Archive for August, 2011

BaconFest UPDATE!

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Swine and Dine Sold Out / Jennifer Niceley to Play BaconBits + Judges / Husk + Bon Appetit

Swine and Dine Sold Out!

Thanks to everyone who bought tickets and packages the last tickets to Swine and Dine were sold on Friday! Don’t fret though. There are still plenty of tickets to the Traditional Smokehouse discussion, BaconBits, BaconFest Bar Food and Corsair Artisan Distillery at the Public House. Tickets available HERE.

Jennifer Niceley to Play BaconBits + Judges

Jennifer Niceley will be serenading us after we’ve crowned our BaconBits winners! If you haven’t heard her this will be the perfect setting, under the stars with a picnic! “Jennifer Niceley imbues her songs with a feel for the spacious expanses of earth and sky, an appreciation for the wonder of the natural world, and the clear understanding of the importance of quietly, determinedly shaping one’s own artistic voice in the most personal way imaginable…” (Dave Curtis) Now living back on her family’s farm outside of Knoxville, Jennifer has recently released a small collection of songs from being back home, called Body+Soul EP. For the picnic performance she’ll be joined by Nashville pair Jon Estes on upright bass and Liz Langford playing fiddle.

Also our allstar panel of judges is official: Mary Constantine, Ashley Capps, Amy Hubbard, and Jim Sexton will be doing the hard, hard work of tasting all your bacon offerings! Is your dish ready? Have you pre-ordered your picnic dinner? All info HERE. This is going to be a lovely eve!

Husk + Bon Appetit

This month Husk, the newest restaurant from one of our Swine and Dine guest chefs Sean Brock, was named the TOP restuarant in the country by Bon Appetit magazine. We are super excited that he will be bringing his cooking talents to BaconFest this year. You can read about Husk from Bon Appetit here. As the author Andrew Knowlton says, “Brock isn’t reinventing southern food or attempting to create some citified version of it. He’s trying to re-create the food his grandma knew–albeit with the skill and resources of a modern chef. As a result, he (and Husk) has become a torchbearer for an honest style of home cooking that many of us never truly tasted until now.”

A Bacon Timeline

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

This is way too funny. From the Seattle Weekly. Please go read the article as well. Priceless. “We need to let bacon be bacon once again.” Agreed.


Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Next up is BaconBits. As we’ve been saying, this is your chance for bacon fame and glory. Well at least for fame and glory among all of us out enjoying BaconFest! Last year there were lollipops, a log cabin, short breads, and more. Don’t forget, sometimes the most simple dish is the best.

It’s simple:
Download the entry form (image above)
Practice your dish that fits in the savory, sweet, or creative category
Bring your game face and your best bacon dish possible to Ijams
It’s $5 to get in the door and your dish needs to be on the table by 5:45
The judging, by a luminary panel of bacon lovers, will begin and winners will be crowned, and by crowned, we mean bacon CROWNED

If you don’t want to make a bacon dish you can still come spectate. Sit under the stars at Ijams and enjoy the bucolic scenery that gets even better when there’s bacon in the air! We will have picnic dinners from Rita Cochran who has been cooking for years and makes some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. Jennifer Niceley and friends will be our musical entertainment after the new bacon winners have been crowned.

Purchase your dinner and entry fee HERE.


Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Well folks, BaconFest is in FOUR WEEKS! We are getting very excited over here at Mockingbird HQ and so this week will highlight each of the events. Tickets are moving swiftly and we want to see you all there, so get those tickets while they are still available for the getting.

We’re going to work our way backwards on the schedule, so today it’s BaconFest Bar Food and Corsair Artisan Distillery at the Public House. This will be the culminating celebration of all things bacon and what a celebration it’s going to be. It’s going to be unfettered, bar food, beer drinking fun.

It will be your chance to have dishes from many of the top culinary minds from Knoxville. Want a glimpse of the kind of food Governor Haslam has at the Executive Residence? This is your chance, Matt Gallaher a Knoxville native and Blackberry Farm alum, current chef to Gov. Haslam will be cooking up his inspirational take on bar food. Want to taste what the magical minds behind Harry’s Deli will do with Benton’s? You can have that too. Then there is the ever surprising, ever inspiring Holly Hambright of Holly’s Eventful Dining. Finally, what does Stanton Webster, the manager of Nama and wine lover extraordinaire know about cooking? A lot, an awful lot, and he’ll be showing off his skills along with the rest of this team of chefs.

