Going “Beyond Salmon” at Nashville’s Miel

As a cliche urban millennial, I want my fancy dining experiences but also don’t want the guilt of the environmental impact of dining out. When we can find restaurants and experiences that align with both of these values, we get really excited. When my husband was browsing The Nashville Scene on Twitter one morning, he found this…

… and asked if I was interested in doing this “Trash Fish Dinner Thing”. I was intrigued.

Miel is an interesting place. Billed as a French-inspired restaurant, Proprietor Seema Prasad and Chef Jason LaIacona are dedicated to creating beautiful food and experiences that are elevated while also remaining hyper-local and sustainable. Matt & I went once before this event and were really impressed. I recall the highlight being the wood-grilled oysters (which are probably not transplant friendly but I live on the edge) and our wonderful gentle giant of a waiter.

The premise of this dinner was to highlight the different kinds of sustainably caught fish outside of the standard Salmon/Tuna/Shrimp rotation commonly found on seafood menus. All you had going into this was a rough idea of the flavors and preparations the chef wanted to work with.

The Night’s Menu

We were taken to The Barn, which is a lovely event space on the premise (and now where I want to have our elopement reception), and introduced to the concept by Chef LaIacona. Everything served was chosen because it was fresh, sustainable, and delicious. The actual menu ended up shifting slightly to what you see above based on the quality of what they had gotten in that morning and other ingredients available. Sounds fab.

Pre-Dinner Drink: Watermelon Shrub

While we were enjoying the unseasonably reasonable weather for Nashville in The Barn, we were offered a pre-dinner non-alcoholic drink – The Watermelon Shrub. It was a tart and refreshing palate cleanser. Not very watermelon-y in terms of what you think of when you hear “watermelon flavored”. It tasted like it was made more from the rinds of the fruit as opposed to the flesh, which I have since learned makes sense. Shrubs are essentially a vinegar-based cocktail. I can see how a splash of rum would have made this quite dangerous.

Course One: Mussels with Yuzu, Coconut, & Acid

This was delicious. Mussels are one of those foods that I forget I enjoy until I have them. These were tender and had that slight sea salt burst when you bit them. This broth though… fantastic! It was buttery and slightly salty with enough citrus to make it interesting. I had to stop myself from sticking my face in the bowl and slurping it up. I wish we had been given bread with this.

Bonus Course: Smoked Sable Mousse With Potato and Black Garlic Shoyu

Not wanting to waste anything in the kitchen, we got a few “bonus courses” through the evening. The first was this smoked sable mousse with some sourdough toast. Flavorwise, it was very reminiscent of a smoked salmon spread but with a looser texture. Would absolutely eat this again.

Course Two: Seared Sable With Smoked Honey Vinegrette and Summertime Beans

Take two with the sable was almost as good as the first. The fish was beautiful and delicate. The vinaigrette was phenomenal. The beans were… ok. They were fresh, which was great, but they weren’t cooked, or not cooked enough at least. I appreciate the joy of eating a bean right from the garden, but raw lima beans aren’t really my jam. Still, that vinaigrette dressing made it easy to overlook the texture.

Let’s Talk About The Wine For A Second…

We opted to do the wine pairings with the meal. This got us three glasses of white wine that were curated to go with the dishes served, starting from lightest to “heaviest”. The first was N.V. Maitre de Chai, Chenin Blanc, Wilson Vineyard, which was a lovely sparkling choice from California. A few dishes in, we were given a glass of the 2020 Albarino d’Fefinanes, from Rías Biaxas, SP, which really came alive with the dish below. We finished the last course and dessert with a glass of 2012 Chateau de Chasseloir, “Comte LeLoup”, Muscadet Sevre et Maine. Loire Valley, FR which stood up well to the heavier finishing course.

I’m not a wine expert, but they did pair very well and left me feeling a little buzzed towards the end of the night. Perk of being a lightweight I suppose.

Course Three: Grilled Bronzini with Lemon, Parsley, Corn, & Leeks

This was Matt’s favorite dish of the night and I don’t disagree with that assessment. The fish was heartier than the previous choice and went so well with the wine they selected. I appreciate that it was a really simple dish; lemon, parsley, salt, pepper and that’s it. It’s a testament to the cliche of the quality of your ingredients matter. This corn is also now on the list of things to recreate at home.

Bonus Course: A Take on Fish & Chips

Another bonus dish from the kitchen. I think this was Hake (I was a few glasses of wine in at this point) with the cutest little waffle fry I have ever seen. The tartar sauce was really good and the grated egg on top was a surprisingly fitting finishing touch. The presentation won a lot of points in the dining room too.

