I’ve really been wanting to post this for a few weeks, but I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to write as much as I would like. Today I decided I could put it off no longer. Reason being, the holidays are upon us, and I want to spread the word about the wonderful holiday treats available at Provence!

For those of you that don’t know, Provence is a local artisan bread bakery that specializes in French-style breads, pastries and other scrumptious cafe fare. It’s a great place to meet friends for lunch or pick up an impressive dessert for a dinner party.

I’ve been following @ProvenceBreads on Twitter for quite some time, and knew from the conception of my “Tweet Me Right” feature that they would be one of the first Nashville businesses I would highlight. (If you haven’t been following along, click here to see what I’m talking about)

Here are just a few examples of why I love them:

1) Highlights Special Events and Happenings

Holiday sampling from 11am-2pm at Hillsboro Village location with Terry and head baker Keith. Come out and see us… http://bit.ly/5p7kGq

Tomorrow’s Fall Fest at Hillsboro Village store is shaping up beautifully! Follow this link for a PDF of event details http://ow.ly/d/u5

The Coffee Fête starts at 10:00a.m.with discounted coffee drinks, tastings, free cookies, and door prizes-come join us at Green Hills!

2) Discounts for Twitter followers!

Twitter promo…Green Hills store-buy a loaf of bread and get your large Intelligentsia coffee free. Please mention “friend of twitter”

Free toppings with Yummi Yo Yogurt purchase in Green Hills today. Regular Tart and today’s flavor is Lemon.

Sweet Tweet-lemon tartlette at Hillsboro and Green Hills free today when you mention Twitter-until they’re gone

3) Supportive of Other Local Businesses

http://twitpic.com/nawxt – Our friends the Delvins have the best organic sweet potatos-today is the last market of the season!

@MannaEast Wonderful! We are so excited about your opening and many of us are east nashvillians, we can’t wait to become customers!

Cafe Margots for brunch…thank you Margot for doing such a great job with our bread…Sun. brunch was so delicious. Bloody Mary’s rock too!

4) Informative -New Items, Specials and Menu Features

Today’s soups at Hillsboro Village: Traditional Spiced Pumpkin, Lentil (chicken stock based) and Pork Hominy.

We now have two savory tarts. Tomato/blue cheese and Mushroom/Madeira/Goat cheese all @21st. Come and get them.


5) A Taste of Paris
When @ProvenceBreads went to Paris, he shared photos and tidbits from all of his fantastic meals and tastings. It was such a pleasure to feel like I was sharing in the experience. Ahh, Paris.

Just arrived in Paris. What a beautiful day-can’t wait to start my food journey though I’m so jet lagged. Got my tastebuds and camera ready!

My fist stop in Paris is the fromagerie downstairs from my apartment, just got enough cheese for a week-some old favorites and some new ones…


I have had the best pastry day in Paris-trying to organize the pastry shops with photos of the pastries I’ve eaten or am about to eat :)

Paris-Carl marletti-classic “tarte aux fruits” done like i’ve never seen or tasted. From the crust to the fruit-perfect

Owly Images

6) Appreciative and Responsive:

@devinmcc Thanks for the thumbs up on the portabella/moz/onion panini…that’s my favorite sandwich! We appreciate your business.

@kimu Thanks for the bread mention! Stop by the market next week and let me give you some samples of some really awesome pastry as well.

Received news while in Paris that we just won Best of Nashville Scene for Best Bread, thirteen years and running, I’m thrilled and humbled..

So there are just a few reasons I’m diggin’ Provence. They’ve gotten me in their door more than a few times since I’ve been following them, and some of my personal menu favorites are their Golden Beet Salad with roasted beets, pepper bacon and goat cheese over mesculun greens, their crustless quiche, and the Lamb Panini with artichoke pesto and oven-roasted tomatoes on rosemary olive oil bread (only served on Mondays). I’m dying to try the Roast Pork Loin with oven-roasted tomatoes and rouille served on sweet potato pecan bread. Unfortunately, it’s only served on Thursdays and I just haven’t been anywhere in the vicinity on a Thursday since I work so far away. One day….

And then of course there are all of their amazing pastries and sweets. I’ve had the pleasure of sampling more than a few, and so far haven’t found a single one I don’t like! If you’re looking for some special holiday treats, get over to Provence and pick some up- your friends and family will love you!

Nashville Locations:

Hillsboro Village
1705 21st Ave S

Green Hills
Hill Center
4031 Hillsboro Rd

Downtown Library
601 Church Street

For more locations and hours, click here.

For the Twitterers out there, be sure to follow @ProvenceBreads!

Say Cheese!

To my utter delight, the nice folks over at Président Cheese sent me a gift package last week to use for holiday entertaining. It included 3 of their new Brie logs as well as a beautiful Acacia wood serving set.

(Me and Brie? We get along. Do you remember how I served it this summer at a cookout? Serious Yum.)

