Big Smokey Cooks!

Grill Master Grant

Grill Master Grant

So, I’ve been a lazy cook lately, mainly repeating old favorites or making simple meals but lucky for me, Grant (also known as Big Smokey when he plays guitar!) has been picking up the slack in our household. I feel very fortunate to have a partner who not only enjoys eating with me but also, he can cook! He came up with these two great new meaty recipes. I wanted to post these right away as he incorporated many of the yummy late summer veggies we’ve been getting here in middle Tennessee right now. Enjoy!

Mediterranean Chicken Wings with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes served with Herbed Mashed Potatoes and Sautéed Green Beans with Mushrooms.

Mediterranean Chicken Wings with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes served alongside Herbed Mashed Potatoes (Chives and Parsley) and Sautéed Green Beans with Shishito Peppers & Mushrooms.

Mediterranean Chicken Wings with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
1 dozen Chicken Drumettes
1/4 cup Olive Oil
Juice of 2 small Lemons
5 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp Sea Salt (more to taste, if necessary)
1/4 tsp ground Black Pepper
2 Tbsp fresh Oregano, chopped
10-15 medium sized Cherry Tomatoes

Mix all ingredients, except chicken and tomatoes, in a large bowl. Add chicken drumettes, mix, and cover. Set in fridge for about an hour. Preheat oven to 400. Place chicken in a large iron skillet or baking dish. Arrange tomatoes between chicken drumettes, evenly spread out. Place in oven and roast for 25-30 minutes. Turn oven to a high broil for approximately 5-7 minutes, until the tops of the chicken and tomatoes have turned a golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Chicken Wings cooking.

Chicken Wings, cooking

Chicken Wings Meal Final-2

We’ve recently come to love shishito peppers. Many local Nashville restaurants have been featuring them on their menus which caught our attention. In addition to a small plant in our own raised bed garden, our lovely CSA, through Double N Urban Farm, has had a beautiful crop of them this year so we’ve enjoyed quite a few this summer and found so many fun ways to incorporate them into our meals. Below, is one of the most recent ways.

Shishito Peppers and Garlic

Shishito Peppers and Garlic

Big Smokey’s Steak with Shishito Peppers
Nicely marbled grass-fed New York or Ribeye steak (we got ours from local, Creek Bend Farm)
Rub generously with sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder. Set aside for 30-45 minutes at room temperature. Prep your grill. (You can cook them indoors, stove top, by using a cast iron skillet on medium high heat if unable to use an outdoor grill.)

Preheat oven to 400.

20-25 Shishito Peppers, destemmed
4-5 Garlic Cloves, sliced
2 Tbsp Butter
3 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tbsp Honey
Salt and pepper to season

Shishito Garlic Cooking

Pre-heat roasting pan and add butter, peppers, garlic, and seasonings. Roast for approximately 20 minutes until peppers start to brown. Turn and shake pan occasionally. Do this while steak is grilling. When the steak is done to your liking, pull the steak off the grill to rest. Add cider vinegar and honey to peppers, mix well, and roast for a few more minutes. Slice steak across the grain and arrange on a serving platter. Mix the steak juices with the peppers and sprinkle over sliced steak.

Steak with Shishito Peppers

Steak with Shishito Peppers served on a bed of sautéed kale.

Wine Pairing: Serve with a nice Rioja or Argentinian Malbec.

And here’s a salad I came up with to serve alongside the steak.

Steak Meal Final

Fennel & Grapefruit Salad
1 Grapefruit, peeled and cut into sections
½ Fennel Bulb, cut into slivers
¼ cup Fennel Fronds, chopped
5 Romaine Leaves, chopped
¼ cup Roasted Pistachios
1 small chunk of Feta, crumbled
Drizzle of Balsamic Vinegar
Sea Salt

Mix all ingredients together and toss. Add a pinch of salt and drizzle with vinegar.

Fennel Grapefruit Salad

Fennel and Grapefruit Salad

And, since these are mostly Grant’s recipes, I must include a new favorite bluegrass album that has been one of Grant’s favorite albums of the summer- Hot Rize’s 2014 release, “When I’m Free.” Formed in the late 1970’s, Hot Rize got it’s name from the leavening ingredient found in Martha White flour, a common sponsor of the old country shows way back in the day. We were lucky to have the opportunity to see Hot Rize back in July at the Ryman Auditorium for their special Thursday night Bluegrass Jam series. These talented A-list performers (individually and together as a band) put on quite a show.

Hot Rize, Ryman Auditorium. July, 2015.

Hot Rize, Ryman Auditorium. July, 2015.

Be sure to check out this album, if you haven’t. It’s a good one!


Radishes & Rock

Radish-1 We’ve joined a Nashville CSA! For years we had a CSA in Seattle with Willie Greens. They taught us how to appreciate Brussels sprouts and so many other wonderful vegetables. Well, our friends Nick and Nicole over at Double N Urban Farms have a beautiful urban farm and we are proud CSA members for their very first year. It hasn’t started just yet but we were invited to an open house last week to have a sneak peak at the farm and pick up some radishes and arugula. What fun!



