Former Metro councilman Jeff Ockerman hit the big time when his recipe for scallop ceviche won the Chairman's Challenge recipe contest hosted by Food Network magazine.
According to Food Network editors, "We were swimming in seafood recipes after we announced that the secret ingredient for our February/March 2009 contest was citrus. We got 20 entries for orange salmon alone! But only one dish had judges talking Iron Chef: Jeff Ockerman's scallop ceviche."
Director of Health Planning for the State of Tennessee and an adjunct professor of law at Vanderbilt University, Ockerman got the nudge to enter the contest from his 83-year old mother.
"She handed me this magazine in mid-March after I drove her and my father back home from a Florida vacation, saying 'Here, this might interest you,' " Ockerman says. "Even though I decided on the recipe quickly, I was fairly analytical. I thought of three criteria that I'd use if I were a judge: When would the winning recipe likely be printed? What's an unusual dish that's easy to make? What unexpected ingredient would make the judges notice this recipe?
"The idea of a ceviche just popped into my head; it's an interesting-sounding dish and it's very easy--mainly chopping vegetables. I had some candied citrus peel in the fridge that I'd made earlier, and I thought putting something usually used for jams and baking in a scallops-vegetable dish would attract the judges' eyes. And because the lime juice makes it so acidic, I added the citrus syrup."
The complete recipe is posted after the jump.
East Nashville 'scream joint Pied Piper Creamery has made it to the big time, landing on Food & Wine's list of Best New Ice Cream Shops, in the August issue.
Meanwhile, ice cream maven Jenny Piper has also caught the eye of a company that sells ice cream ingredients and asked her to develop a recipe showcasing their black walnuts. Through July 31, you can get 50 cents off Pied Piper's new Apple Pie ice cream, featuring caramelized black walnuts, if you download the coupon here.
Through the arrangement with Missouri-based Hammons Products Company, Piper has a bottomless bag of black walnuts to experiment with--many of which come from Middle Tennessee. She arrived at a formula for tossing the nuts in honey and baking them until they're candied. "Black walnuts are really expensive," Piper explains, "so for me to have an unlimited supply to play with has been really fun." (The price of Apple Pie ice cream is the same as her 24 other flavors.)
You can also take a survey about the new ice cream to qualify for a drawing a for a free video camera, courtesy of Hammons.
So many things about Noshville are lovable. The cheery, functional retro interior. The great smells coming from the kitchen. The generous portions. The potato pancakes, the nova, the Reuben, the chicken soup with the giant matzo ball. They get it right pretty much every time, and I don't really know how they are so consistently good.
One other endearing quality of the Green Hills location: on weekends, the tables are full of scruffy, puffy-faced affluent West Nashvillians who look as if they just rolled out of bed. Dirty hair, bed hair, flip-flops, mingy teeth, sweats, gym shorts. I can't think of anywhere else where you'll see this many rumpled adult bourgeoisie. Okay, maybe Starbucks. Also Bread & Company. Where else?
Cooking is hazardous duty. As proof, a sampling of cooking injury photos shot over just two days.
That pink crescent is the burn inflicted by the hot oven rack when the cook reaches in to retrieve a pan and her/his arm doesn't clear the rack above.
In three gatherings over two days, about 10 percent of attendees had a cooking-related injury, most of them burns (but one involving hot liquid and a bruise). Clearly the situation cries for a solution. Just brainstorming, here are some, from low-tech to high-tech.
1) Remove the extra oven racks before the oven is hot
2) Position racks lower in the oven
3) Elbow-length oven gloves
4) Heat-proof ceramic oven racks.
What other solutions can Bites readers imagineer to this unseen epidemic?
A few weeks back, West Coast e-zine writer Michelle Strashoon, stopped in to get a taste of Nashville. Gaylord chef Forrest Parker squired Strashoon around one day, and Arnold Myint hosted her the next. Between the two of them, Myint and Parker gave Strashoon a lightning tour of the city, with culinary highlights including Cupcake Collection, Swett's, City House, Zola, tayst, ChaChah, Las Paletas, Rumours East, Watermark, Patterson House, Mirror and the Opryland compound.
Strashoon chronicled her visit in this month's issue of online magazine Hip Compass Escapes, which is available to subscribers. You can get a free glimpse of the story here. The Nashville section starts on page 62.
