"It IS all about the TASTE"
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  • Texas Style Chicken Fried Steak

    CountryFriedSteak

    Being raised in Texas, and living in New York can be quite the challange for my taste buds, while I get to experience a whole world of flavor and taste sensations, I do get the cravings for the more simple fare of my youth. One all time favorite is Chicken Fried Steak with cream (sawmill) gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits.

    From WikiPedia:

    Chicken fried steak (also known as pan-fried steak, CFS or country fried steak) is a breaded cutlet dish consisting of a piece of steak (tenderized cube steak) coated with seasoned flour and pan-fried. It is associated with Southern cuisine. The dish gets its name from the fact that the steak is cooked in oil that has already been used to fry chicken. Country fried steak is different in that it can be cooked with any kind of oil.

    Chicken fried steak resembles the Austrian dish Wiener Schnitzel and the Italian-Latin American dish Milanesa, which is a tenderized veal or pork cutlet, coated with flour, eggs, and bread crumbs, and then fried. It is also similar to the recipe for Scottish collops.

    Now these folks talk about a tenderized cube steak, and given my tenancy to to avoid any processing I do not do myself, we’ll look at this from a different point of view.

    Let start with a chuck roast or round roast and cut slices with the grain to ~1/2 inch thick. Then get absolutely medieval with a meat tenderizer or the back of your chef’s knife until the slices are ~1/4″ thick and limp as a wet noodle, or until your arms give out.

    Now we have our tenderized steak, we can cook.
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  • Cacciatore alla Pollo

    I’ve not posted for the week as I have been eyebrow deep in projects, the VMWare lab, and dealing with other crises. Winter storm Q has made things just nasty, cool, wet, windy, not the type of weather I want to go out into, besides I have lot to do. This sounds like Cacciatore…

    Cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian. In cuisine, “alla cacciatora” refers to a meal prepared “hunter-style” with tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, herbs, often bell pepper, and sometimes wine. Usually made with braised chicken (pollo alla cacciatora) or rabbit, In southern Italy, cacciatore often includes red wine while northern Italian chefs might use white wine.

    A basic cacciatore begins with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil heated in a large frying pan. Chicken parts, dusted with salt and pepper, are seared in the oil for three to four minutes on each side. The chicken is removed from the pan, and most of the fat poured off. The remaining fat is used to fry the onions, mushrooms, peppers or other vegetables for several minutes. A small can of peeled tomatoes (drained of liquid and coarsely chopped) is added to the pan along with some oregano and a half cup of dry red wine. The seared chicken parts are returned to the pan which is then covered. The dish is done after about an hour at a very low simmer.

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  • Liver with Onions and Bacon

    livbacon

    As I struggle to recover from Ebola Bad Wolf, I want FOOD, good tasty COMFORT FOOD. As I shuffled from client to office to client, I passed a local diner. The special of the day was Liver with onions…. This is real comfort food, so I visited the “establishment”, and ordered a lunch. (I REALLY SHOULD KNOW BETTER, I REALLY SHOULD)

    The less than sumptuous select gucci grade calves leather I was served, covered in a greasy, salty gravy, with onions that managed to be overcooked and raw at the same time, came close to precipitating a environmental purge command from my body. (The mashies are not to be discussed as they failed to meet even the poor standards of Manhattan Diners.)

    Time to take matters into my own hands and produce liver with bacon and mashed potatoes, covered with mounds of sauteed sweet onions and drenched with a glorious red onion gravy is a meal from my youth. Hot, simple, hearty, comfort food.

    Wikipedia says:

    Liver and onions is a traditional dish. Its main ingredients are slices of liver (usually pork or beef) and onions. The liver and the onions are usually fried or cooked together, but sometimes they may be fried separated and mixed together afterwards. The liver is often cut in fine slices, but it also may be diced. Liver and onions is a favorite in the UK and in Germany, where it is usually eaten along with boiled or mashed potatoes. Lamb’s liver is the usual choice in the UK and is often accompanied by fried bacon.

    In the French traditional recipe the liver is fried with butter and lard. In Catalan cuisine olive oil is used, instead of butter, and fried garlic is added to the mixture. In Italian cuisine, the fegato alla Veneziana recipe includes a dash of red wine or vinegar and the fegato alla Romana a dash of white wine and is cooked in lard.

    In the USA, liver and onions as a dish once enjoyed widespread popularity and could usually be found at family diners and American home-style restaurants. This meal is currently more common to the cuisines of the southern and upper mid-western style foods.

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  • Roast Turkey

    Troast

    Roasting Prep

    To prepare the turkey for roasting, first remove the giblets! You may also wish to use the giblets in your gravy or stuffing. Next, rinse the bird inside and out. (YOU DID BRINE IT ?) Pat dry with paper towels.

    If you are stuffing the bird, (I STRONGLY RECOMMEND NOT), stuff it loosely, allowing about ½ to ¾ cup stuffing per pound of turkey.

    Brush the skin with melted butter or oil. Tie drum sticks together with string. Lastly, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. The thermometer should point towards the body, and should not touch the bone.

    • Place the bird on a rack in a roasting pan, and into a preheated 350 degree F oven. Use the following chart to estimate the time required for baking.
    • Bake until the skin is a light golden color, and then cover loosely with a foil tent. During the last 45 minutes of baking, remove the foil tent to brown the skin.

    Roasting Times

    Bird Weight Time (Unstuffed)
    10-18 3-3.5 hours
    15-22 3.5-4 hours
    22-24 4-4.5 hours
    24-29 4.5-5 hours



    Done / Resting

    The only reliable test for doneness is the temperature of the meat, not the color of the skin, and not the timer. The turkey is done when the thigh meat reaches an internal temperature of 175 degrees F, and when the breast meat reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

    If your turkey has been stuffed, it is important to check the temperature of the dressing. The stuffing should be 165 degrees F. (I recommend that stuffing be cooked and served to the side.)

