Along with spring comes one of my favorite vegetables, asparagus! I enjoy eating it very simply prepared–roasted with a little olive oil, garlic salt and pepper. I’m afraid my husband would get terribly bored if I made it that way time and time again, so every now and then I like to jazz it up a bit.

This dish is one that I’ve made for us numerous times and I’ve served to dozens of dinner guests. It never fails to get rave reviews, with many friends requesting the recipe. Be on the lookout for asparagus as it starts making an appearance at the farmers’ market, and snatch some up to give this a try!

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Jasmine Rice with Asparagus and Cashews

Serves 8 as a side dish or 4 as a main dish. Adapted from Allrecipes.com.

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp Butter
1/2 cup minced onion
2 tsp minced garlic
1 ¼ cups uncooked Jasmine rice
2 ¼ cups chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
¾ lb - 1 lb of fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2" pieces
¾ cup cashew halves

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Increase heat to medium, stir in onion and garlic, cook about 2 minutes until tender. Stir in Jasmine rice, and cook about 5 minutes. Pour in broth. Season mixture with salt and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed.

While rice is simmering, place cashews and asparagus on baking sheet, spray with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Place in oven and roast for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and when rice is ready, stir the asparagus and nuts into the rice mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.


Asparagus on FoodistaAsparagus

Photo Credit: Asparagus Jungle by mkrigsman

I met him. I met him! Thomas Keller, chef extraordinaire. And you know what? I’m really thankful he went down that road in life instead of the other career route he could have so easily taken.

He could have had a pretty rockin’ calligraphy business. Do you see this beautiful penmanship? Gorgeous.

Me and my new BFF, Thomas Keller

TK is a tall man. Of course, I’m pretty short. He was very sweet and tried to stoop down to my level. Next time I’ll wear heels.

Thanks Chef Keller for making Nashville a stop on your signing tour. It made this girl very, very happy!

Here in Tennessee we can bring guns to bars, but we can’t buy a bottle of wine at the grocery store. I’d say it’s time for change, wouldn’t you?

If you live in Tennessee and haven’t joined Red White and Food, the campaign to allow wine sales in our retail food stores, I urge you to do so today.

For more information and to show your support, visit their website and their blog, become a fan on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.

And last but not least, if you’re free this evening, join other cool, like-minded people at Flyte for a glass of wine (or two, or three….). Flyte has fantastic happy hour prices on drinks and food. Click here to see for yourself!

What:
Red White and Food Happy Hour

When:
TODAY

Thursday, March 25, 2010
5:30- 7:30pm

Where:
Flyte World Dining & Wine
718 Division St.

Looking for something to do this Friday night? Then head over to the very chic Hutton Hotel for Mixology, where music, fashion, art, cocktails and cuisine will converge, resulting in an experience that all are sure to enjoy. Some of Nashville’s top restaurants, like Boundry, 1808 Grille, Watermark, Miro District, Wild Ginger, and Bosco’s will be serving up tasty dishes to sustain you as you sip cocktails and take in the sights and sounds around you.

What: Mix-o-lo-gy

When: Friday, March 26, 2010
6-10 p.m.

Where: Hutton Hotel , 1808 West End Ave


$50/person OR $90/couple
($60/person at the door day of)

Click here for more information and here to purchase tickets in advance.


Note: This is a 21+ event

You’ve probably noticed from previous recipe posts that my favorite sample lady at Whole Foods often inspires me to try new things. Last week when I was there picking up lunch, the first taste of this flavorful salad compelled me to turn my cart and begin gathering all of the ingredients I needed to make it myself.

This recipe for Tabbouleh is a bit different in that it uses quinoa instead of the traditional bulgur, making it not only gluten-free, but also upping the protein so it can easily stand alone as a vegetarian main dish.

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Quinoa Tabbouleh

Serves 4. Adapted from Whole Foods.

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa, cooked according to package directions
1 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
5 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup diced red onion
2 cups small grape tomatoes, halved
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded, thinly sliced
Juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup toasted walnuts*
Sea salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine all ingredients together in a large serving bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. Serve room temperature or chilled.

*any kind of toasted nut could be used. Suggestions for additional ingredients include dried cranberries, feta cheese or goat cheese

 

Quinoa on FoodistaQuinoa

Be sure to set your DVR or tune in tomorrow night for the sneak preview of renowned chef Jamie Oliver‘s new show, Food Revolution on ABC.

Chef Oliver, who transformed the British school food program, has come to the U.S. to start a new initiative to improve our eating habits and he’s starting in Huntington, WV, recently named the Unhealthiest City in America.

Sneak Preview: Sunday March 21st at 9 p.m. Central
2-Hour Premiere: Friday, March 26th at 7 p.m. Central

So you didn’t heed my advice and rush to the theater to see the Food, Inc. movie when it came out last summer? Still haven’t bothered to rent it now that it’s on DVD? Well, it’s time. Oscar Nominated for Best Documentary Feature and endorsed by Oprah, this movie will open your eyes to our nation’s food industry, giving you lots of food for thought.

I don’t get on my soap box much, but this is something I feel very strongly about. I truly believe that every single one of you should see this film. For those of you living in Nashville and the surrounding areas, you can view it for FREE next weekend.

Re/Storing Nashville is partnering with Ingredients for Change to host a free Food, Inc. screening at Belmont United Methodist Church next Saturday, March 27th. Come see it with me!

Click here for more details

Don’t live in Nashville or can’t make it next Saturday? Well, that’s okay. You may not be able to see it on the big screen, but very soon it will be right on your TV screen in the comfort of your own home. That’s right- on April 21st, PBS will be airing Food, Inc. for all to see!

Click here for a video preview and more information on the PBS schedule.

 

You know, sometimes I don’t have a cool story that goes along with my recipes. Today’s dish is just one that I personally love and have prepared probably more times than any other chicken dish. I’ve been making it for several years, and it’s a relatively easy weeknight dish to prepare. Not only is it super delicious and simple to make, but the ingredients are staples in my cabinets, so when I don’t feel like putting much thought into dinner, I’ve got this! 

If you haven’t heard me mention before, I’m also a sucker for the combination of spicy and sweet flavors, and this is just that. Think bbq chicken with a twist…. 

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Sweet and Spicy Chicken

Serves 3-4. Adapted from Allrecipes.com.

Ingredients:

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts*
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp butter
1 (14.5 oz) can stewed tomatoes, with liquid
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp spicy brown mustard
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce

Directions:

In a shallow dish, combine flour, 1/2 tsp salt and ground black pepper. Coat chicken breasts with flour mixture. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat, and brown chicken on all sides. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels.

In the same skillet, combine the tomatoes, water, brown sugar, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt, chili powder, mustard, garlic, red pepper flakes and hot pepper sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and return chicken to skillet. Cover and simmer for 35-40 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink.

*I've found that many packs of chicken breasts come 3 to a pack with each breast weighing approximately 7-8 oz each. When using chicken breasts that are this size, I like to flatten them a bit with mallet and cut them into 2 pieces, making 6 pieces that are about 4 oz each. You certainly don't have to do this, I just prefer it.