Friday, December 30, 2011

French Press

As a lifelong fan of the auto-drip coffee maker, this was quite a change.

It now takes me approximately 10 extra minutes to get ready each morning, but then again... it is worth every delectable sip.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Yes, please.

Austin has an abundance of food trucks. I mean, there are at least 15 food trucks in my neighborhood alone!

Most would think that Austin is full of steaks and tex-mex... don't get me wrong, there's plenty of that. But the asian-fusion, thai, crepe, empanada, and cupcake themed food trucks really out shine your stereotypical Texas eats.

Today I'd like to put the spot light on Little Thai Food. Located approximately 1/2 mile from my crib, Little Thai Food gets lots of love from our house.

If you ever make it to South First Street in Austin, be sure to order one of these:

Chicken Pad Thai

And one of these..

Red Curry

Like all food trucks in Austin, bringing beer or wine is a must. I particularly love sitting outside in the chilly winter (the 60's are chilly, right?) eating super flavorful food created by a very talented mother-daughter team.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Taco

Growing up, I thought your average taco came out of an "Old El Paso" box.

I also thought they were gross.

Then I moved to Austin and realized that tacos are the most amazing thing ever. You can wrap anything in a tortilla! Eggs, veggies, tofu, spinach, turkey, etc., it's all better when wrapped in a lovely little tortilla.

Here's what you need to know about tacos in the non-Old El Paso world:

You're either a flour tortilla person:

My personal favorite. They're soft and fluffy and complement so many things.

Or a corn tortilla person:

Corn tortillas are wheat and gluten free, low in calories and fat, and all around just healthier. Unfortunately, they're not my favorite of the two-- go figure.

What tortilla are you?


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Black Beans > Bacon

I mean it.

Bacon has long been my favorite food. But in recent months, black beans have moved to the top of my "favorite foods" list. I love them most when covered in queso fresco... I must have some latina in my blood that I'm not aware of or something.

I've made black bean tacos at least once a week for the past month. They're completely impossible to mess up. In fact the only way to mess them up is if you put too much cheese on them. But honestly, there's no such thing as too much cheese.

You will need:
2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 onion, chopped
2 bell peppers, red & green look nice together
tortillas, flour or corn
queso fresco

**Queso fresco can be found in every grocery store in Austin. However if you don't live in a city with a large hispanic population, it can be found in the "ethnic foods" area of the refrigerated section.

In 3 easy steps:

In a medium sized sauce pan, heat 2 tbsp of oil over medium heat. Toss in onions for a couple of minutes, then add in black beans. Reduce to low heat and heat through.

Slice bell peppers into thin strips. Sauté bell peppers for a couple of minutes. You still want them to be crunchy. In fact, you could skip this step and add them to the taco, raw and crunchy.

If you have a gas top stove, heat tortilla for 1 minute on each side. If not, wrap in a damp paper towel and heat in the microwave. Immediately top with bell peppers, black beans and queso fresco!

These are slightly addictive...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

'Tis the season

I am an extremely visual person. I can read books all day long, but it doesn’t quite stick until I have either tried my hand at it or the book provides a corresponding diagram. Eating with the seasons has always been an appealing notion to me, but I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around it. Farmer’s markets are great indicators of what food is in season, but honestly I just can’t hit the farmer’s market every week. I sometimes need groceries on Tuesday – go figure.

Supermarkets have really clouded the “in season” idea. Produce is shipped from God-knows-where so it all looks pretty and fresh whether it is in season or not. This infographic (click to enlarge) really helped me understand when to eat what. For me, it really clears up some of the confusion when I’m grocery shopping. And it opens up doors for further exploration because of course, not every food could fit on this page.

‘Tis the season for kale and cauliflower!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bean and Pasta Soup

I'm usually just not a soup kind of gal. But the first recipe I made during my "week as a vegetarian" was soup... and it was absolutely perfect.

I made this soup on a cold, rainy Sunday. It's not like I had anything else to do anyway in that unfortunate weather.

Disclaimer: Don't let the ingredients intimidate you,
this recipe is super easy and hard to mess up.

1 onion
5 carrots
4 celery sticks, leafy greens reserved
1 bunch of mustard greens
4-5 tbsp olive oil
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can great northern or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup white wine
6 cups vegetable stock
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 lb orecchiette pasta
salt and pepper

What to do:
Chop up onion, carrots and celery into similar sized, small pieces. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat and add in chopped veggies. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Cook until beginning to soften, about 4 or 5 minutes, then add white wine.

Allow white wine to reduce slightly, about 2 minutes, then add beans, stock, rosemary, thyme and bay leaf. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes.

Add tomatoes, pasta and mustard greens to the pot and stir. Cook over medium heat. When pasta is ready, mix in chopped celery greens.

When ready to serve, remove bay leaves, thyme and rosemary sprigs from pot. Top with grated parmesan cheese (this is the most important part!)

It's funny because the week after Thanksgiving I cooked a very similar recipe using all of the leftover turkey, but this one turned out so much better. I promise, you won't miss the meat at all!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Vegetarian Week

Ross and I decided we are going to attempt to eat like vegetarians for a week...possibly 10 days.

{I'll tell you the story of how this idea came about.} It all began the day after Thanksgiving. I felt as if I weighed 1,000 lbs. And as the weekend continued, I continued to eat "Thanksgiving dinner" again, and again, and agaaain.

Somehow, by the time the weekend was over, there was still an obscene amount of food left at Ross' parents house. And of course his mom decided to send it all home with us. This is not to say that we weren't grateful for all of the leftovers, they were delicious. But my body seemed as if it literally hated me. So over the past week we polished off the remnants of Thanksgiving dinner, every last bit of it.

In order to "redeem" ourselves (if that's even possible), we decided to spend the next 10 days eating vegetables, beans and other meatless proteins. Plus, I've been wanting to have a "veggie week" for months, so this was the perfect excuse :)

I'm anxious to see what the week has in store for us. I'm also excited to have lots of new recipes to post, providing all of them turn out.

I'll start this adventure with a peek at my go to veggie-friendly snack:

Red and orange bell peppers dipped in hummus. Yum.

P.S. Once you switch to bell peppers, you'll never go back to crackers.

Here we go...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Homemade Salad Dressing

I am quite partial to Hidden Valley and Newman's Own...

In high school I had a friend who always "craved salads", this baffled me. How could anyone possibly crave a salad? A hamburger maybe, but a salad.. no.

It only took me 8 years to realize why she constantly craved salads. She was making her own salad dressing! I tried this one time, out of boredom as usual, to find that it turned out much better than your average iceberg lettuce-ranch dressing-bacon bit-tomato salad.

If you're fresh out of gluten, fat, and carbohydrate loaded pre-bottled dressings, why not make your own?

Salad Dressing:
3 parts extra virgin olive oil
1 part white wine vinegar
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tbsp habanero spicy mustard
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp cumin
Lots of s&p

And here we go:
Mix it all together in a glass jar or old salad dressing bottle. This will last in the refrigerator for a few days. Be sure to let the salad dressing return to room temperature before dressing your salad or else the consistency will be off.

Incase you want to make the salad too...
3 handfuls spinach
1/2 avocado
2 tbsp goat cheese
1 vine ripe tomato

I'd like to dedicate this post to Sarah B., who was that weirdo in high school who always craved salads. Little did I know, she was on to something.

Thanks love!
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