More recently, I had a very tasty spring onion, goat cheese and thyme quiche from Foxy Baking Co.. Simple, but delicious. So delicious that I kept wanting more. And I thought, "I can do this," despite having previously failed (twice!) at making quiche.
I put past failures out of my mind, found a highly rated recipe and got cooking. I subbed garlic scapes I found at the West Nashville Farmers Market for the spring onion and used a frozen crust to make it a little easier on myself, but otherwise did not deviate from the recipe.
Two hours later, I had a third failure. It took twice as long to cook than the recipe indicated, and the pie was still not very firm and definitely too eggy. The bottom crust was soggy from too much milk. So, I give up. Quiche is now officially on the list of things I will not prepare at home. Quiche has some great company on this list, which includes:
- Indian foods (all of them)
- Thai foods (most of them)
- Bread (other than no-knead breads)
- Macaroni and cheese
These are foods that other people can prepare much better and more efficiently than I can. Luckily, I can get a great quiche from Foxy just about any time I want. Katy sets up 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays at the West Nashville Farmers Market on Charlotte Avenue at 46th (in Richland Park) and has a store at 707 Porter Road in East Nashville (check the Foxy Baking Co. Facebook page for hours). You can also keep up via Twitter. Katy's pies and other treats are also fantastic. I highly recommend the shaker lemon pie and the chocolate pie with polenta crust. It's all delicious.
Foxy Baking Co.
707 Porter Road in East Nashville
Nonetheless, he convinced me that the Friday special would knock my socks off. So we grabbed Arnold's aficionado Mr. Pink and headed out the door toward Eighth Avenue South.
And Steve was right. On Fridays, Arnold's is serving up a barbecue beef dish that is all kinds of fabulous. The shredded beef — in a slightly tangy, slightly sweet sauce — is ladled on top of a jalapeño grit cake, then topped with a smoked gouda sauce. Unanimous moans of ecstasy all around. (Pinkie only had a taste — he ordered the catfish, which quite frankly was some of the best I've had. Arnold's knows how to push salt to the very edge of almost too salty without crossing the line. Usually.)
I called Arnold's to ask how long the special has been going on. The response: "For a while now." Hope that bit of information is enlightening.
Seriously folks, if you go to Arnold's on a Friday, don't miss the barbecue beef special!
Like many home bakers, Brenda Barker always loved to make brownies. And like lots of nice people, Brenda gave them to her friends for gifts and at school events and everybody told her, "You really should sell these." But unlike most dreamers, she actually decided to take the plunge and go into the brownie baking business. Lucky for us!
This entrepreneurial mother of two started A' La Mode Gourmet Brownies out of her home kitchen and still bakes her brownies batch by batch using the finest chocolate, real butter and vanilla, organic eggs and other natural ingredients. In fact, she still keeps a schedule based around family activities, so her delicious brownies were unavailable March 20-30 for spring break.
The flavor varieties offered are a Triple Chocolate Bar with three different kinds of chocolate, Mint Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter and my personal favorite, Caramel by the Sea, which has a ribbon of rich caramel and is topped with sea salt.
(My Pavlovian response is being triggered just by the memory of that one as I type this.)
To order your own A' La Mode brownies, visit the company website or email Barker at firstname.lastname@example.org. The company offers free delivery within a 15-mile radius of Nashville with a minimum order, and priority mail shipping is available for deliveries outside of the Metro Nashville area. The brownies will stay fresh for up to five days and may be refrigerated for up to 10 days, but frankly I can't imagine having any of these delicious morsels last that long around my house.
Brenda suggests warming them by heating in the microwave for 10-15 seconds and serving with ice cream. Sounds like a heck of an idea to me.
So when the opportunity came to try out the three-day juice cleanse package from Juice Nashville, I jumped at the chance. Juice Nashville is the brainchild of Stephanie Waring, who operates a raw pressed juicery out of an industrial kitchen in downtown Nashville.
