Saturday, May 30, 2009

Saturday Morning Ebelskievers

Fruit and veggies have been so good lately, after our first Farmer's Market forray last weekend I took a pint of the blackberries and made a blackberry sauce to drizzle over flan (recipe soon to come), the next morning however, we made a batch of my favorite mini-filled pancakes, filled with blackberry sauce!


* 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 lemon, zest of
* 3 egg yolks
* 5 egg whites
* 1 1/3 cups buttermilk
* 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
* 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
* 2 cups jam/berry sauce
* confectioners' sugar, for dusting


1. In a batter pitcher or bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, granulated sugar, salt and lemon zest. Set aside.
2. In another bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks.
3. Whisk in the buttermilk and ricotta.
4. Whisk the yolk mixture into the flour mixture until well combined; the mixture will be lumpy. Set aside.
5. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff but not dry peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently stir the whites into the batter in two additions.
6. Put 1/2 teaspoons butter in each well of a ebelskiver pan.
7. Place over medium heat and heat until the butter begins to bubble.
8. Pour 1 Tbs. batter into each well.
9. Place 1 Tsp jam/berry sauce in the center of the batter and top with 1 Tbs batter.
10. Cook until the bottoms are golden brown and crispy, 3 to 5 minutes.
11. Using 2 wooden skewers (I use chopsticks), turn the pancakes over and cook until golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes more.
12. Transfer to a plate.
13. Repeat with the remaining batter and jam/berry sauce.
14. Dust the pancakes with confectioners’ sugar and serve warm.

These make a delicious treat for a weekend breakfast, they are light and fluffy and tasty!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Farmers Market Bounty & Grilled Vegetables!

Of late I've been feeling a real need for healthy and veggie, sorry my fried zucchini and mushrooms, bye bye! Instead I have been grilling and broiling and eating vegetables in all of their bounty, yea springtime (or truthfully, nearly summertime)! Earlier this week I stopped at the store and picked up some delicious eggplant and portabella mushrooms to complement the zucchini that were already at home, envisioning the grill and all of these beautiful vegetables I pulled together a tasty summer grilled veggie salad complimented with crusted goat cheese rounds.

Grilled Vegetable Salad
1 Medium Eggplant, thinly sliced
4 Medium Zucchini, sliced length-wise
1 Small Jar Sun-Dried Tomatoes, packed in Olive Oil
2 Large Portabella Mushrooms
3 Large Hearts of Romaine Lettuce, chopped
Montreal Steak Seasoning (or a mixture of coarse ground salt, coarse ground black pepper, garlic powder and onion powder)
Olive Oil

Goat Cheese, Semi-soft
Bread Crumbs

3 Tbsp Stone Ground Dijon Mustard
3 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
3 Tbsp Grapeseed Oil

1. Slice zucchini and eggplant, place in a large baking dish, marinate by drizzling with olive oil and adding seasoning. Marinate mushrooms as well, but do not slice ahead of cooking. Allow to sit for up to thirty minutes.
2. Either grill or broil veggies until tender and showing char marks.
3. In a skillet, heat sun-dried tomatoes until warmed.
4. Slice mushrooms and tomatoes length-wise.
5. Place mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini and eggplant on a bed of Romaine, garnish with dressing and goat cheese rounds.
6. To make dressing, combine equal parts dijon mustard, white wine vinegar and grapeseed oil.
7. To make goat cheese rounds slice goat cheese generously, roll in bread crumbs and place alongside salad.

After this tasty dinner earlier this week my mom and I got up early today and hit two local farmers markets (that's right, two!). We had a great time staking things out, looking for beautiful produce and talking to the vendors. Living on the outer edge of Austin (really in Round Rock), we're close to some farming land, not like the old days but people with acreage and we are near enough to some of the rural parts of Central Texas that you get ranchers selling meats as well as the great produce and plants. We came back from our excursion with quite the haul! Loads of fresh fruit and veggies, fresh baked whole-wheat bread, a few basil plants for mom and a succulent for me (I really love cacti and succulent, they are a plant I can't kill!). We also requested a bone-in leg of lamb that we'll get next Saturday morning and grill next weekend, I'd say a pretty successful expedition all-in all. Can't wait to see what we find next weekend!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mother's Day

So it might be nearly a week later (she sheepishly grins) but for the first time in a few years my mother was in town to celebrate Mother's Day. For my sister and I this meant special breakfast was to be made and gifts to be gathered/bought/made. We opted for the homemade this year, my sister making a beautiful card and a really cute "Cute" cup (a local thing I believe but very adorable) and I for two necklaces, a matching pair of earrings and a mini-scrapbook with photos of family. Mom adored it all (or lied really well) :) so the gifts being a success I had to turn to some kind of breakfast creation. As previously posted, I made brunch two weeks ago for a few friends, that brunch included a tasty Eggs Benedict....for Mother's Day I went for a re-creation of this delightful dish but changed the pace a little with a whole wheat English Muffin.

