The Jealous Crumpet

A sweet little blog


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Tis the season of good eatin’

38769165_500387043756234_7140208985856016384_n copyFoodies rejoice! Once again restaurant week is upon the city of Huntsville. From August 10 until the 19th restaurants across Madison County are offering their fare at promotional prices. Even the breweries are jumping into the fun with new brews. As part of the promotion for Restaurant Week, I got to sample some of the promotional dishes with the Resturant Week Blogger tour. This is my fourth year to participate (I missed last year because was visiting my in-laws in France! Lucky me!!) and I love it! I get to eat good food with lots of talented food bloggers. What’s not to love. Plus it’s nice because food bloggers don’t even notice the weird things I do like stand on a chair to photograph a piece of cheesecake or gush about how adorable that curl of lettuce it in a salad. Normal people just don’t understand, but food bloggers will offer to hold the reflector. Below: Bloggers doing their blog thang!But seriously how pretty is the salad below!!!!  This year I got to try the special dishes at two restaurants I’d never tried before: Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Keegan’s Public House.Let’s start with Ruth’s Chris. Great restaurants, but I find the name super confusing. Nine times out of ten I call it “Chris’s Ruth” or “that Ruth Steakplace” or “Ruth Christoper’s Resturant”. I digress. As I said before I’d never been, so I let me GPS lead the way. This was a mistake because it led me straight to the Publix Loading Dock. As I walked to the back of Publix I thought, “this is a weird place for a fancy steakhouse” and I was right because there was nothing but some confused employees and dumpsters back there. I eventually got there. It wasn’t confusing, but GPS was just a jerk.1y2b7594-e1533774057866.jpgI met an assortment of extremely talented bloggers and got to eating! Please check their blogs out as well. I know I will. www.diningwithdeliajo.com happeninsintheham.com the bitter socialite rocket city eats hvsfoodlifeWe got to try an assortment of dishes but my absolute favorite was the scallops!! I really wanted to try to Lobster Mac and Cheese, but I have an allergy, but dang it looked GOOOOOOD!!!!!Earlier in the day, I tried Keegan’s Public House. I did not get lost, so I was actually on time to this one.  The restaurant itself is really fun. It is located in the AL.COM building (shout out to all my journalist besties! You rock!! May the Fourth Estate Be With You!)There were different bloggers at this event and I got to meet Love at First Bite and Ihearthsv.comWe started out with the house chips with blue cheese.I ordered the Shepard’s Pie, which was everything you want comfort food to be: warm, tasty, the vegetables hidden at the bottom.  There was also a nice salad

 

Bloggers taking the shots of the dessert on the left. It’s amazing that it wasn’t melted by the end.

…and most importantly yummy, totally unhealthy, but oh so good dessert. It was Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding with Ice Cream and Whipped Cream on top. Yes, you read that right. It came with 4 spoons to prevent anyone from overeating and slipping into a food coma.

 

As you go into Restaurant Week make sure you tag all your local food pics on social media with #dinehsv to win prices and if not prices glory. There are also the most adorable gifs from your posts on Instagram. Just search for #dinehsv. 

So grab your forks and see y’all out and about from Aug 10th to the 19th!


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Day 3: Beignet Cafe #dinehsv

Beignet CafeThis week I’ve been participating in a food blog tour to kick off Huntsville’s Restaurant Week. Fellow bloggers and I visited three restaurants and got the inside scoop about what specials they would be offering from August 12th until the 21st.

Alas, all good things must come to an end, but what a sweet end it was. The last day of the food tour found us at Beignet Cafe. I recently went on a trip to New Orleans, so I came into Beignet Cafe wondering if they could match the culinary delights I’d experience in The Big Easy and boy did they ever. The food was equal, if not superior, to the Cajun cuisine I’d experienced several weeks earlier.12The restaurant itself is really cute, with simple, but cheery decor. Live flowers adorn every table and french signage gives the cafe an authentic NOLA feel. 9Of course, we started the proper way with sugar laden, warm and oh so wonderful beignets and full cups of Café du Monde, chicory coffee. At this point it had started raining, but that only added to the comforting effect of our soft pastry starter.

