08 January 2011

Biscuits, cornbread and other thoughts

One of the things I've missed since coming to Jordan is biscuits. No one seems to know what buttermilk is. I've attempted to make the "fake" buttermilk by adding lemon juice or vinegar to milk and allowing it to clabber. Nope. Didn't work. However, the discs that came out of the oven were handy for doorstops and for lobbing at the cats that seem to be constantly making out behind our building. They weren't, however, fit to eat.

We have a dairy product here called shaneenah. It's sour. Oh my gawd, is it sour! Does it taste like buttermilk? No idea. Last time I had a sip of buttermilk I was about nine years old. Didn't like it. But I love to cook with it. So, we decided to give this shaneenah a try. It worked!!!! I can make biscuits again! I made them again tonight. Want to see how they look?

Ok, about the cornbread. I can't get cornmeal over here either... Lord knows, I am no stranger to suffering! My best friend in the whole wide world, Dan sent us some cornmeal by mail! He sent something else, too but more about that later. Straightaway I broke out the shaneenah and made some cornbread muffins. Can you say "perfection"? Light, fluffy, brown cornbread... arrrrrrrrrrgh... it was heaven I swear. If only I had an iron skillet rather than the new fangled non-stick thingamabob, but I'm afraid that's unheard of over here too.

Lest I seem selfish, let me tell you I am grateful as hell to Dan for the cornmeal. I'm grateful for two reasons actually. I now have a sample of it to take to the grinder so he can understand what it is that I'm wanting him to do. Then, off to buy 5 kilograms of corn and get it ground so we can have cornbread any time our precious little hearts desire!

Back to the "care package" Dan sent me for Christmas. The other TREASURE it contained was a crockpot! Again, unheard of on this side of the world. All we have to do now is buy the appropriate step-down converter so we can use it. We tried to use the one we had. Apparently it was too much and the poor dear gave up the ghost. I'll let you know when I cook my first crockpot meal over here! And now, as Julia Child would say...bon apetit!


kinzi said...

Hey, Big Ol' Jim! Fun blog! Thanks for visiting mine :)

Cool idea about shaneenah, I've always used yogurt for buttermilk. We brought our cast-iron skillet, it has been worth it's weight in baggage-allowance.

We haven't had much luck with crock-pots here, the transformer doesn't work well for things that need to be heated. Never gets above 'low' heat, so everything takes 8 hours.

One tip: freeze (overnight) the bags of flour, lentils and that dried corn before you use them. We get some interesting critters in dried goods. On second thought, I suppose grinding the corn will take care of any critters ;)

Anonymous said...

Hey, Kinzi, you beat me to it. I use a mix of yogurt and milk or water for buttermilk. Also, I can find cornmeal here no problem, but it is usually white. You can try using smeed (semolina) which is available at every grocery store in Jordan. It is also white but has the same consistency as cornmeal. For awhile I was adding yellow food coloring to fake out my taste buds, but lately I've just gotten used to pale cornmeal. Oh! Stop by my blog and check out my corndog recipe!


Nice blog!