Friday, September 28, 2012

Homemade Mushroom Soup

It's fall and you know what that means....bring on the soup!!  Since we had to have something that we could eat while in front of the tv in order to watch the Emmy's (clearly) I thought I would scour Pinterest for the litany of soup recipes I have been pinning since the last time the high was in the 60's!

Here is to the many soups to come and to fall....my favorite season!


Homemade Mushrooms Soup
2 cups fresh mushrooms - cleaned and chopped finely 
(I used a mix of swiss brown and white button)
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic - chopped
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 - 2 bay leaf
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 tbsp flour dissolved in 1 tbsp water
Salt to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
Dash of nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Fresh parsley or thyme for garnish

Heat olive oil in a sauce pan. Add butter and lightly sauté garlic on medium heat.
Add in mushrooms, thyme, bay leaf and Worcestershire sauce. 
 
Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the moisture from the mushrooms disappears.  Add in chicken broth. Stir occasionally until broth boils, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add diluted flour in, and stir constantly (while simmering) until the mixture thickens. Season with salt and nutmeg. Taste and adjust seasoning.  Finally, add milk and heavy cream, and bring to a simmer. Turn heat off.  Serve hot in your soup bowl. Add freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with fresh parsley or thyme if you have them on hand. 
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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Queso Fundido


I am constantly on the look out for amazing appetizers.  I have said for years that I could truly make a meal off of appetizers alone...no need for an entree here!  Just keep bringing me little plates filled with delicious goodness and this little girl will be happy.

In my ongoing Pinterest search for all things wonderful I came across this recipe and was immediately reminded of my best friend, Nicoll.  

You see we often times go to our favorite mexican restaurant, Cinco de Mayo, and each time we listen as Nicoll explains (with great enthusiasm) the finer qualities of the burrito fundido.  

Evidently, it is life changing!

By the end of her monologue we are all doubled over laughing with her as she takes a deep breath to collect herself once more.

With all of this to be said, when I came across this recipe on Pinterest I knew I had to make it, if for no other reason than to get another great chuckle over the love my dear Nicoll has for her favorite mexican dish!

Queso Fundido with Chorizo
as adapted from www.smells-like-home.com

1 tbsp olive or canola oil
2 chorizo links (about 6 oz total), 1/2-inch diced
1 tomato, seeded and diced
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 large jalapeño or 2 large serranos, seeded and diced
3 tbsp tequila (optional – we forgot to add it)
8 oz Mexican melting cheese like Chihuahua, quesadilla or asadero (or a combination of Monterey Jack and sharp cheddar)
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped

Heat the oil in an 8- or 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo 
and cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes; drain off most of the liquid. 
   
Add the tomato, onion, and jalapeño and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion begins to soften and brown, about 7 minutes. 
  
Add the tequila (sorry Brother, I grabbed the good stuff) and cook, stirring, until reduced to a glaze.

Sprinkle in the cheese. 
Stir slowly and constantly until just melted then stir in the cilantro. 
 Serve immediately in a warm dish with chips for dipping.

Then we have to have the inaugural "scooping picture"..
Step 1: Prepare the chip...You need leverage here so as not to break your chip....if you are too quick you will ruin everything!  Patience grasshopper!

Step 2: Now really get in there, establish a foundation with the chip and begin to lift.  Lift with your legs, not your back....that's how people get hurt!

And GO!!!

That, my dear readers, is how to successfully get "the perfect scoop".

Thank you Maggie for demonstrating like the "Barker's Beauties" of queso scooping!
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Monday, September 24, 2012

Antipasto Platter

Sometimes I am just looking for something different to throw together for hors d'oervres for Sunday dinner....we have a tendency to get stuck in a rut with those things we really like.  Olive cheese balls, sausage pinwheels and (our favorite) triscuits and onions always seem to be our go-to options.  Not that there is anything wrong with this but lets face it, even the best appetizers new a little sprucing up every once in a while!

We have been so enthusiastic about trying new entrees, sides and salads, so Mom challenged us with putting that same zest behind trying new appetizers.  Since I am always ready for a challenge I thought there was no time like the present (or last Sunday) to give it a whirl!

I did some searching on Pinterest and as it turns out I don't pin that many appetizers....I am in the process of rectifying this at present.

I found a recipe (actually a picture) that looked delicious!  As I scanned the ingredient list I thought it looked good but almost over-complicated.  I like simple, I like something you can throw together with a gaggle of people in the kitchen with me while sipping a glass of wine and getting caught up on the most recent news (a.k.a. gossip) around town.

I decided to tweak it a bit and here is what I came up with:

Prosciutto Wrapper Gouda with 
Arugula and Fig Preserves

Gouda Cheese
Thinly sliced prosciutto
fig preserves
arugula 
(aren't you glad I listed those?  
you certainly couldn't have gotten all that from the title!)