We made the most delicious Radish Butter. We experimented with the Lee Bros. recipe for Radish Butter last year but Nicole turned me on to a slight variation she found from Cinnamon Girl blog which inspired me to add in the radish greens and a little lemon zest. Here’s how our recipe turned out. We enjoyed this on some Bella Nashville Bakery‘s sourdough bread. Their bread has reignited my love of toast! It is so delicious. Radish Butter Radish Butter
¼ lb Radishes (with leafy tops)
4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, softened
1 tsp Lemon Zest
½ tsp Sea Salt
¼ tsp Black Pepper

Mix all ingredients in a food processor until creamy. Delicious on toast and also a great spread for a springtime sandwich. We created a delicious sandwich with some with leftover grilled asparagus and steak.

Radish Butter meal I am way behind in updating my “Welcome to Nashville” post. I try to update it whenever everything seems to have shifted and new highlights arise. I’m afraid Nashville is changing so much and so often that I am having trouble trying to keep up with all the goings on. As far as old school country music goes and the living history still so vibrant in our city, I still highly recommend any visitor to do everything listed in my last update!

You can see country music legends like Bill Anderson play around town- even sometimes for free as was the case here. Ernest Tubb's Midnight Jamboree. March 2014.

You can see country music legends like Bill Anderson play around town- even sometimes for free as was the case here. Ernest Tubb’s Midnight Jamboree. March 2014.

But, as far as shopping and restaurants go, I’ll let you rely on some other excellent sources who spend more time keeping up with all that. When we first moved to Nashville, we pretty much only went out to eat when we found ourselves needing a break from doing the dishes because otherwise, we quickly realized we could cook way better food at home. In fact, that’s why I started my blog- to keep up with our cooking experiments. The rare exceptions to this norm were a trip to Margot or City House to celebrate a special occasion when we could afford it. We, thankfully, can still do that and there are some really great new restaurants to add to that short list but there are so many opening now, at such a frequent rate, that we can’t possibly keep up. And besides that, if I told you about all the awesome new stuff happening here, you might get the bright idea to move here and it’s beginning to get a little crowded… It’s getting so crowded, in fact, that reservations almost seem to be a requirement to ensure a table at new restaurants, especially on the weekends. To our surprise, we stopped at Two Ten Jack before a show last Saturday and although the entire outdoor seating was full, we had absolutely no wait! According to our server and our past recent experiences, this was out of the ordinary. Two Ten Jack is a really fun Japanese bar and restaurant that opened just a few months back. We have enjoyed some delicious cocktails, small plates, and ramen here a few times.

Two Ten Jack has outdoor seating but expect it to be full all summer. Luckily, I sort of love their interior. So fun.

Two Ten Jack has outdoor seating but expect it to be full all summer. Luckily, I sort of love their interior. So fun.

After dinner, we had so much fun at Bobby Bare Jr’s cd release show at the Mercy Lounge. We must have seen at least a dozen BBJr shows while living in Seattle nearly decade ago. He has so much energy and his songs are so well written. There is always an underlying humor in his songs, even the sad ones, that I always connected with. And he always brought an excellent cast of revolving side musicians with him to Seattle, too, which I loved. That’s where we first heard the beautiful voice of Carey Kotsionis, saw Tom Pappas’ incredible hair and his impeccable bass stylings, Cory Younts’ multi-instrumental talents, Duane Denison &  Chris Masterson’s beautiful guitar licks, Doni Schroeder’s fascinating drum beats (at that time, every beat came from way above his head), and even back-up vocals by the lovely Holly Williams. Since moving to Nashville, Bobby’s hometown, we rarely get to see him play an entire show of his music (especially with a full band) so when he told us about this cd release show a month or so ago, I promptly put it on our calendar.


This show was a full-on ROCK show featuring all the new songs and a few of my old favorites. Bobby seemed really comfortable and confident. Doni Schroeder, in the most amazing skeleton onesie I’ve ever seen on a grown up, has really become one of the best drummers I have ever seen. Sadly, it was his last show with Bobby as he moves on to his next big project. Jimmy Matt Rowland masterfully rounded out the trio with TWO keyboards and his usual antics. They all had great energy and made me very happy (albeit a little deaf).

Doni Schroeder & Jimmy Matt Rowland.

Doni Schroeder & Jimmy Matt Rowland.

Bobby joined by Cory Branan.

Bobby joined by Cory Branan.

The new cd (on Bloodshot Records) is great, too, probably his best yet and filled with the same fantastic level of storytelling that endeared me to his other Bare Jr. and Young Criminals Starvation League albums prior. You can purchase it and his new dvd here and be sure to catch him on tour, opening for the awesome Guided By Voices, if they happen to be rolling through your town (sorry, Nashville…).