Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Greenling Quickfire Round Seven

Tonight's Greenling box had a repeat Surprise Me item. The Sunflower Sprouts reappeared in my box!  This was not a bad thing at all - who doesn't love a repeat of one of their favorites. But it would be cheating to remake the same dish, so I decided to add a twist and try to use my farmstead box items as well.

The Greenling Farmstead box is a collection of items for $15  - "A selection of local farmstead & artisan products that changes weekly! Might contain local cheeses, bread, meat, eggs, sweets, beverages, or prepared foods." 

I started ordering the farmstead option about a year ago and have loved the food craftsman variety!

I decided to take the delicious looking croissants from Sweetish Hill and use up some leftovers in my fridge and make a chicken salad croissant. 

I pulled out my handy dandy Zyliss chopper and threw in some cooked chicken breast, celery, and a granny smith apple. Added 2 Tbsp of light mayo, sea salt and pepper to taste, and a sprig of fresh dill for good measure. I also added in a couple of seedless green grapes with the apples for a pseudo Waldorf spin.

Mixed up everything in a bowl and then made up my croissant sandwiches using the Sunflower Sprouts and a couple of slices of tomatoes from the leftover tomato I had from last week's "tomato seconds".

The finished result was a tasty light sandwich treat for dinner tonight. The spicy sprouts were fantastic with my Waldorf Chicken Salad and I've decided in the past year or so that anything baked by Sweetish Hill is buttery perfection!

Can't wait for tonight's episode of Top Chef Texas!

I saw tequila on their quickfire highlight reel. I think I'm getting off super easy with yummy sunflower sprouts!

Go Paul Go!!!

I'll be tweeting and toasting Paul tonight with a big glass of Texas Red and my yummy farmstead box dessert of Chocolate Goddess Clusters by  New Earth !

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Greenling Quickfire Round Six

I have been looking forward to tonight's Greenling box and Surprise Me Quickfire challenge all day and once again the Surprise me item was a fantastic one. Acorn Squash! And a huge one at that! 

With the cold snap passing through tonight's dish was a crazy easy decision, I decided to make a roasted acorn squash soup.

Roasting an acorn squash is super easy. Slice in half, scrape out the seeds and place open side down in a baking dish and roast at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Once the meat has softened it's easy to scrape out with a spoon. 
To start the soup I diced a sweet onion and added to my stock pot with 2 tablespoons of salted butter.

I let the onion caramelize, then I peeled and chopped up 2 small granny smith apples and added them to the onion with a tiny bit more butter. I let those cook down and then added the scooped out roasted squash.

Once I had all the main ingredients in the pot, I added a small box (apx 4 cups) of organic vegetable broth and used my hand immersion blender to puree the mixture to a beautiful creamy soup texture. The immersion blender is one of my favorite winter appliances. It makes soup making so easy! I picked it up for under 20 bucks and it's a great tool.

My other inspiration for tonight's dish was this amazing Roasted Saigon Cinnamon i picked up at the grocery store. I first saw an ad for it in this month's Southern Living magazine. They had a recipe for a chocolate ancho cinnamon crackle cookie I plan to use for my cookie exchange this year. But I really didn't want to wait to use this fun new spice.

I love this new spicy cinnamon and can't wait to try the cookies. For the soup it added a great flavor and kick without adding any heat.

I can't wait to find more uses for it in my kitchen

Once the soup was spiced (I also added a dash of allspice, sea salt, and fresh cracked white and black peppercorns) I let it simmer for about 20 minutes. 

The smell in my kitchen was fantastic and the soup was even better once we got to eat it.

I will be making this dish again and again and again.

I'm also thinking of taking my immersion blender with me on vacation to prepare this dish for my vegan friends!

Here's a shot of the finished soup. My daughter ate 2 bowls full and I finished of a bowl and a half by myself. 

Thanks Greenling for another fantastic dinner inspiration and fun evening in my kitchen. 

While the soup was cooking I also knocked out a double batch of Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies for a work party tomorrow.  Kitchen success tonight all around.

