I live in the South and for breakfast I sometimes have biscuits. And sometimes I have grits. (Not on the same day.) This is not new to my new Southern living. When I lived in NYC I often ate biscuits for breakfast. And sometimes made grits. I love biscuits. And I love grits.
So my biscuit roots and my grits roots are not Southern roots. My favorite biscuit recipe is from Betty Crocker’s 1950 cookbook, a book my mom had when I was a baby and so I have it, too.
My mom was born and raised in Brooklyn and she made Betty Crocker’s biscuits. That’s how I learned it.
My grits recipe snuck into my repertoire somewhere in the 1990’s while living on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and followed me to Spuyten Duyvil in the Bronx and has followed me to the South. (Sorry, everyone, I use instant grits…what do you expect a New Yorker to do?) I call my breakfast grits “crazy grits” because they are certifiable.
These are both breakfasts I eagerly look forward to. Mondays are usually grits mornings (Duane says it’s his favorite breakfast). For a while I refrained from making biscuits at all because we were trying to lose weight and bready, starchy things are weighty. But just this past Sunday morning I threw diet to the wind and made biscuits. I could (literally) eat the whole batch, but I didn’t. But I wanted to.
Page 67. That’s the page Betty Crocker’s biscuits are on. Even if I think I have it memorized I take out the book (red Pennsylvania Dutch pattern with a missing spine) and go immediately to page 67 for the recipe.
This past Sunday, tho, I just went with my whimsy (and left the book on the shelf). A cup and a half of flour. A teaspoon and a half of baking powder, a large pinch of salt, a bit of aleppo, 4 tablespoons of butter, cut in with a pastry cutter. Betty then adds milk. I was feeling devil-may-care. I had a leftover 1/4 cup of ricotta. And a leftover 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Oh yeah.
Over easy eggs. A few chorizo sausages chopped up. Some summer sliced tomatoes. And biscuits and butter.
On Monday… the grits. Here’s why they’re crazy. I top them with a sauté of vegetables (etc) that are hanging out in the refrigerator. This time there were 3 kinds of tomatoes, 2 kinds of peppers, mushrooms, onion, scallions, arugula, and some more chorizo. I sauté these up in a medium fry pan, while the grits simmer in a medium saucepan. I add salt, parmigiano, cumin and some aleppo to the grits. I add cumin, salt, pepper, turmeric (just a tad) to the veggies. Sometimes I splash a bit of vermouth.
The grits go first into the bowl and then the tasty chopped wonders on top. Duane adds one of his hot toppings: ghost pepper sauce, tabasco, or sriracha. I just take it straight.
Breakfast. Break that fast with delicious. Nothing much Italian about these dishes, but a palate must roam.
I have the Betty book as well. It says it is the First Edition (Second Printing). It was one of the few cookbooks my mother had in her kitchen cabinet! The biscuit recipe is on the same page. My mother had either biscuits, rolls, or freshly baked bread on our table almost every day. I wasn’t allowed in the kitchen so never learned hips to make any of them as she did. I can make biscuits, but have never learned how to make the rolls she made or her wonderful loaves of bread. I can’t seem to knead properly! Seems all you need to do is add shrimp and you would have a terrific shrimp and grits meal. I finally made it a couple of weeks ago. My husband doesn’t like grits, but liked these a lot as there was lots of cheese involved. Thanks for the memory, Mary Adair
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Oh, Mary, that is so great to hear! Betty is one smart cookie! Same here, though, I never really participated in the kitchen with my mom when I was a kid. It wasn’t until I moved out on my own that I suddenly wanted to know how she made everything. 🙂 Thanks so much.
Now., You have the beginning of another cookbook. Love ,mom xxxooo
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coming right up! 🙂
a splash of vermouth, hmmmm.
Hey Georgann, I use it in the same way you’d add a splash of wine to a sofritto before adding tomatoes, etc. giving it that little background deeper flavor. 🙂 Thanks!