Recipe

Salted Butter Pecans Bites

More quarantine cooking!  This time I made it for the folks in my neighborhood who came by a block party hosted at my house with Lobster Dog and Eleven Lakes Brewery.  We all sat at a safe distance and shouted our greetings to one another!  My deal was if they showed up, I gave them treats for their desserts.  This is one I made.

Salted Butter Pecans Bites

Makes 24

Ingredients

1 cup chopped pecans
Nonstick cooking spray
12 graham crackers
1 cup packed brown sugar
3⁄4 cup (6 ounces) salted butter
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 15×10-inch rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray with cooking spray. 

2. Bake the pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan, stirring halfway through, until toasted and fragrant, about 10 to 12 minutes.

3. Arrange the graham crackers in a single layer in the prepared baking sheet, slightly overlapping the edges.

4. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, butter, and cream. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat, and stir in the vanilla and pecans. Pour the butter mixture over the crackers, spreading to coat.

5. Bake until lightly browned and bubbly, about 10 to 11 minutes. Immediately sprinkle with salt, and slide the foil from the pan onto a wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. Break into bite-sized pieces.

Cat approved!

 

 

Recipe

Lemon Meringue Pie

I have NO idea why I keep gaining weight during this time of Quarantine!  What could it be???

On a completely unrelated note, here is a Lemon Meringue Pie I made today that is amazing.

 

Lemon Meringue Pie

  • 1 1/2 cup sugar (plus 6 Tbsp. for meringue)
  • 3 Tbsp. Cornstarch
  • 3 Tbsp. Flour
  • dash of salt
  • 1 1/2 cup hot water
  • 3 slightly beaten egg yolks (save the whites for meringue)
  • 2 Tbsp. Butter
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 9″ pie shell (I prebaked mine)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar

In saucepan, mix sugar, cornstarch, flour and salt.  Gradually add hot water, stirring constantly.  Cook and stir over hgih heat until mixture comes to boiling.  Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes.  Stir small amount of this hot mixture into the egg yolks, then add these tempered yolks to your hot mixture.  Bring back to boiling and cook 2 minutems more.  Add butter and lemon juice, mixing well.  Pour into pastry shell.  Make meringue (see below). Spread meringue over filling. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.

Meringue

Beat 3 reserved egg whites with vanilla and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.  Gradually add 6 Tbsp. of sugar, beating until stiff peaks form and all sugar is dissolved. 

 

Wilmington

Restaurant Review: Circa 1922 in Wilmington, NC

Clearly I visited this restaurant before North Carolina got shut down for the Corona Virus, so I’m going off memory.  Luckily for me it was one of the most memorable dining experiences I’ve had in a good long while.

The restaurant resides in downtown Wilmington, which is quaint and beautiful.  We loved the interior, and I got pictures of our cozy booth and the “vault” from where the building once was a bank.  The service we received was second to none, and the dishes came out perfectly timed.  These folks get it right.

The food is where this place owns me.  I was dining with 3 friends and we all shared each other’s food…everything we put in our mouth was just incredible.  Seriously not a bad dish in the whole lot.

The Charred Brussels Sprouts were smoky and tender with crispy edges.  The chili oil gave them a little bite while the lime crema cooled it down.  Very balanced dish with bright flavors.

The scallops were seared perfectly with a crispy exterior and tender insides.  Loved the pairing with pomegranate and cauliflower!  Perfect for sharing, too.

The Prosciutto-Wrapped Dates were oddly delicious.  The sweet date, paired with that salty prosciutto.  Just wow.  Stuffed with marcona almonds and Gorgonzola cheese made for a bite that hit every taste bud!

The Grilled Filet Mignon was like butter.  It was served with roasted winter vegetables, a potato puree and a mushroom sherry sauce.  It was pure decadence!  This was one of our favorite dishes of the night.

The other favorite was my pick: Black Truffle Pappardelle.  I’m nuts about mushrooms and these paired with truffles, handmade pasta and Parmesan cheese had all of us raving.  The pasta was perfection, as only homemade pasta can be. The sauce was drinkable.  I still think about that dish.

