Well tomorrow is the 4th of July and I can’t believe it! It feels like just yesterday that we were celebrating Christmas!! Half a year has gone by since then and it just doesn’t seem like it! The 4th isn’t just another day we have off; it’s a day to celebrate our country, our soldiers, our freedom, and our family! This year is a little different for us… My mom’s at the beach with my sister and her kids and my dad’s in Texas working hard. So, my brother and his wife are having me and my sister in law’s family over for lunch! I’m bringing a couple dishes that I made tonight and my brother is smoking a brisket and barbequing some chicken. I’m making my famous potato salad and a recipe that I’ve stolen from Christy Jordan’s cookbook Southern Plate. I’m also making a new recipe that no one has tried yet so I’m hoping that everyone likes it because I sure do! I haven’t made the potato salad yet because, most of the people in my family like it warm. Plus, I put onions in it and the onions get stronger as it sits in the fridge!

So, there’s this little bar and grill I go to in Canton. On Friday nights, they have a huge ribeye, fries, onion rings, or tater tots, and a side salad for $20. It’s called the Ratliff Ferry Trading Post and a friend of mine started running it this summer. On Thursday’s during crawfish season they have the SPICIEST crawfish, 4 lbs for $15 which is really good. Anyway… I’ve been super busy lately and somehow, EVERY Friday night, something has come up and I just haven’t been able to make it out to Ratliff. I really hate that I haven’t been able to go but low and behold, this Friday is no different. So, I’ve been craving a good steak for three weeks or so. Tonight, even though I really hated to fire up the grill for one, I had to make me a steak. I went to the grocery store, bought a nice Porterhouse cut steak, and went to work on my marinade. I usually buy ribeyes, but tonight I wanted something a little different. The most important part of cooking a steak is knowing how to pick your meat. If you pick a steak that’s really thin, it’ll be tough; if you have one with too much fat it’ll be grisly and kind of slimy; if you don’t have enough fat, it won’t have any flavor and will be super tough. The thin lines in the middle of the red is called marbling and you don’t want too much marbling; but, you don’t want too little either. That marbling is what melts into the steak and makes it tender and flavorful. Now, I normally wouldn’t call out any brand like this; however, I’ve tried this brand of meat on a couple different occasions and both times they were horrible. Laura’s Lean beef is not a good brand to buy. I know that the thought of lean meat is appealing but you pay way too much  money for this cut of beef for it to be as disappointing as it is! Just don’t buy it! Please! This is an example of a NICE ribeye:

ribeye

Over the years, I’ve been working on perfecting my steak marinade. I used to use a nice garlic butter but I’ve found a new one that I like a little better. Keep in mind, I like to marinate for at least 3 or 4 hours, more if you want. This is what you’ll need:

The Best Steak Ever:

2 GOOD quality steaks,

1/2 cup Dale’s low-sodium steak seasoning,

1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce,

1 tbsp. lime juice (yes lime juice)

1 tsp. garlic salt,

1 tsp. Tony Chacher’s,

1 tsp. white pepper,

1 tbsp. McCormick Cowboy rub.

Put the steaks in a Tupperware container or on a large, deep platter. Mix together the Worcestershire, Dale’s, and lime juice. The acidity in these liquids all help break down the muscle in the steak and make the meat more tender. Pour it evenly over the steaks and using a fork, pick each steak up and coat the bottom in the marinade. Now mix the salt, Tony’s, white pepper, and cowboy rub together. Sprinkle generously over the top, then flip and sprinkle the other side. Cover and let sit for 3-4 hours in the refrigerator. Take them out about 20 minutes before you’re ready to grill them. Now, I can’t really teach you how to grill. There are too many factors of it. I use a charcoal grill, I like it, I feel like it’s more of a challenge. Other people don’t like it as much and that’s ok. With a charcoal grill you have to be careful of the temperature and how long you cook it depends on two things: the temperature of the coals and keeping the top of the grill closed! “If you’re lookin’, you’re not cookin’,” keep that in mind! Stack the coals in a circular mound, if you buy coals that need lighter fluid, spray the lighter fluid judiciously, and let the coals sit for about 5 minutes. If you don’t need fluid you can go ahead and light it… After the 5 minutes is up, light the coals. Wait for all the coals to be totally white and the flames to die down, about 20 minutes, and place your steaks on the grill, over the coals. I like to sear my steaks, with the lid open, for about 2 minutes on each side. Then depending on the temperature of your grill and how you like your steaks, cook for about 7 minutes, flip, cook the other side for 7 minutes. This will give you a nice medium temp. I’ve heard you should let the meat rest for 10 to 15 minutes before you cut it, but let’s face it, it looks way too good to wait that long!

photo 1

Ya’ll everyone in my family loves devilled eggs. I’ve never cared for them that much… let me re-phase that, I like the middle, I don’t like the egg white. It’s just kinda slimy. I’m big on textures and anything that’s too slimy just grosses me out! But, I’ve made devilled eggs a few times and I realized it would be really good in potato salad, so I used it in potato salad and added ranch dressing mix. Well, I have chronic tendonitis in my left shoulder and one day, while cooking, it was killing me. I didn’t know if I could stir the potato salad all together and have it mixed well enough, so in a stroke of genius, I decided to mix all of it together without the potatoes first. It looked and smelled so good that I had to taste it and when I tasted it I realized I had made the perfect, tangy, dip. THEN, I realized that I had basically made an egg salad, haha! So! Once I realized it was basically egg salad, I didn’t feel like much of a genius but I still really liked it as a dip; besides, every time I hear or say egg salad, I think of that scene in The 40 year old Virgin and I can’t even take myself seriously! 🙂 Anyways, this is what you’ll need for Devilled Egg Dip/Ranch Egg Salad:

Devilled Egg Dip/Ranch Egg Salad:

8 eggs,

1/2 a small onion,

1/2 cup good quality mayonnaise,

1 tbsp. mustard,

1 tbsp. dill relish,

1 tbsp. Tony Chachere’s,

1 pkg. Ranch Dressing, dry mix.

