Posts Tagged 'cook'
Grits has always been a favorite dish in the south. There are many different variations of grits including the traditional grits with butter, grits with cheese, and shrimp and grits just to name a few. I prefer grits mixed lots and lots of butter with pepper sprinkled on top. I also like grits with breakfast casserole mixed in with cheese sausage and eggs. This morning I enjoyed a rather large bowl of grits mixed in with just enough butter to change the color.
Movie Name: My Cousin Vinny (1992)
Vinny Gambini: [Vinny and Lisa receive their breakfast orders, Vinny
looks at his skeptically] Whats this over here?
Grits Cook: You never heard of grits?
Vinny Gambini: Sure Ive heard of grits. I just never actually *seen*
a grit before.
Grits have their origins in Native American corn preparation. Traditionally, the corn for grits was ground by a stone mill. The results are passed through screens, with the finer siftings being grit meal, and the coarser being grits. Many communities in the United States used a gristmill until the mid-20th century, with families bringing their own corn to be ground, and the miller retaining a portion of the corn for his fee. In South Carolina, state law requires grits and corn meal to be enriched, similar to the requirements for flour, unless the grits are ground from corn from which the miller keeps part of the product for his fee.
Three-quarters of grits sold in the U.S. are sold in the South stretching from Texas to Virginia, also known as the “grits belt”. The state of Georgia declared grits its official prepared food in 2002. Similar bills have been introduced in South Carolina, with one declaring:
Whereas, throughout its history, the South has relished its grits, making them a symbol of its diet, its customs, its humor, and its hospitality, and whereas, every community in the State of South Carolina used to be the site of a grits mill and every local economy in the State used to be dependent on its product; and whereas, grits has been a part of the life of every South Carolinian of whatever race, background, gender, and income; and whereas, grits could very well play a vital role in the future of not only this State, but also the world, if as Charleston’s The Post and Courier proclaimed in 1952, “An inexpensive, simple, and thoroughly digestible food, [grits] should be made popular throughout the world. Given enough of it, the inhabitants of planet Earth would have nothing to fight about. A man full of [grits] is a man of peace.“
Grits are usually either yellow or white, depending on the color of corn. Most commonly found are “quick” grits in which the germ and hull have been removed. Whole kernel grits are sometimes called “Speckled.” Grits are prepared by simply boiling the ground kernels into a porridge until enough water is absorbed or vaporized to leave it semi-solid.
Lime and Basil wasn’t the first choice for dinner. The original plan was to grab Chinese for a quick meal before returning home. Lime & Basil seemed to be calling and we made our way across Franklin Street to glance at the menu. I had never been to a Vietnamese restaurant and was a bit concerned that I would find something on the menu that I would eat. I skimmed the menu posted on the window, found the word “chicken” and was satisfied with entering the restaurant to find a table. Plenty of tables were found in this small and popular restaurant. Many people had beaten us to the tables in the appropriately painted lime green dining area. We were greeted by a very mellow host who asked if we were on “The List.” Fortunately to get on “The List” all we had to do was give a name and party size. We were informed of a 20 minute wait and agreed to be added to “The List.” The 20 minute wait was extended to 30 as the early patrons were not making plans to exit the building upon completion of their meal. I was curious to know what a gentleman in the corner was doing. He had an office setup with laptop, cell phone and note pads. He appeared to be working more than eating. Finally, the early birds began to wrap up their visit and allow those of us on “The List” to have a chance to eat dinner.
After being seated, I didn’t spend much time reading the menu. I had made up my mind prior to entering. I selected the Classic Lemongrass Stir-Fry with chicken. Sauteed carrots, onions, and beansprouts with lemon grass and chili in a garlic stir-fry sauce placed over rice. In addition, I added some Chile sauce to the blend to fire up the meal. Everything was good. I could have had a few more pieces of chicken, but that’s normal for me. By the time I cleaned my plate, there was no room for dessert. I think that “The List.’ was even longer by the time we finished our meal. The building was full with more people waiting outside.
Lime & Basil
200 W. Franklin St.
Chapel Hill, NC 27516
Several years ago during a trip to Savannah, we decided not to stand in line for a chance to eat at Paula Deen’s “The Lady & Sons” restaurant. At the time this didn’t seem lie a good idea and we went elsewhere. I recently had the opportunity to visit “Paula Deen’s Kitchen” and did not pass this time.
