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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

cordelia ain't got nothin' on me

i never buy buttermilk.

i really don't have a use for the stuff - because, really, who does? - but i'd picked up a carton of it over the weekend for that red velvet pound cake i made for the 4th of july. to make matters worse, since i had cut the recipe in half, i'd only used a quarter cup of it. so i had a crapload of the stuff leftover, and despite the fact that it only cost <$2, i couldn't bear to leave it sitting in the fridge, unused and unloved.

the only thing i could think of, off the top of my noggin, that required buttermilk was biscuits. and i knew i had chicken in the freezer. and that's how fantabulous mrs. wan's chicken dinner monday came to be.

i haven't actually been to the chicken dinner restaurant at knott's berry farm in ages - in fact, the last time was when i was pregnant with the bean, taking the teen to amusement park after amusement park and keeping her happily occupied over summer vacation. and as i mentioned back then, if poor cordelia knott had gotten a taste of what her beloved kitchen was serving these days, she'd roll over in her grave. maybe twice. i knew i could do better.

and then as i was getting caught up on my local board on the nest, my friend ssinca posted a link to the yummiest looking summery beverage - watermelon lemonade. now, despite my distaste for actual fruit, i do love the taste of a lot of it, and watermelon is a flavor that i dig quite a lot. so the bean and i trooped out to the grocery store to pick up a few things, including an overpriced bowl of cut-up watermelon. i was too lazy to buy a whole one, didn't really have room in the fridge for it, and what if the end result tasted like ass?

i follow directions quite well - at least, when it comes to recipes. i pureed the watermelon chunks as directed, and then painstakingly strained out the seeds and pulp.

next, i juiced the lemons and strained that, too.

despite smitten kitchen's disdain for premade simple syrup, i actually had a bottle of the stuff on hand - we'd bought it a while ago when the teen had to have sweet tea and just couldn't wait for me to make it from scratch. it's sugar and water, people. oy.

despite the fact that i'd tripled the recipe, my pretty glass pitcher was still sadly not-quite-half-full. oh, well. at least it looked good, right? and a quick sample of the finished product proved that i could have used that whole watermelon quite easily. next time.

next, i mixed up the biscuit dough. this stuff is uber sticky, and even though i've made it at least once (albeit a loooong time ago), i didn't remember it being this difficult to work with. i was too ashamed to take a picture of the pathetic-looking cutouts in the pan, pre-baking.

lacking the proper equipment (i.e., a round cookie cutter), i busted out my super duper clever macgyver skills and improvised with what i had on hand.

i was pleased to see that they didn't look as laughable when i pulled them out of the 500-degree oven. i don't know why i always manage to pick days when it's as hot as the surface of the friggin' sun to get these crazy urges to cook a full meal.

my favorite part of mrs. knott's chicken dinner, oddly enough, is the cabbage and ham side dish. i know, completely bizarre. but i love that stuff. even though it gives me some super amusing, splendiferous gas afterwards. TMI?

anyway, through the magic of facebook, i managed to connect with an old friend who had the knott's cookbook on hand and was kind enough to e-mail me the recipe. i'd had a copy of it once upon a time too, but it's one of the zillion things i left behind in my rush to move out of the house i'd shared with the ex back in the day.

somehow, i'd managed to time everything just right and had everything cooking and ready all at the same time. impressive, yes? i plated it up and called the hub and the bean to the table.

the hub was completely in awe and full of compliments over my efforts, and hoovered up every last bite on his plate. i was really proud of myself, and basked in his praise as i got to work cleaning the mess i'd left in the kitchen and he whisked the bean off for her bath.

this post is totally out of order, because i actually have a restaurant review to share from sunday, but i was still glowing from my successful dinner and just had to show it all off now, now, now!

so, tomorrow. i'll write about it tomorrow, and i've got a shitton of pictures to illustrate it all, too. i know, i know, you can't wait.

well, you'll have to. heh.


  1. dude, you need a bigger strainer! silly girl. I doubled the recipe and the amount still looked pretty pathetic.

    and now I want some biscuits.

  2. I was gonna make the watermelon lemonade for a party this weekend but that looks like way too much effort for a crowd. You've just saved me from a huge headache. Your dinner looks AMAZING! Can I come over and eat whatever leftover you have? :)

  3. With your mixing prowess and preciseness, you'd probably make a great chemist!

  4. 1. wtf? my google reader did feed me this post.
    2. i never knew mrs. knott's first name.
    3. where'd you eat?
    4. i need biscuits now.

  5. Seriously impressive meal! Good job!

  6. 1) You HAVE to start buying powdered buttermilk. It lasts for like a hundred years in your pantry - you don't have to worry about using it up, and then you always have it on hand whenever you need it spur of the moment.

    2)You went the wrong way with the watermelon. We had a super sweet watermelon this weekend that was kind of mealy. So I blended it up, added some vodka, and froze it in our Popsicle mold. Now THAT'S a summer treat.

    3) I had the exact same strainer up until December when I upgraded to something larger. It is SO much nicer having a bigger strainer.

  7. I hate that with buttermilk, too! I always need like 2 TB. and end up with a carton of sour milk...so I know discovered how to MAKE buttermilk! 1 cup of milk to 2 TB lemon juice ori white vinegar. Let it sit for 5 min. and voila! Buttermilk.
    But damn, biscuits? Reason to buy buttermilk!


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