Unfortunately it took two attempts to make these muffins! The first attempt was my fool-hearty idea to sub whole wheat flour for white in the recipe from the brunch was a bit of a in no rise and no muffins. Luckily the other recipe I found was best made fresh, so I was able to save the day with some delicious fresh baked English Muffins.

Even the cat thought she might need some Eggs Benedict!

1/4 cup warm water
1 package dry yeast (or 1 tablespoon)
2 cups whole wheat flour, plus more as needed
1 cup white flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 egg
cornmeal as needed


1. Sprinkle yeast over warm (about 105° F. is ideal) water and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, mix flour(s) and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, mix milk, oil and honey. Add egg and stir until well blended. Stir in the yeast mixture.
4. Add liquid to about half of the dry ingredients and mix well, with a stand mixer or by hand. Mix in remaining dry ingredients. Dough will be soft and somewhat sticky.
5. Turn dough out onto floured work surface and knead for several minutes. If too sticky to knead, add flour, a tablespoon at a time.
6. Put dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let rise in a warm place (see TIP) until doubled in size. Rising time will depend on temperature; allow about 1 hour.
7. Turn risen dough out onto a work surface that has been liberally dusted with cornmeal and pat or roll to about 1/2" thick. Cut into approximately 3 inch rounds with a cookie cutter, tin can, or jar lid. If you wish, combine the scraps of dough into more muffins, handling as little as possible. Cover the muffins with a towel and let rise for 20-30 minutes.
8. Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium-low heat. Sprinkle with corn meal. Using a spatula, carefully transfer muffins to hot griddle. Cook about 5 minutes on each side, turn and cook for 2-3 minutes per side. Outsides should be golden brown and crusty, insides should be soft, but not gooey. You might need to sacrifice a muffin or two as doneness tests.
9. Remove to cooling rack as they finish cooking. Cook the rest in batches.

*This recipe was found on

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Return of Family

Of late my life has been pretty hectic but nothing compared to that of my mother (who's blog can be found at Texas-To-Mexico) and father who spent the last few weeks packing up their lives in a foreign country to come back home to the motherland, Texas. For the last five years my father has spent the majority of his time living and working in two cities in Mexico, for three of those years my mom lived there with him. During that time they accumulated stuff, made lots of friends and traveled to see some pretty cool stuff....beginning during the latter part of April they began packing that life into boxes and crates and on Saturday they arrived home. Home being the place I've been permanently house-sitting for them (their home)....I cannot describe how happy I am to have them back here but I can say this, it feels like things are the way they are supposed to be once more, my whole family is back in one place. To welcome them home, I made a pot of Braised Beef Shanks and some roasted potatoes. A great meal that took most of the afternoon to cook but very little active attention on my part (even better when preparing for someone to arrive!).

Red Wine Braised Beef Shanks


3 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 cup flour
4 beef shanks, about 6 ounces each
2 Tsp Garlic Powder
2 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
Salt and black pepper
2 cups medium diced onions
1 cup medium diced celery
1 cup medium diced carrots
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 cups red wine
3 cups beef stock


1. In a large stock pot or braising pot, add the olive oil. Season the shanks with salt and pepper. Season the flour with pepper, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne. Dredge the shanks in the seasoned flour, coating each side completely.
2. When the oil is hot, sear the shanks for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until very brown on all sides. Remove the shanks and set aside.
3. Add the onions to the pan and saute for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Add the celery and carrots and continue to saute for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the garlic, bay leaves, and thyme. Cook for 1 minute.
5. Deglaze the pan with the red wine, scraping the bottom and sides to loosen the browned particles. Add the stock. Bring the liquid up to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
6. Add the shanks and continue to cook for about 2 hours, basting the shanks often, or until the sauce is stew-like and the meat starts to fall of the bone. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

The last of my welcome home meal was a delicious berry cobbler...not something I make all that often, unfortunately until the parents came home the majority of my audience was my little sis who hates "hot, smooshy fruit" -- yea that means cobblers, pies and crumbles would be left entirely for me or anyone else who happened to come by the house so I didn't make the much, too much temptation for me! However, with two other "hot, smooshy fruit" eaters in the house I was able to make this cobbler that didn't last long!