I did not made a good wardrobe choice that morning and was wear a black shirt, which was covered in sugar after my first bite. It was worth it! 2All of the bloggers order different dishes so we could try lots of items. I started with a cup of gumbo. It was excellent, with pieces of chicken, seafood, vegetables and the perfect level of spices.1For my entrée I had the Dirty Grits, which were covered in chunks of andouille sausage and chicken, cooked in Cajun seasoning. It was a perfect comfort food, spicy, but pleasant with creamy grits and savory toppings.5There was also a gorgeous Strawberry Feta Salad topped with blackened chicken and balsamic vinaigrette.6The Egg Bake with fresh fruits looked delicious, but I forgot to sample that. It seemed like a hit though. You could get three varieties of Egg Bakes: Veggie, Classic or Meat.

I might not have eaten the Egg Bake, but I did get a photograph of it. You know you have your priorities out of order when it is more important for you to photograph you meal than eat it. #photographerproblems

I might not have eaten the Egg Bake, but I did get a photograph of it. You know you have your priorities out of order when it is more important to photograph of a meal than eat it. (eye roll) #photographerproblems

We were all quite content, but owner Denise had one more surprise for us: Tres Leche Bread Pudding. One word: Heavenly.

I always wondered why Southerners loved bread pudding so much, because honestly bread pudding kind of sounds unappetizing. The first time I heard about it I envisioned chocolate Jello on top of Wonder bread. Yuck! But this Yankee admits she was wrong (again) and that Tres Leche Bread Pudding is delicious and decadent. Bread PuddingThank-you to Denise and the wonderful staff at Beignet Cafe for hosting us bloggers on this last day of the blog tour!!7And thank-you to the CBV for inviting me to the 2016 Food Blog Tour. As usually it was a great experience.8Make sure you check out my fellow bloggers posts about Beignet Cafe.

Katie Actually: http://www.katieactually.com/beignet-cafe/

Sweet T Makes Three: http://www.sweettmakesthree.com/places-to-eat-in-huntsville-alabama/

Rocket City Mom: http://www.rocketcitymom.com/huntsvilles-beignet-cafe/
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Day 1: Grille 29 #dinehsv

Grille 29 #dinehsv‘Tis the time of year that North Alabama foodies rejoice and get their taste buds ready: Huntsville Restaurant Week! This is the 5th year of Huntsville Restaurant Week and from August 12th until the 21st patrons can enjoy speciality menu items at great prices from numerous restaurants across Madison County.

As part of the kickoff to Restaurant Week several fellow bloggers and I visited three eateries to get a first look at their specials. I’ve had the pleasure of participating in this Blog Tour for 3 years running. I love it, so please feel free to keep inviting me back! (Not so subtle hint)

This year’s talented bloggers included:

Charles Hunter III with The Salted Table

Jennifer Gervens with Sweet T Makes Three

Katie Wright with Katie Actually

Bo Williams and Stephenie Walker with Rocket City Mom

I’ll include a link to each of their posts at the end, so make sure you give them almost as much love as you give me!

Grille 29Our first stop was Grille 29.  Last year the blog tour had brunch here (the shrimp and grits were to die for!) so I had very high expectations, which were surpassed yet again. You can check out last years post here.

We started with Roasted Cauliflower Soup, which was garnished with crispy prosciutto and greens. I’m a huge veggie-aholic, so I found this dish completely addictive. I seriously dreamed about it that night.Cauliflower SoupNext we sampled a Southern classic, fried green tomatoes, topped with pork belly and blue pimento cheese. It was also scrumptious! Fried Green TomatoesNext came the main course Flat Iron Steak, enhanced with a roasted shallot reduction, topped with house-made Pico de Gallo and sweet potato straws, over cheese grits. Are you hungry yet, because just writing this post is making me drool.Flat Iron SteakWhen we knew we couldn’t possibly eat anymore, dessert came out and we mustered the courage to go on.

