Wednesday, November 25, 2015

South Carolina Style Cream Cheese Biscuits instead of Rolls for Thanksgiving Dinner

So for the dinner of all dinners Thanksgiving day bread of some form is usually on the table. Crescent rolls from a can, bake and serve rolls or ,for the ambitious, homemade breads are some baked options that will bless many a Thanksgiving table.

However as a southerner I would like to say that while I love all those options biscuits will always be top on my list of bready things I love to eat. So for this holiday I will share this recipe for South Carolina Style cream cheese biscuits.

There are many many versions of these biscuits and recipes for them all over the web. Even the senator's office from the state has a version on their website. Why you ask? Well because at state functions his wife serves these little nuggets piled with thinly sliced onions and mayonnaise and chives or slathered with pimento cheese or warmed with salty ham and swiss cheese and a poppyseed mustard butter spread and they are so popular people ask for the recipe.

And while they are a perfect party food they are also just plain perfect served alongside a meal like the Thanksgiving feast. Served right out of the oven with good salted butter they can't be beat as a tasty side for the celebration.

So here's mt take on these tasty morsels. Hope you enjoy and have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving!!

South Carolina Style Cream Cheese Biscuits


  • 4 cups self-rising flour (preferably White Lily), plus more for dusting
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter cut in small cubes and at room temperature
  • ½ cup cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1½ cups buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

  1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees with rack in the middle position.
  2. Place 4 cups flour in a large, wide bowl.
  3. Sprinkle the butter cubes and the cream cheese on top of the flour and use your fingers to "cut" it in until the mixture resembles cottage cheese (chunky with some loose flour).
  4. Make a well in the center and pour the buttermilk in the well.
  5. Use your hands or a rubber spatula to mix the buttermilk into the flour. Don't overmix. The secret to tender biscuits is messing with the dough as little as possible. A wet and messy dough will form.
  6. Spread a good bit of flour out on a work surface. (I like to use a piece of parchment paper for my work surface.)
  7. Dump the dough onto the floured work surface. Flour a rolling pin and sprinkle flour on top of the dough.
  8. Roll the dough to ½-inch thickness. Do not knead the dough.
  9. Flour a 2-inch round biscuit cutter. Press the cutter straight down into the dough and straight back up. (No turning.) Repeat, cutting as many biscuits as you can.
  10. Roll out dough scraps one time to cut more biscuits. As long as the dough stays wet inside, you can use as much flour on the outside as you need. As I transfer the biscuits to a baking pan, I try to dust off any excess flour.
  11. Place biscuits on a baking pan with sides or a cast iron skillet. The sides of the biscuits should be touching. The recipe recommends lining the sides of the pan with parchment paper, but I did not.
  12. Brush the tops with melted butter. Place in oven and immediately reduce oven temp to 450 degrees. Bake 16 to 18 minutes, rotating the pan once.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Vermont Cheese Soup

On a recent visit to Vermont I was able to go to a cheese shop which specialized in Vermont cheeses. I also visited the Cabot Cheese outlet one of the largest cheese producers in the state. And I also had a cheese tasting course both at a very upscale restaurant as well as at my host's home during a dinner party.

Regardless of where I tried these cheeses it was evident that Vermont produces some incredible varieties. These were both being made in mass production facilities as well as in artisanal producers workshops. From the samples I had it was evident that this is excellent cheese.

So I recommend that you go to your local cheese monger and check out which of the really unique cheese offerings from Vermont they might have.

I also offer up a recipe for Vermont cheese soup I got in Vermont this weekend. It's a real cheese soup and is perfect for fall. Enjoy Ya'll.

Vermont Cheese Soup

3 cups of chicken stock
1 leek white part chopped
1 celery stalk chopped
1/2 of a medium onion chopped
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
1 cup packed shredded Vermont White sharp or better yet extra aged and sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup cream
1/4 cup dry white wine


Bring stock to boil and add vegetables
Simmer for 45 minutes
Then stain into a clean pot
mix the cornstarch with the water and stir into soup simmer till it's slightly thickened
Add the cheese slowly and keep stirring until the cheese is melted
Combine the egg yolk with the cream
Add about 3/4 cups of the warm liquid to the egg cream mixture and combine
Then add this mixture to the soup and stir rapidly with a whisk. Cook for two minutes.
Do not boil.
Just before serving add the wine. It does wonders for the taste of the cheese. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Southern Party recipes: Crab Dip

In the south we have a lot of hot dip recipes. Many of them not surprisingly are based on mayonnaise. This one is no exception.

