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Category Archives: Weekend Update

Cochon Heritage Festival

Alternate Title: Best Weekend of my Life

This past weekend was the first annual Cochon Heritage BBQ Festival & National Bourbon Month kickoff in Memphis.

A three day festival bringing nationally recognized chefs to come together to learn, eat, and compete focusing on the heritage pig and some awesome bourbon.

There was a Cochon weekend competition earlier in the year in Memphis, but Bryan and I missed it as we were out of town. I heard it was incredible and when they announced this event I knew I would not miss it for the world.

We purchased tickets to two events. Even though they were normally out of our budget, I knew it was something worth saving for.

Friday night was the kick off event on the rooftop of the Peabody. For $50 a person it was all you can eat appetizer portions from 8 different restaurants and all you can drink specialty cocktails mixed by the best local bartenders featuring bourbon. The weather was amazingly cooperative giving Isaac was in the area. It was a beautiful night on the rooftop overlooking the Mississippi River.

And the cocktails! Amazing. Allyn and I have been planning a spring bourbon country tour and this whole event really made Bryan and I super excited for the spring. I can’t even describe some of the cocktails as they are totally out of our beer-loving realm.

Saturday morning Bryan took a group on a 5.55k run around the neighborhood before the bloody mary/oytster/bacon brunch. Attendees could also do a BBQ tour of Memphis and had some seminars set up. That evening a few of the chefs collaborated on a “pop up” dinner. We didn’t go, but heard it was amazing.

The second event that we attended was Sunday afternoon and was the culmination of the whole weekends activities. Eight chef driven teams competed against one another. They had to cook 4 pork dishes with separate requirements and 2 side dishes (one mayo based and one mustard based). We started off the afternoon at a local restaurant across the street from the main venue. We had more bourbon cocktails: Bourbon with bacon bitters and bourbon, orange bitters, and Proseco topped off with a bourbon cherry. We also enjoyed fresh oysters and a build your own BLT bar with three different types of bacon. Le sigh…

After about an hour of mingling and bourbon drinking it was time to go over and do some tasting. Attendees can sample everything at every one of the teams tables. Below is just some of the stuff available at one of the team’s tables.

There was a lot of food to try. I don’t think we even hit up half of the teams it was so much food.

In conclusion, I will be singing the praises of this event for at least the next six months and then I will be switching to gearing up for the next years event.

For more information visit the Heritage BBQ site.

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Weekend Lolling

As I’m typing this I’m doing the ultimate in lolling. I’m laying on the couch sipping a beer (with lime!) as other people are doing my dirty work. Literally!

A few months ago Bryan and I attended a silent auction for charity. Since it was charity we got a little crazy with our bidding (free wine bar passes might have had something to do with it too) and won various items. One of which was a professionally landscape designed planned for our yard. Yeah, we needed it.

We are starting to implement this plan, although slowly, as it starts heating up. We will be getting rid of the majority of plants back there. But they are not going to waste! My husband’s family wanted several features we were getting rid of. This is awfully convenient for us. They do the digging and hard labor and we’re left with a clean slate! If I didn’t have family wanting the plants, I’d consider posting the plants on Craigslist. But let’s face it, how many people really want free monkey grass?!

Lolling at its best, my friends!

Weekend Update: Granola Bars

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I’ve been making breakfasts for us for over a month now. I had been eating LARA bars, but they aren’t an option for Josh, since they all have nuts. Poor Josh.

In fact, most breakfast options were either full of crazy chemicals, or full of nuts. So I decided to start making ours.

I’ve been trying out muffins and breakfast cookies, but this week… I think I found the magic recipe. In fact, when Josh tried one last night, he told me it was the best recipe I’d made so far, and that he would happily eat it every day. Also included were several moans of delight. I think we have a winner.

The beauty of this recipe is that we can really change the bar each week depending on which fruits and seeds we include Since I get sick of things pretty quickly, that’s a good thing.

The original recipe calls for a mix of corn syrup and maple syrup/honey. I’m not a huge fan of corn syrup, since that’s part of what we’re trying avoid. When reading the comments below the recipe however, a lot of people who completely left out the corn syrup had issues with the bar crumbling.

My solution?

Lyle’s Golden Syrup. This is a sugar cane syrup from the UK ,and while I was able to get it from our grocery store, Publix, I’m not sure how easy it would be for everyone else to find. Amazon does have it though, so it definitely doable. What this syrup does is give a buttery, toffee flavor to these bars that is ridiculously good. Some people did have good luck with molasses, but I’ll stick with my Lyle’s. I also left out all of the other sugar that the original recipe called for, and my bars are perfectly sweet.

Granola Bars (adapted from the smitten kitchen)

  • 1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 to 3 cups dried fruits and nuts (I used cherries, apricots, and flax seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 large spoonfuls of Golden Syrup (or about 1/4  cup other sticky sweetener)
  • 1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper, letting the paper hang over the sides, and lightly grease the paper.

Mix together dry ingredients, including fruit, in a large bowl. In another bowl, mix together all of the liquids and sweeteners. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry and combine well.

Press the mixture FIRMLY (so plastic wrap on top might help) into your pan and bake for about 40 minutes. When done, lift bars from pan with paper and let cool. Once they’ve cooled to room temperature, place uncut square into the fridge and let cool for an additional hour or so. This will help make the cutting process be less crumbly.

When sufficiently cooled, cut into desired size and wrap in plastic wrap.

 

Weekend Update: Saturday Morning

Saturday mornings are our special time. We sleep in, cook a big breakfast, and hang out before Josh goes to work (boo).

One of our favorite easy breakfasts is egg in a hole. I grew up eating it. It was one of the few things my dad ever cooked, and I learned how to very young. When Josh and I started dating, I introduced him to it, and he has grown to love it just like I do.

This morning I decided to mix it up little. I cooked them up the usual way (PW has a good “recipe” for them here), and instead of just serving them as is, I added sliced avocado, a few dashes of hot sauce, and a sprinkle of sea salt. Make sure you leave the yolk runny, and enjoy!