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