Friday, December 28, 2012

Tuscan Grilled Chicken + Vegetable Soup

The Holidays are about over - but I've still got a lot of leftovers.  Not to mention the fact that I'm trying to get back to eating as healthy as possible.  So it goes - I don't want to waste all of that food - nor do I want to get myself right back into a food coma.

With the colder snow storms making their way into Nashville - this was the perfect recipe to keep me warm, ditch some leftovers, and eat healthy - not to mention stay on budget.

By grilling the chicken, you really enhance the flavor of this soup.  At the same time, it helps to quicken the overall cooking process altogether.

I suggest making this over the weekend - serves 4 with filling and comforting ease.

Tuscan Grilled Chicken + Vegetable Soup

1.5 lbs Chicken Breasts
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
Dried Italian Seasoning

Grill chicken breasts until cooked through.  Rest for 5 minutes, dice, and add to soup when finished.

. . . Meanwhile

1 Onion, finely diced
4 Carrots, thinly sliced
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Can Fire Roasted Tomatoes
32 oz Chicken Stock
1/2 Cup Orzo Pasta
1 1/2 Cups Frozen Green Peas
10 Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped

Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese

Saute onions and carrots in EVOO in a dutch oven over medium high heat for 5 minutes, or until just tender.  Add garlic and continue to saute for another 3 - 5 minutes.  Next, add tomatoes and stock - adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Add orzo and allow to simmer for 10 minutes, or until orzo is tender.  Add green peas and cook for 2 minutes - taste and adjust seasoning w/ S+P.  Turn off heat, add fresh basil (add grilled chicken here too).  Stir until incorporated.  Serve w/ grated parmigiano.

Monday, December 17, 2012


The past few weeks have been a whirlwind.

Between planning a wedding to launching MOONSHINE into our first big box store to running a marathon to traveling to . . . well, I think that's enough by now.

None of the above should be taken as complaining.  In fact, I've quite enjoyed this bit of overload - rather over loaded than have nothing at all.

So - I was quite happy to board a plane bound for Portland OR to shoot a new series of videos for Cupcake Vineyards.  I've been working with the fine folks over at LANE PR for weeks - developing content, recipes, photos, and videos for an upcoming roll out that I think you all will enjoy.  More to come around Valentine's Day.

Anyways, since we shot in Portland - a city I've always wanted to go to - but the winds of fate had yet to carry me there - I extended my trip by a day to take in the sights and sounds.

I'm sure glad I did.

Such a great, unique, and quirky city - filled with solid people that evoke many of the qualities of Southern hospitality.  It's a place I definitely want to re-visit.

A kind thanks to those at The Heathman Hotel, The Teardrop Cocktail Lounge, Clyde Common, Greg at OX,  Mark at The Parrish, and all of the other great folks I got to meet upon my visit.  More to come from production crew and the great folks who lent a hand in putting together some entertaining and informative videos - that requires a separate entry!

Anyways, enjoy some shots from my journey.


On Set
Morning at The Heathman
New vs Old
GA in Portland
Saturday Musings
Street food

Monday, December 3, 2012

Pan Seared Filet of Beef with Red Wine Pan Sauce + Roasted Asparagus + Garlic Mash

Sometimes, I simply out do myself.

Yes, I realize it's been a few weeks, and my posts have been lacking.  So to make up for it, I'm delivering a 'Top Chef' esque recipe and photo to make your mouth water.

Steak.  Steak.  Steak.


This recipe exudes luxury - from the tender filet of beef, to the silky mashed potatoes, to the crunch asparagus, and finally to the rich and creamy red wine sauce.

Forget about having her over - this meal will probably make her stay a while.

Just sayin . . .


Filet Mignon with Red Wine Pan Sauce + Roasted Asparagus + Garlic Mashed Potatoes 

2 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and quartered
4 Garlic Cloves, peeled
½ lb Fresh Asparagus, washed and trimmed
4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
2 8 oz Filet Mignons, at room temperature
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
1 Tablespoon Shallot, minced
½ Cup Red Wine
½ Cup Beef Stock
8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted
¼ Cup Heavy Cream, warm

FIRST:  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Heat a large pot of water over medium high heat.  When water comes to a boil, add potatoes and garlic cloves and cook 11-13 minutes, or until fork tender; remove from heat and set aside.  Next, lay out asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet; drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat each spear.  

SECOND:  Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat and season filets with salt and pepper.  Add remaining oil and sear filets, undisturbed, for 2-3 minutes.  Flip filets, and insert into the bottom rack of the oven until internal temperature is 135 degrees F for medium rare/medium, about 5-7 more minutes depending on the cut.  Remove filets from oven and tent with foil to keep warm and rest.  Meanwhile, place asparagus on the top rack of a 425 degree oven, roast for 8-10 minutes, shaking pan on occasion to ensure asparagus cooks evenly. 

THIRD:  Place the cast iron skillet used to cook steaks back on stovetop over medium high heat and saut矇 shallots for 1-2 minutes.  Deglaze pan with wine, and reduce mixture by half.  Add stock, and once again reduce mixture by half.  Remove from heat, add 2 tablespoons of butter, and season the pan sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

LAST:  Drain potatoes; using either a potato ricer or masher, mash potatoes and garlic into a mixing bowl. Fold in the remaining butter and cream and season potatoes to taste with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Plate a portion of potatoes on the center of plate, top with asparagus, and finish with the filet.  Spoon the red wine pan sauce around the perimeter of the plate.  Serve.