Skid’s II…Warmth in Diner form…

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It’s not often I sit at home and crave another visit to a restaurant. But, at this very moment, I am craving some more of Skid’s II in Burlington, NC. RIGHT NOW!

Honesty….

I lived near Skid’s II for a couple of years, and heck, I grew up in the same town for 27 of my almost 30 years. Did I ever make it in there? Nope….well maybe once when I was super young with my grandparents. Other than that, I have no memory of this little treasure. However, I do remember passing it multiple times and always seeing the parking lot very active. Little did I know, when I agreed to take Maw-Maw there Wednesday, that I was feeding a little bit of my addiction……

The first step into the restaurant immediately revealed a clean restaurant. Key thing to remember, a clean restaurant is a happy restaurant with happy and repeat clientele. *smiles* Maw-Maw and I were greeted by what proved to be one of the best servers we’ve ever had. He was nice, kind, great smile, and most of all….knowledgeable (ok, I’ll admit it, and attractive *wink*). I ordered the sweet tea (because we all know you can judge a good Southern restaurant by the tea) and Maw-Maw had her standard water. The glasses came out and Maw-Maw said she really liked the glasses. I thought they were catchy with the outside light shining through on them. They were a nice blue shade.  The menus were super clean as well (which that won me over).

See, this restaurant holds family memories in it. When Paw-Paw was alive, he and Maw-Maw used to go to Skid’s II and split a hamburger steak. It’s memories like that, that get us through the moments after our loved ones are long gone. This time though, it was Maw-Maw and I….perfect dining companion. *smiles* Fortunately, they have a small hamburger steak option, and this is what she ordered this time for her grand return to Skid’s II since Paw-Paw had passed. I, a complete and utter sucker for Greek food, ordered Souvlaki. Oh…..My…..Goodness!!!

If you have been reading on here for a bit, you would know that Souvlaki is one of my favorite dishes. I frequent the local Greek Orthodox Church when they have their semi-annual Souvlaki lunch, and have even attempted to make it myself with a recipe I found. But, honestly, this was the BEST Souvlaki I have ever consumed. The most beautiful thing….it came out looking picture perfect. I didn’t have to do anything to it to capture the beauty. The cook slathered the cucumber sauce on it perfectly to the edge, layered all the goodness in it, and wrapped it perfectly. Did I mention that our server, Todd, suggested grilled onions on it??? I just never would have thought of combining two of my loves…what is wrong with me for not thinking of that myself??? Well, now I know! Thanks, Todd! *smiles*

Maw-Maw enjoyed her Hamburger Steak immensely, and she said it tasted just like the old days. I know it would have been better though if we still had Paw-Paw with us at the table…*sigh* Her fries and my hushpuppies were perfection as well.

In closing, it was a fabulous experience all around, and we will definitely be going back…(in fact, I’m planning on lunch today there before I head to Mom’s to make Oreo Cupcakes!) The building itself is small, and I wouldn’t assume the food to have that big of a flavor punch if looking from the outside in. But, this is when I continually reiterate to not judge a restaurant by the outside, just as we shouldn’t judge each other. You never know what treasures or favorite dishes you might come across inside.

Kudos to Skid’s II for reminding me of the warmth a little diner can provide to a Foodie’s heart.

Skid's II on Urbanspoon

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200th and Baklava….OPA!

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It’s here! It’s here! The 200th post!

A quick “Thank you!”….

Seems just yesterday I decided to embark on a journey of self-discovery, and worth. I wanted more out of what had become my life. I just knew there was this niche out there in the world that I could fit in to. Somehow, somewhere, someday. I was tired of waiting. Tired of timing things just perfectly – which never seemed to happen. Tired of feeling “less-than”. Why didn’t I deserve to be the one that had found my place on this gorgeous place we call Earth?

There came a day when I was determined it was complete and utter bullshit that I had to continue living as if I were a sometimes joyless being walking in the disheveled abundance of a dry desert. Living life dry, thirsty, and hungry for more. I made a decision to live fully that day, and to everyone that has been here to support me through this…Thank you! You have added a different kind of Oasis of joy to my world, and I will never be able to repay you for your kindness and love. *smiles*

On to the 200th post!

I can honestly say that the one dish I have ALWAYS wanted to attempt has been Baklava. Whether it stems from the little Greek boy my Paw-Paw used to pick on me about liking at this little hometown diner the boy’s parents owned that we frequented when I was very young (that was a mouthful, hopefully you followed), or the lust for a challenge in the kitchen…I knew I wanted to make it.

