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TaDah! Falafel Made Easy!

Posted on June 22nd, 2021

Dave!Falafel is easily one of my favorite foods. Alas, the only way to get it around here is to make it myself... and I do... but not as often as I want to eat it due to the fried oil mess it makes. Which means falafel consumption is usually reserved for when I am traveling. Except there hasn't been any of that in a year-and-a-half, so I've been sadly falafel-deficient all this time.

So imagine my surprise when I was at a QFC on the other side of the state and spotted "falafel street wraps" in the frozen foods section from TaDah Foods for $3.99 each! It sounded too good to be true, so I bought the three flavors they had... enjoyed them... then immediately searched for a place locally that sold them (which ended up being Fred Meyer, and they had all four flavors on sale for $3.49). Sweet!

My freezer full of TaDah! Falafel wraps.

Now, before we get to my reviews, a few things...

  • I ended up covering each of these with feta cheese sprinkles before eating, because feta is a critical component to a falafel wrap, in my humble opinion. Elevated the flavor in every case. Highly recommended.
  • Each of these use a whole wheat wrap, which is something I detest. Now, in TaDah's defense, their wheat wrap isn't as horribly chemical-tasting, dry, and gross as many I've eaten... but, still. If I wanted something "healthy," I wouldn't be eating frozen foods. So why bother to add a tiny amount of nutritional value from a whole wheat wrap when a traditional flour wrap would be SO much better?
  • The heating instructions are to microwave for a minute, flip, microwave for 45 seconds, then cool for two minutes. This ended up giving me a wrap with cold spots in the middle... plus made the wrap cool too much. I had much better results in microwaving for a minute, flipping, waiting for two minutes, then microwaving for another minute. No cold spots... just a warm wrap that's cooked all the way through.

And now, on with the reviews...

TaDah Falafel Street Wrap Box — Sweet Spicy Harissa and Labne.

Sweet Spicy Harissa and Labne. ★★★★☆
Easily my favorite of the four flavors. The harissa (a favorite spice blend of mine) adds just enough heat while still allowing the falafel flavor to shine through. And the creamy labne (similar Greek yogurt, but thicker like cream cheese) was the perfect accompaniment. I could eat these every day, and probably would if I could afford it.

TaDah Falafel Street Wrap Box — Spicy Brown Sugar and Harissa Hummus.

Spicy Brown Sugar Harissa Hummus.★★★☆☆
This should have been my favorite by a country mile because the combination of harissa spice, hummus, and brown sugar is a holy trifecta of flavor. But the harissa is just too much here. I love heat in my food, but the harissa is so overpowering that you barely know you're eating falafel, as it's completely buried. My guess is that they were needing to compensate for the disgusting whole wheat wrap, and just piled on heat to make it go away. Well, they succeeded. Too well. If they would have toned down the spicy a notch, this would be heaven in your microwave oven.

TaDah Falafel Street Wrap Box — Fresh Lemon-Garlic Hummus

Fresh Lemon-Garlic Hummus. ★★☆☆☆
I am not a huge fan of lemon when it's in something that's not lemonade or lemon cake or lemon cream pie... but it kinda works here. Thankfully they didn't add so much lemon that it completely overwhelms everything else... you still get a nice garlic note and a decent hummus vibe... but this ended up being a bit boring to me. Oh I'll still buy them, that's for sure. A sprinkling of feta on top did wonders. But with two other wraps I enjoy far more, it won't be as often.

TaDah Falafel Street Wrap Box — Feta Green Pepper Salsa.

Feta Green Pepper Salsa. ★☆☆☆☆
Given my love of feta, I assumed this would be a favorite. It wasn't. First of all, the amount of feta is slight. There's not enough to really register. Second of all, the fibrous nature of the pepper chunks was a weird fit with the falafel patties. I far, far preferred the creamy texture of either the hummus or labne in the other three flavors. This wasn't awful by any means, but I won't be buying it again when there are three others I'd rather have.

