Monday, March 26, 2012

An Eventful Lunch

After Liz got a good report from the physical therapist today, we celebrated with lunch at Holly's Eventful Lunch, an offshoot of Holly's Eventful Dining.

What a great idea--Holly posts a different menu every week. All we have to do is show up and enjoy.

We interrupt for a Public Service Announcement: Come to Dogwood After Dark this Thursday at Knoxville Museum of Art and enjoy Holly's dance-inspired appetizer menu. It's going to be a fabulous party--great food, lots of beverages--including the signature beverage, the Dogwood Dazzle. Dance, dance, dance. And fun, fun, fun. Trust me. Would I steer you wrong?

But whatever the season, every day, every week, check out the lunch menu at Holly's Eventful Lunch. Make friends with Holly on Facebook and get the menu each week. She's making it pretty, too. Love the vintage tablecloths. And look at these tulips in a mason jar.

I thought the artichoke-lemon soup I had last week was the best soup ever. Maybe not. Today's garlic- pistachio soup may just have been better. You can't go wrong with either one. Here's the garlic-pistachio soup.

At Holly's suggestion, I ordered the garlic roasted flank steak with guacamole, cumin, Locust Grove Cheese, lettuce, and tomato. I ordered the half sandwich (so I could have the small cup of that divine soup). Wonderful!

Liz ordered the same thing--but as a wrap.

Even the check was cleverly delivered--in a mason jar.

I recommend that you have an eventful lunch soon. That's what we're having.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Dancin' in the Rain

Knox Heritage Executive Director, Kim Trent, and I spent this afternoon near Harrogate, TN taking photos and touring an upcoming Knox Heritage Summer Supper location. We are working on the booklet for Summer Suppers 2012.

To be among the first to learn about this Summer Supper and all the rest of the 2012 Summer Suppers, go to and become a major donor. It costs $1000 per year for a household and comes with all kinds of benefits, including dibs on purchasing tickets to the popular Summer Suppers series which will start in June.

As long as we were in the neighborhood, Kim and I stopped for a few minutes in Cumberland Gap, a tiny town near the TN/VA border. Neither of us had ever been there, and we've vowed to go back. We think we spotted a George Barber house among the homes near the main street. I'm pretty sure Kim will be sharing that photo on FB.

There are a couple of restaurants, some antique stores, a bed and breakfast, and other interesting sites. Kim was drawn to the bicycle museum. I, seeing a post office with window boxes, remembered we were out of stamps and figured the lines might be shorter at this post office than at any in Knoxville. It was a good call!

One friendly clerk, no waiting--and aren't these pretty?

Here's a look down main street in Cumberland Gap on a Monday afternoon. Charming, but a little slow. I'm betting they draw bigger crowds on the weekends.

I liked this sign I saw in a store window: "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass; it's about learning to dance in the rain." I can identify with that.

A chance to be a tourist for just a few minutes in the middle of a workday. That's what we're having.

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Whiny Moment

Late last week I discovered that I have been driving my car illegally for many months. Yikes! How did that happen???.

My 2003 Prius sustained minor hail damage last spring. The damage was so minor that I didn't even see it for a few days--until the sun hit it just right and I could see some tiny, tiny dings. They weren't very noticeable, but, still, it seemed like a good idea to get the car repaired--It may be 9 years old, but it only has 60,000 miles on it, and I intend to keep it for a very long time.

Here's my car. I love it even more today than when I drove it off the lot in February 2003.

Imagine my surprise when my insurance company declared my car totaled. I decided to keep the car "as is" and accept the check State Farm offered me. Easy peasy, right?

Turns out I didn't know about some very important paperwork that was supposed to be filed in order to continue driving a "totaled" vehicle. I discovered this only when I recently tried to renew my tags. I also learned that I can't legally operate my vehicle until the paperwork (which can take 6-8 weeks I've been told) is completed and I can get new tags.

I'll admit that I'm fortunate to have a lifestyle that does not require much driving. I probably average one car trip a week. I buy gas so rarely that I hardly think about it. I can always borrow Bill's car, which sits in the Locust Street garage because he hardly drives either.  It's an Accura in a pretty shade of red.

I drove it to Bearden today, and I couldn't wait to return the Accura to the garage. I know I'm being whiny, but I can't believe how much I miss my car. I'm not the kind of person who names a car. I know it's a piece of machinery. But I love my car. It's like a broken-in comfy pair of shoes. (For the record, I don't like buying new shoes either.)

So, please, Tennessee Department of Revenue, have a heart. I'll look for those papers every day, anticipating the moment when my car and I are reunited. Until then, I'll be mostly on foot--wearing comfy shoes.

A bit of a whiny moment--that's what we're having.

An Appalachian Feast

After yesterday's appearances by Kathy Mattea and Barbara Kingsolver at A View from the Mountaintop, a fundraiser for LEAF, a large group, hosted by Dawn Coppock, came over to Cook Loft, a luxury condo on Gay Street (which, by the way, is a great place for a party) for the music of the The Lonetones and an Appalachian Feast prepared by Kim Trent and me and several friends. Here are some scenes from the event.

