Tag Archives: cast iron skillet

Texas Chicken-Fried Steak with all the Fixin’s

17 Feb
Chicken Fried Steak with all the Fixin's

Chicken Fried Steak with all the Fixin’s

We are hosting a foreign exchange student (Caroline) from France for three weeks, so my blogging has been (and will be) a bit spotty as we try to entertain her and introduce her to the “American” style of living. And part of that experience includes food, of course! So far I’ve made crock-pot beef stew (which I have yet to ever blog about), my Garlicky Parmesan Chicken Tenders, and my hubby made her Huevos Motuleños. She’s also experienced the All-American hot dog and fries (Nathan’s All-Beef Jumbo, of course).

But the grand-daddy of an All-American meal (in my book) is good old-fashioned Texas Chicken-Fried Steak with all the fixin’s. (Meaning, mashed potatoes, peppery cream gravy, and green beans.) I posted my recipe for this over two years ago, then reblogged it later but never took a new photo, so figured it was a good time to dust it off, upgrade the photos and add a little more detail to the ingredients and steps. And the bonus to this is I instructed Caroline on how to make all this and she did it all herself (with some guided supervision). She did great! And we all cleaned up our plates and she absolutely loved this meal. I think you would too! I’ve included quite a few photos with this one, as it was fun being able to photograph someone else doing the work. 🙂

Chicken-Fried Steak with all the Fixin’s

4 to 6 russet potatoes, 3 tablespoons butter, and milk as needed
4 to 6 cubed steaks, or round steaks, tenderized
3/4 cup flour
Generous amounts of ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Salt, to taste
2 eggs with splash of milk
1 1/2 cups milk
Reserved flour (about 2 tablespoons)
Vegetable oil for skillet
Fresh green beans

First peel those potatoes and get them boiling in a pot of water and cook for about 20 minutes. Go off and do something else during this time.

Peeling the Potatoes

Peeling the Potatoes

When you get back from whatever you just did, keep the potatoes boiling. Mix together the flour and the seasonings to taste on a plate. I had Caroline add a lot of black pepper. Beat the eggs with the milk in a bowl.

Preparing Egg and Milk Wash

Preparing Egg and Milk Wash

Whisking the Eggs and Milk

Whisking the Eggs and Milk

Dredge the steaks in the flour mixture until coated, then dip in the egg mixture to coat. Dredge the steaks once again in the flour until coated well  (your fingers will get nice and clumpy at this part) and set aside on another plate or rack. Reserve the extra flour mixture for the gravy.

Dredging the Cubed Steaks

Dredging the Cubed Steaks

Check your potatoes at this point, and if done, go ahead and drain them, return to pot and whip them up with the butter and enough milk to make them creamy. Cover and put over lowest heat setting possible.

Double-Dredged Cubed Steaks

Double-Dredged Cubed Steaks

Whipping the Potatoes

Whipping the Potatoes

Next, heat about an eighth- to quarter-inch of oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, preferably cast iron, until hot, but not smoking. I used two cast iron skillets so we could cook six steaks all at once, but you could also do this in batches in one skillet. Very carefully set each steak in the hot oil with a spatula.

Let the steaks sizzle in the oil for about four or five minutes, until you see red juice bubbling out of the top. Carefully slide the spatula under each steak and gently flip them over. Fry for about another five minutes until crispy brown, turning down heat if needed to prevent burning. Remove the steaks from the skillet and drain on paper towels. Turn heat off of skillet. This is a good time to start cooking your green beans, too, however you prefer to make them.

Frying the Cubed Steaks

Frying the Cubed Steaks

For the cream gravy, pour all but about two tablespoons of oil out of the skillet (or one of them if using two) and make sure the crispy bits stay in the pan. Add the reserved seasoned flour into a jar, then add the milk. Cover, and shake, shake, shake that baby until all the flour is completely incorporated.

