F. Scott’s Restaurant & Jazz Bar, Nashville

July 31, 2012 § 2 Comments

Sometimes, there is nothing like a good ole’ fashioned date night to liven up a lazy Saturday. So last week when we found ourselves without plans, we got jazzed up and headed to F. Scott’s.

On a Saturday night, you will most probably have to go with valet, the whole mall is PACKED.

Something about the 1920’s theme makes you feel like a night out on the town so hitting up the jazz bar before or after dinner is the real reason to visit. The lounge is separate from the dining room so even if you have dinner reservations, the seating for the music is first come, first served. They even have a separate menu with some upscale bar dishes so if you want to hang out there and just get cocktails and apps, that would be fun too.

Of course I took the pic with the pink soup in front of me and then as soon as the camera was down dug into the meaty flatbread.

We chose to the dinner route and were not disappointed. First off was probably my favorite thing of the night–the Market Flatbread.

Favorite bite of the night.

Tonight it featured fig jam with onions, tomato, beef short rib and cheese. It was finger lickin’ good. Though this is not really a finger lickin’ sort of establishment.

Spiced Watermelon Gazpacho, Cucumber Ice, Basil Herb Oil

I also do this thing where I know I don’t like gazpacho but I go ahead and order it anyway because the flavors sound so good together. Something about my palate being confused as to why it is chilled turns me off. I’m sure to the more sophisticated palate, this is delicious.

Orzo Pasta, Avocado, Cucumber, Cauliflower, Scallion, Roasted Red Bell Peppers, Sherry Vinaigrette, Phyllo Crisp, Sunflower Sprouts

Do not underestimate this orzo salad. The combination seems so simple, so obvious, but it was bright with a little acid and a creaminess from the avocado and really refreshing.

Braised Rabbit Hindquarter, Rabbit Tenderloin Scaloppini with Rabbit Paté, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Sautéed Tatsoi, Natural Jus

The bonus of sharing it all (besides getting to taste more dishes and saving calories) is that I never would have settled on the rabbit on my own but I am so glad I got to try this one. The “jus” is delicious and though I didn’t care for the paté, the meat on the bone really surprised me. It was sort of like duck in consistency but a little more gamey and salty to taste.

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Sunday Brunch Menu

July 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

I love chalkboards. This is meant to host our Nashville bucket list but it’s too fun to not update!

This Sunday we hosted  a little brunch in exchange for getting some prints and pictures that had been lying around the house finally hung (and as an extra bonus got to have a little dog run around!). I thought 1:00 seemed a little late for the french-toast-casserole-route so the dishes leaned more toward savory–save the scones.

I like to plan out my oven time so I know how long before people start to arrive I have to start getting things in. With the quiche taking an hour, I wanted to get the scones in first so that we’d have something to munch on if it went over time.

Some people are just not scone people (my mom) but I thought these had just the right touch of sweetness and a tartness from the lemon and cran combo. I used the recipe from Candice Kumai’s Pretty Delicious which focuses on health conscious recipes so with 4 grams of protein and only 4 grams of fat, you really don’t need to feel guilty ending (or starting) brunch on a sweet note.

I like the triangle shape so as not to be confused with a biscuit. They just beg for a spot of tea.

This was the first time I tried making a quiche. I found this recipe by Martha Stewart but am not a huge fan of leeks so filled my quiche with zucchini, tomato and gruyère instead. I’m guessing any veggies that float your boat would do.

I sauteed the zucchini for 5 minutes in a little bit of olive oil, salt, pepper and basil and tossed in some sliced plum tomatoes for the last minute.

 

I got caught using a frozen pie crust when the filling overflowed on me but it turned out just fine.

The Skinny Mini BLT’s were also from Pretty Delicious. I love the extra health kick from the avocado and the cookie cutter shapes were a really cute idea!

The book recommends toasting the bread and oven-baking the bacon at the same time to save time. I would take the toasts out before the bacon though, mine were just a tad overdone.

The spicy-sweet honey mustard was perfect with the saltiness of the bacon. 1/2 cup dijon mustard with 1 tbsp. honey.