“Paula Deen’s Buffet” is located within the Harrah’s Cherokee location that has built an impressive complex in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Upon entering the building we found ourselves at the Casino entrance. I expected to be rushed by security since I had a camera around my neck and two minors tagging along. Instead, I had to approach a little lady with a badge to ask for directions. In true southern style she proceeded to give me very detailed directions and also told me that since it was after 4:00 we would probably need a reservation to get a seat. Well, this is not what I wanted to hear since I had my mind set on trying out the restaurant. We turned around and began the journey from the casino to the restaurant. The directions carried us up to the second floor where we could see the casino area below. Lots of flashing, lights noise and senior citizens occupied nearly every seat. I almost forgot about eating. The attraction below us was very fascinating. However, I had a mission and soon remembered that I needed to continue my hike through the large building. We found our way to the front desk and was immediately asked, “Do ya’ll have a reservation”? After I said, “No, but I’m looking for a table for four”, the hostess marked a square on her note pad and instructed us to follow the young man with the menus. I was a bit surprised, but happily stepped forward with a smile. There were plenty of tables available. I suppose that it was either because everyone was in the casino or we beat the rush. Regardless, I was happy to be seated beside the buffet to keep the walking time between plates to a minimum.
As shown in the pic above, the buffet had the usual southern style selection. I focused on the green items located to the opposite end of the plate to show that I had chosen some collards. I am not a big veggie fan, but could not resist. They looked delicious and they were. I also added mashed potatoes and gravy, mac and cheese and delicious cheesy meatloaf. This was just the beginning. We were seated close to the gentleman working the prime rib area and every cut looked to good to resist. I tried a rare and well done cut. Both were very good, but I preferred the taste of the rare. This is also unusually for me since I do not like bloody meat on my plate. I would eat it again and again because the flavor was wonderful.
The buffet had a good selection and the menu wasn’t lacking either. I could visit this place at least a dozen times and try something different during each trip.
“Harrah’s Cherokee welcomes Paula Deen’s Kitchen, the first restaurant to be unveiled as part of a more than $630 million expansion.
The “Queen of Southern Cuisine” will launch a full-service, 404-seat restaurant featuring an á la carte breakfast, lunch and dinner, and will be reminiscent of the décor and ambiance of Paula Deen’s home and kitchen in Savannah.
At the entrance to the restaurant shop in the unique 1,800-square-foot Paula Deen retail shop that offers her popular cookbooks, spices and food items, cookware, logo wear and gifts.
Enjoy Paula Deen’s special style of cooking and Southern hospitality, a perfect fit with our guests here in the Great Smoky Mountains!”
Hours: Sunday – Thursday: 7am-10pm
Friday – Saturday: 7am-11pm
I did some online research before heading toward Brevard, N.C. during a recent family trip and noticed The Quarry Restaurant & Piano Bar on several websites. Food wasn’t on the top of my list during the brief visit to the busy mountain town, but we just happened to be hungry for a good lunch when we arrived. I had forgotten about the restaurant until I saw the sign while we were driving around deciding where to eat. The available parking across the street made it a no brainer for us to choose The Quarry.
As I walked into the dining area I suddenly mellowed and felt very relaxed. The atmosphere was very nice and inviting. This was a great location to settle for a while after a long drive.
The decor and murals by a local artist kept my eyes occupied as we made our way to a table. Fortunately there was the same amount of thought put into the menu and food preparation as with the restaurant.
Grilled Chicken Quesadilla
The lunch menu offered an attractive selection of soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps and a few additional items. Being a big fan of just about anything with chicken I chose to try the Grilled Chicken Quesadilla. The flavor was satisfying and the quantity was just enough. I really enjoyed the cheese blend and salsa with the chicken. All of the dishes were very well prepared and were enjoyed by all.
From their website:
“With enough swank to make Miles feel at home, The Quarry brings casual fine dining and elegance to Brevard. With a menu comprised of American cuisine, with a flare, from the kitchen of Executive Chef Craig Gosnell, the stage is set for you to enjoy the sound of local musicians massaging the keys of the baby grand piano. The wine list and after dinner drink menu speak for themselves, so for those of you who enjoy sipping on the rich flavor of a cognac, accompanied by the smooth sounds of live music, sit back and relax because The Quarry is the place to be.”
