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Showing posts from January, 2018

Panahar Delivery

I have written before about my high regard for Panahar on Buford Highway. I decided on a rainy evening to try their takeout. Both the shippability of dishes and the timeliness of delivery can make the delivery experience differ from the in-restaurant fare. I can report that delivery was prompt---something like 30 minutes---and the food arrived in very good condition. I ordered chana begoon: chicipeas mixed with pureed eggplant and tomatoes. Indian restaurants serve what is at least a similar dish; this version empahsized the tomato more than the cream, which I very much liked. The brightness of the tomato sauce gave the dish a nice zing. The peas pulao was an add-on and very enjoyable.

Chamblee: Big Wong Chinese BBQ

Big Wong Chinese BBQ is located in the City Farmer's Market mall on Buford Highway. It combines the best traditions of Southern and Chinese BBQ: order at the counter while gazing at roasted ducks hanging in the kitchen. I snagged a taste of this succulent BBQ pork. Chinese and Southern BBQ pork differ in many ways: cut of meat, how the meat is cut. But each style results in succulent meat that highlights its pork character: the pork flavor in the case of Southern BBQ, the fat in the case of Chinese. My main meal was this half roasted duck. Duck is a rare treat for me and once again the Chinese version is very different from Western (French, for example) preparations. The meat on my duck was very succulent and flavorful with its dark meat. The skin was tender and a little crunch with plenty of fat to keep it supple. I ate around the bones and enjoyed every bite. These pan fried dumplings were very good too. Overall, this was a very enjoyable meal.

Fig Pastry

In the mood for something different for breakfast, I decided to use some figs I canned last fall to make a fig pastry. I started the night before by making some brioche dough in the bread mixer. This is a wet dough that is at the limits of my bread maker, so I stirred the dough with a rubber scraper for the first couple of minutes. I saved half the dough for another pastry. I rolled out the other half into a rectangular piece. I filled the right side of the dough with the fig preserves, some almonds, and a little bit of mace. I then rolled it up and carefully moved it onto the pizza pan I use for making these sorts of large-diameter pastries. After I turned the pastry into a ring, I used my kitchen shears to cut the edge of the ring. Each cut was a little less than half way through the diameter. I painted the pastry with egg white, covered it with clear wrap, and put it in the refrigerator for a final rise. The next morning, I turned on the oven and popped in the pastry (ta…

Loganville GA: Foggy Bottom BBQ

A car ride gave me a chance to try Foggy Bottom BBQ in Loganville. Like many recent BBQ entrants, this restaurant was established by a BBQ competition team. The setup is the high-end BBQ restaurant style, meaning you order at the table, not at the counter. The service is friendly and efficient. I decided to order the BBQ salad. This dish is one of the hallmarks of the sit-down BBQ restaurant, giving the menu a broader appeal. I must say that I was a little disappointed on two counts. First, the brisket was ropy in texture---some cross-grain slicing would have helped. Second, the all-iceberg lettuce was a bit much. I am on record as liking iceberg lettuce, and I will stand by that claim, but a bowl of the stuff the size of a goldfish habitat is intimidating. A little bit of another type of lettuce would have gone a long way.

Chicken Dinner

I was in the mood for dinner at home. I wanted to sit in front of a plate and enjoy a meal. A chicken dinner seemed like the obvious choice. I brined the chicken overnight in pickling salts. I then stuffed some rosemary under the skin and in the cavity. Some ended up on the skin as well, which of course doesn't do much more than burn when I roast the bird. Then into the roasting pan it went. In an ideal world, I would have rested the bird on a bed of root vegetables, but I had only a few which I wanted to save for later. Meanwhile, I prepped a batch of corn pudding, making use of a frozen loaf of cornbread I had made a week before. The recipe simply follows a bread pudding but substitutes cornbread and corn for bread and raisins. I added the corn pudding to the oven to cook alongside the chicken. I pulled both the chicken and corn pudding out of the oven at the same time. I left the chicken to cool for a few minutes. I finally plated the meal: chicken, corn pudding, a…

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Chocolate Pecan Pie is the breakfast of champions. I wrote about what I inexplicably called "Pecan Chocolate Pie" in 2009 but that recipe did not reflect my best efforts. So here is an updated version, which is a simple modification of your favorite pecan pie recipe: first, cover the bottom of the crust in broken bits of chocolate; second (and this is the part missing from the earlier recipe), add two tablespoons of cocoa to the filling. You won't be disappointed. While we are on the subject of pecan pies, I wasn't impressed with them as a kid because the samples I tasted were inevitably pecan-poor. You know those restaurant pies with a single layer of pecans floating on top of a gelatinous mass of congealed corn syrup. It doesn't taste any better than it sounds. Fill the pie with pecans, with the corn syrup + egg mix just filling the gaps, and you have a good pie. Find some truly fresh pecans and you will find true enjoyment. My favorite pecan supplier…

