Saturday, August 31, 2013

August Instagram - Food Truck Life

I got an instagram account last month with an on the road photo blogging project in mind.  Now I don't quite have the iphone situation all figured out yet, but here's a look at life so far.

The first two weeks of August were pretty slow, the truck was off the road while my bosses took a way overdue vacation, so I had more time on my hands for the finer things in life.

Outside things were pretty exciting. We got a new Doctor!

I was freaking out! Were you freaking out?!

 And there was a blue moon. Also exciting - though of course it looked just the same.

My boyfriend and I started watching/binge watched/completely caught up on Breaking Bad, and in the madness I found myself suspicious of every chicken place ever...

(Wait, we don't count, right? I'm gonna say we don't count...)

Then of course came Tomato Art Fest.

By mid August it was time to work again.

 5am - time to make the biscuits. I made 400 that day.

Using the street art to remind me where I parked downtown!

All lined up at Live On The Green

 At Riff's Food Truck Jam. It's every Friday night and sooo much fun! There's beer, and bands, and free parking; it's Nashville's best kept secret!

Chef Karl's (super secret off menu) fried okra. It will blow your mind!

Perks of the business; you get to try food from all the other food trucks! Smoked pork tacos, yes yes YES!

And that was the month of August!

You can find me on instagram at Madame_magar

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Midweek Marvels - Dobrova Rose Hip Marmalade

I'll admit it, I was seduced by the word "rose hip". Something about it, two words so familiar in a certain way put together to form a name, it's always been appealing to me. Most of the time I see this word rose hip come up it's in a sort of herbal hippy setting, 'rose hip oil, to sooth your tension', so seeing the word wrapped around a Bosnian label for marmalade (here another appealing word, much more exotic than say 'jam') was a combination I just couldn't resist, even though I found it sharing a shelf with some of the more seedier looking sideshow attractions in the ethnic food aisle.

The sad part though is that for all the flourish of the title, not to mention the build up in my head, there really wasn't much to it. You know that flavor you ignore that every prepackaged, store bought jam has? The underlying base flavor of sugar and pectin and cooked fruit that you sort of block out and coast through on your way to strawberry or, apricot? That's all there was to taste. Nothing even fragrant, or herbal, or flowery. Just sort of... sugar held together. I even licked it directly off the knife to double check if maybe my biscuit choice was overwhelming a delicate whisper of a flavor, but the experience was the same. Tumbleweeds. As detrimental as this is to my fantasy of some delicious, exotic rose hip flavor, I've decided not to be satisfied with one bad experience, I mean wikipedia says that in some places it's a big deal, which you know... could mean something... If anyone has any suggestions of higher quality/ more flavorful rose hip confections please let me know. Rose hip WE SHALL MEET AGAIN!!!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunday Kind Of Love - Happiness by Raymond Carver

So early it's still almost dark out.
I'm near the window with coffee,
and the usual early morning stuff
that passes for thought.

When I see the boy and his friend
walking up the road
to deliver the newspaper.

They wear caps and sweaters,
and one boy has a bag over his shoulder.
They are so happy
they aren't saying anything, these boys.

I think if they could, they would take
each other's arm.
It's early in the morning,
and they are doing this thing together.

They come on, slowly.
The sky is taking on light,
though the moon still hangs pale over the water.

Such beauty that for a minute
death and ambition, even love,
doesn't enter into this.

Happiness. It comes on
unexpectedly. And goes beyond, really,
any early morning talk about it.

* I would also like to add how happy it makes me that we live in a ridiculous, random world where for some reason, somewhere on the internet you can find Terence Stamp aka General Zod, reading this poem. I don't know if I've ever used this space to confess my ridiculous, undying love for all things superman, (if not, then I'm sure we'll talk about this soon), but the connection only makes this poem all the more perfect. If you can remember your Myspace password, you can listen to it here in all it's campy glory.

