Month: May 2010

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

My wife and I made it to our first real milestone in life, our tenth anniversary. I can’t say that it has felt much like ten years, but after seeing my kids growing up, well, it is an indication that life is just flying by […]

Fried Cheese Curds

Fried Cheese Curds

There is something to be said about living in Wisconsin. It is a beautiful state, especially this time of year, where the grass is green, a beautiful blue sky, and the beginning of festival season. Sure, I was born in Indiana, but I really consider […]

Pea Pesto

Pea Pesto

Believe it or not, but peas are in season, and this is yet another vegetable I could not stand growing up as a kid. I know why that was as well. It was because we were served peas out of a can, and if there is one thing I cannot stand to this day, it is any vegetable served out of a can! But today, I love peas. Fresh peas, or frozen, they are really great. I still make an attempt to let my kids know how great they are with a bit of melted butter and salt and pepper, but like a young me, they refuse to eat them.

Pea Pesto Recipe

Peas can be used in most anything if you think about it. Great in fried rice, as a soup, mixed in with corn, or heck, even on a sandwich. My new found favorite use is making a pesto out of it.

Pesto as we know it, is typically made from basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and olive oil, but that does not mean you have to go by the books. Since peas were in season, I wanted to make a batch of something very similar to the traditional pesto, but see if I could get away with using peas instead, and boy, did I ever get away with it.

Huge flavors with just the right amount of garlic and parmesan cheese, you would never know that peas were even in it, unless of course, you leave just the perfect texture, exposing a bit of the pea along the way. Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of frozen peas
  • couple basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves of garlic, rough chop
  • 1 tsp of salt, to taste
  • generous pinch of black pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 to 1/2  of olive oil

Toss everything into a food processor or blender, and make into a nice puree. Make sure to scrape the edges before blending again, just to make sure you get everything incorporated.

The great thing about making any type of pesto is that you can use it on anything, and it stays great in the refrigerator for a handful of days. You can even put some in your ice cube trays and freeze them until later use. Great, vibrant and bold flavors that will keep you coming back for more.

By the way, instead of placing the pesto in a warm pasta, I decided to grill some homemade pizza dough and use the pea pesto as the base, topping with a bit of sliced red onion, portabella mushrooms, and fresh goat cheese. It was to die for! Enjoy.

Summertime Tomato Sandwiches

Summertime Tomato Sandwiches

My grandpa wanted nothing to do with a tomato. He could not stand them, and refused to the eat them. I am uncertain why he was so resistant to the wonderful fruit, and one that grows in abundance in Indiana. If you have never been […]

Margarita Shrimp Tostada

Margarita Shrimp Tostada

I am coming out today and telling everyone that I have been on a taco kick for the last several weeks.  I have yet to tell you what my favorite taco is, but I am steering towards al pastor, or carne asada, with simple diced […]

Chicken Fried Steak and Gravy

Chicken Fried Steak and Gravy

I never knew much about chicken fried steak while growing up, at least not that I recall. I grew up in Indiana, and as some may define that as the south, there is a bit of a difference when it comes to southern cooking. Sure there was plenty of great corn and tomatoes to be had, but there was not much of chicken fried steak. Not that it was a bad thing. My parents actually knew how to fry a couple of good things. One of which I have to keep my mouth locked on, however I am not sure why, as people are already making this ‘secret’ recipe, and the other being some great fried chicken in a cast iron skillet.

Chicken Fried Steak Recipe

I was first introduced to chicken fried steak at a greasy spoon in Dallas, Texas. It was late, as usual, and when I mean greasy spoon, I mean that smoked filled, dirty diner, where you go for one thing, and one thing only. Chicken fried steak and biscuits and gravy. I fell in love with it. At the time,  all I knew was it was this unknown type of meat, breaded and fried, and smothered in a white gravy. It was a late night, after bar, stick to your belly, paradise. It was right up there with the great memories of Tex Mex cuisine as well.

So not long ago, the thought of chicken fried steak came to mind. This dish is really easy to make, takes very little time, and yields huge flavor. Enough to satisfy an early morning, or a  late afternoon. I left the late night out of the scene here, because it is now often difficult for me to stay up past eleven at night. Kidding aside, lets get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs of round steak, cut into four chunks, pounded out about 3/4 inch thick
  • 3 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 large eggs, beaten with 3 tbsp milk
  • 3 1/4 cup of milk
  • 2 cups of all purpose flour, plus another 1/4 cup for just the gravy

Begin by heating the oil in a medium cast iron skillet. In my opinion, the cast iron is the way to go, and I have been using these skillets in most of my cooking nowadays. In the meantime, place a chunk of steak in between two large pieces of plastic wrap, and with a meat mallet, tenderize the meat, pounding out from the center, outwards, until you have about 3/4 inch thick. If you want it thinner, keep pounding it out. Repeat with the remaining chunks of meat.

