So, maybe last week (or whenever it was I posted the Spicy Tomato Basil Kasha recipe) you were thinking, “WTH, Sarah? KASHA? Where did THAT come from?IMG_7813 (1280x853)

Well, it came from these dry, roasted buckwheat kernels, but that’s beside the point, really.IMG_7752 (1280x853)

You see, I’d been going through my pantry as a part of Recipe Redux‘s April “Spring Cleaning,” and after a vigorous search and organize endeavor-after which my cabinets look shockingly the same as the did before*-I settled on the tub of kasha that I used to use often when making protein pancakes.

*Hmmm…reciperedux_springcleaning

But then I was so excited about my spicy shrimp version that I couldn’t wait to post it. So I needed something elseIMG_7990 (1280x852)

Good thing what I never knew was that one small scoop of kasha is one giant leap for mankind fluffy finished product….so I had leftovers.IMG_7957 (1280x853)

I tried to tie in the natural, hearty flavor of the kasha–if you don’t like the taste of buckwheat, you may not like this–with some baby bella mushrooms, brightened up with lemon and dill to help us transition into spring.IMG_7973 (1280x853)

Or maybe I’m just obsessed with the local asparagus and those seemed to accentuate its flavor.

IMG_7968 (1280x853)

The Parmesan was because, well…Parmesan.IMG_7998 (1280x853)

It’s pretty easy–and if you DO like buckwheat, you ought to start experimenting with it, too. It takes 10 minutes to cook, and is as easy as cooking couscous.

Plus, you get a LOT for one serving. And we all love that.IMG_7975 (1280x853)

(Though it’s not like I didn’t just shove the tub of kasha right back where it was in my cabinet. I’ll get to that whole “cleaning” thing another day.)

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Lemon Dill Kasha with Mushrooms & Asparagus

(Serves 2)

  • 1/2 cup dry kasha (roasted buckwheat)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped spring onion (or scallions, white parts only)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz. baby bella or white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 3/4 cup asparagus pieces (about 1″ long)
  • juice of 1 lemon (2-3 Tbsp.)
  • 2-3 tsp. dill
  • 1 tsp. stone ground Dijon mustard
  • salt + pepper
  • Parmesan cheese, to taste

Cook kasha:

  1. Bring 1 cup water to boil.
  2. Add kasha.
  3. Cover and reduce heat to low.
  4. Cook 10 minutes.
  5. Remove lid.
  6. If water remains, continue cooking until it has absorbed or evaporated.

Cook mushrooms and asparagus:

  1. Saute garlic and onion in olive oil over medium heat 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add sliced mushrooms and chopped asparagus to the pan.
  3. Cook until mushrooms are soft.
  4. Add lemon juice, dill, salt, and pepper,stirring well to combine.

Finish the dish:

  1. Stir cooked kasha into mushroom and asparagus mixture.
  2. Add Dijon mustard, stirring well.
  3. Cook 3-4 minutes, until heated through.
  4. Remove from pan and put onto serving dish.
  5. Sprinkle with Parmesan.
  6. Serve!


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Changing Seasons at Epiphany

by Sarah on April 16, 2015 · 2 comments

As the new social media maven for Tuscaloosa’s only farm-to-fork, “vegetable forward”* restaurant, one of my job responsibilities was obviously going to have to be updating their Facebook cover photographing the food.

*We have a lot in common.facebook

Tasting it was just a bonus.

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Epiphany, in downtown Tuscaloosa, changes its menu regularly under the creative leadership of Executive Chef Tres Jackson based on seasonality and availability of ingredients. It’s a great way to highlight new flavors and concepts (…but I do wish they’d keep the carbonara with potato noodles and bacon jam on the menu forever!)

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Last week, The Professor and I were treated to a sampling of a new shifting-towards spring menu at the restaurant.IMG_7589 (1280x853) (2)

Does anything scream spring (!) like a giant bowl of green?IMG_7634 (1280x854)

We were presented this incredible bowl of chilled B&S Farms Asparagus Pistou by Chef de Cuisine Joel Frederick. (This is the same asparagus I’ve been exclaiming over at the farmers market.) I admit I’ve only ever seen pistou drizzled over another soup, so to have a whole big bowl of it–with a soft-boiled egg and zucchini no less–was a fresh, surprising treat.*IMG_7649 (1280x1280)

*Literally surprising: I thought we were just being presented this to taste it, rather than a gift from the kitchen. It sat in front of us for about 5 minutes after I took pictures before I awkwardly asked our lovely server if we should be sending this to someone who might be waiting for it. ;) IMG_7626 (1280x854)

Spring food requires spring drinks, yes? I have to say the Gin Gin Mule was me in a mug: lime with housemade ginger and mint syrups? Well, THAT went down easy. IMG_7608 (853x1280)

House Manager Ward Bedsole is a master with the cocktails. He even distilled* The Professor into a drink: The Babylon, whiskey-based, with maple and cardamom (not that I think The Professor knows what that is).

