Monthly Archives: February 2012

Chicken Fried Chicken with Cream Gravy

I had the media Dept. come by today to get of shot of my kids in action for the website. The problem was we were cleaning the kitchen today. So I quickly put together a little demonstration and the filming began. The had three of the students prepare chicken fried chicken and a cream gravy to go with it. These were culinary one students and they had never done it before, but they did an excellent job. I got some pictures of the process so I figured I would post it up on here for everyone to give a try.

Chicken Fried Chicken

  • 2         chicken breast
  • 2 C      flour
  • TT      salt, pepper and garlic ( for flour, egg wash and chicken)
  • 2 C      butter milk
  • 2         eggs
  1. Set up breading station.  one pan flour, one pan egg and milk wash with seasonings and one with seasoned flour.
  2. Trim breast and pound to an even thickness. (use a rolling-pin to pound the breast)
  3. Season chicken breast.
  4. Cover with flour in first pan.
  5. Dip in the egg wash.
  6. Place in third pan and coat with seasoned flour. Press hard on the flour and chicken to coat well.
  7. Place breast in skillet of hot oil to cook. The oil should be deep enough to cover 2/3rds of the chicken breast.
  8.   Cook until golden brown. The chicken should reach 165 degrees.

Place the breast in a bag or under plastic wrap when pounding

Flouring the chicken

Looking for a nice golden brown


Cream Gravy

  • 1/4 C   Flour
  • 2 Tbl   Chicken drippings
  • 2 C         Milk
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Place oil and flour in skillet heat and mix to form roux. (for a proper roux mix equal parts of fat to flour by weight)
  2. Stir and heat roux until desired color is obtained. The longer you cook the darker it will become. (heating the flour will get rid of the raw flour taste in your gravy)
  3. Add cold milk and stir rapidly untill the mixture is thickened and smooth.
  4. Add seasonings.

Making the roux

Adding the milk to make the cream gravy

Categories: Entrees, Texas Style Cuisine | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Alpine Cowboy Gathering

West Texas Sunset

Libby and I headed out west to see the boy and enjoy time with friends. The drive was excellent, a beautiful day for the 350 miles out to Alpine. We hit town about 3:30 and went straight to the football field to catch some of the teams workout. When that was finished we greeted John, his friends and a couple of the coaches. We headed to check in at the motel and John headed home to clean up. We had reservations at The Reata for 5:30. now for y’all that have not heard of it is the claim to fame for Grady Spears. Grady is the author of a series of cookbooks on Cowboy Cooking, the most popular I would say is Cowboy in the Kitchen. Now last time we were there I was less than impressed, but this time it was excellent. Sorry for no pictures at the Reata, I was so excited about seeing the boy and celebrating his 21st, which was last Friday, I forgot all about it. The place was packed and we sat out on the patio. It is still a little cool out but with the help of a nice fire and some propane heaters we had a wonderful time. We started out our meal with some bacon wrapped shrimp, served with pico and onion jam. John ordered a New York strip with mashed potatoes and fresh green beans, Libby got the chicken fried chicken with he same sides and I got the carne asada and enchiladas served with rice and beans. The food and service were excellent and we had a wonderful time.

Jeff Gore and some of his family were in for the weekend also, Jeff was performing at the Cowboy Gathering. So we met up with them and had a great visit and we decided to meet at 7:30 the next morning for a chuckwagon breakfast. Saturday started with a beautiful sunrise and a cool temperature of 34 degrees. Jeff, Libby and I were the only ones to wake and make the breakfast. The chuckwagon folks were serving scrambled eggs, biscuits and sausage gravy along with some stout coffee.

One of our host with a big pot of coffee

Might not be gourmet but it's good

Jeff at the campfire getting a coffee refill

A couple of the dutch ovens our breakfast was cooked in

After breakfast Jeff headed to pick up his family and get ready for his performance, Libby and I headed downtown to the Grandada to look over the items in the auction, that was supporting the Museum of the Big Bend. There were many nice items but nothing that got us really excited so we headed down the street to some of the shops on the main drag of Alpine. After picking up John we headed to the Cowboy Grill a new place out on the Marfa highway for burgers. We had a nice meal, then headed to the campus of Sul Ross for some of the cowboy entertainment.

