I hope all my fellow dads out there had a good Father’s Day. I got booze, breakfast and smoked pork, plus time with my family, so I’ve got no complaints. For breakfast we went over to our favorite local place Fiddlestix and got yet another wonderful meal. As usual, I went with one of the specials, this one called the Mayor McCheese, which is an omelet with ground beef, caramelized onions and tomatoes topped with melted cheese sauce. Considering everything I just wrote ranks pretty high on my favorite foods, you can reasonably bet that I had a wonderful time filling my face with a cheesy, beefy concocion held together with eggs. As an added bonus, I got to dip my toast in cheese!
I’ve got a lot to be thankful for this Turkey Day. My folks have come in from Toledo to share a meal with Em, Lu and I so that’s great. But, since this is a food blog and there’s no way I’ll be able to turn around photos of our Thanksgiving prep until next week, I figured I would keep things on topic.
Regular readers will know that I love Fiddlestix. I’ve never had a bad meal there and love the variety of specials they present every week. Here you can see a collection of photos I’ve taken in the past few months. I can’t quite remember all the details. Up top is some kind of breakfast quesadilla. Then you’ve got a roast beef wrap above this paragraph followed by a double whammy of a sausage omelet and what I believe are raspberry and something pancakes.
I’m not sure if I’ve ever talked about this, but even the sides at ‘Stix are something to talk about. At a lot of other places, breakfast potatoes feel like an add on, but theirs are always crisp and paprika-y. Better than that are the lunch sides which consist of homemade potato chips and what seems like a different pasta salad every time.
I hope you’ve found a great place like Fiddlestix and go there on a regular basis. It’s important to support local restaurants, especially when they’re awesome.
Two weekends back, we headed to New Hampshire to attend the surprise birthday of my wife’s long time friend. While there we hit up a few restaurants and ate some food I just had to brag about.
Just take a second to behold the glory that is a New England steak bomb sandwich. I don’t even know what’s in it, but I love it and want to eat one every day of my life, a life that would probably be all the shorter for such an experience. Anyway, this particular sandwich of the gods came from a place near my inlaws’ house called Giovanni’s and I highly recommend getting this food in your face if you can. Even after sitting in a bag on the way home, this was still a wonderful, cheesy thing of goodness.
Before heading home on Sunday, we went to breakfast at my inlaws’ favorite place, Janie’s. We’ve been there lots of times and I like that they always have a list of specials in addition to their regular menu. This time I got a bratwurst and sauerkraut filled omelet that was pretty tasty, but probably could have used more kraut. The real spotlight of the meal for me was that giant cinnamon roll I only ate half of so I could eat the rest for breakfast the next day. Man, I really need to get my oven fixed so I can figure out how to make these things, they’re my one real dessert weakness.
A few weeks back my parents came in for a visit. Since my mom’s a vegetarian, I always try to come up with something fun and new to try when they visit. I was looking and looking and looking and then I came across the Smitten Kitchen recipe for Baked Orzo With Eggplant & Mozzarella and figured I had a contender on my hands. I neglected to take pictures of the last few steps, but I can assure you that this recipe is a good one to try out even if you don’t have any vegetarians in your crew.
The first thing I did, well before I even started prepping everything else, was get the eggplant cut up, salted and hanging out in a strainer over the sink. I’ve had problems getting the water out of the purple tubers before, but think it went pretty well this time. After a while I got to work on the rest of the prep work which consisted of chopping up carrots, celery, onions, garlic, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.
With everything good to go, I got to cooking. The eggplant went into oil first which was kind of like frying, but without the crispiness. You take that out and set aside on some paper towels before using the same pot and cooking the rest of the veggies. Right here I have to stop and say that I appreciate any meal that doesn’t result in a mountain of dirty dishes at the end.
Anyway, after cooking everything, you add in a few of the other ingredients, mix things up and pop it in the oven. You might need extra time to make this because of the eggplant and the oven time, but it’s really a simple set up that yielded awesome results. I mean, what’s not to like about orzo, two kinds of cheese and eggplant? It winds up being kind of like a veggie-filled mac and cheese which I am always in favor of.
One of my go-to ideas when it comes to leftovers is to turn whatever it is into an omelet. I love omelets and I think they’re super versatile and that’s without even getting into crepe territory, which I’m mostly unfamiliar with. Well, after making Bobby Flay’s Beef and Black Bean Chili last week, freezing some and eating some for lunch, I was looking for something new to do with it.
So, I ladled a few scoops of chili into a small pan just to heat it up. At the same time I heated some olive oil in a larger pan and cooked one clove of diced garlic. While both of those warmed, I whipped three eggs together and poured just a tiny bit of milk in there (I’m still figuring out these ratios, but the less the better). By this point, the chili was bubbling a little, so I took it off the heat. I then poured the eggs into the larger pan and let them cook for a minute or two.
