Restaurant Review – M.L. Rose (West Nashville)

Hey y’all!

This past weekend marked the end of wedding season. While I LOVE weddings and all of the frivolity and friends that come with them, I tend to have too much fun and return home completely exhausted. Nick and I made a ~10 hour trek back to Nashville yesterday from an awesome wedding in Gainesville and then I got to work at 5:45 this morning (YIKES). But enough complaining! There’s food to discuss!

M.L.Rose-New-Location M.L.Rose-Craft-Beer-Burgers

Last week for “date night,” Nick and I went to M.L Rose (West). I used to not eat burgers. I straight up refused to eat ground beef. But y’all… there are some stellar burger places in Nashville – M.L. Rose being one of them. I got the Angry Dragon: fried egg, avo and sriracha sauce, all on top of a beef patty, medium rare; and a side of sweet potato WAFFLE fries. Mind = blown.

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You can also get your delicious burger on a sweet potato bun, which is killer. But I got the normal bun this time… and then just stuffed myself on fries instead and didn’t eat the bun. Nick had the bacon cheese burger with regular fries and was equally impressed (but The Pharmacy remains his favorite burger spot). We also decided to just go all out and split some blue cheese fries… regular waffle fries topped with blue cheese sauce and crumbles. #woah.

Wednesdays are two-for-one beers, so we each got a round of County Boy Cougar Bait Blonde. It’s described as follows:

A crisp straw-colored ale with a unique malt and
citrus hop balance. Easy drinking, full flavored and
always leaving you wanting more- Cougar Bait works.
Country Boy Brewing, Lexington, KY.

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It’s what I usually get at M.L. Rose, and it never disappoints. I highly recommend it, if you like lighter wheats.

In all, it was a deliciously gluttonous meal that I plan on repeating in the not so distant future.

Eat up, y’all!

photo creds: http://www.nashvillescene.com/bites/archives/2013/10/25/ml-rose-revamps-beer-and-food-menu-and-ups-the-burger-ante; http://article.wn.com/view/2014/02/28/Lexingtonmade_Country_Boy_beer_now_available_in_Tennessee/; http://nashvilleguru.com/9717/sylvan-park-st-pattys-at-m-l-rose; http://nashvilleguru.com/5204/sylvan-park-m-l-rose-grand-opening

Restaurant Review – Sperry’s (Belle Meade)

Date night this week consisted of using up some gift cards at Nick’s and his parents’ favorite spot/steakhouse, Sperry’s. While the building itself is not very remarkable… the inside is warm, cozy and filled with people a generation older than us.

Sperrys-Nashville

The wine list ( at least BTG) is fairly limited, but I have thoroughly enjoyed each glass I’ve tried. I had two galsses of a pretty great cab; Nick favors the Old Fashioned.

Nick had the filet Oskar, which is an 8 oz. filet mignon topped with king crab and bearnaise sauce, all over some asparagus. It. was. delicious. I had the prime rib, king cut, medium rare (yes, it was big). Nick had a good chunk of it and I had my leftovers for lunch today. It was also fantastic.

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We don’t do sides, because they have a phenomenal SALAD BAR. YES. SALAD BAR. Always get the salad bar. Nick loves their blue cheese dressing, while I usually go for the balsamic vinaigrette. However, this time, I tried the very creamy and very green Green Goddess dressing. It was good (it’s what most people talk about), but I’m not a creamy-dressing fan… Next time, I’ll go back to the balsamic.

As far as dessert goes, my sweet-toothed boyfriend ordered the chocolate cheesecake. I ordered my second glass of wine, instead (lush much?). I didn’t even try the cheesecake (I was worried about losing my hand… ;)), but Nick is a huge fan. So, I can guarantee it’s delicious.

It’s definitely a special occasion place, so next time your parents are in town… have them take you. They’ll love the old steakhouse feel and you’ll go home stuffed (and happy).

Eat up, y’all!

Restaurant review, take one (Cafe Nonna Pizza and Wine Bar)

I know, I know… I haven’t posted anything in months. I don’t cook nearly as much as I used to anymore *gasp* because of work and other social obligations (I.e., wining with friends and trying out all the new restaurants in Nashvegas).