*See what I did there?IMG_7617 (1280x853)

After much debate, I settled on another shape season-shifting dish: Butternut Squash Carpaccio layered on top of a”just try not to lick your plate” yogurt curry with slow roasted tomatoes and onions and drizzled with a verte of assorted herbs, including cilantro and mint. (I was too focused on my mouth to really hear….Oops.)

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There was some (read: an enormous amount of) debate about just what to order, but the words “curry” did me in. I do not regret a minute of this plate….IMG_7703 (1280x853)

….even after being teased* by a waiter who brought over the springtime twist on the restaurant’s standard cauliflower souffle: Carrot Souffle featuring olive “soil,” buttermilk, and roasted carrots…with carrot vinaigrette. (As a close relative of Bugs Bunny, I would have loved it.)

*Seriously. He came back and said, “I saw your eyes. I wasn’t letting go.”IMG_7711 (1280x853)

While I was worrying about just which ode to orange I should order, The Professor was busy eating perhaps one of the best things he’s ever tasted at the restaurant (at least I am interpreting this based on his reaction).IMG_7682 (1280x853)

Hangtown Fry– based on the San Francisco treat breakfast tradition of eggs, fried oysters, and bacon–taken to the next level with six minute egg, fried egg aoili, and candied bacon IN bacon jam.

Let me say that again: candied bacon IN bacon jam.

(I think you know what I was scraping off the plate board with my fork.)

IMG_7680 (1280x854)And he wasn’t we weren’t done yet. As usual, the specials for the evening were tantalizing, and it was a tough call which one to choose. (I have been rallying for the Cornbread Pudding for weeks now, but I was quite full at this point and didn’t even add to the argument.)IMG_7585 (1280x864)

Eventually, in a shocking twist of standard schema, The Professor said, “I want something without bacon.”IMG_7715 (1280x1280)

So, although the Rabbit Tenderloin with country ham, more bacon jam (!), and an Anson Mills rice and roasted turnip pirlou was perhaps one of the most beautiful dishes I was able to photograph all evening…IMG_7718 (1280x853) (2)

…we settled on the Virginia Wild Striped Bass with pickled shrimp (my favorite part), caramelized parsnip puree, almonds, roasted cauliflower, and a bit of verte:IMG_7733 (1280x853)

the perfect example of blending seasons in a way that was rich, savory winter with just a punch of crisp lightness to let you know it’s time for a thaw.IMG_7739 (1280x853)

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The tomatoes and asparagus were supposed to be for girls’ night.IMG_20150411_082051

After confirming that pregnant women can have a little wine if it’s cooked in to a dish, I was hoping to recreate this Bacon, Asparagus, & Tomato Pasta--inspired by this recipe–I had concocted for The Professor a few weeks ago.IMG_20150322_194924 (1)

But with shrimp, because we weren’t sure about pregnant women and bacon. Even local bacon.IMG_7882 (1280x853)

However, that baby had other plans for girls’ night.IMG_7904 (1280x853)

Maybe because he’s a boy?IMG_7785 (1280x854)

But girl’s night can’t happen when one of your group goes into labor a few weeks early, her husband is out of town, and the chef (me) needs to wait in the hospital with her so she’s no alone.*

*Husband/father made it before the baby. Don’t worry. I did, however, stay long enough to demand the epidural for her. :) IMG_7769 (1280x853)

Once I was back to reality, there was, however, still the issue of the tomatoes.

