Saturday, August 20, 2016

Zippity Doo Dah!

Have you ever seen one of these?  
Do you know what it is?


It's an awesome little tool called a corn zipper.  Look how he smiles at you.  He zips corn off a cob in one stroke and it makes him happy to do such a great job for me.  



You just pull him down your ear of corn, and voila, here's the result...


 It takes no time at all and you don't run the risk of taking off the top of a knuckle or the tip of a finger with your knife.











 The little Zipster gets pretty messy, but he's still smiling!



You just give him a quick rinse and he's all cleaned up and ready for next time.  Always so happy to help!


Helping me make stuff like this makes him happy &  super proud of his work.  The corn zipper.  
You need one.






Saturday, July 23, 2016

MOD

As y'all know, I can't and won't pass up good pizza. Frankly, I love pizza so much, I probaby wouldn't pass up a mediocre one either.  Recently, MOD Pizza entered the Columbia scene.  It's a similar concept to Uncle Maddio's...choose your toppings like you do at Moe's and watch as they build your masterpiece for you.  But, at MOD, there's one big, major difference.  The price.  Whether you order one of their specialty pies, or build you own, the price is the price.  One ingredient or ten, all one price. This is true for their pizzas and their salads.

After golf today, Viv and I needed a snack so we headed over to check out MOD.  It's very open and dare I say it?  Mod. I love this huge collage wall.  
 
We both opted to build our own "mini" which is a 6" pizza.  MOD features thin crust and they have a gluten-free option.  The price of the mini pie is only $4.97.  Can you believe that?  I chose pepperoni, bacon, Kalamata olives, artichoke hearts and a sprinkling of blue cheese crumbles.  Observe...
 

Vivian went with mild Italian sausage and black olives.  The pizzas are baked in a wood-fired oven and it doesn't take but a few minutes to get your order.  
 

We both were very pleased with our food.  The choices are great.  There are several sauces, proteins, tons of veggies and fruits, other cheeses, drizzles, and herbs.  You can check out their menu here.  The folks on the MOD Squad will build a salad for you the same way.  Choose your ingredients just as you would for pizza.  They also offer to build your salad on top of an Asiago pizza crust, if you wish. 
 

The prices are very reasonable.  The mini was more than enough for us and for just under $5 apiece, it can't be beat. Their "mod" pizza is 11" and is priced at $7.97. This may be a once a week kind of place for us! 

Vivi and I highly recommend MOD Pizza.  We loved the choices, the crust and it's close to home.  Long live the pizza pie! The world's most perfect food.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Somebody call Idgie Threadgoode

Thanks to the community church garden, I turned Casa d'Akre into the Whistle Stop Cafe tonight.  Don't worry, I'm just referring to the fried green tomatoes.  Neil is alive and well; no ribs served tonight!

So, as I told you last time, I visited the garden and plucked some perfectly beautiful green tomatoes. It's funny, growing up Southern, as I have, I never heard of fried green tomatoes until Fannie Flagg's book was made into a movie. Frankly, finding out that one of the '70's Match Game regulars was an author was the first revelation. Fried green tomatoes was the other.  In fact, when I was about 4, my first major transgression in life was when I ran inside to get mommy & daddy to take them out to see my giant pile of "green balls"  -AKA- my dad's immature tomato crop. 

Back before the great fire, the original Rockaway's had someone in the kitchen that was the fried green tomato master. After seeing the movie, I started ordering these babies.  Come to think of it, this was even before my raw, red tomato epiphany.  I still miss those fried greens. Whoever you were, I miss you, tomato frying chef master.

Tonight was a simple, yet simply wonderful, dinner of grilled ham, green beans and fried green tomatoes. It's been awhile since I've made them, but Neil and I agreed this was one pretty darn good batch! 


Take advantage of all the great produce that our ridiculously hot summers create.  Channel your inner Idgie but I wouldn't recommend sticking your bare hands into a honey hole.  Ain't nobody that lucky!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Zucchini Cakes


Summer time and the livin's hot and sweaty.  Mosquitos abound and the humidity is high...

Yes, yes, I'm quite musical. It's a gift, really.

If you don't live in the South, here's something you may not know.  We can grow the bejesus outta some squash.  You plant a couple of squash and zucchini plants and before you know it, you have more than you know what to do with.  One year, my parents were out of town and one of my jobs was to go over every couple of days to check the crop.  When we get good rain, those suckers can grow about 200% overnight.  I can't tell you how many times I pulled back the leaves to be startled by a dark green torpedo that wasn't there last time.  It can really scare you.


