Monday, December 13, 2010
A southern Scotland tradition, these tarts are named for the village of Ecclefechan, a suburb of Lockerbie (much as Christmas is a suburb of Bithlo here in Central Florida). They consist of a shortbread crust with a filling of sugar, eggs, nuts and dried fruit. Some better known cousins include pecan pies, Canadian butter tarts, mince pies and shoo-fly pies.
I got the recipe from a friend we visited on vacation, Peg Murray. In addition to Thanksgiving, I've made them for office and church festivities where a number of people have asked for the recipe, so here it is.
Use two 9" tart pans (with removable bottoms) or 9" round cake pans lined with heavy foil. Only bring the crust partway up the sides.
Preheat oven to 375°
3 c flour
8 oz butter, softened
6 T sugar
3 egg yolks
6 oz butter, melted
9 oz light brown sugar
3 T wine vinegar
12 oz mixed dried fruit ( I like to use Welch's Berry Medley - raisins, cherries, cranberries and blueberries - but suit yourself)
3 oz walnuts
With mixer or food processor, whip butter.
Add all other ingredients and mix until it holds together in a ball.
Divide in half
Press into tart pans to form crusts
Chop fruit and walnuts until small - 1/8"
Mix all ingredients thoroughly
Divide between two crusts
Bake at 375° for 20-30 minutes
Serve at room temperature
Ith gu leòir! (Bon appetit!)
Saturday, November 27, 2010
A Maple Frosted Donut topped with Bacon. How could I not try it?
The morning after Thanksgiving in Ft. Myers, I asked my phone where to find the best breakfast. It recommended Bennett's Fresh Roast, right across the street from my hotel. It was a great recommendation, and I had asked for the the best in town, not the closest.
The Maple Applewood Bacon Donut was indeed excellent, as was the cinnamon roll, which used a very flavorful extra cinnamony spice. My wife enjoyed a seasonal donut with pumpkin pie filling in the center.
Bennett is about freshness: the donuts are made from scratch and the coffee is roasted daily, all on premises. In addition to the usual glazed, chocolate, cinnamon and maple bacon donuts, you'll find Key Lime, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Orange Coconut, and more.
It doesn't stop with donuts. Next time I'm in town I'll try some Praline Bread Pudding. They also have soups, salads and sandwiches for lunch along with wine and beer. (Maple Bacon Donut with beer...no, I'd better not.)
Bennett's is located just west US 41 a block from the Caloosahatchee River. It has seating indoors and outdoors with plenty of parking and wifi.
The only downside I could find is that I don't live in Ft. Myers. Maybe that's fortunate.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
There is good food and good fun, but Famous Dave's is really all about the sauce. Its signature ingredient seems to be an extra scoop of cumin, giving it a more chili-ish flavor than most barbecue sauces. First time visitors get a tour of the sauces from their Famous® server, ours was Famous® Amanda, who squirts samples of the five types onto a plate and leaves some chips for sampling them. The chips, by the way, are excellent on their own.
In fact, most of the grub we tried was quite good, from my wife's Fried Chicken Salad to Mom's Baked Potato loaded with everything including chopped pork. My chicken was fork tender and juicy, the BBQ beans flavored with sausage and occasional chunks of jalepeño for kicks, and Cornbread right between the sweet corn muffins I like and the plain, crumbly bread many prefer. Ribs were the weakest link: while juicy and fall off the bone tender, they had no real flavor of their own, though that did make them a good platform for enjoying the sauce.
|Loaded Baked Potato|
|Chicken and Ribs|
This is a chain, but the good kind that gives a town another option without saturating the market. I've been to one before in the Atlanta area and all of Florida has only three. But they seem consistently good and I'd recommend them anywhere.
12148 South Cleveland Avenue
12148 South Cleveland Avenue
Ft. Myers, FL 33907
Friday, September 10, 2010
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
The sandwiches does make the trip worthwhile, but every thing else I've tried, including the beans and collards, is just a point or two above standard. The one item that has disappointed is the Cornbread Salad. According to the menu, this is "Crumbled cornbread served with a sweet tomato dressing over chopped Romaine and topped with bacon." I was surprised that everything was well stirred, not tossed, making terms like "over...Romain" and "topped with" irrelevant and a lot less appetizing than the description. Twice.
Overall, though, it's a decent place for Q, especially if you're hankering for a sammich.
Four Rivers Smokehouse
2103 W. Fairbanks Avenue
Winter Park, FL
Monday, September 6, 2010
Servers, here's a tip. When I hand you two twenties for a $30 tab and hope to keep it all by asking, "Do you need change?", you're wrong. I hear, "May I have all your change for my tip?" I generally leave a decent amount, but if you request a gratuity, that irritates me and I will leave less. If you say, "I'll be right back with your change," I appreciate your consideration and may even leave more than I had planned.
Words do matter.
Words do matter.