Hello, friends! I write you today on the heels of a slightly traumatic conversation with my mechanic. He used the words, “trade her in” and “time to start looking.” AAAAAHHHHHHHHH! I have had my car since I was 20 years old.
She’s taken me all over these United States and up and down the East coast a number of times. She’s seen festivals, campgrounds, mountains, and oceans. Been to weddings, funerals, and events galore. She’s lived in New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Georgia. She’s been dressed up real nice too.
This month marks her sixteenth birthday, and I do not take the mechanic’s words of advice lightly. I guess we all get old- our cars too. I just happen to be particularly attached to mine. Looks like Adam Price and I are going to have to sit down and have a serious heart to heart about this matter. Send good car survival vibes, please- along with car hunting skills. Boo.
In food news…we scored VIP tickets to Taste of Atlanta last weekend and had ourselves a little ball.
I’ll tell you what, VIPs get some serious perks! Our passes included a gift bag, Taste of Atlanta glass, a bottle of water, and fifteen tickets a piece. Wait, it gets better- plus, entry to the VIP tent, which was where all the magic was happening. Beer was flowing, as well as wine and whiskey. And there were lots of booths handing out free samples of handcrafted goodies.
This beef tenderloin was super tender, but the pimento macaroni, al dente and seasoned perfectly, was my favorite bite of the day.
We also indulged in succulent salmon,
a melt-in-your-mouth tuna taco,
and three kinds of beer flavored ice cream while folks played roulette
under the big, fancy, tent.
After a while, we were ready to join the “regular people” out in the streets- or, as they are so eloquently referred to at Bonnaroo, “General Population” or “G-Pop.” Hahahaha. This whole conversation cracks me up, since we are so hardly ever the VIPs.
There were tents as far as the eye could see representing loads of local restaurants. So, we meandered about, taking in the smells and stopping here and there to grab samples with our tickets. Dishes ranged from 1 – 3 tickets each.
Ray’s Pizza set up shop right outside their front door.
Woody’s was cranking out cheesesteaks like wildfire to stave off their incredibly long line of hungry folks.
The Iberian Pig and their cohorts were serving up butternut squash fritters,
blue crab bites,
and delectable pork cheek tacos.
Milton’s pulled pork was rockin’!
And JTC, 246, and Optimus were slinging hand cut french fries with a variety of sauces.
Our cone o’ fries was slathered in chicken gravy and cheese curds. Mmmmhmmm.
We also tried Davio’s gnocchi bolognese
and West Egg’s beef short ribs with succotash.
And after all that eating, we still had fifteen tickets left! Naturally, we passed them along to two folks who were waiting in the ticket line. They were surprised and thankful. Good karma points!!!
I highly recommend checking out an event like this in the future. It’s a great way to spend a sunny afternoon and an excellent opportunity to try local fare. Now we have a list of restaurants that we’d love to check out, since we know their food is wonderful. I’m so glad we went!
On Sunday, we hit the Grant Park Farmers Market, and it was another stupendous fall day.
This is a dream house of mine that is across from the park where the market is held. We walk by it every week, and I fantasize about what it would be like to make that porch my own…I snapped out of dreamland to see this guy carrying a pumpkin on his head!
‘Tis the season!! Check out all of these pumpkins that were for sale.
So many different shapes, sizes, and colors! Love the wonders of fall!!!
There was a craft station set up
for children to create autumn inspired masterpieces straight from nature.
I saw kids beaming with pride carrying their artwork around the market. Very cool.
Finally, the lighting was just right over H & F Bakery’s table, so I can share with you their amazing collection of baked goods!
Talk about masterful work!
Wanna see what Mother Nature’s been working on? Here’s what is available for harvest this early October:
giant sweet potatoes,
green and purple kohlrabi,
lacinato or dinosaur kale- lookin’ beautiful,
Scarlett Queen turnips (fabulous raw or roasted),
and most photogenic of all the vegetable kingdom- radishes.
Le Tre Lune had plenty more beautiful peppers this week, which I always like to have on hand in my kitchen.
Those guys above are called Russian Roulette Peppers. Apparently, 1 in every 11 is super hot, so you gotta take your chances!
Why do I show you photos of vegetables every week???
1. Eating seasonal and local foods gives us the best opportunity for peak flavor, nutrients, and quality. I want you to know what is available currently so you can tap into that freshness.
2. Mother Nature knows what she’s doing. Eating colorfully is essential to providing our bodies the nutrients we need, and each season, you will find the rainbow represented in the harvest.
3. Vegetables and fruits are so powerfully vibrant and varied, they are like eye candy to me. I love to look at them and take their pictures. They are excellent subjects, and they inspire my cooking.
This week’s CSA box was loaded with potatoes and cabbage, and I’ve been on a serious apple kick, so we decided to create a Harvest Hash (Harvestache) with Maple Mustard Glazed Chicken.
