Thursday, September 30, 2010

T-T-T-Tip on the Tightrope.....

Is anyone else as obsessed with Janelle Monae as me? I saw her over the summer and have just been in l.o.v.e since.

Something else I'm in love with is my rice cooker!

So I've been embracing more rice related foods, such as T-T-T-Teriyaki.

Pineapple Shrimp terikayi to be exact.
Saute, baby, saute. 
(That is pineapple, red bell pepper and some garlic- of course!)

Add the shrimp and sauce and bubble for a minute or two.
(I used a jarred sauce from the organic section in Publix)

Served upon a bed of mixed greens and jasmine rice. 

This was super tasty, not to mention quick and easy since I used a pre-made sauce. I had actually marinated the shrimp over night in the sauce, hence the plastic ware in the first picture (what? don't you all prop your fruits and vegetables on top of a plastic box? sheesh.) and it upped the salty factor just a little too much, so I wouldn't recommend that. You know, cause I know you are so inspired by my meals that you always copy them. Right.

Love to all,
~the "damn I wish I could dance like Janelle" gal, Jess

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Did I mention I'm a GRITS gal?

Although I grew up only 40 minutes from "the ville" I'm just now discovering some of the dinning gems in Gator City. One of my new favorite finds in The Flying Biscuit, over in the Millhopper area. [Total side tangent- as I was just looking up the website for the hyperlink I just realized this is a franchise that I had on my Atlanta List back in 2007 and never went! The original location is in ATL Crazy.]

Cute table settings! 

Christine and I joined the masses for Sunday Breakfast a few weeks ago, and let me say it was totally worth the wait and the slightly steamy table on the sidewalk.

I started with a vanilla iced latte to help alleviate the Florida humidity.  I don't order coffee drinks that often, so this was a nice treat to start off the meal.

The Flying Biscuit has a great menu, including some really healthy and tasting sounding items....but my heard was already set on grits, biscuits and possibly gravy.....then I spotted the Southern Benedict on the specials insert.

Come to Momma!

Now, I know that this doesn't look, yellow much? BUT it was freaking heaven on a plate. That crazy mess you see above is a split biscuit topped with apple sausage patties, 2 over easy eggs, sausage gravy with a side of "creamy, dreamy grits."  I devoured this, after peeling the extra sausage patties I LOVE sausage (it's probably the one things that keeps me from committing to being a veg-head) but it was a little too close to a meat fest, if you know what I mean. Oh, and Flying Biscuit, you DO have every right to call those grits both creamy and dreamy. Heavenly, really. I would eat a bowl of grits like that for every meal and die a happy woman! Sigh.

A cross the table from me, Christine was being all healthy and shizz (kidding love!)....check out her oatmeal pancakes.

I snitched a dense, lovely bite. Wow!
So, the moral of this story is, check the website and see if a Flying Buiscuit is near you, because you have to try the grits! 

Love to all,
~the "fly me to the moon with grits" girl, Jess

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Veggie Mess!

Medieval torture device?

Nope! Just a fun way to turn these veggies......

Into curly, messy veggies! 

Actually, my spiffy spiralizer, only turned the zucchini into veggie noddles. My carrots and parnsips were too small to make anything beyond crappy little half circles. So I ended up shredding the shit out of them with my potato peeler. 

Oh, PS. my inspiration to finally bust out the curly-whirly that I've had for nearly a year and had yet to make anything beyond curly sweet potato fries, was this post by Ashley and Steven over at (never home)maker.

I dressed up my crazy veggie noddleish things, plus some button mushrooms and broccoli with these lovelies, as per the equally lovely couple of (never home) maker.

I got a little preoccupied while shredding the carrot and parsnip, and didn't take anymore "in the works" pictures, but I'm sure you can imagine how it went down. Cut, saute, wisk, stir, toss, ya know.

I'm not going to lie, as I was throwing this meal together I was starting to have my doubts and was already considered an alternative, holy crap I'm really hungry, meal, but.....

This was so delicious and fresh! I ended up using the whole can of coconut milk and of course didn't measure the spices....but I never do. If you make this yourself, please don't skip the drizzle of maple syrup and soy sauce on the top, that really brought it all together. I was missing that "chew" of either protein or real noddles, so I made some garlic toast on the side. YUM. I think I might add some tofu next time, but this was a real success.

