Monday, June 29

chicken salad

Taylor prefers his chicken salad done pretty plain. He likes Kitchen Door's Austin award winning chicken salad. I, on the other hand, prefer my chicken salad to have much more action-packed chunkiness going on than just chicken and mayo. Plus that wouldn't be exciting food blog fodder. "Shred chicken, mix with mayo. Eat on white bread." So here's my type of chicken salad.

Chunky Chicken Salad
{serves 4}
2 1/2 cups cooked shredded chicken
2/3 cup grapes, cut into eighths
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/3 cup diced onions, cooked
1/4 cup celery, diced
1/2 tablespoon honey
3 teaspoons cracked pepper
3 teaspoons seasoning salt
2 teaspoons fresh tarragon, chopped
1/3 to 1/2 cup mayonnaise. I used Kraft's new kind made with olive oil.
Combine first four ingredients. Add the honey and then remaining ingredients to taste. Serve stuffed in a big, ripe, yummy tomato or on a bed of lettuce with avocado slices. Or on your favorite toasted bread. The options are limitless, really.
{notes and modifications}
I used a combination of leftover grilled chicken breast and rotisserie chicken meat. Whole Foods makes theirs by adding a little bit of apple cider vinegar. Try that if you like, it sounds good but I make no endorsements since I didn't do it myself. I diced my onions, then zapped them in the microwave for about 2 minutes. You can toast the pecans by placing in dry skillet on medium low and stirring for about 3-5 minutes.

Oh, and please do not get the impression that I'm knocking Kitchen Door. They have good ice.
And oatmeal cookies and frosted cookies and brownies. But I'm sad they left Lake Austin Blvd. Moment of silence...

{image belongs to scottishcow}

Monday, June 22

green pizza

Pizzas are such a great leftovers meal. Especially since I'm overcoming my fear of yeast. Since we've been frequenting The Grove, it's inspired me to throw just about anything on there. Too bad I didn't have any mushrooms, then it'd be heavenly. But then I probably couldn't call this Green Pizza.

I realize I'm using spaghetti sauce on this but I sort of like how it's sweeter and plus this jar is much more versatile if I use it for more than just spaghetti. I also like how these come in flavors. The tomato & basil has chunks of tomato that add to pizzas. In my honest opinion. Obviously you could just use marinara sauce or even tomato paste with some garlic but that wouldn't be as random....
Note the feta placement in the bottom picture. Taylor claims to not like strong cheeses, but I really do. And they make pizzas and a lot of other dishes much more fun. So I thought I start him out on feta {since blue cheese would probably be a criminal starting place....but we'll work up to that}. I put a little cluster to see what would happen, and he ate it! I informed him later, at The Grove actually, that he likes feta. Was that mean? I'm not sure but it makes it easier to cook for both of us if I can work on cheese diversification.

green pizza
this pizza dough, or prepared dough {some hebs sell raw dough near their deli section}
1/4 cup thinly sliced and then quartered zucchini
1 cup uncooked baby spinach leaves
4 tablespoons of this pesto, or basil pesto
1/3 cup cooked chicken, diced
1/3 cup shredded colby jack cheese
1/4 cup shredded parmesean cheese
3 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup of your favorite, well seasoned tomato sauce {or omit and increase the pesto!}
Lightly saute zucchini and spinach {or zap in the microwave} until just beginning to look and feel cooked. I cooked the spinach just about all the way and then squeezed out the moisture and diced it. I cooked the cut zucchini till it was tender but not completely cooked. {see note}

Oven to 550. Cover pizza stone or baking sheet with parchment paper if you have some. {I'm never consistent about using parchment paper}. Roll out pizza dough to desired thickness, will {or should} rise some. Spread pesto then tomato sauce. Sprinkle with about 2/3 of the cheeses. Add zucchini, spinach and chicken evenly. Sprinkle the rest of the cheeses. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

{note} I'd never tried these veggies on a pizza and wasn't sure if they'd cook all the way, being put on the pizza raw. So I gave them a head start. I have no idea if it was necessary but they turned out great.

