Cedar Bluff school hosts fundraiser

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee – The Cedar Bluff Elementary School Safety Patrol is holding a Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser on Thursday, November 9, 2017, from 6-7:30pm. The Spaghetti Dinner will be held at the Cedar Bluff Elementary School Cafeteria at 705 N. Cedar Bluff Rd., Knoxville.

Proceeds will benefit the Safety Patrol’s trip to Washington, D.C., which is scheduled for June 1-4, 2018. Tickets are $5. Dinner will include spaghetti, salad, bread, drink, and dessert.

Attendees are invited to join in and enjoy fabulous food donated from Tiger Rock, Gondolier, and Safety Patrol Families.

For more information call 865-567-0569 or email: CedarBluffSafetyPatrol@gmail.com.


Tales and Tamales in Knoxville

KNOXVILLE, TN – The Knoxville History Project (KHP) will be hosting “Tales and Tamales at Gallows Hill,” on Thursday, October 26, 2017 at 6 p.m., at 516 West Vine Avenue. The event is a fundraiser to support the work of the Knoxville History Project which researches and promotes the history of Knoxville. Tickets are $100 each (tax-deductible contribution) can be purchased via knoxvillehistoryproject.org/events.

Event Features:

-Knoxville Halloween Stories with renowned historian Jack Neely – tales of how Knoxvillians have celebrated October 31 throughout the city’s history.

-Music from Kukuly and the Gypsy Fuego, the Django-style string-jazz combo, the likes of which probably played in the Carpenters Union ballroom during the 1940s and featuring one of the spookiest songs in Knoxville’s history, Leola Manning’s 1930 cult classic, “Satan is Busy in Knoxville.”

-Special Shadow Side Ghost Tour of Gallows Hill – the area around the north end of downtown – with historian Laura Still from Knoxville Walking Tours. Every guest will leave with a signed copy of Laura’s in-depth book “A Haunted History of Knoxville.”

-Good old tamale dinner, provided by Good Golly Tamale, who in recent years have been reviving a Knoxville tradition that “Tamale King” Harry Royston started near the Old City in 1887.

-This will be Knoxville History Project’s very first event in the historic ca. 1946 building where KHP calls home. The event will be held upstairs in the old meeting hall that once hosted both union meetings and community dances.

The Knoxville History Project (KHP) is an educational nonprofit with a mission to research and promote the history and culture of Knoxville.

Beardsley celebrates fall harvest

KNOXVILLE, TN – Visit Beardsley Community Farm for a free, family-friendly community event on Sunday, October 22, 2017 from 1pm to 5pm. The Harvest Festival will celebrate the farm, the community, and all things fall. Enjoy free food, children’s activities, live music, and tours of the farm. Parking will be available in front of the Education Center, at the Wesley House, Mobile Meals, and the Ed Cothren Pool. Come dressed in your Halloween costumes.

Enjoy free chili with Flour Head Bakery Bread. The chili will be created by our friends at KARM, and the greens and ice cream will be prepared by UT Culinary School. Much of the produce in the chili, greens, and ice cream is sourced directly from CAC Beardsley Community Farm.

This event is perfect for kids! Children’s activities will include paper hats, face painting, ring toss, and nature crafts. There’s something fun for every child to enjoy. Don’t forget that Halloween costumes are encouraged. Carve your own pumpkin and bring the finished jack o’ lantern to Harvest Festival. The Beardsley Farm crew will be judging the winner based on originality and carving skills.

The music lineup includes:

1:00-1:45 Travis Bigwood

2:00-2:35 Badd Hattrs

2:45-2:55 Miss Take (Hip Hop Dance)

3:00-3:45 The Pinklets

4:00-4:45 Paul Lee Kupfer

In case of inclement weather, this event will be canceled. Call 865-546-8446 or email beardsleyfarm@gmail.com with questions.

UT’s Cronan is luncheon speaker

KNOXVILLE, TN – The Historic Homes of Knoxville are pleased to invite the public to a luncheon on Tuesday, October 3, 2017, at 11:30 AM at The Foundry to celebrate the founding of the City of Knoxville 226 years ago. Joan Cronan, Women’s Athletics Director Emeritus at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, and Dr. Bruce Wheeler, University of Tennessee Department of History Professor Emeritus, will discuss “Women Who Made a Difference”.

Knoxville’s key leaders will come together to celebrate and promote the city and its most precious properties, including Blount Mansion, Crescent Bend House & Gardens, Historic Ramsey House, James White’s Fort, Mabry-Hazen House, Marble Springs State Historic Site, and Historic Westwood. Proceeds from the luncheon will benefit the joint promotional activities of the Historic Homes.

Purchase tickets through www.knoxalliance.store or by calling 865-523-7543 by September 28.

UT’s success in both the athletic and academic realms speak volumes to Cronan’s decision-making and leadership ability, as demonstrated by appointment to the 2010 NCAA Division 1 Leadership Council and selection of her peers as the president of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) in 2008-09.

Professor William Bruce Wheeler was chosen by the University’s National Alumni Association as an outstanding teacher, and he has twice been awarded the L.R. Hesler Award for service to students. From 1987 to 1994, he was the director of the University Honors Program. In 2002, he received the National Alumni Association Award for Public Service. His responsibilities in the department’s graduate program are graduate courses, seminars, theses, and doctoral dissertations in United States Early National History.

Joan Cronan, Women’s Athletics Director Emeritus at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, will be a special speaker at the luncheon on Tuesday, October 3, 2017, at 11:30 AM at The Foundry to celebrate the founding of the City of Knoxville 226 years ago. Photo submitted.

The Historic Homes of Knoxville is a partnership that shares resources and participates in joint marketing to present the history, culture, and heritage of Knoxville and East Tennessee: www.hhknoxville.org.

Dinner honors Vietnam veterans

Knoxville, TN – This October, East Tennessee PBS will host a Veteran Honor Dinner to celebrate the area men and women who have served our country. The dinner will be held at The Foundry in World’s Fair Park on October 5, 2017 from 5:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. Proceeds will go towards the production of veterans programs on East Tennessee PBS as well as supporting the needs of volunteers and visitors at a half-scale mobile replica of the Vietnam War Memorial that will be in Knoxville October 4 through October 8. Every ticket purchased sponsors a veteran to attend the dinner.

This dinner coincides with the opening ceremony of the memorial will bring together area veterans with our community for a fun night to celebrate the service and sacrifice of the brave men and women in East Tennessee.

Guests include Captain Bill Robinson, the longest-held American Enlisted POW, Mayor Tim Burchett and Mayor Madeline Rogero. Fanatic Brewery is providing a veteran’s brew, created especially for this event. The event is being sponsored by Pilot/Flying J, Food City, The City of Knoxville, Covenant Health, Visit Knoxville, Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority, and the Clayton Foundation.

For tickets, table sponsorship or additional information, please contact Barbara Shipley at 865-595-0244 or bshipley@EastTennesseePBS.org or Kate Spears at 931-261-4965, kspears@EastTennesseePBS.org or go to www.EastTennesseePBS.org/dinner.


Babalu Tapas & Tacos hires new chef

Babalu Tapas & Tacos has hired T.J. Saunders as executive chef of the downtown Knoxville restaurant. In this role, Saunders will oversee the culinary staff and create boldly flavored dishes featuring authentic, gourmet tacos and Spanish-style tapas with a southern twist.

“Chef Saunders’ culinary experience is paired with the enthusiasm and passion we look for when making a new addition to our team,” said Dee Hust, general manager of Babalu Tapas & Tacos Knoxville. “Chef Saunders impressed us from day one, and we look forward to seeing his creativity and innovation in the kitchen impress our guests.”

Saunders’ mother started teaching him to cook when he was in the third grade growing up in Lansing, Michigan. He then decided to follow in the footsteps of his role model, Julia Child, an iconic American chef, author and television personality.

“I even did a school report on how I wanted to be a chef when I grew up,” Saunders said. “I am excited to join Babalu’s team and help continue the restaurant’s great success in Knoxville. I look forward to introducing new savory dishes to the menu that I know diners will enjoy.”

Prior to joining Babalu, T.J. Saunders served as executive and regional chef for Maryville College in Maryville, Tennessee. He previously had served as executive chef at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Knoxville, Diverse Concepts in Knoxville and Café Del Mar in Del Mar, California. He served as a sous chef at Four Seasons Resort Aviara in Carlsbad, California, and at the Ritz-Carlton in Dearborn, Michigan. Photo submitted.

Saunders trained under the direction of five certified master chefs in the Culinary Arts program at Schoolcraft College in Livonia, Michigan. Before starting his culinary career, he served as corporal in the United States Marine Corps and earned two Meritorious Mast for Operation Desert Storm.

Saunders and his wife, Spring, currently reside in Knoxville with their three children, Jack, Madeline and Gabrielle. In his free time, Saunders enjoys fitness and team training, spending time with family and traveling.

Beardsley Brews is August 19

KNOXVILLE, TN – The inaugural Beardsley Brews event, a CAC Beardsley Community Farm Benefit, will be hosted at Schulz Bräu Brewing Company (126 Bernard Ave, Knoxville) on Saturday, August 19, 2017 from 4-9 pm. Beardsley Brews will feature live music and a brew off between some of Knoxville’s finest breweries. Brewers are challenged to create a beer using Beardsley Farm’s produce.

This year’s contestants are: Schulz Bräu Brewing Company, Crafty Bastard Brewery, Last Days of Autumn Brewing, Cold Fusion Brewing, Fanatic Brewing Company, and Saw Works Brewing Company. Come cool off and try delicious cold beer featuring Beardsley Farm produce.

Admission: $10 admission, beer tickets are $3 each. Cash and cards accepted.

For more information, please visit beardsleyfarm.org or call 865-546-8446.

Marble Springs hosts Soiree

Marble Springs Historic Site is hosting the annual Sevier Soiree on Friday, September 15th from 6:30-8:30pm. This event is a celebration of the rich history and scenic beauty of the historic farmstead of John Sevier with music and a Southern inspired dinner prepared by Bradford Catered Events. Guests also will enjoy touring the scenic 35 acre property, 5 historic structures, and a silent auction.

Marble Springs State Historic Site is the only historic site charged with interpreting the life and times of the first governor of Tennessee, John Sevier. Marble Springs is operated and maintained by a non-profit organization, the Governor John Sevier Memorial Association. This fundraiser will help the site’s mission of education and preservation of the historic farmstead, ensure quality school tours and educational programs, and assist in the continued maintenance of our arboretum and hiking trails. Marble Springs is funded under an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Tennessee Historical Commission, and supplemented by additional funds raised by the Governor John Sevier Memorial Association.

Tickets are $50 per person and must be purchased by Sept. 2. Guests may purchase online from the Marble Springs website at www.marblesprings.net. A portion of your ticket price is tax deductible.


History comes alive in Knoxville

Knoxville’s 10th Annual East Tennessee History Fair is scheduled for 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, August 19, 2017. This event will celebrate the region’s history with reenactments, activities, and tours.

Presented by the East Tennessee Historical Society, along with dozens of businesses, historical organizations, museums, musicians, and individuals from across the region, the East Tennessee History Fair features fun and educational activities highlighting the people, places, stories, and events that comprise the shared history of our 35-county region. The event is free and open to the public.

Special highlights include:

–Free admission to the Museum of East Tennessee History for the day, including Voices of the Land: The People of East Tennessee and Stories in Stitches exhibitions, plus the Streetscape with Streetcar 409 and Corner Drug Store, c. 1920-1930

–Antiques Fair—downtown Knoxville’s only antiques fair with vendors selling a wide variety of primitives, antiques, and tabletop items, sponsored by Case Antiques and Building Systems Technology, Inc.

–WDVX Music Stage featuring Russ and Becky Jeffers, Travelin’ Caudells, Good Thymes Ceilidh Band, Knox County Jug Stompers, Early Morning Stringdusters, and Seven Pine

–Living History Timeline—spanning the region’s history from the Cherokee to Vietnam War

–Abraham Lincoln and wife Mary Todd, Mary Anna Custis Lee and Robert E. Lee, and many other historical characters will roam the crowd

–More than fifty historical and genealogical societies representing county, regional, and state organizations from across the region

–“Old Fashioned Tennessee Checkers Skirmish” sponsored by Mast General Store

–Book sales by Friends of the Knox County Library featuring Civil War, WWII, and other local and American history-themed books for children and adults

–“History Hound” Dog Costume Contest—guests are invited to bring their pets to Krutch Park dressed as their favorite historical character. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. and the contest begins at 10:15. Celebrity judges will award fabulous prizes from PetSafe for “Best Costume” and “Most East Tennessee Spirit.”

–Tours of Underground Gay Street
–Walking tour with Jack Neely on the history of the Worlds Fair Park
–Walking tour with Knoxville Walking Tours on “Spies, Spooks, and Scoundrels”
–Craft demonstrations–spinning, quilting, blacksmithing, tinsmithing, raku pottery, woodworking, chair caning, basket making, natural fibers, clay work, lye soap making, primitive handmade items, and more
–Art Market Gallery will be celebrating being a part of Knoxville’s history for 35 years. They will feature a special exhibition of works by gallery members entitled Original Art of East Tennessee’s Spaces and Places, and give out Cherry Coke
–An enlarged children’s activity area with special crafts, games, and storytelling by the “King of The Wild Frontier,” Davy Crockett, along with a birthday party with cake for Davy’s 231st birthday
–Jump on the Big Love Bus for tours of downtown’s historic homes, including Blount Mansion, James White’s Fort, Mabry Hazen House, and Bethel Cemetery
–Market Square Farmers Market
–Home style food, goodies, cool treats, kettle corn and barbeque
–Vintage films by the Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound at the Tennessee Theatre—Open House with free tours of the Tennessee Theatre

Attendees of the East Tennessee History Fair often have a chance to chat with historical characters and reinactors who also have a love for history. Photo by Celebrate Knoxville.

For more information on the History Fair, please visit www.easttnhistory.org/eastTNhistoryfair or call 865-215-8824.

Farmers Market week is Aug. 6-12

East Tennessee farmers’ markets join markets across the country in celebrating National Farmers Market Week from August 6-12, 2017. Nourish Knoxville, organizers of the Market Square Farmers’ Market in downtown Knoxville, are celebrating farmers’ markets in East Tennessee by lighting up the Henley Street bridge in green and blue, hosting a kick-off at the Market Square Farmers’ Market on August 5, highlighting markets on social media, and raising awareness of the amount of farmers’ markets in East Tennessee.

Nourish Knoxville will also guest-host the Farmers Market Coalition’s Instagram account from July 31 through August 12 to highlight the great work being done in Knoxville, Tennessee.

As demand for local food continues to grow, so too have the opportunities for America’s farmers to market fresh food directly to the consumer. According to statistics recently released by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), farmers’ markets and farm stands account for roughly $2 billion of the $3 billion that Americans spend annually on farm-direct products. This revenue, in turn, supports the livelihoods of more than 165,000 mostly small and mid-sized farms and ranches.

Nourish Knoxville began in 2013 as a nonprofit organization to promote and support local producers, and currently hosts the Market Square Farmers’ Market. Photo of Market Square Farmers Market by Celebrate Knoxville.

Nourish Knoxville produces the East Tennessee Local Food Guide. The 2017 guide lists 37 farmers’ markets and 146 direct marketing farms in 28 counties in East Tennessee.

“Farmers’ markets play a vital role not just in generating real income for farmers, but in forming a healthy, prosperous food systems,” says Jen Cheek, Executive Director of the Farmers Market Coalition. “By providing the opportunity for farmers to connect directly with consumers, markets serve as education centers. Vendors are teaching customers about agriculture and sharing recipes and new foods with their neighbors. Markets are making people and communities stronger and healthier.”

Visit nourishknoxville.org.

Tomato Jam is July 23

The Nourish Knoxville Tomato Jam, a drinks competition featuring some of Knoxville’s best bartenders and East Tennessee’s finest tomatoes, will take place July 23, 2017, from 12-3pm at The Mill and Mine. The event is a fundraiser for Nourish Knoxville. All proceeds go to further the mission of Nourish Knoxville: to cultivate and support relationships between farmers, artisanal producers, and the community and to build healthy communities through connections to local food. This event is for guests 21 years and older.

Eight bartenders will create their best tomato-based cocktail, and attendees get to vote for favorites. Longtime Market Square Farmers’ Market fans will remember Market Mixers, when downtown bartenders created cocktails based on local ingredients. The Tomato Jam was created out of the most popular Market Mixer, the tomato. For this event, Bloody Marys, Micheladas, and unique cocktail creations will be found all under one roof, thanks to The Mill and Mine.

These cocktails make great use of this summer vegetable (that’s technically a fruit) and popular for sauces, salsas, soups, and sandwiches. Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A, C, and K, and potassium and lycopene. Tomatoes are available for much of the year thanks to hothouses, but are at the peak of ripeness and flavor during these summer months.

Guests at the Tomato Jam will have the opportunity to taste tomato-based cocktails from Emilia, JC Holdway, Knox Mason, Knox Kaizen, Lonesome Dove, Peter Kern Library, The Public House, and Sapphire.

Knox Mason will provide locally-sourced brunch bites and Three Bears Coffee Company will provide coffee. There will also be live music and games on the lawn.

Tickets are $40 each or $140 for 4.

Visit NourishKnoxville.org.

Museum of Appalachia hosts event

The Museum of Appalachia will once again celebrate Independence Day with an old fashioned “anvil shoot.” Every 4th of July, the Museum uses gunpowder to launch a 200-pound anvil hundreds of feet into the air. The anvil shoot is the centerpiece of a celebration that includes a bell-ringing ceremony, flag procession, old-fashioned games, music, and demonstrations from blacksmiths, beekeepers, patriotic re-enactors, and woodworkers. The Museum is also hosting a pie-baking contest; registration information and other details can be found at www.museumofappalachia.org.

“When the gunpowder ignites and the anvil soars into the air, the earth will literally shake,” says Museum President, Elaine Meyer. “The sound of the explosion can be heard for several miles.”

Anvil shoots were once a common way for pioneers to commemorate holidays, elections, and other special occasions. While the tradition of anvil-shooting is nearly obsolete, the Museum keeps a piece of history alive for a 21st century audience. Photo courtesy Museum of Appalachia.

July 4th anvil shoots are a nearly 30-year tradition for the Museum, but the event remains as exciting as ever. Garden & Gun magazine named the event the “Editors’ Choice” for “Goings-on in the South” in their June/July issue.

Anvil shoots are scheduled for 10:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 2:30 p.m.

The Museum is open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with special Independence Day activities from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

On this day, only, the Museum is offering a special family rate of $35. The event is free for Museum members. Tickets may be purchased at the Museum on the day of the event. For more information, visit the Museum’s website, or call 865-494-7680.

Food writing workshop offered

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Erin Elizabeth Smith, poet, editor, publisher, teacher, shows the ingredients of great food writing that stimulates the senses, illuminates regional culture, and advances fine writing. The workshop will take place Saturday, May 13, 2017 at 10:00 am.

Erin says, “Southern food has always been more than fried chicken and biscuits—it’s the story of our grandmother’s hands, a lyric of hardship, the rush of the first summer tomato reddening on the vine.” This multi-genre workshop will focus on how Southern food culture can help to inform our stories, poetry, and memoirs. Participants will discuss ways to incorporate elements of the Southern history and mythos of our cuisine into their work. The workshop also includes a cooking demo as well as a collection of recipes from across the South to take home with you.

