12.01.2008

Thanksgiving

Ahhh… A sigh of relief, contentment, a full belly. Although Thanksgiving is over for another year, there are still reminders in the frig, freezer and my cookbook.

The prep for Thanksgiving, each year, is half the fun – and most of what my family gives me a hard time about. But I’m a planner, I can’t help it and don’t want to! I have my menu planning lists dating back to 1999. It is my cousin who will tell the “Thanksgiving list” story with the most sarcasm, humor and love. The Thanksgiving story that year goes something like this…

In 2000, the plan was to spend Thanksgiving with my cousin and her husband; I was going to be there for about six days to miss the Thanksgiving airport traffic. She was pregnant and when I arrived she was not feeling well, but I was all about “the plan.” So I made the list of what we were doing, it looked something like this:
Turkey
Mashed Potatoes
Stuffing
Gravy
Homemade Parker House Rolls
Fresh made cranberry sauce
Something Green
Deep Dish Apple Pie

We went shopping two days before the big day and baked our pie that night to free up the oven – don’t get too excited, it was a Mrs. Smith’s Deep Dish Apple Pie, still delicious. The next day I made the cranberry sauce and started the Parker House Rolls, the plan was to have them rise overnight (since there home was a bit cool in Northern California), they ended up on the stove and on the dryer over the next few hours and on Thanksgiving – the warmth from the appliances didn’t help. By the big day, the list looked like this:
Turkey
Mashed Potatoes
Stuffing
Gravy
√Homemade Parker House Rolls
√Fresh made cranberry sauce
Something Green
√Deep Dish Apple Pie

I can’t remember if we had sweet potatoes or not that year. Now keep in mind, this “spread” was for just three people!

On Thanksgiving morning, my cousin was really not feeling well and the sight/smell of the food was a bit much for her. So I moved ahead with the prep for our dinner and got things going. The turkey was cooking beautifully; I was hoping all of my basting was going to pay off. The potatoes, stuffing and green beans were doing fine – the Parker House rolls were not rising enough, but I had faith they would be okay.

As the cooking (and day) progressed and it was time to start plating things and placing them on the table, the list looked something like this:
Turkey
√Mashed Potatoes
√Stuffing
√Gravy
√Homemade Parker House Rolls
√Fresh made cranberry sauce
√Something Green
√Deep Dish Apple Pie

At this point, my cousin has the stomach to start helping some in the kitchen, and she noticed “the list” taped to the wall. She said, “What is all this?!”
“It’s our Thanksgiving list,” I said.
“Why do we need a list and what are all the marks for?”
“We need the list to keep track of what we are doing, what needs to be done and make sure everything gets on the table. The “√” markers indicate what is done and ready, the strike-through indicates what is on the table.”
She laughed, “Can’t we just look and see what’s on the table? Do we really need a list?!”
“We do need a list, what if something is out of sight, or the butter is still in the frig and we forget – we need a list.”
She thought that was just the funniest thing she had ever seen.

The dinner was great. The turkey was very moist, worth all the trouble of basting; the cranberries were better than from a can; the Parker House rolls were flat and hard as rocks! Better luck next year.

For me, the worst part was that during the clean-up from our fabulous feast, the list was gone! I went to pull the list from the wall and tuck it away in my journal so I would have a foundation for planning for the next year, and it was gone! I asked if anyone had seen it, my cousin said she had thrown it away, dinner was over we didn’t need the list any more. I tried to retrieve it from the trash, but it was covered with something wet and goopy – not salvageable. Too bad, that list had such good memories attached to it, too.

The 2008 list was similar. It was prepared a week before Thanksgiving, so the accompanying shopping list could be constructed as well. Cooking began three days before the big day, and kicked into high gear on Thanksgiving. This year we deep fried our turkey – it seemed moister last year when we deep fried. I think it’s back to the oven for the bird next year. We did make really delicious potato chips and sweet potato chips in the deep fryer after the bird was done.