{recommended variations for your green pizza} asparagus, green peppers, green tomatoes, arugula. ooooo arugula...

Friday, June 19

ode to the crumblies

Dear Crumblies,

Today I have an ode
I want to send your way.
Because with just water, oil and eggs
Tay thinks you’re gourmet!

Your little mini can of berries
is really pretty cute.
That fact that you’re dubbed “crumblies”
is pretty much a hoot.

When milk is never stocked
impulse baking is a chore
but the streusel topping muffin box?
Paradigm of patient.
Forever it will store!

See, I buy the milk to make “real” muffins,
but it just goes bad;
and so I have to chunk it,
and that just makes me mad.

And if I buy blueberries
we’d have a pricey slew.
Babe. eat. these. berries.
I don’t care if you turn blue!!

So, crumblies in the red box, to you I say hooray!
Because with you it’s more than simple to brighten Taylor’s day!
The End.

Wednesday, June 17

drunk spicy shrimp

drunk spicy shrimp
1 dozen peeled and devined shrimp
1 cup beer (I used Shiner)
2 tsp paprika
1 tablespoon minced cilantro
juice from one lemon
1 to 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
dash of cracked pepper
dash of salt
Combine all ingredients except butter in shallow bowl with lid or a ziploc bag and marinate refrigerated for 30 minutes to and hour. I imagine longer wouldn't hurt but I did not have time for that business. Heat 2 tablespoons butter on medium high heat and begin to add shrimp from the outside in. Each side only needs about 1 to 2 minutes so begin to flip the outer ring of shrimp almost as soon as you've placed the middle ones.

Try this on kebabs on the grill too!

{image belongs to tommywilliams}

Saturday, June 13

vegetable latkes

My friends are going to look at this and roll their eyes. Oh, Erin and her self-inflicted, heath freakish oddities. I thought these were good. They're really healthy and feel like a heartier way to eat vegetables. The recipe I found originally used peas, which I omitted, but substituted for soy beans in this recipe to add some protein. I think you could eat these for a main dish. My husband, on the other hand, would disagree. To his credit, these are a little on the strange side for his preferences.

It's pretty flexible too. I think you could use just about any vegetable that meets your fancy. You probably have some articles in your vegetable drawer right now that would be happy to offer their services.
My super cool mesh colanders enjoyed participating. That bottom one suspends itself over the sink. I know you're j.

Mmm carrots. I hadn't peeled a carrot in a looooong while. It was a job given to me once upon a time. Probably since my mom succumbed to the convenience of those bagged baby carrots. This picture reminds me of making carrot cake cupcakes.... go ahead. Check them out, I'll wait for you.
I stored half the grated vegetables and spice mixture for later in the week, then mixed them together with 2 eggs when I made them again.

Indian-Spiced Vegetable Latkes

adapted from smitten kitchen
Makes about 24 pancakes.
1/2 cup frozen soy beans, shelled*
1 medium onion, peeled
1 medium sized russet or Idaho potato, peeled
1 yam or sweet potato, peeled (I used half an eggplant)
1 large carrot, peeled
1 zucchini
4 large eggs
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
A pinch of cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ginger
3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 200°F. Place two nonstick baking sheets in oven.

In small saucepan, bring salted water to boil. Add soy beans and cook, uncovered, until heated through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, then rinse in colander under cool, running water. Set aside in colander to drain completely. (Or, you could do this step in the microwave, and save yourself a good bit of effort.) Mash or add to food processor in step below.

Using box grater or food processor fitted with grating disc, coarsely grate onion, potatoes, carrot and zucchini and place in colander set in sink, setting aside to drain.

In large mixing bowl, lightly beat eggs. Whisk in flour and spices. Mix in cilantro.

Press vegetables to extract as much liquid as possible, then add to bowl. Season mixture with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Using wooden spoon or hands, mix well, but do not overwork.

