24 April 2011 – Go West Young Man

It has been a few years since I last took a road trip. Longer still since I did it for fun. Last weekend I accepted the always open invitation to visit my older brothers ranch located slightly north of the geographical center of the Great State of Texas.

The recent news talks about Texas burning from border to border with drought fueled wildfires and amazingly powerful thunder storms with the occasional tornado. I thought I would venture out and see what was going on. Continue reading

20 March 2011 – BBQ Fajita Tacos after Midnight

BBQ Chicken Fajitas

I always try to keep some fresh flour tortillas on hand. Just in case I get hungry in the wee hours.

The sleep schedule was off  a couple days ago and I awoke fresh as a daisy in the midnight hours. The stomach was growling such that I had a concern that I would wake the neighbors so I made a quick snack with the help of some fresh flour tortillas.

BBQ Chicken Fajitas

17 March 2011 – War Birds or Fried Birds

I had kind of an interesting day yesterday. My plan was to go out to the Air Power Expo 2011 over in Ft. Worth and post some War Bird photos here. Alas, I awoke with a stiff back and just was not sure if I was up for 8 hours of carrying my gear around with no chance to rest my back. I was also put off by the declaration on the Air Power Expo site that said that no bags would be allowed. Thus, making it far more difficult to carry two camera bodies and several lens. So my decision was made – No War Birds.

So, what to do? I hadn’t been over to cook for the folks in nearly a week so why not go over and cook some tasty fried birds? Those that know me know I am a fan of Chicken Fried Steak and hope to enjoy it once every month or so. However, I just had it about a week ago so yesterday was just too soon for a revisit. So I decided on something nearly as good. Chicken Fried Chicken. If you are unfamiliar; around here anyways, it is a boneless chicken breast floured and battered and then pan or deep fried. As for the sides it is the usual cast of characters. Last night it was shoe peg corn, green beans an iceberg lettuce salad and the mandatory mashed potatoes and peppered cream gravy.

With CFS I just use a seasoned flour as a dredge and pan fry the steak in a skillet with a small amount of oil. For CFC I go a step further and dredge in seasoned flour, then dip in a milk and egg batter, and finally dipping it in seasoned Panko bread crumbs (I am a big fan of the Panko these days). The chicken is then fried in a skillet with about a 1/4 inch of oil until golden brown.

Chicken Fried Chicken

Chicken Fried Chicken

Chicken Fried Chicken

Chicken Fried Chicken

I have now seen some of the video and photos from the air show I missed and I do wish I had been there but sometimes you go with the flow. Here is a link to some footage from the air show.

2011 Air Power Expo

11 April 2011 – It was Left Over

A quick post tonight.  Last night I made one of my favorite dishes. Chicken Fried Steak … mmm. It is rare to have any leftovers because it is just so darned tasty and the dog has these “you must feed me” brown eyes.

I did however have some leftovers last night and decided today to do something with it. But the question is what to do. Allow me to embarrass myself and explain what I normally do with leftover CFS. I eat it straight out of the fridge …. you heard me. I kind of snack on it between meals or kind of make a time lapsed event of it.

Chicken Fried Steak Sandwich

Chicken Fried Steak Sandwich

Same thing happens with left over pizza.

This time I just decided to make a sandwich of it and it was great but would have been perfect if I had had some Miracle Whip on hand. You know … the stuff that makes Thanksgiving leftovers taste oh so good.

A couple slices of sourdough, some onion and chive cream cheese, leftover mashed potatoes and CFS.

Well, the core of it was stellar and by that I mean the CFS. But as a sandwich I guess I am just too particular to give it a full thumbs up.

Chicken Fried Steak Sandwich

Chicken Fried Steak Sandwich

10 April 2011 – Introduction to CFS

Thursday I got a call from my Mom. Just to let me know that she had some cube steak and that I could come by if I wanted. Hint #1.

Saturday I received another call from the matriarch letting me know that there was cube steak to be had should I choose and that she could set it out to defrost.  Hint #2.

Twice on Sunday afternoon I received calls from my Dad who was just curious if I was gonna come by and perhaps enjoy some cube steak or should they make other plans. Hint #3 and final hint.

Well I don’t have to be hit over the head more than several times to get the message that some good people were anxious to have some CFS – Chicken Fried Steak to the uninformed.

And since it had been at least a couple months since I last made it, I was ready to go. Continue reading

06 March 2011 – A Bit of History was Delivered Tonight

Do you have a favorite restaurant that seems to defy the odds, economy and time itself?

I could probably name at least five restaurants that have opened and shut down in the last year and a half that are within two miles of me. It is a shame but it is survival of the fittest and it gives me a much greater appreciation for those that hang in there year after year.

When I was a kid growing up on the dusty streets of Texas we had very little idea of what Italian food was all about. As far as Italian at home there was the occasional spaghetti dinner or maybe a can of Chef Boyardee for lunch on a weekend. We never made pizza at home or any other more complicated Italian dishes.

Once a year or so we would go as a family to the only Italian restaurant I was familiar with back in the late 60’s to late 70’s. As I recall this place was steeped in history, mystery and shady characters who knew even shadier characters. It was fun to go there for several reasons.

  • We knew we would be safe because Mom and Dad were with us.
  • Dad knew the owner personally.
  • We always went on one of our birthdays.
  • We never had to wait in line (there was always a line) and got to enter through the side door.
  • When it was a birthday the owner would make an individual pizza for the birthday boy or girl and always topped it with one of those trick candles that you can’t blow out.

This place has a bit of history to it. It was founded as Campisi’s Egyptian Lounge in 1946 and later named Campisi’s Egyptian Restaurant. It was one of the first restaurants to receive a liquor license in Dallas. The founder, Joe Campisi was to my recollection an affable, likable guy who enjoyed showing people a good time and worked hard to make sure his guests had a good time on their visits. Continue reading

04 April 2011 – I Thought I Knew Corned Beef & Cabbage

I really thought I knew a thing or two about corned beef and cabbage. Mom would make it a few times a year. Growing up Mom was trying to feed a houseful of kids on a budget and if I recall correctly she often used the canned corned beef. Occasionally she would buy a corned beef brisket but mostly it was the canned variety. Either was fine with me and a corned beef and cabbage dinner was the only way I would willingly eat cabbage.

We have Irish roots and somewhere along the way I got it in my mind that CB&C was something akin to an Irish National Dish. After all if you ate it on St. Patrick’s Day … what else could it be? Continue reading