If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know how I feel about eating locally. Not only do I support local restaurants as much as possible, but I also go to the farmers’ market a few times a month to stock up on local produce, meats and cheeses. I feel strongly that we should all be doing our part to decrease our carbon footprint and bring money to our local economies. That said, I try to stay up-to-date on the subject, so when an opportunity arises to add to my knowledge, I jump at it. This includes reading articles and books and watching documentaries or television shows, which is what today’s post is about.
There’s a show on PBS called Live Green Tennessee that shares with its viewers how to live greener, more healthy lives by interviewing local farmers, gardeners, and neighbors. On tonight’s episode, Franklin’s own Chef Jason McConnell, the owner of Red Pony, SOL, and 55 South, will be the guest host! He’ll be discussing the use of local products and their benefits as well as demonstrating how to make cornmeal catfish, local goat cheese grits, and green tomato chow chow. Tune in tonight or set your DVR so you don’t miss it!

Who: Jason McConnell, chef/owner of Red Pony, Sol, 55 South
What: Live Green Tennessee TV show
When: Monday, June 14th at 7 pm
(encore presentation Friday, June 18th at 8 pm)
Where: PBS
Photo Credit: Green Olive Media

A couple of weeks ago, tayst Restaurant and Wine Bar closed for some top secret renovations/remodeling. Chef owner Jeremy Barlow wouldn’t spill the beans to anyone (not even his staff!) on what his plans were, so naturally I was super curious to see the new space the minute it opened. On Tuesday, I did just that when I attended an “extreme makeover”-themed dinner unveiling the new look and feel of the space. The changes are awesome, especially all the new windows that really brighten and open up the dining room. I’m not giving away any other details though because I think you need to go check it out for yourself!

What I will share with you is what was on the menu for our dinner that night. As always, it was a delight…playful and inventive, and of course, delicious!

“Extreme Makeover: tayst edition”

Cheek Augmentation
braised veal cheeks, basil, tomatoes, lemon

Tummy Tuck
roasted pork belly, summer squash, sorghum

Breast Augmentation
duck breast, orange cream tapioca, crispy beets

Rib Removal
beef short ribs, potato two ways, reduction

Nose Job
berries, rose, hibiscus tea, custard, phyllo

And now something else I’m really, really excited about: the new menu that’s available only at the bar! There are plenty of nights when I don’t really want a full meal, instead choosing just to have a few nibbles with my cocktails. Now I (we) can do just that at the tayst bar. All the selections look really tempting and super affordable. I can personally vouch for the Nachos, as they are the same ones we served at Generous Helpings when I volunteered to help the chef with the tayst table.

tayst BAR MENU

Grit Fries

Sloppy Joes
bread pudding, duck confit chili, tater tots…4 / 2 for 7

Tomato Salad
basil, balsamic, olive oil….3

lamb, dumpling crackers, white fire sauce….5

The Nachos we served at Generous Helpings.
Everyone loved them, especially the white fire sauce!

Caramelized Cheese…2

Ice Cream Sandwich
chocolate doughnuts, bacon ice cream….4

In addition to the new bar menu, the new summer menu has been launched as well, and it looks fantastic, so take my advice and go check out the “tayst-lift” very soon!

tayst Restaurant
2100 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37212

Tues-Thurs: 5-10 pm
Fri-Sat: 5-11 pm
Bar Opens at 4 pm Tues-Sat

If you’re looking for a way to beat the heat this weekend, then head down Franklin Road to Miss Martha’s Ice Cream Crankin’! Fun for the whole family, you’ll find more than 500 gallons of homemade ice cream to sample. Ranging from the most basic vanilla and chocolate to the bizarre (I won’t name any names, but believe me, there were some strange ones last year!), there is something for everyone.

Speaking of last year, my friends Amanda, Charmaine and I had an absolute blast tasting dozens and dozens of flavors! A few of the flavors that especially excited us were:

Cina Snapmade with ginger snaps…and you know how I love ginger!

Pecan Piereally did taste just like pecan pie

Sweet HeatI’m sure you remember me mentioning before how much I like a little sweet & heat

T Cake Brittlemade by the Tennessee TCake lady

Coconut Almond I’m almost always a sucker for anything coconut

The event, a fundraiser for the Martha O’Bryan Center, is hosted by Purity Dairies, and is not all just fun and games. There’s a serious competition going on too, you see. A panel of judges chooses one flavor from all of these creative concoctions that Purity will actually mass produce for one year. Pretty cool, huh?

The 2009 winner was Raspberry Chocolate Truffle, which unfortunately I skipped over thinking it sounded too ordinary. My bad. That won’t happen this year. No, this time my goal is to taste every flavor. I think I can do it. Although I may need some Tums afterward.

My happy friend Amanda at last year’s event

What: Miss Martha’s Ice Cream Crankin’
When: Sunday, June 13th
4-6 p.m.
Where: The lawn* at First Presbyterian Church
4815 Franklin Pike

The cost for tasting dozens of flavors is $10 in advance ($13 at the gate) for adults, $8 in advance ($10 at the gate) for children and free for children under 2. For more information on the event, parking, and how to buy tickets in advance, click here.

Grab your family, a couple of friends, or your honey and come out to enjoy all the cool, creamy creations on Sunday! Hope to see you there~

*One helpful hint for you girls–you’ll be doing quite a bit of walking around in the grass and like any lawn, there are some bumps and lumps, so wear flat-soled shoes. This is not the place for heels or wedges!

