Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Fave or Fail ... P M

Anybody try that savory vegetable bread pudding yet?? I'm dying to know! You can find the recipe here if you missed it.

So today we have a [drum roll please..................] FAIL. whomp whomp whomp. Yes, and not even a little fail, a big time fail. What's strange though, is from what I can tell, I'm the ONLY human being here in this foodie town of Nashville that thinks this place stinks! So maybe it's just me.... but even if it is, I'm not budging my opinion to give it another chance. It was really that bad across the board.

PM is an "asian bistro" right in the bustling heart of Belmont University. It's pretty much always packed with college aged and young marrieds any night of the week. James and I usually stay away from spots like that until we absolutely must go. Nobody likes to attempt to have conversation during dinner over the noise of the table of twenty next to you. (not to mention they're all 18-20 year old college boys) So we lived in Nashville, literally 7 minutes from the place for 6 months before we tried it. Then our friend Henry Wagons came to stay with us for a few days while he was participating in the Americana Music Festival. (go check out his tunes, good guy.) He had been here a year or two before and he asked someone where he could get the BEST BURGER in Nashville... guess where they took him.... PM, the asian bistro! What? Why? Who knows... I still don't know. Why on earth you would ever put a burger on your asian bistro menu in the first place, I'll never know. But why would you then STRIVE to WIN THE AWARD, literally, for the BEST BURGER IN TOWN when you are an ASIAN RESTAURANT? I don't know... maybe to be different? Culturally acceptable? Politically correct... asians like burgers too...? Anyways, when Henry came back to town he wanted to go back and see if the  burger was as good as he remembered. So we went. We were welcomed at the door with the poster that claimed they had won the best burger award four years ago. hmm... what about 2007- 2011? Why still donning the oldies poster? Curious, we went in and he ordered the burger... now I'm getting ahead of myself. I'll come back to the burger in a second.

It was jam packed and there were 5 of us, but the hostess promptly seated us at the bar. Normally I would've hated this idea with that many people but they've so creatively built double sided bar seating! Now instead of having to scream over your friend and knock over their drink to cheers your other friend 4 seats down, you can just happily enjoy each other's company straight across the table. Well done, PM. I was impressed with that. But sadly, that's where the good impression ended. She then handed us the menu.

YIKES! Seriously these prices cannot be real. Let me go remind the owner that we're on a college strip and also in MIDDLE TENNESSEE.

Crab Fried Rice Bowl for $18?! Pad Thai for $17?! We go to this hole in the wall thai place over on the east side for the BEST HUGE PILE of pad thai for $9! And they're actually asian! (having said that however, the chef at PM, Arnold Myint, is southeast asian, but was born and raised here in Nashville) Anyways, we were not off to a good start in my books. I like GREAT food to be great value and if it's gonna be exorbitant, it better be because the service is phenomenal and I'm sitting in a fancy leather chair with fabulous live music playing. This was not the case at PM. Like I said, it is on a college strip. Onwards to what we ordered...

 Thai Peanut Chicken Salad: $9. This was mine. It tasted like actual nothing. The chicken literally tasted like nothing. I might as well have been eating tofu. The dressing was clear, which I appreciated, but didn't taste like anything. Literally couldn't get a taste out of it. The crispy wontons, which always taste like that magical taste, you know the one... tasted like nothing. All in all, it was a big pile of skimpy lettuce that tasted like nothing.
 The infamous $17 Glass Noodle Pad Thai: Cool that it was inside a thin omelette, well done, PM! How did it taste? Like nothing. No kick, no peanuty goodness, no red chilies, no nothin'. And if memory serves me correctly, no cilantro either. Flavorless. I would've thought at LEAST the comfort food on the menu would be good. And it wasn't bad by any means, but it didn't taste like anything!
 The Sesame Seared Tuna Loin salad: $11. I didn't taste this, but by the looks of it, it probably was great. Seems like a very straight forward, simple but tasty dish. And it does seem like a fair amount of tuna for $11.
PM's Char Grilled Burger, complete with bacon, onions, cheese and fries. $9. It was massive, it was juicy and it looked delicious....
 Wagons' opinion....?
Not nearly as good as he remembered from a few years back. Maybe that's why they're still rockin' the 2006 poster.

