Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Where are our Southern manners?

Howdy y'all!

We currently reside in Atlanta, which is located in the 'South'. The land of the ghee (or butter!) and the home of the craving...for fried food ;). Where the hospitality is unparalleled and resources are available in abundance. Where Paula Deen uses more butter than people drink water every day. No I am not being sarcastic here. She once fried a cheesecake. Anyway, there is a certain style of living that separates the Southern part of US than North.

Just like India! We're Southerners there too ;) However, we have realized that we have paid odes and odes of tribute to our rich south Indian heritage, but as far as U.S goes, we really didn't get the opportunity to do so. Why? Not because we didn't want to....but because the phrase Southern vegetarian seems such an oxymoron ;) But one fine morning, when we were reading a featured article on Edna Lewis, we craved for a rich, Southern style breakfast. And nothing says Southern like good ol' biscuits and gravy.

This is a MUST for every Southern breakfast. If you don't agree, then 'we don't take kindly to that'. Just kidding! OK enough of our miserable attempt at trying to appear Southern....here are the recipes.


Biscuits (adapted from The Neelys)
1/2 cup wheat flour (Indian 'Atta')
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup low-fat yogurt
2 tsp salt
4 tbsp butter, cold and cut into small pieces.
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda


1 cup milk (2% reduced fat)
1 tsp half and half (we used a mini-moo)
1 tbsp butter
4 tsp soy sauce
8 oz button-mushrooms
2 tbsp cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper.

1. Preheat the oven to 450 F

2. In a bowl, sift the wheat flour, half the baking soda, baking powder and the salt.

3. Work half (~ 2 tbsp) of the cold, diced butter with your hands until you get a texture that resembles grated Parmesan cheese.

4. Add half the yogurt (~ 1/4 cup) until you barely start to form a dough. It'll be quite sticky but don't worry about it.

5. Knead it a little to form a coherent mass. Roll/shape it into a 1/4 inch thick rectangle and cut as many 2 inch squares as you can with a knife. Place these on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. We didn't find it necessary to grease the parchment paper (although we should have...how unsouthern of us to miss out on an opportunity to grease things up!)

6. Bake for about 10-12 minutes until the top is golden brown and a skewer comes out clean. Remove immediately and let it cool on a wire rack.

7. Repeat steps 1-5 for the all-purpose flour.

8. While the biscuits are in the oven, get started on the gravy. In a pan, bring the olive oil to high heat, throw in the mushrooms. sear them for a minute and then turn the heat down to medium.

9. Add half of the salt and cayenne pepper. Cook for 2-3 more minutes and set the mushrooms aside.

10. In the same pan, melt the butter on medium heat. When it has melted, add the flour. It'll form a thick mass which will be tough to stir, but its alright. Continue to work it with a wooden spatula till it turns slightly brown.

11. Add a couple of teaspoons of water and swirl the pan to coat it as much as you can. Then add the milk and the mini moo. This way, I avoid any potential 'curdling.'

12. Add the soy sauce and rest of the salt. You could change the amount of soy sauce to suit the color that you want. Add pepper. Cook until gravy has thickened a bit.

13. Add the cooked mushrooms and continue cooking till required consistency (thickness) has been achieved.
Traditionally, the gravy is cooked in animal fat. for example, on the same skillet where steaks are prepared. Ours is clearly a vegetarian version ;) And certainly way healthier than a regular biscuit. We used way less butter and absolutely no whole milk for the gravy. No lard either. But it tasted great! And the biscuits, what can I say...they were heavenly! Our recipe makes a total of 8 biscuits. We could have made ourselves a side of hash browned taters but we mustered great courage and abstinence and somehow managed not to do that!

To sum up our semi-Southern homemade breakfast in one word...YeeeeeeeeeeHaaawwwww :) ( Look for audio sound of Paula Deen laughing :P)

And since this is truly a 'quick' bread, this goes to Mansi of Fun N Fud for BBD#18-Quick Breads.

UPDATE: Sending this also to Roma of Roma's space for the JFI-Wheat event that she is hosting. This event was conceptualized by Indira of Mahanandi fame!


Soma said...

Looks really light & flaky! I agree with the Southern food & hospitality. I never have these with gravy, but just pick them up & plunge a bite. looks like an easy recipe.

Natashya said...

Truly decadent! Being from the Great White North, I haven't had much exposure to Southern food - but it looks great!

Asha said...

We all love Southern Biscuits and sausage gravy on some Sundays. I make Biscuits with Bisquik! ;D

Looks delicious, will check out Neely's. Paula is trying to lose wt on Doc's orders, she has cut down the amount of butter now and her face looks less plump but shows up lots of wrinkles now! HeHe!

Indhu said...

yummmmy biscuits... I always thought of biscuits as a very complicated dish... don't ask my why... have no idea.. am definitely trying your recipe... and yeah.. I was kinda stunned at the amount of butter Paula Deen uses... she fried a cheesecake? OMG... really? :)

as to your question on my blog about sweet or savoury oatmeal... anything goes.. make upma and khichdi with oatmeal pretty regularly... also add cinnamon, honey and fruits for the sweet version... am soooo addicted that am actually getting a high just from talking abt oatmeal :)

Bharti said...