As much as I enjoy going out to dinner with my girlfriends, I actually think I prefer our leisurely Sunday brunches more. Usually no one is in a big hurry to get anywhere else, so we’re able to linger for hours over coffee and mimosas as we not only catch up, but really dig deep into conversations.

Just recently I had one of those very brunches at a friend’s house. This tomato tart was my contribution, and it was a big hit with everyone in attendance. Served with some muffins and fresh fruit, it’s a simple, yet flavorful summer breakfast dish. An added plus? The rice crust makes it gluten-free!

Tomato Tart

Serves 4-6. Adapted from Cooking Light.


1 (10 oz) package frozen long grain brown rice (like Steamfresh)
2 Tbsp of pesto
1 Tbsp grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
cooking spray

1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1 large egg
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
3 small plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To prepare crust, cook the brown rice according to package directions. Combine cooked rice, pesto, Parmesan cheese, and 1 egg; firmly press mixture into the bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Remove dish from oven.

Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees. To prepare filling, combine milk and next 5 ingredients (through 1 egg) in a bowl; stir with a whisk.

Sprinkle half of the mozzarella into the bottom of prepared crust. Top with half of tomato slices. Repeat procedure with remaining mozzarella and tomatoes. Pour milk mixture over tomatoes. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Reduc oven temperature to 325 degrees (do not remove tart from oven); bake an additional 35 minutes or until set. Cool 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with basil. Cut into wedges.


Leah’s entry comment: “Wow, I had never heard of this place, but the pictures on their website look so delicious. It’s a toss up between taking a fellow foodie friend for a new experience and gabbing over every detail of every morsel because we love food, or taking my mom. I like to introduce her to new restaurants so this would be perfect! Thanks for the giveaway!”

Miel Restaurant

Congrats Leah!! I just sent you an email with the Miel Groupon attached. Enjoy~

Last night it was brought to my attention that I have a very short amount of time left before my $50 Groupon for Miel* expires. Unfortunately, my calendar is jam-packed with activities between now and the expiry date of June 14th. So guess what? Since I don’t think there is any way possible that I’ll be able to make use of it, my loss is your gain! I’m giving it away to one lucky reader!!

All you have to do is leave a comment telling me what you’ll do with it. Will you go to dinner with your best friend? Take your honey out for your anniversary? Give it to your starving-artist-musician neighbor? The only thing I ask it that you put it to good use since I’m not able. It’s too good to waste!
Since there isn’t much time left on the calendar, the contest entry window will be short. I’ll use random number generator to choose the winner at noon tomorrow (June 5th), so don’t delay, enter now!
*For more details on the specifics of the Groupon, click here.
343 53rd Ave N

Nashville, TN 37209
(615) 298-3663

Tue-Thu 5:30pm-10pm

Fri-Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm

Remember my friend Kathleen who was selling her cheeses last summer at the farmers’ market? Well, she’s back and better than ever! Kathleen has launched “The Bloomy Rind”, a cheese stand with a selection of hand-crafted artisan cheeses that can be found at the Nashville Farmers’ Market every Saturday. Over the past few months I’ve been fortunate enough to be a taste-tester on occasion as she sampled incredible cheeses from around the country. Now I’m a faithful customer, not because she’s my friend, but because she has the best stuff around! Honestly.

This past Saturday I couldn’t make it over to the farmers’ market, so about midway through the Sweet Relief bake sale, I sent Kathleen a text asking if she could drop by The Green Wagon with her wares. I couldn’t go a whole week without my fix! She happily obliged, and now these chunks of goodness are all mine:
Dunbarton Blue (shown above)
Mmm, buttery, cheddary/blue combo

Barely Buzzed
my most beloved of the bunch, it’s rubbed with coffee and lavender, creating a totally unique flavor
the rind is rubbed with sea salt and honey– oh wow.

Yep, I am totally cheesin’ out over all of her selections, and I’m not the only one. The Bloomy Rind recently got some love from local food writers and Generous Helpings attendees on the Nashville Scene Bites blog. Click here to see what they were saying.

Basically what I’m telling you is this- if you like cheese, then you simply MUST go visit Kathleen at the Nashville Farmers’ Market. She has the best, most interesting selection in town. Hands down. And if you follow her on Twitter @TheBloomyRind, or on Facebook, it’s quite likely you’ll be the first to know what new things she’s discovered. Or you can check out her blog for a list of each weeks’ offerings. Just do it. You won’t be sorry!

The Bloomy Rind
Saturdays 10 am – 2 pm
Nashville Farmers’ Market
900 Rosa L Parks Boulevard
Nashville, TN 37208

Last summer when I judged the Nashville Lifestyles’ Bartender Bash, I was introduced to Domaine de Canton, a French ginger liqueur comprised of baby ginger, cognac, Provençal honey, vanilla, and ginseng. With a subtle sweetness and spicy kick, I was instantly smitten.
It is now a staple in our home bar and I’ve enjoyed using it to create new cocktails. Actually, the liqueur is smooth enough to enjoy on its own or on the rocks, but recently I discovered this refreshing drink using just a few simple ingredients I just happened to have on hand:

The Ginger Sparkler
2 parts natural Sparkling Lemon Soda
1 part Domaine de Canton*
Squeeze of 1 fresh lemon wedge
Serve on the rocks
Garnish with candied ginger
It’s Memorial Day, so why not try something new? Head to the liquor store now and buy a bottle. You can thank me later.
*If you want the drink to be a bit stronger and more gingery, you can do equal parts liquer and soda. FYI- I purchase my Domaine de Canton at The Wine Chap