COFFEE PLANE CHICKEN

Three completely unrelated thoughts are on my mind right now.

COFFEE

This morning after I piddled with some administrative stuff (the bane of my existence) I decided that I would indulge myself in something I’ve not had the time to do in a while, which is write the sermon while at Starbucks sipping yummy coffee.  This is something that helps me think in terms of people and where they are at in their lives as I write the sermon.  Thursday is sermon writing day, so off I went.  But, alas, there was no place for me to sit!  Every last chair in the coffee house was taken.  That has never happened to me before.  I pondered what can it mean?  I format it in a multiple choice.

A)  The economy is getting better and people have more disposable income to buy designer coffee.
B)  The economy is getting worse and all these people are unemployed and killing time at Starbucks.
C)  Starbucks is doing a lot better as a corporation and reclaiming a larger portion of the market share.
D)  I have an annoying habit of over analyzing random and unrelated events.

Before you write off choice (C) you better read this.

PLANE

It saddened me to hear this morning that Alaska Airlines will no longer be putting Scripture cards in their meals.  I am not going to punish or say I am upset with Alaska for this; after all, no one else has ever done that kind of thing but it does make me sad.  Why?  I do not know, but it is that it is further proof that we are losing something in our culture.  What is it that we are losing?  No, it is not faith in God–the strength of our faith does not hinge on corporations and their actions–what we are losing is anything unique or distinctive.  The prayer cards were one thing that made Alaska Airlines stand out.  Now they will, to me, just be another bland corporation that bends the knee to an angry minority.

CHICKEN

Last night I fried chicken for our small group and I experimented a bit with the recipe, and I’ve come to a conclusion.  The secret to great fried chicken is buttermilk, paprika and a cast iron skillet.  Nothing else really matters.  It doesn’t matter what else happens to the chicken or how much time is involved, if those three elements are present the fried chicken will be great.  Case in point–last night I didn’t have time to soak the chicken in buttermilk for 24 hours, so I just marinated it for about 15 minutes.  That 15 minutes was sufficient for taste buds exploding with joy.

BUTTERMILK BISCUITS

Tonight for dinner I cooked up a great home cooked meal.  It is one of our family favorites.  We had fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, cabbage, and buttermilk biscuits.  I cheated a little in that the fried chicken was strips, not a whole chicken.  It is just so much easier to fry up those yummy strips of breast meat, but usually I cut up a whole chicken because my wife my likes the wings and my daughters prefer legs.  I compensated for this by making the gravy white cream gravy—Mrs. Greenbean’s fave instead of my preference of brown gravy.  The cabbage was the veggie of choice, but it could have been anything . . . even green beans!

 

Several people have asked, in the past, for my buttermilk biscuit recipe so, I though this would be a good time to share it.  There really are only three active ingredients, but I’ve found procedure and order makes a difference.  About three years ago I went through a season when I worked out every possible variation on buttermilk biscuits until I found my preferred method.  Yours may differ.

 

Active Ingredients

self-rising flour, buttermilk, vegetable shortening.

Spices:  salt, pepper, garlic (just a little if you like), and sugar.

 

Procedure

Fill a bowl with self-rising flour.  How much?  Ever how many biscuits you want to make.  Put salt, pepper, (garlic), and sugar into the flour and mix well.  Then cut into the flour the vegetable shortening.  I scoop it out in half teaspoon measures, until I think it is enough.  If you don’t get enough, don’t worry, you can add more.  After putting in the shortening, use hands to work the shortening into the flour.  The flour will eventually “bead” into a coarse powder.  If it doesn’t do this, add more shortening until it does.

Once this is done, slowly add buttermilk.  At first put in about three or four tablespoons.  I never measure this, just eyeball it; but don’t put too much in.  It is better to add more slowly as you work the mixture.

Work it with your hands.  It should begin to “gum” up.  I always work it very dry, slowly adding no more than a tablespoon at a time.  Finally, when it becomes “sticky” I put just a tad bit more buttermilk to get it very sticky.

Put a little bit of dry self-rising flour onto the counter and dump the mixture on it.  Do not work the biscuit mix too much.  Flatten it out, and perhaps double it over a time or two, adding more flour if necessary to keep it from sticking.  Flatten out the biscuit mix.  How flat?  How big do you want your biscuits?

I then use a cleaned out tuna can to cut my biscuits, but you can use anything.  When you’ve cut them out, use the left over mix to make one giant biscuit.  Mrs. Greenbean always gets that one!  One you’re finished, turn the biscuits over, and let them sit on the countertop for at least one hour.  I mean it, at least one hour.  If you bake them immediately they will not rise as high or be as fluffy.

After one hour, preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Then place the biscuits directly onto a pizza stone on the middle rack (my pizza stone never leaves the oven).  Bake for between 12-15 minutes.  Cook time depends upon the oven and, I’ve found, weather.  They will be done when they are slight golden brown on top, but beware, the flour may still be mostly white on top.

Eat while hot.  I always make enough to keep around for a day or two.  Yum.

 

 

COLONEL?

The last two weeks or so this blog has been too serious.  At least, that is what I’ve been told.  That probably has a lot to do with gearing up for Easter.  Which, by the way, we had a great Easter day at our wonderful church—so many great people to celebrate Jesus’ Resurrection with! 

But, now for something completely ridiculous.

Ever since the United States began bombing Libya I’ve been pondering this Gaddafi (or is it Ghadafi, or Khadaffi, or Qadaffi—does anybody really know how to spell his name?)  fellow.  The headlines yesterday were that NATO leaders were now calling for strikes to kill Gaddafi and not restrict themselves to military targets.  When I was a boy I remember this man caused problems back then.  I distinctly recall Ronald Reagan bombing him in the early ‘80s or am I wrong?  No, I’m not wrong.  Did we miss?  I mean, Marty McFly took care of the Libyans with a Delorean in 1985, right?

Is it true that his rank is colonel?  Colonel Gaddafi?  It is not general, or admiral or even field marshal?  Colonel?  That means Colonel Potter from MASH would be equal with Gaddafi?  Who would salute whom if Colonel Gaddafi, Colonel Potter and Colonel Sanders were in a room together?  Gaddafi is a dictator, Potter is a fictional character, and Sanders is dead.  However, Colonel Sanders could fry up some mean fried chicken.  I’ve got money on Sanders.  If those three were in a room together you know that Sanders would start frying up some chicken and those yummy biscuits and mashed potatoes from the by-gone days and Potter would start chomping a stogie and eat some chicken and then take a nap.  Gaddafi would be so charmed by the white suit, black tie, walking stick and white goatee that he would lower all his defenses.  Then he would trade away all of Libya to know what those 11 herbs and spices are in the original recipe. 

This is probably reason number 823 why I’m not president.  Instead of bombs I would try some KFC diplomacy.  If that didn’t work, we’d then try the navy—we’d send in Cap’n Crunch.  The Libyans might be able to resist Colonel Sanders down home goodness and old reruns of MASH, but I don’t think they can withstand the sugary fake breakfasty goodness of Cap’n Crunch.

Of course, this blog post is ridiculous, and I do not mean to make light of a very dangerous situation.  But doesn’t it seem like Gaddafi is like Charlie Sheen.  I just wish he would go away.