Operation cook more "new" meals is off and running! 

Love to all,
~the I can spiral my veggies and eat them too gal, Jess

PS. How funny are the "bones" that come out of the spiralizer? 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Food For Thought

Back at the start of August Mum and I took a road trip up to visit my Aunt, Uncle and Grandmother in Williamsburg, Va.

Let's just say when you let this trio of women lose on Williamsburg, tons shopping was has and beyond delicious food was consumed.

What delicious food you might ask? Amazingly snarky meals served at "Food For Thought" 

 I had heard great things about this restaurant from my family, but was apprehensive, since it's location is smack in the middle of touristy Williamsburg, just a few blocks from Busch Gardens, and the exterior didn't really scream, artsy, thoughtful, mind blowing meals. I was opinion started to change as we walked through the restaurant and I saw all the great quotes on the wall. By the time we were seated I just knew it was going to be a great meal.

Mom and Aunt Angie split a carafe of wine, but one of the beers on draft caught my eye.

Yes, people, "Hell or High Water-melon" Wheat Beer! And it is a local brewery, too!

This was the perfect summer brew, very light with a distinct watermelon flavor. If you are in the region that AleWerks delivers to check this one out, for sure!

We started our meal off with an appetizer, since we had certainly shopped til we dropped and were starving!

The Shrimp Boats did not disappoint! It's all your favorite appetizers mixed together: rock shrimp, potato skins and bruschetta! I would love to make this at home for a dinner party. Sounds kinda crazy, but it's really crazy good. 

Ya'll know I adore spaghetti squash, so I about flipped when I saw this on the vegetarian section of the menu:

I opted for the sun-dried tomato sauce and it did not disappoint. This was a ridiculously huge portion and I really wished that I could have been a true cow that night, because with 3 stomachs perhaps I could have put away this whole squash, plus the rice with veggies. Wow. By far one of the best meals I've ordered. Ever. And the best news is, I think I can make this at home! What, what! (PS. Don't worry, we didn't waste the leftovers- my uncle enjoyed them for lunch at work the next day, even if his co-workers were razzing him for eating "chick food")

Mom's shrimp and grits looked awesome, too!

Speaking of seafood, check out the total snark factor on the "undercooked food warning" label on the menu.

That is just a taste of the fun this restaurant has to offer. My only complaint? It's 12 hours away. This place would be perfect in Gville....I think they need to open a sister location, STAT!

Love to all,
~the girl who enjoys thinking about her food, Jess

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Real Meals from the Freezer.....

Don't waste your money on one of these.....

When you can have this, for a lot cheaper and just as quickly!

The beautiful skillet you see before you (above you?) was made in about 15 minutes from freezer to table and is chock full of healthy fats, delicious veggies, whole wheat pasta and is very light on sauce. 

You want? Let's do it.

Fret on the way home that you are running low on fresh produce, protein and well everything, since you haven't been grocery shopping since Labor Day at the dreadful Wally World. 

In a stroke of genius you remember the three lonely links of mild Italian sausage chillin' in the freezer. Plus 1/2 a sad carton of mushrooms, 1/3 green pepper, 1/2 onion and some nearly wilted baby spinach. 

Go time. 

Let out the dog.  Kick of the shoes. Grab the sausage, rinse it with hot water for about 30 seconds and remove the wrapper. Set a pot of water to boil. Go change in to some lounge wear.

Cut the semi frozen sausage into bite size chunks (kitchen shears work best for this) and get them going in a hot skillet. Don't worry about the frost, they will cook just fine. Slice and dice the veggies, except for the spinach. Saute away! (in the same pan as the sausage)

Once your home skillets are done to your liking add the sauce-A la Vodka please- and bring to a simmer (I also added about a 1/4 cup of water- usually I would rinse out the jar with more vodka, but I'm all out. Tragic.). PS. The pasta should be boiling away by now. 

Add the spinach to the mix. Drain the pasta and toss. Done. For about 3 dollars? Um, thanks. Not to mention a single gal can get about 4 meals out of this.

