The summer after high school graduation, two of my dearest friends and I made a choice: to live together at the beach before college divided us. (Well, that’s overly dramatic; my roommate for my first two years at UNC was one of my summer sisters.) Our lives could’ve been torn straight out of a Sarah Dessen book, sans the car accidents and messy relationships.
We lived in my friend’s grandparents’ expansive Beaufort beach house and worked at the local historical association. ‘Twas the classic bildungsromantic tale of three young women living on their own (okay, admittedly, my friend’s Cordon-Bleu-trained grandma would occasionally come by to feed us) and getting into all kinds of antics with the locals (okay, admittedly, we were usually in bed by 10:30).
So maybe our summer will never inspire a movie script or a reality television show. We woke up early to kayak, rode to work on bikes with wire baskets, and played dress-up with our work’s extensive hat collection. We beached and bonded and rocked away the hours on our front porch facing Taylor Creek, watching the illusive, not-so-wild horses on the island across the way.
And we ate. We rejoiced when lighting our grill did not result in our collective demise. My adopted grandma showed me how to make a roux. We topped homemade banana puddin’ with chocolate fudge sauce. (Presumably to get a head start on the freshman fifteen.) We learned how to cook, together. (Confession: I also learned how to do laundry properly. I understood doing laundry on a purely conceptual basis before that summer.)
That summer marked the beginning of my appreciation for Southern food, as well. Southern food before that summer was Bojangle’s. Southern food after that summer was gumbo and cooked greens kissed with bacon. Maybe a bit indulgent, but always fresh.
And I discovered Beaufort Grocery. I bought their new cookbook Closed on Tuesdays last time I was in the area, for reminiscing purposes.
This recipe is theirs.
Sweet Potato Biscuits:
2 C. flour
2 1/2 TB sugar
1 TB baking powder
1/2 TB salt
1/2 C. cold butter, cubed
2 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes
1 TB milk
1) Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and mix until crumbly.
2) Add the sweet potatoes and milk, mix gently to form dough. Make sure the sweet potatoes are cool so the butter doesn’t melt.
3) Roll the dough 1/4 inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut with a round 2-inch cutter (I used a jar) and place on baking sheet.
4) Baked at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.