The public is invited to the workshop, which will will be held in the Fellowship Hall of Central United Methodist Church, 201 East Third Avenue. The cost to attend is $50 (payable at the door by cash, check, or card), with a 40% discount offered to Knoxville Writers’ Guild Members and a 50% discount to students. Scholarships are available for all Knoxville Writers’ Guild programs. To register or to apply for a scholarship, please contact Pamela Schoenewaldt at p.schoene@comcast.net Pre-registration is required.

Erin Elizabeth Smith teaches poetry writing, public writing, and a variety of literature and genre classes including Women in American Literature and Introduction to Poetry at the University of Tennessee. She is the author of two full-length collections, The Naming of Strays (Gold Wake 2011) and The Fear of Being Found, which will be re-released by Zoetic Press in 2016.

Smith’s poetry and nonfiction have appeared in 32 Poems, Mid-American, The Yalobusha Review, New Delta Review, Florida Review, Third Coast, Crab Orchard, West Branch, and Willow Springs, among others. In 2009, she graduated with her PhD in Creative Writing from the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. In 1999, she founded Stirring: A Literary Collection, and since then has also served as the managing editor of Sundress Publications and the Best of the Net Anthology (2006-2013). Smith currently lives in Oak Ridge, TN where she is the Creative Director for Sundress Academy for the Arts at Firefly Farms.

The Knoxville Writers’ Guild exists to facilitate a broad and inclusive community for area writers, provide a forum for information, support and sharing among writers, help members improve and market their writing skills and promote writing and creativity. Additional information can be found at www.KnoxvilleWritersGuild.org www.facebook.com/KnoxWritersGuild
Instagram @KnoxvilleWritersGuild

Farmers Market opens May 3

Beginning May 3, 2017, the Market Square Farmers Market will be open for business. This popular market has become for many an attraction and destination for finding fresh, local food. Every Wednesday and Saturday from May through November, rain or shine, you’ll find this open-air farmers’ market in the heart of Downtown Knoxville.

Everything at the market is grown or made by the vendor in the East Tennessee region. Products vary by season and include produce, eggs, honey, herbs, pasture-raised meat, bread, baked goods, salsas, coffee, artisan crafts, and more. Explore the daily map of vendor booths for each market or just come explore, taste some samples, and meet your friends and neighbors for a great day out in the Square.

11am – 2pm

9am – 2pm

The Market Square Farmers market offers a variety of fresh, local foods grown and raised by East Tennessee farmers. The market is open rain or shine. Photo by Celebrate Knoxville.

Keep Knoxville Beautiful hosts event

Keep Knoxville Beautiful will host a Trash Run in South Knoxville on Tuesday, May 9, 2017. Check-in will begin at SoKno Taco Cantina at 3701 Sevierville Pike at 5:30 p.m. and the run will start at 6:00.

The Trash Run is a non-competitive fun run and litter pickup for runners/walkers of all ages. There is no designated route for the event; rather, participants are encouraged to spend an hour running or walking and collecting litter in the area. Keep Knoxville Beautiful will provide maps, gloves, bags, safety vests, and litter-pickers.

At the conclusion of the run at 7:00, participants are invited to enjoy a free beer and taco and will have the chance to win a $50 gift certificate, all courtesy of SoKno Taco Cantina. The event is free but participants must register at http://www.keepknoxvillebeautiful.org/upcoming/2017/5/9/trash-run or by visiting KeepKnoxvilleBeautiful.org and clicking on the Upcoming Events link.

South Knoxville is Keep Knoxville Beautiful’s Community of the Year through June 2017, and this is one of the last events that KKB will host in the area. Please join Keep Knoxville Beautiful at the Trash Run and help make South Knoxville a cleaner, greener, more beautiful place to live.

Knoxville Winter Farmers’ Market begins

KNOXVILLE – Nourish Knoxville will open the Winter Farmers’ Market for its fourth season on January 14, 2017. Patrons can shop from a host of farms selling locally grown produce, meat, eggs, honey, herbs, plants, and more, along with artisan food and craft producers with baked goods, prepared foods, and handcrafted items. Food trucks will be stationed in the parking lot to provide brunch and locally roasted coffee.

As part of opening day, Nourish Knoxville will kick off the Power of Produce (PoP) Club. A nationwide program that actively engages children in healthy eating, PoP Clubs give children the opportunity to become an active part of their local food economy by empowering them to make their own food choices with their PoP Bucks. All children participating in the activity of the day receive PoP Bucks to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables or food producing plants. Any children visiting the WFM are invited to participate in the day’s activity, or join the PoP Club to participate season long, track their progress with their own PoP Passport, and receive prizes for completing multiple activities. With a curriculum created by the Knox County Health Department, PoP Club promises to be a fun and educational child-centered piece of the Winter Farmers’ Market. The PoP Club at the Winter Farmers’ Market is sponsored by OliBea, a restaurant with a commitment to purchasing local ingredients from farms in the East Tennessee region.

The Winter Farmers’ Market will also provide the Fre$h Savings program, a SNAP matching program that allows SNAP recipients to buy more fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers’ markets. For every $20 of SNAP/EBT spent, SNAP customers will receive an additional $20 to use at market on fresh produce. Fre$h Savings is made possible by the AARP Foundation and Wholesome Wave Foundation, and is available at farmers’ markets across Tennessee.

The Winter Farmers’ Market happens every other Saturday, January through April. Along with invaluable programs like PoP Club and Fre$h Savings, the WFM will offer special events throughout the season, such as monthly cooking classes with nutrition cooking master Katie Dodson. These classes will cover topics like meal planning, quick dinners from healthy ingredients, and tweaking healthy diets to maximize pleasurable eating. For more information about these and other events, visit our website at nourishknoxville.org.

Nourish Knoxville is a 501(c)(3) non-profit working to cultivate and support relationships between farmers, artisanal producers, and the community through outreach, education, and advocacy, and to build healthy communities through connections to local food. NK operates the Market Square Farmers’ Market, Market Square Holiday Market, and Winter Farmers’ Market in Knoxville, Tennessee, and publishes the annual East Tennessee Local Food Guide, a free publication connecting the East Tennessee community to local food.

Jazz Lunch features top brass

The next concert in the Knoxville Jazz Lunch series will feature “Top Brass with Thomas Heflin & Mitch Butler.” The event will take place on Wednesday, February 1, 2017 from noon to 1 p.m. at The Square Room, located in Market Square in downtown Knoxville.

Though sometimes overlooked, the quintet with a front line of trumpet and trombone has a rich history in straight ahead jazz. Giants like Clark Terry & Bob Brookmeyer, Woody Shaw & Steve Turre, JJ Johnson and Nat Adderley, et al, left behind an enormous body of work.

For this special concert, trumpeter Thomas Heflin (a former KJO member) and trombonist Mitch Butler team up to pay tribute to the great masters of brass who pioneered this exciting sound. Keith Brown (piano), Tommy Sauter (bass), and Kenneth Brown (drums) will join Heflin and Butler for this special jazz lunch concert.

Admission to the concert is $15 and includes a lunch buffet served up by Café 4. Tickets are available online at http://www.knoxjazz.org or by visiting Café 4 in person prior to the show.

The Square Room is a new, state-of-the-art performance venue in downtown Knoxville, TN in the Historic Market Square district. It is housed in the rear of the 4 Market Square Building along with its counterpart Café 4, a full-service restaurant and coffee bar.

For more info visit: http://www.knoxjazz.org/

Concert features Mike Baggetta

The next concert in the Jazz Lunch series will feature a tribute to Ornette Coleman with Mike Baggetta and will take place on Wednesday, December 7, 2016, from noon to 1pm at the Square Room in downtown Knoxville. Admission to the concert is $15 and includes a lunch buffet served up by Café 4. Tickets are available online at http://www.knoxjazz.org or by visiting Café 4 in person prior to the show.


Drawing from the works of the Free-Jazz pioneer, saxophonist and composer Ornette Coleman, Mike Baggetta has assembled a group of fearless improvisors with whom to reinterpret Coleman’s music with a newfound experimentalism paying tribute to the spirit of its creator. Photo: Knoxville Jazz Orchestra.

Patrons to this Jazz Lunch may expect classic Ornette tunes like Lonely Woman and Ramblin’ next to lesser known masterpieces like What Reason Could I Give and War Orphans, among others. Matt Nelson (bass) and Nolan Nevels (drums) will join Mike Baggetta for this special jazz lunch concert.

Special thanks to East Tennessee PBS, WUOT 91.9 FM, The Square Room, and Weird Monkey Studios for support of the Jazz Lunch Series.

The Square Room is a new, state-of- the-art performance venue in downtown Knoxville, TN in the Historic Market Square district. It is housed in the rear of the 4 Market Square Building along with its counterpart Café 4, a full-service restaurant and coffee bar.

Knoxville writers host potluck supper

Members of the Knoxville Writers’ Guild will share their works and hold a mix and mingle potluck for December’s monthly program. Both current members and the public are encouraged to attend and to bring a covered dish or holiday snack.

The event will begin at 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016 at Central United Methodist Church’s Fellowship Hall, 201 E. Third Ave. Attendees should enter off of the large parking lot behind the church. A $2 donation is welcome at the door with free and accessible parking available.

We will also have sales tables provided for KWG members to sell their work.

For those interested in reading, there are a few simple guidelines:

1) You must be a current member of the Knoxville Writers’ Guild. You can join or renew your membership before the readings begin. There will be a sign-up sheet at the door for those taking part to establish speaker order.

2) What you read should be your own work or that of another group member. If it will be the work of another KWG member, you are required to have permission to read his/her work.

3) Your reading time will be three minutes maximum. It’s not necessary that your reading last the full amount of time allotted. For instance, if you have a one-minute poem and don’t have anything else you’d like to read, that would be fine.

4) What you read should be suitable for a general audience. In other words, please show courtesy to those attending. Think of approaching your reading as something to be shared and appreciated by one-and-all.

The Knoxville Writers Guild membership is $30 and $15 for students. Visit www.knoxvillewritersguild.org.

Beardsley Farm hosts fundraiser

KNOXVILLE, TN – The public is invited to join Beardsley Farm for a fundraising Winter Solstice Supper at OliBea in the Old City on December 21, 2016 from 6:00-9:00 pm. CAC Beardsley Community Farm has promoted food security and sustainable urban agriculture through practice, education, and community outreach for 18 years.

This festive dinner will be prepared by OliBea owner and chef Jeff DeAlejandro and Chef Winter Hose. The supper will include some of Beardsley’s own produce in addition to locally sourced ingredients.
Tickets are $75 (plus service fees), and can be purchased at http://wintersolstice2016.bpt.me/
Proceeds from this dinner will support the farm’s mission to address food security issues in Knoxville through produce donations, community gardening, and education opportunities.
The supper will include meat, with vegetarian and vegan options. The dinner will be served promptly at 6:30 pm. Drinks will include water, tea, coffee, and beer from Crafty Bastard Brewery. Wine will be available for sale.
Please email beardsleyfarm@gmail.com if you have any dietary restrictions or needs, to request a vegan option, and for any special seating requests (i.e., you would like to sit with friends who purchased separate tickets).

See Ramsey House by candlelight

Knoxville’s historic Ramsey House will once again offer a unique holiday experience with the fundraising candlelight tour and dinner in the beautifully decorated, 1797 historic home of Francis and Peggy Alexander Ramsey on December 2-3, 2016, at 6 p.m.

The event will be held at Historic Ramsey House 2614 Thorn Grove Pike, Knoxville, Tennessee. Tickets are for individuals or groups up to ten persons; $125 per person donation to benefit Historic Ramsey House. Reservations are required 865-546- 0745.

For more information, Email judy@ramseyhouse.org.


Also known as Swan Pond, the Ramsey House was constructed circa 1797 by English architect Thomas Hope for Colonel Francis Alexander Ramsey (1764–1820), whose family operated a plantation at the site until the U.S. Civil War.  In 1969, the house was added to the National Register of Historic Places for its architecture and its role in the region’s early 19th-century history. Photo courtesy Ramsey House.

Food fest at World’s Fair Park

Annoor Academy of Knoxville, a local pre-k through eighth grade private school, invites the Knoxville community to its fifteenth annual International Food Festival, on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016, from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. at the World’s Fair Park Festival Lawn.

The students of Annoor Academy of Knoxville (AAK) represent a wide array of cultural backgrounds. For 15 years, the staff, parents, and volunteers of AAK have celebrated their diversity and cultural roots through an international food festival. This year, for the first time, AAK is bringing the celebration to the heart of Knoxville by hosting its largest ever International Food Festival at the World’s Fair Park this coming Saturday, October 29, from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.

As event organizer Ghada Ayesh explained, “This event was really born out of a desire to share our unique cultural diversity with the Knoxville community. And what better way to bond with your neighbors than over food!”

The festival will feature food booths set up by volunteers as well as some local restaurants, representing different countries and regions, with an emphasis on the Middle East, South Asia, and North Africa, though other nations will be represented as well. “We will have food ranging from places like Indonesia to Jamaica!” Ayesh explains. In addition to food vendors, there will be a shopping bazaar and a “kids’ corner,” where kids can enjoy bouncing on inflatables, crafts and receive a passport to have stamped as they travel around the country booths. There also will be a rotating schedule of entertainment along with cooking demonstrations throughout the day.

Admission to the event is free of charge. Food tickets can be purchased on site for $1 each, and each vendor will have listed prices (in tickets) for each food item. Children wishing to participate in the “kids’ corner” can have unlimited play time in the inflatables, crafts and a kids’ passport for $5. All profits for the event go toward AAK school operations.

Annoor Academy of Knoxville is a private school serving the Muslim community in the Knoxville, Tennessee area. It was founded in 1998 and currently operates as an accredited preschool through 8th grade school located in West Knoxville. The purpose of the school is to provide children of the Knoxville Community with an excellent education in a safe, secure, religiously sensitive environment. AAK is dedicated to creating a learning environment which encourages all students to become outstanding citizens.

For more information, visit annooracademy.net.

Robinella at Jazz Lunch

Legendary artist Aretha Franklin is on the agenda as Robinella performs her tunes at the Knoxville Jazz Lunch. The series performance will take place on Wednesday, November 2, 2016, from noon to 1pm at the Square Room. Admission to the concert is $15 and includes a lunch buffet served up by Café 4. Tickets are available online at http://www.knoxjazz.org or by visiting Café 4 in person prior to the show.

Robinella Bailey is one of East Tennessee’s most celebrated vocalists. She has toured the country, opening for the likes of Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Nickel Creek, Earl Scruggs and many others and released half a dozen recordings under her own steam. An iTunes music review proclaimed “Robinella’s voice is so versatile – so utterly loose, carefree and expressive no matter what the material is – that she glides into every tune.”


Robinella Bailey pays tribute to the Queen of Soul, Ms. Aretha Franklin, at the next Jazz Lunch at the Square Room in downtown Knoxville, Novemer 2, 2016, at noon. Photo submitted.

Special thanks to East Tennessee PBS, WUOT 91.9 FM, The Square Room, and Weird Monkey Studios for support of the Jazz Lunch Series.

The Square Room is a new, state-of-the-art performance venue in downtown Knoxville, TN in the Historic Market Square district. It is housed in the rear of the 4 Market Square Building along with its counterpart Café 4, a full-service restaurant and coffee bar.

For more info visit:

Brewers Jam benefits Community Shares

KNOXVILLE, TN – The 20th annual Knoxville Brewers’ Jam will be held Saturday, October 8, at the World’s Fair Park. Proceeds benefit the non-profit organization Community Shares of Tennessee, which has produced the festival since 2004.

More than 50 brewers and brewer reps will be serving up 5-ounce samples and answering questions about their craft beers. Additional unique and exotic beers will be available for tastings, including the award-winning Goose Island Bourbon County Stout and Founders Brewing Co. Kentucky Breakfast Stout. A handful of local breweries will be featured under their own tent, and several high-gravity beers will be poured for a limited time at the “bomber” tent.

Live music begins at 1 p.m. with Sarah Pirkle, Jeff Barbra and Griffin Vann; Handsome and the Humbles; Kelsey’s Woods; and Davis Mitchell’s New Power Soul tribute to Prince.

Several food vendors will be on site, including Savory and Sweet, Sweet P’s BBQ & Soul House, and Jimmy’s Concessions. Additional food vendors will be listed on the website as they confirm.

Tickets are $45 at local outlets (see below) while supplies last; $50 plus applicable ticket fees online; and $60 online the day of the event. Guests receive a souvenir sample cup and unlimited five-ounce samples of craft beer, starting when gates open at 1 p.m.

VIP tickets (online only) are $100, plus applicable ticket fees. VIPs may enter the site starting at 12 p.m. and have access to a special tent where Sugarlands Distilling Company will serve samples of their moonshine, Sweet P’s BBQ serves up lunch, and guests have exclusive restroom facilities.

Designated driver tickets (online only) are $20, plus applicable services fees. DD ticketholders receive free water and soft drinks.

No one under 21 will be admitted to Knoxville Brewers’ Jam.

* Outlets for tickets include:
Downtown Grill and Brewery
Bearden Beer Market
Three Rivers Market
Barley’s Tap Room
Trailhead Beer Market
Sugar Mama’s
Last Days of Autumn Brewery
Visit the website: http://www.knoxvillebrewersjam.com/

Holiday Bazaar and Bake event is Oct 7-9

SEYMOUR, TN – Looking for a great place to get some early shopping done? A Holiday Bazaar and Bake Sale will be held October 7, 8, and 9, 2016 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. (Sunday until noon) at Holy Family Catholic Church, 307 Black Oak Ridge Road, in Seymour.

“We have something for everyone on your shopping list at our annual event,” says Marie Kruzel, who is organizing the event along with a women’s group known as The Crafty Ladies. Kruzel is the artist/crafts guild president this year.


Guests to the Holiday Bazaar and Bake Sale at Holy Family Catholich Church (October 7-9, 2016) will enjoy shopping for beautiful handmade arts and crafts such as this vintage necklace (above) or hand-turned wood Christmas tree ornaments (below) as well as home baked cookies, breads, cakes, and pies. Photo by Celebrate Knoxville.


“We’ll have jewelry and artwork, vintage items such as purses, plus a children’s corner with gifts for kids,” Kruzel said.

Raffle tickets for winning a handmade quilt and vintage Victorian style doll house will be offered during the event. You do not have to be present to win.

Kruzel said that Sunday’s bazaar at the end of the weekend also includes free coffee and chicken salad croissants for attendees.

All proceeds for the event go towards reducing the mortgage debt on parish property.

For more information, or to purchase tickets for the raffle, call 865-712-8252.

TN Pirate Fest is Oct 8-9

The first ever Tennessee Pirate Fest will be held in Harriman, just 30 miles west of Turkey Creek, on October 8-9, 2016 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, rain or shine.

“We are throwing a pirate party and everyone is invited,” said Barrie Paulson, VP-Manager & Entertainment Director. “International Talk-Like-A-Pirate Day is a great warm up to ‘Get Your Pirate On!’”


Patrons are encouraged to dress in costume. Professional entertainment includes the Tortuga Twins, an interactive comedy show; Pirates, Inc., sea shanties; Outlaw Ritual, blues/swamp rock duo; PanEZ, Caribbean steel drum; Three RRR’s, comedy stunt show; Trouble the Waters, Irish musical duo; Captain Anton Neal and the Sirens, sea shanties; and Kombat Kroquet. An entertainment schedule will be available online and at the entrance gate.

The village of Port Royale will consist of interactive street characters–including British red coats, the Governor’s household, and pirates. Merchants will also help create the village, selling custom crafts, festival food, and hot and cold beverages, including beer.

