Tag Archives: buttermilk

Chicken and Dumplings

Whenever I think of chicken and dumpling soup, I think of a round and rosy-cheeked grandmother wearing a big white apron and a permanent smile. It must be the simmering chicken broth that makes me think of warm kitchens. Broth rolling with bubbles of carrots, celery, onion and garlic with thick shreds of chicken all under spoonfuls of dough bobbing on top.

Not to be obnoxious, but this was the most home-made of any soup I’ve created. But it doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to use chicken and potatoes from a lemon-garlic roast bird you made earlier in the week, or use chicken stock made from roasted chicken bones. But we both know it’s better when you’ve invested the time, and love, into the dish.

I jazzed up my broth with cinnamon, nutmeg and citrus. I know it sounds weird, but those additions give it a unique warmth. My mom actually gave me the dumpling recipe, which uses buttermilk (something I had left over in the fridge), so they were extra soft and tangy.

I highly recommend this soup on a cold day – better than regular old chicken noodle.

Chicken and Dumplings

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 c. chopped celery hearts
  • 1/3 c. chopped peeled carrots
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 qt. (2 boxes) chicken stock you’ve made with lemon, parsley, thyme and bay (or use the boxed variety and add the aromatics to the stock as it simmers)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 6 grates fresh nutmeg
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1-2 c. shredded chicken (or 1 lb. raw chicken)
  • EVOO
  • S&P
  • Handful cilantro, chopped

Heat 1 T of EVOO in soup pot over medium until hot. Add celery, carrots, onion and garlic. Stir 4-5 min. Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer (this is where you’d add the aromatics if you didn’t make your own stock). Add the shredded chicken, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon and reduce to simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, make dumplings:

Mix 1 c. flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt in a medium bowl. Cut in 2 T chilled butter (I actually forgot this step but it was still good – go figure!) until it looks like coarse meal. Add 1/2 c. buttermilk and mix until wet ball comes together ( I just used a wooden spoon), adding a dash more buttermilk, if needed.

Drop dough into soup by rounded tablespoons. Simmer uncovered 10 min., then cover and simmer 10 more minutes. Meanwhile, stir 3 T flour into 1/4 c. milk until smooth. When dumplings are done, whisk in milk/flour mixture until broth thickens, about 1 min.

Spoon into bowls and top with chopped cilantro.

Yum! Does’t it look kind of like matzo ball soup?

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Old-Timey Lemon Buttermilk Cake

Lemon and buttermilk – makes me think of summer winds, cotton dresses and thick slices of freshly baked Bundt cake… the perfect recipe to make with  my buttery yellow Bundt pan…

In celebrating the vintage nature of my cookware, I give you an old-fashioned cake recipe, seasoned only with buttermilk and fresh lemons, with an extra lemony glaze drizzled all over.Adapted from Baking and Books – a great foodie blog you should check out!

Old-Timey Lemon Buttermilk Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Grated zest of 2 large lemons
  • Juice of 1 large lemon (about 2 1/2 tablespoons)

For the Glaze:

  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • Juice of 1 large lemon (about 2 1/2 tablespoons)

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan (mine was smaller, so I poured the extra in a little loaf pan) and set aside. Using the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until fluffy and pale. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a small bowl. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Don’t overmix; just fold gently until the batter looks well blended. Fold in the lemon zest and juice.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, stopping about 2 inches from the top, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula. Bake the cake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, and the cake has begun to pull away from the sides of the pan (Note: if using smaller pan, check it at 45 min.). Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze.

For the glaze: in a medium bowl add the lemon juice to the 2 cups of confectioners sugar, mixing vigorously to get rid of any lumps of sugar. If the glaze isn’t thick enough to coat the cake, add more sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing well between additions. The glaze should be thick but pourable.

Invert cake onto a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Spoon the glaze over hot cake and allow to cool completely before cutting. Best the day it is made, it will keep fairly well, in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to 3 days.

Just because I couldn’t ignore the bright daffodils in Grant’s front yard, I picked a bunch and arranged them with a few dogwood sprigs for a little Bundt centerpiece. So pretty!

The cake is moist and flavorful – and that glaze! I thought it tasted like something you’d get from a bakery at $3 per slice.

Yum – enjoy with coffee or tea.