Course Four: Roasted Monkfish & Skate Wing with a Umami Ragout

First of all, ragout is a severely underrated dish. This was so good! There was such richness and depth to it. I think I heard something about the black garlic shoyu being used again, which would make sense given the umami theme running through the course. This was my first time having monkfish, and in spite of being known as “poor man’s lobster” I thought it was just ok on it’s own. The skate was the better of the two in my opinion although it was also just ok on it’s own. What made it really good was the tiny little bit of miso butter they included. I wish we had at least one more blob to put on top of these fish.

Dessert: Seasonal Fruit, Coulis, Chantilly, Basil, Tart Crumble

I think this was the least successful dish of the night. Plating wise, I think it’s beautiful. When you were able to scoop it all together in one bite, it was really good. What didn’t work for me was the deconstructed aspect. I don’t want to work for my dessert, you know? Given how constructed all of the previous courses had been, I was expecting a little more of the same for this. If this has been combined in a little ramiken as a summer berry cobbler and served warm with the cream on top, I would have been in heaven.

Final Thoughts

One thing we kept saying through the meal was “I didn’t know ______ could taste like this”. We came away wanting to expand our horizons with our fish orders as well as making a small list of things we now want to cook at home. I think it’s safe to say the goal of the meal was a success. If there was a complaint, it’s that this was a long dinner service. By the time dessert came around we had been at our table for 3 1/2 hours, which was a little more than we had expected to spend there.

Overall, our experience at Miel was as good as our first. The staff was wonderful, even if they were being kept busy the whole time. The interior is lovely. The food was amazing. We’re already planning our next visit back to see what else this team is planning to do with foods we didn’t know we enjoyed.

Find Miel Online

Website | Instagram | Reservations

Hocus Pocus Cookbook: Book Review

It’s Halloween season, and for many of us of a certain age, there is one movie that captures the very essence of this season better than any other; the modern classic Hocus Pocus. And what do we love more than a good movie binge? Why, a cookbook that goes along with the movie to create your own full immersive experience at home!

Enter “The Unofficial Hocus Pocus Cookbook”. This cookbook is authored by Bridget Thoreson, whose other works include “XOXO: A Cocktail Book”; and consulting for “Are You My Wine?” and is clearly written by someone with a deep love for the film.

I would like to thank Pacific & Court, Bridget Thoreson, and Ulysses Press for sending me a copy of this cookbook for review.

The recipes in this book are loosely organized and seem to focus more on the macabre naming of the recipe as opposed to what the recipe is actually for. The first three sections are thematic in nature; fall favorites, “townspeople” curated food, and “macabre” named items (which were my favorites). The last three sections are for alcoholic beverages, nonalcoholic beverages, and miscellaneous items that you might need to go with previously mentioned dishes. It’s great if you’re planning a menu, but gets confusing if you’re looking for something for dinner.

You can’t really review a cookbook without doing some actual cooking; so that is what I did. I picked four recipes from the various sections to test. All were super quick and easy to put together. They were also easy to modify based on what was available at the store.

@fabkiwi06

Cooking my way through the Hocus Pocus Cookbook! Review on glitterandprofanity.com #cookbooktiktok #hocuspocus #hocuspocuschallenge #nashvilleblogger

♬ original sound – Kieran ‘Kiwi’ Bailey

First up, we had the Bones of 100 Chickens, which is a take on wings. I made it using the pre-cooked wings from Publix because I was tired. These got rave reviews from both my partner and myself; a great flavorful spicy as opposed to a heat spicy. Just make sure you check your spice blends for salt before you add more to the mix.

Next, I made a big batch of the Cinnamon Pecan Syrup. I’m a Yooper living in the South… I love my maple and I love my pecans. This was delicious as is. Wonderful on pancakes, waffles, and the lot. But as a coffee syrup? To die for.

Moving on to the weakest of the lot, A Spell For Flayed And Crispy Breast of Chicken. This tasted a lot better than it looked; my oven did not want to toast this bad boy up. I’d make it again, but probably pan-fry to get it to the golden perfection it deserves.

Lastly, I had to try breakfast and I made A Little Child… On Toast, which wins the best recipe name in my opinion. You can’t go wrong with a classic egg toast like this. Would probably also be delicious with some of the leftover wings from above after a night out.

The Unofficial Hocus Pocus Cookbook is a loving tribute to the world the Sanderson Sisters stepped into when they were awoken in modern-day Salem in the mid-90s. These recipes are a fun way to create a mini-immersive experience while you have the movie on a constant loop for Halloween or any time of year; It is always Hocus Pocus season, after all.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book & Publishing Info:

The Unofficial Hocus Pocus Cookbook by Bridget Thoreson
Published Sept. 2021 by Ulysses Press
Author Website | Ulysses Press | Goodreads | Amazon

“Leftover” Candy Cake Mix Cookies

One of the best things about Halloween is the candy.