I’ve stopped using bagged stuffing mix over that past few years, and have come up with a stuffing recipe of my own, it’s cornbread stuffing – delicious! Also, if you are tired of trying to figure out what to do about the cranberries, here’s a modified family recipe for Cranberry Waldorf Salad – you will start liking cranberries. I’ll save the twice baked sweet potatoes for next year… Enjoy!
(See "Recipes")

11.25.2008

Restaurants to Remember

There are three resturants that I can recall that I have enjoyed and miss. They are restaurants that hold wonderful memories, whose favors still make it to my taste buds when I think about them, and which are no longer in business.

The first is from when I was growing up – The Aztec Mexican Restaurant in San Diego. The Aztec I remember was near the edge of Old Town next to a pottery shop and wonderful jewelry store – I still have the turquoise braclet I bought as a teenager. It was adobe looking on the outside, with windows, but somewhat dark on the inside; nugahide booths, piƱatas hanging from the ceiling and a guitar player on the weekends. The family who owned it always greeted Daddy when we were there, and I remember the grown daughter especially friendly and kind.

The Aztec is were I fell in love with tacos. They had the best tacos and refried beans. The shell was just the right crispy. The meat was just the right, with shredded lettuce and the “sprinkle” cheese. Daddy would tell me to be careful with the chips that were served before the meal, they were so delicious, so as not to “spoil” my dinner – but that never happened. As I got older I ordered the combination plate with a taco, cheese enchilada, rice and beans.

When the new trolley system was put in a number of years ago, that went right through Old Town, the Aztec and surrounding businesses were eliminated and the trolley station went right smack dab were the Aztec used to be. When Daddy was still alive, our quest was to find a Mexican restaurant that could live up to the savory wonder of the Aztec. I thought I had found one, Tony’s Jacal in Solana Beach, but Daddy didn’t think so. I think Tony’s Jacal is as close as I will ever get to the Aztec, but to Daddy that taste could never be repeated.

Yakatori Japanese Restaurant in San Diego was the next. There were a few Yakatori’s in town, but I liked and remember the one in the Sports Arena area the most. That’s were I had sushi for the first time. California Roll – regular and inside out, Unagi, Spicy Scallops, Miso Soup, Edamane, and Spicy Pocket Kani. Ohhhh, it all sounds so delicious!

Anyway, I used to frequent it more, especially with my friends the Herns, but less regularly in the past few years. At one time, there was the main restaurant, two sushi bars and the full bar at the restaurant. In recent years, with sushi not as popular as it was in the last 1980’s, it was down-sized to the restaurant and the smaller sushi bar.

Last year my step-mom asked to go there for her birthday, so off we went thinking of sushi (in my case) and teriyaki and tempura (for my step-mom and my husband.) We drove the back way to avoid traffic, drove around to the front of the building, talked about what we were going to have on the way and lo and behold – it was closed! We could not believe it! What happened! I don’t even know how long it had been gone, goes to show you how often we actually went!

Finally, there is Rockfish Restaurant in Phoenix. They are a chain and are mostly in Texas, but the one we visited was in Phoenix. When we in Phoenix, just after we got married in 2003, Rockfish opened in the center down the street from us. We loved it! We tried to go once every couple of weeks if not sooner. They gave you tokens for the jukebox, had internet specials often, were a cool haven in the desert heat.

We had incredible crab cakes; the “bomb” – shrimp stuffed with mild jalapenos, cheese and bacon; Shrimp Martini – a shrimp cocktail with avocado, tomatoes, and tequila (if you like) and multi-colored tortilla chips; Gouda Spinach Dip, Jalapeno Corn Fritters, criss-cross fries and an awesome Rock-A-Rita – just to name a few things. We would often just order appetizers for dinner and plan our future. We would sit and talk about our Sauce Festival (more on that in later stories), and enjoying our lives as newlyweds.