Buttermilk Thyme Biscuits/ Bacon + Egg Early Morning Sandwich

1200 grams AP Flour
24 grams Salt
60 grams Sugar
42 grams Baking powder
17 grams Baking soda
330 grams Unsalted Butter, cold and cut into cubes
75 grams Bacon grease, cooled
720 grams Full Fat Buttermilk
3 grams Fresh thyme, chopped
 Melted butter for brushing

In a large mixing bowl combine the first five ingredients and mix well so that the leavening is evenly distributed in the flour. Cut in the butter and the bacon grease with either a pastry cutter or your fingers ( I personally prefer using my hands), then add they thyme and the buttermilk and mix to combine, ( either a wooden spoon or your fingers will work here, once again I prefer to just get in there). Roll ( or press out) out the dough until it's about a 1 inch thickness all around and cut and re-roll biscuits as desired. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, brush the tops with melted butter and baking in a 425 degree oven for 12-14 minutes until golden brown and fragrant. Makes about 24 towering biscuits (like mine), or 36 human sized biscuits.

To make a breakfast sandwich, peel the biscuit from the middle of those flaky layers, add bacon, a sunny side egg and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Midweek Marvels - Fever Tree Ginger Ale

I have a very weird guilty pleasure; I love wandering around grocery stores. Whenever I find myself in a new state, or town or just happened to travel down a new road, I have to check out the nearest grocery store. And even when I'm just bored at home, I'll head down to my regular haunts and scan sections I have seemingly no use for like the sugarless aisle with foods for managing diabetes, the pet food aisle when I've never owned a pet. I'll even do this when I'm a passing through a Walgreen's or a gas station I don't know too well. I love to wander through stores, and I mean every aisle, to check out their setup, scan their frozen food section for any untested Ben and Jerry's flavors (of course), and see if they have anything I don't recognize. What kind of music do they play? What does the produce section look like? Is their deli or bakery any good (a rarity)? What kind of things are in their "ethnic" section (never what you'd expect)? For some reason I find the experience so extremely therapeutic for my food nerd sensibilities. I imagine it's the same feeling some people get from window shopping for shoes, or cars, or garden gnomes (yes! let's be friends!). So! As a total beard/excuse for me to indulge myself further I've decided to add another recurring feature called Midweek Marvels where I talk about new foods that I've discovered  through my grocery geeking out/ insane compulsive behavior. Wait... uh.. hobby! My charming hobby!

This week I bring you Fever Tree Ginger Ale. 

It probably makes me a weirdo to say it but ginger ale is my favorite soft drink. Something about how rough  and mean it tastes compared to something like Pepsi or Fanta has always appealed to me. A harshness almost like it wanted to be liquor but didn't quite make it. I am always in search for a new, meaner, put some hair on your chest tasting ginger ale, especially since my all time favorite, Reed's Ginger Brew, has become increasingly hard to find in my area, so when I stumbled upon Fever Tree I thought I would give it a chance. The flavor though wasn't exactly what I was expecting, it has a gentle herbal freshness that mirrored its delicate gold packaging and dainty 6 ounce bottles. It was pretty much exactly the opposite of what I look for in a ginger ale, I was looking for a monster truck rally and stumbled into a tea party by mistake. Even so, it wasn't that bad. I added a sprig of thyme I had growing on my balcony to highlight its light, floral notes (yeah I know, how monster trucks is that?!), and I found it to be surprisingly refreshing. Would I buy it again? Probably not. Fever Tree is far too civilized for my taste, so I guess my search for a ginger ale strong enough to give me a whisky cough and a pair of low hangers, continues.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Tomato Art Fest 2013

The East Nashville Tomato Art Fest was just as amazing as I hoped it would be. I magically manged to go this year because the universe loves me and my bosses were on vacation this week (what?!?). Although I managed to miss the parade again (WHAT?!) I still got to do most of my favorite things while we were there, (woo!) and eat lots of awesome food. Here are the highlights.

The Costumes!

