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Photo Diary: Friday, November 29th, 2013

Friday, November 29th, 2013

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The Triumphant Return Of Woody’s!

woody's is back

 

One of the great things about living where we do in Orange County is that there are plenty of great restaurants of all kinds, sizes and cost-levels, especially in Cornwall. The town we want to move into counts my absolute favorite restaurant Fiddlestix as one of the many placescalling it home. But, before discovering Fiddlestix we used to love going to another place called Woody’s. I’ve talked about the naturally sourced burger joint before and how it shut down, which was a huge bummer.

But, a few weeks ago I noticed that the building was getting repainted and fixed up. With each successive pass, I noticed something new until a sign appeared saying “Opening Soon!” I want to say it’s been open for a few weeks now, but we finally went over there a few weeks ago and are happy to say it’s back in force.

I went with one of their specials, a Breakfast Burger with bacon and egg on it as well as some of their excellent fries. I’m glad to say that the place hardly changed and the few changes I noticed were actually improvements. For instance, instead of a Coke or Pepsi fountain dispensary, they actually have Boylans which is an awesome smaller soda maker that specializes in Cane Cola, Root Beer and Cream Soda.

I’m really glad that Woody’s is back in action and ready to keep rolling. With them back, we now have a place to go and get a solid burger that doesn’t come from mystery meat and also offers a good deal of specials. Welcome back Woody’s!

Cooking Smitten Pasta With Cauliflower Walnuts and Feta

I’ve been so lax in posting here on MATK that I’m actually circling back around to recipes I tried months ago, snapped pictures of and never posted about. So, the main photos from this post are from that original try while the last one is from the most recent.

The first time I made Smitten Kitchen’s Pasta With Cauliflower, Walnuts & Feta, I followed the recipe to the letter, using the whole wheat pasta, two heads of cauliflower and the whole deal. It’s really simple to put together. Just get the water going, chop the veggies up, stir, drop, repeat, season and mix. My memories are a bit fuzzy from the first attempt, but it must have been good because I kept the link.

The second time, I jammed a little bit on the recipe, mostly because we had a few things sitting around in the pantry that I could sub in and save a little cash. First off, I used half a bag of egg noodles. I tried a new way of boiling pasta that I will get to in an other post, but I think I cooked them a little long because they got a bit sticky. I also swapped out the toasted walnuts for pecans because I had some on hand. I ground them down to sand size and toasted them up in a separate pan.

Since I’m trying to write down my cooking experiences in a more timely fashion, I can say that this is definitely a hearty, tasty meal that benefits from the mixture of acid from the lemon and white wine vinegar mingling with the punch of the feta and the crunchy sweetness of the cauliflower. My alterations this time around worked out well and showed how versatile this recipe — and the showcase ingredient — can be.

Cooking Pumpkin Seeds

I know we’re well past Halloween at this point, but I wanted to get this great and simple recipe for making pumpkin seeds up before I completely forgot. I’ve been enjoying salty pumpkin seeds around Halloween as long as I can remember. My mom would make them for me as a kid and I took over once I moved out on my own. I used her recipe for a while and then one that a friend of hers gave her that works out really well.

We had two average sized pumpkins — check their size and our daughter’s designs here — which yielded a good amount of seeds. I soaked them over night and then dried them out using a strainer. When I was ready to cook them, I put the oven on to 325 degrees and spread them out on a baking sheet (I probably should have used two so they’d have more room to cook) and then covered them with melted butter. I then sprinkled salt on all of them and garlic powder on half before putting them in the oven for around 30 minutes total. I only did half with garlic powder because once they’re done, they all get mixed together and didn’t want the garlic to be overpowering.

The end result was a solid batch of crunchy, salty seeds that were a big hit around the house. In fact, our two year old liked them so much, she wound up eating the last of the bunch while I made dinner, the tricky little monkey.

The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 36

pop poppa nap cast logo

The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 36 recounts some recent upticks, our recent house search and the popularity amongst my friends to be stay or work from home dads.

mickey's house of villains I’ve seen this House Of Villains Disney special roughly one bajillion times in the past week.

Ephraim Goodweather, the star of The Strain books got The Pop Poppa Of The Week for doing his best in a world turned upside down. The Fall is part of my Ambitious Halloween Reading List.netflix-logo

And Netflix Instant got the Pop Poppa Seal Of Approval, possibly for the second time.  Also, when I mentioned Borders, I meant to say it’s closed, not closing.

For more of me check out UnitedMonkee.com, MonkeyingAroundTheKitchen.com, Comic Book Resources and @PoppaDietsch on Twitter.

