By the time you read this I’ll probably be up in the air, in a cab, or making my way down Michigan Avenue. Yep, I’m going to Chicago for the weekend!

Great meals ahead, one of which will include Perennial (above)

And of course plenty of great drinks as well,
including The Violet Hour (above)

Have a great weekend and I’ll be back next week to share my adventures!


Photo Credit: Post No Bills (The Violet Hour) by PPoHio

Today I’m introducing a new series I’m calling “Tweet Me Right!” that will cast the spotlight on some of my favorite food and beverage Twitterers. Over the next few months you’ll get to hear stories of my experiences, how I’ve taken advantage of their offers and what sets them apart from their competition.

Note: I’m in no way claiming to be a marketing guru or expert, but since I do have a degree in PR and Marketing, I feel like I know a little something about promoting a product. I really can’t fathom why any restaurant in their right mind would not be using FREE social media to market themselves. Yes, it does require a bit of time, but compared to the cost of a huge advertising campaign, it seems a few minutes a day would result in a pretty good ROI. (if done correctly of course)

So I really want to give props to those Twitterers that are doing it right–those that make themselves memorable and accessible by communicating not just what they’ve got on special for the day, but what music they’re listening to, what they’re eating, what they think about our local sports teams, etc, etc. Oh yeah, and those discounts and special offers? Yeah, those will be a big part of my reporting as well. We all love a good deal, right?

Over the past few months, I’ve frequented at least 8 businesses (yes, I counted) that I had never stepped foot in before I started following them on Twitter. The magic of Twitter* is happening: they’re getting me in the door, I’m spending money, and I’m talking. Alot. Stay tuned to learn which restaurants, bars, and retailers are winning my dollars and why!

*if you aren’t familiar with twitter, refer to my previous post here

Visits to the farmers’ market make me happy. Perhaps you’ve noticed my enthusiasm from this post, or maybe this one, or this one? But now that colder weather is setting in, I’m feeling a bit blue as the variety of choices at the market dwindles. Eating seasonally and locally during the summer when gardens are bursting with fresh produce is a breeze, but now I’m beginning to wonder what I’ll be cooking for the next few months. After tonight, I should have a better idea.

Team Green is sponsoring a free event at the Nashville Farmers’ Market so we can all learn what Tennessee produce is in season for this time of year, making it a bit easier to keep it local through the colder months. They’ll demo local food options and even teach us how to decipher between locally grown, organic and heritage breeds.

And the best part? Samples of tasty holiday recipes! Rumor has it that there might even be some organic beer and wine for the sampling…..

FREE Event
Open to the Public
Tuesday, November 3rd
6 – 8 p.m.
Nashville Farmers Market
NFM Market House

900 Rosa Parks Blvd.

For more information click here to go to the Team Green website.

Years ago my friend Lauren passed this recipe along to me after she discovered how delicious it was, and I stuck it in my recipe box where it sat until yesterday. Shame on me for not making it before now, because Lauren is a very wise woman, so of course she was absolutely right about this. She and I both have a weakness for Indian food, and this dish definitely has some Indian flavor to it. Even the hubby who isn’t a big fan of pumpkin thoroughly enjoyed it- even asking for a second bowl! Mmmm, I can’t wait to eat the leftovers this week.

Go ahead, make a big pot and let it warm you on one of the fall or winter nights ahead!

Print

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

Adapted from Rachael Ray, Food Network. Serves 4 -6.

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cups vegetable stock
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes in juice
2 cans (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans (15 oz) pumpkin puree
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp curry powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Coarse salt
Fresh ground pepper
20 blades fresh chives, snipped for garnish

Directions:

Heat oil in soup pot over medium heat. When oil is hot, add onion and saute 5 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, black beans and pumpkin. Stir to combine ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and stir in cream, curry, cumin, cayenne, salt, and pepper to taste. Simmer 5 minutes, add more salt and pepper to taste, and serve garnished with chopped chives.




