Breakfast Stuffed Biscuits- Alabama Biscuit King Copycat

Travel for our family often encompasses eating explorations, sure, history and local culture top the list too, but all of us can usually agree on getting to the locals only must eat store (eat-store, aka restaurant, coined by my nephew Sir Sully).  We recently dined our way thru a vacation in Lower Alabama.

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Gi-Normous, ugly and heavenly filled mouthwatering, belly aching irresistible biscuits are not to be missed on your next trip to LA (lower Alabama).  And they are born and raised all within view of the curious diners.  We visited the home of these ugly treasures, called Biscuit King Cafe in Fairhope, Alabama felt like we stroke gold, and as mentioned above, a small belly ache from over indulgence.   This small family business has something going for sure.

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After taking the first few bites the rest of meal was spent ogling what was going on in the kitchen.  When sheet pans went in the oven, how long until they came out.  What did the fillings look like, how did they stuff them.  We asked the ladies cooking a few questions, some of them laughing at us, in particular when we asked if any of the fillings were raw… “you caaan’t  put raw  food in a biscuit, thaaat’s just craaazy”.  Deep South stuffed biscuit etiquette explained…

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Happily we took enough away that I was able to recreate a similar recipe- Surely the Biscuit King reigns supreme, but until theirs and mine go head to head, I will stand by these are just as good!

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Ingredients Biscuit Filling

  • 6 ounces slice turkey or ham, julienned into strips
  • 6 eggs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces shredded cheddar

Biscuit Dough

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk, plus more for brushing

Biscuit Topping

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Sea salt

Directions

In a frying pan, over medium heat with a small amount of oil, sauté the meat until caramelized with golden color.  Remove the turkey from the pan and take the pan off the heat.  Whisk together the eggs and milk until frothy, and return the pan to the stove.  Over medium heat add the eggs to the sauté pan and cook until softly scrambled before removing from the heat.  Make sure not to overcook as there will be carry over cooking and reheat in the oven.  Add the tablespoon of butter to the eggs and mix until melted and incorporated.  Refrigerate until ready to assemble the biscuits.  Keep the eggs and the meat separate.  Be sure they are both cool before assembling as it will eliminate chance of overcooking the eggs.

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To make the biscuit dough:

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar together. Using a pastry blender or your hands, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few large clumps remaining.   The butter should be cold, and will leave some lumps.  If you prefer to use your hands be quick and make sure the butter is very cold so it doesn’t melt.  I like to use my hands so I can get the flour/butter mixture to crumb faster.

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Pour in the buttermilk and fold the flour until the liquid is incorporated.  The dough will stick together in a ball and be slightly tacky.  Do not overmix as this is when biscuits become rocks.  Allow the dough to sit for a few minutes before assembling the biscuits.

On a lightly floured surface, scoop out a half cup measure of dough and with floured fingers, gently pat the dough into a 6 inch circle.  The thickness should be about ¼ inch.  Repeat with another half cup portion of dough.

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To assemble and bake:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Spread a ½ cup of the chilled scrambled eggs over the surface of one biscuit disc.  Sprinkle a ¼ of the turkey/ham over the eggs and then follow with an ounce of shredded cheese.

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Gently lift the remaining disc and place on top of the egg and cheese filling.  Press the edges together and tuck the seam under the bottom of the disc.  Transfer the stuffed biscuit to a parchment lined baking sheet and brush with butter, followed with a sprinkle of sea salt.

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Repeat process three more times for a total of four stuffed biscuits.  Place each two inches apart, which may require using two baking sheets.  Bake at 375 for 40 minutes, rotating baking sheets half way.  The temperature of the center should reach 160 degrees.

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These can be held in a warming oven for about 30 minutes.  We had one leftover that we reheated in the microwave the following day which turned out was still pretty good.  Certainly best fresh from the oven, but I won’t be throwing out the one that doesn’t get eaten.

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It is a state that does many things right – Perfect color of Crimson, rows of pecan fields, perfectly drawn hounds tooth, National Championships, Silver Queen Corn, gardenia scented streets, and now… Stuffed biscuits.

