May 31, 2012

Battle Salad- a little bit of this, a little bit of that

When I found out about Battle Salad I was bummed because I realized the deadline would fall during my week's vacation on Hilton Head Island; of course I wouldn't be able to participate.  But wait, didn't I tell myself I wanted to do less dining-out and more dining-in on this trip?  Yep, I sure did!  And don't I have friends who love to be subjected to this kind of shiz?  Yes, I sure do!

Despite tropical storm Beryl threatening us with clouds and questionable weather, Memorial Day was beautiful.  While the guys grilled some meats and a lovely sauteed veggie dish I prepared a salad bar! And to quote directly from Grumpy Granny "What's a salad?  You define it.  This is your playground."

This post is very picture-heavy mostly because there's nothing more beautiful than photos of food taken in natural sun light...and my friend Jessica let me use her fancy schmancy camera.  Must. Upgrade. Soon! The salad bar included a spring and romaine mix of lettuce with grape tomatoes, cucumber, snow peas, pepitas and dried cranberries.  We also had the grilled veggie mixture which included green and red peppers and zucchini plus some oven roasted asparagus and eggplant.

 Side view of the raw salad bar with Spanish moss and the golf course in the background:)

It's true, everyone's idea of a salad is different.   Some were minimalists (I was a maximalist!), some had just meat and potatoes and some had just a few sprigs of asparagus.  What can we say, it was our playground!   I love options.  Don't we all?  And a salad bar offers a chance to let your uniqueness shine.  As you can see from the pics, no two salad are created equal.  As far as picking a contender, well, I guess I'll pick mine since this is my blog:)

My salad was a base of the spring/romaine mix, topped with cucumber, grape tomatoes, pepitas, grilled green peppers, over-roasted eggplant and topped with asparagus.  After I ate all the grilled veggies off the top I used a little Marzetti Simply Made Caesar dressing for the remaining greens and veg.  The burger with American cheese and 1/2 sweet potato plus 1/2 a regular potato really rounded out the meal. 
 Here's to fresh veggies and hoping this vacation never ends!

May 21, 2012

A Tavola, once again

Dining at A Tavola is like a fairy tale that just keeps on playing out. Every time I go back I discover something new that absolutely needs to be shared with the foodie world.  And just when I thought there was nothing new to write about, this happened...
Yep.  That's a margarita pizza.  Oh, and it's topped with bacon and eggs.  Come on, who decided topping a pizza with a couple of over-easy eggs is a good idea?  The best idea?  Yes, it's the best idea anyone's come up with in a long time.  I was a little hesitant to combine the bacon/egg combo with red sauce but it works together in the most magical way ever.  Soaking up runny egg yolk with crispy, brick-oven pizza crust is the best thing I've done in a long time.

And because it wouldn't be an A Tavola visit without some of those wyagu meatballs...
And an asparagus salad...

And she lived happily ever after.


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May 3, 2012

It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game.

I'm a sucker for inspirational quotes.  And of course, there are no losers but there is a winner of the literary food battle so it seemed an appropriate way to title this post.

And speaking of winning...instead of picking a winner how about I just make myself a 4-course meal out of each of the dishes you've all prepared?  But then I'm faced with difficult questions like "what would come first, the ginger cookies or the ice cream??" Because ya'll know cookies and ice cream are two separate courses. 

If I've learned one thing from this experience it's that I don't necessarily like to pick favorites.  So, I'll say all the cliche things, "it's hard to pick just one", "you're all winners in my mind", and of course "it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game."

Becca's mango ice cream, and the whole "there is no room in my life for 50 shades of anything" bit were equal parts awesome and sassy. Love it.  The ice cream looks amazing and I can't wait to try whipping up my own very soon, like today soon, cause it's 87 degrees outside and I'm sweating. Your post has me intrigued, should I read 50 Shades of Gray?  Or shouldn't I?  I'll keep guessing;)

Stephanie's post brought back memories of all things comforting; whether a book, or baking or eating a warm cookie out of the oven.  I finally have a point of reference for something Harry Potter related!  My nephew received the Harry Potter series for Christmas and he's agreed to share the books with me once he's finished.  I have to admit I have never EVER become so engrossed in something that I've forgotten to eat. Reading this series could be life-changing.  Eating these cookies could also be life-changing! 

Eggy, that's some freaking delicious-looking primavera.  I have to admit I have never heard of a fiddlehead fern, how delightful!  Favas, on the other hand, now those look like work.  Oh, the patience you must have.  And lamb bacon?  I love your use of unique (spring!) ingredients and the credit to your local retailers.  You were inspired by the food, versus the book being the initial inspiration.  You are a true foodie through, and through!  And again, I can't thank you enough for your kindness in introducing me to the culinary smackdown.  Believe me when I say this has gotten me waaaaay out of my comfort zone:) 

Grumpy Granny, the story behind how you chose this book, the preparation and ingredients used in the meal, and the take-away message at the end of your post really inspired me; did I mention I'm a sucker for all things inspirational?  Yes, I am.  And I am happy to announce you are the winner!  Repeatedly, while reading your post, I wanted to somehow, some way, reach through my laptop screen and grab a big old handful of food. I think you made O-Lan proud.  And outwardly declining the use of a cookbook?   That's like being allowed to use a calculator on a standardized test but challenging yourself to do the math the old fashioned way!  I will definitely be reading The Good Earth, although maybe I'll get lucky like you and find that the previous owners of my house left a copy for me:)

Congratulations Grumpy Granny, looking forward to your theme choice for May!

Thank you everyone for participating, to say this was a cool experience is an understatement, but I can't really think of too much else to say.  Hopefully the incredibly high frequency of exclamation points and smiley faces peppered throughout this post made it very clear:)!!!!