Dining Out: Wholly Smokin’ – Florence, S.C.

I’m on the road again. At any rate, on a trip down to meet my little grand nephew.  I have so far done a combination of bringing some of my own food in a cooler, gone out to eat dinner at a Cuban restaurant in Maryland in the company of my cousin, her husband and my uncle and aunt (Very Good!) with leftovers for breakfast, ate at a mediocre buffet at the bottom of Virginia, and now (well, November 3rd) dinner at Wholly Smokin’ Downtown, Florence, South Carolina.

Wholly Smokin, BBQ, Dining out, Florence, South Carolina, smoked

Two-meat sampler platter with two sides. 1/2 rack of pork ribs, burnt ends, lima bean with corn, sweet potato fries. Glass of lime-infused seltzer to the right top.

Florence off of the Route 52 exit doesn’t seem to have much happening but loads of typical strip mall sort of things — motels, chain eateries, and so forth.  And really bad traffic patterns and traffic lights that always turn red as you approach them – and stay that way for quite a while!

I’ll note that the gas prices were as cheap as anything I’ve seen so far on this trip, including further south in this state (which is when I needed to buy the gas…)  But it also has, a little off the highway (I-95) a smokin’ fine BBQ restaurant.

When in South Carolina…. try barbeque!

While they do have the Carolina signature shredded pork shoulder, this restaurant also smokes up a variety of other genuine cuts, including salmon.   I was dog tired after my drive to date, so I didn’t think to opt for the shredded pork — indeed I was in the mood for ribs.  And, while I was about it, how about getting the two-meat sampler platter, and prepare up to review two styles of meat?  I’d never eaten burnt ends before (they’re from the brisket), so that was my second selection for that platter.

Oh, yes, need some greens — we could pick two sides, and lima beans were the only green selection for sides (the restaurant does serve salad platters, too, but not as a combo).

The dinner was AWESOME.  Both meats were tender; gently low and slow BBQ cookery in play.  The ribs were not (as they so often can be) fatty.  The burnt ends were entirely yummy – a taste treat for the gustatory soul.  Sauce wasn’t even necessary!

Two types of sauces were supplied:  the sweet, tomato based St. Louis sauce, and the mustard-based South Carolina sauce.  Both were very good, but my tastes run towards the mustard, and I was glad to have finally had a chance to try this on “native” soil.  Agreed, it belongs more with the Carolina shredded pork, but 1) I love mustard and I prefer my food less sweet, and 2) I need to limit my consumption of nightshades, of which tomato is one.

Wholly Smokin, BBQ, Dining out, Florence, South Carolina, smoked

And a concoction of Carolina Mustard Sauce behind my dinner.

The lima bean/corn side was very tasty, lightly seasoned and a great complement to the meal.  The sweet potato fries were of perfect texture.

Ambiance – the front seating area is a regular dining area — in  the back is bar seating.  On Thursday nights, a band plays live back there starting at 7 am.   They seemed to be competent country.  You can hear them in the front but you’d still be able to carry on conversations.  The restaurant is neat and clean, and waitstaff are friendly, efficient, and capable of juggling several tables smoothly.

And yes, the food is all smoked on site.

Rating:  4.9.   And so good and wonderful that I didn’t need or want breakfast the next morning.  (Yes, I know… unusual!).  I left satiated, not stuffed — no, I didn’t finish all the fries.

Wholly Smokin’, 150 South Durgan Street, Florence, South Carolina.


PS, edited 11/10/2016:  I tried pulled pork BBQ in Columbia, but I wasn’t impressed with the place I stopped in at.  Meh.  And their mustard sauce was basically just — mustard.  A little water and vinegar and some sugar.  

Later, I passed by an open-air roadside pulled pork BBQ joint — looks like probably the Real Deal — but the sign announced that they were only open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.  But if you are on Route 11 going east out of Pickens, SC, check them out?




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Onigirazu – Japanese Rice Sandwiches

I discovered this idea quite by accident while surfing around on You Tube, and decided to create my own Onigirazu — basically sushi rice wrapped with a nori sheet to form a pocket, with whatever inside the rice that stirs your fancy.  It’s something new in the world of Japanese eating, and so just about anything can go inside.  Slice the pocket in half after assembling.   I used a rice cooker for the rice, set on sushi setting.

The recipes include a sushi preparation more in tune with traditional Japanese types of ingredients (although the sandwich itself is not traditional), and a Western breakfast-style preparation.  I also wanted to include a vegetarian preparation, using more traditional Japanese ingredients.

Thus:  (THREE recipes for the price of one post!)

rice sandwiches, japanese, recipe, vegetarian, seafood, breakfast

Three! I love these!

