Welcome to JohnMichaels Pub's Blog

Welcome. I moved to Nashville in 2001, and have be blessed to make some wonderful friends. After moving from a house in Florida, to an apartment in Nashville, I missed being able to entertain groups of friends simply due to lack of space. When I finally decided to make Nashville my home and buy a house here, I wanted a space that friends to gather and socialize in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. The basement in my new house, which opens into the back yard made the perfect space, so JohnMichael's Pub was born. I have made a couple of trips to Ireland since moving to Nashville and loved the atmosphere of the pubs there. So I made my pub to resemble an Irish style pub to give the atmosphere of a local community pubs in Ireland, but of course it is not a true "Pub" (Public house) since it private place for my friends to gather. I plan to use this blog to post thoughts, ideas, recipes and a variety of other things related to my pub and the parties held there. If you see anything here that interests you, feel free to email me. I have a great group of friends that is very diverse, but I am always open to making new friends.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

InAndOut September Autumnal Equinox and Eat the rest of the Crawfish and have an Excuse for a Party Event

I wanted to do something in September and had a good 40+ pounds of Crawfish in my freezer from the crawfish boil in July so we had a party on the fall equinox. The crawfish were as good even after sitting in the freezer for a little more than a month. We stared with Crawfish outside (served with potatos and corn, red beans, rice and andouille) and everyone got to comment on the new deck and hot tub in the back yard, but no one suggested getting in. I guess it was too warm still. We move on into the bar as the evening progressed to enjoy drinks and a small assortment of cheeses. Below is a recap of each cheese. Along with the cheese, I served several types of crackers, humus and Olive tapenade. The Cotswold was the overall favorite of the group.
Cotswold (Cow's milk, England) is a variation of double glouster to which chopped onions and chives have been added. It is golden yellow to orange in color. This cheese will stand well on its own with crackers and grapes. Pairings: A full-bodied red wine such as Shiraz. Also, this cheese is considered a "Pub" cheese in England. As such, it pairs well with beer, which was plentiful.
Drunken Goat (Cabra al Vino)(Goat's milk, Spain) A dousing in red wine gives this cheese a sassy edge, adding a new dimension of flavor to the mild, semi-soft center. The reddish-purple rind is a stunning contrast to the white cheese, making it an eye-catching addition to any cheese plate. Pairings: Olive tapenade Liquid Pairings:Spanish reds. I had a nice tempranillo that went well with this.
Pecorino Toscano (Sheep milk, Italy) is firm and dense in texture with complex nutty flavor. This cheese is made in Tuscany, which has a long, rich cheesemaking history. The natural rind is dark brown, hard, and dry. The cheese is hard in texture, with a pronounced sheep flavor, and a mild finish. Pairings: Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon.
Red Dragon (Cow's milk,Wales) takes its name from the dragon symbol of the Welsh flag. It is a blended Welsh Cheddar cheese with wholegrain mustard seeds and Welsh ale, coated in a bright red wax. Red Dragon combines the subtle sharpness and depth of natural mustard with the mild, piquant taste notes of the Welsh brown ale and traditional Cheddar. Pairings: This cheese is considered a "Pub" cheese and would go well with beer. This one is amoung my favorite cheeses.
The next big event will be the 4th annual All Hallow's eve party. I have a few interesting food ideas in mind.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Crawfish and harvest fest

The crawfish boil went well. I think everyone had a great time. Friends, food and beer, Here is a pic of me eating a crawfish. I gave a brief demo on how to suck heads and pinch tails when the first batch came out of the pot. The red beans (receipe in prior post) were a big hit also, as was the gator tail.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

LUGHNASADH 2007-first fruits harvest festival and Crawfish boil

The big crawfish boil is this Sunday in in the Garden Avalon (AKA my back yard). I am very excited. The mudbugs will arrive tommorow from Natchitoches, Louisiana and the menu is set.
I thought as a preview to the boil, I would post my recipe for Red Beans.
The menu is as follows:
Crawfish, Corn on the Cob & red skin taters and onions, Andouille sausage, Red Beans & Rice, and a Three Cheese Lasagna for those who just can't do crawfish, etc...I also have a limited quantity of gator bites coming from Natchitoches for those who would like to give it a try,and some watermelon to cool it all down. Of course there will also be plenty of beer and other beverages.

