Smokey Pineapple Tequila and Mezcal Cocktail Inspired by the Spirited Happy Hour at Bastion in Celebration of Music City Food + Wine Festival!

Your missing out if you haven’t yet had a tequila and mezcal cocktail!

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Get your tickets today so you can experience the fabulous 4th Annual Music City Food + Wine Festival held in Nashville. 

Every year before the Music City Food + Wine Festival, there’s always a celebration that takes place at one of our fabulous local restaurants that showcases our immensely talent chefs. This year we all gathered at Bastion, Chef Josh Habiger’s newest culinary and cocktail experience for all of us to enjoy. Josh is also one of the talented chefs you will get to see at the Music City Food + Wine Festival in September. It’s located in the Houston Station area of Nashville with a casual yet chic vibe in ” a warehouse-style digs with trendy, restored decor.”

If you’ve never had tequila in any other cocktail other than a margarita, you are missing out. And when it’s combined with Mescal and pineapple juice, it creates a cocktail on a whole new level of refreshment and enjoyment.

Here’s my inspired version of my new favorite cocktail!

This is a cocktail that is sweet and savory blend of all the flavors we love, sweet, salty, savory, spicy with a touch of smoke. It simply has it all.

Immediately, I fell in love with the layers of flavors. Smoke from the mezcal, slightly sweet tropical flavors of pineapple juice, fresh ginger, tart lime, shaken and poured into a glass that’s coated with spicy BBQ seasoned salt. I added a touch of demerara sugar, cardamom and smoked paprika to balance out the flavors.

This cocktail is called Toy Soldier at Bastion. We just call it that “awesome smokey tequila cocktail” that changed my concept of a cocktail for ever.

CHEERS!

 

 

28

08 2016

My Paella Travels: Weekends Are Better with a Mixed Paella and Lodge Cast Iron Pans

Mixed Paella with Seafood and Sausage 

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photo by www.LaylaMaysphotography.com

Before I began cooking paella professionally, there were many weekends that I enjoyed practicing and perfecting my paella cooking skills to create the best authentic Spanish paellas around.  My friends enjoyed it too. When I moved to Nashville over 25 years ago,  I quickly found out that it was a challenge to get the ingredients and fresh seafood needed. Well, Nashville has come a long way with a burgeoning culinary scene and I now have the freshest ingredients and spices to create an authentic Spanish paella that will keep you craving for more.

Recently, Lodge Cast Iron, a product from Tennessee, sent me a paella pan and I am now creating authentic paellas with a Nashville culinary spirit. Creating any meal from local ingredients means that you will have the freshest ingredients that reflects the local culinary scene. Why not create your masterpiece from the local Tennessee product that has proven its quality and durability since 1910.

Cooking your paella is best when you have the time to leisurely cook and enjoy the experience from beginning to end, which usually takes about 45 minutes. My Lodge Carbon Steel 15 inch Paella Pan is perfect for generous portions for about 6 people. This version of My Paella Travels paella is loaded with Seared Scallops, Jumbo Shrimp, Chicken, Mussels atop tender and crusty bomba rice layered with asparagus, squash, broth, saffron and a touch of smoked paprika.

Socarrat is the crusty rice formed at the bottom of the paella pan, if the paella is cooked properly. Luckily, the Lodge Cast Iron paella pan is great at creating the most prized part of the paella.

Be sure to pop open a bottle of Cava (Spain’s bubbly wine) for a perfect weekend pairing.

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08 2016

Chef José Andreś-Inspired Chicken, Mushroom and Sausage Paella in my Lodge Carbon Steel Paella Pan & Tapas Paired with Ribera Del Douro Wine is the Perfect Meal for Weekends

Paella de Pollo y Setas (Chicken and Mushroom Paella) with Camarón Tapas and Fresh Green Salad

15 inch Lodge Carbon Steel Paella Pan

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(photos by www.LaylaMaysPhotography.com)

Usually, I teach paella cooking classes but this time I was the student. Our local Williams Sonoma was featuring paella this month and I couldn’t resist experiencing other recipes for paella because I always learn something new and ways to add new flavor profiles to my paellas.

The ingredients for this type of paella was pretty straight forward but I couldn’t resist on adding my signature touches to make it my own.

When, I am creating a custom paella for 6 people, I always use my 15 inch Lodge Paella Pan. I love it! It cooks the paella perfectly, helps ensure the crusty socarrat rice crust and finish it off in the oven.

A fresh, well-made broth is the key to the foundation of creating a flavorful and authentic paella. The best part of this class was the mushroom broth. Fill a stock pot with your favorite (homemade) chicken stock (or water ) and fill it with a package of a variety of fresh mushrooms (sliced), carrots, celery, onions, fresh thyme. Add your favorite spices and salt and pepper, too. I prefer the combination of chicken stock and mushrooms for more flavor in the stock. Flavor and aromas should be the most important consideration in creating the best paellas ever, including the stock!

Locally made sausages are a big deal here in Nashville because they are amazing so I include some of the best around. Find your local butcher to add a touch of your area in each bite. This is so important. If your a lucky enough to find a locally made Spanish-style chorizo in your area, use it!

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The Chicken Mushroom Paella by José Andrés that was posted in Wine Enthusiast Magazine is a nice recipe on its own, which inspired me to take it to another level by adding a few ingredients that you like with elevate the flavor profiles and the bright colors will catch your eye.

Green peas, red and yellow pepper strips and lemons added near the end of the cooking add color contrast and interesting flavors and textures you will enjoy.

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There is nothing better than a big bowl full of flavorful paella with a perfectly formed soccorat (rice crust) and with a bottle of full-bodied Ribera del Duoro near by. Fuentespina Seleccion 2011 is a classic example of the luscious 100% Tempranillos from the Ribera de Duoro region of Spain. Wines from this area are very diverse and flavors of plum and strawberries that pair well with dishes with layers of flavors including sausages and chicken.

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The tapas is an-seared shrimp with olive oil, salt and pepper with Curry Mayo with lime. Mix 1 cup mayo with 1 tablespoon of Madras curry powder, honey to taste, lime juice to taste. Serve with a bubbly glass of Cava Rose’.

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Fresh orange segments, chopped/blanched asparagus and sweet purple onion pairs very well with a paella dinner. Serve with fresh, homemade ranch dressing with fresh or dried tarragon.

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08 2016