In heavy-bottomed, 12-inch non-stick skillet over moderately high heat, heat 1-2 tablespoons oil (I used an extra-virgin olive oil spray to lightly coat the pan); until hot but not smoking. Drop 4 scant 1/4-cup portions of potato mixture into pan and flatten with spatula to form four 3-inch pancakes.

Fry until bottoms are golden-brown (the color really counts on this; the darker you let it go, the more the pancake holds together - this goes for both sides.), 4 to 5 minutes, then turn over and fry until golden-brown and crisp, an additional 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain; season immediately with salt and pepper. Keep warm on baking sheets in oven while making remaining pancakes.

Using paper towels, carefully wipe out pan. And 1 tablespoon oil to the pan and fry 4 more pancakes. Repeat with remaining batter, wiping out pan and adding 1 to 2 tablespoons oil before each batch.

*Found in the frozen food section likely called edamame

Now, eat your veggies!

Thursday, June 11

parsley pesto

I've been making a few recipes recently that call for parsley. Please tell me I'm not the only one to have noticed this issue. A recipe calls for, oh maybe a couple tablespoons chopped parsley so I head to the store (NOT out my backdoor....which is another lamentation all together) and buy a formidable BUSHEL of parsley. Granted, it's like 65 cents. But still. I mean, if I put three tablespoons of parsley in three meals a day for a week, I still wouldn't use it all. Good thing it's biodegradable because surely 1 in 3 households across the nation are chunkin' out loads of parsley like it's going out of style.

Then to add insult to injury. I went to the store and utterly forgot that I already had a bale of perfectly good parsley pining away its fate in my vegetable drawer. Oh boy.

So I get home and begin to struggle with two issues: 1. I have parsley coming out my ears. 2. I have tortellini (good and SO easy, by the way) that lacks a sauce. Now granted, tortellini is sometimes eaten without a sauce, or just with an olive oil drizzlish thing, but I thought my skeptic of a husband would be more inclined to try a new pasta if it wasn't just sitting there staring him in the face without some savory looking sauce.

Enter parsley pesto. Taylor likes basil pesto (though he doesn't know it's made with basil) and it's good on everything from sandwiches to pizza to obviously pasta. I thought, well, if there's a pesto looking substance on there, he will probably eat it. AND parsley is an herb so surely I can make pesto out of it. Really, more people should do this because, golly, parsley at your local grocery is very cheap and very .....ominous in quantity.

parsley pesto
{special equippment alert: food processor needed}
5 cups parsley leaves
1 cup to 1 and 1/4 cup finely grated parmesean cheese
1/3 cup pine nuts {see note}
1 garlic clove {see note}
2 T. cracked pepper
1 T. salt
2/3 to 3/4 cup olive oil
Mix it all up in your food processor. Add more olive oil if needed. Will yield about one and fourth cup pesto. I have a small food processor and just added everything incrementally, pulsing in between addtions.

I do not care for the taste of raw garlic. Also pine nuts are MUCH better toasted. If you want to invest a little extra time, I think this will be worth your while. Mince the garlic. Heat skillet on medium heat and add the pine nuts. Cover if your skillet has a lid. Stir every two or three minutes until toasted and delicious smelling. Remove nuts, though I don't think it matters if they stay, and add 1 -2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the garlic and stir often until slighly changed in color and fragrant, about 4 minutes. ...And then start pesto instuctions. If you cook the garlic first, I bet it would be good with two or even three cloves. Raw, I'd say one, or even a dash of garlic powder instead.

So ingenious. Put it on this pizza or make this penne pasta or even this stuffed chicken or cook it on this salmon!

