Fettucine Alfredo, revisited

Fettuccine Alfredo two ways, good and right

Last week, in a still unnamed restaurant, I had some of the most ghastly Fettuccine Alfredo I’ve ever had the misfortune to encounter.  Was it straight off the food service truck?  Was the cook just clueless? Does it matter?  One reason I haven’t named the restaurant is that I just can’t believe they’ll be there much longer.  However, they do seem to be doing a lively business in “to go” pizzas.  Maybe I’ll try one.  Or not.

Anyway, this weekend, I just felt like I needed to make some GOOD Fettuccine Alfredo.    I knew I could make better than those jokers, if only because I have made better, repeatedly.  So, to clear my memories of that ghastly Alfredo, I decided to make two Fettuccine Alfredos.  C’mon along for the ride!

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Warning Signs That This Restaurant Visit Will Dissappoint You

Even though we don’t go out to eat as often as many people we know, Beth and I really enjoy going out to eat.  Since it’s not an everyday thing, and since it is usually a special deal for us, we tend to have fairly high standards.  We aren’t going to have a fit if a fish fillet has a bone or two.  Stuff happens, and our parents always told us to assume there were bones in a fish fillet.  And, over the years, we’ve found they were right more often than not.

Still, we want good quality food, presented well, at least consistently with the projected image of the restaurant.  Or, we don’t expect a white tablecloth at burger joint.

Yesterday, Sunday April 14th, 2013, we decided to go out to eat.  After a day of lawn mowing and weeding and on and on, I just didn’t feel like cooking.  We’d been driving by a new Italian restaurant in Sanger for a while, a few friends had recommended it, so we thought we’d give it a try. Continue reading

At the corner of ennui and apathy…

I sometimes wonder how professional chefs do it. Cooking the same dishes again and again and again and again. Most chef’s don’t add new dishes to the menu. And when they do, those new dishes just become another dish to make again and again and again.

Home cooks have a similar problem. You open the fridge, getting ready to cook a meal, and nothing looks interesting. You’re tired of it all. And you’re just too meh to learn a new technique right now. Some people say insanity is doing the same thing and expecting the results to be different. Sometimes it’s just something that happens at the corner. The corner of ennui and apathy.

When I find myself there, I try to do something simple that will give me a blast of additional flavor, something that will take a dish I’ve made a number of times for the family to the next level. But something that doesn’t require much thought or effort. I’ll talk about a few of these in days and weeks to come. Continue reading

Battle Rosemary

I suddenly realized I was standing in this large kitchen and some Asian dude was standing in front of me, opening a large display case and screaming, “And the final ingredient in today’s battle is ROSEMARY!”  And there, in the case were a few dozen 6 to 8 inch long branches of rosemary.  Lovely.  Fragrant.  Delightful.  And I had an hour to prepare four dishes that highlighted rosemary.

Across from me was some imposing person I’d never heard of before.  Cat Flayer or something like that.

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Don’t let me boar you

Last weekend marked Beth’s and my 15th wedding anniversary.  So, we decided to go off and have some fun.   This time that meant we visited Austin, TX.  I lived there for 20 years and like visiting the town again.  I haven’t lived there in 20 years, and I don’t think I’d want to live there now.  It’s not the same city – its grown too big with all that means..  Still, there’s a lot to love in Austin.  One thing we love is Antonelli’s Cheese Shop.  If you love cheese, sausage, breads, chocolate, wines, beers, olive oils and other exquisite foods, you should visit Antonelli’s if you’re in the area.  (Scardello’s in Dallas also gets my praise, and money.)

As we were looking at Antonelli’s meats I saw a prosciutto.  It was stunningly 5beautiful.  The meat was translucent, and somehow glowed with its own inner light.  They wanted $40 per half pound.  I laughed and looked at some of the salume.  But my eyes kept going back to the prosciutto.

Then I noticed a sign in front of it that said the prosciutto was La Quercia’s  Acorn Edition.  A prosciutto made from Berkshire hogs that had been fed on 60% acorns.  Oh. Wow. Continue reading

Franklin BarBeQue, Austin, TX June 17, 2012

Forward:  In a web design class I am being taught that a post shouldn’t be more than 200 to 250 words.  This is going to be longer.  A LOT longer.  If you don’t like reading, that’s OK.  Don’t.  But please don’t bore me with complaints about how long this is.  You can’t compress something like this.  Not really.  If you just want to cut to the chase, scroll down to the line that starts, “So, how was the barbeque?”  Anyway, here goes.  My American pilgrimage…. Continue reading

What IS Barbeque?

At times, I think we should have a separate category for barbeque.  It’s just such a wonderful food.  Sadly, the word has been so widely used and abused that it really isn’t terribly descriptive.

To me, barbeque is not a social event, it is not cooking food by exposing it to high and direct heat.  One is a party, the other is grilling.  I like both.  Really. Continue reading

Brews Cruise

It’s hard to say why, but both Beth and I have been ready for some down time.  That led us to drive from Dallas through some of the Texas wine country and then to Austin.  We’ve been stopping at wineries, breweries, cheese makers and other fun places.  We’ll probably share more stories in days to come.

After 2 days of wine, it was time for a change of pace.  Which is to say beer and barbeque. For the barbeque part, I went to Franklin BBQ in Austin.  I wrote that up in another post. And then it was time for beer.  So,  right now, we’re sitting in the Draught House, an Austin tradition.  It was here when I first went to school here many years ago, but for some reason I just never made it there. Continue reading

Hints for Food Bloggers, 2

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As we try to move from being small fry to wok stars, we’re learning.  This is another picture from our (unpublished) piece on National Peach Cobbler Day. 

The bit hint for food bloggers here is, take the picture when the food looks its best.  Fresh from the oven, this had a great golden brown crust.  Cutting out a piece would have revealed a rich creamy-peachy filling.  Now, well, it’s past its prime.

Hints for Food Bloggers, 1

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We’re really not there yet, but we’re learning.  And as we learn more about what we’re doing, we’ll share the tips and tricks that separate the big woks from the small fry (like us).

The first hint is pretty straight forward, but we have a number of cool posts we’d love to share but we didn’t follow this hint.

“Take the pictures before the food is gone.”  I guess we won’t be doing our piece on this year’s National Peach Cobbler Day after all.  Maybe next year!

Some of our would-be posts have pictures of 4 courses out of the 5 we were server.  Or 6.  Or 7.  Like the Lockhart Smokehouse’s “Snout to Tail” pig-out dinner.  Or some of the really rocking special dinners Chef Chad Kelley put together when he was at the Meddlesome Moth.  Maybe not taking pictures should have been something we gave up for Lent!