Lessons learned and a dang good breakfast sandwich
by Chef Deb Traylor
It’s an exciting time at Ginger and Baker! We're getting close to the finish line… but there's still much to be done before we open later this fall!
We’ve been testing every recipe, going over every detail and we're holding job fairs to start building our team. Our kitchens for the Café, The Cache, and the Bakery are being assembled, the Wine Cellar’s wine racks are being installed and the amazing glass walls in the new building are up and functional. Every day when we walk through the building I am amazed at the progress, and how many people it takes to get us to opening day. It's really been a group effort of a lot of hands and a LOT of heart.
Through all of the progress and the excitement of doing something from the ground up, we've had a few good lessons. First, no matter how much you plan, there’s going to be slippage on the timeline of any construction project. Second, you might save a few dollars in one area, only to spend double in another. Third, it just might rain when you don’t have your roof on yet. 😧 And lastly, when given the task of writing blog posts, I tend to find distractions everywhere. Apparently, building projects are not the only things that suffer slippage in timelines. 😊
But the motivation to share this chicken and biscuit recipe finally won out over all my procrastination and "creative" attention span, mostly because it's that dang good. I’ve included a recipe that I make at home if you want to go to the fuss, or you can do it the easy way and order up a plate of our housemade chicken and biscuits later this fall at the Café. Think of it as a little sample of all the delicious things to come!
For this recipe, we take a big fluffy biscuit, slather it with pimento cheese, add a fried chicken thigh, a good slug (yep, that’s a food term) of vinegar-based hot sauce, then top it with a sunny side up egg. This is one gorgeous breakfast sandwich. In fact, our photographer just about couldn’t finish the shot, because he wanted to grab a fork and dig in!
To make this at home, prepare the pimento cheese in advance and store it in the fridge. You can also bake the biscuits in advance and reheat. Otherwise, prep the biscuits and while they're baking, fry up the chicken and eggs. To serve, split a warmed biscuit, spread 2-3 tablespoons of pimento cheese on top, add a fried chicken thigh, followed by hot sauce and an egg, then place the other biscuit half right on top.
Deb’s Pimento Cheese Spread
- 2 oz. cream cheese, room temp
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 2 oz. smoked Gouda, grated
- 1 tsp. pickled jalapeño juice, or 1 tsp. of your favorite hot sauce
- 1-2 cloves pickled garlic, minced
- 1 small red pepper, roasted, peeled and chopped into ¼-inch dice
- 1 small Hatch green chile, roasted, peeled and chopped
- salt and white pepper, to taste
Beat cream cheese and mayonnaise together with a hand mixer, or use the paddle on a stand mixer. Add cheese, pickled jalapeño juice or hot sauce and pickled garlic and mix until completely combined and then gently fold in the red and green peppers. Taste and add salt and pepper. Chill for at least 2 hours.
adapted from BakeWise by Shirley O. Corriher
- 2 ¼ cups self-rising flour
- 1-2 Tbsp. sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 cup very cold butter, cut into small pieces
- 2/3 cup cold heavy cream
- 1 1/4-1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, for shaping
- 3 Tbsp. melted butter, for serving
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Butter a 12-inch cast iron skillet.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Next add very cold butter pieces and toss with the flour. Now use your fingers to quickly smash the butter and flatten each piece, (this should take no more then 2 minutes, as you want the butter to remain ice cold.) Do not use a pastry cutter with this recipe – the traditional instructions for combining flour and butter until it’s 'pea size' or 'resembles course meal' need to be laid to rest. Toss/stir the flattened butter a few times to evenly distribute.
Add heavy whipping cream and stir a few times, then add 1 1/4 cup buttermilk, adding more if needed. Stir to completely combine. Shirley Corriher sums it up really well: "the dough should resemble cottage cheese.” It is supposed to be wet, but not soupy.
To shape dough, spread 1 cup all-purpose flour onto a plate or pie pan. Using a medium ice cream scoop or large spoon, place 2 to 3 scoops of dough on top of the flour and sprinkle additional flour in top of each. Flour your hands and gently shape your dough into rounds, shake off the extra flour and place into the greased skillet. Be sure to place the biscuits TIGHTLY together. Continue until all the dough is used up.
Bake biscuits until they are lightly brown, about 20-25 minutes. Brush each biscuit with melted butter and use a knife or spatula to cut between biscuits. Serve piping hot with local honey and of course, more butter. Enjoy HOT!
Easy Fried Chicken
- 5-6 cup vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 5-6)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 Tbsp. hot sauce
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. freshly ground pepper
- 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. cayenne
Place oil in a heavy Dutch oven on the stove or outdoor grill and heat to 325 degrees. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. In a large bowl, combine buttermilk and hot sauce. In a second large bowl, thoroughly combine flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne.
Set up your dredge station: take a few tablespoons of flour mixture and lightly coat each piece of chicken. Next, dip each thigh in buttermilk mixture until well coated. Place chicken pieces in the flour mixture and gently push as much flour as possible onto each piece. Carefully place the chicken into the hot oil and cook until golden brown. To test for doneness, remove a thigh from oil and carefully test the temperature of the meaty part of the thigh with a probe thermometer – it should read 165 degrees. If it hasn’t reached 165 degrees, return chicken to pan for a minute or two. Once your test piece has reached 165 degrees, remove all the chicken from the oil and drain on paper towels. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.