A Refreshing & Intoxicating “Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook” and a “Spicy Golden Mary”

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Above is a cool, refreshing & quite intoxicating “Spicy Golden Mary”.

Below is the refreshing & intoxicating cover of the “Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook” by Nancy Vienneau (her blog is Good Food Matters). This book’s release date is just a few days away, June 17th, 2014 and will be available at your local bookstores and on-line. It’s a beauty full of wonderful stories of food and folks. The “monthly chapters” feature seasonal produce & recipes from each month of the year. You can cook your way through 5 years of Third Thursday Potluck gatherings all in one book. I was so pleased to do the food and prop styling for this book, which was a real labor of love.

Third Thursday FINAL

What do these two things have in common you might ask?

One is a much-anticipated cookbook that chronicles the stories and recipes that have been shared over the past 5 years, every Third Thursday of every month, at one of Nashville’s best kept secrets. Nancy, and her friend, Gigi Gaskins (who owns HatWRKS) started this potluck as a way for a group of food friends to get together, share incredible seasonal recipes & foods, have a glass of wine and talk. There is no set theme except for the season.  As the cover says, this truly is a potluck like no other.

To herald this book’s release I want to share with you a recipe of mine from the book. The deliciously refreshing & intoxicating “Spicy Golden Mary “.  Get the book for this and so many more enticing recipes and stories. This recipe is from July’s Chapter “The Big Tomato”.

Before we have a “Spicy Golden Mary”, here are two events you will not want to miss if you happen to live, or be visiting the Nashville, TN area on these dates….lots of fun and good food.

This one is on Tuesday night, 6/17……

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This is on “Third Thursday”, 6/19 of course! Bring a dish and a drink (wine, etc) if you like and come join all of us…..

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Here is how to make my  recipe,
“Spicy Golden Mary”
Orange heirloom tomatoes
1. Core and chop 4-5 pounds of very ripe yellow tomatoes. (About 7 cups).
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heirloom tomatoes
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2. You will also need 1 1/2 cups good quality Vodka such as Tito’s from Austin, Texas or Ketel One from Holland.
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3. Puree chopped tomatoes in a food processor fitted with a chopping blade until smooth.
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4. Strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove the pulp, pressing down gently with a wooden spoon to get all the juice from the pulp.
IMG_1649Whoa! Look at that beautiful golden tomato juice.
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5. To the bowl of tomato juice add the following:  the Vodka, 2 tsp grated horseradish, a generous pinch of salt to taste, freshly ground black pepper to taste, 1 tbsp Serrano chili-lime pepper sauce (or 2 tsp Tabasco sauce), 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice and 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings.
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7. As I was making this for a  Third Thursday Potluck evening I used two bottles to transport it to the gathering. First I made a label on my computer of a giant tomato on a gold background and added type identifying what was in the bottles. All the ingredients were listed, along with my blog name and a catchy phrase “Drink your breakfast for dinner right now!”.
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I cut up some fresh limes & celery sticks, packed it all up in my antique carrier and off to Third Thursday!
Here is a toast to all the past Third Thursday Community Potluck dinners and to many, many more! Congratulations Nancy on your beautiful cookbook!

“Cilantro Limeade Rum Cooler for Third Thursday July Pop-Up Potluck”

“Cilantro Limeade Rum Cooler”

It seems that the “Third Thursday Potluck” here in Nashville, started by lover’s of good foods and good deeds Nancy Vienneau (Good Food Matters) & Gigi Gaskins (HatWRKS), is getting quite a bit of buzz. Relish Magazine  (relish.com) is now running a regular monthly column on this wonderfully social, local & edible event. Writer, Nancy Vienneau shares with readers interesting, seasonal recipes as well as tips on how to start your own community potluck dinner club. Third Thursday is always one of my very favorite evenings of each month. I love the food, the camaraderie, the ever-changing parade of guests as well as the stalwart friends.

