Happy Monday! Meatless Monday to be exact…..
Today’s recipe comes to you from my old college roomie and one of my best buds, Natalie. Let me start by saying that Natalie had quite a unique style of food preparation when we were in college. Our dorm room often looked like a lab test gone awry. Her propensity to use multiple condiments did not always make for the most appetizing of dishes, especially on mornings when I awoke with a raging hangover to the remnants of the previous night’s concoction just inches from my head.
But that was many years ago and we’re all grown up now. My friend is now married, with a baby and a cute house in Kentucky. Gone are the days of microwaved Casserole a’la Nat for dinner. (If I remember correctly that was something like equal parts Lipton rice, butter buds, ranch dressing and mustard topped with crushed up white cheddar rice cakes).
Yes, we’ve definitely changed, and that would be most apparent to anyone that heard our breakfast conversations in the 90′s vs today. Instead of detailing our most recent fraternity party escapades, we now talk mostly about babies, home design/decor and cooking. As we sipped coffee in Natalie’s kitchen a few weeks ago, I inquired as to what she’d been doing with the crop bursting from her little backyard veggie garden. Her eyes lit up and she excitedly began digging for a recipe to share with me.
Vegetable Pie? She assured me that although it didn’t sound terribly exciting, it would rock my world. Even her husband chimed in saying “it may be the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth”. This statement coming from a big, strong, meat-eatin’ man is pretty impressive.
8 oz of fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 zucchini or yellow squash, sliced
1/2 green pepper, diced
3 Tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Garlic salt to taste
1 10-inch pie shell, baked at 325 degrees for 20 minutes
1 tomato, sliced
1 cup mayo (see below for my substitution)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
I'm not a fan of mayo so I substituted Greek yogurt* with the juice of one lemon and a little bit of salt & pepper mixed in for flavor.
Saute vegetables (remember that tomato is NOT a vegetable!) in butter until crisp but not soft. Drain well and add seasonings. Place tomato slices in bottom of pie shell. Add vegetables. Mix together mayo and cheese in small bowl. Spread cheese mixture over vegetables. Bake uncovered at 325 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
As usual, pardon my photography. I promise to invest in a better camera soon, as these little point and shoot digitals just aren’t good at creating true food porn.
One last thing I would like to point out- the vegetable measurements listed above are reduced from the original. This is because I’m pretty sure the Jolly Green Giant was the recipe writer. Seriously, they were double the amount and could only possibly be contained in a ginormous pie shell.
That said, even though I’m giving to you the minimized version, Nat and I both chose to go with the original and make the full amount of veggies. One of two things happen if you go this route- you have leftover sauteed veggies to use in something later in the week, or you create 2 pies. Pie crusts typically come packaged in 2′s anyway, so use them both, then share one with a friend or your co-workers! Just note that if you do this, you’ll need 2 tomatoes instead of 1, and you’ll need to double the mayo/cheese mixture.
I assure you my friend’s cooking style has seen a dramatic improvement from our college days, and this dish backs up that claim. My husband, like Natalie’s, seemed to really enjoy it- 3 pieces in one sitting is usually a good indication. So go ahead, celebrate the adundance of summer produce we’re all blessed with right now and bake one of these for dinner tonight!
*This dietitian’s review of Oikos Greek yogurt (the brand I used), does a great job outlining the health benefits and versatility of Greek yogurt.
Photo Credit: colorful vegetables by computix
Starting off my weekend at the farmers’ market makes me so happy!
I stumbled upon this website featuring the “United Plates of America”, a really unique series of prints by 24-year-old artist John Wayne Holcomb. By taking the outline of each state and depicting it as the food or food-related item he found it most resembles, he created a collection that makes me smile. These would make for great kitchen decor- I just wish my favorites held some sort of meaning or connection to me. People might find it a bit odd if I had Connecticut hanging on my wall.
Here are a few of my favorites:
My sister lives there, but I’m not sure that’s a good enough
reason to hang it in my kitchen
Have I mentioned that I love peas?
Cheerios are just so cute!
Who doesn’t have fun with spaghetti and meatballs?
Do you think this would scare off my dinner guests?
Click here to read the story behind the series and here to find your state or just peruse all 51 posters. I guarantee you’ll find something that will make you smile. (be sure you read the artist’s comments below each framed art piece – especially Rhode Island and Hawaii!)
Today is the day. Nashville’s very own Tasti D-Lite is opening for business!