I'm still giddy over Paul's win last week on Top Chef and hoping he grabs another tonight!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Greenling Quickfire Round 4-5

Thanksgiving vacation put a delay in my blogging and Quickfire challenge, but I made sure to play catch up this week with a fantastic yummy ingredient.

This week's Greenling Box Surprise Me item was Sunflower Sprouts! 

Sunflower sprouts are baby sunflowers. They make an inexpensive and tasty nutritional addition to any salad or green smoothie.

Fresh, crunchy, and slightly nutty in flavor they are grown indoors all year round, providing lovely fresh greens in the depths of winter. They can also be grown outdoors when the weather is warm. They are an awesome treat.
In the theme of Top Chef Texas I decided to try out the sunflower sprouts with one of my favorite standard recipes I learned in this great state. Chilaquiles!

I heated some organic black beans in a small sauce pot and cracked some farm fresh eggs into my wok. When making Chilaquiles I love using my wok to toss around all of the ingredients.

The first time I had Chilaquiles was in College Station,TX served at a cute Bed & Breakfast. I loved the salty chips and the chile peppers with the fresh eggs. It became an instant hit in my own home.

I had a bag of leftover Xochitl organic white corn chips sitting up on the counter from a dinner party the previous week. One of the best parts of Chilaquiles is using up leftover chips. They don't have to be super fresh, and maybe it's just my own superstition, but I'm pretty sure this dish comes out ten times better when you use leftover almost stale chips.

After the eggs were cooked about halfway through I added a little milk and the chips to the wok. I then cooked the egg and chip mixture until the eggs were cooked all the way through and scrambled.

I also chopped up one of the Russet potatoes from my greenling box, tossed in olive oil, sea salt, and pepper and roasted in the oven for twenty minutes for another side dish.

 Then I added the sunflower sprouts and let them cook down for about three to four minutes on medium. I wanted to bring out their nutty flavor but not over-cook them.

After adding the sprouts I tossed in a chopped up tomato from my "tomato seconds" and a chopped up green hatch chile from my freezer stash.

Once the tomato and chile peppers were heated up I turned off the burner and topped with a handful of raw milk cheddar cheese.

I like melting the cheese last after the burner is turned off to prevent it from separating or over-melting.
The finished dish... Sunflower Sprout Chilaquiles, with black bean and roasted potato sides. Is there anything better than breakfast for dinner? 

This dish was an A+ hit and I'll be ordering more Sunflower Sprouts from Greenling in the future to recreate this vitamin packed delicious dish.

I finally got caught up on Top Chef last night and was delighted to see Paul Qui kicking some ass and taking the much deserved win. I am also craving brussel sprouts.

Can't wait until next week's box and Top Chef Episode!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Greenling Quickfire Round Three

Tonight's Surprise Me Greenling ingredient is Carrot Radishes!

A super fun vegetable with a spicy crunch and kick.

My inspiration for tonight's dish is primarily based on finding these yummy sweet potato and buckwheat noodles at the local HEB. I love asian veggies over soba noodles and decided tonight would be a fun chance to try out some fun new ingredients.

I started the dish tonight by slicing up the radishes and pickling in a brown rice organic vinegar with a little Maldon sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper.

I placed the bowl in the fridge while prepping the rest of dinner and after taste testing I did add a little green onion to the radishes for good measure and to add a little more flavor.

I normally use these type of radishes for dipping as part of a veggie platter, but my goal for tonight was to feature them in my main dish and not as a snack.

*confession - I did snack on 3 of them during the prep of this dish - Too delicious not to!

While the a dishes were pickling, I pulled some fantastic looking kale from my Greenling box and decided to sauté it with some apple cider vinegar.

After adding the cider vinegar, and seasoning with salt and pepper the scent of apples gave me a great idea. I found some granny smith apples in the fridge, peeled, cored and sliced them and added into the sauté pan.

My favorite kale dish is my Mom's recipe for Portugese Kale Soup, but this new apples and kale sauté is a close second.

Super yummy fall seasonal treat.

The sautéed kale came out super amazing delicious. I will definitely be making this dish again. The acidic balance balanced nicely with the fresh and tart sweetness of the cooked down apples.

