Saturday, 13 October 2012

Mmmm... Memphis Fire Barbeque Company

    Time for a little more food blogging!  I haven't been out with my sister for awhile and she is definitely my tried-and-true favourite foodie companion when eating out.  We visited a fantastic l'il restaurant in Winona, ON called "Memphis Fire Barbeque Company" - a great place for really great comfort food!!
    We had been there before, over a year ago, and I've been craving it lately especially my favourite menu item the Big Chef Burger.  Oh, how I wish I had taken my camera to show you this amazing meal!  Let me see if I can describe it for you...  Picture this:
    A light and lofty kaiser roll cut in half and holding a hand-formed, flat-top grilled 1/4 lb. patty, that is if you order the "lighter, one patty" option, which you do have to ask for - the menu original sports TWO 1/4 lb patties!!
    Cheddar cheese is melted on top of the patty, just gooey and melty enough to hold a handful of thick-cut homemade bacon chunks (ya really can't call 'em 'bits') piled high onto the burger-half of the kaiser roll. 
    On the top half of the roll is fresh sliced tomatoes, crisp lettuce, cut-so-thin-you-can-practically-see-through-'em onion slices that I think must have been soaked in water because they don't have that slap-you-in-the-face onion flavour, the water bath makes them less intense and gives them a great crunch even when they are cut super thin, and wait there's more: crinkle-cut sweet pickles piled high to top it off - and somewhere in there is a great ranch dressing too - it's either under the burger or under the tomatoes - I didn't go searching.
    Now to eat this work of art before you... Take two hands to pick up the top half being sure to secure it's burden of toppings and gingerly flip it onto the mountainous botton half which, when done successfully creates a burger that sits a good 5-6 inches high - OH YEAH!!! My only suggestion for approaching this Mammoth Mountain of Mmmmm is to flatten the burger down as well as you can with the palm of your hand then just go for it - it's a two-hander through and through - just grab it up and have at it - it's a l'il drippy but wow, it's a lot delicious!!
    As for sides there are a lot of choices but I will only mention ones that I have had in my visits to this great restaurant: Fresh cut fries - A-MA-ZING!!! <== say that in a sing-song voice or in a matter-of-fact voice - trust me, either way works!  They have Heinz Ketchup on each table - and Heinz truly is the best ketchup - but with these fries you won't be looking for anything to dip them in - they don't need anything - they are perfectly seasoned straight from the kitchen - sorry Heinz!
    Another great side you can choose is their Macaroni & Cheese... portioned out in white stoneware ramikins this Mac & Cheese takes me right back to childhood - this is the real deal people!!  Just like my Mom's and my Mom's Mac & Cheese is GOOD!!  They even serve it with a buttery crumb topping - just like Mom did - YUM!!
    This will sound like a ridiculous amount of food but this is research, I want to be able to report as best as I can on this restaurant - so I also ordered their Coney Island Fries - a small order.  Fresh-cut fries, blanketed with their just-spicy-enough 'Fast Chili', a dallop of their amazing smoke-house-smoked cream cheese, grated cheddar cheese and chopped green onions.  One side note on their chili and if this sounds strange to you, I urge you to just try it anyway, I'm pretty certain they use the following spices to spice it up: chili powder, possibly a little cumin, definitely nutmeg and maybe a little cinnamon - it is delicious - and I don't even like nutmeg!
    And for dessert they often have a long list of homemade pies (made by a lady who lives down the road from Memphis Fire) but rarely will anyone have the room left to order one - but if you have a sweet tooth that won't quit they will box a slice to go! I ordered a peanut butter cream to go - which is really Southern and it is tasty!
    Bottom line, if you like Southern barbeque you'll LOVE Memphis Fire Barbecue Company.  If you appreciate completely-from-scratch comfort food made by chefs/owners who put quality above supply-and-demand then you'll love Memphis Fire Barbeque Company - follow the link above and look over their menu - it's like 1950's diner meets Mom's home cookin' with fantastic barbecue sauce and applewood smoke thrown in for good flavour! 
    ♥ Cath-

    P.S. Remember if you want to go and try their chicken or ribs, they are only available for evening dinners - Chicken: Monday through Wednesday, Ribs: Thursday through Sunday - it's recommended that you call ahead and reserve your choice as they only cook a limited number each evening and they go quick!!  This isn't chain restaurant food - this is quality, take your time and do it right food!
    P.P.S. If you watch the Food Network, I've heard that "You Gotta Eat Here!" filmed there back in the Spring - so hopefully that episode will be airing soon! 
    Also, this restaurant has an on-going mission to get Guy Fieri, also of Food Network fame, to film a "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" segment there.  

Friday, 12 October 2012

The Cookies That Turned Into a Cake

    Having left over pumpkin puree is always an inspiration for me, well, at least for the last 5 years.  It wasn't until 5 years ago that I actually started liking pumpkin - *Gasp!*  Well, the only pumpkin I had known up until then was the thick, sweet/spicy filling that, in my opinion ruined a perfectly good pastry shell... I tucked it into a category in my mind that also housed mincemeat and red bean paste - that category is titled: "Why??"
    I'm happy to report that unlike Jane Austen's popular hero, Mr. Darcy, whose "good opinion once lost is lost forever", I gave pumpkin another chance and discovered that there is more to it than I had previously given it credit for!
    I have come to enjoy an occassional slice of a well-baked pumpkin pie and have even gone on to use pumpkin puree in cakes, cookies, yeast rolls and also upped the yum-factor of pumpkin by oven-roasting it like squash and serving it as a tasty side.
    That's the history of my pumpkin experience, now on to the present! 
    I had some left over pumpkin puree after making my annual batches of Pumpkin Apple Spice muffins for the artisans/vendors at our school's Thanksgiving weekend ARTfest so I set my mind to think of a cookie or muffin or something, that would be nice way to use the puree up... I thought molassses would probably be nice with it and began to think of my Mom's Molasses Gem cookies - I could probably add pumpkin to them somehow - I didn't have time to test my theory - it's been a crazy week - so I headed to the computer and came across a couple inspiring recipes - I took components from both and came up with what I thought would be cookie bars and instead came out as cake.  But hey, I'm not complaining!  Wouldn't life be sweet if everything you put in your oven came out as cake?! - with the exception of bacon of course!!

Streusel Topped Pumpkin Molasses Cake 

    The cookie recipe I used is from My Baking Addiction but with these 'tweaks':

1. I substituted 1.5 tsps of cinnamon and 1/2 tsp allspice for the pumpkin pie spice.
2. I omitted the black pepper all together.
3. After combing the dry ingredients with the butter mixture I spread the dough into a greased 9x13" baking dish and sprinkled the dough with streusel topping.

    The streusel topping was inspired by a recipe found at one of my favourite blog stops: Chef in Training.  The streusel recipe can be found on this recipe page.

    I baked this creation in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes, although a couple minutes less would have been perfect, so 20-22 minutes is best.  After cooling on a rack for 30 minutes I cut it into 24 generous pieces and they came out about an inch and half high with moist, tender crumb like a coffee cake - not at all what I was expecting - I thought I'd end up with Autumn-Spiced Tollhouse Cookie kinda thing, but not every surprise is a bad one!  This cake would be delicious served with tea or hot apple cider!

    With the cold temperatures we've been having and our families hectic schedule it's comforting to have a warmly spiced snack cake waiting for the kids when they get home from school and for when hubby gets home from work! 

    ♥ Cath-