We were at the wedding reception of a friend, chatting over a drink with the cousin of the groom. The conversation turned to our upcoming trip to Nashville. It would be a quick weekend trip from Lexington, our home at the time.
“You need to try Hot Chicken,” he said. My husband and I must have had confused looks on our faces, and he must have been used to that kind of response, because he went on to explain. He lived in East Nashville and said that few people had heard of it, but it was a favorite among locals.
My husband and I often celebrate Thanksgiving by ourselves a few days before we join our families for the big meal. This year I decided to share some recipes for those who might also be doing some Thanksgiving cooking for two. This is the first post in the series. Be sure to check out the side dishes that go with this main course.
I’ll be the first to admit that Thanksgiving isn’t my favorite holiday of the season. It doesn’t make much sense, though. I love fall and pumpkins and I love to cook. Seems like I’d be all over a holiday that has those things well covered.
I can offer no explanation other than my fondness of a winter wonderland, warm cocktails, cookies and cheesy Christmas movies. It simply beats out Thanksgiving every time.
Despite it not being my favorite, I still like to cook and I like to get creative. We typically travel to the homes of our families for Thanksgiving dinners. (Yes, dinners. As in two in one day.) There, the family has traditional covered. But it rarely satisfies my need to try some new and creative.
This recipe takes an ordinary sandwich and makes it worthy of an excellent wine pairing! It comes from Chad Hendrickson, Executive Chef for The Hess Collection. A special thank you to The Hess Collection for sponsoring this post.
Sandwiches are casual. When we don’t want to have a fancy meal or invest too much time in the kitchen, we go for a sandwich.
They are convenient and familiar, but many lean a little towards boring and monotonous. That is, until you start considering whether the lowly sandwich could possibly pair with wine. Not just any wine, but a syrah that boasts black and blue fruits with a subtle touch of spiced vanilla and cedar. Before you know it, you have a duck breast sandwich on your hands that also happens to be layered with bacon and Cambozola cheese.
I rarely identify with the term comfort food. I think it’s because, unless you are force feeding me steamed broccoli or those crunchy fancy green beans, I consider all foods comforting. I may be partial to carbs, but a salad or spring roll can bring about as much comfort and nostalgia for me as mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.
But I get it, and if you wanted me to come up with some comfort foods, using the true sense of the word, one thing that comes to mind is the classic casserole.
In this recipe, slow cooker lentils are topped with turkey meatballs and then brightened with a sprinkle of fresh spinach for an easy one-bowl meal!
I tend to eat in earth tones. It’s something I didn’t realize until I began photographing my food.
Think about it. The occasional leafy green aside, many healthy foods are pretty much a big bunch of off white, beige and brown.
Lentils, beans, chickpeas, cauliflower, oats, onions, garlic, meats, mushrooms — all pretty much the same boring color. It’s unfair, too, because they can be pretty darn delicious.
This recipe combines aromatic lemongrass with spicy chili paste to create a flavorful marinade for grilled chicken. It’s perfect for kicking off the start of grilling season!
It wasn’t until we began exploring the BBQ meats of Korean, Thai and Hawaiian cuisines that we discovered the deliciousness of the chicken thigh. Prior to that, our meals were most often made up of chicken breasts and the occasional full roasted bird.
To be honest, the chicken breast alone leaves a lot to be desired. When it is not cooked with the rest of the bird, it’s often dry and tasteless. At least that was my experience. Even the best marinades and fillings rolled up inside couldn’t seem to make it any better.
This spicy noodle bowl is topped with turkey sausage, mustard greens and garlic. It’s vibrant flavors pair well with the 2014 Cultivar Rose that I received as part of the Cultivar Wine Bloggers!
Growing up, like most people who come from the middle portion of the U.S., comfort food was defined by things like mashed potatoes, pot pies and biscuits and gravy. Heavy, nap-inducing and delicious.
Fortunately, travel has introduced me to a few more things that define comfort food for others around the world. Feijoada in Brazil, fish and chips and pastries in Europe, but nothing can compare to noodle dishes in Southeast Asia. They have redefined comfort food for me.
These Slow Cooker Maple Jalapeno Chicken Sliders have a flavorful balance of sweet, salty and spicy. Crown Maple gave me a sample of their delicious organic maple syrup at the Winter Fancy Food Show last month and it made the perfect addition to this easy meal!
I learned long ago that there is no denying my sweet tooth. Yes, you can calm it down by cutting out all forms of added sugar. I did that a couple years ago. Cravings subsided, and even now I don’t like things nearly as sweet as I used to, but the sweet tooth never really went away.
If you have a sweet tooth, you know what I’m talking about.
People tend to fall into a sweet or salty category. Some have no desire for any type of sugar. But threaten to take away their potato chips, and look out! Meanwhile, if you told me I could never have a potato chip or pretzel again I would not shed a single tear. But let’s not talk about the horror of never having caramel, chocolate, or my favorite sweetener, maple syrup.
I’m sharing My 3 Words for the New Year along with a spiced up and spiked version of cabbage rolls!
It’s a new year. I keep repeating that to myself, but it doesn’t want to stick.
Most years, I feel this big sense of transition as we close one out and enter another. I’m big on the goals and resolutions, so I have those all lined up and I’m ready to jump right in the minute the ball drops.
This year feels different.
We spent the last two weeks of 2014 traveling. We visited Copenhagen, went to Berlin and explored the markets over the Christmas holiday, enjoyed a day in Malmo and returned to Copenhagen for New Years Eve. It was a blissful break filled with new experiences, people and foods.
These lettuce wraps make a quick and easy seasonal dinner. They are filled with my favorite fall ingredients and served in beautiful red leaf lettuce that is full of nutrients. This post was sponsored by Coastline Family Farms.
Don’t mind my deer-in-the-headlights look. That is just my reaction to how quickly the end of October and most of November have flown by. I’ve been finding myself staring blankly from time to time trying to get my brain to catch up to the date.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing. There’s been a reason for it – events. Lots of awesome, new experiences, meet new people, have fun while learning, eating and drinking, events.