Friday, October 19, 2007

A Little Hint for Christmas, My Love...

What has four HUNDRED watts of power, amazing torque, all metal construction and makes biscuits to die for?

Well, the short answer is, a really good stand mixer. You know, the all metal kind with the stainless steel bowls, the dough hooks, the whisk and orbital mixing motion like the high end commercial models? The You Know We Can't Afford That, Bob kind that I lust after every time Alton Brown hauls his out?

How does $199 sound? Yep. Two hundred bucks. Not seven, not five, not three - two hundred. Maybe a little more with shipping. It's a Hamilton Beach® Mixer , and I would love one. It's not the kind Alton has but it's a Best Buy according to two separate magazines. And if it's not quite so big and glam as his - I don't have TV cameras in my kitchen - or people to lift it for me.

I'd make biscuits more often, and more of them. You know how a dozen just isn't enough, but it's about all I can stand to make. It's the rheumatiz, you know.

I won't give anyone my family recipe for "beaten biscuits." Actually, I can't give it to anyone; it turns out that my "old family recipe"is identical to the one from the Joy of Cooking!

Seems like one of the biggest "family secrets" is where you got the secret family recipes!

But "Beaten Biscuits" are different than any other kind; unlike most, which are light and fluffy, beaten biscuits have a smooth,firm, fine grained texture that lends itself to a good old Southern tradition - slicing them in half and piling them high with butter, ham sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs, jam, jelly, marmalaide - and combinations of all the above. I've even made them as hamburger buns.

They are a southern culinary tradition, there are even fast food joints centered around them - but here's the rub:

"20 licks for family, 200 for company."

By a "lick", we mean taking a pretty stiff dough and punching it just as hard as you can with a closed fist.

Now you know WHY Aunt Jemima has those broad shoulders. Don't NEVAH honk off Miz J! And now you know why I don't make the original recipe all that often.

I've never even tried using my hand mixer to mix that dough - smoke and flames would ensue!

Hamilton Beach® Stand Mixer will let me get in my licks in a dignified and civilized manner.

And then there's carrot cake. I know how you love Carrot Cake... Proper carrot cake batter... well, again, you don't use a wimpy little hand mixer for it, and to keep the texture right, you really don't want a mixer that will chop up the shredded carrot, so even most stand mixers (with the standard dual beaters) are problematic. Come to think of it, I don't think I've EVER made you carrot cake. And the cream cheese icing... well, this would help with that too; it would be all light and fluffy and fresh, a blend of cream cheese and neufchatel with real vanilla extract.

And then there's that braided Easter Bread, and the Michael Cookies. And did I mention meat loaf? My mother taught me all about making meat loaf. (Don't worry, I've unlearned most of the things she taught me, like including beef liver and ground heart.) But the real secret to a good meat loaf, one that can be sliced thin when cool, is mixing it until every particle is coated with whatever binding agents the recipe calls for. Seriously, there must be ten thousand different meat loaf recipes and it's the sort of homestyle comfort food we all love.

Speaking of comfort food... whipped potatoes, with butter, sour cream and chives beaten into it!

And the price of a loaf of bread worth eating is starting to really annoy me, and the tiny loaves my bread machine makes are a cruel tease. If I'm gonna make bread, I want to fill the oven with it!

So this would be the gift that keeps on giving. Back. At least as good a return on investment as that electric grill you-all got me last Christmas.

[Ayup, this was a paid post. But it doesn't change the fact that I really, really want a
Hamilton Beach® Eclectrics® Mixer in Licorice (black). Or white. White would be OK too. So either I get it for Christmas - or I buy it myself with proceeds from posts like this.]

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