{image belongs to sweetfineday}

Tuesday, June 9

love that sangria wine

I was introduced to Sangria when I studied in Spain. I'm supplying you with the way my Spanish "madre" there made it for us. And this is of course, in my opinion, the best way to make it. Sangria is a refreshing summer drink made with red wine, carbonation and citrus. It was my experience in Spain that it was drunk like a cold beer, glass of lemonade or tea would be on a hot summer day. Many recipes I found make it with brandy or rum or another alcohol. Feel free to add that if you want, but I think then it becomes more like a mixed drink and less of a light drink you can drink in the middle of the day and just pour from the pitcher multiple times....
Rosa's Authentic Sangria
1 bottle medium or light-bodied red wine such as Syrah, Red Zinfandel or a fruity Merlot
1 small can of limeade concentrate
24- 32 oz (3 - 4 cups) carbonated orange soda
the juice of 2 lemons, or 1/2 c. bottled lemon juice
1 orange
1 lemon
1 lime
2/3 c. triple sec (an orange flavored liquor) or other citrusy liquor.*
Into a large pitcher, pour lime juice concentrate and wine. Squeeze the juice of 2 lemons, careful not to get seeds in it! A mesh strainer works well here. Add half the orange soda and any alcohol. Mix well with long spoon. Slice orange, lime and remaining lemon lengthwise, to form circular slices about 1/4 of an inch thick. Remove any seeds. Add to liquid mixture. Cover pitcher with lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours. It just gets better the longer it's had to sit and chill. I usually make it the night before serving it, or at least earlier in the day. Add the rest of the orange soda to taste and stir before serving to give the carbonation a boost.

Allow fruit slices to fall into individual glasses when serving or reserve a few to place in glasses individually. Fruit may dye red so fresh slices in the glasses may make for a better presentation.

This is a very flexible drink to adapt to your taste and preferences. I know it's a little different each time i make it, but the essentials are: red wine, lime, lemon, orange flavors and carbonation. I think the best thing Rosa did was to accomplish both the orange flavor and the carbonation simultaneously. The orange soda is a fun, easy and unexpected secret ingredient.

*I think light rum or triple sec would be the best addition to this if you're looking to amp up the alcohol. More or less than 2/3 cup is a taste preference too, depending on how much you want it to be a mixed drink versus a lighter, daytime summer sip.

(image belongs to thesunblog}

Sunday, June 7


Today is our first wedding anniversary. We had brunch at Green Pastures where we were married a year ago. A venerable brunch spread they have there on Sundays! Whew! In the spirit of the day, I'd like to take some time to pay homage to a few things that have made this year great.

Besides being married to Taylor, of course.

I don't know where this simple device has been all my life, but I'm glad I had wedding credit enough to purchase one. Each morning henceforth, my coffee has been smooth and strong and not burned....
#1 The Bodum French Press

I finally recovered from an intense liberal arts high school education and an honors English college degree program that effectively squelched all desire from my spirit to read for pleasure...and I picked up a book to read on our honeymoon. Little did I know that Wicked would be the first of 26 books I would end up reading during our first year of marriage. Seven of those were that of the highly acclaimed Harry Potter series. Yes, I succumbed to the mass trend. It was worth it. It is good literature, take it from me, the over saturated in English Literature. There's a complex plot, complex characters, loyalty, bravery, honor....woven throughout all seven tomes. They're better than the movies too, as all books are.
#2 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

When one has to be a housewife and do housewiferly duties, something that makes one smile despite said duties is always a welcome treat. Whenever I decide it's time to dust, which admittedly is never often enough, this little thing never fails to make me chuckle....
#3 The Quick Dusting Mitten
(he he he)

The fact that I had been previously so diametrically opposed to this type of thing in my idealistic new wife state is important to note. I thought, well if Taylor wants cookies after dinner, I can make them. No need to spend money on that type of thing. However, my incapacity to control myself in presence of cookie dough combined with Taylor's odd notion that cookies would be "gone bad" after 36 hours, did not bode well for my wasteline, or for our trashcan, whichever won the fight over the dozens of cookies that one batch produced.

Not only do they come in a happy little package and make you feel charitable for buying prepackaged cookie embryos, but they have been the savior of my girlish figure, of my time of relaxation after a day of work and "dinner" concoctions and of Taylor's sweet tooth. He can make himself two or three warm and gooey "homemade" cookies without me having to get up off the couch or set one foot in the kitchen.

I mean... um... I can make him homemade cookies without him having to get up off the couch or set one foot in the kitchen ....
#4 Immaculate Baking Company's Better Bakes.
Triple Chocolate and Vanilla Sugar
site here

Thanks for reading about my endeavors this year!

