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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Popeye Patties

Tonight I went all vegetarian and made a spinach burger. Not a burger topped with spinach, a burger made of spinach. I sautéed spinach with onion and then mixed in a bowl with egg, breadcrumbs, shredded cheese, and spices (cumin, nutmeg, and red pepper flakes). Once combined, I formed the spinach mixture into patties and returned to the pan. Now the important thing is to let the be. Let them cook for a little while without touching them so they have time to bind together. Flip them over and cook through the other side and you're done.

You can make these in ball form and top with marinara sauce or do what I did and put it on a bun with some sriracha mayo. Did it taste like a burger? Absolutely not, but if you thought there was a chance it would, we have a bigger problem to contend with. What it did taste like was goodness. Super healthy and surprisingly satisfying goodness, to be exact.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Very Vic's

Traditionally, everyone parties it up on Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  My friends and I usually partake, but this year we all passed out on our respective couches at around 9:45 PM.  After acknowledging that we are now old and no longer the rabbel-rousers we once were, we decided on a do-over on Friday night.  No passing out allowed. 

Before hitting up the bars, EB and I decided to meet for martinis and apps at Vic's on the River, one of Savannah's nicer restaurants in the heart of downtown.  Vic's is a continental restaurant, but many of their dishes are Southern favorites that have been elevated to match the restaurant's gorgeous river view.  We decided to focus on these items and ordered four appetizers:
  • Fried Green Tomatoes with Goat Cheese and Tomato Chutney: Since fried green tomatoes are usually paired with a spicy aioli, it was nice to have a sweet accompaniment
  • Crawfish Beignets with Tobasco Syrup: the syrup was sweet, not spicy - good because the crawfish filling (which was ample, providing a great filling to pastry ratio) had a kick
  • Pulled Pork Eggroll with BBQ Sauce, Hot Mustard, and Peach Chutney: this sounds a little weird but it was wonderful - who knew Southern and Chinese went so well together?!
  • Colossal Shrimp Cocktail with Blueberry Vanilla BBQ Sauce: I had to get my fill of shrimp while I was home and these were huge shrimp that were cooked well (important not to overcook when a plain shrimp is the star of the show). 
All the food was wonderful (especially the beignets and eggroll), though I almost wish we hadn't chosen so many dishes with a sweet component/sauce to avoid overkill; however, the dishes were so different in essence, that I didn't really mind.  If you're reading this and thinking of going to Vic's, you would probably be going as a tourist.  If that's the case, you won't mind that it is a little pricier (not NYC fancy dinner pricy, but still...) because hey, it's vacation.  If you're reading this and happen to be a true Savannian, you know Vic's is not someplace you go every weekend, but I say you shouldn't restrict it to special occasions.  Do what we did and order a drink and several appetizers to get a great sampling of the menu.  I recommend sitting in the bar area so you can enjoy the piano player who happened to be wearing an absolutely fabulous feather ensemble.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Gobble Gobble 2011

As usual, blogging has taken a backseat to family time while I was home for Thanksgiving.  Now that I'm back and attempting to reacclimate myself to normal life, it's time for a Thanksgiving post.  The usual suspects for the main meal were all there, but what changed were the appetizers.  For the fourth year in a row, I was placed in charge of the pre-feast snackies and while the rest of the Thanksgiving meal is steeped in tradition, I take the opportunity to mix it up every year. 

I usually prepare two apps, but this year I went with three.  No one who was at this meal attended my Halloween party so I reprised the crab dip, this time adding extra Old Bay, hot sauce, and crab (other ingredients: mayo, lemon juice, cream cheese, and onion).  The crowd devoured it.  I think this one will be making a regular appearance at parties from now on.  Appetizer number two was chorizo and manchego pinwheels.  Three ingredients: puff pastry, browned chorizo, and fresh grated manchego (four if you count the egg wash).  You couldn't ask for an easier recipe, and my brother declared it was the best thing I've ever cooked - a bold statement from Mark Konter.  If you get the legit Mexican brand chorizo, it will be quite spicy so if you'd like to tone it down a little, use hot Italian sausage.  The third appetizer was a refreshing and healthy veggie dip - a nice change of pace after the other apps.  I cooked onion, garlic, and spinach and then let it cool while I prepared the base of the dip.  I pureed avocado, Greek yogurt, salt, pepper, and lemon juice and then folded in the spinach mixture (that I had chopped when it came out of the fridge).  Since there was no mayo or sour cream, this dip was super healthy but had tons of flavor so I'll be making it again when I feel the menu is filled with heavy food.

