Kay's Cooking Corner
March 3-9, 2014
By Kay Bona
Hubby and I are at a newspaper convention in San Antonio, Texas. We were looking forward to a break from the wet, cool weather at home; however, that did not happen. So far, we’ve had one foggy, wet day after another. Hopefully, it will clear up tomorrow, which has been the forecast since we arrived.
We did get out yesterday and explored a bit. Actually, we set out on a quest to find some Mexican tiles for a project I’m doing at home. After scouting out several places and feeling defeated, we decided to make our way back to the hotel before the 5 o’clock traffic made us late for the conference reception and our dinner reservation.
While Don was driving back, I decided to open my iPad and search for a few more places to check out the next day. I mentioned one to him, and he said it was on our way back to the hotel, so we would go check it out first. I love my husband!
We could see from the décor on the storefront that it was a “eureka” moment. The old house-converted-to-tile-store was trimmed with colorful Mexican tiles, and once we walked in, we were in Talavera tile paradise.
We immediately started searching for just the right tiles, and, with a little help from one of the store managers, had laid out the design within 30 minutes. Don figured the amount of each tile that I needed, and before I even had time to change my mind, we were on our way home. I can’t wait to get started on that project, which is tiling a table top.
We made it back in plenty of time to meet our other obligations, which is where the recipe comes into play.
We had reservations at one of the restaurants on the premises with the executive director of the Arkansas Press Association, Tom Larimer, and his wonderful wife, Pam. We have been to many events with them over the years, but usually our dinners are with a group, so there’s not much one-on-one time with them.
The dinner was very enjoyable, and we were able to visit with each other outside of the conference issues. We learned many different things about each other, one of them being Tom and I were both raised in the country. Well, I don’t know if Tom was actually raised in the country, but his grandfather lived in the country.
We both know how to prepare a fresh chicken for dinner (that’s all I’m going to say about that), how to skin squirrels and rabbits, and all that other stuff hunters and country folks who raise their own food do. I don’t remember ever skinning a rabbit or a squirrel, though. If I did, I hope I continue to “not” remember it.
Tom was one up on me, though. He started talking about eating squirrel gravy and cat head biscuits. That’s where I had to say, “Excuse me?” Why had my grandmother never taught me about these? My interest was aroused!
As soon as I got back to the room, I started researching the two. I found that to make squirrel gravy, you soak a squirrel overnight in salt water. The next day, you put the squirrel in a large kettle, cover it with cold water, salt and pepper it, and then cook it until it’s tender. With about two cups of the broth, make gravy as normal with a small amount of shortening, flour, and milk. I’m not sure how this tastes, and I don’t remember ever having it, although I probably have at some point. Maybe.
Regarding the cat head biscuits – I was so glad to learn their name is because of the size of the biscuit and not the ingredients! Cat head biscuits are basically a regular biscuit recipe, but instead of making small or medium size ones with a biscuit cutter, you need to scoop up dough about the size of your fist and plop it down on the baking pan. No particular shape needed. However, I think it would be cute to make to peaks on each biscuit for ears.
Regardless, it was an interesting dinner conversation, and as I always say, you’re never too old to learn!
Now here is one of my favorite recipes for gravy and biscuits! No squirrels or kitty cats needed. Meow ...
Chocolate Gravy and Biscuits
1 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of cocoa
dash of salt
2 tablespoons of flour
1-1/2 cups of milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 tablespoon of butter
freshly baked biscuits
Mix the sugar, cocoa, salt, flour, and milk in a skillet over medium-low heat until the mixture begins to bubble, stirring constantly. Turn down the heat and keep stirring until the gravy thickens to the desired consistency. Stir in the vanilla and the butter. Split the biscuits in half and ladle the chocolate gravy over the biscuits.