February 21, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Whether or not you’re planning a big day, you definitely should take a look at Celebrate‘s first ever weddings special issue! Our whole team worked hard on this. We love a challenge, and I think this issue shows it.
You can pick this issue up on newsstands, or you can order it here! (Hey, it’s at a special price right now!)
January 31, 2013 § 2 Comments
When I lived in Chile, I lived in french fry heaven.
Consider the chorillana: Home-fried papas fritas topped with steak, scrambled eggs, and fried onions. So wrong, so right.
We were up in Huntsville visiting James’ parents not too long ago, and they nearly made me tear up when they said they’d be frying their own french fries that night.
It’s just one of those things. I know I love french fries, but when I pop a fry into my mouth that is hot and crispy on the outside, and fresh, tender and rich on the inside, I can hardly articulate how my fry affection is taken to an almost forgotten level.
January 3, 2013 § 2 Comments
I went to lunch awhile ago with a fabulous lady just a week before her wedding day. I still hadn’t tried Tin Drum AsiaCafe at the Summit, and I wanted to give it a shot. My dear friend so willingly obliged.
This casual spot is quite accurately described as an “Asia” cafe. Its menu didn’t pick an allegiance to any specific country within the continent, but featured Thai, Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese fare. It certainly put its own spin on classic flavors and boasted a menu that had a long list of street-food type dishes I wanted to try. Also, after a bit of reading up on the semi-local chain, I was surprised to discover that the first Tin Drum was on Georgia Tech’s campus and had expanded from there. The service was great, and the staff was friendly.
When we went to order, we were told that nothing was frozen and that everything was fresh and prepared daily in-house. That’s always a plus.
So, to start, I tried the Crab N Cheese Roll, which was delightfully fried and greasy and cheesy (three of my favorite food characteristics), however, I couldn’t detect very much crab; I definitely would have appreciated more.
And then I went with the Thai Basil Spring Roll. I liked the first bite—the brightness of the basil with the deep savory tamarind sauce was a nice pairing, but as I continued into the roll, I felt a lot to be lacking. It felt a bit too dry to continue, even with the addition of the sauce. Plus, due to its spring/summer roll nature, it started to fall apart.
As my entree, I chose the Tin Drum Curry.
The chicken was tender, the curry was spot on in depth, spice, brightness, and that hint of sweetness. The rice was perfectly sticky. I enjoyed the fresh spinach, but I felt there could have been a bit more of it and perhaps a bit more to it. I would have enjoyed some additional flavor added to the spinach—a quick sauté perhaps? A bit wilted? For some reason it seemed a bit out of place in the dish, but then again, I liked how the warm curry handled the wilting of it. So I guess overall I’m undecided on how I feel about those baby spinach leaves. I would definitely take them rather than leave them, though, as a bit of freshness is always appreciated.
Everything aside, the prices were good. My little rolls only set me back about $3 altogether, and my curry dish was $8. I will be giving this place another try (I’m anxious to sample their street tacos), and I recommend you do, too.
October 5, 2012 § 7 Comments
The winner of the my two-part giveaway with Belle Chevre is…
Carrie Allen Tipton! Thanks for entering and sharing the giveaway, Carrie. I’ll pass your name onto Belle Chevre, and they’ll pick a final name after October 14. I hope you win!
Thank you ALL so much for entering! It was very exciting to participate in the virtual potluck and giveaway with an amazing company that makes awesome chevre.
As I told you yesterday, I’ve had the opportunity of participating in a virtual potluck with Belle Chevre to celebrate the release of Tasia’s Table, Tasia Malakasis’s new cookbook. (Did you miss my entry? See it here!) Now you have a chance to win your own signed copy of the cookbook!
This is a beautiful book with tons of tantalizing photos and creative recipes. If you’re a goat cheese lover like me, you’ll probably be ooing and ahhing over all the new and exciting ways to incorporate chevre into everyday dishes.
I’m offering four possible ways to enter:
1. Subscribe to cactus & kudzu by email. (Make sure you’re on the home page, and find the text box on the right side where you can enter your email address. If you’re already subscribed, leave a comment letting me know.)
2. Leave a comment below answering this question: What’s your favorite kind of cheese?
3. Share this entry or my potluck entry on Facebook. (Be sure to either tag me on Facebook or leave a comment letting me know you’ve shared it.)
4. Share this entry or my potluck entry on Twitter (handle name is @brettjaillet—be sure to include it!).
I will choose one winner, and submit it to Belle Chevre (each potluck participant will do so) and then Belle Chevre will choose a winner from all the blogs’ submissions. My segment of the giveaway closes at 8 pm central time on Monday, October 8.
But hey, if you just can’t wait, order a copy of the book here!
August 8, 2012 § Leave a Comment
But really, this is so easy—so worth the minimal effort to add an extra layer of flavor that will go well with any sandwich. Do you want to know another way Molly at Orangette uses it? She adds it to deviled eggs. Ah! Imagine crostini with a layer of this topped with egg salad. Yes, I do believe I shall.
We followed suit with The Kitchn and added this to a BALT. Or a BLAT. Or a BLT with Avocado.