14 S. Gaston Street. Brevard, NC 28712
Reservations: Are recommended, not required
In Season April thru October
Monday, Wednesday thru Saturday 11:00-4:00
Sunday thru Thursday 4:00-9:00
Friday & Saturday 4:00-10:00
Tapas & Bar Menu (at Bar Only)
Daily starting @ 6pm
Off Season: October thru April
Monday thru Thursday 5:00-9:00
Friday & Saturday 5:00-10:00
Tapas & Bar Menu
Thursday thru Saturday starting @ 6pm
I am a big fan of Bambi Provenzano’s art work and business called Kool Kakes. I’ve seen photos of cakes in the form of guitars, beer coolers, disney characters and farm animals. I would feel confident in saying that there is not a theme that Bambi cannot produce in cake form. I recently ordered a cupcake cake for my wife’s birthday and was surprised at the size of the final product. It weighed atleast 15 lbs and one could probably gain 30lb if they were able to eat all of it. The most difficult part of the order was deciding on the flavors. A partial list provided include the following:
Peanut butter cheesecake brownie
Raspberry filled brownie
Chocolate coffee stout
Campfire kakes (s’mores)
Red hot red velvet
Bailey’s and cream
Chocolate covered strawberry
Root beer float
Italian butter cookie
Bambi also make other goodies. A favorite of mine is the Lollicake that is a brownie on a stick with various decorations on top. This is a great treat!
From the website:
|Mon – Sun:
Kool Kakes is a home based business that I started over four years ago. I love making kids 3-D cakes, but also enjoy making wedding cakes! My fondant is handmade, fresh for every cake. Each cake is made to order, every detail is up to you!
During the early 1980′s my hometown had a delicious pizza joint called Godfather’s. It was the place to be after high school football games. I remember playing the table top Pac Man video game while waiting for our pizza to be prepared. I do not remember when Godfather’s closed and there were enough pizza restaurants in town to satisfy. However, as time passed we began to miss Godfather’s. The thick crust, greasy pizza with more cheese than most places allow was nothing but a memory. On occasion I was able to get a Godfather’s pizza out of town at a ball game or at the beach. These places were not quiet the same. Their style was more fast food, pre built pizzas that were basically heated up or nuked to get us moving out of the door with minimal waiting. This convenience is something I am willing to sacrifice to have a slow baked pie with two times the ingredients.
Recently a new Godfather’s franchise was offered in Rockingham. The word spread quickly and opening week was crazy. Talk of long waits and a pricier menu floated around. These were really not complaints. The quality of pizza is worth the wait and price. The pile of toppings is just the way I remembered and a smaller amount of grease that the original was present. Godfather’s has returned and instantly has become a popular place to meet for great pizza. FYI- The sweet tea is SWEET tea. just the way I like it.
From the Godfather’s website: Who would have ever imagined that a little pizza shop that opened in Omaha, Neb. more than 30 years ago would become the legendary pizza chain that it is today. The secret to our success is a rare combination of a commitment to excellence, an obsession with great-tasting pizza, dedicated people, and a desire to have a little fun.
Our mission: To profitably provide consistently good food and great service. Abiding by this simple mission statement for more than three decades has earned us a reputation that we intend to keep for several more. This commitment to excellence has helped Godfather’s Pizza grow and expand to more than 600 restaurants in more than 40 states.
Our product: Not just an ordinary pizza
A Godfather’s Pizza isn’t like any other pizza you’ve ever had before. We make pizza the way it was meant to be – with an incredible crust, delicious veggies, hearty meats, and a ton of 100% real cheese.
The best part is, at Godfather’s Pizza you’re the boss. First, you choose from our thick, rich, original crust, our buttery, pan-style golden crust, or our light and crispy thin crust. Then you tell us what veggies and meats to pile on, and we’ll take it from there and smother the whole thing with 100% real cheese for a pizza that’s absolutely irresistible.
I’ve recently found a new favorite restaurant. I have many. The Hickory Tavern located in Pinehurst N.C. has a great menu of items to choose from. I usually have one, maybe two favorites at the locations where I like to dine, but after 3 trips to Hickory Tavern, I want to try new items. The Hickory Tavern has a great atmosphere and is large enough to handle the lunch and dinner rush. Imagine a sport bars without the smoke, dozens of television screens, game room for the kids, outdoor patio areas, special events including Karaoke and live music. All of this with delicious food served!!! This could be heaven!!
Below are a few of the items I have had the pleasure of eating:
Pepper Jack Chicken Sandwich – Grilled Chicken Breast, Pepper Jack Cheese, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Jalapenos, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Onions
- Smothered Chicken Chicken breast topped with mushrooms & onions sautéed with white wine garlic butter, Jack cheese & two sides
- Tavern Tower! (Shown below) The is not just a piece of cake. It’s a ultra, large, mega serving built for 4-6 people.
From their website:
About The Hickory Tavern
The saying goes . . .
