Endless Halloween: Slurp Some Seriously Spooky Spaghetti


Photo: Lori Hirsch Stokoe / www.tastewiththeeyes.com

YESSSSS. It’s almost time to start seriously thinking about Halloween cooking. There’s nothing better than horrifying food that actually tastes wonderful, right? And Halloween is the perfect excuse to pull it off. This one’s for all you cavemen. I normally wouldn’t be one to sub out my glourious gluten-y pasta for protein-rish versions, but October is the perfect time to start experimenting with black bean pasta. The awesomely atrocious dish pictured above uses Explore Cuisine’s spaghetti, which is made from just black beans and only black beans.

Black Bean Spaghetti with AFRAID-O Sauce and White Carrot Phalanges


White Carrot Phalanges

Peel 8 white carrots then carve with small knife into finger-bone shape. Steam until al dente. Set aside.


Black Bean Spaghetti with AFRAID-O Sauce

  • 1 box Explore Cuisine Black Bean Spaghetti – cooked, drained
  • 1 jar of alfredo sauce (can choose gluten-free)
  • 1 jar of marinara sauce (choose one that is more blood red in color, rather than orange)
  • fresh basil
  1. Heat the sauces in separate saucepans over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Place warm Explore Cuisine black bean spaghetti in the center of four serving plates.
  3. Ladle alfredo sauce over the center of the spaghetti.
  4. Arrange carrot phalanges over the sauce.
  5. Splatter marinara sauce over the entire dish, in a gruesome manner.
  6. Garnish with basil.


More ridiculous recipes in Endless Halloween.

bbq oven beef brisket

Texas BBQ Beef Brisket… In the Oven!

bbq oven beef brisket


October is a very important month. And I’m not just talking about the month of Halloween, the month of scary movies, or the month when it’s socially acceptable to cook/eat any and all things pumpkin related. No, October is also Texas Wine Month.

And yes, Texas does make wine! Even if you don’t live in Texas or in a place where Texas wines are readily available, as far as I’m concerned, you can still enjoy your favorite glass (or bottle?) of vino with special pleasure this month; any excuse, right?!

The Texas Beef Council shared one of their favorite brisket recipes with us, along with some Texas wine pairings to go with it. This brisket is ultra easy because it can be made in your oven. So no worries if you don’t own a smoker! This is a perfect recipe for your next gameday, just pop that sucker in the oven first thing in the morning, and by the midday football matches you’ll have more delicious, tender red meat than you can shake a stick at. And since the recipe is from the official council that represents all things Texas and beef, you know the recipe is legit.

Curious about what the Texas Beef Council recommends serving with your beautiful brisket? They say…

·         Brennan Vineyards 2014 Texas Tempranillo

·         Duchman Family Winery 2012 Montepulciano

·         Spicewood Vineyards 2015 Cabernet Claret

Hey – I’ve done some wine tasting at Duchman and their reds are generally very good, so I’m in full favor of this list. Don’t have Texas wines where you live? I’m thinking your favorite Tempranillo, Montepulciano, or Cabernet will do the trick! Don’t like wine? First of all, what’s wrong with you, and second of all, you can cheers with a beer, I won’t be offended. (Well, maybe a little bit. Wine is the best.)


Oven Texas BBQ Beef Brisket

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A Better Breakfast: Icelandic Skyr B-Fast Bowl


Ya’ll know I like to eat epic baon and eggs dishes for breakfast, and even on weekdays I’d be much more likely to grab a breakfast pastry than whip up a healthier breakfast. Perhaps I should say “had been more likely” as I’ve been experimenting with (gasp) healthy breakfasts lately. I know, I know, but I’m 35, with a kid on the way, and can’t eat baconbaconbacon every day forever. Lately my daily start has consisted of Greek yogurt mixed up with whatever fresh fruits and nuts I happen to have on hand. I also love to mix it up with some Skyr — Iceland’s thick, creamy answer to yogurt — it has just the right consistency. So, if you’re hankering for a healthier start to your days, try this recipe from Icelandic Provisions Skyr. Also, if you’re feeling sad and betrayed by this whole healthy thing, let me just point out now that this recipe contains vodka. So there.

Skyr Breakfast Bowl


Raw Granola

1/2 c. dried cherries
1/2 c. pumpkin seeds
1/4 c. red quinoa
1/4 c. raw cashews
1/4 c. chia seeds
2 tbsp. dried coconut
2 tbsp. maple syrup
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1 pinch sea salt

Macerated Stonefruit

1 white peach, pitted
2 Italian sugar plums, pitted
3-5 mirabelle plums, pitted
1 tbsp. raw sugar
1 tsp. dried lavender
2 tbsp. vodka


How to Make It

Chop all pitted stone fruit into bite-sized pieces. Toss fruit in sugar, lavender, and vodka. Rest covered at room temperature for 20 minutes or refrigerate overnight.

For granola, pulse dried cherries in food processor until finely chopped, almost paste-like. Add nuts, chia, and quinoa, and briefly pulse until combined. Add coconut oil, maple syrup, and sea salt. Pulse entire mixture until fully incorporated.

Add ½ cup skyr to bowl. Top with ¼ cup macerated stone fruit and sprinkle with raw granola.

Labor Day Cocktail O’Clock: Shandy Slushy


Just because summer is unofficially coming to a close doesn’t mean it’s time to stop drinking frozen cocktails! (We’d generally argue it’s never time to stop drinking frozen cocktails, but that’s a whole other story.) Take a long, hot gander at The Shush, an off-menu drink offered at El Original TX-MX In Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen, where tipplers in the know can slurp on either a grapefruit or lemon slushy shandy, saying goodbye to the last hot-ish days of summer in style. Read on for both recipes.


