Chez Nous

Last Thursday I worked a mid-shift, releasing me to enjoy an evening away from the hotel and the crazy scenarios that can occur in the hotel world at night. On these special occasions, I take FULL advantage. My favorite times, as y’all know, are enjoying my evenings cooking dinner or exploring new restaurants with my friends. On this particular night, I was extremely thirsty and eager to run out the door that I had one of my oldest friends, Louise, on the phone before my feet hit the free pavement. After going back in forth on where to meet up, we decided that I’d pick her up (check out the sweet new house!) and head over to Chez Nous. Chez Nous is a new french GEM! in town and what I’ve been calling the ‘sister restaurant’ to Bin 152. It is down a small hidden street, that I actually mistakenly passed, called Payne street. Payne is off of Coming, between Spring and Cannon, and leads you down to a narrow cul-de-sac where Chez Nous stands in a charming Charleston House. I couldn’t wait to explore the inside!IMG_0014Just beyond the black wooden fence, is France. Plain and simple. Right in the middle of downtown Charleston you find France. Look at that table in the sweet petit courtyard. I think Pane E Vino has found his French MadameIMG_0002“There’s something magical about hidden cottage Chez Nous. Couples fall in love, critics swoon about its romantic potential, and with only two people in the kitchen (chefs Jill Mathias and Juan Cassalett), they still put out some of the most-praised plates on the peninsula.”-Eater Charleston. Well then, as you can see Louise and I were in for quite the date night. Upon walking in the house, the restaurant is dimly lit, with beautiful dark wooden features, small tables for two strategically placed around the room, and quiet music plays in the background to really set the mood. I also noticed old pictures hang on the walls with antique mirrors that enhance the romantic scene. Louise and I were placed at one of the most special tables as said by the waitress, a high top right beside the window. IMG_0006At this point we were feeling extremely fancy, and maybe even a little out of place for an after-work drink. I felt like I had to whisper to keep up with the tender ambiance of Chez Nous. There was no turning back now though, and not that I wanted to, just some rearranging to do in my frontal lobe to prepare myself. The bar consists of beer and wine only and we decided on a bottle of white from France. Unfortunately, I’m at a loss for the name, but I have had this wine before and remember it for the hints of pear and how crisp it was. Definietly a favorite and I’m sure if you described it they would be able to pull it for you. Louise had already eaten and I had for the most part, but of course, needed to see the menu. Each day the menu changes and consists of 2-3 appetizers, 2-3 entrees, and a dessert. I decided I needed to try the Eggplant Pate.IMG_0004The pate came with a toasted baguette that they sliced and served with a warm tomato confit. Our waitress explained that the chef removes the skins from the eggplant, blanches them, chops up the meat of the eggplant, stuffs everything into a plastic mold, cooks it in the oven, and then finally, sets it aside to cool in the fridge before serving. This was something explained to us in the beginning and Louise and I were lost. Then, after being checked on a few times by different people in the restaurant and getting more information each time on the production, I think we are now pros.

Towards the end of our bottle of wine and appetizer, two goofy faces walked in the door.IMG_0011Good ole Trig and Reckless Ray. We decided to have another glass of wine with these guys and all enjoy dessert, a chocolate pastry.IMG_0010

At this point, I think I had loosened up and was done with the whispering! We certainly enjoyed our special window spot and had fun being fancy for the night.
IMG_0013Go check out Chez Nous with your love bird and let me know how the entrees are! Also, was told by the owner on our way out that they have an amazing brunch! Any takers??

