Weekend Eats 7-28-14

The first half of this weekend was non-stop go-go-go at a work event. Everything went so well, but longs days made for one hungry girl. By the time I got home Saturday afternoon and had the rest of the weekend to completely relax with basically no plans, I couldn’t think of anything but getting food in my body. 
That’s not entirely true. As much as I wanted to feed myself, I first had to get Zoey out of the house and give her a little attention. I know being the parent to a human one day will teach me more selflessness than I can comprehend right now, but I like to think being the parent to a young pup has taught me some of that already. Zoey is a spoiled little girl and I had to take care of her first. It didn’t take but a quick half mile walk in the extreme humidity for Zo to be panting and ready to go back indoors. This was my cue to head straight for lunch. 
As much as I love Metto for breakfast and coffee, I’d never had it for lunch. Saturday was the day! 
The Chicken and Goat Cheese wrap – deli style chicken, sundried tomatoes, spinach, and goat cheese – was perrrrfect. Nothing fancy, just simple and delicious. It’s something you could easily replicate at home, but for only $6 and some change it was worth it in my state of hunger.
However. Let’s be real. The star of the show was that peanut butter cookie. They had just pulled them from the oven, there was no way in heck I was about to resist that cookie. I was handed the cookie while I waited for my wrap and had a bite of the pure goodness – warm, soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside. 
Metto Coffee@Tea on Urbanspoon
Dinner time rolled around and I opted to clean out the fridge with this…

A bed of spinach topped with roasted veggies (broccoli, corn, tomato, bell pepper) and an over easy egg + a drizzle of sriracha. Then I topped a piece of toast with layers of sliced tomato and fresh mozzarella. 
Remember the soft boiled egg from Prohibition’s shrimp and grits?! Ever since then I can’t stop with the drippy egg yolk. 
Anndddd just because I need to make use of the million pictures I take of Zoey, we’ll end this post with a picture of the princess herself. 

What was the tastiest thing you ate this weekend?

Zoey says lots and lots of peanut butter was her favorite. 

Whole Wheat Peach Scones

I’m coming right out to state the obvious. These pictures aren’t very pretty. I tried, I really did. But the brown-ness of the whole wheat flour and cinnamon sugar, combined with the exceptionally cloudy day did not work to my benefit in capturing the true appeal of these scones. But. I promise there is true appeal. I just don’t have the time in the day to remake the same thing, stage more photos and pretend like I know what I’m doing with a camera. As much as I may love something I make, I have a hard time repeating it right away. There are just too many other things to try!
Nevermind the photos. 
What I love most about these scones are that while they are in fact peach scones, the peach isn’t necessarily the star of the show. It’s really more like two whole wheat + cinnamon sugar scones with a thin layer of sweet juicy peaches in between. 
I will eat just about any fruit and be satisfied, but peaches never have been near the top of my list. Apples, berries, bananas, avocados, pears, grapes, watermelon, pineapple…I buy all of those fruits on the reg, while peaches never quite make it in my shopping cart. When they’re given to me on the other hand, it’s a different story. I’m not about to let a perfectly ripe peach go by without baking it into a special treat. 

If peaches are your thing though, you could easily add more to the batch, or even chop some up and mix them into the dough itself.

The whole wheat flour makes these scones hearty and substantial. They’re thick, dense and somewhat chewy, not crumbly like many other scones. They’re easy to grab on the go for breakfast or a snack, although I always recommend warming it up in the microwave for 10 seconds first.

The day after I made these, I ate one for a snack towards the end of the workday. I headed directly to the gym after work to take a Body Attack class (taught by Erica) and felt super energetic and powerful during the hour-long class. That is not always the case, since I’m more of a morning workout person. The majority of my days are spent sitting at a desk staring at a computer screen, doing no good for my energy levels. I often feel drained by the time I’m driving home from the lack of inactivity and the damage I’m doing to my eyes. Ha! I love my job, I really do 🙂 I also just like to MOVE. 
Anyway, the energy I felt during that class brings me to the conclusion: These whole wheat peach scones may have magical energy powers. Try them for yourself!

