The House of Good Ideas

There’s this story I heard years ago.A woman was making brisket for dinner.  And, like always, she cut two inches off before putting it into the oven.  Her daughter asked why.

“Because that’s what my mom does.”

Her daughter asked, “Why does Gramma do it?”

“I have no idea.”

Soon, they got Gramma and the phone, who confessed she’d done it that way because her mother had done it that way.

Finally, the three generations of curious females contacted the original cook and asked her why she cut off the end of every brisket.

“Because,” she answered, “My roasting pan was two inches short!”Life is full of things we do that make little to no sense, but we do it because nobody thinks to ask Gramma, “Why?”

Last Monday I spent the day in Raleigh, at a restaurant called Whiskey Kitchen.  I was there observing the filming of a TV show.  The restaurant wasn’t open yet, so it was quiet, which enabled me to poke around and ask lots of questions.

And I had some questions.The first one was about the lady’s room.

Most women carry a purse.  When washing one’s hands in a public lav, there is a conundrum.  Do I set my bag on the floor, which doesn’t even bear thinking about, or next to the sink that’s knuckle deep in questionable ‘water’.Ah, but at Whiskey Kitchen there is no bathroom Gordian knot.  There is a giant hook hanging next to the sink in the lady’s room.  It should become federal law that every public restroom must have a giant hook hanging next to every sink—it just should.

Pesto is an Italian condiment/sauce that traditionally is a mixture of basil, garlic, Parmesan, olive oil, and usually pine nuts, or pistachios, walnuts, or another tree nut.But those nuts bring more issues than a Batman comic.  Not only are there lots of people with nut allergies, these allergies are nothing to mess around with.  Allergic people have died from kissing someone who had recently eaten nuts.  Even eating food prepared in kitchens with nuts can cause adverse reactions.

But the Whiskey Kitchen genius chefs have an answer: sunflower seeds.  It elevates and invigorates the classic pesto flavor, which sometimes can seem tired from over familiarity.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFried okra’s delicious.  But, if you’re a fork user, you chase the little nuggets around your plate.  If you go commando and use your fingers, you get covered in ranch.

But, not at Whiskey Kitchen.  They cut the okra…length-wise.  So you have a little stick of crispy goodness to dunk into their Green Goddess Ranch.

Whiskey Kitchen Green Goddess Ranch

(This recipe was sized down from a restaurant sized amount.  The herbs are approximate and can be adjusted according to taste)1 tablespoon Basil

1 tablespoon Parsley

1 tablespoon cut chive

2 teaspoons dill

2 teaspoons mint

1 teaspoon lemon zest

3/4 teaspoon tablespoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 cups buttermilk

2 cups mayo

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black peppergreen goddessCut all herbs finely, by hand. Combine half in the blender.

Mix Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, vinegar, salt. Reserve for later along with half the herbs.

Blend all other ingredients in blender. Add the acid, salt & pepper and reserved herbs by hand.

Next week I’ll give you their pesto recipe and tell you about another crazy idea of theirs which turns out to be one of the most original and tasty bites I’ve ever put into my mouth.

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Mmmmm…mozzarella balloon… 

Thanks for your time.

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