Tag Archives: biscuits

Weekly Menus: Week of 10/6/2013, Travel Prep Edition

Gentle Readers, this week I must start with a mea culpa. I was traveling last week, and forgot what day it was until I was back, and thus missed the Wednesday publishing cycle. From the amount of mail I received on the topic (none), I can tell there was a public outcry. So I will publish said Smoothie article this week. Meanwhile, look what I got to eat last week:

Biscotti and Cookie Platter at Babbo in NYC. OMG good.

Biscotti and Cookie Platter at Babbo in NYC. OMG good.

Yes, it was that delicious. A tip for anyone who is in NYC and hasn’t been to Babbo. If you go when it opens, right at 5 pm, you can snag a seat at the bar and eat. Highly recommend the pasta tasting menu or just eating around the menu at your leisure. Don’t skip the Brussels sprouts and the biscotti.

The Beer Festival Tasting Glass. Durham, NC

The Beer Festival Tasting Glass. Durham, NC

But I digress. My real life is quite a bit less glamorous but equally delicious. This week I went to my first beer tasting. I learned that there are many horrific beers in the world that taste like fruits and lawn clippings. I also found quite a few local brews that were delightful, and an interesting Pecan number that I’ll need to investigate. Shockingly, my favorite part was the food, especially the pairings, such as provided by my friend Carrie from G2B Gastropub. The andouille sausage with a little mustard was ideal beer food.

The inimitable Chef Carrie from G2B Gastropub in Durham, NC!

The inimitable Chef Carrie from G2B Gastropub in Durham, NC!

Okay, enough, I actually do cook sometimes too. The tasting of all the pumpkin things continues. A full report is coming soon.

Pumpkin Cake Doughnut with Latte Glaze from Rise. Hellooooo nurse.

Pumpkin Cake Doughnut with Latte Glaze from Rise. Hellooooo nurse.

Fried Green Tomato with Pimento Cheese Biscuit from Rise in Durham, NC. Just because.

Fried Green Tomato with Pimento Cheese Biscuit from Rise in Durham, NC. Just because.

 

Here’s what’s happening on this week’s menus:

Weekly Menus: 10/6/2013

Weekly Menus: 10/6/2013

And the Four-Square Grocery list (a little lean as I use up what’s here and plan to shop more heavily next week before  I travel):

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 10/6/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 10/6/2013

Which all translates to:

Sunday: Steak and potatoes
I’m feeling red meat today, and the weather is a little autumnal. Perhaps the potatoes will be sweet or an acorn squash instead. If you’re not tossing winter squash in your cart regularly, you’re missing out!

Monday: Veggie Chili
This keeps getting delayed in lieu of other fast meals that don’t generate leftovers, but I’m making it this time, even if I have to freeze it for later!

Tuesday: Omelets
These were such a huge hit the other night, complete with quick sauteed spinach and portobello mushrooms that we’re doing it again. TPCs Jr are huge mushroom fan, and we’re committed to trying all of the types. That’s our schtick.

Wednesday: Pizza!
We’ve got a social to attend, and well, we all love pizza. Honestly, I could eat it 3 times a day. In fact, I’ve had to add it to my things not to leave unattended in the house list, as I will eat cold pizza until I founder. It’s a different food group that hot pizza, and I actually prefer it.

Thursday: Salmon and Couscous
We have to get more healthy fat in our diets. Plus I need to try to stay smarter than my offspring. I plan to tell them this and serve myself the largest portion. I’ll keep you posted on the results.

Friday: Mexican!
Probably burritos or quesadillas to accommodate the braced on, but we may be able to pull off nachos. Yum!

Saturday: Dine out!
So many possibilities, we often lament we only have 3 stomachs between us.

What do you do to prepare for a trip? Buy easy prep food, eat down the supplies? Share your tips in the comments area  below!