Chamblee: Cuba Mia

Cuba Mia is located in the mall at the corner of Buford Highway and Clairmont. It is a cute little place with nice people and very enjoyable food. The organization is casual: order at the counter, sit down and wait. I caught a glimpse of these two items, which were separate orders: an empanada and a Cuban sandwich. That Cuban is huge... I ordered the mojo pork plate. The pork was very porky in flavor and moist in texture, a pleasure to eat. I'm not sure what exactly was in the sauce but I liked it. The black beans were hearty and tasty. The yellow rice was good and amazingly orange. I finished up with a Cuban coffee with milk. It seems to have been made in an espresso machine. It had a nice coffee taste but wasn't overly strong. It made a pleasant sip as I enjoyed the evening.

Westside Bar and Pizzeria

Westside, for years a sleepy warehouse neighborhood, is changing quickly. Newer, more consumer-oriented businesses are moving in after being displaced by the development on Howell Mill Road. Residents are also moving into new apartments being built at the edge of Buckhead. Westside Bar is a pleasant little place from that more relaxed Westside era. The interior is standard, old school bar with low lighting and lots of wood. People sat at the bar and around tables, taking their time to chat and enjoy themselves. I started with a Caesar salad, which was nicely done with fresh ingredients. I topped that off with a slice of veggie pizza. The crust is cracker style, all crunch and little chew, which is sure to annoy New York pizza zealots. But I really enjoyed my slice. The huge pile of ingredients included all sorts of things that created a melange of taste. It was big enough to make a satisfying lunch. And the bill was very reasonable with good service. I can see why locals c…

Chocolate Whole Grain Banana Bread

That is some long title, isn't it? I wanted to make a gift loaf and decided to try the whole grain banana bread recipe here from King Arthur Flour. It appears to me to be a standard banana bread recipe with whole wheat flour substituted for half of the all-purpose flour; they also suggest that you can substitute all of the flour if you wish. That is what I did. I also added two tablespoons of cocoa powder and used half butter, half oil rather than all oil. So here goes... I first mixed together the wet stuff. I gave it a minute or two to combine thoroughly. I then thoroughly mixed all the dry ingredients. In went the dry stuff into the wet stuff. I tried to minimize mixing time to avoid developing too much gluten. Whole wheat flour needs more time to absorb liquid than does white flour. I let the mixture sit for 45 minutes to give it a chance to absorb moisture. A couple of hours would have been ideal but I didn't want to stay up all night. The batter eventually wen…

Lasagne

I decided to use some of that tomato sauce I canned last summer to make lasagne. I started by cranking out two servings of sheet pasta on my Kitchenaid pasta rollers. No, they aren't pretty. I finally decided after a few tries that thicker sheets were more in keeping with my pasta skills. The sheets turned out to be thin enough without turning them into cheesecloth. I mixed together a filling of eggs, ricotta, and Parmesan cheese. Eggplants are sponges. They hold all sorts of water; if you can get rid of the water, they soak up lots of flavor. Freezing lasagne is a perfect way to accomplish this goal---you just squeeze the eggplant pieces like sponges once they thaw out. Once that was done, I cut up the eggplant and sautted it for a few minutes. I also microwaved some frozen vegetables to add to the mix. I coated the bottom of the pan with olive oil. I then put down a bottom layer of pasta sheets, using the ugly ones first. Next came a thick layer of filling, using s…

Decatur: Janet's Kitchen

I just enjoyed a delicious, hearty dinner at Janet's Kitchen. It is located on Clairmont near Scott Boulevard. The restaurant is well-organized for both dining in and takeout. The prices are quite reasonable, too. The owners, who are very nice people who clearly love what they do, explained that Janet is his mom and that they named the restaurant after her. My pork adobo was hearty and delicious. The sauce was tangy, nicely salty, and very, very porky. I actually ate all the beans first---creamy and delicious. The rice was sticky, all the better for sopping up gravy. I also used the buttery cornbread to soak up the sauce.

Applesauce Cake

In the mood for something different, and to use some of that wonderful applesauce I made a few months ago, I decided to make an applesauce cake. I used this recipe from the Neelys and Food Network. I first blended the flour and spices, which contain a very healthy dose of cinnamon. This recipe uses only brown sugar, which I creamed with the room temperature butter for several minutes. Next came the eggs... ...followed by my homemade applesauce. I then added the flour mixture to the wet batter. To avoid building up too much gluten, I tried to run the mixer only briefly and made the final stirs with my scraper. I baked it in a bundt pan. When I pulled the finished cake out of the oven, my nose was hit with smell of all those wonderful spices. After an initial cooling in the pan, I pulled the cake out for final cooling. Here is the result. The cake is very moist thanks to all that applesauce. The spices are definitely there but balanced nicely by the brown sugar.