Alton Brown Adventures: Southern Biscuits

So, Costco has an amazing deal on Red Lobster biscuit mix, and we get it basically every time we go there. They’re pretty easy to make and there’s just something about mixing together some biscuits as a late night snack or for breakfast in the morning that is super satisfying.

Neither of us has any Southern roots to speak of, so when it comes to biscuits, our standards may not be the high standards of people who might live in Georgia, or something. (Obviously, I mean, we love that Red Lobster mix.) But, we will say that found these biscuits to be absolutely delicious. Even better than the Red Lobster mix, if you can believe it. (Okay, you can. I know.)

Almost every weekend breakfast has something to do with eggs, and as delicious as eggs are, that sometimes gets old. So, when we looked through some Alton Brown recipes to try for the weekend, we decided that it was time to take a break and try some genuine Southern biscuits.

20151212_103508

How did we get such perfectly circular biscuits? Andrew used a rocks glass, which worked surprisingly well.

20151212_112011.jpg
The finished product — with butter, of course

Andrew thinks we might have rolled our dough a little too thin, and I’d personally like to see if using a cutter instead of a whiskey tumbler would improve them somehow, but this is definitely a recipe we’re going to come back to when we have time to make these from scratch instead of just a mix.

Want the recipe? Find it on Alton Brown’s website!

Advertisements

Alton Brown Adventures: Instant Hot Cocoa

This was very much a spontaneous undertaking late one night when we both wanted hot chocolate. I was browsing Twitter when I saw Alton’s tweet about his homemade hot cocoa mix recipe. I looked at Andrew, told him about it, and then we both paused for a second, just looking at each other. “What does it call for?” he asked. I listed the ingredients and, luckily, we had everything and went for it.

We were scared to see how much the recipe made at first — how in the world were we going to finish that much hot cocoa mix? We don’t even drink hot cocoa all that much. “Well, at least it’ll keep for a year,” Andrew said as we put away the canister.

The recipe makes delicious hot chocolate. As long as you get your proportion of mix and water right, it’s truly the best instant hot cocoa I’ve ever had. We usually add a little bit more mix than is called for in the recipe, and we added more than a pinch of cayenne pepper. It’s really up to you to play around with it and see what’s right for your tastebuds. All we can say is that it’s only been a couple of months since we made it, and our stash of mix is almost completely empty.

20160123_235607
We added mini marshmallows to our treat the second time we drank it! 🙂

Want to try it yourself? Here’s Alton Brown’s recipe for it!

We Made: Simple Syrup

Simple syrup always used to sound so fancy to me. My mindset used to be: Making a real Tom Collins? How in the world are we supposed to make that simple syrup stuff — it’s so complicated! And I don’t want to spend money in the store on buying sugar. Whatever, Gin and Lemonade is the same, right?

So, imagine my embarrassment when Andrew and I actually bothered to look it up and saw that you basically just boiled 1 part water to 1 part sugar and let it cool for 20 minutes. Yeah. Simple syrup is actually super, super simple. Who knew? And the difference is incredible. Everything we’ve made with the stuff tastes like restaurant/bar-made cocktail that you’d normally pay $8 for. So good! Here are my favorites so far:

Tom Collins – Gin, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, club soda

Fake Sprite (non-alcoholic) – Club soda, lemon juice, lime juice, simple syrup

Lemon Drop – Vodka, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup

I can’t wait to branch out and try more fancy cocktails. We’ll keep you updated on new favorites when we discover them!

Alton Brown Adventures: The Beginning

 

If you know me and Andrew, you know that we love cooking. Most of our Facebook status updates these days are of food that we’ve made. Usually, after we make food, we sit down to eat it while watching a show, and for a while, that show was Good Eats, hosted by Alton Brown.Alton-Brown-Guacamole

What really got us was his show on cocktails, where literally after every recipe he brought up we looked at each other and said, “We have to make that sometime.” The more we watched, the more we wanted to cook the delicious-sounding recipes he continuously depicted in his shows. Pickles? Absolutely. Homemade Granola bars? Yes. We want it. Soup? GOD, YES!