Next, build your dredging station. Take the eggs and beat it with 3 tablespoons of the milk.  Next, to a medium casserole dish, add two cups of the flour, and a two teaspoons of the salt and one teaspoon of the pepper. Mix well.

Dip your meat into flour, lightly coat, the, dip into the  egg wash, then back into the flour mixture. Set on a rack for a couple of minutes until you have another one coated. Repeat with the other two.

Your oil should be around 350-370 degrees. Carefully add a steak into skillet, and fry for about 3-5 minutes on each side. You will notice that the juices will begin to sprout up while you are frying. When you flip to fry the other side, make sure the juices run clear.

Preheat your oven to 225 degrees. Once the steaks are fried, place them in the oven to keep warm as you make the gravy.

Carefully drain about 90% of the oil. You want to reserve  a bit of the oil because you are going to brown the flour. So, with the remaining oil, probably four tablespoons or so, add in a quarter cup of the flour, and whisk, continuing to whisk for about two minutes.  Add in the milk, about a cup at a time, roughly every four minutes or so, and continue to whisk. This is the labor intensive part, but oh so worth it. Season generously with black pepper and a bit more salt. Yes, continue to whisk.

Taste and season the gravy accordingly. Keep whisking. Once the gravy comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and continue to whisk.  The gravy should be thick, but not too thick. If it becomes too thick because you haven’t whisked enough, add a bit of water to thin it out just a bit, but remember to whisk.

Remove one of the steaks from the oven, plate, and ladle the gravy over the top. Serve with your favorite biscuits.

Thank you Dallas, Texas for introducing me to something so wonderful. Enjoy.

 

Chicken Fried Steak and Gravy
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Course
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of vegetable oil
  • 1½ lbs of round steak, cut into four chunks, pounded out about ¾ inch thick
  • 3 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 large eggs, beaten with 3 tbsp milk
  • 3¼ cup of milk
  • 2 cups of all purpose flour, plus another ¼ cup for just the gravy
Instructions
  1. Begin by heating the oil in a medium cast iron skillet. In my opinion, the cast iron is the way to go, and I have been using these skillets in most of my cooking nowadays. In the meantime, place a chunk of steak in between two large pieces of plastic wrap, and with a meat mallet, tenderize the meat, pounding out from the center, outwards, until you have about ¾ inch thick. If you want it thinner, keep pounding it out. Repeat with the remaining chunks of meat.
  2. Next, build your dredging station. Take the eggs and beat it with 3 tablespoons of the milk. Next, to a medium casserole dish, add two cups of the flour, and a two teaspoons of the salt and one teaspoon of the pepper. Mix well.
  3. Dip your meat into flour, lightly coat, the, dip into the egg wash, then back into the flour mixture. Set on a rack for a couple of minutes until you have another one coated. Repeat with the other two.
  4. Your oil should be around 350-370 degrees. Carefully add a steak into skillet, and fry for about 3-5 minutes on each side. You will notice that the juices will begin to sprout up while you are frying. When you flip to fry the other side, make sure the juices run clear.
  5. Preheat your oven to 225 degrees. Once the steaks are fried, place them in the oven to keep warm as you make the gravy.
  6. Carefully drain about 90% of the oil. You want to reserve a bit of the oil because you are going to brown the flour. So, with the remaining oil, probably four tablespoons or so, add in a quarter cup of the flour, and whisk, continuing to whisk for about two minutes. Add in the milk, about a cup at a time, roughly every four minutes or so, and continue to whisk. This is the labor intensive part, but oh so worth it. Season generously with black pepper and a bit more salt. Yes, continue to whisk.
  7. Taste and season the gravy accordingly. Keep whisking. Once the gravy comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and continue to whisk. The gravy should be thick, but not too thick. If it becomes too thick because you haven’t whisked enough, add a bit of water to thin it out just a bit, but remember to whisk.
  8. Remove one of the steaks from the oven, plate, and ladle the gravy over the top. Serve with your favorite biscuits.