Ticket prices are $13 for ages 13+, $8 for ages 5-12, and there will be free admission for children 4 and under. Parking is free, and tickets may be purchased with cash or credit at the ticket house on show days.

The festival is located at 550 Fiske Road, Harriman, TN. Festival rules include the following: No sharp weapons or loaded guns (stage weapons must be sheathed and zip-tied); no pets (service animals only); no outside food or drinks; no visibly intoxicated persons will be admitted; no onsite patron camping.

For more information, call 865-248-8414.

Living History at Marble Springs

THIS WEEKEND Marble Springs State Historic Site is pleased to host a weekend of Living History in celebration of the life and times of the first governor of Tennessee, John Sevier, in commemoration of his 271 st birthday. John Sevier Days Living History Weekend will take place Saturday, September 17, 2016 from 10:00 AM– 5:00 PM and Sunday, September 18, from 11:00 – 4:00 PM. You can expect to enjoy 18th century demonstrations such as open-hearth cooking, spinning and weaving, blacksmithing, weapons demonstrations that will showcase period-appropriate firearms, 18th century style militia drills, regional craft demonstrations, historic lecture, and hands on archeology activities. Food, drinks, and special treats will be available.

Admission for Sevier Days is $5.00 per adult (16+); $3 per child (7-15); 6 and under FREE; Parking is free. All proceeds benefit the mission of preservation and education of the Marble Springs State Historic Site.

For more information call (865)573-5508 or email infor@marblesprings.net or visit www.marblesprings.net.

Programming assistance for this event is provided by Knox County. Marble Springs is funded under an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Tennessee Historical Commission, and supplemented by additional funds raised by the Governor John Sevier Memorial Association.

All activities take place at the Marble Springs State Historic Site: 1220 West Governor John Sevier Highway.

About Marble Springs State Historic Site

Marble Springs State Historic Site is the last remaining home of John Sevier. Born in Virginia in 1745, John Sevier made a name for himself as a Revolutionary War Hero during the Battle of Kings Mountain (1780), a key player; Governor of the short-lived State of Franklin (1784-1788), and ultimately was elected to serve as the first Governor of the State of Tennessee (1796). Marble Springs was the approximate 350-acre farm that Sevier lived on from 1801-1815, the last years of his life. Sevier named his farm Marble Springs because of the Tennessee Rose Marble that was quarried on site and the natural springs that flowed on the property.

Tomato Crush feeds thousands

The Knoxville Convention Center is inviting volunteers to assist in the second annual “Tomato Crush” event to prepare hundreds of healthy, premade meals for hungry families across East Tennessee. The event to benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee will be held in the Convention Center’s industrial kitchen on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Volunteers will assist in preparing fresh tomatoes for processing into red sauce to be used in a variety of dishes. Volunteers also are invited to bring locally grown or canned tomatoes to donate to Second Harvest.

“Last year, we had a great turnout to help the Knoxville Convention Center staff prepare more than 1,000 gallons of healthy, red tomato sauce for Second Harvest Food Bank,” Convention Center Executive Chef Chris Moore said. “We need volunteers of all ages and skill levels to help us exceed last year’s donation. No culinary experience is required. There are many different tasks, and several chefs are available to help supervise.”

Sysco, US Foods and local farmers have donated tomatoes, onions, garlic and other ingredients for volunteers to turn into sauce. Approximately 80 volunteers from the University of Tennessee Culinary Arts program have signed up for Saturday’s event.

The idea for the event stemmed from conversations about the lack of fresh, healthy ingredients in the local food system – and its effect on the population – among members of the Knoxville-Knox County Food Policy Council and Gail Root, programs director for Second Harvest.

This year’s Tomato Crush is being held in memory of one of the founders of the event, James Bosi.

Volunteers interested in participating in the event should meet at the Clinch Avenue entrance of the Convention Center between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Aug. 27. Participants will be taken to the industrial kitchen on the hour and half-hour. Parking is available at the Poplar Street lot and the Locust Street Garage.

If possible, interested volunteers should contact the Knoxville Convention Center in advance at 865-522- 5669. Notification of participation is requested but not required.

Chapel Hill cheese products recalled

Restaurants, stores, and farmer’s markets in Tennessee may be affected by a recent cheese recall. Chapel Hill Creamery in Chapel Hill, NC, has announced a voluntary recall of all Chapel Hill Creamery cheese products because of a potential association with an outbreak of Salmonella infections. Health officials have identified recent cases ofSalmonella infection in persons who consumed Chapel Hill Creamery products.

A matching strain of Salmonella has been identified in the milk from the creamery that was used during preparation of the cheese products. The products involved in the voluntary recall include all codes, packages and sizes of the following varieties of cheese manufactured by Chapel Hill Creamery and distributed through retail locations, Farmer’s Markets or restaurants throughout North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia.

Hot Farmers Cheese
New Moon
Smoked Mozzarella
Fresh Mozzarella
Hickory Grove
Carolina Moon
Smoked Farmers Cheese
Dairyland Farmers Cheese

Portia McKnight, co-founder of the Creamery, said “Although there is not yet a definitive link between the CHC cheese and the illnesses, there is enough evidence to implicate the cheese and we are asking customers to not consume these cheeses or use them in food service.” Chapel Hill Creamery has requested wholesale customers to remove any CHC cheese from their shelves and dispose of it. Consumers who have this product in their home should not consume it and should dispose of it. Customers are reminded to thoroughly wash their hands and any utensils or equipment that may have contacted the cheese in warm, soapy water.

“Our customers are our top priority,” McKnight said. “If there is any potential of risk, we take that very seriously and are committed to addressing it fully.”

Chapel Hill Creamery is working in cooperation with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the Orange County Health Department to identify the source of the Salmonella and which cheeses are affected.

“The Chapel Hill Creamery has been an integral part of our local community for many years. They have consistently adhered to and exceeded safety measures and it is this adherence that allowed us to identify the issue so quickly. Since identification they have gone above and beyond to protect the health and safety of their customers.” Dr. Colleen Bridger, Orange County Health Director.

The Creamery will provide updated information on its web site (chapelhillcreamery.com) as it becomes available.

Most persons infected with Salmonella experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. People who are concerned they might haveSalmonella infections should contact their doctor to discuss testing and treatment. The illness typically lasts four to seven days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, in some persons, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized.

Orange County has provided a hot line (919) 245-2378 for any questions.

Food Truck event pairs well with wines

CELEBRATE KNOXVILLE – In spite of the hot summer temperatures, Knoxville residents turned out in droves for the Food Truck Park held on Thursday evening at Blue Slip Winery’s downtown location at the historic Southern Railway Station. Venor trucks parked in the back parking lot from 5 pm to 7 pm and offered foods from Asian spring rolls to tacos to barbecue, as well as desserts like ice cream and donuts.

Blue Slip Winery owners Linn Slocum and Jeff Galyon say the Food Truck event is just another step in their business plans to “promote local” with events, a brand new Bistro with full bar and menu, and of course, handcrafted wines made from Tennessee grapes.

Beginning in 2009, the business was formerly located on Jackson Avenue in the Old City and is Knoxville’s first urban winery.


When Blue Slip Winery moved to the Southern Railway Station in 2014, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero praised the location for the new business, saying that the area was “walkable and bikeable,” and featured ample parking. Those words rang true at the Food Truck event Thursday as attendees easily navigated with bikes, kids, and dogs. Many brought their own lawn chairs. Photo by Celebrate Knoxville.

“The Food Truck event has been really successful for us, a natural pairing of great food and drink and local music as well,” Slocum said, as she poured tastings at a table outdoors. “We have two brand new wines to share with the community, and we hope folks will continue to visit us and try them out. The Bistro located inside is open Monday through Sunday from 11 am to 9 pm.”


Inside the Southern Railway Station building in the wine and gift shop, Blue Slip’s Brice Rayburn served behind the tasting bar and gave a description of the two new wines being featured. Photo by Celebrate Knoxville.

“The Railway Reserve is a mellow, smooth red with a subtle punch at the end, but in a good way,” Rayburn said. “The second new wine is Volunteer Vinifera, which is a white with a blend of complex flavors, hints of musk and peach, and the dry part just creeps up on you at the finish.”

The Food Truck event has been so popular that Slocum says it is a regular event for them and will be held every third Thursday throughout the summer and fall.

—CelebrateKnoxville, 2016.

Powell Kroger seeks mural artist

KNOXVILLE, TN – Kroger has announced a request for qualifications from interested artists for a large-scale indoor artwork to be located at the soon-to-be completed Kroger Grocery Store in the Powell neighborhood at exit 112 off Interstate-75. This 12.5’ x 5’ artwork will have high visibility and will be prominently displayed within the store. The artwork should use local references to evoke a creative, uplifting feeling that encourages community and celebrates the spirit of the neighborhood.

The deadline for qualifications to be received is Friday, July 1, 2016.

The call for entries is open to all artists 18 years and older residing in the greater Knoxville area.

Finalists will be chosen based on their examples of work, experience, and their connection to the Powell/Knox County community and asked to submit a proposal meeting installation requirements. Of the finalists submitting proposals, one will be selected to create the artwork for the new Powell Kroger opening September 2016. The deadline for selected finalists to submit their proposals is August 1. Payment to the selected artist is $7,500 including all materials. Visit http://www.knoxalliance.com/kroger/ for more information.

There is no application fee. To be considered, artists should submit up to three examples of their work (including title, medium, and dimensions), a brief resume, two professional references, and an explanation of their connection to the community to LZ@knoxalliance.com.

Knox Library Book Sale is June 25-28

Knox County Public Library’s 2016 Annual Used Book Sale will be held June 25–28, 2016 at the Jacob Building at Chilhowee Park in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee.

Thousands of beautiful used books will be on sale to benefit the Knox County Public Library. From Members Only Day on June 25 through Bag Sale Day on June 28, this year’s sale offers great book bargains for everyone.

Knoxville residents can support Friends of the Knox County Public Library in 2016 by registering a Kroger Plus Card and choosing Friends as the recipient.

Participants earn points for the library with every purchase that will be converted into dollars of support for Friends. Participants still receive Kroger Plus Card discounts just like before, and benefit the library at the same time.

Follow these easy steps to link your card to Friends: Register your card online—create an account, then enter your email, favorite store, and Kroger Plus Card number. At the bottom of your Account Summary, click Enroll under Community Rewards, and either enter our Kroger Non Profit number (65466) or just search for Friends of the Knox County Public Library.



Dollar Night at Smokies Stadium

Tonight (May 16, 2016) at Smokies Stadium is McGhee Tyson Airport Dollar Monday. TN Smokies baseball fans will be able to purchase hot dogs, popcorn, small Pepsi products and programs for only one dollar. (From Knoxville, take I-40 East for a short 20 minutes to Exit 407 to get to Smokies Stadium. Parking is $5.)

After suffering a blowout loss to the Barons on Saturday night, the Smokies returned the favor Sunday afternoon as they topped Birmingham by a count of 12-4. Eight different Smokies recorded a hit in the win as C Victor Caratini led the way going 3-5 at the dish to go along with two RBI and two runs.

With their win, the Smokies record improves to 17-20 while the Barons dropped to 16-21 on the year.

While they were held scoreless in the second, the Smokies’ offense exploded for nine runs combined between the third and sixth innings. Candelario led off the third frame with a double then advanced to third after RF Billy McKinney (2-5, RBI, R) shot a single to left. Caratini hit a single of his own in the next at-bat that drove home Candelario and moved McKinney to scoring position. DH Kelly Dugan (2-2, 2 RBI, 2 BB) sent a shot off the center field wall for a double that scored both Caratini and McKinney to push the Smokies ahead 6-3. The Smokies added three more runs to their name in the bottom of the fourth.

The Smokies and Barons will do it all again tonight in game three of the five-game series with the first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. ET. The Smokies will give the ball to RHP Paul Blackburn (3-1, 1.02 ERA) while the Barons will turn to RHP Carson Fulmer (3-3, 5.45 ERA).

The Pilot Pre-Game Show will kick off the broadcast at 6:50 p.m. ET, leading up to the 7:05 p.m. ET first pitch from Smokies Stadium. Monday night’s broadcast can be heard on exclusively online at SmokiesBaseball.com or via the TuneIn Radio or MiLB First Pitch apps. The game can also be watched online via MiLB.tv.

Single-game tickets, as well as multi-voucher and season ticket packages are still available, and can be purchased online at smokiesbaseball.com, or by calling the Smokies Ticket Office at 865-286-2300.

The Tennessee Smokies are the Double-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. Members of the ten-team Southern League, Smokies baseball has been entertaining families and fans of America’s national pastime in the East Tennessee region for over 100 years. To learn more about the Tennessee Smokies, visit www.smokiesbaseball.com.

Enjoy Jewish traditional foods

KNOXVILLE, TN – You might be familiar with bagels and lox, or challah bread. But what about shakshuka or mandlebrot? On May 22, 2016 the greater Knoxville community will have a chance to try both of these Jewish foods, and many more, at the first-ever “Knoshville” Jewish Food Festival. (The event’s name is a play on the Yiddish word “nosh,” which means to snack or nibble.)


“Knoshville will bring together every Jewish organization in the Knoxville and Oak Ridge area, in celebration and appreciation of Jewish foods and cuisine. The entire community is invited to attend, nosh with us, and learn about the foods that bring us together,” says Deborah Oleshansky, Executive Director of the Knoxville Jewish Alliance. “It’s going to be very fun, and also very delicious.”

Knoshville Jewish Food Festival
Sunday, May 22 • 11:00AM – 3:00PM
Arnstein Jewish Community Center (AJCC), 6800 Deane Hill Drive
Admission is free; minimum food purchase of $10.00
The entire community is invited to attend and nosh! (RAIN OR SHINE.)

Menu items to include:
Bagels and lox (smoked salmon); Shakshuka (Middle Eastern spicy baked egg dish); Bundt cakes; “black and white” cookies; mandlebrot (it’s like biscotti, but better) potato latkes (pancakes); potato knishes (delicious filling covered with dough and baked or fried); matzah ball soup (dumplings in broth); challah (Jewish egg bread)

Please note: In respect of kashrut, the kosher Jewish dietary laws and traditions, no meat or poultry items will be available at this event. Dairy, fish and vegetarian items and some gluten-free items will be available. The Knoxville Jewish Alliance looks forward to announcing a kosher deli event in Fall 2016. Stay tuned!

Participating organizations: Knoxville Jewish Alliance, Heska Amuna Synagogue, Temple Beth El, Knoxville Jewish Day School, Chabad of Knoxville, Jewish Congregation of Oak Ridge, the local chapters of Hadassah and BBYO, and the Young Jewish Adults of Knoxville.

Knoshville will also feature Israeli dancing, music, and an art gallery. An AJCC pool open house will occur from 1:00PM – 5:00PM; pool use is free to the community.

TN Medieval faire is May 14

HARRIMAN, TN – Go back to the early Middle Ages (c. 500) and celebrate King Arthur and Camelot at the second annual Tennessee Medieval Faire in Harriman, Tennessee. This rugged outdoor festival opens on May 14, 2016 and runs the last three weekends in May, including Memorial Day.

Leading the charge is The Royal Joust performed three times a day by the Hanlon-Lees Action Theatre. There will also be sword fighting at the Warriors’ Chess Matches, performed twice daily. Between arena shows, Unicorn and Warhorse Rides will be offered.

“Excitement is increasing because more people know about the Faire,” said Barrie Paulson, VP-Manager & Entertainment Director. “People tell us they appreciate the quality of our show and want to see it grow.”

Rotating on three stages will be professional, interactive, family-friendly shows. Acts returning this year include Aaron Bonk’s “ridiculously dangerous” Fire * Whip * Sword Show; The Jackdaws, previously named Banish Misfortune; Professor DeWitt’s Punch and Judy Puppet Show; Albi Belly Dance; and Aristotle Simplified, aka Einstein Simplified.

New acts this year include Topsy Turvy, an acrobatic duo; Feckless Fear Dearg, a Kentucky Celtic band; Tom Smiter–Bizarre Feats of Rhythm and Melody; and Dendarah Middle Eastern Dance with Raks el Anwar. There will be other musicians, interactive folk dancers, fairy tale shows and medieval games. The Royal Players, who roam the Faire and interact with patrons, include the characters of King Arthur, Queen Guinevere and Merlin. Performance schedules will be posted on the festival website by May 11 and will be available at the Faire.

The number of medieval village merchants has almost doubled this year and will include around 50 craft, food and beverage vendors. Artisans will sell their handcrafted wares made of leather, wood, clay, metal, glass, cloth, etc. Hungry patrons can enjoy delicious medieval fare including turkey legs, gyros, hearty soups, scotch eggs, dragon jerky, fresh fruits and desserts. Hot and cold beverages including beer will also be available.

The Tennessee Medieval Faire will be open on May 14-15, 21-22, 28-29-30; rain or shine. Hours are 10-5 EDT. Ticket prices are $16.95 for ages 13 and up, $8.95 for ages 5 to 12, and will be free for ages 4 and under. Parking is free, and tickets will be available for purchase at the gate with cash or credit. Onsite camping for patrons is not included, but public campgrounds and hotels are nearby. The festival is located at 550 Fiske Road, Harriman, TN. For Faire rules, guidelines and more information, please visit www.TMFaire.com.

Festival features Mountain Faith Band

Just a short half hour drive from Knoxville via I-40 or Chapman Highway, this year’s Sevierville Bloomin’ BBQ & Bluegrass festival (May 20 & 21, 2016) will include a headline performance Friday night from Mountain Faith Band, a 2015 finalist from NBC’s America’s Got Talent.

“From savory barbeque to the sweet sounds of the banjo and mandolin, festival-goers will once again be treated to a fun-filled, memorable experience in the Smokies,” says Sevierville Chamber of Commerce Marketing Director Amanda Maples Marr.


Mountain Faith Band, the SPBGMA Bluegrass Music Awards nominated band from Sylva, North Carolina, brings their modern style of Appalachian, Americana, and Roots music to Sevierville for Bloomin’ BBQ and Bluegrass 2016. 

The band features Sam McMahan on bass, Summer McMahan playing the fiddle, Brayden McMahan on banjo, Jimmy Meyer on rhythm guitar, Cory Piatt on mandolin and David Meyer triples on guitar, fiddle and piano, Chris Wright on drums. Last Thanksgiving, the band traveled to the Persian Gulf and performed six concerts for men and women serving in the military.

Beginning Friday night, May 20, 2016 bluegrass band Nightflyer will take the Bloomin’ BBQ and Bluegrass main stage at 5p.m., before live performances from The Bankesters and Jimbo Whaley and Greenbrier. The festival’s headliners, Mountain Faith Band, will close the evening on the main stage, with their set scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.

Following these performances, all musicians in attendance will be invited to stick around and join fellow pickers for The Late Night Jam, presented by Dixie Stampede. This will be held on the festival grounds and takes place from 10 p.m. on Friday until 2 a.m. on Saturday, May 21st.

Saturday’s music line-up kicks off with Mountain Ruckus at 1 p.m. – Dixie Stampede’s band featuring four-time National Banjo Champion Gary “Biscuit” Davis. At 2 p.m., the sister duo of The Church Sisters will take the stage, followed by Bobby Osborne and the Rocky Top X-Press. Osborne is the original singer of Rocky Top. Bluegrass super group Flashback will also perform two sets. Flashback has only recently begun making appearances again and consists of members of the mid-1990s bluegrass group, The New South.

The evening’s headliner, The Gibson Brothers, will take the stage at 8 p.m. on Saturday May 21, to cap off an incredible weekend of bluegrass.