   
And there you have it. I am so very, very happy to have a new easy-to-prepare meal sitting in my freezer that I can heat and enjoy in minutes. For a falafel-loving guy like me, they are as dreamy as frozen gets. No, they aren't ever going to replace a falafel pita sandwich with crispy falafel balls right out if the fryer... but nothing ever could.

HOWEVER...

If TaDah wanted to make a falafel street wrap that would really push my buttons, here is what I want from their next flavor... FLOUR WRAP... NOT WHOLE WHEAT! ROASTED RED PEPPER HUMMUS! FETA CHEESE! AND A DASH OF HARISSA SPICE. That's it. That would be epic. ★★★★★

Fingers crossed. This combination seems like it would be far more popular with the food-buying public given how roasted red pepper hummus is like ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR FLAVORS OF HUMMUS IN THE USA. So maybe?

   
P.S. It's the graphic designer in me that notices these things, but... falafel patties must be difficult to photograph, because they Photoshopped in the exact same patty on all four boxes (though the Feta Green Pepper Salsa patty does have a different texture Photoshopped onto it?). Regardless, whomever did the actual compositing work did a darn fine job of it! And I am most impressed with the packaging design too. Fantastic color distinction to separate the flavors on the freezer shelf. Appetizing photography. Fantastic branding for the TaDah! company identity. An all-around great job at a time where packaging design just keeps getting worse and worse. I think the only thing I would change is to make the flavor larger so that it's easier to read from a distance (this would have been easily accomplished by pushing the text a little higher on the box, using a slightly more narrow typeface for the flavor description, and possibly eliminating the word "with" from the front of each flavor, which doesn't really add anything but an extra word).

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Invention is the Mother of Neccessity?

Posted on June 17th, 2021

Dave!This morning I woke up wanting strawberry cheesecake. The closest I could get is eating strawberry yogurt alternating with white cheddar popcorn. AT LEAST IT WAS UNTIL I STARTED ALTERNATING WITH KETTLE CORN! ZOMFG! THIS IS STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE FOR LAZY PEOPLE, AND I AM SO HERE FOR IT!

Did I invent a thing? I think I might have invented a thing. You're welcome, world!

Necessity is indeed the Mother of Invention... though sometimes the Invention is the Mother of Neccessity!

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Bullet Sunday 717

Posted on June 13th, 2021

Dave!The days may be getting longer, but don't worry about finding something to read to occupy your time... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Subliminal! Am I the only one who watches movies and television shows where they eat a certain food... then you crave that food? I just watched one of my all-time favorite movies, Ideal Home (for the hundredth time)... where they're always eating Crunchwraps at Taco Bell. Since my Taco Bell is 20 minutes away, I just decided to make them. Mexican Rice, Nacho Cheese Doritos, plus Shredded Mexican Cheese warmed on a flour tortilla until soft enough to fold without breaking... followed by shredded lettuce and tomatoes... flip and brown... flip and brown... serve with salsa and sour cream...

Ideal Home Movie Poster with Steve Coogan and Paul Rudd.

A tortilla in a pan with rice, Doritos, and cheese.

The torilla wrapped around the ingredients and flipped in the pan.

The Crunchwraps on a plate with salsa and sour cream on top.

Delicious! More delicious than I deserve on a Sunday morning.

   
• Cooking! And speaking of cooking... I made the Walnut Cream Sauce Pasta I love so much that I got from Martha Stewart's meal service. Double batches get consumed in one sitting. Triple batches last me an additional day. So this time I'm going for a quadruple batch...

Making Walnut Cream Pasta on the stove.

Walnut Cream Pasta on a Plate.

Assuming I don't eat it for breakfasts, I think I'm good through Tuesday or Wednesday night.

   
• Victor! The second season of Love, Victor dropped on Hulu. I loved the film that spawned it, Love, Simon and the fact that it is such a great contiuation of the movie... with strong ties to the movie... just makes it work so beautifully. Even if it does stray a little far into teen angst for me from time to time...

