By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician
We Americans love to eat out! Simpledollar.com states the average American eats out over four times a week. I’m betting that doesn’t even include takeout and delivery. Pandemic chaos has hit the restaurant industries like an unpredicted blizzard in the Carolinas. Many panicked consumers were mandated to stop dining out. Amongst the chaos and the fear of the unknown, consumers also stopped takeout and delivery in the first few months. In the state of Ohio thousands of restaurants have gone out of business. Local eateries are still struggling but with confidence and fear improving, drive-thru, delivery and take out, sales have recovered and surged.
History.com states that takeout and delivery service originated in the 1920s in Los Angeles. The fascinating story goes that the visionary Kin-Chu Café placed an ad proclaiming how it was “the only place on the West coast making and delivering real Chinese dishes.” Most of us don’t remember the 20s, but Americans wer on the verge of the Great Depression, Dust Bowl and World War II was threating, so there wasn’t much spare change for takeout. It wasn’t until post WWII and the great sprawl to the suburbs that takeout took off. Pizza entered the scene in 1952 as the first mention of Fast Free Delivery. Casa D’Amore’s medium combo pizza was just $2.25 with a minimum delivery of $2.50. A savvy reason to upgrade! As Americans began to flourish, the economy prospered and technology blossomed, restaurants along with the convenience of takeout skyrocketed.
The pandemic has induced a home-delivery or drive-thru craze for everything. Lines of enormous lengths frequent drive thrus, as sales have boomed. Delivery apps have made unbelievable returns. Doordash reported in November that their revenue has tripled making them the top delivery app company. A friend of mine who was waitstaff for a high-end steakhouse has started to deliver for Doordash in a local Columbus suburb. She has delivered anything from ice cream to a grilled cheese. We may not see the use of these apps in local and rural eateries due to two reasons. One reason is their high cost of 30% of each sale, which makes it difficult in an industry with margins around 10%. And, in rural Ohio, consumers are used to picking up their take-out.
Chinese and pizza have topped the most popular standbys for takeout. These apps and creative marketing have made a plethora of choices delivered right to our doorstep. Top favorites today still include Asian and pizza, but ethnic dishes such as Mexican, Italian, and Indian are on the rise. Paul and I live in a small micro-foodie climate between rural Plain City and upscale suburbia Dublin. Our go to take out is Pioneer Pizza in Plain City. Tim, the owner, said pizza business has increased 10% to 15% and delivery has doubled. They have added boneless wings with some tongue tantalizing sauces that we are now adding to our order of a small pepperoni sausage pizza.
Times are a changing and as you have those cravings from your favorite eateries try making some at home. Order and pickup seem like the perfect way to support your favorite eatery.
Eat well and Healthy,
Carrabba’s Copycat Pollo Rosa Maria copycat sugardishme.com
For the Marinade:
1 large lemon, zested and then juiced
(about 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice– set the zest aside)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1½ tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Chicken:
1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced or pounded to ½” thick (usually about 4-6 pieces)
4-6 slices of very thinly sliced deli ham/prosciutto
4-6 ounces goat/Fontina cheese
For the Mushrooms with Lemon Basil Butter Sauce:
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
lemon zest (reserved from the juiced lemon)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1½ tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Combine lemon juice, olive oil, fresh basil, and kosher salt in a large bowl. Add the chicken pieces, cover and turn to immerse them in the marinade completely, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Assemble the chicken by laying a slice of ham on each piece of marinated chicken. Top the ham with about 1 ounce of cheese and then fold the chicken over sandwiching the ham and cheese inside.
Heat the grill to about 400-450 (hot is good so you don’t have to worry about the chicken sticking).
Place the mushrooms, lemon zest, butter, basil, and salt in a saucepan on the stove (or a grill burner if you have it!). Cook over medium heat. The butter will melt and the flavors will blend. Stir the mushrooms and butter sauce occasionally.
Grill the chicken 3-5 minutes on each side should be sufficient if your meat is thin enough. Always make sure the internal temperature for chicken is 160-165 degrees. 15 minutes on the grill should be plenty.
Top the chicken with the mushrooms and lemon basil butter sauce. Garnish with more chopped basil. Serve immediately.
Carlo’s O’Kelly’s Pasta Diablo Copycat justapinch.com
3 c fajita chicken meat, diced
6 Tbsp butter
1/2 c diced onion
1/4 c diced green pepper
4 clove garlic minced
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp chicken base
2 c heavy cream
1/2 c sour cream
3-4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 box tri color rotini pasta
2 c Monterey jack cheese, shredded
1/2 c scallions (greens only)
1 fresh tomato, diced
Preheat oven to 350. Cook pasta and set aside. Cook chicken, dice and set aside. In a blender puree heavy cream, sour cream, garlic powder, chicken base and peppers.
In a skillet melt butter, add onion and green pepper and cook until tender. Add minced garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Now add chicken and sauce let simmer for about 5 mins. Season with salt if needed. (you can thicken sauce with a slurry of cornstarch and water, if desired.)
Add chicken and sauce to cooked pasta, mix well. Pour into a casserole dish and top with cheese. Bake until cheese is melted, about 20 mins. Remove from oven, garnish with diced tomatoes and scallions.
PF Chang Fried Rice Copycat foodhussy.com
1 cup Jasmine rice
1 3/4 cup chicken broth (or water)
3 tsp sesame oil
1/3 cup shoestring carrots
1/3 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup green onion, sliced
1/3 cup fresh bean sprouts
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp molasses
Heat chicken broth (or water) in sauce pan to boiling. Add rice and turn down to simmer for 15 minutes until liquid is gone and rice is fluffy. Once rice is ready, remove from heat.
Whisk together soy sauce, mustard, ginger, garlic and molasses and set aside
Place stir fry pan on heat and add 1 tsp of sesame oil. Crack eggs into pan and scramble in pan. Once eggs are scrambled, add 1 tsp sesame oil to pan
Add carrots, green onion, peas and bean sprouts – stir fry for 3-4 minutes
Add remaining tsp of sesame oil and rice and stir fry for 3-4 minutes
Spread rice around pan – up around sides – so rice is spread out as much as possible. Add soy sauce mixture and stir fry additional 3-4 minutes. Serve and top with green onions
Shelly’s note: I think fried rice is best if the rice is made the day before and chilled when fried.