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


    Being raised in Texas, and living in New York can be quite the challenge 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 gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits.

    It does seem I have had a yen for things Tex-Mex / Southwestern this week, so a reprise of one of my all time favorite dishes is most in order…

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  • Cold Weather Comfort Food – Beef Stew

    The cabbage stew was a hit, so much so I am faced with nothing left from the meal. That leaves me with a bit of a challenge as to what to make. Looking back at my posts, I’ve not done a real beef stew in several years, so I think I will revisit that and see how all the new techniques I’ve learned will affect the dish.

    So some comment elements of Stews :

    • A stew is a combination of solid ingredients that have been cooked (braised) in liquid.
    • The cooking liquid is usually thickened and served as a gravy
    • The sauce may be thickened by reduction or thickened with flour
    • Stews can include a combination of vegetables, meat, poultry, sausages and seafood.
    • Seasoning and flavorings may also be added.
    • Water, wine, stock, and beer are common stew-cooking liquids
    • Stews are typically cooked at a relatively low temperature (simmered)
    • Stewing is suitable for the less tender cuts of meat that have marbling and gelatinous connective tissue
    • Stews have less liquid than soups, are much thicker and require longer cooking over low heat.
    • Stews usually are thick enough to be served on a plate with the gravy as a sauce over the solid ingredients

    Hmmm.. Less tender cuts of meat, cooked slowly…. As I said prior in A Roast for All Seasons:

    Then moisture from the cooking liquid will accumulate between the fibers of the meat and as the roast is cooked through to an internal temperature of 200 degrees, the bonds between the protein and water actually rupture, and the meat will literally fall apart.

    So may be simmering is NOT the answer, I’ll assemble the stew and bake it in the oven. As for meat choice, I’ll use chuck steak, it is cheap, and it has LOADS of flavor, it just needs to be cooked properly. Maybe I’ll cube it up, marinate, toss in flour and sear. But I want I really good sear, so that means very high heat, and that means a wok!. (I’ll use some of the seasoned oil, from the chicken chop suey to add a bit of flavor as well)

    I have a number of veggies in the fridge and pantry so I’ll wak those up and add them as well. Carrots, potatoes, onions, shallots, celery, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, peas, corn, they all become part of the stew. (harder veggies go in first, softer veggies get added later).

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  • Charsiu (Cantonese Roast Pork)

    “Char siu” is a type of siu mei, Cantonese roasted meat, and literally means “fork burn/roast”, after the traditional cooking method for the dish: long strips of seasoned boneless pork are skewered with long forks and placed in a covered oven or over a fire. The meat, typically a shoulder cut of domestic pork (although in ancient times it was also used to cook wild boar or other available meats), is seasoned with a mixture of honey, five-spice powder, dark soy sauce, hoisin sauce and sherry or rice wine.

    As a means of exceptional flavor and preparation, charsiu’s applications extend far beyond pork. A wide variety of meats are cooked charsiu style. The term “charsiu” refers to meats which have been marinated in a charsiu seasoning then roasted in an oven or over a fire.

    Ingredients in marinades for charsiu are similar to those found in China (honey, five-spice, wine, soy, hoisin, etc.), except that red food coloring is often used in place of the red bean curd for convenience. (I do not use food coloring) Charsiu is used to marinate and prepare a variety of meats which can either be cooked in a conventional or convection oven, or on a standard Barbecue. Charsiu chicken is as common as charsiu pork, and beef, mountain goat, and wild boar are also often cooked charsiu style, as are many sausages and skewers.

    As charsiu grows in popularity, innovative chefs from around the world, are using various meats prepared “charsiu” style in their cuisines and culinary creations.

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  • Soup Fromage a Bière de malt

    Winter is now HERE!.. It is now officially cold. When it gets this cold one needs protein, in an easily digestible form, and the delivery mechanism also needs to impart warmth. It does NOT hurt if the protein is flavorful so a reasonable amount can be consumed, may with a bit of spice to impart a feeling of warmth to the taste buds.. We are talking soups and stews here, and in this specific case we are talking a soup.

    What I have in mind is recreating a wonderful soup I had in Atlanta. A hearty soup made with Guinness, extra sharp cheddar cheese, a good chicken broth, fire roasted peppers, some very finely minced veggies, a bit of Worcestershire sauce, but instead of the traditional shot of hot sauce, a couple of table spoons of grated horseradish…

    As spoken prior :

    Soup is a food that is made by combining ingredients such as meat and vegetables in stock or hot/boiling water, until the flavor is extracted, forming a broth.

    Traditionally, soups are classified into two broad groups: clear soups and thick soups. The established French classifications of clear soups are bouillon and consommé.

    Thick soups are classified depending upon the type of thickening agent used:

    • purées are vegetable soups thickened with starch
    • bisques are made from puréed shellfish or vegetables thickened with cream
    • cream soups may be thickened with béchamel sauce
    • veloutés are thickened with eggs, butter and cream

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