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….
Professional? Yeah. It’s not hard to tell the difference. But when kids make ‘em it’s a unique experience with loud squeals and a whole lot of sugar icing all over the place. You can do a “kit.” It goes together fast and looks great. But it’s not the same as individual personal construction. Icing dries slowly and I don’t have patience.
So I used a foam board construction underneath and built the thing one two three. (That would be – construct a foam board house underneath all the ginger bread walls.) Licorice sticks hide a multitude of sin. Of course, I am not responsible for the decoration. There is a time when too many cooks… There is only one rule: no blanks space should be devoid of confection.
I did this! It’s dead simple. I failed in my first attempt. (Note to self: “Read the freakin’ instructions.) … as in I did not turn up the oven to the right temp. It was good to eat but it looks much more impressive if you follow the instructions. It’s called a Dutch baby. I don’t know why. It was a hit both time I made it. That’s all you need to know.
I’ve struggled to open and peel chestnuts for decades. Yup, decades! It’s not a hard task. It takes time and patience. My current technique – about five at a time one minute in the microwave. Don’t forget to make a slit. Otherwise your chestnut could explode. This year it all worked like a charm. No complaints! For a few stubborn chestnuts an extra 40 seconds did the trick.
I was distracted… I looked up to see the microwave smoking! The lone chestnut inside was aflame. I mean it was on fire! The smoke was thick and rose to the kitchen ceiling along with the awful smell of burnt chestnut. It was charcoal! I mean it was black charcoal. I realize the pics are not great. Just concentrate on the story and have a fine laugh on me. Oh! The smoke? Vacuum cleaner! Yeah! That worked. Thanks Ginny.
I love junk food. It’s a secret sin of mine. Sorry, it’s not a confessional. I’m just someone who loves crunchy snacks. Lately, I discovered deep fried chips can be had for pennies. The chips are largely intact. No crumbs! Really! The idea was in a cookbook for simple party appetizers. The issue is how to get the slices thin enough for the purpose. I used a potato peeler effectively. But a mandolin is far more efficient. So far I have managed to slice fingers with both tools. Ouch! And yes, blood! Sweet potatoes and white potatoes work well. Beets do not. I’ve done kale too. But with kale there was a bit too much splatter. I also like neat food. Simple snacks, bad for you, made easy, and low budget too. Mmmm…
Life’s short. I was not gonna return. But we were in Wilmington again. One more try and one more disappointment, don’t go back. It must be a slow day for posting. Romano’s Macaroni Grill – don’t do it. The cooks are tired. On Broadway they change the cast to refresh the show from time to time. Someone needs to do it here. I had a wonderful meal in Jeddah. But two tries in Delaware were overwhelmingly disappointing. The chicken was a bit better – flatter. But it was not good. And it was definitely not worth the try and for sure not worth another glance. Go somewhere else. I will.
Another year, it’s complicated. The more family, the more places to be. You can only be in one place at a time. Tradition, it drives the day. You gotta have turkey. Then it’s complicated. There are a lot of traditional dishes. Too many to count means you need to decide and then there are new dishes. New, no, the familiar is what is demanded by one and all. This year we have a couple new worthy additions. I guess I’ve learned a new trick. It will be sour cream apple walnut pie and pumpkin mousse. Good stuff! I don’t suppose you remember my failed pumpkin soup. It spilled out all over the driveway. No five second rule there. I’ve made that soup again recently and was very pleasantly surprised how well it turned out. It’s a nice holiday. Too bad shopping has begun and the Xmas lights are already out.
It’s a chain – Romano’s Macaroni Grill. It’s struggling. It opened in 1988 and was sold as recently as 2015. Its value tanked in 2008 with the economic depression. There are branches around the world including Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Full circle. I was introduced to the restaurant when it opened in Jeddah in 2016. I’ve written about it. The restaurant is run by Filipinos. They don’t own it. They run it. Waiters and cooks, the Filipinos run the economy in Saudi. I’m not a fan of their ability to cook Chinese. But in this Italian place they did a bang up job. Great! The chain is in the US and upon returning, I located the nearest restaurant. It’s about 100 miles from home. We were traveling back from Boston and there was a restaurant in Hartford. Closed! Forever. The restaurant close to home was a bit out of the way and we arrived at 10PM an hour before closing. I know the chicken parmesan in Saudi. The cutlet is pounded flat and as large as your dinner plate. It’s covered in red sauce and mozzarella and cappellini pasta is layered beneath. The pasta is hot enough to burn you. The cutlet is crisp from the grill and the cheese is bubbling when the dish arrives at the table.
All of this explanation is the prelude to disappointment. Is it the local chef? Or did the restaurant quality control sheriff not visit recently. The cutlet was thick and dry. The dish was cold. The pasta was large spaghetti and covered with watery sauce. In short, this was a meal as unmemorable as I would expect from any fast food chain. Had I tried this restaurant location first I would never return. So to the sad new owners of Romano’s, wake up and pay attention to your place. You are failing. There are too many choices. And 100 miles is hardly a reason to make the trip. And I’m not going back to Jeddah. Talk to your Filipino chef there. He’s a lot better than your guy here.