Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lonesome Dove

Larry McMurtry won a Pulitzer prize for his novel in 1985.  I read it.  In 1989, it was made into a TV mini-series.  I watched it.  Then I bought it on DVD and watched it some more.  I still watch bits and pieces of it when it comes on TV.  I laugh out loud every single time Captain Augustus McCrae, Gus for short, played by Robert Duvall, throws out one of his one-liner bits of wisdom.  And I cry every single time he dies.  I know it's coming, but I always hope he'll go ahead and let them cut off the other leg so that "the gangrene" won't get him.   But he never does and it always does.
As he is dying, he says to his best friend and fellow ex-Texas Ranger buddy, Captain Woodrow F. Call, played by Tommy Lee Jones--

By God, Woodrow, it's been quite a party, ain't it?

That's my favorite line. 
Just thinking about it makes me want to make biscuits, Gus' daily (and about his only) chore.

Southern Biscuits
makes one dozen

2 c. flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. butter, chilled
1 c. buttermilk, chilled

Preheat oven to 450˚F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Using a pastry blender, cut butter into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs.  The faster the better so that the butter doesn't melt. Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk.  Stir just until the dough comes together.  It will be very sticky.

Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold over on itself 5 or 6 times.  Press into a 1-inch thick round.  Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough.  Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch.  Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting.  (The more you work the dough, the less light your biscuits will be.  I've seen some chefs throw away everything left from the first cutting.  I can't bear to do that.)

Bake until biscuits are lightly browned on top, about 15-20 minutes.

(Once in a while, Mama Mildred used to let her four little crumb-crushers sprinkle sugar on the top of one each just before baking them.  What a treat.)

Bon appétit, Gus!

No comments: