Upcoming and recently passed events that are cool enough to mention.
On Saturday evening, the Austin Food Bloggers Alliance had a party to welcome it’s newest members to the fold. We at OhSpooning have been members for the last year but this has been the first opportunity we have had to speak other bloggers and see what they are doing.
Our host for the night was the lovely and endearing Karen Aboussie. She graciously hosted the AFBA mixer at the Savory Spice Shop on West 6th Street. Karen spent over 25 years in marketing before opening the Savory Spice Shop and her demeanor is relaxing and joyous. She reminds me of my aunt – all are welcome into her home and she wants you to taste everything on the shelf. Karen has a way of making you smile while she talks to you about her passion for spice and great food. Her personality is contagious.
Karen and her staff spent the evening educating the AFBA family about the shelf life on spices. In fact, did you know that cinnamon only has a shelf life of 6 months? Also, most grounded spices are only good for about a year while whole spices may be kept for about 18 months. These simple facts are going to change the way I handle my pantry.
And if you have never tried black Korean garlic, you are missing out.
Take the time to swing by Savory Spice Shop on West 6th. Feel the warmth. Your taste-buds will thank you. We promise!
Lots of families have traditions, and one of ours has become attending the That Takes the Cake! Art Show in Austin, Texas. This year’s contest is quickly approaching (Feb. 23-24) and I’ve been thinking a lot about my entry (which I hope I don’t back out on!). Our cake will be themed “Jump Little Cake, Jump!” to go along with our cupcake book of that name. It’s going to be fun! I have never entered a cake before (or really decorated one, so it will be interesting!).
Last year, my mom entered for the first time and won third place in the beginner’s division for her Princess and the Pea cake. I was so proud of her!
If you’ve never been to the show, you should check it out. Entry fee is only $20 and gets you into the show for free. Otherwise, entry is $8 for a day pass or $14 for the weekend if you purchase online in advance. There are onsite competitions, demonstrations and of course lots of beautiful cakes to admire!
One way I’ve found to clean my house is to invite people over. I’m not naturally the cleanest or organized person alive, but I find if people are coming over, I will put in some extra effort. I also have a lot of stuff that I need to get rid of. So, I put both of those things together and organized a clothing swap for my girlfriends. It 1) forced me to clean the living room and kitchen and 2) forced me to go through my closet and get rid of some clothes that didn’t need to be in there.
Now, you may be wondering what this has to do with food? Well, you can’t have people over and not feed them anything! I knew the day was already going to be a little crazy, since I still needed to sweep and mop and buy groceries, so I went over to Pinterest and looked for a few simple recipes. There was a recipe I really wanted to try but it was in European measurements and I knew the extra conversion was just going to stress me out. I chose a delicious warm bean dip and brownie batter dip. Both turned out really well and are super addictive. Since they’re both pretty fattening, I served the brownie batter dip with fresh strawberries, sliced apples and pretzels. The bean dip was served with two kinds of tortilla chips.
I also served iced coffee, iced tea and water. Next time I’ll have to remember to have a non-caffeinated option for pregnant and lactating ladies.
If you’re having something in the afternoon and just need some snacky foods, I would recommend both of these recipes, because they are simple and tasty. Let me know what your favorite dips are to serve at parties in the comments section.
Every time I visit my hometown of Texarkana I gain five pounds. I blame it on my mom’s cooking! Or maybe it’s that we watch a lot of TV AND my mom’s cooking. Either way, it happens. Last weekend, I went home to see my parents, since my dad had a hernia operation (which went really well).
My mom made homemade spaghetti filled with veggies, peach pie and quesadillas. Yum Yum!
Like I’ve mentioned before, she is a pastry chef instructor, so the lattice work was all done expertly at home—I’ll have to make a video of it the next time I go home to show everyone how easy she makes it look!
Anyway, I just wanted to show off some of the meals we ate and how cute her kitchen staples are, with chalkboard labels.
Have a great weekend!
Sweets lovers, unite!
It’s that time of year again. No, not Mardi Gras, although it’s that, too.
It’s time for Austin’s annual That Takes the Cake sugar art show and cake competition — put on by The Capital Confectioners Club of Austin — and the Spooners can’t wait to attend. Last year’s super hero theme was a blast and this year’s Cake-a-lot: Knights of the Turn Table is sure to be another crowd pleaser.
It’s too late to enter the cake competition if you haven’t turned in your registration already, but there’s still lots of fun to be had. General admission tickets are $10 for the day or $18 for both days and allows you to see all the cake creations, watch celebrity and expert demos and shop with national and local vendors.
This will be my third time to attend, with my mom, who drives from Texarkana, to take classes and enjoy the show. Last year there was a really good cake entry decorated as “Angry Birds.” Everyone that went by it would point out, look it’s “Angry Birds!” My mom asked me, “How does everyone know the name of their cake entry? Everyone must really like that one.” I had to explain to her that it’s a game. Mom’s are funny!
If you get a chance to attend, send us a tweet pic of your favorite cake with the hashtag #ohspooning.
We hope to see you there this weekend!
