Archive for September, 2011

September 29, 2011

Recipe: “Skillet Burgers” aka Sloppy Joe’s

This is a recipe that goes way back to my childhood. I used to go visit my cousin, Ali, just about every other day during the summer. Her mom used to make “Skillet Burgers” for us, which is really just a sloppy joe. I thought this would be a good post for my friends with kiddos. Sorry, it’s not necessarily healthy, but they’ll eat it!


  • 1 lb ground beef (I use lean)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/8-1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • buns

Brown the ground beef and drain the extra grease when finished. Add brown sugar and stir, then ketchup and mustard. Keep adding ketchup and mustard until it’s coated all the beef. The mustard is just there to cut the ketchup taste. Keep tasting throughout until you get it where you want it. I like mine a little sweeter, so I throw in an extra TBS of brown sugar. Serve on a bun.

September 27, 2011

The Perch: Brentwood Crepes and Tapas

Brentwood is really trying to revive its “downtown” area, and these are exactly the sort of establishments that will thrive – local, fresh, family friendly and casual. The Perch is a simple and rustic restaurant that looks small from the outside, but has plenty of room for a group and breakfast goers as you step back through the layers of cozy rooms, with white washed walls and dark mission style furniture.

The coffee is a must. It’s Leopard Forest Coffee, grown In Zimbabwae, a fair-trade & organic coffee. I had the Scottish Truffle. Leopard Forest isn’t just good coffee, it’s also supports over 90 families who work there, some for more than 30 years. The farm provides their employees with free housing, day care, education, health care and community.

The next decision you have to make at breakfast is crepe vs. omelet vs. special. If you chose crepe, you have another decision: savory vs. sweet. I went savory with the Turkey and Brie crepe.

When you order, you can see the crepes and omelets being made right there in front of you. The chef scoops out the crepe batter onto the griddle and squeegees it out into a thin layer. It quickly becomes a light and fluffy canvas for all things sweet and savory.

My savory crepe came to out little rustic cafe table with a slice of turkey and Brie, a sprig of arugula and a dried cranberry, a little hit as to what was inside. The creamy Brie melts out when I cut into it and it’s the perfect pairing with the moist turkey, sweet cranberries, peppery arugula and a tangy balsamic vinaigrette.

The other breakfast decision was on the Specials board: Gouda Shrimp and Grits. The Gouda. Ooooo the Gouda. It was rich and buttery and creamy. All the flavor was packed in those grits and the shrimp only needed a bit of salt and pepper. The only thing I would suggest is to order something like toast or a muffin to eat with it to help with the richness.

Overall, it’s priced reasonable, it has a great atmosphere and is something that’s not Starbucks. This is definitely going to be our new breakfast spot. Especially when we have friends and family visiting.

Nutella & Banana Crepe | The Perch

Update: I went back to The Perch the following week and made the opposite decision: Sweet. This (above) is the Nutella crepe. I added banana’s and they douse it in chocolate syrup. Decadent!

The Perch
17A Franklin Road
Brentwood, TN 37027

(615) 661-9008
Open Weekdays 6:30am-5pm; Sat 8am-4pm
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September 23, 2011

Recipe: Dijon Roasted Cauliflower

I really like this simple and easy recipe for cauiflower – the dijon and garlic make it really flavorful! It’s from the March 2011 Food & Wine .

photo by John Kernick

Dijon Roasted Cauliflower

Contributed by Steven Satterfield

SERVINGS: 8 garnish servings


3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
One 2-pound head of cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets

Preheat the oven to 400°. In a bowl, whisk the mustard, oil and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Toss in the cauliflower; spread on a baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes. Serve.

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September 21, 2011

Recipe: Green Bean Salad with Dill, Feta and Red Onion

Believe it or not, this recipe is from the lid of an Athenos Feta Cheese container. My friend made it for us when my family and I went to Indiana to visit. After we gobbled it up, she confessed. This is a great alternative to using left over dill from Dill Fingerling Potatoes recipe found here.

photo: Atheno's


2 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed

1/2 cup prepared GOOD SEASONS Italian Dressing Mix for Fat Free Dressing

1/4 cup ATHENOS Traditional Crumbled Feta Cheese

1/4 cup chopped red onions

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill


COOK beans in boiling water 7 min. or until crisp-tender. Drain; rinse with cold water.

PLACE in large bowl. Add remaining ingredients; toss to coat.

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September 19, 2011

Recipe: Low-Fat Creamed Spinach

I got this recipe from a friend and have probably made it 15 times since. It’s a great, low-fat alternative to your high-fat steak house recipe. Plus, it’s easy. And don’t we all love that?

Low-Fat Creamed Spinach Casserole

4 10 oz frozen spinach thawed & strained
2 cans cream of mushroom soup (low sodium)
2 blocks low-fat or fat free cream cheese
1/2 medium white or red onion

Bake at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes uncovered. Stir occassionaly. This recipe can be halved very easily. Serves 6-8.

image by

September 15, 2011

Denver Restaurants: The Lobby

After a hectic cab ride to the Enterprise in a construction ridden, sketchy looking area, our car wasn’t ready. Yay. So, we asked if there was anywhere around to eat. The tap room (Great Divide) we wanted to stop at and have a drink didn’t open until 2 and it was 1pm. They pointed us to The Lobby.

