How lovely! I sampled this Bleu Des Basques Panna Cotta at an event called the Official Drink of Austin here last Thursday. There were more creative cocktails and bar bites than one stomach could handle, but this flowery creation from Austin restaurant The Carillon wins my personal prize for the prettiest dish. It tasted as good as it looked, too. (You can check out the full recap of Official Drink of Austin here!)
Big news! We finally made the leap into signing up for our own CSA box! This is something my bf Rob has wanted to do for awhile, and the rest of the roommates and I quickly got on board.
The natural choice was Johnson’s Backyard Garden, an Austin favorite. If you’re not familiar with CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), here’s an explanation from JBG:
Community Supported Agriculture is much different than going to the local grocery and buying your vegetables. It is a direct partnership between you the consumer, and our farm. CSA members pay in advance for a share of the upcoming harvest and are ensured access to truly nourishing food, food that is grown locally, organically and is delivered when most nutritious and fresh. What’s more, the shareholder cultivates a relationship with their farmer, the land, and with other shareholders. CSA is an opportunity to use your money to support valuable causes: responsible land stewardship, a vibrant local food economy, a healthy community, and the success of local farmers.
Can’t argue with that. Especially considering the amount of vegetables I eat on a weekly basis. We’re getting a medium box every two weeks, plus a half-dozen farm fresh eggs. Our first box, which was delivered last Tuesday, held delights such as sweet potatoes, rainbow carrots (absolutely gorgeous!), kale, spinach, parsley, and even daikon. The fun thing about getting a CSA box is it’s kind of like being on Chopped, except for instead of crazy ingredients it’s a bunch of super fresh, organic produce. You still have to figure out ways to cook it at its peak before it starts going bad, though!
Last Saturday morning I wanted to use up some of our beautiful vegetables and, obviously, try out some of those eggs in our morning meal. I decided to go the hash route. I’ve never put carrots in a hash before, but their crisp sweetness was great with the sweet potatoes. I added some leftover chopped organic chicken breast to bulk up the protein, plus some leftover red and green onion (not from JBG, but duh, gotta have some onion). The result? A gorgeous rainbow of colors, flavors, and texture. Adding a runny-yolked egg was really just gilding the lily.
Sweet Potato + Carrot Rainbow Hash
Pretty sexy…for a soup.
Kohlrabi soup with appenzeller cheese fondue and fennel oil from Silo restaurant in DC.
When we say endless, we mean it. I know the day of love has past, but it is still dreary February and we could all use a pick-me-up. I made these for Valentine’s day for my fiance (she was stuck going to work to save lives as essential personnel while I enjoyed a snow day). Plus I had vanilla cream Peeps, and a sweet tooth. The result? Peep sandwich cookies.
Years ago, my mom found a sugar cookie recipe that was just delectable. They melt in your mouth, have just the right amount of sugar, and they have the perfect texture. With golden brown edges, they provide just the right crunch to be complemented by creamy vanilla marshmallow. PLUS, there is additional sweetness in the vanilla frosting that acts as a glue for the marshmallow.
These are good fresh out of the oven or a few days later. I’ve even dunked them in milk. I was concerned about the sandwiches becoming too sweet, but the peep has just enough of a flavor without being too overwhelming. Plus, the vanilla flavor in the peeps goes well with the icing and the cookie. The challenge is pushing the cookie down without breaking the cookie and popping the peep out of the sandwich. Once you mess up a couple, it’s smooth sailing and off to enjoying your Peep-Sandwich.
Vanilla Sugar-Peep Sandwich Cookies
Yes, MORE Peeps! Really…there is no thing as too much Peeps. The opportunities are endless! So this time, I took a different route—a sweet and salty route: POPCORN. Popcorn is great. But let’s be honest, unless it’s drowning in greasy fake movie theater butter, it just isn’t that good. UNLESS you drown it in something sweet. This brings us to…Peeps Popcorn.
Yes, it’s sweet…and it’s also easy. So easy, a kid could do it (as long as they don’t touch the stove or burn the sugar, or touch the hot melted Peeps). I do have to tell you though; you have to be okay with killing innocent marshmallow bunnies and chicks. Their suffering was worth it (as it typically is) and ends in a tasty treat that is not loaded with calories and carbs.
I used the chocolate mousse Peeps and the raspberry Peeps, and did two separate batches. The nice thing about this is that it takes one package or less of the Peeps, and some fresh-popped popcorn. Other than some butter in the pan, there are no other ingredients. The chocolate mousse popcorn came out a little crispier than the raspberry. Must be something in their blood…
The chocolate flavor stands out on the popcorn, so I added some sea salt and it was tasty. The sweetness of the raspberry reminded me of cotton candy for some reason—no salt needed. Since Peeps offers so many different flavors now, I would definitely pick two flavors and make two different batches. This way, you can compare and contrast. Now consider this…what if you mixed two flavors? Hmmm…
Here’s the “recipe” (pay attention – it’s complicated)
The bacon has risen.
Tater tot casserole with green beans, cream of mushroom soup, cheddar cheese and bacon. Now that’s cooking.
In my travels around the world of beer, I took out the bottle with the owl on top. Turns out my next stop was in Japan: Hatachino Nest. In the hours before bed, I’ve been craving more stouts and darker beers than IPAs and lighter beers. Must be the cold, dark (particularly without power) weather we’ve been having in Philly. Anyway, I digress…on to the Japanese espresso stout. This beer is a sipper, but in a good way.
With the name “Espresso Stout,” it better live up to its name and provide a rich espresso flavor. I’ve grown skeptical of many of these kinds of stouts, because I’ve found more chocolate or vanilla flavors than coffee. If you are looking for a stout that has a bold coffee flavor—this is it. The taste throughout the entire drink is remniscent of coffee beans followed by dark chocolate.