2 Lbs Mixed Berries (I used raspberries, strawberries and blueberries)
1 Tbsp Cornstarch
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Sugar

Cinnamon & Sugar

1 1/4 Cups Flour
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Crisco
1 Well Beaten Egg

1. Mix filling ingredients in a greased baking pan (13x9), let sit until the berries begin to produce their own juices.
2. For crust, mix salt and flour together. Then cut crisco into the mix and slowly add egg until mixture forms a dough.
3. Roll out dough to about 1/4 inch on a well floured surface. Once it is desired thickness, place over the top of the berry mix.
4. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over crust.
5. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 F for 40-45 minutes.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Another day another burger bun...

Okay so originally I had no intent for theses posts to go up back to back but alas, it just happened that way. This past week I was digging through the freezer and came across a two pound pork shoulder roast....ok really just 1/2 of a larger roast but it was about two pounds. I pulled it out, stuck in the fridge to thaw and began contemplating what exactly I could do with said pork. Then it hit me, BBQ! I love BBQ but am not lucky enough to have my own smoker/pit, just a grill and all my indoor cooking toys, so I started digging through some cookbooks and morphed up a BBQ pork recipe for the crockpot.

I'm about to stir up some controversy I'm sure but here I go....what is BBQ? Who makes it best??

There's Mongolian BBQ, Japanese BBQ, Greek BBQ and then Southern BBQ...and probably five hundred other types! All of these are very different things. So ignoring (for today) international bbq, let's talk about BBQ in the South...the biggest debate you will find along the purists of the meaning of Barbecue will occur if you bring together a Texan and a South Carolinian. In Texas, Barbecue means Beef, particularly Brisket. In the Carolina's (the whole south for that matter), Barbecue means Pork (typically shoulder roasts and Boston butts). Now, being the proud Texan that I am I want to tout the benefits of our delicious 'Q but can't neglect to mention that some pulled pork is very tasty!

Ok, again, stirring up some controversy here, my thoughts on what it takes to make some BBQ: BBQ requires meat. You grill vegetables (and I love grilled veggies, but they just aren't the same as BBQ'd meat). BBQ is more than a meal. It is an event. People gather for good BBQ, whether invited or not. It is an event that gathers people around an open (or pit) fire to watch, smell and eat. BBQ is social and the root of so many a family gathering.

BBQ in the South is especially social, you'll see it as an after church lunch, a school fundraiser, or a restaurant that people will wait hours to eat at. In Lockhart, Texas (a short drive away), the self-proclaimed BBQ Capital of Texas, there are BBQ joints that sell out before noon on Saturdays and don't open back up again until the following Saturday! BBQ is a culture unto itself, I cannot begin to say that my crockpot version does justice to the truly delightful concoctions that true pit-masters concoct but it makes a decent weeknight substitute.

Crockpot Pulled Pork

2 Lbs Pork Shoulder Roast
1/2 Medium Onion Sliced in Rounds
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
16 Oz BBQ Sauce (I used a mixture of a sweet sauce and a tangier sauce).

1. Cook roast on low for 10-12 hours in crockpot, no cooking liquid required!
2. After roast has cooked sufficient time, use forks to pull it apart within the pot.
3. Place onions in crockpot, stir lemon juice, brown sugar and BBQ sauce in with pork. Let cook on high 1 hour.
4. After 1 hour, turn off the pot and enjoy!

Seeing as the hamburger buns made earlier this week were long gone by this time I had to whip up another a little more conducive to weeknight timing, so on All Recipes I stumbled across an easy/low time requirement burger bun recipe:

Easy Hamburger Buns

1 cups warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1/8 cup margarine, melted
1/8 cup warm water
1/8 cup white sugar
1 (.25 ounce) packages instant yeast
1 teaspoons salt
3 cups all-purpose flour, or as needed

1. In a large bowl, stir together the milk, margarine, warm water, sugar and yeast. Let stand for about 5 minutes.
2. Mix in the salt, and gradually stir in the flour until you have a soft dough. Divide into 5 pieces, and form into balls. Place on baking sheets so they are 2 to 3 inches apart. Let rise for 20 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Bake the rolls for 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool slightly, then split them in half horizontally to fill with your favorite burgers.

