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,