There were two Rockfish Restaurants in the Phoenix area, the one we went to on the west side of town which had closed, I think the beginning of 2007 – we weren’t around enough any more to keep them in business. Then there was one on the east side of town, which we had been to on a previous visit since we moved, when visiting relatives.

So last summer we were out there again visiting family and had planned to visit Rockfish on the east side of town. We took my husband’s brother-in-law with us. As we drove the 40 minutes from Gary’s house to Rockfish, we talked about what we were going to order, about the best margaritas we had ever had that we were going to get to sip again, about the air conditioning and misters on a warm day. We were sooo excited!!! As we got closer, we saw that the area was hoppin’. People were pouring into the many other restaurants in the area, and we spotted our beloved Rockfish! As we drove past to turn in the shopping area, we noticed the parking lot at Rockfish looked a little sparse, perhaps it had not opened yet this evening – odd. We drove around the other side and parked and realize there was not a car in the lot – not a good sign. We walked up to the front door, still hoping for the best, and read the sign that they had closed for good three days before. Unbelievable.

I had actually gone to their website four days prior to pull up the directions to the restaurant, and there was no indication of the closing. When we got home the next day and I checked my email, there was a message that they would be closing with the date. Too bad, so sad – for us this time. Well, we will just have to take a road trip to Texas some time soon.

10.10.2008

Pizza Dough

Have you ever tried to make pizza dough from scratch? About a year and a half ago I decided I was going to have more control over our food and make pizza dough at home from scratch – instead of always buying pizza at Costco, as delicious and cost effective as that is. I searched recipes, decided I wanted to make whole wheat pizza crust, bought the more expensive whole wheat flour and proceeded to make pizza crust. I was happy with myself with the healthy choice for my family I was making.

So I began one morning, preparing the dough, getting the yeast to foam, using the bread hook on my countertop mixer, put the dough in one of my Pyrex bowls, placed it in a warm spot in my kitchen to rise and left it alone. The appropriate time later, according to the recipe, I came back and no rise in my dough or at least certainly not enough! So I let it longer thinking the kitchen was not warm enough. Nothing. Nada. Zip. I turned the oven on low to warm things up, set the bowl near the vent on top of the stove – not much better. I went to plan “B” for dinner that night.

I though perhaps it was the yeast, it had not expired but I only had it a few months. I bought more yeast and a few weeks later tried again. Same results. I was frustrated, but I was going to concur this challenge! I found another recipe and tried again, this time using a bit more yeast, thinking that might help. The weather was warmer, so I put the dough out side in the sun to rise and left it for twice the specified time. Still no success – we went to Costco for pizza that night, I was very frustrated.

I let the project rest for a few months, even though the “third time” was NOT the charm, I still wanted to try and rise to the challenge. But how to do so. I read some stuff on whole wheat flour, and finally found an actual whole wheat flour pizza crust recipe – not just the pizza crust recipes I had been working from and substituting whole wheat for regular white flour. The whole wheat flour pizza crust recipe I found called for just a little bit more white flour than whole wheat flour proportionately. Apparently, whole wheat flour does not rise the same as white flour – go figure!

I bought more yeast, new whole wheat flour (I had used up the bag I had on all my “errors”), and new white flour – just to be safe. I combined the feature of one recipe I thought sounded good, with fresh rosemary in the crust, along with my new whole wheat pizza crust, and viola! The dough did not rise as much as I thought it would, but it sure rose a lot more than my three other attempts. I was so excited to finally be serving homemade whole wheat pizza that night!

We agreed that it had a good flavor, with rosemary and sea salt, but that it was still more like flat bread than the airy pizza crusted you get at a pizza place. And at least I can better control what is on the pizza like homemade red sauce, low fat mozzarella cheese and turkey pepperoni (don’t tell my husband!)

10.07.2008

Calgary

Last month we were in Calgary on business, and had the opportunity to discover a few delicious meals along the way.