There's a Methodist church in our neighborhood that plants a giant garden each year...for the community.  That's right, for everyone.  I stopped by there today hoping for some zucchini because I've had my eye on a recipe for months...zucchini patties. Grated zucchini, two cheeses, egg, flour, onion.  Sure enough, I found a couple of those sneaky, lurking torpedos in the church garden. Usually, once they get this big, you don't want them because they can get tough.  But, for a recipe that requires grating them, the big boys are perfect.

So, tonight, I had zucchini loaves and fishes.  I made a batch of these killer patties and 3 loaves of zucchini bread from 1 1/2 (big) zucchinis.  What a plethora of good stuff from so little!  Took a loaf of bread to mom and dad and had part of one for dessert.  So thankful for that church sharing its bounty with the whole neigborhood!

So, if you're interested, this is a new favorite around here. Especially with Neil, because he HATES mushy squash, so finding a preparation that he likes is few and far between.  He's a big fan of these now.

Zucchini Patties
2 cups grated zucchini
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients together; stir well.  Heat about 2 Tbs veg oil in a skillet over med-high heat. Drop zucchini batter in about 1/3 cup measures into skillet. Cook until golden brown; drain on paper towels. 

Place in colander, sprinkle with salt and let sit about 20 minutes; then squeeze water out.


Zucchini patty in all its glory
This is pork tenderloin that I marinated and baked; served with mustard sauce on the side
We were surprised that they actually taste more like potato pancakes than a veggie patty, so if you have anti-veggites in your house, this may be a way to get some veggies snuck in.  I mean, who can survive without vegetables?  We served these tonight with some room-temp leftover pork tenderloin, mustard sauce for the meat and some gorgeous tomato slices with salt and basil. Summertime, summertime!



Saturday, July 2, 2016

Thai One On

Y'all know that I really like Publico. I've told you that. But, it's been a while since we've been there. Yesterday was my birthday.  So, the three of us decided to continue the celebration of me by having lunch at our favorite neighborhood joint today.  

I got there thinking that I'd order the Classic Carnitas and the Sambol Fish taco.  Like I usually do. But once there, I thought, "no, I'm going to try something new this time."  I chose the Thai Shrimp Burger. 

Shrimp burger with fresh cut fries
 So, this is a burger made of giant chunks of shrimp.  This is significant because too often restaurant dishes really skimp on the shrimp.  The burger is served on a fresh bun with red onion relish that is delicious. There's also a Thai peanut sauce and orange sesame aioli.  It's a very flavorful and successful fusion of tastes.  I could only eat half of it though; it's a big sandwich. I definitely recommend this one!

Neil decided on the burrito du jour, the "Wingerito."  It was stuffed with pulled chicken with a chipotle wing sauce, brown rice, lettuce and black beans.  It was really yummy.  Of course, Neil had them also jam as many jalapenos as they could fit into it. Many of you know that Neil's heat addiction knows no bounds.  He's constantly on a quest for what he considers hot and it's rarely what others can even tolerate. Today he sampled a coconut Ghost pepper sauce and admitted "it's hot."  That says a lot.



Now, the Vivver decided on her "usual," the Crunchy Avocado taco.  Can I tell you how much I love that my kid has an avocado taco as her "usual?"  

The Crunchy Avocado
 It also never hurts to start off with guac and queso.  The chips are always warm and salty.  The guac is creamy and the queso, well, what's not to love about melty cheese? 



Publico has completed their back porch/deck area. Today they had some astro-turf out with hula hoops, cornhole and a baby pool in the parking lot.  I'm not sure if this was special for the holiday weekend, or if this is a new fixture.  And, since the last time I was there, they've added brunch. Check out the menu here. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Summer is Officially Here!

When they declare "Yippee!  Summer is officially here!" what that  means here in Columbia SC is 100+ temps, 200+% humidity, frozen up a/c compressors, soaking wet clothing and afternoon storms that cause our (crumbling) roads to steam.  





Yep, you can actually see the steam rising. My sister can tell you first hand never, ever, walk home on a steamy road with nothing on your feet except pantyhose #burnedthecrapouttamyfeet #wontdothatagain...But, that's a whole other story! It also means we avoid using our dryers and ovens as much as possible because it just heats up the whole house. 


So, with all that in mind, let me share the ultimate summertime side dish that I got from a friend.  It's one of Ina Garten's recipes and it is the most awesome salad to have on a hot day. 

Cool, delicious fresh corn, red onion, basil. The cider vinegar is the trick.
Take it to your next cookout, block party, potluck, or just whip it up at home for a weeknight side.  Any day now, our famous Silver Queen corn will be hitting the markets and Silver Queen would reign supreme in this recipe.  When you read it, it doesn't sound all that exciting, but trust me.  It is delicious, it's cold, it requires minimal talent and minimal cooking.




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