Oh my! Look at you guys..you're only just missing the fried chicken!
Lol..and I agree about Paula Deen. I'm just simply not a fan of southern cooking but I will take home made biscuits any time!

Superchef said...

the biscuits are nice and flaky!! i somehow always associated gravy with meat...this is a nice idea for breakfast!! n LOL on Paula Deen :D

Cham said...

There is no wonder whith Paula with tons of butter! The biscuit and gravy are perfect combo!

T said...

I lived in atlanta for years, and I so miss the delish veggie restaurants all around the city. You're so lucky!!! And those biscuits look awesome.

Love your blog!

Varsha Vipins said...

Count me in too..love Southern bf's..:)..They look decadent to core...n plus sounds so easy..:)..

Nags said...

The lighting in your pictures are so good now :) Way to go!!! And i rem you telling me about this dish :D

delhibelle said...

super fun post! I love how it's called "gravy"

Sanghi said...

Biscuits and gravy looks different and yummy! Cute clicks too!:)

Arundathi said...

Yeah, dude. That's rockin'! (there's a californian reply to your southern food!)

Priya Sriram said...

Southern style, huh?? Completely new to me A&N!! Looks really awesome! :) Good job!

Deepa Hari said...

Yeah, u r right abt. the southerners....i have never tasted the biscuits with gravy...Perfect breakfast.

veggievixen said...

southern food is definitely a special treat around here, since i am not from there...looks delish.

veggie belly said...

the neelys have some great recipes (although i find gina annoying on tv)! these biscuits look fabulous, ill be sure to try!

Vibaas said...

that looks nice and tempting me to try :)
i'm a southener too - both here and in india - infact TN from both india and here. How cool is that?!

Don't know if i mentioned already, i love your header pic. Very traditional!

Dibs said...

Had no idea abt Southern cuisine ...except Chilli - is that Southern?? Amazing to see those light crispy rolls - and to know they are called biscuits (can only think of Marie Parle types!) , and eaten with a very 'roux-y' gravy as well!! Great new info for me! Great links as well!

Raaga said...

I've read about this in John Grisham novels... looks lovely.

SJ said...

Your pics looks great! Remarkable how you turned that all-greasy-all non-veg recipe into veg!!

Anonymous said...

First time here, you are maintaining a great blog. Thanks for sending this recipe across to JFI-Wheat.

Cakelaw said...

I have always been curious about what "biscuits" in this sense are like. Your post demonstrates it well - they look like scones - would that be close?

Dawn said...

gravy for breakfast? I'm game! Oh yes!

Donna-FFW said...

Looks fantastic.. gravy.. breakfast, oh yes. LOVE the remark about Paula Deen. Thanks for the chuckle.

Mandira said...

you know, I saw the episode where Paula fried the cheesecake :) the biscuit and gravy looks fabulous!

Anonymous said...

yeah, I'm guilty, I live in america but never tried biscuits in gravy before. I need to find a diner, fast!

Priya said...

If only I had known you were in Atl earlier, I was there just a couple of weeks back! Freshly baked, warm biscuits are a delight. Love them with veggie chilli.

Sujatha said...

Oh yeah! I remember those biscuits with gravy when I went to Mississippi on a business trip a while ago! I was there for 2 months, and this is all I chose to eat in our office cafetaria.. Southern style breakfast is indeed delectable.. thanks for reminding me those flavors.. :)

Lisa said...

I can never turn down a biscuit, especially if it was served with a mushroom gravy! Yum, Yum, Yum.

Elyse said...

Mmm, these biscuits look delicious! I'm from Atlanta, and always enjoyed the Southern food. Love that you're combining great Southern food with vegetarianism. How fabulous!!

DEESHA said...

that looks fab, I've never had these though

Ingrid said...

Ha, ha! I'm not southern but that looks goooood!

Aparna said...

Absolutely delicious. Flaky and perfectly risen biscuits too. Why is really tasty food usually richer in calories? "groan"!

Maria said...

What a fun post!! Love homemade biscuits!

Laavanya said...

I love biscuits.. esp. the buttermilk ones.. have never tried them with gravy though. Looks awesome A&N.

AnuSriram said...

These looks lovely! Nice post!

Cardamom said...

I love the "Southern hospitality", when we lived in Tampa, we'd often visit the "real" Southern states and always enjoy the great food and all....I do Love Atlanta btw.

Paula Deen's a laugh...especially when she says "Ohluv OYYL" and "Paarhus" (Paris)..she cracks me up!!

Love those pictures and the biscuits!

Rajee said...

What a drooling recipe! Love to try it. Pls send me the link of gravy as I want to replace mushroom with chicken or lamb.
Lovely post! Keep visiting u.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

So scrumptious! I'll have to try this combo!



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