Dear SOS: I would love to have the recipe for the bread pudding served at the Grill restaurant in Beverly Hills. It's just about the best ever.
Dear Jon: Anyone who loves moist bread pudding will adore this version with whiskey sauce. Yummy.
GRILL BREAD PUDDING
2 cups evaporated milk
1 cup regular milk
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 cups diced bread
1/4 cup raisins
1 1/2 cups diced apples
Combine eggs, milks, sugars, butter, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Blend well.
Arrange bread evenly in 15x9-inch glass baking dish and pour egg mixture over. Mix in apples and raisins and let stand 15 minutes.
Push bread down so most is covered by mixture. Cover pan with foil. Place in larger pan in oven and fill bottom pan with water.
Bake at 350 degrees 1 hour, removing foil for first 30 minutes of baking. Custard should be firm when done. Let cool. Serve with Whiskey Sauce. Makes 6 servings.
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons evaporated milk
2 tablespoons whiskey
Place sugar in 2-quart saucepan and brown over medium heat to make caramel. Add water and lemon juice to browned sugar and bring to boil.
In separate bowl, mix cornstarch and milk and add to boiling mixture in pan. Bring to low boil over medium heat and cook 2 minutes. Add whiskey. Serve warm.
Dear SOS: What have you on Chicken Fried Steak?
Dear Frances: Quite a bit, depending on what you want. The recipe? I was interested in learning that in some parts of the Midwest and Texas, Chicken Fried Steak is an institution, filled with lore and mystique, just like chili. You just don't tell a die-hard chicken fried steak lover how to cook his chicken fried steak any more than you tell a "chili head" how to cook chili.
Chicken Fried Steak is not chicken at all, but a thin, less tender cut of beef steak that you make as tender as chicken breast by pounding it to a pulp. Then you dip it in egg, dredge it with seasoned flour or bread crumbs, quickly cook it in beef fat and serve it with thick meat gravy to go with the biscuits you need to sop up the juices.
Some cooks insist on putting cube steak (also known as breakfast steak, round steak, or minute steak) through the tenderizing machine twice, first in one direction, then in another, to thoroughly break down the tough fibers. Otherwise you buy any extra-thin (anywhere from - to 1/2-inch thick) steak that has been or can be pounded with a metal mallet or even a less effective saucer.
Correctly tenderized, according to one Ft. Worth cook, Chicken Fried Steak can be cut with a fork. Some Midwest and Texas cooks use egg and bread crumbs to coat the beef. Others cringe at the thought. Some restaurant cooks add water to the cooked meat to produce the gravy, while others wouldn't dream of adding water.
Not that Chicken Fried Steak is confined only to the regional Midwest. I've had Chicken Fried Steak as far east as New York City, where it was served with mashed potatoes, and as far West as Los Angeles and at a truck stop near Barstow, where it was served with gravy so thick you could plant petunias in it.
That may not be an Iowan's idea of good Chicken Fried Steak gravy, but it's certainly not my idea of bad Chicken Fried Steak gravy, especially when the biscuits are the size of tennis balls. Whatever your preference, here is a recipe that is fairly standard, depending on where you're standing.
CHICKEN FRIED STEAK
4 (3- to 6-ounce) 1/2-inch thick round steaks
1 cup seasoned flour
1 egg, optional
1 cup fine dry bread crumbs, optional
Shortening, lard or oil
1 1/2 cups milk, about
Pound steaks, using metal steak mallet, to 1/4-inch thickness. Dredge well with seasoned flour. Or, beat egg with enough water to make wash. Dip steaks into egg wash to coat and then into bread crumbs to coat well.
Heat 1/3 cup shortening to about 375 degrees. Add steaks and pan-fry about 5 minutes, turning once. Remove steaks and keep warm.
Add 2 tablespoons shortening to pan and heat until melted. Add 2 tablespoons flour, using up any remaining seasoned flour from dredging. Stir and cook until smooth.
Add 1 1/2 cups milk and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to simmer, reduce heat and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, adding more milk if necessary to make gravy of desired consistency. Makes 4 servings.
Dear SOS: My husband's doctor suggested that he eat some form of oats at least once a day to help lower his high cholesterol level. None of my cookbooks have a recipe for oatmeal muffins. Could you help me and many others who are sick of rolled oats for breakfast every morning.
Dear Katherine: Oat bran is the cereal touted as having especially good cholesterol-lowering properties, so why don't we give a recipe using oat bran, which can be found at any health food store?
OAT BRAN MUFFINS
2 1/4 cups oat bran
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup raisins
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup nonfat milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons oil
Combine oat bran, brown sugar, nuts, raisins, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Add milk, eggs, honey and oil and mix just until dry ingredients are moistened.
Fill paper-lined muffin cups almost full. Bake at 425 degrees 15 to 17 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 12 muffins.