In case you didn’t know, May is my favorite month of the entire year. Always full of fun events and happenings like Cinco de Mayo, the Kentucky Derby, Steeplechase, Memorial Day, and of course, the best one of all –My Birthday! Yep, in less than a week I’ll be blowing out the candles on my cake (we won’t talk about how many). But anyone that knows me well knows that I don’t just celebrate the day I was born. It all begins well before that day and pretty much goes until the calendar reads “June”. Kicking off my weekend of birthday festivities this year will be my favorite Nashville food event: Generous Helpings!

If you weren’t reading this blog a year ago, then you missed out on the great time I had at the last event, so you MUST click over and read about it right now. Really, I insist.
Once you read that, it shouldn’t be hard to convince you to come join me this Thursday night at the Nashville Farmers’ Market to devour all the scrumptious food from some of the areas best independent restaurants. 55 South, City House, Eastland Cafe, F. Scott’s, Miel, Park Cafe, Red Pony, Tayst, and Watermark are just a few that will be participating. Of course there are MANY, MANY more, including the new Holland House, which I haven’t had the chance to try yet. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what they’re cooking up.
Since we’re on the topic of participating restaurants, I guess now would be a good time to mention that this year I’ll be serving up food instead of just gobbling it up! You can find me at the Tayst table where I’ll be lending a hand to chef/owner Jeremy Barlow. I don’t know what he has up his sleeve for Thursday, but I know that last year he made this to-die-for bread pudding:


Root Beer Braised Pork Bread Pudding with Sarsparilla Creme and Sea Salt
So be sure to drop by our table to see what unique dish he’s concocted this time and, of course, say hello to me!

What: Generous Helpings
When: Thursday, May 20, 2010
5:30-8:30 p.m.
Where: Nashville Farmers’ Market
900 Rosa L Parks Blvd
Nashville, TN 37208

Tickets can be purchased in advance for $40 by clicking here by 8 a.m. Thursday morning, or after that, you can purchase at the door for $50. Ticket price includes all food samples, beer and wine. Proceeds go to the Second Harvest Food Bank and Middle Tennessee’s Table.


This weekend I picked up some lovely asparagus at the farmers’ market to make this lasagna recipe I cut out of a magazine a long, long time ago. The lady who wrote it said that her “meat and potatoes” husband was hooked on it, so I was hoping mine would feel the same way.

When Ravi asked what I was making for dinner, my answer wasn’t exactly met with unbridled enthusiasm. Thankfully though he’s a good sport and keeps an open mind with my Meatless Monday experiments. 

Success! Rich and creamy, we both couldn’t help reaching for second helpings and look forward to having leftovers this week~
Print

Roasted Asparagus Lasagna

Serves 12. Adapted from Taste of Home.

Ingredients:

2 lbs of fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup shredded carrots
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
2 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp white pepper
Dash of ground cloves
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
12 whole wheat lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
1 -1/2 cups (6 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
1 -1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Place asparagus, mushrooms and carrots in a shallow roasting pan. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp oil, toss to coat. (I actually use my oil mister instead of measuring and tossing). Bake at 45o degrees for 10 minutes or until vegetables are browned; set aside. Reduce heat to 35o degrees.
In a large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper and ground cloves until smooth. Gradually stir in the milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes until thickened. Set aside. In a large skillet, saute onion and garlic in remaining oil until tender. Remove from heat; add roasted asparagus, mushrooms and carrots. Salt and pepper to taste.
In a greased 13 x 9 x 2 baking dish, layer four noodles, a third of the asparagus mixture, a third of the white sauce, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers twice.
Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Uncover; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until heated through. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting.

 

Photo Credit: Asparagus by Esteban Cavrico 

Season 7 contestants of Bravo’s Top Chef were just announced, and guess what? Nashville’s very own Arnold Myint is on the show!!

I love Arnold.

I love his restaurants, Suzy Wong’s House of Yum , Cha Chah, and PM.

I love Top Chef.

As you can imagine, I’m a little bit excited.

Click here to see all of the competing chefs, and be sure to tune in for the season premiere on Wednesday, June 16th!

I’ve been anxiously awaiting the new Burger Up on 12 South for months. As my trip to China drew near, they were getting closer and closer to opening the doors. My hope was that they would open before I left so I wouldn’t miss out on the grand opening…I hate when I miss out on these things you know!