This may have been the best Thanksgiving yet.  After four years, we've really gotten into the groove. 
In addition to perfecting the food, we have become quite adept at choosing the Thursday evening movie to rent on demand.  This year, The Change Up proved to be the perfect film to watch before slipping into my food coma.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Buff Chick

My brother doesn't cook all too often, but when he gets a dish on the brain, he'll get into the kitchen and throw all his weight behind it.  The last time I was home, his dish du jour was a buffalo chicken sandwich.  My bubba got behind the stove and prepped sandwiches for the whole fam and everyone loved them.  I'm not exactly sure what went into it, but I believe the basis was rotisserie chicken, Frank's Red Hot, and blue cheese dressing.

I didn't know it was possible, but on Sunday night I think I actually improved upon his recipe.  I took three large boneless skinless chicken breasts and threw them in the crock pot with a small bottle of Frank's Red Hot and a block of cream cheese.  After just over three hours on high, I used tongs to shred the chicken and let it sop up the sauce.  I piled it on a bun and topped with some crumbled blue cheese.

This is the best sloppy joe you'll ever have.  I immediately grabbed my phone to text Mark a picture and the recipe.  My brother does not bend easily, but I have a feeling he may tweak his recipe.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Bushwick Brunch

Once word got out about the food at Roberta's, it was tough to get in the door.  After The New York Times gave it a two star review, it became dang near impossible.  Yesterday, Jen decided that's where she wanted to go for brunch and no line was going to get in her way.  The solution was to send her ever dutiful husband to the restaurant to put our name on the list about 45 minutes before we knew we wanted to eat.

We arrived just in time to sit down at one of the rustic wooden tables and do a little people watching while we decided what to order.  If you like stalking hipsters, this is premium hunting ground.  I saw enough plaid to outfit an entire Scottish clan in kilts for every day of the week.  Matt and Jen started by sharing a sticky bun that I didn't try but was apparently good enough to make Jen linger by the door on the way out, debating whether or not to get another one for the road.  It wasn't that it didn't look good, but I had my own breakfast pastry on the way.  A fresh Southern style biscuit soon arrived that was warm, fluffy, and the perfect vehicle for the homemade jam served alongside it.

Roberta's began as a pizza joint so one of those had to make its way to the table.  Jen decided on The Bee Sting, which was topped with mozzarella, sopressata, chili, and honey.  The spicy and sweet went so well together and the crust was the perfect thickness.  Matt ordered the fried eggs served with beef tongue (prepared breakfast meat style) and potato hash and I ordered the pork shank with kale, poached egg, and French beans.  No complaints from either of us.  The dishes were hearty and everything on the menu utilized creative combinations.  After looking at the dinner menu, I realized I'm going to figure out some way back to Bushwick aka Hipster Haven, USA.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hunky Dory

After watching the Dawgs secure their spot in the SEC championship, I left the bar to grab a glass of wine and an appetizer with Dan and Brian who were both visiting for the weekend.  Brian was staying with his brother in Chelsea and has become obsessed with the nearby John Dory Oyster Bar so we decided to go for their happy hour special ($15 for a glass of cava and a half dozen oysters).

As a native of the low country, I am not used to oysters being expensive fare.  $3 for an oyster seems outrageous to me.  At home they are a fraction of that price, I suppose just one more perk to living in the South.  Here, however, oysters are nowhere close to cheap so while Dan and Brian each ordered the happy hour special, I decided to get two appetizers in the hopes that I would get more for my money.  That plan didn't really work since the appetizers arrived and were miniscule.  They were, however, delicious.  I ordered the sea urchin with pomegranate and the chilled crab with avocado.  My first taste of sea urchin was a delight.  I imagined it would be slimy, but the texture was not at all off-putting.  It was so light, I could barely feel it sitting on my tongue.  It tasted slightly of the ocean with a faint sweet flavor that was nicely accented by the sweet pomegranate.  The presentation inside the spiky shell was simple but elegant.  The second appetizer was also of cute proportions and served inside a shot glass.  A thick layer of avocado mousse was topped by a thin, somewhat spicy layer (cocktail sauce? chile sauce?) and then finished off with the crab.  Anyone who has had a california roll has tried this flavor combination, but everything was so fresh that this somehow felt new.    

