Friday, March 28, 2014

{FFWD} Vegetable Barley Soup with a Taste of India

 Wow, wow, wow!! When your hubs walks in the door and says that dinner smells great and brings in a loaf of crusty french bread you know dinner is going to be liked! I added chicken to my soup and used a bit less broth than was called for because we like our soups a little more like stew.

This is the first time I have used turmeric and garam masala for cooking and they will definitely make a repeat performance in my kitchen. I have also never cooked barley before and that was a nice surprise in this dish as well! Every one liked this and we have leftovers for lunch today!

Check out French Fridays with Dorie to see how other cooks around the world liked this soup.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

{Spam and Anchovies} Irish Night and Pi Day

Photo Credit Vanessa Adams and her amazing self timer! :)

I love getting together with these ladies! We have such interesting and hilarious discussions every month because we are so varied on our ideas about many things. I somehow managed to not take my camera out of my purse and took some lovely photos of our Irish dishes with my phone. Vanessa posted much better than I about that night so check her post out here. She didn't include her food pics but you get mine instead....yeah..there you go. :)

My simple Apple Tart turned out...rustic. And of course had to have green sprinkles for Irish night. It was tasty if not pretty.
Green mason jars, cheesecake bars, salad, Irish Soda Bread, Sausage pastries, and Dublin Coddle. Yum! That is all.

On another note it was also Pi day so I made this pie to leave at home for my family to eat while I was out with the girls. :)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

{FFWD} Apple and Candied Bacon Tartine

I know, it is Sunday and I am running late on posting but my recipe today is really "inspired" by Friday's French Fridays with Dorie Recipe. The recipe that my fellow Doristas made was Scallop and Onion Tartines. Since none of eat scallops in my house and I was making them on a day when I had a kiddo with severe fish and shellfish allergies over I changed everything. I cut the puff pastry into squares instead of circles and baked them according to the recipe (with a second baking sheet on top so they didn't puff). I made some candied bacon and chopped it up, sliced an apple, and sprinkled on some mini chocolate chips. This was a pretty tasty little breakfast for my kiddos and their friends that spent the night. I think next time I would toss the apples in cinnamon sugar and bake them just a bit longer but it was pretty good for a first attempt. :)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Goodbye to Our Picture Tree

 When you enter a grove peopled with ancient trees, higher than
                                        the ordinary, and shutting out the sky with their thickly inter-twined
                                        branches, do not the stately shadows of the wood, the stillness of
                                        the place, and the awful gloom of this doomed cavern then strike
                                                             you with the presence of a deity?
                                                                                  ~ Seneca ~

When we moved into our house 12 years ago we had two silver maple trees. About 6 years into our adventure one of the trees started to have some problems and our neighbor removed the tree for us. about 5 years later we lost a huge limb from our second tree that landed on my car. A couple of years ago we lost another limb so large that Bobby couldn't lift it. The last round of storms that came through gave us enough damage that we got a new roof and I have a broken tail light and several new dents in my car due to the limbs and sticks falling from the tree. This silver maple is humongous! For the last few years I have been worried about this tree. It only goes about 10 feet before the first split so every time we had a storm we would move kids to the back of the house away from the possibility of being crushed by limbs.One of the limbs hung over the house so if the tree split it would destroy our house. Our neighbor is an arborist and really would rather maintain trees than take them out. I am with him all the way but it was time for the tree to come down.

I think I may have an unhealthy attachment to the tree that I passed on to my darling daughter. We both cried when the tree guys came to take the tree out. Once it started to come down though she and I both started to feel better about it but I (a week later) am still sad about it. But, I am also relieved. I don't have to worry about it splitting and falling in my house or limbs falling on my neighbors house or car. I don't have to be worried during storms. And, my neighbors no longer need to clean bird poo off their car every day. My other neighbors don't have to worry about moving their cars far away during storms either. Now we get to think about what to plant there in the near future!

4000 pound trunk on a flatbed truck.