This meal is simple and yummy and celebrates the season’s gifts.
For the hash: (Think of this like a stir fry. Have all components ready to go before cooking.)
2 pieces bacon
2 T canola oil or butter
1 large or several small potatoes, diced into 1 inch cubes. Place in water until you’re ready to cook.
1 small onion, diced
2 small or 1 large pepper, small dice
1 apple, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
Half head of cabbage, cut into ribbons
½ t or so caraway seeds
ample salt and pepper
splash of apple cider vinegar
leaves stripped off about 5 thyme sprigs
Place bacon in a large, cold skillet and turn heat to medium. Cook bacon until crisp on both sides, then remove to a paper towel lined plate.
Meanwhile, chop your potatoes, onions, and peppers.
Place potatoes in a pot, covered with cold, salted water by a few inches. Bring the pot to a boil.
Once boiling, check for doneness of the potatoes. You want to be able to pierce them with a fork- but they should still be quite firm. Drain potatoes from water
and let them dry out until your bacon is finished cooking.
Add 2 T oil or butter to your skillet. (I didn’t do this in the beginning, and ended up having to add more oil later. You want to give the potatoes plenty of oil to cook in, for best results.)
Then, add your blanched potatoes to the pan along with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Turn the heat up to medium high and let the potatoes brown on one side for about 5 minutes over medium high heat. Then, stir them and allow them to cook another 5 minutes. You want to brown the potatoes on all sides.
While the potatoes are working, you have time to whip up this quick glaze for the chicken and prepare your grill. Set it to medium high on one side, and low on the other side.
We used 4 chicken legs and this glaze was just enough.
3 T real maple syrup (Ours was made by Mr. Floyd Reese from Somerset, PA. Talk about knowing where your food comes from!)
1 1/2 T whole gain mustard
1 t chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
Combine those ingredients and taste. There should be a nice balance between sweet, salty, and tangy.
Now, pat the chicken legs dry, drizzle with canola oil, and season them generously with salt and pepper.
Place your chicken on the hot side of the grill and allow some charring to take place-
cooking about 3 minutes per side. Then, flip the chicken again, moving the legs over to the cool side of the grill.
Take your glaze
and brush it onto the exposed side of the chicken. Put the lid down on the grill and let the chicken cook another 5 minutes or so.
Flip one last time, and brush the remaining glaze onto the chicken. Allow the meat to finish cooking until an internal meat thermometer reaches 165° in the thickest part and the juices run clear.
Then, remove the chicken to a plate
and allow it to rest for about 5 minutes before serving.
Meanwhile, back in hash land…once the potatoes have browned (browner than ours, really), move them over to one side of the pan and add your onions and a pinch of salt.
Let them cook, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes or so.
This is a good time to dice your apples and ribbon your cabbage.
Then, mix the onions with your potatoes.
Add the peppers and cook another 2 minutes or so.
Add your apple to the mix and stir to combine.
Let it go just a minute or so before pressing in your garlic.
(I had a little bit of blackening transpire while I was snapping photos…but if you move quickly through this part, you should be fine!)
Toss for about 30 seconds or until the garlic becomes fragrant.
Lastly, add your cabbage,
caraway seeds, fresh thyme, vinegar, and more salt and pepper. Stir to wilt the leaves. Once your cabbage is wilted, crumble your bacon and add it back to the hash.
Then, you’re ready to serve. (Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking, of course!)
Make a bed of hash on each plate and top with your glazed grilled chicken.
Sprinkle with fresh thyme for a bright green accent.
Well, let me tell you what. We super loved this meal. The chicken was outstanding! That glaze translated almost as a barbecue sauce- without any of the work. I had experienced a momentary panic right before plating of- “Oh my goodness- we don’t have a sauce. Should we have a sauce?!?!?” Nope. No sauce required. The tanginess of the mustard paired with the sweetness of the maple syrup worked beautifully with the chili powder and simple salt and pepper to make my taste buds register sticky, tangy, bbq. And the meat itself was so tender and kissed by the smokiness of the grill. Yum! That hash was totally fall-tastic! Of course, the saltiness of the bacon was fab, especially against the apples- a classic combination. And the apples provided moisture as well. Apparently, I have some sort of love affair with the pairing of cabbage and caraway seeds. So very aromatic and different- and they are like two peas in a pod for me. You know I adore a potato (to a fault of tight-fitting jeans)- so that’s a no-brainer. But the components in the hash all played their parts and created a happy smattering of flavor with every forkful.
I’d do it again in a heartbeat. And hey- you could add kohlrabi or turnips, or use sweet potatoes instead of white ones. You could throw in broccoli florets or even stir in some cooked quinoa. It’s a hash- so its very nature is to become a vehicle for whatever ingredients you’ve got on hand.
I hope this post finds you enjoying this marvelous day and revelling in the magic of autumn. I am wishing you all good things this week- and always.
Happy cooking and eating to you.