1 Day Cleanse

A couple months ago I bought a random Groupon for a full day cleanse consisting of 6 different juices. I have always heard of people doing 1, 2, 3, and even full 7 day cleanses and thought they were crazy. However, after thinking of the copious amounts of junk food and alcohol I poison my body with, why not try it? Okay that’s not really the reason. I actually eat pretty heathy, hit the gym and yoga when I can, and not worried about losing weight. This is more of my interest in ridding toxins from my body and giving my stomach muscles a break from breaking down food. I have been super excited about doing this slash extremely intimidated since food makes me sane. Welp- today was the day. I headed to Sweet Cee Cees on Market Street and picked up my juice package. IMG_0038 At 9:38am I opened my first juice: Supreme Green. YUM. I am definitely bad at deciphering what the ingredients are in these juices, but this one was refreshing. It almost tasted as refreshing as watermelon with cucumber. Okay cleanse-I got this.IMG_0031 11:30am- The Rookie. This juice wasn’t as good, but I still enjoyed it. I would probably even pay to drink this one as a snack. It tasted like a V8. Alright I’m still in this.IMG_0032 1:30-Memory Activator. I’m not that happy. My stomach is growling. I’m writing my Crockpottuesday article for September and describing the way my Chicken Pot Pie tasted from the night before along with the sausage dip and fudge. Memory Activator my ass. IMG_0033 3:38pm- I ate A peanut.

3:40pm-System Detox. Why am I doing this. This is torture. The drink is okay-beets, roots, okay actually it tastes like dirt. M u s t  C o n t i n u e…

IMG_0034 5:30pm-Reboot. I’m miserable. I want to call it off. People are actually hungry out there and I’m paying to be hungry. Is this even healthy at this point because of my hungry levels? I am HANGRY!

IMG_0035 7:57pm……IMG_0036 I couldn’t help it. I really tired. My stomach was eating the insides of my stomach. And it was literally TORTURE knowing homemade chicken pot pie was just sitting feet from me in the fridge. :(

8:05pm-Relax. Last juice and it’s so gross! It tastes like a bunch of plants blended together. I guess I deserve it though since I cheated. Oops.IMG_0037

 

Sorry I’m not sorry. That Chicken Pot Pie was the best thing I’ve eaten all day and I don’t regret it!!!! Stay tuned for the recipe!

Have y’all ever passed the cleanse??

Summer Tacos

Hola Crockheads,

Recently, I had a Crockpottuesday dinner with Christine, Catherine and Brett. The menu was Cilantro and Basil Mango Mojitos, Fruit Bruschetta, Black Bean Tacos with a Creamy Avocado Dressing, and Grilled Corn. I have been craving grilled corn all summer, but there has always been one problem-I don’t own a grill. I can’t wait til the day that I have an actual yard allowing for a grill. #1-Keeper will finally be in the picture and I’ll be over the moon and #2- a grill will open up so many new cooking doors.corn 2 Indulging in a plate full of foods straight off the grill is such a satisfying summer feeling. Also, eating delicious, colorful foods while wearing cut of shorts and a light weight tank top is why summer is the best season—I could definitely live in summertime 365 days a year. Give me a huge slice of red juicy watermelon with large black seeds, a cold pitcher of tropical juices with cilantro and basil leaves, a fresh avocado, and the hot summer sun and I’ll be set.girls

Good food, good drinks, and good friends.This is such an ideal night off work for me. Enjoy the recipes and get to cooking and grilling before summer is over!

Cilantro and Basil Mojitos

1 oz. simple syrup

1.5 oz. Rum

2-3 lime wedges

2 tablespoons cilantro and basil, chopped

3 mango slices mango, chopped

Soda water

This is the recipe we found for one individual mojito drink. After all of us having comical views on the proper way to go about making the cocktail, we decided to make one large community pitcher. We said to heck with the measurements and just mixed everything together using our taste buds as guidance. There were no complaints. This is a great summer drink to enjoy out on the porch and share with friends. mango drink 2 mango drinkEven Moe was intrigued!

moe and dirnks

 Fruit Bruschetta

1 loaf French Bread

Strawberries

Peaches

Watermelon

2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar

1 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves

1 Log blueberry Goat Cheese

Place the fruit and basil leaves on a cutting board and dice everything into small pieces. Combine in a bowl and drizzle on the balsamic vinegar. Preheat oven to 350F. Slice the French bread and bake for 8-10 minutes until toasted. Spread blueberry goat cheese on each slice of French bread and then carefully place fruit mixture on top. Ready to serve immediately and makes for a great appetizer.fruitsalsagoat cheesebruchetta 2bruschetta

Black Bean Tacos with Creamy Avocado Dressing

Flour or Corn Tortillas

2 15oz. Cans Black Beans

1 Cup Salsa

1 tsp. Cumin

Toppings

Shredded Lettuce

Chopped Tomatoes

Chopped Avocado

(for the sauce)

