Friday, June 15, 2012

Down-side Up or Upside Down?

To round off Uncle Jake's Chicken Fried Steak meal, we finished with P-Dub's Pineapple Upside Down Cake (p. 228). We got to use Lou's fancy-pants sunflower yellow Kitchen-Aid mixer. Things taste better when they're made with a yellow mixer.

To start off, we created a batter using flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, butter, shortening, vanilla, milk, eggs and a little pineapple juice.

Next, we melted butter in a skillet. Ree uses a cast iron skillet, but we did not have one of the proper shape and size, so we improvised.

We sprinkled brown sugar over the melted butter.

Next we placed our happy, little pineapple slices in the brown sugar. Then we did something very un-American; we skipped adding the Maraschino cherries. Eek! So, here's the deal. Mr. Fabuful was the only one of the group that would have eaten the cherries. Sorry, dude, you're among picky eaters who are trying not to be, but still are.

We then poured the batter evenly into the pan. This baked for approximately 40 minutes at 350-degrees.

We placed a serving dish over the pan and flipped it upside-down. The result was a beautiful and tasty citrus treat. We picky eaters were pleasantly surprised that you could have your pineapple and your cake and eat them, too.

This recipe is worth a try!

Happily full,

Friday, June 8, 2012

Heavens, They're Tasty!

Has anyone ever listened to "Prairie Home Companion" with Garrison Keillor? One of the entertaining and made-up advertisements on this radio variety show is for, "Powder milk biscuits. Heavens, they're tasty!" We made Ree's version, Buttermilk Biscuits (p. 44) to go along with Uncle Jake's Chicken Fried Steak meal.

These beauties are simple and delicious. We started by mixing flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder.

Next, we added slices of cold butter and shortening. We didn't have a pasty cutter, so we used two table knives to cut in the butter and shortening for a crumbly mixture.

We mixed in buttermilk to the crumbly flour mixture.

This was combined until the consistency seemed right - not too dry, not too sticky.

We floured the table and rolled out the dough. We used a glass to form the biscuits. One thing we did not realize is these biscuits do not rise. So, roll out the dough to your desired biscuit thickness. Ours were a bit flat, but tasty none-the-less. They were baked at 450-degrees for approximately 12 minutes.

The biscuits added another touch to our wholesome, down-home meal.

Happily full,

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Uncle Jake's Favorite

When we began this blogging adventure we asked Lou's dad, Uncle Jake, what recipe he would most like to try. His immediate response was Ree's Chicken Fried Steak (p. 142).

He has since helped Lou and Uncle He-Man remodel their bathroom, so this was a well-deserved meal.

Ree's batter for the chicken fried steak involves an egg wash and a flour coating. Twice. That's the secret. The egg wash consisted of milk and two eggs, and the flour mixture included Lawry's seasoned salt, pepper, paprika and flour.

We began with three pounds of minute steaks. These were dipped first in the egg wash, then in the flour, repeating the two steps.

We heated oil in a cast iron skillet and fried the coated steaks until they were a lovely golden brown. We realized that our steaks were not thoroughly cooked through. So, we placed them in the oven at 350-degrees for about 15 minutes to finish cooking the meat and also kept the coating from becoming soggy. We were so busy trying not to burn steaks and let them become soggy, we forgot to pick up the camera. Imagine oil and flour sizzling and the room smelling like meaty heaven.

While the steaks were baking, we followed Ree's instructions for the art of gravy making. For some reason, we were quite intimidated by the idea of creating gravy. We've had some very good gravies and some less-than-stellar gravies. This can make or break a chicken fried steak. Crossing our fingers, we dove on in...and we are poets and didn't know it.

Using the remaining grease, we sprinkled flour into the skillet. This was whisked together to form a roux that darkened in color as it cooked. Once the roux was ready, we added some milk and allowed the gravy to thicken. Then we added salt and pepper to taste. We must say - not to brag - our gravy turned out to be, well, as good as gravy. Harhar.

We really enjoyed this recipe, and Uncle Jake was able to enjoy his hard-earned meal.

Happily full,

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Angel Sugar Cookies are Heavenly

So, please forgive our silly post title, but the statement is true.

This is another recipe we wish we would have made sooner because they are melt-in-your-mouth delicious. We made The Pioneer Woman's Angel Sugar Cookies (p. 236) several weeks ago.

We combined granulated sugar and powdered sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla.

Next, we added the dry ingredients of flour, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar. The entire mixture was then refrigerated for about an hour.

We spooned the dough onto the cookie sheet. We used a teaspoon-sized spoon.

