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.

Media test…

Hummus Night

This is a test. This is only a test. In the event of an actu­al Hum­mus Night, you will be direct­ed to the near­est piece of pita bread!