Whole Wheat Peach Scones
(Adapted from Joy the Baker)

Makes 9 scones

Ingredients:
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 egg
1/4 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
3/4 cup almond milk (any other type of milk should work)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 small peaches, thinly sliced (about 3/4 cup)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Extra milk for brushing

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat mat or spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand-alone mixer, combine flours, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Cut in the butter pieces until small pea-size crumbles form.
3. In a separate medium-sized bowl, add egg, yogurt, milk and vanilla extract. Lightly beat the mixture until well combined. Add egg mixture to the flour mixture. Beat on medium speed until dough forms.
4. Flour an open space on your countertop and knead the dough ball several times. Roll out the dough into about 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Brush half of the dough with milk. Add sliced peaches in an even layer to that same half of dough. Sprinkle the peaches with half of your cinnamon sugar mixture. Fold the other half of dough overtop of the peaches. Gently press down on the edges with your finger tips to seal the dough. Brush the top of the dough with milk and sprinkle on the rest of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Slice into 9 even squares. Gently add each one to the baking sheet.
5. Bake 14-16 minutes. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack for 10-15 minutes before digging in.

Charleston Culinary Tour – Upper King Street

I was recently contacted by Charleston Culinary Tours and invited to participate in one of their many tour options. Despite feeling like I’m relatively in-the-know when it comes to Charleston food and restaurants, I had never heard of these tours. I jumped at the opportunity and signed Greg and I up for the Upper King Street tour.

“The Upper King Street Culinary Tour visits 3-4 different restaurants and combines elements of a historical tour with a culinary adventure! The food on your tour will provide a broad range of samples which will provide insight into Lowcountry cuisine.”

Our tour visited HoM, Sugar Bakeshop, 39 Rue de Jean and Prohibition.

All of the spots were pretty new to me. I’d been to HoM once a year or two ago while bar hopping late at night and only spent time in the back with the ping pong tables. I’d had a cupcake from Sugar one day at work as an intern for a PR agency during college. I’ve eaten lunch at Rue de Jean once. And I had no prior experience with Prohibition.

We met our group at HoM. There were nine of us total, plus the tour guide Guilds. We were the only locals, which was to be expected since most tours are for…tourists. However I think any local wanting to test a few restaurants at once, like we were, would be happy.

At HoM we were given samples of the Calamari, the Dixie Flatbread, and the Green Gobble’n Burger.

Dixie Flatbread – pimento cheese, pork confit, caramelized onions, maple bacon greens
Green Gobble’n Burger – turkey, melted leeks & spinach, brie, green goddess aioli, green apple

Next, we walked a few blocks to Sugar Bake Shop, where we were each given a mini Lemon Curd Cupcake with sugared blueberries. The lemon was super refreshing on the hot Charleston summer day. Simply delicious. I will definitely be back to Sugar.

We had a bit of a longer walk back to King Street. We followed Guilds at a slow pace as he talked about some of the history of Charleston and the surrounding buildings. We even stopped to visit a Jewish cemetery. We probably strolled for at least 30 minutes and by this point I was losing interest. I’m not sure if the tourists appreciated it any more than I did, but I was more than ready to get back to the FOOD. I realize my prior knowledge and experiences living in the city gave me a different perspective than most in the group though.

We made it to Rue de Jean and were relieved to be back in the air conditioning with a glass of ice water. On the menu for us: Mussels and Pommes Frites. Only since this past spring have I grown to like oysters – oyster roasts being a very popular Charleston tradition. However I had still never tried mussels, which are very similar (at least to my untrained palate). Guilds told us Rue de Jean’s mussels are the best in the city, so I knew this would be the right place to try them first. Sure enough, they hit the spot.

Mussels in a white wine broth (although I can’t remember exactly which of their various broth options we were given)

I ate half of the pommes frites without one regret. It’s hard to go wrong with fries, and these were no exception.

Pomme Frites – if you’re not feeling fancy, just call them french fries, I won’t mind. Although the chef might. 

Next brings us to the last stop of the day. Prohibition is primarily a bar, so I wasn’t expecting to be overly impressed by the food. Boy was I wrong.

Moscow Mule

Chef Stephen Thompson came out from behind the kitchen to talk to us about the dishes – a cheese plate, but not just any old cheese plate, and a mini cast iron skillet of shrimp and grits, again, not just any old shrimp and grits.

Cheese and veggie plate (not on the menu) – assorted cheeses, candied onion, candied pecans, roasted cherry tomatoes, pickled cauliflower, berries and toast

Smokey Shrimp and Grits – smoked shrimp over local ‘adluh’ smoked gouda grits finished with a 
duck creole sauce, served with a sweet roll + crispy golden egg

That EGG!!! This was the most unique spin on traditional shrimp and grits I’ve ever had. I loved it so, so much.

Now that it’s all said and done, and I can honestly say I would go back to every one of those restaurants again for the full dining experience. Thanks so much to Charleston Culinary Tours and all of the restaurants for having us!