So here we are, Julie and Julia-ing our way through Alton Brown’s recipes, except hopefully with fewer mental breakdowns and dramatic craziness. We’re not giving ourselves a deadline or anything — we’re just out to discover and cook food that we’ll enjoy.

Join us on this culinary romp, and hopefully we can all learn a few things.

We Made: Almond Butter

This isn’t going to be a very long post, because, as it turns out, making your own nut butter is a fairly simple process. At least, it seemed like it to me. I can’t be completely sure about that, because Andrew did all the work on this one. He’s amazing.

I should preface this by saying that Andrew and I asked for a fancy blender from my parents for this Christmas — the two of us do actually like eating healthy, and it’s so much easier to stuff all your fruits and leafy greens in a yummy, drinkable smoothie than to actually remember to incorporate them with our dinner. We’re usually so excited to be eating whatever it is we’ve decided to make, that we forget about everything else entirely.

Anyway, when we opened the box for our Bullet blender, there were two blades. One looked like a normal smoothie blade, and one was way too flat to be good for any sort of blending. Reading the instructions we found that it was a “milling blade,” and Googling for what we could use it for, we saw that people were using it to make their own almond butter and what-not.

So, why not?

Andrew was super excited about trying it out, and I was pretty excited and interested to see if it worked. We bought 3 lbs of almonds from Costco, (Oh, Costco. How we love you.) and Sunday afternoon, Andrew went to work.

Apparently, all you need to do to make almond butter is mill it a bunch. He stuck the almonds in with the milling blade, pulsed it until all the almonds were in little pieces, and then just let it go for a few minutes.

Almond Butter

Voila! Organic, homemade, delicious almond butter. I have the sinking feeling that we’re very quickly going to turn into people who make a lot of homemade things now. Obviously, we love convenience, but making food is just too much fun not to do it every once in a while if we can. I’m excited. It’s a whole new life we’re living over here.

Food We Like: Chilaquiles

We always joke about how we only ever make two kinds of food: Italian and Mexican. Andrew learned how to cook from his Italian grandma, and I may be as white as they come, but I grew up in Southern California and my family has a serious love for tacos, enchiladas, burritos, etc. So of course, one of my favorite breakfast foods is chilaquiles.

Chilaquiles
It doesn’t look the most appetizing, but I swear it’s delicious

I don’t know what it is about having tortilla chips smothered in enchilada sauce in the morning, but it just starts my day off right. Andrew’s been intrigued by my love for this food (I order it whenever we go to brunch and it’s an option), so we tried our hand at making our own and it’s become a weekend breakfast staple.

Ingredients:

  • Stale tortilla chips OR stale corn tortillas that have been fried in some vegetable oil* (see tips for details)
  • Green chili enchilada sauce (it can also be made with red, but we prefer green)
  • Black beans
  • Fried eggs
  • Cheese — most recipes call for white, but we use colby jack more often than not
  • Sour cream
  • Whatever else you feel like adding, this isn’t a fancy frou-frou dish

Directions:

  • Depending on what you use for tortillas, step 1 is either cutting up your tortillas into manageable pieces and frying them in oil OR putting your tortilla chips in a pan, pouring in green chili sauce and cooking them over medium heat while mixing them around the sauce. Add the beans shortly after and continue mixing them around. Do this until it’s warmed through and everything is fully coated.
  • Step 2: While you’re doing this, crack a couple of eggs into a pan and fry them.

Fried Eggs

  • Step 3: Turn off the heat and add the eggs, once they’re done cooking.
  • Step 4: Put the grated cheese on the mixture. Let it melt just a little bit, and then dish it out however you wish. (Since it’s just me and Andrew, we put it in a big bowl and go family style.)
Cheese on Chilaquiles
This one’s for Andrew.
  • Step 5: Add spices or whatever you want. We just add in some sour cream.

Sour Cream Chilaquiles

*TIPS FOR TORTILLAS/TORTILLA CHIPS*

This thing is pretty heavy and coated in lots of sauce, so you’ll want tortilla chips that won’t disintegrate easily. That means no thin Tostitos or anything like that. Get some nice, thick chips with some weight.