Hello. My name is Kim and I am a cookbook-aholic. I’ve flagged more cookbook recipes than would be humanly possible to make in a single lifetime. Yet my obsession with acquiring new and old cookbooks persists unabated. This month I share my compulsive tendencies via the “21 Days” series, featuring some of my favorite cookbooks from local authors and publishers. Please feel free to join me in finding new cookbooks to feed our passion at any of my favorite Triangle indie book sellers: The Regulator Bookshop in Durham, Chapel Hill’s Flyleaf Books, Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh or McIntyre’s Books in Pittsboro’s Fearrington Village.
Edible Piedmont magazine editor, Belinda Ellis, made a career of being “the biscuit lady”, traveling the country showing people how to craft one of the most ubiquitous of Southern dinner table staples. In the Savor the South cookbook “Biscuits” she shares her experience and knowledge through 55 recipes that range from classic biscuits to main course biscuit dinners.
Any single subject cookbook (worth its cover price) should include detail on topics like task appropriate equipment and ingredient selection as well as technique, all factors that aid the home cook’s success. “Biscuits” has one of the best step-by-step instructions (including pictures) for basic Southern Biscuits. Having that detailed information in your arsenal is critical to building baking confidence and propels the aspiring biscuit maker to try more recipes. And there are many more recipes within “Biscuits” worth the effort.
The second chapter features recipes that add flavors and little extras to the basic biscuit, like Orange Tea Biscuits, Goat Cheese Biscuits and Bacon-Cheddar Biscuits. As you build your biscuit repetoire, you may feel up to making a whole meal around biscuits. That’s when recipes like Chicken Pot Pie with Cheddar Biscuit Topping and Southern Beef Wellington will become favorites, especially for Sunday suppers. Of course it’s not a complete meal without a little something sweet. In case you ever find yourself confronted with a half dozen left over biscuits (hard to imagine that happening, I know), there’s a wonderful way to keep them from going to waste, a Chocolate-Walnut Biscuit Bread Pudding recipe (page 120).
Whether you’re new to biscuit making or want to learn new biscuit recipes, I’d recommend picking up a copy of “Biscuits” (either at a local indie book seller or from your local library). It’s a cookbook staple that will prove an invaluable resource for years to come.