Week Ends, Eating Starts!

When it comes to a weekend of face stuffing a decision must be made. Pace yourself or do-it-up-right one night only? Last Friday proved that the latter would be the way to go.

     Dinner brought us to Joe’s Crab Shack. We’d been dying to go for a while. The last chance was squashed by a wait longer than a drag queen’s false eyelashes.
     This time, no wait led to instant satisfaction.
     For an appetizer we had the Great Balls of Fire. They’re packed with jalapenos, shrimp, crab and a kick. Plus, who wouldn’t want a waiter walking up to your table yelling, “Great balls of fire!!?”

     The main event always makes me love this place. The Steam Pots are a true treasure. There are several, each one packed full of crab, lobster, shrimp and/or scallops paired with sausage, corn-on-the-cob and potatoes. I mean, really? Could you want more? Yes, actually I could. By the time I’ve emptied the pot depression arrives. Is it really over? It’s THAT good.

     Here’s a hint: If there’s two of you, try the steam pots for two. They’re cheaper and include two portions that are each the same size as their single version. It’s all just served in a big pot.
     We had the Sunset-Grilled Fire Pot. The seasoning is abundant and it’ll give you a good burn.
     I promise you. If you like seafood, you’ll adore the steam pots.
     That was a pricy night – when you add up drinks, appetizer, meal and a donation to end childhood hunger (you donate and depending on how much, you get a coupon for free food – not bad!).
     Saturday was a fast food kind of day – both meals. So we’ll move on. Want to?
     Sunday dinner was an old favorite: mac & cheese. I won’t knock the boxed version. There’s something comforting about it. When I was little we’d eat Velveeta Shells & Cheese and in college I could’ve probably earned a good chunk of stock in Easy Mac. But, when I have the time to make it from scratch, I do!
     Usually, I spend a fortune on different kinds of cheeses: fontina, Gruyère, gouda, etc. This time, I went cheaper…and let me tell you.. it was just as good.
    
       I start with a bechamel sauce – a smooth, creamy mixture that’s basically a clean canvas. This time I used whole wheat pasta, elbows and penne – whatever you have on hand. I bought three cheeses that were on sale: white & yellow cheddar and gouda. Before it’s put in the oven for a final warming, I top it with a crispy crust made of crushed croutons and bacon. It’s not just comfort food. It’s the love child of a cashmere blanket and a plush couch. Try it, please.
Crunchy Smack And Cheeses            
      Dessert, as promised in an earlier post, was an apple idea. I used pizza dough dusted in cinnamon and sugar to wrap an ooey-gooey keep-the-doctor-away, but-put-Jenny Craig-on-speed-dial concoction. It was the product of a one-night stand between a calzone and an apple pie.  Missed the baby shower? Don’t worry, they’re registered at The Fresh Market… just in case you were wondering.
      We shared one. Cut it in half, put each side on its own plate and top with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream…            The other package went into the fridge. The next night, I put it on some foil and heated it at 350 for about 15 minutes. Then cut it half, and put it back in the oven for 10 minutes.
     After realizing what exactly I created last weekend, it seems those days were dedicated to comfort food. Warm up with both in the chilly days ahead.
     I’m gone dishing… appetite don’t fail me now!
     Tip: If you don’t have a food processor, but need to shred soft cheese, like mozzarella, put it in the freezer for about 20-25 minutes. The block will be a bit more solid helping take the bumps out of the upcoming grind.
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