They may have been tiny, but they were perfect bites.  The only problem was that after polishing them off, I wanted more.  As far as a raw bar goes, The John Dory puts out high quality seafood.  If you're used to low country prices, you will not be happy to shell out the high prices they charge.  In that case, I suggest going during happy hour for a glass of wine and a small but succulent appetizer.  It's hard to hate on the prices when the food is just so good.  I don't recommend going crazy, but a little taste before you get real dinner elsewhere is just what you need every once in a while.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

3 on Thursday

This week has gone by fast, which is nice because if I have to wait much longer before I go home for Thanksgiving, I may burst.
For some reason, I never watched Friday Night Lights.  I'm not exactly sure why, but I think I had the idea it would be too cheesy.  Then I watched the latest Emmys and saw Twitter blow up with loyal viewers proclaiming their love for the recently cancelled show whose actor won the coveted award.  Now, I figured, would be the perfect time to get into this show.  Perhaps I should have started before the show ended, but I suppose I wasn't on the cutting edge with this one.  I have started watching from the beginning via Netflix and am now obsessed.  Clear eyes.  Full Hearts.  Can't lose. 
Can you guess what this is?  It's an antique rubber stamp holder that Karina was using as a candelabra last week at dinner.  I was drawn to it as soon as I entered the apartment.  

On Tuesday, Steph and I went shooting, and I learned I'm pretty good with a .22, as evidenced by the bullseye above.  I should hang this on my front door as a warning to potential suitors.  We went to the gun range with Urban Girl Squad, a networking group for young NYC girls.  If you're looking to try new things around the city, check this group out.  They do everything from Bollywood dancing to volunteering.  The shooting event really called to me and I have a feeling I'll be stopping by Westside Pistol and Rifle Range (Manhattan's only gun range - right smack dab in the middle of Chelsea/Flatiron) to let out some aggression.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Squid Savior

My after work activities placed me close to Eataly last night, so I popped in to pick up a protein for dinner.  I decided to go with squid because it was late and I knew that would cook up quickly.  If you want a simple and tasty meal, listen closely, my friends. 

When it comes to squid, I like a mixture of the bodies and tentacles, but if all those arms freak you out, go with just the bodies.  Cut the bodies into rings and leave the tentacles whole and throw them into a pan with olive oil, lots of garlic, and red pepper flakes to taste (I like a good amount, especially if you add tomato sauce).  While you're cutting/sauteing, boil up some pasta, preferably spaghetti or squid ink linguine.  You could either leave the squid as is and toss with the pasta with olive oil, salt, and pepper (if you're going for an aglio e olio vibe) or add a little pasta sauce to the pan and then toss in the pasta.  I was in a tomato-y mood, so that was the direction I took last night.  I mentioned I like spaghetti with this dish, but I had ziti on hand and it still worked.

This dish is ready in minutes.  Seriously, it's so easy and whenever squid is involved, people are impressed.  Even the fried calamari at TGI Friday's makes people go wild - imagine what homemade squid would do for your guests.  The best part is that squid is actually pretty cheap.  For only about $7/lb, you can get a lot of calamari for your cash.   
Served with fresh mortadella and mozzarella focaccia from Eataly

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Back Forty Brunch

Pork jowel nuggets and doughnuts.  I'm just going to throw those two things out there.  How often do you see those to items listed next to each other as appetizers on a menu?  The answer is "not as often as you should" (though doughnuts are très fashionable right now).  Avery was visiting from DC before flying to Israel so we made sure to order plenty of goodies for her last American meal.  There are few ways to improve on pork belly, but giving it a fried casing and serving it with jalapeno jelly is a dang good start.  The doughnut was served warm and drizzled with a homemade concord grape glaze.  The glaze was very sweet, but there wasn't too much of it so it gave me just enough sugar before my savory meal.  I'm always a savory over sweet girl when it comes to brunch but usually crave just one bite of something sweet and this did the trick.