But the day came for me to board my flight and sadly, no Burger Up yet. Fast forward 2 weeks when I arrive back in Nashville after eating loads and loads of Chinese food. With an intense burger craving, I plotted where to go to get my fix. Lo and behold, what do you know? I hadn’t, in fact, missed out on the opening of our new burger joint. Instead I was just in time, as the doors were opening that very weekend!

I’d previously gotten a sneak peek at the menu from Chef Chris Hyler, and was so excited to try so many things, but that night it was all about the burger. And it did not disappoint.

My burger served South Carolina style with Pimento cheese

Big, juicy, and way more than this girl could eat in one sitting, it completely satisfied my hankering for a good ol’ American burger.

We also ordered the Spicy Crab fontina habenero fondue with grilled ciabatta, and it was delicious. Sinful, rich, and delicious.

Some of the other tempting items on the preview* menu and on my list of things to try very, very soon:

Baby spinach salad with warm Benton bacon aged balsamic vinaigrette, grape tomatoes and fried local goat cheese croquette

Roasted beet, local goat cheese, and red onion over mixed field greens with white truffle aged sherry vinaigrette

Sliders 3 ways – Benton bacon and cabot white cheddar, Portobello with blue cheese mornay, Turkey with cherry sage aioli

Po Boy- choice of fried shrimp, crab cake, trout, or oyster, blue cheese house slaw, fresh local tomaotes, spicy lemon lime remoulade

Truffle fries with honey dijon aioli

Fried house pickles with buttermilk ranch

Quinoa and black bean burger with cilantro lime creme fraiche

In fact, I might just make my way over there next Monday night to sample a couple of these since they are participating in Eat Out for Nashville!

Burger Up
2901 12th Ave S
(12th and Paris)
Nashville, TN 37204

*these were on the menu on opening night, but as the weeks go by, they could be making tweaks


As Nashville begins to dry out, many are looking for ways that they can help. Some of you may not be physically able to lend a hand in the clean up efforts, but a week from today an event will take place that should be easy for anyone and everyone to participate in, because all you have to do is eat!

Nashville restaurants and food media are pulling together to organize “Eat Out for Nashville”, a charity event that will benefit the flood victims of Middle Tennessee. On Monday, May 17th, participating restaurants will donate 50% of their proceeds* to the Tennessee Emergency Response Fund of the Community Fund of Middle Tennessee. Doug Hogrefe, owner of Amerigo, is the one responsible for this brilliant (and generous) idea, and was the first one to add his restaurants to the list.

Now the word is starting to spread and others are coming on board, including one restaurant that has barely been in business for a week! Here’s who we’ve got so far:

The Acorn
Amerigo (both locations: West End & Cool Springs)
Baja Burrito
Bravo Gelato (NOTE: Village Green location open until 9 pm Monday night)
Burger Up
Cha Chah
Garden Brunch Cafe (breakfast and lunch only)
Holland House
Jimmy Kelly’s
Lazzaroli Pasta (open 10-6)
Lazziz Persian Restaurant
The Melting Pot
Menchie’s Yogurt*
Miro District
Nana Rosa
Nuvo Burrito

O’Charley’s (click here for participating locations)
Paradise Park Trailer Resort
The Perch
Pied Piper Creamery
Rumours Wine Bar 12 South
Sopapilla’s

Sparkle Cupcake Company
Stoney River (Cool Springs and West End locations)
Watermark
Qdoba- 3 locations:
Nashville: 2019 West End Ave (by Vandy)
Brentwood: 782 Old Hickory Blvd (by Target)
Hendersonville: 300 Indian Lake Blvd (by Regal Cinemas)
9 Fruits Smoothies (50 percent of sales on all “Muddy River” Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothies)

And last but certainly not least, my absolute favorite watering hole, The Patterson House , will be closed on Monday, but is still doing their part by donating 50% of their Tuesday, 5/18 business to the cause!

(List Updated 5/16)

To keep up-to-date on participating restaurants as the list grows, follow @EatOutForNash on Twitter or on Facebook.

All of you Middle Tennessee restaurant owners out there- please email EatOutForNashville@gmail.com or call Chris Chamberlain at (615) 852-7675 for more information on your participation!

NOTE: Most restaurants are donating for dinner only or for specific meals, although some are participating all day. It’s a good idea to call the restaurant in advance to confirm.

