Chuck Mead & Dressed Eggs

Potluck

Growing up in the South, deviled eggs were a part of every Easter celebration, always found at potlucks and cookouts, and were always made basically the same way- eggs, mayonnaise, a little mustard, and pickle relish with a dusting of paprika on top. My Uncle Joe made the best deviled eggs! He never held back on the mayo and always salt and peppered them just right.

Dressed Eggs-1

In Tennessee, we’ve learned that deviled eggs are referred to as, “dressed eggs” because they are often served at church picnics and potlucks and presumably, it just isn’t proper to talk about the devil while in church (especially while eating something so delicious!).

I haven’t made many dressed eggs of my own but I have seen so many different versions in cooking magazines lately that I started concocting my own versions in my head. I finally came up with these two varieties- one using avocado and cilantro and one using kimchi which we always seem to have in our refrigerator as of late. We enjoyed them with some sauteed collards from our CSA and this recipe from awhile back for Herby Pecan Baked Chicken (only it being summer now, I substituted all the dried herbs for fresh and added 3 cloves of garlic in with the nuts and herbs which was delicious).

Kimchi Dressed Eggs
6 Eggs
½ tsp Salt
¼ cup chopped Kimchi (with a little of the liquid)
1 Tbsp Mayonnaise
Srircha Hot Sauce
Sesame Seeds

Avocado Dressed Eggs
6 Eggs
½ tsp Salt
½ Avocado
1 Tbsp Mayonnaise
½ tsp Lime Juice
Salt & Pepper to taste
Cilantro (a little bit chopped to mix in the egg yolk mixture and a small piece to garnish each of the 12 egg halves)

Eggs

Put the eggs in a saucepan and pour water over them to cover them by 1-2 inches. With the stove on high heat, bring the water to a full rolling boil and then immediately turn the heat off. Remove the saucepan from the burner and cover with a lid. Let sit for exactly 10 minutes. Pour the hot water out of the pan and rinse the eggs with cold water to stop all cooking. Roll the eggs around to crack the shells. Place in a bowl. When the eggs are cool enough to handle, gently peel the eggs under running cold water. Cut them in half lengthwise. Scoop out the yolks and place in a bowl, placing the egg whites on a separate plate. Mix in all the ingredients for each specific variety above. Spoon in the mixture into the egg whites. Top the Kimchi Dressed Eggs with a tiny dollop of Srircha and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Top the Avocado Dressed Eggs with a piece of cilantro.

Dressed Eggs 2 ways

Speaking of potlucks, we had some potluck recipes featured in the May issue of Country Living. And while my recipes on this blog are typically made a little healthier than the usual way to make things, these recipes do not hold back on the fat! You will be sure to please all your friends and neighbors this summer with these recipes. Here’s the link. We had lots of fun having them visit.

Getting our recipes photographed.

Getting our recipes photographed.

Chuck Mead singing a song with the lovely & talented Sarah Gayle Meech at the Red Barn Round-Up party back when Country Living visited.

A couple of weeks ago, we got to see Million Dollar Quartet, the traveling Tony award winning Broadway musical that our Nashville buddy Chuck Mead brilliantly directed the music for and our NYC buddy Corey Kaiser stars in as Carl Perkin’s brother and bass player, Jay Perkins. The show was in Nashville for about a week down at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. It was fabulous!

Chuck & The Grassy Knoll Boys, October 2012.

Chuck & The Grassy Knoll Boys, October 2012.

Chuck Mead also has a brand spankin’ new album out called Free State Serenade and it is on heavy rotation at our house. I love his music- his songs with his long-time band BR549, a well as his solo releases with his current band, his Grassy Knoll Boys. Those Grassy Knoll Boys kick some serious ass! Chuck writes fun, good-timing songs and has a huge knowledge and respect for the history of music. This album seems a little more unique, a little more personal and heart felt. Every song was written for Chuck’s home state of Kansas. You can purchase his new album here.

Metamodern Sounds in Country Music by Sturgill Simpson.

Metamodern Sounds in Country Music by Sturgill Simpson.

A couple of other country albums that we’ve been digging are Sturgill Simpson’s second album, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music. Sturgill is super talented, a true original, one of the nicest folks around, and I am thrilled that people are taking notice! You can purchase the new album and other cool merchandise here. He puts on a great live show so be sure to catch him when you can.