It’s located in Denver’s Ballpark Neighborhood, only blocks away from Coors Field, LoDo, and Downtown Denver and the Enterprise. 🙂

From The Lobby website: “Located in what was once the lobby of this historic building, The Lobby, an “Inspired American Grille,” has kept some of the original Victorian feel while infusing modern comfort with stately character. Original exposed brick work and hardwood floors blend beautifully with modern tile and lighting. The Lobby’s large patio sits in a European-style garden courtyard. ”

This was a really cool place. The patio was awesome and we had a server with a wonderful personality. She told us that they think the building actually used to be a brothel. And that the place is seriously haunted, specifically the area where they keep their liquor.

After getting her suggestions and confirmation of what’s good on the menu, I ordered the Maple Grilled Ham Sandwich. This sandwich is not for wuzzes. It’s not just a ham sandwich.

It came with 2 massively thick maple cured pieces of ham, topped with sliced Granny Smith apples, melted Brie and caramelized onions on a light and soft sourdough hoggie bun. Their house made fries were perfect with their also house-made ranch dressing.

My husband got The Rachel sandwich. It came with a huge cheese omelet that enclosed oozing Cheddar cheese, topped with peppery bacon and aioli on a sourdough hoggie with a side of tater tots.
We paired our sandwiches with Great Divide Pale Ale- hoppy & crisp and Great Divide Wheat – a lemony summer brew.

There was some other great looking stuff on their menu too. Their burgers are supposed to be great and the grilled Brie cheese for an app looked pretty sweet. Overall, it’s a really chill and laid back place to enjoy a sunny Denver afternoon. Check them out.

The Lobby
2191 Arapahoe Street
Denver, CO 80205
(303) 997-9911
Open Weekdays 11am-10pm;
Sat 11am-11:30pm; Sun 10pm-11:30pm
September 13, 2011

Wine: 2010 Castelfeder Chardonnay, Italy

Another wine we tried will visiting Denver, the 2010 Castelfeder Chardonnay. It’s, again, from northern Italy, the South Tyrol region in the Alto Adige provience, where the majority of the population actually speaks German.

2010 Castelfeder Chardonnay, Italy


It was fruity with apple and pear notes with a trace of honey. It’s somewhat spicy and a full-bodied wine.

Disclaimer: I do not claim to be a sommelier. I am in no way and expert. This “review” is because I liked it and think maybe you will like it too. No one can tell you what type of wine you like. Take it with a grain of salt. Try it and see if you like it too.

September 9, 2011

Recipe: Dill Fingerling Potatoes

This is one of my favorite recipes from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa on Food Network. It’s easy and simple and everyone loves it. Just leave it on the stove and do your other cooking. In 30 minutes, it’ll be ready in all it’s salty and savory goodness. Save your leftover dill for later in the week – I have another recipe for it coming soon

Dill Fingerling Potatoes

Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 35 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 3 servings


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 pounds fingerling potatoes, rinsed but not peeled
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill


Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot. Add the whole potatoes, salt, and pepper, and toss well. Cover the pot tightly and cook over low heat for 20 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes are just tender when tested with a small knife. From time to time, shake the pot without removing the lid to prevent the bottom potatoes from burning. Turn off the heat and allow the potatoes to steam for another 5 minutes. Don’t overcook. Toss with the dill, and serve hot.

2009, Ina Garten, All Rights Reserved

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September 7, 2011

Charlotte: Dish

The Dish, in Charlotte, NC is a little slice of southern heaven. It’s on the southeast side of town, about 2 miles outside downtown. I asked the server what to order and she mentioned that we (my bff, who lives in Charlotte, and I) should split a couple of items: The salmon patties and chicken & dumplings. It’s exactly what Diners Drive-Ins and Dives showed on their episode, so I was skeptical.

But it was good! My mom used to make salmon patties. Sorry mom, but not like this. They clean the fresh salmon each time they make these. Eggs, whole grain mustard, mayo, celery, lemon juice and zest, dill, Worcestershire sauce and buttered white bread crumbs are mixed together, they form the patties, coat in panko and throw it on the flat top. Served with Honey Orange Butter – this is a must on the salmon patties. Delish. They were moist and full of salmon without too much bread filer.

The Chicken and Dumplings have simple flavors with a thick, peppery White and dark shredded roasted chicken and tender scratch made dumplings with a peppery finish.

Our sides were turnip greens, mac & cheese and squash casserole. All wonderful, specifically the casserole. Their biscuits should have been featured on Triple D. I asked for a half dozen to take home with me to my husband. Light and fluffy, moist and great with some butter and raspberry jam.

If you are ever in Charlotte, you’ve gotta go to Dish and don’t feel silly ordering what was on tv – it’s worth it.

1220 Thomas Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28205-5044
(704) 344-0343
Open Mon-Thu 11am-10pm;
Fri-Sat 11am-11pm
September 5, 2011

Wine: 2009 Monmousseau Vouvray

I’ve been drinking a lot of white wine lately. I think it’s because I know I won’t want anything but red wine (and whiskey) when fall finally gets here. Here is one of my favorites. Monmousseau Vouvray. Vouvray = Chenin Blanc = France = Lorie (Lar-war) Valley

This is a crisp and not too-sweetened vouvray that can be eat with the traditionally pairings of fish and poultry or desserts and cheese, but it is also a great balance with spicy food. Try it the next time you get Thai take out. I like it with Royal Thai’s red curry. Tropical and fresh, it’s great for both sweet and dry wine lovers.

2009 Monmousseau Vouvray, Chenin Blanc – France


Disclaimer: I do not claim to be a sommelier. I am in no way and expert. This “review” is because I liked it and think maybe you will like it too. No one can tell you what type of wine you like. Take it with a grain of salt. Try it and see if you like it too.