Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Harvest Tacos



We love fall. The weather, the food, the sports, everything. It is the time of year when you start to break out the comfort food again, and with those delicious savory flavors there is usually a heavy, filling meal. These tacos will give you a ton of fall flavor without feeling overly heavy, which is an awesome way to start off the season.

Harvest Tacos 

Corn tortillas
Chipotle Mayo
Roasted Carnival Squash (butternut or acorn works well too)
Avocado (sliced into cubes)
Fajita style onions
Pancetta (cut into 1/2" cubes and pan fried until crispy)
Cilantro
Shreded queso

To prepare squash:

  1. Cut squash in half length ways, scoop out seeds (reserve for roasted seeds!) then cut into 1/2" slices. 
  2. Lightly coat squash with olive oil and season with a dusting of paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper powder and chipotle chili pepper powder.
  3. Arrange squash slices on a baking sheet in a single layer.
  4. Bake at 400 until soft and lightly browned, flipping half way through.
  5. Remove skin from squash once cooked 


To prepare chipotle mayo:

  1. Mix together roughly three tablespoons of mayonnaise with one one chopped chipotle pepper (in adobo sauce) with seeds. 
  2. Sprinkle with roughly 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle chili pepper powder
  3. Add roughly 1 tablespoon of adobo sauce. 
  4. Adjust to taste. 

Notes:
Toast your corn tortillas in a dry cast iron pan prior to assembly.



Saturday, August 30, 2014

Reading & Drinking Suggestions



I love Manhattans but I always pause before I order one out. There are so many variations of this drink and it can be hard to pin down one you like. My go to recipe is Formula #1 from David Wondrich's 2007 book "Imbibe!". If you have not read it I suggest you do. David does a great job providing historical reference and tips for each drink, all with a good deal of humor. One very valuable tip that Wondrich provides is to make sure the whiskey you use is at least 100 proof. It makes a world of difference with this recipe.


Jon's Favorite Manhattan: Adapted from "Formula #1", Imbibe!

1 1/2 oz Bakers bourbon 107 proof
1 1/2 oz Martini and Rossi RossoVermouth
3 dashes Angostura bitters
1/2 tsp simple syrup 1:1

Fill glass 3/4 full of fine shaved ice, mix well with spoon, strain into coupe and serve with lemon twist.




Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sriracha Fried Eggs Three Ways



In our house eggs are a "go-to" food. Sriracha fried eggs is something that we made up while experimenting one morning for breakfast and since then has become a favorite. They aren't as spicy and way more sweet than you would think. The fact that they only take a few minutes and that the recipe is super simple doesn't hurt either. (While the idea of using Sriracha on eggs is not so novel, my extensive research of food blogs has turned up zero results for Sriracha and eggs prepared in this manner.)

Ingredients:
Sriracha sauce
1 tab of Butter
1 Egg

Instructions:

1) Melt a tab of butter in a cast iron pan, swirling around to coat.

2) Make a bed of Sriracha sauce in the pan roughly the size of a cracked egg and let it cook for about 20 - 30 seconds. (Warning! It will spit and pop quite a bit, but that just adds to the excitement.)


3) Crack your egg in the center of the bed and let cook, flipping half way through until desired doneness. I like my eggs over easy and super runny; Kate prefers the yolks cooked all the way through. The finished product should have a thick layer of Sriracha paste on the egg.

4) Enjoy them with home fries for breakfast, on top of a burger for lunch, or with some fried rice for dinner!

Sriracha fried egg with scallions.


The Hoisin burger:  Scallions, Sriracha fried egg, hoisin infused burger patty, fresh cucumber slices on a sesame seed roll. 


Sriracha Fied Egg over Pork Fried Rice


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Munchen Brunchen

Since the last brunch we had was so much fun, we decided to make another one shortly after... but this time only for Jon and I :) We had been reminiscing about our trip to Germany, and decided we were going to try and recreate one of our favorite dishes we had while out there: ochsenaugen.

 
We have no idea what it actually was, the translation while ordering was a bit fuzzy (me tyring to act like a chicken laying an egg, Jon pointing to other people's dishes and saying "eggs" over and over.) We ended up getting the dish we wanted, and decided it was a creamed spinach with fried eggs on top, served with home fries. And it was AMAZING. So after some searching we found a few recipes to try at home to mimic our glorious Munchen brunch.


German Creamed Spinach
adapted from: What's Cooking America

2 - 3 Large Bunches Fresh Spinach
4 Tbs. Butter
4 Tbs. Finely Chopped Onion
4 Tbs. All-Purpose Flour
3 - 4 C. Milk (depending on how thick you want the sauce)

Cook spinach and squeeze out any excess liquid. Chop the spinach into smaller pieces then set aside. Melt the butter in a frying pan and cook the onions in it until they are translucent. Add the flour and cook for a minute or two, until it is smooth and there are no lumps. Add in desired amount of salt and pepper. Slowly add the milk to the onion/butter mixture, mixing constantly. Bring the sauce to a boil then remove from heat. Mix the sauce with the chopped spinach, add more salt/pepper to desired taste.*

*We actually ended up added a bit of turmeric and garlic powder to this to give it a little more dimension. But that is optional.

