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Sunday, September 11, 2011

“Coffee Shop Favorites, Pt. VI: Chicken-Fried Steak—All-American Truckstop Food from one end of the Nation to the Other”

The Grateful Dead’s fourteenth album “Wake of the Flood,” was released in late 1973 and is the first without Ron “Pigpen” McKernan.  This was a tragic time for the band but they rose to the occasion and began to expand their repertoire with songs like Bob Weir’s “Weather Report Suite.”  It is a phenomenally good album with songs that became classics in their own right and were performed in concert for the life of the band. This is a great CD so by all means, buy this CD!  Please take the handy link to Amazon.com, the world’s largest online retailer and buy it now! You won’t be disappointed!  Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day.





                                                                                   
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                                                   STINKBUG 2011


                                                                                 


Chef Olaf Bologolo

END Commentary 09-12-2011

Copyright © 2011 by MHB Productions

Word Count: 1,887.



CULINARY POLITICS



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Elemental News of the Day Commentary-Opinion-Sports-Foodservice for Monday, September 12, 2011 by Chef Olaf Bologolo

COFFEE SHOP FAVORITES, PT. VI

 Coffee Shop Favorites, Pt. VI: Chicken-Fried Steak—All-American Truckstop Food from one end of the Nation to the Other



Bakersfield, CA, 09-12-2011 M:  Today is my first day back since mid-July and I am happy to be here, having had some time off to go about my business.  But it’s always nice to be here to share with you whatever carrot we’ve been tossed by Stinkbug to do and this time, I have been given Coffee Shop Favorites to continue on for your reading and cooking pleasure.  As always, we try to give you nothing but the best here at the Elemental News of the Day and that means, we want not only you to be a dedicated follower but your entire family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers so come on along and join us! Become followers, you won’t be sorry!

The truckstops of America serve some of the finest food just as did the great American coffee shop industry that has sort of been sidetracked due to the entry of fast food into the mix.  Sure, hotels that operate 24 hours have coffee shops to feed their guests, its part of their contracts to operate.  Both coffee shops and truckstops are really pretty much the same; the former being located within the city limits while the latter is usually on the environs of the city.  Sometimes, like in Bakersfield, CA, or anyplace on the 99 Freeway headed north of Bakersfield, the truckstops are many times smack-dab in the center of the whole damn place!

So, when I was a young person working as a busboy in a hotel’s restaurant, I had an opportunity to eat everything that my mother never fixed at home: patty melts, fish-and-chips, clubhouse sandwiches, and chicken fried steaks.  I had no idea what half of this stuff was so when I had an opportunity to have my employee meals, I would go to the coffee shop, peruse the menu, and put an order for my food.  I always made it a point to eat everything on the menu, even the “Ocean Burger” which was something I had never ever seen before and you know what? I enjoyed my culinary education! Especially the chicken fried steaks, I had seen them advertised on many a coffee shop sign and had always wondered what the heck this “chicken fried steak” was?  Well, I found out that it was a piece of beef, run through the tenderizer machine which in and of itself is a unique piece of equipment.  The tenderizer is a standard piece of equipment in most restaurants and butcher shops and it features twin rotating blades each festooned with many blades that a piece of meat is dropped through from a safe distance so as the operator to not get his hands or fingers caught.  The meat is immediately lacerated by whirling blades countless times and comes out the other end a tenderized cubed beef steak.  It’s a wonderful invention that’s been around for more than one hundred years and it tenderizes a piece of meat that might otherwise be tougher than shoe leather and unusable unless ground up for hamburger or chili meat.  Even better is that bits and pieces can be pressed together and when it comes out the other end, it’s a uniform piece.  These cuts are then used for cubed beef steaks, chicken fries, Swiss steak, and cutlets. 

