Thursday, February 23, 2017

Chocolate Flecked Pistachio Ice Cream


You know that saying about not missing something until it’s gone? Well, my ice cream maker sat sad & unused in my deep freeze for a long time. One day I finally made a quick & simple recipe I never even blogged (but should have). After the freezer bowl thawed, I decided since I don’t make ice cream often I shouldn’t keep the bowl frozen all the time, as it takes up space. So I moved it to the pantry where it sat for another long amount of time. Fast forward to fall (maybe even summer??) when a coworker mentioned they got a new KitchenAid stand mixer, so I offered up my ice cream maker attachment on loan. OF COURSE all I could think about after that was making ice cream.

When I got it back, I didn’t wait too long to finally make a new batch! While I have a ton of recipes I already know & love (but haven’t added to since 2012!) I knew I wanted to try something different. I decided to go with a Jeni’s Ice Cream recipe for pistachio ice cream. In the past I’ve also enjoyed Talenti Gelato’s pistachio gelato, but I don’t like that they have pieces of pistachio in the ice cream. I just don’t like nuts in my ice cream. I knew I wanted to bump up the flavor so I decided to chop dark chocolate in my food processor until I had tiny shavings. I love bits of chocolate that don’t crunch, but melt when they hit your mouth.

I gotta say, I think this ice cream really hit it out of the park! The pistachio flavor, which comes from real pistachios really shines through. It was worth getting raw fingers from shelling all the pistachios. (Y’all know I’m too cheap to buy them already shelled.) And just as I had hoped, the chocolate warmed with each bite & melted for the perfect pairing. If you’re a pistachio fan, or are just looking for a sophisticated ice cream to try, look no further.


Chocolate Flecked Pistachio Ice Cream


6 ounces dark chocolate finely chopped or shaved
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened (3 tablespoons)
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup toasted pistachios, very finely ground
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


Fill a large bowl with ice water. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch. In another large bowl, whisk the cream cheese until smooth.

In a large saucepan, combine the remaining milk with the heavy cream, sugar and corn syrup. Bring the milk mixture to a boil and cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves, about 4 minutes. Off the heat, gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook over moderately high heat until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 minute.

Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Whisk in the pistachios, almond extract and salt. Set the bowl in the ice water bath and let stand, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 20 minutes. Then transfer to the refrigerator to cool 2 hours or more.

Strain the ice cream base, pressing the pistachios with the back of a spoon to extract all the flavor. Pour base into ice cream maker and churn to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer ice cream to a freezer safe container, blending in shaved chocolate with a spatula or spoon. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the ice cream and close with an airtight lid. Freeze the pistachio ice cream until firm, about 4 hours.

slightly adapted from Jeni's Ice Cream via Food & Wine

*If you didn’t catch the link at the top, I have this KitchenAid Stand Mixer Ice Cream Attachment. I love it! A must have if you already have the stand mixer, and love ice cream.*

Friday, September 30, 2016

MCFW 2016 Wrap Up


Music City Food + Wine 2016… In one phrase: Worth it. This is my fourth year attending the festival, and for the first time my husband wasn’t on kid-duty and could finally join me. For the longest time I have wanted him to experience the festival as I do, and enjoy it just the same. Well, the stars finally aligned and we secured childcare for our 2 rugrats. The stars may have aligned as far as childcare, but the clouds didn’t so much align for the weather forecast. We experienced our first rainy MCFW (there was a threat the first year of the festival, but it didn’t actually rain). And you know what, we had a freaking blast. He told me he finally understands, he finally gets it, and yes, it’s totally worth it.

Each year the festival gets bigger and better. Rain or shine, when you come to Music City Food + Wine you need to come prepared to eat & drink! Every year without fail I tell myself I will sample EVERYTHING. And every year while I’m there I eat & eat & eat & eat (& drink & drink & drink & drink) and then get so full I can’t consume anymore. When I later see pictures of things I missed, instant regret! Ha

As I’ve said before, this festival gets you up close & personal with amazing minds in the food world, and lets you connect with brands you know & love, as well as introducing you to new things to try & love. At the Williams Sonoma Pastry Tent I not only got to sample awesome bakery treats, I connected with people from USA Pan. I spoke with alcohol brand reps who were able to tell me exactly where to find their products in stores and restaurants. I got to hug & chat with a few of my favorite chefs, Levon Wallace & Brandon Frohne. And meet other local chefs such as Maneet Chauhan, Vasisht Ramusubramanian, & Kaelin Ulrich Trilling for the first time. Nashville has so much great local talent, Music City Food + Wine is THE BEST place to see & experience it all. There are lots of food and/or wine festivals & showcases in Nashville, but absolutely none compare to the experience Music City Food + Wine brings to the table. (Pun intended… my apologies.)

