Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Brunch: serving the server

When my good buddy (and only person I refer to as "buddy") Shannon, a server at a popular brunch spot, was off on a Saturday she suggested we go out somewhere so that someone could server her some brunch.  I, not one for waiting in line, or paying more than I know I should for food retorted, "Let me serve you."  Done deal.

She showed up afflicted with a full-blown Enter the Void-induced hangover from the night before.  I haven't confirmed with her, but I think the meal proved an effective cure.  I plan to take the plunge while it's still in theaters, but not without another brunch menu planned for myself.

Having never made crepes, I felt this an opportune occasion to try the Mushroom Crepe Cake over at Smitten Kitchen since I couldn't justify all the work without sharing the results with company.  Tasty indeed, though the slices were like limp triangular mounds.  I could have reduced the liquid in the mushroom filling a bit more, laid off the mozzarella topping, and perhaps took more caution layering it together.  But I figured the eaters involved could give a shit.  I'm pretty sure I was right.

MAKING CREPES IS FUN.  Which is why I didn't mind spending the end of my Friday nite cooking them up after watching the Giants lose (it's okay, they have since beat the Braves afterall) with some whiskey and a burger.  Or maybe it's the other way around...Either way I prepared the batter Thursday nite (after coming home from watching the Giants win with some beer) so it could hang out for a day to achieve righteous texture.
At the end of the middle of the day, it was all about the ole standby biscuits and gravy.  I have had bad biscuits and gravy.  To me, that annoying saying about pizza and sex applies to biscuits and gravy (and ice cream and fried chicken).  You know the one.  For me, when something that is supposed to be good even when it is bad is actually just bad when it's bad, it makes it even more...bad.  Especially when you're well aware that the tasteless slop you're consuming is made up of fat and carbs and totally not worth the cal's.  Travesty.  Thankfully I have also had good biscuits and gravy, and this foolproof recipe in my arse-anal. 

I've made these biscuits too many times to count (ok, something like seven times), and they never fail.  NEVER.  The best part is that, while you can get all fancy with biscuits with buttermilk, sour cream, and heavy cream if you want, this recipe calls for ingredients I usually keep stocked in my fridge.

Like butter.

from Food.com
makes 12 biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter, cold
3/4 cup milk, cold

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F Mix first 4 ingredients together in a bowl.

Cut in butter with a pastry blender or a fork, or two knives, until crumbly.

Add milk.

Stir until it forms a ball.

Add a bit more milk if necessary to make a soft dough.

Roll or pat to 1 inch thick.  Cut into circles with a biscuit cutter or a floured glass (I usually do this but this last time I treated them as drop-biscuits and formed mounds on the baking sheet just to mix it up).

Arrange on a greased baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees F for about 15 minutes, depending on your oven.

The original recipe suggests variations that include cheese and herbs.  I added about a tablespoon of finely chopped scallions I had on hand and had great results.  Plus, the green flecks add to an otherwise colorless dish.

Vegetarian Gravy
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 an onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
3/4 cup milk, to start (I used whole)
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional, but I've found it gives it a more robust flavor)
1 vegetable bouillon cube
Water, optional
Herbs of your choice, optional
Salt and pepper, to taste

Melt butter in a saucepan.

Add onions and cook on medium heat until soft, about five minutes.

Stir in flour so that it evenly coats the onions.

Add the milk and stir until smooth.

Once milk is heated, add bouillon cube and nutritional yeast, if using, and stir until completely incorporated.

Reduce heat to low and cook until thickened, stirring frequently and scraping the edges (a rubber spatula does this beautifully).

If mixture is too thick, stir in more milk or some water depending on how creamy you prefer the gravy to be.

Add herbs, if using.  I wasn't looking to go very herby here (though you could!), so I did 1/2 teaspoon of thyme and 1/2 teaspoon of rosemary.

Salt and pepper to taste, though I found the bouillon has the salt department covered pretty well.

Serve hot, spooned over biscuits and eat it all.  That's part of the directions.


  1. looks amazing! and i have to say, i've seen 'enter the void' twice and it's AMAZING for so many reasons..... that i'm sure i'll blog about and/or be happy to discuss once you've seen it.xo.

  2. That Mushroom crepe looks bombtastical! Bring it to a family function.