Southern Artisan Cheese Festival

October 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

When I found out there was a cheese fest going on, there was no way I could not attend. It’s clear I love me some cheese (here, here and here) so even the fall chill couldn’t bring us down at the Nashville Farmer’s Market this past weekend. For $44, we got to sample goods from over 20 cheesemakers across the Southeast as well as wine and craft beer. Though there were some organizational issues at first (this is only the festival’s second year), the cheese-hungry crowd figured it out and we soon tried so much, I think I got cheesed-out (I know, I didn’t think it was possible either but when Whole Foods was giving out apple slices, I had never been happier to see the fruit). It was a super indulgent way to spend a Saturday–someone mentioned “bucket-list worthy”–and I hope to attend for many years to come.

Bonnyclabber Cheese from Sullivan’s Pond Farm

Some of my favorite bites were not straight cheese but the spreadable goat cheeses blended with herbs, nuts, savory preserves, etc. from Stone Hollow Creamery in Birmingham. These things make entertaining a no-brainer.

Wine to wash it all down. My favorite was from Le Mistral

With so many dairy farms present, there were some delectable ice cream choices. We went with Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams–the Dark Chocolate is TO DIE FAR it is so rich, it tastes like frozen brownie mix. Perfectly paired with Goat Cheese and Cherry

Our favorite takeaway was The Preservation Society’s Pepper Jelly (we came home with two jars). It was so sweet and peppery it’s good any time of day. I was thrilled to learn they also sell in Whole Foods so I can restock easily.

 

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Your Plans for the Month of October

October 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

This week saw a turn of the calendar which means a whole new page to fill with activities. It seems like as the weather cools, people are squeezing in everything they can before people turn in for the winter. So get out and enjoy as much as you can!

How fun would it be to stomp grapes this weekend? What a great idea. A Vintage Affair continues the celebration of its 12th year of supporting nonprofit organizations in Williamson County with The Grape Stomp at Animalia. It will be held this Sat, Oct 6 from 2-7 at Animalia, a veterinarian clinic near the Westhaven neighborhood.

If you love cheese as much as I do, then the Southern Artisan Cheese Festival is a must-do event. On Sat, Oct 6, sample 75+ handcrafted cheese from over 20 artisanal cheesemakers from six states around the Southeast. Each cheesemaker will be on hand to introduce and share their cheeses with. And with each $44 ticket comes a $5 voucher. They’ll also be craft beers, wine, tea and other beverages on hand to wash down such creamy, stinky goodness.

This week is the last chance to catch Smokey Joe’s Cafe! The Franklin Theater is putting on the broadway revue that features fun hits that range from rock to rhythm & blues from legendary songwriters Lieber & Stoller. It promises to be a really good time and with an outstanding cast, could be the perfect date night with dinner in downtown Franklin.

I am so excited to explore Germantown during it’s heyday–Oktoberfest. Any festival with steins, sausage and lederhosen has to be a good time so be sure to be there out and about on Sat, Oct 13th. And to relieve some of the guilt of overindulgence, there is a 5k around historic Germantown beginning at 8:00 AM the morning of the street festival.

I am totally ready to whip out my English-degree-pants and head to the Southern Festival of Books Oct 12-14. Each year the Festival brings to Nashville approximately 250 of the nation’s and region’s most prominent authors, spanning all genres (including chefs). There are so many things on this schedule, I can’t even handle it, and every session is free and open to the public with no advance registration or tickets required. Just make sure to get out early since seating is on a first come, first served basis.

Luke Bryan is set to headline the 5th annual Capitol Street Party on Weds Oct 17. The free concert will move from Demonbreun Street to Lower Broadway this year with Luke and newcomers Kelleigh Bannen and Jon Pardi performing on a stage set up on Broadway between 1st and 2nd Avenues.

 

I think it’s clear I love a good wine festival (here and here) so I am very glad to see another one on the calendar in Nashville. On Friday, Oct 19 from 7-10 pm at the Factory in Franklin will be 300+ wines to sample, live entertainment, seminars and so much more. Tickets run $75 or $85 at the door.

To celebrate the Latin American holiday of Los Dias de Los Muertos, head out to Cheekwood for their Fall Festival. The event has tons of kid-friendly, artsy activities as well as a marketplace, live music, and food. AND the event is free for anyone under 17.

 

 

Parrano Cheese

September 25, 2012 § 1 Comment

Like most everyone I’m sure, I have a love-hate relationship with the cheese samples at Whole Foods. My trips there always start out so innocently–running to grab some milk or ice cream celery when we are out.Even if you try to enter at the produce section, you’re assaulted by enticing treats. I typically can’t resist whatever I try so I go home with some new finds–like Kenny’s Farm House Tomato Basil Cheddar. My last visit ended with a nice wedge of Paranno cheese and I have been loving it.

Parrano is a cow’s milk Dutch Gouda cheese. It has a semi-firm texture like cheddar but the taste is much milder with nutty notes like Parmesan and is salty and maybe even a little smokey or sweet? Mostly I can just eat this plain but it’s an easy topper for crackers and because it melts so well, I even added it to my eggs with some bacon as well. You really can’t go wrong.

And speaking of bacon…I don’t want to create any chaos here but GET YOUR FILL NOW before the bacon shortage hits!

 

 

The Easiest Summer Salad… And It Includes Everybody’s Favorite Food Group

July 11, 2012 § 2 Comments

I made promises yesterday of fried cheese and that is one food group I do not kid around about, so here you are. This salad is so versatile–use it as a base to add in whatever your palette prefers or it is simply delicious as is. I start out with just a baby spring mix and add in whatever veggies I have on hand.

Cherry Tomatoes and Cucumber. I love forgoing the tomatoes and doing a thinly sliced radish for an extra bite.

Next, prepare the fried goat cheese. If you pop the log into the freezer for 15 minutes or so, it will be easier to slice. Once you have your slices of goat cheese, dust them with flour, dip them in whisked eggs and cover in breadcrumbs (I used store-bought panko and added a little dried parsley).

Frying Station: Cutting board, Flour, Egg, Bread Crumbs, Foil Plate

They’ll look something like this:

Then, toss them in a pan with heated oil on medium and flip so each side browns evenly.

Sigh. So pretty

Once the cheese slices (patties?) are nice and crispy and brown, set them on a paper towel while you prepare the dressing.

This is the BEST, lightest, simplest dressing out there. I virtually stopped buying bottled dressing because I use this all the time.

3 parts e.v.o.o to 1 part red wine vinegar (for two servings, I use 3:1 tbsp.) + pinch salt + pinch pepper + pinch parsley. This is really great with a squirt of lemon juice too to brighten it up.

Whisk together with a fork and once you assemble your salad and toppings, add the dressing and top with fried goat cheese.

Oh hey Indoor Summer Corn from Yesterday

Bon Apetite!

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