Jeff performing in the University Center

John wanted to have supper at his house instead of going out. So we headed to the grocery store and picked up some supplies for the evening meal. Libby grabbed items for baked potatoes and green bean casserole. John and I went to the meat section and picked up 10 T-bones and 4 New York strips. I had brought some stuffed jalepenos and roasted corn and poblano salsa with me. So we got to John’s and started cooking. Well actuallyl we started cleaning the kitchen so we could cook. John had invited a few of his friends, Jeff Gore brought his family over along with Robert Barge so we started the fires outside and the ladies got going in the kitchen.

Starting the fire in the Texas Hibachi, a barrel grill

The steaks seasoned up and waiting on the grill

Steak Rub

  • Kosher Salt
  • Course Ground Black Pepper
  • Dark Brown Sugar

Steaks are ready and so is the crowd

Rob looks happy

Earnest with a full plate

John enjoying his birthday dinner with friends and family

Saturday finished great. Libby and I headed to the motel, so did Jeff and his family. Robert headed home and the boys laid back and rested a full belly. We will be up early Sunday for church then lunch and head back to Lytle before to late.

Categories: Appetizers, BBQ, Entrees, Grilling, Hors d'Oeuvres, Texas Style Cuisine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Hors d’oeuvres for an Open House

Roasted Corn Salsa

We had never had a Grand Opening for the new kitchen so I had an Open House during Career and Technology month. The kids prepared on Monday and Tuesday, then on Wednesday we entertained guest from 1:00 – 7:00.

We had a large array of guest show up. The superintendent of school, school board members, teacher, administrators, local restauranteurs, friends and parents of the students. A nice group from Ace Mart showed up as well as student chefs from St Philip’s College. It was my pleasure to have Chef John McGinty one of my chef instructors drop by also.

The menu was diverse and did not really follow a theme. I did not realize that it was Ash Wednesday until Monday so we had to add some vegetable dishes. On the grill and smoker we make ABT’s (stuffed jalepenos), Chipotle Bombers (recipe at bottom), various chicken breast skewers. We also smoked a brisket for BBQ sundaes and two pork butts for pulled pork sliders. We made some mozzarella crustinies, cucumber canapes and stuffed mushrooms. We made a roasted corn and poblano salsa and salsa quemada to serve with chips. Dessert was cherry cheese cakes, a mistake, and petit fours. I say the cheese cakes were a mistake because we had planned on serving mini cheese cakes with 4 different toppings. The young man making them did not read the whole recipe so when he saw cherry pie filling he just dumped a can of dark sweet cherries filling and a can of red tart cherry pie filling. We had enough cheese cake for 200 so I was not sure what would happen. The worry was it may not set up, but it did. Once we saw it was set up we topped it with a Chantilly cream. That was the only road bump that we ran into, so it was an excellent day once again.

I will drop in the pictures this evening so drop back by.

Chipotle Bombers

This is an easy recipe, although you can increase every difficulty by making everything from scratch.

  • 10 lbs     precooked 1 oz meatballs
  • 80            slices bacon
  • 1 Gal       your favorite BBQ sauce
  • 1              28oz can chipotle peppers in adobe, pureed
  • 12 oz      honey
  • 1 btl        red wine or 16 oz red wine vinegar
  • TT           fajita seasoning
  • 160        tooth picks

Combine all ingredients and heat to a boil. defrost meatballs and wrap with 1/2 slice of bacon, secure with toothpick. Season meatballs with seasoning and cook 3/4 the way through, about 140 degrees. The time will depend if you are cooking them in the smoker or the oven. Remove meatballs and generously coat with the sauce. Return to oven to finish cooking through and candy the sauce.

BBQ Sundae

This is an excellent and fun dish that is simple to put together.

  • shredded beef brisket
  • pinto beans (I use borracho or ranchero)
  • Coleslaw
  • pickle spears
  • 9 oz clear squat cups

In the bottom 1/3rd of the cup fill with the brisket then add the beans. When you are ready to serve add the coleslaw on top and the pickle spear stuck down the side.  This is a great presentation that takes little time and people seem to love it.