So, to make the chicken fried steak, we then take one of these tenderized pieces of steak trim, bread it as if we were breading chicken pieces for the deep-fryer, and then cook it in plenty of oil on either the flat-top griddle or in a skillet.  It is then submersed in country gravy, either the traditional white country gravy or the less-popular red-eye gravy which is Southern cuisine at its best, usually derived from ham or bacon drippings.  We will present you recipes for BOTH today as well as the chicken-fried steak so if you’re ready, let us begin:

SEASONED FLOUR





1. About 2.5 cups:


Qty.
Measure
Item
Other
2.5
Cups
All-purpose flour

1
Tablespoon
Cayenne pepper

1
Tablespoon
White pepper

1.5
Tablespoon
Hungarian paprika

1.5
Teaspoons
Granulated garlic

1
Tablespoon
Kosher salt

2
Teaspoons
Parsley flakes




Method:

1.      Combine all ingredients together and store in an airtight jar, baggie, or whatever else and either keep at room temperature or in your freezer until needed.

It’s important to have a seasoned flour recipe for breading different foods and this is a good one.  You will use this recipe many times.

CHICKEN-FRIED STEAK



Yield: 4 servings / Mis-en-place: about 30 minutes:


Qty.
Measure
Item
Other
4
4-5-ounce
Beef cubed steaks, tenderized

Seasoned flour

.5
Cup
Whole milk

3
Each
Large AAA eggs

.75
Teaspoon
Lawrey’s seasoned salt

.5
Teaspoon
Lawrey’s seasoned pepper

.5
Teaspoon
Granulated garlic

2
Teaspoons
Freshly minced parsley
Rinsed



Method:

2.      Dredge the cubed steaks in the seasoned flour and place in the fridge.  In a bowl, beat the milk and the eggs together, beating well, and then force through a fine-meshed sieve into another bowl.  Add the seasonings and blend well.

3.      Dip the steaks into the egg-mixture and allow the excess to run off and then transfer each back into the flour mixture and turn over.  Press into the seasoned flour and turn over and press again.  Shake off any excess and place in the refrigerator for several minutes while you heat some oil in a heavy-bottom skillet or on a flat-top griddle.

4.      When the oil’s hot, place the steaks within it and cook.  Cook on both sides, until each side is a golden-brown and then transfer to plates with a bed of country or red-eye gravy underneath each one. Accompany with mashed potatoes and buttered green peas and sprinkle freshly minced parsley over all. Serve and enjoy!

5.      Note: this is where you use the small pieces of steak trim from top sirloins, New Yorks, and even filet mignons by combining them together and running them through a meat tenderizing machine.  Be sure to marinate them in a little bit of salad oil with some Adolph’s meat tenderizer for the best results.

This is the classic Chicken-Fried Steak one finds in every truck-stop across the United States.  It is a delicious dish, done like chicken but using beef and fried in a skillet or on a griddle.  Millions of these are served every single day across the nation so keep this recipe in your recipe book as you will be using it again and again.   Here’s the White Country Gravy:

WHITE COUNTRY GRAVY





Yield: about ONE quart / Mis-en-place: about 30 minutes:




Qty.
Measure
Item
Other
3
Ounces
Sausage links, chopped

.25
Cup
Vegetable oil

.5
Cup
All-purpose flour

3
Cups
Whole milk
Hot
1
Tablespoon
Cracked black pepper

.75
Teaspoon
Kosher salt




Method:

1.      Place the chopped sausage in a heavy-duty saucepot that’s been sprayed with PAM or some such other food release spray. Set over medium-high heat and begin rendering the grease, stirring occasionally.  Add the vegetable oil.

2.      When it’s hot, add the flour and stir in to form a roux and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring almost constantly.  Then, pour in the milk, whisking all the while, to form the sauce.  Allow it to bubble for a minute or two, stirring constantly, and then lower heat to a simmer, add the salt and pepper, and keep warm.

This is the classic white country gravy that’s served with biscuits and chicken fried steaks.  This is one you will always want to have on hand, especially if you’re a professional line cook working in a coffee shop.  If you’re a graveyard cook, it’s important to have a good biscuit and gravy recipe as that can either make or break you. Finally, here’s the Red-eye Gravy:

RED-EYE GRAVY





Yield: about 1.25 quarts / Mis-en-place: about 30 minutes:




Qty.
Measure
Item
Other
4
Strips
Thick bacon, chopped

1
Tablespoon
Hungarian paprika

.125
Cup
Vegetable oil

.5
Cup
All-purpose flour

5
Cups
Whole milk
Hot
1
Teaspoon
Kosher salt

.25
Teaspoon
White pepper



Method:

1.      Place the chopped bacon and the paprika in a heavy-duty saucepot that’s been sprayed with PAM or some such other food release spray. Set over medium-high heat and begin rendering the grease, stirring occasionally.  Add the vegetable oil.

