Chat Leftovers: Biscuit Troubleshooting; Valentine Ideas on the Cheap
Baltimore, Md.: I'm hoping you can help me out with a biscuit problem: I love them, but they don't love me. I'm adept at making scones, but my biscuits are coming out like them too. They are short but not flaky. What am I doing wrong? The butter is cold, and I cut it quickly by knife, then by hand until it resembles cornmeal.
Baltimore, if there’s anybody who knows biscuits, it’s my pal Scott Peacock, celebrity chef of the south and co-author of “The Gift of Southern Cooking.”
After reading your question, I consulted Peacock, who’s based in Decatur, Ga., home to his restaurant, Watershed. Here’s what he had to say, via e-mail: “I think the problem is cutting in the fat too much. You need to leave some large pieces that will flatten out and create those flakes the reader is looking for.”
Coincidentally, Peacock has just put together a biscuit how-to photo slide show for Better Homes and Gardens. For Baltimore, he recommends paying particular attention to “slide number 6, which gives a description and visual of the all important ‘working the fat’ step in biscuit making.”
Scott Peacock's recipe for Classic Buttermilk Biscuits.
Cauliflower: I have two heads of cauliflower in my fridge. I'm thinking a soup or puree, but I'm open to pretty much anything, just looking for low fat. What's your favorite way to prepare cauliflower?
Until I discovered the magic of roasted cauli, I was a card-carrying member of Cauliflower Haters’ Anonymous. The dry heat transforms those raw curds into sweet, tender morsels that play well with a variety of flavors. A few of my all-time favorites include:
Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini Sauce, with an Indian-inspired spice rub and Sicilian style, with raisins, pine nuts, garlic and bread crumbs.
Vday idea: Happy Valentine’s in advance! In trying to keep expenses down, I’ve decided I want to cook something for Valentine’s Day. My husband requested something meaty, either steak or lamb. Since cuts of meat are pricey, do you have any suggestions and any sides? For dessert, planning on just making heart-shaped brownies or maybe an apple crisp. Thanks and hope you enjoy yours!
In the lamb department, I’d consider braising a few lamb shanks, a relatively thrifty (and muscle-y) cut of meat that transforms into tender sweet nothings after just two hours stewing in a pot of aromatics.
For steak, my money’s on the flat iron (aka top blade), located right by the shoulder. Marinate this baby, and either grill or broil. Unlike a tender cut like filet or New York strip, the flat iron has a piece of connective tissue that you’ll want to remove just before serving. It’s got a toothier bite but I adore the flavor and the way it responds to marinades.
Valentine's Day Ribs: Making ribs in the crock pot with the BF this weekend and the recipe calls for pork baby back ribs -- are spare ribs okay? And the recipe does not say bone in or out (a sale on ribs has them either way). Finally, if I buy them today, should I freeze them?
Yes spare ribs are okay. Baby backs come from the loin; they tend to be smaller boned and meatier (and less fatty) than spare ribs which come from the side and the belly. Do buy them with the bone; you’ll get much more flavor. One more thing: because baby backs tend to be leaner, they often take less time to cook, so keep this mind as you make the adjustment.
What's Cooking transcript in entirety.
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