Sunday, May 10, 2020

Two Months of Carry Out, Cooking + Baking

Here's another edition of what I've been eating lately, in case you wondered!😊 Much of this is on my Instagram page too!

As an essential employee, I don't always feel like cooking. I've been getting carry out about once a week, and it usually gives me an extra meal or two of leftovers. (I don't understand people who don't eat leftovers or take their food home from a restaurant!)

Via 313 in Oak Hill had an easy pick up system. I don't discriminate against different styles of pizza, and sometimes just crave the Detroit-style thick squares. I also learned that you can request it "extra crispy" for those nice, almost burnt edges!
Via 313 pizza
I found some chili (with beans!) in the freezer, and had some of Trader Joe's organic corn chips for Frito pie!
Frito pie with Trader Joe's organic corn chips
My Easter project was making lamb osso bucco, which was supposed to braise in the oven for a few hours. This was the day I discovered my oven wasn't working, but at least the stovetop was, so at least I could cook my lamb! This was delicious, and a new oven was ordered.
Lamb osso bucco
Phantasma Kitchen asked me to try out their food, and I was happy to oblige. A total contrast to Via 313's pie, and like I said, I don't discriminate! Loved how thin and crispy Phantasma's pizza is. Also impressed by their Cesar dressing for the salad.  Hopefully this place won't ghost us anytime soon.
Phantasma Kitchen pizza
Phantasma Kitchen pizza, wings + cesar salad
Finally scratched the itch for tacos; love Papalote, but have decided their al pastor is not my personal favorite, as it doesn't seem to be made in the traditional way. The bean and cheese taco was great, as was the sope.
Papalote tacos
New GE oven in the house! Had to test it, and I tried a new focaccia recipe, the no knead one from Bon Appetit. Thumbs up!
GE gas range and no knead focaccia bread
Sichuan River is always a go to favorite of mine, both for dining in and carry out. I almost always get the eggplant in garlic sauce and add pork to it. And I get three meals from it! The dan dan noodles were good and you could definitely taste (or I should say feel the numbing effects) the sichuan peppercorns, but after the first day, the noodles had absorbed much of the liquid their texture wasn't as good. So need to eat these immediately! I was also rather enamored by the crab rangoon, which seemed exceptionally crispy, even after being transported home in a styrofoam container.
Sichuan River eggplant with garlic sauce, crab rangoon, dan dan noodles
Baking project #2 in the new oven, King Arthur Flour's bacon cheddar scones. Good quality thick bacon I think makes a difference! (I used DaBecca bacon, one of Costco's best kept secrets; also I didn't have chives but I didn't really miss them in this recipe.)
King Arthur Flour's bacon cheddar scones
And if you saw my previous blog post, all things apples! Gala apple hand pies.
Gala apple hand pies
The mole enchiladas from Curra's TOTALLY hit the spot! Lightly sweet, savory, with a bit of spiciness. And I took a chance on something I hadn't tried from them before, lamb empanadas, and I will definitely order these again too! Also really liked the chipotle sauce that was with them.
Curra's mole enchiladas and lamb empanadas
I met my friend Mad Betty up at Le Bleu for a socially distant lunch. We both ordered online and coordinated the pick up times, and then we parked our cars and ate and talked from them! And the banh mi and summer spring rolls with sausage were both fantastic! They also have contactless pick-up mastered perfectly.
Le Bleu pork banh mi and summer rolls
And finally, last night I had friends from New Mexico passing through town, so we decided to meet up at Terry Black's BBQ for dinner. This was my first meal inside a restaurant in two months, as restaurants have just re-opened at 25% capacity. The staff was great about keeping people socially distant while in line for food, and tables were appropriately spaced apart. And this Texas trinity did not disappoint -- pork ribs, brisket, and sausage, and yes, I have leftovers!
Terry Black's BBQ Texas Trinity brisket, pork ribs, sausage

I should wrap this up by saying I started intermittent fasting on March 1st (after eating my way through San Francisco!), and I've lost 13 pounds!  What favorite things have you been eating (either making or ordering?!) these past few months?

Bonus! I forgot to add this originally so have come back to include it. My Quarantini -- elderberry juice, tonic water, and gin! Cheers!
Elderberry, gin + tonic

Saturday, May 2, 2020

An Apple A Day....

What do you do when friends give you a bag of small Gala apples? Get creative!
Gala apple hand pies

Apple hand pies, because I love making pie dough, and this small size is easier to share with friends than an actual pie. I used mostly butter (for flavor) in the crust, because I only had about 2 tablespoons of vegetable shortening (for tenderness) at home. I chopped the apples up and sauteed in butter with brown sugar, cinnamon, and a pinch of ground cloves. After filling and baking the hand pies, I glazed them with a powdered sugar and water mixture. The perfect 2 - 3 bite dessert!

Making apple pies also gave me another chance to test out my new oven! (The 22 year old one died on Easter Sunday.) The new one is a GE, and thankfully it was on sale at Lowe's.
GE gas range

Next up, broccoli slaw with apples. This is a nice and healthy dish too. I used half a bag of broccoli slaw, and then julienned (matchstick cut) some of the apples. For the dressing, I used mayo (you could use Greek yogurt or sour cream), apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, grainy Dijon mustard, and roasted, chopped walnuts for extra crunch.
Broccoli slaw with apples

Central Market takes their day old Seedsation bread, and cuts them really thin and bakes them to make crisps or toasts, whatever you want to call them. Either way I love them! Using them as the base, I put a very thin layer of Austin Slow Burn Green Chile Jam on them, and topped with a piece of jamon serrano (you can use prosciutto or speck), aged manchego cheese (sheep's milk cheese from Spain), and thin apple slices. A couple of these and the broccoli slaw were perfect for dinner. And as the weather starts to get hotter, no-cook meals become a necessity.
Apple, manchego and jamon serrano toasts

Austin Slow Burn Green Chile Jam
What are your favorite things to make with apples? Do you eat an apple a day? So far, my efforts to keep the doctor away have worked out! 😄