Friday, February 21, 2014

{FFWD} Butter and Rum Crepes

This week's recipe for French Fridays with Dorie is Butter and Rum Crepes. Dorie talks about how you can get crepes on the street corners in Paris and that people eat them out of hand. The other day while Munchkin and I were finishing up at the Hot Chocolate 5K my hubster and Little Man were actually eating crepes from the crepe stand inside the Nashville Farmers Market. There is also a great crepe restaurant called The Red Bicycle that we have been to.

The batter for these was a cinch to whip up in the blender. I left the batter in the fridge for about 5 hours so it could thicken to the right consistency. I also made the sauce but made a mistake somewhere along the way. It came out way too thin but it was still tasty. It had lemon juice, orange juice and honey and gave the crepes a sweet, tangy touch. I think I finally got the hang of making these after the first few. They were not hard to make but they were time consuming. These were really a dessert crepe but I made them for dinner with bacon and fruit. I am sure I will make them again when I have the time. :)

Make sure to check out the LYL to see how other cooks around the world liked these this week! :)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Hot Chocolate 5k

 Hot Chocolate 5k. What can I say. 22 degrees, freezing child, funny college students running their first ever 5k, cozy sweatshirts, hubster and Little Man cheerleaders, finishers mug with chocolate fondue, warming up inside the Farmers Market, hubster bringing the car so we didn't have to go back out in the cold.

Munchkin was excited until we got out of the car and it was 22 degrees. She couldn't feel her toes. I think we did about a 14 minute. My fast walk was the same as Munchkin's jogging pace. Been awhile since I have run so I had a stitch in my side.  After about a mile and a half Munchkin started to warm up and got a little happier. She did have to stop once to adjust her socks and we got to stop and have our picture taken by Bobby and Little Man. Many cones were set up so we didn't fall on the many icy patches in the road.

The finishers mugs, getting to do a 5k with my girl,  and warming up in the Farmers Market with Bobby and Little Man made it all worthwhile! :)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Omni Hotel, Kitchen Notes, and Barlines

Several months ago I joined the Nashville Food Bloggers. I have been keeping an eye on the events and finally found one I was able to attend. Kitchen Notes at the Nashville Omni Hotel invited the Nashville Food Bloggers and their significant others to come and enjoy a multi course meal, meet the chef and the marketing manager, and have the chance to explore the hotel. Since my hubster is a little suspicious of froufy food he said he didn't mind if I invited someone else to go. I posted in my Spam and Anchovies group and Melissa was the first to respond so she got to be my plus one for the event! After some crazy driving around town to drop my kiddos off we made it to the hotel a little bit early and handed over my car to the very helpful, friendly valet Jimmy. The Omni is an impressive hotel. From the giant wooden front doors to the crystal chandelier, to the details on the paper towels in the restroom, you know that a lot of thought has been put into making this a top notch hotel.

Melissa and I made our way over to Kitchen Notes and met the lovely Miranda of Miranda's Kitchen Adventures. I think the group was capped at 30 so Melissa and I met quite a few people at this event and I am having a hard time remembering everyone's names. We were directed to the room that had been reserved for us and were each asked to fill out a raffle form for a free night stay and breakfast (which I think was won by Laura of The Table).  After an introduction by Kelly and Tod the drink orders were taken and dishes started being served. Have you ever had a big group dinner where things did not go smoothly? This was not one of those times. Everyone was served quickly and efficiently through all of the courses. We were at the end of the table and had the pleasure of sitting across from Nita of the bRUNcher and her husband. She is vegetarian so accommodations were made for her and everything she was served looked fantastic!

Top left: jellies for the biscuits that came later
Top middle: deviled egg with pickled okra and candied bacon
Top right: toast points
Bottom left: Anson Mills Grit Cakes with Pimento Cheese
Bottom middle: House Made Pork Terrine with homemade pickles and spicy mustard
Bottom right: Organic Mixed Greens with Shaved Fennel, Tarragon, and Cornbread Crumbs
Not pictured: Fried Green tomato with homemade ranch

Out of all of the appetizers that came out my favorite was a toss up between the deviled egg and the grit cakes! I am not normally a fan of grits but the texture was smooth and the pimento cheese gave it just the right tang. The candied bacon on the deviled egg was amazing. Melissa said she wouldn't have thought to put the pickled okra and candied bacon together but that it really worked! 
You know I am not much of a drinker and I knew we were going to have a cocktail later at Barlines so I ordered Iced Tea. It was served unsweet with a tiny jar of simple syrup so I could sweeten it myself. I don't love super sweet tea either so this was perfect! I was able to put in enough simple syrup to take the bitter edge off of the tea. 
Melissa ordered a New Yorker, which they didn't have on the menu but probably will in the future. The server seemed happy to learn a new recipe and Melissa was happy with her drink. She had to describe it about 5 times to everyone sitting around us because everyone wanted to know all about it. 

I realize the Shrimp and Grits with Collards, Tomato Gravy and Country Ham is not a drink but it came in that cute jar so I had to include it! This was the one dish out of the entire repertoire that I was hesitant about. I told myself before we got there that I was going to try everything no matter what. Be proud! I tried the ginormous shrimp and remembered why I don't eat shrimp. Have you ever heard someone who is chewing squeak their teeth together? That sound gives me the willies! The texture of shrimp does the same thing to me as squeaking teeth. But I tasted it and can understand why there are people that would adore this. I, however, moved quickly on to the next dish.