Friday, June 5

buttamilk biscuits

These buttermilk biscuits are reminiscent of my scones. Which if you don't make anything from this site, please make those. Your life will be changed for the better.

I love biscuits. Do I have a problem? Possibly. I think it's important you don't overcombine the dough and are comfortable with it being flaky. I think it's also important you use a biscuit cutter (or heart shaped cookie cutter) so that the edges of the biscuit don't seal a prevent it from rising. The recipe I tried said 15 minutes; thankfully, I only did 12 and I think that was even too much. Have your honey and your butter ready to go when you pop these babies out of the oven.

buttamilk biscuits
adapted from Epicurious
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup chilled butter
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 425°F. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in large bowl to blend. Cut or grate butter to dry ingredients and combine with hands or pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk slowly and stir with a fork until evenly moistened. Press dough into flaky ball using the sides of the bowl. Place dough onto lightly floured surface and flatten until about an inch thick, err on the generous side. Dough will be crumbly and flaky still. Cut with a cookie cutter or biscuit cutter. Do not twist, as it will seal the sides and the biscuits with not rise. Place on a cookie sheet. If you like them to have soft edges, place close together. Bake until biscuits are golden brown on top, about 10 minutes. Cool slightly. Serve warm.

Wednesday, June 3

Pappy's Lemon Squares

I made lemon squares for my dad's birthday because he likes them and I remember his mom, my grandma Nanny, making them. My mom says it was his sister's recipe. This is not their recipe, it's just one I found through All recipes and Joy of Baking. There's room to make it more or less lemony, and so if you're not sure how lemony you want it, err on side of the smaller measurement. I like mine really lemony and made them with 1/2 cup.

Lemon Squares for Pappy
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup butter, chilled
1/8 tsp salt

2 eggs
1 cup and 2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 to 1/2 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Preheat oven to 315 degrees F. Grease a 8x8 inch pan.
In a medium bowl, stir together flour and confectioners' sugar. Cut or grate butter into the mixture and combine with hands or pastry blender. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Heat oven to 350. In a large bowl, whisk eggs until light. Combine the sugar, baking powder and 2 tablespoons flour so there will be no flour lumps. Stir the sugar mixture into the eggs. Finally, stir in the lemon juice and zest. Pour over the prepared crust and return to the oven.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until bars are set and slightly browned on top. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars. Sift powdered sugar on top.

Perfect, sweet, slightly zesty and tangy summer dessert!

{image belongs to yi}

Monday, June 1

aaaahhh summer aaaapple crisp

We devoured this too quickly for me to snap a shot, so here's another borrowed flickr pic. These people take better pictures than me anyway, so part of me wonders why I bother... The only thing missing here is some Blue Bell Vanilla Bean.
photo belongs to minimallyinvasive
Ignore my crazed ramblings at the end and just make this according to the directions. If it's disastrous, then read my ramblings. Read them and laugh at the food blogger that supplies you with a recipe then states that she, in fact, is confused and has no idea what she's doing or where she's leading you.

adapted from and Joy of Baking
3 - 4 cups apples: peeled, cored and cut in bite sized pieces
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup water
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup butter, chilled
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the sliced apples in a 8x8 inch pan, or deep pie dish. Mix the white sugar, 1 tablespoon flour and ground cinnamon together, and sprinkle over apples. Pour water evenly over all. Combine the oats, 1/2 cup flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda. Grate or cut butter into mixture and combine with hands or pastry blender. Crumble evenly over the apple mixture.Bake at 350 degrees for about 30- 35 minutes.

Ok. I'm being honest with you people...

I think this is what I made.

In regard to the filling, add the water slowly, you may not want it all, and maybe skimp on the sugar, a bit. I thirded? is that a word? a recipe and combined it with halving another. What I'm trying to say is that there may be too much filling. I'm not really sure what ended up happening....but let's be honest; it's sugar. Can you really go wrong?