Recipe File

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Can You Make a Better Sandwich Than Dale Levitski's Breakfast Tacos? Enter Your Recipe

Posted By on Wed, Jul 22, 2015 at 8:32 AM

click to enlarge Dale Levitski's Breakfast Tacos
  • Dale Levitski's Breakfast Tacos
Do you have a favorite awesome sandwich recipe? If so, can you make one for me? I don’t know what it is, but sandwiches always seem to taste better when someone else makes them. Also, if you have one that's really awesome, you could win $25,000. That’s far more money than I will pay you to make a sandwich. I'd still like a sandwich, please. Anyhoo...

The second annual “America’s Better Sandwich” contest is now going on, sponsored by Arnold, Brownberry and Oroweat Bakeries. From now until Aug. 23, you can submit as many of your favorite sandwich recipes to be considered for the grand prize. And $5,000 prizes will also be awarded to the winners in each category. Entrants can submit up to two recipes per category: Open-Face Artistry; Breakfast in Bread; Love, Healthfully; Creative Classics; and Fueling Good. Full descriptions and requirements for each category are available on the website. Last year’s winner was a curried chicken salad in the “Fueling Good” category.

And there’s another incentive for entering (and then for voting), too. For every eligible recipe submitted during the entry period, and for every vote cast during the voting period (Sept. 21, 2015 to Oct. 18), Arnold, Brownberry and Oroweat will donate a loaf of bread to Feeding America, its official charitable partner.

To get entrants excited and inspired, the bakeries have partnered with well-known chefs from across the country (many of which are alumni of Bravo’s Top Chef). One of our local Top Chefs, Dale Levitski from Sinema, is among those who are participating. Check out his Breakfast Tacos recipe:

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Oh Hell Yes: How to Make a Sharknado Cake

Posted By on Wed, Jul 15, 2015 at 12:51 PM

click to enlarge sharknadocake1.jpg
Because the SyFy network loves squeezing every possible penny out of a one-hit-absurd-wonder, Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No premieres a week from today, July 22. While the movie itself will surely be a disaster (the Sharknado series went from ridiculous but entertaining to stupid and overblown between the first and second installments), that doesn't mean you shouldn't seize the opportunity to gather with friends and eat a bunch of junk food. It's like the Super Bowl of dumb sci-fi movies! The Stupid Bowl! 

Last year, for the premiere of Sharknado 2, I made this Sharknado cake, which was the hit of the buffet table and I couldn't not share the how-to with you.

You'll need:

1 box of white cake mix (or your favorite vanilla cake recipe)
2 tubs of vanilla frosting (or a batch of your favorite buttercream frosting)
1 waffle cone

And for the sharks you'll need the ingredients used in
 this Instructables guide. Instead of making homemade icing, as they do, I coated my sharks using Wilton's Quick Pour Cookie Icing, with the tiniest dollop of black food gel mixed in. It worked really well and saved me the hassle of having to get the homemade icing the right consistency. I also made the fin out of graham cracker corners instead of Oreos.

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Friday, January 30, 2015

Super Bowl Snack Attack: What to Eat While You Cheer for the Seahawks (Because the Patriots are Cheaters)

Posted By on Fri, Jan 30, 2015 at 11:46 AM


Experts are estimating that a historic number of people will watch the Super Bowl this Sunday, which means it's also possible that a historic number of snacks will be consumed. Because what's the point of watching the Super Bowl if you're not going to eat your way through it? And this Super Bowl is the most phallic of them all — grabbed crotches, deflated balls, Katy Perry — and your Super Bowl menu should rise (heh heh) to the occasion. Surely you're not going to root for the cheating Patriots, right?

So here are some tasty ways to have a delicious, slightly inappropriate Seahawks Super Bowl party.

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Monday, May 19, 2014

New Spring Menu at The 404 Kitchen, a Discussion About Ramps, and a Recipe From Chef Matt Bolus

Posted By on Mon, May 19, 2014 at 6:20 AM

Spring Allium Soup at The 404 Kitchen
  • Spring Allium Soup at The 404 Kitchen
A couple of weeks ago, chef Matt Bolus introduced a new late spring menu highlighting all the goodness that this time of year brings to our tables. I stopped in at The 404 Kitchen — one of this year’s semifinalists for Best New Restaurant at the James Beard Awards — last week during a photo shoot to check out what’s new, including the Spring Allium Soup. The restaurant’s PR folks forwarded a recipe to me, so as I looked through it, I knew I wanted to talk about ramps.

Ramps — also known as wild leeks — have long been a celebrated delicacy that heralds the beginning of spring, though it's also noted as one of the most pungent of all the allium species. Ramps' popularity in the past 15 years has led to overharvesting, followed by bans on foraging ramps in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Quebec. Unscrupulous harvesters have made it difficult for the ramps to remain plentiful.