Let me tell you… The Nashville food scene is incredible. Nick and I try to go to a new restaurant every other week or so for “date night” and it’s been a gastronomic dream of an adventure. So, in lieu of limiting this blog to recipes and kitchen creations, I’m going to start letting y’all know where and what I eat around Nashville! The food photos will be much prettier since a chef actually prepared the food, so get excited!

Last night: we made the last minute decision to go to Cafe Nonna Pizzeria and Wine Bar in Sylvan Park. I’ve been before with a girl friend, but Nick hadn’t yet. So, we went! If I could eat pizza and drink red wine for the rest of my life, I would be one happy camper.

We split the Nonna and the Tuscan BBQ. The Tuscan BBQ was so amazing. The BBQ was just enough, not over powering. The Nonna was good as well, but more of your standard basil-tomato-mozz. It was good, don’t get me wrong, but the other was the best.

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Overall verdict: Do it. And get the Tuscan BBQ. And a glass of the chianti.

Get ready for more restaurant posts!

Eat up, y’all.

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caprese

I know that most people can make caprese without a recipe, but it’s one of those things that I just forget about. It’s a good one to keep in your arsenal. Not only does it have a fancy Italian name, but it’s also versatile. Put caprese (add chicken) on a baguette and you’ve got a French staple sandwich. Or, just eat the caprese alone, and you’ve got a great app.

So, for those of you who need a friendly reminder of a great side dish/appetizer/sandwich, here you go:

caprese

ingredients:
*mozzarella
*tomatoes
*fresh basil
*balsamic vinegar
*EVOO

directions:
Slice your mozzarella and tomatoes. Lay tomato slices on a plate. Place basil leaves on tomato slices. Then add mozzarella on top. Drizzle balsamic and EVOO on top and voila! You’ve got yourself some caprese deliciousness.

Eat up, y’all!

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[healthier] banana bread

There’s just something about baking that melts away the stress. Especially the stress of Sunday Night Depression. If you are unaware of said phenomenon, it is when one dreads Monday morning; and so suffers from situational depression on Sunday evenings. Never heard of it? Weird.

I only get it when I’ve had a stellar weekend. So Monday just seems like the pits… But, in all fairness, today was the first Monday where I didn’t fall, ripe my suit pants, or spill coffee all over the car. #winning. So I’m ok with today being a Monday. 

Anyway, I had two overly-ripe bananas sitting on the counter that were just calling to be baked into something delicious yesterday. So, in steps banana bread. It’s pretty delicious, if I do say so myself. While it’s still chock full of gluten, it has healthier fats and about half the sugar of your run-of-the-mill banana bread. 

[healthier] banana bread 

ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used coconut sugar, which is closer to brown sugar than white sugar)
  • 1/3 cup non-fat Greek yogurt 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda 
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 medium, ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 1/8 c coconut oil, melted 
  • 1/8 c unsweetened apple sauce 

equipment:

  • loaf pan 
  • stand mixer, hand mixer, or really strong arms 

directions:

First, per usual, pre-heat your oven to 350F. Combined flour, baking soda, salt; stir together. Beat your sugar, coconut oil and applesauce (in whatever fashion you choose) until well-blended. Then add each egg, blending after each addition. Then add the mashed banana, vanilla and yogurt. Blend again. Finally, combine the flour mixture with the wet mixture and beat (use low speed if using a stand mixer). 

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Pour that delicious batter into your (greased) loaf pan and throw in the oven for about 45 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean). Voilà! You have a perfect loaf of deliciously semi-healthy banana bread! 

Eat up, y’all! 

