Local Folks Foods

Excellent Kosher Food

May 11, 2014

Mother's Day Lobster: Revisited

Mother's Day. What a nice day. A chance to let Mom have a day that is specially for her. This is pretty similar to what I did before but there were subtle changes this time around. I really enjoy making dinner for my parents (when I can). Here's the journey of a road I've traveled once before.

I call the the "Bend Test" for asparagus. Now before I go any further, this particular spear is one that founds its way into the dishwater. So needless to say, that piece was the sacrificial lamb. If you're wondering where you should cut the asparagus, I have your solution. As a rule, I generally cut 2" to 3" from the bottom and one I'd call safe (those end pieces won't cook since they're too hard). The "Bend Test" is what it implies. Take the spear, holding it from the bottom, and try to bend it (I bend against the counter top). Wherever it snaps, that's where you can cut it and give you a guide on where to cut the rest.  This has worked for me and serves as a reference point. 

As usual, asparagus. I chopped about 2" off on the average. I got a little ambitious today. My Dad and I were grilling steaks (filet mignon, which are seen below). I began cooking these as I normally do, in some boiling water but only did it for about 6 minutes (versus the normal 10 minutes). Then I kept it simple, adding salt, pepper and grape seed oil. After doing that, I took them outside to the grill and finished them there, cooking them for about 3 minutes. The result was good. 

These are the steaks Dad and I did on the grill. I put the bigger pieces on direct heat for about  8-10 minutes per side. The smaller piece was done not quite as direct (just off the coals) for fear of overcooking it. I prefer my steaks medium rare but can live with medium. My Dad marinated them overnight. So before grilling, I placed the meat at room temperature for about 30 minutes. I patted the marinate the meat dry with a paper towel once the meat reached room temperature. I've noticed that since I do that, my steaks have turned out much better. They seem to cook more evenly. 

Now above are the grilled asparagus I finished on the grill. Cooked fork tender and didn't overcook them. I was VERY happy with how they turned out.  Now you notice the sausage? That's andouille sausage I bought locally. Now even though I live in the Chicago area, the place I got them from is legit. They were just as good as some of the mail order sausage I've bought. My folks, who ate fresh andouille in New Orleans, they liked it very much as well. I figured since I had the grill out, I would cook them. I'm deciding on what dish I'll make with it and probably decide over the next couple of days.

Here is the lobster. On the left is the uncooked, thawed version. Since I'm allergic, Dad did this part. The place he gets them from arrive in the morning and chances are, sold out by the end of the day (between retail and restaurant customers). If you click the picture, you'll notice that the meat is absolutely flawless. the raw version has no spots, blemishes or discoloring. The reputable sellers do not tamper with them at all (e.g., solutions, phosphates, etc). This is a cold water lobster tail. As I understand, cold water lobsters tend to be much sweeter in taste. Unlike warm water lobster, they also don't have a "fishy" taste. They're also more expensive but you do get what you pay for. On the right is the finished version. The result of cooking at 375 degrees F (or 190 degrees C) for about 30 minutes. My Dad kept it simple as it relates to seasoning, using only salt, pepper and accent. 

After some hard work, the finished product! My Mom's special Mother's Day dinner is complete. Here is the lobster, all 1.6 lbs of it (served with mashed potatoes and asparagus). Dad & I had steak off the grill (see below). I added sour cream on my potatoes. I got two pieces of meat (which I ate one later), Dad ate one and decided to give the last piece of steak to my Uncle (his brother; my grandmother and he live in the same town). 

My Dad knocked it out of the part with the lobster. He normally goes to one of the best places to get the top seafood. He'll buy these 2 to 3 times each year and this is one of those times. She prefers staying in and having what she wants instead of going out someplace and possibly having the meal messed up. That's before adding the melee of the crowds, and overlapped or completely wrong reservations. I still have my Mom as well as both grandmothers (ages 92 and 96 respectively). My parents insisted that I learn how to cook and I did at a young age. I'm glad they did because I'm amazed how many PEOPLE (MALE and FEMALE) that can't do it. I understand and appreciate having them in my life because many I know aren't so lucky. What a lucky man I am. Saying thank you to my Mom wouldn't scratch the surface. 
Taken from

May 5, 2014

The Social Media World is a Stage


This is somewhat different from what I would normally write. I am not saying I know everything on this subject but will share what I have learned. Social media is still in its infant stages. I began studying E-Commerce about 10 years ago (I need one class for a certificate). Since the late 1990's, it is AMAZING to see how connected we really are. In the moment, I (being in the United States) could have a conversation with someone in the UK, South America or some other part of the world. It wasn't long ago where we could only connect to the Internet via computer or laptop. In 2001, I was part of the first GSM (or Global System for Mobile Communications) test group and market launch (by an American wireless provider). I saw where everything was going and sure enough, all the time tables were as planned. As a result, we can access media via phone, laptop, or tablet as well as computer.

