Thursday, August 5, 2010

Buddy's Country Fried Steaks from Delicious and Suspicious

Jackie and I needed this.  10 days and counting till our Caribbean adventure comes to an end.  Doom, despair, sadness abounds.  Time for a little homespun comfort food...

Country fried steak and an amazing onion gravy, recipes courtesy of ...

Delicious and Suspicious, first in the new Memphis BBQ series by Riley Adams.  And her book is so much fun, no one can be in a funk for long.

First, a little bit about Riley Adams.  Adams is a pen name for Elizabeth Spann Craig.  Miss Elizabeth is a southern gal, born and bred in the Carolinas.  While Delicious and Suspicious is the first book written under her new pen name, she is a published author under her real name.  Many of you may know her as one of the six Merry Murderesses from the Mystery Lover's Kitchen.  The MLK is a blog with six published mystery authors, all with characters associated with food.  They rotate a different author each day of the week, with a guest author filling in on Sunday... LOVE EM!

But Liz (can I call her Liz???  Nah, not yet), Miss Elizabeth has earned a special place in my heart.  She also publishes a daily blog of tips, hints and contacts for writers in general, and mystery authors in specific at...  Mystery Writing is Murder is addictive.  Once you start reading it, you will spend an hour.  And then set aside another couple hours for your next visit.  She's been at this for awhile.  She just passed the 500 post mark on her writing tips site.  Worth a look, even if you only want to improve your blog writing.  And wait till you see her sidebar contact list.  On a full stomach of Lulu's comfort food, and an hour of reading Miss Elizabeth's tips, you will gently fall asleep dreaming of Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle personally welcoming you into the club.

And there are some great recipes in the back of Delicious and Suspicious.  Red Beans and Rice, Corn Muffins, BBQ Sauce and many more prove Miss Elizabeth can not only talk write the talk, but she also walks cooks the walk.  Looking at the recipes, and reading all about the best little BBQ place outside of my back yard, I couldn't stop thinking of a movie quote, "You ain't gonna get any nouveau, amandine, thin crust, bottled water, sauteed city food. Food's brown, hot, and plenty of it."  Other than the red BBQ sauce, that pretty much sums up Lulu's joint.

The diner is set in Memphis (Hopefully Lulu will have an adventure soon in Kansas City, site of the true championship of BBQ, the American Royal, but I digress).  A wonderful cast of characters, including my favorites, the Graces are regulars.  The Graces are docents at Graceland.  Not because they were hired,, as much because they just kept going back everyday and just were absorbed into the Elvis fun (and Graceland is fun, don't be a snob).

I may be prejudice, but I thoroughly enjoyed every page of Delicious and Suspicious.  Lots of great references to BBQ, but also just a fun setting, fun cast of regulars, well defined main character and the possibility that the ghost of Elvis may pop up in a future offering in the series.  What's not to love!

Oh yeah, did I mention the recipes...

Like this INCREDIBLE recipe for Country Fried Steak, along with a wonderful onion gravy (that I just had to make one suggestion/change)...

Here we go...


1 cup Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1 package of Cube Steaks
Cooking Oil
1 diced Onion

And, Miss Elizabeth, forgive me, but I changed your recommended 1 cup of water to 
1 cup of Buttermilk, but did need
1/2 a cup of water to thin the gravy a bit... sorry, the Lulu in my mind would insist on a true milk gravy for her "best BBQ" in Memphis (in my humble opinion).

  • Mix together dry ingredients and put them in a plastic zip bag with the cube steak and shake vigorously until they are well coated
  •  Heat oil in a heavy pan until hot (about 2 minutes).  Add the coated cube steaks and fry over medium-high heat for half a minute.then flip to cook for another half a minute.  Continue cooking and flipping frequently until the meat is brown and the inside isn't pink (about 4 minutes).
  • Remove the steak from the heat and drain on a paper towel.
  • LEAVE 3 teaspoons of grease in the pan, as well as all drippings.
  • Add the onions and 5 tablespoons of the leftover flour mixture from the zip bag.
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly as the flour browns and the onions cook.
  • Add one cup of buttermilk, whisking the gravy until all the lumps are gone.  Add water if it needs to be thinned.
  • Add the steaks to soak in the gravy for 10 minutes and serve!

I plated this with some Mashers - Garlic Mashed Potatoes ala Alton Brownand a simple special peas recipe that would be right at home on Lulu's table... with one exception...

A can of peas, 
1/2 of a sautéed onion, 
4 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced and sautéed 
one slice of Mango Glazed Bacon.

And just mix and heat

A great recipe.  Fun to cook, better to eat and certainly was comforting.

Delicious and Suspicious was a great read.  Perfect for fans of BBQ, Mysteries, Elvis (I am sure he will pop up in the series soon) and more.  Beyond Highly Recommended!



  1. Oh no, I can't believe it's almost over.

  2. That's a great looking plate of food. Just think of all the memories you've made.

  3. Is there anything better than Chicken Fried Steak, gravy and mashed potatoes. Beautiful looking plate of food Dave. Look at the positive side Dave, you'll be returning in time for those beautiful farmer's markets and then soon the fall colors....did that help? :-)

  4. Dave, you can call me Liz anytime!

    Wow, what an incredible surprise today! Thanks so much for this fantastic review. Your picture looks good enough to eat! Lulu absolutely agrees 100% that buttermilk is a smart substitution. And she loves the addition of bacon to your mashed potatoes--her motto is "Bacon make *everything* better!"

    Did I pass 500 posts on my blog?! Good night. I need to start paying more attention!

    If I make it over to KC, I'll definitely be grilling out with you. :)


  5. I have been craving a meal like this one! I love the look of those peas. I never think to buy canned peas. They look crazy good with the mango glazed bacon and garlic. This is a must try!!

  6. Hey Dave!!
    I love reading your comments on MLK!! Finally moseyed on over here...This recipe looks wonderful but I must say when I saw those canned peas I about fainted! Why?? One of most distinct memories of elementary school is the sight and smell of those avocado colored canned green peas!!! Doesn't say much for my memories of school, does it? substituted buttermilk...I'm subbing fresh peas!! Cheers, Dave and thanks!
    All school memories aren't bad...I ended up teaching, after all (though I never went into the cafeteria on "pea" day!!)

  7. My husband loves country fried steak! I'll have to try it this way. It looks delicious!

    Sorry that you have to leave the islands. : (

  8. Your cookers are going to be sooooooo happy to have their pitmaster back!!!!! WOOOT WOOOT!

    But yeah, I can see not being ready to go.

  9. Oh, baby, does this look good -- and the book is a delicious read, too! Just tweeted you! Cheers, Cleo

  10. Great traditional style recipe and it looks like a fun read!

  11. P.S. I can't believe your time is almost up there!