There are SO.MANY.AMAZING things to eat, drink, & experience. Here are just a few highlights.


Top L-R: Hattie B’s; Angostura Bitters; Otaku Ramen. Middle L-R: Arnold Myint; Arnold’s dish; Hendrick’s Gin Cucumber Mule. Bottom L-R: Virago; Virago; Proper Bagel


Top L-R: The Farmhouse; Juve y Camps; Martin’s BBQ & Friends. Middle: Patterson House & Wild Turkey’s “Wild Tiki” tent. Bottom: Blackberry Farm & Olive Sinclair.


Left: Me, the Target boots in a sea of Hunters. Top L-R: “Tiki Old Fashioned” from Patterson House & Wild Turkey; Peg Leg Porker & Springer Mountain Farm Chicken. Bottom Right: Catbird Seat


Confession: I’m a HUGE fan of Bulleit Boubon. And I’ve had an obsession with the Bulleit Bourbon Woody trailer ever since reading about it in Garden & Gun. Needless to say I was pretty hyped to see it in all it’s glory at the festival this year. If I win the lottery, I’m investing in one of these.


Left: Me & my mad festival stacking skills. Top R: Americano. Bottom L-R: Le Sel; Fireboat Chai.


Martin’s BBQ & Friends


Left: Tito’s Bloody Mary Bar. Middle T-B: festival; Virgil Kane; Gospel Brunch. Right: Tito’s.


Top L-R: The Hook; Utterly Nash at Williams Sonoma Tent; Watermark. Middle L-R: City Winery; “Frozen Bluegrass Bird” at Wild Turkey Tiki Tent with Patterson House; Biscuit Love. Bottom L-R: Bajo Sexto; Bastion; The Treehouse.


Top L-R: Etch restaurant; Praire Organic Spirits; Fido. Middle: Mangia Nashville; festival; etc restaurant. Bottom L-R: Kitchenaid; Cochon Butcher; Holler & Dash.


Top L-R: Me & the lovely BethEats of Eat.Drink.Smile; 5th & Taylor. Bottom L-R: Chauhan Masala & Ale House; Sahale Snacks tent.

As I said in my “why you should go” post, this festival is not to be missed! Thank you Music City Food + Wine for another great year. I’m already looking forward to 2017!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Cheddar Chive Scones

cheddar_chive_scones-5498This past weekend was my favorite weekend in all of Nashville, Music City Food + Wine festival. I’ve told you the reasons why I love it so much already, and I am going through my pics and processing my thoughts over this year’s festival (best one yet! despite the rain!). But in the meantime I’ve got this recipe to share with you. It just so happened as the final day was wrapping up some friends & I were seated near the Williams Sonoma pop-up. Some very kind folks from USA Pan approached us and said “Hey, do you guys like to bake?” UMMMM YES! “Would you be interested in some bakeware?

And so that’s how I happened to score this awesome new half sheet pan. They told us we don’t even need to use parchment, or grease the pan in any way, food will just slide off. And wow were they right! I baked these scones and they literally slid right off when they came out of the oven! Huge thanks to USA Pan, and also thank you universe for putting me in their line of sight at the end of the day, ha! I can’t wait to bake up some cookies on this pan!


These scones were a solution to my boredom with our regular biscuit routine. What I love so much about biscuits and scones is that I can do all the work in advance and freeze them. When morning comes, we can just pop them in the oven. I am not a morning person, to say the least. I made a double batch of these on a Friday afternoon to take a weekend our friends invited us out to their lake house. I thought these scones would be a savory start to build a stellar breakfast sandwich. Lake weekend we did scone + bacon + egg. Today I did scone + Boars Head Bold Peppernero Garlic Ham + egg. Scrumptious either way! Use good quality cheese and cream in these scones and you won’t be disappointed!

*Side note: My “real life” job is a video editor. For fun I took a GoPro Hero Session out on our lake visit with friends. If you want to see the video I edited, check it out!


Cheddar Chive Scones

Yield: 16 scones

Prep Time: 25 min

Cook Time: 25 min

Total Time: 45 min


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh chives
5 oz extra-sharp Cheddar, coarsely grated (1 1/2 cups)
2 cups heavy cream plus additional for brushing


Preheat oven to 400°F.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add chives and Cheddar, tossing to combine. Stir in cream with a fork until a sticky dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 8 times with floured hands.
Halve dough and form each half into a 7-inch round. Brush tops of rounds with additional cream and cut each into 8 wedges.

Arrange wedges about 1/2 inch apart on an ungreased large baking sheet and bake in middle of oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool on a rack.