Next, we buttered the bottom of the glass and stamped the glass into a bowl of granulated sugar.

With the sugared glass, we gently flattened each cookie. In between each cookie, we did re-sugar the glass.

We baked these for approximately 12 minutes. Ree warns that these cookies are not good travelers, as they are quite crumbly. These really don't finish baking with dimples, as seen below. Those are compliments of The Bean's fingers.

These are the less-dense cousin of the classic Christmas sugar cookie, much like Jo is to Lou.

The end.

Happily full,

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Calzones fit for a Cowboy

We made P-Dub's Cowboy Calzone (p. 114). We followed Ree's pizza crust recipe, which is the same crust we used for our Potato-Leek and Pesto Pizzas.

For the filling, we began by browning ground sausage and hamburger along with finely diced onion. To this, we added a can of RoTel tomatoes with chilies. This was removed from the heat and cooled to room temperature.

In the meantime, we combined an egg with mozzarella, ricotta and colby-jack cheeses. This was seasoned with salt and pepper.

The cheese and meat mixtures were combined. And, we may have drooled just a little bit.

Here's Lou.

Isn't she cute?

Next we divided our dough equally into eight balls. These were flattened and rolled until they were about six-inches in diameter.

We then placed a portion of the meat and cheese filling onto one-half of the dough circle. We then folded the other half of the dough over the mixture.

We sealed the calzone by pressing the fork tines along the open seam.

All the calzones were baked for approximately 15 minutes at 450-degrees.

These were very tasty. We also began to consider other filling options, such as ham and swiss cheese, or meatballs and marinara sauce. The possibilities are endless.

Happily full,

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Any Man's Favorite Sandwich

And these women, too.

Several weeks ago, we made Marlboro Man's Favorite Sandwich (p. 88). We weren't sure what to expect since we hadn't really had cube steak sandwiches before. And let us just say from the get-go, that...You. Must. Make. This.

We started by slicing onion and sauteing it with butter in our large skillet. This was set aside.

Next, we sliced three pounds of cube steak into small strips, cutting across the grain. This was seasoned with pepper, Lawry's seasoning salt and lemon pepper.

We added more butter to the pan, in true P-Dub style, and placed half of the meat in the skillet. We browned both sides evenly, repeating this process with the remaining half of our meat.

All of the meat and onion were returned to the skillet adding more of our fatty friend, butter. This was further seasoned with Worcestershire sauce and several good dashes of Tabasco.

We followed Ree's directions and let this simmer for about five minutes to reheat the meat and onion and to allow the sauces to thicken. It is at this point you should be able to serve these as sandwiches on toasted buns. We, however, were waiting for guests to arrive. In order to keep the dish warm, we stuck it in the oven at 250-degrees, for what ended up being about 45 minutes. Little did we know that we had opened Pandora's box of deliciousness for this dish by letting the meat continue to slowly cook. By the time we served it, the cube steak was so tender it practically fell apart. Some of our guests even topped their sandwiches with blue cheese crumbles. We served up the sandwich with Ree's Onion Strings and a blue cheese coleslaw.

We were satisfied. And this sandwich has been requested multiple times, since then, by our husbands.

Happily full,

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Balls of Meat. Really, that's what they are.

We are literal folk.

A couple weeks ago we made P-Dub's Comfort Meatballs (p. 172). Sometimes meatball recipes can be quite involved, but this recipe is rather simple and produces very tasty results.

We combined ground beef, oats, milk, salt and garlic powder. Ree's recipe called for minced onion, which we did not have on hand, and garlic powder is our go-to substitute. Out of celery seed? Try garlic powder. Out of seasoning salt? Try garlic powder. Out of sugar? Try garlic powder. It's like magic, really. Did we mention we're a literal folk?

Next we rolled the meat mixture into small balls, placing them onto a baking sheet. We put this into the refrigerator to chill. The chilling helps the meatballs hold their shape for the upcoming steps.

Later, we dredged them in flour and placed them in a large skillet to brown. At this point, you do not have to cook them all the way through, as they'll finish the cooking process in the oven.

These were transferred into a large baking dish.

Next we mixed together our special sauce which included ketchup, sugar, more garlic powder, white vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and several dashes of Tabasco. And, really, we did use sugar and garlic powder. Again, substituting garlic powder for minced onion.

The sauce was spooned over the waiting meatballs. The dish was put into the oven at 350-degrees for 45 minutes.

We highly recommend this recipe. It definitely lives up to its name for comfort food.

Happily full,