Sunday, July 26

pumpkin spice summer scones

I had some canned pumpkin leftover from an overambitious holiday grocery trip and wanted to bake something on Saturday morning.
This is a healthier scone than my favorite plain one but is still really good. I was pleasantly surprised that it actually got a little crispy, despite having significantly less butter. I think the use of parchment paper or a Silpat mat, gave these a nice crispy bottom. And pumpkin is a good source of fiber, basically fat free and low in calories. So feel free to feast! You could do a mixture of whole wheat and all purpose flour to make these even healthier, and I think the pumpkin puree is moist enough that you wouldn't have to make any accomodations for the wheat flour.
Maybe a little out of season? Regardless. These were good and made my kitchen smell like Thanksgiving!

pumpkin spice scones

1 tbsp butter, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 large egg

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
 In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar and salt with a whisk. Beat in egg, then pumpkin. Stir until smooth.
 Sift in flour, baking powder and spices. Stir until flour is completely mixed in. Dough should be slightly sticky. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape the dough, with floured hands, into a circle and press into a 3/4 inch thickness. Using a sharp knife, cut dough into about 8 triangles and place all on prepared baking sheet.
 I used a metal spatula to transfer them. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, until golden.
 Cool on a wire rack, or eat warm.
I decided I wanted pecans in them once they were already shaped into triangles. I recommend mixing in about 1/4 cup chopped pecans before adding the dry ingredients. They just fell off the top once baked....

Friday, July 24

a new toy

Just recently acquired these with the last of some wedding credit (yes, we've been married over a year. It happens to the best of folks) And oh the possibilities are endless! I could put them in little pots and label foods other than cheese. I could make a little window sill herb garden and label my loot. Maybe I could put them in cupcakes and write little notes or greetings or silly faces.
Oh what fun. When crafts and food collide.

Sunday, July 19


I had been planning to make a pizza with goat cheese and squash last week, inspired by SmittenKitchen but never had time. Still hoping to get my dough making practice in, {still overcoming that aforementioned fear of yeast} I conjured up a way to turn the pizza into an appetizer for our Friday night dinner guests. I decided to further flavor the squash with butter and sugar, reminiscent of my grandma's "squash" that I loved, though it was probably more butter and sugar than squash.
Roaming through the store, I encountered my friend brie and knew I must take action. Brie is heaven on earth. Seriously. So I decided to try out brie as well and think I found some pretty good toppings to "compliment the flavors," if you will. Check it out, they turned out really good and were pretty fun too.
One more thing. If you've never ventured into the realm of exiting cheeses, it's really so very worth it. Proof that there's a God who wants us to enjoy life and eat good food. In my opinion, good cheese is truely a manifestation of heaven on this fallen rock. They may be expensive, but since they're so flavorful and textured and rich and all that great stuff, you really only need to eat and serve and savor them in small portions. Your guests won't expect to be served a plateful of brie, but it's amazing how a tablespoon or less of good cheese can make anyone say whoa, heaven has come to earth, please invite me over for dinner more and I don't care what you make me eat after this because that made my night.

Or maybe that's just me.....

It's possible.

goat cheese & sugared squash pizzaschettas

half of this prepared and risen pizza dough, or about 1 1/2 cup (12oz) pizza dough
1/4 cup soft goat cheese
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup very thinly sliced and quartered yellow zucchini squash
2/3 tablespoon butter
2-3 tablespoons sugar
Oven to 450. {note} I used goat cheese with the lemon already in it. Found at HEB. Combine lemon and goat cheese. Rub both sides of squash slices with butter and toss with sugar. Or, in small, microwave safe bowl, melt butter. Mix in sugar. Add squash slices and stir, coating evenly in sugar and butter.

Roll out pizza dough to about 1/4 of an inch thick, cut with small biscuit cutter into circles about 3 inches in diameter. Stretch them with your fingers to help them keep their shape and thinness and place on pizza stone or pan. Generously spread about a tablespoon of cheese on each dough circle, leaving a little "crust." Top with one to three squash slices, depending on how many fit.

Bake 10 minutes or until dough begins to brown.

brie & toasted pecans pizzaschettas
1/2 of this prepared and risen pizza dough, or about 1 1/2 cup (12oz) pizza dough
8-10 oz softened brie cheese {heeeaaavenn. do you hear the angels singing?}
1/4 cup chopped raw pecans
chipotle raspberry dressing
Oven to 450. Roll out pizza dough to about 1/4 of an inch thick, cut with small biscuit cutter into circles about 3 inches in diameter. Stretch them with your fingers to help them keep their shape and thinness and place on pizza stone or pan.