The guy in the tomato suit was my favorite, he was so enthusiastic!

I decided to do it up right this year and wore red and green from head to toe. I scraped up a shoulder length cherry red *cough*children's Disney princess*cough* wig, and wandered around all day with an apparently very visible bra line, (me = honey badger).

The Art!

As usual I wanted to take all of the art home with me, these last two are some of my favorites, but since most of the pieces ranged in price from $100-$500 I'll just have to enjoy these pictures I snuck with my iphone. Ugh! I have to bring more monies next time!

The Food!

We started with dessert first because that's how I roll. Earlier in the week Jeni's Nashville tweeted about a special green tomato frozen yogurt that would be on the menu for tomato fest and I was terrified/excited to try it. It had a taste that was completely unique, sort of sweet and savory at the same time, and the yogurt gave it a sort of sour cream-y/ cheesecake taste that was really interesting. I didn't taste tomato exactly, which as a relief in a way, though I could tell there was a zesty flavor there that was surprising. It had a sort of an intriguing, acidic bite, like a tart key lime pie. I really loved it.

For lunch we hit up our food truck friends at the Grilled Cheeserie, they also had a festival themed menu item, The Triple Tomater Melt; Italian blend cheese, local heirloom tomato, basil and tomato aioli on tomato bread, which really hit the spot. 

Not tomato-y but still delicious, we stopped by the Country Pop tent on our way out of the festival and tried their surprisingly tasty take on caramel corn. Country pop is made with a corn puff that's light and crispy (kind of like a Cheeto) and coated with a buttery, salty caramel coating that's heavily addictive. I was reluctant to try a sample when we first passed their tent but after that first taste I couldn't resist taking a bag of it home with me.

The Treasure!
As usual I had to stop myself from buying every treasure at every tent, filling my teeny apartment up with crazy knickknacks, but I was really tempted by the teapots and the soup can water cooler. 

I can not recommend this festival enough, it is too much fun, and the perfect place to visit if you want to feel like you're living in a cartoon. The museum, the people, the food, it's just such a good time. I'll definitely be coming back next year.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sunday Kind Of Love

Love Sonnet XII- Pablo Neruda

Full woman, fleshly apple, hot moon
thick smell of seaweed, crushed mud and light
what obscure brilliance opens between your columns? 

What ancient night does a man touch with his senses?

Oh, loving is a journey with water and with stars,
with smothered air and abrupt storms of flour;

loving is a clash of lightning bolts
and two bodies defeated by a single drop of honey.

Kiss by kiss I move across your small infinity,

your borders, your rivers, your tiny villages,
and the genital fire transformed into delight

runs through the narrow pathways of the blood

until it plunges down, like a dark carnation,

until it is and is no more than a flash in the night.

Cherry Frangipane Tart

75 grams granulated white sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter softened

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

45 grams almond meal 

1 tablespoon all purpose flour

1 sheet puff pastry, room temperature, (store bought or make your own)

Approx 22 cherries ( enough to cover the tart, add more or less to taste), split and pitted

slivered almonds to taste, and powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar until the mixture is fluffy. Add the vanilla and the egg, and whisk to combine, then whisk in the almond meal and flour.

On a lightly floured surface, gently roll out the sheet of puff pastry so it's nice and even. Place puff pastry on a parchment lined baking sheet and then prick the pastry all over with a fork to vent steam and prevent irregular puffing.

Spoon the almond mixture onto the sheet of puff pastry, being sure to leave a 1/2 inch lip around the entire tart to form a crust. Top with cherry halves and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

Next, remove the tart from the oven and top with the sliced almonds, return the tart to the oven and bake 10 more minutes and until golden brown*.

Serve warm or cooled, topped with a light dusting of powdered sugar ( or ice cream!).

*= know your oven! If it runs hot and you think it will burn the sliced almonds hold off until the last 5-7 minutes of cooking, so that the nuts on top only become toasted not, you know, toast.