Editor’s Note: Celebrate Knoxville’s Music Reviewer Adam Whipple will chat with the Gibson Brothers on the road before their scheduled appearance. We’ll give you a reminder to check that out in our Twitter account, @CelebrateKnox.


Dogwood Arts fest is April 29-May 1

More than 60 juried artists will feature and sell their work at this weekend’s Dogwood Arts festival in Market Square, downtown Knoxville, April 29 through May 1, 2016. Admission is free.

Times are Friday: 11:00am – 9:00pm; Saturday: 10:00am – 9:00pm; Sunday: 11:00am – 5:00pm.


Artisans working in mixed media, clay, drawing/pastels, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, painting, photography, sculpture and wood will be selling their wares at Dogwood Arts. Throughout the festival, attendees can take part in interactive demonstrations including glass blowing, stone sculpting, quilting, photography, and fine art painting at Art in Action, located in Krutch Park Extension. File photo by Celebrate Knoxville.

Throughout the festival, live entertainment will be happening on the Market Square stage and the pop-up stage on Union Avenue. The Children’s Stage, located at the Clinch Ave Krutch Park entrance, will showcase live entertainment geared toward children. The Creation Station will also have entertaining family-style craft activities throughout the festival for children of all ages and their families.

For adults, the Dogwood Arts Festival is offering wine tastings and food demonstrations in the Culinary Arts Tent. Friday night in the Culinary Arts Tent, the inaugural Dogwood Diva Dinner featuring Knoxville’s finest female chefs, Holly Hambright, Karen Crumley, Amber Lloyd, and Lisa Smith. Delight in passed hors d’oeuvres, first course, entrée and side followed by dessert, paired with wine. Space is limited.


Farmer’s Market approaching

KNOXVILLE, TN – Saturday, April 19, is the final day of NourishKnoxville’s Winter Market, and that means another lively year of Market Square’s Farmers’ Market is quickly approaching.
Beginning May 4, 2016, and every Wednesday from 11a.m. to 2p.m. and Saturday from 9a.m. to 2p.m., vendors within a 150-mile radius of the Market Square Farmer’s Market bring self-produced food and craft items including: fruits & vegetables, baked goods, art supply & product, and home-raised meats. Photo by Celebrate Knoxville.
Market Square’s Farmers’ Market is an excellent platform for community to thrive; designated zones allow artists to perform, there is no fee to attend the market, and often times there are events for children.
Due to safety and health concerns, animals will be prohibited from entering the center aisle of the Market, however there are still pet-designated zones.
Parking is free in the City’s Market Square Garage and on meters, from 6 p.m.weekdays and all day on weekends – except for specific special events. Parking along the section of Gay St. from Summit Hill Dr. to Hill Ave. is free but limited to a max of two hours from 6 a.m. – midnight, seven days a week. PBA officers will provide parking enforcement.

Fundraiser benefits Nourish Knoxville

Nourish Knoxville will host its inaugural Winter Warmer fundraising dinner on Saturday, February 26, 2016, at First Christian Church, 211 West Fifth Avenue. Social hour begins at 6:30 p.m. and dinner is served at 7:30 p.m.

Knox Mason owner/chef Matt Gallaher will prepare a four-course dinner to benefit Nourish Knoxville, the non-profit organization. Mason is a frequent visitor to the Market Square Farmer’s Market. Each course he prepares for the fundraiser will highlight ingredients from local farms and will be served with a specially paired selection of beers. A vegetarian dinner option is available by request.

Shawn Poynter Photography will provide a photo booth for guests to commemorate this special evening of food and community.


Nourish Knoxville operates the Market Square Farmers’ Market, Market Square Holiday Market, and Winter Farmers’ Market in Knoxville. Tickets for the 2016 Winter Warmer are $75. File photo of Market Square Farmer’s Market by Celebrate Knoxville.

Chocolate cookies for your Valentine

CELEBRATE KNOXVILLE – Chocolate lovers, rejoice! Mary June Thompson, Celebrate Knoxville’s Contributing Food Writer is celebrating 2016 Valentine’s week with her rich, intense recipe for chocolate cookies. Enjoy with a tall glass of milk or a glass of your favorite wine.

Yes, we know you are trying to eat healthy but everyone needs a treat now and then. Valentine’s Day (February 14) is a great day to break from your routine with something chocolate. Share with someone special. Photo by Mary June Thompson.

“I’m Nuts About You” Cookies

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
½ cup sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. each pecans, macadamia nuts, and almonds, chopped and toasted*
½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips* (I used Ghiradelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips)

Preheat oven to 350 °. Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars together using a hand mixer on medium speed. (Or use a stand mixer, if you have one.) Add egg and vanilla to butter mixture and mix well. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture. Mix just until combined. Do not over-mix or cookies will be tough. Gently fold in nuts and chocolate chips.

Using a 1-inch ice cream scoop, drop batter an inch apart onto first pan. Bake exactly 7 minutes. (Cookies will just be set and will appear underdone.) Remove from oven and let cool on pan for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

New Profile Picture
Celebrate Knoxville’s resident foodie Mary June Thompson has been cooking and entertaining for nearly two decades. During this time, her cooking style has expanded and evolved from typical American fare to encompass many different types of cuisines, including Italian, French, Greek, Asian, Mediterranean/North African, and Latin American. Focusing on obtaining the best available ingredients and preparing fresh, healthy dishes with bold flavor defines her cooking style, regardless of cuisine.

New Knoxville restaurant to open

Drake’s Knoxville, which features a diverse menu and craft beers on tap, will open in early February 2016 at the Centre at Deane Hill shopping center near West Town Mall, creating 110 new jobs in the market. Owned by Lexington, Kentucky-based Bluegrass Hospitality Group, this is the company’s second restaurant in Tennessee and its eighth location.

“Our restaurant combines very different vibes from a laidback lunch spot to an all-out nightclub,” said Mark Thornburg, Drake’s market partner. “Whenever you come into Drake’s you can expect exceptional food, unwavering commitment to hospitality and an atmosphere that invites people to have a lot of fun.”

The restaurant plans to offer weekly trivia, shuffleboard and daily drink specials. The Knoxville location will feature two DJs who will play on Thursday until 1 a.m. and Friday and Saturday until 2:30 a.m., with one inside the restaurant and another outside on a large patio with garage doors, which will be open in the summer.

The menu features traditional American-style pub food, including hand-pressed burgers, Sriracha wings, build-your-own tacos and sushi.

To apply for a job, visit the temporary hiring office at the company’s future location at 242 Morrell Road.

Fried Pie Lady loves home business

Susan Reynolds of Reynolds Farm in Loudon, Tennessee says people in town might not recognize her name but if you say “the fried pie lady” they know her.

Her business, which started out 7 years ago (when she retired) with fruit pies sold at a local farmer’s market, is now a thriving business that keeps her, her husband, and daughter Kelli busy cooking year-round on their 6 acre farm.

“We started out in the beginning just selling fried pies at the Loudon farmer’s market every Thursday,” Susan Reynolds told Celebrate Knoxville. “I started making other things, and that’s when we found out that I needed to have some licenses.”



Susan Reynolds travelled to Nashville to take the course required to obtain a domestic kitchen license, and later obtained a food manufacturer’s license from the state of Tennessee. Standards are more strict for things like black bean salsa than they are for things like her homemade breads and cookies. Photo by Laura Long.

Editor’s Note: In Tennessee, environmental health specialists inspect every establishment where food and beverages are prepared and served at least twice a year or more often as deemed necessary to ensure compliance with the Tennessee Food Safety Act.  Current food permits and the most recent inspection report must be displayed in a prominent location for the public to view. For more information, contact the Small Business Advocate in the Office of the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury at smallbusiness.advocate@cot.tn.gov.

“We had to be approved by the FDA for our salsa and pickles for food safety reasons,” Reynolds said. “As I said, I went to Nashville for my domestic kitchen license but I think there are some tests that can be taken online now for small in-home food business licenses. We get inspected every year.”

Reynolds says her recipes, especially the one for her fried pie pastries, are secret and she doesn’t share them but she will tell customers if there is an ingredient in any product that may cause problems for persons with allergies.

“Kelli does a lot of the baking now and we go through the cookbooks I have to find new recipes we want to try,” Reynolds said. “We like to make blueberry and banana breads, cookies, cannoli, sourdough breads, and pull-apart cinnamon breads. We also take custom orders if someone wants a particular kind of bread.”

Reynolds says the most gratifying part of her business is getting out and meeting customers face-to-face, something that sets her apart from businesses that just sell online.


Kelli Davidson of Reynolds Farm shows off some of her delicious baked goods at the Sevierville Holiday Market in downtown Sevierville. The family works year-round on their home business and travels to several farmer’s markets in East Tennessee throughout the year. Photo by Laura Long.

“This is our fourth year attending the Market Square Farmer’s Market and we really have enjoyed it,” Reynolds said. “This Saturday will be our last for Market Square but we will start back up again with the first indoor farmer’s market in January at Central United Methodist Church in North Knoxville. We’ll be there every second Saturday until the summer farmer’s market begins in May. So for us, this business is really year-round now.”

Visit Reynolds Farm on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Reynolds-Farm-600704700008014/



Celebrate season with gourmet cookies

CELEBRATE KNOXVILLE – With the popularity of farmers markets and flea markets, pop-up shops – temporary or seasonal businesses – are becoming more popular as well. Celebrate Knoxville’s Food Writer Mary June Thompson is taking advantage of this trend by baking up her own special gourmet holiday cookies this year, including flavors such as Mexican Chocolate and Chai Shortbread.


Thompson is already a familiar face to Celebrate Knoxville readers, as her previous Sustainable Cooking columns utilizing fresh produce from the Market Square Farmers Market received lots of positive feedback and continues to show up in popular searches for the site. Thompson counts Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa), Sean Brock, of Husk and McCrady’s restaurants in Charleston, SC, and having visited 48 states and 7 countries among her greatest cooking influences.

Where did the idea for this holiday cookies pop-up shop come from? I actually had a similar thing I wanted to do last year, but some things happened unexpectedly and I didn’t have the time. I always keep up with the current food trends, and pop-ups have been a big thing for a while now, so I thought that model fit perfectly with what I wanted to do–bake yummy treats for the holidays for a limited amount of time.

Are you creating recipes from ones you love (and have tried) or are you taking requests from clients? I am offering 7 different kinds of cookies (Triple Chocolate Chip with Sea Salt, Mexican Chocolate, Snickerdoodles, Ginger, Loaded Oatmeal, and Chai Shortbread) including a gluten free option, (Pistachio Amaretti). The offerings were carefully selected to be different from what one would typically find at a local bakery, including some twists on classics, as well as kinds people may never have had before. At this time, I am not taking special requests.

Do you ship them or do people have to live in Knoxville to get them? I will ship at cost for those who don’t live here but don’t want to miss out on the cookies.

Still trying the recipes out on your husband, JT or do you have other taste testers? JT is always my #1 taste tester, although several of the cookie varieties have been enjoyed by others in the past.

Celebrate Knoxville ran a story awhile back about your Valentine’s Day chocolate cookies. Any plans to continue this December shop into other holidays? I don’t have any definite plans at this time, but this has been very successful, so it’s not out of the question that I might offer a pop-up shop again.

What is the best way for people to place an order? Do you have the prices on Facebook? I am actually pretty much booked solid for the remainder of the time frame I am doing this, but I could possibly squeeze in a couple more orders for the weekend of the 11th-13th. Pricing is $20 per batch for all cookies except the Pistachio Amaretti, which are $25. Each batch consists of 2-1/2 to 3 dozen cookies, depending on recipe yield. (I do have pricing and cookie descriptions in a previous Facebook post.)

Best cookie for someone who has been good this year is…. The Triple Chocolate Chip with Sea Salt. A modern twist on a classic that everyone loves.

Best cookie for someone who has been bad this year is… Whatever their least favorite flavor is, I suppose. But they still might enjoy them because the cookies are just that good, ha ha.


Mary June Thompson has been cooking and entertaining for nearly two decades. During this time, her cooking style has expanded and evolved from typical American fare to encompass many different types of cuisines, including Italian, French, Greek, Asian, Mediterranean/North African, and Latin American. Focusing on obtaining the best available ingredients and preparing fresh, healthy dishes with bold flavor defines her cooking style, regardless of cuisine.

Celebrate Knoxville, December 4, 2015.

Knoxville Writers host holiday meetup

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Members of the Knoxville Writers’ Guild writing groups will share their works and hold a mix and mingle potluck for the 2015 December monthly program. Both current members and those simply curious about joining the guild are encouraged to attend and to bring a covered dish.

The event, which will be open to the public, will begin at 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 3 at Central United Methodist Church’s Fellowship Hall, 201 E. Third Ave. CUMC is a new venue for monthly KWG programs, and attendees should enter off of the large parking lot behind the church. A $2 donation is requested at the door. The building is handicapped accessible.

About the new venue, KWG president, Donna Kapa, said, “The church can host our general meetings as well as our workshops in a variety of comfortable, hospitable and affordable rooms.”

More than 15 writing groups are currently part of the KWG, with genres including poetry, playwriting, literary fiction, crime and mystery, sci-fi/fantasy, prompt writing and creative non-fiction. The guild also features two groups specifically designed for teen writers. A representative from most groups will be available, and writers are encouraged to bring copies of their books to sell in anticipation of the holidays. Sales tables will also be provided for those KWG members not currently part of one of the groups.

The Knoxville Writers’ Guild exists to facilitate a broad and inclusive community for area writers, provide a forum for information, support and sharing among writers, help members improve and market their writing skills and promote writing and creativity. Additional information about KWG can be found at www.KnoxvilleWritersGuild.org.

Jazz orchestra presents Alex Norris

The Knoxville Jazz Orchestra will present a tribute to trumpeter Woody Shaw by Alex Norris in the upcoming Jazz Lunch on Wednesday, December 2nd, from noon to 1pm at the Square Room.

Alex Norris_photo

Alex Norris is a native of Columbia, Maryland. After graduating from the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, Norris relocated to New York City in 1992 to pursue a career as a professional jazz trumpet artist. He has since earned an international reputation working in the bands of Betty Carter, Slide Hampton, Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau, Chris Potter, Brian Blade, Carl Allen, John Patitucci, Mulgrew Miller, Greg Tardy and many others. Photo courtesy Knoxville Jazz Orchestra.

Trumpeter Woody Shaw is widely considered to be one of the great innovators in jazz in the late 20th century. He forged a style that is as exciting to hear as it is difficult to master. The band will feature Alex Norris (trumpet), Greg Tardy (tenor saxophone), Keith Brown (piano), Jon Hamar (bass), and Keith Brown (drums).

The Square Room is a new, state-of-the-art performance venue in downtown Knoxville, TN in the Historic Market Square district. It is housed in the rear of the 4 Market Square Building along with its counterpart Café 4, a full-service restaurant and coffee bar. Tickets for the Jazz Lunch are $15 and includes lunch.

Babalu Tacos opens November 23

Babalu Tacos & Tapas will open its doors on Gay Street on November 23, 2015 to serve its authentic, gourmet tacos and small plates to Knoxville.

“Knoxville feels like home already, and now we’re excited to share our love of high-quality, handcrafted food and drinks with our friends and neighbors here,” said Jay Roberts, director of operations for Babalu Tacos & Tapas. “We couldn’t have picked a better opportunity for our new location than renovating the old JC Penney building in the heart of historic downtown Knoxville. We’re excited for everyone to see inside, and most importantly, to experience Babalu-style dining.”

The unique menu at Babalu Tacos & Tapas features gourmet tacos and small plates, such as Scottish salmon and a Baba Burger, served tapas-style and brought to the dining table as they are prepared. The restaurant also has a full-service bar, including seasonal margaritas and other handcrafted specialty cocktails.

Babalu Tacos & Tapas Knoxville

Babalu Tacos & Tapas will open its doors on Gay Street in the renovated JC Penney building on November 23, 2015 to serve its authentic, gourmet tacos and small plates to Knoxville. Founded in Jackson, Mississippi, Babalu Tacos & Tapas also operates in Birmingham, Alabama, and Memphis, Tennessee. The Knoxville restaurant is located at 412 S. Gay St., and will open daily at 11 a.m. for lunch and dinner. Photo submitted.

Ramsey House plans holiday events

Historic Ramsey House will hold its Annual Candlelight Tour on Sunday, December 13, 2015 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Enjoy holiday treats, Christmas carols, and tours of the beautifully decorated, historic home. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.

The annual Ramsey House wreath workshop will be held on Saturday, December 12, 2015 starting at 12:30 p.m. with refreshments; instruction begins at 1 p.m. Attendees need to bring a pair of small garden shears and garden gloves. Every year Julia Shiflett and her “wreath elves” pick the finest fresh greens and holly berries, tie beautiful bows, and find the most fragrant cloves and oranges for participants to make a beautiful holiday wreath and pomander.The cost of the workshop is $35 per person. For more information or reservations, call Historic Ramsey House at 865-546-0745.

Christmas Dinner with the Ramsey’s will be held December 4-8 starting at 6:30 p.m. each night. Each evening will feature a candlelight tour of the beautifully decorated home and lovely holiday dinner prepared by Rosa’s Catering. The dinner will be held in the 1797 home of Francis Alexander Ramsey, his wife Peggy, and their children. This is a great opportunity to entertain the special people in your life, employees, or clients. Seating for a total of twenty guests in the dining room and the parlor is available each evening, and individual ticket purchases are also welcome. All proceeds go directly to Historic Ramsey House. Reservations are a must and will be taken on a first-come, first-serve basis. Tickets are $125 per person ($100 of the cost is a tax-deductible donation). For more information or reservations, call Historic Ramsey House at 865-546-0745.

Market Square hosts holiday market

KNOXVILLE — Nourish Knoxville continues the holiday tradition of shopping local this year with its festive Market Square Holiday Market, to be held Saturdays, December 5, 12 and 19, 2015.

The Market Square Holiday Market is open 12 to 6 p.m. with farm vendors selling until 3 p.m. near the Market Square stage, and craft vendors and food trucks open until 6 p.m. on Union Avenue adjacent to Market Square and along Market Street.

Farm vendors will offer many root crops, hearty greens, greenhouse-grown vegetables/herbs, meat, honey, eggs, winter squash and more. Prepared foods—which also make great gifts—include hot sauce, granola, candy, jams, salsas, baked goods and pasta.

The Holiday Market includes many of the artisan craft vendors who vend during the year, in addition to several who “pop up” just for the holiday season. They offer up handmade pottery, unique jewelry, hand-woven scarves and wraps, creative home décor, as well as locally raised poinsettias, greenery and seasonal wreaths.

Like the Market Square Farmers’ Market, the Holiday Market is a producer-only market, which means everything for sale is either made, grown or raised by vendors within a 150-mile radius of downtown Knoxville.

The Market Square Farmers’ Market continues Wednesdays (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) thru November 18 and Saturday, November 21 (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.).


Brewer’s Jam celebrates craft beer

KNOXVILLE The 19th annual Knoxville Brewers’ Jam to support Community Shares of Tennessee will be held Saturday, October 17, at the World’s Fair Park.

The non-profit organization’s biggest annual fundraiser regularly draws up to 4,000 people to downtown Knoxville for a day of craft beer, live music, food and fun. Guests ages 21 and up receive a souvenir Brewers’ Jam glass and can enjoy unlimited samples of craft beer from approximately 60 different brewers.

Knoxville-based brewers participating this year include the new Balter Beerworks and Cold Fusion Brewing. Yee-Haw Brewing out of Johnson City will also be pouring their selection of beers, which are new to the Knoxville market.