We started off downtown on our first night at Milestone’s. We had walked about looking for recommendations, and got a few for types of fare that don’t always appeal to us, so we set out to discover. It was a drizzly evening, very fall-esque at the end of summer; we wanted some place that seemed cozy and warm.

After walking all around we ended up across the street from our hotel at Milestone’s. It was cozy because we were inside, and chose a table in the bar right next to a “window wall” so we could watch the city-goers on their way home for the evening. We started off with Yummy Yam Fritters (good, but needed more) with Moroccan spice mayo and chipotle mayo, and Milestone’s famous hot spinach & artichoke dip – we always try to try this when it is on the menu at a restaurant. Then we progressed to Roasted Garlic Caesar salad (delicious), Roasted Corn & Potato Chowder (not what I expected, it was a tomato based broth, not cream, but good), and Bocconcini Garlic Bread (not what we expected in garlic bread with an olive tapenade and sundried tomatoes). The atmosphere was lovely, and on our first night in town it was nice to be able to be close to “home” when we were finished.

The next morning we stopped at the Avenue Diner, also downtown. We had discovered the Avenue Diner the evening before when we were looking for a dinner spot, although they are only open for breakfast and lunch. Avenue Diner is an upscale diner with an “urban eats” menu. We sat at the last table in the long, skinny diner right by the kitchen – which was great. I got to see the staff working in the kitchen as they prepared all the items for other diner. We ordered their traditional eggs with Yukon Gold potatoes, multigrain toast and your choice of smoked bacon, maple buffalo sausage or spicy Cappicolla – we choice the bacon and sausage and shared. I always like some salsa, or barbeque sauce in a pinch, on my scrambled eggs. They didn’t have either, but offered some roasted red pepper jelly. The chef combined a small amount of the jelly with my eggs, it was delicious!! The potatoes were great, the bread and homemade on-site jelly was wonderful, and we really enjoyed both the sausage and bacon.

As we enjoyed our meal, I saw some wonderful things coming out of the kitchen, including waffles and an amazing looking yogurt parfait with homemade granola, Greek style yogurt and berry compote.

I also noticed a few other things on the menu that looked mouthwatering, so I knew we needed to return before the end of our trip. We made it back on our last morning and had the burrito with scrambled eggs, refried beans, Yukon Gold had and the delicious homemade roasted red pepper jelly I had the other morning; and “The Ultimate” fried egg sandwich with smoked bacon, tomato, aged Cheddar cheese, basil and aioli. We shared; I started with the fried egg sandwich, my Honey started with the burrito. Both were delicious. The egg sandwich was warm and rich and creamy and delicious. The burrito was spicy and incredible. I was glad I started with the egg sandwich and moved to the spicy burrito. My Honey wished he had done the same, since the egg sandwich seemed a bit bland in comparison – but was not on its own.

We also found the Lion’s Den for breakfast one morning, which was right across from the Calgary Stampede fairgrounds. It had been there for a long time, and was still decorated from the 1970’s. They had a lot of stuff from the 1984 Winter Olympics, and the owner Rick had lots of stories to share. I honesty can’t remember what we had for breakfast – something very traditional, but obviously not earth shattering.

We also had burgers at one of the casinos one night, because my Honey wanted a buffalo burger. The burgers were great, and when asked if I wanted a bite of the buffalo burger and was told that it was more gamey than traditional beef that was it for me – no thanks!

So if you are ever in Calgary I HIGHLY recommend the Avenue Diner downtown for breakfast or lunch. I can’t wait until our next trip up there (when ever that might be…) to try the rest of their menu!!

10.05.2008

Big Fresno Fair BBQ Contest

The Big Fresno Fair held its annual BBQ Contest and Chili Cook-Off yesterday. These were just the contests for a rainy morning on a fall morning in Fresno, especially since it had been 97 degrees on Wednesday!