Pulled Pork Slider with Creamy Coleslaw and a Stuffed Jalepeno

Categories: Appetizers, BBQ, Grilling, Hors d'Oeuvres, Texas Style Cuisine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Founders Day Success

Clear Blue Smoke

I have had quite a week. The PTA had me cater their annual fund-raiser. Last year was not exactly a success, So they gave me and my kids a chance to provide the meal. We settled on a plate of brisket, sausage. rice, beans and potato salad for 450 people. Sorry but I did not get any pictures of us in action or any of the plates, but I did get a few of the briskets. I ran to Restaurant Depot Monday morning before school and picked up 267 lbs of superior Angus choice beef. The briskets looked excellent. I also got the fixings for 80 lbs of mexican rice, 75 lbs of ranchero beans and 150 lbs of potato salad. I also got the usual fixings to go along with the plate, jalapenos, onions. pickles, bbq sauce and ice tea.

I got the briskets back to school and showed the kids how to trim them up then we seasoned them with kosher salt, ground pepper and the Big Ron’s original after I did one I let the kids take over and do the rest. We wrapped them up and put them in the cooler for cooking the next day. Tuesday morning I got the pit to school about 4:30 and started the fire. The some of the kids got there about 6:30 and helped load the pit. I ran the fire a little hotter than usual and hotter than I like. We kept the pit somewhere between 275 and 300. The briskets were big and I did not want to spend the day and night up at school. Some of the smaller briskets  were ready after about 9:00 hours, the others were ready about 2 hours later. We wrapped them up and put them in an ice bath to cool down, then into the frig. During the day when the pit was running we cooked the potatoes and diced them up. mixed them with my sauce and cooled them in ice baths and put them in the refrigerator. Wednesday we started off prepping the rice and slicing the briskets. The rice was browned and the onions and peppers were sautéed, seasonings were bagged and everything was placed in the cooler. We also prepped everything for the ranchero beans. This ended Wednesday and we were on schedule. Thursday started quickly, we got chaffing dishes ready all plates and cutlery packs, cups, sweet and unsweet tea was made. The beans went on at high noon, rice in th oven at 1:00, kiolbasa links went in the smoker at 3:oo. The briskets were wrapped in foil along with some broth and put in the oven for reheating. At 4:30 we started loading my cargo trailer and just after 5:00 we loaded the bus, headed to the Boggess Center for the Founders Day Banquette. After arriving we quickly unloaded and set up two serving lines on each side of the venue. We started serving at 6:15 and at 6:43 we had served everyone. Last year the place that catered it took over 2 hours to serve everyone, so they were extremely happy with us. Looks like we have a job for next year.

Fine looking briskets

Trimming up the first brisket

Adding the Big Ron's Original

The kids rubbing a brisket

Briskets loaded on the pit

Looking good and ready to come off

Categories: BBQ, Entrees, Texas Style Cuisine | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Spaghetti, Spaghetti and more Spaghetti

I think 500 plates of spaghetti would qualify for allot. I finished the week up prepping 140 lbs of spaghetti and 30 gallons of sauce. In preparation for a fund-raiser for the band. We par cooked the pasta for 10 minutes and then dropped it into a pot of ice water to stop the cooking. The meat was browned, sautéed the onions, bell pepper and mushrooms. Everything was cooled off and put in the cooler. Saturday morning started early, with pots of water started to boil and the sauce began heating up. Around 9:00 help arrived, we got the steam table going, to go plates ready, garlic bread heating up and the salad washed and ready to go. Just before 11:00 people started showing up and we had plates ready to go. It does not take long to cook the pasta so things can move real fast. The par cooked pasta is dropped in boiling water it only has to stay for about 3:00 minutes and it is done. After straining it went straight to the steam table to be plated. We had plenty of help and everything went real smooth. The band boosters were happy and so were th customers. The students in my class learned allot and the band boosters made some money for their kids. All in all an excellent day.

Pots of boiling water waiting on the pasta

Plating up

Adding the salad

A happy customer

Categories: Entrees, Texas Style Cuisine | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Great Nachos and Excellent Music

I headed out to Cora’s Grill with the wife, daughter and a few of her friends Saturday night. We were anticipating good food and some great music. Waco Richards, a talented young man I have know all his life,  his wife Julie and his cousin Jeremy teamed up to entertain friends and family. Upon arrive we ordered two trays of bean and cheese nachos and something to drink. Now two trays may not seem like much for a party of six, but at Cora’s their large order of nachos come on a cafateria tray. The music was great all the kids, I say kids heck they are all closer to 30 then 20, did a wonderful job. They sang classice rock, honky tonk classics, some modernday hits for the younger part of the crowd and Waco and Julie sang a new song that Waco had written. If your out in West Texas stop by and hear them or catch on of Jeremy’s shows in the San Antonio area. If your up for some excellent nachos take a short drive out of San Antonio and visit Cora’s 471 Grill.

