Partyin' in the Garden

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When you're extra AF, your cohabitation celebration has to follow suit. When your bedfellow doesn't exactly settle for "Cheese and crackers," one quickly realizes you've both met your match and the bar has been set high. I've never been one to turn down a challenge, so when we decided on a garden party, we focused on bringing spring to our space in East Nashville. Watch it all bloom below! See what I did there? 

"The weather is so predictable in Nashville," said no one ever. Given this fact, it was decided that a tented area was a must-have! Wood pallets were used to create the flooring and walkway of a tent which housed a heater, pillows, candles galore and buckets of champagne. No detail was spared from the multiple charcuterie boards, spring-inspired desserts, countless floral bouquets and floral ice cubes. A personal favorite of mine!

You're probably wondering with such a theme if there was a dress code? The answer would be yes and if you've seen that episode of The Office, you're familiar with Connecticut Casual

The best part of celebrating, no matter how amazing the scenery, is the company you keep. I'm thankful to have shared such a special moment in my life with so many OLD and NEW friends. And one would think 30+ bottles of champagne would suffice, but one would be at a different party. 

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Finger Sandwich Recipes

  Ham, Brie & Apple                     Butter French Bread, add Black Forrest Ham, Brie,  Green Apple and Dijon Mustard.       

          Prosciutto Fig                        Butter Baguette Bread, add Fig Jam, Prosciutto, Bibb  Lettuce, Salt and Pepper. 

    Roast Beef Horseradish         On Rye Cocktail Bread put Horseradish Cream and add Cucumber, Roast Beef and Salt and Pepper.   

      Smoked Turkey Apple            Butter Baguette Bread, add Smoked Turkey, add Apple Jelly and Salt and Pepper.

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Potted Plant Chocolate Pudding

Mix Ghiradelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips with Guittard Semisweet Chocolate on the stove. Pour into shot glasses and set on a baking sheet in fridge to cool. Crush up oreo crumbs and place on top of pudding. Place piece of mint in each shot glass and you're done!

 

 

 

 

 

 You can also use Snack Pack Pudding if like, you run out of time like some people I know...

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Floral Ice Cubes

Boil distilled water then let it cool. Add water to ice cube trays filling half way, add edible flower facing down and freeze. Add more water to fill tray and freeze. Boom! You've got frozen blooms. If you can't find edible flowers, use roses, violets, pansies, nasturtiums, calendula, daylilies or lavener. Just be cautious that the flowers you are using haven't been sprayed with pesticide so none of your guests get sick!

Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’
— Robin Williams
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Red, White and Food

 Photo Courtesy of Inside Bru Crew Life

Photo Courtesy of Inside Bru Crew Life

PIZZA DIP

Ingredients

5 oz bag mini pepperonis (I used Hormel)

¼ tsp dried basil

½ tsp dried oregano

1 cup pizza sauce

1 loaf sourdough bread cup into pieces for dipping

½ cup cheddar cheese

8 oz cream cheese, softened

2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees

-Mix the basil, oregano, cream cheese, cheddar cheese and ¾ cup mozzarella cheese.

-Spread the cream cheese mixture into a pie pan or casserole dish. Top with the pizza sauce.

-Sprinkle the remaining cheeses (mozzarella and parmesan) on top of the pizza sauce and

 then add the pepperoni on top.

-Bake 25 minutes or until cheese has browned.

-Serve with sourdough bread pieces.

 

 Photo Courtesy of A healthy life for me

Photo Courtesy of A healthy life for me

Watermelon, Feta and Blackberry Skewers

Ingredients

Blackberries

Watermelon, cut into 1” cubes

Block of feta cheese

Small wooden or plastic skewers

Instructions

-Pre-cut your watermelon into 1” cubes and cut your block of feta cheese into coordinating slices to top    your watermelon.

-Place your watermelon cubes in dish that skewers will be served on. Repeat with feta placing on top of watermelon cubes.

-Slide the blackberries through skewer and then place on top of feta and watermelon to top off and complete skewers.

Recipes courtesy of Pinterest

 

What's in your meatball?