2 Small Avocados

1 Small Jalapeno

¼ Cup Cilantro, stems removed

1 Green Onion-diced

1 Clove Garlic-diced

Juice from 1 Lime

¾ Cup Buttermilk

Salt and Pepper to taste

To make the Avocado Dressing, pour all ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth. Set aside in refrigerator and begin making the tacos.veggieslimebutter milkphoto In a pan over medium heat, add beans, salsa, and cumin. Keep beans on a low heat setting and stir occasionally for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, take tortillas and warm them for a few minutes in the oven. Once beans are ready, begin platting the tacos. Place the tortilla down first and then add the beans, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, and spoon on the Avocado Dressing. The dressing is my favorite and has been great for additional meals I’ve been making . It certainly has a kick and is a bit on the spicy side. Also-Catherine, thank you for your artistic picture taking skills of the below tacos! taco taco 2 plating

As for the Grilled Corn, we set six ears of white corn on the grill. Once some of the kernels showed beautiful blacked grill marks, within about 7-10 minutes, we transferred them to a plate. The corn was so fresh the only thing it needed was some good ‘ole southern butta!grill cornOverall, this was a very pretty meal and the display of the tacos with the different colors provided a nice summer touch. We sat outside on Christine’s porch and enjoyed a beautiful Charleston night. Thanks for hosting Tine, Brett, and Moe!friends

Thanks for reading Crockheads! Let me know about your recreations!

Redfish

One fish, two fish, blue fish, red fish. Whatch yall know ’bout red fish?? I’ll tell yall what, Ben’s been catching it like crazy out here in Charleston. Again, I can’t give away the secret spot, but it has done us well. Ben went out in his kayak the other day and brought back a big ‘ole red fish and we got to cooking. picstitch (2)

My job was to fillet the fish. After some you-tubing, I learned to make the first incision behind the side fin of the fish and cut up towards the top. Once at the top of the fish, cut down the line of his back. This creates two fillets on either side. I cut very close to the rib cage and slowly separated off the meat. It was a little tricky because I had to pierce through the scales, but the job got done.

Next job-how to cook the thing. There are so many different ways to cook fish and my mind was racing because I wanted the best of the best. My co-worker Clay had recently prepared a fish dish where he baked it in parchment paper. This really intrigued me and still does, but I was without parchment paper and too late to buy some. I am also currently without a grill so that is always out. So then the frying pan, I believed and hoped that I could not go wrong here. I did some research and came up with a Blacked Redfish recipe.

Spices you will need:

Salt, Pepper, Red Pepper, Oregano, Paprika, Basil, and Thyme.

spices

I first dipped each fillet in melted butter. Then I mixed all the spices together and gently rubbed the fillets with the mixture. I heated up just a tiny bit of olive oil in the skillet and then seared the bad boys on each side for probably one minute, they cook very quickly!fish

Meanwhile, Ben had been creating a fancy Burgundy Mushroom Sauce. He heated up some butter (yes we’ve used a lot of butter…we’re Southerners get over it) and threw in mushrooms, green onions, and garlic. mushrooms green onionsThe mushrooms cooked for a good couple of minutes and then Ben added about a half cup of red wine. While this was simmering, he also added some sour cream to thicken the sauce up a bit. After tasting the mushroom sauce, it didn’t have the sweetness kick Ben was hoping for from the wine. He went in the fridge and came out with a spoonful of strawberry jam and mixed it into the pot. Voila! Next, we boiled a pot of water to also have some fresh green beans as another side.

rooms and beansThe whole meal turned out excellent. I think we were both really proud of ourselves and felt like real adults. To be able to eat fish that is caught straight out the water is crazy good. It tastes more heroic and the meal feels like more of an accomplishment. The fish was seasoned perfectly and browned to a crisp with a soft inside. The mushrooms were ridiculous. They were creamy and had enough sauce to pour over the green beans. I think the only thing we need to work on is our plating. Plating food is definitely an artwork and ours looks a little overloaded, but hey we ate every last bite.

instaThe picture below is what Catherine would call “Crockpotwednesday.”
cpt wedHappy Crockpottuesday!photo 5