For our entrees, both Avery and I ordered what could be described as messy bowls.  Mine consisted of quinoa, poached eggs, forest mushrooms, kielbasa, and butternut squash.  Avery's had brisket, poached eggs, red beans, and pickled red onion.  The eggs were perfectly - and I do mean perfectly - poached.  Once broken and mixed with the rest of the ingredients, a sort of soup formed.  I usually like each element on my plate to stay in its own spot.  Starch should not touch protein, which should not touch vegetable.  This dish laughed in the face of that mentality, but my OCD didn't mind because it tasted so good.

Back Forty builds a solid brunch by sprinkling special ingredients into regular brunch items.  Sweet potatoes invade the pancakes and quinoa walks around in poached egg territory.  These updates will easily get me to return.  As will the drinks.  I had a great bloody mary and Avery had a hard apple cider that I know I'll be craving every weekend as it gets cooler.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Karina Cooks

On Friday night, Matt, Karina, and I continued what we are trying to make a monthly tradition: little dinner parties for each other, alternating hosts.  This month was Matt and Karina's turn and Karina prepared an amazing dinner.  Matt's participation was limited to sous chefage and cheese picking, though his cheese selection was superb.
Place card featuring the menu - love seeing "Guest of Honor" next to my name; it makes me feel as famous as Beyonce.
The first course actually consisted of three appetizers, so I'm not sure you could consider it one simple course.  Karina prepared two crostinis, one with ricotta and roasted heirloom tomatoes and another with mushrooms and chives.  Both were good but the heirloom grape tomatoes were sweet, juicy, and perfectly roasted - I'll be stealing that recipe (one of several I'll be taking from the evening).  We also had a cheese plate with cornichons and olives.  This is where Matt came in handy. He raided the Trader Joe's cheese section and came back with a gorgonzola, a truffled something (does the type really matter - it's truffles and cheese, nuff said), and a mushroom brie. 

For the entree, they had prepared Moroccan chicken that was made with an interesting blend of spices including cinnamon and [I think] cardamom.  Whatever spices they used, they were good.  The chicken was served alongside sauteed kale that used a total of three ingredients: kale, garlic, and dried cherries.  Garlic and kale seems like a no-brainer but the sometimes bitter kale went perfectly with the sweet cherries, which also tied the vegetable to the Moroccan flavor of the chicken.

For dessert we had biscotti with a twist: port wine.  Karina has spent a significant amount of time in Italy and explained many Italians traditionally dip their biscotti in port.  This is a custom I can get behind!  Port is not something I usually order or buy for myself, but I may have to get in the habit because it was a wonderful way to end the meal.  I feel like drinking port is a baroque pastime, akin to retiring to the library for brandy and cigars.  Hey, if it aint baroque, don't fix it. 

Book Review: The Postmistress

Most WWII stories take place in Europe, once the war is in full swing since that seems to be the most gripping point of view.  Sarah Blake's novel, however, approaches the war from the American side, just as they are learning what is really going on in Europe.  But this story is about more than the war; it is about three women and how they handle news and shocking realities.  They must each decide if some things are better left unknown and if someone has the right to shelter others from the truth rather than the duty to share it.

The novel starts off slow but picks up by the 2nd half when the characters begin to connect.  Because a central point in the novel is that every story goes well beyond the brief moment you see - everyone has a back-story - I would have liked to learn more about the pasts of these three women and maybe even more of their future, particularly Emma, the Dr.'s widow.  The calm yet somewhat tense tone of the novel echos the calm before the storm moment in American history, yet I would have liked a little more action to award it more than 6 out of 10 stars. 

Friday, November 11, 2011


Out of nowhere, NYC acquired four Potbelly Sandwich Shops, with a fifth on the way.  From the day the "coming soon" signs were plastered on storefront windows, I could hear a constant buzz around the city.  The name alone intrigued me, but my excitement was put on hold when I saw the menu.  This did not look like anything special.  There are just a few sandwiches available and none of them have funky ingredients like avocado.  How boring. 

Nonetheless, I couldn't shake the constant prattling I heard from Chicago transplants who seem to have lived on this stuff alone.  Today I decided to go with an office buddy to the nearby Rock Center location to see what I have apparently been missing.  The line was astounding, but it moved incredibly fast so it wasn't long before I was up at the counter, ordering my Italian (capicola, mortadella, peperoni, salami, and provolone).  The bread to meat ratio is good and aided by their toasting the bread.  Much better than Subway, which seems to be all carb, no meat.  There are a bunch of toppings to choose from that are different and in some cases better than at a normal sandwich place.  I recommend the hot peppers as they are crunchy and go beyond a plain jalapeno. 