Lay the prosciutto flat and spread a thin layer of the preserves down the middle.  Top with several arugula leaves. 
Lay the slice of gouda at the top of the prosciutto and roll it up!
Like so...
Serve with other kinds of meats and cheese, maybe some olives for good measure, and you have yourself a delicious little Antipasto Platter!
As you can see they were enjoyed!
Percy wanted one SOOOOO badly but alas the humans were the only ones having these and we weren't sharing!
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Friday, September 21, 2012

Koban's Shrimp and Avocado Salad

When you think rustic, when you think the mountains of Tennessee, a brisque fall breeze and the turning leaves of autumn...what instantly comes to mind?

Well if it isn't a shrimp and avocado salad than something is just wrong with you.

I kid!

On our recent girls trip to East Tennessee a friend of mine brought this delicious salad for us to have for lunch and it struck me how often I get caught up in what meal I think "fits" with my surroundings.  

Just because I am in a cabin draped in more plaid and floral prints then the law should allow for doesn't mean that I have to eat barbecue!  Just because I am not at the beach with the summer wind blowing through my sun-kissed hair doesn't mean I cannot enjoy some tasty seafood!

I sat around a wooden dinner table overlooking a puzzle that was from the 1970's (and was missing over 40 pieces once completed) and realized that this shrimp and avocado salad was just as delicious here as it would have been on the white beaches of Florida!

I hope, no matter where you find yourself, you too are able to enjoy this delicious dish!

Koban's Shrimp and Avocado Salad

1 lb jumbo cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined, chopped*
1 tablespoon olive oil
Dash of lemon juice
1/4 cup white wine
1 medium tomato, diced
1 hass avocado, diced
1 jalapeno, seeds removed, diced fine
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 limes, juice of
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
salt and fresh pepper to taste

Saute the shrimp in a tablespoon of olive oil, lemon juice, white wine and a little salt and pepper.  Once the shrimp is pink remove from heat.  Chop the shrimp but retain the sauce in the pan for later.

In a small bowl combine red onion, lime juice, olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper. 
 
Let them marinate at
least 5 minutes to mellow the flavor of the onion.
In a large bowl combine chopped shrimp (along with the sauce from the pan), avocado, tomato, jalapeño. 
 
Combine all the ingredients
together, add cilantro and gently toss. 
 
 
Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Makes 3 1/2 cups.
Here are some of the photos from our trip!

Evidently we city-girls we not familiar with the severity of the bear situation when it pertains to the garbage!  Sheesh!!
Koban felt the need to go check out the old out house in which Michael Myers is clearly going to pop and kill someone!
Don't worry, she will karate chop him into the next century!
Or just freak out that a spider jumped out at her and run back to her friends!
There were so many beautiful wildflowers to take photos of that I got left behind on our nature walk because I kept stopping!
It was worth it!
Even missing 43 pieces we were not deterred and the puzzle was completed before we left Sunday!

Then it was clearly time to play dress up in anything and EVERYTHING we could find around the house!
Here is our "serious" pose....just go with me on this one
Very dramatic....can't you tell?
Needless to say it was the perfect weekend getaway!
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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Rosepepper

1907 Eastland Avenue
Nashville, TN 37206
I think one of the best aspects of Nashville's growing culinary atmosphere is the obvious....more options!  With more options though comes less demand on one single dining locale.  With that being said in order to be sustainable in such a diverse culinary atmosphere a restaurant must bring something new to the table, and if not something new then they had better have the best of whatever "it" is they are trying to sell.

There are so many restaurants that have conquered these challenges which benefits no one more than the greater Nashville population!  

One of my favorites of such restaurants is Rosepepper in East Nashville.  As a kid growing up in Nashville I never spent much time across the river.  I heard about all my mother's childhood in East Nashville, but never actually went exploring for myself. 

During the 6 years I lived in Georgia so much changed from the East Nashville I had barely known in high school.  People were bringing back the vibrancy that had once been a defining characteristic of one of Nashville's oldest neighborhoods.  

Old bungalow homes were restored, Victoria mansions that hadn't had a new paint job in decades were brought back to their original glory standing proudly with a timeless grace, boutiques were opened and so many delicious restaurants opened their doors to an eager audience, ready for something new and delicious.

Rosepepper was once such restaurant.  Opened in 2001, Rosepepper offers an extensive Sonora Style Mexican menu, countless types of tequilla, margaritas that are dangerously delicious and potent all at the same time, and an atmosphere that is perfect for a festive dinner with friends and family!
If you are looking for some of the best Mexican food in town, somewhere fun to go to kick-start a night out on the town or just a places that will be alive with the pulse of Nashville, Rosepepper is an absolute MUST!  Grab a margarita, sit out on the open air porch, relax and enjoy what is so perfectly East Nashville!

Here is what we had....

A tasty trio of salsa
A couple pitchers of margaritas (I feel a song coming on....I will refrain!)
DANGER!!! DANGER!!!  Is exactly what this picture SHOULD have said!
Buffalo White Cheese Dip
More DANGER!!!
Fish Tacos
Fajita Burrito
Chicken Quesidilla
 
Chicken Fajitas
Oops................
........Night night.........

What a fun night out with friends!  Thanks to Matt and Jason for an awesome time across the river!

For more suggestions of everything "Nashville" follow Matt on Twitter @experiencenash or his blog HERE
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