Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Grumpy Cutter's Flaky Square Buttermilk Biscuits

If you read the book, you will love the description of gruff Deputy U.S. Marshall Arliss Cutter teaching his young nephews how to make his Grandpa Cutter's biscuits. I am quoting the entire recipe from Marc Cameron's Alaska novel, Stone Cross. 

3 cups of all-purpose flour

2 tbl. sugar

1 tsp. salt

4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

2 sticks of butter, frozen (16 tbl.)

1 1/2 cups of buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet with a light spray of oil or cover with parchment.

In a bowl, stir together all the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda.

Grate the two sticks of butter and add to the dry ingredient mixture.

Gently combine until the butter particles are coated. 

Next add the buttermilk and briefly fold it in.

Transfer this dough to a floured spot for rolling and folding.

Shape the dough into a square then roll it out into a larger rectangle. Fold by hand into thirds using a bench scraper. Press the dough to seal it. Use the bench scraper to help shape the dough into flat edges. Turn it 90 degrees and repeat the process of rolling it out into a bigger rectangle and shaping it again. Repeat this process for a total of five times. The dough will become smoother as you go. 

After the last fold, and if time allows, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. Otherwise, cut the remaining dough into [12] squares and place one inch apart on the baking sheet. Brush the tops with melted butter. 

Bake at 400 degrees F. for 20 to 24 minutes. Let cool on a rack before serving--if you can wait that long. 

Tips to remember:

  • A buttermilk substitute can be made by adding one teaspoon vinegar to one and a half cups regular milk and letting it stand for a few minutes. 
  • Handle the dough lightly--don't overwork it.
  • Freeze the butter. It make it easier to grate and distribute it throughout the dough.
  • For the very best results, your bowl and other utensils should be cold. 
  • Rolling and folding the dough five times produces the flaky layers--again, don't get too heavy handed.
  • Shaping the dough into a square and cutting it into squares avoids waste and rerolling (and overworking) the scraps. 
  • If time allows, let the dough rest for 30 minutes wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge before you cut into squares. This helps them rise tall in the oven without slumping or sliding. 
Makes about a dozen biscuits. 

Grumpy Cutter's Venison Stew

This recipe comes from Marc Cameron's thriller of an Alaskan novel, Stone Cross. I will quote it as written. 

Note: Grumpy's version calls for venison and a Dutch oven. Arliss uses caribou and cooks it in an Instant Pot. Moose, bison, Dall Sheep, musk ox... or even beef may be substituted. 

1 1/2 pounds of caribou cut into cubes

3 tbl. olive oil

1 - 2 tsp. salt

1 - 2 tsp. pepper

2 - 3 cloves minced garlic

1 tbl. Montreal Steak Seasoning (or similar)

1/2 cup red wine

1 large onion, chopped

2 - 3 tbl. Worcestershire sauce

3 - 4 Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into big chunks

4 - 5 carrots, cut into big chunks

2 tbl. corn starch

1 - 2 tbl. of water to add to the corn starch to make a slurry

Add 2 tbl. olive oil to the Instant Pot and turn on the saute function. When the oil starts to sizzle, add the meat and season with the salt, pepper, and Montreal Steak Seasoning. Stir until the meat has browned on all sides. 

Scrape the bottom of the pot for brown bits as you deglaze with the red wine. Add the last tbl. of oil, onions and garlic and cook on the saute setting for two minutes, stirring with the meat. 

Turn the Instant Pot off. 

Add the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, potatoes and carrots. 

Lock the lid and check that the valve is set to seal. Set to cook for 35 minutes on HIGH pressure. It will take 7 to 10 minutes to come up to pressure. Cook on HIGH pressure for 35 minutes. 

Allow for a natural release of pressure for 10 minutes, when the cooking time is up and then move the valve for a final quick release of pressure [be sure to be wearing an oven mitt when you do this]. Meanwhile, whisk the corn starch and water together to make a slurry. 

Add the corn starch slurry to the steaming hot stew, stirring continuously as it thickens. Stew is done and ready to serve. 

Monday, August 30, 2021

Grumpy Cutter's Cowboy Chili Pie

This recipe is from the novel Stone Cross, by Marc Cameron. 

 2 lbs. ground beef

1 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbl. oil

2 tbl. chili powder

2 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. ground cumin

2 tbl. flour

1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice

1 7 oz. can diced green chiles

2 to 3 cups grated cheddar cheese

salt and pepper to taste

1 8 1/2 corn meal muffin mix

1 12 oz. can whole kernel corn, drained

2 eggs

1/3 cup sour cream

Cook beef, onion, garlic in oil in a large iron frying pan until meat is done. Drain excess oil

Combine chili powder, cumin, oregano, and flour. Sprinkle over meat. Stir while cooking over medium heat for one minute. Mix in chiles and tomatoes with juice. Cover with shredded cheese and set aside. 

