Archive for July, 2012


Meatless

Last night, I ended up eating vegetarian, which is unusual for me, but there are some dishes that are filling enough and good enough to give up meat for, at least for a meal or two. One of my favorite dishes is Ratatouille. Unfortunately, while I had summer squash and zucchini on hand last night, I didn’t have any eggplant. An easy substitution and I had a dish that was just as wonderful.

Originally, I had planned on having a hamburger because I made Crispy Lemon Garlic Chicken Strips for James. I made the ratatouille to be a side dish, but it smelled so good, and I always enjoy it so much, that I decided to forgo the hamburger and just nosh on veggies.

Since I didn’t have eggplant, I substituted cauliflower, added a clove of minced garlic and a half cup of quartered kalamata olives. While the flavor wasn’t exactly the same as traditional ratatouille, it was surprisingly close! As always, it was a very economical dish. In spite of the fact that I only used two small zucchinis, two small squashes and twelve ounces of cauliflower, there was enough for six to eight servings.

The chicken I made James was very easy to prepare. I took two chicken breasts and pounded them flat with a mallet. Then I tore the meat into strips. I then marinated the meat in a mixture of lemon juice and Garlic-Peppercorn Salad Dressing for about 45 minutes. Once the marinade had a chance to soak in, I dipped the chicken strips in Panko bread crumbs and fried them in vegetable oil. Since I had pounded them thin, they didn’t take long to cook and the panko insured that they got nice and crunchy.

Tonight, we ate at Ting Ting Chinese Restaurant on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard in Duluth, Georgia. James recommended it because he had eaten there once before and loved their Hot and Sour Soup. Since he liked the food there so much, he wanted to take me there so that I could experience their fare. This was more than acceptable to me, since I was the first one out of the two of us to visit Chonas Mexican Restaurant, and we have eaten there many times in the past three years.

We both ordered the Hot and Sour Soup, which really was phenomenal. It was a very nice blend of peppery and tart, with crisp vegetables swimming in the piping hot broth. The soup tasted incredibly fresh and is definitely worth the trip.

For my main course, I ordered Squid With Chives. This dish was remarkably understated, wonderfully simple, and incredibly tasty. In order to avoid the possibility of the squid becoming tough in case of accidental overcooking (something that is very easy to do), the squid was scored with a series of cuts. Chinese chives provided the seasoning for the dish.

I asked and found out that the restaurant uses no MSG and only uses vegetable oil for all of its frying and sauteing. They are incredibly concerned about allergens and prepare each dish to order with such concerns in mind. I normally have to take certain precautions when dining out for Chinese due to allergens and cross contamination concerns. I know that I usually have to avoid certain foods for one reason or the other. I feel confident that I will be safe from such concerns the next time I dine there.

Once a month, at least, I visit Aladdin’s Mediterranean Grill and Deli in Sandy Springs, GA. I go there with friends, and we eat some food and have some fun chatting and having a good time. I often try to get at least one thing that I haven’t gotten before each time that I go there because they have a nice menu, and everything I’ve ever tried has been good.

Today, I got their Lentil Soup, which I have had before and is quite good, and their Greek Salad, something new.

The salad was enormous! It was mostly freshly chopped lettuce (definitely romaine and I think there was some green leaf lettuce too), but there was plenty of feta cheese, red onions, capers, and olives to make me happy. The dressing tasted freshly made using olive oil and herbs. In spite of its size, I ended up eating the entire salad, including the pepperoncinis that were on it as well.

The lentil soup was as good as it always has been. It was a bit of a shock the first time I ordered it because their soup is blended and every other lentil soup I had ever had had not been, including my own. Any worries I had were soon put to rest upon tasting the soup. Though it is vegetarian (I checked), it has a smooth and creamy texture. It’s color is suggestive of a light saffron infusion, and the flavor carries just enough spice to let you know that they’re there. The soup is deceptively filling and nice no matter what the weather is.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to go back before next month. I didn’t get any meat this time, and their shawarma is wonderful! I may have to go back soon just to get some more.

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Hummus Night

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