Tomorrow my kiddo turns 4 years old. FOUR. How is it already 2016? That number seems so futuristic to me. Wasn’t this and this like, yesterday? Guess not.
This past Saturday, despite the wicked snowstorm that dumped 8 inches of snow on our neighborhood, the BounceU birthday party we had scheduled still powered on! I honestly couldn’t believe how many parents braved the roads and brought their kids– it was a happy surprise. I suppose everyone was starting to develop cabin fever, and the party gave them a much needed break.
After bouncing for a couple of hours and getting sugared up on cake, we headed back home for Family Supper, where our immediate family got to partake in Archer’s favorite meal of fried chicken and carrot souffle. Last year was the first time we’d done this, but I’m hoping it will become a yearly tradition. Of course the meal changed slightly this year as he informed me last minute that he no longer liked the third dish I had planned for (and has been his favorite for over 2 years now), macaroni and cheese. He opted for tater tots instead this go round.
Bishop’s Meat & 3 in Cool Springs gets all the credit for the kid’s favorite meal. I’ve been eating there for years, and back when I worked down in that part of the world, it was sometimes even a twice weekly occurrence. As soon as Archer was old enough to eat solid foods, Bishop’s became a fairly regular take out spot, and his meal of choice has been fried chicken, macaroni & cheese and carrot souffle.
Since we don’t live in Cool Springs, I decided I needed to figure out how to recreate the magical carrot dish, as the kiddo started asking for it way too often and I wanted to save myself some trips south. Chances are, if you’ve dined at Bishop’s, you know and love the carrot souffle too and understand how he got hooked.
Well, recreation attempt number one was a failure. Then attempt number two was a failure. Not willing to waste any more carrots, I did what I had to do: track down the actual recipe for Bishop’s Carrot Souffle. My sources are top secret, but I can guarantee they are very reliable. So reliable, in fact, that they may even share a name with the restaurant….anywhoo….
My lucky little guy can now get this delicious dose of beta carotene on a regular basis and I don’t always have to drive south for it to happen. Mommy and kiddo are both happy, and so is everyone else that gets to enjoy it!
Note: Bishop’s serves their souffle with marshmallows on top, but we prefer it without, so I leave it naked. You can certainly add if that’s your thing!
Makes 10 servings
2 lbs of smooth, sliced carrot
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup melted butter
3 Tbsp flour
Preheat oven to 350°.
Cook sliced carrots in a pot of boiling hot water for 15-20 minutes, or until very tender; drain. Place carrot in a food processor; process until smooth. Add granulated sugar and next 4 ingredients (granulated sugar through butter); pulse to combine.
Gradually add flour, pulsing to combine.
Spoon mixture into a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until puffed and set.
Optional: sprinkle with powdered sugar or cover with marshmallows and brown.
Last summer’s Bonnaroo was my first ever and I honestly walked around for hours thinking, “why have I never done this before???” Truly, it was a complete blast.
Bonnaroo celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, and I plan to be there once again. While it seems that some of the lineup leaked online last week, the organizers won’t confirm, so we’ll all want to watch Conan tomorrow night to see the unveiling of the full, official list. (Tuesday, January 19th at 11/10pm CT on TBS)
I’m fairly certain that all of you know what Bonnaroo is, but if there is anyone out there reading this that doesn’t, allow me to enlighten you. Bonnaroo is a four day event that takes place on a 700-acre farm about an hour south of Nashville in Manchester, Tennessee. This year there will be more than 150 musicians, bands, and comedians performing across 12 unique stages June 9th – 12th.
Named by Rolling Stone as one of the “50 Moments That Changed The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll”, Bonnaroo offers so many live music options that it’s mind-boggling. Not just rock, but also hip hop, electronic, jazz and Americana. Oh, and there’s also comedy, cinema, a beer festival, art, and wellness programs. And the one aspect of the festival that I am quite sure hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves, but was of course, pretty much my favorite part of the whole thing– the food!
From the moment I arrived at Bonnaroo, I was on a mission. A mission to devour the best eats we could find, and boy, did I ever!
My friend Jesse, an avid eater like myself, was my partner in this adventure and through the power of social media, Bonnaroo’s own handy little app, and our own eyeballs, we discovered some insanely delicious and interesting foods.
Ah, but let’s also not forget the drinks. In terms of alcohol, there’s only beer available inside the festival, and while I’m not a huge beer drinker, the Broo’ers Festival was a blast. The very large tent was a great place to escape from the heat and cool down with craft beers from all over the country. Jesse and I purchased a handful of tickets and spent a good chunk of time be-bopping between breweries (25+ to choose from!), swigging from 3-ounce sample cups.