I remember going to many a open house around Christmas time or New Years and enjoying this kind of dip. In Charleston there is an old famous recipe for what is called "Meeting Street Crab Dip" and it's very rich and delicious.

This recipe is is a little bit easier and less involved but definitely yummy and keep people coming back. If you are having a get together make this and a bottle of wine and you are set. It's all you'll want to put out or you will spoil people's appetite for dinner. Or make it as part of your game day graze. Either way your guests will love it.

Crab Dip

Makes: 10-12 servings


1 1/2 pounds cream cheese
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Old Bay
1 cup Sherry wine
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup fresh jumbo lump crabmeat
1 loaf baguette


Preheat oven to 350. Blend cream cheese in a food processor with all ingredients except the cheese, crabmeat and bread.  Fold in crabmeat by hand in a bowl. Pour into 6x10 aluminum pan and top with cheese and sprinkle with a little paprika. Bake for 20 minutes until it's golden brown and bubbling and then serve hot with sliced baguette. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Low Country Shrimp Rolls

The lobster roll gets a lot of attention when it comes to seafood sandwiches. I mean who doesn't love a lobster roll. But to be honest lobster meat isn't cheap. And I feel sometimes like I am just not willing to splurge on lobster. So I think shrimp makes an awesome substitute and are really tasty as well.

Any good roll sandwich lobster or otherwise is really only as good as the bun. To take that bun to another level butter is really the key.

So get some soft buns New England style rolls with open sides and melt some butter, chop some shrimp and have some deliciousness.   

Low Country Shrimp Rolls


1 pound cooked cocktail shrimp
1/4 cup and an extra Tablespoon of Mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons of lemon juice
3 tablespoons chopped chives (2 held in reserve for garnish) 
1/4 cup very finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup very finely chopped celery
2 teaspoons jarred horseradish
2 teaspoons dried tarragon
1 Tablespoon Safflower oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
salt to taste
1/2 stick melted butter
12 new england style hot dog buns


Mix all the ingredients for the sauce together
Chop shrimp into small pieces
Mix with the sauce
Let sit in the fridge for at least and hour
Place some butter in a hot pan or grill top and toast each side of the buns nice and buttery

To assemble fill the rolls with the chilled shrimp salad mixture. Garnish with the remaining chives 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Hungarian Goulash

So as Fall approaches I am starting to put together recipes which are going to be good for this season as well as all the way through the coming Winter which according to the news should be another brutal one.

I have a soft spot in my heart for this recipe as it reminds me of my dear friend Attila, who remains my favorite Hungarian! He was always telling me stories about the food of his homeland. He also had the funniest sense of humor. One of my favorite things he does is to inform you of the fact that in any given situation the Hungarians have a old saying for almost all situations.

For example when he undertook a job change that did not exactly go his way.  I asked why he decided to follow that particular path. He said well you know we Hungarians have a saying... "If I knew I was going to fall down... I would have sat down". Such is the wisdom of the Hungarians.

This recipe is delicious and easy and not traditional at all. But it's what I grew up thinking was Goulash. So enjoy.

Hungarian Goulash

2 to 3 pounds stew meat cubed
2 large onions chopped
1 clove garlic minced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 heaping tablespoon flour
1 heaping tablespoon Hungarian Sweet paprika
1 large can chopped tomatoes
pinch of salt and pepper
Sour cream

Preheat oil in a large casserole
Brown beef on all sides
Don't over crowd the pan or the beef will steam and not brown
Transfer meat to a plate and set aside
Add the onion and garlic and cook till soft
Return beef to pan and stir in the flour and paprika
Add tomatoes and salt and pepper and bring to a steady simmer
Place in preheated oven and cook for about two hours at 375 degrees
Remove from oven a just before serving sitr in the sour cream
Serve with mashed potatoes or short butttered and parsley eggs noodles

Monday, September 14, 2015

A One Hour Recipe: Zuppa Toscana! or Kale and Sausage and White Beans Oh My!

This is a really great soup. That being said many people have encountered it if they have ever eaten at an Olive Garden restaurant.

But this soup is really an Italian Peasant soup born of simple ingredients and yet culminating in a delicious end product that defines the term "greater than the sum of it's parts".

