Friday, September 24, 2010

Talk of the Town

In case you missed it, there's still time to impress all of your friends on game day with my recipe for meatball sliders.  Check out the video and recipe here.

Enjoy your weekend!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Grilled Rosemary Shrimp Kebabs

After a few weeks of idyllic weather - high's in the mid-80's, and low's in the mid-60's - the Indian Summer gods have decided to bestow upon us Southerners a week that feels more like early August than late September.  Truth be told, the September Grass I wished for earlier this month is brittle and brown - oh well.

Don't get me wrong - I like hot weather.  But, considering I'm less than 8 weeks away from my next marathon, and that I just enjoyed two weeks of 'fall running', the idea of logging countless miles in 90 degree heat just doesn't do it for me anymore.

Speaking of which - anyone running in Richmond, Va on November 13th?  I sort of thought this was an 'under the radar' race, which I prefer, but based on the fact that all of the downtown hotels are already booked - I fear I may be participating in a traffic jam instead of a race.  Better hope they they do corrals.

Anywho - the one good thing about having hot weather is that it extends my desire to eat light, healthy meals. 

I know what you are thinking.  A meal of grilled shrimp, coupled w/ my penchant for throwing out Dumb and Dumber quotes at random?  In the words of Lloyd Christmas . . .

Austria!  Well, then.  G'day mate!  Let's put another shrimp on the barbie! 

Grilled Rosemary Shrimp Kebabs -

6 - 8 Large Rosemary Sprigs, soaked in water for 10 minutes
1 lb Large Shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
1 Lemon, juiced
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preheat one side of the grill to medium high heat.  Meanwhile, season shrimp in a bowl with a few generous pinches of salt and pepper.  Add lemon juice and olive oil - toss until thoroughly combined.  Begin skewering shrimp, starting at the bottom of the rosemary sprig and working your way to the top (with the leaves), careful not to overcrowd.  Add shrimp to grill over direct heat, 1 -2 minutes.  Move shrimp to indirect heat and cook for another 3 - 4 minutes, or until firm and pink.  Remove from grill and serve immediately with plenty of cold beer.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Southern Flourish Fall

Check out the latest, including great tailgating recipes, for the Fall season.



Open publication - Free publishing - More travel

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Spent the day on the farm taking pics for my new book, "And for Breakfast".

I couldn't put it more eloquently than Lloyd Christmas in Dumb & Dumber: "Feels good to mingle with these laid back country folk, don't it Harry?"  Indeed Lloyd, it's the simple things.

I hate to give away all the good stuff (pictures) before the book is published, however here a few pics from a great little country store where I enjoyed a solid working-man's lunch: a ham sandwich, lays potato chips, a Moon Pie, and an Royal Crown cola.

Only in TN.  Love.

Rest assured - my Grateful Dead loving self used the side door.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Cure your Hangover - Baby Back Ribs

It's Fall.  It's Friday.  That means one thing - tomorrow ushers in another full day of college football.  Ain't life grand?

I'm not an idiot.  It's been a long week out there.  Once the 5 o'clock whistle blows, many of you will be headed out to take on the town - rationalizing that your hangover won't be 'that bad' when GameDay hits the television.

Sadly, we all know better.  The problem is - you have a drink, and you feel like a new man.  Yet, that new man wants a drink.

Before you hit the sack after the 2 a.m. curtain call - do a little prep, and you will wake up to some of the most tender, juicy ribs you've ever had - certain to help cure that lunch time hangover.  Forget standing over a smoker all day.  Instead, go to sleep while your oven does all the work.  (i'm assuming you have a legit oven that won't burn your house down while you sleep)

Overnight Oven Roasted Baby Back BBQ Ribs

2 Slabs Baby Back Ribs, trimmed
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
Garlic Powder
BBQ Sauce (I use Johnny Harris BBQ sauce out of Savannah, GA)

Preheat oven to 175 degrees F.  Meanwhile, line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Coat ribs in olive oil and season liberally with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Place ribs, meat side down, onto the baking sheet and bake while you sleep off your hangover, 6 - 8 hours.  When you wake up, carefully flip the rips with the meat side up (as pictured) and coat in BBQ sauce.  Return to oven for another hour.  Remove from oven and serve w/ cold beer and beautiful women.



Thursday, September 16, 2010

From Kitchen Clueless to Kitchen Chef

Meet Colin.  Friend, attorney, Texan, editor of Last Resort Press, and all around humorist.

My Challenge.
  Create a custom meal plan - 4 meals - one week.  Simple, health conscious ingredients.  All easy enough for a man who's idea of cooking starts and ends with using a microwave.

The Deal.  1 trip to the grocery store.  Consistent ingredients.  A write/up and summary of each experience - including recipes for all of you lovely readers - and hopefully, just hopefully - an evening where our newbie 'has her over for dinner'.

The Result.  Stay tuned.  Colin will provide unique posts over the next few weeks detailing his experience in the kitchen - along with a few helpful hints and tricks he learns along the way.  I promise you will find his writing and humor . . . well, better than mine.

Want to get involved?  Take the challenge.  As new posts come out - comment, try out the recipes, send us your pictures (  We'd love to hear from you.

Crack open a cold beer and get to work!



Sunday, September 12, 2010

To America

It's a killer day here in Nashville, TN. Most of my weekends are spent away from home, so to grab a day like this is much needed. 80 degrees, a slight breeze, and not a cloud in the sky: add to that a Titans win - and I'm happy camper.

I'm sipping on a Post Road Pumpkin Ale (Brooklyn Brewery) staring out at the Nashville skyline. Considering the tallest building (Batman Building/AT&T) is around 50 stories, I can't help but think that yesterday was the anniversary of 9/11. 50 stories vs 110 stories . . . damn, it's unreal to think about those towers falling.