Then I poured the warmed chili in there. I should have strained out more of the juice. All that liquid in there made things a little tricky. While the eggs cooked and the chili heated, I shredded some cheddar over it all. I let that cook for a few minutes, tried folding it over, but didn’t have luck until I put it on the plot. I topped it with a dollop of sour cream and was good to go! I gotta say, this was a pretty good little mash-up. I could see this working with pretty much any kind of chili and will hopefully used them when I start my restaurant/food truck called Nachos & Omelets (the two most versatile foods).
One evening last week I remembered that I had a pair of sausage links in the freezer. I think I used them for a meatball or meatloaf recipe, can’t remember. Anyway, having eaten that night’s dinner, I realized I’d need something to eat for lunch the next day and started thawing them out. My plan was to combine what I had around the house which included three eggs, a little milk, a garlic glove, half of a very small onion and some cheddar cheese. Sounds like perfect omelet fixins to me!
My first step when making an omelet involves sauteing some chopped onion and garlic in olive oil until brown. While that cooks, I crack and beat a trio of eggs in a bowl. I use a fork instead of a whisk because that’s how we used to beat eggs back when I was making egg sandwiches at the bagel place. I then pour a little milk in–about a tablespoon–and mix it all together. The milk adds some fluffiness to the proceedings (another trick learned at the bagel place, we would add a little creamer cup to our break food to make them better than the ones we served to customers).
Once you’ve got the onions and garlic where you want them–I like a little browness, but not too too much–I pour the egg and milk mix all over the veggies. As the eggs cooked, I cut the casing off of one of the sausages and distributed that around the omelet. You can see the other sausage cooking in a pan, which was a big mistake and wound up getting tossed out after burning. Anyway, the eggs cooked the distributed sausage pretty well and I shredded some cheese over the cooking omelet, but wasn’t so sure about the done-ness of that meat, so I wound up breaking the omelet apart with my spatula, making it more of a scramble I guess.
Once it looked pretty done, I transferred the pan’s contents onto a plate, shredded a little more cheese and had myself a pretty good lunch. Well, I would have. The baby wound up waking up right as I finished, so I had to scarf it down while feeding her, but still, it wound up being a pretty good way to use up some spare food lying around the house.
319 Main Street
Cornwall, NY 12558
I fully intended to do a post on this meal from a few weeks back at Fiddlestix, an amazing breakfast/lunch place in nearby Cornwall that always features a variety of specials. Being a huge fan of mixing things up, I love going there. It also doesn’t hurt that the food–whether from the menu or a special–is consistently fantastic. Since the above picture of Justin’s Ommy was a special and I accidentally deleted the notes I took on the dish, you’ll have to settle for this picture. If memory serves (and it doesn’t always) I think the omelet had bleu cheese, roast beef and caramelized onions. Mushrooms might have also been involved. The salty, sweet and sourish flavors bounced off of one another and then fit together so well that I’m kind of amazed that this isn’t a standard omelet offering on every menu everywhere. I guess I do remember the meal better than I thought! That’s because it’s one of the best things I’ve ever eaten there.
Something you might not know about me is that I love to cook. I started learning how in college and got okay with it. For Christmas that year, my mom got me a pretty good set of Calphalon pots and pans that I still use. But, with working full time and my wife usually getting home before me, she took over the cooking (which is good because she’s also a lot better at it than me). Since I was laid off, though, I have assumed the cooking responsibilities. While I usually stick to the recipe, I have started branching off and working on a few things myself, usually things based on what we have in the house. Last night I whipped up an omelet that was shockingly good. Hopefully this will put me one step closer to opening my restaurant Omelets & Nachos.
Growing up, my dad didn’t cook much, but he was killer when it came to breakfast. He sure knows how to make a mean omelet. That’s probably where my love of them came from. I was surprised when I grew up to find out that not only do omelets in a restaurant not always come with cheese, but I’ve never really found one that matches my dad’s kitchen sink-mentality. So, the way I approach an omelet is trying to figure out everything I can throw in, hence the hot dog for some extra protein (and pig lips). We didn’t have a lot of veggies in the house, so I figured sauteing some onions and garlic might make an interesting base instead of using cooking spray. It’s a trick I picked up from the very first episode of that Bravo show Chef Academy that needs to come back soon! Not only does it smell awesome, but it tastes crazy good. It might take a little bit longer than normal, but I think it’s worth it. Throw on some coffee or OJ and some toast on the side and you’re good to go.
Hot Dog & Onion Omelet
2 cloves garlic diced
3 eggs beat
1 hot dog, cut
Heat olive oil in a large pan. Brown onions and garlic over medium-high heat.
Mix eggs and milk in a bowl. Pour mixture over browned onions and garlic, lower heat to medium.
Once the eggs start to harden, add hot dogs and cheese. To get the eggs to cook better, tip the pan a little and push the eggs towards the center of the pan with the spatula to let excess flow to the warm pan (I tried taking a picture of this, but it seems impossible while holding the phone/camera).
Bring heat back up to medium-high. Once the eggs are cooked and the cheese is melted, flip the omelet in half and let cook a little longer. Flip if you can, but sometimes the omelet gets a little weak with all that goodness in there.
Brew yourself some coffee and toast some toast and you’re good to go. This bad boy’s good for breakfast, lunch or dinner.