Now I have another dish which is actually where I first encountered this combination of flavors and that was a pasta dish made by my friend George. We would often go up to my friend Tony's house in the Pocono Mountains to have a little weekend get away. It was a treat as Tony was often off working somewhere and e would let me go up to use his house as a little get away.

George had been making this pasta dish for his partner Tom for years. It was one of Tom's favorite dishes. Sweet Italian sausage, kale, garlic, onions, red pepper flakes, a touch of cream plus a good dose of cheese all tossed with Orecchiette pasta, or "little ears".

Well this soup is virtually the same thing except it's a soup and not a sauce. Beans stand in for potatoes in my version and I use both chicken broth and chicken bullion to kick up the stock flavor. I also only use half and half to lighten up the soup a touch. Well just a touch.

This really is so easy and so good. And it's a perfect meal for the upcoming fall season with it's cooler days and even cooler nights. This Soup, a hunk of good Italian bread and a green salad and you have a meal on the table in one hour. So fix this for your family, your friends, or yourself but fix this you'll be so glad you did.

Zuppa Toscana


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon bacon fat
1 Medium onion finely diced
2 carrots finely diced
3 celery stalks diced
2 cloves finely minced garlic
1 pound sweet Italian Sausage
10 oz bag of fresh chopped kale ( including stems)
2 8 oz cans of white beans drained and rinsed
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
3 chicken base envelopes ( trader joe's)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups half and half
1 cup grated parmesan


Heat oil and bacon grease in a heavy stock pot
Cook the onions, carrots and celery in the pot and add salt and pepper
When almost soft then add the garlic and allow to bloom about 2 minutes
Cook till soft then add the sausage taken out of the casings
Cook till browned then add the Kale in two batches allowing it to cook down fully till softened
Add the beans
Add the chicken stock, water and chicken base and red pepper flakes
Bring to boil and reduce to simmer, cook covered for 30 minutes
When ready to serve add the cheese and stir to melt
Then add the half and half and stir in
Let cook for about 5 minutes and serve
Place in a bowl and sprinkle with a little more grated parmesan cheese

Enjoy Ya'll!!


Friday, August 7, 2015

Pork Chops Scallopini with Mushrooms and Thyme

Pork Chops are a hard thing to cook well. Especially the run of the mill grocery store variety. Yet for so many homemakers it's a very economical option for putting meat on the table. So I have decided over the course of the rest of this year to take on the challenge of making amazing pork chop recipes and sharing them with you all. Hopefully they will inspire you to find your inner pork lover and give them a try.

This recipe started with boneless center cut pork chops in a family pack of 6 chops. I thought that two chops would be a portion but when paired with a simple arugula salad and a pan of my cornbread one chop became a meal.

I started with a regular recipe for pork scallopini with capers and a wine butter sauce. And then decided to bump up the bulk of the dish by adding mushrooms and onions. It came out really really well. In fact when we ate this we both looked at each other and said, oh yes, that's good.

So try this out this Summer and I'm sure that this recipe will be one you are making well into the fall. Enjoy Y'all!

Pork Chops Scallopini with Mushrooms and Thyme ( serves 4-6)

6 good sized center cut boneless pork chops about an inch or more thick
flour for dusting plus 1 heaping tablespoon to add to the sauce
6 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/4 cup white wine
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
1 medium spanish or white onion thinly sliced into rings
1 pound white mushrooms ( 1/4 sliced and the rest quartered)
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 1/2 tablespoon capers
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste


Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoons butter in the pan to medium high
Sprinkle the chops with salt and pepper
Dredge the chops in flour and quickly cook over medium high heat till just seared brown on both sides
Hold to the side on a plate
Add the rest of the olive oil and one tablespoon of butter to the pan
Add onions with a good pinch of salt and pepper and cook over medium heat till softened and slightly browned just till they have some color
Add the mushrooms  and thyme and cook till just slightly softened then add 1/4 cup of wine and deglazed the pan
Sprinkle the flour over the pan and stir to combine
Add the wine stir into the sauce

Add the capers
Taste sauce and season if needed
Nestle the chops into the mushrooms and onions and capers sauce spooning some of the mixture over the chops to cover the chops
Cover and turn heat to low and simmer for about 20 mins
When ready to serve add the remaining butter lemon juice the parsley stir in slowly till mixed and melted
Serve with a good portion of an arugula salad dressed tossed with lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper. Also serve cornbread on the side.