My Red bean recipe is as follows:

2 pound red kidney beans, dry 1 large onion, chopped 1 bell pepper, chopped 3 ribs celery, chopped garlic minced (4 o4 5 cloves)
2-3 bay leaves
1 TBL spoon fresh or dry thyme
1-2 Tbl spoons Tabasco or Louisiana hot sauce
1-2 Tbl spoons Louisiana Cajun Seasoning or Tony Chachere's Seasoning or Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning
A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
For extra flavor:
An Andouille sausage or two
4 oz of smoked ham hock or bacon
Vegetarian alternative:
A few slices of Morningstar farms bacon strips for the smoky flavor

Soak the beans overnight. Drain and use fresh water. Bring the beans to a rolling boil. Make sure the beans are always covered by water. Boil the beans for about 45 - 60 minutes, until the beans are tender but not falling apart. Drain. (My alternative is to cook them in a presser cooker for 35 minutes after it begins to jiggle.)

While the beans are boiling, finely chop and sauté the Trinity (onions, celery, bell pepper) in a small amount of olive oil until the onions turn clear. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes more stirring occasionally. After the beans are boiled, add the sautéed mixture to the beans, then add the meats or meat alternatives and other spices listed (to taste)

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook for 2-3 hours until it gets creamy. Adjust seasonings as it cooks. Stir occasionally to prevent burning or sticking to the bottom of the pot. If you have the option to cook the beans a day or two ahead of time, then refrigerate and heat up later, the flavor will be better. You may need to add a little water when you reheat. Some people like a little vinegar in there beans. You can use pepper vinegar, pickled onions, or just plain white vinegar to taste.

---- Serve over rice-----

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mayday and Gooey brownies.

Those of you that joined us in the cookout and dance around the Maypole on Sunday, May 6th had the oportunity to try Cindy's Gooey Brownies. If you did not, you missed a lot of fun and some really good food. By popular request and with Cindy's consent, I am posting the recipe for the brownies. Enjoy!

Gooey Brownie Recipe

3.9 oz pkg. of Jell-O Instant Chocolate Pudding
1 box chocolate cake mix
1 12 oz bag Nestle Toll House Morsels

Make pudding according to box. Mix in cake mix and morsels. Pour into 12x9 baking dish. Bake for 30-40 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Wine Tasting to benift EN Hope Exchange

St. Ann's Episcopal Church will hold a Wine tasting fundraiser on Friday, April 13th from 6-9pm to benefit their inner city summer program for the kids in the neighborhood The East Nashville Hope Exchange I am not sure what the selections will be this year other than the theme is "Wines From Around the World" , but in years past, the distributors have been very generous providing good selections for this event. The cost is $25 per person / $45 per couple.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Amazing Grace - Amazing Movie

Amazing Grace tells the story of William Wilberforce, a member of the House of Commons in England in the late 1700’s. He was one of the greatest leaders of the Abolitionist movement at that time, spending much of his life fighting to make the slave trade illegal in England. The movie takes its name from the song Amazing Grace, by John Newton, a former slave ship Captain, who was converted to Christianity and eventually became an Anglican priest. Newton had a deep regret of his personal involvement in the slave trade and was a strong supporter of Wilberforce’s fight. He was a strong influence on Wilberforce and encouraged Wilberforce to stay in Parliament and “serve God where he was.”

