Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Celebrating Country Cooking Month

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By Chef Diane

Every week after church I have lunch with my parents.  We usually have soup or something light, and once a month we eat out.  Last month, the Sunday before my birthday, my father cooked lunch.  He made one of my favorite meals.  Chicken Fried Steak with milk gravy, real mashed potatoes, butter beans and buttermilk biscuits.  I was sure we were celebrating my birthday a few days in advance.
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Living in the South, most people cook "country" foods.  It always fascinates me to learn what people in other parts of the country eat for dinner.  I have a friend who's Italian, so he eats a lot of Italian foods.  I have a friend who lives in Boston, and he eats a lot of seafood.  I have a friend in California, who eats a lot of "health" food, and another friend who lives near the big city, and eats out often.
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But I was raised on "Country" food, and that means black eyed or field peas and cornbread, Fried Chicken, chicken and dumplins, catfish, ham and tater salad, biscuits and gravy and some peach cobbler for dessert, then wash it all down with a gallon of sweet iced tea.
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In today's world it is so easy and fast to hop down to the burger barn and grab a burger and fries...with a side of pink slime...but this is Country Cooking Month, so why not run to the nearby Piggly Wiggly, or other grocery store and buy the fixins for a real country meal.  To start you off...I’m gonna share my daddy's secret for delicious country fried steak and milk gravy recipe with you.

Country Fried Steak

Swiss steak
Olive oil


In a cast iron skillet, heat up olive oil, enough to fill the pan almost half full.   Next, take your Swiss steak and dip it in a bowl of buttermilk, make sure it’s covered.  Next, dip it in a bowl of flour that has been salted and peppered.  Press down to make sure it’s coated well.  Then place on a cooling rack to let set.  Test your oil to make sure it’s hot enough.  To do this sprinkle a little of your flour in there to see if it sizzles.  When it is ready, place your steak in the oil.  You can fit about 3 pieces in there.  After 3 minutes, flip over, careful not to splatter hot oil on you.  Let cook another 3 to 4 minutes...then remove and place on paper towels.    When all the steaks are cooked, pour out most of the oil; leave a little in the pan, about a tablespoon.  Add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of flour, stir up then add about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk.  Stir over low heat until thickens.   Pour over steak and enjoy!

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