What's your favorite candy?
What are you giving out tonight to trick-or-treaters?
Are you dressing up? (For Halloween, I mean.)
Does anyone have a recipe for using up leftover candy corn?
Speaking of candy corn, I swiped this image from HowStuffWorks.com, where you can learn a whole lot about candy corn.
Kay West will sign copies of her new book, Around the Opry Table: A Feast of Recipes and Stories from the Grand Ole Opry, tonight at 6 p.m. at Davis-Kidd Booksellers. Kay promises to have snacks on hand from the book's many star-studded recipes. If you're lucky, maybe you'll get some of Alan Jackson's pimiento cheese.
For a fun diversion, turn to page 101 of Around the Opry Table and try to figure out what Scripture Cake is. Here are the ingredients for Johnny Cash's mother's version of the cryptic recipe:
Judges 5:25 last clause, ݠcup
I Samuel 14:25, 2 teaspoons
Jeremiah 17:11, 6 separated
I Kings 4:22, 1 ݠcups
Amos 4:5, 2 teaspoons
II Chronicles 9:9 to taste
Leviticus 2:13, pinch
Nahum 3:12, 2 cups
I Samuel 30:12, 2 cups
Numbers 17:8, 2 cups
Hint: This site might help. (It's not every day you get a guide to scripture on Bites.)
Two more days until Whole Foods Market in Green Hills opens to the hungry hordes, and after last week's sneak preview, I'm beginning to see what all the fuss is about. Maybe it was the pendant lighting, or the metal sculpture of a trout leaping over the seafood department, or the samples of melt-in-your-mouth espresso-bean-and-chocolate-chip cookies, or the mosaic of hand-painted tiles made by kids from the local YMCA, or the Viking appliances in the demonstration kitchen. Or maybe it was the siren song of locally grown and organic foods, which Whole Foods works to showcase. But as I roamed among the hundreds of olive oils and gazed at the tasteful earth-tone-tiled walls, I could suddenly see why my friends in Atlanta refer to their Whole Foods as "Whole Paycheck."
A few highlights of the Green Hills store, which opens Thursday in the new Hill Center (after the jump):
In this week's dining review of The Pfunky Griddle, I applaud Penelope Pfunter's pfun and pfriendly concept of all-you-can-eat/cook-your-own-pancakes, especially her efforts to provide wholesome, unrefined flours for her pancake batters.
But since my job is to evaluate a restaurant's food and not its cash flows, I also make a few expensive suggestions that would raise the quality of other items to the level of the pancakes—and the custom-built griddle tables. Specifically, I recommend that Pfuntner shore up the coffee, bread and bacon, and that someday she aim to offer real maple syrup, even if she has to charge a premium for it.
Mmmm...coffee, bread, bacon and maple syrup. For me, I'm all about Smithfield brown-sugar-cured bacon, challah French toast, thick coffee made with a French press, and whatever grade-A maple happens to be sticking around. But I bet that you Biters have some better ideas. I can think of at least a few of you who are probably braiding your own bread and mail-ordering from a mounted maple patrol. Care to share your favorite breakfast staples?
Like everyone else this morning, we were thinking about the late Opry legend Porter Wagoner, who died last night at age 80 after one of the defining careers in country music. By chance, we found this recipe Wagoner submitted in Kay West's new book, Around the Opry Table: A Feast of Recipes and Stories from the Grand Ole Opry. It made us smile, and it made us picture the man in all his star-spangled, good-humored glory. Here, without ado, is Porter's Chocolate Fudge.
2 c. sugar
2 tbsp. cocoa
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. Log Cabin syrup
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. peanut butter
1/2 c. English walnuts, chopped
Mix sugar, cocoa, salt and syrup together in a saucepan, then add enough milk to make it soupy, but very thick. Bring to a boil, and boil until sugar is dissolved (4 to 5 minutes). Test by dropping small spoonfuls into water until it forms a ball. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla. Stir until it begins to cool. Add peanut butter and walnuts. Pour into large platter, and hold a gun on yourself so you'll wait until it cools!
With the Central American holiday Dia de los Muertos coming up Nov. 1 and 2, Aurora Bakery is preparing the traditional pan de muerto, or Bread of the Dead. Resembling something like a giant, inflated sand dollar, the round loaf represents a skull and bones, explains Aurora owner Patricia Paiva. She bakes a version of the sweet, eggy bread flavored with fresh orange zest.
For the next week, the counter at Paiva's cheery Nolensville Road shop will be piled with colorful loaves topped with bright pastel-tinged crystal sugar—pink for joy, white for purity, purple for sadness.
It's hard to be sad inside Paiva's shop, where the display cases brim with traditional Mexican pastries named for their shapes. Sweet breads and cookies with names that translate to "ribs," "kisses," "tongues," and "bakers" line the shelves. Paiva also serves a menu of sandwiches, including a chicken salad with apples on homemade French loaf. It's just plain old beige bread, but it will make you so happy, it may as well be colored pink.