To round out the meal, I kept the spring salad simple and used the ole’ fried goat cheese trick. All in all, very easy to complete. I wouldn’t necessarily call anything “make ahead” in the sense where I would do it the night before, but all of these recipes are PERFECT for entertaining because nothing has to be served hot out of the oven. I just let them collect on my counter as I moved onto each new recipe.

I haven’t gotten great at presentation. I bet you could go nuts with cute china for the scones and little plates for the BLT’s

 

 

Weekend Roundup

July 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

We’ll be out of town the next few weekends so I want to take full advantage of my time here this lovely last weekend of July. First and foremost are the Olympic Opening Ceremonies tonight! I plan to celebrate with champagne. If you are watching at home too, why not liven things up with a good ole-fashioned drinking game to get things going?

Here are some rules but feel free to add in your own:

1. Whenever the Queen appears, the last person the curtsey must take a shot. 
2.  Waterfall for the entirety of Big Ben tolling.
3. The last person to stand and salute whenever a US Olympian/ team appears must take a shot.
4. All the Gals have to swig for Harry.
5. All the Guys drink when Kate is onscreen.
6. Social drink for the torch.

In addition to spectating, I’m hoping to fit in one or more of the following this weekend:

You’re probably aware (and evening session ticket holders) of Music City Brewer’s Fest this Saturday. With over 50 breweries, live music and some perfectly paired food options, it’s no wonder the tickets go so quickly. I think the day session would be just as fun and for all you marathon-partiers, it lines up perfectly to allow for a little nap, refuel and you’re ready to go again when the sun sets.

For a more kid-friendly event, Cheekwood Botanical Gardens has a Treehouse themed summer exhibition. We drove through the week my mom was here (which was also the week it rained incessantly) and I have been dying to go back to climb in. The exhibition runs through September 3rd and focuses on great works of literature. AND Cheekwood has extended garden hours on Fridays in July until 8:00 PM so you can try to wait out the heat.

On Saturday, Watkins College of Art, Design & Film has a student-hosted bazaar. From 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM, there will be art, clothing, gifts and accessories for sale at their campus.

Sunday night, Carnton plantation in Franklin will hold one of it’s Sunset Concert Series. Up this week is music of the 1970’s played by the South Street Players. Tickets are $12 there, gates open at 4:30 pm, concert is 6:00 – 8:00 and food/drink are available for purchase or you can bring in your own (including alcohol). What could be better than a sunset wine picnic with sounds of the 70’s?

Did everyone get their Tony tickets this week? Great, see you Nov. 3

 

 

Pecan Bars

July 25, 2012 § 6 Comments

Of course I couldn’t go to Memphis empty-handed. A certain someone I know “isn’t really a cookie person” (I didn’t know those people existed) and I knew a cake wasn’t going to make the 3 hour drive un-smushed, so I settled on the more stable pecan bar. I thought Smitten Kitchen’s pecan squares post was adorable and hysterical but this was my first attempt and 9 sticks of butter sounds intimidating so I opted for Claire Robinson’s recipe which uses just 5 ingredients. 5!

That looks like plenty o’ butter for me.

Do you ever get so excited about trying something new that your run out and buy all the ingredients without reading through the directions? I hate when I do that, and here comes the really embarrassing confession for someone who likes to fancy themselves as useful in the kitchen: I don’t own a mixer (those things are like $400!).

Hand whipped at maximum speed.

So there were many times throughout the course of making these bars when I just thought, “Wrong. Wrong, this is all wrong. They’re going to be terrible.” You may also fear this but let me tell you– these were insanely delicious. The texture was perfect. Even if you think they look like they could blow up your oven, they won’t and you will wind up averaging 4 a day.

The tin foil makes for extremely easy clean-up.

This thing was bubbling when I took it out of the oven. BUBBLING like my nephew’s spit (hopefully the analogy will knock one bar from your count list).

I would let these cool for at least an hour.

I mean look at that ratio– it’s PERFECT.

So ta-da. Easy pecan bars using no basic, essential fancy-shmancy tools and just 5 ingredients!

Interim, Memphis TN

July 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

Last week, we took a short day trip to a new TN town for me, Memphis. Even though it was 2000° 102° outside, I managed to pry myself out of the car for long enough to take one touristy photo.

Memphis Pyramid Arena. Currently Being converted into a Bass Pro Shop. And it is bigger than the statue of Liberty.