Because Juice Nashville uses a hydraulic Norwalk juicer instead of a rotary juicer like you might be using to store screwdrivers in your kitchen (or is that just me?), they are able to squeeze the nutrients out of 2-4 pounds of produce into each 16-ounce bottle of unpasteurized juice. Because they add no preservatives, sugar or water to their juices, they can claim that you are getting 3-5 times more nutrition than standard juices.
It's not even fair to call it a juice "fast," because after the first eight hours, I never really even felt hungry.
I'm not a doctor, so I can't claim any actual scientific knowledge on the topic, but here's how I understand it. Your body is getting all the nutrients it needs from the assortment of juices that are provided in "The Cleanse" package, and since you're basically giving your digestive system a rest for the duration, you can retain even more of what General Jack D. Ripper would call your "precious bodily fluids." Between drinking water and five 16 ounce bottles of juice and one 12-ounce bottle of almond milk every day, my stomach never developed that gnawing empty feeling.
However, Bites strongly recommends you talk with your doctor before trying any dietary regimen.
This program isn't cheap, with each bottle retailing for $6. "The Cleanse" package includes 18 bottles for three days and an insulated tote to carry them and runs $113. Delivery is available within 15 miles of downtown for $8 with a $30 minimum order, or you can pick up your juice supply at either the Nashville or Franklin farmers' markets on Saturday mornings. But when you consider that you are getting that 4 pounds of produce in every bottle, and that you're not going to spend any other money on food or drink for those three days, it's really not that steep of a price.
A few years ago, management decided to add sandwiches to their limited menu and have recently rolled out three "gourmet mac & cheese" items as well. What's so ingenious about these additions are that they have managed to almost double the variety of the menu by "creatively repurposing" ingredients that were already available in their pantries.
Local GM Zach Allen took me through the new menu which includes a Truffle Mac with Baby Portabellas, Chili Mac and Bacon, Mac and Cheeseburger. He told me that "95 percent of the ingredients were already in-house." Combined with fresh local produce that the restaurant receives six times per week, they have created some pretty tasty dishes.
But in your local Whole Foods refrigerated case is another easy all-natural option that offers 14 varieties of chicken sausages with 70 percent less fat than pork sausage, without nitrates, preservatives and artificial ingredients. In full disclosure, the good people at Al Fresco All Natural Sausages sent me a few of their products to try out, but I wouldn't share this with you if they weren't pretty darned delicious. Well, actually, I didn't share them with anybody because they were so good. Sorry about that, Dana and Nicki.
Available in both breakfast and dinner varieties, Al Fresco sausages don't set out to pretend to be pork products. Lower in fat, they clearly aren't going to have the same mouthfeel as a good, greasy Jimmy Dean patty. Instead they depend on combinations of natural flavors and textures to make up for their lack of fat. I particularly enjoyed the appple maple breakfast links, which did not have the artificial maple flavors that characterize cheap breakfast patties.
Dinner sausages come either fully cooked for convenience or fresh so you can boil them like a brat and finish them on your grill. Two varieties, the spinach and feta and the sun-dried tomato with basil were standouts among the fully cooked options. I've worked both the spicy chipotle and hot Italian uncooked varieties into recipes with none of the diners at my table noticing that I'd used a healthier alternative to pork sausages. Pretty sneaky.
Seems the football playoffs occasion a spike in finger food consumption. With Buffalo wings and other hot chicken wings at the top of the list.
Anyway, as the party host or hostess, you should know that prices may be affected or you may have trouble locating wings, or enough wings. Unlike a decade ago, the silly rhyme, "Ain't no thang but a chicken wing" isn't true anymore. Come Superbowl Sunday, it's all about the wing.
What Sharon and Mike Braden loved was ... Creole food, in particular, the seafood pies that Mike's surgeon father made back in Louisiana. How good are they? So good Mike baked them to court Sharon. So good Sharon ended 30 years as a vegetarian to eat them. And, well, because she really liked Mike.
Sharon, a hospital clinician for 25 years, and Mike, an programmer and software developer, have taken the methodical approach to their business, but obviously, it's based on a shared love for the pies, and how they've seen others marvel at them. "I just love watching people take the first bite," says Sharon.
