Cheddar and Chive Biscuits

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Also inspired from my trip to Charleston, these yummy little biscuits are the perfect quick fix for a bite of Southern comfort, or for when you have a little extra time in the morning and feel like treating yourself. Much fancier of a breakfast than milk and cereal, but without too much extra hassle!

The best part is, you can take the basic biscuit ingredients and add pretty much whatever you want to them to create whatever biscuit suits your mood. This morning, I chose to go savory with cheddar and chive, PLUS topped ‘em off with bacon and avocado slices!

Now, where’s my sweet tea?

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Cheddar and Chive Biscuits

  • Servings: half dozen biscuits
  • Time: 30 min
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour (I used half all purpose and half whole wheat)
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 cup finely cubed cheddar
  • 1 tbsp chives (I used freeze dried, but fresh would be even better!)
  • 3 tbsp cold (or frozen) butter, finely cubed or grated
  • 1/3 cup milk + some additional as needed
  • optional: bacon, avocado slices, cracked black pepper
Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees, and prepare a lightly greased baking sheet.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cheddar cubes, and chives.
  3. Cut in cold butter using your fingertips (I grated in frozen butter). Work butter in with the biscuit mix quickly to avoid it warming up too much. Texture should be crumbly.
  4. Pour in milk and knead the dough several times with your hands. Add small amounts of milk as necessary to just bring the dough together.
  5. Grab a small handful of dough and stretch and fold in half 4-5 times. This helps create layers in the biscuits. Shape the sides to create round biscuits and place on baking sheet. Repeat until dough is gone.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom and a toothpick or fork comes out clean.
  7. Optional: While baking, cook bacon and slice avocado
  8. Serve warm, and enjoy! I sliced my biscuits in half and added bacon, a slice of avocado, and some black pepper. Yumm.

Pickled Shrimp Toast

Gotta boast in this post… this toast with the most (inspired by Edmund’s Oast)… is just awesome.

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I ate at Edmund’s Oast the first night that I was in Charleston, and the place was so me! The menu features EO’s own house-brewed beers, artisanal and creative small plates, and beautiful charcuterie boards. I sat at the “chef’s counter” in front of a large, open kitchen, and it was so much fun to watch all the action of these chefs at work. Plus the best part – sitting at the chef’s counter entailed getting little presents from the chefs!

And the beers were great. I’m always a fan of craft home-brews, and was perfectly pleased with my Edmund’s Oast Olde Ale, a malty, caramel-y brown aged in a cognac barrel for 6 months. Also enjoyed their Farrago No 2, a blend of four distinct beers imparting notes of blackberry, orange, cocoa and oak!

But if the beers were good, the food was UNREAL… I treated myself to their cornbread with rich honey butter (yumm), and their “Pickled Shrimp, EVOO rye bread, aioli”. It was ridiculously delicious. Yelpers agree with me. And you definitely will too, after giving this adapted recipe a try!

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Now this recipe has a lot of ingredients… but when I decided that I was going to be making it, I realized that I pretty much already had EVERYTHING I needed at home! (Just needed to buy fennel, lemons, and rye bread.) If you’re like me and live with a fairly standardly well-stocked kitchen, the process is a breeze, and the final product is finger-licking good. If you’re not, you might be able to get away with skipping some of the herbs/spices or using substitutes. It’s worth it. Mmm as I type, already wanting more of that rye, sturdy and crisp, topped with a makeshift garlic aioli… the shrimp, plump and seasoned… the veggies, adding a nice crunch, some beautiful color, and a bright freshness… Enjoy!