There aren’t many finer things in this life than the simplicity of a BLT + A. And then add this mayo? Really, over the top.
Go forth and make this tonight. Here’s the recipe one more time: California BLT with Avocado and Basil Mayonnaise.
August 1, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Lately there have been plenty of mini food adventures here at home—both in Birmingham and Northport. But I still have a few more memories I’d like to share from our honeymoon. So, real quickly, I’ll share the lunch of a tourist in San Francisco: clam chowder in a bread bowl from Boudin Bakery.
Boudin boasts that it is the original purveyor of sourdough bread in San Francisco. Founded by the Boudin family in 1849, their single bakery has multiplied, and smaller locations are spread throughout the city. Sinking your teeth into that chewy crust to find your way to the tangy, spongy, warm bread is only part of the experience. The other is simply watching loaves upon loaves make their way through the factory overhead as you place your order.
The bread was heavenly—it was everything I love about sourdough bread. And I found the chowder to be quite a treat as well. The clams tasted fresh, and it was well seasoned. A wonderful accompaniment to the local brew.
This may be so touristy you might contemplate staying away, but I suggest just going for it and sitting outside with a nice lunch. We opted not to dine in the restaurant, but went to the lunch counter, put it on our order, and brought it to the tables on the sidewalk. I mean, where else can you dine on soup alfresco in early July and be completely comfortable wearing a light sweater? Well, probably plenty of places, but definitely not in Alabama.
July 23, 2012 § 2 Comments
Next in my recounting of the honeymoon, I’ll take you to the Hog Island Oyster Company in the Ferry Building in San Francisco. I have been dying to talk about this place!
We were given a very reliable tip by our dear friend Diane McCracken, who is one of the best people to talk to if you’re contemplating a San Francisco visit. She had a long and thorough list of places to go, and we could not have been more grateful! When she was coming up with ideas for us, she she simply uttered the question, “Do you two like raw oysters?” Our eyes widened and heads nodded, and so she told us where to find them.
Though we didn’t get to sit at the envied spot at the bar—where, inches from your plate, chefs dump mesh bags of oysters onto their workspace and begin rapidly shucking—we got to watch that scene from our table by the window, enjoying the beautiful view of San Francisco Bay.
Ok, down to business. We started off with a couple of local brews. James ordered a Moylan’s Irish Style Red by Moylan’s Brewery in Novato, and I ordered a Blue Star Great American Wheat Beer by North Coast Brewing Co. in Fort Bragg. We would recommend both. Also, the bread was amazing.
So who knew oysters from this part of the country were going to taste so different from their Southern brothers? They are smaller and saltier, and their shells are slightly more gnarled with a wide variety shapes, colors, and sizes. We ordered the Oyster Bar Mix so we could sample a bit of everything on the menu.
Included in the Mix:
- Hog Island Sweetwater (Tomales Bay, CA)
- Hog Island Cliffside (Discovery Bay, WA)
- Chelsea Gems (Eld Inlet, WA)
- Island Creek (Duxbury Bay, MA)
- Hurricane Island (New Brunswick)
They don’t serve oysters with hot sauce, horseradish, and saltines like they do in the South. Hog Island serves their Hogwash—a cider vinegar sauce with bits of onion and jalapeño. It was a bright complement to the briney flavor of the oysters. One slurp, and I was addicted.
This was a pricey little meal for us, but the experience was well worth it—especially for a honeymoon (4th of July!) lunch.
July 21, 2012 § 6 Comments
Earlier this week, I shared this recipe from Saveur. It’s a Greek dish—Garides Saganaki (shrimp with tomatoes and feta)—and we made it for dinner this weekend. It was a rainy afternoon, and we were actually home with the time to cook, and this went quite well with a glass of Pinot.
I made a few adaptations. For starters, I skipped the mint since James and I aren’t big mint-in-savory-foods lovers. I used smaller shrimp, and I used an entire pound. I didn’t grate the tomatoes, I put them in a food processor, and because of that, I think there was more liquid than probably should have been. I also increased the amount of red pepper flakes.
We served this with warm French bread and a Caesar salad. Make this tonight or tomorrow!
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 scallions, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup white wine
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (add more if you like extra heat)
4 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 (4-ounce) package crumbled feta
1 lemon, halved
1. Place a rack 4 inches from top of oven, and preheat broiler. Heat oil in 10-inch ovenproof skillet, such as a cast iron skillet, over medium heat. Add garlic and scallions, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until soft.
2. Stir in tomato paste, and cook for 2 minutes. Add wine; let reduce by half, about 5 minutes.
3. Add oregano, sugar, red pepper flakes, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and let simmer until slightly thickened, about 12 to 15 minutes.
4. Stir in shrimp, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with feta. Broil for 3 to 5 minutes. Squeeze lemon over top.
A Rainy Weekend Caesar Salad
Makes 4 servings
1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup croutons
Place lettuce into serving bowl. Add garlic, salt and pepper, and squeeze lemon over salad. Let stand for about 10 minutes. About 5 minutes before serving, add croutons and desired amount of Caesar dressing. Toss, and serve.
*I used Publix brand Caesar dressing. It’s actually my favorite brand of Caesar to buy.
Have a nice weekend!