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  • Chicken and Dumplings

    Absolutely perfect weather. For pneumonia… Cool to cold, bit of damp, and just enough sunshine / warmth to make think you can tough it out with a light jacket. (GUESS WHAT? You can’t, you will get that most miserable of all things, a spring cold.)

    Time to fight back a bit, time for soup, chicken soup, and If I am going to take the time to do that, I’ll go Full Valhalla, and make dumplings as well.

    I always have chicken stock in the fridge, (unless one of the lair denizens have drank it straight. Yes, they do that. 3/4 cup of Stock, bit of pepper, a mushroom sliced, and into the microwave for 60 sec. A fast meal)

    From Wikipedia:

    Chicken and dumplings is a dish which consists of a chicken cooked in water, with the resulting chicken broth being used to cook the dumplings by boiling. A dumpling in this context is a biscuit dough, which is a mixture of flour, shortening, and liquid (water, milk, buttermilk, or chicken stock). The dumplings are either rolled out flat, dropped or formed into a ball.

    It is a popular comfort food dish, commonly found in the Southern and Midwestern United States, that is also attributed to being a French Canadian meal that originated during the Great Depression. Chicken and dumplings as a dish is prepared with a combination of boiled chicken meat, broth produced by boiling the chicken, multiple dumplings, and salt and pepper for seasoning. In some areas, this meal is known as chicken and sliders.

  • 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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  • Memorial Day Sides – Macaroni Salad

    One of the classic pasta salads, macaroni in mayonnaise dressing, with stop light peppers, celery, onion and seasonings. This is a southern dish that has global acceptance. A perfect companion for a Barbecue.

    Macaroni salad is a salad, served cold made with cooked elbow macaroni pasta and usually prepared with mayonnaise. Much like potato salad in its use, it is often served as an accompaniment to barbecue or other picnic style entrees. Like any dish, national and regional variations abound but generally it is prepared with raw diced onions and celery and seasoned with salt and pepper. Canned tuna is also a very popular ingredient.

    In Australia it is commonly known as pasta salad and is usually made with cooked shell pasta pieces and brought from supermarket delis.

    In the U.S. state of Hawaii, macaroni salad is often served with plate lunches, a local form of dining. Locals in Hawaii often refer to macaroni salad as “mac sal” or “mac salad”. The salad itself is usually just elbow macaroni and a heaping portion of mayonnaise.

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  • Meatless Monday – Fried Okra

    fokra

    In keeping with my home cooking, comfort food bend of mind, another favorite dish from you youth. Some people just rebel at the thought, but young orka, rolled in corn meal, and allowed to firm up, then deep fried is a sweet taste treat of a side dish.

    Background
    The name okra is most often used in the United States, with a variant pronunciation, English Caribbean okro. The word okra is of West African origin and is cognate with ọkwurụ in the Igbo language spoken in Nigeria. Okra is often known as “lady’s fingers” outside of the United States. In various Bantu languages, okra is called kingombo or a variant thereof, and this is the origin of its name in Portuguese (quiabo), Spanish (quimbombó or guigambó), Dutch and French, and also possibly of the name “gumbo”, used in parts of the United States and English-speaking Caribbean for either the vegetable or a stew based on it. In India and Pakistan, and often in the United Kingdom, it is called by its Hindi/Urdu name, bhindi, bhendi, bendai or “bhinda”. In Tamilnadu ,India it is called as Vendaikai.

    The products of the plant are mucilaginous, resulting in the characteristic “goo” or slime when the seed pods are cooked; the mucilage contains a usable form of soluble fiber. Some people cook okra this way, others prefer to minimize sliminess; keeping the pods intact, and brief cooking, for example stir-frying, help to achieve this. Cooking with acidic ingredients such as a few drops of lemon juice, tomatoes, or vinegar may help. Alternatively, the pods can be sliced thinly and cooked for a long time so the mucilage dissolves, as in gumbo. The cooked leaves can also be used as a powerful soup thickener. The immature pods may also be pickled.