. . .that you can’t be all things to all people. Well, we’re not so sure that’s the case. Hickory Tavern is the perfect place for a business lunch – or – lunch with the girls. It’s perfect for dinner after the kids’ baseball game – or – date night with that special someone. If you’re looking to celebrate the day’s victories at Happy Hour then Hickory Tavern is right up your alley. And look no further than Hickory Tavern if you’re in the mood for an all-out party night. Did we mention game day? If you want to watch the game, any game, then you can’t beat Hickory Tavern.
9735 US 15-501 Hwy
Pinehurst, NC 28374
During the month of January 2011, we had some unusual weather that kept many in my neck of the woods at home. Snow is not a common sight in the Sandhills area of North Carolina. When the forecasts call for accumulation of the white stuff we crowd the grocery stores for milk and bread. I have not researched why these two items are important and it becomes the topic of several jokes during the winter storm events. If you have read my previous blogs you’ll not be surprised that milk and pancakes are the two items I prefer to have with or without snow outside. During the most recent winter weather I decided that I needed to make some pancakes, but I wanted to have some fun making them. I contemplated with the idea of making snowflakes. After I got the hand of dribbling the batter on the griddle, I was able to produce some snowflake-like pancakes. Although they looked unusual, they must have been cooked correctly, because they were devoured immediately after I shot a few pics. I also put together a snowman without any issues and remembered that I was hungry and quickly made some traditional round pancakes. Inspired by the snow and enjoyed inside the warmth of my house. Very much worth the effort!
I am including more photos than usual for this posting. Consider it a special centerfold edition!!!
Breakfast is the first meal of the day, usually consumed in the morning. The word is a compound of “break” and “fast”, referring to the conclusion of fasting since the previous day’s last meal. Breakfast meals vary widely in different cultures around the world, but often include a carbohydrate such as cereal or rice, fruit and/or vegetable, protein, sometimes dairy, and beverage. Breakfast buffets and new fast food breakfast items are very popular in the U.S.
I am not a morning person and breakfast is probably the most skipped meal of the day for me. When I get the opportunity to have a good breakfast I usually do not pass. I have expressed my love for pancakes in a previous blog, but I also enjoy many other breakfast items. Until my mid 30′s I would have a large bowl of some of the sweetest cereals that i could find. Crunch Berries was on the top of the list. One day, I decided that I preferred the extra sleep over the morning bowl of sugar filled cereal. I actually lost weight and saved money on groceries. Upon further research of this topic, I have found that skipping the first meal may not be the healthiest thing to do.
Breakfast from Burgess B&B
Studies show that children who eat breakfast do better in school. It doesn’t take much further thought to realize adults will feel better and perform better at work as well. Whether you work at home, on the farm, at the office, at school, or on the road, it is not a good idea to skip breakfast. Eating a good breakfast sets the tone for the rest of the day.
Most people give a variety of reasons for not eating breakfast. A common reason is that they are not hungry in the morning, which is a result of eating a full meal late in the evening or late snacking. When they go to bed, the body is still busy digesting all that food. Digestion then goes into a slower gear during the hours of sleep and there is still food in the stomach in the morning. The stomach needs a rest too. A tired stomach does not feel like digesting a big breakfast. When you get up in the morning, your glucose or blood sugar level is at its lowest point in the day. Glucose is the basic fuel for the brain and central nervous system. A good breakfast will keep you from being tired and irritable by mid-morning.
Maybe I can, one day, take this advice and wake up an extra 30 minutes to participate in the most important meal of the day. Until then, I feel pretty good knowing that I had that extra time in bed.
Source – Wikipedia, About.com, beyondthebend.com
Rotisserie cooked turkey
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I look forward to turkey and football during a nice day off. I also enjoy turkey sandwiches on the days following thanksgiving.
This thanksgiving season provided the opportunity for me to have lots and lots of turkey. Of course, I had the conventional oven roasted prepared bird. I also sampled a grilled and a rotisserie cooked turkeys this week. Although all forms were very delicious without any complaints, the grilled turkey was my favorite. The grilled turkey was slow cooked and injected during the cooking process. The meat was very moist and has the best flavor that I have tasted in a turkey.
Besides not being dried out and having a delicious taste of smoke flavor, the biggest advantage of grilling a turkey is it frees up your oven for all those other side dishes so important for your Thanksgiving meal.
An advantage to rotisserie cooking is the juices remain in the bird and basting or injecting is not necessary. Although rotisserie grilling is very similar to oven roasting, the process does not heat the interior of the turkey as quickly as oven roasting. A longer cooking time is needed to make sure that turkey is cooked thoroughly.
Another popular method is deep frying. This is a quicker and more dangerous way to prepare your turkey. The required oil may cost as much as the turkey, but the flavor is excellent. Deep-frying makes the turkey crispy on the outside and very juicy on the inside.