Starting on tray #1

The ending of tray #2

Categories: Appetizers, Texas Style Cuisine | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Spatchcock Turkey

Spatchcock is a great way to prepare poultry. I had never tried to expand it use to a turkey but it turned out fantastic. Spatchcock is a style where you cut out the backbone and the breastbone of the bird you are preparing. You then flatten it out and grill it. it is much faster then a beer can chicken and I believe much more flavorful.

My turkey was prepared by first brining it for 48 hours. I used a classic brine with salt and sugar. Seasoning added were salt, pepper, garlic, cominos, cayenne, and bay leaf. I started the fire using my chimney starter.

Going in the brine.

Starting the fire

While the fire was getting ready, I prepared the turkey. First I cut the backbone out, then the breastbone.

Cutting down the left side of the backbone.

Cutting down the rit side to remove the backbone totally

Cutting down each side of the breastbone

Bones removed

After removing the breast and backbone I seasoned the Turkey using olive oil, salt, pepper, ancho chili powder, cumin, garlic, and spanish paprika.

Oiled and seasoned up

Front side seasoned

Seasoning under the skin

I headed outside with the turkey. The UDS was up to 325, just right. I placed the spatchcocked bird on he grill bones side down.

On the UDS at 325

Closed up the pit, the temperature dropped to 300 a I kept it there for 2 hours. I was not sure about time since this was the first time.

2 hours were enough the thighs were at 174 and the breast as at 165. It looked great.

I was amazed the it was fully cooked after 2 hours

The turkey will go along with the sides. Libby cooked a squash casserole, fresh green beans with mushrooms and corn on the cob. For a warm up before the meal we put on about a dozen stuffed jalapenos. They are the classic, cream cheese stuffing and bacon wrapped.

Peppers on the grill

Off the pit and ready to eat

The meal should be great I will up date when its time to eat.

Categories: Entrees, Texas Style Cuisine | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Bright Minds Deserve a Bright Future

The Pearl Stables were pack tonight at the Harlandale Education Foundation 2nd Annual Scholarship Gala. I believe about $100,000 was raised for scholarships. Chef Johnny Hernandez and True Flavors Catering prepared a wonderful meal. We started with a beautiful spring mix salad, served in a cucumber vase, with an Aged Sherry and Herb vinaigrette.

Our second course as a  Beef Short Rib braised in Mexican Vanilla, Cloves and Cumin. It was served along with a Creamy Manchego and Garlic Risotto and Grilled Asparagus and Carrot Ribbons.

We finished off the meal with a great dessert, called Belle Helen. It was a sweet pear compote with pear financier and a caramel mousse on a crisp almond cookie base topped with dark chocolate drizzle and white chocolate velvet.

The evening was a total success, friends, family, business professionals, educators and alumni all came together to invest in our greatest natural resource. A Young Mind

Categories: Texas Style Cuisine, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blue Corn Chips, Kiolbasa and a Yeti

A qucik week night meal.

We were looking for something quick but hearty. I grabbed four hotdog buns, four sausages and put on some baked beans. I did not want a plain hotdog, so I stepped it up with a polish style Kiolbasa. After getting the beans on to cook I headed to the outdoor kitchen.

After turning on the gas stove, I walked over to the yeti which I had used Saturday. Bingo, there were a few still on ice. I am not sure if the yeti is worth what it cost, but it was great having something cold to drink that was unexpected.

Saturday, 20 lbs of ice a 12 pack of Leinekugel’s a six pack of wine cooler. Wednesday we still have ice and cold beverages.

I grabbed a Leinenkugel Classic Amber and got to grilling. I got back into the house and my wife had the fixings ready. blue corn chips, cream cheese covered with hot sauce, sweet relish, onions, and sharp chedder cheese. This was a quick meal that hit the spot and it did not take long to fix or eat.

Categories: Entrees, Texas Style Cuisine | 1 Comment

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