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Thanks for the Crepes

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    Cary, North Carolina

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  1. Soft Shell Crab

    I only had fried soft shells once at Sanitary Fish Market in Morehead City, NC. There is a big charter boat fishing business there, and that's why I was there. It's right on the water, and has been there since 1938. You see out the windows at dusk the fishing boats coming into port with the charters having all the catch hung up for people to see. The commercial boats keep the catch chilled, as it should be, but this is a big charter fishing port, so you get a big parade of boats showing off the catch in our hot and humid air, so as to get more charter customers. When I tried the Sanitary, it was in the late 80's and it was better than it is now. I just ordered the wrong thing. I was curious and didn't understand the season for live soft shells. I'm sure I would not have agreed to go out on a charter fishing boat in April or even May. It had to be further into summer. My one example must have been frozen and it seemed to have spent too much time regrowing its shell. It made me very sad I ordered it, because my dining companions' food looked good. They did bring in a spiny lobster that night from one of the fishing boats that sold it to the restaurant and they have an aquarium for such purchases. This thing was as long as my whole arm! It had no claws like the Maine kind, but I still wish I'd ordered that instead of soft shells. Who knows how much it would've cost, though. A question for those who have had good soft shells: Do they typically not have a chitinous shell to try to deal with/chew through?
  2. First Steps in Cooking

    My mom died when I was 8, but before then, I "helped" in the kitchen. The first thing I really remember "helping" with was a fruit cocktail cake where you dump a can of fruit cocktail into probably a cake mix. Sneer all you like, but we considered this very good. I remember aspiring to assist in washing dishes since I was a tiny ignorant thing. My mom was a registered nurse, and very wary of pathogens and wanted the dishes washed properly. I was so proud the first time I was allowed to assist! Man, did that get old quickly. The first thing I remember cooking completely on my own was an herbed Italian chicken dish. After the death of my mom and stepmom shortly after, we were three children living with my single dad who did not deign to enter the kitchen other than to give commands. I had learned to cook simple things like baked potatoes, bacon and eggs and Dad would grill steaks outside over charcoal. We had an elderly Italian couple, the Politos, across the dirt road we lived on in VT. Leah, the wife, was apparently barren and has always wanted children. Joe, the husband always ran us off if we were hanging around when he got home from work. Leah was our missing mother or maybe grandmother. We helped her with yard work. She taught me a lot of things about cooking and preserving. I remember canning her garden tomatoes in her basement canning kitchen. I remember Leah bringing our family some baked chicken with parsley, basil and oregano she'd grown in her garden. (Us kids helped the old woman with garden chores, too.) The whole family loved this chicken, and I tried to recreate it later. It seemed browned and done, but when we cut into it, it was bloody, so back into the oven it went. It finally came out done and edible, but I remember crying over my initial failure. I also remember even my usually cruel father being tolerant and appreciate of my efforts for a change. I was about ten here. Another memory is when I lived with my grandparents when I was thirteen. I'd left home by then, and my paternal grandparents took me in. By this time, I'd been cooking for my dad and two siblings for a while and when he married my second step mom who came with a son, then I was cooking for six. I got sick of the abusive situation and landed on Grandma's doorstep for a while. I was her favorite. At first, Grandpa did all the cooking because, Grandma, who was the cook in the family, was the victim of a stroke and bedridden. One day, after the big chicken butchering where all the extended family cooperated to slaughter and process about 200 chickens grown on the property, I decided I wanted some good fried chicken. First thing I did was scrub out the kitchen sinks where Grandpa had been spitting his snuff. Well, he immediately started back up fouling the sinks, and I kept scrubbing them out, and gently pointed out the coffee cans, he could use for this purpose. One of my cousins asked why I didn't just forbid him to spit in the sinks. I figured that wasn't my place. I persisted scrubbing and he persisted spitting. I'm not sure if someone else spoke to him, but finally, he quit spitting disgusting brown snuff residue into the sinks. That day, I got a free range chicken out of the deep freeze to thaw. When it came dinner time, I took it upon myself to put some flour, salt and pepper into a plastic bag to shake and coat the chicken. Grandpa was adamant that it wasn't enough flour and that I would fail. It's only because Grandma intervened that I continued on and dropped the coated chicken pieces into a couple of ancient cast iron skillets full of hot oil. Grandpa was amazed, and said I was right, that it was plenty of flour and that more was just a waste. I was the cook and Grandma in Grandpa's kitchen after that day with not much more interest except requests for certain things.
  3. Mail-Order Virginia Country Hams

    @MetsFan5, if you don't want to make your own biscuits, buy some frozen ones at your local grocery. Or buy some from a restaurant around you. Salty country ham really comes into its own on a creamy, flaky biscuit. It's a thing that was designed to go a long way to get through a long winter, originally. You can also attempt to wash/rinse the salt out of it, but you will also rinse a lot of the other flavors going on there out too. Perhaps country ham really isn't for you, but if you use it like it was intended, it will serve very well. It started out as poor folk farmer's food, so maybe not for you. It's for me for sure!
  4. Ideas for Cornish hens