Top each round generously with about a tablespoon of cheese. I flattened a chunk of cheese in my fingers then pressed it into the dough, helping keep the dough flat as well, but still leaving a "crust" of dough. Then I topped the flattened piece with another, more thick chuck right in the middle. Place as many pecans on top as fit.

Bake for 10 minutes, or until dough is browned and looks like pizza crust. Can be baked a longside the goat cheese ones on the same pan, if you're making both types, While still warm, top with a few more little chunks of brie. Once cool, top with a teaspoon or two of chipotle raspberry dressing {a little bit goes a long way} or place dressing on the side with a spoon for self service.... Some weirdos like my husband claim to dislike this stuff.

That's the only picture I got of the brie ones with the raspberry chipotle. Please excuse the fact that half of it is missing.

Wednesday, July 15

kiwi lime tart

Don't you love it when your food matches your kitchen decor? Oh, me too.

After much eager anticipation on your part due to much delay on my part. . . we have tart.
This time we ventured into Ellen's Williams Sonoma Desserts book. There was a little bit of confusion regarding the making of the tart "curd" part. {we don't like the word curd so much. cuuuurd} The book said that if one elected to use a candy thermometer one could heat the tart mixture over low heat until it reached 170 degrees. Well after about 15 minutes of stirring on low, the temp wasn't budging. We unpatiently upped the heat and began to discover that we were going to make scrambled egg whites if we kept that up. So we decided to just go with the filling how it was, because it had definitely "thickened to cover the back of a spoon."

A few recipes that we looked up called for straining the tart filling {cuuuurd} through a mesh colander after heating. So we didn't feel too dumb that we had to strain it . . . to perhaps, or perhaps not, remove a few cooked egg particles.

All that to say, I think you can just cook this on low heat, stirring constantly, until it's thickened. If you want to be safe in the way of egg white scrambling and get adventerous with your kitchen gadgets you can us a double boiler. But that's, like, way too many extra pots to clean up for me.
Look how great my sous-chef chopped up her kiwis and documented the adventure!

kiwi lime tart

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, diced
grated zest of 3 limes
1/2 cup lime juice
4 eggs, lightly beaten

1 fully baked 10 inch pastry shell or pie crust
1 egg white, lightly beaten
4 or 5 kiwis peeled and thinly sliced
Combine sugar, butter, lime zest and juice in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat, whisk in eggs, and pour into a heatproof bowl or bowl of double boiler. Set over a saucepan with 2 inches of simmering water. Stir constantly until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 6 to 8 minutes. Strain though mesh strainer if necessary. Let cool, cover surface with parchment paper to prevent a skin from forming and chill until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 350. Brush inside of pastry shell with egg white. Bake for 4 to 5 minutes to set egg white. Let cool completely.

{go lay out by the pool while your cuuuurd is in the 'fridge getting cool}

Spoon chilled lime curd into cooled pastry shell and arrange sliced kiwis on top. Serve immediately.
Really good and refreshing and perfect for a hot summer day! The sweet kiwi complimented the tangy lime. Very easy to make in advance as well since you can store the cuuuurd, well covered, until you need it.

Sunday, July 12

happy birfday!

Lime and Kiwi Tart coming up next. I promise there's still vittles here at vittles for the voracious. But it's summer; my life is less routine and I feel like shaking things up.


Happy Birthday to my dear little brother! I loved growing up with you and playing your Playmobile and Legos with you. I remember walking across a parking lot with you when you were little toddler sized you and Mom telling me to hold your hand. So I held out my finger, as a much wiser and mature 4 or 5 year old and you held onto just my finger with your little baby hand. Can't believe you're 21! I'm so proud of the man you've become!
aaaand. since you better be reading my blog from time to time...
Happy Birthday, to my sweet, adventurous, whimsical and fun beyond fun friend Meridith! Love you and miss you lots!


As soon as I get over my lazy self and plug my camera into my computer we will have lime kiwi tart extravaganza! Try to contain your excitement.

Tuesday, July 7

. . . more nesting

Sorry if you came here for vittles folks, I haven't been making much that is noteworthy lately. But what I have been doing is reading too many diy blogs!

