By Curt Oden - Exline correspondent
I hope everyone enjoyed the Labor Day holiday last weekend. The weather ended up being really nice, as it was this week, which was more seasonable.
We finally were able to shut off the air conditioner. It was nice to let some fresh air into the house for a change. I do not think anyone was sorry to see that long, hot summer weather finally go away.
The recipe for this week is for Chicken Fried Steak. It goes good with the mashed potato recipe, that was in last week’s column. One of my cousins made this recently, along with those mashed potatoes, for supper and she said they really were delicious.
Chicken Fried Steak with gravy
1 1/2 c. whole milk
2 large eggs
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. seasoned salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 tsp. paprika
3 lbs cube steak (tenderized round steak that's been extra tenderized)
1/2 c. canola or vegetable oil
1 Tb. butter
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
3 to 4 c. whole milk
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Mashed potatoes, for serving
For the steak: Begin with setting up an assembly line of dishes. Mix the milk with the eggs in one; the flour mixed with the seasoned salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper and paprika in another and the meat in a third. Then have one clean plate at the end to receive the breaded meat.
Work with one piece of meat at a time. Sprinkle both sides with salt and black pepper, then place it in the flour mixture. Turn to coat. Place the meat into the milk/egg mixture, turning to coat.
Finally, place it back in the flour and turn to coat (dry mixture/wet mixture/dry mixture). Place the breaded meat on the clean plate, then repeat with the remaining meat.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butter. Drop in a few sprinkles of flour to make sure it's sufficiently hot. When the butter sizzles immediately, you know it's ready. It should not brown right away, if it does, the fire is too hot. Cook the meat, three pieces at a time, until the edges start to look golden brown, about two minutes each side. Remove the meat to a paper towel-lined plate and keep them warm by covering lightly with another plate or a sheet of foil. Repeat until all the meat is cooked.
After all the meat is fried, pour off the grease into a heatproof bowl. Without cleaning the skillet, return it to the stove over medium-low heat. Add 1/4 cup of the grease back to the skillet and allow it to heat up.
To make the gravy, when the grease is hot, sprinkle the flour evenly over the grease. Using a whisk, mix the flour with the grease, creating a golden-brown paste. Add more flour if it looks overly greasy; add a little more grease if it becomes too pasty/clumpy. Keep cooking until the roux reaches a deep golden brown color.
Pour in the milk, whisking constantly. Add the seasoned salt and black pepper to taste and cook, whisking, until the gravy is smooth and thick, five to 10 minutes. Be prepared to add more milk if it becomes overly thick. Be sure to taste to make sure gravy is sufficiently seasoned.
Serve the meat next to a big side of mashed potatoes. Pour gravy over the meat if desired.
Last Sunday, the Oden family held a family reunion at the Exline Community Center. It was well attended, with about 70 people who were present.
Everyone began arriving around 11:30 a.m. So much food was brought by everyone for the big co-op dinner that it filled about four banquet tables, with one being all filled with delicious looking desserts.
Before the meal, the blessing was given by Jaren Tubaugh. In his blessing, he remembered Bob McAnelly, a member of the family that had passed away, earlier that morning.
Then, the long food line began to form. There was such an array of good looking food laden on the tables, it was hard to decide what you wanted, as you passed by. Then, everyone got to enjoy their meal.
I had a table set up with family photos and scrap books, along with other publications on family history, which a lot of people enjoyed looking through.
The last reunion that was held, was back on Labor Day weekend, on Sept. 2, 2007.
In 2004, the family celebrated the Sesquicentennial or 150th anniversary of the Oden family living in Caldwell Township, Appanoose County since 1854, which was 23 years before the town of Exline began in 1877.
Their were family members here last Sunday from South Carolina, Missouri and various places throughout Iowa in attendance.
The afternoon was spent just visiting and enjoying the day.
As the afternoon waned, everyone began to pack up what was left of their food and head for home.
By around 3 p.m. everyone had left and the get together was over.
Condolences go out to Shirley McAnelly, her sons Doug and Bruce and their families, on the loss of Bob McAnelly.
Just recently, Jill Sharp and Mary Ann Hurley entered the Lollipop Bait Shop Fishing Tournament. The winner of the contest caught a 48 pound Flathead. Jill and Mary Ann came in fourth place in the tournament with their catch.
The Exline Church of Christ is going to hold a homecoming this year. It will be held on Sunday, Sept. 25, which is the day after Pancake Day.
The program for the day will begin at 10 a.m. with Sunday School, followed by church at 10:45 a.m.
At 12:45 p.m. there will be a co-op dinner held, with table service and drinks provided.
At 1 p.m. the afternoon program will begin, with special music and guest speaker, Dan Schantz. So, you are welcome to come and share the day, for the program and fellowship.