A couple of weeks ago I see this on Twitter:

Making an African stew for photo shoot tomorrow. Smells like curried ginger sweet potato peanut butter cookies…w little bits of jalapeno”.

And I swoon.

Curry? yes please. Ginger? oh yeah, baby. Peanut Butter? always. Jalapeno? you know I like it spicy!!

Jennifer Justus, food writer for The Tennessean, was tempting me (and plenty of others) with her tweet. Actually, not just tempting, but teasing, because she wouldn’t give up the recipe! Well, at least not immediately. We had to wait an ENTIRE WEEK until it was in the newspaper. But oh, was it so worth the wait.

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West African Vegetable and Peanut Stew

Makes 4-5 servings. Adapted from The Tennessean article "One Pot Meals are Simple, Satisfying"
(original recipe by Grace Parisi from Food & Wine Magazine, August 2000)

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
1 1/2 Tbsp curry powder
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes, with their liquid
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 cups frozen cut okra
1 cup frozen green beans or 1/4 pound fresh green beans, cut into 2-inch lengths
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 cup chopped salted peanuts
Lime wedges, for serving (optional)

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeños and ginger and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the onion is lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Add the curry powder and cook, stirring, until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Whisk in the water and peanut butter, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Cook over moderately high heat for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the sweet potatoes and carrots, cover partially and cook over moderately low heat until the vegetables are just tender, about 20 minutes. Add the okra and green beans, cover partially and cook until all the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes longer. Transfer the stew to bowls and serve hot. Pass the cilantro, peanuts and lime wedges at the table.

Note: The stew can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat gently over moderately low heat.


Okra on FoodistaOkra

There’s still plenty of time left to take advantage of Nashville Originals Restaurant Week!

I had a wonderful meal at F Scott’s on Tuesday night, and tonight I’m looking forward to visiting one of my old favorites, Yellow Porch. Reports have indicated that the pork chop I’m eyeing is a winner, so you better believe that’s what I’ll be feasting on tonight.

If you haven’t already, peruse all the menus, find one that appeals to you, then call to get a reservation before they’re all gone!

And for those of you that have been out on the town hitting up the Nashville Originals this week, let’s hear the scoop. Where have you gone, what have you eaten? Inquiring minds want to know!

I happen to know for a fact that some of you made a New Year’s resolution to kick your cooking skills up a notch this year, so I’ve got just the thing for you.

Tomorrow night Chef Michael Martin of Whole Foods Franklin will be giving a FREE cooking class for those that need a little help in the kitchen.

Join Michael & the Whole Foods Demo Team at 6:30p.m. at the Cool Springs Whole Foods Market to learn how to make some easy, healthy recipes like Soy Ginger Chicken with Winter Greens, Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes and White Beans!

Register for this class at the customer service desk or call (615) 778-1910.

Thursday, January 14th
6:30 p.m.
Whole Foods Market
1735 Galleria Blvd
Franklin, TN, 37067


So you know that cornbread I served yesterday with the Black-Eyed Pea Jambalaya? I might have said I would share the “recipe” with you today, and that might have been stretching the truth just a tiny bit….

You see, the cornbread was a mix. From a box. Shocker, I know.
Please forgive me for not making it from scratch, but to be completely honest, this is much better than any cornbread I’ve ever made myself.

A few weeks ago a friend had me over for dinner, and she served chili and cornbread. She’s not a cook (she’ll readily admit that), so I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the cornbread. In fact, I ate 3 pieces, which is unusual for me since I’m not much of a bread girl. I wanted to know her secret – because really – if she could make cornbread this good, then I could (no offense sweetie!).

That’s when the truth came out (not that she was trying to hide it). We were devouring Trader Joe’s cornbread from a box.

Do any of you remember the Kenny Rogers’ Roasters corn muffins from way back in the day? If you do, then I don’t need to explain how tasty they were. I ate more than my fair share during college and have tried to recreate them many times since without much success. No more experimenting necessary, because this cornbread is about as close as you can get. So if you never got to try Kenny’s, now’s your chance.

Trader Joe’s Cornbread Baking Mix $2.69

The little pieces of corn, a hint of sweetness, and a moist, soft texture, with just enough crunch around the edges make it the perfect cornbread. Perfect. Really.