    When the turkey is done, remove from the oven and allow to stand for 20 minutes. This resting time allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.

  • Oh, Fish Sticks

    As previously mentioned, I have been asked to post a few methods for cooking fish, and in the same vein as prior, a visit to another grade school lunch room horror.

    Consider strips of an unidentified minced and formed fish, covered with a batter of egg and bread crumbs, deep fried, and served with yet another deep fried fat bomb, (French Fries), slathered with the same extricable sauce, with a side of that kitchen staple, HFCS laden Ketchup.

    RANT-ON
    Do read the labels of the foods you purchase, too many times several of the items in the first 10 ingredients are things only a bio-chemist could love. I know eating healthy is not really budget friendly, but as a prior rant said.. Eat Shit and Die. Seriously see the post about the Standard American Diet, (SAD)
    RANT-OFF

    I speak of course, of the “Fish Friday” staple, the fish stick.

    Fish fingers, known as fish sticks in North America and by translations of that name in most other languages, are a processed food made using a whitefish, such as cod, haddock or pollock, which has been battered or breaded.

    They are commonly available in the frozen food section of supermarkets, and on children’s menus in family-oriented restaurants. They can be baked in the oven, grilled, shallow fried, or deep-fried.

    The fish used may be either fillets cut to shape or minced/ground fish reformed to shape. Those made entirely from fillets are generally regarded as the higher quality products and will typically have a prominent sign on the box stating that the fish is 100% fillet. Minced fish is more commonly used in store brand economy products. They may have either batter or breadcrumbs around the outside as casing, although the coating is normally breadcrumbs.

    In addition to white fish, fish fingers are sometimes made with salmon. A commercially available variant of fish fingers is “Omega 3” fish fingers, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids.

    “Minced/ground fish reformed to shape.”, more like a way to use less than prime pieces and bits of fish that were left after the prime fillets were removed. This is just wrong.. With all the people on soap boxes about how omega-3 fatty acids are much more heart healthy and that fish are a natural source of said fatty acids, one is lead to believe that all fish render this benefit. Reality is that not all fish are equal in production of these.
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  • Salmon Cakes (Croquettes)

    As previously mentioned, I have been asked to post a few methods for cooking fish.

    Being from the south fish = catfish, and cooking = deep frying, but I have been told that fish must have “fins and scales” so that let’s catfish out, I have also been told that deep frying is “A Bad Thing.”

    So one must look back at a school lunch horror, and find a way to make it edible. I speak of course of a dry crumbly, oily, cow pie mixture of unidentifiable fish, and flour awash in a noxious cream sauce, or served with a canned tomato sauce bordering on ketchup with a overbearing dash of sugar to complete a rounded meal usually served to the garbageman’s hogs after being rejected by all but the most starving school children.

    The Croquette…

    A croquette is a small breadcrumbed fried food roll containing, usually as main ingredients, mashed potatoes and/or ground meat (veal, beef, chicken, or turkey), shellfish, fish, cheese, vegetables and mixed with béchamel or brown sauce, and soaked white bread, egg, onion, spices and herbs, wine, milk, beer or any of the combination thereof, sometimes with a filling, e.g. sauteed onions or mushrooms, boiled eggs (Scotch eggs). The croquette is usually shaped into a cylinder, disk or oval shape and then deep-fried. The croquette (from the French croquer, “to crunch”) gained worldwide popularity, both as a delicacy and as a fast food.

    “Boardwalk” fish cakes and crab cakes, eaten on the east coast of the United States, are essentially croquettes. They consist, respectively, of chopped fish or crab meat, mixed in a buttery dough which is then breaded and deep-fried.

    Another croquette dish popular across much of the American South is salmon croquettes. Any canned fish – usually salmon or mackerel, although canned tuna is also used in some recipes (although the dish is often colloquially referred to as “salmon croquettes” or “salmon patties” regardless of the actual fish used) – is mashed by hand to break up any fish bones and give the fish meat a smoother consistency, then combined with a binder and various seasonings. Seasonings typically include pepper, salt, chopped (sometimes sautéed) onions, garlic, lemon juice, and/or paprika. The binder can be any starch such as flour, cornmeal, matzo meal, ground crackers of any type, even white rice or oatmeal – although these latter variations are not as common, and are mostly limited to the northern U.S. Chopped eggs, parsley, and Parmesan cheese may also be added. The mixture is then shaped into rounded patties for pan- or deep-frying; corn or peanut oil are the most commonly used frying oils in the southern U.S., but canola, safflower, or olive oil are also used, and some recipes call specifically for pan-frying in butter or margarine.

    Most recipes call for canned salmon, (a curse upon the makers of this trash in a can), and canned bread crumbs, (more curses to the purveyors of such garbage), liberally bound together by eggs, and if one is MOST fortunate, perhaps some minced onion, and finely chopped herbs.

    We can do better.

    First of, FRESH COOKED FISH, flaked, Real bread diced, seasoned and toasted to make croutons, then crumbed in a food processor, or smashed in a bag. Mixed with chopped scallions, fresh chopped dill, seasoned liberally with fresh ground pepper, good kosher salt, a splash of fresh squeezed lemon juice to cut the oil taste of the fish and bound together with several fresh eggs. Formed into patties / cake ~ 1/2 ” thick and fried off in a butter and olive oil mix.

    Then serve with a nice tarter sauce or remoulade.
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