The tree guys (Arbor Arts) came after another job so they ended up staying until after dark. They came the next day to clean up and grind out the stump. Before they came though we read The Giving Tree and took some jumping off the stump pics. We have had several comments from neighbors about how nice it looks and how open everything is without the tree. I know we will miss the shade in the summer but not the worry. This is the tree we have taken pictures in front of every year since Kindergarten so that is another reason we are sad to see it go. Goodbye old tree, we will miss you!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

{Nashville Food Bloggers} Tennessee Flavors

Braised Short Ribs from Music City Center, Strawberries with Goat Cheese and Candied Walnut from Second Harvest Food Bank, and Display by the Culinary School.
 Last Thursday was the 3rd annual Tennessee Flavors event at Nashville State Community College. The proceeds went to benefit the School of Culinary Arts at NSCC and the Nashville State Foundation. Over 70 vendors from Tennessee provided samples for everyone to try. My friend Melissa came with me and we made our leisurely (if cramped) way around the two rooms that were filled with vendors. I actually won tickets through the Nashville Food Bloggers to attend the event. Corbin in the Dell and Beth Sachan helped create a community presence for this event this year and were able to give away some tickets to Nashville Food Bloggers. To enter I needed to leave a link to one of the companies or products I had blogged about in the past. This post from Arrington was the one I posted. I was one of the lucky ones that was selected for tickets!
Nola Granola, Grilled Crostini, Culinary Students with Popcorn Sutton, Mista Dale with his Mustard Slaw
Melissa and I started out with popcorn and moved on to Panna Cotta with Blood Orange cream from Etch. We had hot dogs with Mustard Slaw from Mista Dale's (and got to meet the man himself), and ginger cookies from Provence. Ruth's Chris has a sweet potato dessert and there were braised short ribs from the Music City Center.
There was seafood, and meats, fritters, and desserts. And apparently, Tennessee is home to a lot of wine, whiskey, and moonshine! We ended with a quick trip back to the Culinary School table and ended with a George Dickel Tiramisu.
Bravo Gelato, Bacon and Cheddar Grit Fritters, Meats from Gray's on Main
This was a fun event and I am so glad I got to experience new Tennessee restaurants and organizations that I didn't know about before. I am also glad this event raised money for the school! I challenge you to check this out when it comes around next year! :)

Monday, March 17, 2014

{FFWD} Sausage Stuffed Cornish Hens

Yes, yes I know it is Monday, not Friday but I didn't manage to get these tiny birds stuffed and baked until last night. I browned the sausage with some onions and garlic and saved three quarters of it for my St Patty's Day Shepherds Pie that I am making tonight. The skin on the birds was rubbed with butter and olive oil and sprinkled with salt, pepper, and rosemary. I also slit the skin and stuffed in more butter...because who doesn't love butter? I also chopped up a butternut squash to roast along with the hens. When I turned the hens I stirred the squash. Once the tiny birds were roasted I but them on a plate with their legs in the air to rest for a few minutes and then attempted to get the stuffing out of the birds...It didn't work out as well as one would hope. That didn't matter though. :) This recipe was a win for my whole fam! Everyone liked it and said "tastes like chicken"!

This was an interesting recipe to try with my family because I have only recently cooked chicken with bones. My son picked this right up and ate it with his hands and picked the bones clean. For a kid that in the past would not touch a drumstick that was pretty fun to watch. This was quick to put together and a delicious addition to the recipe stash.

May sure to check out Around My French Table for the recipe and the LYL on the French Fridays with Dorie page to see how others liked this recipe. Next Friday: Scallop and Onion Tartines.

Friday, March 07, 2014

{FFWD} Faux Tartines from La Croix Rouge

....and Garbure from the Supermarket.

Do you ever have one of those days when you look at a recipe and think "that could be good!" and then you show it to family members and they all get "that" look on their face? Two Tartines from La Croix Rouge was one of those recipes. An extremely simple recipe that called for crusty bread, thinly sliced salmon, rare roast beef, capers, mayo, gherkins, and lemon slices turned into one where I asked myself "how can I get my family to eat this"? The answer was simple! Make it out of angel food cake and candy! The roast beef is a watermelon belt dipped in Hershey's syrup. The mayo is marshmallow fluff. Salmon is chewy grapefruit slices that, had I had time, could have been softened and stretched to look a bit more like sliced salmon. And the capers are watermelon Jelly Belly's. You can bet I had no resistance when this was offered to my family! Bonus: we have angel food cake left over for dessert tonight! ;)
The Garbure from the Supermarket was last week's recipe and called for beans that has been soaked, boiled, and left to sit for an hour. Plenty of veggies were added to the mix along with ham bone. If you wanted to add a duck leg and garlic sausage later you could do that in the last hour of cooking. My girl loved this and went back for seconds...any maybe thirds. My husband thought it had good flavor as did I. My son was not a fan. I have said before that he has some sensory issues. The texture was a little mushy after all of the cooking so it was difficult for him to eat. He also has an appliance on the top of his mouth which catches food like this as well. He was a trooper though and ate as much as he could. 