Send your make-ahead food ideas, chocolate covered peanuts, and pumpkin-themed whatnot to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

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Coming up Wednesday, Smoothie Recipes and Tips (I Promise This Time)

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Rise Review: Biscuits and Doughnuts, Oh My

Gentle Reader, sometimes the only answer is to order one of each. Such is the case in two recent field research missions to the fairly new Rise in Durham. (Follow them @risedurham for specials etc.) First, mad props for the name. Well done. Second, great customer service. They actually care what you think.

The happy crossroads of sweet and savory: Rise

The happy crossroads of sweet and savory: Rise

But with a number of strong biscuit contenders and my love for Krispy Kreme, how does Rise fare? Thanks to my able assistants, The Practical Cooks Junior, for sacrificing and helping try a boatload of things. As you can see, I am here for you, always willing to try new things.

TPCs Jr, Labeled Vegetarians

TPCs Jr, Labeled Vegetarians

Biscuits:

1. Country Fried Steak Biscuit: Served with lettuce and Duke’s mayo (props for naming names), this was a good but not great entry. A note on the Facebook page later indicated that some of the portions were not cut well with an offer to make it right. Mine was one of them. Very impressive admission and customer service. I found the seasonings a little light as well, but it was very fresh.

Country Fried Steak Biscuit from Rise

Country Fried Steak Biscuit from Rise

2. Cauliflower, Red Pepper, and Goat Cheese Biscuit: The vegetarian surprise hit, this was tangy and interesting. The Jrs enjoyed it, as did I. Not a neat biscuit to eat.

Cauliflower Biscuit from Rise: Delicious!

Cauliflower Biscuit from Rise: Delicious!

3. Egg and Cheese Biscuit: This was the unanimous favorite. You could taste the biscuit more, and the scrambled egg and white cheddar were head and shoulders above the typical offering. We will go back for this one. (It was so good, I failed to shoot a picture, a rare and telling occurrence.)

4. Fried Chicken Biscuit: Good Fried, but again, not quite salty enough for my taste. Very high-quality chicken, just needed a little more oomph in comparison to others I’ve tried.

Fried Chicken Biscuit from Rise

Fried Chicken Biscuit from Rise

Doughnuts:

1. Glazed: A very good offering. Bigger than a Krispy Kreme, and slightly less fluffy, it has a homey quality that I could easily love. And the vanilla glaze tastes like vanilla. Nice job.

Vanilla Glazed Doughnut from Rise

Vanilla Glazed Doughnut from Rise

2. Sprinkled: This was a surprise hit for me. It was sprinkles with a strawberry glaze. First, it was pink-ish, which is delightful, and second, strawberry. I’m not a huge sprinkles fan, but this was a great one. A favorite of the Eldest as well.

3. Bacon Maple: Yes, I ate the whole thing. The bacon there is top-notch, and the maple glaze was obscene and delightful at the same time. I saw some glycemic stars in the sky after, but worth it.

Hello Bacon Maple Doughnut. I missed you too. (Rise)

Hello Bacon Maple Doughnut. I missed you too. (Rise)

4. Apple Fritter: This was another huge win in my book. They are BIG, and they are crunchy sweet with real fruit. You will never face a lesser apple pie with anything less than disdain after one of these. They kicked the Fair Fritter’s proverbial buns. This is not a one-person mission. Share, share alike. It took three of us more than one day to complete.

Ginormous Apple Fritter from Rise

Ginormous Apple Fritter from Rise

5. Crushed Oreo: This was the favorite pick of the Youngest. An excellent entry, I’m not a huge crushed Oreos fan, but the doughnut itself was quality, and with good topping adherence.

Random: The Hash Cake. Do not miss this. I will be adding one to the order as a standard upgrade. It’s shredded potatoes, onions, and cheese, and it is unicorn good.

The Humble Hash Cake is full of flavor and sprinkled with salt. (Rise)

The Humble Hash Cake is full of flavor and sprinkled with salt. (Rise)

Overall, I give Rise a big thumbs up. It can get busy, but the ticket system works fairly well, and it smells like doughnuts. Great alternative to sitting down to breakfast or brunch with the kids.

