TGIFriday Video: Booze and John Green!

We 3 Happy Eaters have a particular fondness of author/vlogger John Green. He wrote The Fault in Our Stars, a New York Times Best Seller, and if you haven't read it you really really should. Really. I don't care if you don't like YA, you will love this book.

On the vlog scene, John Green hosts Mental Floss, a weekly show on YouTube "where knowledge junkies get their fix of trivia-tastic information." Seriously nerdy, seriously witty, seriously amazing, and his latest vlog is this week's TGIFriday Food/Fun video!

A quick, fascinating look at the history behind your favorite cocktails:

Happy Friday, eaters!


Spicy pizza with bacon and arugula

To use up the last of the arugula, leftover from my baked sweet potato and salad dinners earlier in the week, I decided to make a salad-topped pizza. I also had leftover bacon. So of course that was going on it too.

When it comes to homemade pizza, I keep it simple, stupid. I don't want to make dough and then make a pizza. I want to make a pizza. So, no shame, I buy dough from the bakery at my favorite Publix.

Spicy pizza with bacon and arugula

1 lb pizza dough
4 slices of bacon
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup pizza sauce
a whole bunch of mozzarella cheese, shredded
couple handfuls of arugula, (VERY) lightly dressed (I used the leftover champagne vinaigrette)

Preheat oven according to pizza dough instructions (usually 400ish).

Let your dough sit out in a covered bowl (lightly greased with cooking spray) while you're makin bacon. Doesn't matter how you choose to cook your bacon, but I did mine in the pan until crispy.

Roll out your dough to desired thickness--about 12in circle in the end. Spread your sauce evenly over it, top with bacon and red pepper flakes for a spicy kick. Cover with cheese and bake according to dough instructions (usually 12-15mins) or until crust is golden. Let cool for a sec on a cutting board while you get your arugula ready.

Toss your arugula in a teeeeeeny bit of dressing, and place lightly on top of pizza. Slice and enjoy!

Reheat: if you reheat your pizza in the oven the next day, remove the arugula until the pizza is heated through so it doesn't get wilted.

Bon app!


Try this at home: Sun in My Belly's Hermes Salad

The best salad I've ever had was at Sun in My Belly, a lovely little restaurant in Decatur. I was taking advantage of a ScoutMob hand-picked deal for dinner for two (they've got one right now and it's almost gone! go get it!) and that included your choice of salad to start.

I chose the Hermes, and it changed my life forever. I would definitely not say that I'm a salad person, but I would eat this happily any/every day.

I decided it'd be really simple to recreate at home, so I decided to give it a go. Sure enough, totally doable and so delicious. I don't think they used gorgonzola as their bleu cheese, but that's what I had on hand from my baked sweet potato the night before.

Usually by the end of a salad I'm having to convince myself to keep eating it, but no so with this one. So even if you have a salad aversion, I dare you to give this one a try! The arugula is perfectly peppery and pairs beautiful with the bite of the bleu cheese and the sweetness of the roasted pears.

Arugula with bleu cheese, toasted walnuts, roasted pears and champagne vinaigrette

For the salad you'll need:
a plateful of arugula
a little bleu cheese (I used gorgonzola)
a handful of walnuts, lightly toasted (pop em in the oven for a couple minutes)
roasted pears, chopped (recipe below)
champagne vinaigrette (recipe below)

For the roasted pears:
2 pears, cored and halved
1 Tbs melted butter
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400. Cut each pear half into 4 lengthwise slices. Toss in the butter, sugar and lemon juice and spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast for 20-30 mins, stirring them around every 10 or so minutes. They'll be ready when they're golden brown and slightly soft.

For the champagne vinaigrette:
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of black pepper

Combine mustard and vinegar. Then, whisking the whole time, slowly drizzle in olive oil to emulsify (mix oil and vinegar). Season with salt and pepper!