Mix eggs and sour cream into corn muffin mix and stir until combined. Add drained corn and stir. Space rounded spoonfuls of corn bread mixture on top of cheese. 

Bake at 375 degrees F. for 20 to 30 minutes, until corn dumplings are browned and mixture is bubbling. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes. Serve.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Brownies Diabolique

From the kitchen of Auntie Bucksnort.  


¾ cup butter

1 ¼ cups sugar

2 eggs

2 tbl. vanilla

Sift & fold in:

1 cup flour

¼ cup cocoa

½ tsp. salt

Fold in:

2 ½ cups chocolate chips

Bake 350 for 40 minutes

Friday, March 26, 2021

Mother's Sesame Seed Dressing v.2.0

This is my sister Jean's version of our mother's recipe from the 1950's.

In blender:

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 tsp. dry mustard

1 tsp. hot paprika

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp Sriracha (or other hot sauce)

3 drops sesame oil

3/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tbl. toasted dry minced onion

1 cup olive oil

3/4 cup rice vinegar

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tbl. toasted sesame seeds

Buzz once or twice.

Libby's Pumpkin Roll

From the back of the Libby's pumpkin label:

1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar (optional for decoration)

Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with 1/4 cup powdered sugar.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. (If using a dark-colored pan, begin checking for doneness at 11 minutes.) Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.

Beat cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

TKO’s Unusual Cornbread

This recipe comes  from my friend, Tom, who lives in British Columbia and who also gave me the recipe for Tallerone, which appeared on this blog in 2008. He also sent along this link to a fascinating article called The Real Reason Sugar Has No Place in Cornbread. If you read it, you may want to make this cornbread in a heavy black iron frying pan.

Tom says:

Somewhat cake-like, fine textured, moist.

Oven 400F

9x9” cake pan, oiled

Dry ingredients

1 C corn flour

½ C cornmeal

3/4 C flour (unbleached all-purpose, whole wheat, bread flour, whatever) 

2 T sugar (optional)

1 T baking powder

½ t salt

Wet ingredients

2 eggs

½ C oil

1 C yogurt (I use thick “Greek” style; others use buttermilk)

1/3 cup “milk” (cow, soy, rice, almond, oat, whatever)

½ C green onions, diced/chopped

Add drys to wets

Bake for about 45 minutes

Friday, January 15, 2021

Recipes For Pandemic Cooking

This is an end-of-2020 list of recipes from the New York Times that sounded so good and so different from what I've been cooking. 19 Recipes Our Food Staff Cooked on Repeat in 2020.

The list includes yummy-sounding dishes like Baked Tofu with Peanut Sauce and Coconut Lime Rice, Cumin-Lime Shrimp with Ginger, and Salmon Broiled in a Cast Iron Skillet. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

 Mix together:

2 eggs

1 cup ricotta cheese

3 tbl. vegetable oil

1 tsp. vanilla

Juice and grated rind of one lemon


1 cup flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. sugar

Add the sifted ingredients for the ricotta mixture, thinning the batter with up to a cup of milk until it is to your liking. Cook on a lightly buttered griddle. 

Green Pea Soup

Good old Campbell's Green Pea Soup in the red and white can has always been my ultimate comfort food. Now the company has discontinued it, so I guess not enough people shared my love of it. This recipe makes a fine substitute and I'm sure contains way less salt than the original canned version. 

You can make this soup on the stove or in the instant pot. Soak the peas before if cooking on top of the stove, but you can skip this step with the instant pot. 

2 cups split green peas, picked through and rinsed until water runs clear. Soak for 4 hours to overnight if cooking on the stove; skip this step if cooking in the instant pot

2 tbl. vegetable oil or butter

One large onion chopped

1 cup chopped celery

1-1/2  cups chopped carrots

1 clove garlic, chopped

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

A few grinds of black pepper

1 to 1-1/2 quarts chicken stock

Fresh lemon juice to taste

Saute the chopped vegetables in the oil or butter until the onions are soft. You can do this right in the instant pot using the saute function or on top of the stove, your choice. Add the peas, thyme, pepper, and chicken stock to cover. Cook for an hour and a half on top of the stove OR if using the instant pot choose the soup/broth function and cook under pressure, then let the pot sit to release the pressure naturally.

Remove the bay leaf, add lemon juice to taste, correct seasonings. 

I used an immersion blender to make a smooth soup.