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Spring = Deviled Eggs!

24 Mar

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This weekend was warm enough to leave the backdoor open and cook without shoes on. It was perfect in every way. So, I celebrated with some impromptu deviled eggs.  Simple boiled eggs, halved with the hard yolk mixed with mayo, dijon mustard, salt and white pepper. I added fancy garnishes – pickled peppers with parsley and large sails of parmesan crisps.

I was terribly generous and shared them along with a glass of wine and a bit of yard pick up. These were a fantastic tease for Spring and a grilled lamb burger we had a couple hours later. I’ll share that recipe this week too.

Just Because It’s Freezing Dinner Party

22 Feb

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This weekend, just because it was freezing out (and because there is always an excuse for a dinner party), I had some friends over for dinner. The restrictions of my 1923 bungalow required that the party included a big fire in the fireplace, the oven on 425 and a space heater in the dining room. And, lots of good wine (thank you Mark!) helped keep body temperatures high too.

With the help of my friend Masha, we pulled together a fabulous surf & turf menu complete with crispy smoked paprika hasselback potatos and a citrusy heart of palm salad. Masha also made the most indulgent brownies for a late night treat by the fireplace.

My dining room table was cluttered with wine glasses and plates with the noise of laughter and clinking glasses. It was a reminder that I needed to come up with more party excuses. I’ll share the recipes this week.

Just Because It’s Freezing Dinner Party Menu

  • Gaucho Style Flank Steak with Chimichuri Sauce 
  • Florida Stone Crabs
  • Smoke Paprika and Garlic Hasselback Potatoes
  • Hearts of Palm Salad

 

 

Sunshine State Christmas 2014

30 Dec

I’m back from a warm and plenty Christmas holiday vacation in my homeland, Florida. Four fast nights were spent with friends and family plus a gracious amount of fresh seafood, citrus and delight. Gag gifts, small dogs and cocktails amused the small moments between catching up on a year’s time of weddings, graduations, vacations, achievements and television shows.

Christmas morning included my grandfather’s traditional Brandy Alexander – just a third each of brandy, creme de cocoa and heavy cream served in thimble sized servings by the Christmas tree and occasional fire (it’s Florida after all). That drink reminds me of my great grandmother’s favorite bourbon, Four Roses, served straight or with holiday eggnog. Two eggs, a dash of vanilla, 3 heaps of sugar, 2ish cups of cream blended with a nice helping of Four Roses will cozy you in any state. Don’t forget the nutmeg garnish. Finally, nothing beats my favorite winter drink – the greyhound. Fresh grapefruit juice with a splash of vodka will cure any winter blues. I pick grapefruit like a sport for these cocktails. Try Crystal Head Vodka the next time you’re in the ABC – the bottle alone will make you giggle.

Shrimp, oysters and Florida lobster paired well with just about anything this Christmas. I hope your holiday was full of new and old tradition. And, you’re looking towards a new bright 2015. Cheers!

Truffled Deviled Eggs + Last Minute Holiday Gift Ideas

18 Dec

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Tis the season for holiday treats.  I am looking toward to wrapping up the year and wrapping up a few small gifts to celebrate the most cherished people in my life. If you are working on last minute gifts before the holidays wrap up (that’s me!), here are some gifts I’ve been giving and in envy of!  And, a recipe for a delicious and easy homemade appetizer fit for any season.

  • For really good friends, a Nudo Olive Oil Subscription could be the coolest gift ever. Literally adopt a olive tree in Italy and have seasonal shipments of freshly pressed olive oil! Or, a gift box of their excellent garlic oil is might be the sweetest food packaging I’ve ever seen. I’m in total envy of anyone who gets this!
  • For your favorite kiddos, I suggest the children’s book “Good Boy, Fergus.” I was lucky enough to read this book to a class of Lindley Park Elementary School kindergarten students this year. The book is a sweet narrative of a Westie who gets in a variety of troubles – much like my own, Winston.
  • For my teammates at work, I made these homemade truffled deviled eggs for our holiday happy hour at Dabney’s house using olive oil from the local MidTown Olive Press. And, gifted a take home of Makers Mark Boubon. You could certainly gift the ingredients – Midtown Truffle Oil, black sea salt from Savory Spice Shop and Massey Creek Farm Eggs! Check out the recipe below.
  • Any gift of consumables are perfect. I’ve already received many a cookie, some delicious homemade cheese straws and a jar of homemade jalapeno pimento cheese that I can’t wait to devour with friends. Tis the season for calories – so step up the pace on your walks and lean into the season.

