Kurt had duty last night, which meant he didn’t come home from work. At all. Well, he did come home for dinner, but then it was right back to the office for him. Don’t worry — there’s a bed there. But it must be awfully creepy to be the only person in a really large office building complex.
So he comes home from work today, somewhat early, and he decides we’re going out to dinner!! The financial manager of the family (namely, me) agrees to this mainly because he came home from work with a coupon. Buy one entree at TGI Friday’s, get an entree free. Plus he wanted to go to Target to get something for my birthday present, so off we went.
It’s been years since we’ve been to TGI Friday’s. If we’re going to go to a chain restaurant, we have Applebee’s and Chili’s here on the island already, so why would we go all the way to Massachusetts for TGI Friday’s? Besides, we tend to like small ethnic restaurants anyhow, so that’s where we tend to spend our money.
We spent $27 on two entrees, one kids’ meal, and one appetizer. The food we got was so not worth that $27. I got some shrimp and chicken sizzle thing, which I guess is supposed to be shrimp and chicken fajitas, just minus the tortillas. Maybe I’ve been watching too many epsidoes of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen F*cking Nightmares (well, that’s what it should be called, considering how often the man says f*ck), but my portion was awfully chintzy for $10. My chicken breast had been sliced in half horizontally, and I was given just one half. Then I got six medium shrimp with it. We’re not talking jumbo shrimp, or even the large size. They were barely larger than the tiny shrimp you toss into a salad. The mashed potatoes I got with it were good; they didn’t taste like instant, and they had all kinds of cheese running through them. But the only other thing I got with my plate was this mixture of cheese and bell peppers, and the cheese had burnt to the hot plate. It was less than appetizing, to say the least.
Kurt got a steak sandwich that had chipotle mayo, platains, cheddar cheese — and some kind of flank steak. Kurt said the meat was really tough, which didn’t surprise me as the meat was just laid on top in a big slab. He said it would have been far better if it had been a burger made of ground beef instead of a big ol’ slab. I’d have to agree with that. I had a hard time taking just a bite out when he offered me one.
We also got the green bean fries. I’ve had them in a foo-foo upscale restaurant here in Newport, and they were good. But these were greasy — they had been fried for too long, and the grease was probably old. We weren’t even given a decent amount of dipping sauce. And we were charged $6 for something that must have cost the restaurant all of 50¢. I understand they need to make a profit, but come on. Give the little people a break.
I don’t think we’ll be going back to TGI Friday’s any time soon, even with this coupon. It’s just not worth it. I can get much better food down here on the island for cheaper, especially with the diner’s club card we’ve got which gets us two-for-one dining at nice local restaurants.
If you’ve had a better experience, let me know. I just don’t think TGI Friday’s is my cup of tea.
Enough of that, let’s go back to Heloise and her suggestions on seasonings and condiments.
Garlic, storing: Know the best way to solve the pungent problem of storing garlic? First, peel the garlic and break the buds apart. Take a jar with a close-fitting lid and, after putting the garlic into it, cover it completely with cooking oil. It will keep indefinitely and always be ready to use. The oil will become very “garlicky” in just a few days, and this can be used in various recipes, but very sparingly (just a few drops, and I mean a few). As the oil is used, add more from time to time. Happy eating, all you garlic lovers.
Garlic, too much: “Whenever you goof and put too much garlic in somethign you’re cooking, place parsley flakes in a tea ball and dunk it in or sprinkle on directly. This will eliminate the ‘too-much-garlic’ taste.” And chewing a few fresh parsley leaves after a garlicky meal will take the garlic odor right off your breath. –Heloise
Ginger: Of course you need ginger in gingerbread and spice cookies but try a smidgen in beef casseroles and use it to flavor mayonnaise for fruit salad topping. A dash in hot coffee makes it a delicious after-dinner drink.
Mace: You know what makes cherry pie the most delicious? A dash of mace. It’s fabulous for pound cake and fruit cake, and works wonders for whipped cream topping.
Marjoram: Try a little marjoram in corn bread or when making croutons.
Mint: Fabulous in tea, mint flavor adds a special touch to carrots. The Greeks use it to flavor lamb dishes.
Nutmeg: When you bake, nutmeg’s the spice to use for cakes, cookies, and other desserts. Try a pinch with spinach or corn, too.
Onion Salt: Adda little onion salt to the crust of your meat pies… Delicious. Some of the world’s greatest recipes begin by sautéing onion in butter. Onion salt or onion flakes can be substituted for fresh onions.
Poultry Seasoning: Great in stuffing, this ground blend of sage, thyme, marjoram and savory can make flavor magic for hamburgers and meatloaf, scrambled eggs and omelets, too.
Pumpkin Pie Spice: Not just for pie, this ground blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves is a pick-me-up for fruit dessert and sweet yellow vegetables.
Rosemary: Rosemary is good in salads and with vegetables like green beans, squash and mushrooms. Try it in soups and dumpling dough, or with chicken.
Saffron: Saffron is an expensive spice that works magic with rice, chicken and seafood.
There’s a couple more pages of Heloise’s tips on seasonings, covering things like salt and sugar and how to store spices. I’ll post the rest of this chapter later; I think this entry has gone on long enough!!
I have tried the cinnamon in the coffee trick, and it’s really delighful. Now I’ll have to try it with ginger! Also mint tastes wonderfully with peas. I steam the peas, add a pat of butter, and sprinkle dried mint on top. Delicious!
One thing I do that maybe is a little odd is my use of garlic salt. I’ll make up some tuna salad, using tuna, mayonnaise, and sweet pickle relish, spread two pieces of bread with the mixture, add a slice of Swiss cheese to each piece of bread, and sprinkle garlic salt on top of the cheese. Into the toaster oven it goes till the cheese is melty, and I eat it open-faced. The saltiness of the garlic salt with the sweetness of the pickle relish is really divine. Try it sometime!
What kinds of oddball things do you do with your seasonings?