What’s your favorite doughnut flavor? And do you venture on the wild side for biscuits? Post a comment or Tweet my way.

Send your glazed, sprinkled, and actual questions to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

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Coming up Friday, Creamy Corn and Roasted Pepper Soup Review (and Recipe).

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Cereal Review: Weetabix Is Not Just for Vampires

Gentle Readers, in case you were not aware, Team Practical Cook, as a unit, loves cereal. We are committed to trying all of it. Yes, all of it, one box at a time. Okay, many boxes at once. In this quest, we get a new cereal almost every week.

Weetabix Takes the Stage for Cereal Quest!

Weetabix Takes the Stage for Cereal Quest!

Feel free to join the quest, submit suggestions as we go. We’ll highlight some favorites, and acknowledge the lows as well. As a long-time Buffy fan, I can’t believe I had never tried Weetabix before. (Bonus points for my fellow Whedon-ites who can name that scene that references Weetabix’s textural properties.)

The Practical Cook's Cereal Warehouse

The Practical Cook’s Cereal Warehouse

I digress. It’s a cereal, it’s a biscuit, it’s relatively healthy, woohoo! Except, it dissolves into mush. The Practical Cooks Junior, ever adventurous, took the challenge, and both dismayed over the texture in milk. Warned by them, I added way less milk and ate fast. The flavor is not bad at all. The Eldest Practical Cook wisely ate her second biscuit dry.

Cute little Weetabix biscuits.

Cute little Weetabix biscuits.

But I’m left wondering–how is this cereal traditionally eaten? Is mush part of the appeal? I really like the simplicity of the cereal, and will probably convince TPCs Junior to consume the rest sans moo, but it was unappetizing in milk in a matter of seconds.

So send in your Weetabix ideas, I’ll keep trying. Post a comment below, or Tweet #cerealquest at me! And it’s Reader Question time on Friday. Submit yours today!!

Send your garlic, actual questions, and good ideas to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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On Friday, Questions from you the Gentle Readers!

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Weekly Menus: Week of 4/22/2012 (with bonus Farmer’s Market suggestions!)

Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook is getting ready to do some serious cooking and eating this week. I’ll be making a full Southern spread, and eating at a chef’s table tasting meal. Having just been introduced to the concept of “biscuit poisoning” (a quaint shorthand for needing to push back from the table a bit more often), I think I’ll be looking to extend the workouts this week.

Who knew Orange Blossom Brioche was in season? (I heart the Farmer's Market.)

Who knew Orange Blossom Brioche was in season? (I heart the Farmer's Market.)

But never fear, it’s CSA time, so the vegetables will be flying. Enough chitchat, here’s what’s on the menu this week.

Weekly Menus:

Weekly Menus: 4/22/2012

Weekly Menus: 4/22/2012

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List:

Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 4/22/2012

Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 4/22/2012

And the CSA:

lettuce mix
green buttercrunch lettuce
tuscano kale
chorizo

Which translates into:

Sunday: Bok choy and dumplings
The bok choy is from the CSA, and the dumplings are from Trader Joe’s. Couldn’t be simpler to toss together a Sunday supper.

Monday: Southern 101
The Jrs and I will be bringing our A game to this instructional meal: biscuits, sausage, bacon, greens, strawberries, grits, and potentially sweet potato hash or chips. We shall see.

My favorite, biscuit with molasses. On a pony plate of course.

My favorite, biscuit with molasses. On a pony plate of course.

Tuesday: Sammies and Soup
Great way to use up what’s about to go South, and not in the good way.

Bruschetta for dinner: the perfect way to use up a little bit of everything

Bruschetta for dinner: the perfect way to use up a little bit of everything

Wednesday: Lasagna
This is my make-ahead meal for the week. The Practical Cook’s Mom can toss this in the oven while I go dine on things that involve foam. I remain unconvinced by the molecular gastronomy movement, but I will be tweeting about it.

