Category: Cooking Adventures


juice and sodas

Here is the update for the Foodie Challenge for the month of August. I decided to do the drinks challenge this month as shown above.
 
1. Attend at least one local food festival. (2 – April, 2 – May)
 
2. Try 3 food trucks.
 
3. Celebrate Pi Day on 3/14 with pie from a local bakery. (March)
 
4. Sample 10 new to you dishes from our list of 100 things to eat. (1 – January, 1 – February, 1 – May, 2 – July)
 
5. Take a cooking class and learn to make a new dish.
 
6. Buy produce at a local farmer’s market. (1 – May)
 
7. Take a food tour. (January)
 
8. Try 5 new to you restaurants. Not sure where to start? Let Huntsville Eats help you find something tasty. (3 – February, 1 – April, 3 – May, 1 – June, 2 – July)
 
9. Try one of our local dives.
 
10. Eat something you’ve never had before. If you usually stick to meat and potatoes, branch out to Greek, Indian, Vietnamese, or Thai. If you are a more adventurous sort, try tongue, alligator, or kimchi. (kimchi – January, crawfish – April, potstickers – July)
 
11. Try drinks at a local juice bar and/or local specialized soda.

I tried some cold pressed juice at The Juicery that I really liked. It is expensive so it’s not something I would do every day.  It was $9 for 500 mL of juice. Since it isn’t pasteurized it is only good for about 4 days. I got to sample 3 juices before I bought one.   I also tried Pure Sodaworks soda but I didn’t like it.

12. Give the gift of local food. Or a gift certificate to a favorite local restaurant.

Here is the update for the Foodie Challenge for the months of June and July. The last 2 months have been busy. I traveled home for July 4th and I got a new job at my same employer this month. I did manage to work on the foodie challenge.
 
1. Attend at least one local food festival. (2 – April, 2 – May)
 
2. Try 3 food trucks.
 
3. Celebrate Pi Day on 3/14 with pie from a local bakery. (March)
 
4. Sample 10 new to you dishes from our list of 100 things to eat. (1 – January, 1 – February, 1 – May, 2 – July)

For July, I had firecracker shrimp (Grille 29) and chicken tenders (Tenders!).

5. Take a cooking class and learn to make a new dish.
 
6. Buy produce at a local farmer’s market. (1 – May)
 
7. Take a food tour. (January)
 
8. Try 5 new to you restaurants. Not sure where to start? Let Huntsville Eats help you find something tasty. (3 – February, 1 – April, 3 – May, 1 – June, 2 – July)

In the last 2 months I have tried a few new places in and out of Huntsville: Potstickers, Grille 29, Tenders!. All the food was good so I’ll go back to all of them for sure.

9. Try one of our local dives.
 
10. Eat something you’ve never had before. If you usually stick to meat and potatoes, branch out to Greek, Indian, Vietnamese, or Thai. If you are a more adventurous sort, try tongue, alligator, or kimchi. (kimchi – January, crawfish – April, potstickers – July)

I had tried these spinach and shrimp potstickers at a restaurant called Potstickers. It’s like a Chinese dumpling. It was really good. I almost didn’t get them but I’m glad I did.

11. Try drinks at a local juice bar and/or local specialized soda.
 
12. Give the gift of local food. Or a gift certificate to a favorite local restaurant.

strawberries
Here is the update for the Foodie Challenge for the month of May. I tried a few new restaurants.
 
1. Attend at least one local food festival. (2 – April)

I went to 2 Strawberry Festivals (Cullman and Moulton). They had random vendors there. The strawberries were good. I don’t think I would attend again now that I have gone.

2. Try 3 food trucks.
 
3. Celebrate Pi Day on 3/14 with pie from a local bakery. (March)
 
4. Sample 10 new to you dishes from our list of 100 things to eat. (1 – February)

I looked through the 2015 and 2016 lists and I found Spicy Chocolate Gelato from Sam & Greg's Pizzeria Gelateria. I had that on my food tour and that was good. I’m not fan of chocolate so I had it mixed with something else. Also, I had fried catfish from Little Libby’s which was really good.

5. Take a cooking class and learn to make a new dish.
 
6. Buy produce at a local farmer’s market.

I bought strawberries at the Strawberry Festival at Cullman Farmers Market – Festhalle.