Over the past few months, several people have asked me exactly what products I buy at Trader Joe’s because they’re overwhelmed when they go in. Nothing looks familiar. So I thought it might be fun to chronicle my favorite TJ buys here on my blog. I’ll keep a running list as I go, so you can use it as your cheat sheet if you want. Stay tuned for more delicious product recommendations in the weeks and months to come!

Trader Joe’s
3909 Hillsboro Pike
Nashville, TN 37215
(615) 297-6560

Not in Nashville? Click here to find a location near you!

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Raise your hand if you made New Year’s resolutions.

Okay, now raise your hand if one of those was to get healthier and/or lose weight.

Okay, I see a few of you out there. You didn’t know I had spy cams embedded within this blog did you? Oh the marvels of modern technology!

Seriously, for those of you that are trying to be a bit healthier, adopting the Meatless Monday lifestyle could be a good option. Not sure exactly what that means? Just click here to get a better understanding.

When I took the Meatless Monday pledge back in the summer, I was afraid it might be a little difficult to satiate Ravi’s appetite if meat wasn’t a part of the meal. If I were feeding only myself, eating loads and loads of salads would work, but I’ve got my hubby to take care of too, and he needs something a little more substantial.

Turns out that not only has it been pretty simple to cut back on our meat consumption, but it’s actually been a fun challenge to create vegetarian recipes that we enjoy. The key is creating dishes so flavorful that you won’t even miss the meat. Served with a side of cornbread*, a big bowl of this healthy jambalaya is just that.

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Black-Eyed Pea Jambalaya

Inspired by this recipe from allrecipes.com. Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients:

2 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion (about ½ a medium)
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp of chopped parsley (optional)
1 ½ cups vegetable broth
½ cup brown rice
2 (15 ounce) cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles with liquid
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
½ tsp Tabasco
½ tsp black pepper
Salt to taste

Directions:

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and celery, cook about 5 minutes, or until tender. Add garlic and parsley and saute 2-3 more minutes. Pour in the broth, and mix in rice, black-eyed peas, and diced tomatoes with green chiles. Add Cajun seasoning, Tabasco, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 1 to 1 ½ hours, or until rice is tender.


If you bother to click through my links, you may notice that the original recipe I used as inspiration was called a “gumbo”, but technically it isn’t because there is no roux. To me, it really seems more jambalaya-ish, thus, I renamed it so. If you wanted it to be more soup-like, doubling up the broth would help. Just be sure to add some extra seasonings if you do that so you don’t miss out on the great flavors!

*stay tuned tomorrow for my cornbread “recipe”

Black-Eyed Peas on Foodista


Start making plans now to get together with your friends or take your honey out to dinner next week because it’s once again Nashville Originals Restaurant Week!

Starting on Monday, January 11th and running through Sunday, the 17th, Nashville Originals restaurants will be offering special 2, 3, and even 4-course menus for either $20.10 or $30.10!

What will it be for me? Yellow Porch‘s cheddar fritters and Pork chop on Benton’s bacon sweet potato pancakes with sage brown butter? or maybe Midtown Cafe‘s foie gras over truffled bread pudding and butternut sage gnocchi with mushrooms & roasted garlic cream. Or maybe F Scott’s mixed greens with port vinaigrette, pumpkin seeds and crispy goat cheese followed by steak frites with blue cheese butter. Gah, I’m a sucker for blue cheese…and butter…

Well, just see for yourself all the goods up for grabs. Visit the Nashville Originals website to view the menus and map out your plan. Seats will fill up quickly, so better make your reservations asap!

Today’s Big Deal on Half Off Depot is $20 of Provence for only $10. Follow this link to get yours!
In case you need a reminder as to why exactly you should take advantage of this, click here.

The offer ends tomorrow morning at 9 a.m., so don’t dilly dally around~


You might remember me talking about this movie a few months back when it hit the theaters. Perhaps you didn’t rush out to see it then like I did, so now’s your chance.

Serious Eats is giving away 5 copies of the DVD, so go there now* and leave a comment for your chance to win!


*Contest ends at noon Eastern time on Friday, January 8th