Taylor let me know, oh, about a year ago, that the wall behind our couch looked a little barren. Not wanting to invest in something in an apartment, first I stalled. Half - heartedly looked around, unsure of what I even wanted. I considered using some cool brackets and putting up some shelves. But anchors and I are not friends and I didn't want to do all the construction that I envisioned the task involving. Someday. Someday.

I had a few goals when coming up with this idea. {1.} Minimize holes in the wall. {2} Look cool {3} Incorporate things that I would use again in a real house. {4} Be cheap.

After browsing a couple pricey Austin antique joints and tooling around some South Austin neighborhoods looking for cool junk, I looked on Cragislist. I found a guy in central Austin who was redoing his house and taking out 1940s/1950s style windows. So I grabbed my mom and we went up to check them out. I bought one, frame and all. I was not expecting the frame. Massive item. But we hauled it home in my trusty 4Runner, J.J. My dad helped me rip the frame off; I took out the glass panes and then assessed the situation.

The side of the window that had been outside was pretty worse for the wear. The side that had been on the inside looked like it had been painted light blue over white. There was a pretty stark transition between the paint and the raw wood that had been hidden by the frame. So I figured I'd just re-paint the whole thing and make the antique, distressed look myself. My mom and I started sanding to prep for repainting. I was trying to be all neat and gentle and even. I looked over at her side and she was just going to town on it. No mercy. Go Patti Go. Well, after scolding her, I realized that the way the white and original wood started showing through the blue paint was exactly the look I thought I was going to have to create with much more paint and sanding efforts. So I gave her permission to carry on...I envisioned hanging the completed window by a single hook and pictured something on the sides. Perhaps picture frames. . . So I ventured to Hobby Lobby and found three metal hooks and those great bird pictures.
The hooks weren't white nor were they antiqued but they were half off. Sold. To make them white, I applied a newly learned d.i.y trick. Before I spray painted them with Rustoleum Navajo White, I ran a tea light candle over the edges, where I wanted the dark metal to show through and dustedslashblew away the loose wax crumbs. After allowing two coats to dry, I rubbed at the edges with my hand and fingernail . . .glamorous, I know . . . rubbing the paint and wax off in a quasi- random fashion.
I used thick twine to hang everything. And below is the view from the kitchen.
frame $7.50
hooks $7.00 {all half off at Hobby Lobby}
boxy bird prints $9.00 {also half off!}
twine $.60 {I used a 40% off coupon, printed online, BIG saver :) }
total: $27.10

Total holes in the wall: 5 tiny holes and no anchors!

Sunday, July 5

lime green nesting

Since this is my blog and I do whatever I want, I'm posting pictures of the place that we typically eat our vittles. To be more specific, it's the place I always eat my vittles, and as long as golf or Harry Potter are not on TV, Taylor acquiescences to join me.

I've decided not to count the amount of plates I have slapped up on our walls. It's probably excessive if you consider my square-footage-to-plated-walls ratio. But hopefully everyone is just too overwhelmed by the awesomeness of our apartment decor to judge.

All these plates except one were bought at Home Goods in Sugarland with my friends Elizabeth and Caroline. I helped Elizabeth in her pregnant nesting state and it overflowed into my own apartment. The middle green one on the side called to me from our cabinet when I lamented about the lack of a third green plate to complete the ensemble. It's from Target in College Station and its really a saucer lacking a cup. I have no clue why I bought it at the time. Probably because I was engaged and nesting and decorating a non-existent home already (ask Hanna) and probably also because it was on sale.

The H is from my mother-in-law, who conveniently enough shares my last name. I didn't want to put plates on that side because not only, in my mind, would it look a little to overly balanced and composed but also because then people would probably walk into our apartment for dinner and say, "Oh, I see we're going to be eating on the walls tonight."
If you had told me a few years ago that lime green would be the color of unity in our apartment I would have scoffed at you. But if you can see, it ties in everything, all the way to the bedroom. Do you like my mismatched placemats? Thanks. There are two yellow ones and two of those green and blue paisley ones. I only own two of the paisley ones because that's all they had at Target in College Station, and that's all I needed to cook and whip up a little cutesty engaged spread for my visiting fiance. (again, ask Hanna)

The fake fruit is probably too copious in our apartment too. But look at how brilliantly they tie in my plates and my Target placemats and my green and white napkins that you can barely see. Taylor asked about six months into our marriage and of dining at this table, whether or not they were real. To his credit, that's probably just how long it took him to notice them.