The rest of my free time I spent trying to figure out how to get to Mud Island and by the time I learned it was just a quick 10-15 minute walk across a bridge, I had about 30 minutes to be back out by Germantown. Maybe next time.

The whole feel of the restaurant followed this entrance- clean, modern, minimalist (look at the door).

The good news is, I managed to get an excellent meal in (always). We were treated to a wonderful dinner at Interim restaurant by my fiancé’s amazing grandparents. They picked the spot based on Chef Jackson Kramer, who is  native to Memphis, and his gorgeous open kitchen that lets the dining room see just how their food is being prepared.

No heat lamps!

I swear there were more people back there, I guess I scared them off with my camera.

 

And the food is so good, they have nothing to hide! At our table we had the Cheese Board to start (with sweet blueberries and figs, oh my!), the House Salad, Stuffed Mountain Trout, Angus Beef Filet, Beef Short Ribs, and the Duck Breast. All were delicious. We were there somewhat early on a Friday but the house was pretty full (especially with some private parties that they have in separate rooms) so if you plan on going, I would call in and make a reservation just in case.

Surprise! The House Salad has fried artichokes! Who would’ve thought?

Ready to dig in. Look at the size of those portions! We had plenty leftover.

 

 

Tavern Brunch, Nashville

July 23, 2012 § 1 Comment

Let me just start by saying I love any atmosphere that’s conducive to cocktails. I’d been to Tavern before to enjoy the later bar scene and small plates but when the suggestion came up for brunch, I was interested to the see if the scene was the same. With just a wee wait (even with a party of 5!), we were able get one of those large, wraparound booths perfect for people watching or concentrating on what seems to be the national bowling championships on ESPN (it was a lot more exciting than it sounds) on one of their enormous TV’s. The crowd was good-looking, well-dressed and in my expert opinion, down for a drink. The menu had some different options outside the eggs-benedict-box which I was excited to see (i.e. Singapore Stir-Fry) and all in all it was a great brunch experience. I would definitely return.

Ok, these weren’t actually on the menu but hey, when a girl’s gotta have cheese fries, she’s gotta have cheese fries. They were nice enough to comply and the cheese was a delicious, spicy dip that could definitely double as queso.

Singapore Stir-Fry. Why is rice from restaurants so sticky and perfect?? I can never get that texture at home. The flavors were sort of similar to take-out fried rice but it tasted healthier and the bite of cilantro really brightened it up.

Can never go wrong with a good ole’ bacon cheeseburger.

Huevos Rancheros are normally my go-to so I was so glad when someone else at the table ordered them. Cheese and tortilla in a skillet. Yum.

I don’t know about you but I love getting something sweet to share among the table at brunch. Blueberry Cornmeal Waffle does the trick.

 

 

 

 

Lemon Pepper Chicken Skewers with Tzatziki Dip

July 20, 2012 § 2 Comments

This weekend I was invited to a potluck dinner birthday celebration (great idea) and was in charge of an appetizer.  Being a typical girl, I thought, “Oh I’ll do something nice and light” (or fat-free, low-cal, fad-diet friendly etc). I remembered an important lesson from the great Ina Garten to go for an app that is great at any temperature, so I ditched the dip and even my beloved bruschetta for a skewered protein. I’ve been on a huge Greek Yogurt kick so when I found this Tzatziki recipe,   I knew it was love.

Something “nice and light”

The appetizer was a huge hit and so easy to put together. It was perfect for the warm weather and I could see this dish being great May through September.

I don’t want to get too graphic with the raw chicken, we’re not in France. But marinate for 2-3 hours.

Marinade: 1/4 c. e.v.o.o + 4 cloves minced garlic + 2 tbsp. lemon juice + 1 tsp black pepper + 1 tsp salt + 1/2 tsp thyme

Whisk together and mix with bite-sized boneless skinless chicken breast. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

While grilling, I would douse with additional lemon juice and pepper.

Fresh Dill. I used a lot more than the 2 tsp the recipe suggests and I recommend at least 1 tbsp.

The recipe made a ton of dip so if you’re party is not large, feel free to downsize or cut in half.

What’s that? Are you inviting me to your next barbecue? Why yes, I’d be happy to bring my skewers.

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