Saturday, May 22, 2010

Banana and Strawberry Muffins with Crumb Topping

Here is yet another great way to use up those overly ripe banana's! I feel like I post a lot of banana recipes but that's only because I love banana's. That's pretty much my go to fruit. This was the first time I made these muffins and I think they came out pretty good. I used frozen strawberries, but next time I think I will try fresh strawberries. This recipe was adapted from the Every Day Home Cook blog.

For the muffins:
1/3 cup lactose free milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil or canola oil
1 large egg
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 frozen strawberries or 6 fresh strawberries, halved

Crumb topping:
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons cold butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with baking cups. In a large bowl, beat together milk, oil, and egg. Add mashed banana and mix well. Stir in flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; just until mixed. Batter will be lumpy. Fill muffin cups up half way with batter. Place a strawberry in center of each muffin. Cover with remaining batter. To make crumb topping, cut butter into flour and sugar until crumby. Top batter with crumb topping. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown, and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.
Makes 1 dozen.

Bacon and Edamame Linguine

One of my favorite things to make and eat is pasta. I could probably eat it everyday. But one of the challenges with being Lactose intolerant is to find a way to omit the cheese from pasta and still have it be fantastic. Most pasta recipes have some kind of cheese thrown in, but I think pasta can be so light and healthy without all the cheese. This dish is bordering on the healthy since there is bacon and bacon fat involved, but man, it sure tastes good! :)
Here is what you need:
4 slabs of bacon, cut into bite size pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 yellow onion, diced small
3/4 cup frozen shelled edamame
3/4 cup chicken stock
juice of 1 lemon
zest of 1 lemon
salt and fresh black pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 pound linguine or fettuccine

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain.
In a large skillet cook the bacon, until browned. Remove the bacon with slotted spoon and set aside on a plate. Add the garlic and onion to the bacon fat, cook until onion is soft and translucent. Add the edamame, chicken stock, lemon juice and lemon zest. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes, and butter. Stir until butter is melted. Remove from the heat.
Pour the sauce over pasta and add the mint and the cooked bacon, toss to combine.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Four Square--Gray Duck Gallery Opening Reception

me with my cousins standing in front of some of K.C.'s pieces

me and my crazy uncle

Last night was the opening reception at the Gray Duck Gallery in Austin,TX. K.C. was one of the 4 artist's that were showcasing their work. The space turned out really nice and I think this will be a very successful gallery in Austin. The turn out for the opening night was great, even though K.C. didn't sell any paintings last night I think it was a success. A lot of people showed interest in his work which I think is all that matters. The work will be up for about a month, so please stop in and take a look if you get a chance.

Thai Chicken and Noodle Salad

Last night we made a new recipe that I found from Martha Stewart. Her team is so good at these quick and easy recipes. This dish was super easy, the only thing that takes a while is that you have to marinate the chicken for a few hours or you could even do it overnight. The flavor in this dish was fantastic. I think Asian cooking at home can be difficult, sometimes its really hard to get the right flavors. But this dish was very successful and would recommend it to all.
Here is what you need:
1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced crosswise
Spicy Asian Dressing (see below for recipe)
3 1/2 oz. Chinese rice noodles, broken in half if long
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 carrots, sliced into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup dry roasted, unsalted peanuts, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves chopped
1/2 jalapeno, diced small

Place chicken and half of dressing in a large Ziploc bag. Marinate in the fridge for at least an hour. But longer if you can.
In a large pot of boiling water, cook noodles until tender about 3 minutes. Drain, and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. This is very important, or they will become very sticky and hard to work with. Transfer the cold noodles to a platter.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high. Working in batches, cook chicken until cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes each side. Transfer to platter on top of noodles.
Top with carrots, basil, peanuts, mint, and jalapeno. Drizzle remaining dressing on top and toss to combine.

Spicy Asian Dressing
4 thinly sliced scallions
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce or anchovy paste
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Grilled Shrimp Satay with Peaches and Bok Choy

Last night we celebrated my best friend Shawna's Grad school completion. It was a long and grueling 2 years for her so we wanted to make her a nice meal. We tried something new that we have never made before. The recipe came from Bon Appetit Magazine, one of my favorites to browse when your standing in line at the grocery store. I think the recipe was pretty successful accept the peaches didn't grill so well. I think they needed to be a little less ripe. But the overall flavor of this dish was very good. Will definitely try it again.
Here is what you need:
6 tablespoons smooth natural peanut butter
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek)
9 tablespoons peach nectar, divided
3 peaches, cut into 6 wedges (make sure the peaches aren't too ripe, should still be a little hard)
16 uncooked shrimp, peeled and de-veined
6 heads of baby bok choy, halved lengthwise

Prepare barbecue. Whisk first 5 ingredients and 5 tablespoons of nectar until smooth; season with fresh black pepper.
Arrange peaches, and shrimp on skewers so its easier to grill. Brush the peaches, shrimp, and bok choy with 4 tablespoons nectar and 1/4 cup of sauce. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until peaches are slightly charred, shrimp are just opaque in center, and bok choy halves are just tender, about 2 minutes per side for peaches and 3 minutes per side for shrimp and bok choy.
Mound shrimp, bok choy, and peaches on platter. Drizzle with some sauce. Serve with white jasmine rice and more sauce.


