just a little sea salt and caramel

The title of this post is just a little misleading (pun intended?) but perhaps by the time you’re finished reading you won’t feel jipped out of a salted caramel recipe.  Although now that I think about it, those sound pretty tasty right now.  This week I haven’t been doing as much cooking as I typically enjoy.  Partially due to recent inefficient grocery shopping but mostly because I’ve been tired and lazy.  However, here are a couple of edible gems that occurred over the past couple weeks deemed worthy to share with you.

My colleague friend recently invited me out to Blue Water Seafood Market and Grill for lunch.  Customers enter the restaurant to be greeted by fresh selections of fish for purchase including deep purple tuna and jumbo shrimp the size of tamales.  There is one register for both dine-in and grocer.  Standing in line, customers can’t help but sneak peeks at other patron dishes as they try to decide between grilled fish tacos or oysters on the half shell.  The prices are reasonable and I was full off just one fish taco, half a beer, and a handful of waffle fries.  In addition to seating inside there is pseudo-outside seating.  A covered brick patio with just enough fresh air but enclosed enough so that customers can pretend they’re in Cabo instead of Midtown.

This week aside, I’m doing fairly well cutting down eating out.  For one, eating in is much more relaxing.  From the preparation to sitting down in the comfort of my own home, all of it makes for a much less stressful evening and the quality is five stars better.  Now that I’m past my quarter of a century mark, I understand that breakfast might just be the most important meal of the day.  There is no way I can last into the afternoon like I used to on just a cup of coffee and maybe a bowl of cereal.  I also know that I can’t just eat pancakes and waffles and believe that it has the same value as a vegetable omelet.  That isn’t to say I’ve given up on my quasi-dessert breakfast foods. 

I broke out my Gourmet Cookbook edited by Ruth Reichl.  Growing up, my mother had a red Betty Crocker cookbook that was about a third of the width of the Gourmet one but the cookbook was fairly comprehensive and also had pictures that accompanied the recipes which made it awfully friendly for apprehensive cooks.  I purchased the Gourmet Cookbook used but would have never guessed that anyone had ever opened it.  I enjoy reading the recipes and the helpful tips.  Despite complex-sounding names, the recipes are easily understood, easily accessible, and give you the sense that someone is going to stop your hand before you pour too much oil into the skillet.  The range of the recipes is amazing and can be altered comfortably should your cupboard not have quite all the ingredients. 

It was a sweet morning so we decided to splurge on pancakes.  I chose Ruth’s very own pancake recipe and added blueberries.  I had tried and true Aunt Jemima however I felt Ruth standing over my shoulder cringing, “Really, Aunt Jemima?  On my pancakes?”  I quickly flipped through the pages and found a recipe for Vanilla Brown Sugar syrup.  The recipe said to let boil until it reached a syrupy consistency.  So I waited.  I dipped my spoon in occasionally to test whether the sugar grabbed to the spoon and waited until it slowly drizzled off.  I waited too long.  It had thickened almost to a caramel sauce.  I served up the pancakes and drizzled the syrup over the top.  With one bite the significant other remarked, “I really like this syrup.  I like the consistency!”  Apparently caramel sauce for breakfast works.  I took my first bite.  The pancake was fluffy.  The blueberries were both sweet and tart.  The syrup tied it all together.  The only thing I could have though to add was a dollop of vanilla bean ice cream to melt over the top.  We each had two cakes apiece and I insisted on a side of eggs and bacon for protein. 

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