I live with folks with dietary restrictions. I don’t much like fish, but I can eat anything I want. I draw the line at bugs. Dave ate crickets once. This is my kid. This is my kid whose diet for a good long time was – pasta with garlic and oil. But, gluten free, no corn, no potato, vegetarian, and so on and so forth…. I made a meal (feast). It was thanksgiving prelude. It had all the trappings with the pressure. Family and friends. …just no turkey. We made a formal table out of old mismatched silver we had picked up a $1 a utensil.
The meals started with carrot ginger soup. We used a food mill… Salad of spinach, beets, mushrooms, and granny smith apples followed. Homemade – real – bread. Vegetarian chili – hot peppers and tofu – well, three beans, peas – actually it came out very very well. Carrot cake – from a mix – but with a couple cups of real grated carrot – and extra eggs, yeah, you can cheat Betty Crocker. And then there was the SCAW – sour cream apple walnut – pie that I reconstructed from the Little Pie Company. Yup, I did good. No one left hungry. Everyone lost their appetites. A true thanksgiving.
I bet you might wonder what dim sum is? Done well, it is a giant place serving hundreds. You have to move the inventory (food). That’s the only way you have fresh hot food and lots of choices. It’s all in the turnover. This would be hard to do just about anywhere else that doesn’t have a critical mass of hungry noisy voracious people. Look, I was there to eat.
I was too hungry and too excited to even take a picture… till my initial cravings were partially addressed. Carts are the key. Women come by with carts laden with hot finger sized appetizers. You pay according to the size of the plate. Pick what you want and as many plates as you like. Avoid the slimy weird stuff. Mostly avoid dessert. Did I tell you the Chinese can’t bake? But spring rolls? Everyone has had one and likes them. There are variations and they all taste just fine. It’s a bit of a stretch for a vegetarian, but no one starved. Yes, this is one occasion where a large (hungry) crowd is appreciated.
There was a big crowd in front of this “hole in the wall.” I know the place. I’ve been there. It’s a dim sum shop. What I did not know is that very day it was featured/mentioned in the New York Times as the first dim sum shop in Chinatown. And it had not changed (décor) since they opened it. That might not be a good thing? Rest assured the food is fresh. I understand that most dim sum places get their items brought in from a central location where they make thousands of dumplings in a batch. Crowd notwithstanding, I’ve been in the “joint.” The last time was when the kids were small. That would be a couple decades ago. The furniture was old then! We dropped in with Susan and Kevin (from MA). What it did not realize (but should have known!) is that they are pretty ‘meat and potatoes’ eaters. My bad! I chowed down on the tasty dumplings while they politely picked among the (too strange for them) offerings. Afterward I was admonished for being so oblivious. Sorry. I like the stuff. It is made from good stuff. Doesn’t everyone like it? Yeah! Clueless. Me.
I’m cooking too. I get ideas. I read recipes. I read the news(paper) online. Technically, there’s no paper. I haven’t read the real paper since 2006. They didn’t deliver the NY Times to Maine. Now I don’t have to toss old papers… or to recycle them. Meanwhile, I riffed on a recipe I read. Potatoes, cheese, tomatoes, red pepper, and whatever… oh yes, garden herbs, lots of garden herbs. Don’t forget the eggs; that makes it a frittata. Ha! Can you smell it? Anything with cheese is good. Right? What I learned from the Food Channel is: there are no rules. So, I just wing it. This time it worked.
I have to admit to gaining weight since I quit working. I’ve become food obsessed. Instead of “eat to live” it’s now “live to eat.” Mozzarella and tomato – that would be a green tomato in the middle. And this (other thing) looks good so it is definitely bad for you. It’s a Ruben egg roll. Ya! Sounds bad – but it was good! I gotta stop eating. So far I’m full of talk. The problem is that my own cooking is pretty good too. … it’s SCAW (sour cream apple walnut) pie season now.
Okay! When we ordered home fries I envisioned the kind you get in the diner. Mushy with a bit of crust, oily, and with bits of partially cooked onions. Nope! If you could only taste and savor the crisp hot potatoes brought to our table. Amazing! Yeah, there were some frou-frou dipping sauces. But the potatoes stood out just by themselves. This was so totally unexpected. There was no warning on the menu. There were no recommendations from elsewhere. This was a serendipitous find. Not me…Colleen likes home fries. Pedestrian, no more!
I guess there is a franchise relationship. I’ve eaten in a Big Boy before. It wasn’t called Frisch’s. We fell into the place because I stopped in the parking lot to get my bearings. The breakfast buffet was too tempting to pass up. Good home cooking- biscuits and gravy – bacon, sausage, eggs. Then I read an article about buffet food. Only a little over half the food is eaten in buffets (general). Some (leftover) is donated. Much is thrown out. People leave a lot on their plate that gets tossed too. I’m a veteran buffet foodie. Take a small taste, sample a lot, and then return for what was tasty on the first pass. Don’t over eat. Don’t do it. But…that bacon was mighty crispy.
I’ve had this discussion before. The first was mozzarella sticks way back in 1982. We had them in Hawaii. Good stuff. Old hat…very old hat. Kale? Nope! Never! I never saw it till it crossed my path in 2014 in a green smoothie Jules ate in California. Thick as sludge, so, I think she ate it. And now in Annapolis – fried kale. Annapolis? It went mainstream “food of the year” right under my nose. Chicago – specialty food store – Mariano’s – carried it – as well as Whole Foods. Kale chips – they are thick and crumble easily. The leaves are very delicate. Deep fried and dolloped with mustard mayo, garnished with onion, pepper and so forth, the dish is sublimely seductive. Yeah! Anything this good is bad for you and I can readily attest. We stopped in this restaurant and made special trips to go there. Nuts! Deep fried kale is dead simple to make. After we deconstructed the dish and made some, it’s no longer the draw and attraction.
My current “go to” is sweet potato chips. “Food of the year” comes and goes. It is food trend that often is not obvious at first. Kale remains a curiosity. I will not be drinking a kale smoothie any time soon in my “Vitamix.”
It’s what I called it. Everyone else calls it that now too. Huh? Well, I’m sure there’s a more appetizing official name I could think of. But it’s kind of cute. There’s a lot of flash and bang for your (visual) buck in this concoction. I first had it at a friend’s house. I think it was Nannette. She was pretty creative. I didn’t work with a recipe. Hey! It ain’t baking. I just gather the general ingredients and then wing it. It’s phyllo wrapped around mushrooms, onions, and feta cheese. Go figure. It’s a big hit every time out. We still call it the “mushroom thing” and so far the name sticks.
Well, we started the New Year with a bit of good luck. To celebrate it is customary in the South to eat black eyed peas and pork. And in the North it is lucky to eat cabbage – sauerkraut. I got to eat both.Yes, it’s a strange menu.
Who knew? I’m not in Jeddah anymore. We were making a black eyed pea pie. Yeah, it doesn’t sound so great. But it was. Great! Lots of folks wanted the recipe. It very much resembles pecan pie. Sorry, no picture. It was so good we ate it. Maybe it was the whipped cream on top but I kind of think it was just a good pie. Anyway, the recipe calls for eggs. We got a double yolk. That’s lucky too! Here’s hoping….