Recipes to help transition to Fall!

Try my mediterranean Roasted Salmon:

Spice rub for two filets:

1 tsp Sumac (available in speciality spice stores)
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Mix all the above and keep aside.

Take about half the mixture above per filet of salmon per person. Combine the spice rub with 1 Tbsp Olive oil and 1 Tbsp of chopped kalamata olives (secret ingredient).

Rub the mixture on the filet. Drop a Tbsp of butter on the fish. Broil in a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. (I used about 1 1/2-2″ thick fish)

Let rest for 4-5 minutes before serving.

Spicy roasted vegetable and kale soup with a hint of curry!

Roast a medley of vegetables (potatoes, eggplant, zucchini, carrots, onions, tomatoes and garlic)
at 400 degrees for 20 minutes with Olive oil and salt. The vegetables should be cut into bite size pieces for even cooking. Roast roughy chops of Kale separately at 400 degrees for 5-7 minutes till you see a brown color developing around the edges.
For every cup of roasted vegetables, add about 2 cups of chicken/vegetable stock to a pot.
Add 1-2 Tbsps of Tomato paste.
Bring to a boil. 
Add the roasted Kale. Season with salt and black pepper.
Add 1 Tsp Curry powder and 1 Tsp of Red chili flakes. Simmer on medium heat for 10-12 minutes.
Add more broth to thin the soup if desired. 

Destination eating: Restaurant review: Butcher and Bee!

First and foremost, I love the name of this place… I can totally see a rock group with this name.. So I had heard great reviews about this place from a friend of ours and I knew being the foodies they are, We had to try this place out. Yes, All my friends are big foodies just like me!!  (YEAH for me!)
Menu and their really cool logo! 
My sweet tea in cute Mason jars! So southern’… 🙂

Cool artifact!

Owner Michael explaining the menu to “everyone” who walked in.
Look at these antique stools! so hip!
Open bar overlooking the prep area
Kale-Slaw with ginger sesame dressing!
Look at my recipe inspired from this here
Pulled Squash BBQ Sandwich! The BBQ sauce was smoky and sweet. 
The pickles were FRESH, sweet and tangy.
Roasted Okra and tomato medley.
The veggies were crisp yet cooked. Not overly seasoned.
You could taste the sweetness of the corn and the tomatoes and
the crunch of the Okra gave it a great texture.
Pimento Cheese Grits! My favorite so far!
I ate this whole bowl!
Look at my recipe inspired from this here.
Cream puff with a blueberry sauce!
The puff was oh so light! Perfect like a cloud….. the cream was whipped and light and delicately sweet.
The blueberry sauce was robust and packed with flavor and
gave that punch of sweetness that you needed with a light pastry.

Michael and I.

Overall, it was a GREAT experience. I am so GLAD we went there!! 
Reception: We were greeted and seated promptly. Michael went out of his way to explain the menu to us and offer to make anything for my 5 yr old son. (Amazing!!)
Server: No server as such. The owner and staff basically assisted  you throughout and they were so friendly! Looked like they enjoyed being there!! 
Time: Service was very prompt but not rushed. They let us enjoy the ambiance and the food. They checked in with us every 7-8 minutes.. AMAZING!! 

Savory potato and applesauce skillet cake with chives sour cream

A perfect balance of sweet and savory! Breakfast or Dinner !!

To serve 1 (generously)

1 potato peeled and grated
1/2 cup of applesauce
1 egg
1 clove of garlic minced
2 Tbsp onion chopped fine
1 Tbsp Basil leaves chopped
2 Tbsp of shredded cheddar
Dash of cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the above. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Serve with chopped chives mixed in sour cream.

"Grilled" Kale salad with a ginger sesame dressing !

There are three kinds of people in the world. Kale lovers, Kale haters and I don’t know what part of an animal Kale is.

Cooking with Kale can be a daunting task as it’s not the most “home cook” friendly vegetable. But once you know the trick, it’ll be your favorite go to greens. You can make juices with it, salads, stews, bake it or grill it… Yes, I said, grill it… 🙂

Ginger Sesame Dressing:
1 Tbsp Pure Sesame oil
1 Tbsp Honey
1 Tsp Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
1 Tsp fresh ginger root
Pinch of Salt
Mix it all together
Kale ready to be grilled!

Massage a bunch of rinsed and rough chops of Kale (without the rib) with the dressing
Grill in a hot stove top grill pan or an open grill for 3-4 minutes till the
edges char up and brown a bit.

Perfect as a side or as a salad 

Destination eating: Restaurant review: "Alluette’s cafe"

So… We chanced upon this little place in a strip mall (next to a liquor store) when we read on the wall that this place was reviewed at  #1 on Yelp. We knew we had to try it out!

So I called to see if they need reservations since every place in Charleston now-a-days recommends it. The young lady on the phone said that they were slow for the night and we could just walk in. They did mention that they have a live Reggae band playing that night and we were super excited!!