    I would make this recipe from my old Betty Crocker Cookbook. I made the rice and pineapple stuffing once, but it sucked. You definitely want to make the glaze with soy, ground ginger and sugar that's basted on at the end. I always double the recipe for the glaze, because it's that good. It's pretty easy too, but wow is it good! I use the MSG called for, cuz I'm not skeered. P.S. About an hour at 350F is plenty to cook through a small chicken instead of the recommended time in the recipe. The glaze sounds stupid simple, but it is stupid good too.
  5. Dinner 2018 (Part 1)

    I decided to celebrate the spring weather we've been having with strawberries for dinner. Okay, they were from Mexico, but that did not diminish my enjoyment. I started with a green leaf lettuce and sliced strawberry salad dressed with oil, vinegar, soy sauce and pomegranate molasses. I ate this while chicken wings seasoned with chicken salt roasted up crispy in the CSO. Then to top it all off was strawberry shortcake on a hot-from-the-oven, slightly sweet biscuit-style shortcake. Whipped cream, of course. Ah, spring!
  6. Do you eat dessert in a restaurant?

    Normally, I won't order dessert out. There's a mom and pop pizza joint where the owner's mom makes good tiramisu when she feels like it. If she has felt like it, I order the tiramisu. Mmmm .... Better yet, this place delivers, so I have had tiramisu brought to my doorstep. Can't beat it.
  7. Best Fast Food Burger

    Yup, but cold fries are worse. Followed by soggy, limp ones, even if they're hot. I'm sort of strict on what constitutes a hot fry too. If I don't burn my mouth on the first few, the order will be too cold to enjoy by the end. Five Guys could usually deliver on both very decent burgers and fries that came out fresh and hot, but tragically, the only outlet in Cary has closed. Must have been its location at the very back corner of a mall behind Barnes and Noble. It sure wasn't the food or service from the last time I was there.
  8. Gator tenders

    I also really enjoyed the alligator tail my husband's construction crew accidentally ran over coming back from a Florida job. They kept it on ice the whole way back and I prepared and cooked it carefully. I don't really know if this was legal, but the deed was done, and it certainly seemed better than letting the meat go to waste. His crew knew I loved to cook because they were the occasional beneficiaries of some of my creations. I've had it twice at a couple different restaurants, though, and didn't like it at all. Farmed alligators? Indifferent preparation? I dunno, but I wouldn't order it again out. As far as I know, from our culture, we only eat the tail. @liuzhou, I can see the butcher going to work to perhaps harvest other meat from the carcass. Do they eat it all in China? Maybe that's another explanation for my dislike of the alligator "nuggets" I ordered in restaurants. Maybe they were not from the preferred tail. Neither was a high end restaurant, and who knows what processing the "nuggets" were subjected to before they arrived on my plate.
  9. Gardening: (2016 – 2017)

    Yes, I live in the woods, with deciduous trees that put on quite the canopy in summer, when basil would thrive with plenty of sunshine. Even on the deck, basil can't get enough sun here at my home to really develop much flavor. Five hours is too little. The leaves also curl under and don't look right without enough sun. They may be still green, but they just don't look right or taste right. That said, they are still better than dried, because all that lovely basil flavor is lost upon drying.
  10. Refrigerator Magnets

    Yah! Yours is even funner than my fridges, and I always look on the photos and magnets stuck on mine as a source of fun. I also consider the power outage magnet the most important in coping with life though. I used to have a printer color photo of my red-headed niece, now 19, dangling the keys to her first car out the window and grinning like crazy. I've put it up somewhere because it was "too important". Like the images of my late and beloved cat, I have no idea where I have hidden these treasures that used to live on my fridges. Hanging important stuff on the fridge is very important to defining my home to me. As old as I am, I'm not ever going to take another thing off my fridge because it's "too important". I want to see it and know where it is. I want to enjoy it every day.
  11. Food In The Military

    Okay, I was told something extremely disturbing to me by my nephew who is stationed with the USS Abraham Lincoln during its refit and testing at Norfolk VA. At lunch in a restaurant last weekend, he mentioned that he had witnessed boxes of food labeled "Fit Only for Prisoner or Military Consumption". I think so many people, if they knew about this travesty, would conclude that this is not what people in service of the defense of our nation deserve. Not even close! It's sort of on the downlow because retaliation for whistleblowers is horrific in the military, but I found a few links that confirm it. I believe my nephew. He's so honest he hurts himself in today's world. A nursing home resident came forward to say he'd lent a book to my husband who subsequently lent it to my brother, and he wanted it back. Well you know, dealing with a death, cleaning out the residence often leads to donating many things. A lot of work and expense. Nephew said he'd try to track this book down, but if unable to, he'd buy the lender another book. Do you realize how many details this kid has dealt with and still has pending plus the expense, and he's concerned about a lent book? I do not think he lied about the labels on this Navy food! What do you think? Is this the level of food we should be feeding our captive audience of folks serving our country?
  12. Happy Pi Day!!