The tours aren’t cheap, ranging from about $40-75 per person, however you can expect to walk away full (depending on which tour you choose since some are more focused on meeting the chefs, learning about how the kitchen operates, etc.). There also isn’t another way I know of to be able to try so many different restaurants and foods in one day for a price like that. If you’re interested in the history of Charleston, this tour also gives you a good bit of that as well.

Locals – have you been to any of these restaurants? Which would you try first?
Everyone else – do they have culinary tours in your city? 

I love the concept and would be interested to try something similar in other places.

Check out Charleston Culinary Tours’ website here.
Like them on Facebook here.
Follow them on Twitter here.

*Disclaimer: While I received admission to the tour for free, all thoughts and opinions are my own.*

Weekend Eats 7-21-14

Today is double the fun with Weekend Eats from the past two weekends. Hey, it was too good not to share. First we’ll back up to two weeks ago.  
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, based out of Columbus, Ohio (my hometown if you didn’t already know), recently opened up shop in downtown Charleston. Yippee! With so many unique flavors, they not only will let you have as many samples as you want, they highly encourage it. 
I had to go with the taste of my hometown with The Buckeye State – peanut butter ice cream with an abundance of dark chocolate pieces throughout. I paired it with Salted Caramel. For a size small, you actually get to pick two flavors. How awesome is that? The ice cream isn’t cheap, but if you’re ever going to spend $5 for two small scoops of ice cream (sugar cone included), Jeni’s is the place to do it. 
Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams on Urbanspoon
Also last weekend, Greg and I rekindled our love with grilled pizza. It had been a month or so since we took the dough to the grill, which was far too long. Greg wants nothing to do with goat cheese on a pizza, or anywhere for that matter, whereas I think goat cheese has never tasted better than on pizza. The pizza ended up being half pepperoni and half thinly sliced tomatoes (from our garden!), onion, goat cheese and a blend of seasonings including sage, thyme and crushed red pepper flakes. 
If you’ve never grilled a pizza, get on it! 
Side tracking from food for a second, Zoey Girl went on her first college campus tour. We have high hopes for her scholastic future and wanted to show her around our alma mater, the beautiful College of Charleston. 
Now onto this past weekend. I convinced Greg to try Collective Coffee Co. for lunch on Saturday, a place I have been several times but he had never been.
I sipped on a cappuccino, my new thing. Although, this one was very strong and I quickly realized I’m only used to the American-ized cappuccino, not the authentic, fancy Italian style cappuccino. I had to add a couple packets of stevia before I could sip it down without scrunching my face. I’m sure true espresso connoisseurs would have appreciated it much more though. It’s going to take me some time.
The food on the other hand, was fan. tas. tic. I ate the veggie wrap with bagel chips. This is seriously the best veggie wrap ever and it’s one you can feel good about too – romaine, tomato, corn, black beans, TONS of avocado and a brown butter sauce (okay, so you can feel pretty good about it), all rolled up in a soft and chewy spinach wrap. I have always known how much I love this wrap, but I swear it’s gotten even better. Greg had the pimento cheese biscuit sandwich – brown sugar & pepper bacon, eggs, and cheddar cheese. Also quite delicious and something I would for sure get again. 
Collective Coffee Co. on Urbanspoon
What was the tastiest thing you ate this weekend?

4th of July Weekend Recap

This 4th of July weekend was one of, if not the, best I can remember. From beginning to end, I can’t think of a single thing I would have changed. Okay, one thing. I would have (and should have) put sunscreen on my face. Whoops. Sorry, dermatologist and future self. 
The weekend ended with a 10 mile bike ride from our house to the Old Village, a historic waterfront neighborhood here in Mt. Pleasant. We somehow managed to avoid any rain, despite the gloomy skies. 
Backing things up to earlier in the weekend…
Zoey explored some marsh land and let her ears flop in the wind. 
We continued to harvest vegetables from our garden, this time picking our very first cucumbers. 
We ate out at my favorite Sullivan’s Island restaurant, Taco Mamacita. And we grilled out at home, three times. Ironically, the tacos shown below were from our cookout, not the restaurant. As much as I love a TM taco, our homemade grilled jerk chicken tacos were simply amazing. Topped with jalapeño pineapple/mango salsa, corn, guac, and chopped romaine for added crunch…WOAH. Speechless. 
We found our new favorite spot to watch fireworks, which happens to be the same place pictured above from our bike ride. The view over the water while watching the sunset, paired with the unseasonably mild temperatures outside made for the perfect night. 
What was the highlight of your 4th? How were the fireworks?