I'm sorry fellow Nashville eaters, but I truly would never return to this establishment. I'm not sure I've ever eaten anywhere else in the world that had not one but TWO dishes that tasted of complete nothingness and charged what they did for it. It's a little noisy, it's a little college-y for my liking, the food is less than mediocre, (although presented nicely) and it's over-priced. If you're looking for tonight's Friday night hang, I would advise you to stay away from PM. (i hate being the bad guy, but i do always want to be honest and give a fair assessment of my experiences!)

Where WOULD I recommend for tonight? All sorts of places! Mafiaozas, Thai Phooket, El Palenque, The Frothy Monkey... just to name a few. (yes they started serving dinner! never tried it yet but it always smells UN.REAL. plus everything else they do is excellent) And honestly, if you're looking for the best burger in town, we all know where it's REALLY at... FAT MO'S. ;)

Lots of love to you all and have a FAB weekend! Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Happy 37 th !

Today marks my parent's 37th wedding anniversary! They are the two most loving, generous, caring people I know, and boy are they the BEST example of a beautiful marriage! Mom and Dad, I love you and James, Jordan, Brent and I THANK YOU.

I thought it only appropriate for me to share with you a few photos of the desserts I made them LAST year for their anniversary... one is season appropriate and the other is not, so I may just share the recipe for one. (although, gosh I didn't write anything down, maybe I'll just give you general guidelines) ;)
 Dark chocolate ganache cake and Lemon chiffon cake with lemon lime glaze... they were simply 'to die for.'

Hands down, in my opinion, the lemon chiffon cake drizzled in zesty citrus glaze took the award that night. And like I said, this one is much more season appropriate so let's go with it.

I made these personal sized desserts here so if the measurements sound small, that's why.

For the cake:
  • 1 Tablespoon plus an extra teaspoon softened butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon plus an extra teaspoon sour cream
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest (depending on how lemony you think you'll prefer it)
Preheat your oven to 325 and grease and lightly flour two miniature loaf pans. (I wanted to make it look fancier by stacking two layers instead of one bigger piece of cake) Cream together the butter, sugar, egg and vanilla extract. Mix together your dry ingredients in a separate, little bowl then add them to the creamed mixture and stir. Now add in the sour cream and lemon zest, mix well and pour into the two prepared loaf pans. Bake for about 30 minutes, but watch them... because they're small, they can burn easily if forgotten about! When your knife or toothpick comes out clean, they're done! Let cool for about 5-10 minutes before loosening the cake from the edges with a butter knife. Then flop them out upside down and let cool. Hard part is done! On to the chiffon frosting and glaze!

The white "frosting" was simple. Mix together a smallish amount of softened butter, powdered sugar and a tiny dash of vanilla extract until creamy and irresistible. (don't make this too fluffy, otherwise you'll lose the "poured- on look" affect)

Now for the lemon lime glaze! Start by making a simple syrup over the stove, equal parts hot water and sugar. Once it's come to a boil, throw in some fresh lemon and lime zest, about a teaspoon each. Let that mixture boil for only 2 minutes. Take it off the heat and let rest until it starts to get thickened when stirred with a wooden spoon. Once its cool enough that you could handle it in a glass jar or other container, pour the mixture through a strainer to catch some of that zest. (but not all of it, the zest is such pretty, natural decoration for the little cake!)

Now assemble! Get out a pretty tea plate and lightly frost between the two cake rectangles with the white chiffon frosting. Next, slowly pour/ drizzle the chiffon frosting all over the top of the cake, making a blanket like covering. It's okay to let some pool on the plate, makes for better presentation! ;) Then, when the glaze is cooled enough to get a spoonful, but still drippy enough to slip right off, drizzle the glaze all over the top and zest a little more lime and lemon for garnishing. Ta da! Welcome to lemon heaven.

And one more thing... considering the season and the wondrous rain we're all getting, thanks to springtime freshness, I just wanted to remind you all to shop at your local farmer's markets! (not The Farmer's Market, your actual farmer's markets) Look at some of my gorgeous finds and get inspired to go yourself!

