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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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Stock up. Summer Starts Now

2 Jun

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The weekend is already feeling distant at this point in the day on a Monday afternoon but the start of the summer felt great while it lasted. I spent my weekend drinking wine (obviously), doing some cooking and taking paddle boarding lessons! Just when you think there is nothing new to do in the area, you stumble on a unique adventure that changes all perceptions. Check out SUP Paddle Boarding lessons with Soraya! It couldn’t have been more fun.

With lots of t time seeking adventure, I love an appetizer that take almost zero time. A sweet peppadew pepper stuffed with salami and parmesan cheese was suggested on thekitchn.com a couple weekends ago. It’s a charming bite sized appetizer that is a punch of color and flavor. Just like all things summer should be. Stock up on staples and you’ll always have time to host.

 

Spring Menu with Mom!

7 Apr

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This weekend, my Mom and her best friend Debbie came to visit Greensboro. They lucked out again with a beautiful weekend to spend digging in my yard. I’m always grateful for their time and energy. Not only do they seasonally spruce up my garden – they also bring laughter, great food and wine to Mendenhall. We had three great meals this weekend. But as a thank you to them, I prepared this fancy Sunday supper for them to celebrate Springtime on Mendenhall. I’ll post the recipes this week.

Spring Menu with Mom(s)!

  • Spring Mustard and Pistachio Crusted Lamb Chops with Goat Cheese Polenta and Port Raspberry Sauce
  • Roasted Spring Carrots and Asparagus
  • Ina’s Mini Orange Chocolate Chunk Cakes

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Dumplings, Doughnuts and Dion

10 Mar

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What do you do when your friends are out of power? You invite them over for hot showers, cell phone and iPad charging, homemade dumplings, donuts and a little Celine Dion karaoke. That’s right, Dumplings, Donuts and Dion.

After a very unexpected and dreadful ice storm, the party was just the ticket. We made two types of dumplings – Mushroom & Tofu and Pork & Cabbage with a spicy dipping sauce. They were easy, it was interactive and terribly delicious. Additionally, I picked up some super trendy doughnuts from Monuts in downtown Durham. Lemon green tea, blueberry and chocolate, Ginger and original were the perfect treat.

Sometimes parties take absolutely no preparation. They are impromptu, interactive and shockingly wild and crazy. It’s the spice of my life these days.

Girls Movie & Pizza Night

2 Mar

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The busier life gets, the more grateful I am for weekends with friends. This weekend was full of spontaneous adventures and laughter. From serendipitous moments of humor late night at the neighborhood bar to a quiet evening at home with girlfriends in the kitchen.

On Saturday night, I had a couple of friends over for homemade pizza, cookie making, wine and a movie. We ate in the kitchen and experimented with a complicated Martha Stewart recipe before watching a last minute Oscar nominated movie. It was fun, laid back and left enough time to get a good nights sleep for Sunday activities – which was beautiful.

I’ll post the recipes this week! I hope you had a nice weekend too.

Homemade Pizza Night Menu:

  • Spring Strawberry, Orange and Almond Salad
  • Truffled Fontina and Mushroom Pizza
  • Homemade Brandy Snap Cups with Sorbet

#betterthanjimmyjohns

25 Feb

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These days, my office is no fantasy suite. We’re moving after thirteen years of life on Elm Street and it’s a big old mess. So, my days have been filled with mayhem, meetings and way too many Jimmy Johns sandwiches. No disrespect intended, Jimmy, but there is a sweeter world.

Between all the turkey sandwiches I’ve had a little off-time to have fun with friends and quiet time at home. Including, a very fun Name That Tune fundraiser for the Greensboro Symphony (with Mod Meals & The Fresh Market auction item!), a hike up Hanging Rock, some pecorino and spinach eggs and a great weeknight steak salad.

After the big move this week, I’ll have a little time this weekend to actually cook! Stayed tuned, I’ve got a list of recipes to test this weekend.

Sunshine State Christmas 2013

31 Dec

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Before we we all ring in the New Year, I must share a few photographs from my Sunshine State Christmas with family. This year we had thirteen friends and family gather in North Florida for a traditional holiday celebration with wacky gifts, authentic Melrose BBQ and garden cole slaw, fried oysters on Christmas afternoon followed by my Dad’s famous shrimp creole and my avocado and grapefruit salad. So many classic family recipes that are seasonal and authentic to my homeland roots.

Between all the cooking and eating (and drinking) there was much laughing and storytelling. It is always heartwarming to be home with friends and family. I hope you had as special of a holiday as we did.

I’m back in North Carolina ringing in the new year in the mountains. Many festive recipes to come later in the week! And then, you know, some salads. Xoxo

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