Virginia Ham Biscuit

Virginia-Ham-Biscuits-The-Races-30Yields 8

Virginia ham biscuits. A southern staple. Brunch, lunch, dinner, tailgate party, reception…whatever the occasion, you’ll find these simple, tasty sandwiches on the menu.

Prep Time  15 min     Cook Time 12 min


  1. Classic Buttermilk Biscuits
  2. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  3. 4 teaspoons baking powder
  4. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 1 teaspoon salt
  6. 1 teaspoon sugar
  7. 2 tablespoons, cold, unsalted butter (cut in small pieces)
  8. 2 tablespoons duck fat (or lard)
  9. 3/4 to 1 cup cold, whole buttermilk
  10. 1 pound Virginia Ham, thinly sliced
Condiment of your choice
  1. Honey mustard (1/4 cup whole-grain mustard, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 teaspoon dijon)
  2. Plain mustard (whole-grain or dijon recommended)
  3. or…get creative…
  4. Caramelized onion jam
  5. Your favorite chutney (fruit chutneys pair nicely)


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar together into a large bowl. Blend the butter pieces and duck fat (or lard) into the dry mixture with a pastry blender (or two knives) until you achieve a course meal with flakes of butter/fat throughout.
  3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, then slowly pour the buttermilk in the center while stirring the flour into the “pool” of buttermilk. Depending on the humidity levels, it may only take 3/4 cup buttermilk (rainy or very humid day) to 1 cup buttermilk (clear, dry day). Stir in the buttermilk until a dough forms and no dry pieces are left, but it should not be overly wet either.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Roll out the dough until it is 1/2 inch thick. Use a biscuit cutter (between 2-3 inches…I use a 3 inch cutter for bigger biscuits) to cut out rounds and place on a cookie sheet. Gather dough, form, rollout, and cut out biscuits until you’re out of dough. Don’t over handle the dough as the butter starts to melt. You can dust a little flour over the dough if it gets too sticky.
  5. Place the biscuit rounds on the cookie sheet so they are lightly touching one another. They’ll help each other “climb” as they bake. Friendly biscuits…
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the biscuits have risen and the tops have started to brown. Remove from the oven, brush with melted butter (if desired).
  7. When slightly cooled from the oven, slice the biscuits open, pile high with thinly sliced Virginia ham, spread honey mustard (or condiment of your choice) on the top biscuit half, and enjoy! Serve warm or at room temperature.
Adapted from The Southerner’s Cookbook

Steak with Creamy Peppercorn Sauce

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One of the best steak sauces in this world! It’s super simple because it’s made using the steak drippings and either brandy or cognac. The alcoholic taste is cooked out and you’re left with an amazing sweet/savoury/creamy sauce with great depth of flavour and beautiful pops of heat from the peppercorns. Use crushed black peppercorns for spicier or canned green peppercorns for more mild heat.

  • Olive Oil
  • Steak- Porterhouse or NY Strip
  • Salt and freshly cracked Black Pepper
  • 3 cloves Garlic (skin on and smashed)
  • 1/3 cup Cognac
  • 1 cup Beef Stock
  • 1/2 cup drained canned Green Peppercorns or Fresh Black Peppercorns
  • 1/2 -1 cup Cream
  • 2 tablespoons Mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped Parsley
    1. Take the steaks out of the fridge 20 minutes before planning to cook.
    2. Crush the pepper using a rolling pin, mortar and pestle or the side of a hardy knife.


    1. Just before cooking, sprinkle both sides of steak generously with salt and black pepper.
    2. Heat oil (or butter!) in a skillet over high heat (with garlic) until smoking.
    3. Add steaks and cook the first side for 2 minutes until it has a great crust, then flip and cook the other side for 2 minutes (for medium rare).
    4. Stack the steaks on top of each other, then use tongs to sear the fat strip.
    5. Transfer to plate, cover loosely with foil to rest while you make the sauce.


    1. Add brandy or cognac into the same skillet and let it simmer rapidly, scraping the bottom of the pan, until it has mostly reduced and you can no longer smell the harsh alcohol smell (~1 min).
    2. Add broth, bring to simmer and let it simmer rapidly for 2 to 3 minutes or until it reduces by half.
    3. Turn heat down to medium. Add mustard, cream and pepper, stir, then simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes until it thickens (do not let it boil rapidly).
    4. Taste sauce, adjust salt (and pepper!) to tastePreparation-of-Steak-with-Creamy-Peppercorn

Wild Mushroom Soup with Sherry

At the Dilworthtown Inn, a colonial-style restaurant in West Chester, Pennsylvania, they serve their famous mushroom soup.