With my annual girls’ after-Christmas party looming on the horizon, this package could not have come at a better time. Typically I would have already started to create a list of appetizer ideas, but not this year. Work is pretty crazy right now, and I haven’t had much time to play the foodie role.

Enter Président . Président Cheese that is. I checked out their site and am totally impressed with some of the recipes. There is no doubt I’ll be turning to them for some holiday bites inspiration. For instance, this is a definite:

Prosciutto Wrapped Brie with Figs


4 dried figs, quartered lengthwise
2 tablespoons fig preserves or jam
¼ teaspoon Italian herb blend
Pinch red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper to taste
6 oz. Président® Brie Log
4 thin slices prosciutto ham
1 teaspoon olive oil

Combine figs, preserves, Italian herbs, pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Cut Brie log in half lengthwise. Top one half of Brie with fig mixture and place other half of Brie on top, sandwiching the figs in-between. Lay the prosciutto slices out lengthwise, slightly overlapping the edges, and place Brie near one end. Gently, roll prosciutto around brie tightly. Heat olive oil in sauté pan large enough to hold log and sauté log, turning to crisp prosciutto on all sides. Remove from pan and serve with bread, crackers, or toast.

As wonderful as that sounds, I’ve got something even better for you. I’m not just here to tell you a story of how great my gift is and how I’m going to use it. Instead, I’m going to share with you. That’s right, this lovely serving set with accessories could be yours!

As you can see, the rich wood board comes with a pull out storage drawer that houses three stainless steel serving utensils: 1 cheese spreader/serrated knife, 1 cheese fork, and 1 hard cheese knife. (For more details on size, etc, click here.)

Now all you have to do to enter the contest is leave me a note in the comments section telling me your favorite cheese appetizer. One entry per person, please.

Bonus: You can get a second chance by twittering about this giveaway or posting it on your own blog. You’ll just need to come back here to the comments section and post a link for me to see.

Please be sure to enter a valid email address when leaving a comment so I can get in touch with you. If you can’t be reached, I’ll be forced to choose an alternate winner and we don’t want that now do we?!?

Contest ends Sunday, December 20th at midnight (CST) and the winner will be announced first thing Monday morning! Say Cheese!

Contest open to U.S. Residents Only.


Photo Credit: President Cheese website

Homemade baked goods can be great gifts, but if you’re anything like me, you may have struggled with how to package them in a pretty way.

Well, not any more! King Arthur Flour has just come out with a whole selection of bake-and-give pans that I love for several reasons. Not only are they attractive but they also make the process so much easier. Just bake, allow to cool, throw some cellophane around ‘em, tie ‘em up with some cute, brightly colored ribbon and you’ve got your gift!

I’ll no longer have to worry about tearing up my loaf of bread as I’m taking it out of the pan and even better, there will be less for me to clean up. No more scrubbing metal loaf pans between bakings…yippee!

So what’s my plan? Well, I’m ordering the mini loaf pans shown above (a set of 12 is only $6.95) and baking up some tasty Pumpkin Gingerbread. After receiving rave reviews from family members, it has become my absolute favorite holiday bread. You’re more than welcome to steal my idea or come up with your own.

Click here to find the perfect bake-and-give pans for your needs, and once you do, use promo code RT91212 to get 20% off your order!




Print

Pumpkin Gingerbread

From allrecipes.com. Yields 2 - 9x5 inch loaves (or 6 small loaves)

Ingredients:

3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2/3 cups water
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two 9x5 in loaf pans. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, oil and eggs. Beat until smooth. Add water and beat until well blended. Stir in pumpkin, ginger, allspice, and cinnamon.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, soda, salt, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and blend just until all ingredients are mixed. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick comes out clean, about 1 hour.

A couple of the other King Arthur Bake-and-Give Pan options

Photo Credit: King Arthur website


It’s so, so, so, so cold right now that all I really want to do is snuggle up by the fire in my pj’s. But a girl’s gotta eat, so I’m on the hunt for recipes that warm my bones. This chili does just that.

You might remember my trip to Pittsburgh, and the visit to Parma sausage, where I scored some chorizo. I’ve been trying to decide what to do with it, and this recipe was perfect. With it’s kick of spice it’ll heat you up in a hearbeat! So yummy….



Print

Chorizo and Black Bean Chili

Adapted from Cooking Light. Serves 6.

Ingredients:

1 (7 oz) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
Cooking spray
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped green pepper
3/4 cup chopped red pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 oz chorizo sausage, diced
2 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained
2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup whole kernel corn
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Directions:

Remove 1 chile from can; finely chop, reserving remaining chiles and sauce for another use.

Heat a large Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add chile, onion, bell peppers, garlic, and chorizo; saute 5 minutes or until tender. Add chili powder and next 7 ingredients (chili powder through corn), stirring to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, stir in salt and pepper.