Carter Girl by Carlene Carter.

Carter Girl by Carlene Carter.

We’ve also been enjoying the new release from Carlene Carter titled, Carter Girl. The daughter of country music legends, June Carter and Carl Smith, her new release is a beautiful album covering three generations of Carter family songs. Guest vocals on this new release include Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Elizabeth Cook, and Vince Gill. You can buy it here.

May your summer nights be filled with delicious food and good music!

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Mid-Summer in Nashville

I absolutely love all the fresh summer vegetables and one of my favorite meals is cooked vegetables, sliced tomatoes & cucumbers on the side, and a big piece of homemade cornbread. This is my favorite southern meal and always reminds me of my grandmother. Sometimes, though, it gets hard to keep up with what’s coming out of the garden and every meal starts to look similar to the last meal.

Plate by S.C. artist Laura Jones. Tomato grown in my back yard with starts from Eaton Creek Organics in Joelton, TN.

We have tomatoes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I usually get inspired to cook some Italian dishes to spice things up- basil gets made into a million varieties of pesto and tomatoes into many different sauce varieties. This week I was craving something totally different. I started to think about the lowcountry of South Carolina (in part due to one of my very dearest friends, Angela Halfacre’s new book, A Delicate Balance, which I received in the mail this week) and the African, Gullah in particular, influence in lowcountry cooking. I had a very loose idea of what I wanted to make and at the last minute decided to add some Garam Masala, too, which sort of took it all in a different direction. Somehow, though, it worked. Here is what I came up with…

Culturally Diverse Chicken
serves 3
1 Tbsp Olive or Grapeseed Oil
1 Vidalia Onion, sliced in half rings
1 Green Bell Pepper, sliced
1 Tbsp Butter
2 Cloves Garlic, chopped
2 Chicken Breasts, cut each into 3 long pieces
about 1 Tbsp Garam Masala
¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tbsp water
½ cup Flame Raisins
½ cup Peanuts, roasted and salted
1 cup Cherry Tomatoes
2 Tbsp Fresh Parsley, chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. In an iron skillet, cook onions in oil. Once they begin to soften, add peppers and garlic. Cook for a couple minutes and then move vegetables to the side of the pan. Add the butter. Add the chicken. Cook for a few minutes on each side to brown. Sprinkle the chicken with the Garam Masala. Add the vinegar and water. Pile raisins, peanuts, and tomatoes on top, sprinkle with parsley, and then place the skillet in the oven for about 20 minutes or until chicken is done and tomatoes have begun to burst. Serve with roasted okra!

Last week we were saddened by the passing of Ms. Kitty Wells, the undisputed Queen of Country Music! What an incredible woman she was.

Country Music Hall of Fame’s Kitty Wells exhibit. June 2009. Left to right: Johnny Wright’s Nudie suit, a great black & white photo of Kitty, & Kitty’s guitar.

Sadly, I never got the opportunity to see her in person but I cherished knowing that for the last six years, we lived about a mile from her house. Sometimes I would plan my route just so I could drive by and see the big tour bus that belonged to her and husband Johnny Wright that sat beside their house. Eddie Stubbs had an amazing tribute to her on his radio show last week which has been archived. You can listen to that here. And here is a great article our friend Barry Mazur wrote about Kitty Wells for the Wall Street Journal a few years back.

BR549 July 28, 2012

On a happy, live musical note, last night BR549 reunited for a show with Old Crow Medicine Show at the Woods Amphitheater at Fontanel, the former home of Barbara Mandrell. They were amazing, of course. I’m a big fan of Chuck Mead period but to get to see this reunion was really special. They had a great, high-energy set and then joined OCMS after their set for three songs together. I was thrilled they chose a song made popular by Barbara Mandrell (and written by fellow East Nashvillian Kye Fleming & Dennis Morgan), which ironically seems applicable to all of us still, “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool.”

Harvest Time

It is November and finally getting chilly out, although, we are still pulling green tomatoes off the vines. Late summer and autumn are blending together. The leaves were beautiful but only for a short time this year.