Love Victor Season 2 Poster

The second season is just as good as the first, which is such a welcome surprise. Usually shows like this tank badly after they've exhausted what makes them work. So... yeah... great show. EXCEPT... the amazing theme song, Somebody to Tell Me by Tyler Glenn, is being cut short on the show intros...

WTF?!? HULU, YOU ARE A STREAMING SERVICE... NO NEED TO CUT ANYTHING SHORT BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT ON A BROADCAST SCHEDULE!

   
• It's Magneto! Watching all these people claiming to be "magnetic" after getting vaccinated having their worldview shattered when their claims are defeated by frickin' baby powder is both hilarious and profoundly sad. OUR BODIES PRODUCE OILS. THAT'S JUST A QUARTER STICKING TO THE OILS ON YOUR SKIN! YOUR FIRST CLUE THAT THIS IS BULLSHIT SHOULD HAVE BEEN THAT MAGNETS DON'T WORK ON QUARTERS! It all reminds me of when The Amazing Randi used to debunk this idiotic crap oh so many years ago...

Interesting to note that not one person was ever able to prove their "powers" and claim his One Million Dollar Challenge. Not one.

   
• It's NOT Magneto! I am all for poking fun at ignorant people who buy into stupid shit because the refuse to use even the smallest amount of brain power in verifying the crap they see on the internet. Though, like I said above, it's still profoundly sad because truly ignorant people refuse to admit they're wrong, often-times doubling down on their stupidity. But you know where I draw the line? When ignorant people actually attempt to educate themselves and admit when they were wrong. That doesn't deserve ridicule. That deserves admiration and respect...

@robbsfilms

Reply to @b2daruce

♬ original sound - Rob Marrocco

Now see... this gentleman right here was willing to dip his toe in the enlightenment pool by listening to reason, testing his beliefs, drawing a new conclusion based on evidence, admitting he made a mistake, and coming out on the other side better for it. Like rational human beings do. You don't poke fun at that. Mostly because it's something so many of the smartest stupid people will never do. They're just not that brave.

   
• ADOBE, STOP IT!!! For some stupid fucking reason, Adobe changed the MACINTOSH SYSTEM-WIDE KEYBOARD SHORTCUT TO HIDE THE APPLICATION from ⌘H to ^⌘H. It was a damn stupid decision that no Mac user would ever fucking want. Fortunately you can manually change it back to normal so you don't go insane wondering why the application won't hide when you tell it to. But every once in a while Photoshop will update itself and it will go back to what it was. Shit like this makes me insane. Why in the hell would Adobe change a MACINTOSH SYSTEM-WIDE KEYBOARD SHORTCUT in the first place? Because it seems like Adobe just fucking hate Mac users. Which is pretty shitty when you think about it. It was the Mac that allowed Adobe to build the defacto creative applications they have.

   
And that's all I have to say about that.

   

The Chocolate Milk Fallacy

Posted on May 25th, 2021

Dave!I don't buy chocolate milk very often. The sugar content is too big a hit, so on the occasion that I happen to have milk in the house and want choccy milk I just use a heaping tablespoon of Nesquik and call it a day.

But last time I was at the grocery store, they had an entire gallon of choccy milk for some ridiculously low price... like $1.69 or something like that. Half the price of a half-gallon. I thought it might be because the expiry date was two days away or something, but it wasn't. I had two whole weeks to get through it!

SOLD!

Because surely I could drink a gallon in two weeks, right?

Yeah. Not so much.

I am barely half-way through it and the expiry date is tomorrow.

Now, I know that you can drink it past the expiry date, and I will probably try and have a glass for the rest of the week so I can get the most for my money... but it will likely not be because I've wanting a glass of choccy milk. And I will likely be dumping out a lot of it.