So many years later - I'm amazed at all of the controversy that still surrounds this historic event in US/World History. I'm reminded of the sermon I heard this morning - regardless of your beliefs, religion, or political leanings - the truth of the matter is God loves everyone. Imagine where we'd be if we would simply put away the hate and spread the love.

Yes - I'm about 3 Pumpkin Ale's deep, and the Grateful Dead's "Eyes of the World" is currently playing on my stereo.

Anywho - with that said - in the spirit of love and America, I'm offering up what's being served at my place today to enjoy your NFL Sunday - I got to get back to watching the 3:15 games.

Gameday + Beer + Chili = America

Gameday Chili

1/4 Cup Canola Oil
1 Onion, finely diced
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Jalapeno Peppers, seeded and diced
1.5 lbs 80/20 Ground Beef/Buffalo
2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
1 Tablespoon Cumin Powder
1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
1/2 Tablespoon Black Pepper
1 Cup Dark Beer
1 28 oz Can Tomato Puree
1 28 oz Can Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 14 oz Can Black Beans
1 14 oz Can Kidney Beans
Shredded White Cheddar Cheese (topping)
Sour Cream (topping)
Sliced Green Onion Tops (topping)

Preheat a Dutch oven over medium heat; add oil. Next add onions and saute for 8 - 10 minutes, or until tender. Add garlic and jalapeno peppers and saute until just tender, about 2 - 3 minutes.  Add ground meat and seasonings and cook until meat is just browned through, about 4 - 5 minutes, stirring on occasion.  Deglaze the pot by adding the beer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan using a spoon.  Finally, add the remaining ingredients, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer partially covered for 30 - 45 minutes.  Remove from heat and serve with desired toppings.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Stuffed Grape Leaves

Last week I was catching up with an old friend over cocktails at The Patterson House in Nashville, TN.  If you haven't been - go - order the Brown Derby (not on the menu).  In our discussion, he mentioned that he was driving into to the office that morning when the following thought entered his mind . . . what if I kept on driving?  Took a day off.  Took a week off.  Traveled the world.

Besides the obvious fears of losing his spot on the corporate ladder or running out of money - I didn't have that great of an answer to keep him from just doing it.  Well, until he mentioned he had a 10 o'clock conference call that was "the most important call of his career".  Really?  Turns out the call really wasn't that epic or life changing.

All of us are guilty.  We make goals to reach our destination, without enjoying the journey.  Part of what makes us successful is being uncommon - working harder than the rest and sacrificing our time, energy, and talents to a cause greater than ourselves.  For some it's a pipe dream to drop everything and follow a whim, a passion, or a dream.  For others, that's exactly what brought them happiness - and most often, success.

I get it - I'm supposed to be talking about food.

When I was younger, I never understood why restaurants were able to charge such exorbitant prices for food that was - at best - on par with what I could get at home.  "You are paying for the experience/atmosphere" was the constant response.  It wasn't until I was much older that I finally "got it".  It's nice to be able to walk into a restaurant that's different than my home environment - to get lost in the sights, smells, and tastes without splurging on a plane ticket or hotel room.

Food has the ability to transform.  A taste, smell, or meal can remind us of childhood, a favorite trip, or even an unpleasant experience - it's truly one of those things that can make our senses run wild.

Most of us don't have the luxury of dropping everything to pursue the great unknown.  Responsibilities:  work, wives, significant others, kids, family, church, and community are just some of the things that keep us working in 'the right direction'.  After all, part of being a great man is owning up and tackling responsibility head-on.

I challenge you to use food as your escape.  Instead of getting lost in a bottle of Jack Daniels (I admit - it's sometimes necessary), try out a new recipe, restaurant, or dish.  A simple change can do the mind, and the soul some good.

The following dish is something that totally reminds me of my childhood.  Having a mother with Lebanese roots, I was brought up on all the good stuff.  Seriously, the influence of Middle Eastern cultures, mixed with French influences, has made Lebanese food some of the best on the planet.

I was fortunate enough to spend a holiday weekend at home, and mom was kind enough to divulge a few of her secrets.


Stuffed Grape Leaves

1 lb Ground Beef/Lamb
1 Cup Converted White Rice
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Allspice
2 Lemons, juiced
1/4 Cup Butter

Combine all ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly until well combined.  Set aside.

1 Jar Grape Leaves, or about 50 - 60 Fresh Grape Leaves
15 - 20 Cloves Garlic
Lemon Slices
2 Tablespoons Butter, cubed
Kosher Salt

Thoroughly rinse and dry grape leaves.  Add about 10 grape leaves and a few garlic cloves to the bottom of a medium sized, heavy bottomed pot.  Begin rolling grape leaves by laying the leaves flat, vein side up, onto a hard surface.  Add a generous pinch of meat to the end of the leaf, roll over one time, fold the ends, and finally roll up completely, as in making an egg roll.  Place in the pot, seam-side down side-by-side, alternating layers as you reach the top.  Pack the leaves tightly, ensuring an even distribution of garlic cloves amongst the layers.  Add a generous sprinkle of salt over the leaves and evenly distribute lemon slices and butter.  Fill the pot with water, just up to the top layer.  To keep the leaves from unrolling during the cooking process, place a small plate on top of the leaves.  Bring to a slow boil over medium-high heat, cover and reduce heat to simmer, 25 - 30 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to sit for another 30 minutes before serving. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Probably one of my favorite James Taylor tunes - September Grass perfectly captures that moment where summer slowly gives way to fall.

I've been working on some freelance pieces for Fall recipes, and I wanted to share some of these shots that I took at the farmers market.

Headed out of town to close out a great summer with a long weekend at the lake.  Hope you and yours are keeping peaceful.