There were a number of categories for BBQ – Healthy Choice, Seafood, Poultry, Pork, Beef, Juniors and Winners’ Circle. Winners’ Circle consists of the winners of the first five categories from the previous year. There are a number of contestants who enter year after year, it’s a fair-time social event for them; and there were a few new contestants as well.

I got to sample a few things - Ani’s Hawaiian Shrimp, Bulldog Bob’s decadent bread, Ashleigh’s Chile-Lime Shrimp with Mango Salsa, Kevin’s Korean BBQ Beef with Kimchee Style Slaw, and Dylan’s Pineapple Polo Baby Backs. Eating on the fly in the midst of the contest is always a challenge, but I have learned that if I don’t do it when they offer me something, samples will be long gone when the contests are done and I have time to sample. That’s what happened with Vern’s Chicken Fajitas, oh well, I will just have to make them myself. The fajitas sure looked amazing, though.

The most talked about dish was young Dylan’s Pineapple Polo Baby Backs. Dylan was in the Junior division with Ashleigh. The ribs were incredibly tender, juicy and moist, but the sauce…oh, the sauce! It was delicious! The sauce was thick, sweet, rich. I’d like to try that sauce on a few other things as well – scrambled eggs, pork roast…

The judges could not say enough about Dylan’s dish. So during the comment phase of the awards ceremony (I always ask the judges to collectively come up with some positive constructive comments for the Junior Division participants) they said they thought Dylan should find the best culinary school he could afford and enroll as soon as he is eligible! He’s only 16 and still eligible for the Junior division next year. I have never heard the judges talk about ANY contestant’s faire, in the seven years I have helped with this contest, as they did yesterday about Dylan’s! Way to go young dude! (I secretly wonder if we should have a “best of show” dish, Dylan probably would have won this year. But with two panels of judges, judging different categories, I don’t know if that would work so smoothly or efficiently.)

Anyway, here are the first place results:

Junior – Dylan’s Pineapple Polo Baby Backs
Seafood – Ani’s Hawaiian Shrimp Bar-b-que
Healthy Choice – Veleda’s Surf & Turf Lettuce Wraps
Poultry – Vern’s Chicken Fajitas (served as soft tacos)
Pork – Garo’s Jo Jo’s Smoked Pork Sandwich
Beef – Michael’s Bogoli Barbeque
Winner’s Circle – Kevin’s Korean BBQ Beef Short Ribs with Kimchee Style Slaw
Chili – Carmen’s Chili a la Mexicana

I was able to connect with a few of the contestants at the end of the competition to ask if I could share their recipes at hollysdiner.com, and some granted permission. So I have four recipes to share with you on the recipe page. They are all blue ribbon winners, including Dylan’s soon-to-be-famous ribs. Enjoy!

10.03.2008

Chicken Charlie's

Chicken Charlie is a staple on the Fair circuit. Charlie is also the darling of the media at many Fair’s in the past few years. In Fresno right now, a local TV station does their afternoon and three evening anchor broadcasts from the Fair. They are in the middle of a major walk way with a scrim in the back to shade the light, while still allowing the “Fair” through. So their “backdrop” ends up being Chicken Charlie’s.

Charlie tries to come up with something new to serve each year. Whether the item “has legs” to stick around or not, is not the issue. It’s about something new to talk about, something new for the local media to cover and a new reason for fairgoers to visit his stand – along with the tried and true favorites.

Now Charlie obviously sells chicken, his famous broasted chicken to be exact. But he is also the fry king. He fries fries (of course), avocados (which are pretty good!), tomatoes (which turn to mush), Oreos, zucchini, Twinkies with a topping (the “start” of the fry-anything craze, but not very good – the best part of the Twinkie fresh out of the wrapper is the filling in the middle and it melts during the deep fry phase to become a runny mess), frog legs, onion strips, a chicken sandwich, chicken kebob (the only thing not fried and very good), veggie platter (onion strips, zucchini and mushrooms), Fried Fair Special (fries, chicken strips and something else fried) just to name a few. He has recently added a fried chicken breast on a jelly filled Krispy Kreme donut cut in half as a bun with honey on the side (pretty good!), and deep fried White Castle burgers. Plus this year, it’s the deep fried Pop Tart with a topping, and deep fried Spam (served in chunks with a sweet and sour sauce) – I’ve heard it is very salty!