The very ripe tomatoes.IMG_7792 (1280x853)

And the fact that I had/have/will continue to have a number of papers and projects due, but didn’t want to do them.IMG_7827 (1280x853)

Why study when you can cook?IMG_7918 (1280x853)

All I’m saying is The Professor is going to be sad he was (also) out of town to miss this.IMG_7909 (1280x853)

Although it may not be as rush-home-worthy as a baby…it’s still pretty darn delicious. ;)

Spicy Tomato Basil Kasha (Roasted Buckwheat) with Shrimp

  • 1/2 cup dry kasha (roasted buckwheat)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼- ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)
  • 3 1/2 cups chopped fresh, ripe tomatoes (about 3 medium-sized)
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 lb. raw shrimp, peeled/deveined
  • salt + pepper

Cook kasha:

  1. Bring 1 cup water to boil.
  2. Add kasha.
  3. Cover and reduce heat to low.
  4. Cook 10 minutes.
  5. Remove lid.
  6. If water remains, continue cooking until it has absorbed or evaporated.

Cook tomatoes:

  1. Saute garlic in olive oil over medium heat 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add chopped tomatoes and red pepper to pan.
  3. Cook until tomatoes have broken down (about 3-5 minutes, depending on ripeness of tomatoes).
  4. Add 3 Tbsp. basil to the pan, stirring well.
  5. Cook another 2-3 minutes.
  6. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Finish the dish:

  1. Stir cooked kasha into tomato mixture.
  2. Cook 2-3 minutes, just until heated through.
  3. Remove from pan and put onto serving dish.
  4. Add a smidge more olive oil to the pan.
  5. Season shrimp with salt and pepper.
  6. Add shrimp to heated pan and cook until just turning opaque.
  7. Combine shrimp with kasha.
  8. Sprinkle remaining basil over the top.
  9. Serve!
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Spring time means a lot of things: flip flops, sunscreen, never knowing what to wear and consequently finding yourself sweating outside and freezing in A/C…and the switch from the “must eat warm, hearty foods at all times” mentality to the “if I have to turn on a heat source, I’m doing something wrong” way of cooking.IMG_7572 (1280x853)

It’s also when my taste buds decide they once again prefer white wine to red.IMG_7546 (1280x853)

So, when Zevia asked us to contribute a recipe pairing to The New Sweet campaign, I mulled (wine) over what lightened up recipe I could pair with my favorite–how did they know?Zevia flavor for warmer weather.IMG_7570 (1280x854)

But instead I decided to think outside the box the house, because it’s not about what you are eating in the spring an summer, but WHERE you’re eating it.

And for us, that’s the backyard.

Al fresco dining IS the summertime to me.IMG_7553 (853x1280)

SO this recipe pairs with the white wine you’d want to be drinking (although it tastes great without), and with anything you’d want to be eating outside on a warm night.IMG_7565 (1280x853)

(If you happen to also have a plastic wine tumbler with a lid, well, then, all the better for your picnic stylings.)

Citrus Mint Spritzer

(Serves 2)

  • 1 12-oz. can Grapefruit Citrus Zevia
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup crisp white wine (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh mint, coarsely chopped
  • 2-4 lemon slices
  1. Mix Zevia, orange juice, and wine together.
  2. Pour into two glasses and add mint and lemon slices.
  3. Clink glasses.
  4. Drink.
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So, Easter Happened.

by Sarah on April 7, 2015 · 2 comments

A text from my former roommate, Rachel:

::So what did you do for Easter dinner? Or should I just read about it on your blog?::

My response:

::Do I still have a blog?::

The Professor’s mom was in town, and, while I wasn’t doing a bunch of photographing, we had a great weekend of walking, talking, seeing friends, more talking, eating….and more talking—when I wasn’t stuck in the office working, of course. #phdlifeeasterwithprofessor

Three nights of great meals in a row began Friday(s) at Five (the restaurant, not the concert series in Charlottesville) where I feasted on red snapper–but perhaps really just wanted a shaker of blackening seasoning poured into my mouth, because I couldn’t get over it. [However, the crab ragu was quite a nice addition.]IMG_20150403_204417

Saturday brought with it an impromptu dinner party involving many (OK, two) of my farmers’ market findings:IMG_20150404_080804

Tomatoes were drizzled with olive oil, salt, pepper, and Romano (if you say Parmesan, the Professor will cringe)  cheese, grilled until warm and just slightly softened.IMG_7522 (1280x853)

Asparagus was similar coated–although cheese free–and roasted. It didn’t hold it’s bite, but we ate it all anyway.IMG_7524 (1280x853)

And of course, there was the locally raised Piggy Frog Chicken.*

*See it? You know you do.IMG_7512 (1280x853)

I also made Coconut Miso Glazed Carrots & Parsnips–just to prove to The Professor’s mom I actually DO eat something besides sweet potatoes when we grill….and that he actually does get excited about vegetables.*

*Direct quote: “We have leftovers?!!?!?!”^

^OK, maybe not THAT many exclamations in his voice…IMG_20150404_210437

I was pleasantly surprised that The Professor made it all the way through dinner, and almost all of the undocumented cup-and-cheese-cake dessert before checking the score of the basketball game.