OK. With that said, WHY would a food blog want to address technology? Well, over the last few months, it's come up a lot on Google+. So many of the new platforms that have popped up just make my head turn. So what profiles do I use? Let's start with Google+ and a link to my profile page: I find it pretty easy to use and the layout basic. The flow is very nice and I can control the content as well as who sees it. The boards (or communities as they call them) are more than plentiful and food-related topics boards are a big part of that. Facebook was a platform I tried to use but frankly, a bit more involved that I wanted to be bothered with. You can't get a custom link unless you get at least 25 likes (unlike Google+ where you can get one if it's not being used). Setting it up made me so mad I just said forget it. It's not worth it. I choose Google+ over Facebook and more than likely won't revisit the latter (at least for my blog).

Pinterest ( is another that's taken off of recent. This platform is SO EASY to work and the concept is so clear you get it from the start (I was in beta when I joined). I REALLY find my creative juices flowing when I see a series of pins (e.g., pictures that you "pin" onto one of your boards. As of now, I have 58 boards of my own each covering it's own subject (and 95 total boards). The downside is that the interaction is not as good as other platforms. You can like and comment in pins but it's a little different than than the other platforms I mentioned. Sometimes, you may think you're getting some new interaction with your times (e.g., someone either liked, pinned or comment on one of you pins), it's something that you already saw. Not always accurate. Still a nice platform and am working on bridging more of my blog with my Pinterest page.

I'll address the two that I use the most along with the ones I mentioned. First is YouTube ( The nice thing about that is the obvious viewing of videos. There are MANY (and I do mean just that) cooks that are of note. The best thing is that so many hobby cooks as well as some professionals contribute. ANY subject you can think of (food related or not) you can find here. I created several playlists covering different subject matters. I've learned a few things from other cooks. Some hosts are much better than others. Not to mention you can watch video anytime you wish. The commercials pre-video can be a bit of a pain, but most you can skip many after 5 to 15 seconds.


Twitter is absolutely amazing. To being with, there are so many food-related discussion sessions. In fact, as I write this, I'm on #FNIChat (or Foodie's Night In) right now (Monday's at 3PM CST). There are also many other sessions as well. #FoodieChats happen ever Monday at 7:PM CST. #PantryChat happens ever Tuesday at 3PM CST. The nice thing is that the people genuinely have fun. If someone new comes, they're welcomed in the session. Most average between 60-90 minutes in length. I can't forget #SundaySupper either but I rarely make that one for long. This takes interaction to a new level. During any of these sessions, you are interacting with people from around the planet. I've been in sessions where we had people from the UK, South Africa, Austalia, and Singapore on one session. Imagine doing this 15 years ago. The nice thing is that you have the discussions on either one feed or #hashtag subject matter. You could do this without the headache of multiple windows open. VERY easy to keep straight. As well as being in real time, your followers can see and interact with you. Most people follow those with the same interests (then again, that should be brutally obvious). Unlike an old chat session, you can actually block someone from interacting with you (I've only blocked one person on @emptyplateadv  but eventually unblocked that person).

As a whole, I'm a big fan of social media. There are other sites I have joined that are currently in beta mode (test phase). Grokker is currently in beta mode ( This is pretty much video driven and flows similarly to YouTube. I think social media is a fantastic way to interact. As of now, I have not joined Instagram and media of the like. RIGHT NOW, I don't think I have the time to add that. I think the pictures could serve to be beneficial. Instagram has a VERY large and wide audience and believe that I will make my way there soon. THIS is the new media and anticipate more growth in this area. It's easy to promote from within and a ready and waiting audience. I have a feeling this is only the beginning. I don't think we've even scratched the surface. Click and mortar- a marriage made in heaven. The world wide web has made the entire world a stage. You can decide what your stage will be. By the way, the influence for this title came from an album from Rush, not Shakespeare.

Works/Materials Cited:
1. Janet P Caldwell, "The Play, Stage":

2. Nicky Shaw, "The World's Stage":