I was introduced to snickerdoodles when I moved to Austin. Tiff's treats makes some amazingly delectable snickerdoodles! They are this soft buttery and sugary cookie with a cinnamon and sugar mixture sprinkled on the top. Just talking about them makes my mouth water. I decided to try to duplicate the Tiff's treats version and I think this recipe is pretty damn close...and dare I say maybe even better. They are very simple to make you just need a little patience because you have to let the dough sit in the fridge for at least a few hours or overnight if you have the will power.
Here is what you need:
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

For Rolling:
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars;until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.
In another bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar.
Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well.
Let dough rest in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
When ready preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a small bowl combine the sugar and cinnamon for the topping.
Take about 2 1/2 tablespoons of the dough and roll it into a ball. Roll this dough in the cinnamon/sugar mixture and press it onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining cookies.
Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes and no more. The cookies may seem undercooked, but will continue to develop after they are removed from the oven. When the cookies have cooled they should be soft and chewy in the middle. Makes around 20 cookies. Recipe courtesy of Brownsugarandhoney blog.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pork Shoulder with North Carolina Slaw and Cornbread

On Sunday night, we got the craving for some good ole southern food. So, I bought a pork shoulder which was bigger than my head and braised it in a dutch oven for 3 hours, until it was falling off the bone. This cut of meat is basically like the pork version of brisket, so you need to cook it low and slow. It has a lot of fat running through out the meat as well which gives it a lot of flavor! We served this with a big slice of home made cornbread and North Carolina Cole Slaw. For those of you who aren't familiar with North Carolina Slaw, it is not mayonnaise based. It is a more vinegar and ketchup based sauce which makes this slaw very tangy and great with pork. This is a great meal for a big group of people or you will have a lot of pulled pork left over for at least a couple more meals. Which is what we did!

Here is what you need for the pork shoulder:
1 bone in pork shoulder
John Henry's Pecan Rub
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 cup chicken stock
1 beer (any beer will work)
3 cups water
1 bay leaf
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Rub the John Henry's Pecan Rub all over the meat, very generously. Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat, add the pork shoulder and cook until browned on all sides. Take the meat out and set aside. Add the onion and garlic to the pot and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the chicken stock, beer and half the water. Bring up to a boil. Put the meat back in the pot and add the rest of the water and the bay leaf. Cover and transfer to the oven; cook for 3 hours. Making sure to turn the meat over half way through the cooking time. It is done when the meat is falling away from the bone and can be shredded easily.

For the North Carolina Slaw:
1/4 cup onion grated or chopped very fine
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 celery stalk, chopped small
1 bag of coleslaw mix
Whisk first 6 ingredients in large bowl. Add cabbage and toss. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill for at least an hour.

For the Cornbread:
1 1/4 cups stone ground cornmeal
3/4 cups all purpose flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cup milk (i used lactose free milk)
3 tablespoons melted butter
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a large cast iron skillet or a 9x9 pan. Put the skillet in the oven to keep warm while you prepare everything. Whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl whisk together eggs and milk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.
Fold in melted butter. Scrape the batter into the skillet and spread evenly. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean; 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Chicken Chimichurri Grill

Last night we had a grill fest so to speak. We got the inspiration from the Austin Statesman. In the food section they did a whole story on Argentinian foods and Chimichurri is one of their staples. You can put this sauce on just about anything and it will taste great. Its amazing how a simple charcoal grill and a little love can add so much flavor to chicken and vegetables. I have to say this meal was so tasty and satisfying. I think everyone who has a grill should definitely make this dish.
For the chicken you need:
1 1/4 pounds of boneless/skinless chicken breast
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Basic Chimichurri Sauce recipe follows:
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
1 bay leaf, broken in half
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, including stems
In a bowl stir together vinegar, water, garlic, bay leaf, salt, red pepper flakes, oregano, and black pepper. Whisk in oil until combined, then whisk in parsley. Let this stand for 30 minutes at room temperature. Remove bay leaf before serving. Reserve some for the chicken in a separate bowl.
Preheat your grill and when the grill is ready, season the chicken breast with salt and pepper, then brush them with the chimichurri sauce. Brush the chicken once more while cooking.