Oh well. I wish I could say that this was the first time I've been suckered into a "too good to be true" deal that didn't end up being that great. Though since it was cheaper than a half-gallon and I managed to get through half of the jug, I guess it kinda is?

Stuff like this messes with your head. In a day-and-age when groceries are just so darn expensive, I need to remember the chocolate milk fallacy... and that I am a single guy living alone who doesn't eat a lot.

That will save me from crying over spilt milk... as it goes down the drain.

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Categories: Food 2021Click To It: Permalink  4 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Bullet Sunday 713

Posted on May 16th, 2021

Dave!Feeling lost? Feeling that the internet has let you down? Want to be let down even further? Well have no fear... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• BREAKING NEWS! Holy fucking shit... CANADA DOESN'T EXIST, y'all...

@dylandebruyn

Why is my life a joke? 😂##greenscreenvideo ##greenscreen ##fyp ##news ##canada ##vermont

♬ original sound - Dylan DeBruyn

I KNEW IT! THANKS FOR THE LIES, NASA!!! This is Antarctica all over again!

   
• It's a Dip! I had Wavy Lay’s potato chips and Rold Gold pretzels with my grandma’s dip for breakfast. AND I DON’T NEED YOUR JUDGEMENT! Anyway, here’s the non-recipe for the dip ("non-recipe" because it’s all to taste, and there aren’t measurements I’ve ever used because I start with small amounts and add more as needed by dipping a chip to taste test as I go)...

  • One brick of Cream Cheese, set out to soften.
  • Two heaping tablespoons of mayo.
  • A splash of lemon juice (to taste).
  • Garlic Powder or Granules (to taste).
  • Ground Black Pepper (to taste).
  • Shredded Colby-Jack Cheese (to taste).

Mash together with a fork until well-blended (yes, it looks like barf, but it tastes amazing!)...

A photo of my grandma's chip dip.

Now, my grandmother used a splash of Worcestershire Sauce (to taste) instead of the Colby-Jack, but when I became a vegetarian, she made a separate bowl without it because Worcestershire contains anchovies that I don’t eat. It tastes great without, but something was missing. I tried adding a lot of different spices and other stuff to try and replicate the original and was about ready to give up… when my (now-ex) girlfriend said that it would be good with cheese in it. So I tried all kinds of cheeses… but it was Shredded Colby-Jack I liked best. Medium Cheddar is also very good. Yes, yes, I know it looks awful… but this is my most favorite dip ever.

   
• Hello Victor! I was recently re-introduced to the theme song from Hulu's Love, Victor, the sequel series to Love, Simon...

Such a pretty pop track. A little surprising that it's so short! Two minutes and forty-eight seconds is all you get.

   
• Arena! Wait... Magic the Gathering: Arena was released for iPhone back in March and nobody told me?

A screenshot of Magic The Gathering Arena.

It looks and plays beautifully. And, unlike Magic The Gathering Online, it seems more geared towards casual play. But do I really want to get back into the game that financially wrecked me in the early 90's? Turns out it's actually not that expensive to play... IF you're content to grind your way through games to earn coin. If you just want all the good cards right away, then you'll have to spend real cash. I barely have time to play a game of Minecraft Dungeons each day. But maybe a quick game of Arena before bed is in the cards for me? Guess I'll have to tap my land cards to find out.

   
• DEER! I constricted the event trigger area for my back yard to just my patio because it was being triggered by raccoons too often, but a neighbor told me that the deer are back, so I extended it. And, sure enough, they wander by every day in the early morning. If you look closely, you can see some out in the field in addition to the one that walks across my back yard...

I don't know where they come from or where they go, but they graze in the field then leave. Really hope they don't get hurt... wherever they go.

   
• WHAT! Wait... Saturday Night Live is funny again?

Keegan Michael Key was the guest-host, and this disturbing take on The Muppet Show was funnier than it should have been given the violence against a Muppet...

Dang. Poor Statler! Serves him right, I guess?

