Monday, July 6, 2009

A sweet, soft Southern thrill

Ok, so it wasn't exactly a "Dixieland Delight" but I did make a pretty damn tasty TN summer supper last night. Sadly I did not take pics because we were too busy eating it all!

I was nursing a pretty serious hangover all day Saturday so my 4th of July plans turned out to be me on the couch watching Margaret Cho and falling asleep by midnight. I know, I know, you can barely contain your jealously. Between napping, whining about my headache, drinking water and watching many hours of news coverage of Steve McNair's murder I didn't even drag myself out to buy groceries and my fridge and pantry were looking pretty sad. Finally I scrounged together the ingredients for a pretty dang tasty mac n cheese with smoked sausage I found in my freezer. I've realized that the trick to homemade mac n cheese is mastering the bechamel sauce which I feel pretty confident about these days thanks to my lasagna making adventures. I need to experiment with some more cheeses but the Tillamook cheddar and goat cheese version I made this weekend was great.

I've had a friend in town this weekend and wanted to send him off with a tasty homemade meal full of Tennessee goodness so I took a trip to the farmer's market yesterday and put together the following:

A bright, juicy, fresh local tomato simply sliced with salt, olive oil, balsamic and fresh basil from my herb garden

Roasted beets with local goat cheese (ok, the cheese came from the Turnip Truck not the farmer's market)

Sweet potato cornbread

Sweet corn and fresh herb risotto

For a cocktail I pureed a couple of my first batch of TN peaches for the year and mixed with a little lemonade and Corsair Artisan vanilla bean vodka. Perfect.

I love summer and coming up with new and different ways to use all that's fresh and available in this area. I'm finally starting to appreciate what's available here locally without always pining for my faves from back home....well ok, there's still some pining.

The day after tomorrow I'm heading down to Mobile, AL to take my first cruise. We are taking a quick cruise to Cozumel, Mexico. I'm really looking forward to a few days away from work, stress, responsibility, and life in general to lounge, catch up on some reading, get a little sun, and relax. Awwwww, I can't wait. Look for updates on the cruise food (should I expect it to suck and not get my hopes up?) and interesting things I may eat and drink on vacation after I get back. I know that we're stopping in at the Dew Drop Inn in Mobile to eat the cheeseburger that inspired Jimmy Buffet to write "Cheeseburger in Paradise" so that should be a good time.