2.      When it’s hot, add the flour and stir in to form a roux and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring almost constantly.  Then, pour in the milk, whisking all the while, to form the sauce.  Allow it to bubble for a minute or two, stirring constantly, and then lower heat to a simmer, add the salt and pepper, and keep warm.

Red-eye gravy is one of those that is somewhat Southern in style and flavoring and is not found everywhere outside the region.  We used to do it in California at a country club in order to do different things but up until then, I had never seen it. You can use this with your biscuits, chicken fried steaks, and even fried ham steaks.

As my good friend, Chef Goldie “Goldfish” McNamara said yesterday, I have had a great time today and as always enjoy my opportunities to write for the Elemental News of the Day. We urge our readership to write to us and leave comments and if there are any of you, who would care to write an article for us, please get in touch via Magnolia Hilltop Brewers, P.O. Box 20669, Bakersfield, CA 93390-0669.  We obviously don’t pay anything but you will be given a full byline and that’s worth its weight in gold.  We want as many people who want to write to be able to do so and we believe that by presenting a forum for our fellow chefs, we are doing something for our beloved industry.  We love diversity and hope to add new and different authors to our pantheon of chefs, food and beverage directors, and culinary professionals.  Come on and join us, it’ll be fun!

Please remember to avoid doing business with AARC Technology in Bakersfield, CA.  These people don’t care about the small customer anymore but instead put all of their attentions onto their corporate customers. It’s sad to not remember why one has the success they do or from where it came.

Hoorah! We have made it through my first post since mid-July when I gave you the recipe for Chicken Breast Sauté ala Normande.  Now, I’ve given you another “chicken” recipe, albeit Chicken Fried Steak.  It’s fun no matter what topic we get to do because Stinkbug pulls them out of his hat and tosses us the series he now wants us to do.  It’s up to us to step up to the plate and lay something wonderful on you.  It’s exciting in a way as most of us have performed in different arenas than in the American truckstop.  However, were we to get fired or forced back into the work arena; we would have to take whatever job became available just to feed the family.  If I had to go to work in a truckstop, baby, I would be there in a minute!   Anyhow, please leave some comments and/or become a follower and why not spend some money and purchase an album by the Grateful Dead and/or buy a cookbook from Amazon.com.  We are allied with them and are pleased to market their merchandise! See you next time around! Bye!    

PEACE!

Olaf Bologolo

CEC, ACF, Washington State Chefs Association, Retired 


This is a photo of me taken at an ACF Convention back in the early 1960's when I was a representative from our California chapter. Anyhow, I'm a great deal older than this picture now but that's what we're doing, sharing OLD pictures of all of us. I'm still a handsome guy, however!

---30---

END Commentary for Monday, September 12, 2011 by Chef Olaf Bologolo



Please note that everyone who writes for the Elemental News of the Day is their own person entitled to their own opinions, attitudes, and insanity so does not necessarily speak for all of us.  Thanks, Stinkbug.

REFERENCES:

This original essay was authored by the one-and-only Chef Olaf Bologolo

Recipes created by Chef Olaf Bologolo on August 09, 1973 in Wasco, CA.

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This is #962, a 24” x 36" original oil painting by Beverly Carrick entitled, “Deep Purple." It's among her more beautiful works and is available for sale. You can see much more of her work at her Website, located at http://www.beverlycarrick.com or at Brian Carrick's Facebook page. At her Website, you will see not only more original oil paintings but also lithographs, giclees, prints, miniatures, photographs, and even her award-winning instructional video entitled, "Painting the Southwest with Beverly Carrick." Beverly has been painting for more than 60 years and is known around the world. Her work hangs in private and public galleries and is followed by a great many fans that circle the globe. We urge you to go to her Website NOW and view her work. It's possible that you will find something you like and will want to buy it for yourself, a friend, a loved one, or a neighbor! You will not be disappointed so please: do yourself a favor and go there IMMEDIATELY! Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day!

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