We started with a Lemon Lava Cake, which was stunning. It was a delicious dessert, but it was also a beautiful dessert, which really warms a food photographers heart.Lemon Lava CakeThen came a Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffle, which I’ve had before and loved before. From what I could tell it was a fan favorite. Peanut Butter TruffleAnd last, but certainly not least, was the Cheesecake of the Day, Turtle Cheesecake.Turtle CheesecakeEverything was delicious! While we were photographing food on the patio a jealous lizard kept on eyeing the Lemon Lava Cake.  Sadly for the lizard, we didn’t have any leftovers.lizard and cheesecakeAll of the food was created under the watchful eye of Executive Chef Cara Thompson. Make sure you attend Rocket Chef at the Merrimack Hall on August 8th and cheer for Chef Cara as she competes against other culinary geniuses for the title of Rocket Chef. All proceeds from the event go to the Food Bank of North Alabama, so it feeds your soul as well as your belly.11More about Grille 29 please visit:

Katie Actually: http://www.katieactually.com/grille-29-2/

Sweet T Makes Three: http://www.sweettmakesthree.com/places-to-eat-in-huntsville-alabama/

Rocket City Mom: http://www.rocketcitymom.com/grille-29/

Bo Williams: http://bowilliams.com/2016/07/huntsville-restaurant-week-2016/

Grille 29

 


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Harry Potter Inspired Acid Pops

1As any true Harry Potter fan knows July 31st is Harry’s birthday. He’ll be 36 years old this year. Now don’t you feel older.

Harry and his buddies were frequenters of the candy shop Honeyduke’s, where they would by Chocolate Frogs, Fizzing Whizzbees, Cockroach Clusters and Acid Pops. To celebrate Harry’s birthday I created my version of Acid Pops.

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Acid Pops

1/2 cup Light Corn Syrup

1 cup Sugar

1/2 cup Water

5 drops Lemon Extract

5 drops Green Food Coloring

3 packs Pop Rocks 

Step one: Take your wand, flick and clearly state “Accio Acid Pop ingredients”.  For muggles just collect your ingredients. 

Step two: In a medium sauce pan combine sugar, corn syrup, and water. Heat on high, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.

Step three: Prep your lollipop mold by spraying a small amount of oil in the area they candy will touch.

Step four: Boil the ingredients until the temperature reaches 300°F and remove from heat.

Step five: Add extract and food coloring and stir.

Step six: Carefully spoon the melted sugar mixture in the mold, immediately place the sticks in the candy and pour Pop Rocks onto the hardening lolli. Beware they Pop Rocks may shoot wildly around the room when they hit the hot sugar.  Don’t put your face near the candy to hear the snapping of the Pop Rocks as you could lose any eye. I learned this one the hard way.

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After 20 minutes the candy should be cool enough to enjoy.  The Pop Rocks do lose there snap after time, so you want to enjoy them the same day.

Happy Birthday Harry!!2

 

 


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Honey Roasted Dates with Whipped Chèvre

Honey Roasted DatesOn a trip to one of my favorite produce markets, Garden Cove, my husband and I came across pints of fresh dates.Fresh Dates Neither of us had ever encountered fresh dates, though we are fans of the dried variety, so we were standing in the aisle debating how to eat them when an employee walked by.

“Excuse me,” said my husband to the employee. “How do you eat fresh dates?”

“Just raw,” the worker said. “But they are not for everyone. I love them, but there are many people who don’t like the taste.”

“What do they taste like?” asked Olivier.

After some pondering the employee said, “They taste like shirt.”

Olivier and I stared blankly trying to figure out what he really said, because surely shirt wasn’t what he meant.

Then the man pulled up the neck of his cotton t-shirt and pantomimes eating it.

“It tastes like… shirt?” Olivier asked skeptically.

“Yes, yes, shirt,” said the employee enthusiastically.

So, of course, we bought some to taste this shirt-flavored fruit for ourselves.