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Roll tide, Roll Biscuits!

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Farm Berry Southern Cobbler- #AlabamaBakingProblems

We took a trip last week to Alabama to visit Sir Wes’s family.  Very often when one goes home to the place they grew up, to a mom that cooked every Sunday thru Saturday for them thru their childhood, one would expect to get some of that home cooking.  In fact, we did get a belly full of a southern mother prepared feast, but did miss one key, controversial dessert- The Farm Berry Southern Cobbler.

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Thru our years of marriage, Sir Wes has talked and talked about the cobblers that were made every weekend by his Mom or one of her 4 sisters.  He stated,  “there is not a better dessert then the Farm Berry Southern Cobbler that my Mom and my Aunts made”.   And after these years of marriage, on our many trips to his mother’s home, I would have hoped to try it.  Turns out, it isn’t that simple.

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We go to the his Aunt Alice’s, the family farm as I call it, and pick the blueberries from the trees.  I am always sure to pick enough to bring back to Florida with us to put in the freezer.   Then either his mom or Sir Wes would get to making this family heirloom recipe.  And then we would sit and wonder what went wrong.  I think they are cursed.

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This last visit, I sat his mom down and asked her to tell me the recipe; she even consulted with her sister to double check.   I knew that Wes’s failure could be attributed to the fact that he ignores directions and amounts when following recipes and does what he wants, but his mom is such a fabulous cook so I wasn’t sure where her mishaps came from.

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Here are my notes:

Ingredients

  • ½ cup or 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup self-rising flour, make sure to use self rising- this might have been where Wes went wrong
  • 1 cup sugar, add a little more if you’re not going to serve any whip or ice cream with it.  Maybe a ¼ cup.
  • 1 cup milk, you can use any type, of course whole milk will taste the best with the higher fat content, but skim will work too.
  • 3 cups berries, preferably from Aunt Alice’s Farm

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350.  Melt the stick of butter in the baking dish over the stove, I used about a 10”cast iron skillet as any proper southerner would.  While the butter melts combine the flour, sugar and milk in a mixing bowl and whip until smooth.  Once the butter is melted pour the batter into the baking dish and gently whisk until the butter is mixed to the batter.  Spread the berries into the dish, over the batter.   Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

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Serves 8-10 friends.  Add a scoop of whip cream or vanilla ice cream, (Blue Bell of course is the best choice) to top it off.  You can substitute your favorite fruit, or whatever is in season also- peaches, pears, apples.

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As it turns out cobbler is controversial thru America, not just in Sir Wes’s family.  It’s one of those desserts that is so forgiving (minus our previously stated cobbler debacles), there came to be a ton of recipes and versions all with different names.

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The Huffington Post published an article last year that cleared it all up for us- they wrote, “There seems to be some confusion over our baked goods, everyone. Tell the truth: if we asked you to tell us the difference between a crumble, cobbler, crisp, grunt, slump, buckle or brown Betty (without Googling it), could you tell us? Until we started working on this article, we definitely wouldn’t have been able to swing it.”

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Honestly, I have never heard of a “grunt” or a “slump” before reading this.  And I feel like they missed the kind that I see the most- a batter based cobbler.

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After trying the recipe I jotted down from his mom, I still am left wondering what went wrong.  The recipe was perfectly told, easy to follow and simple to make.    However, I am happy to say in true southern form, that Farm Berry Cobbler was blessedly dee-licous!

WESitval and the Coca-Cola Float Cupcakes

Last week was my husband Sir Wes’ birthday or Birfday as he calls it.  It also happened to be my niece and nephews spring break, who were more than happy to come all the way from South Carolina to celebrate WEStival with us.   What kid wouldn’t want to go to a birthday party at Walt Disney World.  Forget the bowling alley/Putt Putt/Chucky Cheese parties, WEStival was where it was at. 

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Sir Wes had only made two requests for his birthday, first was to spend time with the family and the other was that he wanted Coca-Cola Cake for his birthday dessert; a child hood favorite of his.  Both of these requests were easy and fun to fulfill. 

