With Mother's Day right around the corner, the “Today” show decided to honor moms who labor in the kitchen year round to please their family and friends. We asked viewers and Web site users to e-mail us nominations for inclusion in our five-part series "My Mom's the Greatest Cook."
Hundreds of people wrote in about their moms, stepmoms, and even their friends’ moms. We read about some amazing women and saw some delicious recipes.
Today we continue our series with Deadra Rahaman and her mom, Beverly Smith. Deadra wrote that her mother is so good in the kitchen that she never has to look at a recipe or use a measuring utensil. (See Deadra’s e-mail below.) So we took our taste buds to Michigan and put Beverly’s cooking to the test.
Needless to say, we were wowed! You will find some of Beverly’s recipes below as well as more information about mom and daughter we found out during our trip.
HERE IS DEADRA’S E-MAIL:
My mom is the greatest cook not just because I think so, but if you ask any of my closest friends and their parents they will tell you the same. My mom's everything is soooo tasty. Some of her specialties are Gumbo (one will travel through rain, sleet or snow), smothered anything and mostly those dishes that one prepares when you think you have nothing in the cupboards or the fridge.
If you had a recipe then anyone could cook it. A real cook doesn't go by recipes. They just know!
MORE ABOUT BEVERLY SMITH AND DEADRA RAHAMAN AND THE GREAT FOOD THEY SHARE
Beverly, originally from Louisiana, makes everything from scratch with only fresh ingredients -- never anything frozen or in a box. She says she has only followed a recipe one time in her life, which she said turned out well (it was a lemon meringue pie by Betty Crocker). She says that her creativity and spirit don't allow her to follow recipes. She cooks by taste.
She likes to do all of her cooking in one pot and she doesn't even own a measuring utensil -- it's a dash of this a sprinkle of that. She says the only time a problem occurs is when someone asks her to re-create a dish - she has a hard time doing it the same way twice because she never can remember how much she added.
Deadra says she learned how to cook from watching her mom in the kitchen (since there weren't any recipes to follow!). And Beverly says she learned from watching her mom (who is 82 years old and still cooking). Beverly was born and raised in Louisiana and moved to Detroit when she was 20. She says her style of cooking is southern with a northern flare.
Deadra says her mom makes the great smothered dishes, where the meat falls right off the bone. In addition, she says that some of Beverly’s best meals come out of bare cupboards. Deadra is a new mom and sometimes she is so exhausted that her mom will come over and fix a meal. Deadra says she will tell her mom, “You’d better bring some food because there is nothing in this house,” yet her mom will come over and find enough stuff in the cupboards to whip up a great meal. And Beverly never just serves a main dish on a plate, there is always a side and a vegetable.
Beverly's Smothered Pork ChopsBeverly Smith
serves 2-4 people
Wash chops and cut off excess fat. Use sharp knife to cut slits into chops on both sides. Insert 3-4 slivers of garlic on both sides. Season with black pepper, seasoning salt, cayenne pepper, salt, creole or cajun seasoning. Work seasoning into chops with fingers. Pat flour on both sides of chops until all is used.
Heat deep skillet with vegetable oil on medium heat. Brown chops on both sides. Remove from skillet and place onto plate. (Do not use paper towel.) Place onions, bell peppers, and garlic in skillet. Stir and cook 10-15 minutes. Push vegetable mixture to one side of skillet. Place chops in skillet and cover with vegetable mixture, leaving some vegetable mixture on bottom of skillet as well. Cover, lower heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add 1 cup water to skillet, cover and simmer on low heat for 30-45 minutes, checking occasionally. Gravy should thicken while cooking. Add remaining water if needed. Chops should be tender, golden brown and in a golden brown gravy. Serve with hot rice or mashed potatoes. A salad or vegetable will round off your meal. Add or take away seasonings according to taste. Happy eating!
604812693533091pork chops 54-5 center cut pork chops (1/2 inch in thickness)flour1tablespoon1 tablespoon flourvegetable oil2.5tablespoon2-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oilblack pepper1teaspoon1 teaspoon black pepperseasoning salt1teaspoon1 teaspoon seasoning saltcajun or creole seasoning (optional)1teaspoon1 teaspoon cajun or creole seasoning (optional)cayenne pepper0.5teaspoon1/2 teaspoon cayenne peppertable salt0.5teaspoon1/2 teaspoon table saltonion 11 medium white onion (sliced)bell pepper0.5cup1/2 cup bell pepper, red or green (or mixture of both)garlic 44 medium garlic cloves sliced thinwater1.5cup1-1/2 cups water