  • Seaweed Salad and Maguro (Yellowfin Tuna) Onigirazu
  • Breakfast Pork Sausage and Egg Onigirazu
  • Avocado, Shiitake, Green Onion, and Cucumber Vegetarian Onigirazu

I use a rice cooker to make my rice – on the sushi setting. Time will vary for that.  4 ounces will give you an excess of rice for this; the 100 mL setting is pretty much just the right amount.  Most measuring cups (in the US at any rate) do give metric as well as old-fangled measurements these days.

Another note:  in order NOT to have my rice cooker turn yellow or purple — I added the turmeric and the pomegranate juice at the end of the cooking process.  I don’t know if the color would be hard to remove or not, so I simply opted not to find out!

Make the rice sandwiches while the rice is still warm.  This enables the sticky-ness to adhere.

Onigirazu, Japanese rice sandwiches, seafood, breakfast, vegetarian

Onigirazu sandwiches awaiting the knife. Let them rest five minutes after making each, so the nori can anneal to other portions of nori. Then slice with a sharp, wetted knife, and discard the plastic wrap.

Here are three suggestions:

Seaweed Salad and Maguro (yellowfin tuna) Onigirazu

Prep Time:  5 minutes, can be done while rice cooks. 
Cook Time:  Rice will vary.
Rest Time:  five minutes
Serves:  one or two sandwiches per person.  Multiply ingredients for more.

  • 4 ounces or 100 mL sushi rice
  • water for rice — prepare according to package or to your own rice cooker instructions.
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 2 sheets nori
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 pound sushi grade raw yellowfin tuna, sliced thinly (you may sub other fish)
  • 1/3 cup seaweed salad (I nabbed some as takeout from my local sushi bar)
  • wasabi to taste
  • coconut aminos or tamari sauce for dipping

Directions:  Make rice, add vinegar and optional salt to rice, mix gently so as not to crush rice or turn it into a paste.

Lay out individual sheet of nori on a length of plastic wrap, on a working surface, shiny side down.

Drop some rice down in the center, and flatten.

Add a dollop of seaweed salad over the rice, to the edges of the rice.

Add some slivers of yellowfin tuna in a line across, about 1/8th pound.

Dab the top of the fish with wasabi, should you wish.

Layer rice on top.

Fold the nori as a package, bringing up each corner to meet in the middle, with some overlap.

Fold the plastic wrap up over, seal relatively tightly, then flip over and let sit five minutes.

Prep up the second nori wrap in the same way.

Slice packets in half using a sharp, wetted knife, and enjoy either warm or (same day) cold.  Dip in tamari as desired.

Check out a series of photos for this preparation below:

Japanese, rice sandwich

Warm rice centered on nori.

Japanese, rice sandwich, tuna, Onigirazu

Seaweed salad on rice on nori

Japanese, rice sandwich, tuna, Onigirazu

Tuna and wasabi on seaweed salad on rice on nori. NOTE: that blast of wasabi on the second piece of maguro (tuna) was way too intense even for me…

Japanese, rice sandwich, seafood, tuna, seaweed salad, Onigirazu

Sandwich, cut in half.  This doesn’t look so aesthetic, as it was my first effort!  Tasted great, however!

Breakfast Pork Sausage and Egg Onigirazu

Prep Time:  10 minutes, can be done while rice cooks. 
Cook Time:  Rice will vary.  10 minutes for the pork and eggs, can be done while rice cooks.
Rest Time:  five minutes
Serves:  one or two sandwiches per person.  Multiply ingredients for more.

  • 4 ounces or 100 mL sushi rice
  • water for rice — prepare according to package or to your own rice cooker instructions.
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1/4  teaspoon turmeric (optional)
  • 2 sheets nori
  • 1/2 teaspoon healthy cooking oil 
  • 1/4 pound ground pork
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/8 – 1/4  teaspoon ground dried sage
  • 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 slices of meltable cheese (optional)
  • 2 eggs

Directions:  Make rice, add vinegar and optional turmeric to rice once cooked, mix gently so as not to crush rice or turn it into a paste.

Towards the end of the rice cooking time — Cook the pork and its seasonings (to make a pork sausage).  Note — I made it as a scramble; in the future I’d make two thin pork sausage patties, simply because I had a lot of scrambled pork that would not lay up nicely on the rice, and a patty would compact in more of the ground meat for my purposes.

To the pork, add the pepper, sage, oregano, fennel seed, garlic powder and salt.  Form into two thin patties and cook through in the oil in a skillet – NO pink, flipping as needed.   (Or do it like I did as a scramble of ground pork with seasonings.)   Set aside.

