Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Buttermilk Biscuits

Brace yourselves because you are about to be inundated with pictures!  (Consider yourself warned.)  Two friends and I just got back from a trip to New York City and boy do I have the pictures to share.

We squeezed as much out of our 3 day trip as we possibly could - Central Park, Rockefeller Center, Broadway Shows, Times Square, Chelsea Market, Shopping in Chinatown, Pizza in Little Italy, Strolling through SoHo, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, 911 Memorial, Wall Street, Walking the Brooklyn Bridge, Wall Street, Taxi Rides, Subway, Ferry Boats and that doesn't even begin to cover the food that we tasted while we were there.  (It's no wonder that we were exhausted when we got home.)

I decided to break this blog post up into several days - so as to not overwhelm you with hundreds of photos all at once.  Where, oh where do I start with these hundreds of pictures of my trip?  I guess I'll start with pictures from when we first began our adventures in the Big Apple.  We got off the plane at  and within just a few hours, we had checked into the hotel, had lunch at the Carnegie Deli and were wandering through Central Park. 

These are just a few pictures from our stroll through Central Park.

I even found a little friend in Central Park.

It was almost like going back in time because the trees in New York were just starting to bud, the daffodils were blooming and the air was crisp.  (My polite way of saying that it was chilly!)  It looked like Atlanta did about 3 weeks ago.

It's hard to believe that it's been nearly a week since we were in the heart of New York City's Central Park.  I'm still having trouble getting my brain out of vacation mode.

We had so much fun in New York City and we definitely ate WELL while we were there.  We had some great meals at Bar Americain, Sardis, Fig and Olive, the Carnegie Deli and Lombardi's Pizza just to name a few.

The food was awesome and the atmosphere was even better.  We sat down for dinner each night to a table covered with a crisp white tablecloth and a wait staff that was top notch.  (You can guess why it was hard to come home, right?)  As much as I love to cook and to serve food to my family, it was great to be the guest for a few nights and to sit back and enjoy my glass of wine while my dinner was being prepared by someone else.

It's taken a couple of days but I think I'm finally getting back into the swing of having dinner prepared by 5:15 every night.  I am definitely using the fresh strawberries that we picked on Monday as inspiration for our meals this week.  Monday night, I made a strawberry balsamic chicken dish that was outstanding.  (If I do say so myself.)

Last night, I made tacos for dinner and buttermilk biscuit strawberry shortcakes for dessert!

This dessert is definitely worthy of being served in a fancy New York City restaurant.  I found the recipe for the buttermilk biscuits in Southern Living. (A magazine that I borrowed from a friend on the plane ride home.)

Whether you like your biscuits smothered in honey or butter or jam or made into a shortcake, you are going to LOVE these biscuits.  I modified the recipe to make them even easier to prepare and they are as light and fluffy as any biscuit that I've ever tasted.

Buttermilk Biscuits
1/2 cup butter, frozen
2 1/2 cups self rising flour
1 cup buttermilk

Grate butter in food processor while frozen.

I had a couple little pieces that I couldn't seem to get through the feed tube but I didn't think it was enough to worry about.

Transfer to a bowl and add flour.  Stir to combine.  Refrigerate 10 minutes.

Make a well in the center.  Add buttermilk and stir 15 times.

Dump out onto floured counter and gently knead by patting and folding. Pat into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle.

Use a biscuit cutter to make circles in dough.

Place circles on a silpat lined baking sheet with sides touching.

Bake 15 minutes at 475.


Perfect with honey or butter or jam.  OR... slice up some fresh strawberries and whip of some cream for a decadent dessert.

Sooo good.  So maybe there was no white tablecloth on our dinner table last night, but we did have a fabulous dessert.  Easing my way back out of vacation mode slowly.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Strawberry Balsamic Chicken

I got the much anticipated email from the strawberry farm last Monday that the fields were open and the picking had begun!  Since I was out of town for a few days last week, I wasn't able to get there to pick my first bucket of berries until yesterday.  I was soooo exicted.  And to make it even better - I had a partner to help me.

It didn't take us long to fill up 2 buckets with juicy, ripe berries.   There were lots of strawberries!

Long stem strawberries can only mean 1 thing really - they have some chocolate in their future. 

I had been saving this recipe for Strawberry Balsamic Chicken from until I had some really fresh strawberries so last night I finally made it.  It was really yummy. 
I changed up the recipe a little and cooked my chicken on the grill instead of in the oven and it it was the perfect meal to kick off strawberry season.

Strawberry Balsamic Chicken
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar, divided
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
  • 4 oz. fresh mozzarella ball (or shredded mozzarella), roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Combine chicken breasts and 1/2 cup balsamic in a ziplock bag. Refrigerate for at least 5 minutes, or up to 5 hours. 

Remove chicken from bag and cook on the grill until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Meanwhile, bring the remaining 1/2 cup vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until reduced by half. Remove and set aside. 

In a small bowl, stir together strawberries, mozzarella and basil to make a caprese topping.

When the chicken is ready, transfer to serving dishes. Then top with the strawberry caprese topping, and then drizzle with the reduced balsamic vinegar. 

What a great way to kick off strawberry season!  There is nothing like eating the strawberries just hours after they've been picked from the field. 

Oh and just in case you're curios, my Courtney ate her chicken sans strawberry caprese.  She prefers her grilled chicken dipped in ranch dressing.  (A travesty in my book but whatever it takes to get her to eat it.) 

Oh, and of course there were chocolate covered strawberries for dessert.