I’ve raved about the kale salad at Kayne Prime and Tavern for months. I’ve sent vegetarians to Kayne Prime (a steakhouse!) so they could eat it. After having the baby a few months ago, I requested that salad be brought to me as takeout. I’ve recommended it to at least fifty strangers. You could say that I am a little bit obsessed with it!
So when I got kale in my CSA share several weeks ago, there was absolutely no doubt in my mind what I’d be doing with it – I was going to conquer that salad at home.
As I’ve mentioned, these days it’s a little difficult to find extra time to play around in the kitchen, so it ended up taking way longer than it should have to pull it together from start to finish.
Day 1: Pick up CSA share.
Day 2: Wash, de-stem, and tear up the kale into pieces. Store in OXO Salad Spinner in fridge.
Day 3 thru Day ??: Kale sits in the fridge until more hands arrive on the scene.
That set of hands belonged to my sister-in-law who came to Nashville from New York for a visit. I knew she would be up for the challenge of re-creating this salad because she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen as much as I do. With just a few verbal instructions from me, she got to work.
And let me tell you — while it’s a little different than the restaurant versions, it is still fan-freakin’-tastic! How’s it different? Kayne Prime’s version has currants and pine nuts. Tavern’s version has currants and slivered almonds. My version has regular raisins, golden raisins, and toasted walnuts. Oh, and we threw in some lemon zest because…. well, why not?
People – I love this salad. Like, LLLLLOOOOOVVVVVVEEEE. Capital L. Capital O. Capital V. Capital E.
I couldn’t keep my paws out of it before dinner was served that night. (or even after the meal for that matter)
Last weekend there was once again a big bunch of kale in my CSA basket, so I’m sure you can guess what I did…. Yep, the salad made a repeat appearance. This time we had a couple of friends over for dinner, and before they left the house, I think they told me at least 10 times how excited they were to make it themselves! Back home in New York, my sister-in-law has also already made it again too. My fellow food blogging friend Lesley just shared a version of it last week on her blog.
So see, I’m not the only one that loves it! I might be the one the one that’s the most obsessed with it, but that’s okay. I can live with that.
Parmesan Kale Salad with Raisins
1 large bunch of kale, washed, de-stemmed and torn into pieces
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup golden raisins
juice of 1 freshly squeezed lemon (2-3 Tbsp)
1/2 - 1 tsp lemon zest (from lemon above)
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/2 cup chopped, toasted nuts (I used walnuts, but any kind will work!)
Salt to taste
Take torn kale pieces and in batches, pulse in food processor until finely chopped*. Place chopped kale into medium bowl. Add raisins, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Toss together.
Stir in parmesan and olive oil, evenly coating all kale. Add in nuts and toss. Salt to taste before serving.
*It took 3 batches in the food processor for me to get it all chopped. You should have approximately 4 cups of finely chopped kale when finished.
You guys, I’m going to state the obvious: It is HOT. Hotttttt. I am so over it and the summer has just begun. Day after day of triple digit heat does a number on my appetite.
I don’t want warm foods. I crave cold, crispy things. Like this slaw.
Within a couple of days of spotting this dish in Southern Living, I was purchasing peaches.
Fresh peaches, ginger, pepper jelly, sesame oil, nuts – some of my favorite ingredients all combined into one very simple dish!
While I found the texture the most pleasing right after making it, it is definitely fine as leftovers too. You’ll lose a bit of the crunch factor, but even 2 days later, I’m still enjoying it!
To note: unless you have a nut allergy, I do not suggest skipping the nuts, as I think they give this slaw the finishing touch it needs. I sampled it before adding them and then again after and what a difference! The toasted pecans really bring out the nutty flavor of the sesame oil.
Peach Ginger Slaw
8 servings. Slightly adapted from Southern Living
1 cup chopped pecans
3 Tbsp pepper jelly
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/3 cup canola oil
1 16 oz pkg shredded coleslaw mix*
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 large fresh peaches, unpeeled and coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 minutes or until toasted, stirring halfway through. Cool completely (8-10 minutes).
Meanwhile, microwave jelly in a large microwave-safe bowl at high for 30 seconds. Whisk in vinegar and next 2 ingredients until blended. Gradually add canola oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until well blended.
Add coleslaw mix, and toss to coat. Gently stir in peaches. Stir in pecans; add salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
*you can, of course, shred your own cabbage and carrots instead of using a bagged mix!
Cocktail at g.e.b.