I'm not sure what it is, but I am now a Potbelly fan.  It could have been the toasted bread, hot peppers, or reasonable price of $6, but I enjoyed it.  Best sandwich ever?  No, but when it comes to no-frills 'wiches, I'm glad Potbelly has stood up to Subway.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

3 on Thursday

I can't believe I forgot to post "3 on Thursday" last week!  It has been an insanely busy couple weeks of apartment hunting, meetings, and vacations, but I am back in action and have included a bonus blog recommendation as an apology for not giving you your weekly dose of faves last Thursday.

A magazine sent this jar of peppers in a mini mason jar to explain they were "hot".  A little cheesy, but it got me thinking how this would be an adorable housewarming gift.  Buy four mason jars - big or little - and fill them with things they could eat or cook with (peppers, chocolate chips, cheese straws, packets of Equal, etc.).  When they're done with the goodies inside, they'll have a set of four drinking glasses, vases, or containers - there really are a million uses for mason jars.
Victory is even sweeter when we beat Florida, our biggest rival.  It's great to be a Gator Hater!  Plenty of people stayed inside on Saturday 10/29 due to the freak October snow storm, but I'm glad I braved the weather so I could celebrate our win with a bar full of UGA fans.  Our streak continued last weekend with a homecoming win over New Mexico State that pretty much defined "blowout".
It has been a stressful week and I can tell there is more pressure on the way in the coming weeks, which is why I am so happy I have a massage on the calendar this evening at one of my two favorite spas, Silk.  Not only are Silk's treatments wonderful, they have the best relaxation room - complete with some of the best snacks I've seen at a spa.  They also have you fill out a form indicating your music of choice and massage pressure preference so your experience is customized and as relaxing as possible.

There is a French blogger who is currently picking up on trends in movie posters.  Even if you're not fluent in French like me (yes, I meant that to sound snobby), this blog is still enjoyable and when you see how all movie posters tend to look the same you can't help shake that "duped" feeling.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ziti Zupper

I wasn't able to start cooking dinner until 9:30 last night, so it's a good thing I could build a quick and easy meal from the sausage I already thawed.  I decided to make a baked ziti so I sauteed onion and Italian sausage (I used one link each of sweet and hot) and once the onions were translucent and the meat browned, I added jarred tomato sauce (store shortcut - this is the quick and easy version, after all) and let it simmer.  I did all this while I cooked the pasta and shredded the cheese.  I used a young fontina for the cheese because I love the way it melts.  It also has a mild earthy flavor that I prefer to the pre-shredded, sodium-laden mozzarella in a bag.  For the top layer of cheese, I mixed the fontina with fresh grated parmesan because you can't have a pasta dish without parm and it helps create a nice crust.  Everything was cooked and hot so it only needs to go into the oven to brown the cheese and melt together.  Ziti is quick and easy to prepare, and if you use ingredients like sausage and fontina, it will not taste like it came from a cafeteria - those ingredients made all the difference.  Plus, it reheats beautifully, so if you have two busy nights in a row (like I probably will) you won't have to worry about cooking at all the next day.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Spring Saute

Last night I tried a new side dish that featured some gorgeous Spring vegetables...even though it's the middle of Fall.  When I found this recipe, I knew I didn't want to wait for the ground to thaw before I could try it.  The vegetables were still very flavorful so I recommend making it soon, even in the off-season.

I was looking for shallots but couldn't find them so I used cipollini onions instead and found them to be the perfect substitute.  So adaptation to the recipe #1 went over well.  I sauteed the onions in butter and once they looked good, added asparagus.  Once the asparagus cooked through, I added salt, pepper, and frozen peas.  At this point, you're almost done because the peas will only take a minute to warm up.  Now we're up to recipe adaptation #2: red wine vinegar, which I believe also improved the final product.  And finally, stir in the secret ingredient.  "A secret ingredient?" you say.  Why yes, there is a twist to this recipe.  Drizzle some honey - yes, honey - over the vegetables, mix in, remove from the heat, and serve.

This side dish was easy, healthy, and a great accompaniment to the mahi mahi I made for the entree.  Honey may sound like a weird thing to add to vegetables - and I was skeptical too - but it just worked.  When combined with the red wine vinegar, sweet onions, and butter, the asparagus and peas were lightly and perfectly dressed.

