Sunday, June 10, 2012
Birddog Mouths and Hummingbird Rears
In last week’s Frugal Poet post fellow poet, Curtis Dunlap, thought he’d caught me making an egregious error in the kitchen by using self-rising instead of plain cornmeal to make squashpuppies. Curtis was just beside himself with pleasure over his discovery that I’d taken a shortcut. He immediately pounced on the idea to call me out on my sleight-of-hand, chomping on the notion until giving it a full chirpy voice. He’s an especially eloquent man so he politely and delightfully rhapsodized his revelation in his blog post. His glee was so complete that he entirely missed my point! Shortcuts aren’t the problem - it’s what sneaks in through the back door when using them.
The only difference between the one cup of self-rising cornmeal I used when making squashpuppies and one cup of all purpose corn meal is the inclusion of 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder and ½ teaspoon of salt in the former. There was a huge difference in his using a canned biscuit shortcut in his Crockpot Chicken and Dumpling Recipe from my insistence that biscuits from scratch are better. For those wishing to indulge themselves in a pure buttermilk biscuit, you can find the recipe with a full ingredient listing here. In the spirit of further educating our readers, I went to the grocery and bought a sleeve of canned biscuits to save you the trouble of sorting out the differences and to better illustrate precisely what sneaks in a back door when taking his suggested shortcut. The ingredients in a sleeve of one major brand of canned biscuits is as follows: enriched bleached flour (wheat flour, niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, soybean and palm oil, sugar, hydrogenated palm oil, baking powder, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, salt, wheat gluten, dextrose, whey, mono and diglycerides, xanthan gum, propylene glycol alginate, TBHQ (preservative), natural and artificial flavor and, finally, added color. All sorts of things traipsed with an engraved invitation into Curtis’ kitchen by using canned biscuits! So I suppose the moral to this story is twofold. Firstly, beware who you invite to dinner. Secondly, don’t let your birddog mouth catch up with your hummingbird rear.
¾ cup self-rising cornmeal
¼ cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
⅛ teaspoon ground red pepper
6 medium-sized yellow squash, finely diced
1 small onion, minced
½ cup buttermilk
1 large egg
Combine first 5 ingredients into a bowl. Add minced squash and onion and toss. Lightly beat the egg into the buttermilk, add to vegetable/cornmeal mixture and blend well. Pour oil to a depth of ½ inch in heavy skillet and heat to 350 degrees F. Drop batter by tablespoonfuls into hot oil and fry a few minutes on each side, until golden. Drain on paper-lined plate and lightly salt while still hot. Since you’re working in batches, the batter may eventually thin to an undesirable consistency; if so, add just enough additional cornmeal to tighten its consistency. Zucchini works just as well in this recipe as yellow squash.
A good recipe and a poem for your health. Salud!
a slight turn
reveals something new -