When I heard that #LetsLunch ‘s May theme would be cross-cultural culinary creations, I beamed with delight, knowing exactly where to look. My dear friend Sandra Gutierrez’s excellent and powerful new cookbook compares and contrasts Southern and Latin American cuisines. With her deep roots in North Carolina as well as in Latin America, and her body of work as a food writer, editor, and cooking teacher, she brings insight, knowledge, and fantastically-good recipes to her book, The New Southern-Latino Table: Recipes That Bring Together the Bold and Beloved Flavors of Latin America and the American South. I love these biscuits with Sandra’s plush, gorgeous avocado butter, which has a burst of oregano and sparkles with fresh lime juice. Since ‘too much’ doesn’t apply when considering options for enjoying treats like this one, I set out a little chunky tomato salsa for color, contrast and delightfulness. (Sandra’s book offers her recipe for pico de gallo, a fine go-to fresh tomato relish perfect for the up-coming tomato season. For a brunch spread, I plan to cut this dough into smaller two-bite biscuits and fill each one with either country ham or pimento cheese, making a snazzy little meat/meatless hand-held item. I found the poblano chili pepper as well as the ancho chili powder in my local Food Lion supermarket, and loved the color and sizzle it added to these biscuits. When I was posting the photo of this excellent book’s cover, I realized that what you see here is the beautiful Sandra in her North Carolina kitchen, cutting out a batch of these very biscuits! You’ll love the photo of this recipe in her book, and I love knowing that Sandra styled and photographed all the recipes. It’s a fascinating read, a cultural and culinary resource, and an abundance of marvellous which illuminate what Latin cuisine is, what its key ingredients are and how to use them, and how to cook great food. Sandra’s reputation as a fantastic cooking teacher is well deserved, and her voice transfers beautifully to the pages of this book. For #Let’sLunch and for cooking pleasures at the intersection of Southern sensibilities and vibrant Latin American flavors, spend some time with Sandra Gutierrez at The New Southern-Latino Table.
Sandra Gutierrez’s Chile-Cheese Biscuits with Avocado Butter
From The New Southern-Latino Table: Recipes that Bring Together the Bold and Beloved Flavors of Latin America and the American South. Copyright © 2011 by Sandra A. Gutierrez. Used by permission of the University of North Carolina Press. www.uncpress.unc.edu
“Moist and light, these new-Southern morsels deliver just the right combination of spice and comforting goodness. Self-rising flour is made from Southern soft wheat flour to which baking powder and salt have been added; it has less protein and gluten than all-purpose flour. The addition of just a little bit of fat and liquid yields fluffy, tender biscuits. Poblano chiles add a mild heat. Queso seco is a Mexican dry-aged cheese that tastes similar to Parmesan; you can find it in most grocery stores. I learned to make biscuits from my Southern friends, who taught me to handle the dough with respect and loving hands. Serve these mildly spiced biscuits with this creamy avocado spread that melts in the mouth.
For the biscuits
- 2 cups self-rising flour
- 1 cup grated queso seco (use Parmesan cheese in a bind)
- 1 teaspoon ancho (or pasilla) chile powder
- ¼ cup chilled lard, bacon fat, or shortening
- 1 poblano chile, roasted, peeled, seeded, deveined, and finely chopped
- 1–1 ¼ cups buttermilk
- 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
For the avocado butter
- 2 Hass avocados
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- Pinch freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch dried Mexican oregano (optional)
Preheat the oven to 475°F. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cheese, and chile powder. Using a pastry blender (or two knives), cut the lard into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse sand. Stir in the chiles. Gradually add the buttermilk, mixing the dough with a wooden spoon or your hands just until it holds together (you may not need all of the buttermilk). Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it gently a couple of times. Pat it into an 8-inch circle (about ½ inch thick). Using a well-floured 2 ⅛-inch biscuit cutter, cut out 12 biscuits (you’ll need to gather up the dough and pat it down again lightly after the first biscuits are cut to get all 12). Place the biscuits, with sides touching, in a 10-inch springform or cake pan. With your knuckle, make a small indentation in the center of each biscuit; brush the tops of the biscuits with the cream. Bake for 18–22 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.
To make the avocado butter:
Halve and pit the avocados; scoop out the flesh with a spoon into a medium bowl and mash into a smooth paste. Add the lime juice, salt, pepper, and oregano (if using) and stir until combined.
Serve the hot biscuits with avocado butter.
Makes 12 biscuits and 1 ½ cups avocado butter”
For more #LetsLunch festivities, check out these posts from my brilliant blogging buddies:
Cheryl’s Goan Pork Curry Tacos on A Tiger in the Kitchen
Lisa’s Jewish-Chinese Brisket on Monday Morning Cooking Club
Lucy’s Coconut Rice Pudding with Mango on A Cook and Her Books
Emma‘s Kimchi Bulgogi Nachos at Dreaming of Pots And Pans
Grace‘s Taiwanese Fried Chicken at HapaMama
Jill‘s Southern Pimento-Stuffed Knishes at Eating My Words
Joe‘s Grilled KimCheese Sandwich at Joe Yonan
Linda‘s Project Runway Pelau: Rice & Beans Trinidad-Style at Spicebox Travels
Lisa‘s Sunday Night Jewish-Chinese Brisket at Monday Morning Cooking Club
Rashda‘s Mango Cobbler at Hot Curries & Cold Beer
Renee‘s Asian-Spiced Quick Pickles at My Kitchen And I
Steff‘s Chicken Fried Steak at The Kitchen Trials
Vivian‘s Funky Fusion Linguini at Vivian Pei
….and check back for more additions: It’s not even nearly LUNCH-time yet…