7. Take a food tour. (January)
 
8. Try 5 new to you restaurants. Not sure where to start? Let Huntsville Eats help you find something tasty. (3 – February, 1 – April)

Tried another not good pizza place and this time one on the best pizza list. In the end of this month, I had some good pizza from Marco’s Pizza. I’m starting to think they don’t have good pizza here.  
 
I went to a work dinner at Phuket Thai Restaurant. I got to try several different foods which were all good. I’ll definitely go there again.

9. Try one of our local dives.
 
10. Eat something you’ve never had before. If you usually stick to meat and potatoes, branch out to Greek, Indian, Vietnamese, or Thai. If you are a more adventurous sort, try tongue, alligator, or kimchi. (kimchi – January, crawfish – April)
 
11. Try drinks at a local juice bar and/or local specialized soda.
 
12. Give the gift of local food. Or a gift certificate to a favorite local restaurant.

I found this recipe for Hot & Sweet Chicken Drumsticks. I always eat chicken thighs so I used that instead. It lists any hot sauce so of course I used Sriracha. From the picture on the site, it didn’t seem like there was a lot of sauce. I scaled up the sauce by 1.5X but it wasn’t needed. I really liked it. I think next time I will go back to less sauce and try a different type of preserve. They used apricot but I’m thinking of trying cherry or something berry like. I added enough Sriracha to make it really hot. I had never cooked with preserves before. It took a while for them to melt.
 


 
Ingredients:
 
6 Chicken Thighs (skin, bone-in)
0.375 cup lite soy sauce (50% Less Sodium)
2 teaspoons black pepper
1.5 cup Apricot Preserves
0.75 cup ketchup
4 teaspoons garlic powder
0.25 cup Sriracha
 
 
Procedure:
 
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2. Mix all ingredients except chicken in a sauce pan
3. Heat over medium heat until the preserves are melted
4. Put chicken in a non-stick foil lined pan
5. Pour the sauce over chicken
6. Bake chicken for 40 min

Crawfish Boil(1)

Here is the update for the Foodie Challenge for the month of April. A did a couple of festivals this month.
 
1. Attend at least one local food festival.

This month I went to 2 festivals. The first was a buffalo wings festival called, Battle of the Buffalo. It’s run by a frat to raise money for a cancer charity. The organization seemed ok. I thought I would get some kind of program to let me know what restaurants were there but nope. Buying a ticket gets you a certain number of raffle type tickets. 1 ticket gets you a drink. The other tickets are for wings. Each ticket gets you 2 wings at a restaurant booth. I got there early and by time I was ready to leave, about 1.5 hr later, at least 1 restaurant was out of wings. A lot of the wings were dry but I think they were trying to keep them warm and may have overcooked. In general, it was good. I may go back next year.
 
I also went to the Heads-N-Tails Crawfish Boil. This is the first time I have had crawfish. Here they sell it by the pound. I got 1 pound and a half pound of shrimp. It was much smaller than I thought it would be. There were only 3 food booths and a few vendors selling random things. A band was playing as well. Again, I got there early because I saw reviews of people complaining that they run out of crawfish early. I made the good decision to take some containers with me. I got my food, put it in the containers, and went home to eat my food. I found out that crawfish is just ok. It is a lot of work to eat for an ok taste.  I’m not sure if I would go back.

2. Try 3 food trucks.
 
3. Celebrate Pi Day on 3/14 with pie from a local bakery. (March)
 
4. Sample 10 new to you dishes from our list of 100 things to eat. (1 – February)
 
5. Take a cooking class and learn to make a new dish.
 
6. Buy produce at a local farmer’s market.
 
7. Take a food tour. (January)
 
8. Try 5 new to you restaurants. Not sure where to start? Let Huntsville Eats help you find something tasty. (3 – February)

I’m on a mission to find good non-chain pizza. I ended up at a place that was a chain that I didn’t know about and the pizza was not good.

9. Try one of our local dives.
 
10. Eat something you’ve never had before. If you usually stick to meat and potatoes, branch out to Greek, Indian, Vietnamese, or Thai. If you are a more adventurous sort, try tongue, alligator, or kimchi. (kimchi – January)

I had crawfish.