Venus and Mars may be having the best Halloween Party in Nashville this weekend, or at least the one offering the best in food and cocktails! Their “Peer Through the Looking Glass” Party will include Patterson House hypnotic cocktails ($10 entrance fee includes 2 complimentary potions) and treats from Peace, Love, Tea and The Cupcake Collection. That’s right, no tricks here, only treats- really, really awesome treats!

You may recall my affection for Cupcake Collection and my obsession with Patterson House, but you haven’t yet heard me squawking about Peace, Love, Tea. That’s because they are a very recent discovery – just a few days ago in fact. Yes, they were another wonderful find at the Produce Place Fall Fest! Their Earl Gray Hot Chocolate was fantastic, as were the Mini Chocolate Cupcakes with Chai Buttercream Icing I brought home. (The icing was so delicious that I sent out a tweet wishing for a whole vat of it- and they tweeted back saying they could hook me up! Probably shouldn’t take them up on that offer though if I want to keep my girlish figure)

Anyway…these ladies do alot more than hot chocolate and cupcakes- they throw modern tea parties and offer lots of catering options (that look scrumptious by the way), so I’m looking forward to getting to know their products better in the future, and Friday night’s party seems like a good place to start. Wonder what’s on the menu?

Click here to buy tickets in advance for $10 (or pay $15 at the door). Tickets are also available at the Venus and Mars store on Belmont or at Third Man Records. I’ve heard there are limited tickets left, so it might be a good idea to buy yours now!

Friday, October 30th
7 pm – 11 pm
“Peer Through the Looking Glass” Halloween Party
Venus and Mars – The Showroom
2009 Belmont Blvd, Nashville

If you live in Nashville and claim to be any sort of foodie, then you’ve heard of Olive & Sinclair Chocolate. They’ve been the buzz of the Nashville Scene Bites blog for some time, were named “Best Chocolate” in the Scene’s recent Best of Nashville issue, and The Tennessean featured them in an article on local artisans last week.

So exactly what is “Southern Artisan Chocolate”? Their wrapper says it best: “Slow roasted and stone ground in small batches, select single origin beans are combined with pure brown sugar for a smooth and robust flavor that’s unique to Southern Artisan chocolate. Our combination of traditional methods, modern European technique and classic southern flavors make Olive & Sinclair the new old fashioned chocolate.”

For even more details about the company, click on any of the links in my first paragraph to hear how the company got it’s start and what they’re all about. Plenty of others before me have done a good job at covering that stuff.

Today all I’m here to talk about is the ridiculously amazing new chocolate bar they’re launching this week: the Mexican Style Cinnamon Chili (62%). Goodness gracious, just when I was trying to cut back on my chocolate consumption, they go and pull this thing out. And you’ve probably noticed my predilection for spicy things…especially a little sweet-n-heat.

When I stopped by their table at this weekend’s Produce Place Fall Fest I had my sights set on sampling the Salt & Pepper bar I’d heard so much about on Bites. Since I’m already a big fan of the Sea Salt bar, I was pretty sure the Salt & Pepper would win my heart as well. Well, it did, but then they introduced me to it’s hotter cousin and I was at a loss for words. The other bars I could see myself dating, but this one, this one, could make me settle down. I might just want to carry on a long-term monogamous relationship! The rich, intoxicating chocolate soothed me, the warmth of the cinnamon enveloped me, then the chili tickled my throat a tiny bit- ah, such a tease.

For those of you that might be afraid of the hot factor, don’t be. It’s a very, very subtle heat. The cinnamon creates a great balance for the chili flavor, so the combination is truly heavenly.

Deliveries of this new bar should be made to The Produce Place in Sylvan Park this week, so drop in and buy one to try for yourself. Indulge. You deserve it.

Where You Can Find Olive & Sinclair Chocolate:

The Produce Place on Murphy Road
The Green Wagon both locations Five Points & Murphy Rd
The Turnip Truck on Woodland
Imogene + Willie on 12th South
Bongo Java S 11th St/Belmont Blvd
Caldwell Collection Bandywood Dr
Grimeys 8th Ave S
Fido on 21st Ave

Crema downtown Nashville
Marche’ Artisan Foods Main Street East Nashville
Lazzaroli’s Germantown
Whole Foods Green Hills & Cool Springs
Hen Peck Market Franklin

You don’t live in Nashville but would like to purchase? Don’t fret! Just send them an email to info@oliveandsinclair.com.