These buns had a less sweet taste than the ones I made earlier this week but were so easy they took less than an hour in total - completely do-able for a weeknight! We filled these tasty buns with pulled pork and had some deliciously easy sauteed green beans alongside. The BBQ is a pretty tasty dish that leaves you with a little left over - it was a great filling for a plain baked potato later this past week!

What's your favorite BBQ recipe and style?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Hamburger Buns & Turkey Burgers

When it starts getting warm outside my mind always shifts to things to grill, I love the smell of the grill (even when I end up smelling like it!), the taste of it and the social aspects of grilling and eating outside. In an effort to find a healthier hamburger I grabbed a few pounds of ground turkey at the store this week and decided to try and figure out what I could do with them....this being my first foray into turkey burgers I was a little nervous. In an attempt to buffer the potential for a bad turkey burger I also mixed up a batch of homemade burger easy and tasty!

Beautiful Burger Buns (adapted from the King Arther Flour Baker's Companion Cookbook)

1 Cup Water
2 Tbsp Butter
1 Egg
3 1/4 Cup Flour
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Instant Yeast

1. Combine all ingredients and mix/knead them together until you've made a soft, smooth dough.
2. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let it rise for one hour.
3. Divide the dough into eight pieces and shpae each one into a flattened ball.
4. Place the buns onto greased baking sheets, cover and let rise 30-40 minutes, until they are pretty puffy.
5. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Bake buns for 12-15 minutes, until they are golden brown.
6. Let cool - split and use for your favorite sandwich or burger!

The successful baking inspired a bit of confidence so I got a little bold with my turkey which gave rise to BBQ Turkey Burgers!

BBQ Turkey Burgers
1 Tsp Salt
2 Tsp Black Pepper
1 Tsp Paprika
2 Lbs Fresh Ground Turkey
1/4 Cup Minced Red Onion
1 Clove Minced Garlic
1 Tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tsp Liquid Smoke
2 Tbsp Your Favorite BBQ Sauce

1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
2. Shape five medium-large burgers from meat mixture, let chill an hour.
3. Grill or broil burgers until they are cooked through.

These burgers were a big hit, my little sis and her roommate came all the way up to the house from San Marcos (where they go to school) to have some BBQ Turkey Burgers! I ended up working from home a day after these were dinner and was lucky enough to be able to make a patty melt from the remaining burger - mmmm...a slice of Havarti and some seriously caramelized red onions = one delicious patty melt (and yes I've been on a big tomato kick lately)!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cinco de Mayo Chicken Fiesta Tacos

Happy Cinco de Mayo! So, for those not in the know, here's what wikipedia says about Cinco de Mayo:

Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for "fifth of May") is a regional holiday in Mexico, primarily celebrated in the state of Puebla, with some limited recognition in other parts of Mexico. The holiday commemorates the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín. The outnumbered Mexicans defeated a much better-equipped French army that had not been defeated in almost 50 years. Cinco de Mayo is not "an obligatory federal holiday" in Mexico, but rather a holiday that can be observed voluntarily. While Cinco de Mayo has limited significance nationwide in Mexico, the date is observed in the United States and other locations around the world as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. A common misconception in the United States is that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico's Independence Day, which actually is September 16 (dieciséis de septiembre in Spanish),the most important national patriotic holiday in Mexico.

So in all reality Cinco de Mayo isn't a hugely celebrated holiday where I am, frankly dieciseis de septiembre is (it's my b-day!) but Cinco de Mayo is a great reason to make some Mexican food! So I present, Chicken Fiesta Tacos:

Chicken Fiesta Tacos with Mango Pineapple Salsa

1/2 Cup Chopped Cilantro
1 Minced Jalapeno
1/3 Cup Chopped Red Onion
1/2 A Pineapple, Chopped
2 Mangoes, Chopped
1 Lime, Juiced
2 Tsp Salt
2 Tsp Chili Powder

1. Mix all ingredients together, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

3 Tbsp Catsup
3 Tbsp Honey
2 Tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Finely Chopped Chipotle Adobo Smoked Pepper
1 Tsp Chili Powder
1 Tsp Garlic Powder
2 Tsp Ground Black Pepper
1 Tsp Paprika
3 Chicken Breasts

1. Mix all items together, marinate chicken in the sauce for at least one hour.
2. After chicken has been marinated, grill chicken.
3. Slice into fajita-style strips to serve.