Cook the two eggs any way you like — I went with “over medium” – keeping the yolks soft but not liquid, simply because liquid would be messy.  You can do this other ways:  over hard, scrambled, omelet-style…

Lay out individual sheet of nori on a length of plastic wrap, on a working surface, shiny side down.

Drop some rice down in the center, and flatten.

Drop a pork sausage patty (or enough ground scrambled up pork) on the rice.

Add a slice of optional cheese.  (Oh, in my case, I forgot!)

Add an egg (or half of whatever egg prep you made).

If you didn’t use a pork patty, you can optionally add more ground pork scramble to the top.

Layer rice on top of that.

Fold the nori as a package, bringing up each corner to meet in the middle, with some overlap.

Fold the plastic wrap up over, seal relatively tightly, then flip over and let sit five minutes.

Prep up the second nori wrap in the same way.

Slice packets in half using a sharp, wetted knife, and enjoy either warm or (same day) cold.

Here’s some photos of this process:

Japanese, rice sandwich, breakfast, nori,

Turmeric-infused sushi rice on nori. Turmeric has so many health benefits I couldn’t resist.

Onigirazu, Japanese, rice sandwich, nori, egg, sausage

One egg. I flipped this one over and allowed the yolk to get solid enough not to run. Obviously, your egg-tastes may vary. Have at it!

Onigirazu, rice sandwich, rice, Japanese, breakfast, egg, pork sausage

On top of the egg, add more ground pork sausage, or just cut to the chase with additional warm turmeric-laced sushi rice.  Note: ground pepper and turmeric provide synergistic health benefits.

Onigirazu, Japanese, rice sandwich, nori, breakfast, egg, pork sausage

I’m getting better at making these things look aesthetic!

Avocado, Shiitake, and Cucumber Vegetarian Onigirazu

Prep Time:  10 minutes, can be done while rice cooks. 
Cook Time:  Rice will vary.  8-10 minutes for the shiitake, can be done while rice cooks.
Rest Time:  five minutes
Serves:  one or two sandwiches per person.  Multiply ingredients for more.

  • 4 ounces or 100 mL sushi rice
  • water for rice — prepare according to package or to your own rice cooker instructions.
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil — a Korean influence.  (You can do the vinegar instead.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon roasted sesame seeds (optional).
  • 2 sheets nori
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate juice or juice left over from boiling purple beets (Optional; this is for a hint of pink.  Not so vibrant as the turmeric!).
  • 1/2 teaspoon healthy cooking oil 
  • 3-4 ounces shiitake mushrooms.  Remove stems, and break up the larger ones. 
  • 1/5th cucumber.  Remove all skin from the supermarket waxed ones, if you use.  But preferentially use the English “seedless” cukes.  Removing skin on these is optional.  Slice thin.  Either as thin sticks or thin slices.  
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced.   
  • 2 scallions/green onions, slice the white parts thin, and the green parts to 1.5 – 2 inches of length.
  • Salad dressing of your choice; use thick, not thin / watery (optional).  If it is watery, your rice will get soggy.  I opted out since most commercial salad dressings are rather icky, ingredient-wise; and I didn’t really have a good opportunity  to make my own, and use it ALL up, this week.  Just a drizzle if you do use. 
  • Gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos, for dipping.  

Directions:  Make rice, add vinegar and optional pomegranate juice or beet juice to rice once cooked, mix gently so as not to crush rice or turn it into a paste.  Add in a half teaspoon of roasted sesame seeds if you are so inclined.  Again, mix gently.

While the rice is cooking, prep the veggies (and cook the shiitake).  Keep the whites of the scallions/green onions separate from the lengthier bits of green.

When ready, put about one quarter of the rice on each sheet of nori, apiece (shiny side down, with the nori on some plastic wrap).

Add most of the green parts of the green onions on both nori sheets, reserving just a few.

Divy up the shiitake over both nori sheets atop the earlier toppings.

Add thin slices of avocado over the toppings.

Here is where you’d drizzle some thick salad dressing, should you have and want to use.

Add the remainder of the green onions/scallions, including the finely diced bits of the white parts, over the toppings.

Top both off with the rest of the rice.  (I had a little less than planned, but no matter.)

Fold the nori as a package, bringing up each corner to meet in the middle, with some overlap.

Fold the plastic wrap up over, seal relatively tightly, then flip over and let sit five minutes.

Prep up the second nori wrap in the same way.

Slice packets in half using a sharp, wetted knife, and enjoy either warm or (same day) cold.

And, here’s some photos of this one!

rice sandwich, Japanese, recipe , scallions, vegetarian, vegan

Starting out. I was hoping that the pomegranate juice would have imparted more color. Feel free to omit! (Adding more would have made the rice too watery.)

Onigirazu, rice sandwich, Japanese, vegetarian, vegan, recipe, shiitake

After that yummy shiitake!

