The Weekly Whisk - 4/28/20

Musings from a foodie…

It’s a sad state of affairs when I give out a report on The Cheesecake Factory [* *] but, it is what is!  The menu seems endless and their website needs work.  I’m sure it was my fault but, I placed an order and when I arrive promptly like I was instructed, I discovered that the order had been placed to another Cheesecake Factory some distance from our home. Again, it is what it is! The menu has everything (almost) that you could imagine so there were lots of choices for our favorite comfort foods.  I had the chicken and biscuits (not like Grandma made) and she had the Mexican salad (same content but more like “sort of” Mexican). Regardless, the calories were plentiful and filling. Only a disheartened gourmand would complain – so, I won’t :-) .  In these challenging times, we’ve been buying around simply to keep the places open and to provide a bit of income for the workers. While Cheesecake has a ways to go before it is truly a “take out” restaurant – they’re giving it a go! The staff were wonderful – and the food, OK. I’m not including the location because they are all the same.  Find one if you want. After all, it is a pandemic…  BTW – the last time I did a review of a chain it was on Burger King. It was blistering but that was before they came up with the 2 burgers for $4 campaign (at least here in Maine). Stay well. 

The Weekly Whisk - 4/17/20

Musings from a foodie…

Given our new “hunker-down-at-home” status, I was charged with making dinner this evening.  Since we cannot go out because of “vulnerable” status (= age, not health :-) ), I decided to go toward my creative side – and, it worked.  We had a fabulous dinner and it was the main course that made the difference.  I served boneless pork chops encrusted with a sesame seed and ginger rub and baked in a dried blueberry/cranberry/raisin sauce made with smoked maple syrup and a touch of cayenne. Try it – you’ll like it.  Here’s the recipe:

Take four lean pork chops and press a rub of ginger and garlic powder with black sesame seeds on all sides.  Place in a shallow pan with a small amount of olive oil rubbed on the pan to avoid sticking.  Back the chops at 400 degrees for 20 minutes in a foil covering.  Then, dice and sauté ½ an onion in olive oil until slightly translucent.  On the side, mix together a ½ cup of dried blueberries, ½ cup of dried cranberries and ½ cup of raisins.  Add 1 cup of smoked maple syrup. Mix the onions and the berries together and set into a small cooking pan and simmer for the remainder of time until the 20 minutes have expired.  Spoon the syrup and berries mixture over the chops in equal proportions.  Replace the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes at 400 degrees.  Remove and serve. 

Some would serve with rice or other starch.  But, as a good North Dakota boy – and, since I was responsible for cooking – I opted for boiled potatoes with butter plus corn on the cob (firsts of the season); and, a Greek salad.  It was fabulous – at least for me. The rest of the family seemed to like my little experiment as well  :-) . If you want, stop by at O’Harrifickenbricht’s Place [* * * * * ] anytime up in Maine.  There’s bound to be something a cookin’ and you’re more than welcome to stop by…

The Weekly Whisk - 3/23/20

Musings from a foodie…

Comfort food at its best comes into the forefront in times of crisis.  The other night – as we sheltered in place – Suzanne asked if I could manage dinner.  I replied, “Absolutely.”  I looked in the cupboard and decided that it was going to be a makeshift dinner.  So, after pondering the contents of our cupboard, I came to an aha moment where I thought of my Mom – and, went about creating “Italian Pasta Casserole” [* * * * * ]. Basically, it’s a mix of sautéed hamburger, marinara sauce, diced tomatoes, mushrooms and cheese – not just cheese but LOTSA cheese.  It’s a very special mix of any kind of cheese you can find.  The gooier the better.  So, I put together American, Gorgonzola, Mozzarella, Cheddar and left over “Mexican Mix”.  There was almost more cheese than other ingredients but boy what a wonderful gooey reminiscent experience.  The good part is that I made so much of it that we will have at least 3 more dinners of Italian Pasta Casserole.  BTW – the menu is flexible.  Mix as desired.smile

The Weekly Whisk - 3/16/20

Musings from a foodie…

What about comfort food?  Now this thought goes against all of the ranting I’ve been doing about eating more fruits and vegetables. But, in a time of crisis, it’s important to hunker down and consider the importance of comfort food [* * * * *] in survival.  Back in my North Dakota days when the blizzards would hit in the middle of winter, I would make a big batch of “easy to make” comfort food. Now, there are any number of choices you can turn to in a crisis.  There’s Mac and CHEESE (with lots of “added” cheese, of course) augmented with canned tuna fish in water (not oil, after all you need to be healthy :-)  ).  That was actually a staple diet of mine in the formative years of medical school when the focus was on studying rather than cooking.  A full-fledged meal could be conjured up and consumed in no less than 30 minutes.  There’s also the chili option.  But, if you’re thinking ahead, the best option is slow-cooked pot roast! There are lots of recipes out there so I won’t point you to one but will simply recommend that the comfort food of comfort foods is the slow cooked pot roast.  It will get you through any kind of crisis or staying-in conundrum (e.g. blizzards, Covid-19, societal withdrawal, etc.). Let me know your thoughts…

The Weekly Whisk - 3/12/20

Musings from a foodie…

Even though I often talk about upscale restaurants, my favorites are diners.  Those are the places where the ambiance is simple, the servers “real” and tastes bring you back to your childhood.  I recently found one of those places in Tucson, Arizona at Bobo’s Restaurant [ * * * * * ].  When I sat down, the gent sitting at the table next to me starting chatting away.  He had moved to Tucson from “away” any number of years ago and told me that he visited Bobo’s at least 2 – 3 times per week.  When I asked what was good on the menu, he responded “Everything”.  That’s always the good sign of a good diner or a fabulous greasy spoon.  If you go to Yelp, you’ll find that the frequent flyers rave about the place.  While I did not have a chance to try everything on the menu, over the next six months, I’m going to give it my best shot.  My first chance at Bobo’s will not be last – rest assured.  The staff are great along with the customers.  And, the owner is the cook at the stove.  Everything one could ever ask of a friendly, local diner.  If you’re close to Tucson, check it out: Bobo’s Restaurant - 2938 E. Grant Road – Tucson, AZ 85716 – (520) 326-6163

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