MacGyvering Thai-Style Lentil, Coconut & Green Bean Soup

Do you have a blindspot when it comes to a certain aspect of cooking? I do and it comes in the form of the slow cooker. For some reason, my mind always forgets to remind me that I need to actually get those dinners ready until there’s not enough time. With ingredients ready to go bad in the next few days and a need for a dish, I took to my trust copy of The Ultimate Soup Bible and did a little digging.

After looking up a few soups by ingredient, I realized I had most of what I’d need to follow the recipe for Thai-Style Lentil & Coconut Soup (p. 123), plus a bag of green beans, so I got to work. I had to make a few changes for this one. First off, I didn’t have sunflower oil, red onions, a Thai chili, lemongrass or cilantro so I swapped out for peanut oil, a yellow onion and shallot and omitted the rest.

I cooked two chopped onions, two cloves of garlic and the cleaned and broken-up green beans in some peanut oil for five minutes before adding 7 ounces of lentils (I had regular, not red), a teaspoon of coriander that I warmed and ground myself as well as a teaspoon of paprika. Then the can of coconut milk went in followed by 3 3/4 cups of water. I brought that to a boil and then simmered for 45 minutes. When that was done I added the juice from a lime and some sliced scallions. And thus a soup was born!

I’m sure the recipe as written has a much greater depth of flavor thanks to the additional heat from the chili (which I probably would have skipped anyway) and the lemongrass, but I thought this worked out pretty well for a quickly MacGyvered meal. For an extra bit of protein and saltiness, I put some lightly salted roasted peanuts on top of mine which helped round things out.

Philly Bonus Food Pics: Pastrami Cheesesteak, Sushi & Dinic’s Roast Pork

pastrami cheesesteak Well gang, I think we’re pretty far past apologies for a lack of posting. A lot of things went down in the past few months that prevented me from posting here on MATK, but I’m really hoping to make a big push for more posts. I’m even circling around to recipes I made months ago that I never posted about so they can be refreshed in my brain. Anyway. I’m kicking this week off with a series of food pictures I took while hanging out with some college friends in Philadelphia a few weekends back (for more details on the weekend, check out the 35th episode of my podcast over on PopPoppa.com). kinish Above you can see the lunch we had at a place called The Famous 4th Street Delicatessen which had wonderful service and gigantic portions. My wife and I split a pastrami cheesesteak which was certainly filling. I also got myself a   blintz. I honestly wasn’t quite sure what a blintz was, but I enjoyed the sweet cheesy insides as well as the fried crust.

While looking for a place that could serve a fairly large dinner party, we stumbled upon Kabuki Sushi. The positives were that they took reservations and weren’t too far from out hotel. Oh, that and the food. I can’t quite remember what rolls I got, but both of them were super tasty. I also tried our friend Heather’s fried tofu which reminded me of fancy carnival food. As you can see, Lucy also had a roll which she seemed to like, though she basically just took the chicken out and ate that. dinic's roast pork Finally, before heading to the Please Touch Museum and heading back home, we went over to the awesome Reading Terminal Market and got Dinic’s roast pork sandwiches for breakfast. My wife remembered seeing these sandwiches on a food show and we were familiar with the market from previous comic convention-related visits to Philly, so we each had one. I’m not sure if I prefer these to cheesesteaks, but I will say that, while I’ve had plenty of crummy cheesesteaks, I’ve only had one awesome roast pork sandwich with broccoli rabe, so that’s something!

The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 35

pop poppa nap cast logo

The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 35 features a detailed recounting of our trip to Philadelphia, a few super-cute Lucy things and a few words about helping Detroit. Sorry about the weird background noise this episode, I had the computer too close to the mic, the dryer was going and I poured some coffee around the 7:00 minute mark.

The hotel we stayed at in Philly was the Sheraton, check out their site here. My only real complaint about the place: no free wifi. On the plus side, the $7 gin and tonics were super great.

If you’re in Philly, I highly recommend checking out Reading Terminal Market.

On Saturday we ate lunch at the Famous 4th Street Delicatessen. For more info about what we ate and some pictures of the food itself, head on over to MonkeyingAroundTheKitchen.com this week.

Note that the water pouring sound around the 7:00 minute mark is just me pouring myself a cup of coffee from my mini French press and not audio of anyone peeing in the background.

Dinic’s is fantastic. Go there.

The Please Touch Museum might have driven me nuts, but I’m sure your kids will love it.parts unknown

Check out Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown site about the Detroit episode. I wasn’t able to find too many aid sites, but you might be able to find some resources through that site.

For more of me check out UnitedMonkee.com, MonkeyingAroundTheKitchen.com, Comic Book Resources and @PoppaDietsch on Twitter.