Making Biscuits in the Black Belt

Arielle, Adrian & I ventured to Alabama’s Black Belt, a lesser known part of the state that is reinventing itself in food, farming and agriculture. Together we explored some of the area’s history, including an overnight stay at the Moore-Webb-Holmes Plantation (ca. 1819), one of Alabama’s last active plantations, which has been in the same family since the early 1800s.

But the main reason for our trip was to spend a day with Scott Peacock, a James Beard Award-winning chef who stepped away from a high-profile culinary career in Atlanta 10 years ago to rediscover his roots in Alabama and write a new chapter in his life and career. We spent the most incredible day with Scott at Reverie (ca. 1858) in Marion, learning the art of biscuits in the mansion’s sun showered kitchen.

You would think a lesson in biscuits would be a fairly simple process, but layers of complexity reveal themselves throughout the day. “[Biscuit making] is really simple, and simple is really hard,” Scott noted, as he sifted heirloom flour from Anson Mills and showed us how to make homemade baking powder. This was just one of many ‘biscuit-isms’ casually dropped throughout the day and we soaked up every word of kitchen wisdom he had to impart.

To say this trip was special for us would be an understatement. To try and describe Scott in a few words here, well, is not that easy. He is sweet and funny and generous and kind, and so full of love and passion for the home state to which he’s returned. If ‘a biscuit expresses the cook,’ as this Alabama native attests, then all you need to do is spend a day with Chef Peacock in the kitchen and let the biscuits tell the story.

More about The Black Belt Biscuit Experience...

 

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, read “A Southern Thanksgiving with Chef Scott Peacock” from Martha Stewart Living for some culinary inspo.

And if you’re planning a trip to the Black Belt and visit to the Moore-Webb-Holmes Plantation, book a tour through host Cooper Holmes to see and learn more of the region’s rich history. (better yet, stay the night there! 🙂 )

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Here's a recipe we created inspired by Wildflower's...

SUMMERTIME TOMATO PIE

You’ll Need:
4-5 Fresh Garden Tomatoes (Red & Yellow), Sliced Thick
1 1/2 cups Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 Baked Pie Shell
1/2 cup light Mayonnaise & 1/4 cup light Sour Cream
3/4 cup grated Cheddar Cheese
3/4 cup grated Mozzarella Cheese
2 tablespoons fresh chopped Basil

To Make:
1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Marinate sliced tomatoes in vinaigrette for 30 minutes and drain
3. Layer tomatoes in baked pie shell and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. Combine mayo, sour cream, cheese and basil in separate bowl and spread on top of tomatoes.
5. Bake 30 minutes or until lightly brown. Let cool for a bit. Cut into slices and serve warm with a fresh green salad on the side.

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