Sunday, January 29, 2012

Save Money, Grow a Garden

No, really!

Poster by Alva Edwards.

Ross and I planted a winter garden a few weeks ago. Ours consists of mostly root vegetables, herbs and lettuces.

We planted kale, beets, onion sets, red lettuce, romaine lettuce, and spinach in our vegetable garden.

Vegetable Garden.

All of the pencil sized sprouts in the bottom picture are onions! We are going to have onions for days.

In our herb garden we planted two different kinds of oregano, rosemary, fennel and some kind of celery-parsley hybrid.

Herb Garden.
I'm particularly interested in the celery-parsley hybrid (front image on the right side), what I am I going to do with it?

We purchased all of the herbs and vegetables from The Natural Gardener, here in Austin. At the check out counter there is free information on planting each type of vegetable in this climate, written by their staff! I love that. Talk about keeping it local and southern hospitality! They also give you a punch card (just like you would get from a coffee shop) which leads to an eventual discount for being a frequent customer.

We'll see how this goes. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Food Network Fix

I recently decided that I like capers. I feel like this is strange because they're just so wonderfully salty and bitter...right?

Since Ross and I don't have cable, I have to get my Food Network fix via the web. I actually don't mind it at all because the videos streamed on their website are short and sweet with the recipe following. It's a nice, forward movement from watching a 30 minute cooking show.

Ellie Krieger's "Rustic Puttanesca Pasta" recipe is like a dream come true. Her recipe combines capers, marinated olives and tomatoes with pasta. What could be better?

(P.S. Have I mentioned before how much I adore pasta?)

I'll admit I skipped the anchovy paste. It's not because I was scared to use it, I just could not find it at the grocery store. In fact, I even day dreamed about making home-made caesar dressing with my tube of anchovy paste! Oh well.

I also skipped the arugula (I forgot to buy it.) But honestly, this pasta was to die for! I can't imagine it tasting any better than how it turned out. It was so simple and light. The fresh oregano might be the most important ingredient, it balances out the saltiness of the olives and capers.

Amendments to Ellie's recipe:
No anchovy paste
No arugula
No parsley (because parsley hardly contributes to such a flavorful dish anyway)
Substitute fresh, grape tomatoes for canned tomatoes

Fun Fact: "Pasta alla puttanesca" literally means "whore's style pasta" in italian.

I'll be legitimately sad when this pasta is all gone.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012

Papalote Lovin'

When Papalote opened in Austin earlier this year, I stopped by to check out the menu. It was really intimidating, so I panicked and left. There was a lot going on and tons of items I hadn't heard of. I felt like a complete taco novice.

Needless to say, it took me a while to return.

Months later I decided to give it another try... and oh. my gosh. Of the 50+ taco trailers and restaurants in Austin, this one was really impressive. Although the menu is a bit much, anyone working in there is happy to point out their favorites. In my opinion it's always a good idea to follow an employee's opinion if you don't know what to get anyway.

Now for the important part, we started with the Chile con Queso... heaven. I got the Puerco con Verdolagas and the Tortas de Coliflor, Ross ordered the Pescado las Brasas and the Pastor.

Our meals were brought to the table with two bottles of salsa, a roja and a verde. The bottles were labeled with which employee made the salsa and the date it was made! That completely won me over. Until I ate my food, and cauliflower became my new favorite taco ingredient (weird, I know).

Aaaand Ross made a happy plate. I polished off my Tortas de Coliflor and only had about 2 bites of my Puerco con Verdolagas because I was so full, which Ross kindly cleared out for me. Such a team player, that one.

Did I mention these tacos are $3.25 a piece? For authentic mexican food.. jackpot.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Simply The Best

My very best friend, Marianna, came to Austin over New Year's Eve weekend.. and I couldn't think of a better way to ring in the New Year.

As you can imagine, we ate our way through Austin... South Austin to be exact.

It all started with a late night dinner at Kerbey Lane when Mari got off the plane Friday evening. Then there was breakfast/lunch and juice from Whole Foods, followed by an afternoon snack of Shiner & pizza at Enoteca Vespaio on South Congress. Not to be outdone by our New Year's Eve celebration of hors d'oeuvres and Prosecco before heading out to see Gary Clark Jr. at Antone's.

New Year's Day consisted of brunch at my grandfather's house, Pad Thai and Red Curry at Little Thai Food for dinner, then cake balls & ice cream at Violet Crown Cinema (movie recommendation: A Dangerous Method).

On her final day we indulged in sandwiches and pastries at Sweetish Hill Bakery, attempted to go to the Mexic-Arte Museum (soon realizing it was closed for the Holiday), shopped to our hearts' content at The Domain, then met my mother at Chuy's for a farewell dinner.
There's nothing better on a 75° December afternoon.

We couldn't get enough of this little girl.

Cheese, bread, olives, beer & prosecco for our NYE celebration.

Happy New Year!

Pistachio ice cream with pecan praline and orange chai cake balls at Violet Crown.

All in all, I'd say she got a good taste of Austin... literally.

We're now both in detox mode, which will consist of consuming excessive amounts of water, fruit and vegetables.

Happy New Year!
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