Lately I have been cooking more and trying new recipes. I also have this huge desire to make things from scratch, eat local, and grow my own vegetables. Yesterday, I made my first fancy bread without a bread machine. It was quite tasty, but a lot of work. It took several hours to rise, knead, wait for the starter to rise (this was new to me!), and bake. In the end, it was worth it.
I used this book that I picked up in the library earlier this week. Do you go to the library?
I made Schiacciata con le Cipolle Rosse e Formaggio. Uh, say what? I don’t know what that means, but it sure tastes good.
I have been a vegetarian for over 15 years. I have always wanted to go vegan, and was successful for several years, but my love for cheese always prevents me from being a full-fledged vegan.
On Thursday, I stopped by Antonelli’s Cheese Shop in Hyde Park. If you live in the Austin area and love cheese, you need to stop by this place. The staff is unbelievably helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable. I walked in looking for cheese that would pair well with a Petite Syrah, and before I knew it, I was taste testing four different cheeses. They were phenomenal. I also loved that I got to try everything before you commit to buying. When faced with pricey cheese at the market, I always shy away unless I have tried it before. Who wants to spend 18 dollars a pound on something that you aren’t going to like? Not me. They also cut to order, so I was able to get just enough cheese for my husband and me.
They also have a decent selection of wine, beer, and cheese accompaniments like olives, nuts, crackers, and salami.
16 dollars later I walked out with enough for two: four kinds of cheese, Moroccan almonds, olives, and the most wonderful loaf of ciabatta bread I have ever had.
Yesterday we headed to Moonshine for another Ladies Who Lunch. It was delicious! Afterwards, we headed over to Megan Summerville’s lingerie pop-up shop. If I could, I would live in this place. Gorgeous!
Her lingerie is gorgeous, too:
I think I need this buzzard and kinda creepy doll in my house. I am not sure my husband would agree, but I love them.
When Grechen saw me yesterday she said, “You look so professional.” Thankfully, they found a permanent teacher, so I am done with the professional dressing for a little while.
I am wearing a J.Crew skirt, a top from Target (several years old), Calvin Klein shoes, and a Rebecca Minkoff bag.
I am currently fist pumping my way up and down the Jersey Shore. Much to my disappointment, I have not run into Snooki yet. I don’t know why I am so obsessed with this show, but I am. Maybe it says something about my IQ? The weather is gorgeous and the boardwalk is fabulous. That is one thing that Jersey beaches have on Texas beaches. Boardwalks. They are awesome. Have you ever been to a boardwalk?
I have yet to take any outfit pictures here because I am too busy eating water ices and frolicking on the beach. See:
I am also eating the most delicious pizza ever to exist. I have eaten pizza every day since I have been here. Don’t judge me. Hopefully my bike riding is counter-acting the pizza. We shall see.
We made pizzas last night for dinner. I had a caramelized onion and truffle pizza, and my husband had a margherita pizza. I am obsessed with all things truffle. It is heavenly.
I first caramelized the onions.
Added truffle oil and truffle salt to a Flat Out pizza crust (only 100 calories!).
Add mozzarella, thyme and rosemary from the garden, garlic and pop it in the oven until the cheese melts.
I also roasted up a yellow summer squash. Roasting the squash gives it a nutty, slightly sweet flavor. I love to eat them this way!
Like I said in my previous post, we are at South Padre Island this week. We were planning on staying a week, but the incoming hurricane might shorten our trip. When we headed out to the beach yesterday I was quite disturbed with the amount of trash on the beach. It was disgusting. People left bags of trash EVERYWHERE. Why would you leave your trash on the beach? I found plates, bags of trash, food, underwear (yes, underwear!), bottles, and cans. It was really sad. Needless to say, I tried to focus my attention on this view:
Instead of what I saw if I turned my head.
I also focused my attention on this guy.
And ate some of this.
Even though part of the beach was trashed, we had a great day.
I am traveling again; this time to South Padre and South Texas. I am visiting my family. Hooray! I will be posting this week, but they will probably all be beachy, casual looks. Here is what I wore on the plane:
I am wearing my standard plane outfit: jeans, flowy top (that is actually my swimsuit cover-up!), the bulkiest pair of shoes I am bringing, and jewelry. I was comfortable on the plane, but a little hot when we landed in 99 degree weather. I made it home and changed (but forgot to take pictures), before we went to dinner and devoured this:
I am totally addicted to Mexican food. I could eat it every day. Thankfully for my waistline, I don’t. South Texas has fabulous Mexican food. The best. Last night I ate guacamole, and queso fundido. For those not familiar with queso fundido, it is a thicker queso that comes either on fire or with a coal underneath it to keep it hot, has mushrooms, onions, jalapeno (or if you are not a vegetarian meat) and you must eat it with tortillas. It is my favorite. I devoured that and washed it down with a margarita. Delicious.
AND, look how big my puppy has gotten. He is about 6 months now and is growing more and more every day!
Today’s dinner was made with ingredients from our garden! It was quite exciting to be able to cook directly from my garden. Mind you, I only used basil and eggplant from the garden, but at least it was something! I was hoping to use tomatoes from the garden, but we used the only ripe ones for our guacamole at lunch. Tomatoes from the garen are delicious. Last week we ate them with nothing but a bit of salt.
I made eggplant and tomato orzo with pesto.
Here are my eggplants! I forgot to take pictures of them before I started peeling.
I sautéed onions, garlic, eggplant, salt and pepper for about 10 minutes.
Added two handfuls of grape tomatoes. I would have used tomatoes from the garden if any had been ripe.
I added several handfuls of organic spinach. I sautéed them until the spinach was wilting and the tomatoes were beginning to burst.
I added pesto that I made with basil from the garden, walnuts, olive oil, garlic, and salt. I usually use Parmesan, but skipped it this time.
It was quite delicious. I like simple food with fresh ingredients.
I would like to live a hippie lifestyle. I want to grow all my own food and live on a compound. Sorta. I finally decided to make one of my dreams come true. I planted a garden. I have had an herb garden for quite sometime, but I finally planted a vegetable garden. I have tried this several times in the past and have been unsuccessful. I have witnessed many squirrels running away with my tomatoes. I am hoping this time will be different. This way I can live out my dreams of picking my own food. Dream to conquer next: become Ina Garten.
The little one made some cookies for Alison and me the other day. Hard life, huh? These are delicious double chocolate walnut cookies. Delicious! She will be making lemon bars for our Easter party. I will try to get some pictures of those. I am getting excited just thinking about them!
I may or may not be creeping in the background waiting impatiently for the cookies to be done.
Here is her recipe:
6 oz semisweet chocolate chopped
2 oz unsweet chocolate- chopped
6 tbs butter
1tbs + 2 tsp instant espresso powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 cups walnuts – chopped
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat to 325
Melt semisweet chocolate, unsweet chocolate and butter in double boiler over low heat until melted. Stir to blend. Cream together eggs, espresso powder, and vanilla. Add sugar until think and creamy. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt- set aside. Add chocolate mixture to the egg mixture until well blended. Combine your mix until all dry ingredients are moist. Fold in walnuts and chocolate chips. Scoop batter onto greased baking sheet 3 in apart. Bake 10-12 min turning sheet once during cooking time.