   
• FUCK! The fact that people are THIS stupid should not still surprise me. But here we are...

@goodtrouble_

#greenscreenvideo #greenscreen

♬ original sound - Good Trouble

Oh yeah! Because I just LOVE wearing a mask! We all do! Just LOVE it!

The CDC saying that fully-vaccinated people don't have to wear masks indoors is fucking stupid too. It's supposed to incentivize people to get vaccinated. But all it's actually going to do is cause anti-vax dipshits to lie and say they're vaccinated so they don't have to wear a mask any more... which is something they never wanted to do in the first place. Well, I'm fully-vaccinated. But people who are vaccinated can still get COVID and may not know they have it because their immune system has been programmed to attack it... which means they can still pass it to others. So I'm going to continue wearing my fucking mask inside public places so I'm doing my part to keep COVID deniers out of the fucking hospital. You know, in case I get a heart attack and need to be in the hospital or something. Jesus Christ. The people most pissed off about COVID precautions and restrictions ARE THE PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR MAKING IT LAST SO LONG! Hope you break a dick.

   
And I am done. No more bullets for you! (which is probably a good thing given my rage level right now).

   

Ding Dong Ditched

Posted on May 12th, 2021

Dave!I need more polysorbate 60 in my diet, so I ended up getting some Hostess Ding Dongs. I haven’t eaten them in a long, long, LONG time because they were always made with lard. Now that they switched to palm kernel oil, corn syrup, and soybean oil, I’m golden!

So there I was, anxiously awaiting peeling back that shiny aluminum foil...

A Hostess Ding Dong snack cake sitting in a foil wrapper.
Photo from WayneRooneysHairPlug as seen on the /r/nostalgia Reddit.

ONLY TO FIND OUT THAT THEY ARE WRAPPED IN PLASTIC NOW?!? WTF?!? WHEN DID THIS TRAVESTY HAPPEN?!?

A Hostess Ding Dong snack WRAPPED IN PLASTIC.

CHILDHOOD RUINED!

=sob!= Still delicious though.

   

Kraft Dinner AND REVENGE!!!

Posted on May 4th, 2021

Dave!I make a darn good macaroni & cheese. It's got all the cheddar and parmesan and condensed milk and the seasoning in there... which makes it a delicious heart attack that I don't make too often because it's so brutally unhealthy. Plus it's a tough recipe to cut down, so I always make way too much of it. And frozen mac & cheese is never as good as when it comes right out of the oven, so a good chunk of it always seems to get thrown out before I can eat it all.

But I still want me some mac & cheese from time to time.

I actually like the Kraft Dinner box mix. Yeah it's made from powdered cheese and tastes like plastic... but in a good way...

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese boxed Kraft Dinner.

   
I can eat an entire box in one sitting, so I don't buy much of the stuff because that's dangerous. BUT THEN I found that Kraft makes "singles" that you just pour water into and microwave...

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese single serve cup.

   
They are fairly perfect size-wise, even though they are somehow not as good as the boxed stuff that you make on a stovetop (guessing it's the lack of milk and margarine?). I can say that they have better flavor than the Annie's mac & cheese cups, which tasted fairly bland to me (which is weird, because I rather like the Annie's boxed stuff).

Flash forward to my last trip to the grocery store when I saw that Kraft has "Macaroni & Cheese DELUXE." Apparently it's been around for a long time, but I've never seen it until my last trip to the grocery store...

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese DELUXE boxed Kraft Dinner.

What makes it "DELUXE" is that the noodles are a little bigger and the cheese is not a powder... it's a packet of liquid cheese goo. Once you cook the macaroni and drain it, you just squeeze the goo into the pan and stir it up (instead of having to add the powdered cheese, milk, and margarine liked the "regular" stuff). The cheese goo is tough to get out of the packet completely and I made a little bit of a mess on my fingers trying to get every last drop, but it wasn't a big deal.

