16 September 2011

Sort of Sabbatical Adventures

Many people have emailed and asked what I am doing nowadays. It is true I recently resigned as the Senior Pastor at the church here in New Orleans. It was a mutual agreement between myself and the congregation that we were not the fit for each other that we all hoped and prayed for. These things happen in congregational life. If I had it to do all over again I wouldn't trade my time here in New Orleans for anything. I found my voice as a preacher and found my heart for pastoral ministry was re-affirmed via Rhode Island.

So what next? Well, I am looking for a new call, helping out with music classes at the school my children attend (i.e. tuning violins), working on two manuscripts (a work of non-fiction on the social history of pigs and a children's book about a bear who smells bacon cooking) and an essay on long sermons.

I am also using this time (which I am calling a sort of sabbatical) to tackle one of the biggest fears and most troubling obstacles in my cooking life: BISCUITS. I love biscuits. I have probably eaten somewhere north of 100,000 of them over my thirty-six years of existence. I can attribute at least 50% of all my caloric intake from 6th grade to college to biscuits. Oh the loveliness of Tudor's Biscuit World - how "convenient" it was to have a strategically placed Tudor's between my college apartment and the Marshall University Campus. But despite my above average bread baking abilities I have never been able to make a decent biscuit. This week, however, I decided to give it my all.

First I experimented with the Alton Brown recipe - I did not, however, use vegetable shortening - I used coconut oil instead. The biscuits were tall, light, and fluffy. But according to The Joy of Cooking I did not incorporate the baking powder enough into the flour, thus the brown spots on the top of the biscuits.

Then while at the grocery store, for the heck of it, I bought a 5lb bag of Lily White Flour. Yes, the enriched kind with baking powder, baking soda, and salt already mixed in. But where does one find non-self rising soft winter wheat flour? The first batch was okay, a little dense. The second batch, that's another story. I sifted the flour, to better incorporate the pre-mixed baking ingredients, and used an equal mixture of butter and chilled bacon grease. This worked like a charm!
Riding a wave of new found success I decided to push myself and tackle one more elusive accomplishment: sausage gravy. Well I gave it all of my culinary skills I have obtained: a roux, deglazing, and pre-browned flour. The verdict: I am ready to open up a restaurant and sell nothing but biscuits and sausage gravy!

Maybe not a full scale restaurant, maybe a pop up restaurant open only on a Saturday & Sunday mornings.

Two more food finds of note.

1. Hubigs Pies. These deliciously evil concoctions are ubiquitous here in NOLA. I have spied them several times but never in the flavor I desire, until this weekend:
2. Blue Dot Donuts. I cannot recall if I have mentioned this place or not. Get this three New Orleans Policemen opened up their own donut shop. Man do they turn out some great donuts. Perhaps you viewed them on the Food Network the other day? They are "famous" for their maple glazed bacon long john. That's right bacon, maple, and a donut - it is like the ultimate breakfast pastry! Here is a picture of a remnant of one.

For the record: I am exercising at least an hour each day!


hawk said...

You've ruined my day by bringing up Hubig's Chocolate Fried pies. I may have to drive toward New Orleans and stop in every highway gas station south of Meridian until I find one. THANKS.


G. Travis Norvell said...

do you want me to ship you some? they are just down right evil they are so good.

Tripp Hudgins said...