A Farmer’s Breakfast

When we went to town yesterday, Frank took me out to brunch at one of the new restaurants in town. It was their first day of serving brunch, and we were their first customers of the day. I saw Biscuits and Gravy on the menu, and couldn’t resist. You can’t take the Texas out of the girl!

Except I should have resisted. It was awful! Bland gravy, bad biscuit. I had to special order eggs and bacon, because they were serving it only with potatoes. (Huh?) The difference between their eggs and our eggs was huge! I have gotten so spoiled by farm fresh eggs that it turned out not to be a treat to go out to eat. They said they cured their bacon themselves, and I was less than impressed. Our bacon has so much more flavor, plus I don’t over cook it.

So today, I set out to do that meal properly. The keys to biscuits and gravy for breakfast is to have great biscuits, peppery milk sausage gravy, a grilled pork chop or chicken fried steak, and eggs.

First, biscuits. I didn’t have any buttermilk, so I experimented a bit today, and I like the results.

Heart-shaped biscuits
Two cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick of butter, chopped into small pieces, cold
3/4 cup raw milk
1/4 cup sour cream

I mixed the dry ingredients and the butter in my Kitchen aid mixer with the regular beater, then put the dough hook on when I added the sour cream and milk. Mix just until it holds together. It’s a little sticky.

Turn out onto a floured surface, roll to 1/4 of an inch, and fold the dough in half. Cut out your shapes, and place pretty close together on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. There’s something about that double piece of dough that makes them rise really nicely, and when they are placed close together, they rise up instead of out. I used a heart shape today. (see here) Let rest for about 15 minutes, then bake for 15 minutes at 450°F.

Next, gravy. I never know how to explain how I make gravy, but here is an attempt. This is an area where having pork stock just makes such a difference. Cook a few shallots, mushrooms and pork sausage just until the sausage is browned. Add 2 cups of pork stock. Add lots of freshly ground pepper and salt to taste. It should be very peppery. Make a slurry with flour and cold milk, and when the stock comes to a boil, slowly add the slurry. Reduce heat. If it’s too thick, thin with more milk. Let simmer while the biscuits bake.

Breakfast I served it today with a grilled pork chop and eggs, and if I judge by how quickly Frank scarfed it down, it was a success. It doesn’t get more local than this! The pup enjoyed the bones from the chops, and I’ll take what is left over after lunch out to the chickens. They sure seem to need lots of extra kitchen scraps these days, and are especially ravenous around bits of meat.

Misty, behind a fence I’m almost afraid to jinx it, but Ms. Misty is actually behind a fence, for over four hours so far today, a record! She followed me in to one of the sheep pens this morning, being her nosy Nelly self, so I shut her in, and ran some magic white tape over the gate, to see if that will keep her in. She’s not happy, poor thing, all humming and pacing, but she’s been there for a couple of hours now, which is a new record. I wish she’d gone into one of the pens with fewer sheep — she picked the most crowded one, with some of the most aggressive sheep, darn it. I’d hoped to put her in with Lily and Spike, the lambs, where there is far more room for her in the shed. I need a magic wand to move her over one pen, please! But I’m crossing my fingers that she might be contained, finally. I will feel so much better knowing exactly where she is, with all the snow we are having lately, and my garden especially will appreciate not having her wandering about, sampling everything.

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