Friday, September 30, 2011

Baking For Bastrop

The Austin Bakes for Bastrop Bake Sale is tomorrow! There with be seven different locations around Austin to get some delicious treats all while helping out the Central Texas Wildfire Fund
here they are:
Central Austin: Foreign & Domestic
306 E. 53rd Street, 78751
Austin Bakes for Bastrop will be set up in the restaurant parking lot.
Central Austin: The Flying Saucer at The Triangle
815 W. 47th Street, 78751
Austin Bakes for Bastrop will be at the Triangle Park. Special thanks to The Flying Saucer’s 4th annual Outdoor Beer Festival for sharing their park space!
Downtown Austin: Whole Foods Market Lamar
525 North Lamar Boulevard, 78703
Austin Bakes for Bastrop will be on the northwest side of the storefront, in the outdoor dining area.
Northwest Austin: Whole Foods Market Gateway
9607 Research Boulevard, #300, 78759
Austin Bakes for Bastrop will be outside the storefront.
Round Rock: Old Settler’s Park
3300 E. Palm Valley Boulevard, 78665
Austin Bakes for Bastrop will be in the city parking lot near the Dell Diamond.
South Congress: Hotel San Jose
1511 South Congress Ave., 78704
Austin Bakes for Bastrop will be on the grassy area at the entrance of the Hotel parking lot along South Congress Avenue.
Sunset Valley: Community Renaissance Market
6800 Westgate Boulevard, 78745
Austin Bakes for Bastrop will be immediately inside the market entrance, alongside booths for the Healthy, Wealthy and Wise Metaphysical Faire.
I know that bake sales instantly bring to mind cookies, cupcakes, bars and muffins. 
I also know that I never just go with the easiest option. 
Last bake sale fundraiser I was involved in I made cheese bread and savory crackers.
This time I went really wild
I made dog bones!
with my little helper, of course!
this truly made for a fun afternoon!
My little baker is quite good for being so young!
And the official taste tester, Roux waiting ever so patiently
(yes, everything revolves around food with me, even my dog's name)
She approves
nom nom nom
Sometimes when I'm eating something I really love I close my eyes too!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Austin Bakes for Bastrop

I am joining some amazing local foodies and bloggers to raise money for The Central Texas Wildfire Fund
"The Central Texas Wildfire Fund was created to help donors assist the people and organizations affected by the fires over Labor Day weekend across Central Texas, including Bastrop, Leander, Steiner Ranch and more."
Saturday October 1 from 10am to 2 pm there will be seven locations to buy some delicious goodies and help out families in need
Sounds like a win win situation, right?!

Monday, September 26, 2011

B is my favorite letter

It seems to be a winning month for me, and I could really get used to this!
I am very excited to say that I have won one cooking contest and am now a finalist for another
My Blueberry Citrus Quinoa Salad won me first place in the Blueberry blogger recipe contest!
 $1,000 was the first place prize and I know exactly where I will be spending my loot
In Chicago!!
I am a finalist for the Build A Better Burger Contest and for me to say that I am excited has got to be the understatement of the century. 
I am about to jump out of my skin people!
I have tried to get into this burger bash for three years and I am so excited to have been chosen to compete for a win!
This will be my first time at BBB, first time in Chicago and a week of adult time with no children......I feel like a winner already!
My "alternative category" burger Peppered Pineapple Al Pastor Burger might just be the winning one
I think you know what's for dinner for the next two weeks at my house
Practice makes perfect, right?!
Please let me know any and all Chicago recommendations that you have.....anything I need to see, do or more importantly eat while I'm there??

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chili Two Ways

It actually rained yesterday!
Yes, water fell from the sky in Austin 
My kids and dog look confused to hear the thunder and my son came to find me and ask me what that sound was
Due to the extreme heat this summer I actually was doubting fall would ever get here
Now I'm pushing for it- I lit my pumpkin candle the other day, I wore my new favorite sweatshirt that I got for the cooler months coming up (I started sweating after thirty minutes, but at least I got to wear it) and I've been craving warm fall dishes
I made a delicious chili and to go with it I made these Hatch Chili Scones form my dear friend Emme
They were a delicious dunker to go with the spicy chili, you should go make some for yourself!
After the scones were gone I still had some chili leftover and I used it as a topper for some delicious Hasselback potatoes
Hasselback Potatoes are one of those things I've seen everywhere and just never got around to making until now. They are super simple and completely delicious. They were great topped with chili, and would also be divine paired with a grilled juicy pork chop. 
I even made an extra one, chopped it up the next morning and sauteed it with some breakfast sausage for an amazing hash!
To make some for yourself, heat your oven to 425
Scrub your potatoes clean and cut slits almost to the bottom without cutting completely through across the whole potato
I drizzled mine with olive oil and then sprinkled them liberally with salt, pepper, garlic powder and smoked paprika but you can use whatever spices you'd like. I think I will use Herbs de Provence the next time I make these
Bake for 40 minutes or until the skin is crisp and the flesh is tender

