Southern Special

Hello, my faithful EVOOers! I’m back! Sorry for my month long hiatus, I was finishing up my first year at FIT, moved off campus into a beautiful apartment in Hell’s Kitchen, went on vacation, and now I am back and ready to serve up some more laughs and new food every week! Our first week back is a good one: the Southern Special meal featuring: Chicken Fried Steaks with Creamed Pan Gravy and Biscuits, Southern Green Beans, and Quick Chocolate Banana Cream Pie. I don’t know about you guys, but to me nothing gets the summer started better than some southern comfort food. Time to see if my new kitchen can stand the heat of Rachel Ray.

Now, since I moved from Chelsea, I no longer have Trader Joe’s within walking distance to me 😦 Sadness. There are a few grocery stores near me, so I guess I’ll have to try them all out to see which one gives me the best deals. The first on my list is the Food Emporium. This grocery store has such great proximity to me. It’s only one block away! Yes, It’s a long block but still so freaking close, I love it. Today at 5 I headed over. The Food Emporium is like a normal grocery store; I knew I’d be able to find everything there…and I did! I think this was the first time I have ever been able to find everything in one place. Although, there was a price to pay for getting everything in one place…a little bit more expensive tab. Oh well.

Once I got home, Alyssa and I chopped some things up before Mel arrived. She even brought some ingredients with her. I love her.

Finally, it was time to test out my new kitchen. One of my favorite things about this kitchen is that it has this awesome island. It’s the perfect spot for chopping. My stove and oven kind of freak me out, though.

1. The stove is a gas stove, and I don’t know, gas stoves are just weird. I prefer electric.

2. I was apprehensive about my oven because it would not heat  when I tried to make bagel bites the other day. First world problems, I know, but I had to try the stove again to make the biscuits, and it worked like a charm this time. I guess it just needed to be broken in!

While the biscuits baked we prepared the steaks. I told Alyssa and Mel that we had to pound the steaks. I pulled out my big ass mallet, and they just stared in disbelief. Mel even said “…That could be a weapon…” We pounded those steaks thin, then coated them in a flour mixture, and soon enough they were ready to be fried.

We had 3 different burners running on the stove: 2 for steaks, and 1 for the green beans. Who knew that because of that we would set our smoke alarm off…not once, not twice, but 3 times!! Thank God we aren’t in Alumni Hall anymore or there would’ve been a number of very angry people as we evacuated. We just opened up all the windows, and Mel fanned the smoke detector until it stopped saying “Fire, Fire, you have a fire.” Seriously though, what is EVOO if something crazy like that doesn’t happen?

The one recipe called to cover the steaks and let them cook for 15 minutes… the only problem was we don’t have any lids. My parents are sending the lids, they’re just not here yet, so our makeshift lids were baking sheets. I know, it was such a smart idea I found on the internet 🙂

The steaks, beans, and biscuits cooked marvelously. The only thing left was to make the gravy, which was a little difficult due to the fact that we had to makeshift a whisk with a wooden spoon…Whatever, we made it work. Amy came over just in time to eat and we dug in!

After a month, it was finally time for the moment of truth. 3..2..1.. I’m pretty sure all of our taste buds were dancing, especially Amy’s. Now, I’m not one for green beans (actually I’m allergic to them…oops) but these were actually pretty good! The bacon and onions meshed perfectly and there was a hint of sweetness too. The biscuits…must I say anything about them? Biscuits are never a bad thing, but when they were topped with that gravy…woooweee that gravy was darn tootin’ good! My steak was also delicious, a little bit too well done for me, but still good. Everyone loved everything, Amy went up for fourths on the beans she loved them so much! Chela came home, but didn’t join in our happy food dance since she’s a vegetarian (she brought home Melt Shop which is hella good too) and Madison came over as well. The only people missing were Ashley, because she was at work, and Nicolette…it was so weird not having my sous-chef with me for the first time 😦

After we ate dinner, I had to run on a dog walk, so I trusted everyone to make the pie while I was gone. I managed to burn the pie crust a bit before I left though. When I came back we had a beautiful Banana Cream Pie. I was putting the finishing touch of shaved chocolate on top when I drop the whole chocolate bar into the whipped cream… go Mare. Mel saved the day, though, and made the pie all pretty. Instead of us all getting our own slices, we all grabbed spoons (I grabbed my measuring spoons cause we ran out of regular spoons) and we dove into that pie. The whole thing was gone in under 5 minutes.

Now for the hardest part of the blog: rating the food. The Chicken Fried Steaks with Creamed Pan Gravy and Biscuits receives ♥♥♥♥ (4) hearts. We all loved everything about it, it truly was delicious, I just think it would have been better if the middle of the steak was a bit pink. the Southern Green Beans gets ♥♥♥♥ (4) stars also. Aside from Amy, the rest of us really weren’t big fans of green beans, but these ones were surprisingly good. Finally the Quick Chocolate Banana Cream Pie receives ♥♥♥♥ (4) hearts. Another great dessert, but it was just missing that special something to give it 5 hearts. Altogether, it was a fabulous Southern dinner with fabulous NYC friends. I’m excited to see what adventures my kitchen will endure this next year. I’m hoping to film a cooking adventure for you all soon. Thanks for keeping up with my wild cooking shenanigans!

Until next week!

-Mary Honkus

P.S. Shout out to Amy for the awesome food pics!