And the verdict? Well... it starts off nice. Lots of cheesy flavor that's similar to Kraft Dinner, but weirdly different. BUT THEN it turns on you. There's this bitter, chemical-like hit on the back-end that gets worse the more you eat it. I only got 4 or 5 bites into the bowl before I couldn't take it any more. I tosed everything in the trash and had Totino's Cheese Pizza Rolls instead.

WTF, KRAFT?!? How do you call this "DELUXE" when it's not as good as the original? I could eat original Kraft Dinner morning, noon, and night and never get tired of it. But this "DELUXE" stuff tastes like a toxic waste dump and I couldn't even get through a single bowl!

YOU HAVE SHAKEN MY FAITH IN YOU, KRAFT! HOW DARE YOU CALL THIS "KRAFT MACARONI & CHEESE" WHEN IT IS NOTHING OF THE SORT!!! YOU HAVE OFFENDED ME WITH THIS VILE TRAVESTY, GOOD SIR! Or good madame. Or good them. The president of Kraft-Heinz Company is Steve Cornell, but I don't know how they identify. Or maybe there is a separate president in charge of Kraft Dinner that I don't know about. REGARDLESS, I AM OFFENDED!

And so now I will go back to the original (and best) Kraft Dinner and not be swayed again. Fool me once, shame on you... fool me twice AND I WILL HAVE MY REVENGE ON YOU, KRAFT!

Or not.

Their Kraft Singles Deli Deluxe American Cheese Food Slices (that are not individually-wrapped) are my most favorite fake cheese to make a grilled cheese sandwich. So great. Now there's a "DELLUXE" product that is in every way better than the original! So instead of "revenge" maybe I'd just write a stearnly-phrased letter or something?

I like to keep my options open.

   

Bullet Sunday 710

Posted on April 18th, 2021

Dave!I have yet to see any April showers, but you've still got excitement ahead of you this Spring... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Burrito Battle! Black beans, white rice, guacamole, sour cream, corn salsa, and extra cheese... all wrapped in a double-tortilla. Plus a side of chips with queso or guac. That's it. That's what I like in my burrito. But when it comes to where I'd rather get it, I'm torn between Qdoba and Chipotle. At least I am when I travel. When I'm home, the only option is Chipotle, and it's 20 minutes away.

Qdoba and Chipotle Logos

When a Qdoba burrito is made well, it's my favorite. I just like their beans better and their cilantro-lime rice is sublimely tasty. But Qdoba is wildly inconsistent. Sometimes the beans are undercooked or overcooked. Twice the rice has been so salty that I couldn't even eat it. Sometimes the burrito is badly-wrapped and falls apart. Chipotle, on the other hand, is always the same. I've bought burritos in Chipotle restaurants across the country and they taste alike no matter where I'm at. I appreciate the consistency. I enjoy their burritos. So, when I have a choice, I'm always thinking "Do I risk a bad experience for a potentially better burrito, or do I go with something I know is going to be good every time?" I still don't have an answer. I just go for what I feel when a burrito is in my future. Then wonder what other people think. What do you think?

   
• Renewal! Just a quick note to say Magnum P.I. has been renewed for a fourth season. This is a show that I resisted... then fell in love with... and find myself rewatching quite a lot. So much so that I end up buying every season on iTunes...

They very rarely have a misstep, and 95% of the episodes are great. Which usually means a show will be canceled immediately, so good on CBS for keeping it going!

   
• Daddy! Good grief. I was interested in buying a "Scrub Daddy" because they are so highly recommended for scrubbing while not scratching. But when I look into it... Scrub Daddy... Sponge Daddy... Scrub Mommy... Scrub Doggy... Scrub Daddy Power Flower... Scrub Mommy Kitty... Eraser Daddy... Screen Daddy... Scour Daddy... Scrub Daddy Scrub Daisy... Scrub Daddy Big Daddy... WHAT THE FUCK DADDY DO I NEED?!? DOES ANYBODY HAVE EXPERIENCE WITH A DADDY?!?

