Thursday, July 16, 2009

Farmers Market

I love a Farmers Market.
Be it one in a church parking lot on Main Street or a cluster of tobacco-chewing part-time farmers with produce in their pick-up trucks in Tiny Town, USA or a large one that takes up a city block. I love to walk around with my camera & snap pictures of the people buying a weeks worth of whatever & the busy vendors trying to sell them some more.
I love the smells. Even the smell of over ripe cantaloupes & watermelons.
But most of all I love the colors.
Vivid colors that I would paint IF I could paint.
So instead I take pictures.
~Summer Bell Peppers & Tomato Relish~
3 large red bell peppers
3 large green bell peppers
6 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 pound plum tomatoes, seeded, chopped
6 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
~Preheat oven to 400°F
~Brush bell peppers with 2 tablespoons oil & place on baking sheet.
Roast peppers until tender & begin to brown, turning occasionally, about 35 minutes.
Cool peppers 5-10 minutes. Then peel, seed & slice.
Heat remaining 4 tablespoons of oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add tomatoes and garlic. Sauté until tomatoes soften, about 5 minutes. Then add peppers. Sauté about 3 minutes.
Add cilantro & vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
~Serve Bell Pepper & Tomato Relish Tennessee style with pinto beans seasoned w/Tennessee country ham, corn bread, fried okra, green beans & fresh creamed corn.

Now after that feast you should plan something light for desert.
~Fruit & Creme~
Pound Cake
Heavy Whipping Cream or Half and Half
sliced Strawberries, Peaches, Blackberries, Blueberries
~Make a Pound Cake or buy one frozen at the grocery store (they're actually really good).
Cube it & place cubed cake in pretty glasses - why not use you're best crystal - you know, those glasses you've not used in 30 years.
Then layer washed sliced/cubed fruit.
Something colorful like blackberries (blackberries will be kinda sour so set them aside in a bowl with lots of sugar before adding to other fruit), strawberries, peaches, blueberries & plums.
Next comes the good stuff...
Pour HEAVY whipping cream on top of everything then sprinkle with sugar & top with a sprig of mint.
Nothing tastes better & it'll be beautifully displayed in your antique crystal glasses.

In January, the Nashville Farmers Market outside shed is empty.
In February there's a Spring light at the end of the Winter tunnel with a little activity.
March is a teaser. Making me think that Winter has finally left.
Just as I start to dream of seeds & bulbs I'm reminded that March dies a slow death in Nashville with one last drop in temperature. But toward the last of the month & just as I think I'll never see warm weather again, it seems that someone switches on a light & Glory Hallelujah Spring is here!
And so it begins. Summer's bounty brought to you by Mother Nature & some hard-working farmers.
It may be late summer now but things are still bumping at the Nashville Farmers Market.
And I bet at yours too.
Visit one today & support you're local farmers.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

#9 Air McNair

Steve McNair Tennessee Titan
Steve McNair was a Mississippi boy who called Nashville home. He loved Nashville because he said it was a city where he could “be himself” In fact, when he left a couple of years ago to play for Baltimore he kept his house here saying he would be back & also said he would always be a Tennessee Titan - which got him into a little trouble with Baltimore.
He came back after retiring last year & would be seen almost daily in town.
Nashville loved Steve.
He was rarely asked for an autograph (in Nashville people that ask for autographs are usually out-of towners) but instead, was given a shout-out or a high-five by people which was always returned with that beautiful Steve McNair smile. I almost ran over him once.
Seriously! He was crossing a street downtown & I turned my head just in time to see him walk in front of the car - just as I slammed on the brakes. He flashed me that smile & kept walking! Steve was one of the top charity fund raisers in the NFL. Just last year, out of all the NFL players, he was given the top charity award. After Hurricane Katrina hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast & very recently when a tornado damaged a Tennessee town, Steve was there helping & giving.
He was a down-home country boy.
Titan football will never be the same.
And from this football fanatic, thanks for the Tennessee Titan memories.

Friday, July 3, 2009

New Orleans Weekend

Ever visited New Orleans in late June?
Yes? Then you're as crazy as I am.
If you haven't. Don't.
You try as hard as you can to soak in the culture
but you only succeed in getting soaked.
So still hell bent on visiting?
Then you might enjoy some highlights of my resent visit...
~On Friday we had dinner at Bourbon Street Restaurant.
Baked Redfish topped with Crabmeat and special Cajun sauce. mmmmmmmmm.
The restaurant is owned by the Brennen family so you know it'll be great food & great atmosphere.
And it was.
Also had my first Streetcar there. I think I'm not a fan of Bourbon. But might have to drink another one on my next trip down just to make sure.
Then Husband & I took a stroll...
As we walked along the Mississippi River I hummed this classic tune...
Click to see & hear the original clip of famous baritone
Paul Robeson's powerful rendition of 'Ol' Man River'
from the 1936 'Showboat' What a voice!...
Then we wandered around Jackson Square...
and saw that even the horses needed a cool down...
To close the night we stopped at world famous
Cafe du Monde for Beignets. Normally served with coffee but too hot for that so water instead. Next morning, breakfast was at the Old Coffee Pot Restaurant on St. Peter to fuel up.
Love the chandelier there...
and a view from the upstairs bathroom -
not sure why, but i love funky brick walls...
The Lost Bread was great at the Old Coffee Pot. And the eggs, and the bacon, and the home fries, and the biscuits!!! They have a great little court yard if you're smart enough to go in the winter, spring or fall.
Good service - Great food.
Then on to the Audubon Nature Insectarium on Canal.
Set aside 2 hours for this. You'll walk in thinking it's for kids, which it is, but it's also for big kids. Certainly you have to love butterflies & bugs or at least find them fascinating. Otherwise don't waste your time.
Later, around Jackson Square we found these guys.
The kid sang - loud & proud!
The more he sang, the more mournful he sounded.
I think the misery in his voice was from having to sing
in the hot sweltering heat.
So we tipped him.
And lots of other people did too.
Whatever he made in tips he didn't make enough.
Poor kid. I wanted to take him home with me.
Our last stop was at Remoulade's on Bourbon Street
for Muffalettas then made our way back to our room. Wandering around we saw several street acts.
This 'construction man' was the best.
He didn't move one bit.
Not one tiny bit.
Sweat poured down his face & in his eyes & he still didn't move.
We didn't tip him. We were all tipped out. Nothing left.
I felt bad taking his picture then not tipping him but I did it anyway.
Sorry construction man.
That night after the wedding
we walked outside on to Bourbon...
to a forgotten nameless bar & had Hurricanes
(well ok -2 Hurricanes each)
One last meal on Sunday morning at The Coffee Pot again before heading back to NashVegas. We enjoyed our busy little weekend in NOLA. But my next visit will be in the cold dead winter - unless I get another summer wedding invitation!!!