You  might notice there is only one half of the bread stick left in the photo below. My "helper" was not terribly sneaky and stole it right off the plate while I was taking the pictures!
Overall, these were two successful recipes over the last couple of weeks. Obviously the dog thought so too. Make sure to check out Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan for the recipe. You can also check out the LYL to see how other cooks around the world liked this this week! Enjoy! :)

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Basketball Oreo Truffles

If you have not made Oreo truffle before go right now and pick up a package of oreos (pick your favorite flavor) and an eight ounce block of cream cheese...go ahead..I'll wait. :) Got them? Good! Now pull out your food processor and crush the entire bag of cookies...well all except one, you need one to eat out of the package of course! Now, cut the block of cream cheese into chunks and drop them into the machine. If your food processor is anything like mine I have to MacGyver it with a tiny knife to get it to spin. Process or pulse the machine until the dough comes together. To make the dough easy to roll refrigerate for about 30 minutes and then roll the dough into one inch balls. My batch made about 24 but I made them kind of big. Once your truffles are rolled stick them back in the fridge while you melt the chocolate  or almond bark. DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT add food coloring to white chocolate chips while you are trying to melt them. It will destroy the white chocolate chips and make it impossible to dip the truffles. Believe me, I went through two bags of chips, finally gave up and ran to the store for almond bark. I am not a fan of almond bark unless it is on popcorn at Thanksgiving or Christmas but I needed something that would work for this. I melted the bark  and THEN added the food coloring but didn't quite get the basketball orange I was looking for. I had Munchkin melt some chocolate chips and help me decorate the basketballs.

Now, you might be asking "Why basketballs?" Well, it was the end of the basketball season celebration and my hubs "Coach Bobby" volunteered us to take dessert. This is something that is easy and fairly quick to make, and it is always a crowd pleaser. My son's basketball team was not terribly interested in these...many of them chose the store bought cookies instead..Eh, 9 year olds... My daughter's team, on the other hand, devoured the entire batch. Her coach and several other parents asked for the recipe.

1 package Oreos (your choice of flavors, we just picked up lemon..mmm a dark chocolate coating would be delicious with these!)
1 8 oz package cream cheese
1 package almond bark or other chocolate chips for dipping.

This basketball season was a lot of fun for our kiddos. My hubster coached and liked it but it was a little stressful. Introvert + eight 2nd-4th graders = stress. He handled it really well though and the kids learned a lot about basketball from him. I know our kiddo was thrilled to have him as his coach. Little Man even made 2 goals in the last game of the season. Munchkin enjoyed the team aspect this year and is ready to jump into softball next.

Make these Oreo Truffles right now! You will not be sorry. :)

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

{Nashville Food Bloggers} The Row

The other day I was lucky enough to get to go to my second ever Nashville Food Blogger Event at The Row. They invited us to check out their new breakfast menu and taste all kinds of delicious treats. Someone commented on a photo I posted on Instagram that it looked more like dessert than breakfast. That was before the yogurt with fruit and Le Country Boy Bennie were brought out. Overheard "they are food bloggers". That statement was made after the pancakes, beignets, and waffles were brought out and no one touched the food except to get better light for their photos. Once we were done shooting and posting our photos we were all ready to dig in. We divided the dishes and took them back to our tables to sample.
One of my favorite dishes from the morning was the Eggs Benedict. I went on a cruise a few years ago and discovered that I liked hollandaise and slightly runny yolks in that particular dish at that time. The eggs in this dish are cooked using the Sous Vide technique. I heard about this at the IFBC conference back in September but hadn't had a chance to sample anything using that technique before. The eggs were cooked just the way I like them.