My only regret is using up the kale and not having leftovers to make Portugese Kale soup this weekend (as previously planned).

I'll have to order extra kale for next week's box!

I boiled the sweet potato and buckwheat noodles and drained them over the sink. I then drained the radishes from the fridge and reserved the vinegar and tossed with the noodles.

Topped the noodles with the fridge pickled radishes and this yummy cold noodle dish was born.

I give it a solid A and my daughter loved the new noodle and radish dish. The sweet potato flavor of the noodles paired well with the bite of the radish.

The kale dish (a bonus) was also an instant win.

I'm all set with a happy full veggie belly to watch tonight's episode of Top Chef.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Greenling Quickfire Round Two

Today's box was packed full of yummy treats. The Surprise Me ingredient from Greenling was one of my favorite fun vegetables. Dragon Tongue Beans!

The tender and superbly delicious 7-inch pods are whiteish yellow, with amazing purple streaks!

They taste similar to a long green bean but with a slightly spicier kick. I couldn't wait to throw them into a yummy dish.

I also had a beautiful acorn squash in my box today that I simply couldn't resist using. So I decided to go for a veggie pasta bowl and use up the rest of my fresh pasta from last week since there was some awesome kale papardelle in the box for this week's fresh pasta selection.

The dragon beans are a great veggie for kids. Tonight I had my daughter assisting me in the kitchen and she was delighted to watch the beans steam from purple to all ivory. The stripes steam straight off the beans like magic.

She was enthralled with the color changing beans and a great help to me in the kitchen tonight.

When we first got the beans she was also excited to look them up on wikipedia to learn all about them. She had never seen or eaten dragon beans before so tonight's QuickFire challenge was not only a super fun yummy treat but also an educational one for her.

While the beans were steaming we sliced open the acorn squash and a butternut squash from the Greenling box. I had her scoop out the seeds and then we steamed the squash in the microwave.

I used to only roast squash (and still roast for certain recipes) but the microwave is a great easy solution for quick and easy steaming of these veggies.

I fill a shallow pasta bowl with a half-inch of water and set the squash halves on the sides of the bowl. Pop it in the microwave for ten minutes and it's perfectly cooked every time! Works great for spaghetti squash too.

We scooped out the steamed squash into the bowl and added the cooked pasta and topped with the steamed dragon beans.

My daughter commented how the beans were the same shade as the pasta and tried to analyze the water the beans steamed in to figure out where the purple went to.

The water was a dark brown so she decided all of the purple "burned off". Tomorrow night we'll do some research and see what chemical reaction really happened to cause the color change.

To finish the dish I took the last of my tomatoes, an onion and a bell pepper from last week and make a quick red sauce to add to the beans and pasta.

I topped the quick red sauce with some fresh grated parmesan cheese and ta-da! Dinner is served :)

This challenge got me an A+ from my daughter, and I give her an A+ for her excellent help in the kitchen tonight.

A super yummy fun treat for both of us. Thanks Greenling for making dinner tonight both easy and educational.

Looking forward to Top Chef tonight. Seeing as how both Texas chefs were not shown in last week's episode it's about time the producers let this great state represent!

I'll be tweeting along as the episode airs and playing along to the Top Chef Texas drinking game. I have my bottle of wine ready and my newly designated Top Chef drinking glass lined up and ready to go. "Everything's Bigger in Texas" :P

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Greenling Quickfire Round One

I've been reluctant to post in my blog since the whole Bravo fallout thing happened. Since that post, Bravo confirmed to the delight of many that they were indeed filming the next season of Top Chef in our beloved Texas. I didn't intend to "break the story" and I'm not even quite sure I did. But after countless requests for interviews and comments I've been successful avoiding the press and letting things calm down back to normal. Well as normal as one can be when everyone now knows you as the girl who almost got in a fight with Top Chef over a tweet.

Tonight the season premiere airs and I decided that as a still faithful Top Chef fan (yes, even after the BS the producer pulled) I'd celebrate with my own home version quick fire challenge.

