One of my favorite little regional cookbooks is this one, Thirty Years at the Mansion by Liza Ashley, the former head chef/cook for the Arkansas Governor's mansion. The cookbook came out in '92 when Clinton was elected and through my job at Dairy Hollow House in Eureka Springs, I was fortunate enough to work on a brunch on the inaugural line-up. The brunch primarily featured the food of Crescent Dragonwagon, the cookbook/children's book author who owned DHH. Liza was also in attendance at that event.
In person she's just the sweetest little old lady you'll ever meet, someone whom you immediately want to hug and sit down in her kitchen and ask her to tell stories. Like a substitute mom and grandma all wrapped up into a sassy little person.
The cookbook is available as a reprint on Amazon.com. Click here: Link to Ashley
Of her recipes, one that I've used over and again over the years is the simple-to-put-together Angel Biscuits. Found in the section on Governor Francis Cherry (1953-54), they were a favorite of the Cherry family.
I like this recipe because of its uniqueness and the fact that you don't have to bake the whole batch off at once. It lasts beautifully in the fridge for several days at a time. You simply pull off what you need, roll 'em out, and bake off in no time flat. Great for weekday dinners.
Angel Biscuits by Liza Ashley
4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups buttermilk
1 tbsl sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp (baking) soda
3 tsp baking powder
1 cup shortening*
1 pkg dry yeast, dissolved in a little warm water**
Mix 2 cups of flour with remaining ingredients in a mixer. Then mix in remainder of flour. Knead, adding flour if necessary (Can be done by mixer or hand). Let rise 45 minutes, then punch down. Refrigerate and use as needed. Cut into desired shape and bake at 450 degrees F for 10-15 minutes.
* I don't keep shortening in my house so what I do is use 1/2 cup canola oil and add in an extra 1/2 cup flour
**or 2 tsps
The recipe is simple and quick for a wet dough that's easy to work with once it's risen a little and super easy to roll out after being cooled in the fridge. It is the perfect cross between a biscuit and a dinner roll, fluffy but also flaky from the oil.