The Crispy-Skin Organic Salmon was different than any salmon I’ve had before.  It really did not taste strong or fishy at all.  Cooked perfect, it was tender and buttery.  It was perfect with a little bite from the horseradish.

The Pork & Shrimp Spring Rolls were also a favorite of the table.  Fried lightly and filled with tender pork and sweet shrimp complemented perfectly by the cool lime cilantro slaw.  It was served with a Thai peanut sauce for dipping.

The crab dip was the best I’ve ever had.  Chock full of sweet tender crab meat with artichokes and spinach.  The cheddar gave it a bite to cut through the richness of the cream cheese base.  Those crispy bread dippers were perfect in and of themselves.

When I return to Wilmington, this is the first place I’ll grab a reservation!

Maiden

Necessary Services in Maiden–What’s Open Now

Maiden NC appears to be open for business.  I drove through today to look at a new listing and saw people were out looking at the home!  That was just a few hours before we got word that we were all on House Arrest!

So now that we are, I thought I’d compile a list of what’s still open and how to access them.

RESTAURANTS

3 Hermanos:

Open for business and has a drive through for pickup.  Also, you can order by phone using Google! Phone: (828) 970-4080  Address:  11 N Carolina Ave  Maiden, NC 28650. Check out the delicious chimichanga we had:

Open Sunday – Tuesday 7am – 2pm
Open Wednesday – Saturday 6am – 8pm
They have a drive through window that makes pick up easy!

(828) 428-8944

202 Providence Mill Rd Maiden, NC 28650

Source: Bill W. on Yelp

Open 24 hours a day!  Call in and go inside to pick up for take out.  It is in a gas station, but don’t let that scare you off.  Supposedly they have some of the best burgers around!!

(828) 428-2790

5710 Startown Rd Maiden, NC 28650

Photo courtesy of Bill W. on Yelp

Don’s Grill

Open for business Monday – Friday until 7:30pm and on Saturday until 3pm.  Call in to place order and pick up at the outside window!
(828) 428-2476

308 Island Ford Rd Maiden, NC 28650

Photo Courtesy of Bill W. at Yelp

 

The Hub Restaurant

Open for take out Tuesday – Saturday 11 am to 6 pm.  Known for their gyros and hamburgers.

4821 Maiden Hwy Maiden, North Carolina

828-970-7311

Photo courtesy of Juan Blackwell on Facebook

 J & L Cafe

Open until 6pm Monday – Friday.  Hamburgers and sandwiches. Pick up at the door

(828) 428-9311

1180 Mays Chapel Church Rd  Maiden, NC 28658

photo courtesy of Bill W. at Yelp

Papa’s Pizza To Go

Open for take out and delivery!
(828) 428-0507

201-C Island Ford Rd Maiden, NC 28650

Source: Bill W. @ Yelp

Scottie’s is open for business!  I stopped by today and had a poor girl with ham. Check out the menu online and phone your order in at (828) 428-3636 and pick it up at their drive through window.  Just ring the bell!  Here’s my Ham Poor Girl:

Table4Two Cafe

Open sporadically.
(828) 428-9189

2896 E Maiden Rd Maiden, NC 28650

Photo courtesy of Bill W. @ Yelp

RETAIL

Food Lion: 

You can order your groceries online and they will deliver them to your car at the store.  Excellent service for these trying times.  Be aware you may have to wait a few days, and the fee is $1.99.  I’ll spend $2 to avoid exposure!  201 Island Ford Rd Maiden, NC 28650  828-428-9393

Shelby

Restaurant Review: Toscano’s Bistro

Happened to be in Shelby today at dinner time and called my order in based on pictures I’d seen online.  Because of the state mandated discontinuance of dine-in eating, they only had call in available, but when we are back to normal I can see myself making a special trip just to eat there!