Herby Fontina-Stuffed Meatballs in Romesco sauce? Yes, please. If you haven't joined Club W yet, you're missing out on more than great wine, but recipes personally paired with said wines. Now listen, you don't have to be a sous chef to prepare these recipes, which makes them even better. Everything from appetizers to sweets arrive on recipe cards perfect for saving and using again later. And trust me, you will use again. Cheese that spills out of your meatballs resting in a homemade Romesco sauce paired here with baby scallops and the chosen wine Chommie, is worth having more than once. So hop on the bandwagon and have 3 bottles of wine of your choice sent to you monthly with recipes that will make you a crowd favorite. 

Prep Time: 25 minutes Cooking Time: 20 minutes Servings: 10

The Dirtiest of 30's...

30. It comes once. So make it count. Hell, I did. It couldn't have been done without my broads. Also loving referred to as my woes, my squad, my confidants, my accomplices and my loves. We're no stranger to a girl's trip (just ask my bank account) and we certainly don't miss a birthday, but milestone birthdays are a whole other monster. Naturally we needed a pool, even if only 10 hotels in Manhattan accommodate this. And a hint of luxury. And spunk, I need lots of spunk (Drake blaring in the lobby had me sold). Tall order for some hotels, but not for the Dream Hotel Downtown. And. What. A. Dream. It. Was. Do make sure you get to the pool promptly at 8 am or you will not only pass up a lounge chair, but you'll miss the fireworks when everyone else comes down at 8:15 am and rages because they don't have one. Rages, like loses their I-paid-for-a-room-here shit. Everyone knows the early bird gets the worm (and poolside relaxation apparently). After poolside entertainment and shopping (lots of shopping) we found ourselves at some of the best restaurants in NYC. You can't get glow sticks and friendship bracelets with just any drink, but you can at The Clocktower if you order the Gap Year. Speaking of glow sticks, have you ever had an unassuming brunch with your girls only to have a server stop you halfway through the meal and bring you glow sticks and turn off the lights all while the DJ spins? Just visit Beauty and Essex. Brunch like you've never experienced before. It'll also make more sense why you've seen more bodycons before you finish your first glass of champagne. Not to mention the grilled cheese, smoked bacon and tomato soup dumplings just might change your life. If that doesn't change your life however, wearing a penis hat as the birthday song plays at Employees Only will... My friends got jokes. 

As if traveling to the city that never sleeps wasn't enough, round 2 resumed in the form of a house party complete with Drake balloons and blueberry vodka jello shots. My friends just get me. That's why you need your girls. There's this small time frame in life where you have the life of an adult, but the freedom of an early twenty-something. In that time frame, find your people. Live your life with these people before the next chapters unfold and the time has lapsed for penis hats and brunches that turn into raves. I am so thankful for these experiences, but mostly for my woes.

Life's a Beach!

When your best friend turns 40, you celebrate. Well actually, you leave the country. Yes you get a birthday every year, but I'm one of those people that celebrates her birthday like it's the last one she'll ever get. I had a pinata at my last birthday and I'm older than 10 so there's that. That pinata was filled with liquor but I digress... 

I do recommend getting your passport a year in advance to avoid oh I don't know, not getting it on time and then finally getting it only to end up stuck in customs in Mexico City with a stranger named Ismail who you're pretty sure might kill you for sport. That however, was a different trip to Mexico and the scariest thing that happened on this trip was going to bed before the 10 o'clock news. 

Travel the FMOTS way:

