I had to put my fork down to write this.

So I’ve been doing a good bit of eating this past month. Bad news: Foodstalkers has been left out in the cold. Good news: Your day has arrived, dear Foodstalkers. I shall enlighten you now!

Let’s go back to breakfast. I got up bright and early mid-December to experiment with pancakes. The real reason: ear infection, and I couldn’t sleep. But mere illness will never, and I mean never, take away my appetite. I’m on the brink of death to miss a meal.

beatiful blueberry pancakes

beautiful blueberry pancakes

These are Jiffy pancakes, out of the box. But I quartered the recipe and added a few extra bits. I didn’t have milk on hand at the time, so I substituted water, and used the egg and oil. Then, I added cinnamon, cardamon, vanilla extract and fresh blueberries! With genu-ine maple syrup, this was a home run…and the inspiration for the next pancake attempt.

Oatmeal Banana Cookie Pancakes. I followed the recipe verbatim with the exception of the sour cream and whole milk ingredients. Just to get some dairy in, I used the skim milk I had on hand. Plus the banana adds good moisture. Hint: to mash a a slightly under-ripe banana, nuke it for about 15 seconds. These are off the heezy good. I would recommend surprising your roommates or honey with this breakfast on Saturday morning.

batter is gross.

batter is gross. a little uncertain at this point.

mastering the flip.

mastering the flip.

tah-dah! nice stack.

tah-dah! nice stack.

That leads me to a Wednesday night dinner group adventure to Pulcinella’s in Durham. A quick bit on the legend of Pulcinella:

Pulcinella represents Napoli and the Napolitan spirit of life. He is known best for his costume of white and his simple black mask. The legend goes that Pulcinella avoided work and trouble through his disguise. While working in the pizzeria, Pulcinella was often more of an entertainer than a worker. He would dance around and play. But when the ax fell, Pulcinella would hide himself in the flour bin, escaping the troubles of life in a child-like manner. For this reason Pulcinella is a true representative of the child within us all. The spirit of happiness is Pulcinella.

The food was wonderful, beginning with bread (pizza dough) and an oil dip, and followed with house salad with fresh, garlic tomato dressing. My entrée, I believe, was Spaghettia Bella Notte? Can’t remember the name for sure. But here ’tis:

the way to my heart. pasta.

the way to my heart. pasta.

The sauce was really simple, but popped with flavor: lots of olive oil, roasted garlic, parsley, toasted pine nuts, olives and sardines. Incredibly salty, and thereby, goooood.

Next up: Turkey Fry. A lot to discuss, but I’ll just mention a few highlights. I took a bangin’ Mushroom-Potato Gratin from bonappétit. Upon reading the rich, rich ingredients, you’ll understand why so tasty. Unlike LG, I like a lot of chopping and dicing. The thin potato layers required some knife skillz.

building the layers.

building the layers.

ooey gooey gratin.

ooey gooey gratin.

covered dish central

covered dish central

Other food stuffs: green bean casserole, corn bread souffle (my favorite!), fried macaroni and cheese balls, dressing, stuffed mushrooms, roasted tomatoes and burn-your-pants-off roasted jalapenos. Plus two fried turkeys, one of which was shot-up with hot sauce!We also enjoyed eggnog and a home-brewed keg of milk stout.

bird bird bird. bird is the word.

bird bird bird. bird is the word.

we did not eat Ducket.

we did not eat Ducket.

After all of this face-stuffing, that takes us to the Balog Family Christmas Eve Dinner. Mama Susan really pulled out the stops this year with a fabulous menu.

the before-dinner spread

the before-dinner spread

Clockwise from upper-left: Shrimp cocktail, Snowman cheeseball ( I will share this recipe soon) with crackers and baked pita chips, cranberry cocktail (with cranberry ice cubes!), cheese cookies and sausage balls. I could have feasted here alone…but along came the meal meal.

there's a lot of bacon on that plate.

there's a lot of bacon on that plate.

That’s how Balogs do it. We like pork! Clockwise from the carne at the bottom: prime rib with beef gravy, 7-layer salad, lima beans with bacon, Katie Brown’s Spinach Casserole, Emmeril’s twice-baked potato casserole and bread.There was Coconut Cake, too.

Christmas breakfast is also a big meal at the Balog house, and required a quick turn-around in the kitchen for mia mama. Not to mention recovery time for those doing the eating! She whipped up Breakfast Casserole, country ham, biscuits, Crook’s Corner grits, fruit salad and coffee.

And now we arrive at the day after Christmas. Following a delightful party at MJ’s house in Chapel Hill, we were in for a night out on the town, which was concluded in the only proper way to end a night on the Hill: Time Out. I have so many things to say! Time Out is a CH institution. Yet, I’ve never gone during the day. It’s a strictly late-night, post-bar meal. Located on Franklin Street, near bars and lots of on- and off-campus student housing, you’ll likely run into people you do and do not want to see. If you ever take time to look, there are great historic photos on the wall, many of famous basketball coaches and players calling “Time Out!”

There’s also a police officer or two at the door to maintain order, but I like to think of them as greeters! “Welcome to Time Out, home of delicious biscuits, okra, fried chicken and mac-n-cheese.” Now for the food. There were many eaters among us, so I documented many-a-meal.

Chicken Cheddar Biscuit

the classic: chicken cheddar biscuit

The Side-Lover

the side-lover

The Side-Lover + Biscuit

the side-lover + biscuit

Hungry Man Meal

hungry man meal

Not pictured: The Infamous Box-of-Bones. I only know of one brave soul that orders this. What is it, you ask? A box of chicken bones, freed of their meat parts, for nibbling on morsels of meat, fried bits and bone.

That was a long summary of a month’s-worth of eating. Happy New Year and Good Eats in 2009!

We did not eat Gretel.

we did not eat Gretel.

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2 responses to “I had to put my fork down to write this.

  1. DEEELISH!
    also, i will eat gretel with a spoon bc she is SO CUTE!!!

  2. Man – Susan lays out the spread. Coconut cake. Drool. Gretel is cute. Peace up to Otto, Gretchen, and Murph.

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