People always told me that it’s too much work, it’s too messy to make, too hard to work with the Phyllo Pastry, etc. Come on people, that just made me want to do it more! If you don’t know by now…I long for challenges in the kitchen!

Never be afraid of something new and challenging in your kitchen (and in life)! You absolutely never know when what you take on will lead to the perfect outcome that you needed.

I attended the Greensboro Greek Festival on Sunday and was able to enjoy music, dancing (I just watched, I didn’t have the credentials for traditional Greek dancing), a rare cool breeze, a couple glasses of wine, good people, and of course amazingly good food.

All throughout the festival, there were random people saying “Opa!”. I often wondered if it were something us non-Greeks should be saying. Was it like the old adage of the noise we learn when we are playing Cowboys and Indians at a young age that Native Americans supposedly made where we pat our mouths, and come to find out that wasn’t true…or, was this really an alright thing for us to say? After a little bit of Googling (of which I am trusting), it seems that everything was alright. We are allowed to say it, and it is a word for celebration. Urban Dictionary mentions that it would be the Greek word that replaces such phrases as “Hooray!”, “Hell yeah!”, or “Yeehaw!”. “Opa!” sounds so much more refined than “Yeehaw!”…maybe I’ll begin using it instead. Opa! *big smiles*

This Baklava recipe is one I saw quite a few months ago on a show I really enjoy “Chuck’s Day Off”. Chuck made a super simple Baklava, and it looked like it had all of the elements needed. Below is the recipe, and you can find the full write-up on the recipe by clicking here. Enjoy! (oops……) OPA!

Classic Greek Baklava by Chuck Hughes

  • 6 cups chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 1 (16-ounce) package phyllo pastry
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

(I didn’t do the grape and yogurt part in Step 8 with the Baklava…feel free to be adventurous though.)

  • 4 cups grapes (recommended: Corinthian)
  • 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of a 9 by 13-inch pan.
  2. Mix the nuts with cinnamon, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup of melted butter. Set aside.
  3. Unroll the phyllo pastry. Cut the whole stack in half to fit the pan. Cover the phyllo with a dampened clean kitchen towel to keep the phyllo from drying out as you work.
  4. Lay 2 phyllo sheets in the pan and using a brush, butter thoroughly. Repeat until you have 6 sheets layered. Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups nut mixture on top. Layer with 2 phyllo sheets, brush with butter and add nuts to end up with 4 layers of nuts and dough. The top layer should be about 6 to 8 phyllo sheets deep.
  5. Using a sharp knife, cut diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan. You may cut 4 long rows then make diagonal cuts. Bake for about 50 minutes, until the baklava is golden and crisp.
  6. Make the sauce while the baklava is baking. Boil the water and remaining sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Add the honey and vanilla. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
  7. Remove the baklava from the oven and immediately spoon the sauce over it. Let cool.
  8. In the meantime, place the grapes on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, until the grapes start to burst.
  9. Serve the baklava with Greek yogurt, the baked grapes and a drizzle of honey and crushed walnuts.

Cook’s Notes: Walnuts can be replaced by any kind of nuts or a combination of nuts. (I used 4 cups of walnuts, and 2 cups of pecans.)Phyllo pastry is available in the freezer section of most grocery stores.

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A pictorial guide of my Souvlaki Lunch on Sunday…

You take the paper off and reveal the masterpiece!

As some of you may know, I look forward to the semi-annual Souvlaki Lunch at our local Greek Orthodox Church. Wait, let me reemphasize this….When I say I “look forward to”, I mean I ride by every chance I get to check their sign outside to see if it has a date on it for the next one! It honestly is some of the best food around here! To show my love for it, I decided to just do pictures for you with small little captions. Enjoy!

Warning: It’s not a happy ending…

"P" is for "Pleasure" The pleasure you will feel after having your belly full of this delicious meal! Actually, to be honest, "P" is for "Pork".
This is what you see when you open the lid to your "P" box...
You take the paper off and reveal the masterpiece!
I usually take my tomatoes off and enjoy them by themselves.
The best Sweet Tea around!
This was the absolute best I think the Baklava has ever been. Sooooo amazing! Still drooling just looking at the picture....
Don't let anyone steer you wrong, because this girl can eat......The sad part...........It's all gone........The End

Will Cook for Foo–Week 6 Who is your hero?

