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August 20, 2014 / sweetsavant

Taste of Atlanta 2014-COMING SOON

The offering from The Spence-Risottto and Morcilla Arancini.  Nothing like a little blood sausage to start a conversation.

The offering from The Spence-Risottto and Morcilla Arancini. Nothing like a little blood sausage to start a conversation.

The Taste of Atlanta is a food festival that’s worth the trip (according to Oprah… and me) and its coming soon.  October 24-26 to be exact.  Over 90 restaurants are expected to participate in this year’s Tech Square events; There will be live cooking demos, an Iron Chef Kids competition, a silent auction  benefiting Cooking Matters and TONS more good stuff. During the silent auction last year we bid on a video game truck to come to the house for a party and won.  We got it for much less than the going rate and helped a good cause in the process.

The pictures in this post are from Taste of Atlanta 2013.  The line up of restaurants may change from year to year but you’re bound to find more than a few tasty treats to enjoy.

If you’re on a budget, start looking around for contests and giveaways for this event early and enter to win; I won Tickets from Miss Foodie Fab last year so it was a cost effective, fun day out with the family. Its also cheaper to purchase tickets online in advance than it is to purchase them at the gate the day of.  For event pricing or to purchase tickets to Taste of Atlanta visit this link.  You receive “taste coupons” with your paid entry fee and you exchange these for food.  You can purchase additional taste coupons during the event.

Watershed Fried Chicken and biscuit with hot sauce...of course

Watershed Fried Chicken Thighs and biscuit with hot sauce…of course

The food at Taste of Atlanta varies from the Southern style and barbecue which you might expect, to more exotic stuff like Morcilla, the blood sausage in the risotto arancini from The Spence.  The Taste of Atlanta is a great opportunity to try a little taste of something new without committing to a full entree.

Bacon for Ford Fry's restaurants, just hanging there looking delicious

Bacon for Ford Fry’s restaurants, just hanging there looking delicious

Lamb sausage over potato salad from One Flew South

Lamb sausage over potato salad from One Flew South

Ri Ra Irish Pub fish and chips.  The favorite dish of the day according to my kids.  The batter on the fish was super light and greaseless.  Fries were great, tasted really fresh

Ri Ra Irish Pub fish and chips. The favorite dish of the day according to my kids. The batter on the fish was super light and greaseless. Fries were great, tasted really fresh

Yeah Burger and Gluten Free Onion Rings

Yeah Burger and Gluten Free Onion Rings

Ribs from Fox Bros BBQ

Ribs from Fox Bros BBQ. One of the best things I ate from Taste of Atlanta 2013. Perfectly seasoned and the perfect amount of smoke.

Wear comfortable shoes and get there early to get the most out of the festival.  This is a good event for kids with the Family Food Zone but it can get very crowded so keep the kiddies close to you and have a plan in case you get separated.  Kids 13 and under enter the festival for free with a paid adult, but you need to purchase “taste coupons” in order for them to sample food.

Most of all have fun and wear stretchy pants.

Selection of desserts from Ford Fry's restaurants

Butter Mints, Peanut Butter Cones and Caramels and  from Ford Fry’s restaurants

August 10, 2014 / sweetsavant

Zeal Modern Eatery-East Cobb

 

Zeal Modern Eatery is a good restaurant in an area with quite a few really good restaurants.  Zeal Owner/General Manager Scott Sawant invited the Atlanta Food Bloggers’ Society, of which I am a member, to dine for free at  his cozy East Cobb eatery in exchange for our honest opinions.  Scott is gracious host and hands on manager whose passion for service was evident.  In general there are a few kinks to work out in this 8 month old spot but it has a lot of promise.

Zeal Exterior

The exterior of the strip mall in which Zeal is located is under renovation. Hopefully Zeal’s facelift will be done soon.

We started our evening with super fresh oysters in honor of National Oyster Day.  The starters here are the stars of the show for sure.    The Tandori Chicken and Lamb Skewers were a big hit at the table.  The Charcuterie, with meats from Heywood’s Provisions, ( I’m going to have to give them a visit, they’ve got some good stuff)  was fantastic and the Fried Green Tomatoes with Fig Goat Cheese were popular among the foodie bloggers as well.

High West Manhattan

I had a High West Manhattan with High West Double Rye to start the evening off right.

The oysters are fresh, delicious and topped with a bit of micro greens

The oysters are fresh, delicious and topped with a bit of micro greens

Charcuterie at Zeal. Meats from Heywoods Provisions

Charcuterie at Zeal. Meats from Heywood’s Provisions

Fried green tomatoes with fig goats cheese

Fried green tomatoes with fig goat cheese

 

For the entrees I had a perfectly cooked, if a bit under-seasoned, grilled pork chop.   One of my table mates ordered the NY Strip and was very happy with it.  Another ordered the Tenderloin topped with blue cheese and was equally as happy.  One diner in our group had a chicken breast that was a bit dry.  Zeal’s owner, Scott, seemed genuinely interested in our constructive criticism so I have very high hopes for this restaurant.

