That said, a few things to share:
Make THIS Over
Been getting to see daytime tv shows I (mercifully) don't normally get to watch. Maybe it's like when everything tastes salty because you're not used to eating salt, or maybe it's just a guy thing, but it seems as if every program during the day is making some middle-aged woman over. I have no problem with self-improvement, finding a new hairstyle that is more flattering than your current one, etc. Those are normal things, even healthy ones. What I'm seeing on a daily basis, though, is more like a parade of full-grown women who believe in their esteem-deprived hearts that some expert-to-the-stars can provide a new hair cut, make-up or style of dress that will validate their lives with meaning and purpose, and who have the encouragement of a cheering studio audience to prove it. One particularly henious example (won't mention the show, but the host normally does things that are yum-o) had women telling a stylist what "star" they admired, and the stylist made them over in that celebrity's own style. Remember, these aren't 14 year old girls showing up at a Mylie Cyrus concert dressed like Hannah Montana. These are grown women who have families, jobs, and the right, though perhaps not the stability, to vote.
It comes down to one of my favorite quotes, years old but completely timeless, from the funny and brilliant Brett Butler: "If you wait till you're rich and famous to be happy, you're screwed."
Hard as it is to believe, there is finally something Sarah Palin and I agree on: it would be a great thing for this country if Levi Johnston would just go away, never to be seen or heard from again. It's not an easy thing to emerge as a bigger sleaze (and one less qualified for fatherhood) than Jon Gosselin, but despite the odds Johnston has managed it.
This Isn't a Cooking Blog, But...
For some reason, the other day I found myself wanting some Chicken Fried Steak.
For readers outside of the U.S. (and probably some American readers too), Chicken Fried Steak - also known as Country Fried Steak - is one of the truly great comfort foods of the south. It may be described as follows:
- a steak that has been "tenderized" (a genteel culinary term for having the living daylights beaten out of it by a stressed cook wielding a spiked hammer that looks like something out of a horror movie or fetish shop) then dredged, breaded and fried in the style of fried chicken, and finally smothered in gravy; and
- an irresistably delicious meal whose fat and salt content will eventually kill you.
The catch, of course, is that having cholesterol issues, I don't fry. (Truth be told, I've made three or four attempts at frying things. In a cosmic effort to keep me from eating fried food, all failed miserably. Frying is a lot harder than it looks.) My desire for Chicken Fried Steak being strong, however, I set out to find a healthier, "oven-fried" version.
First I needed a base recipe from which to work; since I was looking for a southern dish whose fat and salt content will eventually kill you, I knew to check Paula Deen's recipes first. Taking her fried recipe as a starting point, I changed it to use the oven-frying methods I've been putting together from various sources and experience. I'm proud to present the result below. It came out right the first time, and that's something of a rarity for me.
When serving, make frequent use of "y'all" (a southern form of the more familiar New York "youse") and the adjective, "big ol' ".
Country Over-Fried Steak
Yield: 4 servings
4 – 4 oz. tenderized thin cut steaks
¾ cup Panko
¼ tsp fresh ground pepper
Seasoning Mix: 1/2 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp fresh-ground pepper, 1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 cup buttermilk
3 - 4 cups beef gravy
½ bunch green onions, or ½ medium yellow onion, sliced for topping
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place baking sheet in oven to preheat.
- Combine Panko and ¼ tsp black pepper in a 1 gallon zip-lock bag.
- Combine seasoning mix ingredients and season both sides of the steaks. Dredge each steak in the buttermilk, shake off excess, and coat with Panko, pressing crumbs in. Let coated steaks rest in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes
- When steaks have finished resting, spray preheated baking sheet with cooking spray. Place steaks on the baking sheet and spray tops lightly. Bake until coating is golden brown and crispy, about 20 - 25 minutes, turning half-way.
- While steaks are baking, prepare gravy using any preferred recipe. When gravy is ready, add the steaks and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Reduce the heat to low, put onions on top, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Serve with mashed potatoes, smothering both with gravy.