8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, room temperature

2 cups sliced celery

1 cup sliced shallots

3/4 cup chopped onion

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups sliced stemmed fresh shiitake mushrooms (about 6 ounces)

3 cups sliced crimini mushrooms (about 6 ounces)

3 cups sliced oyster mushrooms (about 4 1/2 ounces)

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup dry Sherry

1/4 cup all purpose flour

8 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth

1/2 cup whipping cream


Melt 6 tablespoons butter in large pot over medium-high heat. Add celery, shallots, onion and garlic and sauté until onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Add all mushrooms and sauté until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add white wine and Sherry. Boil until liquid is reduced to glaze, about 6 minutes.

Mix remaining 2 tablespoons butter and 1/4 cup flour in small bowl until smooth paste forms. Add flour paste to mushroom mixture in pot; stir until mixture melts and coats vegetables. Gradually mix in stock. Bring to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until mushrooms are tender, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Stir in cream. Season with salt and pepper.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender or processor until smooth. Return soup to pot.

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Blackberry Cake

This blackberry cake is soft and moist and has a fluffy lemon blackberry buttercream frosting. The lemon juice cuts the sweetness and brightens up the whole cake.
2 hours

Blackberry Cake Ingredients:

6 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

Simple Lemon Syrup:

3/4 cup warm water
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
4 Tbsp Lemon Juice (from 1 large lemon)

Blackberry Frosting Ingredients:

3 cups powdered sugar
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz Cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1/2 tsp salt (I used fine sea salt)
2 packages (6 ounces each) ( Driscoll’s) blackberries, divided (1 cup for frosting, 1 cup sliced for layers, 6 berries for decor).
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice from 1 medium lemon
Crystal sprinkles, optional

How to Make the Blackberry Cake:

Preheat Oven to 350˚F. Line bottoms of two 9″ cake pans with parchment paper(do not grease the sides).
1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment (this is the one I have), beat 6 large eggs for 1 minute on high speed. With the mixer on, gradually add 1 cup sugar and continue beating 8-10 minutes until thick and fluffy.

2. Whisk together 1 cup flour and 1/2 tsp baking powder then sift this mixture into fluffy egg mixture one third at a time. Fold with a spatula with each addition just until incorporated. Scrape spatula from the bottom to catch any pockets of flour and stop mixing when no streaks of flour remain. Do not over-mix or you will deflate the batter.

3. Divide evenly between prepared cake pans (it helps if you have a kitchen scale to weight the pans). Bake at 350˚F for 23-28 minutes (my oven took 25 min), or until top is golden brown. Remove from pan by sliding a thin spatula (here’s the one I love for cakes) around the edges then transfer to a wire rack and remove parchment backing. Cool cakes to room temperature then slice layers equally in half with a serrated knife.

How to Make Lemon Blackberry Frosting:

1. Combine 2 Tbsp lemon juice with 1 cup blackberries in small saucepan. Simmer 6-7 minutes or until berries easily mash up with a fork then turn off heat. Strain through a fine mesh Strainer, pushing the blackberries through with a spatula until only seeds are left in strainer. Discard seeds and set the puree aside to cool completely to room temp (you should get 5 Tbsp puree)

2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, cream together 3 sticks butter, 3 cups powdered sugar and 1/2 tsp salt on low speed until combined, scraping as necessary. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until white and fluffy (2 to 3 min).

3. Add cream cheese 1-piece at a time and mix until combined then continue to beat 2 min until fluffy, scraping down the bowl as needed. With the mixer on, drizzle in blackberry syrup 1 Tbsp at a time then beat another minute.

How to Assemble Blackberry Cake:

1. Slice 1 cup blackberries and set aside. Make your lemon syrup by combining 3/4 cup warm water, 1 Tbsp granulated sugar and 4 Tbsp Lemon Juice.

2. Place first cake layer on serving platter cut-side up. Brush with 1/4 of the lemon syrup. Spread frosting over the top and layer with 1/3 sliced berries. Repeat with remaining layers placing the final layer cut-side-down, then frost the top and sides. (Tip: For the smoothest results, reserve flattest cake-layer for the top)

3. Pipe remaining frosting onto cake.

A glass of Prosecco or Champagne is the perfect accompaniment!



A Special Treat for Hunt Country Lovers

Located in Cockeysville, Md is a very special place ( a jewel) for people who shop and live around chic, well made products. Whether its a waxed coat or chic boot- this store is the new standard in Maryland and Pennsylvania. And well worth the drive from Dc and beyond.

As a store designer and buyer, I know when someone else is a really unique talent and Michael Finney at YOICKS! is just that. He oozes style in that very British way of wearing the very best and still looking like you’d had it forever. He is USA all the way but seems to have what I call “heritage style”.

Whether its Bow ties or hats and gloves, everything has a particular significance- a purpose that makes it important to the person who receives and wears it and a point for the person who chose it.

A great point in fact is what Michael has chosen for his clients to offer up this Valentines Day. As he says, ” Tell her you’re ‘on the bit’!” He suggests all protestations of love should be made simply and with Sterling. He has also designed several cards available for $5 that put these gifts right over the style edge .


Address10738 York Rd, Cockeysville, MD 21030