Zeal's grilled pork chop, very juicy but a tad bland

Zeal’s grilled pork chop, very juicy but a tad bland

Blue Cheese Tenderloin with Wild Mushroom Risotto

Blue Cheese Tenderloin with Wild Mushroom Risotto

And then for dessert

cheesecake

One of two cheesecakes on the Zeal dessert menu

Trio of "Tarts"  Strawberry, Coconut/Lime and Chocolate Turtle

Trio of “Tarts” Strawberry, Coconut/Lime and Chocolate Turtle.  You can order all three or however many you would like.  More of a mousse than a tart but delicious none the less

The interior

Zeal interior

The interior at Zeal has a small gallery near the entry, a “Living Room” with tabletop shuffle board and a well stocked bar

 Zeal Modern Eatery is worth a second look, I’ll be back to see how they progress and to give the pork chop another try.

 

August 4, 2014 / sweetsavant

Bacon Prices SOAR; we’re still gonna put it on EVERYTHING!

the bacon comparison store bought bacon on the left, homemade bacon on the right

Bacon prices have risen over 18% in the last year to an all time high of over $6 per pound.  The high prices haven’t reduced our desire for the smokey delicacy

High bacon prices nationwide are making headlines.  The spike in prices can be attributed to the PEDv virus (more info on that here) that has killed a huge number of piglets, as well as drought conditions in some pork producing states.

One way to reduce the cost of bacon is to   learn how to cure and smoke your own bacon, you will not be sorry.  

Making your own bacon is time consuming, but very simple.  Just cure some pork belly in your fridge for 5-7 days then smoke it for a few hours.  It's that easy

Making your own bacon is time consuming, but very simple. Just cure some pork belly in your fridge for 5-7 days then smoke it for a few hours. It’s that easy. Click here for the full recipe 

And after you make your own bacon you can put it on everything…like these fried oysters>here’s a link to the recipe

or put some bacon on your popcorn>Here’s the recipe

Bacon kettlecorn with rosemary. Oh yes I did.  A little salty sweet herbal and bacony goodness

Bacon kettlecorn with rosemary. Oh yes I did. A little salty sweet herbal and bacony goodness

Make a great appetizer with bacon and potatoes for your next party. Here’s the recipe for Bacon and Kale Potato Cakes

potato cake, appetizer, kale, broccoli, bacon, Chinese soup spoons

I created this little app out of the potato scraps from another recipe and some stuff I found when I raided the fridge at Cooks Warehouse. Waste not want not…and eat well. This is a kale, broccoli and potato cake with bacon.

You can pretend to be healthy by adding lots of greens to your bacon

You can pretend to be healthy by adding lots of greens to your bacon

BACON, SPAGHETTI AND GREENS

1 pound spaghetti

1/2 Pound of Thick sliced bacon

2 cloves of minced garlic

8 ounces kale

8 ounces steamed broccoli

8 ounces spinach

2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese

red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)

Cook spaghetti according to package directions.

Cut bacon into 1/4 inch pieces and saute over medium heat to render the fat.  Remove the bacon and reserve until the end of the recipe.

Over low heat add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Add kale and saute until wilted.  Add broccoli and spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted.  Toss in the spaghetti and serve with Parmesan and red pepper flakes.

 

July 26, 2014 / sweetsavant

How I spent my Summer Vacation: Our Visit to Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston City Market

Charleston City Market meets all of your souvenir needs .  Located on Meeting Street its over 1200 feet long.

Here’s a brief recap of our trip to S.C. this Summer.

Sweet Grass baskets

Sweet Grass baskets sold at the market and all over the city. Handmade in Charleston

gelato at Charleston Candy Kitchen

Then cross the street to Charleston Candy Kitchen. Always fresh pralines and they always have a sample for you. 32 N.Market St

Carriage tours in Charleston

Carriage tours in Charleston. I’ve never taken one of these tours…but I’ve been behind one

Then onto dinner at Craftsman Kitchen and Tap House-12 Cumberland St.  This was our first visit, we’ll definitely be beck.  Their squid fries are “to DIE!”

The bar at Craftsman Kitchen and Tap, Charleston SC

The bar at Craftsman Kitchen and Tap House-They have a TON of locally brewed beer to try

After a bit of a break we went for dessert at Ye Ole Fashioned

ice cream menu at Ye Ole Fashioned, Savannah Hwy-West Ashley-Charleston, SC

Ice cream menu at Ye Ole Fashioned, Savannah Hwy-West Ashley-Charleston, SC.  Their Sundaes are HUGE!  I think everything they sell is huge.

menu at YE Ole Fashioned, Charleston SC

Check out the BLT at Ye ole Fashioned

Unique Holiday Inn

Unique Holiday Inn. We didn’t stay there, I just thought it was a cool building

Bon Bahn Mi 162 Spring St Charleston, SC

Bon Bahn Mi 162 Spring St Charleston, SC. Some cute shops popping up all over the city.