Truffled Deviled Eggs 

  • 1 dozen hard-cooked eggs
  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon dijion mustard
  • 3(ish) tablespoons truffle oil
  • 1 heaping teaspoon, white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Black lava salt

Halve the eggs  and transfer the yolks to a mixing bowl. I cut mine vertically to give the eggs a different look – you’ll need to trim the bottom to get them to stand up!

With a stand up mixer, whisk the yolks to a smooth consistency. Add the mayonnaise, sour cream, truffle oil, mustard, white pepper and salt, and mix until smooth. Taste and season accordingly.

Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain or large star tip, then pipe the mixture evenly into the egg white halves.

Top each egg half with a tiny sprinkle of black lava salt.

Winston’s Winter Walk Brunch

9 Dec

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This weekend, Winston the dog hosted a brunch for about 15 of his most community minded friends. The brunch benefitted Triad Health Project’s Winter Walk for AIDS. Winston has hosted this party for a number of years but took a year off and demanded (hear barking) to do the brunch again this year.

We had a spread of frittatas, homemade ‘Cinnabon’ and the easiest breakfast sausage and pre-cut fruit (cutting corners). All the food was devoured before a short walk to UNCG for the 1 mile benefit.

After the party,I cleaned while Winston recovered. I’ll post recipes this week

Winston’s Winter Walk Brunch Menu 

-Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
-Roasted Breakfast Sausages
-Fresh Fruit
-Frittata with Asparagus, goat cheese and mushrooms
-Frittata with spinach, black olives and feta dill Gruyere
-Apple Cider and Bourbon
-Fresh Grapefruit Juice and Vodka

Thanksgiving on Mendenhall 2014

1 Dec

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Another Thanksgiving has come and gone and it’s hard to believe that my little house on a hill is decorated for the Christmas holidays. Our 6th annual Thanksgiving celebration included my great friend Margaret and her parents, Sally and Ed. We combined family traditions – bringing together the Thompson family anti-turkey-rib-roast with a Massey Creek Farm Heritage turkey from the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market.

We started the (very cold) evening in my backyard with a fire pit, a crate of NC oysters and bowl of very special Florida stone crabs. And, lots of butter and bourbon. I’m hesitant to mention the claimed “delicacy” of the baby crab surprise inside the oysters – it was something I couldn’t stomach but was a hit with the Winslow eaters.

In addition to turkey and beef, we had my favorite brussel sprouts, Margaret’s signature collard greens and Sally’s sweet and tart cranberry relish. My mom, the dessert queen, prepared a very unique Bonet which mocked a caramel flan with a rich chocolate flavor.

It was a Thanksgiving rich friends and tradition, both new and old. I hope you had a wonderful holiday, too. I look forward to sharing a couple recipes this week!

Thanksgiving on Mendenhall 2014 Menu

  • NC Oysters and Florida Stone Crabs
  • Tapenade Crusted Standing Rib Roast
  • Heritage Turkey from Massey Creek Farm
  • Savory Mushroom and Gruyere Cheese Bread Pudding
  • Margaret’s Famous Greens
  • Balsamic Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Pecans
  • Cranberry Relish
  • Chocolate Bonet

 

 

A weekend in Austin

27 Oct

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I’m in route back to North Carolina after a wonderful weekend full of adventure and love in Austin, Texas. Many members of my family and childhood friends traveled from coasts and mountains to meet up and celebrate the nuptials of my cousin Callie and partner Eli. Eli has been considered a part of the Thompson family for many of years but the opportunity to celebrate their love and commitment was a special day that we’ve all have been looking forward to. The wedding was a perfect reflection of their style, humor, artistic nature and family traditions combined. I’m so glad I was able to share the day with them.

The weekend also provided time to catch up with childhood friends, celebrate my grandfather’s belated 90th birthday and explore Austin! Of course, it was a weekend of much eating – Torchy’s Taco Truck, Salt Lick BBQ, Jester King Brewery, brunch at Lamberts, an incredible wedding dinner from East Side King and a final most amazing Thai dinner at Sway. I’d recommend all of them if you visit. And, of course I have a list of places I’d love to try next time.

We all went crazy for the brussel sprouts from East Side King at the wedding. They were packed with flavor, herbs and spicy jalapeños. I was lucky enough to find the recipe online (see below) and I can’t wait to attempt to recreate them at home.

