Friday, January 18, 2008

All-time family favorites

There are some signature dishes that almost every household has -- at least with the kids. With my mom, it was her ham-and-egg casserole (extremely popular after Easter.) With us, it seems to be a country-fried steak and gravy that will make an 8-year-old boy abandon a football game, come inside and set the table for dinner. Even the 5-year-old with the appetite of a gnat can polish off a good helping of it.

That's good eats, right there. And it doesn't get any simpler.

The key is to get nice, thin-cut slices of round steak. They cook quick, brown nicely. Season them with a little black pepper, garlic powder, Season All and a pinch (barely) of cayenne. Dredge them in flour (seasoned quite liberally with Season All) and lightly fry in, what else? bacon grease.

The gravy comes together by adding a tablespoon or two of the dredging flour immediately after cooking to the skillet (cast iron) and concocting a milk-based, pepper-laced elixir from heaven. To go with: black-eyed peas seasoned with sage and onion, green beans (more bacon) and a hunk o' cornbread the size of a Volkswagen.

Actual review from said 8-year-old after eating his second slice, but still sopping up gravy with the cornbread: "Mom, Emeril couldn't make something this good."

No autographs, please.