Lemon Shush

4 Servings


– Curious Traveler Lemon Shandy (1 bottle)

– 3 oz. of fresh lemon juice

– 3 oz house made honey syrup (see below)

– A dash of bitters


Honey syrup ingredients:

– 3-5 cubes of fresh pineapple

– Lemon zest to taste

– 3 oz. of honey

– 54 oz. of crushed ice

Muddle fresh pineapple then add lemon zest and honey. Bring to a boil on a stove and let it cool to room temperature.


Slush Directions:

Break down crushed ice as much as possible so the carbonation of the shandy won’t dilute the slushy.  Blend till smooth. Combine all ingredients, except shandy. Add the homemade honey syrup, water and lemon juice. While those are blending, add shandy base.

Garnish with a dash of bitters and lemon wedge.


Grapefruit Shush

Serving size 4


– Traveler Grapefruit Shandy (1 bottle)

– 3 oz. of grapefruit juice

– 1 oz. of lime juice

– 2 oz. mint simple syrup (see below)

– 54 oz of crushed ice


Mint simple syrup ingredients:

– 3-5 pulled mint leaves

–  2 parts water

– 1 part sugar

Combine mint leaves with 2 parts water and 1 part sugar. Bring to a boil and then let it cool to room temperature.


Slushy directions:

Use crushed ice to be broken down as much as possible so the carbonation of the shandy won’t cause it to separate or dilute. Blend till smooth. Combine all ingredients (except shandy). Add the mint simple syrup, water and lemon juice. While those are blending, add Shandy. Garnish with a ruby red grapefruit wedge.

Garnish with grapefruit wedge and mint sprig

Cuban-Hawaiian Mashup Pork Sliders with Hatch Chile Pimento Cheese

Cuban-Hawaiian Mashup Pork Sliders with Hatch Chile Pimento Cheese

Cuban-Hawaiian Mashup Pork Sliders with Hatch Chile Pimiento Cheese

Sometimes you just want every flavor at once, you know? Late August is so hot and steamy that I can’t get enough fresh, fruity tropical flavors… pineapple, I’m looking at you! But it’s also hatch chile season in the southwest and these smoky, delightful lil peppers are everywhere, and everyone in Texas looooves cooking with them.

I had a beautiful Smithfield Teriyaki Marinated Fresh Pork Tenderloin and I was craving a Cuban sandwich, so I figured, why not incorporate the teriyaki flavors and give it a slight Hawaiian flair by adding some sweet grilled pineapple into the mix? Then I also realized I had a bunch of the aforementioned hatch chiles to use, and thought about how much I love spicy and sweet together… and decided to give my sandwich a Texas twist by whipping up a swiss & hatch pimento cheese spread instead of your traditional slice of swiss cheese.

Cuban-Hawaiian Mashup Pork Sliders with Hatch Chile Pimiento Cheese

Then I realized that these were going to be HUGE flavor bombs and made them into little sliders instead of giant sandwiches, which was a great choice. (I also realized that making sliders meant I could use my very favorite soft Hawaiian slider rolls, and who doesn’t love that?) These Cuban-Hawaiian-Texan pork tenderloin sliders have so much delightful texture and flavor going on, little bite-size morsels are perfect. And while they might sound a little cray-cray, they don’t take all day-day (ha) to make. Even though they taste complex, they took me under a half hour from start to finish! Serve these alongside a cool, crunchy salad for a summertime dinner, or maybe as an app at your next cookout.

Cuban-Hawaiian Mashup Pork Sliders with Hatch Chile Pimiento Cheese

Cuban-Hawaiian Mashup Pork Sliders with Hatch Chile Pimento Cheese

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Not Your Grandma’s Roast Chicken

Photo: Sideways.nyc

Photo: Sideways.nyc

For most serious foodies, chicken has long been that “other” item on the menu — the one that you might order if it’s fried, but otherwise would never prioritize over pork or beef. But lately I’ve seen more than a few restaurants that put fowl front and center, making the humble bird their centerpiece dish. None more so than Le Coq Rico, which I first read about in The New York Times earlier this summer, and simply had to have their gloriously golden roast chicken, 100-degree weather be damned.

The restaurant was kind enough to share Chef Antoine Westermann’s recipe for the perfect roast bird, a deceptively simple dish where butter and olive oil rubbed all over — and inside — the chicken make a world of difference.

Roast Chicken, Westermann Style

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Green Belt Cocktail

Cocktail O’ Clock: The Green Belt

Green Belt CocktailIf there’s one thing Austin likes to do in the summertime, it’s DRINK. When you’re dealing with hot-ass 100 degree sun on a daily basis, what else can you do?! Luckily alcohol brands realize our dire need for a cold cocktail, and there’s lots of fun, booze-focused festivities here on a pretty regular basis.

Take New Amsterdam Vodka, for example. They’re hosting the It’s Your Town party this Saturday, focusing on street art plus vodka (two things I can totally get behind). New Amsterdam Vodka says, “we’ve partnered with local street artist Bradford Maxfield to create seven original pieces of work for It’s Your Town, including a larger-than-life mural inspired by the nightlife and music scene of the city.”

I’m into it!

New Amsterdam Vodka was nice enough to share one of their Austin-focused signature cocktails with us. If you don’t live in the Austin area or can’t find Juiceland or Topo Chico near you… feel free to substitute with your favorite cold-pressed green juice blend and favorite sparkling water (La Croix, anyone?). It won’t be quite as Austin-y, but I guarantee it will still be delicious.

The Green Belt

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