Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dinner at Texas French Bread

It started as a bakery with an after hours underground dining club. Now open to more than just close family and friends, dinner at Texas French Bread is an ever-changing joyous experience.

With a menu that rotates weekly, it's printed, popped up on the chalkboard, and uploaded online in a surprisingly timely manner.

Dinner options change based on ingredients sourced from nearby farms, but don't worry they keep it nice and simple. There's usually a beef, a pork, a chicken, a pasta, and loads upon loads of veggies - plenty to please all.

Here was the menu for the week of January 25th:

Always a good idea to start with the mussels and order up a side of the frites!

This week's market salad featured a pickled watermelon radish, ever so refreshing. 

The Ravioli of the Season remains a staple on the menu that customers just can't live without. To many a dismay, it is served as an appetizer, but order up two and make it an entree! Here we have spinach with ricotta, chèvre, and peashoots.

The beef short rib of course fell right off the bone. It was perfect. I just wish it were Kosher to order two!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Brunch at Cipollina

Italian fare with a bistro vibe, Cipollina is a favorite hidden gem for those in the Clarksville area of Austin. The menu is of course seasonal, with a chef ready to give anything and everything a try. And boy, do they get creative...

Today let's talk brunch, starting with the Pork Belly Benedict (pictured below with the hollandaise on the side). A healthy portion of pork and a perfectly poached egg atop a classic Texas biscuit. Toss on a tomato and you can't get much better than that.

There's the Frittata filled with seasonally fresh vegetables, a touch of cheese, and served right up in the cast-iron skillet. It's filling, healthy, and delicious!

A side of fruit? More like a big ole bowl! Definitely a generous portion and sliced to perfection.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Paraduxx, or Pair of Ducks

I mean, how cute is this bottle of wine?!

Added bonus: it's a really good tasting Red.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Matzo Ball Soup

It's cold season in more ways than one. And one of the best cures for the cold is chicken noodle soup, or some version thereof. I still have yet to get my hands on my Grandma's chicken noodle soup recipe, but in the meantime, I came across a close comp - Bubbe's Famous Matzoh Ball Soup

1 store-bought Rotisserie Chicken
16 cups of water
6 carrots, washed and peeled
6 stalks of celery, washed
1 onion, peeled
3 parsnips, washed and peeled
1 Bay leaf
2 Tablespoons of Salt
1 cup Matzo Meal
3 eggs
3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1/4 teaspoon of pepper

Important - cook and prep time will make this just shy of a 6-hour process, but it is so well worth it! Plus, most of that time is just letting the liquid do its own thing, so find a good movie to hunker down on the couch in between steps.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Rome, Italy

The ancient city of Rome... A power house rich with history.


The Colosseum
Looking up and around you hear the roaring of the spectators, feel the courage of the gladiators, and you yourself feel small. 

The Ruins
Sure you can buy a pass to tour the Roman Forum, but what really amazes me is that Roman ruins can be seen just walking down the street. They are all around the Eternal City. It's amazing that the ancient architecture has been able to be preserved. They just don't make 'em like they used to…

One of the many angels lining the Ponte Sant'Angelo with a view of St. Peter's and Vatican City.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Outermost House

The Cape Cod area - Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket - is surely known for its summer, but The Outermost House is an interesting take on the hot spot off season. Highly recommended.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Fluffy Banana Pancakes

1 cup All-purpose Flour
1 cup Buttermilk *
1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 Tablespoon melted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 Bananas, preferably ripened

Growing up, we all knew Bisquick, or at least had boxed pancakes at one point or another.

But what about pancakes made from scratch? Sounds like a lot of work, right? Well, actually it is quite simple, and simply delicious. In just a few easy steps and a few short minutes one can whip up some fresh and fluffy pancakes.

Up the ante and add a little flavor. Here I find yet another use for old bananas, but you could use blueberries, strawberries, cinnamon, spice - you name it.

* You could use regular milk (without too much of an impact on flavor), but the science behind buttermilk is what makes the pancake extra fluffy. Despite its name, buttermilk is not higher in fat content than most other milks, actually quite the opposite. And, buttermilk has probiotic health perks!