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Pickled Shrimp Toast

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 45 min prep, 24 hour inactive, 5 min assembly
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

  • 8 cups water
  • 1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 yellow onion, halved
  • 2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used a package of frozen shrimp)
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, roughly chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • lemon peels, grated from 2-3 lemons
  • 1/3 cup EVOO
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed parsley leaves
  • large pinch allspice
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • rye bread slices
  • optional: fresh dill sprigs, or dried dill for garnish
Directions

  1. STEP ONE: POACHING In a large pot on high heat, combine the water, 1/4 salt, yellow onion, Old Bay seasoning, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to medium low and add the shrimp. Let shrimp cook about 3-4 minutes, then drain and remove the onion and bay leaves. When the shrimp are cool enough to handle, slice each piece in two, lengthwise.
  2. STEP TWO: VEGGIE PREP In a large bowl, combine red onion, fennel, red bell pepper, celery and sprinkle the teaspoon of salt on top. Let sit in room temperature about 30 minutes, tossing the veggies several times. Rinse the veggies and return to the bowl.
  3. STEP THREE: PICKLING PREP To the veggie bowl, add the shrimp, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, lemon peels, EVOO, parsley leaves, allspice, red pepper flakes, and cayenne pepper. Mix thoroughly to combine. Tightly pack mixture into airtight jars (I used four mason jars) and top off each container with some of pickling juice. Leave in fridge for around 24 hours.
  4. STEP FOUR: ASSEMBLY AND SERVE Take shrimp mix out and let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before you want to serve. Remove the lemon peels. Using olive oil, lightly heat rye bread slices in a pan until hot and crisp on both sides. I also threw in my minced garlic to cook them a bit. Mix garlic and mayonnaise (tada! quick and easy makeshift aioli). Top each slice of bread with mayo mixture and a generous portion of your pickled shrimp and veggies. Garnish with fresh dill sprigs, if you have them. Enjoy!

PERI PERI CHICKEN (I miss Nando’s)

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to Nando’s, my fave
a haiku dedication
please send me some sauce?

The first time I ever tried Nando’s was while on vacation in London and I immediately fell in love. The spicy Portuguese style chicken is so tender and flavorful in a huge, make-your-eyes-water-and-your-tongue-tingle kind of way. In a GOOD way. I was hooked. I made sure to go back to Nando’s for a second chicken platter before my flight out. That was two years ago, and I’ve missed this chicken terribly, BUT THEN(!) – Nando’s decided to open restaurant locations in Chicago this summer! Best news ever. I subscribed to the emails, eagerly followed the golden cockerel hunt (for free Nando’s for a year!), and made sure to visit several times before…

I moved to Ann Arbor, MI last month. There is no Nando’s location anywhere in this state. And then, one day I saw a tweet by Nando’s and it totally derailed me. Definitely spent a good half an hour reading about and salivating (longingly) over each of their sauces on their website. Decided right then that I NEEDED my Peri Peri chicken fix immediately, AND SO here we have it… my attempt at making homemade Peri Peri chicken!

…without Nando’s sauces. Or even bird’s eye chili, aka the central ingredient to the magical Peri Peri sauce. Or a grill. But hey! It actually turned out to be a really, really delicious experiment! And SO easy! Doesn’t really taste quite like Nando’s, but the chicken came out tender and so flavorful, and my insatiable craving is satisfied… for now.

But for real, this recipe is actually so easy. The sauce takes less than 10 minutes to make, then the chicken is marinated in it (I’d recommend marinating up to 24 hours – that’s how long Nando’s marinates their chicken!). Then you just pop the chicken in the oven, or throw it on the grill! So. Easy.

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Peri Peri Chicken

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 10 min prep, 25 min cook
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • chicken (I used 8 thighs, other parts should work too!)
  • 8-10 bird’s eye chili (adjusted for spice level, I used serrano peppers as a sub)
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • large pinch salt
  • large pinch pepper
Directions

  1. Prep the peri peri sauce. Put all the ingredients except for the chicken in a blender and blend until smooth. Can adjust the amount of olive oil for a nice consistency.
  2. Use about a third of the sauce to marinate the chicken for a least a couple of hours. I slitted the chicken a little to really allow the marinade to get in there and add its flavor. I marinated for a full 24 hours.
  3. If you have a grill, use it! Otherwise, when you are ready to cook the chicken, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Place the chicken on a foiled and (lightly) oiled cooking pan into the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Take the chicken out to baste with more sauce (about half of the remaining amount) and flip over. Let bake for another 10-15 minutes, until the chicken is browned and done on the inside.
  5. Drizzle the last bit of sauce on top (or serve on the side if it’s too spicy!) and enjoy!