Here in central Texas we have the benefit of a local organic grocery delivery service called Greenling. Anyone who knows me has heard me sing their praises time and time again. I discovered this company surfing the web one day while ranting about the limited variety of farm grown local produce in my area. Since then, I now have regular Greenling boxes of delicious farm grown goodness delivered to my
house weekly and a bunch of local farmers markets have sprung up in town. My attempts at living the SLO (sustainable, local, organic) life are made so much easier with these aids.

My Greenling box arrives on Wednesdays. Top Chef airs on Wednesdays. My new weekly dinner routine has arrived!

Here's the self imposed challenge rules:

  • Each week I will order my normal Greenling box which includes a "Surprise Me" item. If you order from Greenling this is the best $2 you can spend (only rivaled by my favorite of "tomato seconds") The Surprise me item has been a key component of my weekly box since I started the service and I am always excited to see what I get from week to week. Sometimes it's a run of the mill fruit or veggie staple. Sometimes it's something I've never seen or tried (and they are always awesome about providing instructions or ideas for those)
  • The dinner prepared for each Wednesday evening will focus on the Surprise Me item (whatever it is they send).
  • I will allow myself to use other Greenling box items, as well as any other unprepared ingredients found in my pantry or fridge.
  • No trips to the grocery store allowed.
  • No skipping a Surprise Me dinner if a Season 9 Top Chef episode is airing.
  • No cheating by putting the item on top of an outside prepared meal. Luckily for me my kitchen is pretty well stocked for any foodie :)
  • The only other restraint I put on myself is time. Dinner must be on the table at least an hour before Top Chef airs - I don't want to be rushing through the meal just to get to watch an episode. I like to enjoy my food.

So here's the first (hopefully of many) Greenling Surprise Me Top Chef Quickfire challenges!

Episode 1: "Cucumber Melon"
Ever since I got this idea (about a week ago) I've been awaiting the arrival of my box to my doorstep. I'm usually not home when it arrives and the nice people at Greenling do such a great job packing and keeping items chill that I normally never get a chance to see my delivery guy. But today I made it home early as I couldn'twait any longer!

The box arrived and there it was, my QuickFire ingredient. The
cucumber melon! I love cucumbers and melons of all types, so at first thought this one should be easy right? But how do you make an entire dinner out of a cucumber melon?

Step One - Inspiration

I wasn't sure how sweet this one would be and what I should pair it with so I figured there was only one way to find out. Yum!

It was at this point that I started to panic. I'm not a professional chef. I would never make it in a real quick fire challenge without breaking some cardinal rule of the kitchen. I don't measure, I don't follow instructions very well. How in the world would I make dinner for my family? What had I gotten myself into?

And then I remembered this is all just for fun - and I took another bite - more yum. I was ready to start cooking.

Step Two - look for more inspiration

I sorted through the rest of the box and came across this beauty. Remember my comment about my second most favorite thing from Greenling being the "Tomato Seconds"? This was one of those! The "seconds" from Greenling are great buys especially if you go through apples or tomatoes like I do. They only have slight physical defects and most of the time I can't even find those. This heirloom tomato was begging to be added to my challenge (it almost became a chef snack ;)

I wonder how much food gets eaten by the chefs during a quick fire challenge?

Step Three : I sliced up the tomato and cucumber melon and added some rice wine vinegar for good measure. I love a refreshing sunomono salad and figured I could play a little with some of the same flavors.

It's at this point that I wanted to add some feta cheese, but
there's no feta to be found in my house tonight, and that's when I remembered that I had a Lamb Feta sausage link from
Kocurek Charcuterie in my freezer that I had picked up at the farmer's market a few weeks ago.

WIth no feta, it seemed like the logical next best thing!

I adore Kocurek Charcuterie. And not just because they added delicious breakfast treats to the Pearl Farmers Market that are waiting for me when I come up from my run each Saturday morning. Their meat selections are simply amazing and this was no exception.

Step Four: "Cook" the Sausage

So like I said I really don't follow instructions well, but I know what works for me. I'm sure some chef out there would cringe if they watched me do this, but I've found that it's a fantastic way to prepare frozen sausages in minutes (instead of properly thawing, grilling, etc)

The "technique" I use is to fill a sauté pan with just enough water to cover the bottom. Throw in the sausage and turn every minute until it thaws. Once thawed (and slightly cooked), slice up the sausage and return to the water which by now is usually starting to coagulate. Is that even a cooking term?

