It’s National Pancake Day!!

Mmmm, yummy, maybe pancakes for dinner at the Diner tonight, hmmm…

Should it be beer pancakes with real maple syrup? Or blueberry pancakes with blueberry syrup? Either way, hold the butter, please, for me; extra butter and a side of peanut butter for HH.



The wait is over!

It is Girl Scout cookie time and I like getting my cookies the old-fashioned way, by having a Girl Scout arrive on the door step to tell me all about this year’s cookie selection. But that doesn’t happen anymore at the Diner. Cookies are no longer sold door to door on month, and then delivered the next. I understand the challenge with that strategy; I used to be a Girl Scout and DID that!

Nowadays, Girl Scouts are at every market entrance, every mall, plus parents take cookies to work for co-workers to purchase on behalf of their Scouts. I have even noticed at the market that the Troops are on a specific, timed schedule. The other day as I went into the market there was one set of Girl Scouts, and on the way out that group was packing up and another Troop was setting up!

Since I don’t have Girl Scouts showing up at the Diner the old-fashioned way, I get the next best thing – ordering cookies from Miss Audrey over the phone, with sales pitch in tack, and a month later (after great anticipation) 11 boxes of cookies show up in the mail for HH and I to devour. That’s right, ELEVEN BOXES!

These special cookies are shipped from Alabama, they cost $0.50 less a box (SS and I work out the shipping) and viola, Girl Scout cookies! I do let the Girl Scouts I pass as the market and in the mall know that I have done my due diligence and bought 11 boxes. The girls are not impressed, since I didn’t contribute to their sales, but the moms do and are thankful that the Girl Scouts are being supported.

So, it’s time for me to close down the Diner, spread out the boxes of cookies and decide which one to open up first – they are worth the wait.


Cracking the Code to Man Food?

There was a new menu item at the Diner last week, Cajun Mac & Cheese. It was a borrowed recipe from the March 2012 edition of Food Network Magazine, and altered substantially to better fit HH’s pallet.

I hoped the sausage and the starch combo would work well, although I knew part of the challenge was that it would be a Dinner-in-a-Bowl meal. I still thought it worth a try. I had four chicken andouille sausages, slicing three and adding them, and just left the last one whole for HH to enjoy a bit more.

So we enjoyed this new beige combo would be a good Man Food offering and…He liked it! Hey HH!

So is the meat and starch combo the secret to Man Food? Is it the beige? Is it the no veggies? Is it the meat and gravy, or a combination of all of the above? Hmm, I will have to try a few other things to see if I’ve actually cracked the code to Man Food.

HH's version
Holly's version

Recipe courtesy Food Network Magazine

• Kosher salt
• 12 ounces wagon-wheel pasta (or shells)
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 6 ounces andouille sausage, diced (or organic chicken andouille)
• 2 bunches scallions, thinly sliced (or green onions)
1 bell pepper (red or green), chopped
• 1 tablespoon Cajun spice blend
• 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 2 cups whole milk
• 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes (or just a little shredded)
• Fresh grape tomatoes, sliced

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 1 minute less than the label directs. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, combine the olive oil and sausage in a large skillet over high heat and cook, stirring, until the sausage starts to brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in the scallions and bell pepper and cook until the vegetables are slightly soft, about 3 more minutes. Add the Cajun spice and flour and cook, stirring, 2 more minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk and continue whisking until the sauce is thick and smooth, about 5 more minutes.

Add the pasta, cheese and reserved cooking water to the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, tossing to coat the pasta in the sauce and melt the cheese, about 1 minute.

Holly’s Diner styleI added some shredded cheese at the very end, after serving HH’s, so mine was still a little cheesy, then topped with tomatoes for some veggies in that mound of Man Food.


Out -- In

Recipes are out, menus are in! That is, at Holly’s Diner.

It has been a long time coming, but a diner should have a menu not a recipe list! It all started late in 2010, the conversation that is, about a menu and listings and pages and adding and…more. It’s taken a while, obviously, but well worth it.

I am very excited to introduce the new MENU at Holly’s Diner. You will still be able to find the recipes you are looking for, just organized a little differently. You’ll find things like Chicken Pot Pie and Chicken Mole in the Hen House. You’ll find Ancho Chili Corn Chowder and Albondigas under Dinner in a Bowl. Then there’s delicious Pop Pulled Pork where it belongs, in the Man Food listing. And classics like Art’s Special Sauce under Guest Chefs.

You get the idea, the standard menu headings are “out” and a little originality is “in” at Holly’s Diner.

So look to your left, further, all the way to the left as in the left-hand column just above your favorite waitress and sandwiched in between “Home” and “Tip Jar.” There it is! You found it!

Enjoy. Order to your heart’s content, and stop by the Diner any time. I’ll be waiting!


Super Bowl Bowl

As I said two weeks ago, this game was not about “the game” for me – who cares about a repeat of four years ago. I was about the commercials, here's a few I liked:

M&M’s – Miss Brown
Doritos – Dead Cat Bribe
VW – Dog/Darth Vader
Imported by Detroit – Clint Eastwood

And it was about some good stuff was in a bowl, therefore yesterday was Super Bowl bowl day at the Diner.  HH & I feasted on such yummy goodness as guacamole (in a bowl) with El Indio chips (in a bowl), spicy buffalo chili (in a bowl) with sour cream and crumbled crackers, homemade chocolate chip cookies (stored in a bowl), and red velvet cupcakes (does the paper “cup” count as a bowl? Maybe not, but it’s my Diner so let’s just pretend.) And some fried chicken and fruit salad for HH (fruit salad, he's so good!)

It was all yummy, and certainly enough of a football fix for the next seven months or so. Let’s see, the next event with junk food opportunities, the Academy Awards at the end of the month. Can’t wait!