Top 10 fun eats to suggest for the new year
Itâ€™s the time of year for resolutions, but I havenâ€™t felt very resolute just yet.Â Iâ€™ve been blowing and going since Thanksgiving and havenâ€™t had time to think much about 2012.Â However, resolutions often have to do with food, whether itâ€™s eating less of it or trying to include healthier versions in the daily intake.Â With that in mind, here are some suggestions â€” I wouldnâ€™t want you to miss out on anything good this year.Â In no particular order, I offer you Part One of my second annual â€śTop 10 Fun Eats That I Didnâ€™t Already Write About In 2011.â€ť
No. 1 â€” Fried Pimento Cheese Balls. I have had these twice in 2011.Â Think of them as fried cheese on Southern steroids.Â My first experience was in Raleigh, N.C., at an upscale barbecue place called The Pit â€“ there they were served on a little sea of pepper jelly.Â They were so good that when I saw them on the menu at the Market CafĂ© in Louisville, there was no question about what my appetizer would be that night.Â Luckily for local readers, I preferred the Market CafĂ©â€™s interpretation, but donâ€™t deny yourself if you happen to be hungry in downtown Raleigh.
No. 2 ÂÂâ€”Â Krispy Kreme Kobbler.Â Other names exist for this, but I hold great respect for local law enforcement officers and I would in no way want to offend them with tired donut jokes.Â I made this dish for a Sunday School party and afterwards a classmate asked me not for the recipe, but for the antidote.Â I would have been afraid to test our blood sugar levels lest the meter explode.Â But, doggone, it was good.Â Hereâ€™s how itâ€™s done:Â Tear 24 glazed donuts into bite-sized pieces and place in bowl with 1 can (14 oz) Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk, 2 eggs (beaten), 1 can (29 oz.) sliced peaches with juice, 1 tsp. cinnamon and a pinch of salt.Â Mix and spoon into a greased 9x13 baking dish. Bake in 350 preheated oven one hour until knife comes out clean. Then combine 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 pkg. (16 oz.) powdered sugar, and 2 tsp. vanilla.Â Stir until smooth then drizzle over baked cobbler.Â Add a little milk to the topping if itâ€™s too thick. By the way, this is the only sweet selection in todayâ€™s list â€” arenâ€™t you feeling healthier already?Â
No. 3 â€” Angeloâ€™s Greek Feta Cheese Dressing.Â When I began my career as a student at Hotty Toddy U, there was a family-owned restaurant out by the Oxford airport called The Mistilis.Â As a freshman college student, salads were not the usual menu item of choice, but after trying this dressing for the first time I went for the greens on just about every visit.Â It is so rich and thick with chunks of feta cheese, sometimes I would buy a jar of dressing and dip Saltines in it, skipping the salad altogether.Â After a couple of years, the restaurant changed hands, but Mr. Mistilis kept making the dressing and sold it at a local grocery store.Â Fast forward twenty years.Â When I began working up there last year, I happened to run into Mr. Mistilis again, and I asked my co-workers if the dressing was still available.Â I was thrilled to find out that it was for sale at a service station near the Square, so I grabbed a bottle or three at the very next opportunity and relived my freshman year â€“one of the good parts, anyway.Â
No. 4 â€” The Memphis BBQ Pork Taco at South Depot Taco Shop in Oxford.Â Surely you didnâ€™t think Iâ€™d have a top ten list without some kind of BBQ? This taco was so simple: slow roasted pork tossed in a mild BBQ sauce with cole slaw on a flour tortilla.Â Perhaps not your everyday taco meat, but it was just so good.Â Fresh warm tortilla wrapped around pulled pork.Â Is there a bad way to eat barbecue?
No. 5 â€” Arugula.Â Weâ€™ll close the first five with something truly healthy.Â I had heard of arugula for years â€” chefs and food writers love to talk about the peppery bite arugula gives in a salad or on a sandwich.Â Maybe I had eaten a leaf or two somewhere along the way in a mixed green salad, but I didnâ€™t know it. Not long ago, however, I went to the grocery looking for some quick bagged lettuce, and there was a bag of arugula on sale.Â At home I opened the bag and I could immediately tell there was something different â€” could it be that this salad green has umami?Â Later in the fall we began getting some arugula in our weekly farm share, and by then I was hooked.Â Rarely have I ever munched on any kind of salad green as soon as it was washed, just because I really liked it.Â But I am digging the arugula.Â Especially dipped in feta cheese dressing.
Stay tuned next week for the remaining five of this yearâ€™s top ten.Â There is no top or bottom here â€” none that I plan to admit, anyway â€” just 10 things that I am suggesting all readers add to their new yearâ€™s resolutions.Â Or at least to your bucket lists.Â
Jay Reed is a local pharmacist and foodie. He welcomes your comments at email@example.com.
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