The result is a caramelized sliced sausage infused with tons of flavor - and in this case it was a fantastic lamb and feta :)

The smell in my kitchen was simply divine!

If I would have known ahead of time I would have thawed it and grilled it, but sometimes the workarounds make for a really delicious meal. Tonight was no exception!

I'd love to know if this is a proper sausage cooking technique or if I am blaspheming the amazing work done by the talented folks at Kocurek Charcuterie.

Step Five: Make a starch

After the smells of lamb and feta wafted by my nose I wanted to make couscous - but guess what I was also out of...

So I looked in the fridge and found some chicken stock and then in the pantry I found some sumac in my spice wall (yes the rack takes up an entire wall - you can never have too many spices!)

I decided to cook up a quick whole grain rice with the stock and sumac.

Step Six: Butter!

It wouldn't be a meal from my kitchen if I didn't find a way to add butter into it. Butter is the number one used daily ingredient in my kitchen. I don't allow margarine in my house and if you start talking crap about butter I will kick you from my dinner table.

Butter is food of the gods.. and I also put some in the rice :)

I finished up the cucumber melon and tomato with some Maldon Sea Salt (I love their salt!) and fresh black pepper and dinner was done!

The finished masterpiece for my Episode 1 Greenling Surprise Me Top Chef QuickFire Challenge is a cucumber melon, heirloom tomato salad, lamb feta sausage and sumac rice.

I served this for dinner and was given an "A" rating by my family. (They grade all my dishes) While I would have loved an A+ I am happy with tonight's meal and it's secured me for this round and given me immunity into the next.

So Greenling - What do you have in store for me next week?

Side note: So I've been asked - do I have a favorite to win this season? And the answer is undoubtedly yes. I'm rooting for Chef Paul Qui from one of my most favorite restaurants in the continental United States which happens to be close by in Austin, Texas! - Uchiko
I'd be rooting for my other favorite chef - Jason Dady from right here in San Antonio, but the Bravo producers didn't get him on their show. I wonder if Flock of Seagulls producer was behind that huge mistake too? I simply cannot wait for tonight's Texas showdown!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The night Bravo told me to stop tweeting

The back story....

I love Top Chef. I have seen every episode of every season, I have attended multiple live events and when I travel I eat at the restaurants of both the judges and contestants.
Last night I made plans to attend one of my favorite types of local events - a Beer Pairing Dinner at Luke. I am a foodie and I Facebook and tweet most everything I eat, so my phone was out and in full posting mode. These beer dinners are fantastic and this one in particular was made even better by the pairing of one of my favorite local brews Real Ale to the menu. To top it off I had the pleasure of befriending the Brew Master responsible for some of my favorite casked beers at the event - I was in heaven. Check out my Facebook page for a full rundown of the menu and paired beers - This was an amazing meal!

How it went down...

After dinner there was a recommendation from the Chef to check out a local bar for cocktails. He told me they had a Moscow Mule and that the bartender made his own Ginger Beer. I was sold on the idea immediately. My friends and I headed over and ordered tasty beverages.

This bar really was quite spectacular. The Esquire Tavern is the oldest bar on the River Walk and serves up some amazing tasty creations. It's a weeknight and was mostly dead when we arrived, but not for long. I turned my head and caught a glimpse of a beautiful bald man. I had to do a double take because one of my Friends bears a striking resemblance to this sex god of the foodie world ;) And sure enough it was the one and only Tom Colicchio of Craft Restaurants and Top Chef fame. I've adored him on TV and dined at his restaurants many times. He is simply stunning both in talent and looks. The buzzing of the crowd grew louder as other faces turned and were recognized.

Emeril Lagasse - who while amazingly famous and known to millions also happens to be the one responsible for my favorite stuffed chicken wing at his restaurant NOLA in my beloved New Orleans. I eat there every trip I make to that wonderful city.