Thursday: Beans and Rice
The batch of black beans and rice I cooked last week will be put to use again. Perhaps in burritos or as juevos rancheros. Or just in a bowl with avocado on top.

Black Beans and Rice: Simple and Satisfying for Dinner

Black Beans and Rice: Simple and Satisfying for Dinner

Friday: Beef something
I need to complete the cow consumption to make way for more. Beefy ideas welcome. I may go with meatloaf to use up some bacon from the Monday meal. Do you like my logic there?

Saturday: Dine Out!
The Jrs have been quite adventurous and opinionated as of late. Let’s find out what happens.

WEEKLY CHALLENGE! If you have not dipped a toe into the world of Farmer’s Market, let this be the spring you give it a shot. I suggest starting simple, so you don’t end up a) getting overwhelmed and leaving with nothing or b) buying one of everything. I have done both. Make a small list, and focus on replacing a few things you’d normally buy. Lettuce is a nice place to start. Then challenge yourself to buy one new vegetable, something crazy. I met kohlrabi that way.

Which veggie do you want to learn how to cook? Post a comment below or send a Tweet my way!

Questions, ideas for future blogs, and food fights may be brought to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Coming up Wednesday: Can this supper be saved? Three Fast Flavor Boosts.

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Top 3 Reasons to Eat Breakfast

Gentle Readers, as long-time readers and close friends know, The Practical Cook is at war with her cholesterol (see For the Love of Grapefruit for the whole scoop). I am happy to say I am still winning this battle of the ages. It is possible to eat Fried and love it, and still maintain one’s health. There is a secret, do lean in and I’ll tell you. I eat.

Recovery Cereal

Recovery Cereal

Yes, I am not a meal skipper. As my London traveling companion will tell you, there is a reason for this. I get a smidge touchy when I don’t eat. In my experience, skipping meals always backfires. I mention the cholesterol because I had to fast for the test. The second I knew I couldn’t eat, I was starving.

Neal's Deli Biscuit with Egg, Swiss Cheese, and Garlicky Spinach: It's a Health Food Really

Neal's Deli Biscuit with Egg, Swiss Cheese, and Garlicky Spinach: It's a Health Food Really

At the same time, Crescent Dragonwagon (author of The Cornbread Gospels and the upcoming Bean by Bean <awesome!> cookbooks) shared this article on Facebook about the benefits of dessert with breakfast. Exactly. Just eat.

Oatmeal with Fig Preserves

Oatmeal with Fig Preserves

So this one goes out to the myriad readers who I know are drinking coffee instead of eating, grabbing a Little Debbie snack cake, or calling a lone banana breakfast. You know who you are, I shall not name names.

For the Love of Lattes

For the Love of Lattes: But It's Not a Breakfast Substitute!

Breakfast rocks, and here’s 3 reasons why.

1. Energy. It is the most important meal of the day. Did you learn nothing from the PSA’s of the 1980’s?? But really, coming from a farming family, breakfast is meant to fuel you through the majority of your heavy lifting. You’re getting kids to school, thinking, working out, why starve yourself?

Prepping Waffles for the Freezer

Prepping Waffles for the Freezer

2. Bacon. Need I say more? Morning is a good time to have some. I couldn’t resist sharing this picture I just found of a colleague hedging his bets, balancing his oatmeal and whole wheat toast with a side of Fried. Good work Virtually Cooking.

A working breakfast, with all the major food groups and some technology present!

A working breakfast, with all the major food groups and some technology present!

3. Cereal. Again, why miss a cereal eating opportunity? I’m a well-documented fan, but you can eat it dry or with milk. I sometimes have to take the bowl with me to the car to get The Eldest Practical Cook Junior to school on time, but don’t try to pry it from my hands. You’ll pull back a nub. Point is, it’s fast, easy, and varied. Find one you like and keep it on hand.