Ioan Gruffudd’s striking portrayal of Wilberforce brings to the screen the conviction Wilberforce had to have to accomplish such an overwhelming battle in the 18th century political climate in England. He is able to simultaneously depict the drive, conviction, strength and frailty of his character. The rest of the cast is just as convincing, but it is Albert Finney’s portrayal of Wilberforce’s spiritual councilor John Newton that really stands out in my mind. The viewer can almost feel Newton’s pain as he is ravaged by his 20 thousand ghosts. The souls of those who died in the cargo hold of Newton’s ships.

This movie is one you feel in your heart and soul as much as see. This is a first rate move, a needed history lesson and a challenge even to our society today. It is not a “feel good” movie, but it is definitely a must see.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Greek Islands - Best Greek in town : A Restaurant Review

I have listed recipes, drink mixes and even an event on here. Now it is time to try my hand at a restaurant review. For my first, I will start with one of my favorite local spots, Greek Islands.

When you walk in to Greek Islands, the atmosphere is charming with quaint stucco walls scattered with murals, tapestries and Greek and Turkish decorations. The belly dancer costume they recently hung on the wall is really interesting, although it seems a little out of place. I usually go for lunch, but I am sure it would be an excellent spot for a romantic dinner. They are open until about 10pm most evenings except Sunday. They are open Sunday's until about 2:30 for lunch.

The menu includes such basic Greek lunch fare as gyro sandwiches, kabobs, Greek and Turkish salads, and various Turkish stews. They also have such traditional dishes as moussaka and pastitsio as well as various lamb and chicken dishes. Also available are an assortment of house-made desserts such as baklava. I have tried several of their dishes and liked everything I have eaten there, but my favorite is the Turkish Lamb stew served with rice, pita bread and Cacık Sauce (yogurt-cucumber sauce very similar to Greek Tzadziki).

The service is always excellent there. Toni, my regular wait person, is one of the nicest, most personable, yet professional wait person I have met in Nashville. She always greets me with a smile when I come in and is prompt in her service. If you are a regular, she quickly learns your likes and dislikes and makes appropriate dinning suggestions. She has never steered me wrong.

Greek Islands is located at the east end of the strip of bars and restaurants near the Demonbreun St roundabout (near the Musica statue, I often refer to as “Naked People Dancing). The address and phone number are shown below. Try them. You will not be disappointed.

Greek Islands
1516A Demonbreun St
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 259-7772

Friday, February 23, 2007

Ireland meets Kentucky

This is my first mixology post. On one of my trips to Ireland, I discovered a liqueur I really liked called Irish Mist. The combination of Irish Whisky and honey was a flavor I truly enjoyed. This mix has some similar elements of this with a bit of American flair.
The drink is very simple:

1 part Irish Whisky ( I prefer Red Breast by the makers of Jameson, but Jameson will do)
1 part Wild Turkey Liqueur with Honey

This can be served chilled neat or on the rocks. The Liqueur mentioned above is bottled by Austin Nichols distilling company of Lawrenceburg KY, the makers of Wild Turkey Kentucky Bourbon. I hope you enjoy it. If you try it, let me know what you think.

Crawfish Gravy for Biscuits (or Crawfish Dip)

12 to 16 oz package of frozen crawfish tails. (You can use fresh boiled if you want)
1 – 8 oz pack of Cream cheese
1 green onion or a few chives
¼ teaspoon of paprika and ¼-teaspoon red pepper or a dash of hot sauce (to taste)

I use a small crock-pot. A medium fondue pot also works or a regular crock-pot and you can double the recipe.

Melt Cream cheese on low add crawfish tails (defrosted), onions or chives and paprika / pepper. Cook to all ingredients blend and it bubbles a little then keep it on warm/ low for serving. You can use this as a dip or serve it over bread or biscuits. I really like it best served over biscuits like you would sausage gravy. If it is too thick for you, a large heaping spoon of sour cream can be added to the mix.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Jill Conner Browne - Head Sweet Potato Queen in Nashville

I just returned from a book signing by Jill Connor Browne for her most current book “The Sweet Potato Queens’ 1st Big-Ass Novel: (Stuff we didn’t actually do, but could have, and may yet.).” Nashville was her 40th and last stop on the “Big Ass Book Tour” before her return home to Jackson Mississippi.

