I remember watching westerns on TV with my daddy when I was a little girl. Normally, when I’m home for the holidays, there’s still bound to be a western or two watched. Because most westerns follow a specific pattern, we like knowing what’s going to happen, laughing about the swooning-but-tough-girl leading ladies, and knowing without a doubt that the good guy is going to win.
I don’t know if it’s because of these westerns or because I would have always had this specific adoration, but I have a special love for real cowboys. What’s not to love? Tough guys with compassion, their ability to protect, they serve justice, they can ride a horse, they can tame wild mustangs (but would probably let them roam free), they’re handsome (aren’t they all?), they wear jeans that really fit, and this list could go on and on.
I’ve had the fortunate honor to get to know a writer who has penned amazing westerns. I admit reading Dead Woman Creek was my first time reading a western, but I loved it. Now I’m afraid to read anyone else’s westerns because I fear they’ll be a disappointment after reading Buck Edwards’ Marshal Boone Crowe series.
Marshal Boone Crowe, the cowboy (see above for why he is instantly loved by me), has justice to serve, and, boy, does he serve it. Dead Woman Creek is a page-turning, gun-slinging ride of time, and I loved every minute of it.
In one scene from Dead Woman Creek, the Tundel family takes a moment to eat after experiencing a tragedy, and I’ve used this excerpt to fashion a cowboy breakfast with upgrades (raw, pure GA honey and homemade apple butter).
“‘We held some biscuits for you, honey,’ Ma said. ‘And some applesauce. We waited on you like the pigs we are.’ These were the first casual words August’s mother had spoken since they’d buried Junson. Normally, everybody would have been about their daily chores, but a stew of anger, grief, and disorder had sidelined all normal routine.” (Chapter 5, Dead Woman Creek by Buck Edwards.)
Boone Crowe Buttermilk Biscuits
Servings: 6-8 biscuits
Difficulty Level: Easier than learning to ride a horse
1 c all-purpose flour
1 c cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp kosher salt
6 tbsp chilled unsalted butter, plus more for serving
¾ c buttermilk
How to Make
Preheat an oven to 400°F.
Have ready an ungreased cast iron skillet.
In a bowl, sift together the all-purpose and cake flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Cut the butter into tablespoons and scatter over the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture just until the mixture forms coarse crumbs the size of peas.
Add the buttermilk and stir just until the dough comes together. Knead the dough a few times in the bowl.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a light touch, pat out the dough into a round ¾-inch thick.
Using a 2 ½-inch round biscuit cutter or cookie cutter, cut out as many rounds as possible. Place them 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. Gather up the dough scraps, pat them out again, cut out more dough rounds, and add them to the cast iron skillet.
Bake the biscuits until they have risen and are golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes.
Servings: 4 pints
Difficulty Level: Easy, but time-consuming
5 ½ lbs apples; peeled, cored and finely chopped
4 c white sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp salt
How to Make
Place the apples in a slow cooker. In a medium bowl, mix the sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Pour the mixture over the apples in the slow cooker, and mix well.
Cover and cook on high 1 hour.
Reduce heat to low and cook 9 to 11 hours, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thickened and dark brown.
Uncover and continue cooking on low for 1 hour. Stir with a whisk, if desired, to increase smoothness.
Spoon the mixture into sterile containers, cover, and refrigerate or freeze.
Read my review of Dead Woman Creek on Amazon. The novel can be purchased in paperback and as an e-book from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.