As if this was not enough, Corsair will have Blackberry Farm beers for us to taste. Blackberry will be releasing their new beer around BaconFest time out at the farm. It will not be available to the public till some time in 2012, unless you are coming to this event. This is a special chance to taste what is sure to be wonderful new craft beer. Classic Saison and Smoke Ale will be on offering in tasting portions. We’ll also have some signature cocktails all with Corsair spirits. If you haven’t had their Triple Smoke or Gin you are missing out. Smooth and distinct.

So, as you can see this is going to be a party. Many of our culinary guests will hopefully be celebrating along side with us. Here’s to Allan Benton, Blackberry Farm, Matt, Holly, Stanton, Amy and Ben! We are lucky to call Knoxville home with the likes of these luminaries cooking for us!

Tickets HERE.



Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Chartreuse is both an amazing color and liqueur. We love both at the Public House! This gem of a bottle sits on our back shelf. Made by monks who are silent the recipe is top secret like most herbal liqueurs, we use it in the Last Word and it is delicious over ice.

On Wednesday August 24 from 6 – 8 at the Public House we will be tasting both green and yellow Chartreuse. In addition to the samples we will have a cocktail featuring each. According to Wikipedia, Green Chartreuse (110 proof or 55%) is a naturally green liqueur flavored with extracts from 132 plants with its coloring coming from chlorophyll while, Yellow Chartreuse (40%), has a milder and sweeter flavor and aroma.

Cocktails will be available in tasting size and full size. This is one of those liqueurs that you should try. It’s way out of the box as far as flavor profile goes with 130 herbs. It’s a liqueur that can sit in the back of a cocktail and add a mysterious depth of flavor or it can dominate a drink with it’s powerful punch.

August 24
6:00 – 8:00
Chartreuse Tasting with samples and cocktails available
Knoxville Public House

Spaetzle in Memory of Fred Sohn

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Friday night Mr. Mockingbird and I were up until about midnight in Oregon making Spaetzle, a German egg pasta. It was part of meal that included roast pork, gravy, and a green salad with a simple vinaigrette. I had never made Spaetzle before; it was moderately successful and would have been very easy had I been cooking for a small group rather than 30 Sohns.

About 2 weeks ago our Grandpa Sohn passed away. He escaped Nazi Germany when he was 21 and made his way via England to Houston, Texas where he met my grandmother. Her family also came from German immigrants albeit many a couple generations earlier. After some years in Houston and Iowa, my grandparents ended up in Oregon.

It was here that my brother and I spent many summer weeks and spring breaks often eating a simple yet delicious meal such as the one I prepared over the weekend. Every meal at the Narrows, except for breakfast, came with this simple green salad. The vinaigrette always mixed in the bowl with balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, mayonnaise, and some oil. The greens were then tossed with the dressing. The roast meat was usually beef or lamb from the ranch. Gravy was also common at dinner.

Spaetzle was not as common but it was made often enough. There were a number of these hard to pronounce recipes that we grew up with. From cookies to bread to pastries to cakes. Many of them involve yeast (which is a general deal breaker for me in a recipe) and multi-step cooking processes, but the Spaetzle requires no special ovens, equipment, or ingredients. Just eggs, milk, flour and boiling water.

While there have been many tributes made to my grandpa over the past few weeks I struggled with how to pay him homage. He was a complicated man with a fascinating life who loved his family but was not always a loving person. When I got to Oregon this year I sat and made a list of food memories from the time spent with my grandparents, who were married for 70 years when he passed. Me being me, I am not always good at words or expressing my memories or feelings, so the best I could do was this meal. If he had been there we would have dissected the many faults/ways to improve what I cooked, but as I’ve gotten older, I now know that was his way of engaging and ultimately expressing his interest.

There was much talk of legacy this weekend of which my grandfather has many. For me I will carry the simple memory of sitting around the table talking about food and wine and politics and the environment while eating spoonfuls of whipped cream, perfectly cooked meat, and small slivers of pie to even it up.


Gone Swimming

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Mockingbird Events has gone swimming. Stay tuned for BaconFest awesomeness and end of summer fun. Get out there and enjoy!