The first beer stand we stumbled upon was Green Flash Brewing Co, and my first question to them was “are you from San Diego?” You see, when I lived in SD, there was a restaurant in my neighborhood called The Green Flash, so I was just taking a wild guess that maybe it was associated in some way. Turns out there is no association to the restaurant (which is now shuttered), but they were in fact from my beloved San Diego!
It was fun chatting with them and sharing stories of the area, but the best part was that even after visiting several other beer stands, their beers were my favorite. So happy to have discovered them and definitely planning to visit the brewery when I’m out in San Diego in a couple of months.
Okay, now the food. My goodness, the food. There is really no way I could have covered every single thing we ate in this post, so I narrowed it down to some of the most interesting and/or delicious. I went into the experience having no idea that we’d find so much great food and simply cannot wait to go back again this year to try even more.
Let me admit something: I am not a big fan of donuts. You could put a dozen different kinds in front of my face and I wouldn’t be tempted to eat even one, no matter how fantastic they smelled (and they do smell fantastic). But the Amish Baking Co. donuts at Bonnaroo rocked my world.
Good lord, those things are fantastic.
INSANE Amish Baking Company donuts.
Pastries, tamales, arepas, tacos, burgers, rice bowls, pizza, poutine, alligator, bacon flights on a stick….seriously, you name it, and Bonnaroo likely has it.
Cuban slow roasted pork with cuban fricase sauce
Roasted red pepper and goat cheese with red pepper cream
Unfortunately I’m not completely sure where some of my favorites were from as they all started to blur together and it’s not so easy (or fun) to take notes in the middle of a music festival.
I’ll be searching out Viva la Fajita this year, as I think they were responsible for the incredible steak tacos I had in 2015.
Poutine is always better than heroin or crack.
Spicy pie = a crowd favorite
While I loved so many things I tried, my absolute, hands-down favorite of the weekend was Roti Rolls. Found in the Food Truck Oasis, they’re based out of Charleston, and I’ve since learned that they’ve won Best Food Truck there every year since their inception in 2010. I can see why.
Funky Farmer – coconut green curried local vegetables, pickled beets, and pickled radish
Thurman Merman – braised farm raised pork, creole mac & cheese, kimchi
THE BEST THING I ATE AT BONNAROO 2015:
Roti Roll’s Foghorn Leghorn
coconut green curried local vegetables, grilled organic chicken, candied onions, kimchi
Absolute best thing I put in my mouth the entire festival — the Foghorn Leghorn. Gimme, gimme!!!
Back to drinking. While we enjoyed some awesome craft brews during the festival, we were thrilled to meet up with some friends that generously shared some of Nashville’s own Pickers Vodka with us.
A little Blood Orange Pickers + ginger beer + a squeeze of lime does a happy girl make.
Hydrating at Bonnaroo is important. Vodka is hydrating, right?
Despite the fact that my #1 interest is food and my #2 interest is drinking, I really did take some time to listen to the music as well! ;-)
If you’ve never been to Bonnaroo and you have some negative notions in your head on exactly what it is — remove them. For years I didn’t have any desire to attend, and now that I have, I can’t wait to go back again!
This year’s 15th anniversary celebration brings some awesome new amenities which includes 400 permanent toilets and hundreds of permanent shower stalls. I’m pretty sure most you aren’t fans of port-a-potties – I mean, who is?? – so this announcement is pretty exciting.
Looking back through all of my pics of this magical festival made me so happy. It’s really difficult to put the experience into words. In fact, I can’t. You just need to do it to feel it for yourself.
To plan your visit and follow along with all things Bonnaroo, go to www.bonnaroo.com, and/or follow Twitter @bonnaroo, Facebook and Instagram @bonnaroo.
Sometimes recipes are so simple I don’t even think about sharing them here, but when one comes along that I start making over and over again, I figure I should probably tell you about it.
A few months ago, I started using a meal planning service called Platejoy. I won’t yet go into all the details of it (more to come at a later date), but just know that I’ve really enjoyed some aspects of it and there have been a couple of dishes that I’ve been eating on a regular basis – one being this breakfast bowl.
The first time I followed their recipe exactly as directed, but felt it was too heavy on sweet potato and too light on eggs for our taste, so since then I’ve been using my tweaked version below.
Sorry that my photo isn’t better. I really hadn’t planned to put this on the blog, but after making this breakfast for probably the dozenth time, I decided to just snap a pic with my iphone when it was still pretty dark out this morning, and write up a quick post. Hopefully you’ll trust me that it might not be a beauty but it’s filling, nutritious, and best of all – so quick and easy to make! Win.