Tre Wilcox who I had met at the Central Market Cooking School years ago when he taught a class and made one of the most tasty sea bass dishes I have had in my entire life - I said hi to him and he was super sweet and just as friendly as ever! Such a great guy and talented chef!

Gail Simmons - another member of Top Chef royalty - I'll get more to her later

Padma Lakshmi the amazingly beautiful and alluring goddess herself. She is even more amazing in person and it was all I could do to not go total fan girl and make an absolute fool of myself.

So I think my fellow foodies can understand how the atmosphere might change a bit having these people in the room. There were a handful of kitchen staff there from Luke. Our own local celebrity Steven McHugh was also in attendance after having made such a spectacular meal for us just hours before. I get foodie fan girl just being around him on a normal basis, so this night I was on overload.

I was lucky to have my dinner date with me for the night who kept me reigned in. I was flipping back and forth between my options: play it cool and enjoy your drinks with these amazing people, or go fan girl and start asking for pics and autographs. I opted for the play it cool and just enjoy the night. My phone was still out and I'm an avid tweeter so how could I not type in my few 140 characters or less possibly one of the greatest highlights of my foodie year?
Here's where things turn sour - On twitter I am a nobody or at least in the grand scheme of things I am a nobody. I have a tiny group of 500 followers or so. Some foodie friends, but mostly computer geeks like me from the other part of my world. Of those 500 followers none are paparazzi. Here are my tweets verbatim in the order posted:

I saw nothing wrong with any of these tweets - perhaps outside of my use of expletives, but really now - I was excited and dropping the f-bomb is not a punishable offense as far as I know unless you are 5 years old, and even then the punishments are light.
I was just hanging out with my friends, enjoying the evening and behaving myself. I wasn't snapping pictures, I wasn't asking for autographs, I was just doing the same thing they were - relaxing at a very cool bar, sipping at finely crafted beverages, chatting with the super talented bartender and having a good time with amazing people.

symigoddessAbout 50 minutes after that last tweet about my love for Padma a tall blond guy with walks over and places his Blackberry in my face with a picture of my twitter avatar on it and asks "Is this you"?

I politely yet quizzically respond "Yes" and the guy says to me in a very rude bad impersonation of my mother yelling at me tone "you need to stop tweeting... Now!"

I was in shock! I quickly turned on my phone and pulled up my twitter app to look for something awful - for a second I thought maybe my account had been hacked and someone was saying horrible bad things about these amazing people I adore - but no, just the few tweets above.

I have no idea who this guy is and I watch him walk back over to Gail Simmons and chat like this was normal acceptable behavior. My friends and I are all standing around in amazement and then my equally cute Tom Colicchio looking friend pulls out his phone and with amazing speed and dexterity displays a picture of Mike Score from Flock of Seagulls.

The resemblance to the rude Blackberry guy was incredible. And he went about responding to the jerk and defending my honor as an innocent tweeter. From here on out I will refer to him as Flock of Seagulls because he never did tell me his name. All I got later was that he worked for Bravo and was on the "job" that evening.

My Friend waves at the guy to come back over and when Flock of Seagulls arrives he pulls up the picture and asks "Is this you?"

Flock of Seagulls replies "Um, no"

Friend replies back with a "Oh, well you can go fuck yourself anyways" and a beautiful display of the middle finger to his face.

The flipping of the bird to Flock of Seagulls offender pretty much made my night :) As crude as it seems, there's something beautiful about that gesture when given with that kind of passion.

Flock of Seagulls turns to the bartender and attempts to get us kicked out of the bar.

Friend then says "Don't be a pussy."

Flock of Seagulls then backs into the slowly escalating crowd and people start sticking their nose in and asking me "OMG what just happened", "What did you do?" I'm just standing there in amazement.

My dinner date for the evening, in his very calm and graceful demeanor starts asking Flock of Seagulls what the problem is and is trying to diffuse the situation. Flock of Seagulls has backup posse forming and they start saying that saying that someone had dropped the truly offensive f-bomb and called him a "faggot". He's pointing his anger at my Friend. This is where things got ridiculous. None of my friends nor I would ever use that word. Hell, had I seen anyone use that term towards anyone Flock of Seagulls included, I would have kicked their ass out myself. I have no tolerance for that kind of hatred.