If you haven't tried a Doc Braden's Seafood Pie that's a terrible oversight. Because a surgeon developed the 3-inch pies to have the perfect crust-to-filling ratio so there's a bite of the flaky, lard-kissed crust in every bite of pie. Sharon and Mike are sourcing the shrimp, crab and crawfish from from the United States. Doc Braden's has the HACCP food safety certification from the FDA. The kitchen has a production protocol. The pies are baked in small batches of about 60. They have four Weight Watchers points each. The Bradens do all the delivering themselves.
And they're just devastatingly good, each bite with a bit of rich crust and the fresh, clean taste of seafood with a touch of butter and not much else — everything on the ingredient list is something you've heard of.
The pies are available at Produce Place, Butcher's Block, Grassland Market and the Urban Market in the Viridian, in accordance with the original plan, which was to get the pies into retail stores. But farmers' markets have been good for business. In fact, that's where a typical Bites reader most likely discovered Doc Braden's. They sell the pies hot on Saturdays (!), and in the warm months, they sell at farmers' markets in 12th South, Forest Hills and Richland Park. Louisiana Seafood in the Nashville Farmers' Market carries the pies.
I'd like to defend myself regarding the holiday party at which my dinner was seven bourbon balls and two — although it may have been three — glasses of Champagne.
I had entirely coherent conversations, was able to locate and also put on my own coat. Went home with the right person, in the right car, and didn't drive. Those are all worthy accomplishments after a supper of bourbon balls and Champagne.
And also, I located some vegetables. There was a very pretty vegetable plate — love poring over a good vegetable and dip tray for for new ideas and flavors.
And look what was on the tray! Samphire! And why not? Salty, crunchy and fleshy samphire can definitely hold its own on a vegetable tray. For dipping, it's a little slim, but a thin dip would work.
Samphire isn't a vegetable you see every day, so I asked the hostess, who called it "sea beans," perhaps from the color and crunch of steamed green bean.
I meant to ask where it came from, but there was all that Champagne. Who has encountered the sea bean/samphire, and where?
Bathtub Gin sells beautiful jewel-like jars of jams and spreads in flavors you've never even dreamed of: rum raisin-mission-fig, peach brandy-blueberry, elderflower liqueur-blackberry, peaches & cream. Or get a last bit of summer in their few remaining strawberry and tomato products. Buy the spreads alone, or buy a gift basket that includes their jams, condiments from Perl Catering (see below), cheese from The Bloomy Rind, and Dozen bakery baked goods. It's like a dream of a local gift basket. (Gift baskets include spreaders and other noshing tools, plus pretty packaging.) The jars are a generous 11 ounces for $10-12, plenty for spreading on toast and making yogurt parfaits and a little extra for flavoring a cocktail.
O.Liv Body Bar in Edgehill Village (750-3701) uses Greek olive oils and sea salt in some of its luxurious treatments, and sells the same Greek olive oils, sea salt and olive oil soaps — plus balsamic vinegar — at exceptional prices.
Taste the difference that freshness makes in cornmeal and grits with Falls Mill stoneground cornmeal and grits. Falls Mill, in Belvidere, Tenn., operates a century-old water wheel powered by the nearby creek to grind corn and wheat into cornmeal and flour. Falls Mill corn products are usually available at Whole Foods and Produce Place, or order from the company.
Walker Creek Toffee out of Alexandria, Tenn., got the Scene staff's chomp of approval recently for its addictive buttery crunch and alluring burnt sugar flavors. Order half-pound or 1-pound tins or vacuum packs from the website.
Also toffee-flavored, but with natural mellowing agents, is Prichard's Private Stock Rum ($80) Turn a Saturday drive into a shopping trip and tour of Prichard's Distillery in Kelso, Tenn. Get a kick out of the schoolhouse-distillery, then take home a prize: a bottle of Prichard's Private Stock Rum, aged 10 years in charred oak barrels and only available at the distillery.
This place has closed
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