Eat!

Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Country Fried Steak and Gravy



Because of this blog, my husband eats many of my experiments- some good, some great and some just gawd-awful. Every so often, I like to make something easy, comforting and familiar for dinner. I figure that if I want him to keep eating my research, sometimes dinner will just be about him.

He loves Country Fried Steak. Most people use cubed beef, but he likes cubed pork. Pork is more tender. Either will work for this recipe. For him, the gravy is a necessity. I think you will agree. You can add carnalized onions to the gravy if you want, but otherwise keep this simple. This is not extravagant, hard to pronounce, weird ingredient food. This is down-home, grandma, country food.

And it is sooooo good.

Country Fried Steak and Gravy
 Servings:  6-8
Hardware:  2 large deep, shallow bowls (I actually use pie plates), 2 plates, paper towels, measuring cups and spoons, a cutting board and a knife, a large heavy skillet (I use cast iron), tongs, a whisk
Time: Cook time 25 minutes; active time: 30, Dinner in about: an hour

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ pounds cube steak (this works with pork or beef)
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of Cayenne pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • Oil for frying
  • Mashed potatoes or rice
*******
  • butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups of chicken stock (maybe more)
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee (OR soy sauce OR Worcestershire sauce)

  1. Cut the steaks into serving sized pieces. Generously salt and pepper both sides. Cover one of the plates in paper towels. Set aside.
  2. Whisk the eggs and milk together in one dish. Mix the flour, cornstarch, garlic powder, onion powder, Cayenne, salt and pepper together in the other dish.
  3. Add enough oil to the skillet to make it about an inch deep. Heat over medium.
  4. Dip each steak into the flour mixture and shake as much from it as possible. Then dip it into the eggs and then back into the flour. When you put it in the flour the second time press down and make sure that the steak is covered. When you are breading always go-dry, wet, dry. Put the breaded steaks onto the clean plate.
  5. When the oil is sizzling, fry the steaks without them touching. Fry on each side for about 4-5 minutes or until golden brown. Don’t crowd, you may need to cook in batches. Always use tongs to flip meat. Remove the finished steaks to the paper towel covered plate. You can keep the steaks warm in the oven on the lowest setting.
  6. To make the gravy, make sure that the same skillet has 1/3 cup oil. If there isn’t enough add some butter. When the oil is hot, slowly add the flour. Keep whisking until the flour is a paste the color of peanut butter. Scrape the leftover, crunchy bits of the steak from the bottom and sides of the pan. Add a generous amount of salt and pepper.  Add the buttermilk slowly, whisking the whole time. Slowly add the stock. The secret to gravy is to never stop stirring. Add the coffee. If the gravy is too thick add more stock, if it is too thin keep cooking.
  7. Remove the gravy from the heat. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.
  8. Serve with mashed potatoes or rice. Top the side and the meat with gravy.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Pan-Seared Cobia with a Caper and Saffron Reduction



Cobia with a Caper & Saffron Reduction

        When I make fish, I usually start by saying that I am not a fish fan. I take all of that back. I was looking over the fish at the market recently and the butcher suggested cobia. He told me that it was firm enough to hold up to any cooking method. If I could do it to chicken, I could do it to cobia. I trust my butcher, so I bought some.
        I went home and looked cobia up. Sometimes called black salmon or black king fish, cobia is very nutritious and highly sustainable. It is being farmed in a new kind of open ocean aquaculture. Cobia is new to American consumers, but I predict it will be wildly popular.
       If you cannot find cobia, you can substitute salmon or tuna. However, cobia is much milder and firmer than either of these. I served it over orzo pilaf with a side of wilted spinach and a side salad. From the beginning to end, the whole meal took 25 minutes to prepare.




Servings: 4-6
Time:  Cook time 15 minutes; active time: 10  Fish in about: 20 minutes
Hardware:  measuring spoons and cups, a knife, paper towels, a plate, a zester, a large, heavy bottomed skillet (I prefer cast iron), a metal spatula (I used a fish spatula), a wooden spoon, a slotted spoon, and a a gravy boat

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of 1 ¼ inch thick cobia
  • Salt
  • Enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the skillet
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons capers with the juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • Large pinch of saffron

  1.  Dice the garlic as small as possible. Zest the lemon. Measure everything and set aside.
  2. Cut the fish into serving sizes.  Rinse in clean water and pat dry. Generously salt both sides of the fish. Set aside.
  3. Heat the olive oil in the skillet on high. When the pan is very hot, place the fish pieces in the skillet without crowding them. The idea is to sear the outside. If you crowd them, they will not sear, but will steam instead. If needed, cook in batches.
  4. Allow the fish to cook for 4 minutes. Turn carefully with the spatula and cook for 4 minutes on the other side or until the fish is opaque and flakes easily. Be careful to not overcook Set aside. You can keep the fish warm warm in the oven on the lowest setting.
  5. Wipe out the skillet. Turn down to medium high. Add the butter and garlic and stir until the butter melts. Add the broth and capers. Allow the sauce to boil for about 5 minutes or until it begins to reduce. Remove from the heat. Taste and adjust the salt. Add the saffron and lemon zest to the hot reduction, right before serving.
  6. To plate, place a starch (pasta, rice or mashed potatoes) on the plate. Top with a piece of fish. Use the slotted spoon to scoop out some capers, saffron and zest. Top each piece of fish with the caper mixture. Splash a little of the reduction on the cobia. Pour the rest of the reduction into the gravy boat and offer it to your guests.
 Cobia with a Caper and Saffron Reduction over Orzo Pilaf with Wilted Spinach