So remember, if you can't paint your dining room a fun color, you can put some little saucer plates up and dream of the days of home ownership with walls big and bold enough to hang something maybe a little more grown up-ish. Like a platter.

Friday, July 3

crepes just crepes

I made crepes on Thursday with my friend Ellen! Having only had them in France with Nutella, but aware that they are beginning to have a cult following in Austin with a few crepe trailers popping up about town, I was eager to try my hand at them. The sno cone trailer trend was followed by the cupcake trailer trend and now, evidently, we have mobile crepes.

Crepes are similar to pancakes but flatter and often sweeter. They're typically consumed as a dessert but people are packing all kinds of things into them. I had a chicken avocado crepe at Sweet Eugene's once. It was surprisingly good. So feel free to stuff it with anything that delights your heart.

Ellen did not know that she'd be subjected to my food photography when she agreed to hang out and bake with me. She was a good sport about that and about the cast iron pan with a burning handle that she had to swirl and twirl.

from The Culinary Institue's Breakfasts and Brunches
{serves 8}
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
melted butter or vegetable oil to coat pan as needed
Sift the flour, sugar and salt together in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, blend the milk, eggs, butter and vanilla. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and whisk until the batter is smooth. I strained the mixture through a mesh colander to be sure it was as smooth as possible, whisking the lumps in the colander. Heat small non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Brush with butter or oil. Pour about 1/4 cup batter into the pan, swirling and tilting the pan to coat the bottom with batter. Cook until the first side is set and has a little color, slightly golden with specks of light brown, about 2 minutes. Lift the crepe and turn it over {the C.I.A. recommends using a rubber spatula for this step} Cook the other side about 1 minute more.

{serving suggestions}
avocado and spicy ranch dressing
bananas and peanut butter
strawberris and chocolate syrup
powdered sugar and bluberry syrup
and Nutella...of course

Aaaaand mine's the messy one. So precious. Don't worry, I added bananas and peanut butter as well. And ate about ten.
But they're thin. And made with healthy things like milk, flour and eggs.
So it's ok.

Wednesday, July 1

hibiscus mint tea

This episode of {vittles} brings you: The Math Teacher Makes Tea Edition.

Here's my thought process when I set out to make this.

These tea bags are for cups.
Cups, I need this gallon converted to cups. Um. K. 2 pints in a quart. 4 quarts in a gallon. If, "a pint's a pound the world around," then a pint is 16 oz. A cup is 8 oz. So, 2 cups in a pint.....Where was I? Cups to gallons.....
2 cups {a pint} + 2 cups {a pint} = 1 quart.
so 4 cups = 1 quart {I should memorize this one}
4 cups times 4 quarts = 16 cups in a gallon

I'll give you a moment to recover. Be thankful I spared you from fractions.

Ok are you there? Does that mean 16 tea bags to make a gallon? Well, I wanted about a tea bag for every 10-16 oz. I'm putting 10 tea bags in this recipe, but I really, I think it's all about the brewing time. Brew the heck out of them and you don't need 16 tea bags. But use 16 if you don't trust me or if you make it my way and hate it. I'm just trying to save you a couple quarters here.

Central Market has made a hibiscus mint tea for a long time that I love. It's pink tea. How fun. And I've started seeing it on more restaurant menus recently. The other day I got tea free at HEB when I bought my coffee. And, being inspired by my friend Elizabeth's cold Tazo Passion Tea, I decided to try to recreate CM's tea. {Hi Liz! How are your plates?} Plus, when it's 183 degrees outside, you can't beat a cold pitcher of tea waiting for you in the 'fridge.

hibiscus raspberry mint tea
{makes 1 gallon}
10 Hibiscus Tea Bags {HEB sells their box of Hibiscus Raspberry Tea for about $1.75}
12 - 1o mint leaves, crushed or chopped
Bring about a quart of water to a rolling boil in a pot. Add all the tea bags. Be sure they're submerged. Remove from heat and cover. Brew about 10 minutes. Add the mint in the middle of the brewing time.

Pour into gallon pitcher with lid and add water to fill. Stir. I'd add a few more mint leaves at this point. Store in the refrigerator and sweeten individual glasses to taste.

You can probably find hibiscus mint tea to brew but it's MUCH better with fresh mint sitting in the pitcher.

Happy July!!!

{image belongs to jenncurrie}