Sliced Heirloom Tomatoes
Update: Last nights dinner was scrumptious! I have a few notes regarding the recipes and changes that were made.
Old Bay Deviled Eggs: delish. Loved the touch of celery on the top. Thanks Mike & Ann!
Chicken Fried Steak: I used the top round that was suggested and prepared it two ways. At the grocery store I had the butcher “cube” half of the steaks and the other half I tenderized as was shown in the recipe. Tip: use plastic wrap over the meat to keep all of those juices from splattering everywhere. I breaded and fried them just as the recipe recommended but I seasoned all of the meat with salt and pepper before they were breaded for some depth of flavor. The one that I tried without preseasoning just wasn’t as tasty. My observations about the two different styles of meat prep were that the tenderized, machine cubed steaks were just better. The hammered-by-hand steaks were tougher and they did not hold the breading as well. The white gravy was decadent.
Fried Okra: Oh, the fried okra. I was a bit panicked on Sat. morning. The grocery chain that had carried okra no longer had it available. I headed out early to the Regional Market in Syracuse and was so thrilled to find one farmer with tons of it. Nice and fresh… score! Decided to fry the okra outside on the grill’s gas burner after cleaning up the chicken fried steak aftermath in the kitchen. (I am a messy cook when it comes to anything with flour.) While frying my okra I noticed that Paula Deens’ breading recipe did not have any cornmeal in it as my grandmother used to make it so I added a handful… perfect. The last time I have had decent fried okra was in her kitchen in Mississippi about 8 years ago. Needless to say those tasty nuggets transported me back home. I snacked while I was frying and chatting with our company and sat down to dinner alittle, well…. full. Just like when I was little and got in trouble for snaking before dinner constantly tasting what was headed to the table.
I thought about the okra all morning in church today! Don’t tell the pastor. We had some pods left over and I’m cooking them for dinner tonight. I hope this kids like them… but if they don’t, more for me. I usually don’t fry anything. But when okra comes in season to Central New York, I think I must fry from now on. Moderation. Right?
Sliced Heirloom Tomatoes– nothing says summer like that. Perfection on a plate.
Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes: my new favorite mashed potatoes. There is little that Ina Garten does that I don’t love. Thanks Rick & Joann!
Black-eyed Peas: My suggestions regarding the link to Emeril’s recipe… no ham hock- only a couple of slices of bacon, no celery, 1/2 the garlic and 1/2 the thyme that the recipe calls for. Add plenty of salt and pepper and hot sauce if serving over rice. We eat these every couple of weeks. A staple in our house.
Corn Bread: Well, I got a surprise when making the corn bread linked above. There was no flour listed in the recipe! Now, our friends were here and I was trying to listen to conversations, get the okra fried and stay on focus… not an easy challenge for me! This was a new cornbread recipe- I usually make the cornbread on the back of the little round Quaker box. I didn’t feel like I could take the chance so I added a cup of flour thinking that somehow it was omitted in the recipe. The cornbread came out fine but I will probably go back to the normal recipe I use considering cheddar cheese just doesn’t seem right unless there are jalapeno peppers in there. Call me crazy.
Bourbon Pecan Pie: SO good. The fresh whipped cream helped to cut the sweetness of the corn syrup. Usually when I eat pecan pie I feel like my teeth are going to fall right out of my head from the sugar. A lovely visual, I know- but its true. Thanks Mike & Rita!
We had a nice blues mix playing… some B.B. King and Muddy Waters. A fun evening with great friends. Every dinner we post a question and answer it around the room (4 couples). It has been a great way to get to know each other better. Farmboy asked “What brings out your Hillbilly Bone?” (referring to a popular country song). The answers were revealing and hysterical.