Monday, September 28, 2009

I Didn't Really Like Breakfast Food Until I Came To The South

The chicken biscuit is quite possibly the perfect food, anytime anywhere. I think it's almost impossible to get a bad chicken biscuit wherever you are, simply because it's such a perfectly conceived food. Chick-Fil-A? Delicious. Gas station in South Carolina? Delicious.
My sister and dad are breakfast food fiends. There was a time growing up when I would always try to order off the lunch menu if we went out for breakfast (eggs used to make me throw up actually...i wasn't stomach just couldn't handle them for some reason...chocolate too...those were dark dark times). Going to Millie's Kitchen and eating a burger and coffee cake was probably the worst possible thing for your health, but it sure was delicious. The chicken biscuit is like a gateway breakfast food for someone like me. Chicken fried steak...though a bit much. Fried chicken on a biscuit? That's the perfect amount of unhealthy in the morning. I do like breakfast foods a lot now...though I'm not really in the habit of eating breakfast on a daily basis. But sometimes on the weekend I get up and cook myself a little something like eggs, or hash browns...or that time I made corned beef hash with leftovers from St. Patty's day.
Since coming to school I've been introduced to the world of the lake house (it's not just a shitty Keanu Reeves remake of a Korean movie that makes absolutely no do they have conversations back and forth on written letters through a time portal mailbox? RIDICULOUS). I have found that I suck at waterskiing (in my case it's more like watertainting...think about it) and hate getting up in the morning early enough to go out on the boat for the best conditions. I'm much happier getting a bit more sleep and cooking breakfast for everyone when they get back, then heading out later for tubing/jetskiing etc.
I made a promise to myself that I would make fantastic chicken biscuits for all next time I go to the lake. But opportunities for that to happen are quickly disappearing. Still, nothing's stopping me from learning how to make a chicken biscuit.
In the coming months, this blog will prominently feature updates on my project of making a phenomenal chicken biscuit. This is a food that deserves this kind of attention (I've gotta study for/take the boards at some point in there too). I'll be trying out different types of biscuits and testing out all sorts of fried chicken. I'll be devising my own brines, crust methods, frying methods etc. But first let's start with biscuits:

Batch #1: Sweet potato biscuits.

Sure anyone can pop open a can of pillsbury's or mix up some bisquick and make some pretty delicious biscuits. I want something more. Something that's undeniably handmade and special. Let's put some freaking sweet potato into a biscuit:

It starts here:

Baked a monstrous sweet potato for an hour, then let it cool and pureed it silky smooth.
I then used organic whole wheat (mom would be proud) pastry flour...trying to infuse a bit of my California heritage into something Southern. Used baking powder and baking soda, cut in butter, mixed in the sweet potato puree, and used a bit of pourable yogurt to bring it all together. Had to use a glass as a biscuit cutter and the final results are as follows:

Disappointing really. They're too thin, as they don't rise nearly as much thanks to the sweet potato. They're dome shaped due to the very blunt drinking glass mashing down the sides of the biscuit round instead of cutting through...and I'm forced to use a processor to cut the butter in due to my incredibly warm hands preventing me from using that thumb rolling technique that leads to nice and flaky results. The inside looks like this:

Next time I'll mix in the cold sweet potato puree by hand after cutting in frozen butter into the flour mixture, which will hopefully keep some of those big globs of butter intact. I'll make the dough thicker and find a better biscuit cutting device, all while using the ice bath/frozen glove technique I use while making truffles.

Also, almost all biscuit recipes call for more shortening than butter...but I'm not gonna go down that road. Shortening makes for some damn good biscuits (and fried chicken too), but it's an abomination against nature. Screw California though...whole wheat pastry flour is out. I'm gonna go full throttle with bleached cake flour.

And for no particular of the sexiest things you'll ever see:

The Chick-Fil-A nuggets party platter.

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