Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Serendipitous Dining

After a meeting at Metro Pulse late this morning, I headed to the Wednesday Farmers' Market on Market Square. The Wednesday market sometimes gets overshadowed by the bigger market on Saturdays, but skipping it is a mistake. For example, Tony and Nora Ricono of Abundant Harvest Farm are only on Market Square on Wednesdays. Other days they are at Laurel Church of Christ, the Jackson Square Market in Oak Ridge, and others. A while back I stumbled upon their vegan nutburger patties (two for $3) and loved the tasty, moist, healthy burgers. So I headed over to pick up some patties for lunch.

Can't you tell these are loaded with goodness? And you never know what else you'll find.

While chatting with Tony and Nora, who offer quite an array of products, I was attracted to another of their offerings: a pizza made with garlic, fresh basil, and roasted tomatoes. I couldn't resist taking one home.

Could you have resisted? I don't think so. 

On the way home, I decided some kale salad from Just Ripe would be the perfect accompaniment to both my nutburger lunch and our pizza dinner. This salad--made with kale, chopped apple, and sunflower seeds--has become a favorite. 

Back at home, I thought I had some hummus to smear on the bun with the nutburger, but, surprisingly, I was out, so I surveyed some of my options.

None were quite right, so I went with old reliable Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard. Here's my Nutburger with a side of kale salad:


For dinner, I heated the pizza in a 400 degree oven for a few minutes. It looked and smelled divine.

This is a simple pizza with few ingredients, but you could dress it up, add cheese, other toppings. I liked it as is with a side of kale salad.

That's what we're having.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cleansing: Good for the Soul and the Palate

Sometimes it’s good to clean out the refrigerator and pantry. And fun to see what kind of meal you can put together with whatever happens to be on hand.

On hand: sweet potatoes from friend Dennis Perkins’ garden, chopped cabbage left over from apple slaw earlier in the week, a red bell pepper, celery, noodles, and all kinds of spices and seasonings. Can this random assortment be turned into a good meal? Of course, it can.

Dennis’s sweet potatoes come in crazy, gnarly shapes.

But you can tame them. Here they are peeled and cut into rounds for Savory Baked Sweet Potatoes. 

Here’s what you do:

Preheat oven to 350. Mix 3 T. Dijon mustard, 2 T. olive oil, 1 clove minced garlic, red pepper flakes and salt to taste. You’ll end up with a soft paste.

Coat sweet potatoes with mixture. Place on baking sheet and cook until tender, 30-45 minutes, turning once.  These were awesome!

Next up: Spicy Stir Fried Cabbage. This recipe was my inspiration. I omitted the carrots and used sliced red bell pepper and sliced celery because that’s what I had on hand. The star anise (I used double the recommended amount) added delightful flavor.  Pretty!

I found a great recipe for Sesame Noodles. This easy sauce is made from ingredients I always have: garlic, sugar, vegetable oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and chili sauce. You just mix and heat the sauce.

 Looks wickedly good, doesn't it? Cook the noodles, toss them with the sauce, and garnish with sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds.

Savory Baked Sweet Potatoes, Spicy Stir Fried Cabbage, and Sesame Noodles. 

All spicy and all good. That's what we're having.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Winning Combination

No one attends a political event for the food. Those jokes about "rubber chicken" have some basis in fact. So when Bill and I and our friend Cynthia Moxley headed out last night to an event for Madeline Rogero at the home of Greg and Jennifer Dunn, I didn't expect tasty victuals.

Surprise! Within a few moments of arrival, we were offered a lovely tray of appetizers.

My favorites were the tiny blue cheese and pine nut tarts and the endive stuffed with spicy pimento cheese, but the curried chicken salad on toast, sausage-stuffed mushrooms, and tomato bruschetta were delicious as well. I discovered the reason for the delightful spread when I spotted Northshore Brasserie's Stephanie Balest and her crew.

Awesome job, Brasserie. The tasty tidbits were a great lead-in to the "meat" of the evening: the arrival of the candidate.

Standing on the stairs with the Dunns, Madeline discussed the campaign, her record and vision, and the need for everyone to VOTE on November 8. Early Voting began yesterday, and many who were present had already voted, including my husband Bill who always votes as soon as he can.