You can see thru the kitchen.. 🙂

Menu: This place is vegan and vegetarian friendly and
 source their food from organic growers.
Live Reggae band.. Very lively and it caught me by surprise that I actually knew some of the Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix’s songs.. lol.. and I sang along.. My son also sang along to the “Three little birds” song and was really excited.. $5/ per person cover charge including my 5 Yr old son.. (Not too excited about that)

Kid’s chicken tenders and fries….. and homemade ketchup! What?!
The chicken was plump and cooked to perfection. The batter was light, flaky and beautifully seasoned. Even the fries which were organic potatoes were thick and breaded a bit which  gave a texture to the fries. They were crisp and good to dunk in the HOMEMADE ketchup.. That was Da BOMB!!
Sweet, tangy and you could taste the tomatoes!! I asked for a second serving.. 😉
My “veggie” plate… Roasted seasonal veggies with very light seasoning. I loved how they maintained the integrity of the ingredients without dousing it with a lot of flavor. Black eyed peas were delish! Perfectly cooked with a touch of garlic and spice. The RICE!! I have no idea, what they put in the rice.. But it was the best brown rice I have ever eaten. Hands down!! I did see some parsley and herbs in the rice.. (We sat outside so didn’t have a lot of natural light to see the food) BUT I paid $18 for this… (Maybe because it was off the menu and they custom made it for me)

Fish stew— Firm, flaky pieces of grouper in a light, savory tomato broth. Packed with “fish” flavor which my dinner date enjoyed a lot. 

Did I mention, homemade ketchup!!?

Overall, it was a GREAT experience. I am so GLAD we went there!! 
Reception: We were seated promptly.
Server: Explained the menu in detail. Was more than accommodating with my vegetarian dietary needs.
Time: Service was very prompt and not rushed. They let us enjoy the music and the food.

The only thing that pinched me was the $5/per person for the Reggae band for my child and the price on my dish. But having said that, I plan to go back again for sure. Just for the flavor and the passion in their food that shows !

Destination eating: Restaurant review: "Husk"

Ahhh.. Yep, I’m in good ole’ Charleston, SC! To celebrate my birthday week! Well if you know me by now, you would know that Charleston is my home away from home. It’s a “short” 3 hrs away from where I live which basically gives me the luxury to drive to this fabulous coastal culinary hot spot as and when time and life permits.

So here I am! Yet again for my Birthday. (Look at my post from Charleston from my previous Birthday celebrations.)

This time around, this trip is somewhat special. I am not only celebrating my Birthday which I share with my son (well, almost..He’s a day before me) but also celebrating a major milestone. (Details on that soon!)

And to honor this trip and make it more special, I finally was able to get reservations at this local hotspot called “Husk”. Now let me explain why I say “finally”.

I have tried to eat at this place atleast 4 times before but they are always “committed for their reservations”. Even when we tried to walk in, we could not be accommodated because we were a party of more than 4 adults.

Hmm, maybe that’s how they maintain their exclusivity. I wonder…. Anyway, so this time around we “finally” got a reservation for 3. So, I was super excited to try this place out and see what all the hoopla was all about!!

I am here FINALLY!

Luca and I very excited to EAT!

The restaurant is set in a beautiful historic “Charleston” style home. Large front porch and a charming verandah. I can live here 🙂 The interiors are very tastefully done. Not overpowering with ornate decorations

Beautiful preserved historic home
Gorgeous verandah

The menu at the entrance

The sources of the food on the chalkboard inside

Pretty glassware used as decor

My beverage of choice.
Himalayde– Lemongrass simple syrup, cinnamon ice, sage, lemon juice and soda
“Super Creative!” … Couldn’t taste the lemon grass but the lemon juice was very prominent. refreshing.
I personally didn’t care for the cinnamon ice in this beverage just because I thought it weighed down the subtle refreshing taste of the lemon. 

Southern Orange juice– Orange juice, jalapeno simple syrup, basil.
Refreshing, pungent and sweet at the same time.
Loved the Basil in it. It added a bit of sweetness towards the end when you bit into it. 

Atlantic Grouper Fritters with Charred Eggplant Aioli

Very light, fresh, not fishy at all. Lightly seasoned. The aioli didn’t taste anything like eggplant.. 🙁 but overall a very pleasant dish to start the meal with.

Grilled Crostini with TN Cheddar Pimento and Crispy Country Ham, Pickles

Crostini was perfectly grilled, with a slight char which I love. The pimento cheese was sweet and mild. The pickles were fresh, and tangy. Loved this dish. 

House bread with Benne (sesame seeds). I loved the sea salt on top.
Fresh “yeasty” flavor. 

A Salad of Bib lettuce, Marinated Tomatoes, Shaved Onion and Radish, Asher Blue Cheese and Buttermilk Dressing 

Fresh and crisp. The blue cheese had a bite to it and I loved that. Nice portion and enough to share. 

Carolina Catfish with Zucchini and Squash, Edwards’ Bacon, Appalachian Tomato Gravy
The fish was very fresh!! lightly breaded and fried to perfection. The squash medley was lightly seasoned and you could taste the tomatoes in the gravy that sat at the bottom of the dish. A very “clean” tasting dish. By far the best thing we ate at the restaurant. I like how the chef maintained the integrity of each ingredient in this and let the ingredient just shone on their own

Ended with a cup of french press coffee!
 Reminded me of Cafe Du Monde in NOLA.. Delish Coffee.. 

Blueberry boy bait
Blueberry coffee cake with a lime ice cream and pecan crumble. 

Cake was a bit heavy for me BUT the ice cream was smooth and just perfect. Sweet and tangy. Combined with the crumble, it had a great texture.

Overall, it was a good experience.
Reception: We were seated 15 minutes after our scheduled time.
Server: Did not explain the menu. Was hesitant to accommodate my vegetarian dietary needs.
Time: Once the food was ordered, service was very fast. 

When asked, what the server’s favorite dish was, he responded that he never ate there….. Hmm… Oh well.. But he did say that their cheeseburger was the best seller.. So maybe I will try that next time… 😉