Monday, September 21, 2009

Hello from Tennessee!

Well, I finally made it! Technically, I made it here a few weeks ago, but this is my first chance to write. So here I am, back in Tennessee, living in my hometown... with my parents... without a job. Wow. That's sort of depressing! You'd think that without a job I would have tons of free time to bake and cook all sorts of delicious things. I have made a few yummy meals, but mostly I've been enjoying being spoiled by my mom's homecooking and eating more fast food in the past two weeks than I had in two years in Boston : )
Fortunately, I have made a few discoveries in the local food scene. The Nashville Scene had several articles about farm to table eating and some great chefs who use local ingredients, so once I have a job I know where I'll be heading to eat! It also seems I just missed the Tomato Art Festival in East Nashville, which is very disappointing. East Nashville is a very interesting area; Rob and I have briefly explored the Five Points area (including the Boston seafood restaurant Batter'd and Fried) and I can't wait to check out The Turnip Truck to start buying local produce.
Here is a recipe I made a few weeks ago for a lunch at church. The first time I made it was at Whole Foods and it was equally successful this time. It's very simple and very easy to spice up. Here's the basic recipe with a few ideas for seasoning!

Sauteed Apples, Leeks and Mushrooms
2-3 leeks trimmed, washed and thinly sliced
3-4 apples peeled, cored and cubed
1 lb. mushrooms rinsed and chopped
olive oil
butter (optional)

Heat two tablespoons of oil (or one each of butter and oil) in a large saucepan with high sides. The leek, apple and mushroom slices should be roughy the same size to ensure even cooking. First add the leeks, season with salt and pepper, and stir occasionally. When the leeks are soft but not browned (about 5 minutes), add the apples. Season, stir and repeat with the mushrooms. The apples will take approximately 4 minutes to cook and the mushrooms 2-3 minutes.
* The first time I cooked this, I used this recipe exactly. The second time, I didn't use butter and I added a few teaspoons of chopped thyme at the end. I think adding rosemary or carraway seeds could be equally delicious. This dish is easily adaptable; you can use one apple, one leek and a handful of mushrooms to make a small serving or double, triple, even quadruple the amount to feed a big crowd for the holidays. The butter adds a great flavor but is not necessary if you wish to keep the dish vegan. Give it a try and see what flavor combinations you'd like to try with it!