This weekend was one of those that I just didn’t want to end. It started with Friday night dinner and a movie (at home) with Chris and Izzy. The dinner we ate was Mark Bittman’s Creamy Leek Pasta and a healthy glass of Carménère, and the movie we watched was The Theory of Everything. I cried my eyes out. I knew I would because I couldn’t make it through the trailer without crying. Why did I think it wasn’t going to wreck me when I watched the full length feature?! Despite the brutally heart wrenching story of Stephen Hawking’s diagnosis and life with ALS, the story and film itself were stunning.
Saturday, Chris and I woke up to sun and 30 degrees–the perfect day, weather-wise. We hopped in our snow shoes and set out to walk around Forest Lake. Our two hour stroll gave us a spiritual makeover that was sorely needed, as it always is this time of year.
After our snow shoeing adventure, such that it was, we headed into town to meet two new friends from Bangor (I’ll call them: 1. Ms. Manhattan because this dame is just as classy as she is fun–just like her favorite cocktail–and I should mention she’s a Fairbanks ex-pat–and, 2. California Jones because she’s had awesome adventures all over the world, some of which, I’m pretty sure, involved some Grade-A awesome ass-kicking. We met at an Eritrean restaurant in Portland. I wish, so badly, I would have had my camera to take a picture of the bright, spicy, AH-mazing Moroccan/Eritrean food we ate together. It wasn’t just sharing a table, we shared a huge plate of food and nothing says instant friendship like eating with your hands, off of one plate. I live for those types of meals.
There was the injera, the flat, spongy, sour bread made of farro and piled on top of several injera (on a plate the size of a cafe table) was red lentils, lamb and spinach, lamb and okra, and okra and potatoes, each with various salads, more red lentils, and curried collard greens. California and — ordered homemade honey wine, which they said was good, too. If you’re ever in Portland and you want some good ethnic cuisine, I highly recommend this place!
After dinner, we went to Portland Hunt and Alpine Club for some good old fashioned cocktails. I’ve never seen such a manly bar. You walk through a Pendleton wool draped door to get inside and the smell of bacon immediately wafts in your face. Not only is there the smell of bacon, but paintings with death-by-hunting themes decorate the walls and outlines of animal heads, constructed of thick wire, hang on the wall. Their menus are bound in soft leather, and the bearded bartenders wear canvas butcher’s aprons. Despite its manliness, the bartenders served a mean cocktail. Orders included yes, a Manhattan, Gin and Tonic, A Modern, and a Gibson.
We then barhopped to Novare Res, a brew-pub that could not have been more different that the Portland Hunt and Alpine Club. You walk in to this place, and the smell of beer and 20-somethings waft you in the face. A local brewery, Marshall Wharf, tapped a dozen or so new beers, and the place was packed. I have never been to a bar where I felt so old. In this place’s defense, I don’t go to a lot of bars anymore. My partying days are gone with the college wind. However, I felt every hour of my age at this place. At least the beer was good–good enough for me to kind of ignore the fact that we were the oldest folks in the joint.
Old or young, a hangover cure comes in 3 parts: water, medicine of choice, and rich, greasy food. For Sunday’s occasion, I made a hearty, artery clogging breakfast bread. More exactly, I made a biscuit bread, each bite filled with sausage, sharp cheddar cheese, and chives. I was looking through an old magazine (circa 1950) and there was a recipe for Sausage Cake. It wasn’t a loaf, like I figured it would be, but a sweet cake, made of flour, sugar, nuts, raisins, and sausage.
I couldn’t really wrap my head around sausage in a cake, at first, but then I started thinking about how delicious the sausage and pancake combo is, and it started to make more sense. I didn’t quite get the nerve to make the recipe as written, but it did inspire a savory response: biscuit bread.
I think this is the most delicious recipe I’ve made to date, annnnnnnd it’s probably the least healthy. Think sausage and cheese biscuit that you cut in slices. The outside crisps perfectly, and the inside stays moist and crumbly as a good biscuit should. I added some chives to
lighten brighten the bread up a bit.
My guess would be that you could freeze this easily. I’d like to say there was some leftover for us to freeze, but it was all gone by Sunday night. If you make this and freeze it, please let me know how it turns out!
- 10 oz. of bulk breakfast sausage
- 1½ cups sharp cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup chives, finely chopped
- 2 cups of self rising flour
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. black pepper
- ½ Tbsp. sugar
- ⅓ cup butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ½ cup half-and-half
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Brown breakfast sausage over medium heat until cooked through, making sure to crumble as it's cooking. Once done, transfer sausage to a paper-towel lined plate to drain some of the fat. You don't want all that fat to weigh down the dough.
- Meanwhile, if you haven't done so already, chop the chives and shred the cheese.
- Sift flour, sugar, pepper, and salt into a medium sized bowl. Cut the chilled butter cubes into the dough using your fingers, a fork, or a pastry cutter until the butter is about the size of peas.
- Stir in the buttermilk and the half and half. The dough will resemble cottage cheese more than it does bread dough, but keep the faith, people. Keep the faith!
- Fold in the sausage, cheese, and chives, being sure not to over mix. Once everything is slightly incorporated, transfer mixture to a buttered loaf pan.
- Cook on 375 for 40 minutes or until the top is nice and browned and the inside is cooked (the toothpick test works just fine here).