When I put together the menu for the month of August I included the United States in the party hat the names of counties was picked. As luck would have it the United States was pulled from the party hat. I wondered what would be an all American meal to make for dinner: hotdogs, hamburgers, barbecue… I then realized that these dishes have their beginnings in other countries.
Sticking to my parameters of picking from one of the two cookbooks I came across Fried Chicken. One of my favorite foods to eat but one that I have never attempted to make. My mom made the best fried chicken, perfectly crispy and juicy meat, the crunch sound was just as it should be for the first bite.
There is an art to frying food that ave not mastered. To fry something so that it is crispy and fully cooked depends on a perfect oil temperature and timing. This is not my area of expertise. So I did the next best all American thing I could think of and I picked up fried chicken from the grocery store. To round out the meal I made green beans and mashed potatoes.
Just the other day I saw one of the food videos (the ones that someone makes a meal that was filmed in real time but sped up so that you will watch it on Facebook without taking too much of your time) of smothered green beans. It look so yummy. This is not that.
- Green beans – any amount you would like to make a little or a lot
- Cut the ends off of the green beans.
- Cut the green beans in half or keep them the length they are.
- I cut mine so that my son can eat them and not bite off a piece and spit the other half onto his place. He understands how a knife works but using his teeth is easier.
- Cook the green beans in a pot that accommodates the amount of beans you are cooking. Add water to the pot until the water is halfway up to the beans.
- Place the pot on the stove and turn the heat to high. Cover with a lid and begin doing something else.
- When you hear the water boiling check the beans and turn down the heat.
- Cook on medium until they are a lovely shade of green. You want them cooked, crispy and not soggy. The difference between crisp and soggy is 30 seconds.
- Cut the ends off of a clove of garlic and remove the skin.
- Cut the clove in half.
- Place the clove in a mortar and pestle and add salt.
- Break the garlic up using the pestle until you like the consistency.
- Add the the green beans. If you would like a little more salty flavor add a few drops of soy sauce or liquid aminos.
Making this dish is about making something to your taste. The amount of garlic I like may be more or less than you like. The amount of salt you like may be more or less than I like. Green beans are easy and naturally taste good – they can stand on their own. Adding salt and garlic is something that heightens the flavor. This is an idea on taking it up a notch – making it for you and your family.
- Russet or Idaho Potatoes – the more you use the more you make
- Salt and pepper
- Wash and peel the potatoes.
- Place the potatoes in a pot and fill with water to cover the potatoes.
- Add a dash of salt and pepper.
- Place on the stove, cover, and bring to a boil.
- When the potatoes begin to boil turn down the heat.
- You may need to vent the lid by moving it off the pot to keep the water from boiling over onto the stove top.
- Once the potatoes are tender (you can break them apart with a fork) drain and place the potatoes in a mixing bowl.
- Add milk and butter to your taste.
- Using either a hand mixer or a stand mixer, mix on low and increase the speed to medium.
- Add more milk and butter if you find it is needed.
- Mix until the potatoes are smooth.
There are some items that once you get comfortable making them, they become your. You no longer need to look at a recipe to know how to make them. Cooking is a place to express your creativity, your taste, your likes, it is an expression of you. I follow recipes almost every time I cook because it is easy and it gives my a box to work within. Getting comfortable with ingredients and flavors is where cooking can be fun, even if it is something as simple as green beans and mashed potatoes.