Wednesday, August 31, 2011


My husband and I are back home again
after spending a few wonderful days in Chicago.

Until I am able to sort through my many photos
and organize some posts,
I thought I would give you a little hint of what is to come.

The Chicago skyline as seen from our boat tour.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Take Two on Mongolian Grill Food

Recently I blogged about a new Mongolian Grill
restaurant that had opened in B-town.
While we didn't dislike the food,
we weren't intrigued enough by the chain
restaurant to go back.

A few weeks later a very similar restaurant opened
up a mile down the road.

We vowed to try out this competitor.

the Foodie Daughter and I braved the 
crowds of out-of-town students
and their families to meet up at Mr. Hibachi.

We pulled into the parking lot and immediately
noticed that the place was packed.

It might be noted that Urbanspoon currently ranks this 
restaurant at 86% versus HuHot's 55%.

The prices are a bit better here as well.

I always ask for ice water with lemon on the side.

Dang it!  
I wanted it on the left side, 
not the right side of the glass!

For my first trip to the buffet, 
I decided to got to the grill.

I chose
pork, broccoli, pineapple,
bean sprouts, shredded carrots and celery,
mushrooms, green peppers, noodles and red onions.
I opted to go with 1/2 ladle of chili sauce,
1/2 ladle of garlic, 2 ladles of teriyaki and 
1 ladle of brown sauce.

I found it interesting that raw eggs were 
available on the hibachi bar.
Other items were cabagge, white onion,
chicken, shrimp,
and krab.
Mr. Hibachi also offers a sushi bar,
a salad bar and extensive dessert bars
besides the hibachi bar and the hot buffet bars.

The grill master works on the entrees.

This grill only handles three entrees at a time.
None of the other entrees were chicken
so I had no worries of cross-contamination.

I decided to add a half scoop of white rice to my plate
before I went to my seat.

This was good, but hot.

The Foodie Daughter chose
beef, shredded carrots and celery,
red onion, noodles and 5 or 6 ladles of teriyaki sauce
for her grilled plate.

She then stopped by the buffet and picked up 
a chicken on a stick,
some General Tso's Chicken,
crispy chicken and rice noodles.

She very much enjoyed her meal.

I decided to go back and try out some of the buffet 

This time around I got fried rice,
pepper beef, mushroom pork,
Mongolian pork and two crab rangoon.

Those crab rangoon were the best I have ever had.
I could actually taste the crab.
Imagine that - crab in crab rangoon!
It wasn't just cream cheese with a tiny bit of flavoring.

The servers were attentive and very friendly.

All in all, this was a very nice meal.

You can bet that we will be returning to Mr. Hibachi.
Although, I might be holding back on that chili sauce
the next time.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Talking Turkey

The Foodie Daughter directed my attention
out the back window this morning.

There in the back of the yard was a flock of seven

For most of the year, wild turkeys travel together
in single-sex flocks: females together or males together.

Wild turkeys are large birds,
with the females growing to about three feet
and the males growing to about four feet.

They are not as fat as domesticated turkeys,
which have been bred to yield more meat.
Domesticated turkeys thus can no longer fly.

Click on the pictures to see these magnificent
birds better.

You can get a better idea of why Benjamin Franklin
wanted to make the wild turkey the national bird.

A few years ago I found this wild turkey feather
in our back yard.  
It is about twelve inches long.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Tailgating 101

College football season is around the corner
and we need to prepare and practice new recipes.

We also need to try out our new portable grill.

The Foodie Daughter had bragged about 
how she had learned to cook great rib eyes 
from yours truly to our tailgate buddies.

Naturally they were intrigued.
And naturally, I had to come up with a recipe 
that would work with a tailgate.

I decide to go with grilled rib eye bites.

I cut the rib eye into about 1-inch pieces
and skewered them.
I then drizzled each piece with extra virgin olive oil*
and liberally sprinkled with kosher salt and 
freshly cracked black pepper.