For many years Chicago has been a frequent travel destination for me, mostly because Libby, one of my very best friends from college, lives there. But in the last couple of months, it was business, not pleasure, that took me to the Windy City. In fact, in less than 6 weeks, I visited twice! Even though the trips were short and there wasn’t a whole lot of time for play, we still managed to squeeze in some quality girl time.
Thankfully, Libby enjoys good food and drink as much as I do, so there is never a doubt that my visits will be filled with incredible cocktails and amazing food.
This latest trip was no different. With only one open evening, Libby had me meet her in an area of town that allowed us to hit three (yes, 3!) hot spots in less than 5 hours.
I’m quite sure I’d run out of adjectives if I attempted to describe all of these experiences in detail, so instead, I’ll just tell you that they were all awesome in their own unique way. If/when you find yourself in Chicago, take my advice: hop in a cab and head to the West Loop.
When faced with the booming bar and restaurant scene that surrounds you, you’ll have a tough time choosing just one. Some are more difficult to get into than others, but with a little patience (and some strategic maneuvering), you won’t have to narrow it down to one, but instead get a sampling of a few like I did!
Just a stone’s throw from each other you’ll find all of this:
(Graham Elliot’s Bistro)
841 West Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60607
On a previous visit a couple years back, I dined at Graham Elliot. Check out that post here.
Cocktails at Maude’s Liquor Bar
840 West Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60654
800 West Randolph
Chicago, IL 60607
Other hot spots:
809 West Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60607
837 West Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 445 -8977
955 West Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607
My friend Vivek has a great write up on Girl and the Goat as well as Publican and Aviary from his recent visit.
615 West Randolph Street
Chicago, IL, 60661
I dined at Avec a couple of years ago, and wrote about it here.
Stephanie Izard’s newest creation, Little Goat, will be opening on West Randolph between Maude’s Liquor Bar and Au Cheval in the fall.
Well, hello Summer!
Besides the mosquitoes and sometimes unbearable humidity of the South, summer brings with it plenty of good things too. Dips in the swimming pool. Chasing fireflies in the field. Gardens bursting with fresh vegetables.
As a child, when the heat descended, I wasn’t bothered by it. Instead, I was excited. That increase in temperature meant one very important thing – Ice Cream Season was upon us!
At least once a week, my sister and I would pile into the back of my dad’s VW Bug for a trip to our local ice cream stand. A small trailer on the side of Highway 68, their only offerings were soft serve vanilla, chocolate, and swirl. Never very good at making decisions, I always left with a swirl.
Over time I’ve developed a more refined palate, now ordering flavors like Salty Caramel, Goat Cheese with Red Cherries, and Lemon Ginger Custard at some of Nashville best ice cream shops, Hot and Cold , Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and Pied Piper Creamery.
And then there are the delectable gelatos at Bravo Gelato, Whole Foods, and Porta Via – flavors like Donatella, Coconut and Peanut Butter Honey, to name a few. Actually, I’ve really never met a gelato I didn’t like.
Curious as to exactly what makes gelato, the Italian version of ice cream, differ from normal ice cream, I reached out to Bianca Engle, an assistant manager at Porta Via on Whitebridge Road. Bianca trained with an Italian chef and was once responsible for developing new gelato flavors at Porta Via before their current pastry chef, Laurent Orleans, came on board.
Bianca explained that during the process of making this traditional Italian frozen treat, a minimal amount of air is added while churning, resulting in a dense, creamy texture. Because of this process, gelato also boasts an intensity of flavor that isn’t found in regular ice cream. Even better, gelato has a lower fat content than ice cream. (Thus, I tell myself it’s better for me as I devour a pint.)
Between gelato and ice cream, which do I favor? Hmmmm….
I already told you that I’m not good at making decisions, and really, why would I choose just one? There is plenty of room in my life for both!
And you don’t have to choose either. Today I have a recipe for an amazing Toasted Coconut Ice Cream that you can make at home if you’re so inclined, but I also have some intel on a couple of contests where you could score some free Porta Via Gelato!
First, the recipe:
Toasted Coconut Ice Cream
Serves 8. Adapted from All Recipes
1 cup milk
1 (15 ounce) can cream of coconut*
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
*I used Coco Lopez cream of coconut, found in the bar/mixers aisle of the grocery store. Important to note: Cream of coconut is NOT the same as coconut milk or coconut cream. Make sure you use cream of coconut!