Jalapeño Garlic Hummus

It’s not red, white or blue, and it didn’t originate in America.  

So if you’re looking for a super festive, all-American recipe for the 4th of July, this is not it. BUT! If you’re looking for a relative healthy way to snack your way through the holiday regardless of festive artificial colors, this is it.

We still don’t have set plans for the weekend, and after trying to talk to Greg about making plans, I’ve given up. Men! They just don’t appreciate a good plan, do they? His brother is visiting for the weekend, so a cookout, eating out and the beach are likely in our near future. Other than that, we’re taking each day as it comes. 
Oh! And after our classes at the gym Saturday morning, Erica and I are trying out a new French bakery. Besides the coffee and drool-worthy pastries, they have breakfast sandwiches, crepes, quiches and more. Can’t wait!
What are your plans, or non-plans, for the holiday?
Getting back to this hummus though, has anyone else noticed that hummus is never on sale anymore? Is there a chickpea shortage I’m unaware of? Greg and I try to only buy items on sale, although there are obviously times we don’t have a choice or make exceptions. I’m talking to you Dannon Light & Fit Toasted Coconut Vanilla Greek Yogurt!!! (<–my current obsession and the only flavor yogurt I’ve been buying for the past two months). Can you tell I’m passionate about it?
Back to the hummus, again! Sabra’s Supremely Spicy is our favorite and really the only kind of hummus we buy. It used to be on sale about every other week, which was perfect. It allowed us to get a good deal when we needed it, and the weeks it wasn’t on sale, we still had enough from the previous week to get us through until the next sale. 
Well, times have changed. This mystery chickpea shortage has left us in a hummus famine for far too long. 
The time came for me to make my own, and the result was well worth the cost savings. If you don’t like spicy, don’t be intimidated by “jalapeño” in the name. Yes, there is an entire seeded jalapeño in the recipe, but it adds just the right amount of kick. If you really like spicy, try adding two jalapeños and maybe some crushed red pepper. Greg, Mr. Nothing Is Too Spicy For Me, didn’t think this was spicy at all. So it’s all just personal preference. 
I’ve made hummus once before, back in the baby days of this blog in 2011, but this batch was actually prepared properly – with a food processor, not manually smashing the beans with a hand mixer. Ha! Amateur move. I’ve come a long way. 
P.S. I bought a lemon specifically for this hummus, then completely forgot to use it. Now that I think about it, a lime would be much better with the jalapeño anyway. Give it a try and let me know! 
HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA  4TH OF JULY TO YOU! 

See, I am patriotic after all, despite the un-patriotic recipe. 
Jalapeño Garlic Hummus

Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients:
1 can garbanzo beans (same thing as chickpeas)
1 medium jalapeño, seeded and diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons canned coconut milk (regular milk or water will also work)
Directions:
1. Add garbanzo beans to a food processor. Blend until desired smoothness, about 1-2 minutes.
2. Add remaining ingredients to the food processor. Blend for about 2 more minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until all ingredients are well distributed. Serve with pita chips, veggies, or on a sandwich. Store leftovers in fridge for up to one week.

Weekend in Orlando

ORLANDO.
Last weekend Greg and I took a road trip to Orlando to visit my sister Brooke and our grandparents. The six hour drive is short enough to make for an easy weekend trip, but long enough that we don’t get to do it nearly enough. Brooke, my “sista hood of the traveling pants,” is my best friend and we always make the most of our time together. 
We started the weekend off on the right foot by taking a group trip to the gym. Brooke shook her booty off in Zumba, something I’ve tried and failed at before, so I hit the treadmill. As boring as treadmills can be sometimes, being in a new environment automatically makes the time fly by more quickly for me. Even if I am just staring out a window.

The rest of the days were spent lounging by the pool, enjoying my grandma’s delicious meals, and visiting SeaWorld. We decided to be adventurous at the Shamu show and sat in the Soak Zone. Soaked just about sums it up!

Our nights consisted of many-a-margarita from our favorite place, Agave Azul. Brooke has become a regular there, probably their favorite customer I would guess, so we always get the hook-up from the bartenders. 

We also grabbed a glass of wine and some flatbreads from Eola Wine Company in Winter Park one night. It was my first time in Winter Park and I loved it. It’s a cute area with lots of shops and restaurants that I would love to try in the future.

As always, the weekend went by a little too fast, but we had a great mini-vacation. Now I’m looking forward to another long weekend ahead, staying in town this time, with the 4th of July on Friday. Fireworksss!
Thank you Brooke, GG and Paw Paw for the hospitality! xoxo
What was the highlight of your weekend?