  
We also tried our hand at homemade German pretzels! They turned out OK, but nothing to write home about. I'll try again to make better ones, maybe using a different recipe, and definitely putting more salt on them. The one thing I learned about pretzel making... even when you think its a lot of salt, its not enough. Probably why the beer tastes extra good in Germany.


On that note, what would a Munchen brunch be without sausage and beer?! We brought the giant mugs home from Germany, so we busted them out along with a spread of all the beers we tried while over there. We were able to find literally the EXACT beer we had with this brunch in Munich thanks to Craft Beer Cellar! We were so happy that a local store carried it. It definitely brought us back. We were also able to get weisswurst thanks to Karl's Sausage Kitchen. They had a rost bratwurst that we got and truly enjoyed, but we LOVED the weisswurst. Between that and the beer we felt like we were back in the Marienplatz.

 
Oh, take us back!
 
 
 
 
PROST!
 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

More Window Face-Lift

We had an idea kicking around for awhile, but were never really sure we wanted to commit. When we went to the store to get the paint for our windows, we decided then and there to go with it and do something different. So instead of getting just white paint, we got black as well! We decided to paint the sashes of the windows black, and keep the frames white.

 
We've loved it on so many houses we've seen, but weren't sure it would be right for ours. But, after deciding to take that step, we are so happy we did. The windows are still the original windows from 1910, and the black around the edges really makes them stand out.

So after a LOT of taping, we went to work and painted away.

 
Definitely adds some character to the house, and gives it more curb appeal. We are very happy with the way it turned out, and plan on painting all the windows of the house that way. Eventually, we will probably upgrade our windows and get new ones (that aren't as drafty). When we do that, we'll stick with the black sashes. We really love them!
 

 
I don't have a finished picture without all the tape off, but you get the idea. Once we finished painting them, we put the shutters back up and called it a day and a job well done. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Window Face-Lift

After painting the door we decided to make another small improvement to our curb appeal: paint the windows. Its amazing how much of a difference cleaning up things like trim will make. When we were painting the sides of the house it felt like painting the window and door frames really made our work pop. So, we got to work on bringing that clean, just painted white look to the front of the house.

The front windows really needed some attention, not just for the curb appeal, but for maintenance purposes as well. Most of them had paint stripped off so lots of bare wood was showing. If left this way, we could have been looking at some serious wood damage - and a lot more work than just painting.

 

See what I mean? Gross. So we started with the fun filled job of prep work - taking down the shutters and then scraping the windows. Taking down the shutters ended up being more of a task than we originally anticipated. Most of the screws were stripped bare, so we had to get creative and use some vice grips to get them off.


Once we (finally) got all the shutters off, we removed the storms and finished some other basic prep work. The windows were finally ready for some paint, so off we went to the store.

 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Birthday Brunch

Jon's sister's birthday is in February, and this year we decided to have her over for a birthday brunch. We were so happy with the way it turned out, we had to share!

There is something to be said about a really good brunch. Nothing fancy, just some breakfast staples, strong coffee, great company, and excellent champagne.

 
Jon tried out a new way to make home fries (boiling then baking, usually we just pan fry) and then made an open-faced egg sandwich with fig, prosciutto, and arugula on a toasted french baguette.
 
Egg Sandwich:
Eggs (1 per person)
French Baguette, halved lengthwise
Fig Jam
Fresh Arugula
Prosciutto, pan fried
 
Pan fry the prosciutto by putting a slice in a pan on the stove top over medium heat. Keep an eye on it, as it will crisp up rather fast. Toast the french baguette, then spread the Fig Jam on it. Top with fresh arugula, the fried prosciutto, and a fried egg.
 
 
We also made a dutch baby and a breakfast spinach pie. There are a thousand recipes of dutch pancakes around, but ours is very simple:
 
Dutch Baby
2 Tbs. butter
2 Eggs
1/2 C. Flour
1/2 C. Milk
1 tsp. Vanilla
 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the butter in a cast iron pan and put in the oven to melt as the oven preheats. In a bowl, mix together the other ingredients until they are combined. Once the butter is melted, swirl it around the pan to coat evenly. Pour the batter into the pan, and bake until puffed and golden, about 25-30 minutes. Serve with fresh fruit.
 



The brunch was a success and left us full for hours. We were so happy to have Jon's sister over to celebrate with her. I can't wait to find another excuse to cook all of this again!