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 – 8/31/22

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: As summer begins to come to a close, have you put any fall recipes on your cooking/baking short list yet?

A: The other day I was talking to Tom about the pumpkin pie I made from Sarah Kieffer’s Baking for the Holidays: 50+ Treats for a Festive Season. I still have not mastered pie dough, so I’m not sure if I’ll make the homemade crust, but this pie is a winner, and I’ll be making it again.

Karen’s Question to Ray:

Q: What is your favorite use of pumpkin?

A: Pumpkin bread! There are many great uses for it, but pumpkin bread, particularly my grandma’s recipe, is always at the top of the list.

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!

Wednesday Q&A – 8/17/22

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:  Have you ever had caviar?  If so, do you like it?

A: You know, I don’t think I have. If so, it would be decades ago, and I have no specific memory of it. I have had various types of roe on sushi and always enjoyed it, so I’m guessing I’d probably like caviar as well.

Karen’s Question to Ray:

Q: Have you ever eaten frog legs?

A: I have not!

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 – 8/3/22

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: It occasionally occurs to me that a meal we frequently used to feature in our meal rotation just fell off one day without being noticed, sometimes for years! Can you think of a meal that you used to make all of the time that one day you just stopped making without any particular reason?

A: Ah yes! Way back in 1998, I was in the supermarket and impulse purchased a Pillsbury recipe booklet called Easy Vegetarian Meals. There is a recipe for Southwestern Vegetable Stew that is just delicious. I have to confess, though, we always made it with chicken broth instead of vegetable broth so even when we try to eat vegetarian, we fail. I have no idea why it hasn’t been made in years, but you have inspired me to revive this one. By the way, the booklet cost me $2.99!

Karen’s Question to Ray:

Q: What meal has fallen out of rotation for you?

A: I used to subscribe to a magazine called Bottom Line Personal. It’s a fun little publication that puts together quick and to the point stories and information on many different topics.

One issue featured an interview with Jacques Pepin. One of the questions, I don’t remember it exactly, was something along the lines of “what is an ingredient you like to use that might surprise people?” His answer was ketchup, and he shared a recipe for chicken thighs that featured it as an ingredient. It was absolutely delicious!

I still have that issue tucked away somewhere and now I, like you, feel inspired to start making this blast from the past again!

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!

Wednesday Q&A – 7/20/22

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: How do you feel about Sushi? Love it, hate it, or used to love it, but I’m kind of over it right now.

A: Love it! We haven’t had it in a long time, but I will be excited the next time I do.

Karen’s Question to Ray:

Q: What is your favorite soup?

A: I like many kinds, but I’d have to say turkey noodle is way up there. It is more flavorful than chicken and perhaps one of the reasons I like it more is because we have it less often than chicken soup – usually only around Thanksgiving. Also way at the top would be New England clam chowder.