David Chaitt has two loves: music and food. He can whip up a mean meal, but he’s not so musically inclined. However, he’s got a killer pad in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn, complete with a wide-open backyard (jealous?), and every now and then he invites some musicians and friends over to jam and chow down. With some A/V help from Eric Horn, Mark Olivan, Dominick Mastrangelo and NYCTaper, the whole event gets recorded and uploaded, and thus you have Backyard Brunch Sessions.
For three years, Chaitt had been trying to get cellist extraordinaire Ben Sollee to come in for a Brunch, but timing had never worked. Finally, this past September, a scheduling change had Sollee in NYC with time to spare, and the Brunch was on. Of course, mother nature intervened and, well, long story short, they ended up in a friend-of-a-friend’s home in Bushwick, seeking shelter from the rain in a sweltering living room with the AC turned off to avoid noise. Not your typical Backyard Brunch, but he conquers who endures, and now you can check out Sollee performing “Unfinished” off his new record, Half-Made Man, live in a Bushwick apartment.
Before you click play, though, you might want to go preheat your oven. Sollee’s mom provided a recipe for the cookout, and now you too can make biscuits and gravy just like momma Sollee used to make. We highly advise taking Chaitt’s suggestion and using lamb bacon and maple syrup instead of regular bacon.
Momma Sollee’s Biscuits and Gravy Biscuits Preheat oven to 450
2 1/2 cups self rising flour (plus more for coating hands to roll the biscuits and the biscuits themselves)
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt
Mix well. On floured waxpaper, dump the biscuit mixture onto the wax paper and dust with flour. When it is stiff enough to roll into a 2 inch thick roll, coat hands with flour, pinch off about a two inch long piece. With cupped hand make a ball. Place on baking sheet then flatten until about 1 inch thick. Repeat until there is no more mixture left. This only makes 9 or 10 biscuits. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until the top of the biscuits are lightly brown
In a large heavy skillet add:
1/4 cup bacon, or sausage drippings. To make the plain gravy, I would use vegetable oil
1/4 cup all purpose flour
Cook over medium while stirring the flour and oil together until the flour browns beyond golden.
Gradually add 2 cups 2% milk, stirring constantly, and cook until the gravy is smooth and thick. Season with salt and pepper.