First, place all eggs in a boiler and cover with water. Turn on medium to high heat. Once the water starts to boil, leave it boiling for about 12 minutes, then remove from heat and immediately put into cold water. Once the eggs have cooled down, peel the shells off. House keeping tip: it’s said that putting eggshells down your disposal will sharpen the blades. Chop the eggs up, dice the onions into very small, fine pieces, and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir well and serve! I liked it with Frito Scoops but you can also serve it with Ritz crackers or Wheat Thins. This is really salty and tangy and would make a great sandwich as well. You can leave out the ranch seasoning or only put in half to reduce the sodium content. Let me know what ya’ll think because ya’ll will be the only ones other than me that have tried it… until tomorrow at least. 😉

eggdip

Now on to the Pound Cake! For my birthday a couple years ago, my best friend in the whole world gave me this cookbook called Southern Plate by Christy Jordan. She uses a lot of recipes similar to what I grew up with… One of them was Aunt Sue’s Pound Cake. I made it one time and paired it with homemade whipped cream and macerated strawberries. I had no choice but to make it again and again after that. My whole family fell in love and asks for it all the time. My sister in law’s sweet, sweet Nonnie even offered to pay me to make one for her. That sweet lady! She makes me smile! It’s recipes like this that just make ya feel special. Now that I know she loves it so much, I make it for her any chance I get. She was in the hospital recently and I made up a cake and sent a couple slices to the hospital with my sister in law, Lauren; we didn’t tell her I was sending it. Well, I was supposed to have sent it the day before and something came up; so the next day when Lauren got to the hospital with it, Nonnie looks at Lauren  and says, “Oh, I was thinking about that cake all day yesterday! I’m so glad you brought it to me!” This was a happy day for everyone because she hadn’t eaten much in days and she ate every bit of that cake! Anyways, this cake is awesome so ya’ll have to give it a try! But, you have to pay close attention to the measurements. It is a big deal for me to say this… I hate measurements, I can’t stand them, I walk around the kitchen pouring a splash of this and a dash of that and I don’t pay attention. I just eye things. But if you don’t measure this out the right way, it won’t turn out right. I will say that I’ve changed Christy’s recipe up just a bit, but here’s her original recipe for ya’ll to reference: http://www.southernplate.com/2013/11/aunt-sues-famous-pound-cake.html

Aunt Sue’s Pound Cake:

1 cup butter, room temperature,

3 cups sugar,

6 eggs,

3 cups all-purpose flour,

1 cup heavy whipping cream,

1 tsp. vanilla.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cream butter and sugar together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. The original recipe calls for beating a full minute after each addition, but let’s face it, “ain’t nobody got time for that!” I mix it until I can’t see the yolk anymore, then I add another one. The original recipe also calls for sifting the flour and again, “ain’t nobody got time for that!” I know sifting is important, but in some situations it’s just not necessary. (No offense to Ms. Jordan or her Aunt Sue!) I’m just messy and I decided I didn’t want to sift and it worked out just fine! So, now that you’ve mixed the butter, sugar, and eggs, add the flour and the heavy whipping cream alternately until fully incorporated. Now stir in the vanilla and set aside.

batter

Get a tube pan or a bundt pan and rub with soft butter, then add a quarter of a cup of sugar and roll it around.

pan

 

Pour in the batter and put into the 300 degree oven for 80-90 minutes. It’s okay if it looks kind of brown. It’s supposed to!

cake 1      cake 2 cake 3

While that’s baking, make the Whipped Cream and Macerated Strawberries. Whipped Cream is so easy and it’s so much better if you make it homemade than if you buy it in the store. It’s really amazing how much better it tastes and how easy it is!

Homemade Whipped Cream:

3 Cups heavy whipping cream,

1 cup sugar.

Pour the cream into a mixing bowl with the sugar and beat it until it reaches a stiff peak. Easy as that! This is easier with an electric or stand up mixer! You can also put it in a jar and shake it or do it by hand… it’s up to you! Don’t let it mix too much though because then you’ll have sweet butter. As soon as the cream can stand up stiffly, stop beating and pour into a container. For my purposes, it’s in a Tupperware container, because I’m taking it to my brother’s tomorrow. You’ll want to keep it refrigerated as well, nobody likes watery whipped cream! 🙂

whippingcream whippedcream

Macerated Strawberries:

2 pints strawberries,

1 cup sugar.

Wash and dry strawberries, cut them up into another Tupperware container. Pour the sugar over the top, stir lightly, and cover for at least an hour. I know 2 pints seems like a lot but the strawberries break down and it makes you need more than you think! You should probably keep these in the refrigerator too! Now that everything’s ready, slice the cake, spoon on some whipped cream and strawberries, and ENJOY!! I know we will!

strawberries strawberries w sugar

I’ll post a picture of the finished product tomorrow! Trust me, you won’t regret making this cake though! It’s too good for words! You can change it around a little bit too… use cream cheese or sour cream into the batter, add in some poppy seeds and you’ll have a poppy seed pound cake. Top it with chocolate sauce or caramel sauce or just some toasted pecans… melt a little butter on top and sprinkle on confectioners sugar. Also, use different fruits like blueberries or raspberries… even apples with cinnamon! Whatever is your favorite!! That’s all for now! Ya’ll come back now, ya hear?! 😉