The Practical Cook's Cereal Warehouse

The Practical Cook's Cereal Warehouse

You have time to eat something of substance in the morning. Let yourself be hungry then, and answer the call. Cereal, yogurt, oatmeal, eggs, fruit, leftover pizza, even pie on occasion (assuming you balance it with protein), whatever floats your boat. Just don’t skip. I will be watching. (And if you ever hear I’ve missed breakfast, do not come near me without a bagel, muffin, or omelet in hand as a peace offering.)

40 All-Purpose Blueberry Muffins

40 All-Purpose Blueberry Muffins

Confession time. Do you eat breakfast? If so, what’s your favorite thing to eat in the morning? If not, why? Post a comment and share your thoughts! There is no judgment, but I won’t promise not to gently persuade. 🙂

Send cereal, bacon, and doughnuts to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Tomorrow, Kitchen Tool Talk!

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Bring the Biscuits Home: Simple Scratch Recipe

Gentle Readers, though The Practical Cook is deeply Southern, she has yet to settle on the perfect biscuit recipe. Though I’ve been eating them professionally (at least in my mind) for more decades than would be polite to mention here, that perfect home recipe has eluded me. Now I have some requirements: I don’t care for the hockey puck styles, I do like them fluffy, and please don’t make them wringable.

Fluffy little buttermilk biscuits!

Fluffy little buttermilk biscuits!

You know, wringable, as in so greasy you can squeeze them. There’s a certain Bojangles in Charlotte, NC, where I performed this feat many many years ago (looking at you Miss Clairol), and it was not appetizing. But shy of that, I like them big, I like them petite, I like them with flours of all stripes, I like them with cheddar and scallions, plain, with gravy, etc.

The Biscuits of My Childhood, Courtesy of The Practical Cook's Mom!

The Biscuits of My Childhood, Courtesy of The Practical Cook's Mom!

So when the Eldest asked for biscuits on a slow Saturday morning, we started looking for a simple recipe that used what we had on hand that she could help with. This one rocks.

Simple Scratch Recipe for Buttermilk Biscuits

After consulting various Southern tomes, we went with, gasp, Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything recipe for buttermilk or yogurt biscuits. He uses the food processor, my fave trick in making dough (it’s the secret behind my scones, too, which are really British Biscuits, to my way of thinking).

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 scant teaspoon salt (I went extra scanty because my butter was lightly salted)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 to 5 Tablespoons cold butter (Bittman says more is better, and I took him at his word)
3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons buttermilk

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Yes, that hot. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in the work bowl of your food processor, a few pulses should do it. Add the butter, pulse it a few more times, until the butter is thoroughly cut into the flour mixture.

Mix the dry ingredients in the food processor. Lid on people.

Mix the dry ingredients in the food processor. Lid on people.

2. Add the buttermilk and pulse the food processor a couple more times to stir it in, just until the mixture forms into a cohesive clump. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it 10 times (Mark Bittman says NO MORE, we dutifully counted, an excellent way to involve the Juniors). If the dough is too sticky, add just a little flour, it shouldn’t be completely unsticky.

Dump the dough onto a floured surface. It doesn't have to be perfect, just get it out of the food processor.

Dump the dough onto a floured surface. It doesn't have to be perfect, just get it out of the food processor.

Biscuit dough that has been kneaded exactly 10 times per the instructions.

Biscuit dough that has been kneaded exactly 10 times per the instructions. (Thanks Eldest for shooting this, since my hands were floury.)

3. Press the dough to a 3/4-inch thickness and cut into rounds, the size of your choice. Now, he says that you can use a glass. I must respectfully disagree. Get a biscuit cutter, or a cute little set. We picked the middle size. Cut straight down, like a Ginsu knife commercial, don’t twist. Your biscuits will be higher, and you can thank me later.

My beloved pastry mat and biscuit cutter. It's sharp and lovely.

My beloved pastry mat and biscuit cutter. It's sharp and lovely.

Biscuits in the oven! Don't fret imperfect shapes, they still eat well.