Sweet Potato, Turkey Bacon, Spinach and Egg Breakfast Bowl
Serves 2. Adapted from PlateJoy recipe.
1 sweet potato
4 turkey bacon slices
2 green onions
3 cups fresh baby spinach
Poke sweet potato with a fork, then cook in microwave 5 minutes, or until soft.
Dice turkey bacon and green onion. Add to a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook 5 minutes, until turkey bacon is browned.
Reduce heat to medium, and add spinach to skillet, stir until spinach wilts. Dice cooked sweet potato (remove skin first if you prefer) and add to skillet. Season all with salt and pepper to taste.
Add egg to pan, stir and cook until done, approximately 1-2 minutes.
A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to do a construction tour of The Hook, the soon-to-be opened fast casual restaurant in the Melrose neighborhood of Nashville. I’m really excited about this new concept, as the team behind one of my absolute favorite restaurants in town, Sinema, is responsible for the development: Colin & Brenda Reed, sons Ed and Sam Reed, and Dale Levitski.
Speaking of Sinema, The Hook is located about a half a mile from there, on Franklin Rd/8th Ave, pretty near another popular spot, The Smiling Elephant. If you’re ever over in that area, you’ve probably noticed there’s a construction boom happening (uh, as I suppose can be seen in a number of areas around town at the moment). With hundreds of new residential units being added, there is definitely a need for more fun lunch and dinner options, and I have no doubt the food is going to be off the hook. (see what I did there?)
The menu will feature regionally inspired chicken and seafood, sandwiches, salads & sides and the bar will offer craft beers, batched cocktails, and frozen drinks.
Executive chef and culinary director Dale Levitski just announced today that Vasisht Ramasubramanian will be The Hook’s chef. Chef V comes from Chauhan Ale & Masala House (another one of my Nashville favorites!), where he served as chef de cuisine since the opening.
Chef Vasisht Ramasubramanian (photo credit MA2LA)
Mark Your Calendars:
The Hook pop up preview
Saturday, January 9, 2016
10:30 a.m. until sell out
Nashville Farmers’ Market
900 Rose L Parks Blvd
Nashville, TN 37208
While an opening date has not yet been announced, the chefs will host a pop up preview of The Hook menu on Saturday, January 9th, at the Nashville Farmers Market. From Chef Levitski: “Previewing The Hook’s menu at the market is a unique opportunity to get face to face feedback from guests. I look forward to what’s certain to be a fun day cooking alongside Chef V.”
Stay tuned for the opening date announcement as I have a feeling it’s coming very soon!
2222 Franklin Pike
Nashville, TN 37204
Open 7 days a week, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Happy New Year everyone!
While I had really good intentions of pulling together a list of my top meals of 2015, it simply didn’t happen. I’m wayyyyy behind writing a few blog posts that would need to be included (Paris & Barcelona, hello!), so instead I decided I’d just share my Instagram #2015BestNine. I spend much more time on there these days than here, so if you don’t follow me already, please do!
Oddly, the top photos don’t involve much food, but they do a pretty good job of capturing my daily life: my blog, my choice of pie over cake (always), my job, my love of cocktails, and my silly, sweet, smart, and full-of-energy kiddo.
Looking forward to many more happy times and delicious adventures in the year ahead. See you in 2016!
Were you naughty or nice this year? Or maybe a bit of both, as my little elf admitted to Santa?
No matter what, I hope all your Christmas wishes come true. Happy Holidays!
Last night I kicked off Christmas week with some of my best girlfriends at our annual holiday potluck and Dirty Santa gift exchange. It’s one of my favorite get-togethers of the entire year, not just for the great company but also for all the incredible food! Last year’s butternut squash and farro dish I contributed was such a huge hit that I almost made it again, but decided last minute that I really wanted to experiment with something new this time.
The menu was noticeably lacking in green, so I opted to give this recipe I’d found recently on Southern Living a shot. I love simple roasted Brussels Sprouts, but it’s Christmas, and fattening everything up is what you’re supposed to do, right? I tweaked the recipe just a little, increasing the amount of some ingredients to accommodate our group of 12. Since we had so many other sides to eat too, this made the perfect amount. In the recipe below I’ve noted it yields 8-10 servings, which is about right if you don’t have quite as many side dishes being served alongside it (we had 5 or 6).
Several of the girls requested the recipe, so I’m posting quickly today and apologize for the not-so-great iphone photo. If I’d known they were going to be this good and I was going to write a blog post, I would have worked on getting a better pic!
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Rosemary Parmesan Cream
Serves 8-10. Adapted from Southern Living.