Next thing I know I am pressed with my back against the bar standing with Colicchio and my Friend inches from me as they exchange peace agreement terms. My dinner date is trying to help me figure out what's happening. Colicchio wants my Friend to apologize for calling Flock of Seagulls a pussy. My Friend counters with a request for Flock of Seagulls to apologize for being rude to me. Flock of Seagulls wants to do no such thing and starts spouting off that he was just doing his job.

Gail Simmons is now standing across from me joined in the fuss so I politely say "I have no idea what I did to offend you guys but I apologize for being a fan and complimenting you on twitter"

Gail says back to me "You tweeted this location and have compromised our ... " I'm not sure what it was she said through all the shouting but I'm pretty sure my simple tweets didn't compromise a thing or what she was so upset about. I didn't see anyone show up after my tweets and it has been over an hour by this point. I mean if a flood of fans spilled in and crashed their party I could see how she might be upset, but that didn't happen at all. I'm sorry Gail - I don't understand what made you so upset. I was tweeting my love and adoration!

Then next thing I know Flock of Seagulls is making an apology to me, Gail Simmons is shaking her head and Tom is telling me "It's fine... It's fine..." and people are all calming down. My Friend apologizes to Flock of Seagulls for calling him a pussy. Everyone seems okay again. I'm still in shock. Flock of Seagulls is taken out of the bar.

I walk over to Flock of Seagulls' backup posse and have a nice conversation about Top Chef being in San Antonio for some undisclosed reason and they can't tell me and they are so sorry that their friend was so rude to me. One of them jokes that he was just jealous of my back tattoo. Then he shows me his awesome goat tattoo and we are back to laughing and enjoying ourselves. It was a really awesome goat arm piece and they were really sweet to make amends for the guy being out of line and trying to censor my tweets. We discuss the "freedom to tweet" and they point out that the chefs themselves are twitter users, but that Flock of Seagulls might not be and maybe he doesn't understand how it works?

We stay there for another hour or so, Emeril and Padma have stumbled out at this point, Gail makes her way out - still with the head shaking thing - I can't help but think she's upset with me for only tweeting her name and some exclamation marks and not saying how in love with her I am. Which I am sad for because I really do respect her work and she's an amazing woman. I do hope that if fate ever places in me in such close proximity to her fantastic-ness that she realizes that I am not out to compromise her anything :) I'm just a foodie fan. No press showed up, there was no picture taking by anyone that night - I still am not sure what the concern was over my few simple innocent tweets.

I walk down through the rest of the bar patrons both our group and the Top Chef group and everyone is still trying to make sense of what just went down. They are sweet enough to buy me a drink and make lots of apologies for this guy starting such a fuss and I'm back to being my somewhat normal self. Tom is smiling again and we all cheers over fantastic cocktails.

My notes from this experience:

1) if I ever need to broker a peace agreement or calm my normally crazy self my dinner date is the perfect guy for the job. He stayed calm through the entire ordeal and kept me from going fan girl crazy.

2) if I ever need my honor defended my Friend is an amazing guy and totally has my back. He's also totally trained to kick ass and he's crazy fun to hang out with. I'm pretty sure if it had turned ugly he would have won that versus challenge I posed earlier today. I also am now in love with his middle finger and rapid photo finding abilities.

3) my new friend who also makes amazing beer magic and might be a bigger guitar geek than me is great at photo bombing and we totally need a re-do attempt! I'm still wondering if it was my quirky karma or his amazing hair that caused the events that set in motion last night.

4) I love being surrounded by amazing chivalrous beautiful men :) I am a very lucky girl.

5) if you compliment someone on twitter, and there are other people nearby, the compliments should be equal or someone might get offended.

6) If you are insulted by professionals, their companies will make it right and send you formal apologies and gifts in the form of autographed cookbooks :)

7) I still love Top Chef and am super excited to see what brought them to San Antonio. I was honored to be in their presence last night and enjoy their company.

8) if there are celebrities around, be careful what you tweet because you might compromise their? oh wait... I never did learn what that was :P Sorry Gail!