Persian Breakfast

One thing that most of us love is when we go to a restaurant and the server brings out a little starter. Sometimes it is chips and salsa, or a warm loaf of bread and butter. One restaurant that I love brings out a cathead black pepper topped biscuit along with honey and blueberry jam, but my favorite starter is from my favorite restaurant. It is the Persian breakfast served at Pomegranate on Main in Greenville, SC.

Until my first visit to this restaurant, I’d never heard of it, but it is something that was a bit of a revelation to me after my first bite. After we placed our order, our server returned to our table with a lovely platter and asked if we’d ever had a Persian breakfast. When we replied that we had not, the server went on to explain that what she’d brought to our table was know as the Persian breakfast, and instructed us to take a piece of the flatbread, spread it with butter, then top it with radish, feta and fresh mint. This was not a combination I’d ever tried, but as with most foods, I was opened minded. I did as instructed, and with the first taste, I was hooked! It is hard to explain how just a few simple ingredients can pack such a flavorful punch, but it does. In this case, the sum is far greater than the parts.

Because this is such a simple combination of ingredients, it is easy to bring this dish home to enjoy over and over again. I’ve served this as a starter when having a family gathering, or as a snack on movie night, and I find that every time I make it, I want to do a little happy dance, and sometimes if no one is looking, I do. I’ve found that the fresher and higher quality the ingredients, the better it tastes. I’m lucky to have a large pot of fresh mint growing on my patio, and sometimes grow my own radishes, but often just pick up a bunch from the grocery store. The better the Feta, the better the dish. I have recently discovered that Costco sells an organic Feta imported from Greece that is just delicious, but I’ve also enjoyed it with whatever was on sale at the grocery store. I’ve used both pita bread and naan and enjoyed them both. I’m sure homemade would be better – goals!

If you do a little research, you’ll see variations of Persian breakfast that are much more elaborate, but because I am only conveying my experience, I’ll keep it simple.

Persian Breakfast

1 Package of Pita Bread or other Flatbread

1 Bunch of Radishes, sliced

1 Block of Feta Cheese, sliced

Salted Butter

1 Bunch of Fresh Mint and/ or Basil

Cut flatbreads into bite sized pieces. Spread each piece with butter. Top with sliced radish, sliced feta and fresh mint or basil leaves.

Persian Breakfast

Yes, this is incredibly simple, but it is good and so worth the effort you didn’t have to make!

Wednesday Q&A – 9/7/22

Welcome to the place where your two bloggers ask each other one question each week. We hope you enjoy them as you learn a bit more about us – sometimes we even learn more about each other!

Ray’s question to Karen:

Q: Last month we all enjoyed a great night out together at our nephew Zack’s wedding. What was your favorite food served during the cocktail hour?

A: To be honest, I didn’t eat much at the cocktail hour! I only had one piece of a tuna roll, and one piece of spicy shrimp (although the wait staff explained what it was exactly, I don’t remember what she said at all)! Both were very good.

Karen’s Question to Ray:

Q: Clearly I missed out on the cocktail hour. What were your favorites?

A: We often enjoy the fun and variety of the cocktail hour at a wedding more than the dinner itself. I made my way around the room and enjoyed several things including the sushi, pasta with vodka sauce and several items from the cheese display. One of my favorite things was the cold sesame noodles – I made more than one stop at that station!

Wednesday Q&A – 8/24/22

Welcome to the place where your two bloggers ask each other one question each week. We hope you enjoy them as you learn a bit more about us – sometimes we even learn more about each other!

Ray’s question to Karen:

Q: Do you remember the Thanksgiving episode of Friends where Rachel, who was known to be a terrible cook, decided to make an English trifle for dessert? She failed to realize that two pages of the cookbook she was using were stuck together and she ended up mixing the trifle recipe with a recipe for shepherd’s pie. I doubt you’ve ever mistakenly mashed together a sweet and savory recipe in error, but have you ever combined two recipes by mistake?

A: No, I haven’t done that, but I have skipped over ingredients or instructions in a recipe before. I did that a few months ago with a recipe I was making alongside Tom. He did a literal double take and asked me “What are you doing?” “I’m doing what it says to do”, I said. His reply was, “What you are doing isn’t even close.” It was true, I had skipped two entire sentences, which does matter. In the end, we made something that still tasted good, but I’m sure will be better next time we make it.

Karen’s Question to Ray:

Q: Tom loves nuts, but despises hazelnuts for reasons I can’t fathom. Is there a nut that you particularly love above all others, or that you particularly dislike?

A: I’m not a big fan of Brazil nuts, although I wouldn’t say I despise them. As for one or two that I love above all others… macadamias and pistachios!