Other Available Olive & Sinclair Chocolates: 67% + Kosher Salt & Cracked Pepper, 75% + Coffee Bean, 67% + Cacao Nibs, 75% + Sea Salt, 67% Ghana/Dominican, 75% Ghana/Dominican

Olive and Sinclair
1404 McGavock Pk
Nashville, TN 37216

615-262-3007
oliveandsinclair.com


It’s apple picking season and even though I’m not one to go tromping through the orchard for them, I’m more than happy to buy a few at the farmers’ market, which is exactly what I did last week.

So what’s the first thing most people think of making with an abundance of apples? Apple Pie, of course. But me, I’m not a big fan of apple pie (I know, that’s almost un-American). And besides that, I don’t really consider myself a baker.

Cooking and baking are two very different creatures. What I love about cooking is that I can get creative, sometimes just throwing a bunch of ingredients together to create a fabulous dish. Or I can take an existing recipe and use it merely as a guideline, making all sorts of modifications to suit my own personal tastes. But not baking. Baking requires a level of precision for things to turn out right; exact measurements are key to the success of the product. Some have likened it to a chemistry experiment. And if you had been in my high school chemistry class, you would never, ever want me to bake anything for you.

But when I saw this cake pop up in my Google Reader, I got pretty excited because- A) it looked scrumptious and B) the final product seemed a bit messy and imperfect. I figured even if I messed it up and it turned out ugly, it would probably still taste pretty awesome. And I was right! Moist and delicious with the perfect caramelization of the sugar and butter….mmmmm….

Print

Iron Skillet Apple Cake

from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Ingredients:

4 small Granny Smith (or other tart) apples, peeled, cored, and cut into six equal slices
1 3/4 sticks butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 stick butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream*
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 small Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped finely

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a 9 to 10-inch skillet, melt butter over low heat. Add 3/4 cup sugar to the pan and stir around, then place apple slices, curved side down, in the pan. Don’t pack them too tightly, but try not to leave overly large gaps. Allow this to cook over medium-low heat while you make the cake batter.

In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In another large bowl using an electric mixer, beat 1 stick of softened butter and 2/3 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla and eggs. Add sour cream and mix well. Gradually add flour mixture until just combined. Gently stir in 1 chopped apple.

Remove skillet from heat. Drop the batter in large spoonfuls over the top of the apples as evenly as you can. Then with an offset spatula, carefully spread the batter evenly over the apples without pressing too hard. (The butter will bubble up on top of the batter in spots, and that's okay, because remember, it doesn't have to look perfect). Next, put it in the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until cake is golden brown and bubbly.

Now you have two choices- you can serve straight from the skillet, or if you're serving to guests and want a prettier presentation, you can transfer to a cake plate.

Just allow the cake to sit in the skillet for five minutes, then invert onto a serving plate. Ta Da!

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream

*I used light sour cream. Not sure that the light sour cream really “lightens” the dish since there are almost 3 sticks of butter, but hey, save calories where you can, right?

My haul from today’s trip to the Nashville Farmers’ Market Harvest Celebration and the Produce Place Fall Fest!


Green Bag Lady FREE bag, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Zucchini, Eggplant, Broccoli, Local Dark Wildflower Honey, Rebekah Grace milk, Sweet Potatoes, Green Peppers, Bobby John Henry Best Baked Goods Roasted Red Pepper Garlic Parmesan Focaccia, Noble Springs Goat Cheese, Olive and Sinclair Sea Salt Chocolate Bar, Peace Love Tea Chocolate Cupcakes with Chai Buttercream

Stayed tuned in the weeks to come for more details on some of these local businesses!

I couldn’t resist snapping a pic of the pretty pumpkins and gourds at the farmers’ market.
I love Fall!