[Imagine "the best white chocolate cheesecake [you've] ever tasted” here.]

Our Easter lunch was also with friends, and while people who hadn’t known where they were might have thought he lived there the way he was suddenly in charge of all grill proceedings, I must say I was happy he had his hand on the veggies…delicious.IMG_20150405_184457

I also may have eaten my weight in watermelon and the same kale with roasted grapes (and champagne vinaigrette) that I made for the bridal shower a few weeks back.IMG_20150405_135359_789 (1280x719)

Everyone else polished off the lemon hummus and veggies I also assembled.IMG_20150405_135402_232 (1280x720)

So, yeah, Easter happened.

(And now Rachel CAN read about it on my blog.)

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Lemon Coconut Asparagus

by Sarah on March 31, 2015 · 4 comments

I just wanted to procrastinate for a bit.

So I took the rest of my beautiful* local asparagus….IMG_7434 (1280x853)

*Seriously, that was my exclamation upon seeing it at the farmer’s market.^

^Yes, the man next to me made fun of me.IMG_7437 (1280x853)

…and the Cocozia 100% Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil I was sent to use and review (so far, so good!)…IMG_7410 (1280x853)

…and figured, why not add lemon?IMG_7467 (1280x853)

Rich, subtle coconut flavor from the oil, and a nice tart pucker from the lemon juice, with as much salt as you like: Go on. You should procrastinate, too.

—————————-

Lemon Coconut  Asparagus

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed

1 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted

2 Tbsp. lemon juice, separated

salt to taste

grated coconut, optional, for garnish

  1. Preheat oven–with baking sheet inside–to 400 degrees.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together coconut oil and 1 Tbsp. lemon juice.
  3. Once oven is preheated, remove pan and throw on asparagus.
  4. Pour oil/lemon mixture over top and shake around to coat.
  5. Roast 10-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of your asparagus!

Note: I chopped up the leftovers and tossed with couscous for lunch the next day. DELICIOUS.

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I Love Clean Sheets. #OXOSpringCleaning

by Sarah on March 28, 2015 · 0 comments

I do. I DO love clean sheets. But this post isn’t about that.

This post is about clean clothes.IMG_7312 (1280x853)

And the fact that The Professor and I no longer have to hang our shirts (him), workout clothes (me), and jeans (both) on every chair in the house after doing laundry every three days each week.IMG_7284 (1280x853)

Thanks to OXO, I even have motivation to actually wash all of my winter sweaters and properly dry them before storing them for the winter.*

*But will probably get through three or four before shoving the rest of them into a giant plastic storage bin that may or may not actually make it into the back of a closet.IMG_7301 (1280x853)

So, while you can’t change who you are–in this case, someone who prescribes to the ideal of good (enough) housekeeping*–new tools and gadgets are GREAT for motivating you to get things done, especially when it comes to spring cleaning. And–I can say this honestly–no one makes better tools and gadgets than OXO.

*You’ll note, I did not choose to receive any of the actual house cleaning tools. ;) OXOspringcleaning

Granted, nothing is perfect, and even though everything bends and folds into place quite easily–I especially love the snap that holds the drying rack together–IMG_7294 (1280x853)

—if you are the type of person who doesn’t like to read directions, you may end up wondering why the legs of your handy sweater drying trampoline [:)] keep getting stuck in the mesh, or the top of your new hamper doesn’t seem to go on correctly.

Just saying. (Look at the instructions.)

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Of course, once you’ve gotten everything expanded and unfolded you’ll discover the joys of hanger racks on either end of the drying center (even if you end up using them to hook sports bras or as a convenient location for The Professor to drape his fancy mountain climber socks)….
IMG_7296 (1280x853)

 …and sliding rods that makes “I’m holding all the clothes because I’m too lazy to walk back and forth and am now trying to shimmy my jeans into what could have been a narrow slot that I can now make as wide as I like” a whole lot less awkward.

