Saturday, August 29, 2009

Crabby's Crazy Crumbles




What do you do with the crumbs and small pieces that are left in a bag of tortilla chips? You make my Crumbles!!

This recipe is very simple:

1 microwave safe plate
1 sharp kitchen knife

Approximately 3/4 to 1 cup crumbs and small chips
1/2 cup mozarella cheese
1/4 medium size onion, frenched
1 slice American Cheese
1/4 cup Taco Meat
Garlic Powder to Taste
Cayenne Pepper to Taste
Black Pepper to Taste
Ground Cumin (Comino) to Taste

1. Put crumbs and chip pieces in plate, spread evenly.
2. Add a layer of mozarella cheese.
3. Mix to distribute cheese.
4. Add Pepper, Garlic Powder and Onions.
5. Add some more mozarella. Layer on the Taco Meat.
6. Tear American slice into 4 long strips.
7. Place strips with one end in the center, going out towards the edge of the plate - one at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock positions.
8. Sprinkle on the Cayenne Pepper and Comino.
9. Microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until cheeses are melted and gooey.
10. My favorite step - pull out your fork and enjoy.

Monday, August 17, 2009

White Milk Gravy

Gravy is one of the most versatile foods on the planet. This simple mixture of fat, flour and milk is what REALLY makes Chicken Fried Steak (Country Fried Steak) so awesome. I know that some folks like to put brown gravy on this, but you gotta try the white stuff - as the saying goes, "try it, you'll like it."

Gravy can be put on more than steak. It goes on mashed potatoes, chicken, biscuits, toast, and sausage to name a few. I have tried putting this stuff on just about everything, including a flour tortilla - don't knock it - makes a goooooooood burrito! Mix it with a little taco meat and it is one of the best fillings around. If you like salsa, throw it in too!! I normally love cheese in my burritos - with gravy in there, you don't even miss it.

Anyway, I will try to keep from drooling all over the keyboard and I will give you a simple recipe and method for creating this versatile sauce. This is one of my childhood favorites. Growing up in New Mexico, I had lots of family members that made great gravy. I always thought that milk gravy had to be white, so my first exposure to milk gravy that was brown shocked me.

One of my aunts liked brown milk gravy and on one of my visits she "burnt the flour" on the gravy - I was only about 6 and I was mortified! She ruined the gravy! My aunt was very kind and made a second batch of "normal" gravy for her shocked nephew. I will always remember this and will state to you that the level of caramelization you give the flour is a personal preference - it is a key ingredient in some soup bases. (Yes, gravy makes an awesome base for a soup - thick and rich - just add your flavoring items to it.) So much for the story - recipe time...


1 skillet or deep pan - at least one to two quart capacity
A spoon or wire whisk for stirring


one half cup of oil - preferably drippings from sausage, bacon, or fried chicken**
one half cup of all purpose flour ***
Milk to thin the gravy with - this varies - so get a couple of cups to start with
Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. Place the pan on a large burner on the stove set to medium heat.
  2. Put Oil in the pan, let it warm for a minute then add the flour. Mix with the spoon or whisk to form a Roux (this is the key to a lot of sauces - equal parts of flour and oil).
  3. Stir the mixture until it bubbles and the flour is as brown as you like.
  4. Reduce your heat by half then SLOWLY add a little milk, stirring quickly with your spoon or whisk. You should have a thick paste forming. If you add the milk too quickly, you will get a bunch of lumps. Small lumps are easily dissolved, but big ones make lumpy gravy. The goal here is to make a paste. Keep adding milk until the paste starts to become thin enough to still cover the back of a spoon.
  5. Add salt to taste.
  6. Now that the hard part is done, and you have a thin gravy, you want to bring the heat back up to medium and bring the liquid in the pan to a good simmer. You MUST stir constantly at this point to keep the flour from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Once the gravy reaches a light boil, it should be getting close to being fully thickened. Note: It is easier to dilute the gravy rather than to boil it long enough to thicken a really thin gravy.
  7. The key item in this process is to get rid of the pasty taste of the flour. Once it is fully cooked you need to add your final salt to it and finally, your pepper.


Always remember that a Roux is one-half flour, one half oil - simple, but good! This is how you control how much gravy you are making.

**(I like to make chicken gravy after frying my buttermilk chicken, just get some of the fat out of the pan, making sure to get any loose crumbs that are dark brown, NOT black.)

***if you have some leftover dredging flour from frying chicken, remove any lumps and use this stuff - why waste it?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Buttermilk Drop Biscuits

A couple of days ago I promised to give the recipe for Buttermilk Drop Biscuits. This is a favorite of mine and is a spin-off of my Mom's recipe (she used regular milk). If they are done right, the outside is crunchy with a soft inside - mmm, mmm, good! So much for my gabbing, you want the recipe, so here it is:

Utensils (Hardware, for you computer folks):

1 or 2 nine inch cake pans or a cookie sheet, preferably non-stick
2 quart (or larger) bowl for mixing dough
fork for mixing dough
measuring spoon


2 cups of All Purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder (you may substitute 1 tsp of baking soda if you don't have the powder)
1 and 1/4 to 1 and 1/2 cups buttermilk (original recipe uses milk, buttermilk just makes them better)

  1. Place oven rack in the middle position, then preheat it to 425° Fahrenheit. Once oven has come to temp, mix dough.
  2. Put flour, salt and baking powder into bowl. Mix with fork to distribute the baking powder and salt into the flour more evenly.
  3. Add 1 cup of buttermilk, use fork to mix together. Add enough of the remaining milk to the dough to make it slightly sticky to the touch - you may have to add more or less milk due to the humidity, the moisture in your flour, etc. Mix ONLY ENOUGH to make the dough come together into a ball. If you overmix the dough, you will make a tough, chewy thing that I really don't consider a biscuit - it is more like a bagel or pizza dough, but not near as good.
  4. If you have nonstick pans, parchment paper or silcone mats, go to step 6.
  5. Put some vegetable oil in the pans to avoid sticking.
  6. Using a spoon or your fingers, tear off pieces and form into small balls about 1 and 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter. The larger the biscuits, the longer the cooking time. If you make them too small, the center will not be soft and chewy.
  7. You should end up with around 10 biscuits.
  8. Drop each ball into the cake pans or on the cookie sheet. Leave at least 3/4 of an inch or so between each biscuit to allow for them to rise. (You don't want them to run together, as this ruins the crunchy part of the biscuit.)
  9. Place them in the oven. They will take between 15 to 20 minutes to bake. Remove when there are small brown areas on them (see photo). It is rare to have really even browning, unless the dough is fairly dry, but that results in a dry biscuit, too.
  10. You can brown them further if you like, just be careful not to overcook, as the centers will become very crunchy, too. (I will sometimes do this if all I am wanting them for is biscuits and gravy. I break them into little pieces and mix into the gravy - crunchy and delicious!)
  11. If you want to butter the biscuits, you need to do this while they are still hot. Just be careful when hadling them, OK?
Here is a photo of the resulting fare:

I thank you for checking out my recipe. Check out other items in this blog.
If you need computer help, hints or tips, go to my website at Crabby's Place.
May you have a wonderful day, and God Bless!