I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks, and now it’s finally here. This afternoon’s visit to the store on West End will mark my first d-lite-ful experience. (sorry, I couldn’t resist)
I’m excited for several of reasons. First being that this frozen dessert is all natural. They don’t use any artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners. No NutraSweet, Splenda, and Aspartame here, just a small amount of the real thing- sugar.
Combine that with the fact that it’s low calorie, low fat, and low cholesterol and comes in over 100 tasti flavors, and already I feel a habit forming.
They even have a cool Tasti Alert feature on their website that allows you to enter your email or mobile number so you can receive notification when your favorite flavor is on tap.
Our local store will feature six flavors a day- always including vanilla and chocolate, plus four others that will change daily. No word on the website as to what flavors are on the menu for Nashville today, but I’m hoping for Cake Batter, Coconut Mounds or Peanut Butter Fudge.
UPDATE: 6 p.m. Today’s flavors are: Pina Colada, Coffee Toffee, Buttercrunch and Raspberry Chocolate Truffle. After sampling, I chose Pina Colada topped with kiwi. Please be careful when consuming your frozen treat, and don’t do like I did. In my haste, I somehow cut the corner of my mouth on my plastic spoon. If you know me and how clumsy and accident prone I am, this will not surprise you.
2418 West End Avenue
Nashville, Tennessee 37203
Mon-Thurs 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Fri 11:00 am – 10:30 pm
Sat 11:00 am – 10:30 pm
Sun 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
photo credit: tasti d-lite by mag3737
As you know, I was in Minneapolis last week. What you don’t know is that of my many visits (more than I can count on all my fingers and my toes), I had THE best meal I’ve ever eaten in the Twin Cities. When my friend Stephanie told me about this place months ago, she said the reservations could be tough to get, so we should go ahead and make plans well in advance. In her words, 112 Eatery was”mad good”. How could I pass up that kind of endorsement?
When we walked in the door, I understood immediately why it could be difficult to get reservations, and it wasn’t just the fantastic aromas wafting from the kitchen. The front door opens up into a small, almost cramped dining room with seating for no more than 40 or 50 people. But yet, the tight quarters felt cozy and inviting. The air around us was energized, making me feel like I’d just stumbled upon a really fun neighborhood party.
Once we made our way through the narrow passage to our seats, our server arrived with small dishes of olives and almonds to snack on. The almonds were the perfect combo of a little spicy and a little sweet, and totally addicting. When I was able to pry myself away from them and turn my attention to the menu, we quickly chose few items to share, but hit a wall when it came to selecting entrees. Since the menu isn’t particularly descriptive, we enlisted our server to expound on the dishes. I’m not into poetry or music, but I love listening to people describe food- is that weird?
Once armed with sufficient information, here’s what our party of 3 ordered:
Seared Scallops w/Oyster Mushrooms
Maybe the most perfectly cooked scallops I’ve ever had. And the mushrooms? OMG. Will someone please do this in Nashville?
Seafood Cutlets w/ Leek Radish
This was one of those times it paid be inquisitive. By name alone, this dish could have been completely overlooked by us. “Seafood cutlets” as the menu read didn’t exactly turn any of us on. But our server’s eyes lit up as she described them to us, and we were sold. Shrimp, scallops, and crab make up these little cakes of perfection, all pan seared and served with a rich curry sauce. Oh what a mistake it would have been to pass up this dish!
Nori Encrusted Sirloin w/ Ponzu
Talk about a huge piece of meat. It was delicious, but no way I could have eaten it all on my own. Sharing dishes is definitely the way to go.
Halibut w/ Rock Shrimp and Curry Sauce (not pictured)
Roasted Asparagus w/ Crayfish Sauce (not pictured)
Lightly breaded, browned, caramelized cauliflower
blanketed with a sprinkling of fresh grated parmesan
. This is how you eat cauliflower.
I love peas, but honestly I probably wouldn’t have ordered them off the menu since they are listed simply as “Shell Peas”. Not exactly intriguing. As you can see, I didn’t even bother to take a picture of them before we started our meal. I mean, they’re peas. Thank goodness Stephanie insisted because, dear lord, they may have been the highlight of my night. I even stopped in the kitchen before we left to ask what they put in them. Roasted garlic, butter, and parmesan. That simple? Are you sure there wasn’t crack in there?
