Thursday, April 12, 2012


I love bread especially hot buttered bread (my mouth is watering just thinking about it).  My love affair with bread, or more specifically biscuits, began when I was a child.  I remember awaking up daily to the smell of fresh baked biscuits during the many summers I spent with my grandparents in Mississippi. For me biscuit are not just fluffy deliciousness but a connection to my childhood and to a person who has had a profound impact on the woman that I am today, my grandmother, the late Mrs. Ammie D. Hill.  I remember as a child watching her make biscuits from scratch without a recipe. She knew the exact amount of flour, shortening and milk to add to make exactly the number of biscuits she wanted, whether it be 3 biscuits or 20.  This is a skill I wish to acquire, but for now I need a recipe.

Small Batch Buttermilk Biscuits

Makes 6 biscuits
WW points+ 3 points per biscuit


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon cold butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon shortening
  • 1/2 cup low fat buttermilk, chilled


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a medium mixing bowl. Using your fingertips, rub butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. 
  3. Pour in the chilled buttermilk. Using your fingertips stir mixture just until the dough comes together. The dough will be sticky. Do not over mix the dough once you add the milk.
  4. Place dough onto a floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself and using a rolling pin gently roll dough into1-inch thickness. Do not knead the dough.
  5. Cut out biscuits with biscuit cutter or the rim of a glass, you should be able to cut 4 biscuits using a 2-inch cutter. Place biscuits on baking sheet where they are almost touching. Gently re-roll the scrap dough and cut 2 more biscuits.
  6. Bake until biscuits are golden brown, 12-15 minutes.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Basics of Brining Chicken

When eating chicken, do you prefer the breast or the thigh?  I was a dark meat person preferring chicken thighs to breast because breasts were always dry; that was until I discovered brining. Brining is the process of marinating meat in a solution of salt and water prior to cooking. This process allows the meat to absorb the brine and retain moisture as the meat cooks.  Meat can be brined and then frozen prior to cooking. Also, brined meat cooks faster.

Chicken, turkey and pork can be brined; the marinating time varies by the cut and weight of the meat and must be refrigerated while marinating.  The basic brine I use most often contains a mixture of salt, sugar and water.  Not all brines contain sugar, so it is optional; however the sugar works to counteract the flavor of the salt and helps the meat brown when cooking. Additional herbs or seasonings can be added to a brine such as garlic, onions, herbs or even fruit juices

Basic Chicken Brines




Table Salt


1 to 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken

30 mins to 1 hour

2 Quarts

¼ cup

½ cup

4 pounds bone-in chicken pieces

30 mins to 1 hour

2 Quarts

½ cup

1 cup

Your brine solution must be cold prior to adding the meat, but dissolving sugar in cold water can be a pain, so I use one cup of warm water to dissolve the salt and sugar and then I add enough cold water to make 2 quart of brine.  Brine your meat for the recommended time and then rinse thoroughly.

Brining Tips
  • Be careful when adding additional salt and seasoning to meat that has been brined, the meat has absorbed the salt from the brine and it is easy to over salt the meat when cooking it. The general rule of thumb is not to add any additional salt to brined meat. If you are new to brining, I recommend cooking a small piece of the brined meat prior to adding additional seasonings; this will allow you to taste the saltiness of the meat. 
  • The salt you use also matters, one cup of table salt is not the same as one cup of kosher. 1 cup of table is equivalent to 1 1/2 cups of Morton Kosher salt or 2 cups of Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt.
  • Use a plastic, glass or stainless steel container for your brine; do not use aluminum. Always cover your meat when brining.
I am by no means an expert in brining and there is so much more to brining than I will cover in this post. But I hope this is a good introduction to the technique. I do not cover brining a whole chicken here because I have not done it yet myself and the guidelines for how long to brine range from 1 hour to 8 hours, so I want to try it first to give better instructions to my readers.