Madeline has my vote for mayor, and Northshore Brasserie's appetizers were a winner last night.

A winning combination: That's what we're having.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Knox Mag Food Fun

One of the things I will miss most about the demise of Knoxville Magazine is the shared love that Janet Testerman and I have for food. We often joked that if we had our way, it'd have been called Knoxville (FOOD) Magazine. We sneaked in a food story (and cover) whenever we could. I think our bias for local food and locally-owned restaurants was pretty clear. No apologies there.

But did you know? In all of those stories we did about picnics, tailgate parties, brunches, holiday parties, whatever occasion might call for a party...there were no professional stylists involved. It was just us.

The food? We cooked it. The recipes? Those were ours. The photo shoots? We raided our shelves and closets for props. The locations? Our homes and those of our friends. Our budget? Less than nothing. The fun we had? Immeasurable.

Our love of food bonded and  fueled us--in front of the camera and behind the scenes. So, it's no wonder that when Janet came over to my place to work today, as has happened so often, we had a lunch of leftovers we just couldn't wait to share with each other.

First up was Janet's chicken tortilla soup. I think cilantro is often overdone; this soup had just the right cilantro-flavor.

And then there was the Short Rib Stew with Pumpkin and Cranberries.

And I added my Marinated Shrimp and Oranges.

We are the fun and food loving women who've brought you Knoxville Magazine--and that's what we're having.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Meet Me at The Orangery

It's not hard to find a place for a club or organization to meet monthly, but it's hard for a regular/standing committee of 6-10 people to find a good place to meet monthly for lunch. Sure, you can reserve a table at any restaurant, but for a serious committee meeting, everyone needs to be able to hear everyone from one end of the table to the other--and not be heard at the next table. That requires private space.

The Knox Heritage Special Events Committee, which meets on the third Monday of every month to plan all kinds of events for the preservation organization, has discovered that The Orangery meets our committee's needs. They have small meeting rooms plus reasonable lunch prices, great service, and a central location.

When you arrive for your meeting, you'll be greeted by Jane Kendrick, who is always helpful and pleasant.

I usually order the quiche and side salad, which is what I ordered the very first time I had lunch at The Orangery when I moved to Knoxville in the late 70's. They still do it as well now as they did then.

I miss the Eggs Benedict, which is no longer on the menu, but its absence makes my lunchtime order simpler. You can't go wrong with the quiche.

There are other options.

Pamela Chips loved the Beef Tips.

Becky Hancock praised the Boursin Chicken.

 That's what we're having. Besides having a good meeting .

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Shrimp Creole

A couple of days ago I developed a craving for Shrimp Creole. So...tonight was the night.

All chopped up and ready to go: scallions, onions, green pepper, and celery.

I don't exactly follow a recipe, but here's one very similar to what I do: Shrimp Creole Recipe from Nola Cuisine. Here are the first few ingredients in the pan. Too bad this isn't a scratch and sniff. It smells heavenly.

It's traditional to serve Shrimp Creole with fluffy white rice, but I didn't have any, so I served it with brown rice.

I wouldn't have chosen apple slaw as the accompaniment, but we had some left over, and it's really good. You can find the recipe on page 30 of the October issue of Knoxville Magazine--a collector's item in case you haven't heard. I add a slice of leftover olive and herb bread.

That's what we're having.

Savory French Toast

I'm not a huge fan of French toast, and the sweeter it is (loaded with syrup, sprinkled with confectioners' sugar), the less I like it. But I'm married to a man who loves French toast, so I've come up with a compromise: savory French toast. Today's version was complemented by an omelet (made with herbs, sun-dried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, some bits of prosciutto, and Parmesan cheese).

After running up the street to Just Ripe for some day-old olive herb bread, I gathered my ingredients.

I bought that jar of tomato jam at Colonel Mustard's in Highlands, NC last year. Yum!

Here's the last piece of French toast in the pan.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the stove, it's almost time to flip the omelet.

Almost time to serve the toast and jam.

And the omelet.

Savory French Toast with Tomato Jam and Omelet Filled with Good Stuff.

That's what we're having.