Dining Experience – The Fishin’ Pig

Last weekend my husband, youngest son and I got the pleasure of traveling to New Jersey to attend the wedding of my nephew and his beautiful bride. We got to spend too brief a time with Ray and his family for the first time in 1410 days, which is crazy! Who else is impressed that Ray took the time to calculate how long a time to the day it had been since we’d last been together? But alas, the time was over in the blink of an eye, and we were forced to begin our return to South Carolina.

When choosing to drive to and from New Jersey, we like to make a stop overnight in Virginia and more often than not, we choose to stay in Waynesboro. Waynesboro is situated in the Shenandoah Valley, and the views are simply breathtaking…

Because it had been about 1410 days since we had been to Waynesboro, we did a little research before traveling. It was clear within a few minutes of Googling, that there was a new to us restaurant that was getting a lot of buzz. The restaurant was called “The Fishin’ Pig”. The name alone got my attention, the menu looked intriguing, and the online comments were glowing. We actually attempted to eat there on the drive up, but it was packed so we decided to save it for the return trip. I’m happy to report that we were successful in getting a table on the way home, and it was worth the wait.

The hostess greeted us with a smile and we were able to get a seat on the outside patio immediately. Our server acknowledged us as soon as we sat down and shortly thereafter took our drink order. The drinks menu offered many local brews. Tom and I both ordered a local Pilsner. For the life of me, I cannot remember what brewery it was from, but I do remember that it was located 9 miles from the restaurant and that it was excellent.

We each ordered something different for dinner. As for me, I was yearning for something light after several days of eating rich foods and fast food, so I ordered the Blackened Ahi Tuna Tacos featuring fresh cabbage, Pico de Gallo, Cheddar Jack cheese and a cilantro dill Remoulade. The tuna was cooked perfectly, and the tacos tasted delicious.

Blackened Ahi Tuna Tacos

Tom was next. He ordered Nick’s Catfish Basket. I noticed that this item is half-priced on Thursday evenings, which might explain why we were unable to get a seat the first time. Tom was generous enough to share a bite of his catfish with me, and I would say it is some of the best I’ve ever tasted. Tom agrees. He also enjoyed the Deathwish Hot Sauce with his catfish.

Nick’s Catfish Basket

My son Ryan had chosen his meal days ahead, and he was not disappointed either. He chose the Andouille Sausage Mac-N-Skillet which was mac-n-cheese topped with tater tots, Cheddar Jack cheese, crispy bacon bits and the sausage garnished with scallions. This dish comes with several choices of meat, including pulled pork and beef brisket, but the Andouille seems like a solid choice. Did Ryan offer anyone else a taste of this dish? Of course he didn’t, but we’ll just have to trust what he said and what we could see with our own eyes – a winning dish.

Andouille Sausage Mac-N-Skillet

I realize that none of us ordered BBQ, which is half of what this Southern combination restaurant is known for, but that just gives us something to look forward to on future trips. Meanwhile, we’ve created a wonderful food memory which will be rekindled each time I see the slogan on Tom’s new Fishin’ Pig t-shirt – Eat Like a Pig, Drink Like a Fish!

Wednesday Q&A – 8/10/22

Welcome to the place where your two bloggers ask each other one question each week. We hope you enjoy them as you learn a bit more about us – sometimes we even learn more about each other!

Ray’s question to Karen:

Q: Do you like scallops? If so, do you prefer sea scallops, bay scallops, or do you like them equally?

A: I do love scallops! To be honest, I have no idea what the difference is!

Karen’s Question to Ray:

Q: After answering your question, I feel sort of blissfully ignorant. Can you explain the difference between sea scallops and bay scallops to me besides the obvious?

A: Well, I do need to say the obvious… one is caught in cold bay waters, along the east coast I believe, and the other is caught in cold deep sea waters. Sea scallops are larger and they are the kind most commonly found being served in restaurants. Bay scallops are smaller than sea scallops, about 1/4 to 1/3 the size, and they tend to be a bit more tender and sweeter than sea scallops. I love them both!

Wednesday Q&A – 7/27/22

Welcome to the place where your two bloggers ask each other one question each week. We hope you enjoy them as your learn a bit more about us – sometimes we even learn more about each other!

Ray’s question to Karen:

Q: If you could magically be zapped to any place in the world right now for just one meal, where would you go?

A: Well, right this minute I would say Toronto. A few years ago, we had a lovely stay at the Delta Hotel located downtown. The restaurant served an avocado toast that was the best I’ve ever had by far. I mean, just look at this.

