published Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Side Orders: Chefs are lining up for Taste

If you’ve not yet purchased tickets for Taste 2014, happening Thursday, March 6, you’d best get to it. With chefs and restaurants bringing samples of their favorite dishes for you to sample, Taste has become one of the most-anticipated culinary events of the year. It’s an explosion of flavors and fun under one big roof, and it’s one of the biggest fundraisers for the Kidney Foundation of Greater Chattanooga.

“Taste makes a substantial impact on us financially, as well as helping to get our name out,” says Nathan Frazier, board vice president and fundraising chairman for the foundation. “People come for the food and leave knowing more about us and what we do.”

There’s one big change to Taste this year. Rather than a chefs’ cooking contest, there will be chefs’ cooking demonstration that not only show their creativity, but will give you insight on their techniques and skills.

Taste is usually a sold-out event, so it’s a good idea to get tickets as early as possible.

“People just enjoy coming to try the food and meet everybody,” Frazier says. “It’s a good mix of people there to have a good time.”

All money raised stays in our community with the Kidney Foundation serving not only Hamilton County but 20 surrounding counties as well. Transporting patients to and from dialysis is the most-often-used service, but the foundation also helps patients with medical expenses, rent, food, medical equipment, nutritional supplements and dental and vision expenses. Frazier says bills for an uninsured patient can run as high as $15,000 per month.

Some of the restaurants participating in Taste 2014 are:

• TerraMae Appalachian Bistro;

• Petunia’s Silver Jalapeño;

• Ovalle’s Mexican Cafe;

• Ruth’s Chris Steak House;

• Public House;

• Milk and Honey Gelato;

• Poblano’s Mexican Grill and Bar.

And, as always, more eateries will be signing up as the date draws near, so you’ll have a wealth of tastes to enjoy as you graze from table to table.

Taste takes place in Stratton Hall, located at 3146 Broad St. Tickets, which are available at tastechat.com, are $35 each ($40 on the day) and with each ticket you get unlimited samplings from every restaurant participating, plus one ticket good for beer, wine or a nonalcoholic beverage. Additional drinks will be available at a cash bar.


Dreamed of sampling crepes from France? Paella from Spain? Baklava from Greece? Blini from Russia? Broad Street Grille at The Chattanoogan’s new monthly culinary program, Around the World with Food, may be the adventure you’re looking for. Each month, chefs from the restaurant will give foodies the chance to choose the cuisine they would like to sample. Participants will make their nominations for the country’s cuisine to try on The Chattanoogan’s Facebook page and on Twitter. The top three choices will be voted on via Facebook, and guests won’t know which country was the monthly winner until they arrive the night of the dinner.

Based on the feedback received on The Chattanoogan’s social media sites, executive chef Adam Roe and his culinary team will prepare a four-course dinner for $55 per couple. Wine pairings from the region may be added for an additional $10 per couple. The first dinner is scheduled for Friday, March 7, so get your votes in now. Around the World with Food will be held on the first Friday of every month from 5 to 10 p.m. For reservations or more information, call 424-3700.

Off the bookshelf …

Ellie Krieger has never been one to shy away from experimenting with ingredients, marrying them in new and unexpected ways. Now, the former Food Network host, James Beard award winner, author and registered dietitian brings a fresh combination of flavors to the table in her new cookbook, “Weeknight Wonders” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, $29.99). Not only does she introduce new pairing concepts — avocado and buttermilk in a enchilada sauce; broiled eggplant and peanut butter in an inspirational side dish — she presents them in ways that are quick and easy for weeknight dinners.

Here’s one example. In her book, you’ll find hundreds more, along with mouthwatering color photographs of many of them.

Chipotle Beef-Stuffed Mushrooms

4 large portobello mushrooms

2 tablespoons canola oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 small onion

2 medium cloves garlic

1/2 of one small can chipotle chile in adobo sauce

1 pound lean ground beef

1 (14.5-ounce) no-salt-added diced tomatoes

1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce

2/3 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves

4 thin slices extra-sharp cheddar cheese (about 2 ounces total)

Heat oven to 450 degree. Brush the mushroom caps lightly with oil, using 1 tablespoon total of the oil, then sprinkle with a total of 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Place the mushrooms on a baking sheet, gill side up, and cook until tender and juicy, 7-8 minutes. When the mushrooms are done, remove them from the oven, keeping them warm on the baking sheet.

Meanwhile, chop the onion and finely mince the garlic and chipotle chile. Heat the remaining tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the beef and cook, stirring and breaking up with a spoon, until the meat is no longer pink, 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add the diced tomatoes with their juice, tomato sauce, corn, chipotle, cumin, oregano, chili powder and remaining salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens, 5-6 minutes. While the mixture simmers, chop the cilantro.

Heat the broiler to high. Stir the cilantro into the beef mixture, then fill each mushroom cap with about 1 cup of it. Top each with a slice of cheese, then broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat until the cheese is melted, 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately.

Conact Anne Braly at abraly@timesfreepress.com.

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