It's been a sluggish start to summertime blogging over here in Hungry Times Two-Land, so apologies are in order.
We have, however, been enjoying the bounty of the season, with lots of fresh veggies to cook up and enjoy. One of Scott's coworkers blessed us with a cucumber from their garden yesterday and last night we enjoyed it in a salad, tossed in a sweet and spicy dressing from Sara Foster's Fresh Everyday cookbook that includes the zest of a whole lemon. How did I zest this time? (My first attempt zesting with key limes was a little out of hand.) Well, with my fabulous zesting micro plane gifted to me by the fabulous friends at Peaches n Curry.
Last night I made a Black Bean Chilaquile, a casserole of black beans, chopped tomatoes, salsa, onions, crushed tortillas, cheese, and some amazing blanched rainbow-colored chard.
The evening prior, I broiled a steak (grass-fed hormone free beef from Trader Joe's) marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, crushed garlic and Montreal Steak seasoning) scattered with onions, made a batch of rosemary mashed potatoes, and sauteed some excellent local yellow squash and crimini mushrooms.
As our fridge was a wasteland after our return from a holiday camping trip, on Monday we dined at Anatolia on White Bridge Road. We enjoyed a starter of Ezme, a roasted red pepper spread with crushed tomatoes, onions, walnuts and spices, and warm pitas, and we both ordered kebab platters - mine was chunks of lamb, while Scott had ground lamb formed into patties and then skewered. The cucumber yogurt sauce (similar to Greek Tzatziki) was tasty and the rice was pilaf-esque (couldn't quite tell what they did to it).
There's so many middle-eastern types of restaurants here due to Nashville having the largest Kurdish population in the US, so a kebab is never far out of reach. Most places I've tried are lacking a little something, but I like Anatolia. It's quiet, very clean with fresh white table linens, and their well-described menu doesn't require much circumnavigating, guessing or awkward "What's in this, exactly?" conversation with the server.
Speaking of which, a friend of mine experienced that very issue during our weekend camping trip. On our one night out on the big town of Bryson City, NC, we ate at Pasqualino's, one of the few places open for business in BC on the Fourth of July. My friend asked the waitress what was in the chicken cacciatore and she replied, "chicken, peppers, and stuff."
Now, I know servers work hard, but a little elaboration was in order. "Stuff" could be any number of things, from mushrooms to mutton. Throw in a dog biscuit, a couple artichoke hearts, maybe some imitation bacon bits for flavor. Luckily my friend wasn't afraid to boldly go there - she asked her to define the "stuff."
The stuff in question turned out to be awesome, as was my blackened chicken pasta. A day of hearty whitewater rafting makes creamy Alfredo sauce okay, right?
It feels nice to be back typing in this space. I hope to do more of it soon. Meanwhile, here's a link to the story I wrote for Local Table on the divine Sweet 16th Bakery. If you're ever in East Nashville, check out what sweet creations the Einsteins have to offer.
Have a sweet rest of the week, what's left of it, and a fabulous weekend!