Sorry I don’t have a photo of the chili for you. On this particular night I wasn’t in blogger mode, just starving, tired Beth mode. Next time I’ll try to remember to snap a pic and post it here, because there will definitely be a next time very soon!

Photo Credit: Fireplace by arild

Chorizo Sausage on Foodista

I’ll be the first to admit that Science was never my strongest subject. Okay, so my worst subject. But this beer tasting that the Adventure Science Center is hosting might be right up my alley. I bet I can pass with flying colors…ummm, that is if we’re getting graded ;-)

Yazoo Brewing
and Lipman are bringing together regional and local breweries with a wide variety of brewskies to choose from while ASC’s education team will be conducting live beer demonstrations. Yes, educational, but fun. They’ll even have a beer-themed scavenger hunt! That’s much better than when I had to hunt for wildflowers in high school biology.


What?
The Science of Beer

When?
Tuesday, Dec. 22nd
6:30 – 9:30 pm

Where?
Adventure Science Center
800 Fort Negley Boulevard
Nashville, TN 37203

How Much?
$20

Click here for more details and to purchase tickets. Only a limited number are available, and none will be sold at the door, so if you want to go, better jump on this opportunity now!

Photo Credit: Pretentious? Yes by isforinsects


Tonight was the night. I just met P-Dub, The Pioneer Woman herself! And she’s just as cute and sweet in person as I thought she would be.

And she liked my bright blue rain boots!

I was dying to know what hotel she was staying at, but was a little afraid to ask in case she thought maybe I was a stalker. But I asked anyway, and clapped my hands in glee when she said The Hutton Hotel! Guess who sent her a message on Twitter suggesting it? That’s right, me!! And she remembered the suggestion!

My freshly signed cookbook:

Thanks Ree, I will.

Every household has to have at least one of the three, right?

Christmas is approaching at breakneck speed, so here’s a few more inexpensive gift ideas to give you inspiration:

The Cook

Olive Oil Mister

I’ve mentioned my Olive Oil Mister a couple of times before, and it really has become one of my favorite kitchen gadgets. I use it when grilling veggies, oiling pans, misting the tops of breads, crusts, and anything with crumb toppings. Once you have one of these you’ll never buy another can of cooking spray again.

They can be purchased online here, or you can buy them at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, which is where I got mine. Use one of those 20% off coupons they inundate the market with and it’s a steal for only $8!

The Baker

Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat

This is one item that I don’t own (it’s on my Christmas wish list!) but everyone I know that has one raves about it. Apparently for anyone that does much baking it’s a kitchen essential.

The experts can say it better than I, so here’s the scoop: “SILPAT can turn any pan into a non-stick surface. SILPAT is especially great for working with sticky materials such as gooey batter, taffy, caramel, or anything your imagination allows. Nothing sticks to SILPAT, so it will save you a lot of time cleaning as there is no more sticky mess on your pans!”

As much as I love to cook, I really, really despise the clean up, so anything that helps me out in that arena is a blessing. Click here to purchase or learn more.

The Drink Maker (i.e. The Bartender)

Spherical Ice Trays

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you probably saw my raves about the ice at Patterson House. If you didn’t, then you really must click here now and familiarize yourself with the topic and get the background story on this particular item.

These ice trays may be the best gift I’ve ever given the hubby. This past weekend when Ravi’s friend joined us for drinks I was once again reminded of the magic. Every home bar should have a set- not only do they work to help make better drinks (no watered down drinks since they melt at slow rate), but they also make for great conversation and are aesthetically pleasing. Much more interesting than regular old ice cubes!

Click here for more info or to purchase at the MoMA Store- the ONLY place you can get these!

 

Remember Alana, the winner of the Cooking Light subscription giveaway? She had my mouth watering with her favorite holiday food comments, one of which was her mom’s Walnut Pumpkin Pie. I begged for the recipe, and she was kind enough to send it to me, so I figured- what better time to test it out than Thanksgiving?

It garnered raves from the whole family, particularly my brother-in-law (loved it!), as well as my hubby. This is quite a surprise given the fact that when Ravi asked what I was baking he wasn’t exactly excited, as he’s not a fan of pumpkin pie. He’s usually a good sport though and tries my dishes, even if he doesn’t think he’ll like them. I promised him it was much, much better than a typical pumpkin pie.

Actually, Ravi dubbed Alana’s version with its nutty, crumbly, topping and graham cracker crust THE BEST pumpkin pie he’d ever tasted, and I would have to agree!

Print

Walnut Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients:

1 - 6 oz graham cracker crust
1 - 15 oz can pumpkin
1 - 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp each ginger, nutmeg and salt

Topping
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 Tbsp cold butter
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425. In a mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, egg, and 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Add ginger, nutmeg and salt. Mix well. Pour into graham cracker crust.

Bake 15 minutes. Remove pie from oven.

Reduce oven temperature to 350. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Cut butter in until crumbly. Stir in walnuts. Sprinkle all over top of pie.
Bake 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

Walnut on Foodista