Serve the chicken inside tortillas (flour, corn, wheat, your choice), place salsa over the top of the chicken, add cubed avocado, also, in proper Cinco de Mayo fashion, serve this with an ice cold Mexican beer (maybe a Sol for me?). Enjoy!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sunday Brunch

Last week passed so quickly I can barely think about where it went and how it got away! Life has been hectic and will only continue at this pace I fear, my family is going to be crossing the border and moving back to Texas (yea!!) come Saturday, work is crazy as usual and then the typical drama that life in general brings seems to have kept me from blogging and really doing much else. My apologies, hopefully my massive brunch post here will makeup for my lax posting this past week :)

Sunday morning I had two of my closest friends and my baby sis over for brunch, for me that would usually be stuff I can make ahead (banana bread, muffins, fruit, easy stuff) so I can spend time hanging out instead of attempting to cook....well thanks to my sisters' request of Eggs Benedict I ended up trying to can be the judge on whether it turned out okay (photo wise), taste-wise it was pretty darn good! Besides the eggs benedict (including home made english muffins and hollandaise sauce), there was a fresh fruit spread, mimosas and fresh raspberry-rhubarb muffins. Now for the details:

Raspberry-Rhubarb Muffins
3 1/2 Cups All-purpose Flour
2 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Salt
8 Tbsp Butter, softened
1 Cup Sugar
3 Large Eggs
2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Sour Cream
1 1/2 Cups Pureed Raspberries
1 1/2 Cups Pureed Rhubarb

1. Preheat oven to 400 F and line muffin pan with liners.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, cream th ebutter and sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides to make sure everything is incorporated.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
5. Add vanilla and sour cream, mix until well incorporated.
6. Slowly add dry ingredients, mix until smooth.
7. Fil muffin cups and bake 30 minutes, until cake tester comes out clean.
8. After baking let muffins cool in pan for a few minutes then remove to rack to avoid having them become tough.

These muffins will probably be the completion of my rhubarb obsession for right now (although I've seen some really tasty rhubarb recipes lately)...but we'll see! With this we had eggs benedict, I got to play short order cook, which takes a bit more concentration than I gave it (as the eggs in my benedict attest to) so the eggs didn't look as pretty as I would've liked, but we'll probably be giving these a shot again soon (maybe Mothers Day?) so I'll have more opportunity to practice.

English Muffins

1 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
3/4 Cups Water
1/8 Tsp Instant Yeast

1 3/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
2 Tbsp Cornstarch
1 Tsp Instant Yeast
1 Tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Sugar
2 Tsp Baking Powder
2 Tbsp Butter, Melted
3/4 Cup Milk, warm

1. Mix the flour, water and yeast for the starter in a medium-sized bowl to form a smooth batter. Cover and leave at room temperature for at least 4 hours or up to 16 hours. The starter should be puffy and full of holes when it's ready to use.
2. After the starter is ready, you'll want to mix the dough up. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the starter and all the dough ingredients to form a smooth batter. The batter needs to be beaten for 5-8 minutes. Cover the bowl and place it in a warm spot until the batter had doubled in size 1 1/2 hours.
3. After batter has rested for 1 1/2 hours, preheat a griddle to 325 F. Lightly grease your English Muffin Rings (I don't have any and didn't have time to get any so I cut the bottom/top off of cleaned tuna cans). Place the rings on the griddle. Lightly stir the batter, then use a 1/4 cup measure or muffin scoop to fill each ring about a third full. If you're not using muffin rings, drop about 1/4 cupfuls of the batter onto the griddle as the muffins cook.
4. Dry-fry (without grease) the muffins for 10-12 minutes on the first side before turning them over to cook on the other side. You'll know they are ready to turn when a dry skin has formed over the top of the uncooked side. Cook them for about 1/2 the time you cooked the first side one.

These are best made a day or so ahead so they have time to sit and dry out - they are a little gummier than a regular English muffin the day they are made.

So my Sunday Spring Brunch went off without a hitch - and with a few mimosas too!