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Sunday, August 22, 2010


I can't even think of the word "pancake" with out thinking of my childhood memory of my mom making the little silver dollar pancakes. I think that was the only time she used flour in the house, and that wasn't often. Oh, what fun it was to have little pancakes on the plate that one could stack and rearrange to make a smiley face. We could eat at least 6 or 7 of them. Once, my brother and I went to my aunt's house and she made pancakes. She asked us how many we wanted and she was shocked to hear 6 or 7. She made her pancakes as large as the frying pan and surely thought we were crazy for wanting so many. I still remember the laughter when we told her that our mom made the silver dollar pancakes.

I'm such an adventerous cook. I like trying new recipes, studying recipes, and especially eating them. I will admit though, that there are many, many foods that I probably would not try (i.e. buggy things, worms, snake, and fried bats, you get my drift). I'd probably have a heart attack and it'd be my last meal. Ah... my last meal. What would I choose? I'll have to think about that one. So now that I have completely changed my train of thought, let me bounce back to the "trying new recipes" part of this post.

If there is a kitchen gadget, I want it. If there is a different spice, I want it! Yes, it's that simple. I had some points with my credit card where I can "shop" on line. The first place I search is the kitchen area. Yes, I found something I really don't need, but am glad they had. It's an Aebleskiver pan for Danish pancakes. I already have a crepe pan for French "pancakes", and a pan for Dutch "pancakes", so now to add to my collection. It's a pan with round circles in them. The pancakes are pancake balls that one can make savory or sweet. I chose sweet. They can be filled with jam, fruit, nuts, spices, and whatever your imagination desires.

As a rule, I'm not a big pancake eater as they seem to sit really heavy on my stomach. Perhaps it's that they just aren't "fluffy" and airy enough for me. I much prefer crepes or french toast. I found a recipe for pancakes that had baking powder in it and I knew they would be light and fluffy. I decided to add some flax seed to part of the batter just because they are supposed to be healthy for us. You let the pancakes cook partway then I used a wooden skewer to gently pick up the edge and turn them. What fun! A pancake ball. I wish I would have had this pan when my sons were younger. They would have enjoyed this as a "breakfast" dinner with tons of syrup and bacon.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Vietnamese Food

When I was a child, I was not really all that interested in Chinese food. At that time, at least to my knowledge, there were not many Thai or Vietnamese restaurants in Atlanta. We did have Chinese restaurants though. My parents enjoyed the food and would bring it home on occasion. For some reason my taste buds just weren't thrilled with it.
When I was in college (at the University of Georgia... GO DAWGS!!) we had a friend that was from Hong Kong. One late night he came o
ver for a visit. He worked in a Chinese restaurant and brought us some food for a late night snack. It was that late night snack that turned my entire eating likes and dislikes 180 degrees! Oh my goodness, how I really enjoyed that food. I just couldn't get enough. So began my adventure with Chinese food. My friend worked in a restaurant where we would go quite often for dinner. Yes, we would
look at the menu, yet end up telling them to "just bring us anything you like". Off to the kitchen they would go, and back with some dishes that may not even be on the menu, yet something that they personally enjoyed eating. So now I was hooked and I had a lot of years of missing Chinese food to recoup!!

When I was working in an office and had an hour for lunch (oh those were the good ole ENTIRE hour for lunch) we would sometimes go out for Chinese food. I think I actually had Chinese food 5 days in a row (including dinner sprinkled here and there too). So, what's wrong with that? After all, Chinese people eat it every day!!

Since I enjoy cooking, I decided to give making Chinese food a try. I do remember that I had my cousins and aunt over for dinner. My husband (now my ex) and I gave it a wonderful effort, and it was tasty and delicious. Some menus one never forgets....ok, so I have forgotten a few of the items made, but I do remember that we had sizzling rice soup with shrimp (one of my favorites), homemade egg rolls, and Mongolian beef. It was nice for a first time effort, but I must say that it is much, much cheaper to eat out than prepare at home.

Over the years, I have made the simple stir fry dishes and a few others. Last night, I was in the mood to try Vietnamese crepes. I made an easy crepe batter (really more like a thin omelet than a crepe).
Two larges eggs
1 Tablespoon water
2 Tablespoons chopped green onion
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp dried basil (I went to two stores and could not find fresh basil!! I didn't feel like getting in the afternoon traffic on a Friday, so I opted to put dried basil in the eggs)

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet and put 1/4 cup of the egg in the hot pan. Twirl the pan so that the egg evenly coats the bottom in a thin layer. Flip egg and cook "crepe" until done. Please don't over cook! Set aside

The egg crepe is to be added to large lettuce leaves for rolling.

Along with egg, I added fresh cilantro, julienne cucumber, carrots, green onion, and bean sprouts. Roll all ingredients and dip in dipping sauce as follows.

Juice of 1 1/2 limes
1 tsp garlic
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/8 cup fish sauce (I didn't realize that Thai fish sauce was mostly anchovy (It's really not "anchovieish" at all, but I will cut down on the amount for next time...just my personal preference) When I go to the market next time, I will see if there are fish sauces from
different Asian regions. Will find out!
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp soy sauce

Dip rolled lettuce bundles in the sauce. The red pepper really gives it a nice "kick". Add more if you desire. I k
now my son would certainly add more.

So now that I have my taste buds in tune for Vietnamese food, my friend invited me to join h
er and her family in celebrating her birthday at one of my favorite Vietnamese restaurants tonight for dinner. I already know what I'm having..... Y
es! Vietnamese Crepes!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Varsity Jr. closing in Atlanta

For those of you who are not from Atlanta, the title of this blog may have no meaning for you. The Varsity Junior is a small version of the huge Varsity located near the Georgia Tech Campus. It's a famous hamburger restaurant that once was the world's largest. When I was a little girl, they had carhops that would go to your car and bring your order. It was always more fun to go inside though. There were several different dining rooms with a tv in each room. I was always amused at how many men would be in the room showing the daily soap opera.

The language of the Varsity was quite unique. "whatda ya have?" was asked at the counter... none of "may I take your order please?" No, that just isn't the way it is done at the Varsity. The main Varsity was so popular that about 45 years ago, they made a smaller one called the Varsity Jr. This is located on Lindberg @ Cheshire Bridge Road. Since then, there have been other Varsity Jr restaurants. There is one in Athens, Georgia.... home of my wonderful Georgia Bulldogs and the University of Georgia!

So, it was in the newspaper the other day that the Varsity Jr. at Lindberg would be closing on August 22nd. I will have to make a pilgrimage to the site to have my usual order (that hasn't ever changed since I was a child) of chili steak, fries, and a Coke. I may have to change up a bit and get two chili steaks! I certainly hope someone that likes onion rings will come with me!


Ingredients I must have in my kitchen (It's a long list, but I try and have these items on hand)

  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Cheese
  • Cumin
  • Curry
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Fresh Bread
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Greek Oregano
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Lemon ( At least 3 or 4 ALWAYS)
  • Peppers (Wax, Jalapeno, banana)
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Regular Olive Oil
  • Rice
  • Salad Ingredients
  • Sea Salt
  • Spanish Olives
  • White Balsamic Vinegar