Onigirazu, rice sandwich, Japanese, vegetarian, vegan, recipe, shiitake, cuke, cucumber

A layer of English cucumber

Onigirazu, rice sandwich, Japanese, vegetarian, vegan, recipe, shiitake, avocado, cucumber, scallion

Ah, fresh avocado! Fresh green onion! (If you don’t plan to eat this for a few hours, some lemon juice may just keep the avo green.)

Onigirazu, rice sandwich, Japanese, vegetarian, vegan, recipe, shiitake, avocado, scallion, cucumber, cuke

A final layer of rice

Onigirazu, rice sandwich, Japanese, vegetarian, vegan, recipe, shiitake, cucumber, cuke, scallion, avocado

Slice! (Wet a sharp knife for this task.)

Onigirazu, rice sandwich, Japanese, vegetarian, vegan, recipe, shiitake, avocado, green onion, cuke, cucumber

Ready to enjoy! I dribbled tamari over this as I ate. A wonderful lunch.

This recipe is shared at Real Food Fridays!!

And is shared at Fiesta Fridays, with co-hosts Margy and Suzanne!!


Posted in Asian & Asian Influenced, Breakfast, Cooking, Meats, Seafood, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Dining Out: Spain of Narragansett, Rhode Island

Note:  the top part of these Dining Out in Rhode Island blog posts concern themselves with the restaurant / eatery.  The bottom parts are my travelogue, and are only there for side interest…  

Spain of Narragansett:  1144 Ocean Road, Narragansett, RI  02882.

I could easily spend my entire time in Rhode Island consuming nothing but seafood and some associated veggies.  Purposely, however, I checked around for other style of venue, and in this case, near my motel in Narragansett (Point Judith area).  Enough driving!  (I did drive to it from the motel, but this wasn’t that far.)

This restaurant opens at 4:30 pm for dinner – I got there at 5:30, and I am glad I did.  By 6, a line was beginning to form.  I was seated next to a wall-high water feature, the backing of it all tiled – again I’m appreciating good tile-work, as I’m having my future home tiled at this point!

Dining out, Narragansett, Rhode Island, Garlic soup, Spain of Narragansett

Garlic soup. No, there’s probably no way to make this a full-out Gourmet Magazine photo, after delivery to the table, but this is the best item I tried at this restaurant!

Other than the garlic soup, I ordered specials not ordinarily on the menu.  The service was very attentive, and very professional.  Seating is indoors, and comfortable.  Warm bread was served – three slices of a white, and three slices of a loaf with currants cooked in.  I tried one slice of the currant bread – very nice and tasty.   (Unlike lunch, this wasn’t going to be a gluten-free meal.)

The soup arrived – this, too, was not gluten-free.  Definitely, everyone at the table should order the garlic soup – or, no one!  Garlic breath!  Yes, it lives up to its name!  It’s in a red sauce that is definitely not tomato in origin – maybe a mild roasted red pepper?  The soup was awesome, pretty close to a five star.

Dining out, Narragansett, Rhode Island, Garlic soup, Spain of Narragansett

Lots of good greens under the salmon and shrimp. The shrimp seriously downrated this, but the salmon was good. But, there could have been more. I liked the olives.

The special appetizer I ordered was described as a smoked salmon dish with a couple shrimp, lettuce and capers.  There were no capers – I didn’t personally mind one way or the other, but if you say you are putting capers on a dish at an expensive restaurant, they should be there, somewhere.  The lettuce was mixed greens, and they were very good.  The smoked salmon was top notch and not overly salty, and was served with small splashes of sour cream rather than cream cheese.  This was an interesting change, and I approve.  However, the shrimp – these two shrimp were really huge, and I wonder what mangrove-despoiling farm they were raised up in.  They weren’t that great, and one of these shrimp still had most of its vein in it.  I could have done without them.  This dish is what has seriously downgraded my rating for the restaurant.

Dining out, Narragansett, Rhode Island, lamb chops, Spain of Narragansett

Two out of three.

For my main, I chose the lamb chops, asking for them medium rare.  Two of the three came tender, cooked to perfection, with a tasty mound of mashed potatoes, some nicely blanched green beans, a yellow summer squash section, and a couple of carrot slices.  And more garlic.  Those chops were meaty and not fatty.  Unfortunately, the last of the three (it had to be the last one???) was tough, and I barely got through it.

I also ordered a glass of Spanish red – I was told the label, but didn’t write it down so it went into the black hole of my memory.  It was a very smooth and good wine — but I’m always a sucker for a good Spanish red.

Rating:  3.5 out of 5 stars.   Garlic soup, please!!


Travelogue, Rhode Island, Wickford

Map of Wickford.  Posted at the Wickford parking area, and this is a photo I took of the map.  