    Marie Callender's frozen pies and cobblers are available at the mainstream grocery stores here, and they are GOOD!. I like the cherry pie and the blackberry cobblers, the best I think, but I haven't had a bad one. Peach is great too *drool*. A lot of places had special offers for Pi Day around here, including Your Pie. I would definitely have walked up there for a $3.14 pizza if I could have. Amazing deal, because you didn't even have to buy anything else. They did this on their opening day too while I was in the nursing home. I had been eagerly awaiting their opening since this past summer when it was announced they intended it to be then. It's in the same plaza as the liquor store and across the street from Harris Teeter and Primo Pizza where I was walking to regularly. I haven't been to Your Pie yet, but it's on my agenda as soon as I'm free of this wheelchair. I had a Pepperidge Farm apple turnover for dessert tonight. It's a hand pie, right? Happy Pi Day, y'all!
  13. Dinner 2018 (Part 1)

    It must have been a turkey kind of night. Yesterday I roasted a couple small turkey wings in the CSO. I ate the first one with leftover scalloped potatoes and fried okra hash from "Deep Run Roots". The wings were a tad dry and I am just not a fan of commodity turkey from the supermarket, but decided to get these after freaking out at the price of chicken wings. I decided to take the meat off the bones of the remaining turkey wing tonight and mince it. I mixed it with Duke's mayo, minced onion, salt and pepper. I wished I had some celery, but it made a very good turkey salad sandwich as it was. I piled on red leaf lettuce and some sliced cocktail tomato. I ate the last of the scalloped potatoes too. These seemed to get better and better as they aged. I love scalloped potatoes.
  14. Lunch! What'd ya have? (2018)

    I got the lunch shrimp plate that comes with very lightly breaded small shrimp. Just like I like: a dusting of seasoned flour and a quick fry. The size of the shrimp varies depending on catch, and these today were quite small, but fresh, delicious and perfectly cooked. The plates come with hush puppies, lightly flavored with onion, fried potato wedges and coleslaw. I'm picky about coleslaw, and this was good, not too much mayo. Everything is served in styro takeout containers, even dine in. There are a bunch of sauces on each table. Homemade tartar, ketchup, and Texas Pete hot sauce are the ones I remember, but there were at least four more. They are all in big squeeze bottles. A plate is always more than one can eat. It's been over a decade since I darkened their doors, but I was treated to takeout by a kindly visitor to a fellow resident when I was confined in the nursing home. This was the highlight of my stay there. I always enjoy NC Seafood, but it seems from the ratings, some people don't get the concept. That's OK, but I have always loved this place. Everything is made to order and comes out quickly and so hot you will burn your mouth if you're not careful. Nothing fancy, just perfectly cooked NC seafood. Right up my alley. They also offer broiled, but I guess the whiners on Yelp about all the fried stuff failed to read the menu that far. They also had crayfish today, which was tempting, but in the end I decided to go with tried and true shrimp plate. They drain the fried stuff well, so it doesn't come off as greasy to me. The restaurant grew out of the State Farmers Market seafood distribution center. And, yes, I was Queen for the Weekend, thanks especially to my amazing nephew, but also to other members of the family.
  15. Lunch! What'd ya have? (2018)

    Had lunch today at NC Seafood Restaurant in Raleigh at the State Farmer's Market. My nephew, who lives in VA, and is stationed with the USS Abraham Lincoln, was kind enough to take me to my stepbrother's house, where he was staying, for dinner on Saturday. We all wound up having a really good time and a great dinner. I was invited to stay overnight and I slept in a real bed for the first time since I left the nursing home on December 5th of last year. I don't have to tell you how good it felt to be able to sprawl out. I slept like the proverbial log! On Sunday morning, dear nephew took me to visit my husband in the nursing home, where I stayed briefly and he's still confined. Nephew was nice enough to offer to take us both out for lunch. I asked him if he was sure he could fit both us cripples and two wheelchairs into his vehicle, and he said no problem. Actually, it was kind of a problem, and he had to get "creative" with stowing both chairs, but patient and persistent, as usual, he managed it. The restaurant gets mixed reviews. If you're expecting something fancy, best not to go there. It's fresh NC seafood, perfectly prepared, but you order at the counter and they call your order number over a loudspeaker. Service is friendly and fast. We had employees walk out into the long line and take our orders to bypass the bottleneck at the counter. Portions are generous and reasonably priced. My kind of place, though, YMMV. In thanking my nephew for getting us out of our confining environments, and just generally treating me like a queen this weekend, I told him about how nothing ever happens at the nursing home, and there's nothing to do really and the food is truly bad. Husband will be the talk of the nursing home for a week for having the opportunity to go out to lunch at NC Seafood. No joke. He brought back a container of all the leftovers, so will escape the nursing home's dinner offering too. I would have liked to take some of the other residents too, but we barely managed the two chairs as it was.