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 We spent the few days hopping between the parks and the pools, kids and adults having a blast.  A little of this-

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 And a little of that-

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 Coca-Cola Float Cupcakes- recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess

Coca-Cola Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp. cocoa
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup Coca-Cola

 Coca-Cola Glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp. cocoa
  • 3 Tbsp. Coca-Cola
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

 Marshmallow Buttercream:

  • 7 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup confectioner sugar, sifted
  • 1 Tbsp. milk
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup mini marshmallows

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For the cake:

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, beat the egg, buttermilk and vanilla. In a heavy-based saucepan, melt the butter, cocoa, marshmallows and Coca-Cola, heating it gently. Pour the warm butter mixture into the dry ingredients, stirring well, and then add the liquid ingredients mixing until the batter is well blended.

Pour into a muffin tin that has been greased or lined with papers filling each well ¾ quarters and bake for 20-25 minutes until a tester comes out clean.

For the glaze:

Sift the confectioner sugar into a bowl and set aside. In a heavy-based saucepan, combine the butter, Coca-Cola and cocoa and stir over a low heat until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat, add the vanilla, and spoon in the sieved icing sugar, whisking well, until you’ve got a smooth, spreadable, but still runny, icing.

Either dip the cupcake tops into the pot of glaze, or carefully pour a tablespoon of glaze over the cupcakes while they are still warm, and leave to cool

For the marshmallow buttercream:

Mix together the softened butter, confectioner sugar, vanilla and milk until the buttercream frosting is a smooth consistency.

Gently melt the marshmallows in a glass bowl in the microwave for 45 seconds on 50% power until they have slightly melted and started to rise up.   Add the melted marshmallows to the buttercream frosting, and whip until completely combined; the frosting should be thick and light.  Spoon the frosting into a piping bag with your favorite style tip and pipe over the cooled, glazed cupcakes.  Garnish with cherries, sprinkles, nuts or your favorite float topping.

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The Coca-Cola Cupcakes came out extrmely moist, and very suitable for travel.  Even a few days later the treats are still delectable.

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Needless to say, we had a great spring break, and a fabulous WEStival!  Hopefully Sir Sully and Lady Corree are not going to be disappointed in the next birthday party they attend.

The Greatest Lesson My Mother Taught Me, How To Fight Cancer

Here is Queenie- Still rockin' it all these years later 🙂

 

I’ve been thinking a lot the last few weeks about what to post for Breast Cancer Awareness Month on Vanilla Lemonade.  There are so many cute, adorable baked treats that I could have made, but I decided that  I’d pass on the gift my mom, Queenie,  gave me about 18 years ago. 

Queenie is pretty tough; I’ll just say she is “tough as nails”.  She is Lily Pulitzer on the outside, and steel on the inside.   I guess she had to be, growing up in a big family herself and then to deal with my brother and I growing up.  She somehow made it all happen, with my father traveling thru the week, she still was able to juggle our schedules and put a hot meal on the table.  While raising two busy, pain in the butt teenagers, she also faced a couple of her own fights.  One night she cut off the tip of her finger in the garden, my dad shouted up to the window, “I’m taking your mother to the hospital…”!  She also had the fortune to get a couple of extra hips, most people have only two hips, but Queenie was blessed to have 4.

Queenie also had a battle with breast cancer, and I’ll tell you, she won. I had just left for college when my mom was diagnosed, so I missed most of it, only receiving updates on the telephone.  Now I am confident there were some pretty bad days, but I never heard about those as my mom and dad decided the bad days weren’t worth talking about.  As I look back now, as an adult, having your kids worry about you just make bad days worse. 

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized the gift my mom gave me when she was fighting her battle.  It wasn’t until I started my own battle that I knew how blessed I was. 