  • Drink on the plane
  • Don't let that flight attendant push you around- if you have to pee, you have to pee
  • Drink more on the plane because you aren't allowed to pee on the plane
  • Bring your game face, customs does not enjoy your smile they'll assume you also want to kill for sport (I watch Forensic Files lay off me) **Insert you should watch that show here... http://www.forensicfiles.com/
  • Bring your patience, everyone speaks English but refunding a credit card is a foreign language
  • Wear sunscreen, but lie about the SPF
  • Order any and every tropical, pretty and festive pool drink you can think of (three times)
  • Eat your weight in pico de gallo
  • Get international calling. You'll piss everyone off when you can't call your boyfriend
  • Post highly obnoxious "I'm here, you're not" pictures of your scenery 
  • Go jet skiing and see just how fast that puppy goes for as long as your passenger can hang on
  • Make friends at the bar in the pool and buy them all shots multiple times declaring that they're: "Your target market"
  • Pack your florals (hopefully you'll change out of your bathing suit to wear them)
  • Stay at the http://www.riu.com/es/Paises/mexico/cancun/hotel-riu-palace-las-americas/index.jsp
  • Travel with down ass bitches. They don't come with frequent flyer miles, but damn are they rewarding

Signed,

FMOTS

In a sea of "Elevated Southern," Etch rebels...

 Photo courtesy of  www.zagat.com

Photo courtesy of www.zagat.com

Don't get me wrong, I love my grits. I am a southern girl through and through, and if the mood (or the hangover) catches me right, I will cook with enough bacon grease and butter to make Paula Deen blush. However, the recent onslaught of newly-opened elevated Southern cuisine establishments and soul food breakfast joints in Nashville has left me a little bit bored.
Enter Etch, the brainchild of highly lauded chef Deb Paquette. Etch has been occupying the cozy and clean-lined restaurant space at the base of the Encore since last year, and should be a must-visit destination for every Nashvillian who just wants to eat a nice meal without having to see anything from Benton's or ONE MORE DAMN SWEET POTATO BISCUIT, OKAY??

We recently visited Etch for the second time on frigid night in January. As we entered, we passed a small, dimly lit bar area that has to be one of the best places in the city to grab a clandestine drink. One could do a lot of effective plotting unnoticed as a parade of doe-eyed couples out for "date night" walks blissfully past into the main dining room. Once inside, the fast paced activity in the open kitchen and the metal trays of still-growing micro greens lining the eat-in bar gave the potentially austere dining room a lived in, comfortable ambience.

Now, let's address the food. Once seated, guests are presented with a menu that can only be described as "eclectic". During this recent visit with my husband, I scanned the menu and was thrilled at at the bevy of biscuit-free options. Charred broccoli with ginger yogurt? YES. Black mole sauce? DOUBLE YES. Lamb tartare with preserved kumquat? OH MY GOD, MY HEAD IS EXPLODING. Just as I was about to crumple under the landslide of excitingly unfamiliar options, I was presented with the wine list. They have just under 25 different by the glass options, thoughtfully organized into "light" and "full" categories that allow you to aim and imbibe with a quickness. I picked my poison and went back to the menu.

We began with the roasted cauliflower, which had a wonderful degree of both char and snap. It was served with a velvety green truffle and pea pesto as well as a delightfully lemony whipped feta. The contrast of both of these options had us arguing over which one was our favorite until we were presented with our entrees. "Fruit and meat. That looks like you," said my husband, as the server set a fragrant and steaming cobia down in front of me. "You know me so well," I replied, and pondered whether he would be embarrassed at how I was about to devour this gorgeous pile of brown buttered oranges, almonds and feta. The cobia was nice and flaky, with a thick rub of what my grandmother used to call "warming spices". I know I could taste cumin and maybe some cinnamon, but whatever mystery combination the chef had decided upon was glorious and faintly Christmas-y. The olives and feta delivered the perfect salty contrast to the richness of the brown butter sauce and subtle sweetness of the beignet. I made it about halfway through before the seams on my dress began digging into my ribs, signaling me to call it quits.

We left warm and satisfied, pleasantly full of food, wine, and great conversation. As we handed our ticket to the valet, it occurred to me how glad I was to live in a city where it's now nearly impossible to get an 8pm dinner reservation at a place like this. This city is growing and changing weekly, and Nashvillians are clearly hungry for more. There are a lot of us that are ready to adapt to and embrace the evolving landscape of Davidson County and that especially includes the culinary scene. So trailblazers, it's official: BRING IT ON. WE'RE READY. WE'RE WAITING. We will always love our grits, but even more, we will love those who have the "grit" to cook us up something new. 

Signed,

Kate