11. Try drinks at a local juice bar and/or local specialized soda.
 
12. Give the gift of local food. Or a gift certificate to a favorite local restaurant.

Food challenge - March

Here is the update for the Foodie Challenge for the month of March. All I did this month was pie for Pi Day.
 
1. Attend at least one local food festival.
 
2. Try 3 food trucks.
 
3. Celebrate Pi Day on 3/14 with pie from a local bakery.

I had a piece of pecan pie from a local restaurant and I was not impressed with it.

4. Sample 10 new to you dishes from our list of 100 things to eat. (1 – February)
 
5. Take a cooking class and learn to make a new dish.
 
6. Buy produce at a local farmer’s market.
 
7. Take a food tour. (January)
 
8. Try 5 new to you restaurants. Not sure where to start? Let Huntsville Eats help you find something tasty. (3 – February)
 
9. Try one of our local dives.
 
10. Eat something you’ve never had before. If you usually stick to meat and potatoes, branch out to Greek, Indian, Vietnamese, or Thai. If you are a more adventurous sort, try tongue, alligator, or kimchi. (kimchi – January)
 
11. Try drinks at a local juice bar and/or local specialized soda.
 
12. Give the gift of local food. Or a gift certificate to a favorite local restaurant.

Bday 2016Today is my birthday. This is the first one in at least 5 years that I have been able to have a Carvel Ice Cream Cake. The last place I lived didn’t have them anywhere. It was the only cake I would have on my birthdays growing up since I don’t really like regular cake. I’m going to have a great meal today (steak!) and tomorrow (shrimp & rice). I won’t do much this weekend as a reward. Also Once Upon A Time is coming back on Sunday and I can’t wait. Below are my updates for the Foodie Challenge for the month of February.
 
 
 
 

  1. Attend at least one local food festival.
  2.  

  3. Try 3 food trucks.
  4.  

  5. Celebrate Pi Day on 3/14 with pie from a local bakery.
  6.  

  7. Sample 10 new to you dishes from our list of 100 things to eat.
I tried hot wings from Beauregard’s twice this month. It was on the 100 things to eat from 2015 so I think it still counts.
  1. Take a cooking class and learn to make a new dish.
  2.  

  3. Buy produce at a local farmer’s market.
  4.  

  5. Take a food tour. (January)
  6.  

  7. Try 5 new to you restaurants. Not sure where to start? Let Huntsville Eats help you find something tasty.
I went to 3 new restaurants this month (including Beauregard's). That was the only one I liked. I went back to one of the places I was at during the food tour but was disappointed.
  1. Try one of our local dives.
  2.  

  3. Eat something you’ve never had before. If you usually stick to meat and potatoes, branch out to Greek, Indian, Vietnamese, or Thai. If you are a more adventurous sort, try tongue, alligator, or kimchi.
I had Kimchi on the food tour. I figure that should count for this list, but I will do another one on my own as well. (January)
  1. Try drinks at a local juice bar and/or local specialized soda.
  2.  

  3. Give the gift of local food. Or a gift certificate to a favorite local restaurant.

foodchallenge

I wrote about doing this in a previous post but I realized this was big enough to be its own thing. The original site for the Foodie Challenge is here. There are 12 things to be done once a month for the year. I’ll probably just try to do all the things. I may do a few things in one month. I have already finished number 7 at the end of January. Number 3 is specific to March (Pi Day) and I have posted things about that before. I’ll keep updating and listing the places I have gone. Since I am new to the area I thought it would be a good way to see what food is around. Plus, I like food. Number 11 I changed because it was alcohol related and I don’t drink. The author of the post suggested alternatives for me.
 
 
1. Attend at least one local food festival.
 
2. Try 3 food trucks.
 
3. Celebrate Pi Day on 3/14 with pie from a local bakery.
 
4. Sample 10 new to you dishes from our list of 100 things to eat.
 
5. Take a cooking class and learn to make a new dish.
 
6. Buy produce at a local farmer’s market.
 
7. Take a food tour.
 

I went on a food tour from The Downtown Dish (Huntsville). Their twitter page isn’t very active but they are on Facebook. I really liked it. I got more food than I have gotten on other tours and they actually let you sit in the restaurants. It is definitely worth the money.

