recipes

Holiday Madness: Pomegranate-cranberry sauce

Editor’s note: Sorry about posting this late. As you can see, this was written BEFORE Thanksgiving :).

The holiday potlucks are well under way, what with Thanksgiving only a few days away.

My work potluck is tomorrow and I said I’d bring the cranberry sauce.

I found a recipe for pomegranate cranberry sauce on Pinterest that looked yummy and since pomegranates are supposed to be chock full of antioxidants, I figured that was the way to go.

I’ve never opened a pomegranate, so I searched the interwebs for a how to. This one worked well.

The actual cooking/prep part only takes 15-20 minutes, but factor in 2 hours of cooling off.

It came out super scrumptious. If you enjoy your cranberry more tart than sweet, cut down the sugar by half. I happen to love sweet, so I kept the full two cups of sugar. I hope there is still some cranberry sauce left over for tomorrow’s potluck—it’s so good!

While you’re cooking the cranberries, make a drink with the leftovers:

Pomegranate Holiday Mimosa

  • ¾ c Pom Pomegranate juice
  • ¼ c champagne
  • Handful of cranberries

Mix in a pretty glass over ice and enjoy.

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French Toast: Solution for day-old sourdough

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By Tiffany Young
I’m trying to be more mindful of wasting food. As someone generally cooking for one, this is difficult to do. I typically go to the grocery store once or twice a week and try not to buy too much, but inevitably, I’ll think I’m going to eat dinner at home most nights per week and then end up being home about once during the week. This means I definitely can’t get carried away buying all the fruits and veggies I want. It also bothers me when I end up with a can or a 1/2 cup of something random that sits on the shelf for months upon months. For this reason, I’m trying to evaluate what food I have in the house on Sundays and determine what needs to be used and what items I should buy at the store to go with what I already have.

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That being said, this week I had almost a loaf of sourdough left on Sunday and it was the “baked fresh” bread from the bakery–i.e. no preservatives, i.e. gonna go bad if I don’t use it pronto. I thought about ways to use it up quickly and came up with either 1) croutons or 2) French toast (my helper here is one of the tested toasters at Jane’s Kitchen). And with my sweet tooth, you know which one I was leaning toward.

And that’s how I came to make a lot of French toast this morning. So much, in fact, I’m freezing some and planning on taking some into work a few days this week to heat up for breakfast.

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For the recipe, which promises (and delivers) crispy, not soggy, French Toast, visit Sweet Pea’s Kitchen. I subbed coconut milk for the milk and completely didn’t see it called for brown sugar until just now, but it worked out all the same. I’ve never done this before, but they have you bake the bread for 8 minutes on each side to keep the bread from getting too soggy when you dip it in the egg mixture. Also, I thought it was brilliant that they have you keep all the toast in the oven after you’ve put it on the griddle so that you can serve it all warm. I’m going to have to tell my parents about this! We always just eat pancakes and French toast one at a time when it’s ready so that it doesn’t get cold, but this way makes way more sense! It sucks to be the one cooking and watching everyone else eat while you’re still flipping food.

I will say French toast takes a lot longer to make than I had thought–You have to cook each slice of bread 3-4 minutes per side, with about 10 slices of bread puts you at 30-40 minutes, not to mention the pre-toasting time. Luckily it tasted so yummy I didn’t mind, and hopefully the grab-n-go breakfasts may save me some time in the mornings.

Sprouting Lunches 3 Days a Week

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By Tiffany Young

My new “resolution” is to bring my lunch to work at least three times a week. This is primarily to save money, since I work downtown and it can get expensive eating at Whole Foods for lunch almost every day. But I know the lunch has to pretty good to convince myself not to go hang out with my coworkers away from the office for an hour or even 30 minutes. That means less store bought frozen meals and more homemade frozen meals. So, this week I made mac ‘n cheese and Sriracha roasted Brussels sprouts and packaged them for my mid-day meal. You can find the recipe at The Austin Gastronomist. I had been eying the recipe for sometime, but was a little intimidated by it for some reason. However, the recipe was pretty easy to carry out and has turned out to be a delicious choice for my lunch. My only caution is that some coworkers think it smells up the office when I reheat it. Also, when the recipe says that the sauce will bubble up on you, that means step back! There was definitely a little splash back when I poured the hot water in. Other than that, everything went well and I would definitely make it again!

Let us know what some of your favorite lunches are in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feels like a Falliday

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By Tiffany Young

Usually people talk about new beginnings in the spring, but here in Texas, it’s always the fall that feels like a fresh start to me. Probably because our summers are so long and hot that we’re not sure we’re going to make it, and then the temperature drops 30 degrees and we feel like we can breathe again.

When I feel like starting over, I start going through my things to see what I can get rid of and start buying things that seem to fit me better. Often I’ll start cooking again and trying new things. It’s like a fresh outlook.