For a few years now Third Thursday Potluck has been hosted by Nancy and Gigi. One month at Nancy’s house, the next at Gigi’s, both in the Hillsboro/Belmont neighborhood of Nashville. This July they decided to shake things up a bit. They asked me to host a “Pop-Up Third Thursday Potluck” at my house in Historic Germantown, downtown Nashville. It was lots of fun, well attended, the food & drink abundant & outstanding. It was a hot night….perfect for lots of fresh local foods & homemade peach ice cream, not to mention a large jar of my ice-cold “Cilantro Limeade Rum Cooler” made especially for the evening.

First a quick recipe for “Cilantro Limeade Rum Cooler for Third Thursday July”

1 1/2 cups Raw Sugar

1 bunch fresh Cilantro

1 cup Water

2 cups fresh squeezed Lime Juice

2 cups (or to taste) White Rum

1/2 cup St. Germain or other Elderflower Liqueur

Lots of Crushed Ice, Seltzer Water, Lime wheels for Garnish

1. Make a “simple syrup” by putting the raw sugar & water into a saucepan on med heat. Bring to a boil, stirring to melt sugar.  Remove from heat, stir in fresh cilantro sprigs, cover & let cool. When cooled, strain out cilantro & discard. Pour syrup into a large pitcher or jar when ready to serve.

2. Add fresh lime juice, white rum & liqueur. Mix and adjust taste if needed. Fill pitcher or jar halfway with crushed ice. Fill the rest of the way with seltzer water. Serve with additional crushed ice, lime wheels & cilantro sprigs.

 

Photo Gallery of “Third Thursday July Pop-Up Potluck Dinner”

Getting ready….Plates, plates and more plates…
Flowers….there must be flowers.
A makeshift bar….there must be a bar.
Tables, chairs….
…and more tables & chairs!….yes you are correct…to left is a little table (stool) and a wooden box (stool) to sit on…

Everything is ready…

Great people, lots of laughter, conversations, fresh good food…

We ate outside, inside and on the steps!

Then there were desserts…pies, cookies, ice cream,  berries & cream, bread puddings.

Do you have room for dessert? I think so…..

Bon Appetit.

“Crop Circle Tabbouleh / Third Thursday”

“Crop Circle Tabbouleh”

Ingredients:

Gather the following: Fresh, Ripe, Local Peaches & Strawberries, Cilantro, Parsley, Mint, Spring Green Onions, Jalapeno & Sweet Red Bell Pepper, Wheat Berries Cooked, Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil, Honey, Herbs de Provence, Sea Salt & Black Pepper (Amounts really don’t matter just use whatever amounts you want of each based on your own personal palate.)

1. Chop finely Spring Onions, Parsley, Cilantro & Mint. The onions I used came from the Downtown Farmer’s Market and the mint from my garden.

                                                       2. Carefully peel ripe peaches & cut into a large dice.  I used a combination of Alabama and Georgia peaches                                                              that started showing up at our local Farmer’s Markets last week.

  


                                     3. Let cooked Wheat Berries cool completely. Finely chop a bit of Jalapeno pepper & Red Bell Pepper for garnish.Wash                                                   &  trim Strawberries, let drain. The small sweet berries in this salad came from a farm in Ridgetop, TN.

4. Choose a large round serving dish and place cooked wheat berries in the middle a bit “domed” spreading out to the edges.  Add each prepped ingredient in a circle around the domed center, creating a “crop” circle!

Cover loosely with plastic wrap & refrigerate until ready to serve. 

5. Mix a simple Vinaigrette using the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, herbs de provence, sea salt & black pepper. I make quick vinaigrettes in small canning jars and shake to mix ingredients. Taste and adjust.

To Serve: Remove Crop Circle Tabbouleh from refrigerator anda drizzle Vinaigrette over all, add a large serving spoon.

The destination for my “Crop Circle Tabbouleh” ……………..

“Third Thursday May 2011 at Gigi’s Home”

Third Thursday’s Potluck was held this month at the home of Hat Maker and Gardener Extraordinaire Gigi Gaskins. Also hosted by Nancy Vienneau who invited some out-of-town guests who livened things up for us all.  Third Thursday’s are always much-anticipated by all of us who attend regularly and even more so as a bounty of  seasonal crops  are arriving daily, fresh from farmers all over our area here in Nashville.