For the Grilled Vegetables:
1 yellow squash, sliced lengthwise
1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise
10 asparagus, bottoms removed
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Arrange the vegetables on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix everything with your hands until well coated.
Cook on the grill after the chicken is done.
Serve with jasmine rice and the reserved chimichurri sauce. You will love this!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Spring Chicken Ragu with Lemon Noodles

This is a great recipe that I found once again from Martha Stewart. It is perfect for spring. Its light and fresh and really tasty! I think I could eat this at least once a week.
Here is what you need:

2 whole chicken breasts bone in, split and skinned
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 3/4 cups chicken stock
4 canned plum tomatoes, seeded and quartered
12 baby carrots, peeled and trimmed or 2 large carrots chopped
1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 leek, cut into 1/4 inch rounds, well washed
1 cup frozen shelled edamame
fresh flat leaf parsley, for garnish
wide noodles, such as egg noodles or fettuccine
1 lemon zested and juiced
3 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper to taste

Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet, add chicken, and cook over medium high heat until golden brown on both sides, about 7 minutes total.
Add stock and tomatoes, bring to a boil, and cover. Cook on medium low heat for about 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through, remove and set aside.
Add carrots to skillet and cook, covered, until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add asparagus, leeks, and edamame, and cook until all the vegetables are tender, about 5 more minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente and drain. Heat butter, lemon juice, and zest in the pot and melt together. Add pasta and toss with salt and pepper.
Pull chicken from bone, and shred into large bite size pieces. Return chicken to skillet, and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Garnish with sprigs of parsley and serve over warm lemon noodles.

Fish Cakes with Coleslaw and Horseradish-Dill Sauce

This is a great recipe for people who aren't big fish eaters. I for one am not a huge fish person and if I do eat fish it has to be some kind of mild white fish, preferably halibut or sole. We have tried this recipe with Mahi-Mahi but we think Halibut is the best for this. We have also made this into fish tacos! Instead of cakes just make them into a more oblong shape and put them in tortillas with some fresh cabbage and lime! But the original version is like a crab cake but the less expensive version of one.
Here is what you need:
2 large lemons
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup chopped green onions, divided
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, divided
4 slices white bread, torn into pieces
8 oz. halibut or mahi-mahi, cut into 8 strips
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 8oz. bag coleslaw mix
2 tablespoons olive oil

Zest enough lemon peel to measure 2 1/2 teaspoons. Halve lemons; squeeze enough juice to measure 1/4 cup. Mix zest, 2 tablespoons juice, mayonnaise, 1/4 cup green onion, relish, horseradish, and 2 tablespoons dill in a bowl. Set sauce aside.
Grind bread to fine crumbs in food processor. Place 1 cup breadcrumbs in medium bowl. Place remaining breadcrumbs in 13x9 inch baking dish. In food processor pulse the fish until coarsely chopped (do not form paste). Add fish to bread crumbs in a bowl; gently mix in egg, 1 tablespoons sauce, and 1/4 cup green onion. Shape fish mixture into four 3 1/2 inch round cakes; thickly coat with breadcrumbs in baking dish.
Toss coleslaw mix, 3 tablespoons sauce, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon dill in bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a large non stick skillet over medium heat. Add fish cakes; saute until cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Serve fish cakes with slaw and sauce. Serves 4

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Hunting Prize Gala

K.C.'s painting..which should have won!

the main room..decked out

the winning painting...priced at $15K!

cookie tower


peach and raspberry tart

white chocolate raspberry mouse pyramids


sushi station

antipasto station

ice sculpture with raw oysters and ceviche shooters

the ice bar overflowing with shrimp and crab

This weekend we went to Houston for the Hunting Prize Gala. This is the largest monetary art prize in North America and it is held in Houston every year. K.C. was one of 137 finalist and we were keeping our fingers crossed that he won the $50K prize. Sadly, he did not win but we had a pretty good time considering. It took place at this beautiful building and was catered to the nines. There was every type of food you could imagine. In one room there was an ice sculpture holding fresh seafood, in another room were platters upon platters of antipasto, in another room there was a Mexican food station with tamales and an Asian pot sticker station, in another room were sushi chefs making all types of sushi fresh to order and finally in the other room was a beef carving station and a huge dessert table that was out of this world! The tables were decorated with the most gorgeous floral centerpieces, which we got to take home at the end of the night! So, we didn't leave there empty handed after all. The crowd was very bougie, there were top executives there from oil companies dropping close to 20 grand on paintings! It was definitely an interesting experience to say the least and I hope that K.C. is a finalist every year just so we can get some more of that amazing free food. Oh and I hope that he wins next time! :)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

BBQ Pork Sandwiches with Cabbage Slaw

Last night we made the most tasty sandwiches! These tasty morsels were so simple! These are very stress free and so easy to make, I swear. You get a great BBQ flavor without all the time and fuss standing over a grill. I think these are going to be one of our go to meals for sure. And guess who you got to give it up to once got it..Martha Stewart!
Here is what you need for the Quick BBQ Sauce:
3/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (you can put more if you like spicy sauce)
Whisk all together in a small bowl.

Here is what you need for the sandwiches:
Quick BBQ sauce
1 or 2 pork tenderloins, 12 to 16 oz. each
coarse salt and black pepper
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
5 cups finely shredded green cabbage
4 brioche rolls, or other soft sandwich rolls
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Divide the BBQ sauce between two bowls. Use one for the raw meat; reserve the other for serving with sandwiches.
Place pork on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Brush generously with sauce. Roast in oven, basting occasionally with more sauce. Until done about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, make slaw: In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, and brown sugar until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Mix in cabbage.
Thinly slice pork, spread sauce on buns top with pork and slaw and if you like dill pickles. Enjoy!!!