(You may also realize you’ve taken to wearing an excessive amount of blue clothing.)IMG_7310 (1280x853)

So, thank you OXO for showing us there’s more to you than the kitchen.IMG_7289 (1280x853)

[And for inspiring The Professor to almost sing out, "Oh, the joys of having my laundry basket back!"*]

*I may or may not have been using it in lieu of a hamper until this moment.

——————————–

I received these items from OXO as part of their #OXOSpringCleaning promotion, but all opinions are my own.

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Tropical Fish Salad (Yogurt Based)

by Sarah on March 25, 2015 · 1 comment

When you suddenly think it’s a great idea to purchase 1 1/2 pounds of cod at Sam’s Club–just for yourself–you need to get creative with how to consume it.IMG_7321 (1280x853)Why not play a little Dr.Seuss inspired game of One Fish*…

*Chimichurri seasoned, baked, and served with roasted local turnips and rutabaga, drizzled with champagne vinaigrette.IMG_7154 (1280x853) (2)

Two Fish

IMG_7136 (1280x853)

Red (Peppers With?)FishIMG_7190 (1280x853)

…[not so] Blue Fish?*

*I froze some of it, so that’s the blue fish in this scenario.IMG_7228 (1280x853)

OK, so the creative writing and allusion fell apart there, but the creative kitchening did NOT.IMG_7318 (1280x853)

The best thing about this scenarios is taking one baking time, and turning it into three different meals, whereby the prep for the second, leads to the prep for the third.IMG_7163 (1280x854)

If you were not alone for the week, you would bake up all of the fish and get to work, making fish tacos the second day, and setting aside half of the red bell pepper, cilantro, and green onions, as well as half of this Siggi’s Seasonal Mango Jalapeno Yogurt for the Tropical Fish Salad creation that is the star of this post.IMG_7242 (1280x853)

(Please note that while I found the Mango Jalapeno Yogurt MUCH fun to use in cooking, I do believe you’d get similar flavors making the substitutions I suggested below, for those of you–like me–who can rarely get to a location that sells Siggi’s.)IMG_7281 (1280x853)

You’re right, Kaila, it IS awesome. :) fishsaladIGTropical Fish Salad

(Serves 2)

  • 1 1/2 cups previously baked firm, white fish (such as cod or mahi mahi), flaked or chopped
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh, canned, or previously frozen pineapple, chopped
  • 2-4 scallions, thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 container Siggis‘ Mango Jalapeno yogurt*
  • 1 tsp. Jamaican Jerk seasoning
  • salt + pepper

* May substitute: 3-4 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeno, 1/3 cup Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup finely chopped mango (reduce pineapple to 1/4 cup)

  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  2. Stir well to combine.
  3. Adjust seasonings to taste!IMG_7339 (1280x854)
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Moosewood-Inspired Pepper Pot Soup

by Sarah on March 21, 2015 · 0 comments

Although I have my moments of crazy, I am not deluded enough to think everyone loves vegetables as much as I do.* Especially not something like collards.

*But they should! They should!IMG_7099 (1280x852)

Over the past few months, The Professor has grown quite accustomed to the smell of slow-cooking collards on the stove post-farmers market every Saturday, but I still don’t think he grasps how I can eat collards (usually seasoned with Cajun seasoning) over…IMG_6389 (1280x853)

…and over…IMG_20150307_182308_183 (1280x720)

…and over…*

*You caught me. These are turnip greens.2014-08-14 19.55.04 (1280x743)

…and over.IMG_20150207_150155 (1)

Please note, I also will eat them in restaurants, I’m just not sure where those photos might be.IMG_20150216_174815

And yes, I realize I also eat sweet potatoes and eggs over and over. But when you’ve found a terrific trio, why mess with a good thing?*

*Toast with sweet potato honey butter works in a pinch.IMG_20150222_134600

While I can convince The Professor–or probably most anyone–to eat them one night (especially if there is also local sausage involved) multiple nights in the week might be pushing it.

So what’s a girl to do (Recipe Re) dux?twoforone_reciperedux

Enter the Pepper PotIMG_7076 (1280x852)

Inspired by the incredible (at least I imagine it must be) Moosewood Restaurant’s recipe, this Caribbean Southern mash-up of molasses and cinnamon infused broth that’s simultaneously sweet and hot and incredibly savory is the perfect way to get a “twofer”* out of your pot o’ gold greens.

