Diane Prather's columns appear in the Craig Daily Press and Saturday Morning Press. You can call her at 824-8809.
One night this week, I fried steak and made milk gravy for supper. It's one of Kenneth Osborn's favorite meals. He's my dad, and years ago, he taught me how to make milk gravy.
If memory serves, Dad used to make milk gravy when he stayed overnight at cow camp, when he was riding with the cattle. I think he used canned milk.
About four years ago, Dad and I took a morning and made biscuits from scratch, even rolling the dough out and cutting the biscuits. Then, we fried up steak, and Dad made the gravy that we spooned over the baked biscuits.
Dad and I still remember that day.
Nowadays, when I make biscuits, it's usually the "drop" kind. Rolling out dough and cutting the biscuits takes more time.
First, the recipe that I use to make the biscuits and then how we make milk gravy.
The ingredients for "Drop Biscuits" are: 2 cups flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup shortening and 1 cup milk.
Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet. You also can put the biscuit dough in greased muffin cups, but I don't.
Stir the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender or a fork. (I use the latter.)
The mixture will look like "meal." Add the milk a little at a time. Don't mix the dough too much. I think it makes the biscuits hard. The dough will be kind of sticky.
Drop, by spoon, the biscuit dough onto the greased cookie sheet. Bake about 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.
I'm not a very good biscuit maker so sometimes the biscuits crumble a little when cut in half, but it doesn't really matter when you pour gravy over them. (You also can eat "Drop Biscuits" with butter and jelly.)
This recipe also can be used to make roll out biscuits. Reduce the milk to 3/4 cup. Do not grease the cookie sheet. Follow the directions for "Drop Biscuits," except add a little milk and test for pliability of the dough. Add a little more milk until the dough is soft and puffy. Lightly flour a board and "round up" the dough on it. Knead lightly, about six times. Remember, handle the dough lightly.
Roll out dough (or pat it out with your floured hand) until it's about a 1/2 inch thick. Cut with a floured cutter. There will be pieces left over. Put them together, but don't knead them. Pat out the dough and cut more biscuits.
Put biscuits on the cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown.
To make tasty milk gravy, you need lots of drippings. So, fry steak, hamburger or even sausage. To fry steak, cut into pieces, flour lightly and brown on both sides in a skillet. Season and turn the heat down on low. Put a lid on the skillet. Check meat once in awhile and turn. The low heat will give you tender meat and drippings.
Do not flour hamburger or sausage. These can be broken into pieces.
Remove meat from skillet and add flour. The amount of flour you use will determine the amount of gravy. (Start out with 1/4 cup.) Add some milk and stir until smooth. Turn heat on medium high and stir continuously. As the mixture thickens, add more milk. Do this until you have the thickness desired.
Dad says that the secret to seasoning the gravy is to wait until the gravy begins to bubble and the bubbles "jump." Then add salt and pepper to taste.