This led to a discussion of growing your own ramps, something I have contemplated since allium species are the only thing I can successfully grow in my own garden. Chef Bolus had the same idea and eagerly found a book about growing ramps, purchased seeds, and sought advice from friends at Bear Creek Farms. He then learned that in addition to needing the perfect growing conditions (a wooded, northern-facing hill), he’d also need lots of time and patience. The seeds require 18 months to germinate and then another seven years to mature for culinary use. Though Chef Bolus noted that he has foraged for himself (ostensibly while awaiting the maturity of his cultivated ramps), he relies on commercial suppliers for the restaurant.

Ramp greens are currently featured in the Spring Allium Soup — which is fantastic, by the way; rich and creamy and deep with flavor — as well as in the risotto on the new menu. The spring menu also includes a number of other springtime favorites, such as asparagus served with a Wedge Oak Farm poached egg, petite kale and rhubarb in the Insalata Langhe, Jerusalem artichoke (also known as sunchoke) and broccolini, pea tendrils, pickled strawberries, and French breakfast radishes. The menu evolves as available ingredients change, so look for other delicacies such as morel mushrooms to pop up on the menu, as well as early heirloom tomatoes and field peas.

Chef Bolus was kind enough to share the recipe for his soup. I spoke with him about it, and I’ve made some notes at the end for sourcing ingredients and substitutions for the home cook.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

It's Almost Julep Time in Tennessee — and Kentucky

Posted By on Tue, Apr 22, 2014 at 8:03 AM

This post is about conspicuous consumption. Between the upcoming Kentucky Derby on May 3 and the Iroquois Steeplechase a week later, I'll wager that quite a few Nashvillians will be digging their most fabulous clothing out of the closet and preparing to consume mass quantities of bourbon, sugar and mint in the form of the ubiquitous mint julep cocktail.

Woodford Reserve is the official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby, which is kind of like being the official water of the Pacific Ocean ... it's a big deal. In honor of their affiliation with the derby, they are again offering the "$1,000 Mint Julep" to well-heeled patrons to raise money to benefit Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Center. The Woodford Reserve $1,000 Mint Julep program has raised $384,000 for horse and humanitarian charities since its inception in 2006.

So what do you (well, more likely a Kardashian) get for a cool grand? A custom-engraved, gold-plated trophy cups will be filled with hand-crafted ingredients with a rose theme, including rosewater and muddled rose petals, and presented inside a box made from bourbon barrel staves and lined with Vineyard Vines fabric. The rose theme is actually quite appropriate, since the derby is know as "The Run for the Roses," and the word "julep" is derived from the Persian word "gulab," which means rosewater. In honor of the 89th derby, Woodford will only be offering 79 of these high-end $1,000 beauties plus 10 more at $2,000, which includes a gold-plated cup with a sterling silver medallion. (Y'know, in case you want to make Jay Cutler and Kristin Cavallari look like cheapskates.)

For the rest of us, Woodford's sister brand Old Forrester will be providing the kick in the standard $8 juleps that will be sold at Churchill Downs, and they sell a bunch of them. On average, derby patrons consume 127,000 juleps on race day requiring 2 tons of mint!

Even if you won't be heading north for Derby Day, you can re-create the experience at home for your own viewing party or at your Steeplechase tailgater. Woodford has provided the recipes for their $1,000 julep and several other variations that can jazz up your fete. Even more entertaining is the idea of setting up a julep bar for your guests to create their own versions of the classic cocktail. Set one of these up on the tailgate of your Steeplechase vehicle (no glass, please!), and you'll be the most popular spot in the Stirrup Club.

Read on for the recipes:

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

What's Your Favorite (or Most Disgusting) Vintage Recipe?

Posted By on Tue, Jan 14, 2014 at 7:44 AM

Looks perfectly reasonable to me.
  • Looks perfectly reasonable to me.

The exceptionally prolific list makers over at Buzzfeed caught my eye last week with "21 Truly Upsetting Vintage Recipes," a compilation of delightfully disturbing foodstuffs from mid-20th century America, most of them complete with recipes.

Being of, ahem, a certain age (technically, I just make the baby-boomer cutoff), I still remember witnessing — and yes, indulging in — comestibles every bit as odd as these feasts for the eyes, if not for the stomachs. I remember my excitement when my mother first broke out the fondue set. I remember bizarre gelatin modes and all sorts of curious casseroles. I remember all admirably inventive uses for Ritz crackers. I remember cheese substances being contorted into all sorts of depraved sins against nature.

Surely some of you are of a similar, uh, vintage as myself. Do you have any particular dishes that stand out in your memory, for being either fabulous or frightening — or both?

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Celebrate National Nacho Day Tomorrow With This Recipe From Aarón Sánchez

Posted By on Tue, Nov 5, 2013 at 7:47 AM

Yep, this Wednesday, Nov. 6, is National Nacho Day, something that should make at least one avid Bites commenter very happy. In celebration of this cheesy event, chef Aarón Sánchez has made up a special recipe for the occasion and shared it with us.

Sánchez has a reason to be so generous, since his recent visit to Nashville for Music City Eats earned him a lot of new local fans. I talked to many folks who said he was among the friendliest and most accommodating guest chefs at the festival, and I heard from more than one source that he had a heck of a good time the night before the festival started catting around town visiting our honky-tonks, restaurants and bars.

