"Food is our common ground, a universal experience." - James Beard

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wine Wednesday: Washington Hills Summit Reserve Last Harvest Riesling 2009

This is my first Wine Wednesday post in quite a while (I know T.J.'s been missing them!). For New Year's Eve last year, Kent and I decided to have a Wine & Cheese party and invite some friends.  Our friend, Jeff, brought along this Riesling.  I've tried it several times now and really like it!  It's fairly sweet, so I've enjoyed drinking it more like a cocktail when we've had friends over for drinks.  Most of the reviews I've read say that it has a fruity taste of apples, peaches, or apricots.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Restaurants in Review

Lately, Kent and I have had the opportunity to visit a few restaurants in Birmingham that we've been wanting to try.  During Birmingham Restaurant Week, Kent and I finally made it to Veranda.  Veranda is a wonderful restaurant in Southside.  They have an amazing full menu for the restaurant, but we decided to sit in the bar area and take advantage of the bar menu.  The bar menu includes appetizers, sandwiches (I got the oyster po boy), and a few other items that would make for a great dinner any night of the week.  Kent and I are both looking forward to going back soon!

Last night, Kent and I tried a newer restaurant in Mountain Brook Village called Ollie Irene.  Kent has been talking about going there for weeks!  We loved the atmosphere, and the food was great!  Kent had the boudin balls and the burger with blue cheese; I had the shrimp bisque and mussels.  We both enjoyed our dinners and plan to return!

Picture from OllieIrene.blogspot.com

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Corn Chowder with Potatoes, Poblanos, and Smoked Gouda

I made this soup for the first time earlier this month, and it's great for Fall.  My favorite thing about it is that it can be made in the slow cooker but only takes 3-4 hours to cook.  I will say that the smoked gouda is very apparent in the taste, so if you don't like smoked gouda, you might want to use a different cheese.
Picture by Ben Piper (Foodista)

Corn Chowder with Potatoes, Poblanos, and Smoked Gouda
From:  Foodista and 50 Simple Soups for the Slow Cooker
4 tablespoons butter or ghee
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound small potatoes, sliced
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs fresh thyme
6 cups water
4 cups fresh or frozen corn
2 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, and diced, or 1 (4-ounce) can diced roasted chiles
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup grated smoked cheddar or Gouda cheese, divided
Salt (preferably smoked)
¼ cup grated smoked cheddar or Gouda cheese
Chopped chives, for garnishing
1.  In a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat and sauté the onion for about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.
2.  Transfer the onion to a 7-quart slow cooker and add the potatoes, bay leaf, thyme, and water. Cover and cook on LOW for about 4 hours, or until the potatoes are tender.
3.  Mash some of the potatoes against the inside of the cooker or use a handheld immersion blender to puree a small amount of potato and thicken the soup slightly.
4.  Add the corn, chiles, half-and-half, and ¾ cup of the cheddar. Add the salt to taste and continue cooking for 20 to 30 minutes, or just until all the ingredients are hot.
5.  Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish each bowl with the remaining cheddar and chopped chives.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Crunchy Ramen Noodle Slaw - from Julie

My friend, Julie, brought this wonderful slaw to a cook-out that our Sunday School class had recently.  It reminded me of one of my favorite side dishes that we used to have in the Tri Delt house in college.  I had forgotten how much I missed it!  This is perfect to take to cookouts and barbecues.  You can always change it up and use romaine lettuce instead of the cabbage/slaw mixture if you'd rather have a bigger salad.
4 cups shredded cabbage
1 pkg. Ramen noodles (crushed) – Chicken flavored
¼ cup slivered almonds (toasted)
¼ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup sliced green onion

Mix all ingredients together and toss with dressing

¼ cup oil
2 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. cider vinegar
¼ cup chopped green onion
Seasoning packet from noodles (chicken)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Look what came in the mail!!

I love Garden and Gun magazine!  And I was so excited when this month's edition came in the mail, especially since it's about Southern food.  It includes foods from different restaurants around the South.  Dishes in Alabama include the baked grits from Highlands Bar & Grill and tomato salad from Hot and Hot Fish Club. Most of the other articles in the magazine feature specific foods and restaurants - I can't wait until I have time to really read it!  One of my favorite sections is the "short list".  A chef from each southern state gave a list of his or her 8 favorite restaurants within the state.  I haven't heard of many of these and look forward to trying out some new places around the South!
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