A variety of food vendors, including Savory & Sweet Food Truck and Curious Dog Hot Dogs & Sandwiches, will offer festival attendees meals and snacks that pair perfectly with craft brew.

Rockabilly band The Royal Hounds headlines the music stage, which also features performances by Baseball The Band, Samantha Gray & the Soul Providers, and Deadbeat Scoundrels.

Gates open at 12 p.m. for VIP ticketholders; general admission ticketholders enter at 1 p.m. General admission tickets are $45, plus applicable fees, available online at KnoxvilleBrewersJam.com or fee-free at Barley’s Knoxville, Three Rivers Market, Disc Exchange, Downtown Grill & Brewery, and Bearden Beer Market. VIP ($100) and designated driver ($15) tickets are available exclusively online. No tickets will be sold at the gate.

For more information, visit KnoxvilleBrewersJam.com, email knoxbrewersjam@communitysharestn.org or contact Community Shares at 865-522-1604.

Babalu hiring in Knoxville

Babalu Tacos & Tapas is bringing 150 job opportunities to Knoxville with their new restaurant located in the former JC Penney building at 412 S. Gay St. and is slated to open in late fall 2015.

Mississippi-native JT Dewitt has been named Knoxville general manager, and Indianapolis-native and longtime Birmingham chef Warren Weiss has been named executive chef.

To help fill these 100-plus positions, Babalu will host a hiring event on Thursday, Oct. 8, from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. at its hiring office, located at 618 S. Gay St. in Suite 225 of the Arcade Building.

Attendees at the hiring event will have the opportunity to meet Knoxville managers Dewitt and Weiss, learn more about the restaurant’s unique culture, as well as career opportunities, and apply on-site. Available positions include administrative assistants, hosts/hostesses, servers, server assistants, line cooks, tortilla/prep cooks and dishwashers.

“We’re hiring for all hourly positions, and we encourage anyone interested to apply now,” Dewitt said. “We’re looking for enthusiastic, hardworking candidates who are ready to take on new roles and learn new responsibilities, whether it be as part of the culinary or hospitality teams.”

Weiss agreed that attitude is a key determining factor for job applicants.

“Fit is more important than function,” Weiss said. “If you’re willing to learn, we’re ready to help you grow. Experience is great, but we’re also looking for the personality and passion that will deliver exceptional food, drinks and service to Knoxville diners.”

Knoxville Ice Bears 2015-2016 season

The Knoxville Ice Bears start the 2015-2016 season with their annual Free Agent Showcase on October 9, 2015 followed by main training camp which will be kicking off on October 14.


The Knoxville Ice Bears will play their only exhibition home game on Saturday, October 17 as they host the Fayetteville FireAntz at 7:30pm at the Knoxville Civic Auditorium Coliseum in downtown Knoxville. The venue is located at 500 Howard Baker Jr. Blvd. and offers convenient parking across the street. File photo by Celebrate Knoxville. 

The Knoxville Ice Bears officially drop the puck on the 2015-2016 season on Saturday, October 24 when they raise their fourth SPHL Championship banner in 10 years.

Earlier this year, Knoxville Ice Bears announced the hiring of Cole Burkhalter as the Director of Hockey Development. Burkhalter, a 2008 graduate of the University of Tennessee and earning his master’s degree from Canisius College, worked as the Assistant to Hockey Administration for the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League. While working with the Bruins, he helped the organization to a Northeast Division Championship in 2012 and to the Stanley Cup Final in 2013.

“I am thrilled to add another former member of the NHL to our staff as now he joins a former Pittsburgh Penguin as well as my background with the Philadelphia Flyers” said team President and GM Mike Murray.


Alive After Five celebrates milestone

Alive After Five, the live music series at the Knoxville Museum of Art, will celebrate its 22nd anniversary with a performance by Jenna & Her Cool Friends on Friday, September 18, from 6:00-8:30 pm.

Since 1993, and years before the resurgence of downtown, Alive After Five has been attracting people to Knoxville from the Knox County periphery and surrounding counties to enjoy live music, food, spirits, and art in the casually elegant atmosphere of the Knoxville Museum of Art. The early Friday evening program has been a great way to wind down from the work week or to start the weekend or both. Mostly showcasing the rich treasure trove of local and regional musical talent, Alive After Five has also presented acts from New Orleans, Boston, Dallas, Canada, Peru, France, Japan, Australia, and more. Food is available from a variety of area restaurants or caterers, and there are two cash bars.

02b Jenna & Her Cool Friends May 23

Alive After Five presents Jenna & Her Cool Friends, a seven-member blues and boogie band from Knoxville, featuring vocalist Jenna Jefferson, vocalist and harmonica player Michael “Crawdaddy” Crawley, rhythm guitarist Keith Ford, pianist Ben Maney, bassist Glyn Loyd, drummer Kevin Redding, and lead guitarist Michael Jordan. Photo submitted.

Admission to the 22nd Anniversary of Alive After Five is $10 for general admission, $5 for college students with valid ID, and free for museum members and children ages 17 and under.

Open Streets Knoxville kicks off

Open Streets Knoxville, a new festival in Knoxville, Tennessee, will take place on Sunday, October 25, 2015, from 1 pm to 4pm on Central Street between Willow St and Oklahoma Avenue.

This one mile of Central Street, between the Old City and Happy Holler, will be filled with people of all ages and abilities. Guests can walk, scoot, skip, ride bicycles, hula hoop, play croquet, and try out activities like yoga and zumba and pickle ball – all in a setting that is traffic-free.

Every booth will be interactive and the only thing that will cost money is food (provided by local food trucks and restaurants along the route).

The goals are to have fun, get some exercise, bring people together, and showcase the local businesses and neighborhoods.

Knoxville Sweet P’s calls for artists

Sweet P’s Downtown Dive in Knoxville invites artists and designers to create the concept for its next marketing piece – a mural that reflects the restaurant’s vibe and brand. The high-visibility mural will be painted on the side of the downtown building facing west towards the popular and well-trafficked 100 Block of Gay Street.

“The mural will add visual appeal and character to Jackson Avenue, as well as help our customers identify our building as they round the corner from Gay Street,” said Chris Ford, owner and operator of Sweet P’s. “We love the vibrant spirit of downtown and want to continue that same motif on our property.”

Official entries should be emailed to Jonathan Ford, co-owner of Sweet P’s Barbeque, at jonathan@sweetpbbq.com by Sept. 4, 2015 at 5 p.m.

Feast with the Beasts at Knoxville Zoo

Knoxville – Feast with the Beasts, presented by ORNL Federal Credit Union, takes place on Saturday, August 15, 2015, from 7 to 11 p.m. at Knoxville Zoo.

Feast with the Beasts is an evening event that features everything from appetizers to desserts and a variety of wine, beer and spirits to sample. More than 50 restaurants, wineries, breweries and beverage distributors will be serving their specialties throughout the zoo. A complete list of participating vendors can be found on Knoxville Zoo’s web site at knoxvillezoo.org.

Music on three stages will keep the evening lively. The Vibraslaps will entertain on the main Plaza stage with alternative favorites, while Shiffty and the Headmasters will perform ‘80’s and ‘90’s hits on the Kids Cove stage and Jim Asbell and The Tropiholics will be performing songs for those who are on “island time” on the zoo’s west end.

All food, beverages and entertainment are included with event tickets. Tickets for Feast with the Beasts are $65 per person in advance and $70 the day of the event. Zoo members and ORNL Federal Credit Union members receive a $5 discount. Purchase nine tickets and get the tenth ticket free. Tickets are on sale at Knoxville Zoo’s ticket window during zoo hours. Tickets can also be purchased online at knoxvillezoo.org or by calling (865) 637-5331 and at all Knoxville area ORNL Federal Credit Union locations.

Feast with the Beasts is for guests 21 years of age and over and guests must show a valid photo I.D. to enter the event. All proceeds directly benefit Knoxville Zoo.

For more information, please call 865.637.5331 ext. 300 or visit www.knoxvillezoo.org.

Knoxville hosts history fair

The 8th Annual East Tennessee History Fair takes place at the East Tennessee History Center and several downtown Knoxville locations from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., August 15, 2015.


Historical re-enactors are a familiar site at the East Tennessee History Fair in downtown Knoxville. Here, a Civil War doctor explains surgical procedures at a booth display of authentic historical instruments.  File photo by Celebrate Knoxville.

Activities include a living history timeline, live music, historic crafts demonstrations, historical and genealogical groups from across the region, children’s crafts and activities, Davy Crockett’s birthday party, walking tours of downtown, Civil War bus tours and tours of Knoxville’s historic homes, tours of underground Gay Street, “History Hound” dog costume contest, free museum admission, Smoky Mountain film festival at the Tennessee Theatre, vintage baseball games at World’s Fair Park, art exhibits, miniature battles, traditional foods, book sales, and farmers market.

This event is free and open to the public.

The East Tennessee History Center is located at 601 S. Gay Street.

Try Chocolate Chipotle Mousse

by Mary June Thompson, Food Writer. — Chocolate. It’s something that almost everyone loves, and the average American consumes nearly 12 pounds of it per year. The good news is that in moderation, chocolate is actually good for you, provided it has at least 70 percent cacao content. The higher cacao content means less sugar, which is good, but it also provides antioxidants and several important minerals such as cooper, magnesium, and iron.

Another thing that makes chocolate so great is how versatile it is. Most of us generally think of chocolate in terms of sweets, such as candy, cookies, cakes, ice cream, etc. But it also has savory applications, particularly in Mexican mole sauce, where unsweetened cocoa powder adds depth of flavor, color, and helps to temper the chilies used to make the sauce.

Chocolate is so ubiquitous that its flavor also appears in unexpected places. Two excellent examples of this are the herb “chocolate mint” and wine. Chocolate mint is a variety of peppermint that has been bred to contain notes of chocolate. It is wonderful used as both a garnish for chocolate desserts and also as a flavoring agent if you desire to mix chocolate with peppermint in sweets such a pudding, pie filling, or chocolate-based drink. Certain red wine varietals also contain hints of chocolate flavor, especially zinfandels and young cabernet sauvignons.

Locally, Blue Slip Winery offers 2 selections of wine to pair with chocolate. Their latest offering, Chambourcin, is a fruit-forward French-American hybrid. It is a dry wine that contains notes of chocolate and cherry, and pairs beautifully with chocolate desserts, particularly ones that are not overtly sweet.


Blue Slip Winery’s Seyval Blanc pairs well with chocolate-covered almonds, says owner Linn Slocum. For a full list of available handcrafted wines, visit BlueSlip.com.

“Our dry Cynthiana pairs well with Dark chocolates,” Slocum says. “Seyval Blanc is a French-American hybrid that ripens early and is cold-hardy. Ours has citrus notes and minerality and is off-dry. Cynthiana is an American grape also refereed to as Norton. This grape has tiny berries that yeild inky juice that results in a full-bodied robust wine with smooth tannins and a hint of cherry.”

For my latest recipe creation, I found inspiration in the various flavors that chocolate combines well with and also complements. In a nod to Mexican mole and how beautifully chocolate pairs with a bit of heat and spice, I developed a dessert that is both sweet and savory, rich but light in mouthfeel. Using unsweetened chocolate allows the chef to control the actual amount of sugar the dessert contains, which is healthier, and also allows the rich cocoa and chili flavors to take center stage, rather than the dessert just tasting sweet. (More sugar can be added to taste if one prefers a sweeter dessert.) A perfect after dinner treat with a glass of Chambourcin.

Chocolate Chipotle Mousse

Chocolate Chipotle Mousse


1 envelope unflavored gelatin

1-½ cups skim milk

½ cup sugar

1 tsp. chipotle powder

1 tsp. instant coffee or instant espresso powder

¼ tsp. fine kosher salt

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped

½ tsp. vanilla

1 cup heavy (whipping) cream


1.) Combine gelatin and milk in a medium saucepan. Let stand 5 minutes to soften gelatin. Cook over medium heat until tiny bubbles form around the edges of the pan (180°). Do not boil! Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, salt, instant coffee or espresso, and chocolate, whisking briskly until sugar and coffee dissolve and chocolate has melted. Stir in vanilla. Pour chocolate mixture into a medium glass (or other heatproof) bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing wrap directly onto surface so a skin does not form. Refrigerate until mixture cools and just begins to set.

2.) Meanwhile, chill the bowl of a stand mixer and the whisk attachment (or alternately, a large bowl and the whisk attachment of a hand mixer) in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Pour cream into chilled bowl and whip cream just until stiff peaks form. (Do not over-whip or you will have butter.)

3.) Remove chocolate base from refrigerator. Fold in some of the whipped cream to lighten the mixture. Gently fold in remaining whipped cream, (saving some for a garnish if desired), until cream is fully incorporated into the chocolate. Chill for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.

4.) Serve in individual dessert dishes, topped with a dollop of whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and/or a sprig of chocolate mint. Yields 4 servings.


Mary June Thompson has been cooking and entertaining for nearly two decades. During this time, her cooking style has expanded and evolved from typical American fare to encompass many different types of cuisines, including Italian, French, Greek, Asian, Mediterranean/North African, and Latin American. Focusing on obtaining the best available ingredients and preparing fresh, healthy dishes with bold flavor defines her cooking style, regardless of cuisine. 

CelebrateKnoxville.com, June 22, 2015.

Highlands benefits Knox Heritage

To commemorate the Highlands Grill’s 5th Anniversary, Tom Weiss is hosting an elegant dinner party in support of historic preservation. The event takes place June 17, 2015, and all proceeds will support the Knox Heritage J. Allen Smith Endangered Properties Fund used to save threatened historic places across the region. Live jazz, delicious food and wine pairings will create a special evening to remember.

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Starter: Lump Blue Crab Cake, Fried Green Tomato Jalapeño Pepper Jelly, Remoulade

Salad: Tuscan Kale and Romaine Caesar with Cornbread Crouton, Kalamata Olives, Asiago Dressing OR Wedge of Iceberg with Highland’s Bleu Dressing, Blistered Tomatoes, Benton’s Bacon, Shaved Red Onion, Walnut Pesto

Entrée: Grilled 8oz Bison Center Cut New York Strip Prepared Medium Rare with Highland’s Potato Gratin, Haricots Verts, White Truffle Butter, Roasted Wild Mushrooms OR Pan Roasted Red Grouper with Lobster Creole Sauce, Smoked Gouda Grits, Sweet Corn & Okra Maque Choux

Dessert: Bourbon Pecan Pie with Crème Anglaise OR Strawberry Shortcake

Wine pairings will be featured with each course courtesy of Constellation Brands.

The Grill at Highlands is located at 4705 Old Kingston Pike. Cost is $100 per person.

For more details and to reserve your place, please contact Mickey Mallonee at mickey@knoxheritage.org or 865.523.8008.

Alive After Five summer series begins

KNOXVILLE, TN—The Knoxville Museum of Art announces the summer series of Alive After Five, premiering with Kukuly & The Gypsy Fuego on Friday, June 19, 2015 from 6:00 to 8:30 pm.

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The summer series of 2015 premiers with the Alive After Five debut of Kukuly & The Gypsy Fuego (Spanish for “Fire”). Photo submitted.

A native of Peru, Kukuly Uriarte has been a member of the Knoxville music community for several years, and her band, The Gypsy Fuego, keeps growing in popularity as they perform in venues all around the Knoxville and Maryville area. Their music “knows no borders,” as it encompasses an international mix of Gypsy jazz, American swing “with a French accent,” and also Latin standards like Argentine tangos and Brazilian bossa novas. For this occasion, the “deluxe” 7-member Gypsy Fuego will perform.

Alive After Five is a unique live music series presented on twenty-eight Fridays per year in four seasonal series. The programs take place in the smoke-free, casually elegant setting of the Ann and Steve Bailey Hall in the Knoxville Museum of Art.

There is a live band on stage, seating at tables, two cash bars, food from area restaurants, free freshly popped popcorn, free parking, and a licensed therapeutic masseuse available. Audience members can enjoy listening to music, dancing, and browsing the museum’s art galleries.

Admission to the summer series premier of Alive After Five is $10 for general admission and $5 for museum members and college students with ID. Ages 17 and under are admitted free.

For more information about the Alive After Five series, please contact Michael Gill, Alive After Five Coordinator, at (865) 934-2039.

Turn up the heat with Thai Fire-tini

by Mary June Thompson, Contributing Food Writer. —One of my favorite things about the summer gardening season is growing (and eating) hot peppers. I generally grow 4-6 varieties in my garden, and occasionally pick up some additional varieties from the farmers’ market. Hot peppers are a good choice for a sustainable kitchen garden, as many types, including Thai chilies, cayenne, and chiles de arbol, can easily be air-dried, either on the plant before harvesting in late fall, or by hanging indoors, thus providing hot peppers for cooking throughout the winter season as well.

Most pepper plants don’t need more than full sun, hot temperatures, and adequate water to survive and thrive, so planting some by early June will insure that you have a bounty of hot peppers ready to eat by late summer. A new additional to my garden this year is the Carolina Reaper. I had never heard of it before this spring, and I am very anxious to try its peppers because it beat the infamous ghost pepper for title of “World’s Hottest Pepper”.


From more tame jalapeños to the classic habanero, there are all sorts of varieties to suit different tastes and heat tolerances. Hot peppers are great to liven up numerous dishes, and not just the typical Asian or Mexican cuisine that one might associate with having a higher heat level. Some other great uses for them include adding a kick to less assertive foods that benefit from some extra flavoring, such as sautéed zucchini, squash, or Brewer’s mushrooms; adding to scrambled eggs for a little extra morning zing; using a different dried variety to sprinkle over a pizza instead of the typical crushed red pepper flakes; or infused into a liquid, which is a great way to impart both the heat and flavor of the peppers in a novel way.


Infusing is not a new concept, but it is currently a very popular one with mixologists around the country, with house-flavored vinegars, mixers, and spirits spotlighted in their craft cocktail menus. Infusing a liquor is a virtually effortless thing to do at home, and it works equally well with vodka, tequila, or rum. Best of all, you can use whatever kind of hot pepper is most pleasing to your palate, and adjust the infusing time to create a milder outcome for those who don’t like it hot, as a lesser amount of peppers and shorter soaking time will yield the mildest result, or a more fiery outcome by using more peppers, stronger peppers, and/or a longer infusing time to create a significantly hotter finished product.

Cocktail IngredientsCelebrateKnoxvillesmall

Because I love ridiculously hot peppers and experimenting with them, I created a refreshing, albeit fiery hot, cocktail to enjoy throughout the summer. The sweetness of the just-ripe Georgia peaches helps to balance the burst of heat that every sip contains, and the tartness of lime and anise and herbal notes from the Thai basil complement the peach and the pepper flavors as well. (Disclaimer: I infused the vodka for 5 days before making this cocktail, and it was deliciously flavored but HOT. Please consider a lesser infusing time and/or using fewer peppers when making this cocktail if you do not enjoy the burn.) Photos by Mary June Thompson.

Thai Fire-tinismall


MJ’s Thai Fire-tini

Make Ahead:

Vodka Infusion: In an airtight glass container, add 1 cup vodka and 6 fresh or dried Thai chilies, crushed. Seal and store in a cool, dark place for at least 2 days (for less heat) and up to 7 days for maximum heat. Once desired heat level has been achieved, strain chilies and save for a cocktail garnish or refrigerate to use later in Asian dishes. Use infused vodka in cocktail or return to airtight glass container and store for up to 6 months.