4 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cups heavy cream
5 fresh rosemary sprigs
4 garlic cloves
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Toppings: shaved Parmesan cheese and sliced fresh chives
Preheat oven to 425°. Remove discolored leaves from Brussels sprouts. Remove and discard stem ends, and cut sprouts into quarters (or halves if they are fairly small). Toss with olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Place in a single layer on baking sheets (I needed two). Bake 25 minutes or until golden and tender, stirring halfway through.
Meanwhile, stir together cream, rosemary, and garlic in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes. Discard rosemary and garlic. Stir in grated Parmesan cheese. Drizzle over Brussels sprouts. Top with shaved Parmesan cheese and sliced chives and serve immediately.
The Farm House opened over 2 years ago, and while I often verbally recommend it to people as a great downtown dining destination, for some reason I’ve never written about it before!
A little background on The Farm House:
Owner/Chef Trey Cioccia, a native of the area, spent time in the kitchens of Capitol Grille and Cantina Loredo before opening this, his first restaurant, located on the bottom floor of the Encore in SoBro.
The focus is on Southern cuisine with locally-sourced ingredients that come from over 20 farms in Tennessee and several more products from close surrounding areas.
Roasted Brussels sprouts, fennel, sliced apples, and peanuts in mustard vinaigrette topped with aged white cheddar at The Farm House
Because I work downtown some days of the week, I’ve eaten there for lunch more than I have for dinner. While lunch never disappoints, I think where they really shine is dinner…or as they (and my parents) say, supper.
In fact, on my most recent “supper “visit a couple of weeks ago, I was absolutely blown away by how delicious everything was. Every single dish was outstanding, starting with the Brussels Sprouts Salad. Oh my goodness, this salad can convert any Brussels sprouts hater, I’m sure of it.
Seared Scallops over cauliflower pureé with charred fennel, shredded corned beef, and arugula/brown butter cream at The Farm House
In addition to the Brussels, my other favorite dishes were the scallops, fried green tomatoes, lamb shank on sweet potato gnocchi, and the pumpkin cake (made by pastry chef Jessica Collins).
Needless to say, I highly, highly recommend The Farm House. I also highly recommend making reservations before going because on the Monday night we were there, the place was packed and I actually saw them turning people away at the door. On a Monday night!
Oh, and important to note because we all know that parking downtown can be a bit insane these days– they have free valet.
Pumpkin Cake. Brown sugar icing, cranberry compote, coffee chicory pudding, molasses vinaigrette, root beer sherbet at The Farm House
Another fun little tidbit is that Trey and staff are currently at The James Beard House in New York preparing to cook a “Tennessee Christmas Dinner” tonight! Inspired by old local menus (particularly Christmas party menus from Riverwood Mansion), the 6-course meal will feature sweet breads, rabbit stew, brussels sprouts, squab and a short rib hand pie.
“We looked at menus from local Christmas parties going as far back as the late 1800s to the present,” Cioccia said. “Our Beard House menu showcases how several local dishes have evolved over the years from family to family and also with a little twist from our kitchen. I love Christmas time because it’s all about family, friends, food and drink, and there’s so much history and tradition behind the food we eat at the holidays so I wanted this menu to reflect not only some history of Christmas in Tennessee, but Christmas with my family and friends.”
You can see the full menu and even watch a live stream of the event on The James Beard website.
The Farm House was kind enough to share a really great holiday party recipe with me, so I wanted to share with you. I love sausage balls, and I love blue cheese, so you better believe these Blue Cheese Sausage Balls are going to be on my next party menu!
210 Almond St
Nashville, TN 37201
Dinner: 5 – 10 pm
Tues – Fri
Lunch: 11 am – 2:30 pm
Dinner: 5 -10 pm
(Happy Hour 4 to 6 pm Mon-Fri)
Dinner: 5- 10 pm
Sun (brunch only):
10 am – 2 pm
The Farm House Blue Cheese Sausage Balls
1 1/4 cup white lily flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups crumbled blue cheese
1 lb breakfast sausage
1 Tbsp sage
3 Tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, add flour, salt & pepper, red pepper, baking powder, sage and blue cheese. Mix well and add sausage; mix again. Last, add the butter and the buttermilk and mix well.
Spoon the mix into balls and place on a sheet pan until all mix is used. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
TIPS: Dipping your hands in a bowl of ice water will keep the mixture from sticking to your hands and allow you to mold a perfect ball.
NOTES: You can use All Purpose flour, as well as subbing any cheese that you prefer.
Note: first 2 photos on this page are courtesy of The Farm House Instagram, as the restaurant was so dark when I was eating that my own pics did not do the dishes justice.