Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Southern Comfort

If there's one thing I miss about living in the deep south, it's fried chicken.  Don't get me wrong, my mom lives in Austin too and makes damn good fried chicken, but this southern delicacy is hardly appreciated in a city where steaks, bbq and tacos rank supreme.

When I learned that Lucy's Fried Chicken opened a few months ago on South Congress, the cravings immediately kicked in.  They have everything you need to make a girl homesick for Mississippi.

Fried chicken,
collard greens,
black eyed peas,
cornbread stuffing...

Good beer on tap.

An insane pie selection, namely the lime pie.

Did I mention there was live music on the patio? Yep. 

I <3 Lucy's.

Good ole southern comfort, deep in the heart of Texas.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Simple Things

Back in January Ross and I planted a vegetable garden.  Due to amazing spring-ish weather through February and March, and good bit of rain, our garden is quite happy.

Within the past few weeks our garden has produced leafy greens like you've never seen.  Honestly, growing your own greens will get you extremely excited about cooking veggies.  So, I recently picked some kale and spinach, washed it, then steamed for a few minutes. A quick and easy side dish from my backyard!

Not to get sappy, but it's a wonderful thing to produce your own food.  It is definitely something I never saw myself doing, but I always appreciated self-sustainability.  Through composting, recycling, collecting rain water and growing a vegetable garden, Ross and I are making an effort to take care of this beautiful world that we live in.  If you think about it, we're the ones who attempted to ruin it by drilling deep into the earth and dumping trash into the ocean, so why not put a little something nice back in it?

On an entirely different note, I took this adorable photo of Dexter the same day:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cajun Time

"New Orleans food is as delicious  
as the less criminal forms of sin." - Mark Twain
A few weeks ago, as Mardi Gras was quickly approaching, all I could think about was visiting New Orleans (and my friend, Jane).  After choosing not to go - mostly due to the price of gas and lack of free time - I could not stop thinking about the food I was missing out on.  Beignets, crawfish étouffée, po boys, fresh oysters, foot long margaritas... (just kidding.)

After weeks of dreaming about cajun food and not being able to enjoy it, I decided to take a stab at cooking it myself.  Growing up, I always thought home cooked cajun food involved some kind of Zatarain's product in conjunction with shellfish and/or andouille sausage.  This is not the route I wanted to take this time around.

I went the vegan route. And I must say, it was very good decision. I'll admit, meatless meals haven't always been my cup of tea. But when my friend Virginia introduced me to my now all time favorite restaurant, Bouldin Creek Café , I fell in love with the idea of replacing meat with vegetarian protein.

Sure I enjoy tofu and soyrizo, but what I really love is beans. Black beans, red beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans... I love 'em all.  So cooking red beans & rice was the answer to my prayers - and it just so happened to turn out vegan.

Vegan Red Beans and Rice

1 can red beans
1 can red kidney beans
1/2 large onion
1 large tomato
2 bell peppers *I used one green and one red
5 stalks of celery
4-5 cloves of garlic
3 chipotle in adobo peppers
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce *this is okay to omit if you don't have it!
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
2 cups of prepared brown rice

First chop up the onion, garlic, peppers, celery, tomato, and chipotle in adobo.

Heat a large pan over medium heat.  Add a few tablespoons of sunflower oil to the pan and add vegetables in the order chopped.  Season the veggies liberally with pepper and lightly with salt. Cook the veggies 5-7 minutes then add both cans of beans (drained and rinsed), cumin, cinnamon, worcestershire sauce, bay leaves and vegetable broth.

Simmer with lid tilted for 30 to 45 minutes.  Serve over brown rice.

If you need an extra kick, Cholula, Tabasco or Louisiana Hot Sauce will do the trick.

FYI: The bright greens perched next to the main dish is steamed rainbow chard.  (P.S. For delicious greens, toss with a little bit of apple cider vinegar and salt & pepper after steaming.  Seriously, no oil needed.)

Enjoy your red beans and rice with sweet tea and good company :)
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