Here's what I'm cooking this week:
Monday: Thai Coconut Soup- tofu, peppers, tomatoes and mushrooms in a Thai coconut broth
Whole Wheat Sticky Buns
Wednesday: Roasted Vegetable Enchilada Casserole and Refried Beans
Friday: Spaghetti and Meat Sauce with Garlic Bread

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Roasted Lemongrass Chicken wih Pineapple Fried Rice

Remember how I said I was trying to use up odds and ends that had collected in my freezer?
Well I realized I had chopped lemongrass,  pineapple chunks, 2 containers of cooked rice and a container of homemade chicken stock lurking in there which was perfect for this delicious Thai inspired chicken and rice dinner.

I love exotic flavors so for me the remaining ingredients were standard pantry staples. I am lucky that my husband and kids are as adventurous with their food as I am, and we all really loved these dishes!

Roasted Lemongrass Chicken 
adapted from epicurious

1/8 cup plus 1 tablespoon canola oil or vegetable oil
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 tablespoons chopped shallot
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
3 Tablespoons pureed lemongrass stalks (I found this in a tube in the produce section)
1 Tablespoon chili-garlic sauce
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 3-pound chicken, quartered
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Whisk 1/8 cup oil, 3 tablespoons fish sauce, 1 tablespoon sugar, and next 6 ingredients in large bowl. Add chicken; turn to coat. Marinate overnight. 
Preheat oven to 350°F. 
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, skin side down, to skillet (reserve marinade in bowl). Cook 4 minutes. Turn chicken, add reserved marinade to skillet, and transfer to oven. Roast until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175°F, about 25 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate.
Add 1/2 cup water, lime juice and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar to skillet. Bring to boil. Remove from heat, spoon fat from surface, and strain pan juices into small pitcher. Serve chicken with pan juices.

Pineapple Fried Rice
adapted from here

Cooked rice (enough for 4 people)
Fresh  pineapple (cut into bite sized chunks)
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 fresh chilli, deseeded and sliced thinly
1 handful of roasted cashew nuts
1 large shallot, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced finely
2 tbsp fish sauce
4 tbsp chicken stock (have more on hand in case your rice gets too dry)
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
salt and pepper to taste

Heat some vegetable oil in a wok. Scramble the egg and set aside.

Add a little more oil in wok. Fry garlic, chilli and shallots over low flame till fragrant. Add in rice, followed by the sauce. Fry and toss all the time over high heat. Add in scrambled egg, pineapple chunks and cashew nuts. Keep frying and tossing. Do a taste test - need more salt and/or pepper? Add them now.

When all ingredients are properly and thoroughly mixed, dish up the rice onto a serving plate.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Using up Odds and Ends

I don't know why, but I really thought that when school started life would slow down a little.
OK, you can stop laughing at me now.
I really expected that once summer was over, starting a regular schedule would help with the hectic pace of life. Well, I was wrong.
Aside from school, playdates, swim lessons and day to day life to keep up with, August is a big recipe contest month and I have been busy creating recipes to try to win two really big prizes. So my time in the kitchen lately has been all about burgers and sandwiches. 
After creating, cooking, tasting, tweaking and sending in 12 recipes I had a fridge full of odds and ends. If you're making that many different burgers and sandwiches you end up with small amounts of random ingredients and I am not one to waste good food so I have been trying out a few recipes I've had saved to use it all up in a delicious way.
What do you do with a small hunk of blue cheese, two tomatoes and a couple slices of bacon?
Instead of slicing them in half I did 4 thick slices from each tomato
I didn't have the buttery crackers so I used panko instead, and I used half the amount of butter it called for mixed with a little olive oil and they were so good!

To go with the gorgeous broiled tomatoes I made a green salad and this Spinach and Feta Clafoutis from Closet Cooking. If you've never visited this blog before, please do, it is one of my favorites!

Here's what I'll be cooking this week:
Monday: Green Chile and Lime Chicken and Rice Soup
Wednesday:  Spinach and Artichoke Manicotti
Sticky Nutty Whole Wheat Biscuits
Friday: I'll be hosting my bunco group, so check back to see what yummy snacks I serve!

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