Here's a quick idea for your fresh basil you found at your farmer's market! I call it the Farmer's Market Spritzer:
Put a generous amount of crushed ice in your prettiest of glasses. Crush in some fresh basil leaves with a knife or stir stick. Pour in some tasty whiskey, just to make a nice bottom layer. Squeeze in the juice from half your lemon. Fill to the top with Bundaberg ginger beer, and spritz a little more fresh lemon juice on top! Garnish with a whole basil leaf and enjoy! Not into drinking alcohol in the middle of the day? Whatever suits your fancy... trade out the whisky for a little of this zingy orange or lemon San Pellegrino!
And there you have the refreshing and light Farmer's Market Spritzer...

Have a beautiful Spring day everybody! Lots of love!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

And we 're back !

Happy Spring to you, my friends! It's been QUITE a two weeks since I've written to you last, and in efforts to NOT keep you here for an hour, I'll just recap the reasons behind my absence for you...

Uganda: my sister, brother in-law, some friends and I all started a non-profit called LoveGrows to feed, clothe, educate and sustain 700 children at the Royal School and Orphanage in Mityana, Uganda. Once or twice a year, we go to see our kids, check out the current needs of the school, give the children medical/ dental care, etc. This year our goal was to build shade houses to grow spinach and to check out the progress of our new chicken coops... both new developments will bring SO much extra nutrition to the children's daily diets. Here's a few photos of the shade houses... so fun! Also check out our trip blog if you're interested: LoveGrows Blog.
 isn't it just gorgeous there? little piece of Heaven.

Heart attack: while Jordan, Brent and I and the team were in Uganda, my father had a heart attack. Having little to no internet in Uganda, Jordan and I didn't find out about it until two days later, so we immediately scrounged and scurried to find a last minute itinerary home to Charlotte to be with mom and dad. Praise the Lord, dad is well on the mend and is in great spirits, just like his old self again... but without all the bad eating habits! It's been an EYE-OPENING WEEK full of research in the realm of low sodium, low cholesterol foods and the Mediterranean- American diet. Don't be surprised when you see some SUPER heart healthy, low sodium recipes here on Recitherapy now. Let's just say James and I are weening ourselves off of our obsession with wildly savory things. AND THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU sweet, dear friends for all of your calls, messages, texts, e-mails and prayers. There's nothing like being surrounded by love and support in the midst of something so disarming. We are grateful.

Now that ALL the news is out of the way... let me share a great spring recipe with you!! No, this is not a personal recipe... to be honest, James and I only returned back home to Nashville two days ago and neither one of us has been up for the challenge of our massive grocery shop yet. (and we're leaving town for a week again this weekend so we don't want to buy a load of food and have it go to waste) We've been living on raw vegetables and simple tossed salads so as to not have to grocery shop before we leave. That being said, I've just come across this FABULOUS looking recipe for a fresh, spring vegetable bread pudding! You may be saying, "Vegetable bread pudding?" YES. Vegetable bread pudding. Put aside your hesitations and just IMAGINE the endless, extra veggie using possibilities! What do you do with those two extra carrots? Vegetable bread pudding! What to do with those few extra diced onions that no one wanted with fajitas last night? Vegetable bread pudding! "I bought mushrooms 'cause they were so pretty but no one in my family eats them unless they're hidden!" Answer: Vegetable bread pudding! You catch my drift... try it. I'm gonna try it, too.

p.s.- this recipe comes from the "Local Table" magazine here in Nashville, which I am [hopefully] soon to be published in representing Recitherapy!

Asparagus & Spring Vegetable Savory Bread Pudding

  • 1 & 1/2 cup milk (use skim, it's heart healthier)
  • 1 bunch chopped spring onions, both the green and white parts **
  • 1/2 loaf stale-ish whole grain bread, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 lb. asparagus, with tough stems broken off and finely chopped **
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen green peas
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lb. mushrooms (i would encourage a little chopping, but not much)
  • salt and pepper to taste (not too much salt, people!)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley (i'll also throw in a little basil and rosemary)
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
** Interesting Spring veggie facts and tips: Spring onions are planted in late fall and harvested in early spring... this gives you tender and sweet little onions. If you've never bought them, go for it. Asparagus flavor doesn't last very long once they're cut, so if you know you're not going to use them for a few days, keep them fresh and tasting great by storing the stalks in a jar with one inch of water.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat your 8x8 baking dish with olive oil and toss in your chopped bread.