 
8. Try 5 new to you restaurants. Not sure where to start? Let Huntsville Eats help you find something tasty.
 
9. Try one of our local dives.
 
10. Eat something you’ve never had before. If you usually stick to meat and potatoes, branch out to Greek, Indian, Vietnamese, or Thai. If you are a more adventurous sort, try tongue, alligator, or kimchi.
 
11. Try drinks at a local juice bar and/or local specialized soda.
 
12. Give the gift of local food. Or a gift certificate to a favorite local restaurant.

During October, I borrowed 3 Mediterranean cookbooks for my recipes. I’m not going to do new recipes again until January. I thought the holidays in November and December would be enough cooking. Again, I was disappointed with my recipes this month. I probably won’t make these again so I’m just posting pics and not recipes. I don’t like to post recipes of things I don’t personally like.
 
 
Baklava
Baklava
Dealing the filo dough was borderline ridiculous. When my friend told me that the dough was thin I thought sure I can deal with that. But, it was as thin as tissue paper. I was annoyed trying to oil, with clarified butter, each layer. I put 9 layers on top and 9 layers on the bottom. It was ok. I used walnuts and almonds as the nut mixture in the middle. I’d like to taste some made by a professional and I may like it more.
 
 
 
 
Circassian Chicken
Picture chicken in an off-white creamy sauce and that was this dish. I didn’t look good and it didn’t taste very special. I made it because the sauce was made of ground up walnuts. In addition to its being not that great, it was very unhealthy. It took so much work to make that sauce.
 
 
Turkish Delight
Turkish Delight
I managed to find a Middle Eastern grocery store to buy some rosewater. It was surprisingly easy to make. I used this recipe on about.com. I liked the flavor of rosewater like a licorice type. The texture of the candy was not something I could deal with. It was a stiff jelly.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Shrimp with Tomatoes, Oregano, & Feta
Shrimp Tomatoes Oregano Feta
I liked this one the best. I never had feta before and it was better than I thought I t would be. The cheese didn’t melt as I imagined. I had broccoli with it. Next time, I may make something like this with broccoli mixed in. I actually bought fresh parsley for this. I didn’t know parsley had such a smell. I saw online that I can keep it in the freezer so that’s what I did.

Orange-Thyme-Honey Chicken This was my second attempt at making something from one of my German cookbooks. It was a much better result this time. I made Orange, Thyme, and Honey Chicken (Orangen-Honig-Hähnchenbrust) from The German Kitchen cookbook. The recipe called for “juice and zest of 3 oranges” but I only had 2 jumbo oranges. I had never tried to squeeze juice out of an orange before. When I do this again, I will probably use 100% orange juice. I didn’t like that the sauce was such a minimal amount. Chicken breasts can get so dry if you try to reheat them. I’m thinking of tripling the amount of sauce. Again, I had not worked with orange zest so I had a minimal amount. I won’t be using it next time. You definitely taste the orange and honey in the recipe.
 
Ingredients:
 
4 chicken breasts
1 teaspoon olive oil
Juice and zest of 3 oranges
3 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon ground thyme
Salt
Pepper
 
Procedure:
 
1. Heat oil in sauté pan
2. Season chicken with salt and pepper
3. Sauté the chicken in a pan with the oil until golden on both sides at low-med heat
4. In a bowl, combine the juice, zest, honey, and thyme
5. Pour mixture into the pan over the chicken
6. Add salt and pepper to sauce
7. Simmer for 10 min or until chicken is cooked
8. Baste chicken periodically
 
Streusel Coffee CakeI realized that Streusel is probably German. So, I cheated by making coffee cake that I have made for years. It is based on a Betty Crocker recipe. For some reason now, when I try to make the streusel topping with butter it becomes a paste. I should be able to just sprinkle it on top. I think the world has changed the ingredients and properties of butter.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Streusel Ingredients:
 
1/3 cup brown sugar
0.25 cups all-purpose flour
0.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons firm Butter
 
Coffee Cake Ingredients:
 
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup Country Crock spread
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
 
Procedure:
 
1. Heat oven to 350 deg
2. Combine Streusel Ingredients and mix until crumbly
3. Combine Cake Ingredients and mix on low setting
4. Beat on medium speed for 2 min
5. Spread half the batter in a greased 13x9x2 pan
6. Sprinkle on half the Streusel
7. Top with remaining batter
8. Sprinkle on the remaining Streusel
9. Bake 35 to 40 min
10. Yields 9-12

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