First of all, never try a new dish for a dinner party. I haven’t made that mistake for a very long time. My rule was always to try a recipe first (unless I make one up, and I try it first as well) as written.
Now I had this surprise dish that turned out to be OK, not great, for my Texan husband. The butchers had to talk to each other to figure out the best cut of meat for the Chicken Fried Steak. I ended up with top round (on sale) and hit it with the heavy flat pounder before messing it up with the Medieval cruncher.
My mistakes were: substituting rice flour for regular, but the seasonings of garlic powder, ancho chili powder, salt & lots of pepper were spot on; substituting buttermilk for milk; and not using eggs. The batter just didn’t adhere as it should.
Sometimes I think cooking allows one to make mistakes. I know that whatever I make will taste good, it just may not look perfect. Neither do I, so for 13 years I’ve had a “guinea pig” husband to try things out. Yes, he’s gone from man caves with one frozen dinner (from his mother) and a 72 oz. Dr. Pepper and individually wrapped string cheese with wrappers going from the frig to his computer, which he made from scratch of course. The computer, not the cheese.
Now he critiques everything I do in the kitchen and even helps out sometimes. Don’t worry, I always set him up with everything on the other side of the island. That’s why we always have to have an island, and comfy stools to sit on. But as a string cheese maven, he now opines on 4-5 year cheddars and says I made him a food snob.
The good things about the night’s dinner were my first milk gravy, which is really just a bechamel sauce with lots of freshly ground pepper. My mashed potatoes were terrific. And I decided to saute the baby arugula in olive oil with chopped garlic. I loved it. He called it a bit “stout” in flavor. At least we had some green on the plate and I tried the steak but the potatoes and veg and sauce were my game.
Thank you Ree and Trisha, for giving me Southern inspiration for my Texas guy. Tomorrow I’ll turn Trisha’s biscuits that I messed up a bit into gold. I’ll halve and toast them, cook up some sausages, make eggs and I made a whole extra cup of gravy that awaits re-heating.
What cowboy doesn’t like biscuits and gravy? Dee