)
1 tbsp plus 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp plus 1 1/2 tsp sugar
6 tbsp unsalted butter at room temp
2/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup half and half
2 tbsp half and half for brushing the tops
sugar for sprinkling on top

preheat oven to 375
mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar
cut butter into it, using two forks, a pastry cutter or your fingers, you know the deal
make a well in the center and pour in cream and half and half
mix with wooden spoon until it forms a dough ball
turn ball onto lightly floured surface and knead 2-3 times to form a cohesive mass, don't overwork
use a rolling pin to roll to 1 inch thickness
use a biscuit cutter dipped in flour and cut circles

place on a pan lined with parchment paper
brush tops with half and half and sprinkle with sugar
bake for 20 minutes
makes 8-12 biscuits which in the south may well be 1-2 servings. ha.

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