Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Red Rice Salad

From The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern Cookbook
Serves: 4
Prep time: 30 minutes

This recipe is a wee bit time consuming but only because you have to tease the tomato water out of the seed cavities. But it's really not that big of a deal and it's so very worth it in the end. I recommend making this at least a few hours in advance, if not more. Enjoy! 

1 pound plum or vine-ripened tomatoes (about 5 plum tomatoes), peeled
3 cups cooked white rice (from 1 cup uncooked)
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp plus 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1. Set a strainer over a small bowl. Core the tomatoes, cut them in half widthwise, and using your pinkie finger, tease the seeds out of the cavities, letting them drop into the strainer. Tap the rim of the strainer against your palm for 30 seconds, until most of the flavorful get clinging to the seeds dissolves and drips into the bowl. Cover and refrigerate the tomato water; you should have about 1/4 cup. Discard the seeds.

2. Chop the tomatoes into 1/2-inch dice, and toss them in a bowl with the rice, chives and basil. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the flavors to meld in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or for up to 24 hours.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the reserved tomato water, mustard, vinegar and salt. Add the olive oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly until the ingredients are thoroughly emulsified. Toss the dressing gently with the rice mixture. Serve cold or at room temperature. (Covered, the salad will keep in the refrigerator for about 3 days).

- by Carolyn Manney

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Porter Road Butcher

Article & Photographs by Carolyn Manney

Imagine this: East Nashville with it's very own butcher shop. Yes people, a real butcher shop with real butchers right here in our neighborhood. Are you excited yet? You should be. I know I am. The other day I told Chris Carter and James Peisker, the masterminds behind this enterprise, that I've never wanted a business to succeed more than this one. And I truly mean that. It feels like the icing on top of the cake, ya know?

I don't know about you, but to be able to walk into Porter Road Butcher (the location of the shop is still to be determined, so stay tuned) and buy whatever cuts of meat you fancy that day, maybe even some handmade sausages or pate' or a handful of local produce while you're at it, is pretty sweet living. And did I mention that Chris and James will be using only pasture raised, grass fed animals (like this pig in the photos)? Even better. These guys have the highest of standards, which is quite possibly the most important quality to have in your local butcher.

As I mentioned above, Chris and James are in the midst of finding the perfect spot for their butcher shop. But in the meantime, you can find them at the East Nashville Farmers Market every Wednesday from 3:30 to 6:30 selling Italian Sausage, English Bacon, Pate', Bratwurst, Head Cheese, etc. (FYI, the menu changes each week). Oh, and they share a tent with The Bloomy Rind, so if you're in the mood for some meat and cheese pairings, this is a pretty great tent to find yourself at.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Something Squirrely at the Market

       Last Wednesday's market was by far the hottest the market I have ever been a part of. You could see the slowness of everyone dripping in the heavy air. There were no babies, no dogs, just slow moving adults out to support the local farmers and artisans. I grew up in Nashville on Delvin Farms, I'm a Southern girl, I like my tea sweet and my okra fried, but it wasn't until this last heat wave that I truly understood why people say the South moves slowly. Well no wonder, it's because the air is a wall of heat we have to muddle through! Even my words were slow coming out. Someone would ask me a question and I could hear my brain trying to digest what was being said, so you could imagine how slow I was to respond when Pastor Weeks of the East Nashville Freewill Baptist Church came out and asked if my husband Brandon and I could help him remove a critter from the church nursery. Pastor Weeks is the reverend from whom we rent the market space. He is kind, gentle and I'm fairly certain a born and raised Southern himself with the thick accent to prove it. So when he asked if we could help him remove a critter from the nursery, I paused a minute to try to make sense of what he was asking while Brandon grabbed a bushel basket and said, "sure! Let's go!" What we found in the nursery was a scared squirrel who had apparently wanted to free himself of the debilitating heat himself. He was perched on the crib staring at us when we walked in. Brandon shut the door behind us and the three of us took our places in various corners of the room. I never knew a tiny squirrel could make three adults jump the way we did! I kept saying, "ooohh I'm a little scared of him! Brandon, get him!" When he hit the window trying to get out, it dawned on us to simply open it. That's another thing heat does to you- makes you lose common sense! I opened one window, Brandon opened the other and out the squirrel jumped, away from three jumpy adults, away from the cool air conditioning and back to his own world.  Things sure did squirrely there for a minute!
    Farmers markets are not only about shopping for your goods. They are a place for the community to gather, to make friends, share recipes, talk to the people who grow your food and help one another out- maybe even rescue one from a critter! That's the reason I enjoy our weekly farmers market. Not only do I get to socialize off the farm a bit, but there's always some new adventure, some new knowledge or experience! What do you enjoy about your weekly farmers market?
-Amy Delvin Tavalin