*I only use extra virgin olive oil,
never the lesser quality olive oils.
I also never use the light olive oils that have
been cut with canola oil.
You really need to try different brands until
you find one you like.
Some have a stronger flavor than others.

I use Bertoli Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Our new tailgate grill in action.

The grilled rib eye bites are finished.

I also decided to try my hand at marinating
fresh mozzarella.
I added about 1 tablespoon chopped sun dried tomatoes,
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley,
1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives
and 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
to 1 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 3/4 inch cubes.

Marinate for about 30 minutes or so.

The final dish for our trial run was sliders.

The ingredients were
ground beef
kosher salt
black pepper

I grated about 1/4 cup onion and one garlic clove
over the pound of beef.

I then added about 1-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

Mix well.

I lined a baking sheet with parchment paper and 
placed the meat mixture on top.

Form the meat into a rough rectangle.

Cover with parchment and roll into an even thickness,
making sure to keep in a roughly rectangular shape.

Like so.

Carefully cook on the grill in one piece.

If you have a large spatula, or two, use it.

I have a pizza spatula, so I used that.

After the meat was thoroughly cooked,
we used a pizza cutter to cut the meat into 8 pieces.

The finished plate.

We served the sliders with minced onion,
relish and barbecue sauce.

We decided that all of these recipes were keepers.
Now I will have to create some sauces for the 
grilled rib eye bites.

This experiment was a success.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Foodies Try a New Restaurant

The Foodie Boyfriend took the Foodie Daughter
and me out to eat at the new HuHot Mongolian Grill
in town recently.

For one fairly low price,
you can get all you can eat.

You go to the buffet bar and pick from several 
raw ingredients:
a protein,
and then a sauce or sauces.

Then you hand your bowl to the cooks
who place the contents of you bowl on the hot grill
and then they chop and cook it.
Typically, they work their way around the grill,
each one working on all of the dishes
until a person's order is finished.

However, the Foodie Boyfriend had informed 
them about my chicken allergy,
so that system was scrapped for me
and only one cook worked on my dish
in order to avoid cross-contamination.

For my first trip to the grill,
I chose beef, rice noodles, water chestnuts,
broccoli, carrots, zucchini, onion and celery.

I also chose Feed the Hordes Hoisin sauce, 
Samurai Teriyaki sauce and Khan's Favorite sauce. 

For my second and last trip to the grill
I chose pork, broccoli, carrots, onions, celery,
noodles, Samurai Teriyaki sauce,
Khan's Favorite sauce,
Feed the Hordes Hoisin sauce and
Burn-Your-Village Barbecue sauce.

This was my favorite plate.

Now for the critique.
Our server was friendly and attentive
and refilled our drinks before we even noticed
that we needed refills.

The cooks worked with my chicken allergy,
even though that disrupted their routine.
The food was decent.

However, would I go back?
Probably not.
And that is the real test.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Salmon Spread

I wanted to make something different
for my husband recently,
so I picked up a couple of packages
of trimmings from Nova lox at my local grocery store.
Nova lox is a salmon filet that has been cured
in a mild brine solution and then thinly sliced.

I also bought a package of cream cheese
for this special dish before heading home.

 The ingredients for the salmon spread are:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced fresh dill
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon fresh chives, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt*
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 pound (4 ounces) smoked salmon, minced

*since I used Nova lox, I needed to add some sugar
to counteract the added salt from the salmon.
Alternatively, I could have just omitted or lessened
the amount of salt added to the recipe.

Cream the cheese with an electric mixer
or mix with a fork (use those muscles!) 
just until smooth.
Add the sour cream, dill, chives, horseradish,
salt, pepper and and salmon and mix well.

Chill and serve with crudites or crackers.

Garnish with extra minced chives, if desired.

This is a nice departure from the ordinary spread
and even those of us who don't care for salmon
can appreciate this dish.