Happy Spring, friends! xoxo

Buttermilk Biscuits with Sage Sausage and Gravy

Sunday was wet and cold and the worst day for a 2-hour run. As Grant and I jogged through downtown, Old Salem and past churches emptying pious citizens, all I could think about was biscuits and gravy. That ultimate in comfort and soul – thick, peppery gravy spilling over spicy sausage and buttery biscuits. Knowing I had buttermilk at home, I couldn’t resist the temptation. And hey, we earned it after braving that weather.

I found a recipe in my trusty Best Recipes cookbook, although I altered it a bit. The result was a delightfully buttery biscuit that deeply pleased my Southern boyfriend.

Buttermilk Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 3/4 c. buttermilk, plus 4 T
  • 2 T butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450 degrees with your rack in the middle.

Place flour, powder, soda, sugar and salt in food processor and mix to combine in six 1-second pulses.

Distribute butter evenly over and pulse 12 times. Pour buttermilk over and pulse 8 to 10 times, until wet clump forms.

Transfer dough to lightly floured surface and pat into a ball. Using floured rolling pin, gently roll out to 1/2 inch thick. Use floured biscuit-cutter to cut 8-9 biscuits. Grant had a fab antique biscuit-cutter:

Place biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet and brush with melted butter. Bake until tops are light brown, 10-12 min.

Meanwhile, make the sausage and gravy…

If we’re going authentic, I only use one kind of sausage:

While biscuits bake, heat large nonskillet over medium and add hand-formed sausage patties (size and shape don’t matter, just make sure to cook through). Cook until browned on all sides, then cover and let steam until fully cooked, 5-8 min. Remove to paper towels to drain.

To drippings, add 2 T flour and whisk until well incorporated, 1 min. Whisk in about 1 c. milk and a splash of cream (if you have it – I find the all-cream kind way too rich). Reduce to low and whisk until thickened. Add a bunch of cracked pepper and salt, to taste.

To serve, you may butter your biscuits, or not…

Grant likes to put mustard on his, but I go plain, with  my sausage on the side and gravy all over. We added salted and peppered tomato slices up top, along with some hot sauce for extra flavor.

The combo was yummy and so satisfying on a dreary day.

Enjoy your next comfort meal, friends! xoxo

Buttermilk spice cake with pear compote

A man once told me, “There is no word quite as lovely as buttermilk … it conjures up such warm and lovely feelings.”

As many of us discovered at an early age, buttermilk’s taste does not live up to that soft and sweet name. Instead, it tastes quite sour and will always remind me of the assisted-living home I worked at in high school (the residents ordered it with pepper sprinkled on top!).

This cake is not sour in the least. Instead, I believe the buttermilk adds a moisture and slight tang to balance the sweetness.

Adding lime zest, allspice, ginger, black pepper and ground star anise (which you’ll have to grind yourself) makes it just delightful, especially paired with a simple pear compote made with Boscs, sugar and lime juice.

The recipe recommended a dollop of creme fraiche on top, but I think it is fine without it. My only real complaint is that I don’t have a 1/8 tsp measure, so I don’t think I added enough of the spices and they were overwhelmed by the vanilla beans. Still quite tasty, I just recommend not skimping on the spices.

This recipe comes to you from Bon Appetit…

Buttermilk Spice Cake with Pear Compote

Ingredients:

For pear compote —

  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 T fresh lime juice
  • Large pinch of salt
  • 3 Bosc pears, peeled, quartered and cut into cubes

Method:

Mix sugar, lime and salt in heavy saucepan. Add pears and toss to coat. Cover and cook over medium-low until pears are just tender, 10-12 min. Transfer to bowl and set aside.

For spice cake —

  • 1 c. plus 1 T flour
  • 1/4 c. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground whole star anise (or anise seeds)
  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter (1 stick) at room temperature
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 three-inch piece of vanilla bean, split
  • 1/4 tsp grated lime zest
  • 3/4 c. buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour 9-inch cake pan and line bottom with parchment paper.

Sift first nine ingredients into medium bowl. Set aside. In large bowl or Kitchenaid, beat butter until fluffy, then add sugar, beating until smooth. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean and add lime peel. Beat to blend. Beat in flour  mixture alternately with buttermilk, in four additions. Scrape down bowl and mix thoroughly. Transfer batter to prepared pan and bake until browned on top and a tester comes out clean, approx. 30 min. Cool completely on wire rack.

Slide knife around edges to loosen, then invert on rack, peel parchment off and invert onto serving plate. Dust with powdered sugar.

To serve, slice a big piece of the moist cake and spoon pears on the side. Top with creme fraiche, although I think I prefer it without.

Num. Enjoy, friends! xoxo