In a medium saucepan, add milk, the green part of the chopped onion and peas. Bring it to a boil to scald the milk. Just once it's boiled, remove the pan from the heat and cover it. This will allow the mixture to steep.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet and add the white parts of the chopped onion. Cook for about 5 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms really start to smell delicious and release their juices. Add asparagus and saute until the mushrooms are tender and the asparagus is bright green and crisp-tender. Now season the veggies to taste with salt and pepper.

Beat your four eggs in a medium bowl until smooth. SLOWLY add your slightly cooled milk mixture and stir constantly, as to not cook your eggs with the hot milk. Toss the cooked veggies with the bread cubes and feta cheese in the baking dish. Now pour the milky egg mixture over the bread and veggie mixture and combine with a large spoon. Don't over mix it though... it's good to have different flavored textures. Just lightly toss a few times and then don't touch it. (just like when you're making regular dessert bread pudding... it's so nice to have a super raisin-y bite and then a super doughy bite, isn't it?)

If it seems a little dry, add just a little more milk. Now bake it for 30-40 minutes until it's starts getting browned and golden and voila!

Serve it just as is on a pretty plate, or with a side of lemon juiced grapefruit and strawberries for an afternoon spring brunch! It may sound a little unusual to you at first, but I have a feeling it'll become a springy, healthy, comfort food favorite if you give it a chance. ;)

LOTS AND LOTS of love to you guys, and I'm so glad to be back in the kitchen with you! Let me know how your bread pudding turns out, and I'll do the same!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Still in Uganda

Just wanted to say hello from Africa!!! For those of you unaware of my whereabouts, I'm in Uganda spending time with our kids at our orphanage! To give you the quickest of recaps (because the Internet is SOooo slow)

A- we take care of 700 orphans in Uganda
B- we've successfully gotten them clean water and a new latrine in the last year (thanks to all of YOU, amazing sponsors!) :)
C- we're implementing more protein in their diets by having 500 chickens on the premises and with that rich chicken-y soil, we're
D- building shade houses over rich soil for spinach...
All on our own property for our kids!!
THANK YOU for all of you who have prayed for us and sponsored our sweet kiddos.. Your generosity and the Lord's goodness are driving all the great things we are able to do on this trip and we are SO GRATEFUL!
Please consider sponsoring a child, or two, or three... It's ONE DOLLAR a day... And it makes the difference.
Follow our blog to see what we're doing while we're here right now and join our journey...
Lots of love you guys, we'll back in business with recipes soon! ;)

Check out the spinach shade houses being built and transferred today!

Saturday, March 3, 2012


I'm writing this from my iPhone you guys so I'll make it quick! But I wanted to let you all know that I've decided to go last minute to Uganda with our team from LoveGrows! I'll be away from great Internet for two weeks HOWEVER, we'll be blogging most every day about our time with the kids so PLEASE come check it out, comment, have a look around and pray for us and our time there! :)

In honor of where we're going, I've attached a link to a very simple recipe of the best thing you'll ever eat over in Uganda: chapati. It's a simple bread made with flour, water and oil garnished with peppers, onions and carrots... And it's DELICIOUS! I know I know, it's definitely not healthy or beneficial in any way, but it's satisfying and fun to eat and it's the best "sopper-upper" for any extra sauce or avocado on your plate... Besides, you'll be able to share the experience WE'RE having in Uganda just by making this at home! So get out your rolling pin, make some chapati and come check is out on the LoveGrows blog!

I look forward to hearing from you guys on the blog, and I can't wait to get back and share with you all the amazing experiences and food of UGANDA!

Thank you for your patience, prayers and support... LOTS OF LOVE!!

James 1:27
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."