 

 

July 23, 2014 / sweetsavant

Recalled fruit+Fruit Wash #Recipe

Always wash your fruits and vegetables before eating. DIY fruit and vegetable wash recipe below

Always wash your fruits and vegetables before eating. DIY fruit and vegetable wash recipe below

Check your fruit bowl, folks-there has been a HUGE RECALL of fruits  including peaches, plums, nectarines and pluots — apricot-plum hybrids — packaged between June 1 through July 12 by Wawona Packing Co. due to potential contamination with LISTERIA MONOCYTOGENES (view the actual recall notice here).  This is a voluntary recall, so far there have been no reported illnesses.  Some of the stores that received recalled fruit were Costco, BJ’s, Kroger, Trader Joe’s, Walmart and possibly others.  If you have any of the recalled fruit throw it out or contact the store of purchase, you may be entitled to a refund.

I heard about the recall on the news and was also alerted to the recall on my receipt from my last trip to Kroger (a very useful by-product of having the Kroger Plus Card tracking program)

Warning on my receipt about recalled fruit

Warning on my receipt about recalled fruit, notice that even ORGANIC fruit is included in this recall .  I had ALL of these in the fruit bowl on my counter.

Even if there is no recall its always a good idea to wash your fruit.

Simple fruit and vegetable wash recipe;

3 parts water to 1 part distilled vinegar

So 3 cups of water to 1 cup of vinegar or 6 cups of water to 2 cups of vinegar.  I suggest using a large bowl to wash your fruit instead of your sink so you can use the proper measurement of water to vinegar.  A sink is so large that you may not get the proper water to vinegar ratio to be effective.

Agitate the fruit  in the vinegar and water solution (a little friction helps get the fruit clean) rinse and dry the fruit.  Even fruit that gets peeled or cut should be washed before eating.  If you cut an unwashed cantaloupe, for example, your knife can drag bacteria from the skin to the interior of the fruit.  For large fruit you may want to put the vegetable wash in a spray bottle.

 

 

July 21, 2014 / sweetsavant

Parmesan Crisps Recipe-What I’m Snacking On

The finished Parmesan cheese crisps with salami and olives, a perfect low carb snack

The finished Parmesan cheese crisps with salami and olives, a perfect low carb snack

These Parmesan crisps are so easy to make but they are DELICIOUS!!  I had some at a wine tasting party a few weeks ago and thought they were the perfect replacement for crackers

Delicious Parmesan Crisps

Delicious Parmesan Crisps with Garlic, Rosemary and Black Pepper

Parmesan crisps, before baking, sprinkled with rosemary, black pepper and garlic powder

Parmesan crisps, before baking, sprinkled with rosemary, black pepper and garlic powder

PARMESAN CRISPS makes 8 crisps

1 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put the Parmesan cheese in 8 mounds on the parchment paper, about 2 tablespoons each.  Pat down lightly.

Sprinkle each mound of Parmesan with rosemary, pepper and garlic powder.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-9 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool completely and gently remove to a paper towel to absorb excess oil.  Serve at room temperature or store in an airtight container for a week.

 

July 16, 2014 / sweetsavant

Soy Cucumbers-Healthy Snack or Side

Soy Marinated Cucumbers

Soy Marinated Cucumbers

Cucumbers are a low carb  (sliced cucumbers have about 4 grams of carbs per cup) low calorie (about 16 calories per cup) vegetable that makes it the perfect filling snack or side dish.

Yes folks, I’m at it again. Cutting carbs that is.  I started off strong last year but fell off the wagon after a few months (a story that’s familiar to many of you, I”m sure).  Weight loss has been an ongoing struggle of mine but I’m not giving up.   I tend to like a low carb diet because, for me, it’s the least painful way to drop pounds.  A low fat diet makes me cranky….you wouldn’t like me when I’m cranky.

This is all you need for the soy marinated cucumber recipe.  Simple and delicious.

This is all you need for the soy marinated cucumber recipe. Simple and delicious.

This is an easy recipe that I like to have as an afternoon snack or a side dish with fish in a lettuce wrap (the rest of the family gets steamed rice with this)

Pour the simple dressing over the cucumbers

Pour the simple dressing over the cucumbers

 

SOY CUCUMBERS

2 Cucumbers, sliced

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup red wine vinegar

Red pepper flakes (to taste)

Put cucumber slices in a bowl. Mix soy sauce and red wine vinegar, pour over cucumbers.  Sprinkle with red pepper flakes.

 

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