Restaurant Menu

The other night when Vince and I left the restaurant where we had eaten – where his steak was dry and overcooked and where I got a pork chop after having ordered a beef filet, we left kinda shaking our head that the whole meal was below average at best. We decided . . it’s history, we won’t go back, so stop talking about it but I haven’t stopped thinking about it. I’m over the meal being bad but here’s what I keep thinking:  It’s a brand new building with a gorgeous view, with enough money behind the whole operation; the menu consists of only 7 or 8 entrees. How hard can it be to come up with 7 or 8 amazing dishes? Figure at least two of them are going to be beef . . grilled sirloin or ribeye and filet . . so then you only have to come up with 5 knock your socks off dishes.

As I’ve thought about our dinners at home the past two nights, I’ve been thinking about what I would put on the menu if I had to come up with 5 meat dishes. Without a doubt, not every customer is going to like all five of them but I would hope the average customer would narrow it down to three that sound great and then two that sound really great.

Have you ever thought about planning a menu for a restaurant? I’m sure cost has to be a big factor. The entrees at this restaurant were all in the $18 – $22 range.  It has to be something that’s easy enough to prepare . . probably when ordered.

If you were going to put three entree items on a restaurant menu, what would you put? I’m thinking most anything Pioneer Woman cooks would be a pretty good choice. It isn’t easy to name three dishes. I’ve gone through the recipes in my recipe section and am not sure any of those would go on a restaurant menu. We like them but they may not be restaurant quality or “I can’t wait to go back there and have that again”.

What recipes that you fix would you suggest for a restaurant menu? And, what have you had at restaurants that you would go back again and again just for that dish?

Greek Yogurt

After the yogurt posts recently, several have asked about making Greek yogurt.  For any who may have missed the post, I am now using the Cuisinart yogurt maker and I love it! I make a batch of yogurt at least every other day. Several readers ordered this yogurt maker and of those I’ve heard from, all are loving it. It’s probably been a decade since I took antibiotics and I’ve had two rounds in the past month and will probably have to take them again after the lithotripsy next week so I’m eating more yogurt than I would normally be eating, trying to keep the good bugs in my tummy happy.

Yogurt Maker

Yogurt Maker

The Cuisinart yogurt maker makes it so easy to make perfect yogurt, but it does make fairly small batches. I guess that’s good because yogurt, at least homemade, is better if consumed within a couple of days of being made.

Starter for Next Batch

Starter for Next Batch

No matter what type of yogurt I’m going to make, the first thing to do once a batch is made is take out enough for the next batch’s starter.

Yogurt

Yogurt

This is the texture of the yogurt once it’s made. If I want Greek yogurt, I will strain it. There are several strainers available. If you’re a serious Greek yogurt lover and want the best strainer, even though it’s a bit expensive, the bouillon strainer is the best! I bought this strainer hoping it would work for the prickly pear juice so I wouldn’t have to strain through multiple layers of cheese cloth. I’ll have to wait to see how that works but it is amazing for yogurt.

Boullion Strainer

Bouillon Strainer

I simply place the yogurt in the strainer and put the strainer in a big container that will capture the dripping liquid. I covered it with a dish towel and left it in the fridge for 4 or 5 hours.

Yogurt in the Fridge

Yogurt in the Fridge

When all the whey had strained out, I was left with almost a pint of whey and a pint of yogurt. This is from 4 cups of milk.

Yogurt and Whey

Yogurt and Whey

Removing the whey definitely changes the taste of the yogurt a bit. Of course, it makes it thicker but it also makes it less tart.  

So, if I remove the whey, what am I going to do with it? You know I’m not going to pour it down the drain. Yogurt whey is high in calcium so if I have it when the tomatoes are thriving, I’ll pour a little of it around the tomato plants. Some day I’m going to try making ricotta . . maybe I’ll try that next week. Mostly, I just use it in place of water for my breadmaking.

Bread

Bread

For our after work snack today, we had yogurt with prickly pear jelly. That was a good treat and fairly healthy!

 

The Easiest Pickles Ever

My friend, Sarah, has been making these pickles I think since we were in high school. From time to time, I forget about making them and she reminds me. They are sweet and crunchy and we love them.  The basic recipe that Sarah shared with me is to take one of those big gallon jars of whole dill pickles, take the pickles out but leave the juice in the jar. Add 5 – 6 cups sugar to the jar, slice the pickles, put them back in the jar. Leave the jar sitting on the counter for several days and turn it a few times a day so the sugar dissolves, then put the jar in the fridge.

I had a few problems with that method. First, once I put the sugar in the liquid, the pickles never all fit back in and I felt like I was wasting sugar. Second, the jar is huge and takes up a lot of room in the fridge.

Pickles

Pickles

Not sure if they’ve always had this size jar or if I just found it in this 80 oz. size at Wal-Mart for less than $4.00. You can make these like Sarah originally taught me . . just dump the sugar into the juice in the jar they came in and add the slices back or, you can do it the way I now do it.

All you need are pickles, sugar, jars/lids and if you’d like, you can add jalapenos, garlic or Tabasco. 

Pickles

Pickles

Take the whole pickles from the jar and slice them up into the smaller jars. They will fill 5 or 6 pint jars, depending on the size and how many pickles are in the big jar. Add a few jalapeno slices to each jar if desired.

Pickles

Pickles

At this point,  you can add the sugar to the jars or you can boil the sugar in the pickle juice to dissolve the sugar. If I boil the sugar in the juice, I let the juice cool before pouring it over the pickles.

Pickles

Pickles

This is what the jars look like if you add the sugar. I added 3/4 cup sugar to each jar, then filled it with pickle juice. On this particular day, I decided to water bath can them to see what would happen — if they would lose their crunch after a trip through the canner. While I cannot say that this is a safe method, though I don’t see why it wouldn’t be, going through a water bath canner for 20 minutes did not cause the pickles to lose their crunch.

Pickles

Pickles

For the pickles I made today, I didn’t want to have to deal with shaking the pickles to get the sugar to dissolve so I put 4 cups of sugar into a pot, added just enough pickle juice to give the sugar the liquid it needed to simmer in. Once the sugar melted, I left it alone til it all cooled down, then poured it over the pickles, and it was enough to fill each jar about 3/4 full of liquid. Plain pickle juice was added to the jars to fill them.

These pickles need to be left in the fridge at least a week, two weeks is better, but unless there are some in the fridge from the last batch, and I don’t think there are, we’ll be doing good to wait one week.

They are one of our favorite pickles, so easy and so inexpensive to make!