Friday, November 26, 2010

Chicken Fried Steak

I watched the episode of Bobby Flay's Throwdown! for Chicken Fried steak several months ago.  In the episode, Bobby challenged Paula Deen to making the best Chicken Fried Steak.  As usual, the show was full of drama, but in the end, Paula Deen came out victorious with the following Chicken Fried Steak recipe.  Now, I am no expert on making Southern food (I am actually must better at desserts) but in honor of the southern cooking, I decided to try my hand at this recipe. 


  • 1 1/2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 (4-ounce) tenderized beef round steak (have butcher run them through cubing machine)
  • 1 teaspoon House Seasoning, recipe follows
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon monosodium glutamate (optional)
  • 1 bunch green onions, or 1 medium yellow onion, sliced


Combine 1 1/2 cups flour and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle 1 side of the meat with the House Seasoning and the other side with the seasoning salt, and then dredge the meat in the flour mixture. Heat 1/2 cup oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 or 4 of the steaks to the hot oil, and fry until browned, about 5-6 minutes per side. Remove each steak to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with the remaining steaks, adding up to 1/4 cup more oil, as needed.
Make the gravy by adding the 2 tablespoons remaining flour to the pan drippings, scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon. Stir in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and the salt. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the flour is medium brown and the mixture is bubbly. Slowly add the water and the MSG, if using, stirring constantly. Return the steaks to the skillet and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, and place the onions on top of the steaks. Cover the pan, and let simmer for 30 minutes.

House Seasoning:

  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup black pepper
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
Yield: 1 1/2 cups 

I think I need to practice cooking more.  When I originally started this blog, one of my goals was to become a better cook, but somehow it morphed into me baking A TON.  Anyways, I had the bf over and we made this meal together.  He made the Mac and Cheese (which turned out fantastic btw) and I made the Chicken Fried Steak.  Being my usual self, this recipe took me two attempts to achieve success.  I bought the wrong cut of meat initially.  I thought that cubing meant actual cubes of meat and I tried to make actual steak using cubes.  This failed miserably.  Thinking back on it, it is actually quite amusing that I thought it would somehow conglomerate and work.  Lol.  At the time though, I was a little upset that I bought the wrong cut.  Cubed steak actually is as follows: Round Cube Steak.  Once I bought the correct meat, the recipe went swimmingly.  It was surprisingly easy to make. 

Overall, I give this recipe 3.75 out of 5 stars.  I made the recipe without MSG.  One of my complaints with the recipe was the amount of House seasoning you make above.  It is a ridiculous amount.  Cut it down by at least one fourth of that and that is how much is actually necessary for this recipe.  However, despite my complaints, the steaks tasted pretty good.  The breading managed to stay on and the brown gravy was an excellent addition in small quantities to the steaks.  I hope to try my hand at more cooking in the near future.  :)      

Friday, November 19, 2010

Lemon Bars

I have been trying to expand my repertoire beyond the regulars.  I found this recipe on the Food network's website it is by Ina Garden.  Why Lemon...well one it is a sour fruit that fills desserts with a goodness that can't be matched by anything else.  I hope you enjoy making these Lemon Bars as much as I did.

For the crust:
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt

For the filling:
6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour
- Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add the butter until just mixed.  Dump the dough onto a well floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2 inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2 inch edge on all sides.  Chill.
3. Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned.  Let cool on a wire rack.  Leave the oven on.
4. For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour.  Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set.  Let cool to room temperature.
5. Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners' sugar.

I made these lemon squares several weeks ago and I give them a 3.7 out of 5.  The squares were good, but I was a little weird-ed out  by the lemon zest within the bar itself.  Was it really necessary to bite into lemon zest?  Did it really add that much to the flavor?  To answer these questions, I surfed the web... Lemon zest is the skin of a lemon peeled with a specific grater.  Apparently, the zest contains an oil that adds a specific flavor to food.  As it is cooked, it releases the oil into the food making it awesome.  Some websites say it is ok to use an oil substitute for zest, but I am skeptical.  I may have to test it out.  In addition, there is a small chance...just a small one that I am not grating my lemon zest thin enough?  Any thoughts? My second thoughts on the bars was they were a little too lemony.  I know the name is Lemon Bar, but I think there could have been a balance.  Despite all of my negative comments, the bars are quite tasty, unhealthy and fun to eat.  Enjoy!