If you like beignets you must try their biscuit beignets. If you like nothing else you will love these! I don't know why you wouldn't love everything else though as it was all delicious. Another carb loaded option is the buttery biscuits with housemade tomato, strawberry, or blackberry jam. There was plenty of sweet on the menu but you could also go with the vegetarian omelet if you wanted something a little healthier. If you are a coffee drinker, they will even bring a press to your table with one of four coffee options.
One of my favorite parts of this event (aside from the food of course) was meeting some of the other Nashville Food Bloggers. The bloggers at my table were Maddie of Maddielite, Phillip from Southern Fatty, and Thallen of Thallen B. Living. All of them were friendly and engaging and I hope to see each them at future events!

If you are looking for someplace to eat breakfast in Nashville ( I know we always are) I highly suggest you check out The Row. It is on Lyle Ave within walking distance of Vanderbilt.
The Row Kitchen & Pub on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

{TWD:BWJ} Buttermilk Scones

A long time ago I lived in Scotland. I was just a little girl but I confirmed with my mom that we did eat scones while we were there. She didn't have a favorite, she just loved them all. :) I think she would have liked these as well if she didn't live many states away from me! This week's Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia recipe is Buttermilk Scones. I, of course, did not have buttermilk but made fake buttermilk with 2% milk and a tablespoon of white vinegar.
There were two options for shaping these flaky, buttery scones. I cut the first half into wedges and topped the wedges with mini M&M's. The second half I rolled out and topped with strawberry jam and white chocolate chips. I rolled that half up jelly roll style and cut it into several buns. Unfortunately all of the scones expanded and looked like one big scone when they came out of the oven. That was no matter though because these scones were devoured quickly by an appreciative bunch on an unexpected snow day. It was high 50's yesterday and it is 20 degrees today. Make sure to check out Tuesdays with Dorie: LYL to see how other bakers around the world liked these scones. You can also check out Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan. You can also find the recipe on the Baking with Julia site!

Monday, March 03, 2014

{TWD: BWJ} {Spam and Anchovies} Dessert Edition: Chocolate Mascarpone Cheesecake

Chocolate Mascarpone Cheesecake....who could have guessed that this would be silky, smooth, and the slightest bit tangy? I have not had much experience with mascarpone cheese but I have to say, it was a glorious addition to this cheesecake! This was not difficult to whip up but I did need to make a quick trip to the local dollar store for a roasting pan large enough to accommodate my springform pan. In the past I have wrapped the bottom of the pan in foil before the water bath but this recipe did not call for that extreme measure. I am guessing that is because once cooled you flipped this over and patted the cookie crumbs onto the bottom of the cake. By doing this you avoided a soggy crust lest any water leak into the pan. Let me say, I was terrified to flip the cake...probably because I thought that the top would stick to the cutting board that I flipped it on to. As you can see it did not stick though and actually turned out quite lovely. 
 I whipped this up for my Spam and Anchovies cooking club last Friday. Beth brought pomegranate seeds and they were a perfect complement to the rich chocolatyness of the cheesecake. Our theme for cooking club this week was Desserts. We have changed things up a bit from last year. Our first year the host made the menu, asked people to bring ingredients, and then we all cooked together. Fun, but tiring. The second year the host made the main dish and everyone else brought drinks, sides and desserts. We kept that format through last year but did actually end up eating out quite a few times as a group. This year we are switching up eating out, dessert, and big meals hosted by one of our members. Hopefully this will keep us all excited about coming each time. Of course, the company can't be beat!

Melissa, Beth, Kenna, Vanessa, Melissa, Leanne, Me
Clearly, I need to use my flash as these ladies move too fast! I am thankful for silly conversation, grand announcements, desserts, and the time to hang out with and get to know each of these fantastic women each month!

Vanessa came a little late from a babysitting gig but made sure to keep track of all of our crazy zingers. Can't wait until next month and our Irish night!

For the cheesecake recipe you can go visit The Urban Baker. You can also pick up a copy of Baking with Julia and check out Tuesdays with Dorie. :) Enjoy!