If y’all haven’t done the Box Cake Mix cookie, y’all are missing out. This recipe is a great one to tuck in your back pocket for any last minute baking emergencies or potluck panics. Next time you’re at the grocery store and you see cake mix on sale, grab a few to stash in the pantry. You’ll thank me later.

The real beauty of these kinds of cookies is that you can do pretty much anything to them and they’re delicious, but I think they really shine around the holidays. Especially when you’re looking at the bottom of the candy bucket and have the stuff you’re less than thrilled about left. For example, I have never looked at a Baby Ruth and thought, “I want to eat that.”

Now, for these cookies in particular I ended up going with my favorite Halloween candy combos; chocolate, caramel, and peanut butter. Think Kit-Kats, 100 Grand, Reese’s, Rollo, Butterfingers, and even the much maligned Babe Ruth. Give the candy a rough chop (I used the food processor) and toss it in the mix. How much candy? Measure with your heart. You can bake them naked or give them a roll in some seasonal sprinkles before tossing them in the oven.

A couple things that are worth investing in for your kitchen in general, but this recipe in particular, are a cookie scoop and a silpat. Things can get a little gooey.

I did not inherit my family’s genetic predisposition for proper cookie dough portioning and this scoop has made it easier to crank out pretty uniform cookies that wouldn’t get me a death glare from Paul Hollywood. Silpats, or silicone baking mats, are also PH approved. If you are baking anything gooey or cheesey or just don’t want to deal with stuff sticking to your pans, these are a must. Parchment paper also works if you’d rather, but it’s really not the same.

10-12 minutes later and you have your dish to bring to your awkward office Halloween lunch thing.

Leftover Candy Cake Mix Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 Box of Cake Mix
  • 1/2 Cup of Oil
  • 2 Eggs
  • Leftover Halloween Candy
  • Sprinkles

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Combine Cake Mix, Eggs, and Oil in bowl and mix well.
  3. Chop leftover Halloween Candy into bits and mix in to the dough.
  4. Scoop large tablespoons of dough and roll into balls
  5. Optional: Roll balls in sprinkles
  6. Place on lined cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes

Have you tried these cookies? Leave a rating in the comments below!

Daiso Japan Haul

Seriously considered doing some cunning April Fools post. The thing is, I’m actually traveling back from vacation at the moment and don’t have the spare brain cells to be that cunning. What I do have is a bunch of stuff to show off.
I just spent a week in Southern California, which was fantastic. Saw family, went to Wizard World AND Disneyland, and didn’t accidentally drive in to Compton. But most importantly, for purposes of this post at least, I went to Daiso Japan.
For anyone not in the know, Daiso is basically the Japanese version of the dollar store. I believe most of their products are priced around 100 yen, or about $1.50 in US dollars. It’s super cute and kawaii, and gives the illusion of being better than the dollar store stuff at Budget Dollar even though I’m sure it’s pretty much the same.
Y’all. I went a little wild. This was my receipt.

 I spent roughly $90 in there. I am not ashamed. Here’s what I got.

To start, I got a bag. Partially because California charges you for bags and I figured I should get a reusable one if I should pay for it… and partially because I have a real “bag problem” if you know what I mean. 

Stationary: 5 packs of washi (two rolls in each), some post it notes, and some cat themed page flags. Yes, I have a use for every single one of the items. THE WASHI WAS CACTI AND PINEAPPLE I NEEDED IT! 

Magnetic hooks for my fridge, a sushi key chain, a sushi magnet (which was a gift), and a really handy earbud case that I have already made use of on the flight back. 

Oragami Paper, Emoji stickers big and small, and 3 packs of a5 notebook inserts. #plannergirlproblems 

Pens! Crown pens, brush pens, sushi pen, and adorable correction tape because I can’t spell to save my life. Seriously, that last sentence had all the red underlining…

Right proper Japanese Ramen. This with some leftover teriyaki and a tea egg? So good omg… 

MORE PENS! All but one was .38, but they are all lovely superfine tips.  

Assorted Kitchen stuff; including silicone molds for crafting/baking, two coffee mugs because I have another problem with those, cookie cutters for the gift closet, and a Kona coffee that was actually pretty refreshing considering how much milk was in it.

 Beauty things!! Eyelashes! Eyelash Case! Foot “detox” pads because why not?! A face mask that I think is charcoal! A Lime bag! A scrunchi! 

Last, but not least… THREE Popin’ Cookin’s. The dude who checked me out asked me if I knew that these weren’t really that great to eat. I assured him I had watched the Youtube videos and was a professional. So… This is probably gonna happen at some point this month… 

All tallied, there are 54 items in total including the duplicates I got. I’m pleased, both at my selection AND that I managed to fit it all in my suitcase. Now to figure out where to put it all in my house…