I’ve realized I really need to be more creative and come up with different ways to eat green tomatoes than simply frying them but they are soooo good. We did mix it up and serve them for breakfast with cheese grits, biscuits, eggs, and Billionaire’s Bacon. What’s Billionaire’s Bacon, you ask?! Let me tell you! First of all, I’ll just say up front that we only allow ourselves to eat this a few times a year and usually it is for a special occasion such as a holiday or as in this case, for special house guests. We use Benton’s bacon made right here in Tennessee and known around the world for it’s deliciousness. Pat the bacon dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Then rub the slices with brown sugar! Next, bake in the oven on 400 for 8 minutes on each side. This delicacy is like a party in your mouth. Bacon candy!

With the cooler weather, I’ve been craving comfort food and we’ve already started making soups and chili. I made Mac & Cheese with sauteed mushrooms and onions. The addition of vegetables to Mac & Cheese is my sorry attempt to make traditional Mac & Cheese healthier. I will tell you that mushrooms contain many minerals and vitamins and a great deal of protein. They also stimulate the immune system and help prevent cancer. Maybe not so much when smothered in cheese and layered with pasta, but… And onions are amazing in their health benefits! They help fight infection, regulate blood pressure, and also help fight cancer (at least in their raw food state!). I served it with sauteed spinach and peas to up the vegetable count and increase the goodness. See recipe below.

Mac & Cheese
olive oil
mushrooms, sliced
onion, chopped
2 cups macaroni (I use Montebello brand)
3-4 cups grated cheese (I use combination of sharp cheddar & gruyere)
1 tsp butter (to coat bottom of baking dish)
1 tsp salt
1-2 tsp hot sauce
2 tsp dry mustard
2 eggs
2 cups milk

Saute the onions and mushrooms in olive oil. Set aside. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain and blanch with cold water. Cover bottom of buttered baking dish with 1/2 of pasta. Mix in 1/2 of the sauteed mushrooms and onions. Spread 1/2 of the cheese over. Repeat. Beat eggs, milk, and spices together. Pour over. Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes.

We’ve also been eating lots of beans! We had some left over mashed sweet potatoes so we made potato cakes, placed those over a bed of raw spinach, and topped with some Cuban style black beans! I also bought some Adzuki beans. I always see these but wasn’t exactly sure how to use them. I did some research. Turns out these are of Asian origin and most of the recipes I found were for Asian dishes. We decided to make them with more of a jerk style seasoning. Grant cooked them in some homemade chicken stock. He then browned some pork chops and placed on top of the beans and finished them off in the oven. He served them with spinach rice. Delicious. The Adzuki beans are a little nuttier and sweeter than Pintos.

A couple weeks ago, we welcomed a pedal steel guitar back into our house! Grant missed his and has decided to play it again. YAY!

And speaking of pedal steel guitars, we had another Red Barn Round-Up a week ago and were fortunate to have the amazing Chuck Mead provide our musical entertainment! Chuck is a big fan of the Red Barn Round-Up and we sure are a big fan of his.

He had a stellar band, as always, which included Martin Lynds on drums, Mark Miller on bass, and the legendary Carco Clave on pedal steel. Carco is an amazing steel player who has performed with Asleep at the Wheel, BR549, Little Jimmy Dickens, Tex Ritter, Merle Travis, Dale Watson, and so many others. Grant was fortunate to get to play with him down on Lower Broadway when we first moved to town.

Chuck has a new album out. You can hear some of his new songs and purchase the new album here!

We saw another amazing show at the Ryman a couple weeks ago, too- DON WILLIAMS! He retired four years ago but with his new Country Music Hall of Fame status, he decided to come out of retirement for a few shows. Even suffering with bronchitis, he managed to give an excellent performance. The sold out crowd was ecstatic and joined in to help him out on many songs. He is a gentle giant indeed!

I made apple pies for Jamey Johnson (or at least his crew- I never actually saw him eat any) who played a benefit for the Normandy Volunteer Fire Department that our friend Nikki, owner of the River Cafe, organized! GO NORMANDY! And I made some pear pies for the Round-Up. Still working on finding the best cookie recipes and trying to perfect my own buttermilk pie recipe. Meanwhile, I am trying to recover from all those Reese’s cups I overdosed on due to lack of Trick-or-Treaters! Happy Fall Y’all!