As it is, they allow you to call in and they’ll deliver your order to you curbside.  You don’t even have to leave the car!  My order was super inexpensive too, especially considering the amount of food they give you!  I got the delicious pasta with a creamy sauce and tender chicken, studded with sun dried tomatoes.  Perfectly seasoned and so good!  This came with a garden salad and two pieces of garlic bread.

Honestly, I brought most home, and my son had the rest for his dinner, that’s how much food they gave us!  Great value and really amazing taste.  Can’t wait to go back to this great restaurant in charming downtown Shelby!

Charlotte

Restaurant Review: Bricktops in Charlotte, NC

Bricktops has been on my list to try for a while ever since my friend sang its praises.  We finally had an opportunity to visit before the country went on lockdown, and I have to say…for my final dining experience for a few months, I’m pretty happy with my choice.

The food!  Oh My!  Everything was so fresh and delicious!  We tried many different dishes and ended up bringing home quite a bit that was delicious the next day.

Service is amazing here.  Everyone is very professional and helpful.  Top notch!

For starters we tried the Spinach and Artichoke Dip and the Deviled Eggs & Millionaire’s Bacon.  The dip was splendid.  It was different that I imagined, more like a sauteed spinach in Parmesan cream sauce.  It was served with tortilla chips which were crispy and fresh.  I think some sort of bread might have been a yummy choice as a dipper.  The millionaire’s bacon was out of this world good.  Candied bacon with just a hint of spice.  The deviled eggs were a little on the sweet side for me, but beautifully presented and smooth in texture.

We both chose a lighter entree because we knew we wanted dessert!  We both selected the Palm Beach Salad which was presented so beautifully.  They stack the salad up in a cylinder and unmold the beautiful salad to reveal the colorful and delicious layers.  Everything was so fresh, but my favorite bite was the crab layer.  So delicate and sweet!

The dessert was worth the sacrifice of a salad!  We got two different desserts so we could try each other’s dish.  The two we chose were Bread Pudding and Key Lime Pie.  The Bread Pudding was the favorite.  It was served warm atop a puddle of creme anglaise. So decadent and incredible!  The Key Lime Pie was also good, very tart and the macadamia cookie crust was a nice touch too.

I can’t wait to return to try their other offers when things open back up!

Mooresville

Restaurant Review: Provecho Mexican Kitchen & Cantina in Mooresville

Popped in to Provecho tonight for a yummy Latin inspired meal after having this one on my list for a bit.  Out in the Langtree area of Mooresville, it feels like it is quite far out (for me) but it’s becoming quite the little restaurant scene out here.

We arrived at 8pm on a Friday night, easily found a parking space and walked into the half full restaurant to a sign that asked us to seat ourselves.  We chose a half booth half table that felt comfortable to us and had a seat.  I love that we got to choose where we wanted to be.

The waitress came over to greet us quickly and got our drink order.  I ordered a Strawberry Cream Margarita and it was Instagram worthy.  It was frothy and cold, and sweet too!  I don’t know where the “cream” came in, but it did have this beautiful black sea salt on the side that was just gorgeous!  I have to say I wouldn’t have minded some sugar instead of the salt.  Still, a delicious drink.

We decided to begin with Queso Fundido, which the server explained was not like cheese DIP but rather cheese melted in an iron skillet.  It was served with flour tortillas but she also brought us chips, too.  It comes with a small cup of salsa verde, but I ordered a cup of regular salsa since I prefer the tomato based salsa.  The salsa was very chipotle forward, but it was fine.  The fundido was amazing!  Melted cheese with browned bubbles all over…wow!  It was my favorite dish of the night.

I had two tacos, one beer battered fish and one braised beef.  They were both great.  The fish was crispy and topped with avocado, crema, Mexican slaw and cilantro.  It was a nice contrast with the warm fish, the fresh slaw and the cool crema.  The beef taco was more about the meat, and it was delicious as well.  Think a Latin flavored roast beef.

My son got Arroz con pollo, which was delicious and you could really taste the adobo, which is not my favorite flavor oddly enough.  Still the chicken was cooked well and it was a flavorful dish.

This is a great little restaurant which looks like a lot of local people come to just hang out, have a drink and a snack as well as diners having dinner.  Give it a try!

