Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Great American Diner's Blue Plate Special

Today's meal is a simple basic American dinner. Nothing fancy, nothing special except the wonderful taste. You don't have to be a master chef to serve this on your table. In coming up with a name, I was reminded of the simple basic meals served for over a hundred years in these roadside establishments. A part of life that is vanishing today.

So here is our “Blue Plate Special” Beef, veggies, pasta, always good, always right! Enjoy.

1½ pounds chuck roast, cut into serving size pieces
  • 4 yellow onions, quartered
  • 5 small potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 8 oz. button mushrooms
  • 1 can un-drained stewed tomatoes
  • 1 ¾ cups beef broth
  • 2 Tbs cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pkg medium egg noodles

Pre heat oven to 250 degrees.

Do your cutting. Chop the onions, peel & chop the potatoes, Rinse and quarter the button mushrooms, Cut the steak.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and “sweat” the onions. (cook until they start to turn transparent).

Spray a 2 quart covered casserole dish. Transfer the onions to form a bed in that dish.

Brown the steak, about 4 – 5 minutes per side.
Dish the carrots and potatoes into the casserole then press in the pieces of steak.

Pour the can of stewed tomatoes over this.

In a medium bowl mix the flour into the beef broth and add to casserole.

Cover and let braise for 2 full hours in the 250 degree oven.

This gives you plenty of time to set the table, heat any brown and serve bread or even fix a side of a green vegetable.
When you are down to half an hour to go, start the pasta going according to package directions.

Carefully remove the casserole from the oven. (You may find the “gravy” being a bit thin. If so, dip the liquid out and put in a sauce pan. Make a slurry or ¼ cup milk and 2 tbs cake flour, then stir this into the sauce over a medium heat. It should thicken up nicely.)

Serve this over the noodles with the gravy.

Serving my Master Indy
To satisfy and restore.
To nourish, support and maintain.
To gratify, spoil, comfort and please,
to nurture, assist, and sustain
..I cook!

Please buy slave's cookbook:

The Little Black Book of Indiscreet Recipes 


Dan White


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The American Diner

A diner was a small, informal, and inexpensive restaurant in a prefabricated building. It had a long counter with a grill behind it and possibly a few booths.
The most famous, The Sterling Streamliner diners were inspired by the streamlined trains in 1939. These were built by the J.B. Judkins coach company, that had built the expensive automobile car bodies in the 20's and 30's.

Blue-plate special was a term used especially at diners and cafes. It referred to a low-priced full sized meal with no substitutions.

The term was very common from the 1920s through the 1950s. Today it is a vanishing tradition along with the diners themselves.

A description from 1930 says:
"A Blue Plate Special is a low-priced daily diner special: a main course with all the fixins, ... a square for two bits."

The term became common during the Great Depression.
A 1928 article, lamenting the difficulty to "dine on a dime", praised a "big blue-plate special, with meat course and three vegetables, is purchasable for a quarter, just as it has been for the last ten years."

"No substitutions" was a common policy on blue-plate specials.
Our Man in Havana (1958) by Graham Greene has the following exchange regarding an "American blue-plate lunch":
"Surely you know what a blue-plate is, man? They shove the whole meal at you under your nose, already dished up on your plate, there's no pick and choose with a blue-plate."
"No pick and choose?"
"You eat what you're given. That's democracy, man."

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