So give Chef Sánchez a little nod as you whip these up for dinner. The smoky flavor comes from the adobo, and if the attached photo is any indication, they look really good.

Nachos in Smoky Black Bean Sauce

Servings: 6

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small yellow onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (15 oz) Black Beans, undrained
1 chipotle in adobo, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
1 box Taco Shells, any variety
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup Salsa
1/2 cup sour cream
1 can (4 oz) Diced Green Chiles

1. In medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook 4 minutes or until onions are softened, stirring frequently. Add beans with their liquid, the chipotle and oregano. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Break taco shells into large chips and arrange in an even layer on a large baking sheet. Bake 8 minutes or until heated through.
3. Arrange warm chips on large serving platter. Sprinkle evenly with cheese then pour bean mixture over chips. Top with salsa and sour cream and sprinkle with diced green chiles. Serve immediately.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Seema Prasad Shares Her Recipe for Miel's Brandied Cherries

Posted By on Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 5:58 AM

As the crisp chill of fall fills the air, I tend to switch from my summer drink of choice, the Old Fashioned, to a more autumnal Manhattan. Informed drinkers will notice that the common elements of both these cocktails are whiskey, bitters and cherries. While I like to experiment with different types of bourbon, rye and bitters, messing around with cherries is a non-starter for me.

Those neon red marischinos might be good for topping a slice of Shoney's Fudge Cake, but they won't make an appearance in any cocktail I make. I like real cherries like the Luxardos I buy at Lazzaroli, or even better, brandied cherries made at home. Plus since I get the occasional flare-up of gout, cherries are supposedly therapeutic. (At least maybe they'll hopefully cancel out the effects of the booze ...)

Seema Prasad of Miel is a woman after my own heart, and she's been making her own cocktail cherries for years. She was kind enough to share her recipe for brandied cherries that should help us all get through the three-dog nights of fall and winter. Enjoy!

Miel's Brandied Cherries
from Seema Prasad

Growing up in the Northwest where summer cherries mean making pies, freezing, and even better … brandying for winter cocktails, I always look forward to these bright flavors of summer once the weather turned. After time I learned that there were never enough brandied cherries and that they turned out quite well when I used the frozen fruit in the same recipe that called for fresh fruit.

2 pounds frozen, pitted cherries (Bing is a sweet variety but sour cherries offer an unusual and addictive twist)
1 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick cut in half
1 cup brandy
2 ribbons orange zest
1 cup water
¼ teaspoon salt

Fill 2 glass jars (I love the Weck jars with the gasket & clip fasteners), splitting the frozen cherries evenly.

Combine sugar, cinnamon stick, brandy, orange zest, water & salt in a pan and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Let cool for 10 minutes and pour equal parts over the cherries. Let cool with the top off then cover and refrigerate.

Lasts for months! Makes a great holiday gift.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Et Tu, Bruschetta? A Wrap-Up of the Tomato Art Fest Recipe Contest

Posted By on Tue, Aug 20, 2013 at 5:51 AM

Oven-roasted tomato jam on toasted cornmeal scone: my losing entry. Obvs needs bacon.
  • Oven-roasted tomato jam on toasted cornmeal scone: my losing entry. Obvs needs bacon.
As predicted, this year’s competition in the Tomato Art Fest recipe contest was fierce. And, just like the two years prior, I was once again a loser. But unlike the previous years, I knew the winners and actually saw the first-place winner before judging. And I knew it would be the winner. I mean, c’mon. Check out the HO’chetta by Melissa Corbin of Corbin in the Dell. That's a blue-ribbon bruschetta.

And the second-place winner? The OOM-PAH, also by Melissa Corbin (apparently a bruschetta savant).

The third-place prize went to blog-less Mama Nachos, mother of frequent commenter Amanda (@loveandnachos). Her bruschetta was a riff on the BLT. The secret ingredient, I’m told was scandalous: Miracle Whip. Take that, Mayogate. Amanda’s own entry, the Everything Bagel bruschetta earned her a special “Honorable Mention” nod. Interestingly (and by "interestingly," I mean, “not surprisingly” — ha!), her recipe also incorporated a bit of swine flesh.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ghost Recipe From The Past: Hap Townes' Stewed Tomatoes in Saveur

Posted By on Tue, Dec 18, 2012 at 8:08 AM

Jan/Feb issue of Saveur
  • Jan/Feb issue of Saveur

Every year, the nice folks at Saveur magazine do a gonzo issue called The Saveur 100, wherein they bring to you, gentle reader, items of deliciousness which you will want to buy, eat or generally get on a plane immediately to go see. This year's best bit of food travel porn is at No. 44, and it's the entire country of Norway. (Yes, it's ridiculous, but it's worth buying the print edition just for the photo edit on this spread alone.)

Flipping through, my jaw dropped when I got to No. 35 and found a pitch perfect description of the legendary Hap Townes restaurant. This entry focused on the stewed tomatoes and, incredibly, includes a recipe for them. The item was written by Jane and Michael Stern, better known as the folks behind a series of road food books and

The recipe, which originally came from James Beverly "Little Hap" Townes' grandmother, is included in the back of the issue.

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