The Opinionated Foodie: The Love (or Not) of Food and Everything That Goes with It


Blue Bank Fish House and Grille and Resort-Reelfoot Lake, Tennessee

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If you live within a hundred miles of Reelfoot Lake, there are plenty of things to do while visiting.
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You can fish. You can visit the museum and pet a snake or an owl named Luna. You could swim, although I wouldn’t. You can shop for redneck souveniers. Whatever you do, there is one thing you are supposed to eat when you visit there-fish and only fish.

For years growing up, every holiday observing a parent (Mother’s or Father’s Day) seemed to be celebrated at Reelfoot Lake. The preferred place to eat by the older crowd is Boyette’s where you eat family style. It is a very good place to eat, but the lines are long. While at Boyette’s you might eat ham, or if you are feeling adventurous and open to ridicule-chicken, but fish is the dish to eat.
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For some reason several years ago, our family visited Reelfoot Lake and went against the norm. We ate at Blue Bank. Going further from the norm, we ate steak, and it was the best steak around.

Then, they sold the place and moved. Boo and hiss.
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For a while, we were wandering around the lake when we visited for lack of a place to eat. It wasn’t long, though, before the Blue Bank opened in a new, improved place, resort-style.

We ate there early one Saturday night. It was cool and a little windy at first, and then the weather turned fierce. We had a great table by the window, so we got to see it all.
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Luckily, dinner was not the disaster that the weather was. We didn’t wait in line even a minute, and we started out with the fried pickles, which were fine.

Mr. Picky had an order of hush puppies and chicken strips. Mr. Opinionated and Miss Helper ordered the fried fish. I guess some fish-ordering habits die hard.
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They liked the fish. I got a bite, and it was good stuff.
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I ordered the steak with sautéed mushrooms. Dadgum, it was good. It was nice to have a good steak from what felt like an old friend.
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We are so glad that Blue Bank is still around. The old-fashioned fish places are good, but nothing beats a good steak with a great lake view.

Walking around the lake.

Walking around the lake.


Blue Bank Fish House & Grill on Urbanspoon

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Seriously? This Is Getting Ridiculous: The Pioneer Woman’s Blue Cheese Steak

The PW is coming out with a new cookbook in the fall!

I am not sure if excitement is appropriate though.

The PW’s book is all about celebrations. That could be a great thing, as I see it. Paula Deen’s cookbook about celebrations, Paula Deen and Friends is one of my favorites. I have many tried and true recipes from it. Of course, all that was before Paula went and destroyed her career the old-fashioned way-by crying on national TV. Still, I like the recipes, so celebration recipes may be a plus for PW.

Also, the last PW cookbook was full way too many animal/kid pictures. I could just imagine the cat hair in my food as I looked at Miss Kitty while cooking. Same thing with all the dogs. And the kids. Blech. Plus, all the dang cows. Do you know why we call Beef beef? Because calling it cow is a little too uncomfortable. Know what? So is looking at beautiful pictures of them while cooking them. Too close to home, my friend.

Another thing, I have tried too many recipes from PW #2 that have not turned out like I (and hopefully PW) had planned. Case in point:

Rib-eye Steak with Onion-Blue Cheese Sauce.

My spin on this little recipe here went like this:

I decided to follow PW bit by bit except for one thing-the onions. Instead of one onion in a skillet, I made two on the grill along with the steak.

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Lovely. We grill onions all the time. I followed everything else to a T. I added the cream and the seasonings. I had high hopes.
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I also tweaked the steaks just a small bit. Instead of smearing the butter at room temperature, I melted it first. No big deal.
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At the end of the grilling time, I added the blue cheese to the sauce as the steaks were all but done.
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How was it?

Now, I love blue cheese. This was not quite what I expected, however. One could argue that I fixed the dish wrong because it was prepared totally on the grill.

One could also be wrong.

I used two onions over very high heat. I allowed it to bubble as the recipe said. So the sauce should have been thick like the non-cat photo of the sauce, right?

It wasn’t. It was a thin, liquidy, blue cheese gravy-type thing. Not what I had planned.

Taste-wise, it wasn’t bad, but the runniness nullified the deliciousness. A good steak needs very little help from a sauce. I can make a great steak without the extra work of making a sauce that may or may not be worth the effort.

So, the new PW cookbook is something I will purchase with caution. She’s just burned me one too many times with recipes that aren’t worth the pictures of her dogs.

On the bright side, cookbook number three might be the charm. We’ll just have to wait and see…

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Swiss Steak with Asparagus and Gouda
March 11, 2012, 5:44 pm
Filed under: Food I Make | Tags: , , , , , ,

While I was recently grocery shopping, I checked out the “Reduced for Quick Sale” area of the meat case. Usually, the only meat found there would be some pre-formed burger meat that might be a little gray or weird chicken parts that I am totally unfamiliar with.

But this was my lucky day.

I found lots of still red/pink meat including some interesting Swiss steak.

Is there anything better than a good deal on still pink meat? I think not.

After I made it home with the Swiss steak, I googled recipes for it. It was too cool to grill, and the best non-grilling recipe I found was Paula Deen’s. Since I gave up Paula for Lent and in protest of her diabetic schemes, I decided to make it up as I went along.

It turned out okay. Here are the directions:

On a baking sheet or roasting pan, generously rub the steak with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Broil on high for five minutes on each side. Allow to rest and then slice thinly.

Meanwhile, microwave a bag of frozen asparagus for five minutes. Allow to rest.

Meanwhile again, in a saucepan, make a roux of two tablespoons of flour with two tablespoons of butter. When combined well and slightly brown, slowly pour in one cup of milk. Whisk as you pour. Turn up the heat and thicken. Add to that three or more ounces of gouda. I crumbled/chopped mine before I added it in. Stir, baby, stir. Season with salt, pepper, and paprika.

When you are ready to plate, layer the steak, the asparagus, and the gouda gravy. Season with extra pepper. Beautiful.

This is not my plate, by the way. Mine had way more asparagus.

I think that Swiss steak was nice here, but another variety of steak on sale would have been nice too. I guess it all depends of what you are in the mood for and how early you get to the meat department on sale day.



Hubs-Hickman, Kentucky

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I wasn’t hungry for my first trip to Hubs. I went along for the ride and to make my husband happy. He had been to Hubs to eat the previous weekend, and he wanted me to try the place too.

I was still stuffed from earlier in the day. I still managed to eat the whole shebang.

It was that good.

Hubs is a no-frills steak and seafood place that is loud, smokey, and crowded.  It was perfect for us.

We started with the chargrilled oysters which we had not successfully eaten since we ate at the Acme Oyster House. A dozen wasn’t enough. Some bites had more spice than others, and some oysters were better but still good.

I had the 10 ounce ribeye. I got my blackened since a steak ordered blackened is served on a hot skillet. Every bite was juicy and hot.  I did have to salt the steak, but it was still delish.

We will return to Hubs soon.  It was worth the trip. Next time, though, I go with an empty stomach.

Hub's on Urbanspoon




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