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spinach/walnut/pistachio/sriracha pesto

What a mouthful, I know. But y’all… It’s delicious. And it wouldn’t be the same without all those awesome flavors. The only down side: it kind of looks like baby poop in photos (womp). So just don’t look at the photo and trust me on how awesome it is. Lauren and I smothered some zoodles and chicken with it, and it made a delicious, green mess. I made this by eyeballing the measurements to reach the correct consistency, so y’all get to be creative with this one.

spinach-walnut-pistachio-sriracha pesto

    ingredients:

* 2 cups spinach
* 1/2 pistachios and walnuts (in whatever proportions you want)
* olive oil
* sriracha sauce
* ~ 1 Tbs water

    equipment:

* food processor
* wooden spoon or spatula

    directions:

Start grinding down your nuts and spinach. Pour in enough olive oil to get to a pesto-like consistency. Add some water if it’s not just right. The add in as much sriracha as you like! I added quite a bit, but I like a good kick (and I put sriracha on just about everything).

Eat up, y’all!

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[paleo] dark chocolate soufflés

If you scoff at the idea of a paleo dessert, then just think of these as flourless chocolate soufflés. They. are. delicious. I pinky promise. If you’re GF, or have a GF friend with a sweet tooth, these are a sure-fire win.

I’ve spent my Saturday morning in bed, watching girlie movies, snuggling with Gypsy, and painting my nails. I had such high hopes for being productive today… but then I walked outside to let the nugget out and there was a substantial dusting of snow all over the place. Motivation to go do anything = gone. BUT this blog post was on my to-do list. So there. Productivity: engaged.

ingredients:

  • dark chocolate chips/morsels (you’ll need ~4 oz for this recipe, but obvi you have to eat chocolate chips while cooking… so I’d go with a full bag)
  • 2 Tbs ghee (or butter)
  • 3 Tbs coconut oil
  • 4 tsp coconut flour
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • ~1/4 tsp kosher salt (or sea salt)
  • 2 eggs + 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c honey + 1/4 c agave nectar (or 1/2 c honey)

equipment:

  • 3 ramekins (or other small baking dishes of some kind)

directions:

First, as always, preheat your oven: 375F this time. Grease those ramekins with oil and dust with cocoa powder (this part was surprisingly difficult for me… It’s supposed to help with the sticking.) Melt your chocolate chips and ghee/coconut oil together in a microwave-safe bowl. Start at 30 seconds, then remove and stir. Repeat in 30 second intervals until the chocolate has all melted. Set aside to let it cool a bit.

Then, mix your dry ingredients: cocoa powder, coconut flour, salt. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, vanilla, and honey/agave all together. Add the eggy mixture and chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients and fold together until incorporated. Let it sit for about 5 minutes (coconut flour needs time to soak up all the goodness). Divide that ambrosial mix into your ramekins throw those puppies in the oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes. The edges should look like cake, and the middle should look really moist (almost not-all-the-way cooked). Remove from the oven and let them cool for about 10 minutes (unless you have no self-control and burn your tongue so you can eat them sooner… which is obviously what happened to me).

Either eat them out of the ramekins, or flip them onto plates. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream and enjoy!

Eat up, y’all!

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Prosciutto-roasted red pepper-emmental-spinach rolled chicken

Whew. That title is a mouthful. But that’s everything that’s rolled into this chicken, so it has to be there.
I’ve gotten into hot yoga lately. And let me tell you… yikes. It is AWESOME and leave you sore allll over. In all the right places. I’ve also started lifting again (hip problems = less running #womp). Needless to say, my body hurts right now. Which is probably why I’m writing this post from my phone, in bed, snuggled with Gypsy. #thegoodlife
Now, at first blush, this recipe may seem complicated. But I promise you, it’s simply. So grab a bottle (or two) of wine, someone to keep you company in the kitchen, and get ready to impress.

prosciutto-roasted red pepper-emmental-spinach rolled chicken

    ingredients:

*1 red pepper (or a jar of roasted red peppers)
*3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut length wise in halves (so you have 6 thinner breasts)
*Emmental cheese (It’s a type of Swiss. Muenster or mozz works great, too! I just love Emmental.)
*Prosciutto (about 4-5 slices, I would guess)
*Spinach
*bread crumbs
*EVOO
*Juice of half a lemon

    directions:

First, roast your red pepper: turn you oven on broil, and put your red pepper on a baking sheet. Throw her in there, rotating every so often so the whole pepper get nice and black-ish. When it’s done (about 10-12 minutes or so), close it up in a paper grocery bag and set aside.
Next, preheat your oven to 450F. Mix some olive oil and the lemon juice in a bowl and add salt and pepper. Pour some bread crumbs on a plate and set aside. Cut up your cheese of choice into thin, relatively narrow slices and tear your prosciutto slices in halves or thirds.
Once your red pepper has cooled off some, take it out of the bag. I run mine under cold water at this point, because I can never wait until it’s cooled all the way. Pull out the stem and peel the hard skin off. Then rinse out the seeds and cut into slices.
Now you’re all ready to assemble these babies! Take a chicken; place spinach, prosciutto, cheese, and red pepper on chicken; roll up; dunk in EVOO/lemon juice mixture; roll in bread crumbs; place in baking dish. Repeat with the remaining chickens and voilà! They’re ready to bake! Throw in the oven for 25-30 minutes and cook until the inside is no longer pink (I always have to cut into one a little to make sure).
They’re sure to impress! Girl Scout’s honor. I even impressed a boy with them, so they’re good for girls’ night or date night. I served then with roasted broccolini and sweet potato wedges.
Eat up, y’all!

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magic chocolate shell

Y’all. I have a new friend who loves to cook paleo. Get ready for some stellar paleo and primal posts in the near future! #girlcrush #notashamed

Tuesday night she made jalapeño turkey burgers, sweet potato wedges, and this magic chocolate shell that we dumped (yes, dumped) on top of almond milk ice cream. It. was. to. die. for. We may or may not have had seconds… I provided the wine (shocker) and we had such a great night. Gypsy even enjoyed herself and all the snuggles she got.

This recipe is stupid easy. LW found it online and I am so glad she did! Y’all ready? I don’t think you are… But here goes anyway.

magic chocolate shell

    ingredients:

*Coconut oil
*Dark chocolate (we had a bag of 60% cocoa dark choc morsels)
*Your fave ice cream

    tools

*Microwave
*Spoon
*Microwaveable bowl

    directions

For every 1 cup if chocolate chips, you need 2 Tbs coconut oil. Pour your 1 c chips and 2 Tbs coconut oil into your microwaveable bowl and zap it. Start with 30 seconds, stir, repeat, until it’s all melted.
Let it cool for a sec, then pour/dump a hefty portion all over your favorite ice cream. Prepare to be amazed. It hardens into something gorgeous and delicious. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Eat up, y’all!

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arugula-pistachio pesto

I know. I know… it’s been entirely too long since my last post. When I come home from work at night, the last thing I want to do is get on another computer. Plus, now I have Gypsy (only the cutest rescue puppy in the entire word. Don’t worry I’m not biased. #yeahright.) and I pretty much only want to play with her. All the time. She’s hilarious. 

Anyway… tonight is pizza night (shocker, I know…) and I wanted to try something different. Usually I do my tried-and-true pizza duo:  prosciutto+arugula salad and potato+turkey bacon+rosemary. Those are always winners, but it was time to put my big-girl panties on and branch out. But branching out is hard… so I still had to include prosciutto and arugula. #whoops. That’s where this post comes in: arugula+pistachio pesto. One of my pizzas will be (nope, haven’t even made them yet) this pesto topped with tomatoes and onions. Sounds like a winner, right? Right. I’ll probably throw some mozz on there, too, just for good measure. So here goes nothin’:

arugula+pistachio pesto

ingredients:

  • 1/4+ c shelled pistachios (I say “+” because I had a hair over 1/4 c)
  • 2 cups arugula 
  • 5 Tbs EEOV 
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, depending on your preference (or if you’re planning on smooching that night…)
  • 1/4 c Parmesan (grated) 

equipment:

  • food processor 

directions:

Throw all that jazz in there and blend it up, baby.

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Mine wasn’t getting to quite the pesto-like consistency, so I added about 2 Tbs of warm water (total) to try and loosen it up a bit. You can always add more EEOV if necessary. The arugula gives it this excellent spicy flavor that will blow you away. Just, blow. you. away. Use it on your pizza, pasta, or fave bread/cracker. #noms

Just look at how pretty that color is…

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Eat up, y’all!