Aurora Bakery and Cafe Papillon, located at 3725 Nolensville Rd., offers three sizes of pan de muerto for $3.65, $7.50 and $12.50. Aurora's pan de muerto will be available at Cheekwood's Dia de los Muertos celebration on Saturday.
Eric Brown, owner of Spudz potato restaurant, was found fatally shot in the alley behind his Charlotte Pike store today, according to a report on WKRN. Brown later died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Brown, 36, studied hotel and restaurant management at TSU before launching into a series of restaurant jobs. Eager to start a business with a product that was affordable and unorthodox, he borrowed money from his aunt and launched Spudz, the one-stop potato shop, in June 2006.
When I interviewed Brown this summer for a review of Spudz, it was about 100 degrees inside his un-air-conditioned store. Brown popped his head out the window and rattled off some dozen stuffed potato combinations—everything from barbecue to Philly cheese steak. He couldn't pick a favorite, he said. If it was there, he assured me, it was good.
Brown was extremely proud of the success he was having—he had quickly repaid his aunt—and he enjoyed talking about taste-testing recipes with his kids. He was kind enough to share his recipe for a perfect baked potato: wash the potato twice, then wrap it in aluminum foil and cook for an hour-and-a-half at 450 degrees.
Hoyt Hill, the wine wonk over at Village Wines, already bills his business as "the world's second ugliest wine shop." Now he wants it be the most eco-friendly wine merchant in town. Not that the distinction is hotly contested, but Hill's off to a good start with his bottle recycling program. For every empty wine bottle that you bring in, Hill will give you $1 off on a bottle that costs $10 or more.
Since its beginning this summer, the program has taken off, Hill says. Customers are bringing back cases of empty bottles, which he totes to the recycling center behind Hillsboro High School. Some folks even bring in old apple juice bottles and—gasp!—bottles from other wine merchants. Hill says he doesn't mind. It all helps offset the estimated 150,000 bottles that make their way from Village Wines to the landfill each year. He just asks that you rinse the bottles first.
Village Wines, located at 2006-B Belcourt Ave., carries several dozen organic and biodynamic wines.
You'd think Nashville was getting its first indoor plumbing, with all the excitement surrounding the opening of the Whole Foods in Green Hills. But you don't have to wait until Nov. 1 to get a peek. Whole Foods, located at the corner of Hillsboro Pike and Hill Center Drive, is offering tours to the public on Sunday, Oct. 28 and Monday, Oct. 29. The 45-minute introduction will include samples and gift bags. A suggested donation of $10 will go toward the Green Hills Family YMCA and Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, along with a $5,000 matching gift from Whole Foods. Space is limited and you must register here.
It doesn't take much to make me pull off the road in a downpour and stand in a gravel parking lot off Nolensville Road. Just a homemade sandwich board with a painting of an ear of corn and the word "Elotes."
Elotes is a popular Mexican snack, a roasted, boiled or grilled ear of corn on a stick. Elotes stands dot street corners in Chicago and Milwaukee these days. It can be doused with salt and lime juice—the lime actually enhances the corn's nutritional value, breaking down the indigestible hull of the kernel—or sprinkled with cotija cheese (powdery like Parmesan, only soft, fresher and more flavorful) and a chile de arbol sauce.
The latter is what I got at Taqueria Dona Tere, the awesome lunch trailer next to El Fandango on Nolensville just off I-440 near the fairgrounds. (Nashville GPS code: it's across from the Circle K.) For $2, the man at the counter (who even offered to help put air in my front tire) handed over a plump ear so dusted with cheese it looked almost breaded, circled with fiery streaks of sauce. The corn itself was the best I've had this awful year, sweet, full and juicy. But the combination of the light, salty cheese and the biting sauce offset the sweetness of the corn without drowning its flavor.
I almost ordered another on the spot. Instead, I saw a brimming metal pot on a back burner. A few minutes later, I held a steaming Styrofoam cup of champurrado, a boiling-hot Mexican atole drink that's essentially a cross between hot chocolate and porridge. It's made with masa flour, vanilla bean, barely sweetened chocolate, cinnamon and the cane-sugar cones known as piloncillo, but it's not very sweet: it's something like the child of coffee and soup.
Champurrado also retains heat longer than any insulation I've ever seen, something to keep in mind when seeking a future cold remedy. For $1.50, I got a cup larger than a Starbucks venti—a small!—and when I finished the bottom was filled with long fragrant strips of cinnamon bark. I'm not sure I'd get it again, but it felt great on a drizzly fall day.
On a whim, I asked the folks in the trailer if they ever had huitlacoche, the corn fungus prized for its truffle-like flavor and served in quesadillas and other dishes. They indicated it was probably impossible to get around here. Next time I go, though, I'll see if they have elote en vaso (corn in a glass), a layered cup of corn, queso fresco, crema and chili powder often sold at stands, or the sweet mayonnaise that accompanies elotes at some carts.
Image above cribbed from eGullet.
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