Charlie doesn’t have deep fried Snickers on his main menu here in Fresno, but he has served that in the past. I’ve had that, and I have to say, the deep fried Snicker is a little slice of heaven in your mouth! I’m a Snickers fan anyway, but this is incredible! I had it a few years ago sliced, so I only had one small slice – that was enough! With the Snickers deep fried, it has a fabulous sweet batter coating on the outside, and the Snickers inside is warm and melty, chewier than normal, but smooth and creamy and decadently delicious! Have I sold you yet?!

Charlie has also been known to do deep fried pickles on request for pregnant Fair staffers. Just take him your pickles-of-choice, he’ll fry them up and I have known a few women whose cravings have been satisfied completely on the spot!

10.01.2008

The Big Fresno Fair

The Big Fresno Fair! Yes, that is really its name.

The Fair starts today, in California’s central valley. The west coast’s heartland of agriculture.
It’s exciting! It’s fun! It’s time for me to visit with friends, and eat. Some of us try not to eat junk everyday, and quite frankly, I just can’t eat fair food everyday any more – for a couple of reasons. Opening day of a Fair is always fresh and sparkling, exciting and hectic. I walk around and smell the food; it’s different at each Fair. There are some food vendors who travel the circuit, and there are always a few who are local and indigenous to that particular Fair. Here in Fresno it’s beerocks.

Now, I have never had beerocks, but like anything, everyone has their favorites. First of all, what are they? Beerocks are a German hamburger. They are a pasty stuffed with ground beef and cabbage, seasoned with pepper and a few other things. My friends who live here always make sure they have beerocks a few times from a certain vendor. For some reason, the desire for a beerocks has never struck me.

There are also the soft tacos. Not that Mexican food isn’t available around town and circuit vendors, but the soft tacos are a little different, a little “special” according to everyone around here. They are good, but I don’t know if they are that exciting.
Anyway, the things I look forward to at this Fair are the veggie “gyros,” Milo’s corn dogs and Country Fair Cinnamon rolls.

There’s also some food in the town of Fresno that I look forward to, and the barbeque/chili contests this weekend.

I hope one of those makes your taste buds salivate! I’ll keep you posted on the culinary adventures at the Big Fresno Fair!

9.26.2008

Nothing Exciting

There is nothing new to share, because the most exciting thing that has happened in my kitchen this week is Cherry Jell-O! My Honey is busy with his big Halloween event at work, so there is no reason to dirty the kitchen just for my taste buds. Therefore, Cherry Jell-O.

Things will change a little next week, since I’m on the road. And I’m working on some other stories to share with you.

But for now, Cherry Jell-O will have to do.

9.22.2008

Mandarin Orange Fudge

Last night I made a cake for my husband. Lemon, because it was what I had on hand not the chocolate he prefers – but he was happy to have cake! Anyway, before I frosted it I cut a small piece to try this Mandarin Orange Fudge my friend Joan sent me last Christmas. When I get unusual stuff like that I tend to save them (sometimes for too long) and treasure them, since I probably won’t have an opportunity to sample another like it. Anyway, back to the Mandarin Orange Fudge…

I heated up the fudge just a little and drizzled it over the cake. Oh My Gosh!! It was delicious! It was a bit citrusy, yet thick like a fudge, creamy on the warm cake, and I could taste the difference between the mandarin and lemon they complemented each other quite well! Okay, I have to confess - I put the fudge on ice cream the night before(this was my first sampling of the fudge), although it would tasted good, it got clumpy quickly on the cold ice cream so I knew I needed to try some warm cake soon. I think it would take really good on a warm pound cake – but I’m not cooking that and having it sit around with me all day any time soon! Perhaps on home-made sugar cookies during the holidays, mmmm. I’ll let you know how that turns out.