For those of you that do not know, Jill is the author of five prior Sweet Potato Queens’ book, but this is the first work of fiction. The Sweet Potato queens originated out of the St. Patrick’s day parade in Jackson Mississippi, when Jill and a group of friends (Sweet Potato Queen’s) in the early 80’s rode in the parade in all their queenly bling tossing sweet potatoes to onlookers. At that time, the parade was a small local event. The parade has become a huge annual event in Jackson, Mississippi the third weekend in March, boasting 10’s of thousands of participants. To find out more you have to read the “Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love,” but one more note- Jill calls it a “peoples parade,” one you can show up and be in, not just watch.
Jill’s books mix hilariously funny humor with stories of life, love, men and encouragement. Jill, addressing the audience, gave such inspiring advice, as “it is infinitely better to live your dreams than to dream them.” Her life is a first hand example of such advice. Again, you have to read her books to find out more.

Jill also offers other more humorous practical advice, such as “Never wear panties to a party.” In her address to nearly 100 fans gathered at the book signing, Jill relayed a story of an elderly woman who came up to her at another book signing years before and said that the advice makes a lot of sense that “you wouldn’t wear a mask if you wanted to be kissed.”

On top of being an inspiring author, who appeals to women everywhere (and quite a few men), Jill, and her husband and business manager, Kyle, whom she refers to as the cutest boy in the world, seem to be genuinely sincere, compassionate, and just “down right” sweet people. After 40 cities and meeting God only knows how many people, Jill took time to converse with, sign books for and pose for photos with every single person there. She knows many of her fans by sight and even name from events over the years and treats each as old friends. Several of the fans brought gifts such as deviled eggs (one of Jill’s favorites) and a King cake (tonight was Madi Gras). One fan there tonight traveled from as far as Pendleton Oregon to be there (fur piece from Nashville).

If you have not read her books, read them. If you ever get the chance to go to a book signing or other event with Jill, don’t miss it. It is an experience you will not forget or regret.

Other books by Jill Conner Browne include:
Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love
Sweet Potato Queens' Big Ass Cookbook (and Financial Planner)
God Save the Sweet Potato Queens
Sweet Potato Queens' Field Guide to Men : Every Man I Love Is Either Married, Gay, or Dead.
Sweet Potato Queens' Book Wedding Planner /Divorce Guide.

Her next planned piece of non-fiction is
“Sweet Potato Queens Guide to Raising Children for Fun and Profit.”

More info is available at :

Monday, February 19, 2007

GUINNESS Irish (Lamb) Stew

I thought for my first post, I would share my Irish stew receipe, featuring one of my favorite drinks, Guinness. So here goes:

2+ pounds lamb (I get bonless leg of lame and cut it into 1" cubes)
4 large potatoes (unpealed and chunked)
3 large onions (quartered)
4 large carrots (cut into thick slices)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil or butter (I use Kerry Irish Gold)
2 cups vegatable broth
1 1/2 cups Guinness (1 bottle will do)
1 larg sprigs of fresh tyme
salt and pepper to tast
1 to 2 tablespoons Browning sauce ( such as Kitchen Bouquet)
3 tablespoons flower or cornstarch

Cube the leg of lamb, removing all fat. Sear/ brown meat in pan with oil and add browning sauce.
Remove meat from pan and brown onions. Put meat and onions in a pot. Use some of the vegitable broth in the pan with the remaining sauce in the browning pan and pore this into the pot. Add carrots, the rest of the broth and the Guinness to the pot. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add potatos and tyme and simmer for another hour and a half. Use about 1/4 cup of the broth from the mixture to disolve the flower or cornstarch. Pour the liquid into the stew to thicken it. Ejoy as it is or serve laddled over mashed potatoes.