Last week when I was picking up lunch at Whole Foods they were sampling this dish at the front of the store, so I stopped to get a taste. Completely surprised at how delicious it was, I promptly purchased all the ingredients so I could make it this weekend.

I’ll admit that greens have never really excited me much, but knowing how nutrient-packed they are, I really should eat them more often. Now that I’ve discovered this tasty, easy-to-cook dish, that won’t be a problem!

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Winter Greens with Carrots, Feta Cheese and Rice

Serves 4. Adapted from Whole Foods.

Ingredients:

1/2 red onion, finely chopped
3 cups of shredded carrots
2 bunches kale*, stems removed, leaves very thinly sliced (or use 16 0z bag of ready-to-cook)
1/4 cup water
Salt & ground black pepper to taste
1/4 lb Feta cheese, crumbled
2 cups whole grain brown rice, prepared according to package directions

Directions:

Heat a deep non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add carrots, greens, water, salt and pepper and toss well. Cover and cook over medium heat, tossing once or twice, until greens are wilted and tender, 10-15 minutes. Toss with Feta cheese and spoon over brown rice. Suggestion: serve with lemon wedges for even more flavor.

*any dark leafy greens will work (Swiss chard, collard greens)

 

Kale on FoodistaKale

Photo Credit: Whole Foods


Snowed in by what is being called “The Situation 2010″ here in Nashville, I concocted a new cocktail I dubbed:

Snow Cream

1/2 cup of espresso*
1 jigger vanilla vodka
1 jigger 1921 Tequila Cream (pictured at left)
Ice

Put espresso, vodka, and cream in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake. Strain into martini glass and serve.

Delicious, delightful. And will give you a buzz in more ways than one. Fantastic as an after dinner drink if you have just one or great as drinkS (plural) if you need to wake up. Not suggested to consume in large quantities if you would like to rest your weary eyes.


*I do not have an espresso machine at home, so I use instant espresso powder


1921 Tequila Cream can be purchased in Nashville at The Wine Chap

pork-tenderloin-w-sundried-tomato-cream-sauce

 

My grandfather was a pig farmer, so growing up I ate a lot of pork: sausage, bacon, country ham, cracklins, pig fries, pork chops, ribs, pulled pork, pork roast, ham….

These days, one of my favorite meats to serve when company comes to dinner is pork tenderloin. You may remember when I was recapping my best meals of 2009 that #7 on the list was my mushroom risotto and this pork dish. It truly is an incredibly outrageously delicious meal- quite possibly one of the best things I cook.

Certain friends of mine request that I make it again and again . And again. So if you want to feel like a star chef, I suggest you take my advice and make this!

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Pork Tenderloin with Sun-dried Tomato Cream Sauce

Serves 6-8. Adapted from allrecipes.com.

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped prosciutto
1/2 tsp dried sage
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
3 Tbsp chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 (1 lb) pork tenderloins
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425. Spray 11 x 14 baking dish with oil, sprinkle salt and pepper on pork tenderloins, place in dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

While the pork is baking, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the prosciutto, sage, parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, and onion about 5 minutes, until onion is tender. Stir the broth and cream into the skillet, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened.

Once everything is done cooking, you have a couple of options on the presentation and service. You can either move the tenderloins from the baking dish to a serving platter, pour the sauce over them and place on the table to be cut and served, or you can plate it up at the stove. This is the way that I do it most often. First I slice the pork into medallions (making sure it has rested first of course). Since I always pair the pork with this Mushroom Risotto, my next step is to put some of the risotto on the plate, then arrange the medallions around/on it, pouring the sauce on them to finish. A side of green salad makes the meal complete!

 

Seems like this is turning into “Ode to Jason McConnell” week. Monday I told you about his guacamole, and now I’m spreading the word about his newest undertaking: 55 South - a southern comfort food restaurant that just opened last week in downtown Franklin.

If you’ve been to Sol before, then you won’t have trouble finding this new eatery, because it’s in the exact same spot. Never fear, Sol is still there too, but just downsized a bit to share the space with Jason’s newest venture. Now there are 2 intimate dining rooms under one roof–with 55 South facing Main Street and Sol facing 4th Avenue.

While we’re talking location, you might be wondering where the name 55 South came from if not the actual address of the place. Well, it refers to the highway that connects Memphis and New Orleans, and the menu most definitely reflects those 2 locales.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of lunching with a fellow food lover, Chris Chamberlain (aka CeeElCee) at this new soon-to-be hot spot. Here’s a rundown of what we sampled:

Appetizers

JJ’s Junk Chips
freshly made chips topped with blue cheese dip, bacon and green onions

Buffalo Frog Legs
tossed in hot sauce with celery and blue cheese dip
(like they say, “tastes just like chicken!”)

Entrees

BBQ Spaghetti
a Memphis original with shredded beef,
bbq spaghetti sauce, peppers, onions and celery

I had never even heard of such a thing, but Chris said it was one of his favorite dishes at Interstate BBQ in Memphis. He shared a couple of nibbles with me, and I have to say- I will be ordering this in the future! Sounds strange, but I promise, it was delicious.

NOLA BBQ Shrimp
New Orleans classic style over blue cheese grits

I can never resist shrimp & grits, and you know how I love blue cheese!

As we were finishing up our meal, food was delivered to the table next to us, so I had to sneak a peek. Okay, not exactly a peek- it was a blatant stare.