Where would you have taken an out-of-town journalist?
Insecure Walrus returns, and the time has come to talk about Indian things--Bombay Bistro in particular. The Walrus, a.k.a. Samuel Harrison, turns his vlogging skills to the new Indian eatery in Cool Springs. From the man who brought you Wild Ginger and Taste of Russia comes another endearingly unscripted--and uncharacteristically thorough--assessment of another Williamson County eatery.
"Thumbs up," says the Nashville Scene. "Walrus' most ambitious film to date is a triumph of extemporaneous banter and makeshift videography. The sweeping views of Carothers Parkway, still shots of deep-fried noshes and the lyric mispronunciations of Indian street foods make this 10-minute single-take nothing less than the Slumdog Millionaire of video food reviews."
[Ed. note: This post may only be tangentially food-related, but I can just about guarantee there was drink involved.]
One of the best things about The City Paper/Nashville Post's new sparkly, glossy larger format is that there is more room in the back for the eight pages of legal notices. Nestled among all the foreclosures and substitute trustee notices (yawn) was this little gem.
Apparently a certain "T.R." residing in West Allis, Wisconsin, is petitioning for the termination of parental rights of her little bundle of joy, "M.J.R." The rub is that she's not exactly sure who the father is.
What she is certain of, according to the legal notice, is that the physical description of the alleged parent is, "Caucasian, appearing to be age 18 to 21, blonde or brown hair" and that the details of the conception were sometime in "Mid-August 2008" in "Nashville, TN- house party-address unknown."
So if you're the baby daddy and you vaguely remember "T.R." better than she remembers you, do the right thing and man up about your parental responsibility. For the rest of you all, it is officially house party/cookout/apartment complex kegger hook-up season. Please do your part and drink responsibly and don't forget to wrap your Whopper.
What do you know? It was about food after all.
This week, a familiar voice on Bites moves from the comments section to the front page, so to speak. Chris Chamberlain, a.k.a. CeeElCee, joins the Scene's food blog as a regular contributor.
A native Nashvillian, serious cook and inveterate gear-head, Chamberlain brings a gadget-lover's perspective and a Twitter-er's terse wit to the table. Of an age that puts him smack-dab between Virago hipsters and Sperry's early bird diners, Chamberlain resides in Hillsboro Village but will cross the county--and the river--in search of good, cheap Moldavian wine and vegetarian slaw dogs.
In his own words, his turn-ons include smoke applied liberally to pork and pork applied liberally to mass transit issues. Turn-offs? Anonymous comment trolls and having to eat in a chain steakhouse when traveling on business. Chamberlain is a frequent contributor to the Scene's You Are So Nashville If contest, and an occasional scribe for Nashville Lifestyles magazine, geardiary.com, MetBlogs Nashville, Music City Bloggers, MakingItRain, TheDrySpot.net and several other places that return an error 404 if you go looking for them.
Stay tuned for Chamberlain's meaty commentary and prosaic bloggerel. Welcome to Bites, CeeElCee.
I don't watch food and cooking TV, because it's not really about food.
If it were about food, I might be tempted, but it usually isn't. Instead, it's about competition, or aspirational home-keeping a la Martha Stewart, or vicarious dream vacations.
Or something more intimate. As proof, I offer this montage of Perky Every-Eater Rachel Ray really, really enjoying her meal.
Hey! Get a room, girl.
Suburban scavenging dilemma from our faithful commenter Lesley. Just look at this exuberantly leafy plant of the cucurbitae family, bursting with good health, flinging foliage here and yon, tossing out pretty blossoms, and just the beginnings of something good--zucchini? yellow squash?
Tragically, ironically, unfortunately and all the other adverbs that fit here, that plant and a half-dozen others are growing in some mulch flung down behind a warehouse at her workplace. Her own vegetable plants, meanwhile, are doing what mine are doing: languishing as snail fodder. She wants those zucchini. Should she pick them, at the risk that the soil under them is Midnight Mulch, which I've generally been told to avoid in vegetable gardens? Or maybe she should she transplant the plants? Or should she just buy zucchini at Whole Foods and wait for her own crop to ripen?
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I go around to the markets looking for reclaimed barnwood.