Before Dinner:  (the Travelogue continues)

After my abortive attempt at finding the John H. Chafee Wildlife Refuge, I settled for a venture to the Narragansett Rune Stone, something I found recommended to visit on the Roadside America website.  This is a fun and quirky website that recommends (or at times, smartly simply just mentions, without recommendation) odd sites off the regular beaten track.  Roadside America recommends a variety of places in Rhode Island to visit — somehow I could hold off on the Mr. Potato Head Parade Mascot, the House of Edgar Allan Poe’s Girlfriend, and the Cow Vomit Rope On Display, but I was seriously tempted to visit the museum that houses the apple tree root that ate Roger Williams in Providence.  (Anne Hutchinson and Roger Williams are two of my favorite Colonial figures, and they both lived for a time in Rhode Island.)  The New England Wireless and Steam Museum, in East Greenwich, may have also been an interesting destination.  Yup, I missed out on all of those!

I was informed that the Narragansett Rune Stone is now located on Brown Street, Wickford.    So, I wheeled up to North Kingstown, in which the Wickford district is located.

wickford, travelogue, rhode island

Brown Street, Wickford.

Wickford is a pleasant area, with (mostly) affordable-looking homes, but once you get to Brown Street, you recognize this area for its combo of upscale and/or quirky shopping potential.  (You probably can’t afford to buy on or adjacent to this street!)   There’s water access on the right side of the road as you cruise up north — and a plethora of recreational boats in dock.  There’s also great parking, which was also free.

Narragansett, Rhode Island, travelogue, wickford

Wickford center, recreational boats out there at a distance, accessible by many docks.

Most shops are for the quirky at heart — I really wanted to try on some clothing but my leg was bothering me.  So — if it couldn’t be tried on for my upper torso, I wasn’t going to do so.  I did find a wonderful, colorful sleeveless dress, but it wasn’t going to cover my really bad, swollen knee, so with regrets, I declined.  I do admit, it was also a bit tight in the arms.  I stopped at a more-touristy spot (most of the merchandise said “Rhode Island: or “Wickford”, or some such), and got directions to the Narragansett Rune Stone, which is about mid-street, and located at the back of the Old Library Park.  (NO, I do not know if there is a New Library Park, or not…)  I did pick up a refrigerator magnet…

Wickford, Rhode Island, travelogue, pipefish

Looking down from a bridge, into the waters below. I’m surprised any of these pipefish photos turned up as salvageable.

I did get to see pipefish, and some great scenic sailboats.  I also really appreciated the Narragansett Rune Stone, no matter its provenance.

Rhode Island, Wickford, travelogue

Sorry about the shadows. But the statuary remains evocative. Wickford, Old Library Park. Notice — no Kindles or I-Pads.

Nice statuary at the Old Library Park.   I’m reserving this photo for some serious hard core LightRoom improvements, but I don’t have the time right now for anything more than the basics.

Dining out, Narragansett, Rhode Island, Wickford

Viking Runestone, Wickford, RI.

And, of course, I did get to the Narragansett Runestone.  It was discovered prior to 1964 — maybe as early as 1939.  It cannot be determined when the runes were carved — a relic of the original Norse explorers, or perhaps something carved within the past two centuries by Scandinavian immigrants?  It was originally discovered in the tidal waters of Narragansett Bay, at Pojac Point.


The Motel:

I booked my nights at the Lighthouse Inn of Galilee.   The place was cheap, considering we were still in season here — season sort of ends at the end of Labor Day weekend.  But it did say Free WiFi.  Yay team!  There is also a swimming pool, which would be possible for me.  Well, that was cool, but apparently the WiFi ended up being accessible only when one was seated at the really humid pool area.  Potentially, anyway.  I wanted to get “home” in my own room at the end of the day, relax, and just chill out on the computer.  Writing up food / dining out / touristy blogs. Surfing on my Kindle as I drowsed out.   Not to be.  Okay, first world problem, but note that’s a major reason these RI Dining Out posts are staggered out so late.

Travelogue, Narragansett, Rhode Island

Jonathan. Unfortunately, his hundreds of copious relatives were at hand, too. Seagulls are not remotely continent. (Serious hint – you’ll have less problems parking in a place like this if you make sure the vehicle next to yours is taller than yours…)

The other downside of this place — this is really the Jonathan Livingston Seagull Motel.  And they don’t wear diapers or use litter boxes.  And the entire extended family shows up. This was likely why the motel was very much budget-oriented!








