Friday, March 4, 2011

chicken fried steak with a side of stress…

so, I posted yesterday that I was going to make the pioneer woman’s recipe for chicken fried steak for dinner last night. thought I would report on the results…

ultimately, it was good dinner. a very good dinner. it was yummy. I cleaned my plate. the end.

whether or not I will add this to my regular repertoire, remains to be seen.

I was not a fan of making this dish.

partially, it was bad planning. I thought I had things well-prepped. in fact, I did have things well-prepped. I’m not sure how much more well-prepped I could have been.

I read the recipe and saw that it would take approximately 25 minutes to cook. so I didn’t want to start too early. dave was planning to get home around 6:15, so I started cooking around 5:45. everything was pretty much ready to go before that. my veggies were in the steamer, ready to turn on. my potatoes were peeled, cut, and just starting to simmer. egg bath and flour plate were ready to go, just waiting for the meat.

so, in all honesty, I really don’t know what went wrong. somehow or other, it took me almost twice as long as it was supposed to to make this, and the whole experience was quite stressful.

here’s why:

  • I know I’m not a super-expert-foodie-type, but I fail to see how 2 1/2 minutes of browning on each side will fully ‘cook’ a 3/4 inch piece of cube steak. maybe if you like your meat rare, but I’m one of those types of people who likes to avoid food poisoning, so therefore, I cook my meat. ALL THE WAY. so I browned the meat for close to twice as long as it called for and what was running out of it was still red. I wasn’t overly concerned, though, because it was meant to be kept warm in the oven while I made the gravy… I just turned the temp up a little on the oven. no worries, by the time I put it on the plate, it was not pink.
  • perhaps I put too much flour in the gravy at the start, but I COULD NOT get the gravy thin enough. I kept adding and kept adding more milk, but it still resembled somewhat solidified cement when I spooned it onto the meat and potatoes.
  • it made a colossal mess of holiday-dinner proportions. this is just a personal thing, here, but I hate messy cooking. I’m the person who tries NOT to slop and spill as I’m cooking, and if I do, I try to wipe it up right away. if I use a lot of bowls, pots, or knives while I’m cooking, I try to wash them as I go, so I don’t have a huge mess to take care of after dinner (I have to reserve my cleaning up energy for cleaning things like toys and children and the rest of the house…). this was enough of a high-maintenance dish that I could do little more than dump stuff into the sink. plus there was the splatter factor, which meant that I had to wipe down everything (including the handle on an upper cupboard that was covered in gravy, somehow). oh, and then there was this little incident:

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  • by the time I finally got everything to the table, I was uptight and unpleasant, which resulted in dave and I getting into a rare fight. so not worth it. I hate it when I’m mean to him.
  • after resolving this, the food was cold and had to be microwaved.
  • micah refused to eat anything but the carrots on his plate (of course), and layla ate her veggies, her potatoes, and 2 bites of meat that she managed to scrape the “goo” off of, and then complained and refused to eat the rest because I had the audacity to put gravy on her meat.

but still, it was very yummy. so I may be stupid enough to try it again some time… more fully prepared. there was nothing hard about it. I can brown meat. I can mash potatoes. I can make gravy… I think that it just has a high orchestration factor that I was not expecting… you know, because I was not blessed with the gift of foresight.

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