Place the flaked coconut in a food processor and finely chop for 1-2 minutes. Remove from processor and add to non-stick skillet. Over medium heat, toast the coconut for 4-5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Combine the milk and cream of coconut in the container of a food processor or blender, and mix thoroughly. Stir in cream and flaked coconut.
Pour into the container of an ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.
A special thanks to my friend Erin over at Erin's Food Files (www.erinsfoodfiles.com) for inspiring me to make my very first homemade ice cream, specifically this one.
Now, the contests:
Porta Via’s ‘A Lotta Gelato’ Contest
All you need to do to be entered for a chance to win a $50 gift card to Porta Via is come up with a new gelato flavor for their stores. You don’t have to actually make it – just think it up in your head! If your gelato idea wows the judges, you’ll get that gift card plus the honor of having your winning flavor featured in the restaurants.
The Rules: Entrants must be at least 16 years of age. Only one entry per person is permitted; multiple entries by the same person will be disqualified. Entries are due by June 30 at 10 p.m. CST, and must be submitted via email to email@example.com or by filling out an entry form at either Porta Via location, 21 White Bridge Road in Nashville or 3301 Aspen Grove Drive in Cool Springs.
Put on your thinking caps and come up with a winning flavor!
Eat. Drink. Smile.’s ‘Hello Summer’ Contest
Congratulations to the Winners!
In conjunction with Porta Via’s ‘A Lotta Gelato’ Contest, Porta Via is allowing me to host one of my own so that even more of you have a chance to cool down with their gelato this summer. I’ve got three (3) $10 gift cards to Porta Via up for grabs.
To Enter: All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me your favorite flavor of ice cream or gelato. That simple!
Contest ends on Sunday, June 24th at Noon CDT. Once the winners are chosen, I’ll contact them via email and post it here on the blog. If any winner doesn’t respond within 48 hours, I’ll be forced to choose another, so be sure to check your email!
*This post also appeared in The Tennessean
What does a food blogger like me choose to do for her birthday? The same thing she chose to do for her wedding anniversary – The Catbird Seat, of course.
Yes, I’ve written about my experience there before, and as a general rule, I don’t do repeat posts on here, but there are certainly exceptions. Some meals are just too wonderful not to share.
Plus, I have new information that perhaps not all of you are aware of yet:
Each year Food & Wine magazine chooses 10 chefs as “Best New Chefs”. This year, Nashville’s own Josh Habiger and Erik Anderson, the amazing guys behind The Catbird Seat counter, made the list!
See, that’s them on the cover.
They, along with one other co-chef team, pushed the number of chefs in the 2012 issue to 12 instead of 10. Do you think Food & Wine did that on purpose? You know, 12 in 2012?
Anyway- a huge congratulations to these guys on this honor…very well-deserved!
Dry Riesling + Sake + Maple Syrup, carbonated with lime
Now on to my meal.
Unlike my last visit when I was 4 months pregnant, this one was booze filled. And I loved it.
The woman responsible, Jane Lopes, the beverage director of The Catbird Seat, deserves a mention as well. She creates some unique cocktails as well as chooses interesting wines and beers that truly add another dimension to the dishes.
Chatham Oyster, cucumber, yuzu vinaigrette
I’m not going to bore you with a lot of writing today. These gorgeous plates are like works of art, so I’m mostly going to let them do the talking.
(Except that I forgot to take a photo of the obscene fried cornbread ball filled with bacon mousse. Yep, you read that correctly. We’ll call it a Picasso)
Beef tartar with juniper, horseradish, burned bread, smoked roe, and rosemary salt
This was the most complex tartar I’ve ever eaten – floral, salty, herby (is that a word?) – it was definitely also the best.
Ramp Vichyssoise, watercress, pork belly, carrots, violet
If only I’d recorded the noises coming from the 4 of us girls as we ate this pork belly….
Halibut, favas, black garlic, lemon pudding, sorrel
Each of us ranked our top 3 dishes of the meal when we finished, and this was my #1. Halibut is my favorite fish, and I am infatuated with favas thanks to my China experience. I could eat this every. single. day.
Pigeon with white asparagus, shaved porcini, pigeon liver mousse, lovage, and charred green asparagus jus
The #2 dish for me was this pigeon. Because who doesn’t want a pigeon claw for their birthday?
Lamb with onion milk, toasted curry oil, charred peaches, and morel mushrooms
The lamb ranked #1 for a couple of my girlfriends, and I certainly didn’t leave even a tiny nibble behind on my plate either.
