Monday, November 7, 2011

Carla’s Grandma’s Biscuits & Sausage Gravy Ozzified & Chicken Fried “Fake”

Chocolate on The Chew today - nothing I could modify to come closer in line with my diet than Daphne's yummy desserts.  Don't feel bad for me though - I'm too full for dessert anyway because I made Carla Hall's biscuits and sausage gravy and used them in a whole new way, Ozzified of course.

Carla’s Biscuits and Gravy  were already Ozzified beyond belief. 

Carla gave so many tips on how to make biscuits light and fluffy, the most important of which was to not overwork it. It made me want to smack myself upside the head & say, “OF COURSE! Why didn’t I think of that???”  I already knew that kneading bread developed the gluten to make it denser & that overworking pie crust makes it tough. It was more of a DUH moment than an AHA one.  By seeing EXACTLY what she meant by when the dough was done enough to drop, I saw why my biscuits never quite measured up to my own grandma’s.  A short time later, a Bisquik commercial came up so I decided to make Bisquik biscuits using Carla’s tweaks & OMG!!! They came out unbelievably fluffy & light, & I was even using the Heart Smart version!   

The tricks that worked were 
  • to use a 40% Greek yogurt to 60% milk ratio for the liquid (both were 2% milkfat)
  • working it like Carla did, just until incorporated
  • dropping it onto the baking sheet (I use a well-seasoned stone) by the spoonful. Carla baked hers @ 500 degrees for 5-8 minutes, but I followed the box directions and baked them @ 450 until they were golden brown.

After seeing umpteen episodes of the Dr. Oz Show with him exhorting us to eschew low fiber white flour products & to make it a habit to eat fiber dense whole grain products instead, I have tried making whole grain biscuits on numerous occasions. To say the results were disasterous would be an understatement, unless my goal was to create an edible hockey puck for the NHL. Because of these failed attempts, I wasn’t going to try again until I had an AHA moment when Daphne was described as putting the yum in psyllium husks.  I decided to experiment with Carla’s recipe and technique by adding a tablespoon of psyllium husks into the Bisquik before I added the yogurt/milk mixture. Oh Heck Yeah – they were AWE-SOME!!!!  

I don’t know if Dr. Oz would approve or not, but I can tell you that the fiber content per batch was quadrupled.  There are probably some glycemic issues with the heavily processed white flour & being a schoolteacher doesn’t qualify me to speculate on whether my additions counteract any of those issues.  

The biscuits were great on their own and held up well under Carla's Sausage Gravy. Her use of turkey sausage, olive oil and butternut squash were already Ozzifications even Daphne could love so I wasn't going to change a thing until I saw a post on The Chew discussion board by someone who could not find turkey sausage @ her grocer.  I suggested meatless sausage as an alternative because I’ve used it before – even served it to people convinced that every vegetarian meat alternative tastes horrible.  Unless they read this blog, they’ll STILL never know what they raved about as sinfully delicious was actually a plant-based protein found on the health food aisle of my local Safeway. The trick is to add enough olive oil to replicate the mouth-feel of its greasy, pork-based cousin and like Carla suggested, to add more sage etc. if the brand you buy isn’t sausage-flavored enough for your taste. 

Anyway, it got me thinking - since we have both turkey sausage and meatless sausage in our stores, I did a little label comparison and decided the meatless sausage is the better choice for our household.  Of course it all depends on brands – some turkey sausage includes turkey skin & fat which isn’t much better than pork, and some of the meatless choices can be very high in sodium so READ YOUR LABELS! There’s no point in swapping out pork sausage if the so-called healthy alternative is not any better for you. 

The meatless brand I used had 
  • 10 fewer calories
  • 2.5 grams less fat
  • 1.5 grams more fiber
  • 20 mg less sodium per ounce 
than the turkey sausage, which adds up, especially when one link of turkey sausage is nearly 4 oz.

I also can tell you that the biscuits and gravy were soooo good for breakfast that I modified them both again, this time for dinner, which is why I'm too full for sweets.  I added rosemary and goat cheese along with the psyllium husks to make savory biscuits just right for the dinner table, and put the gravy on a faux chicken fried steak I made using a Boca burger coated in wheat germ.  We called it Chicken Fried Fake – I won’t pretend that it was as good as a real chicken-fried steak, but it was tasty enough thanks to Carla’s “sausage” gravy – even Ozzified it’s delicious!

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