Fried Brussels Sprouts (East Side King)

1 cup sweet chili sauce, preferably Mae Ploy brand
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
4 Thai chiles, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound brussels sprouts, quartered
1/2 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
1/2 cup thinly sliced green cabbage
1/4 cup alfalfa sprouts
1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
1 large jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced
Salt
1/8 cup torn fresh mint leaves
1/8 cup torn fresh cilantro leaves
1/8 cup torn fresh basil leaves

Fried Brussels Sprouts. Photo (c) Angie Mosier
1. Place the chili sauce, vinegar, garlic, and Thai chiles in a small mixing bowl. Mix well and set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the brussels sprouts and cook them until the cores of the sprouts are approaching golden brown and the edges are caramelized, about 1 1/2 minutes.

3. Toss the red and green cabbage, alfalfa sprouts, onion, and jalapeño in a large mixing bowl. Add the brussels sprouts and the chili sauce mixture. Season with salt to taste and garnish with the mint, cilantro, and basil.

Halloween Chili Ideas

23 Oct

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My favorite tree in Westerwood is at it’s most glamorous right now. It is bright orange and glowing in the sunlight and loosing leaves daily. Winston and I love taking short trips over to stand under the tree and gaze at the orange filtered light. It’s also a reminder of Halloween around the corner. Every year, I make a big pot of chili and invite friends to join me on my front porch for bourbon cocktails and bowls of goodness. This year I’m planning on making a beef brisket chili and I look forward to reporting back. In the meantime, here are a variety of chili recipes if you’re looking to get into the swing of Fall and Halloween!

 

A Southern Sendoff; on friends and brisket

29 Jul

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This is weekend I hosted a house full of friends to wish my very good friend Jessica best wishes on her adventure north to Michigan. When Jess broke the news a couple months ago that she was taking a new job at Michigan State, I said “you gotta do what you gotta do.” No doubt, I was ignoring the fact that my friend was actually moving away. It may have taken the preparation of fourteen pounds of southern slow cooked brisket for a large crowd of Jessica’s friends for the reality to really settle in. Four hours of standing by a 325 degree oven leaves room to account for late nights at College Hill, paddle boarding adventures, hikes to Hanging Rock with Winston in tow, marathons of Law & Order, latkes parties, truffle popcorn and countless gossip sessions at the nail salon.

I’m a believer that places are really only spaces without people. So it is my hope that the house full of  friends on Saturday night will leave a reminder to Jessica that Greensboro will always be home . Our friendship has been filled with much laughter, a few tears and many adventures, both significant and insignificant. Without a doubt, you’ll be missed on Mendenhall. Come back and see us soon – I’ll probably still have leftover brisket.

Atlanta Brisket, Cooks Illustrated

  • 3 1/2 lbs beef brisket, flat cut fat trimmed to 1/4 inch thick
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 lb onion, halved and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 cups cola
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 4 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

Using fork, poke holes all over brisket. Rub entire surface of brisket with 1 T salt. Wrap brisket in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 or up to 24 hours.

Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 325. Pat brisket dry with paper towels and season with pepper. Heat 2 t oil in 12 inch nonstick skillet over med-high til just smoking. Place brisket fat side down in skillet; weigh down with dutch oven or heavy cast iron skillet and cook til well browned, about 4 minutes. Remove dutch oven, flip brisket and replace dutch oven on top and cook til other side is well browned,about 4 minute Transfer to platter.

Heat remaining 2 t oil in same skillet over med til shimmering. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, 10-12 minute Transfer to 13×9 inch baking dish and spread into even layer

Combine cola, ketchup, onion powder, sugar, garlic powder, thyme, 1 t salt, and 1 t pepper in a bowl. Place brisket fat side up on top of onions and pour cola mixture over brisket. Place parchment paper over brisket and cover dish tightly with foil. Bake til tender and fork slips easily in and out of meat, 3 1/2 – 4 hours. Let brisket rest in liquid, uncovered for 30 minutes.

Transfer brisket to carving board. Skim any fat from top of sauce with large spoon. Slice brisket against grain into 1/4 inch thick slices and return to baking dish. Serve with sauce.

 

Cheers to Five Years!

29 Jun

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This weekend marks the 5th anniversary of Mod Meals on Mendenhall! It’s hard to believe it’s been that long since I was sitting bored in my new house, without dog, on a hot summer day. At that point, I had no idea what the adventure would hold. But it’s included new friends, great learning experiences, many opportunities and lots and lots of fun.

This weekend I celebrated by relaxing and spending time with friends. With the holiday coming up with weekend, I’m planning lots of cooking that I can’t wait to share. Stay tuned!

Cheers to many more years!

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