Hay-infused caramelized yogurt, strawberries, chamomile, and toasted wild rice paired with Tripel Karmeliet beer
Hay-infused yogurt? Where do they come up with this stuff? Honestly, for those of you out there that are doubters and don’t understand how a meal could be $100, this alone should explain it. The time and effort that goes into concepting and executing each and every element of all the dishes is astounding.
If you ask me, $100 is a bargain.
A ginger gin cordial
It’s my birthday and a magical ginger cocktail appears in front of my face. Ginger. How did Jane know that this would make my night?
Maybe it wasn’t created specifically for me, but it might as well have been. With gin, ginger, cardamom and lime zest, I can’t imagine a more perfect birthday cocktail.
Next, it was on to desserts. Three of them to be exact. The one above and below was so gorgeous that it deserves two photos.
Cucumber semi-feddo, lime sherbert, toasted rice crisp, cucumber balls, Thai basil
Gorgeous and delicious. It’s kind of like when you meet a guy that’s really good-looking AND super sweet. Then, as conversation goes on, you realize he’s also smart. And funny. That’s this dessert. Surprising you with every bite.
(Guys reading- I don’t mean to leave you out. Just imagine it’s a beautiful girl. With all that other stuff too)
“Bacon and Eggs”
Maple infused egg custard with bacon crisp served in a real egg shell.
First – Yes, this was as decadent as it sounds.
Second – Can you imagine what a pain in the a** it is to make these delicate little bowls out of real egg shells?
Pineapple gelee’, vanilla cake, cherry crisp, bourbon balls
After all that, I’m quite sure you want to visit The Catbird Seat yourself, right?
Reservations open up exactly 30 days out, so it’s a good idea to mark your calendar for the date you need to get online to make them. For even more detailed tips on securing a spot, check out this piece written by my buddy Chris.
The Catbird Seat
1711 Division Street
Nashville, TN 37203
It’s here again! The Night Market returns for the 2012 season this Friday!
June 15th at 6:30 pm
Nashville Farmers’ Market
900 Rosa Parks Blvd
I’ve heard this one will be the biggest night market EVER, with the entire market, including the flea market side, open for business.
If you haven’t been to one of these special nights, then it’s time for you to do so. Come eat, shop, socialize, and sip one of the many tasty beverages being offered. I promise you’ll have a great time!
And you don’t just have to take my word for it. People more important than me even think so…. Details magazine recently chose our very own Nashville Farmers’ Market Night Market as one of the Top 5 in the country alongside New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and New Orleans!
Interested in sampling dozens and dozens of ice creams this weekend? Yes, I’m serious.
There’s an event on Sunday afternoon that is always a don’t-miss on my summer calendar– Miss Martha’s Ice Cream Crankin’! Benefiting the Martha O’Bryan Center, this event is some good old fashioned fun for the whole family.
Of course, there is also a fierce competition brewin’ behind those tables….
In addition to sampling to the masses, all of the participating contestants submit their homemade ice cream to compete in at least one of three categories: chocolate base, vanilla base and “other.” The judges choose a winner from each category, who then competes for the title of “Best of Show”. That chosen “Best of Show” will then be produced into a new Purity ice cream flavor next year!
Oh, and guess what lucky person gets to serve as one of the judges this year? Yep, me!
Miss Martha’s Ice Cream Crankin’ & Summer Social
When: Sunday, June 10, 2012
3 – 5 pm
Where: Front Lawn of First Presbyterian Church
4815 Franklin Pike
How much: $10 for adults ($13 at gate)
$8 for children ($10 at gate)
children under two are free
For more information, instructions on how to enter the contest, and to buy tickets, click here
Since I’m an old pro at this tasting event, I have a few suggestions for you that might make for a more pleasant experience:
- Don’t try to sample every flavor. Only taste the ones that sound really good to you. If you start out sampling every flavor at the first few tables you come to, you’re going to get too full too fast and you may end up missing out on something great because your tummy can’t take any more!
- Take a couple of bottles of water with you. If it’s hot on Sunday, make it very COLD water.
- Wet wipes could come in handy. Ice cream = sticky.
Hope to see you there!
La Jolla Cove (check out the seals sunbathing!)
As many of you know, I lived out in San Diego for a few years. When I tell people that, almost inevitably, the first thing they ask is “Why did you leave?”
Believe me, I ask myself that same question every time I go back for a visit!
Yes, I truly love Nashville and it is home. It’s doubtful that I’ll ever move back to sunny Southern California, but then again, I’ll never say never.