Biscuits in the oven! Don't fret imperfect shapes, they still eat well.

4. Put the biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet that’s been covered with parchment paper. Reshape any leftover dough gently and cut until you have no more. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, depending on your biscuit size, or until the biscuits are a light golden brown (see, No Hockey Pucks, above).

Light golden-brown biscuits!

Light golden-brown biscuits!

Serve fast, and grab one for yourself on the way out of the oven. Otherwise, you may miss your chance.

My favorite, biscuit with molasses. On a pony plate of course.

My favorite, biscuit with molasses. On a pony plate of course.

What do you like on your biscuits? What do you like in your biscuits? Post a comment below!

Send your questions, queries, and compliments to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today to stay current on all of The Practical Cook news!)

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Up next, The Practical Cook’s Mom takes the helm for Weekly Menus!

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The Great Sweetner Race: Honey vs. Molasses (with video!)

Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook adores a challenge, particularly if it is one involving a photo finish. Shout out to @bkeepsushonest for this wonderful question: Which is faster, honey or molasses? Full confession, I have a deep and abiding love for molasses, complete with memories of my Grandpa B making it from scratch. The smell of cooking cane, the bees and other stinging insects, not as pleasant, the end result, outrageously good.

Honey vs. Molasses

Honey vs. Molasses

But I digress, let’s find out if molasses is as slow as it’s made out to be. Roll the tape:

As you can see, even at room temperature, sourcing locally, molasses turned out to be the faster, runnier opponent. This was not a fixed race, but I do have a love-hate relationship with honey. I need to try more kinds, but I generally don’t love the taste.

I like honey in the following ways:

1. In desserts. Honey cake, sopapillas, baklava. Yes and yes.

The Practical Cook's Mom's Honeybun Cake

The Practical Cook's Mom's Honeybun Cake

2. In salad dressing. It makes for a lovely honey mustard and tempers a vinaigrette like a dream.

Chicken Jolt Salad with Espresso Cheese, Apples, and Dijon-Sherry Vinaigrette

Chicken Jolt Salad with Espresso Cheese, Apples, and Dijon-Sherry Vinaigrette

3. On a peanut butter banana sandwich. This was as Elvis, RIP, intended. A tip from Dr. Particular: mix the honey and peanut butter BEFORE you apply to the sammie. You can thank me later.

Look at the sheen on that peanut butter! (I think we're alone now . . .)

Look at the sheen on that peanut butter! (I think we're alone now . . .)

If you’ve never sourced local molasses, do it. It is insanely good, and not the same as the commercial product, which I still like. But it the equivalent of aged, expensive balsamic in its smooth character and complexity. I would drink it if permitted.

Ahem, as I was saying, I like molasses in the following ways:

1. On cornbread.With or without butter.

Corn Muffin soaked in molasses.

Corn Muffin soaked in molasses.

2. On pancakes. If you have never tried this, run, don’t walk. Buckwheat and whole grain pancakes are best. It’s pass out good.

Whole Wheat Waffles Transformed into Pancakes!

Whole Wheat Waffles Transformed into Pancakes!

3. On a spoon. It’s for the iron, purely medicinal. Don’t judge.

The Practical Cook Loves Molasses

The Practical Cook Loves Molasses

4. In gingerbread. It’s part of why I love gingerbread, the interplay of sweet and heat.

Lemon Curd on Gingerbread

Lemon Curd on Gingerbread

5. Asian-type sauces. This includes a balancing element for stir-fry, or as an excellent substitute for tamarind in Indian dishes.

Whisk the sauce ingredients until the sugar is dissolved completely.

Whisk the sauce ingredients until the sugar is dissolved completely.

Which do you prefer, molasses or honey? Post a comment below, I can hear you hosting your own Pinewood Derby of Sweeteners out there.

Send molasses, challenges, and deep thoughts to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Up next, One Ingredient, Three Ways: Walnuts Edition.

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