Top: Pan Seared Carolina Snapper with Cast Iron Fingerling Potatoes and Green Sauce
Bottom: Smoked Tri-Tip
Not pictured: Nashville Steak Fries: Crispy Okra and Fresno Chili Aioli

I heart tri tip! It is one of my very favorite meat dishes ever. We have lived in Tennessee for 12 years and for the first 5 that we lived here you couldn't get it at the grocery store.  Way back when I was in college I went on Walkabout, a 10 day backpacking trip. At the end of the trip all campers did a really long run. I think my friend Joy and I made it 8 miles. At the end of the run we were treated to tri tip and watermelon. That may be one of my top 5 meals of my life! So, when that was presented and it wasn't on the menu it was like an extra special gift! The red snapper was actually really tasty as well and I loved the fingerling potatoes. If we weren't stuffed already we then we given biscuits (the biscuits change every day and even have their own special bar) to go with the main meal and then we were presented with dessert!
Left to right: Banana Pudding, Pecan Pie, and Bourbon Caramel Stuffed Cupcake

Love the mini size of each of these, love that they were served on a wooden plank, love that they were sweet but not too sweet! My favorite was the banana pudding. 

For me, one of the highlights of the night was getting to hear from Chef Peter. He came out and told us all about the food and walked around answering everyone's questions. My compliments to the chef! It was a lovely dinner!

Above are a few of the details from the restaurant and from the hotel. I loved the handwritten recipes on the wall in the room we were in. There was quite a discussion over one of them and what looked like a pound of melted butter. Have you made a recipe with that much butter before? Bobby thought the picture of the chandelier was a fountain. If you turn your computer upside down you will see it too! :) The details around the hotel were amazing. Tod told us that at least 50% of the artwork in the hotel was from local artists and I think 75% was from Tennessee artists. I may be a bit off on those figures but it was around there. The Omni tries to keep a local flavor at each of their hotels. The swag bags they gave us included  Olive and Sinclair chocolate, Seriously Southern Pecan Pie Caramels, and business card holders from Col. Littleton (all Tennessee crafters). They bring in local food and local art. Hatch Show Print is a 134 year old Nashville Company. They have moved into the Omni Hotel! Along with Kitchen Notes, the Omni boasts a Bongo Java, Barlines, and Bob's Steak and Chop House.
Last but not least our group headed over to Barlines for a complimentary cocktail. The drink was called the Lincoln County Maple Smash. It had maple syrup in it along with all of the other ingredients!  The adorable bartender serving the drink was filling glasses with ice and the drink. Another guy was smashing the leaves and putting them in the glasses. While we chatted for a little while longer (me with Angela of Spinach Tiger and Melissa with Dannika of Chatterbites) we also got to hear Dusty Hundley play while watching the Olympics. What more could you ask for? :)
If you are looking for a place to stay or eat with local flavor I highly suggest the Omni Nashville, Kitchen Notes, and Barlines! The food is delicious and the hotel is beautiful! Thank you again for hosting the Nashville Food Bloggers for this fun event!

Kitchen Notes on Urbanspoon

Barlines on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 07, 2014

boeuf à la ficelle AKA Beef on a String

Have you ever found a recipe that you are so excited to try and then you get to the grocery store and discover it is going to cost a whole lot more than you anticipated? Welcome to this week's French Fridays with Dorie! I love a good beef recipe. I tend to lean on the anemic side so red meat is good for me. I know, I know I could eat tofu, prune juice, and spinach to get extra iron but I actually like red meat. I knew this was going to be a spendy recipe because there was the bouillon to make that included oxtail and marrow bones along with extra veggies and spices. Then there was the meat. I asked the guy at the meat counter what cut I should get for a beef tenderloin....that would be filet mignon. Which, at our grocery was on sale for $18.79 a pound. I kind of panicked and got on my phone (isn't it neat that we carry tiny computers with us everywhere?) to check the P's and Q's on the French Fridays site. Cher mentioned using a good stock instead of making the bouillon and as soon as I read that I was less panicked. For the entire meal I spent $30. That is still far more that I would normally pay for a meal at home, however, this meal would have cost several times more in a restaurant.

This recipe called for poaching the meat in the bullion. Once done it was quite rare, which was to be expected. Of course, my hubster is not a fan of rare meat. I am more of a medium girl myself so I poached it longer than the recipe called for. Once we cut it into slices Bobby and Little Man threw their pieces back in the pot to cook even longer. Munchkin loved it though!

Another new part of this was the use of celery root and turnips. I am not sure I have ever actually made turnips before. The grocery clerk checking me out had to ask me what it was so I guess it is not something people make often. The celery root had a very distinctive taste to it that I kind of liked. It was definitely different and one that we all had to get used to.

The string that was wrapped around the meat had a tail that stayed out of the pot. This way you could grab the tail and pull the meat out of the pot once it was done poaching.

I personally liked this a lot! Munchkin liked it as well. I think my hubs and Little Man would be happy for me to not make this again. Of course if we butterflied the tenderloin and threw it on the grill that might be another story! :)

I know there are other cooks out there that loved this as well. Make sure to check out the LYL to see how other cooks around the world did with this recipe this week. If you want to make it it is on page 248 of Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.