Adding Milk to Flour for Gravy

Adding Milk to Flour for Gravy

Turn the heat back on to medium high under the skillet with the oil, then slowly add the milk, whisking constantly, until the gravy starts to thicken. Add lots and lots of more pepper at this point, and salt to taste. Continue whisking until the gravy is the consistency you want, adding more milk or water if it gets too thick.

Whisking the Cream Gravy

Whisking the Cream Gravy

Put the chicken fried steaks on each plate, pour a generous amount of cream gravy over them, and serve with mashed potatoes and more cream gravy, and fresh steamed green beans with butter (or vegetable of choice). Crazy Texas Good!

Chicken Fried Steak with all the Fixin's

Chicken Fried Steak with all the Fixin’s

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Coffee-Infused Upside-Down Banana Baba au Rhum

5 Feb
Coffee-Infused Upside Down Banana Baba au Rhum

Coffee-Infused Upside Down Banana Baba au Rhum

Once again, a big shout-out to all the wonderful folk who voted my last recipe through to the final round of Diced! This next round had me a bit nervous, as I don’t have much of a sweet tooth and don’t do a lot of dessert dishes. So I had to rely on finding some other recipes that I could cobble together to come up with something “original” that included the three required ingredients: Coffee, Bananas, and Brown Sugar. The voting won’t open for a few days so I’ll post a linky when it does.

The day I got the ingredient list, I also got the latest edition of Southern Living in the mail. (Yes, I love my print magazines!) And lo and behold, way in the back of the issue was a coffee-flavored bundt cake called Baba ah Rhum. Bingo! But there were no bananas to be found in that one, so had to go find another recipe that used bananas as a dessert. I ran across an interesting upside-down banana tart on Chow’s website but it used a pastry dough as the crust. I started thinking about how I could combine those two, and settled on scaling down the bundt cake and using the cake instead as the “crust” for the bananas.

For the coffee, I decided to use a dark roasted coffee called “Amen Again,” which is hand-roasted and delivered to your door by Dan over at Coffee on the Porch website. He makes a lot of great coffees, so stop on by there and check out his selections. Link to Coffee on the Porch here.

Amen Again Coffee Beans

Amen Again Coffee Beans ~ From Coffee on the Porch

There was a lot of hand-wringing and fretting as I whisked, combined, simmered, and baked each step of the dish. And oh my gosh, it came out just incredible! The coffee infusion into the cake and bananas helped tone down the sweetness and the dollop of ice cream on top of the warm cake and bananas made for a heavenly dessert. (Which I ate, by the way, BEFORE my dinner.)

Although technically Baba au Rhum is made with rum, I had to make this kid-friendly so my daughter could eat it, so left out the alcohol. Either way, leaving it out sure did not make any difference in how delicious this came out!

Coffee-Infused Upside-Down Banana Baba au Rhum

For the Banana Topping:
1 stick of butter (8 tablespoons)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup strong-brewed coffee
1 large cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large almost ripe bananas
Juice from 1/2 large lemon
Vanilla bean ice cream, for serving

For the Baba au Rhum:
3 large eggs, separated
5/8 cup granulated sugar
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons finely ground coffee
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/8 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
1 cup brewed coffee
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Coffee Syrup

Coffee Syrup with Cinnamon Stick

In a deep-sided cast iron skillet, melt the butter over medium high heat, then add the brown sugar, coffee, and cinnamon stick. Stir continuously until it starts to boil, then reduce heat down and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Remove the cinnamon stick and remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Now slice the bananas on the diagonal, then mix them and the lemon juice gently into the coffee syrup in the skillet. I’m assuming the lemon juice is to keep the bananas from turning brown. I found there was way too much syrup, so I removed about 1/3 cup of it at this point. You can arrange the slices in a pattern in the skillet, but I just pushed them around to cover the bottom of the skillet. Now it is time to make the cake batter.

Slicing Bananas

Slicing Bananas

In a large bowl, whisk together the yolks and white sugar until it is thick. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, ground coffee, and salt. Add it to the yolk mixture until blended. It’s pretty thick at this point but the next step loosens it up. Stir in the melted butter and milk and mix until blended.

