Traveling Through Summer

It’s been awhile since I posted any new recipes here. We’ve been making lots of old favorite summer recipes mostly.

Romesco Dinner 2015

We make homemade Romesco at the first sign of asparagus and spring onions!

At the first sign of yellow crookneck squash, I start dreaming about this wonderful Buttermilk Squash Soup recipe from 101 Cookbooks. And last week, we had enough tomatoes from our Double N Urban Farm CSA to make a Tomato Crumble Pie. I look forward to both of these every summer.


A few weeks back, we had lots of beautiful varieties of kale in our CSA basket and came up with this lovely variation of a Kale Caesar.

Kale Varieties

Kale Caesar with Seed Brittle
Serves 2
1 bunch Kale (I used a variety of different kinds of Kale leaves.)
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
1 large clove of Garlic, chopped
1 tsp Mustard
1/2 tsp Worcestershire
1 Egg, coddled
3 shakes Tabasco
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/3 cup Parmesan Reggiano, grated
Lemon wedges

Seed Brittle
1/2 cup Seeds (I used an even mix of sunflower and pepitas.)
1 tsp Chili Powder
1Tbsp. Maple Syrup
Sea Salt


To make the seed brittle, use an iron skillet. Place seeds in skillet on medium heat. Once they start to get warm and slightly toasty, pour in maple syrup. Stir and add chili powder and a pinch of salt. Remove from heat and let cool on a plate. Wash kale leaves well, dry, and remove the middle, thick vein. Tear leaves into bite sized pieces and place in a big bowl. To make dressing- in a small bowl, mix the garlic, mustard, Worcestershire, egg, and olive oil with a small whisk. Slowly pour the olive oil in as you whisk. Pour dressing over kale leaves. Pour cheese in and gently toss. Top with seed brittle. Divide between two plates and serve with a lemon wedge.

Kale Caesar

And then we went to Austin where it has become our tradition to eat as many tacos as is possible!

Taco Tour 2015

We tried lots of new places to us but our very favorite new taco was the “Gringa” from Rosita’s Al Pastor on East Riverside Drive. It was divine! In fact, I’ve been day dreaming about it ever since.


Grant played a gig with our friend and talented songwriter, Teri Joyce. I love seeing music in Texas because the room is always full of dancers!

Grant playing with Teri Joyce & The Tagalongs at ABGB in Austin.

Grant playing with Teri Joyce & The Tagalongs at ABGB in Austin.

We also finally experienced Willie’s Picnic on the 4th of July which was super fun. I’ve never been much of a festival fan but I am happy to report that Willie’s Picnic was very well organized, all the bands put on great performances, and it was an all around fun day. It was a great mix of our favorite Texas and Nashville bands.

There was a huge crowd at Willie's Picnic!

There was a huge crowd at Willie’s Picnic! (That’s KRIS KRISTOFFERSON on stage, not that you can tell!)

One Nashville musician we were really happy to hear, whose new album Traveller has been in heavy rotation at our house, was Chris Stapleton . Nine years ago last month, as we drove across country to relocate to Nashville in search of real (old) country music history, we tried to acquaint ourselves with some of the newer country music that was happening on the big country radio stations. Every once in awhile we would hear a song that would catch our attention and reel us in. Almost every one of those songs, we would later find out, was written by Chris Stapleton. Once we got to Nashville, one of the first local bands we starting seeing at the Station Inn was The SteelDrivers, fronted by none other than Chris Stapleton. Well, now, he’s out on his own with his wife, Morgan Hayes, accompanying him on vocals and a killer backing band consisting of JT Cure on bass and Derek Mixon on drums (two of my favorites). Another common thread that links this album to many of my other current Nashville favorites is producer Dave Cobb. He seems to have it going on…

You can read/hear a fabulous interview with Chris that our friend Jewly Hight did for NPR here. Traveller is one of my new favorite albums. It’s pure country soul. You can purchase the new album here.

I was super excited to see that Samantha Harlow has a new video out! You can see it and read so much about her in this fun Rolling Stone Country article here. We’ve known Samantha since Grant played down at Robert’s. She tends bar and often jumps up on stage to sing a song or two. She has such a lovely voice. Keep an eye on this one, I think she has a bright future.

Samantha Harlow played our Red Barn Round-Up party way back when... May, 2013.

Samantha Harlow played our Red Barn Round-Up party way back when… May, 2013.

Happy Birthday Loretta!


One of Grant’s best friends from college, Tim Baker, and his wife Kelly were some of our favorite friends to eat with when we lived in Seattle. They are super creative people and love food as much as we do. These two had an awesome house with an amazing little back yard. They had created such a great life inside their house that I always felt like I never wanted to leave which is how I imagined they also felt. It was as if they were a self contained family unit inside the square footage of their house and they never really needed to step outside- except when necessary for work, etc., but if they never had to leave they would be happy and complete with everything that was contained within those walls because it was such a creative, comfortable, and positive environment. I think they have been a quiet inspiration in my subconscious as we have created our home here in Nashville. One of my favorite desserts that Tim used to make for us was Carrot Pie. I had never had Carrot Pie before. He sent me the recipe, sort of, months ago and I just recently realized I had not made it yet. I had to fill in a few of the measurements but it turned out nicely. I only wish Tim and Kelly had been here to enjoy it with us. This is a perfect springtime dessert! And to quote Grant Johnson, “This might be the tastiest expression of carrots, ever!”


Carrot Pie
2 cups Pureed Carrot (approx. 6-8 big fresh organic carrots, cut, steamed, and then mashed)
3 eggs
2 Tbsp candied ginger, chopped very finely
zest of one orange
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
1 cup cream

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients together with a mixer and then add in the cream. Pour into a prepared, unbaked pie crust. Bake for 50 minutes.


This pie is made in honor of Loretta Lynn who is celebrating her 81st Birthday this week. My friend and ever-so talented songwriter, Terri Joyce, makes dang sure everyone in Austin remembers Loretta’s birthday by holding an annual party and benefit in Loretta’s honor called the “Hey Loretta Hillbilly Hoedown & Pie Social” in which all the ladies sing and bring pies to raffle off. The money raised goes to support the SIMS Foundation which provides life-saving mental health services for Austin musicians and their families. This is a bunch of talented women. One year I’ll be there in person to hear the show but in the meantime, I will continue to bake a pie in Loretta’s honor and send all good thoughts down Austin way.