As we left 112, I turned to Steph and said, “I don’t know how I could come back to Minneapolis again and NOT eat here.”
Over several email exchanges yesterday we plotted what we’re going to order on my next visit. Yes, this is my life.
112 N 3rd St
Minneapolis, MN 55401-1633
Photo credit: best meal in town by smcgee
Today I introduce you to the Meatless Monday pledge. Haven’t heard about this movement yet? The idea is simple: take a break from eating meat once a week, for both your health and the health of our environment.
I’m perpetually looking for ways to improve my health when it comes to eating, but I’ll admit that I haven’t always considered our planet’s health when making my dinner choices. Watching Food, Inc. changed that. Since then I’ve been inspired to make some adjustments in my lifestyle to help our planet in any small way that I can. The movie (which I still strongly urge everyone to see), advised that giving up meat just one day a week is one of the top 10 ways to improve our food system. To further drill home the point, Michael Pollan, author of “In Defense of Food” said on Oprah recently that if everybody in America did just that, it “would be the equivalent of taking 20 million mid-size sedans off the road.” That’s one powerful visual. I know it’s a bit hard to imagine how giving up that piece of chicken could do that, so click here to visit the official website to learn more.
Now don’t go thinking that I’m going vegetarian on you- not going to happen. I like meat too much to give it up altogether. But consuming a little less of it? That’s easy. And what better time of year to start than summer, when fresh produce is plentiful? So for the next few weeks, I’ll start off the week sharing with you some of my favorite meatless recipes in hopes that they will inspire you to adopt Meatless Monday in your own life.
For this first installment, I’ve got a zesty summer salad that makes for an easy weeknight supper. It’s light, fresh, and bursting with flavor!
Summer Chickpea Salad
Makes 2 servings. Adapted from Serious Eats.
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 small fresh red chili, deseeded and minced
2 handfuls red and/or yellow cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
Juice of 2 lemons
2 Tbsp + 1 tsp Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, roughly torn
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
6 ounces feta cheese
Combine the onion, chili, and tomatoes with their juice into a bowl. Dress with olive oil and most of the lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper.
In a small skillet, drizzle 1 tsp olive oil over medium heat and add the chickpeas. Cook for a few minutes until hot and creamy and just beginning to color. Add them to the bowl and allow to marinate and cool.
Once cooled, toss the herbs and season again to taste, adding any remaining lemon juice if needed. Serve with the feta cheese loosely crumbled on top.
For more facts, tips and recipes, visit the official Meatless Monday website.
To celebrate the launch of their new Black Raspberry Vodka, Belvedere is hosting a Girls Night Out Sweepstakes where one lucky girl and 7 of her friends will be treated to a night out on the town! (sorry, no boys allowed!)
The grand prize includes: 2 mini suites at a luxurious hotel, one night out in the city with +7 friends (party of 8) including dinner at a local hot spot and access to a trendy lounge/nightclub. Belvedere will purchase 2 bottles and limo transportation for 9 hours.
To enter go to macerationisnatural.com and click on the “win a private maceration party” link. Hurry, contest ends July 31st! (you’re allowed to enter once a day, so set yourself a daily reminder and increase your odds!)
I’ll make a deal with you now: If I win, I bring 7 of you. If you win, you have to bring me. Fair?
Don’t be sad if you don’t win the grand prize. Second prize is none too shabby- a full day of spa services at a luxury spa in your hometown/closest major city.
If you’re wondering what the heck maceration is…it’s Belvedere’s distinctive process of soaking vodka in fresh fruit.
Previously I mentioned that you can find me on Twitter these days, but I don’t think I mentioned how totally awesome I think it is. I’m following several restaurants, local businesses, and news sources that help keep me up to date on all happenings, deals and steals in the food and drink world.
Why do you care? Simple. When there’s good scoop, I’m tweeting it, and all you have to do is watch the right sidebar of my blog to find the latest and greatest. I weed through it and deliver only the stuff I think lots of you would be interested in. Oh, and I also let you know what I’m eating all day long- you care about that, right?
So be sure to come back here periodically throughout the day and check out my discoveries. For example: Yazoo and Virago are moving to the Gulch, a link to a coupon for Provence, a way to buy 1/2 off gift cards to the Capitol Grille, and me announcing that I just spotted Niki Taylor at Whole Foods. Exciting stuff, right?
PS- if you decide you want to start tweeting, follow me @betheats!