*In addition to particpating in Monday’s Eat Out for Nashville fundraiser, Menchie’s Yogurt will also be hosting a Flood Benefit Weekend on Friday 5/14 & Saturday 5/15, giving 10% of their sales to help flood victims. Customers are also encouraged to make additional monetary donations to the fund at the Menchie’s store, and as added incentive, dollar for dollar will be matched (up to $2,000). Each contributing customer will receive a Menchie’s T-shirt (while supplies last).


In case you haven’t heard the news, our beloved Nashville Farmers’ Market has risen from the flood waters and will be open for business today! Please go and support our local merchants as they need it now more than ever!!

Between the flooding of Nashville, my jet lag, and the sickness I picked up on my travels home, this week has definitely been tough. But today is a new day! Last night I got a full 7 hours of sleep (finally), and the stuffiness in my head is beginning to clear so I can actually taste food. Happiness!Now that I can taste food, I’m a little more enthusiastic about sharing the details of my final Hong Kong meals with you. These two meals were absolutely two of the best of the entire trip. If I were choosing a Top 5, they would be in it. First their was Dim Sum:


Crispy Roasted Pork-I’ve learned that the Chinese like their pork, and they do it well!

Jelly Fish– chewy texture, not much flavor

Cha Siu Baau (Barbecue Pork Buns)
served 2 ways:
Baked with Crunchy Top

and
Steamed, fluffy bun

Both~DELICIOUS!

Fried Tofu with sweet dipping sauce – actually couldn’t stop eating these little nuggets!

Noodles with Beef in Dark Bean Sauceagain, had to pull myself away

Spring Rolls

Phoenix Talons –or as we know them, Chicken Feet.

Perhaps not a delicacy to me, but yet, they’re not as bad as they look.

White CarrotCake” (actually not a carrot cake at all, it’s made with radish. Click here to learn more)

Abalone Pastry –this was incredible.

the crust tasted like a sweet corn muffin…oh so good!

Bok Choy with Tomato

Sesame Balls (no filling)

Shumaipork & mushroom dumpling topped with roe (pic below)

That meal could have been my last impression of Hong Kong cuisine, and it would have been a great one. But Samuel knew of my weakness for Thai food, so he made sure my very last meal was at the best Thai restaurant in town – Wong Chun Chun. Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm. Written words cannot possibly express the sheer joy I experienced as all of these flavors danced on my palate.
Thailand Pomelo with Prawns Salad


Oh my goodness. This salad will forever be etched in my memory! Made up of the Pomelo fruit, peanuts, green onion, red onion, sprouts, a dab of fish sauce, and a dash of dried shrimp for seasoning, there is no doubt that I am going to try to recreate this dish very, very soon. The main problem will be the lack of Pomelo fruit, but I think substituting grapefruit might work if I adjust the other ingredients to make up for the added bitterness.
(UPDATE: I just found Pomelo at Publix!! Yippee!)

Pork, Beef, and Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce



Fried Morning Glory
with Balachan
(also know as “hollow vegetable” with
spicy sauce)



Red Curry with Scallops



Prawn Sashimi with spicy, spicy sauce!


And then there was my drink. I’d already had a few of these on the trip and couldn’t resist one more fattening glass of it:
Iced Coconut Milk
Pure Delight.


And that’s where my journey ends. I hope that you’ve enjoyed following along and I’ve inspired you to be a little adventurous in your eating. Try something new and foreign–you never know what new love you might find!

(In case you missed out on earlier posts, just click here, here, here, here, and here!)

Welcome Home?

Well, I can’t say that coming home to Nashville has been exactly what I had imagined. Today was going to be the day I gave you the last post in my China series, but I’ve decided to hold off. Nashville has more to worry about right now than my eating adventures.

In case you haven’t heard, hours upon hours of rain this weekend turned into flooding and now our beautiful city is underwater.

Whether you live here or not, there are many ways you can help, and the Nashvillest.com website has the most comprehensive list of just how to do so.

For those that live here, keep thinking positive thoughts. We’ll get through this. Even if the national news media doesn’t seem to notice or care that we had people drowning, houses floating down interstates, and major landmarks flooding.

For those of you that don’t live here, please just keep sending your love our way. We need it right now.

Photo Credit: Nashville Flood by rachaelmoore