When we got home I washed and dried the dates anxious to give them a try.

Olivier and I bit into our fruit at the same time and damn it if it didn’t taste just like shirt! I mean seriously, it tasted like freshly laundered cotton and the texture was a bit mealy like a pear giving your mouth a drying affect, just like you shoved the corner of tee-shirt into your mouth. Very weird.

I was going to make an arugula salad with sliced raw dates and pine nuts, but decided to go with something more desserty. Plus I had just impulsively bought a lot of honey. 6The dates do have pits, so Step 1, halve 25 dates and remove the pits. Pit the datesPreheat oven to 400°. Put date halves in a plastic bag (or bowl if you’re not lazy and don’t mind stirring) and add 3 tbs honey, 2 tbs olive oil, and 1 tsp Balsamic vinegar. Shake or stir (good for you for not being lazy) vigorously. Place the coated dates on a cooking sheet and place in the oven.Honey roasted datesI roasted the dates for 10 minutes and then flipped them. Then I forgot to set my timer, got distracted and frantically pulled them out of the oven after another 20 minutes in the oven. This seemed to work out nicely for me and added a candied, honey-burnt edge to the dates. They were quite tasty. Whipped Chèvre Combine 2 oz of chèvre (goat cheese) with 3 tbs of heavy whipping cream, a splash of vanilla extract (I was going for half a tsp, but knocked my hand on the edge of the bowl and added a splash instead). I also added a half a teaspoon of confectioner sugar, not sure if this did anything, but I added it.

Then remove the yummy dates, top the whipped cheese on top and enjoy!2

 

 

 


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Blog Tour Grille 29 #dineHSV

feature8The city of Huntsville has a rich culinary culture combining southern fare with German and other international cuisines.

Despite this, Huntsville used to lack a restaurant culture that other cities enjoy. Sure, we had lots of franchises but if you had a yen from something other than Olive Garden or fast-food, your choices were limited. Luckily, in the last decade or so, Huntsville started having amazing restaurants that showed off its culinary potential.

For the last leg of our Food Tour for Restaurant Week, we visited one of these restaurants, Grille 29, which specializes in fine dining in a causal atmosphere.feature10Grill 29 is a sophisticated steak and seafood restaurant that was started by the Restaurant Partners, Inc. (RPI). It is located in the lovely Village of Providence Main and has a picturesque outdoor eating area, as well as stylish indoor accommodations. feature9We all assembled with cameras/phones/notebooks in hand, ready to document every aspect of each dish. Food bloggers can be a pretty annoying bunch. If you think that a friend that has to Instagram every morsel that goes into their mouth is frustrating, then try going to lunch with 7 of these people who do it professionally! Make sure you check out the other bloggers’ posts though. Everyone did a great job showing how great each restaurant is.

Clint Cantwell with Grillocracy

Phillip Fryman with Southern FATTY

Stephanie Walker with Rocket City Mom

Constance Smith with Cosmopolitan Cornbread

Katie Wright with Katie Actually

feature7We started the way every meal should begin (in my opinion) with muffins and mimosas. This is part of their brunch special, which is available every Sunday from 10am to 2pm. As an extra treat, we got to sample the super popular Chicken and Waffles, which was the perfect balance of salty and sweet. Then we enjoyed a chilly lump crab gazpacho. I’m a bit of a veggiholic, so I absolutely LOVED this dish.

Next, we had the main course: cheesy grits topped with shrimp and andouille sausage served in a cast-iron skillet. It doesn’t get much more southern than that.feature1Using a great deal of restraint, I only ate half of my meal because I knew there would be lots of desserts.  I was very glad I did.

We started with warm sour cream fudge cake. Stunning and delicious!feature5Next was the strawberry cheesecake. Each day there is a different flavor of cheesecake so you’ll never get bored. Is your mouth watering yet?feature3And last, but certainly not least, was the chocolate peanut butter truffle. Yum!!feature4

I should also mention that we all shared the desserts! We did not each eat a full meal and then three desserts in a row…

feature6See? Here we are sharing.

