Sunday, November 22, 2015

Southern breads: pumpkin skillet cornbread & rosemary biscuits

On this lovely brisk Sunday afternoon, Henok and I celebrated our second annual Friendsgiving meal! This year we put together a vegetarian Thanksgiving feast complete with cornbread dressing, balsamic honey brussel sprouts, maple roasted candied yams, rosemary biscuits, and an apple pumpkin pecan crisp for dessert. Definitely a step up from last year, seeing as we had McDonald's apple pies and a McFlurry in my car. All in all, it was a success! Everything came out delicious and of course we'll both have more than enough leftovers for the rest of  the week. 

I baked the pumpkin cornbread earlier in the week knowing that I wanted to make a cornbread dressing (stuffing goes inside the bird, dressing is stand alone). It was really difficult having to leave half of the cornbread uneaten to dry out because it was so tasty! I had some drizzled with honey and lots of it crumbled with collard greens (the real southern way). Cornbread is foolproof to make and tastes best fresh out of the oven, so why not? 

Pumpkin skillet cornbread
11/4 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour 
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup milk
1 tbs butter 

1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
2. In a large bowl, mix together corn meal, flour, baking powder, and salt. 
3. In another bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, pumpkin, and milk. Stir in with the dry ingredients. 
4. Warm skillet in the oven with the butter for about 2 minutes. 
5. Remove the skillet from the oven, pour in the pumpkin cornmeal batter, and smooth over the surface. 
6. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden / cracked. Cornbread is ready when an inserted toothpick/ chopstick/ cake tester comes out clean. 

The rosemary biscuit was this year's big experiment. In the past, I've attempted making challah and persimmon pie on Thanksgiving day, to no avail. I was a bit disheartened when I saw that my biscuit batter was very sticky kept on spreading while it was baking, but they turned out perfectly crisp on the outside and fluffily buttered on the inside. I still got to work on the presentation, but I promise the flavors and textures are all there. I will definitely be making biscuits more often now (this may be the best or worst idea ever), since it was all so simple!

Rosemary biscuits (makes 1 dozen) 
1 cup whole milk
1 tbs vinegar 
2 cups self-rising flour (I used White Lily brand)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter (or a combination with vegetable shortening)
1 tbs rosemary, chopped  
1 tsp canola oil 

1. Preheat oven to 475F. 
2. Add vinegar to milk (this is how you make homemade buttermilk) and set aside. 
3. In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, and rosemary. Cut in the butter until you have coarse crumbs. 
4. Fold in the buttermilk. 
5. Place dough on a floured surface and knead 10-15 times. 
6. Scoop dough onto an oiled (canola oil) baking tray or skillet. (You can also use a small biscuit cutter to make perfectly shaped biscuits, but I don't own one ... yet)
7. Bake for 9-12 minutes or until tops and sides are golden brown. Serve fresh out of the oven! 

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