Food & Cocktails
Happy National Cheeseburger Day!
Like I really need a reason to shove a burger down my throat. It’s what I do every week anyway.
Venison biscuits at Odd Duck, this newish small-plates place in South Austin. Not a fan of small plates (I hate having to order 5 menu items that all have entree price tags), but this dish was reasonably satisfying… paired with five more plates.
I think I need to mutilate one of Jassy’s toys and turn it into something with adult purpose.
Just last week our Peewee hit the 11-month mark. She’s a busy body—climbing up and down the stairs, running laps around the house and restaurant interiors. And she has three whole teeth: Two on the bottom and one on the top, with another big upper tooth is about to make its debut.
Jas jibber-jabbers constantly. Her wake-up chit-chat with herself makes my heart dip. I listen to her through the baby monitor and wonder what thoughts are bouncing around her mushrooming mind. (Probably something to do with wanting a bottle or scheming up a crib escape. I’d like to think she’s admiring her Chinoiserie wallpaper… maybe she is.)
She is consistently sleeping through the night (till 7am-ish), which is amaaaazing. And as far as foods go, she likes anything she can eat with her hands: baby meatballs, fish sticks, chicken nuggets, sweet potato chunks, any type of fruit. Doesn’t care for more than 5 bites of oatmeal (which comes on a spoon) or sitting in a highchair for longer than 7 minutes. She finishes most of her meals while on the run (I follow her around jamming chunks of food in her mouth) or on my hip.
Even if she’s toothless. (Almost! She has two jagged nubs sprouting from her lower gums!)
This Chicken Cake is a mish-mash of macerated chicken, shredded apple, shredded carrot, shredded onion, herbs, breadcrumbs and egg, grilled to soft, gummy perfection.
JR eats everything you put in front of her, even if she hates it. It makes mealtime pretty easy.
For once, I took my beloved ball-and-chain on a business trip with me.
We hightailed it to Houston for my work thingie, and Hizzy followed me around lovingly and patiently, waiting for my schedule to clear, biding time at the bar and by the pool—doing the leisurely things I usually do while waiting for him on biznass trips.
He’s clearly uncomfortable with this turn of events. (Not really. He loved it.)
While we were in Houston, we mosied through the Museum District…
And had deelish meals at restaurants, including this spicy shrimp ‘n’ grits from Underbelly…
But we missed our monkey unbearably, and zoomed home as quick as we could so we could touch her, smell her and partake in her wild, chubby existence.
Because it’s summertime in Texas, we try to spend all of our waking minutes in the pool…
That’s how we spent Sunday Funday with Jas.
Singapore noodles is a fave for me. It’s a simple dish of stir-fried rice noodles with veggies (green beans, squash and carrots in this iteration), chicken (or shrimp or pork), and lots of curry seasoning. I usually make mine with lots of fresh lemon juice and garnish it with even more lemon, to brighten the flavors and, coincidentally, to give the dish a summer spin.
And, of course, here’s my all-too-mobile ball of magic…
Last week, my baby gal turned 9 months! She’s about to walk (we’re guessing), since she likes to shoo our hands away when we try to help her walk and, instead, prefers to teeter on her own. Peewee’s pretty assertive (she may be a bully), loves to eat just about anything (although she still has no teeth!), and is basically an easy, self-possessed little monkey.
This is her serious face (above). It means she 1) demands food even though she ate just two hours earlier and will cry hysterically until she gets it, 2) needs a nap, or 3) wants to ride on my hip for an indefinite amount of time, preventing me from doing anything around the house that requires two hands.
I love this face, even if it portends tears and extra parenting work in the hour that follows.
Oysters + garlic + olive oil + lemon juice + chile flakes + parma cheese + basil + pappardelle.
A bliss-y weeknight meal.
I’ve been extremely unmotivated/too consumed with baby-family-life happenings to post anything worthwhile. But a pig-out meal is always good eye candy…
I was given a big gift card to my fave food truck (best gift ever!), and we’ve been slowly noshing our way through it… Obsessed with this truck.
Sometimes I’ll wake and make a plate of it for breakfast.
This latest version of Breakfast Spaghetti is easy: Just cook crumbled sausage, remove from skillet, then sautée lots of garlic (at least 5 cloves), chopped onion and tomato in the sausage-greased skillet. In a bowl, mix 3-4 eggs, half-and-half and a good amount of parmesan cheese. Meanwhile, you should be boiling water and cooking a gargantuan amount of spaghetti.
When the spaghetti is al dente, dump the pasta in the skillet and top with egg mixture. Add crumbled sausage back to the skillet, then toss the noodles thoroughly until egg is mostly cooked through (noodles should be glossy, not dry as a bucket of sand and cooked to death).
Sprinkle copious amounts of chopped basil over the top, and, just like that, you have a perfect, filling Sunday brunch pasta.
I have always wanted to make a soufflé.
There’s something so elegant about a dish that intimidates even the most experienced chefs, takes forever to prepare, poufs up like a hot air balloon, and is so light and airy, it hardly puts a dent in your appetite. It’s a snooty, uncooperative dish, and after making it for the first time, I’m smitten.
I made Jacques Pépin’s savory Herb and Goat Cheese Soufflé, because my manpartner gave me his cookbook as a second-tri pregnancy gift forever ago and I hadn’t yet made anything from it. And because finding ways to shove more goat cheese in my diet is a daily priority (at least it should be).
After whipping eggs, chopping herbs, melting butter and goat cheese, carefully folding in ingredients, and baking it in the oven, here’s my thought: Soufflés are really not that difficult. This dish was herbacious, cheesy and all-around stunning… but did it pouf the way it was supposed to? Was it too soft in the center?
I have no idea since this is my first experience with a soufflé. But the consensus at the table was that it tasted good. Really, really good.
There are too many awesomely cool industrial-chic bars on the east side of Austin. By “too many” I mean Can’t decide which to go to because they’re all so damn lovely.
The cocktails at ESSR are pitch-perfect (I had a Japanese whiskey with Strega and lemon… mmm) and the food, though I’ve never tried it, is pretty good too.
Check it out if you’re ever on East Sixth Street.