 This concludes a wonderful Blog Tour. Thank-you to the Huntsville Visitor’s Center for inviting me to participate, thank-you Jessica Carlton for being awesome (as usual) and making sure that everything ran smoothly, and thank-you to my fellow bloggers for making it a fun, informative and enjoyable experience. thebloggers

Website:

http://www.grille29.com

Location:

445 Providence Main Street
Huntsville, Alabama 35806

Phone:

(256) 489-9470

Hours:

Sunday Brunch – 10am
Sunday – Thursday – 11am – 9:30pm
Friday & Saturday – 11am – 10:30pm


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Tea with CC

feature8Alas, I could say that for the photos of this post were to pay homage to the photography greats Brassaï or Robert Doisneau, but that would be a lie. The truth is I was invited to a tea-themed cooking class and as an afterthought I brought my camera with me to get a few pictures. Much of photography is planning and I did not do that on this venture, so I ended up with dull, off-colored photographs. Oh well, it happens to the best of us and there are several courses of action when it occurs.

1. Spend countless hours attempting to color correct each image. Lame, who as time for that.

2. Use the off-colored photos and endure people telling you about how Instagram has really ‘professional’ editing features now. Also, knowing they are judging you for your bad photography, which is rarely fun.

3. Convert all the images to black and white and convince people it is because you are so artistic and deep. It helps if you say things like ‘The black and white removes all the distraction of color so you really SEE the image”, while rubbing your chin in an intelligent manner.

I went with a version of option 3 and converted to black/white… but admitted  it was because I had taken crappy pictures. I guess sometimes honesty is the best policy. Please do notice the subtle influence of Brassaï‘s bar images reflected in the chaos of the tea party. You can’t see me, as this is text, but know that I am rubbing my chin intelligently as I type this.

feature7I met CC last year at a blogging function. It was my first event with the group Rocket City Bloggers and every time I told someone I was a food photographer they would ask if I had met CC yet. Toward the end of the evening I finally did meet CC and he was worth all the hype. CC is a very talent chef that teaches cooking classes and has a food blog, in addition to his day job. Since then I have had dinner with CC and his lovely family several times, in addition to taking two of his cooking classes. Check out his blog and Facebook page.  There is very premium and interesting information on both.

The class that I poorly photographed was his Downton Abbey High Tea Class.feature2In addition to not planning my photo shoot, I should also mention that I showed up late and the class was well on its way by the time I finally arrived.  I am a disaster. sconesCC was mid way through making scones when I arrived. As he cooked and demonstrated the proper technique for each dish we sipped delicious teas, some of which he’d shipped in from Boston.  Pastry flakesAfter the scones were safely tucked in the oven he made pastry crisps and lemon curd. So delicious! My favorite desserts are alway citrus-based, so I was a huge fan of this portion of the tea.Lemon CurdWhenever I take a cooking class I always feel like I am being shown the secret to a magic trick. Despite working in the food industry a lot of it is still a mysterious to me and I love when it is revealed. Photographing food and creating it are two vastly different things. french pressWe had more tea as the scones, pastry crisps and lemon curd cooked. Like a circus plate spinner CC added more dishes to the mix, salmon triple layered sandwiches and a cake. Whew! I was exhausted and I wasn’t even cooking anything, just sipping my tea and making the occasional comment. feature14At this point the smells of the pastries and lemon curd were filling the kitchen. It was unbearable, like when your mother is making cookies but there are still 5 more minutes in the oven, plus cool down time. feature9Finally we were able to have the pastries and more tea.  The lemon curd, as I said was my favorite, but it was all very good.  Cooking with CCNext came the sandwiches, which I didn’t get a photo of, just take my word they were amazing.feature13The last course was the cake, which was of course perfect.  feature10Even the Queen approved! And I imagine she is a stickler for good tea and scones.

I highly recommend taking a class with CC. It is always entertaining, informative and delicious, the three ingredients needed for a fun evening!feature11