Saturday, Feb. 25 10:30 a.m.–6 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 26 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
North Austin Event Center
10601 North Lamar Boulevard
Austin, TX 78753-3461
For New Year’s Eve, Antonio was sick with allergies and we ended up deciding to stay in, so I decided to make a big dinner.
I had already copied several recipes I wanted to try out, using the “Cook This” notepad made by Knock Knock. I decided to make Cream of Mushroom Soup, which I found over at YumSugar, Mushroom and Potato Gratin from a recipe from Williams-Sonoma, Not Real Macaroni and Cheese (unfortunately I don’t have the original source on this as I just copied it into Evernote sometime ago) and a salad of mixed greens, avocado and a homemade vinaigrette.
Basically if you weren’t a fan of mushrooms or cheese, you would hate this meal. As it turns out, that was not the case, for Antonio, myself, or his roommate Rolando.
The whole project took me several hours and dirtying almost all of the dishes at the Baylor House. Everything smelled so good and it was pretty much the first time I had cooked for Antonio, so I knew it was a waste when he said his nose was so stuffed up he couldn’t smell anything.
We finally sat down and toasted to the good life and the new year and being thankful to friends and all the things we have. We all realize we have little to complain about compared to many, many others.
I was pretty happy with how the meal came out, even if we had to start on the soup and salad while the gratin continued to bake.
The salad and dressing was good. My secret recipe consists of half balsamic vinegar, half olive oil, a splash of honey—and this time I added some fresh thyme since it was on hand.
The mushroom soup was wonderfully aromatic and the splash of truffle oil divine! I can’t wait to pour truffle oil into many future dishes.
The gratin proved to be a lot of trouble for how it came out—I don’t think I got enough salt and pepper in the layers to make it worth its while. I also would have loved for the potatoes to get crispier, but we were all hungry by the time the buzzer went off. However, I got to use the mandoline Antonio bought me for Christmas, so it was worth it.
The next night ate in again and made grilled cheese and tomato soup. It took all of 15 minutes to make. Antonio said, “This is the best meal we’ve had in a long time!”
It’s the simple things in life, spoons!
Here’s to a yummy year!
The other night I was asking the other spooner about how her part of 2011 was, which led us to start laughing at the silly videos we made for the Slayer Dog at Fun Fun Fun Fest this year. I had almost forgotten that we had even made them.
On the first day of the festival, I noticed Frank’s was promoting something called the Slayer Dog. I thought to myself, “This is amazing! I have got to try this!” But the lady at the table told me to try back tomorrow.
Saturday morning, I visited Franks again. The kind lady behind the table looked worn from answering the same question. “We won’t have them ’til tomorrow,” she muttered.
By the time Sunday came, I was determined to get my hand on this dog. Buzz was stirring at the festival. Rumors were flying that Slayer wanted a Slayer Dog as well. I wish I could find a source to confirm this instance.
Upon arrival at the fest on Sunday, I made a B-line for Franks. The same poor girl told me that Frank would send a tweet when the dogs were ready. I told her that although the idea sounds great, text messages were coming in late due to a lack of bandwidth at the festival. Finally she said, “Just be back around 5 p.m.”
I based my entire day around this moment. At about 4:30, I was the 10th person in line. Quickly, people started to migrate. After about an hour of waiting, our friends at Franks passed out “tickets,” which were napkins with the words “Slayer” written on them in blue marker. If you got a napkin, you got a dog. Everyone else was turned away.
From this point forward, I will let the videos explain how the rest of the evening went!
I hope you enjoy one of my favorite food moments of 2011! Spoon away!
Last night was the first night of Hanukkah and we got a super-sweet invite to Rock Love Austin‘s Hanukkah party.
Let me tell you, if you have never had a latke before, you are missing out! Our host, Zack, made latkes with traditional sides of sour cream or apple sauce. Latkes are splendid little potato pancakes made with onions, flour and egg. Zack went with the staple brand Carmel and they were superb.
Our hostess, Caitlin made a delicious Dr Pepper cake. This cake, filled with Dublin Dr Pepper, is moist and has a thick layer of frosting. The recipe is on super-secret lockdown but I highly recommend you making this cake for your next party (Tiffany: You can get the box from Dublin Dr Pepper).
Zack and Caitlin created the perfect atmosphere. Zack had spent the previous week creating the perfect playist of 50 Hana songs aptly titled, Chanukah Playlist! For the Jews and their Goy friends on Spotify. Zack lit the Menorah for the first day of Hanukkah and rallied the troops to spin the dreidel. You will quickly find that I take driedel spinning quite serious. That’s what happens when you get competitive!
A few weeks back, our dear friend Alex had a Birthday and she wanted to celebrate in style. She asked all her friends to bring a pizza of their choice. And our buddy Eric stood above the rest – physically and foodically!
Who can say no to a Jalapeño Popper–stuffed Pizza?
By Eric Pulsifer ///Junk food gourmet
1 tube of pizza crust2 boxes of frozen Safeway Gorgonzola Gems1 box of frozen spinach artichoke dip1 cup of Velveeta shreds1/2 a cup of corn meal1 tablespoon of cheap olive oil