Using an electric hand mixer, whisk the egg whites in another bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold about one-third of the egg whites into the yolk batter. Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites until combined, but don’t over-mix it.

Pour the batter evenly over the bananas and syrup. Place skillet in preheated oven, and bake for about 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Baked Upside-Down Cake

Baked Upside-Down Cake

Meanwhile, add coffee and brown sugar to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened. Set aside until cake is done, and reheat slightly just before removing the cake from the oven.

When the cake is done, remove from oven, and let sit for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Pierce the top of the cake all over about 20 times with a skewer. Pour all but about a half a cup of the syrup evenly over it. Now comes the scary part. Using oven mitts, place a large platter over the skillet, then quickly flip the platter and skillet upside down. I held my breath as I lifted up the skillet. (Did you hold your breath with me???)

Upside Down Banana Cake

Upside Down Banana Cake

WHEW! Not too bad. Only a few of the bananas stuck to the skillet, so I simply unstuck them with a fork and replaced them to the top of the cake. Beautiful!
Serve slices of the warm cake with vanilla ice cream, pour some of the extra coffee syrup over it, and dig in! Just heavenly!

Coffee-Infused Upside Down Banana Baba au Rhum

Coffee-Infused Upside Down Banana Baba au Rhum

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Crispy Fried Chicken Livers with Cream Gravy

3 Feb
Frying the Chicken Livers

Frying the Chicken Livers

Oh my word, my tastebuds and thoughts are oozing Texas right now! I took the opportunity while my hubby and daughter were gone to make a decadent mound of crispy fried chicken livers with homemade cream gravy that just made my heart sing. (It’s probably also about go into cardiac arrest, but I’ll worry about that later.) I almost always ordered these at Threadgills when I lived in Austin, and I’ve been craving them for quite some time now. The only problem is my family can’t stand chicken livers and I’m forbade to stinky up the house with this little indulgence of mine when they are around.  Now I know, just like cilantro, you are either in the liver-lover or liver-hater camp. I’m sure I already lost those in the latter camp when they read the title, but they are forgiven. (Hey I wonder if there is a correlation between cilantro haters and liver haters? Something to ponder…)

Frying up a batch of chicken livers and cream gravy is another one of those things that just comes to you naturally when you’re from the South Texas. I didn’t have to look up a recipe, I eyeballed the amounts, and just cooked them as surely as putting on a pair of shoes. I wanted to say boots, but my poor feet can’t fit into them anymore. Anyways, I pretty much danced around the kitchen when I made these, literally. I forgot how much they pop and splatter! I started out by using my splatter screen, but even that was not enough to prevent a major grease event on my countertop and pinging me in the face and arms a few times. I quickly put on a solid pan lid after fearing for my camera as I was trying to set it up on my tripod for a shot. I took the chance and quickly snapped off two shots of them frying, and luckily the camera survived and the photos came out OK. Actually they ended up being the best shots! One of my other shots includes a very suspect chicken liver, reduced in size so as not to gross you out too much. All the other chicken livers were a nice vibrant reddish color, and this one just looked pale and anemic. That chicken must not have eaten his vitamins. I didn’t even bother giving it to my dog, it kind of scared me. It went down the disposal.

Anemic Chicken Liver

Anemic Chicken Liver in Front

I had every intention to make some smashed taters with these and wilt up some baby spinach as sides, but seeing as I was in an indulgent mood, I skipped them altogether and gorged myself silly on these instead. I promised myself to eat nothing but greens for lunch the next day and double up my morning shower exercises. I felt better already just thinking that!

Fried Chicken Livers with Cream Gravy

1 pound chicken livers
1/2 cup or so of flour
1/8 cup (or so) of cornmeal
Lots of ground black pepper, to taste
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Mrs. Dash or salt, to taste
1 egg
Splash of milk
Vegetable oil, for frying, about a 1/4-inch deep in skillet
1 cup milk

First, rinse off the chicken livers then drain and pat dry as much as possible. The drier they are the less they will pop and spit at you, but that won’t prevent them from splattering once they start frying, let me tell you! Next add the flour, cornmeal and seasonings to a plate and mix’em up. The cornmeal was an afterthought. I like to use it with my chicken-fried steak and said, what the heck, and grabbed the box and tumped some into the mix. My husband thinks “tump” is a funny word. He’s not from Texas, obviously.