The past few weeks I’ve been editing my closet (things in colors I never where or seem to hang funny on me) and seeing what I might be missing (shoes, turtlenecks).

I’ve also been trying fall recipes, even though it’s not that cold.

Today,  I tried a Pumpkin French Toast recipe, adapted from Minimalist Baker: http://minimalistbaker.com/pumpkin-french-toast-bake/. It was good, but not as good as the carrot cake recipe I made from Flourish (or from King Arthur’s Flour). But really I changed up so many things in my carrot cake recipe it’s something totally different (but amazing) by now. Here’s the recipe: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2010/03/07/warning-everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-carrot-cake-is-not-for-purists/. If you happen to run out of carrots, add some pumpkin puree to make up the amount—it’s terrific.

Anyway, like I’ve said, fall is for starting over and maybe life is like the carrot cake (sorry pumpkin French toast, but you’ve been trumped). You add all kinds of things to the cake and when you run out of something, you just throw something else into the mix and you’re not sure it’ll turn out, but it does. And it’s delicious. So, here’s to just throwing all sorts of new things into your life and seeing how it works out. And if you get halfway through making cream cheese frosting before realizing you’re out of powdered sugar, so be it. Life is sweet enough!

 

Austin Food Bloggers Cookbook Challenge

We know it’s been awhile since our last post, but like old friends, we missed you and we’re hoping that our getting back in touch will be a warm welcome. We’ve been having some discussion about where this blog is going and what we’d like to do with it. We think you’ll be seeing some new types of blog posts from us soon as we start narrowing our focus down to the things we truly love, instead of posting for the heck of it—because we feel like we have to. That didn’t make the change sound fun, but it will be. It will be FUN!

Moving on …

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Southwestern Salad with Seared Scallops

As part of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance, OhSpooning was challenged this month to make a recipe out of its new “The Austin Food Blogger Alliance Cookbook.” My (Tiffany’s) pescetarian ways made choosing a recipe a little difficult as most of the recipes we were drawn to included chicken, pork, turkey, etc. We finally decided on the Southwestern Salad with Seared Scallops—can’t go wrong with scallops.

We walked out the door to get groceries and came back immediately after forgetting the ingredient list—nicely written on a notepad specifically for that purpose (Is anyone else obsessed with specific purpose notepads?).

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Shopping List

At the store, we asked the checkout attendant a burning question: Does it count as one item in the 10 or less line if you have, say 4 limes that puts you over the 10 limit? He confirmed my suspicion that they’re not that anal retentive about the number of items, so long as you’re close (and not a pain in the rear!). Whew! One less thing to worry about.

Back at the house, we got to work … creating a cocktail. OK, OK. Antonio started working on the cocktails as I started chopping things. Although I know better, we did not read the instructions all the way through before beginning, so we waited about 5 minutes before realizing we should have put the corn in the oven to roast as soon as we got to the house, since it takes the longest of any of the recipe steps—20 minutes.

Otherwise, the recipe went smoothly. Just some prep work, throwing ingredients into a blender for an amazingly delicious dressing and cooking scallops.

The only thing we probably would have done differently the next time is gotten the bigger scallops and let them thaw completely before cooking so there wasn’t extra water we had to cook out. Oh – and used the red onion. Yep, there was still an uncut red onion left on the table after I cleaned the kitchen. Whoops. Nonetheless, this recipe is amazing and took us about 45 minutes to cook. This time could probably be cut down by cutting things in advance, preparing the dressing ahead and having grilled corn ready to go. The grilled corn was so yummy, though, so don’t leave it out! The bonus is, I still have dressing, tomatoes, grilled corn, red onion, cilantro, limes and lettuce … so tomorrow I’ll whip up a similar salad sans scallops for lunch!

For more yummy recipes, you can get your copy of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance cookbook here!

Cocktail Creation:

Accompanying this meal, we created a cocktail using leftover orange and lime juice and added grapefruit juice, gin and club soda for good measure, served over ice. Use the orange peel for garnish. Like all good drinks – amounts to taste! This drink is simple and perfect for summer time and was complimentary to the meal.

1 Part Gin

3 Parts Grapefruit juice

1 Part Club Soda

Squeeze 1/6 lime

1/6 of an Orange for Garnish

 

OhSpooning to be published in AFBA cookbook


It’s official! We are definitely being included in The Austin Food Blogger Alliance Cookbook being published in April. This means our Preston Spice Cupcakes with Cardamom Frosting will be in not just one book (Jump Little Cake, Jump!), but two!

If you are looking for a great, local, Austin recipe book complete with recipes from famous and average Joe food bloggers, the AFBA cookbook is a great choice. It has a beautiful cover, which will make it perfect for me to display alongside my other gorgeous cookbooks.

