I’ve mentioned before that we try to go vegetarian a few nights per week, because we’re concerned about the way conventional meat is raised and slaughtered, because we’re concerned about the impact of meat consumption on the environment, and because we’re concerned about the impact of meat consumption on global hunger. One of the easiest veggie meals is some form of beans and rice. This week I made Cuban style black beans and served them with coconut rice. Coconut rice is seriously one of my favorite things, so if you’ve never had it, try it! This meal is especially delicious with a Cuba Libre (aka a rum and coke).
- Saturday night I made one of our favorite meals. It’s the almond tilapia from this recipe and this minty chickpea salad, which I made with bulgur instead of cous cous and added some lemon juice to make it even more like tabouli. If you try it, the method to use bulgur is to add 3 cups boiling water to one cup bulgur in a large bowl, cover, and leave for 45 minutes. When the time was up, I still had some water that hadn’t been absorbed by the bulgur, so I strained it and proceeded as usual for the rest of the recipe. We actually eat a LOT of cous cous, so using the bulgur wheat was a nice change up.
- Two words: Margarita. Cookies. You know you wanna try. Here’s the recipe over at Smitten Kitchen. I made mine mostly following the recipe, though I didn’t have an orange, so I just added in some triple sec (half a teaspoon). I’m sure it says something about me that I had triple sec but not an orange, but there you go. A friend who had tried the recipe before recommended adding a little extra lime, so I doubled the amount of lime zest and added the juice of one lime. I STILL think that wasn’t enough lime. I’m now wondering if you can get lime extract, as I really like the idea of these cookies, especially the hint of salt.
- I also made my own hummus this week. I followed this recipe from The Kitchn, but added in a whole can of drained artichoke hearts in water for a bit of a flavor boost. The artichoke made for especially creamy hummus, and I’m very pleased with the results. The hardest thing about making hummus is getting my hands on tahini, but Harris Teeter stocks it in the international food aisle. Even though tahini is a little pricey, it makes several batches worth of hummus and is still a lot more cost effective than paying $5 per tub of pre-made hummus. If you’ve got a food processor, you should check it out.
- I was true to my word and went back to McCrady’s with Jon this week so he too could experience the wonder of a pre-prohibition cocktail for 25 cents. We got a booth in the bar area, and when the waitress asked us what she could get us, we said “donkey.” She smiled and said she’d have those drinks right out for us. This week’s cocktail was a Ward 8, and featured whiskey, orange bitters, and grenadine. We sipped our cocktails while snacking on crispy duck rillettes with cranberry ketchup and fried housemade bread and butter pickles with ramp buttermilk dressing. Even without the super cheap drink special, McCrady’s is fast becoming one of my favorite places to have a drink in Charleston. It’s exactly dark and cozy enough that you could almost pretend you really are in a Speakeasy.
- I’d been itching to check out Ted’s Butcherblock ever since I started searching for sustainable meat sources after seeing Food Inc. In addition to being a great butcher/wine/cheese shop, Ted’s has lots of sandwiches and salads and other food items. On Friday nights, they serve a $12 supper, so we decided to see what kind of food we could get for such a great price. This Friday’s supper was lemon pepper shrimp skewers with grilled eggplant and Israeli couscous with radishes and cucumbers, with an almond custard for dessert. The food was fabulous and filling. I’m going to be searching for an almond custard recipe so I can try to recreate it soon– such a rich flavor and served with this amazing honey-nut crispy thing that I can’t even describe. In addition to the super cheap dinner, Ted’s also has $5 wine tastings on Friday night. $5 got us four samples (about one glass in total) of two whites and two reds. I especially liked an Oregon Pinot Gris. We also had some fun people watching as there were two very elderly couples in the shop, cutting each others’ eggplant, snagging each others’ dessert, and holding hands, and there was another couple with a particularly adorable and chubby baby who was wearing a very cute hat and drooling all over the place. You should definitely check out Ted’s on a Friday night. I’m convinced there isn’t a better deal in town.
- The Farmer’s Market is back! While we’re blessed with a crazy-long growing season, the time without the Farmer’s Market in Marion Square always seems like an eternity. Saturday was opening day, and we headed down town excitedly, with plenty of room for crepes from our favorite food stand. I went for smoked sausage, egg, and swiss with peppers and onions, and Jon got the egg veggie which features mozzarella, spinach, tomatoes, and mushrooms. The crepe stand’s line was three times as long as any other vendor, but they’re always worth the wait. Bring a blanket and sit under a shade tree and enjoy the people and puppy watching while you devour your crepes.