Simple Syrup: In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together 1 cup filtered water and 1 cup organic sugar. Heat just until sugar dissolves, stirring often. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Chill in the refrigerator and store for up to 1 month in an airtight glass container. (Note: Recipe makes extra simple syrup, which can be used to sweeten fresh lemonade or other cold beverages without the grainy residue that plain sugar would leave.)

To Make the Cocktails:

In a mini (or regular) food processor, purée together the flesh or 2 large (or 4 small) very ripe southern peaches, peeled; the juice and zest from 1 lime; and ¼ cup simple syrup. Transfer to a large cocktail shaker and add the Thai chili infused vodka, 4 sprigs of Thai basil, crushed lightly to release their oils, and ice. Shake until mixture is well chilled. Pour into serving glasses and garnish with thin slices of lime, Thai basil sprigs, and/or Thai chilies, if desired. Makes 4 cocktails.

Mary June Thompson has been cooking and entertaining for nearly two decades. During this time, her cooking style has expanded and evolved from typical American fare to encompass many different types of cuisines, including Italian, French, Greek, Asian, Mediterranean/North African, and Latin American. Focusing on obtaining the best available ingredients and preparing fresh, healthy dishes with bold flavor defines her cooking style, regardless of cuisine.

Mary June Thompson, Celebrate Knoxville, June 1, 2015.

Strawberries make great cocktails

by Mary June Thompson, Celebrate Knoxville Food Writer. –Strawberries are typically at their peak of perfection this season. Some savory suggestions to try, if you haven’t already: include them in a spinach salad with a sweet vinaigrette and feta cheese; along with other berries over mixed greens and goat cheese; paired with burrata cheese, basil, and a thick, wonderfully aged balsamic vinegar; as the base for a spicy salsa; or even grilled.



Strawberries are always a welcome sight at the Market Square Farmers Market in downtown Knoxville and usually sell out fast. Photo by Celebrate Knoxville.

One of my favorite non-traditional uses of this beautiful berry is as the base for a refreshing drink. By using the actual fruit instead of a mix, my cocktail even has a healthy component (and tastes oh-so-much better). Cheers!

Strawberry-Lavender Fizz

½ cup white sugar
½ cup water
1 tsp. dried lavender flowers
1 cup fresh strawberries, stems removed, and halved (or quartered if large)
3 oz. vodka
4 oz. club soda, chilled

For Lavender Simple Syrup:
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar and water. Cook until sugar completely dissolves, stirring occasionally, about 6-8 minutes. Stir in lavender flowers. Simmer 2 minutes. Turn off heat and steep for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain. Set aside.

For Strawberry Purée:
Place strawberries in a mini food processor (or blender). Pulse (or blend) until strawberries reach a thick, syrupy consistency. Place a fine mesh sieve over a measuring cup. Transfer the purée, in batches if necessary, to the sieve and use the back of a spoon to gently press down on strawberry purée to release the juice and leave the pulp behind. You should end up with at least ¼ cup of strawberry juice. (Reserve remaining pulp to spoon over pancakes, yogurt, ice cream, etc. if desired.)

For Cocktail:
In a cocktail shaker, combine strawberry juice, ¼ cup lavender simple syrup (or to taste), vodka, and ice. Shake until combined and chilled. Pour evenly into 2 glasses with ice. Top each with 2 oz. club soda. Serve. Enjoy!

Mary June Thompson has been cooking and entertaining for nearly two decades. During this time, her cooking style has expanded and evolved from typical American fare to encompass many different types of cuisines, including Italian, French, Greek, Asian, Mediterranean/North African, and Latin American. Focusing on obtaining the best available ingredients and preparing fresh, healthy dishes with bold flavor defines her cooking style, regardless of cuisine.


—Sustainable Cooking, CelebrateKnoxville.com, May 26, 2015.



Con highlights Southern Food

KNOXVILLE, TN. – The fourth annual Southern Food Writing Conference will be held May 14-15, 2015 in Knoxville, celebrating the tradition of Southern food writing and its important connection to the culture of the South.

Confirmed speakers include:

Julia Reed – Author/Columnist – Garden & Gun
Steven Satterfield – Chef/Author – Root to Leaf
Chuck Reese – Editor-in-Chief – The Bitter Southerner
Nathalie Dupree – Author – Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables
Cynthia Graubart – Author – Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables
Kate Krader – Restaurant Editor – Food & Wine
Helen Rosner – Features Editor – Eater
Keith Pandolfi – Writer – Cooking Light, Eater, Organic Life
Pableaux Johnson – Photographer – Blue Crab Labs
Tasia Malakasis – Author/Owner – Belle Chevre fromagerie
Lisa Donovan – Writer/Pastry Chef – Buttermilk Road Summer Suppers
Kate Medley – Filmmaker – Whole Foods Market
Susan Puckett – Author – Eat, Drink, Delta
Jennifer Justus – Author – The Food Lover’s Guide to Nashville
Susan Reid – Chef/Editor – Sift
Amy Evans – Artist/Documentarian

The registration fee of $450 covers all Conference sessions and all meals, including a special dinner at Blackberry Farm.

The Crowne Plaza Knoxville and the Hilton Downtown Knoxville are the headquarters hotels for the Conference and offers special rates for Conference attendees.


Sustainable Cooking from Market Square

Sustainable Cooking by Celebrate Knoxville Food Writer Mary June Thompson.—At the heart of Sustainable Cooking is local food, particularly from producers who utilize sustainable farming practices. Knoxville’s Market Square Farmers’ Market just kicked off its 12th season this past Saturday, and I visited the Market to buy local, sustainable ingredients straight from the growers.


A few local farmers, such as Brewer’s Mushrooms, also grow foods that have medicinal properties, which is gaining popularity. Of course we all know that plant foods are better for us than processed foods, but the modern medical community is just beginning to study the specific effects of certain plants on our health, and while more research is needed to confirm much of the anecdotal evidence out there, a lot of the research is proving that the ancient world was onto something in treating or preventing common maladies with the fruit of the earth.


Best wine pairing for this week’s Market Square Farmers Market recipe: Pour a glass of Blue Slip Winery’s Spring Traminette, containing flavors of apricot and honeysuckle, which complement the fruit and honey notes in this salad.

MJ’s Health Salad

Dressing: In a large bowl, combine 1 Tablespoon each unfiltered apple cider vinegar and extra virgin olive oil; 1 teaspoon local wildflower honey; 1 small or half of a large garlic clove, minced; and 1/8 teaspoon each kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper per salad serving. Whisk until emulsified and set aside while assembling salad ingredients.

Salad: You will need, per salad serving: 2 Tablespoons chopped, toasted walnuts; 2 Tablespoons crumbled goat cheese; 2 Tablespoons finely chopped dried apricots; 1/4 cup sliced fresh strawberries, 2 cups fresh baby spinach.

Whisk dressing again just before adding the salad ingredients to the bowl. Toss to coat and divide equally among plates, if preparing multiple servings.

Serving suggestion for a non-vegetarian entrée and additional lean protein: Marinate 1 organic chicken breast per person in buttermilk (and a few dashes of hot sauce, if desired) for at least 4 hours or up to overnight in the refrigerator. Drain, pat dry, season with salt, pepper, and cayenne, and grill until internal temperature reaches 165° or to desired degree of doneness. Cool to room temperature, slice, and toss with other salad ingredients.

Why is this a truly a health salad with sustainable ingredients?

Honey is said to have antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Unfiltered apple cider vinegar has been shown to have an antibacterial and anti-glycemic effect. Raw garlic consumption may offer protective benefits against heart disease and cancer. Extra virgin olive oil contains healthy fats and antioxidants, which contribute to heart health and reduce inflammation. Despite all the recent hype about kale, spinach is still a nutritional powerhouse, containing, among other things, good amounts of iron and Vitamin K, which are essential for blood health. Dried apricots provide fiber, which is essential for the digestive system, and minerals such as iron and potassium. Strawberries are full of Vitamin C, fiber, folic acid, and antioxidants. Goat cheese has calcium and protein. And walnuts are one of the most concentrated food sources of nutrients, including protein, heart-healthy fats, and significant amounts of trace minerals. This merely highlights some of the health benefits of these foods and is not a complete list of all their nutritional aspects or health benefits. Regardless, consuming a sustainable, local, plant-based diet is an easy and delicious way to benefit your overall health and may help to prevent chronic diseases from developing in the first place. Now that’s my kind of “medicine”.


Mary June Thompson has been cooking and entertaining for nearly two decades. During this time, her cooking style has expanded and evolved from typical American fare to encompass many different types of cuisines, including Italian, French, Greek, Asian, Mediterranean/North African, and Latin American. Focusing on obtaining the best available ingredients and preparing fresh, healthy dishes with bold flavor defines her cooking style, regardless of cuisine.

—Sustainable Cooking, CelebrateKnoxville.com, May 6, 2015.

Statehood Day at Blount Mansion

KNOX COUNTY – Celebrating the pioneers who settled and transformed the southwest territory into the vibrant state of Tennessee, the Blount Mansion Association will be hosting its annual Statehood Day on Friday, May 29, 2015 from 6:30-9 p.m. in the Blount Mansion garden, which has been maintained by the Knoxville Garden Club for 81 years.

Additionally, there will be a chance to see the newest exhibit in the Visitors Center. The exhibit is an in depth look at the evolution of the houses and neighborhood from the time Governor Blount first built here in 1792 until today.

A cocktail dinner will be served by Holly’s Eventful Catering, and there will be an open bar available.

Knox County’s only National Historic Landmark and oldest house museum, the Blount Mansion is considered the birthplace of Tennessee, and it was built by William Blount who came to Knoxville to be Governor of the Territory South of the River Ohio. Under Blount’s leadership efforts were made to organize the Territory into the 16 Constitution may have been drafted in the Governor’s office here on the historic Blount Mansion property. It is owned and operated by the Blount Mansion Association, Inc., a nonprofit, educational organization.

Reservations can be made by phone at (865) 525-2375.

Rossini Festival is April 25

Knoxville, TN – Knoxville Opera celebrates the arts with a spectacular feast of dance, music and performance through Knoxville Opera’s annual Rossini Festival International Street Fair on Saturday, April 25, 2015.

In its 14th year, the Rossini Festival International Street Fair is a full day cultural celebration with local and regional artisan exhibits featuring handcrafted works, live musical and dancing entertainment and culinary delights.

The Street Fair will also feature Brewtopia: A Craft Beer Garden presented by The Casual Pint in the Bijou Theatre parking lot.


Knoxville Opera, founded in 1978, is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. The Rossini Festival in Knoxville is April 25, 2015 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and features a variety of food and craft vendors and all day entertainment. Photo submitted.

Knoxville celebrates art of the biscuit

KNOXVILLE – The Arts & Culture Alliance is pleased to present the International Biscuit Festival Art Exhibition, a new exhibition “about the biscuit” and featuring works in a variety of 2-D and 3-D media, completed within the past two years, by artists 18 years and older from across the United States.

The exhibition will be displayed in the Balcony gallery of the Emporium Center from May 1-30, 2015. All works are for sale.

The International Biscuit Festival Art Exhibition occurs in celebration with the Festival itself, which takes place May 14-16 in Knoxville.

Jurors for the 2015 exhibition included Preston Farabow of Aespyre Metal Design at Ironwood Studios in Knoxville and Claire Stigliani, associate professor of Drawing & Painting at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.


Apricot Jam by K. Henderson of Weed, New Mexico, which received last year’s Best of Show Award at the Biscuit Festival Art Exhibition. Photo courtesy Art and Culture Alliance.

Dogwood Arts fest is April 17-19

KNOXVILLE – The Dogwood Arts Festival on Market Square is April 17-19, 2015. Several blocks of downtown Knoxville will be transformed into a lively street fair with 60 local and regional juried artists exhibiting and selling their original work.


The Dogwood Arts Festival is a downtown Knoxville celebration that features cooking demonstrations, festive food creations, and wine and beer pairings at the Culinary Arts Stage. This event is free. File photo by Celebrate Knoxville.

Friday: 11:00am-9:00pm
Saturday: 10:00am-9:00pm
Sunday: 11:00am-5:00pm

Live performances all weekend long on the Market Square stage, the Union Avenue pop-up stage, and the Children’s stage. Blooming Boulevard returns to the Dogwood Arts Festival providing unique colorful flower markets filled with live blooming plants, herbs, flowers, and trees.

The Chalk Walk, back in its seventh year, is April 11. This event turns Market Square sidewalks into canvas for the region’s most talented professional and student artists. This free event in Market Square and Krutch Park (Downtown Knoxville) is from 8am-5pm. Raindate is Sunday, April 12.

Spring arrives at IJAMS

Spring arrives officially today and Knoxville’s urban wilderness, IJAMS, invites residents to enjoy the warmer weather by exploring the nature center on Saturday, March 21, 2015. Just some of the weekend scheduled events are:

9 am – 10 am
(All Ages) Grab your favorite four-legged friend and join Ijams’ own veterinarian, Dr. Louise Conrad, as she walks her own canine companions. She’ll review good doggy etiquette at the park and help owners understand the special safety concerns for dogs in nature. The fee for this program is $5 for non-members and FREE for members. Please call (865) 577-4717, ext. 110 to register.

9 am – 12 pm
IJAMS BIRDING SERIES: Backyard Birding Basics
(Recommended for Adults) Studying birds can open up a new world of outdoor exploration. This hands-on workshop will take you into the field to learn more about the practice of birding as well as how to identify common bird species. Instructor: Stephen Lyn Bales. Fee: $29. This is an UT Non-credit course.

9:30 am – 11 am
PEG’S KITCHEN: Breakfast is Served
If you are heading to Ijams this Saturday morning for a program, hike or simple walkabout, bring your appetite. Each week, Peg’s Kitchen features one of Ijams’ very own chefs, including the original… Peg! The menu varies from biscuits and gravy with sausage to pancakes and maple syrup, plus fresh fruit, coffee or tea. Come hungry! The fee for breakfast is $7 for adults and $5 for children (12 and under). For $10, you can get all you can eat! No pre-registration is required.

10 am, 2 pm, 3 pm
ANIMAL PROGRAM: Ijams Creature Feature
(All Ages) Have you met all the animals that call the Ijams Visitor Center home? If not, be sure to stop by every Saturday for a chance to get nose-to-beak with some of our resident furred and feathered ambassadors. This program is FREE, but donations to support animal care are welcome. Pre-registration is not required for this event.

1 pm – 4 pm
(Ages 16 and up) The Tennessee Naturalist Program (TNP) is an education training course designed to introduce the natural history of Tennessee to interested adults. This immersive nature study allows participants the chance to wade in creeks, stargaze in an open field, and even catch bugs and tadpoles. How often do you get the chance to act like a kid again? This week is the introductory session for the 2015 class. Open to registered participants only. For more information, call Peg at (865) 577-4717, ext. 114.

6 pm
IJAMS BIRDING SERIES: Woodcock Supper Walk
(All Ages) Join senior naturalist Stephen Lyn Bales as he reveals his secret location for observing the whimsical mating display of male woodcocks. Filled with struts, peents, flutters, and tweets, it is one of the most unique performances in the birding world. Peg’s kitchen will also be serving a traditional soupy supper to warm our bellies before we go adventuring. The fee for this program is $10 for Ijams members and $15 for non-members. Please call (865) 577-4717, ext. 110 to register.

Alive After Five 2015 announces shows

KNOXVILLE, TN—The Knoxville Museum of Art announces the spring series of Alive After Five, premiering with Kelle Jolly & The Will Boyd Project on Friday, March 20, from 6-8:30 pm. This year’s spring series features six shows, concluding on May 8, 2015.

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The KMA Alive After Five 2015 spring series premiers with a performance of jazzy R & B by some of the most talented musicians in Knoxville. Kelle Jolly & The Will Boyd Project bring classic standards to life with their soulful stylings and bluesy grooves. Photo courtesy Michael Gill.

Combining a voice reminiscent of Sarah Vaughn and Oleta Adams with an effervescent stage presence, Kelle Jolly is the perfect counterpoint to her husband Will’s cool virtuosity on any of the saxophones he chooses to play. Kelle is the host of “Jazz Jam” on WUOT 91.9FM and the co-host with Robert Minter of “What’s Goin’ On” on Community TV. Besides his own Project, Will stays busy playing regularly with the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra, The Streamliners Swing Orchestra, and The BluePrint.

Alive After Five is a unique live music series presented on twenty-eight Fridays per year in four seasonal series. The programs take place in the smoke-free, casually elegant setting of the Ann and Steve Bailey Hall in the Knoxville Museum of Art. There is a live band on stage, seating at tables, two cash bars, food from area restaurants, free freshly popped popcorn, free parking, and a licensed therapeutic masseuse available. Audience members can enjoy listening to music, dancing, and browsing the museum’s art galleries.

Admission to the Spring series premier of Alive After Five is $10 for general admission and $5 for museum members and college students with ID. Ages 17 and under are admitted free. Alive After Five is sponsored by Cherokee Distributing Company, Knoxville Mercury, and WDVX-89.9FM. For more information about the Alive After Five series, please contact Michael Gill, Alive After Five Coordinator, at (865) 934-2039.

The 2015 Spring Series Schedule for “Alive After Five”:

(all shows 6:00-8:30 pm)

March 20 – Kelle Jolly & The Will Boyd Project ($10, $5)

April 10 – The Streamliners Swing Orchestra ($15, $10)

April 17 – Leftfoot Dave & The Magic Hats ($10, $5)

April 24 – SoulfulSounds Revue ($10, $5)

May 1 – Robinella ($10, $5)

May 8 – TABOO ($10, $5)

Knox Heritage hosts Spring tour

Knox Heritage is hosting a behind-the-scenes tours of some of the most interesting places in and around Knoxville on March 12, 2015 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm.


The Knox Heritage event begins at Patrick Sullivan’s Saloon on North Central Street, in the Old City section of downtown Knoxville. A reception celebrating the property’s restoration will be held there beginning at 5:30pm before moving on to tour several renovation projects nearby undertaken by developers David Dewhirst and Mark Heinz. File photo of Old City by CelebrateKnoxville.com.

This is a great opportunity to see historic preservation in progress and connect with folks who are passionate about preserving, restoring and transforming the places that make Knoxville a great place to live and work.

Residents and interested supporters are invited to join the Knox Heritage community with a membership. Knox Heritage’s architectural salvage efforts have saved countless treasures from the landfill and provided materials for restoration projects across the region. The new office is located at 619 Broadway and offers an expanded inventory, plus will also host artisans and craftspeople for retail and gallery exhibits.

Editor’s Note: There will be a grand opening for the new Broadway space on April 3, 2015.

For more information, call 865-523-8008.

IJAMS hosts Bird Nesting program

KNOXVILLE – Ready to get out and do something fun this weekend? Join IJAMS Nature Center senior naturalist Stephen Lyn Bales Saturday, March 7, 2015, from 9-11 a.m. for an indoor program on “Bird Nesting.”

Bluebirds need pine needles, titmice need hair, wrens need a hidey-hole and robins just need a flat surface and mud. Learn quick tips on how you can help your backyard birds nest successfully. After the program, enjoy hiking around the IJAMS Nature Center.

The fee for the Bird Nesting program is $7 for Ijams members and $12 for non-members.

IJAMS’ chef Peg will also be serving a traditional breakfast.

Please call (865) 577-4717, ext. 110 to register.

IJAMS Nature Center is a 300-acre urban greenspace and environmental learning center in downtown Knoxville.

Don Pablos brings Tex Mex flavor

(Feb. 25, 2015) Knoxville native Mark Vandewart says he is thrilled to be deep in the heart of Texas right now, being trained to start his new management gig with local restaurant Don Pablos.