It’s one of the first community cookbooks compiled just by food bloggers and I’m excited we could take part!

 

Here’s the list of recipes, along with whose recipes will be included!

The cookbook is being pre-sold here.

 

Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup

Thanksgiving is about a week away and everyone is likely thinking about what sorts of delicious delicacies they might share with friends and family. In case you’re at a loss for what to bring as your contribution, here are a few links to recipes that are sure to please a crowd:

If you’re not already following Joy the Baker, you should be! Not only does she provide wonderful recipes with easy instructions, but also fantastic photos of all the goodies she makes. Here is a recipe for creamy pumpkin pie bars.

Another one to follow are sisters who write A Beautiful Mess. Their blog is on fashion, design and food. Here is a recipe for mustard Brussels sprouts that looks amazing.

I’m not too familiar with Smitten Kitchen, but I love the blog name and this recipe looked yummy and healthy. If you’re looking for something a little different, try the butternut squash salad.

And I’d be amiss not to link to my Pinterest board, where I am keeping a list of all things pumpkin spice: Jump Little Cake, Jump! in honor of the children’s book some friends and I are publishing by the same name about a pumpkin spice cupcake. There are cupcake recipes, pumpkin smoothie recipes as well as photos of some of our favorite characters from the book. If you’re looking to entertain children this holiday, make sure to download a free song at bandcamp or pre-order a book for Christmas.

I’d love to hear what recipes you are trying out this Thanksgiving, so please include links in the comments section!

 

 

New vegetarian cookbook “Herbivoracious” leads to dining discovery

Last week, Antonio and I participated in Michael Natkin’s book tour stop in Austin for his new cookbook “Herbivoracious” under the same name as his blog. While we haven’t gotten a chance to cook with it yet (look for future blog posts on recipe adventures we have using this cookbook), we were impressed with the color photography, which Michael took himself.

The event took place at Icenhauer’s on Rainey Street and was catered by its new next door neighbor El Naranjo, who supplied us with wonderful food, including some “can’t stop eating it because it’s amazing guacamole.”  If you’ve heard of the just-opened-last-week-on-Rainey-Street El Naranjo it’s because it was formerly a food truck. The fine dining restaurant is open for dinner only for now and describes itself as traditional Mexican cuisine, but I think you, like us, will find it anything but typical of the Mexican fare you find around here. In fact, we thought it might have more of a South American background from its unique blends.

Sorry for the tangent on El Naranjo, but that just shows how impressed we were!

Anyway, Michael was a gracious host answering all of our crazy questions, such as “Who are you? Why a cookbook? Where are your from? Where are you going next?” All of the answers can be found at his blog http://herbivoracious.com.

We were excited to receive a courtesy copy of his cookbook with an inscription to the OhSpooners. If you are new to vegetarianism, just looking to cut back on meat or want some more vegetarian choices to add to your repertoire, this cookbook may strike your fancy. After the intro, Michael goes into detail on some of the ingredients and hand tools that are used a lot in the book and may not be familiar with readers, such as mirin, panko and a potato ricer.

The book, which includes 150 recipes, is broken down by appetizers/small dishes, soups, salads, 4 main courses, side dishes, desserts, breakfast and sauces, condiments and basic recipes.

The Spooners can’t wait to try it out and report back!

Ringing in the New Year

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 mac and cheese was Antonio’s favorite. I liked how creamy it came out.

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!

 

Pinterests of Interest


Pinterest is all the rage these days. (If you haven’t heard of it or need an invite to get started, leave your e-mail in the comments section and I’ll hook you up.)

I love getting ideas on new recipes and how to plate different items by sifting through the beautiful pics. Today I decided I’d browse some of the users for suggestions on who to follow for some of the best food ideas on the web.

Here’s my list:

Michelle DuPuis has a unique Frozen deliciousness board—showing a variety of frozen treats— as well as Well Poured, HAPPY meals and a wide variety of recipes divided by individual holidays.

Vanessa Lynch‘s Pinterest Foodapalooza board has many appetizers and bite-sized desserts for any occasion.

Sarah Crim‘s I <3 Food board has lots of colorful items and leans a bit toward Southern cooking/hospitality.

Erin Treadway‘s Recipe board has lots of fun treats for kids birthdays. Looking for owl cupcakes? Whooo isn’t? 😉

Krisa Burnaugh Bryant‘s Yum… Yum… Yum-o! board includes a little bit of everything. One of the best things I saw on her board was crescent roll s’mores. I need to try that!

Lindsey Pritchard-Peterson has a mostly gluten-free food board called How to get my man healthy … without him knowing.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. Leave any other ‘to follow’ suggestions in the comments, and of course, feel free to follow me, Tiffany Young, on Pinterest.