How in the world did that happen? Suffice it to say, in a happy blur of family, friends and food, and oh my goodness, such food! Even for me, I have to say, I spent rather a lot of time in the kitchen, being productive, yes; however, it seems to have rather kept me away from my trusty computer and letting you all in on the festivities. This is a shot of my kitchen a few days before Christmas when I was thick in the throes of cookie-dom. As you can see, it wasn't pretty, but take it from me, it sure was fun. Let me just say, here and now, I'm not into "resolutions." I guess it's the rebel in me that makes me immediately shy away from whatever it was that I had the best intentions of doing and instead, do just the opposite. That being the case, I "intend" to blog more regularly in the coming year, and I think may circle back to some of the great things that happened in my kitchen over a prolonged Christmas cooking-fest. The good news is that I took pictures and I most likely can figure out whatever it was that I did when I did it.
And speaking of pictures, this is a picture of our Christmas tree, which I show because I love it and because buying it (traditionally in a driving rain storm)and putting it up amid much hilarity with Felix and my friend, Tom, is one of my very favorite Christmas things. I'm sharing it because it will calm you down from worrying that my house looked like the kitchen picture throughout Christmas. You may breathe again on my behalf. See, everything was tidied up in time and things fell beautifully into place.
But will she ever get back to sausage gravy and biscuits? In due time, faithful reader. It being New Year's Eve, I went for my traditional walk with Nancy at crack of dawn this morning, and we had our annual recap of the past year. I came back emboldened for the new year and keen for new challenges and more big, bold experiences.
When Felix appeared downstairs wanting to share some music with me, and ribald tales of last night's shenanigans, I decided to have a little bold breakfast happening of my own and to whip together an impromptu feast. While I've never actually made sausage gravy before, I figured it couldn't be difficult at all, and indeed it was easy as pie. To the tunes of Dave Matthews and MGMT, I threw together some biscuits, grabbed a jar of fabulous fig preserves that Felix very thoughtfully gave me for Christmas and the feast fell right into place. Over breakfast we considered people we've been missing--Dad, Judge Williams, Gerry Bemiss--and reflected on the coups and mishaps of this year, as well as the great adventures we're planning for 2012.
Old-Fashioned Sausage Gravy and Biscuits
For sausage gravy:
1 pound Jimmy Dean sage bulk sausage meat
2 tablespoons fresh sage, finely chopped
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups whole milk (or right amount for the consistency you prefer)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons Crisco
3/4 cup whole milk
For sausage gravy:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and place the sausage meat into a large cast-iron skillet, and cook over low heat, only breaking it up slightly into bite-sized pieces rather than into annoying little, shards.
As it's sauteing, make the biscuits. Place the flour, salt and baking powder into a mixing bowl and cut in the Crisco until it's mealy. Add the milk gradually and stir just till the dough holds together and is still sticky. Transfer it to a lightly floured work surface, knead about eight times and form the dough with your hands into eight smooth rounds about 1-inch thick. Arrange the rounds on a baking sheet about 1 inch apart, bake until golden brown about 15 minutes.
While they're baking, and once the sausage is mostly cooked through, add the sage and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Add the flour to the sausage mixture and stir while continuing to cook on low heat. Add the milk, about a quarter of a cup at a time while stirring constantly until the sausage gravy gets to the consistency you like. I like mine fairly thick.
When the biscuits are ready, split them in half and ladle the gravy over top. I made scrambled eggs with good cheddar cheese to go with them too, but perhaps that was a bit over-the-top?
The truth is, that whatever is in store, it never hurts to kick it off with a good breakfast. Happy New Year!