The Scrub Daddy smiling sponge cleaner and scrubber.

I guess I just start with the original and see where that takes me.

   
• Justice! THE take on Caron Nazario that every last fucking person in this country had better wrap their head around...

@chris_wells_

My thoughts

♬ original sound - Chris Wells

Yeah. It bothers the fuck out of me.

   
• Love! ZOMG! If a woman gave me a wheel of cheese I would marry her and love her forever!

I sincerely hope they aren't making fun of this guy, because that's TRUE LOVE right there! I shudder to think how much that much cheese costs. Hundreds of dollars, easy.

   
• Machine! Tortises aren't just adorable... they're eating machines! I got sucked into a tortise rabbit hole because I just couldn't stop myself, and I think watching them eat is my favorite part...

@thetortoisewhisperer

Luring With Food Always Works! 😅🥬🐢☀️

♬ Blue Blood - Heinz Kiessling & Various Artists

There are entirely too many fantastic videos over at The Tortoise Whisperer's TikTok... including BABY TORTOISES!

   
• Melt! I care about the welfare of animals over the vast majority of people. So I don't think I would be able to resist this...

I mean... just look at that little face. How could anybody resist?

   
And that's a tortilla wrap for bullets this fine Sunday.

   

I’ll Take the Green Salad, Please

Posted on April 15th, 2021

Dave!This morning I finally managed to keep my Honey-Nut Cheerios down. A little nausea after, but nothing terrible. I managed to hang in at the office for three hours, so that was new. By the time I got home I was exhausted but my appetite had come back. Starting small, I had a slice of dry toast. Then a couple shortbread cookies for lunch. No nausea. I'M CURED!

So what's going to be mysterious first real meal since Saturday? What I really, really wanted was a good salad. An awesome salad.

Yes, I was shocked too. I was sure it would be pizza.

Butter Lettuce. White Cheddar Shreds. Italian Croutons. Slivered Almonds. Dried Cranberries. Freshly-Ground Black Pepper. And a good pour of Olive Garden Parmesan Ranch Dressing...

A bowl of my perfect salad.

Maybe it was having gone (mostly) without food for 4-1/2 days, but it was a phenomenal dinner. As was the Crystal Light Concord Grape Drink I had with it.

Somehow my amazing meal got my mind running through my favorite green salads, which I will list here before signing off because I have nothing better to do...

Italian. The salad itself at Olive Garden is nothing groundbreaking... iceberg lettuce, Roma tomatoes, purple onion, olives, Italian croutons, pepperoncini peppers, parmesan cheese, and fresh-ground black pepper. No, it's the Olive Garden House Italian Dressing that makes it so fantastic. Thankfully, it's available in stores, which means I can easily make my favorite Italian salad at home any time I want.

Chopped. The Hard Rock Cafe got me hooked on putting dried cranberries on my salads. Over the years I've stolen ideas from many other restaurants to create the perfect chopped salad. Butter lettuce, cherry tomatoes, thawed frozen peas, dried cranberries, thinly-sliced green onion, pumpkin seeds, medium cheddar shreds, croutons, hard-boiled egg, and freshly-ground black pepper. The topper is either a very good ranch dressing (Olive Garden's Parmesan Ranch is incredible) or a creamy French, depending on my mood.

Vegetarian Cobb. This is a close cousin to my chopped salad... but using chopped romaine lettuce, faux bacon pieces, avocado dices, hard-boiled egg, chopped hot-house tomatoes, either blue cheese or feta, and thawed frozen corn (in place of the chicken that's on a classic Cobb salad). I usually go for a nice honey-mustard dressing on this one.

Greek. Yeah, it's the feta that makes this a favorite. Chopped Roma tomatoes, diced cucumber, diced avocado, red onion, chickpeas or cous cous, chopped red bell pepper, black olives, feta cheese, pita chips, and freshly-ground black pepper. Sometimes I'll toss in iceberg lettuce to make it more of a meal. The dressing is a toss-up depending on my mood. Sometimes I like a creamy Greek yogurt dressing... other times a classic red wine vinaigrette.