Posted in Dining Out, Meats, Seafood, Soups & Stews | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Baked Whiting

This is my first meal on my short term AIP/paleo dietary exclusion plan.  I’d picked up a variety of seafood at Champlin’s on my last day in Rhode Island, tucked them and some ice into a cooler, and brought them home with me.  (More Rhode Island Dining Out posts are in the works.  And no, other than not having junk food or sweets, I didn’t restrict myself in Rhode Island — but I’m pretty much past the desire for junk food or most sweets any more anyways.)

At any rate, whiting (in New England, a member of genus Merlucciusis a smallish, sustainable, schooling fish that is easily caught wild in places like Rhode Island.  I’ve picked it up in supermarkets, where it invariably has looked dried out and old — this is SOOooooo much better.  I should have bought more, gutted and cleaned those, and frozen the extras.  (If you are not into gutting your own fish, you could always ask the fishmonger…  but if he’d done it, I wouldn’t have gotten the roe…)

recipe, whiting, fish, roe, paleo

The larger of the whiting came with two lobes of roe inside. (I didn’t fry the whiting – that’s staged!)

Yes, I did get the bonus of some roe in the one whiting when I gutted and cleaned it.  No sense in letting good fish roe go to waste, so I plopped it in a skillet with a little oil, cooked it a couple minutes per side, then ate and enjoyed.  By no means was that roe filling🙂  But, it was good.  It is creamier than shad roe, no doubt because the eggs are exponentially smaller.

Whiting roe

Cooked whiting roe, larger than life size.

So anyhow, lets get on with our baked whiting!

Prep time:  5 minutes to clean each fish, 5-10 minutes total for the rest of it.
Cook time:  9-12 minutes, depending on whiting thickness.
Rest time:  5 minutes.
Serves:  1 whiting per person.
Leftovers fine, cold or re-heated.

Simple Baked Whiting

  • Quality cooking oil (Avocado, coconut…), just enough to coat the pan
  • Per each fish:  
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice from a fresh lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut aminos or soy sauce
  • 1/4 or so teaspoon of an oregano/thyme mixture (say, 1/8 teaspoon each)
  • pepper to taste.  

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Gut and clean your whiting, if needed.  You may remove and discard the head if you wish.   There are no scales to worry about.

Add the lemon juice and the aminos, some can go into the body cavity.

Add the other herbs and spices, some can also go into the body cavity.  (I didn’t use the pepper because of the elimination diet.)

Bake for 9-12 minutes.  These came out at about 10 minutes.

The flesh will pull nicely away from the bones, and yes, there’s a little tasty meat on the jaw and cheeks.  (Not much, so don’t worry about the head.)


Ready to eat

I ate one the one day, and reserved the second for another.


For a month, I’m not having:  shellfish, grains, legumes (other than snow peas/sugar snap peas), nightshades, allium family members (acckkkkk!), dairy, eggs (triple accckkkkk!!!), coffee.  Nearly all the meats will be pastured and grass-finished.  No added sweeteners, real or fake.  No deli-style meats, or bacon.

The big losses for me will be the eggs and the onions and garlic, and yes, since this is tomato season, some really wonderful heirloom tomatoes all sliced up with a little fresh basil and just a dash of salt… be still, be still! 

Don’t worry though — there’s still a bit of a backlog of a few blog posts that will go up that may well have some of those ingredients in them!

For fiber, I’ll definitely be eating avocado, and the non-nightshade root veggies.  Beets, sweet potatoes, and so forth.  I’ll also indulge on lots of bok choy and mushrooms.   Swiss chard, figs, Italian herbs for seasonings; turmeric and ginger and cumin.

If this solves a physical problem I’m currently facing, I hope to discover the dietary culprit(s) and remove them from my life, and go back to eating all the good stuff — like the eggs and the onions, I so dearly hope!

(PS, tree nuts have already been removed from my life — not really missing them, though I had gotten to like pistachios and pine nuts.)




Posted in Cooking, Seafood | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Dining Out: Matunuck Oyster Bar, S. Kingston, RI

Note:  the top part of these Dining Out in Rhode Island blog posts concern themselves with the restaurant / eatery.  The bottom parts are my travelogue, and are only there for side interest…

Matanuck Oyster Bar, dining out, Rhode island, review

View from Matanuck Oyster Bar

Matunuck Oyster Bar:  629 Succotash Road, South Kingstown, RI 02879

Matanuck Oyster Bar, dining out, Rhode island, review

The specials menu

They open at 11:30 a.m., and by noon, in season at least, the place is doing a great number at filling up.  By one, the parking is mayhem – for this reason, apparently, the restaurant is valet parking only.

Outdoor seating is available, and desirable in good weather, which we certainly were having — temps in the mid-70’s!  You can sit in the sun, or under cover of a canopy (I chose the latter).  Service is quick, efficient and friendly.  The meals are not inexpensive, but hey, it’s a vacation, right?