Movie Review: Win Win

I had my most recent Netflix sitting on my coffee table for over two weeks and decided I was not going to let last weekend pass without watching it.  Now I'm sad I waited so long.  Win Win follows Mike, played by Paul Giamatti, as he stops simply going through the motions and starts to feel again.  His reason for getting excited about life is Kyle, who stumbles into his world after Mike becomes his grandfather's legal guardian in a somewhat unscrupulous fashion.  Kyle's presence somehow breaks up the ennui that has settled into each character, just as Bobby Cannavale's character breaks up the serious plot with bursts of comedy.

This film is somehow heartwarming without being sappy - a line that is hard to toe.  It may have been one of those smaller Sundance films, but that doesn't mean it was too brainy.  Perhaps it was the perfect casting or the fact that it was realistic without being depressing, but it was entirely satisfying in a way that made me want to shake the director's hand and say "Job well done."   

Monday, November 7, 2011

Spanish at Salinas

Before heading out of town for the weekend, Steph and I met up for a dinner date on Thursday. We chose tapas restaurant Salinas because it was in a convenient location and the New York Times had given it a very good review on the day we were choosing where to eat. Even though the review was given by interim critic Eric Asimov [while we wait for the Times to choose and announce who will take over Sam Sifton's spot], I felt the 2-star review was well thought out and inspiring enough for us to give it a try.

It may usually be overlooked, but I was a fan of the crusty bread that was placed on each table. It was served with a white bean ancho dip that was velvety smooth. We decided to go with all small plates because the ingredients were more interesting than those in the entrees. First up we had the Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower with mint yogurt. Next was a crispy flatbread with Mahon cheese and honey. Both dishes were very good but a little small. They got bigger (and even better) as we went on. The veal cheek and wild mushroom croquettes were a great representation of the Spanish Basque regional cuisine they were trying to nail. The croquetas were large and amply stuffed. Next we tried the octopus because I remembered it from the restaurant review. Octopus and potato is a typical pairing in this cuisine, but never have I seen it done like this with the potato puréed and the octopus sliced thin in crudo-style coins. Because I'm not afraid of any food, we ordered the tripe, which was served in a tomato based stew with chorizo, ham, paprika, and crunchy chickpeas. I don't know how they created crunchy chickpeas, but they were a great match for the slimy tripe. If you can get past the texture and idea of tripe (stomach) this was a very good dish. We also ordered the potato side dish. I thought the waiter was going to lose points for this one, but then they arrived and were so perfectly crisped and covered with a spicy brava sauce. I thought it would be boring, but it turned out to have all the flavors I was looking for.

I don't want to fail to mention the non-food elements of this dinner. There was a great wine list and a very attentive waiter who helped us choose one that ended up being perfect. I would try to go on a nice night when they pull back the retractable roof in the back of the restaurant for a nice indoor/outdoor experience that will only enhance the food. It may be a restaurant of the moment, but don't expect to find the trendy crowd here. The restaurant was filled with middle aged people who I assume we're Chelsea residents. That may not sound exciting, but it's a good indication this place will be around for a while since it is relying on people who follow food over fad.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Monet Does Pork...and Sweet Potatoes

Last time I was home, my Mom gifted me with a lavender meat rub she could no longer use.  Normally, I wouldn't want her cast-offs - if it's not good enough for her kitchen, why would I want it?  I decided to accept the gift when she explained that although she thought it was delicious, my Daddy thought it was a little too sweet.  If one person in their two-person household won't eat something, you can't really cook it (also why my Mother has to go to a restaurant if she wants cauliflower).  When I took a whiff of the lavender and spices, I was transported to Provence in the Springtime - like a Monet painting for the nostrils.

Tonight, I decided to use the lavender spice mix with olive oil on a pork tenderloin.  For the vegetable, I made roasted broccoli that I dipped in a lemon paprika aioli.  Turns out the aioli wasn't fabulous - I've made much better dips, so I tossed it aside and ate the roasted broccoli on it's own because it was already super flavorful  For side dish number two, I made roasted sweet potatoes with cumin and chili powder and topped them with blue cheese and pecans for a little salty/sweet action.  This dish was the winner of the evening.  It was very easy to make and was about as Autumn as you can get.  This is one combo that's sure to keep your attention.


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