“It’s an 8-week training program here in Fort Worth, and I am really loving the family atmosphere of this business,” Vandewart told Celebrate Knoxville in a phone interview. “I wil start my new job at the Don Pablos in Knox Center Mall in March, so I only have a few weeks left here before returning.”

Vandewart says the restaurant concept of “Big Tex, Bold Mex,” is about fresh food with flavors that are so familiar in Texas where the restaurant began in Lubbock.

“My training has been so extensive, from learning guest satisfaction policies to safety to hosting/serving to bartending,” Vandewart said. “I love how the crew works together here and I love the detail-oriented menu. I have already had a lot of restaurant experience but this is a really great concept. Don Pablos has a really good following with repeat business and groups.”


A quick visit to the Don Pablos restaurant web page highlights some of the menu items: Cinco Combo, which is crispy beef taco, a soft chicken taco plus three enchiladas – cheese & onion, beef, and chicken. (Served with Mexican rice and choice of one side.)

“I hope that Celebrate Knoxville readers will visit me in Knox Center Mall after March 18, and say ‘hi,'” Vandewart said. “We have had our share of cold weather even out here but I am anxious for things to warm up and looking forward to getting back to East Tennessee.”

Sustainable Coffee Bread recipe

Sustainable Cooking by Mary June Thompson, Food Writer, Celebrate Knoxville, February 20, 2015. – There are a lot of ways to utilize a sustainable cooking philosophy in the kitchen, and not just with food. At my house, we drink a lot of coffee, and we prefer a specific brand that is sold in tin cans. Not only do those cans keep the coffee very fresh, but they have a myriad of other handy uses once the coffee is consumed, including bacon grease cans, paint cans, storage cans, and even baking vessels.

Bread that has finished baking in the can

So today I would like to share a recipe I developed that not only reuses the coffee grounds, but also repurposes the coffee tin as well. It would also make a great homemade gift idea, as the bread is actually very simple to make, especially for a yeast bread, and a load of bread baked in a coffee can makes a whimsical and fun presentation.

My bread is purposely quite a bit less sweet than one would expect a chocolate bread to be. I made it this way for a couple of reasons: First, the coffee notes in the bread are more noticeable with less sugar, and second, I wanted a bread that I could enhance with sugary things and not be overwhelmed by an excess of sweetness. This bread is absolutely perfect with a smear of Nutella, and it is also complemented by maple syrup when used as the basis for chocolate French toast. Add some fresh sliced strawberries on top, and you’ve got a perfect breakfast, brunch, or snack time treat that is fresh, healthy, and sustainable.

A Few Simple Ingredients Make a Lovely Home Baked Bread

Chocolate Coffee Can Bread

Special Equipment:

Candy thermometer


½ pound metal coffee can (Note: Don’t use one with a coated lining for health

Kitchen string


Non-stick cooking spray

½ cup milk

2 Tablespoons used coffee grounds

1 teaspoon fast-acting yeast

1 Tablespoon sugar

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¾ cup bread flour, plus an extra cup or so for kneading

¼ cup cocoa powder

2 Tablespoons neutral-tasting oil, such as canola, vegetable, or safflower

1 large egg, at room temperature

Coffee Grounds Bundle


Spray interior of coffee can thoroughly with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

Using at least four layers of cheesecloth, cut out a section large enough to hold the
coffee grounds with enough additional space to tie the bundle at the top. Place coffee grounds in center of cheesecloth and tie together securely with kitchen string. (See photo.)

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt. In another
small bowl, whisk together the egg and oil. Set both bowls aside.

In a small saucepan, add the milk and bundle of coffee grounds. Warm the milk over
medium heat to reach 110°F on a candy thermometer, pressing occasionally on bundle to release the liquid and infuse the milk with coffee flavor.

Once the milk has reached 110°F, remove from heat, press all liquid from the coffee
bundle, discard coffee bundle, and stir in yeast. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture, then add the egg mixture and stir until incorporated. You should have a moist, sticky dough at this point. (See photo.)

Flour a large, flat work surface and the exterior of the dough ball generously. Place
dough on floured surface and begin to knead the dough with floured hands, adding a small amount of flour as needed, just enough to keep the dough from being sticky. Knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 5-6 minutes. Place dough into prepared coffee tin. Cover coffee tin with a clean kitchen towel and set in a warm place for an hour to an hour and a half, or until dough has risen above rim of can. Pre-heat oven to 375°F.

Once dough has risen, place can into the center of the pre-heated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into center of dough comes out clean. Let the bread cool in the can until the can is cool enough to touch. Remove bread and cool thoroughly on a wire rack before slicing, or return to can if giving as a gift.


Mary June Thompson has been cooking and entertaining for nearly two decades. During this time, her cooking style has expanded and evolved from typical American fare to encompass many different types of cuisines, including Italian, French, Greek, Asian, Mediterranean/North African, and Latin American. Focusing on obtaining the best available ingredients and preparing fresh, healthy dishes with bold flavor defines her cooking style, regardless of cuisine.

Greg Tardy at Square Room Knoxville

The next concert featuring the music of Greg Tardy in the Jazz Lunch series will take place on Wednesday, March 4, 2015 from noon to 1 p.m. at the Square Room in Knoxville.


Saxophonist Greg Tardy is undoubtedly one of the great tenor saxophonists and composers of his generation. He has recorded dozens of albums, worked as a sideman with the likes of Elvin Jones, Tom Harrell, Bill Frisell, and Dave Douglas and appeared on major jazz festivals around the globe. He also happens to call Knoxville home. Although Tardy does perform regularly around Knoxville, he very rarely performs his own music with his own band, so this is a rare treat.

The Square Room is a new, state-of-the-art performance venue in downtown Knoxville, TN in the Historic Market Square district. It is housed in the rear of the 4 Market Square Building along with its counterpart Café 4, a full-service restaurant and coffee bar.

Admission to the concert is $15 at the door and includes a lunch buffet served up by Café 4.

Local mushrooms souffle recipe

Sustainable Cooking by Celebrate Knoxville Food Writer Mary June Thompson. —
I recently had the privilege of touring a local mushroom growing facility, Brewer’s Mushrooms. Housed on a hilltop with a gorgeous view of the Smoky Mountain foothills, their greenhouse (photo featured below) is a fascinating place for a food lover, with a surprising variety of mushroom types in various stages of growth. The mushrooms grow out of bundles of specially heated wood chips or straw that have been inoculated with fungi spores. They thrive in a temperature and humidity controlled environment, and they are grown without the use of any chemicals or pesticides. The proprietors sent me home with a bounty of pristine mushrooms, including lion’s mane, old world blue oyster, golden oyster, king, and shiitake mushrooms. The flavor of the Brewers’ mushrooms is outstanding; their earthiness is perfectly complemented when sautéed with onions or shallots, garlic, and/or thyme. (See our Twitter photos of Brewers Mushrooms @CelebrateKnox.)

Mushrooms growing in greehouse

Once back in the kitchen with the mushrooms, a quick look through the refrigerator yielded immediate inspiration for a sustainable, local dish featuring these beautiful fungi: some leftover egg whites from making pudding out of the egg yolks, a chunk of smoked gouda cheese, and two pieces of leftover shallot—the perfect makings for a soufflé.

Although a seemingly daunting task to many, I find a soufflé to be a very versatile dish, as it is a perfect centerpiece for brunch or an elegant dinner, and its presentation far outweighs the actual difficulty of preparation. Plus, if you start with whites from whole eggs when making a soufflé, you have the perfect excuse to make a decadent pudding or custard later using the leftover yolks.

Perfectly Browned Mushroom and Smoked Gouda Souffle

Local Mushrooms and Smoked Gouda Soufflé


1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup finely chopped shallots
2 cups assorted chopped fresh mushrooms, such as those from Brewer’s Mushrooms
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
Cooking spray
2-3 Tablespoons unseasoned dry breadcrumbs
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups milk
1/3 cup unoaked dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc
1 large egg yolk
½ cup freshly grated smoked gouda cheese
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar


Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a small skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add the shallots and cook for 2-3 minutes, just until shallots are softened. Stir in mushrooms, season with ¼ teaspoon each of the salt and pepper, and cook for another 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms have released their liquid. Add the thyme and cook for another minute. Set aside.

While the mushrooms cook, spray a 1-quart soufflé dish with cooking spray. Evenly sprinkle breadcrumbs over the bottom and sides of the dish, discarding any extra crumbs that didn’t stick. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the 1/3 cup flour and remaining ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk to prevent lumps. Stir in the wine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Once it boils, cook mixture for 1 minute or until thickened. Set aside so it doesn’t burn while tempering the egg yolk.

In a medium heat-proof bowl, add the egg yolk and lightly beat it. Starting with a few drops at a time, slowly whisk about a quarter of the milk mixture into the egg yolk. Return saucepan to medium heat and add egg mixture to milk mixture, stirring constantly. Cook for 1 minute.

Remove pan from heat. Stir in gouda until melted and smooth. Fold in mushroom mixture. Set aside to cool slightly while whipping the egg whites.

In a large bowl (or alternatively, in the bowl of a stand mixer), add egg whites and cream of tartar. Beat at high speed with hand mixer or stand mixer until egg whites form stiff peaks.

Gently fold about ¼ of the egg whites into the milk mixture to lighten it a bit. Then fold the mixture back into the egg whites, taking care not to deflate the egg whites, until incorporated. Gently spoon into prepared soufflé dish, smoothing and leveling the top.

Place soufflé dish on a sheet pan or piece of foil to catch any drips. Bake for 55 minutes or until the soufflé is golden brown and set. Serve immediately, as the soufflé will begin to deflate as it starts to cool.

Serves 2-3 as a main dish.


Mary June Thompson has been cooking and entertaining for nearly two decades. During this time, her cooking style has expanded and evolved from typical American fare to encompass many different types of cuisines, including Italian, French, Greek, Asian, Mediterranean/North African, and Latin American. Focusing on obtaining the best available ingredients and preparing fresh, healthy dishes with bold flavor defines her cooking style, regardless of cuisine.

Scott Miller headlines Bijou event

Scott Miller and The Commonwealth will perform on the U.S. Cellular Stage at the Bijou Theatre for the 2015 Bijou Jubilee.

Presented by Pilot/Flying J and supported by Ole Smoky Moonshine, the annual fundraiser takes place Saturday, March 14, 2015, at 8:30 p.m. Tickets go on sale Friday, January 30 at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster.


The Bijou is hosting an exclusive VIP Pre-Show Party again this year. With the $100 VIP ticket, guests will enjoy an exclusive acoustic performance by Scott Miller and Mic Harrison plus food and drink from Holly’s Eventful Dining, Ole Smoky Moonshine, Ashe’s Wine & Spirits, and Bearden Beer Market.

An auction featuring artist-signed instruments and framed posters will also be held during the event.

Proceeds from the event will help preserve Knoxville’s historic Bijou Theatre, located at 803 South Gay Street in downtown Knoxville.

Black Eyed Peas soup recipe

By Mary June Thompson, CelebrateKnoxville.com food writer. In previous Sustainable Cooking columns, I have mentioned that making stock is a great way to get extra mileage out of food scraps. For the past couple of weeks, I have been saving my vegetable odds and ends in a zip-top bag in the refrigerator. I collected quite an assortment: pieces of onions, leeks, carrots, bell peppers, scallions, mushroom stems, celery tops, jalapeno pieces, garlic ends, stems from parsley and thyme, and even some broccoli stalks. I planned to make a vegetable stock with them and use this a soup base. There are lots of recipes available for vegetable stock, but you don’t really need a set recipe to make vegetable stock successfully.

Veggie Scraps

The key to soup deliciousness is having a variety of vegetables to flavor the cooking water, along with the basics of onions, garlic, celery, and carrots. And if, like me, you find yourself coming up a little short on one thing or another (mine was carrot), you can always add some extra into the mix. I like to add a teaspoon of whole peppercorns and a couple of extra herb sprigs (parsley, thyme, oregano) for depth of flavor.

To make the stock, place the vegetable pieces in a large saucepan or Dutch oven on the stovetop. Add enough filtered water to cover the veggies, usually 6-8 cups, and bring to a boil on medium heat. Continue to boil for a couple of hours until the liquid is reduced to about half of its original volume. Cool to room temperature, strain liquid into an airtight container, and refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to three months. It really is that easy.

Another “discard” item that I always save for later use is the rind off of a block of Parmesan cheese. The rinds freeze beautifully and add a luxurious umami note to simple soups. (Of course, you must buy the real Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano to get the rind, but I don’t recommend using that other stuff anyway, as it doesn’t impart the same flavor.)

During the cold of winter, I find myself craving warm, comforting, distinctly Southern dishes. I recently came across a recipe in a traditional southern cookbook for Black-Eyed Pea Soup. I loved the thought of that, but that recipe was way too bland for my taste, as it involved little more than the peas, water, and some salt, so I decided to come up with my own version of Black-Eyed Pea Soup. Most of the time, authentic southern food isn’t suitable for vegetarians or vegans, so the recipe I developed using my homemade “vegetable scrap” stock can be easily adjusted to suit any food preference. And if you make the stock in advance, the soup comes together very easily.

Soup's On!

Black-Eyed Pea Soup

½ cup dried black-eyed peas (or substitute 1 can of black-eyed peas in a pinch, but the flavor won’t be as good)
1 bacon slice (omit for vegan/vegetarian soup; substitute 1 Tablespoon olive or vegetable oil)
½ of a small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups “vegetable scrap” stock
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1 Parmigiano-Reggiano rind (omit for vegan soup)
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper

The night before, place the dried peas in an airtight container. Cover with water and soak overnight in the refrigerator. Rinse and drain them just before using. To make the soup, heat a medium Dutch oven or heavy-duty saucepan on the stove top over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy, or alternatively, add oil to pan. Set bacon aside to cool. Add the onion to the fat in the pan. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Add the peas, Cajun seasoning, rind (if using), and stock to the pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until the peas are tender, about 45 minutes.
When peas are tender, sprinkle flour over the soup, 1 teaspoon at a time, stirring well to incorporate, until soup is slightly thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve topped with your choice of thinly sliced green onions; the reserved bacon, crumbled; freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese; and/or hot sauce. It’s best served with a slice of freshly baked cornbread on the side for a true Southern comfort food meal.

Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a first course.


Mary June Thompson has been cooking and entertaining for nearly two decades. During this time, her cooking style has expanded and evolved from typical American fare to encompass many different types of cuisines, including Italian, French, Greek, Asian, Mediterranean/North African, and Latin American. Focusing on obtaining the best available ingredients and preparing fresh, healthy dishes with bold flavor defines her cooking style, regardless of cuisine.

Rhythm N Blooms is April 10-12

Rhythm N’ Blooms 2015 is back and ready to rock Knoxville a three-day span from April 10-12.  With the stages set exclusively along downtown Knoxville’s historic Jackson Avenue, Rhythm N’ Blooms will showcase first-timers, chart-climbers, and highly lauded acts from varied musical backgrounds.

Festival producers, Dogwood Arts and Attack Monkey Productions, are pleased to release another small taste of the 2015 festival lineup, with many more artists to be announced. In addition to The Decemberists, The Dirty Guvnah’s, and Delta Spirit, the next group of artists who will be at Rhythm N’ Blooms includes:

The Apache Relay
Humming House
Alanna Royale
Guthrie Brown & The Family Tree
Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes
*repeat repeat

Dogwood Arts is a 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to promote and celebrate our region’s arts, culture, and natural beauty.


Great Cake Bake is Feb 28

This year’s Great Cake Bake to benefit the Dolly Parton Imagination Library of Knox County will take place on February 28, 2015, from noon to 5 p.m. at the Tennessee Terrace Level of Neyland Stadium.

Cake decorators, sugar enthusiasts, and artists pull out all the stops to create a sugary vision so that cake lovers come out to see and buy these sweet confections.


Each competition entry is $15, which sponsors one child to receive books for a year;
Tickets are $10 (children 12 and under are free)

Entry Deadline is February 22, 2015.

For more information, visit knoxlib.org.

Sustainable Chai Tea Pudding

Sustainable Cooking by Mary June Thompson, Contributing Writer. (Part III in an online series exclusively for CelebrateKnoxville.com.) One of my favorite things about practicing a sustainable cooking philosophy is how it forces the chef to get creative in the kitchen by finding new and different uses for the odds and ends that are left over from routine cooking. There are many basic ways to get a second life out a lot of food scraps, such as using leftover vegetable pieces to make stock or broth or turning stale bread into croutons for a salad. While both of those things are great uses for leftover bits, this column is meant to inspire both home cooks and professionals alike to think outside the box and have fun in the kitchen while being less wasteful with food.


When it’s cold outside, one of my favorite things is to brew a cup of hot and spicy chai tea. I am a huge fan of what I call “real” chai – the loose tea blended from dried whole tea leaves and chunks of spices including cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, and black pepper. This type of chai is not inexpensive, but the superior flavor it imparts is worth it. It seems like such a shame that you can only use those expensive tea leaves one time and have to throw them out. Or do you?

My cold weather obsession with brewing chai tea was the inspiration for a new recipe that gets a little extra mileage out of those post-brew leftovers. I let the tea mix cool completely in the tea ball after brewing and then stored the leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator until I collected enough to test my idea. The result of this grand experiment in sustainable cooking was a wonderfully flavorful chai tea pudding, a new twist on a classic comfort food that even the pickiest eater is sure to love. (photos by Mary June Thompson)


Chai Tea Pudding
½ cup (once-brewed) loose-leaf chai tea blend
2 cups milk
½ cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 large egg
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Lightly beat egg with a fork in a medium heat-proof bowl and set aside.
Combine sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Gradually whisk milk into sugar mixture until well blended. Add tea leaves and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from heat and pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a heat-proof bowl. Discard tea leaves.

Return pudding base to saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Continue to cook for another 7-8 minutes, whisking constantly, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat.

Transfer some of the pudding base, a few drops at a time, into beaten egg, whisking constantly. Continue adding a few drops of pudding base at a time to the egg mixture and whisking until the egg bowl feels warm to the touch. (This is called tempering, and it keeps the egg from scrambling—and ruining the pudding—by gently heating it.) Return saucepan to heat and add egg mixture to pudding base, whisking constantly. Boil for 2-3 more minutes, continuing to whisk constantly, until the pudding is thick and bubbly. Remove pan from heat and stir in the butter, salt, and vanilla extract, whisking until butter is melted and well incorporated. Immediately transfer pudding to serving dish. Press plastic wrap over the entire surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Allow pudding to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate at least 3 hours until well chilled. Garnish with cinnamon, whipped cream, or both, and serve. (Makes 4 servings.)


Mary June Thompson has been cooking and entertaining for nearly two decades. During this time, her cooking style has expanded and evolved from typical American fare to encompass many different types of cuisines, including Italian, French, Greek, Asian, Mediterranean/North African, and Latin American. Focusing on obtaining the best available ingredients and preparing fresh, healthy dishes with bold flavor defines her cooking style, regardless of cuisine. 

Celebrate Christmas in the City

It’s Christmas in the City; there’s so much to see and enjoy in downtown Knoxville this holiday season, from making a holiday wreath at Ramsey House or visiting the Holidays on Ice skating rink in Market Square.


The Holidays on Ice skating rink is open daily through January 4, 2015 in downtown Knoxville’s Market Square. Admission is $10 for adults and $7 for children (season passes are also available). Admission includes skate rental and unlimited time on the ice. Photo by CelebrateKnoxville.com.