Matanuck Oyster Bar, dining out, Rhode island, review

Three types of local oyster, clockwise from left:  Fox Island, cupids, Matunucks.  They’re all the same species – it’s a matter of where they are grown.  Location can play a large part in flavor, but these three all tasted alike (to me). 

It’s a farm to table operation, and is proud of this.  Three local varieties of oyster were available this date, and so I ordered two of each.  You can also get cooked oysters in several (I think five) ways – the one I saw was a batter-fried oyster appetizer with each oyster nestled on a slice of cucumber.  I thought it looked over-breaded, but that’s me, not wanting to hide or dilute my oysters!  Anyhow, the raw oysters came with cocktail sauce, mignonette, and lemon wedge, for mix-and-match dipping.  Turns out of the three I liked the lemon the best this time.  (Cocktail sauce hides the delicacy of raw oyster, frankly.)

Matanuck Oyster Bar, dining out, Rhode island, review

Clear/Rhode Island Clam Chowder, naturally gluten-free

I also selected a cup of Rhode Island (clear) clam chowder.  This was good, but nowhere near the gustatory levels of that wondrous clam chowder I’d eaten on Block Island a few years ago – at Dead Eye Dick’s.   Still, the clams were prolific in the cup – it was just that the chowder’s broth had something a little funky in its seasonings.

Matanuck Oyster Bar, dining out, Rhode island, review

3 Mini-tacos, tuna atop, quac underneath. That mayo-based sauce was indeed quite peppery; I didn’t eat most of that.

I stayed with appetizers (other than the soup) – my next selection was the three tuna mini corn tacos – very fresh yellowfin tuna atop guacamole, in a platter with a jicama, pepper and onion slaw.  Excellent, but I was still hungry.  What I’d eaten so far had been geared for appetizers.

So, I ordered the 1.5 pound steamer appetizer platter with drawn butter and clam broth.  I’d reserved the rest of my lemon wedge, but unfortunately when stepping out to the loo, the lemon wedge vanished. (I’m sure I could have asked for another…)

Matanuck Oyster Bar, dining out, Rhode island, review


The clams were excellent, however, and their broth just perfect – not too salty, no grit, and just that right level of clamminess to go down smooth.  I do wish that New England would season up drawn butter for its shellfish like I (following on my father’s footsteps) always do – I add lemon, or garlic powder, and sometimes a minor kick of Tabasco. But no, it’s not traditional, so I can’t fault a restaurant.

Matanuck Oyster Bar, dining out, Rhode island, review

Overlooking the oyster bar’s edge, cove-wards

The restaurant is located in a beautiful setting, and since the weather saw fit to break from prior high humidity and heat, it was absolutely delightful, hardly a cloud in the sky.

For those who wish to use the facilities, the ladies is ergonomic, clean, and tastefully tiled (I am noticing tiling a lot these days, as the house I am building is now in the tiling phase…)

Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5.  Worth a visit.      


The road trip to Rhode Island was an easy and doable ride.  I left home late enough to miss commuter traffic — and to miss morning sun directly in my eyes.  The journey was relaxing!  I arrived at the oyster bar at a good time for an early lunch, and was indeed surprised to see how many people were pulling in for good eats — it was a Tuesday, after all, and even though still in season, I was mildly surprised.

matanuck - down the road

A trip down the road from the oyster bar. Saw geese flying up from the waters, but couldn’t grab the camera in time…

Afterwards, I snapped a few shots of the cove – driving down the point as far as possible, and then I drove off to find the John H. Chafee Wildlife Refuge.


I don’t know if this one exists anywhere but on maps.  I ended up at a campground which did look like it was surrounded by what might have been a wildlife refuge, but I couldn’t find any of the presumptively-cleverly hidden trails.

route 108 docks-

Docks by campground

route 108 sailboats-

Boats at rest

The campground was well-established – lots of trailers, most of which looked like they’d been there all season.  I mean, around many of them were gardening plants, often IN the ground, not just in decorative tubs or planters.  I could drive down to a little cove with some docks, which I did enjoy. There wasn’t a soul in sight — good setting for a quirky but freaky horror movie — where’d everyone go?  And would the intrepid visitor (me?) be next?   I rather liked the setting of the boat trailers.  No photos of the house trailers — worried about any residuals ghouls being upset!

Rhode Island

In the “abandoned” boat trailer yard…

Rhode Island

Mysterious dock of arcane purpose?

Since it was still a beautiful day, I wasn’t yet ready to check into my motel.  Hey, it wasn’t even yet check in time! (More in the next Dining Out blog post!)

Rhode Island

Fuzzy bottomed acorns?