The Mandarin Orange Fudge is made by Caballero Confections in Lincoln, CA, it’s called Spoon Fudge – if anyone’s interested.

Try it, you’ll like it!

9.20.2008

West Coast Barbeque

Last night we went to West Coast BBQ in La Mesa, one of our favorite! It is not the most glamorous – it’s in a strip mall. It’s not open very long each day – 4 PM – 8 PM daily. I honestly don’t know how they make it based on those hours; it has to be the catering jobs that help sustain them.

We got there just before 6 PM, and the inside was almost full. There are not a lot of tables, probably 15 inside. Last night we chose to sit outside (only three more out there), my Honey offered me the “ocean view.” It was really a view of the parking lot and Lake Murray Blvd, if you close your eyes it can sound like the ocean. It’s either that or a view of the side of the building and into the “for rent” business space next to West Coast BBQ. As I said, not glamorous. But clean friendly, inexpensive and GREAT BBQ!

I had my usual, pulled pork dinner with two sides. The pork is always tender and juicy; the sauce is sweet with a little bit of a kick. The BBQ baked beans are thick, sweet, and delicious. And I had the green salad; I got to have SOME veggies on my plate! Although there is not a lot to say about the salad, it was still very green, dark lettuce not just iceberg with not-my-beautiful-homegrown-tomatoes and a cucumber – everything was fresh.

My honey had his favorite, carnitas. So this carnitas, if you like carnitas, is pretty amazing. All-you-can-eat with tortillas, refried beans, a condiment plate of white onions, tomatoes and cilantro all fresh and delicious looking. All of this for $7.95!

The wait staff is always friendly, attentive, and accommodating – the first couple of times we went I wanted to taste some of the other sides to see if I would like to order them in the future (I’m picky about my coleslaw and red potato salad). They let me sample both, and I’ve ordered the coleslaw on the next visit.

Then to top it all off, they have cobbler – apple, cherry, or peach. I’ve only had the mouthwatering, sinfully delicious peach. Perhaps I should ask for a sample of the others just to see! Oh, and when the new yellow pages get delivered to the house, we look for the “free dessert” –for-everyone-in-your-party coupon – what a deal!

They also have a take-out window, which always seems to have people waiting.

West Coast BBQ pretty much fits all of our criteria for a restaurant – good food, cost effective, close, clean, family owned, and we can use a coupon every now and then! What more could you want!!

9.19.2008

The Beginning

This all began after reading Julie and Julia. I just kept thinking about the food stories of my life, what was for dinner each night and the stories at the food festivals I go to. I started jointing down ideas, to make sure I had enough to get started, and I filled ten pages just like that! I guess I do have something to say!

So, anyway, back to Julie and Julia. I wondered if there was enough current information in Mastering the Art of French Cooking to warrant having it. I checked out a copy from the library and started to leaf through it. I learned enough before I ever got to the first recipe to confirm that I should have a copy in my library. So currently I am looking for a copy at yard sales on Saturday mornings, because the hunt is half the fun! The thought of rescuing someone’s MTAOFC and adding it to my collection seems like a better way to obtain a copy then to just buy a new “unseasoned” one.

I’m still looking.

In the meantime, I did write down the recipe for Julia’s potato and leek soup, which Julie exclaimed about. It was delicious! It will definitely be added to my fall/winter meal planning on a regular basis. And the way I get around serving a meatless dinner to my husband (he is getting much better about those after five years), is to serve the soup with crumbled bacon on the top. I tried with turkey bacon on my second attempt, and it would have worked - except he saw me cooking the bacon and it CLEARLY did not look the same as bacon bacon (you know what I mean)! We both enjoyed the hearty soup, and I’m looking forward to the weather cooling off enough to fix it again.