On December 13 and 20, the Market Square Farmers Market hosts the Holiday Market throughout Market Square and Market Street. Vendors will have booths set up with handmade gifts, holiday decor, food and more. This is a great place to find unique gifts for everyone on your shopping list.

Parking is free in Knoxville’s Market Square (406 Walnut Street) State Street and Locust Street garages all day on weekends.

Dec. 13
Wreath Making Workshop at the Historic Ramsey House, 2614 Thorngrove Pike.
Join your friends for this great tradition of fun and creativity and go home with a beautiful natural green wreath. We supply the Holiday treats, materials and the expert instruction of Julia Shiflett and her Christmas helpers. Make your reservation in advance and bring handheld garden pruners and gloves. The social is 12:30 p.m. with the class starting promptly at 1 p.m. Sign up with a buddy or start a family tradition. Reserve your spot by calling 865-546-0745.

Dec. 14
“It’s a Wonderful Life”
Celebrate the Christmas season in the grandeur of the Tennessee Theatre, Gay Street, as Home Federal Bank presents classic film, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Admission is free; no ticket is required. Seating is limited to the theater’s capacity. Doors open one hour prior to each screening.

Dec. 13 – 15
The Nativity Pageant of Knoxville
The pageant combines a cast of 90 members, live animals, realistic sets and authentic costumes to create a powerful presentation of the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ and the meaning of Christmas. The story is told in beautiful music and narration. The pageant is free and is interpreted for the deaf and hearing-impaired. Saturday, December 13 at 3 pm, Sunday, December 14 at 3 pm, Monday, December 15 at 7 pm, at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum. Free Admission.

Sustainable Cooking: re-imagined holiday snacks

Sustainable Cooking by Mary June Thompson. (Part II of an exclusive recipe series for CelebrateKnoxville.com)

In this season of entertaining, it is easy to end up with an assortment of miscellaneous leftover snacks. Whether the guys came over to watch the game and munched on popcorn and pretzels or the in-laws dropped by unexpectedly and you set out some nuts and cheese to serve as a quick nibble with a glass of bubbly, all of us end up with some sort of snack food remnants in our kitchens.

The day after a holiday party is one of the biggest opportunities to get creative with leftovers while eating sustainably and minimizing food waste. Whether you are a gourmet chef or a chip-and-store-bought-dip kind of person, odds are that not all of the food you set out will be eaten.

Sausage balls, a typical party food, are wonderful reheated and served for breakfast with eggs and toast the day after the party. A scoop of a cheese-based dip with hearty ingredients, such as corn and peppers or spinach and artichokes, or small chunks of cheese—grated or sliced—can be used as an omelet filling. A little leftover salsa is also great stirred into scrambled eggs and served over warmed tortillas with hot sauce on the side.

Serving Suggestion

While it’s likely that most of us will just toss those leftover snacks in the trash and not think twice about it, I have another idea for you that is a lot more fun, tasty, and supports a sustainable cooking lifestyle. Why not turn that handful of nuts and half a serving of popcorn into a totally new and delicious snack suitable for serving to the next round of guests that stop by—or simply as a treat for you to enjoy.

Re-imagined Snack Mix


2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

¼ cup chopped almonds (pecans, mixed nuts, etc. can be substituted)

½ cup broken pretzels

1 cup salted (unflavored) popcorn

?– ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)

½ Tablespoon black (or white) sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add nuts and toast just until fragrant, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle brown sugar over nut mixture and stir to combine. Add maple syrup. (Please note mixture will bubble so be careful.) Add pretzels, popcorn, and cayenne and toss well to combine.

Ingredients in the Pan

Immediately transfer mixture to a rimmed baking sheet coated with cooking spray or covered with non-stick aluminum foil. Spread evenly. Bake for 7-8 minutes, stirring twice, or until mixture is mostly dry and browned. Remove from oven and stir in sesame seeds. Cool on pan, stirring occasionally, and transfer to serving dish or to an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Note: Recipe can easily be double or tripled if you have more leftover snacks, but baking time may need to be increased slightly if your pan is very full.

Mary June Thompson has been cooking and entertaining for nearly two decades. During this time, her cooking style has expanded and evolved from typical American fare to encompass many different types of cuisines, including Italian, French, Greek, Asian, Mediterranean/North African, and Latin American. Focusing on obtaining the best available ingredients and preparing fresh, healthy dishes with bold flavor defines her cooking style, regardless of cuisine.

Knoxville Writers Guild invite new members

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Members of the Knoxville Writers’ Guild writing groups will share their works and hold a mix and mingle potluck for December’s monthly program. The event, which will be open to the public, will begin at 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014 at the Laurel Theater, at the corner of Laurel Avenue and 16th Streets (in Fort Sanders).

Both current members and those simply curious about joining the guild are encouraged to attend and to bring a covered dish. A $2 donation is requested at the door. The building is handicapped accessible. Additional parking is available at Redeemer Church of Knoxville, 1642 Highland Ave.

More than 15 writing groups are currently part of the KWG, with genres including poetry, playwriting, literary fiction, crime and mystery, sci-fi/fantasy, prompt writing and creative non-fiction. The guild also features two groups specifically designed for teen writers. A representative from most groups will be available, and writers are encouraged to bring copies of their books to sell in anticipation of the holidays. Sales tables will also be provided for those KWG members not currently part of one of the groups.

The Knoxville Writers’ Guild exists to facilitate a broad and inclusive community for area writers, provide a forum for information, support and sharing among writers, help members improve and market their writing skills and promote writing and creativity.

Additional information about KWG can be found at www.KnoxvilleWritersGuild.org.

Knoxville Museum of Art adds cafe

KNOXVILLE – (November 26, 2014) The Knoxville Museum of Art announces a new casual lunch service, the Coop Café at the KMA. The Coop operates Tuesday through Friday from 11am to 2pm.

Owned and operated by Nancy Kendrick of The Coop Café on Sutherland and Creative Catering of Knoxville, the Coop Café at the KMA offers a selection of sandwiches and salads, as well as a variety of sweet treats. Coffee, tea, and cold drinks are also available.

“Having a café at the museum is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time,” said KMA Executive Director David Butler. “Our visitors can now come and enjoy the beautifully renovated museum, enjoy permanent and temporary art exhibitions, explore the museum shop, and have a bite to eat in the Coop Café. It’s yet another reason to visit. We are thrilled to be working with Nancy on this venture.”

The Knoxville Museum of Art is located in downtown Knoxville at 1050 World’s Fair Park and is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday 10 am–5 pm, and Sunday 1 pm-5 pm. Admission and parking are free.

Sustainable Cooking by Mary June Thompson

Sustainable Cooking with Mary June Thompson, Celebrate Knoxville. (November 21, 2014) A hot trend in the food world is known as “nose to tail” eating, which makes for less food waste and contributes to sustainable agriculture by utilizing the entire animal in some way. While this is not necessarily practical (or appetizing) for home cooks, there are ways to be inspired by this movement in your own kitchen.

Americans in particular are prone to throwing out perfectly usable food items, like the pumpkins we use to decorate for autumn, bread that’s a little past its prime, and the other half of the onion that we didn’t need for a particular recipe.

One of my favorite ways to utilize some of the miscellaneous leftover items in the refrigerator is to make a hash. Hash is incredibly versatile in what ingredients it can be composed of, and this earthy dish works equally well for breakfast or dinner.

My latest version was based on the odds and ends I had left centered on a distinctively autumn theme: Sausage and Sweet Potato Hash. As this is more of a working model than a set recipe, I will outline the general steps and offer alternate ingredient suggestions so the hash can be tailored to ingredients that are on hand, as well as to suit different tastes.

Prepping the Ingredients

I had one small sweet potato in the pantry, so this was the basis for my hash. Cut the potato into approximately ½-inch cubes. Peel if desired. (I left the peeling on for the extra nutritional value it offers.) In a large skillet with a lid, heat a tablespoon or so of water over medium heat until it is very hot and bubbling. Add the potato cubes and cover with lid. Cook until the water has evaporated and the potato is tender, tossing once or twice during cooking to prevent sticking. Photos by Mary June Thompson.

In the refrigerator, I had some leftover (raw) breakfast sausage, some shallot pieces, and part of an Anaheim pepper. I chopped the shallot and pepper and added these to the pan, along with a splash of olive oil (to prevent sticking) and the crumbled sausage. I also added a pinch of cumin, smoked paprika, and ancho chili powder to the pan–to complement the southwestern component of the spicy pepper– along with salt and pepper to taste. At this point, cook until the sausage is browned and the vegetables are tender and beginning to brown. I served mine with fried eggs and toast on the side, and a generous splash of Cholula hot sauce. It was absolutely delicious.

There other food items that might commonly be odds and ends in the refrigerator that would work well in this hash. Part of a leftover onion would work just as well as a shallot, and any pepper—from sweet bell to hot jalapeño—can be used to suit individual tastes from mild to spicy. Have half of both a sweet and a hot pepper? Use both! Throw in a handful of leftover baby spinach for a heartier (and healthier) hash. Don’t know what to do with that one random slice of bacon left in the package? Add it to the hash, or chop it up and substitute it for the sausage. Baking a ham for the holidays? Diced ham would also be a tasty component of a hash.

The point is to be creative and use what you already have. I had a wonderful, healthy breakfast composed of items that might have otherwise gone to waste or been discarded had I not found a secondary use for them. And that’s a meal that you can really feel good about!

Hash for Breakfast

Mary June Thompson has been cooking and entertaining for nearly two decades. During this time, her cooking style has expanded and evolved from typical American fare to encompass many different types of cuisines, including Italian, French, Greek, Asian, Mediterranean/North African, and Latin American. Focusing on obtaining the best available ingredients and preparing fresh, healthy dishes with bold flavor defines her cooking style, regardless of cuisine.

Jazz lunch features Wynton Marsalis works

Wynton Marsalis’ 1985 release, Black Codes from the Underground is the featured work for the next Jazz Lunch on December 3, 2014, at noon at the Square Room in Market Square, downtown Knoxville.

The album featured Marsalis’ then working band: saxophonist Branford Marsalis, pianist Kenny Kirkland, bassist Charnett Moffett and drummer Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts. Marsalis’ original compositions for this date have proven to be some of his most influential works. Pianist Andrew LaPrise has assembled a cast of excellent young musicians to recreate this entire album, beginning to end.

Admission to the concert is $15 and includes a lunch buffet served up by Café 4. Tickets are available online at http://www.knoxjazz.org or by visiting Café 4 in
person prior to the show.

Sustainable Cooking column to launch

KNOXVILLE – (November 14, 2014) CelebrateKnoxville.com is pleased to announce that the site will launch a brand new online food and cooking series, “Sustainable Cooking,” by Knoxville’s own foodie Mary June Thompson, beginning next week.

“Sustainability is a hot topic, and a current trend in the food world is using what many of us consider to be the “throwaway” parts of the foods we consume,” says Celebrate Knoxville’s Laura Long Martin. “Contributing Food Writer Mary June Thompson will share her ideas on how to use some typically discarded items, such as fruit and vegetable scraps, stale bread, and tea leaves, to create delicious dishes that anyone can make and enjoy at home–and produce less food waste as a result.”


Mary June Thompson (pictured) has been cooking and entertaining for nearly two decades. During this time, her cooking style has expanded and evolved from typical American fare to encompass many different types of cuisines, including Italian, French, Greek, Asian, Mediterranean/North African, and Latin American. Focusing on obtaining the best available ingredients and preparing fresh, healthy dishes with bold flavor defines her cooking style, regardless of cuisine.

Mary June counts Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa), Sean Brock, of Husk and McCrady’s restaurants in Charleston, SC, and having visited 48 states and 7 countries among her greatest cooking influences.

“I am really inspired by this new cooking theme and look forward to sharing my Sustainable Cooking recipes with CelebrateKnoxville.com readers,” Thompson said.

Thompson is already a familiar face to Celebrate Knoxville readers, as her previous cooking columns utilizing fresh produce from the Market Square Farmers Market and other fresh food venues received lots of positive feedback and continues to show up in popular searches for the site.

Chili cookoff benefits Second Harvest

This weekend, enjoy the East Tennessee Chili Cook-Off by Second Harvest at World’s Fair Park lawn from 12 – 6 p.m.  Second Harvest Food Bank, Bush Brothers & Company and Kroger will partner for the 9th Annual East Tennessee Chili Cook-Off on Sunday, November 2, 2014 at World’s Fair Park Festival Lawn.

Over 30 amateur cooking teams will whip up their tastiest recipes to compete for the best chili in town. Each team will produce 25 gallons of their homemade chili.

Kids can play on the inflatable playground at the Kids Fun Zone compliments of All Occasions Party Rentals. The Chili Corn Hole Tournament will be back again this year. Adults can visit the Chili Beer Garden, where beers from around the world will be offered. Live music by The Y’uns, RMS, and Emi Sunshine. General admission is $15.

For more info, call 865-521-0000.


Jazz lunch tribute to Dave Brubeck

The Knoxville Jazz Lunch series concert pays tribute to Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond with saxophonist Bob Knapp on Wednesday, November 5, 2014, from noon to 1 pm at the Square Room in Market Square.

Admission to the concert is $15 and includes a lunch buffet served up by Café 4.

Pianist Dave Brubeck and alto saxophonist Paul Desmond were trail blazers in the cool jazz style of the 1950s. Their popularity on college campuses helped introduce a whole new generation of Americans to jazz, and the music that they created together has stood the test of time. Multi-instrumentalist reed man Bob Knapp examines the legacy and music of these two great icons in this special performance.

The Square Room is a new, state-of-the-art performance venue in downtown Knoxville, TN in the Historic Market Square district. It is housed in the rear of the 4 Market Square Building along with its counterpart Café 4, a full-service restaurant and coffee bar.

Zombie movie marathon at IJAMS

Ijams Nature Center and Knoxville Horror Film Fest are pairing up once more to raise the dead at the 3rd annual Zombie Movie Marathon. This year the main feature will be the horror comedy Life After Beth, (2014, R) starring Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon.


Also for the evening’s entertainment, the classic Béla Lugosi film White Zombie (1932) will be screened, with a RiffTrax style accompaniment by Einstein Simplified Comedy Improv Troupe.

This is more than just a movie night, this event features vendors, food trucks, beer and of course…BRAINS! Dressing up is encouraged…the more zombies the merrier.

The cost is $10 for a night of fun and fright. Doors open at 6 p.m. Movies start at sundown.

IJAMS Nature Center is a 300-acre urban greenspace and environmental learning center located at 2915 Island Home Avenue in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Alive after Five music series begins

KNOXVILLE, TN—The Knoxville Museum of Art announces the 2014 fall series of Alive After Five, premiering with a “Tribute to Sam Cooke” featuring Danny McGrew with Soul Connection and very special guest Clifford Curry on Friday, October 10, from 6:00 to 8:30 pm.

This year’s fall series features seven shows, concluding on December 12, 2014.

Originally formed of Oak Ridge High School students in 1966, under the name Soul Sanction, their name was changed to Soul Connection at a special “Rename the Band Party” Alive After Five in 2006. The group became one of the legendary bands of East Tennessee and opened shows for B.B. King, James Brown, Ray Charles, Bobby “Blue” Bland, and more. With their combination of keyboards, horns, and guitar, blended with a variety of male and female vocals, Soul Connection covers a wide musical spectrum of Rhythm & Blues and Soul, all done with infectious energy and unmistakable style. Joining them in the first set will be Knoxville native and member of the Carolina Beach Music Hall of Fame, Clifford Curry.

For more information about the Alive After Five series, please contact Michael Gill at (865) 934-2039.

Knoxville celebrates Hola Festival

Hola Festival 2014 activities are scheduled to begin in Market Square, downtown Knoxville, at 7:00 PM on Saturday, September 27, lasting until 10:00 PM. The evening festivities include the featured band “Orquesta de Jaime Bonilla” and the Music City Salsa Dance Extravaganza.

This will be the 15th year of the Hola Festival celebrating the diversity through exciting and informative showcases, traditional and authentic Hispanic foods, and other cultural and artistic presentations.

The full festival continues on Sunday, September 28, with a special family celebration beginning at 11:30 AM featuring the traditional and colorful Parade of Nations at 3:00 PM.

Hispanic bands scheduled to perform include the Marcel Portilla Band and the Asheville Tango Orchestra. And there will be plenty of traditional foods and exhibits as well as featured performances by the Cazateatro-Bilingual Theatre, the Street Circus, and Lucia Arte Y Pasion Flamenco.

Three Rivers Market offers fresh options

by Mary June Thompson, Contributing Food Writer.   As much as I love going to the Farmers’ Markets for fresh food, that isn’t always an option since they are only held on certain days of the week. To fill in the gaps, one of the places I like to visit is a little gem that isn’t widely known outside of North Knoxville: Three Rivers Market. Located in a new building on North Central Street at the corner of Baxter Avenue, Three Rivers carries a nice selection of local in-season produce, eggs, dairy products, meat, baked goods, garden plants, and sometimes even bouquets of flowers. In addition to locally produced products, they also have all the basics, a vast assortment of bulk-bin food items, toiletries, dry goods, and even natural pet food. They also offer a hot bar and deli, which offers a quick bite for folks on the go.

The recipe I have created for this week features several locally produced items that I purchased at Three Rivers Market (but are also widely available in various brands at many places for those not in reasonable proximity to this particular store), including the chicken, buttermilk, cream, garlic, and zucchini. The items I used to create this dish include West Wind Farms chicken breasts, Cruze Farm buttermilk, fresh local zucchini, Organic Valley Heavy Whipping Cream, imported Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, imported extra-virgin olive oil from The Tree and Vine, and sweet Italian basil from my own garden. This particular dish is quite a bit richer than most of the dishes I prepare, but the superior quality of the ingredients—and short ingredient list that allows all the flavors to shine— make it a worthwhile indulgence. Additionally, it’s a great alternative for anyone who has eliminated pasta from their diet, as it is low-carb and gluten-free. I am confident that if you take the time to prepare this dish, it will become one of your favorites, as it is most definitely now one of mine!


Grilled Chicken and Zucchini “Pasta”


1 pound chicken breast tenders, or breasts cut into strips

¾ cup buttermilk

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

2 medium to large zucchini

2 garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (optional)

½ cup heavy cream

½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

6 large basil leaves, julienned (cut into thin ribbons)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper



Combine chicken and buttermilk in a zip-top plastic bag and marinate in the refrigerator for about an hour.

Light grill and allow to reach 450-500°F. In the meantime, remove both ends from zucchini and using a mandolin (preferably) or a very sharp knife, slice zucchini long ways into 1/8-inch thick ribbons. Slice each ribbon into 4-5 pieces, around a ¼-inch in diameter. (See photograph for example).

When grill is hot, remove chicken from buttermilk and pat dry using paper towels. Toss with 1 Tablespoon olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Grill 3-5 minutes per side, until grill marks appear and chicken is cooked through. Tent with aluminum foil and keep warm.

Add remaining 1 Tablespoon olive oil to a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini ribbons and toss with oil. Cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until zucchini is tender and just cooked through. Add garlic and toss; cook 2 minutes. Add wine, if using, and cook 2 more minutes or until liquid is mostly absorbed. Add heavy cream and bring to a boil; cook 2-3 minutes or until cream has thickened. Add cheese and basil, stirring until cheese has melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide evenly among 2 pasta bowls and top with grilled chicken. (Enjoy with a glass of the Sauvignon Blanc, if using, and notice how drinking the same wine that the dish is prepared with enhances the flavor of both.) Serves 2.

—Mary June Thompson, CelebrateKnoxville.com.