The Lonetones

The Table (with gorgeous Lenten Roses courtesy of Mary Lawrence Woodhull)

Deviled eggs

Biscuits (awaiting ham)

Fried chicken & fried okra from Chandler's

Bologna sandwiches--which brought forth the discovery that Mary Pom Claiborne and JT Bradley know way too much about cooking with processed meat products.

Pimento cheese and Ritz crackers


Peanuts (to go with the RCs, or the PBR, or the sweet tea, or the wine (from Bob's Package Store). I missed getting a shot of Melinda Meador doing a great job as bartender. I think I was too busy slapping mayonnaise on bologna and white bread.

And a selection of desserts: Sugar Daddys, Moon Pies, Goo Goo Clusters, and candy cigarettes

Great music. Fun food. An important cause. An amazing thank you sign created by Mary Lawrence.

And an opportunity for Kim to indulge in one of her favorite foods, fried chicken.

That's what we're having.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Apple Crunch Pancakes

It's fun trying to recreate something I've eaten. One recent experiment came pretty close. During a recent visit to Georgia to meet Bill's cousin Richard & his wife (our cousin-in-law) Gigi, we had brunch at a place we'd not heard of before, J. Christopher's. It's a small chain, serving breakfast and lunch only, with locations mostly in the Atlanta area. We liked it a lot.They're expanding through the southeast, so maybe one will show up in Knoxville. You can never have too many places serving a good breakfast.

Everything comes on Fiesta Ware, which I love. Here's my mushroom, spinach, and swiss cheese omelet, grits, English muffin, and big mug of Constant Comment tea.

Except for the tea, Richard had the same brunch as I did. Bill & Gigi ordered blueberry crunch pancakes.

These were so delicious I wanted to see if I could make them. I think I came pretty close, especially considering we didn't have any blueberries.  Here's what I used.

Buckwheat pancake mix.

Granola + chopped Granny Smith apples, my stand-in for the blueberries.

Here's the method. Pour batter onto the griddle. Sprinkle granola and fruit on pancakes. When bubbles appear, flip pancakes very carefully so that you don't lose the granola and fruit when you flip.

If I'd had blueberries, I think my pancakes would have been almost identical to those at J. Christopher's. I believe blueberries would be better because they're juicier than the apples.

A warming drawer is handy when making batches of pancakes.

For the last batch, I decided to see what would happen if I threw the granola and apples into the batter instead of sprinkling them on top before flipping. Hmmm. There are granola and apples in that pancake--somewhere.

Turns out the sprinkle then flip method is essential to producing good blueberry (or apple) crunch pancakes. That's what we're having.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Delicious Greens!

As much as I rely on online sources for recipes and other food-related information, I still love a good cookbook.

Right now I'm enjoying The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook (recommend!!!), a gift from my friend (from way back in high school), Mark Kelly, public relations & advertising manager at Lodge Manufacturing.

Since I recall Mark as loving food but not necessarily cooking it, I was surprised to see a few recipes from him included in the cookbook. Turns out they are recipes he prepares on his Lodge Sportsman's Grill. I was so impressed with Mark's praise of the grill that--after some online research and reading many positive reviews--I ordered one for us. It'll be perfect in our small outdoor space, and if I ever take up camping (unlikely!), I can take it along with me. Guess Mark's pretty good at PR & Marketing...

While waiting for my grill to arrive, I made Southern Greens Soup. You're supposed to make it in a Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven, but since I don't have one of those, I used my grandmother's hand-me-down heavy iron dutch oven, which worked just fine.

The recipe was simple, and the results were delicious.

Turnip greens with white beans and (turkey) Polish sausage. That's what we're having.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Fun Time on the Road with Knox Heritage

The Trolley Tour--in an historic neighborhood of your choice--is a popular auction item at the Knox Heritage fall fundraiser, The Scruffy City Soiree. Read about last year's Soiree on my friend Cynthia Moxley's blog, The Blue Streak. Last year's high bidder for this tour, Kirk Finnerty, chose the Kingston Pike, Lyons View, Sequoyah Hills neighborhood, and yesterday he and a group of his friends, spent a couple of hours on a tour, narrated by Knox Heritage Executive Director, Kim Trent, complete with festive beverages and boxes of snacks. I was in charge of snacks. What do you serve 3:30-5:30 to a group of folks riding on a trolley? Here's what we came up with.

Ham Biscuits

Fruit Skewers

Savory Skewers

And for a little bite of something sweet, Lindor Dark Chcolate Truffles.

Ready to hit the road in the boxes (donated by our friend Stanton Webster, general manager at Nama Sushi Bar).

Here's the happy group at the end of the tour. That's Kim Trent on the far left, and Kirk Finnerty on the far right.

See you in September at Scruffy City Soiree 2012 at The Foundry.