Try it. Thank me later.

Love to all,
~ the "Wow, I can get thrifty too" gal, Jess

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Just add guests

One super cute apron
(a gift from Jenna a year or so ago?)


My fun table setting


I'm ready to entertain?

Well, my parents that is. Last week they had me up for dinner on Thursday night, so I made them a happy hour Friday dinner of turkey burgers and trimmings. Oh wait, you wanted to see? Ok. 

Turkey burgers with Jarsburg Swiss, caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, and avocado with grilled okra on the side. So simple, so delicious. 

My plate-with ranch for dipping, of course.  But it was "fun" ranch because of my niffty ramekin. Oh, and a Tire Bite Amber Ale, too!

Love to all,
~the taking this entertaining bit a little at a time gal, Jess

Monday, September 13, 2010

Final DC Thoughts

So obviously I really enjoyed my trip to DC, since I have turned it into a honest to goodness blog mini-series that has spanned nearly a month since my trip-wow! So to wrap things up lets go on a walking tour of DC....just appealing buildings and my thoughts.....

One of the things I loved the most about DC was the architecture, specifically the mix of old and new. Honestly, I could have just walked around drooling over all the buildings my entire trip....I think I manged to wipe my mouth most of the time. Becca explained to me that one of the reasons all the differing styles of architecture blend so well is they are all relatively the same height- the building restriction is around 12 stories high, which allows the Washington Monument to remain the focal point in the city.

The other major thing that had me ready to pack up and move to the Nation's Cap is the green lifestyle. I love this is a city you can truly live in without a car. Even my beloved ATL, which has a metro system, is really too sprawling to get around in without a car most of the time. While the "on foot in flats" transportation system is a major pro in my book, it would be a HUGE lifestyle change for me if I do make the move in the near future. I've always loved the independence a car gives, but heaven knows my carbon footprint isn't that cute, even though having my sweet little Chloe the Civic helps.

Something else I found in DC that I wasn't really expecting was a fun, hip, liberal young professional scene. Of course my hostess is a fun, young, hip professional, so what else would I expect? Still I guess I was afraid that DC would be full of stuffy Senators and their overly puffed up wives, but what I saw was very chill but with a funky edge that was very appealing.

See, good Ol Benny likes the funky edge, too!

All 3 of the above photos are the Environmental Protection Agency, although it took me a while to realize what I was marveling at. I guess that is fact number four about DC that I'm falling for; I love the feeling I got from walking past a building and thinking, "I think this is really important" and then realizing, um yeah, that is the EPA.

Or the IRS! Who would think the Internal Revenue System to be so grand? I'm used to thinking of it as a dim, dull little 1980's building with yellowing walls. A tinge wrong, eh?

The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception on where Becca and I attended mass on Sunday morning. It is a breath taking church with so many beautiful side shrines and chapels, but I wouldn't enjoy attending mass there every week-much to formal and impersonal in my taste, that that's coming from the girl who thinks that church is very personal and intimate thing.

Speaking of churches, I took a picture of this one, just a few blocks from the White House for Abigail, who has a thing for churches with red doors. The entire city is filled with lovely churches, just waiting to be explored on another visit, of course.

Goodbye for now DC: The Washington Monument with Jefferson in the foreground as taken from the plane on the taxiway.

Love to all,
~the "why does DC have to be so lovely and temping?" gal, Jess

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Cooking in the Abarnment

It's official! I am an abarnment dweller (errr, rather I have been since last Saturday! whoops-I warned you I would be slacking on the bloggie scene this week!)

I'm really digging having my very own space again, and busting out my "things" from storage-it's amazing how having your own art, pictures, textiles and of course magnets (I have a thing for funky/cute/cool/unique/etc. magnets) can put your soul at ease.

Even more soothing? Cooking my own meals, my way. Now admittedly nothing has been super creative this week cause A-I'm busting my arse with 3.5 preps at school and over stocked classes means shitloads of papers to grade and B-I had to do my grocery shopping at the dreaded Walmart after a holiday weekend, but I'm happy with the results thus far.

These innocent ingredients

Had a lovely little interlude with George (Foreman that is)

And this lovely little baby arrived.