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We all have definitions of what a “Hero” is. It could be various items that we feel take courage to accomplish. We live in a world that requires multiple bouts of courage sometimes just to make it through our day. I look at heroism in a broader perspective. For example…

I’m sure when Kurt Cobain decided to leave this world, it broke many hearts. However, he made his mark while he was here. He was a hero for many I’m sure, but not in the way that his life ended (in my opinion). I have a friend that made the same decision, and I certainly don’t wish for anyone to feel the pain of losing a friend or loved one that way. In fact it pains me every time someone makes a joke about this act. It’s not a joke, grow up….. (Ok, off my soapbox.)

Minus the soapbox…This brings me to the point that there are men and women that are going through horrible struggles in life that most of us would not be able to carry the burden of. Some of those men and women have also made their own decision and decided this may not be the world they want to continue in. The ones that are still here, trying to make their situation better, should be considered heroes…heroes to many by saying it’s ok to struggle, because things really do get better and return to normal. They have the courage to make it through another day.

Other heroes…

The single parent that does good to feed their children. The people in the past and present that stand up for what they believe in. People that fought for our rights that we have today (even if it’s fighting for our right to party). The person that decided it was time to tell their parents that they were gay. The person that decided to stand up to the bully at school. The person that opens themselves and talks about their struggles in a daily journal for the public to read and grow from. The person that had the courage to start over in life. We certainly should never forget the men and women that risk their lives every day in our Military and forces here at home to keep us safe. There are many other ways people are heroes. Many more ways.

It’s like the old adage of why we should always smile, because you never know who’s falling in love with your smile. Try to achieve your dreams and improve your reality, because you never know who’s hero you are becoming. Be an inspiration to those around you. Life is good, it’s time to live it!

This week’s “Will Cook for Foo” comes from their song My Hero.

The selected lyric was “truth or consequence, say it aloud, use that evidence, race it around”

My Twitter update “@foofighters Truth or consequence, I’m saying it aloud, use my cooking as evidence, please come around!”

Next step for you, take a second and enjoy the song…Click here for the song “My Hero”.

Find the previous “Will Cook for Foo” posts by clicking here.

For the recipe…I did a play on words and word association…I thought I could make a Gyro…but, I decided I wanted to make Souvlaki instead, so I stayed in the same cuisine, Greek. This was a really easy recipe I found on Food.com, and it ended up delightfully light. Enjoy!

Pork Souvlaki

  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless pork loin or 1 1/2 lbs pork tenderloins
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano ( I did a twist and used fresh Cinnamon Basil…very good!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 cup prepared tzatziki, sauce
  • 6 Greek pita breads

Directions:

  1. Trim and cut pork into 1 inch cubes.
  2. In large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, oil, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper.
  3. Add pork and stir to coat.
  4. Marinate for 10 minutes (make ahead: cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours). (I marinated mine for 2 hours.)
  5. Evenly thread pork onto six 8 inch skewers; place on foil lined baking sheet. (I did NOT use skewers, and just dipped the cubes out of the marinade and placed them on a foil lined pan.)
  6. Brush with marinade. (Yeah, none of the brushing stuff, that’s just another thing to clean…I just drizzled the remainder over top. *smiles*)
  7. Broil 6 inches away from heat, turning halfway through, until just a hint of pink remains inside, about 12 minutes.
  8. Spread Tzatziki over each pita. (I used store-bought Tzatziki)
  9. Remove pork from skewers and place on pitas; fold over.

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A little bite of honey heaven…

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If you’re like most people, they’ve never tasted Baklava.  It’s one of my favorites, and I am slowly working up to making a full-fledged batch like the classic Greek recipe.  But, until then I have found a delightful little taste that will suit me just fine, Baklava Bites.  Made with phyllo pastry shells that come already premade, you can’t go wrong!  They didn’t last long on the table either.  Enjoy!

I added little tidbits for this super simple recipe.

Baklava Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts, chopped  (I bought the bag of finely chopped walnuts)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 60 miniature phyllo cups (This would be the equivalent of 4 of those frozen boxes.)

Syrup

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, add walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, and cloves and pulse to combine. Spoon 1 teaspoon of nut mixture into each cup. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the water, sugar, honey and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Cool slightly and pour a teaspoon of warm syrup over each cup.
  3. Refrigerate cups for 4 to 5 hours, then bring to room temperature (about 15 minutes) before serving.  You will notice that some of the syrup will leak out the bottom.  This just gives it that authentic messy goodness that Baklava should have. 

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