Disclosure: I scored the USA Pan baking sheet for free out of sheer luck. After just one use I already want more! The Boars Head company have no idea I exist, nor do they know I bought & endorsed their ham in this sandwich. I have an affiliate link to the GoPro camera I purchased & LOVE. If you’re looking for an action camera, but don’t want to shell out a ton of money, this one is only $200! Plus, I have experience with both this camera, and the Hero Silver 3+, and I honestly think the Session is much more consumer friendly and easier to use. I could talk your head off about it, so if you want more info, just leave me a comment and I’ll try to shoot you an email! Oh, GoPro doesn’t know I exist either.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Music City Food + Wine 2016 – Why you should go.

My most anticipated culinary event of the year has just been announced. The Music City Food + Wine Festival 2016 will be held September 17-18th. This weekend of food, drinks, & fun continues to grow each year, getting bigger & better, and I don’t doubt this upcoming event will be another one for the record books. Here’s a shortlist of why you should go.


(In this post I am mainly referring to the daytime Grand Taste sessions and panels. I didn’t attend Harvest Night in 2015, but I did attend in 2013 & 2014. And I had a blast!)



The food during the Grand Tasting is a curated pooling of the best Nashville has to showcase. I love to check out what my favorite restaurants are serving up. With Nashville seemingly opening a new restaurant every two days, there a ton of restaurants I haven’t been to. Music City Food + Wine brings them ALL to you in one spot. These restaurants do not play when it comes to the tastings, bringing impressive, flavorful, and intriguing bites.  You’ll also catch bites from non-restaurant booths, past examples include Olive + Sinclair Chocolates, Bluebirds Biscuits, & Porter Road Butcher.



I’ve attended all 3 festivals in the past, one of those years I was pregnant. I have to admit, it wasn’t *quite* as much fun attending as a non-drinker. My options were water, iced coffee, & ginger beer. If you are imbibing this is a wondrous place to be! Cocktails, wine, beer; your chosen poison is available at every turn. It’s a great place to discover new spirit brands, and especially inspiring to get ideas on cocktails you can make at home. And if you like wine, there are so many great brands there as well, far too numerous to remember them all!


I have to say, the crowd that attends Music City Food + Wine is a really great mixture of people mostly ranging from mid-20s to their 60s. All like-minded in that they appreciate great food and great drinks. If you follow celebrity chefs, the list for the festival this year is great, as always. It’s great seeing chefs out of the kitchen in a panel session (or in the kitchen, doing a demo!). Don’t let the word “panel” make you think this is a stuffy, boring sit down event. The panels have the feel of being invited to sit at the table with the “cool kids” and hear their stories & opinions on the food world. It’s all very relaxed and you can pop into or out of any panel at any time.

IMG_3129 2


Besides seeing the big name chefs, eating the amazing food, and drinking the delicious drinks, every year the festival has been a place for me to gather with foodie friends to eat, talk, & have a good time; as well as make new friends. The festival has never felt overly crowded to me. I didn’t have to shove my way through a crowd to get anywhere. I’ve never had to wait in insane lines for a sample. In my experience, the max wait for a sample from a booth is about 6-7 people deep, but more typically just 3-4 people. It’s just enough time to finish a bite from another table, continue conversation with a friend (or make conversation with a stranger about their experience so far!), or instagram a shot for everyone who isn’t there to know the amazing time you’re having (assuming you have AT&T, because all my friends without it had a rough time getting a signal out, heh). You can attend as many panels as you want, or none at all. My favorite thing is when I just casually bump into local or regional chefs I admire. Ok, so I tend to stand there in awe and unsure what to say so I sort of say nothing… but if you are the type who is at ease conversing with someone you admire, this is a great opportunity!



I feel the impact of attending the festival for quite some time. And I don’t mean the hangover. What I mean is, after the festival a lot of my food or drink decisions are swayed by experiences at the festival. Without a doubt the reason for me choosing to celebrate my most recent birthday at the Catbird Seat was because I was literally blown away by them at festivals in years past. (My birthday meal did not disappoint.) When I needed to pick up a dark rum for a cocktail, I went with Afrohead, after loving the cocktails they served up both days. I bought many multi packs of Infinite Monkey Theorem canned wine after the festival. Same goes for the killer iced coffee from two different vendors. It truly is a place to discover new things!



Put the dates on your calendar, September 17-18. Get your tickets. The “All-In” option is $500 and includes both tasting daytime events and the Harvest Night concert & celebrity chef tastings. If you don’t want to go “All-In” the single day tickets for the daytime events are $150, and great if you can’t attend both days, or aren’t ready to commit to an entire weekend of eating & drinking. This past year I actually did not attend Harvest Night, just the daytime events. The great thing about the day event is that the majority of the restaurants are only there for one of the two days. Sunday won’t be a repeat Saturday as far as the list of foods & restaurants you sample. Most of the beverage brands are there both days. And of course the panels are different each day. I am already salivating over this year’s event and hope to see you in September!