Hello heaven: Deli ham, Jarlsberg Swiss, roasted red peppers, spinach and my new obsession: Grey Poupon on whole wheat.

Simple, delicious, and a perfect "I love summer time but I'm pretty much ready for fall" transition meal.

Love to all,
~the oh so glad to be "home" gal, Jess

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Abarnment Update: We interrupt your regularly scheduled blogging.... bring you this special report: There will be no regularly scheduled blogging this weekend, because I'm spending it moving into my abarnment! Whoot.

And doing important things such as this:

Come on, you know papering every drawer, cabinet, shelf, etc. is way more important than finishing my DC mini series. (Well, actually it isn't, but I have to take my Mum up on her offer to help this weekend while I can!).

See you on the flipside of the holiday weekend for the last of the DC posts, some recent reads, local dinning adventures, some Stubbies news and possibly a new series on the blog!

Love to all,
~the "I'll stop the blog world and move into the abarnment with you..." gal, Jess

PS. Must share: I set a new record mile for myself tonight: 13.05! Whoot...that is nearly 3 minutes ahead of the golf I just have to repeat it 4 more times exactly 31 days from now!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The DC Food Tour: Birch and Barley

The travel gods were smiling upon my trip to DC, because low and behold nearly a month after booking my flight, Becca informed me that it was going to be restaurant week in DC the weekend of my visit! Um, hello Foodie Heaven?! (Cause people, while I love dinning in Gville, we don't exactly have a need for "restaurant week!")

Becca, being the wonderful host she is chose Birch and Barley for our special night out as they are a beer centric restaurant.We enjoyed a lovely 3 course meal each, with beer pairing for me and wine for Bec.

Restaurant Week Tasting Menu

Amuse Bouche

The beautiful bread board. 
Hands down the pretzel wins, especially topped with wonderfully grainy homemade mustard. I really could have just eaten an entire plate of those pretzel rolls.

1st Course: the Risotto.

While I actually didn't enjoy the risotto, it was a bit too bland and slightly undercooked, the zucchini flower was great, but what fried food isn't! The paired Weihenstephaner Professor Fritz Briem was excellent however. This sour Belgium is apparently "going out of style" in many large breweries, but I certainly hope that isn't the ultimate case, because I would love to sip on this light, bright beer more often. It was the highlight of the first course, and not just because I didn't love the associated dish! 

2nd Course: the Poussin

I never order "the chicken" on any menu, because I just am not a fan. I guess I haven't had good chicken that often. I won't lie though, I was torn between this dish and the Halibut but the Swiss Chard was the real seller for me. Between the greens, and the medallions with cornbread stuffing I was one happy G.R.I.T.S gal!

Becca's Halibut- I enjoyed my bite very much and would not have been disappointed with my "back up" meal. There was a bit of mix up with the beer order, and I got distracted taking any picture of my beer paring from this point on. However, my last 2 tastings were also golden and hazy in color, just like round one, so you aren't missing anything! Not missing anything visually that is; for being such a mildly colored beer the Poperings Hommel Ale packed a very full and robust flavor. It was just on the cusp of being too hoppy for my preference, but finishes so light and clean, I forgave the extra hops! Lovely, but Fritz was still my favorite.

3rd Course: the Panna Cotta

Light, creamy, and decedent. What more could a girl ask for from panna cotta? I really only ate the custard topping, because while the passion fruit cream and apricot sorbet were lovely, they were so sweet in comparison to the mild panna cotta, which was all I was craving. My pallet was getting a bit overwhelmed at this point to be honest, so I don't have any poet waxing to describe the Helios that rounded out my meal. I wasn't expecting another strong amber for a dessert beer, but I must admit that it did help cut the sweetness of the passion fruit cream.

I loved the presentation on Becca's assorted sorbet plate. So pretty and elegant. She shared a taste with me and the "exotic spices" was the winner in my book! Such an unexpected combination of flavors, the dessert chef at Birch and Barley knows what's up!

A big thank you again to my wonderful pen pal turned bestie and fellow bloggie extraordinaire for such a wonderful night out!

Love to all,
~the "can I have paired beer tastings with all my meals from now on?" gal, Jess