    Okra is richer in potassium than bananas and has nearly twice as much calcium gram for gram as milk. 100g supplies a third of the recommended daily intake of magnesium (needed for energy release and healthy nerves) and more than 10 per cent of the RDA for iron. Okra is also a source of fiber – stir-fried okra contains much fiber as whole wheat bread. In addition it is quite a good source of vitamin C and the antioxidant betacarotene, which has a range of benefits, including protection against cancer and heart disease by helping to neutralise free radicals.

    Okra is one of those “binary foods” where people seem to hate it or love it, just like mushrooms, seaweed, and tofu. The hate is usually because of the gooey slime that coats the okra, but that is not a preordained fate

    Okra becomes slimy when cooked with a moist method—in a stew, curry, gumbo (in all these the sliminess helps to thicken the overall dish), or a steamer basket. Stir-frying or sauteing in hot oil, in contrast, keeps the slime within the okra pieces, or perhaps causes the moisture in the mucilage to evaporate, thus improving the pods’ texture.

    There are cooking techniques tol prevent your okra dish from being slimed. Indian food has many techniques of okra preparation, and I have three recommendations from my Indian friends.

    1. Trim just the very tip and the end of the okra and pan fry the whole okra pods until tender.
    2. Trim and round the pods then saute with onions and spices
    3. Trim SMALL okra pods, dredge in spices and corn meal / flour, and deep fry

    Note : After you wash the okra pods, wipe them dry with a paper towel. Controlling moisture is the key to controlling the slime.

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  • Sunday Chicken

    A rainy, dreary Sunday. A long unwelcome trip from upstate, an empty fridge, and three hungry cats. I am just so happy..

    Off to the store, where chicken is on sale, and I get to watch people paw over the boneless, skinless, tasteless, anemic breasts. But off to the side is family packs of legs and thighs… Good, rich, flavorful, dark meat, perfect for frying or baking. As I have the deep fryer out, it looks like fried chicken fo rdinner

    Fried chicken is a dish consisting of chicken pieces usually from broiler chickens which have been floured or battered and then pan fried, deep fried, or pressure fried. The breading adds a crisp coating or crust to the exterior. What separates fried chicken from other fried forms of chicken is that generally the chicken is cut at the joints and the bones and skin are left intact. Crisp well-seasoned skin, rendered of excess fat, is a hallmark of well made fried chicken.

    Generally, chickens are not fried whole; instead, the chicken is divided into its four main constituent pieces: the two white meat sections are the breast and the wing from the front of the chicken, while the dark meat sections are from the rear of the chicken. To prepare the chicken pieces for frying, they are dredged in flour or a similar dry substance (possibly following marination or dipping in milk or buttermilk) to coat the meat and to develop a crust. Seasonings such as salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, or ranch dressing mix can be mixed in with the flour. As the pieces of chicken cook, some of the moisture that exudes from the chicken is absorbed by the coating of flour and browns along with the flour, creating a flavorful crust. Traditionally, lard is used to fry the chicken, but corn oil, peanut oil, canola oil, or vegetable oil are also frequently used. The flavor of olive oil is generally considered too strong to be used for traditional fried chicken, and its low smoke point makes it unsuitable for use.
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  • Meatless Monday – Hush Puppies

    HushPuppies

    Ok, the loyal fan club, (read that whiny critics, who can not boil water, much less an egg), have asked, “What’s those round things on the plate?”

    I had shown these in my post on Fish Fry, and I had made them at that time but, neglected to add the recipe to the post.

    Background

    Hushpuppies are a distinctly Southern food, although they are now available in many areas of America on the menus of fried-fish fast food restaurants. The name “hushpuppies” is often attributed to hunters or fishermen who would quickly fry corn meal and feed it to their dogs to “hush the puppies” during cook outs or fish frys.

    Two other legends surrounding the hush puppy date back to Civil War days. Southern soldiers would sit beside a campfire, preparing their meals. When Union soldiers came near, they would toss their barking dogs some of the fried cakes with the command “Hush, puppies”.

    A common explanation for the name in Charleston, South Carolina is that slaves returning into the homes of their masters carrying food recently prepared in the outdoor kitchens would throw the batter balls to the barking dogs, telling the “puppies” to “hush.” Also, during the time of the underground railroads, escaping slaves would feed these to the dogs tracking them while coaxing them with hopeful commands such as “hush, puppies.”

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