*This month’s Recipe Redux theme is Two for One.IMG_7105 (1280x854)

While I knew it was a flavor risk, The Professor ate it happily.

(Or at least he ate it.)

But later, I CRAVED it.*

*And I bet you will, too.IMG_7079 (1280x853)

Pepper Pot Soup

(Inspired by Moosewood Restaurant)

  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. sambal oelek (or subsitute 1 chile of your choice, finely diced)
  • 1 cup rutabaga, chopped (or substitute Yukon gold potatoes)
  • 2 cups bell peppers, chopped
  • 3-4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp. molasses
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes or no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked collard greens (or substitute 4 cups raw, quicker-cooking greens)
  • salt + black pepper
  • cayenne pepper (optional)
  1. In a stock pot or Dutch oven, saute onion, celery, and garlic in a smidge of olive oil and the thyme, cinnamon, and sambal, until softening and fragrant (about 3-5 minutes).
  2. Add rutabaga (or potato) and bell peppers to the pot, stirring well to coat with seasonings. Cook another 3 minutes.
  3. Pour in vegetable broth, molasses, and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer.
  4. Stir in collard greens and adjust seasonings (and add salt and pepper) to taste.
  5. Simmer as long as you can, as the flavors only get better with time.


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Take Me Back to Texas.

by Sarah on March 19, 2015 · 0 comments

I didn’t realize how much I missed Texas until I was sitting under string lights, eating BBQ off of a tray, while a boy with a guitar sang a medley of 90s rock at Stanley’s Famous Pit BBQ in Tyler, Texas last Friday night. I turned to my traveling companion and said, “Christine, I may not be able to get you to Austin on this trip, but this is what it feels like.”

IMG_20150314_204923

While it did take me a moment’s hesitation to decide if I was going to wave a temporary white flag in my one-woman fight against the food industry and eat (definitely worth it) smoked turkey, it took no time at all for me to text The Professor and tell him we both needed to move back to Texas.IMG_20150314_202822_133 (1280x719)

How did I even come to be in Tyler, Texas last Friday night? Well, Christine and I were headed to San Antonio for St. Patrick’s Day what we have since dubbed “the best conference ever.”IMG_20150315_161315_106

Where we redefined what it means to “present a poster,” one sassy, research diva pose at a time. (And were actually given food…and wine…)

PhotoGrid_1426474545377

For those of you who followed along on IG or Facebook, you were probably a little confused. But I swear we were at a conference.

IMG_20150317_084456

See? Hotel food!IMG_20150316_091506

Of course, this conference was very loosely scheduled, leaving plenty of time to teach Christine the ways of Texas, including the previously mentioned BBQ and live music, tacos from trucks…IMG_20150318_120822

HORCHATA!!!*

*vanilla and cinnamon infused rice milk agua frescaIMG_20150317_132256_990 (1280x719)

…and a return to my former Foodie home (or at least it’s San Antonio cousin): Central Market.IMG_20150317_162057

Let’s take a little close-up on that salad masterpiece with the in-house, spicy sweet roasted red pepper hummus in the mix, shall we?IMG_20150317_140625_375

I didn’t get her a Shiner, but I figured I was still doing alright as a Texas tour guide by substituting a sip of my this orange margarita.IMG_20150317_212438

We also found time to take advantage of Free Cone Day at DQ…IMG_20150316_121726

…and be so generously taken out to dinner by two of our professors.IMG_20150316_205026_785

Y’all I cannot even begin to tell you about the seeming 400 plates of deliciousness that we consumed together. This isn’t even all of it, but there was not a single bad dish. Not even a subpar, less liked than the others and tucked to the side of the table one.PhotoGrid_1426565533300

We even ordered all three of the offered desserts, and I couldn’t say what was best. How could you decide between White Chocolate Peach Bread Pudding, Pistachio Pound Cake (with pistachio ice cream), or Dulce De Leche Semifreddo…all covered in caramel or topped with whipped cream?PhotoGrid_1426566596892

I may not know that, but I do know this. Just like the Tom Petty song that almost made me cry with nostalgia that first night in Tyler, Texas was, in many ways, where I found myself “learning to fly,” and although I’ve not always stayed aloft or flown like a crow since then (in a straight line :) ), it was good to go back.IMG_20150317_144742

But, really, I promise y’all we were at a conference.

IMG_20150317_124231_834~2

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