Now, assemble away! To your plateful of arugula, crumble some bleu cheese, sprinkle on some toasted walnuts, top with the roasted pears, and finally drizzle on the vinaigrette!

Bon app!


Stuffed baked sweet potato with bacon, arugula and gorgonzola sour cream

What do bacon, arugula and champagne vinaigrette all have in common? They're featured in three yummy dinner recipes this week! So get excited!

I bought a package of bacon and a bag of arugula at the beginning of the week, and ended up making three very delicious dinners out of them--some new, some recreations--and I'll be sharing those recipes with you guys this week! So head to the store and grab you some bacon and arugula and champagne vinaigrette and join me!

[you'll need: a sweet potato, bacon, gorgonzola bleu cheese, champagne vinaigrette,
sour cream, olive oil, parsley, arugula. beer optional (but not really).]

First up: a baked sweet potato!

I had never actually done a baked sweet potato before, so I didn't realize how...well..sweet and caramel-y they are! I popped one in the oven at 400 after washing and stabbing it a few times so it wouldn't explode, and let it bake for about an hour (keep an eye on it, though!).

While it was baking, I made the bacon. I fried three slices up in a pan, and set them aside to cool and be crumbled. **Special note: save your bacon grease! Keep a rinsed-out can in your freezer and pour your bacon drippings in there--it makes for a delicious fat for cooking things in later on! Like Amanda's butternut squash soup.**

Next, the gorgonzola sour cream. I was inspired to use it for this recipe by a restaurant in my college town of Rome, Georgia: Harvest Moon Cafe. They have a house-made sweet potato chips with a gorgonzola dip that is to die for--so from that I knew gorgonzola and sweet potatoes make a delicious pair.

I started with about 3oz of gorgonzola cheese, found in the deli section of my favorite Publix. I combined that with 2 tablespoons of champagne vinegar (spoiler alert: this will star in a salad dressing later this week!) and mashed with a fork until it was almost creamy. I stirred in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a third a cup of sour cream, as well as 2 teaspoons of dried parsley and salt and pepper to taste. I popped the bowl in the fridge until ready to use.

When the potato is all nice and baked through, I put it on a plate and made a slice through the middle, but not cutting it completely in two. I grabbed my arugula and put a couple handfuls in/on top of the potato, followed by a few spoonfuls of the gorgonzola sour cream, and topped it off with the bacon crumbles.

I poured myself a beer because I wouldn't want it to be too healthy, and voila!

Give it a try and let me know how you like it! and stay tuned for the next bacon/arugula/champagne vinaigrette recipe!


Go to there: Verde Taqueria

There are a few restaurants that I could imagine eating at every single day. Fortunately/unfortunately one is within (almost) walking distance of my apartment: Verde Taqueria.

Verde has become a great go-to place for group gatherings and last minute dinner plans. Their menu consists of delicious taqueria things, including guac, queso and salsa, quesadillas, and lots and lots of tacos of course. oh, and the best margarita you'll ever have.

[House marg with a "trio" in the background.]

Highlights: the "trio" to start, which includes salsa, queso and guac. And, of course, the margaritas. They offer a Texas version and a skinny version among others--but I can't NOT order the House. and, I found out only recently, house margs are only $4 on Mondays! This is going to be a real problem/amazingness.

I've really liked all of the tacos I've tried but my favorite is the pesto chicken: panko-fried chicken with pesto, roasted red peppers and mozzarella. It's one of 18 specials that rotate weekly, including a shrimp & grits taco that is to die for! My favorite from the regular menu is the fried chicken: panko-fried chicken with lettuce, diced tomatoes, bacon and chipotle sauce.

[top: fried chicken. bottom: special, carolina bbq.]

[top: veggie. bottom: ground beef.]

[top: short rib. bottom: buffalo tofu.]

Hope you Eaters get a chance to check out either the Brookhaven or the Westside location! Especially on a Monday for those $4 margs!



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