Karen’s Question to Ray:

Q: Have you thought about what “The Dessert Crew” might make if we ever team up again?

A: First, let’s change that “if” to a “when” because I have no doubt that the Dessert Crew will ride again! I haven’t thought about it much since we haven’t been together for the last two Thanksgivings and we usually start recipe selection in October.

Perhaps when we make our triumphant return, it will be time to conquer croquembouche! We throw the idea out there almost every year – maybe the time has come for us to stop backing down from it!

Angie’s Kitchen – Potato Croquettes Round 2

Last week Ray and I tried our hands on another Angie’s Kitchen recipe from his grandmother’s 100 year old handwritten recipe book. This week we got to try our hand at adjusting the recipe to suit our modern palates. I’m not sure what Ray did with his, but for me, the changes I made were small, and I’m nearly there, but alas additional tweaking will be necessary before it is perfected.

If you read last week’s post, you’ll remember that this recipe was pretty decent right out of the gate. My biggest issue was that it lacked salt. This week I was very cognizant of that, and decided to make sure my water was very well salted when I boiled the potatoes, and that actually did the trick. I made sure to taste the potatoes before adding the egg, and to my surprise, the original amount of salt was enough. So, what did I change? A few things. Last week, my favorite part of the croquette was the underlying spiciness, so I upped the amount of pepper to 1/4 tsp and instead of a few grains of cayenne, I used a couple of healthy dashes! I also decided that as with most things, the croquettes would be better with cheese, so I diced some Smoked Gouda into 1 inch cubes, and placed it in the center of the potatoes. I refrigerated my potatoes for about 15 minutes before forming them into croquettes, which I think helped make them easier to shape. Oh, and I forgot to use the baking powder. I remembered that right as I was putting the first one in the frying pan. Oh, well.

Results? Well, the croquettes themselves were bigger this week to accommodate the cube of Smoked Gouda, which isn’t really a problem except for the fact that you need to eat quite a lot of potato before reaching the yummy smoked cheese. The cheese? Well, it was a delicious addition, but I would have liked a bigger cheese to potato ratio, and I want my cheese a little more melted.

It’s not perfect yet, but it does show potential. I know that I want more cheese in my next batch, and I am considering either finishing in the oven, only baking in the oven, or air frying. I’m close, but not there yet. Let’s here how things went for Ray.

Funny that Karen ended her round 2 adventure with the thought of using the air fryer in the future, because that’s where my round 2 adventure began. Or at least where I intended it to begin. My plan was to change up the flavor of the round 1 recipe by adding sour cream and chives, along with changing the cooking method from pan frying to air frying. Sometimes these experiments take on a life of their own and there is nothing you can do but go along for (or jump off of) the ride!

As you may recall, I ended round 1 by saying that I thought there wasn’t enough salt in the recipe – simply adding more to the mix for round 2 successfully took care of that. I also thought that the round 1 croquettes were a bit too dry, and I set out to remedy that issue as well. I was once again successful – so successful in fact that what I created was entirely too wet to roll into a croquette!

Just like that, the idea of using the air fryer flew out the window, as did preparing them the traditional way. If I couldn’t roll them for the air fryer, I certainly couldn’t roll them for pan frying either. Faced with this unexpected dilemma, I needed to decide what to do next.

Should I simply walk away and write up the experience as a failure, or should I try to fix what I had created? I decided to try and fix it – what did I have to lose at that point? If my attempt to fix it didn’t turn out well, I could still write about the failure, but what if my new idea worked in some way? Then I could share that experience instead.

After some quick thinking, I decided to try and add some flour to the mix. I added 3 tablespoons and found that it did help to remove a bit of the moisture, but it was still nowhere near enough for them to be rolled and air fried. I didn’t want to add more flour than that, because I didn’t want it to turn into potato dough or have nothing but the taste of flour.

I paused to think once again, and that’s when the idea for a giant oven baked croquette was born. Once again, what did I have to lose? If it turned into a big pile of mashed potatoes when I removed it from the pan, then at least I’d still have a nice side dish for dinner! I’m happy, and perhaps still a little bit surprised, to say that it actually worked!

After grabbing a slice of giant croquette, we all gave it a try. I was happy with the flavor of the sour cream and chives, and it definitely wasn’t dry! We served it with a little extra sour cream on the side, which was a nice, although certainly optional, addition. We enjoyed it very much with our dinner that evening.

Giant Oven Baked Sour Cream and Chive Potato Croquette

  • 2 cups warm mashed potatoes
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon oil – divided
  • 2/3 cup breadcrumbs – divided

Add the milk, sour cream, salt, pepper, paprika, and baking powder to a large mixing bowl and whisk together until smooth.