Asheville

Restaurant Review: Early Girl Eatery in Asheville, NC

We had the chance to finally try Early Girl eatery on our weekend trip to Asheville.  I’ve heard many good things about the restaurant and we all enjoyed it very much!

We arrived for lunch and were seated immediately.  The parking lot was full of early voters, so parking was a little tricky, but it worked out for us eventually.

The food was great!  Some at our table got breakfast that is served all day and I got lunch food.  My fried chicken featured 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts and was served with green beans and fried squash and zucchini.  Everything was just delicious.  The green beans were fresh, crispy and salty good!  The chicken was amazing and what a generous portion!  The best thing I had was the zucchini and squash.  Just like mama made!

My daughter got the fried chicken sandwich with french fries. The sandwich was huge and the fries were amazing.


My breakfast loving son got the biscuit french toast which was another amazing dish.  Scattered with sweet apples and topped with a whipped cream, it was like a decadent dessert.

The interior of the restaurant is like a mid-century farmhouse.  I loved the vibe!  I can’t wait to visit again!

Marion

Restaurant Review: Nopale’s Mexican Grill in Marion, NC

While coming home from Asheville, we got hungry and decided to stop in Marion for dinner.  This place was the closest Mexican restaurant we found to the interstate so we decided to try it.  On a Saturday evening the line was out the door!  It moved fairly quickly, but there was a large party that was taking up most of the tables in the middle of the room so not sure this would happen on a normal weekend night.

The service was hit or miss.  Our waiter was kind and efficient, but we’d go for longish periods without seeing him.  Again, busy night so we understood.

The food is actually very good.  I had a chicken quesadilla with a side of Mexican rice and Charro beans.  The Charro beans were fantastic!  They were seasoned with little bits of bacon and plenty of spices.  I loved them!  The chicken quesadilla was also delicious, filled with chicken and cheese and then topped with cheese dip.  Cheesy but good!  The rice also was topped with cheese dip which totally made that dish!

You do have to go up to the front to pay your ticket, which for some reason I hate.  In this instance, the cashier (without a word to me) left to go sing happy birthday with a crew of people.  When he came back, there was no apology for just abruptly exiting or an explanation.

While we enjoyed it, I believe I’d try another restaurant the next time I’m in Marion.

Mooresville

Restaurant Review: Cantina 1511 in Mooresville NC

I’ve eaten at the Charlotte Cantina 1511 restaurants in the past, so knew what to expect, but was still pleasantly surprised by this location.  It is in a convenient shopping center, and parking can get a little dicey at peak times, but is usually find-able.

They have an outdoor seating area for warm weather, and plenty of seating inside.  It is a rather sizable space.  The staff is warm and friendly.

They offer complimentary chips and salsa when you dine in, and the chips are fresh and warm and perfectly salted.  The salsa is cool and spicy, very delicious.  I love their Queso Dip too!

For lunch I had the 2 Chicken Tacos, which is one of the choices on the lunch menu special features for Tuesday.  The tacos were topped with lettuce, pico de gallo, a slice of avocado and Mexican crema.  They were so darn good!  The chicken was shredded and spiced and they lime wedge that they serve with it helped cut through the creamy crema and avocado.  So good.  It was served with black beans and Mexican rice.  Also cooked well.

My friend had the Chicken Tostado Salad off of the same menu.  Beautiful strips of chicken, spiced perfectly atop a mound of lettuce and tomatoes and topped with a scoop of guacamole and cotijo cheese.

We also couldn’t resist ordering a side of Street Corn.  My dining companion told me that this was the closest she’d had to the real deal in Mexico, so I had to try.  True to her word, the corn was plump and juicy and the crema and cotija cheese provided a wonderful creaminess which was balanced by the Tajin seasoning that was so sharp it made me pucker!  Definitely try this!

This is a great addition to the restaurants here in Mooresville, even though it is a small chain.  The service is top notch and the food is delicious and thoughtfully prepared.  I can’t wait to go back!