In a bowl, whisk the egg and a glurg of milk. By glurg, I mean just pour a quick bit in and it goes “glurg” if your milk container is full. If not, it will just be a splash. At this point, you can start heating up the oil to medium-high heat in a cast iron skillet or another sturdy one. Put the chicken livers in the egg/milk wash, then one by one dredge them through the flour/cornmeal mixture and set them on another plate. Once you’ve got them all coated, your oil should be good and hot and ready. Using tongs, slowly add them to the hot oil. (Don’t throw that extra flour out on the plate yet! You’ll need it for the gravy.) Have a lid ready to cover them up as soon as they are all in. Trust me! At your own risk, peek in at them around three to four minutes later. These puppies don’t take that long to cook up! Now comes the scary part. Uncover, shield your eyes, and quickly flip them over using your tongs and cover right up again. Don’t be surprised if the lid actually pops up a bit. For a spell it sounded like firecrackers in my house! Another three to four minutes later, turn off the heat and slide the pan off the burner. Uncover, and remove to a plate covered with paper towels to drain.

Fried Chicken Livers with Cream Gravy

Fried Chicken Livers with Cream Gravy

While the chicken livers are draining, whisk up the cup of milk with about a tablespoon of the flour/cornmeal mixture left on the plate I told you to keep. Forgot to save it or didn’t have enough? No worries, just add a tablespoon of fresh flour. Pour off all about a tablespoon of the oil in the skillet and keep all those crispy bits in the bottom of the pan. Put the skillet back on the burner and turn to medium heat. Slowly whisk in the milk mixture, stirring constantly, until all the oil is combined and it’s thickened and bubbly— it takes just a few minutes for this. Season with lots of additional pepper and a little salt, if you want. Since hubby was gone I also added some salt seeing as I was in a risky mood anyways. Serve the chicken livers with the gravy, and dip them liberally into the gravy and eat with your fingers and be in heaven.

Skillet Cornbread…the only way!

2 Jan

Skillet Cornbread...special thanks to Colleen for the photo update!

I live in the Pacific Northwest but all I’ve been providing are recipes about Southern food. Be patient, that will change. Oregon has a wonderful bounty of local foods I’ll be sharing soon, along with some very colorful stories! But since the holidays revolve so much around food we grew up with, I just happen to be making those kind of dishes right now. Which leads me to what I made last night to accompany the Black Eyed Peas I posted the recipe for yesterday.

Today I provide you with Skillet Cornbread. Mmm, mmm. Nothing like a hot skillet of cornbread right out of the oven slathered in butter. I must say that after last night’s meal, I’ll need to start eating some seafood and lighter fare.

Truth be told, you can really only make cornbread the proper way in a hot-oiled cast iron skillet. It’s just the way it is. Now you can change out the ingredients, add some things, take things out, use whatever recipe you want, but if you don’t heat the oil in the skillet in the oven first, you just won’t get that nice crispy crust on the bottom — the best part! Last night I added some crumbled bacon bits to the mix. Add diced chili peppers for extra kick too, if you want.

Skillet Cornbread

1/4 cup of vegetable oil or bacon grease
1 cup of yellow corn meal
1 cup of flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup of milk or buttermilk
1 egg

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Add the oil or bacon grease to the skillet and put in the oven.
3. Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
4. In a small bowl, beat the egg and milk together.
5. Pour the wet mix into the dry and stir until well blended into a batter.
6. Take skillet out of oven (with a hot pad!) and pour the hot oil into the batter and mix well.
7. Pour the batter into the skillet, and cook for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean of the center.

Note: Some of you may have noticed the lack of sugar in the recipe.  If you like “sweet” cornbread, you can add about 1/4 cup to the dry ingredients.

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