Add the mashed potatoes and mix together until well combined, and then add the egg and chives and mix together again until well combined.

Stir in the flour until well incorporated.

Pour 1/2 of the tablespoon of olive oil into the bottom of a 9 inch round baking pan and brush it evenly across the bottom. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of breadcrumbs evenly over the oil and then gently drop potato mixture, one tablespoon at time, on top of the breadcrumbs. Gently smooth the potatoes evenly over the breadcrumbs and then dab the top of the potatoes with the remaining half tablespoon of oil, follow by an even coating of the remaining 1/3 cup of breadcrumbs.

Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 20 minutes. After removing from the oven, immediately use a knife to carefully loosen the croquette from the side of the pan and then gently shake the pan back and forth to make sure it is loose on the bottom. Once loose, turn out onto a plate, slice, and serve.

As they say, when life throws you lemons, make lemonade – or at least try to! Sometimes as hard as we try, an initial failure in the kitchen can’t be saved, but sometimes that failure can be turned into a successful happy accident! Thanks for joining us for another Angie’s Kitchen adventure. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday Q&A – 7/13/22

Welcome to the place where your two bloggers ask each other one question each week. We hope you enjoy them as you learn a bit more about us – sometimes we even learn more about each other!

Ray’s question to Karen:

Q: Food cooked on the grill – love it or hate it?

A: Love it! However, I prefer it when someone else does the grilling!

Karen’s Question to Ray:

Q: We recently discovered Sambal, which is a chili paste originating in Indonesia. It makes me ask, “Sambal, where have you been all my life?” Do you have any recent food discoveries that make you feel that way?

A: My most recent interesting discovery was King Arthur Flour’s deli rye flavoring. I love rye bread, but whenever I made it myself with rye flour it was good, but didn’t quite hit the mark on the kind of rye flavor I am used to.

One or two teaspoons of the flavoring added to the mix was a total game changer from smell to taste – suddenly I was making rye bread like you’d get in a bakery or at the deli. I will never make rye bread without it again!

Tina’s Potato Salad

Two weeks ago, I shared my attempt at improving a family favorite potato salad. I also shared with you my utter failure. You see, this particular potato salad, which was created by my late mother-in law, contains fresh cucumbers. It is a delightfully different take on a classic dish, but because of the cucumbers, it doesn’t hold for very long. I attempted to remedy that situation by salting the cucumbers to release the excess water, but in the end completely lost the balance of flavors. So, I’m back to share how to make the original version, and this time, I have decided that the potato salad is perfect just as it is meant to be.

When making potato salad, I frequently boil my potatoes whole and unpeeled, but for today’s version, I decided that dicing and peeling the potatoes before boiling would be the better route. It is best to use a waxy potato. I usually use a red or white potato, but I think a Yukon gold would also work. As for the cucumber, I did remove the seeds, which is a great source of the excess moisture that I was trying to avoid in my last post. You can use an English cucumber, but my husband Tom insists that a plain cucumber is best to use when replicating his mother’s recipe.

Tina’s Potato Salad

  • 2 pounds of white or red potatoes
  • 6 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp celery seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste

Peel and dice potatoes into 1 1/2 inch cubes. Place in a pot covered with an inch of salted water. Bring water to a boil, then gently boil the potatoes until fork tender (about 15 minutes). Drain potatoes.

Peel and seed cucumber. Cut into 1 inch dice. Peel and small dice hard boiled eggs.

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Salt and pepper to taste.

Refrigerate and serve on the same day.

Tina’s Potato Salad

So, there it is. With the fresh cucumber and celery seed, it is quite a unique and refreshing version of a perpetual favorite. In this case, I’ve learned not to fix what wasn’t broken. Have a happy 4th!

Wednesday Q&A – 6/29/22

Welcome to the place where your two bloggers ask each other one question each week. We hope you enjoy them as you learn a bit more about us – sometimes we even learn more about each other!

Ray’s question to Karen:

Q: I hope you had fun ranking ice cream flavors last week – in the spirit of summer, let’s do it again this week with frozen adult beverages! Rank from most to least favorite: Margarita, Daquiri, PiƱa Colada, Frozen Peach Bellini and Frozen Mudslide.

A: Margarita, Daquiri (Lime only), Mudslide, Peach Bellini, Pina Colada. I don’t like getting caught in the rain, either!

Karen’s Question to Ray:

Q: I can’t stand Mounds or Almond Joy. Do you like either of them?

A: I like them both! I don’t think there’s a middle ground when it comes to opinions about these candy bars – either you like coconut or you don’t!