With gorgeous (mild) year-round weather, beaches, and close proximity to Mexico where it’s easy to get my street taco fix, San Diego will always be one of my favorite places in the U.S., even if I don’t ever again call it home.
Brockton Villa Restaurant, La Jolla
And my friends there? Well, they’re awesome.
We just got back from an incredible Memorial Day weekend in La Jolla where I was able to spend time with all of them, plus see one get married in a beautiful ceremony at her home in Solana Beach.
Looking back at the pictures makes me happy, so I’m sharing a few with you today. These are in no particular order and are a hodge podge of various things… Including, of course, some food porn.
Brockton Villa’s Pulled Pork Chilaquiles
Our first morning we took a walk down to La Jolla Cove to dine across the street at Brockton Villa.
I’m typically a savory breakfast kind of girl, so I opted for the pulled pork chilaquiles. The husband chose the very interesting Crab Ipanema Benedict, which consisted of two lump blue crab cakes, sliced tomatoes, poached eggs, English muffin and a tomato coconut sauce.
While both of those were fantastic, the amazing “Coast Toast” stole the show.
Brockon Villa’s 1/2 order of Coast Toast
This French Toast is their house specialty. Similar to a Soufflé, with a hint of orange, it was absolutely heaven on a plate. Too bad we only got a 1/2 order.
If you find yourself in La Jolla, California, take my advice and go have breakfast at Brockton Villa, breathe in the fresh ocean air, and eat the Coast Toast. You’re welcome.
La Jolla Cove
Oh and did I mention the view from Brockton Villa? That’s La Jolla Cove directly across the street. In my next life I’m going to be a multi-millionaire and own one of the many homes dotting the cliffs above the village. Fer shur.
Archer chillin’ at the Grand Colonial pool
This trip was a monumental one because it was baby boy’s very first trip by airplane! Of course I was a little stressed in the days leading up to the flight because I wasn’t sure how he would handle it all. Turns out I worried for nothing. He was so great!!
Besides a couple of 2-3 minute bouts of crying, he slept, ate, and enjoyed looking at himself in the lavatory mirror.
As you can see he also really enjoyed chillin’ by the pool once we arrived at the hotel.
Nine-Ten’s Harissa Shrimp with Risotto and Eggplant
We stayed in the suites at the Grand Colonial, mostly because of location, but the fact that the hotel houses one of the best restaurants in La Jolla certainly made it quite appealing too.
And when you’re traveling with a baby, the hotel restaurant might be your best bet for dining out… and having an adult beverage or two.
Mommy and Me Happy Hour at Nine-Ten La Jolla
Archer’s: Milk, straight up
Mommy’s: Two Lip Trip – Gin, Dry Vermouth, Falernum, Lemon, Cardamon Honey
Not sure you guys understand this, but I really do judge a restaurant by it’s cocktails. There, I said it. If a restaurant doesn’t have an interesting cocktail menu, I’m likely to either not go at all (if I’m traveling), or not return very often (if it’s here in Nashville).
In addition to excellent food, Nine-Ten has stellar cocktails. And a secluded rooftop patio that overlooks the ocean. Le sigh.
Andrew and Archer
Archer also made a new buddy while in San Diego, his “Uncle” Andrew. When it was time for mom and dad to go to the wedding, my friend Andrew, who is great with kids and lives just 5 minutes away, came to our hotel to hang out with our little guy. Thanks Andrew!!
Me, my friend Kim and the MihoGastrotruck!
Okay, so now for pictures from the event that was the whole reason for our trip in the first place- my friend Alisa’s wedding!
Saturday night she and her fiance’ Dave got married in the backyard of their home in Solana Beach. The wedding had several touches that I especially appreciated: a food truck, jello shots, and a view of the sunset over the Pacific.
Truly, I think this was the best wedding I’ve ever attended.
Note: as her “Something Borrowed” Alisa wore the silk flower hair piece and earrings that I wore in my own wedding. Love.
The backyard was so pretty. But the real reason I’m sharing this photo is so you can see my funny husband playing photographer and attempting to get the perfect shot of the ceremony :-)
Wedding jello shots
As my close friends know, I’m a fan of jello shots. Back in the day, a party at Beth’s place wasn’t a party til the jello shots came out.
So when a tray of fancy jello shots appeared in front of my face at the reception, I was tickled. Let the games begin!
In addition to the champagne and raspberry jello shots pictured above, there were also mojito jello shots. And another really yummy one that I can’t recall now…probably because I did too many of them!
Thanks Alisa and Dave for letting us be a part of your special day! Love you guys!