Their Shrimp Po Boy was HUGE, and I could see that it was chock full of big, plump shrimp. This was no skimpy portion. The arrival of this dish at our neighbor’s table spurred us into a discussion about “authentic” Po Boys and how bread is key. I’m no Po Boy connoisseur, but one of my co-workers grew up in southern Mississippi and has eaten more than his fair share, so I consider him to be one. On more than one occasion, he’s stressed the importance of the bread and described to me exactly how it should taste and feel. This is serious stuff.

So naturally we inquired about the bread with our server, and she in turn sent the chef out to talk to us. Turns out they use real, authentic Gambino’s straight from New Orleans for this sandwich – nothing else would do. Impressive.

I’ll be taking my co-worker here very, very soon to get his opinion of the Po Boy and to try some other things on the menu myself. The fried green tomatoes with gulf shrimp remoulade sounds divine, and our server said the Delta Tamales had been a hit with the crowds so far. And I can see why -a beef tamale topped with chile rojo & crema- yes please!

55 South
403 Main Street
Franklin, TN 37064
http://eat55.com/

P.S. Please forgive the slightly blurry photos. Some how, some way, I’ve gotten my little point and shoot stuck in a mode that won’t focus or flash.


Let me start by saying that I could very well be one of the world’s least qualified guacamole reviewers. Up until about a two years ago I hated the stuff. Wouldn’t touch it.

But then, one fateful night, I had a little accident. The combination of a dimly lit room, lively conversation and a few jalapeno caipirinhas in my system caused me to dip my chip into the wrong bowl. Instead of salsa or queso, the tortilla landed smack in the center of guacamole. But I didn’t realize it until it was too late.

Chip enters mouth. Chew. Swallow. Hmmm…tasty. “What was that?” I ask. Friend, well aware of my aversion to the green stuff, hesitantly filled me in and then waited for my reaction. I reached for more. A new day had dawned.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I now love all guac. Far from it. It has to be really, really good. So far that list is pretty short and includes just a handful of restaurants, one of which is Sol in downtown Franklin.

So when I was given a jar of the newly launched Jason’s Guac Starter to sample, I was game. You see, this starter was created by Jason McConnell, the chef owner of Sol. If his guacamole at Sol passed the Beth test, then there was probably a pretty good chance this would too.


Keep in mind that I had never in my life made fresh guacamole at home, so having this jar of starter to use on my first attempt was quite handy. All I had to do was purchase 2 avocados, smash ‘em up, and then add 1/2 cup of the starter. Perfectly foolproof. Not only was it totally easy, but it was really good! I made a batch for a party, and then a few days later a batch for us to munch on while watching football one lazy Sunday afternoon. (this would make a tasty and super easy appetizer for those Super Bowl parties just around the corner…)

Since I’m no guac expert, I really don’t expect you to take my opinion as the final word. As luck would have it, Whole Foods is hosting some upcoming Rock the Guac demonstrations–so go see for yourself!

Event Info
What: Jason’s Guac Starter Demo

When: Saturday, January 30th 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Where: Whole Foods Green Hills
Hill Center
4021 Hillsboro Pike
Nashville, TN 37215

or if you can’t make that one, they’ll be doing it again the next weekend at the Cool Springs location!

When: Saturday, February 6th 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Where: Whole Foods Franklin
1735 Galleria Boulevard
Franklin, TN 37067

Product Info
11.5 oz jar $5.99 at Whole Foods
4 pack $20 at jasonsguacstarter.com

Here I come again!

That’s right folks, I’m heading to the Windy City this weekend for the 2nd time in less than 3 months. Don’t you know I must really love that place if I choose to go for a visit in JANUARY!?

Truth be told, I’m missing my Chicago friend Libby. As you might recall, I didn’t get to see her on my last visit and even though I had an amazing time- something just felt off. Of the dozens and dozens of times I’ve been to Chicago, only my very 1st trip in the early 90’s and this last one in November have been sans Lib.

Since the day we graduated from college and went our separate ways, I don’t think we’ve gone more than a year without seeing each other. Despite her living in Chicago and me living in San Diego and now Nashville, we’ve always stayed connected. By my calculations, it’s now been 50 weeks since I last saw her. It’s time.

Meet Libby.
Otherwise known as: Lib. Libbers. LibM90.

Celebrating in 1996
We’re both crazy Geminis with birthdays less than a week apart

Together again for birthdays in 2008

Lib always whisks me off to fabulous places all over town, and I’m sure this time will be no different. So stay tuned next week for the full report on our adventures! ~

`

My wine education that is.

It’s almost here and I’m sooooooo excited I can hardly stand it: Fido’s Wine Education Series 102!

If you have no clue what I’m talking about then I have to assume you just recently started reading this blog. Because those of you that have been with me for a few months simply must remember Wine 101.

I mean, c’mon, I can’t imagine that you would have forgotten THE BEST WINE CLASSES I’ve ever experienced, right?

I’m all registered and anxiously ticking off the days on my calendar. Who’s going to join me?

Wednesday nights from February 3rd – March 10th
7 – 9:30 p.m.
$30/person per class (UPDATE: cost lowered to $20!!!)
RSVP to events@fidocafe.com

Sign up fast because class size is limited!

Fido
1812 21st Ave S
Nashville, TN 37212

(615) 777-3436

I mean, it’s probably not quite as important as a presidential election, but still…

The Metromix Nashville Best of contest is under way and a few of my favorites are on the list.

Who gets my vote for Best Restaurant? Here’s a few hints.

And what about Best NEW Restaurant? This one got my adoration from first bite.

For Best Sushi my answer hasn’t changed for many, many years. Do you recall my mention of it a few months ago?

And if you can’t guess who gets my vote for Best Bar then you’ve been living under a rock. If that’s the case, let me help you out.

Click here to cast your votes and make a difference this election season ;-)