Out-of-town guests, Kathi Speller and Lanette Mohr read about Third Thursdays in the current issue of Relish Magazine (check it out online at relish.com) & as they were both nearby on this particular Third Thursday they  joined our pot luck dinner party.

Image Gallery of the evening of food, conversation, laughter………..

                                                             

                 

                                                                                        

                                                                                  

Good food, new & familiar friends, a beautiful May evening.

Bon Apetit.

(My “Crop Circle Tabbouleh” was inspired by a recipe by Nigel Slater in his Tender, Vol II  cooking book. His recipe was for a Peach and Mint Tabbouleh.)

(The styling for”Crop Circle Tabbouleh” was inspired by an article I recently read on Crop Circles and by my good friend, Nancy Vienneau.)

A bit about Crop Circles from Wikipedia:

crop circle is a sizable pattern created by the flattening of a crop such as wheatbarleyryemaize, or rapeseed. Crop circles are also referred to as crop formations, because they are not always circular in shape. While the exact date crop circles began to appear is unknown, the documented cases have substantially increased from the 1970s to current times. 

Since the early 1990s the UK arts collective founded by artists Rod Dickinson and John Lundberg (and subsequently includes artists Wil Russell and Rob Irving), named the Circlemakers, have been creating some crop circles in the UK and around the world both as part of their art practice and for commercial clients.

Using local crops to make circles in food seemed a natural progression. Teresa B.

Spring Green Tonics

“Spring Tonic”

To celebrate Daylight Savings Time, St. Patrick’s Day and the Spring Equinox

On the third Thursday evening of each month I attend a dinner hosted by friends, Nancy Vienneau and Gigi Gaskins. It is appropriately called “Third Thursday” and is a potluck dinner party made up of many folks whose common love of interesting, healthy, local foods is the common thread.

March’s Third Thursday Dinner fell on St. Patrick’s Day. As you can imagine there were lots of dishes honoring “green”. Spinach, green beans, basil, avocado dishes were plentiful. For this occasion I created a “Spring Tonic”.  With cucumbers & lime juice as the main ingredients this “tonic” was the essence of “all things green”.

This tonic is easy to make, beautiful, refreshing, not too sweet and is like drinking a glass of spring.

What you will need:

To make approximately 1/2 gallon of Spring Tonic:

About 8 fresh cucumbers, 5 or 6 limes juiced, a piece of fresh ginger, 1 to 1.5 cups of raw sugar, 2 to 3 cups of your favorite white rum, about 1 cup of Midori liqueur and seltzer water or club soda. (Adjust to taste as you mix.)

Trim and peel cucumbers. Scrape seeds out with a spoon. Cut into chunks and place in food processor. You may have to do this in batches. Process until cucumbers are pureed with no chunks. Pour puree into a colander lined with two layers of cheesecloth or into a fine sieve sitting over a bowl to catch the cucumber juice. Use a rubber scraper to press the puree through the cheesecloth to get out most of the liquid.

When finished you should have about 3 cups of liquid.

This color of green is so beautiful like spring grass.

To make Gingered Simple Syrup: Peel ginger & cut into slices. Place ginger pieces, raw sugar + 1.2 cups of water in a saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a low boil, cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat to cool.

As I was taking my Spring Tonic to a dinner party I made labels for two 1 qt containers to share the ingredients with guests.

To mix Spring Tonic:

Into each 1 quart container add half of the Cucumber liquid, half of the Midori, half of the fresh Lime Juice, half of the Gingered Simple Syrup with ginger pieces & half of the White Rum. Stir mixture in each container until well mixed. Cover and chill until ready to drink.

To Drink: Place ice in a glass, pour in some Spring Tonic & add a splash of seltzer water, club soda or mineral water with gas.

 

 

….. evening of greens….

While concocting your own “Spring Tonic” you could enjoy some music by the band “Tonic”. Check them out on itunes for a listen.

 

Herbal tonic is used to help restore, tone and invigorate systems in the body or to promote general health and well-being.
“get your motor running….drink Spring tonics!”