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Oatmeal with Figs in the Rice Cooker

I just ordered this wonderful cookbook for getting the most out of a rice cooker.  The Ultimate Rice Cooker, by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann, talks about the two main types of rice cookers (Fuzzy logic and on/off), and provides a LOT of recipes and ideas for meals – rice or otherwise.  I have the former type, the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy, 5 cup rice maker.   Some recipes are best with one type, some with the other.  Porridge and porridge-like foods work with the fuzzy logic style, NOT with the on/off — because you get the porridge setting on these machines.

oatmeal, fig, rolled oats, breakfast, recipe

Oatmeal and Fig in the Rice Cooker

At any rate, I chose one day to make oatmeal using the rice cooker.  What’s great about this is you don’t have to hover and wonder if you are going to scorch your pot.  You can go shower and dress for work, and/or wrestle with the kids, while knowing that your rice cooker is doing this job for you.  (They do sell oatmeal that is not cross-contaminated with gluten.)

Oatmeal with Figs in the Rice Cooker

Prep Time:  5 minutes
Cook Time:  Depends on your rice cooker, maybe half an hour
Rest Time:  On the Keep Warm cycle – 1 or 2 hours.  Or no rest at all!
Serves:  1 – multiply all ingredients for more.
Special equipment:
fuzzy logic rice cooker
not optimal.

  • 1/2 cup rolled oatmeal (multiply all ingredients if you are serving more than one person).   Steel cut may take a different amount of time, but should be good, too.  Do not use instant oatmeal.  
  • 1 cup water (or use half water, half milk – but watch your cooker the first time you try this, as some may get too hot and the milk will try to boil over.  No fun.  I was going to be too busy to watch, so opted not to.
  • 2-3 fresh figs, quartered
  • optional splash or so of milk for after cooking
  • optional 1 teaspoon maple syrup (or more if you are a sugar junkie)
  • optional 1/2 teaspoon butter

Put the oatmeal, liquid, and figs into the fuzzy logic type of rice cooker.  Put on Porridge setting, turn on.  Stay in the kitchen if you are using milk for the first time.

When it shuts off from cooking, the Stay Warm setting is good for an hour or two.

Plate, and add any optional ingredients.

(Of course, you can sub in any preferred or available fresh fruits to this dish.  You could also add the fruit on top, after cooking.  Or, you could use a good quality coconut milk low on additives instead of the dairy milk.)


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Okra, Mushroom, Tomato, Onion, Kashmiri Masala

The inspiration for this dish was Indian — but having come home from surgery earlier that day, I didn’t have the stamina to go whole-barrel on this one.  In fact, I’d prepped the okra the day before.  Kashmiri paste /masala more often goes with mutton or goat, but as noted, I’d just gotten out of surgery and wasn’t in the mood to finagle the finer points.  It tasted quite good and is worth a repeat, anyways.

recipe, Basmati rice, Kashmiri masala, okra, vegetarian, tomato, mushroom, onion

An Indian-inspired dish over Basmati rice

I get great fresh okra from either the farmer’s market, or from an Asian (Indochinese) grocery near me.  The stuff in my supermarket always looks like it has been sitting around in a dungeon for several unhappy weeks.  In a pinch, frozen will do.  (Thaw it first.)

Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes
Rest time: none
Serves:  three servings; makes great leftovers.

Okra, Mushroom, Tomato, Onion, Kashmiri Masala

  • 1/2 pound okra. 
  • 1/2 large onion — I’d do the whole onion next time
  • 4 ounces sliced button mushrooms.
  • 2 teaspoons garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri Masala paste (add more for more heat if you choose).
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • grapeseed or other cooking oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Remove stems from the okra.  Remove bottom tips if they are brown, otherwise let them remain.  Chop the okra into one inch length segments or less.

Coarsely dice the onion and slice the mushrooms.

Put a good cooking oil into a skillet — probably a tablespoon since mushrooms absorb it readily.  Turn heat to medium/medium high.

When the pan sizzles upon the addition of a drop of water, add the onion.

Let it saute for about 3-5 minutes, until just translucent.

Add okra, mushrooms and garlic paste.  Stir fry for another 5-10 minutes, until the okra is soft, and the mushrooms are cooked.

Toss in all the other ingredients, and continue stirring until the tomato is hot and begins to break apart.

Serve over a bed of hot Basmati rice.

This recipe has hooked up with the Link Parties at:
Real Food Fridays, and also
Fiesta Friday, with special hosts Su and Laura
and Saucy Saturdays (hosted by Swayam, Christine, Jennifer & Dini)

recipe, vegetarian, okra, tomato, onion, mushroom, kashmiri masala

Cooking away in the skillet


Posted in Asian & Asian Influenced, Cooking, Mushrooms, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , | 18 Comments