I was at my yearly OB/GYN when my doctor found a lump, a decent size one in my breast.  He asked me if I had felt it, I thought to myself, “um yeah I felt it…but I’m only 32 years old…hello…”, but instead I told him “no, I hadn’t felt it”, feeling embarrassed.  Which was worst, that I felt it and wasn’t concerned or that I didn’t notice a golf ball in my boob…

As prescribed, I went to have an ultrasound, which led to a biopsy.  Next thing I knew I was consulting with a surgeon.  He told me the biopsy was unclear, and a larger sample was needed, and while they were getting a sample they, they might as well remove the complete mass.  What?? I have never understood doctor talk but what made it bad was that I didn’t care to understand.  I didn’t want to know. 

This lack of questioning was a huge learning for my marriage, Sir Wes was beside himself.  Not only, could he not help me fix the problem, but he was confused and scared.  He needed answers; answers would help him gain control of an uncontrollable situation.  But he had to deal with no answers as I was refusing to ask. 

Thru my life, I have dealt with stress in similar ways, I just don’t think about it.  I don’t talk about it and I don’t read about it.  I don’t dwell and I don’t what if…these roads are dangerous to go down.  I just did not want to go down them. 

When the results from my lumpectomy came in, it took 3 days for me to make the call and get the results.  The mass was malignant.  Now I worried.

Wes, my family, my friends worried for the next 7 days until my follow up appointment.  I would say this was one of my most trying times.  Although I tried to keep a positive outlook, I allowed myself a few day trips down those dark roads, filled with stops at Web MD, Wig Browsing, and Chemo diets.  After a few days of this, I told Sir Wes, “this is nonsense; I don’t even know why we are worrying.  What’s the worst case? Chemo? Radiation?  I can probably do that on Fridays, and then have the weekends, maybe Monday to recover. No biggie and you know they caught it early so it should be fine, just a pain in the ass”.  And that was what our mantra became for rest of the next week.

Finally at the follow up appointment, we met with my surgeon, and with my new doctor, my Oncologist.  We listened hard at what they told us, but all I heard was that I had Breast Cancer.  When they told me what the treatment would be, I listened even harder.  I would not need radiation or chemotherapy. The type of tumor was a Phyllodes Tumor, a rare form of breast cancer.  This cancer does not spread, but it reoccurs.  With the decision the surgeon had made to remove the entire lump, there would not need to be another surgery, all of it had been removed.   So I had breast cancer, then it was gone and now I would wait for it to return. 

The Oncologist watches me closely, keeps an eye, any small change and I am getting an ultrasound or a biopsy.  I have had surgery since then; thankfully they never lead to anything to worry about. 

This was a hard time for my family and friends, at home, out of state and at work, I think they all shouldered their share of the hardship.  I know, that without the support, and allowing me to deal with it the way I wanted to, I would not have made it thru as easily.   Some days I was a mess, Wes would find me crying when I was in the middle of cooking dinner, my friends from out of town would go thru an emotion tornado in the 15 minute phone call, and my bosses at work could not deliver “feedback” to me for months unless they wanted to deal with tears.   Fortunately, as time went on and I got over the shock, these emotional days became fewer and fewer.  I worried a bit before my routine oncologist visits, but eventually I remembered our mantra, “whatever, at worst case, I need couple days off for surgery….It’s just a pain in the ass”. 

To my friends, family and to my doctors I began to refer to my cancer as Sissy Cancer, “if you could bottle that attitude”, the doctors and nurses tell me at my appointments.  Finally I realized, like my mom, I was tough, tough as nails.

Thank you all for supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  I was lucky to get stuck with Sissy Cancer; other women are not as fortunate and have a much longer road than I. More importantly, I wanted to share this story to tell any young women out there that think they don’t need pay attention to their ta’ta’s yet-…. you do and you should. 

Happy Father’s Day!

Sending all of you incredible, supportive and loving fathers, stepfathers and fatherlike friends out there a huge thank you!  Without my own father, Grandpappy, I would lost in life, as he has served and continues to be my compass in life!  One day a year is not enough to show my appreciation!

Have an amazing day Fathers!

My favorite three fathers!!!! Grandpappy, Sir Wes, and Sir Ryan

Sir Wes and Jelly