Taco. Always a treat... especially on a hot summer's day with a cold Pacifico beer. Iceberg lettuce, black beans, diced tomato, diced avocado, thawed frozen corn, Beyond Meat Fiesty Crumbles (or cooked quinoa), Mexican cheese blend, diced green onion, and taco chips. Top with a blend of three parts Thousand Islands dressing to one part sour cream and a spinkling of chopped cilantro.

Pear. It's really tough to beat a pear salad during that short window where Bartlett pears are fresh off the tree. Summer salad greens, dried cherries, candied walnuts, and parmesan. Top it off with a good balsamic and you're golden.

Summer Berry. This is almost more of a dessert than a salad, which is okay by me! Summer salad greens, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries or blueberries, toasted walnuts or almonds, thinly-sliced/baked beets, diced shallot, crumbled feta, and sunflower seeds. Best topped with a sweet honey and berry vinaigrette.

Apple. An awesome salad for Fall harvest days. Mixed greens, dried cranberries, candied slivered almonds, mild gorgonzola cheese, diced mild onion, and a sprinkling of bread crumbs. Top with an apple cider vinaigrette.

Watermelon. Not really green-salad apropriate, I'm still tossing this in here because it's such an amazing salad. Sweet ripe watermelon, scored baby cucumber slices, diced fresh basil, crumbled feta, and a few grinds of black pepper. For a dash of added flavor, I usually drizzle with a mix of light oil, rice wine, and lime zest.

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You have to taste it…

Posted on April 2nd, 2021

Dave!Most of what I learned about cooking came from my grandmothers. I loved cooking and loved food, and they were happy to help me learn how to do it well.

I remember once when my grandmother was teaching me how to make her famous, award-winning apple pie, I had just help to slice the apples and was ready to make the filling when I asked her how much sugar and cinnamon and lemon juice to add. "Well you have to taste the apples." If they were tart, less lemon juice. If they were sweet, less sugar. If they were fragrant, less cinnamon. And so on. It was a balance that you could only figure out if you knew what you were working with.

And it was the same for the potato salad. "You have to taste the onion to know how to season it." And it's been my habit to do so ever since. Today I was finally recovered enough to make some, and thank heavens I tasted the onion before mixing everything. It was RANK. The taste was putrid and gross. No idea what happened, but it bummed me out because I had just bought it on Friday. Thankfully I had the whites of a green onion to use instead, so everything turned out fantastic...

Me holding a bowl of perfect potato salad.

Dang I make good potato salad.

I keep experimenting every time I cook up a batch and I am discovering new spice combinations to make it a different kind of tasty. This time I used some baharat seasoning, which added an entirely new dimension to such a simple food. Last time I used adobo, and that was amazing too. Before that I think I used a Ukrainian blend that was mind-blowing. I think the reason I eat so much potato salad is because it's never the same flavor twice for me. If it weren't so loaded with carbs, I swear I could eat it every day.

Today is Good Friday.

Which has puzzled me since I was a young Catholic because you'd think that crucifying Jesus would be a bad thing. But apparently it used to be "Holy Friday" and words change over time. All things "holy" were equated to being "good" and so forth.

Though I'm guessing all the people slaughtered during the "Holy Crusades" would beg to differ?

I am a long, long ways from the Catholic I was raised, so I'm probably not the right person to ask. Though it's my guess that the people who got slaughtered during the Roman Catholic crusades were likely not happy about it. Though I could be wrong. Maybe the level of big dick energy it took for a pope to send out an army whose sole purpose was to slaughter heratics was so impressive that they were happy to die underfoot of it. Stranger things have happened.

Like the day that Jesus was crucified being referred to as "Good Friday," regardless of how it came about.

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