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Abe’s Magic Hot Dog

17 Aug

This is the latest obsession in our house (well, not our house exactly, since I’m generally not the biggest fan of hot dogs, but anytime Abe gets a chance to show this off, he does).

What you are looking at is a plate of (nitrate free, organic) hot dogs that have been spiral cut around a skewer, removed from the skewer, and then grilled on the BBQ.  According to Abe, the outside is caramelized while the insides are slowly cooked through.  This shape of hot dog also holds condiments well and fits along the entire bun.

On the same night we enjoyed Abe’s magic hot dogs plus Nikki’s amazing homemade corn dogs – both admittedly delicious.     

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A Summer Salad For Yuki

3 Aug

This post was going to be dedicated to this beautiful summer salad with spinach, crisp gala apples, white peaches, and avocado.

But, I just found out my poor family dog was attacked by coyotes so instead it will be a tribute to him.  He’s OK.  Just butt-hurt (sad!) with stitches all over.  Poor little guy!

Food Is Beautiful

3 Jul

Kate’s Magic Pancake

14 Jun

If I said we had guests in town every weekend of the year I would be exaggerating, but only slightly.  Often, when we do have guests in town, we make brunch at home.

When we were in Austin a few weeks ago, Kate made this amazing fluffy pancake (a family recipe) that I decided is now my go-to for any brunch at home.  For those of you who have followed this blog from the beginning, you know I’m not really a baker and I tend not to follow recipes.  But this one is easy, super quick, and feeds a bunch of people all at once (the hardest part about serving breakfast or brunch is keeping everything warm – not a problem with this magical pancake).

Kate’s Magic Fluffy Pancake (No idea what Kate actually calls it!)

Preheat oven to 400.

Melt some butter (Kate uses half a stick – I went with about a quarter stick) in a ten inch skillet.

In the meantime, in a blender, combine half a cup of flour, half a cup of milk, a quarter teaspoon of salt, and four eggs.  Blend.

Pour mix into skillet.  Cook until bottom starts to get hard but the top is still moist.  Run a spatula around the edge to loosen the bottom from the pan.  Use a knife to make an X across the top of the pancake (don’t cut all the way through).

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until top browns and puffs out.

While the pancake is baking, core four apples.  Slice in rounds or traditional slices.  Cook in a pan with a touch of butter, sugar, and cinnamon, until soft.  

Take the pancake out of the oven.  Top with apples and serve with syrup.  Serves 4-5.  Chicken apple sausage makes a great side.

Yum.

Afternoon Delight

8 Jun

These days, great restaurants (and great dining experiences) are a dime a dozen, on this blog and out there in the world.  This makes me happy, of course, since I love good food more than anything.

Every once in a while, though, a restaurant will do something that is better than great food – something small – something interesting – that stays with me.

After Ari’s medical school graduation, we went to Vintner Grill in Sommerville (Sommerlin?  Something like that.), Nevada, just outside of Las Vegas.  On the whole, the meal was lovely.  Very good.  But two things in particular were a delight:

This butter dish, with olive oil dipping cups embedded in it.  With a fresh basket of rolls, thick cut rustic wheat bread, and brioche, I could have eaten this all night and been happy (did I mention I am over my fear of butter?).

And, this cheese plate, with house made goat, sheep, and cow’s milk cheeses, pear preserves, dried fruit, and honey.

Delightful.

(Cute sister and cute outdoor dining area, too!)

Happy (Very) Belated Birthday To Me

7 Jun

This year my birthday came and went and I hardly noticed.  But, we did make a stop at North Pond, our favorite birthday tradition (and, if pressed, our favorite restaurant in Chicago).  Hard to beat last year’s North Pond birthday post – if you haven’t read it and you’re into food porn, you should – though I did snap a picture of my special Happy Birthday petit fours.

Keep Austin Weird – The Weirdest

25 May

Last Austin post.  These post-series take a lot longer to complete now that I am not posting everyday!

So, on one of the last nights in Austin, we were invited to a charity event at the house of a friend of a friend.  This house, the event – completely random, totally extraordinary.  Among others, the Barley Swine chefs were there!  Having just eaten there the night before, this was extra incentive to get excited.

But here’s the mention-worthy stuff: the woman who owned the home (and hosted the event) was a welder (with, rumor has it, a diamond tooth – I didn’t see it – some say it is merely a diamond implanted into her tooth – hm . . .) and she welded her entire house out of strange metals and other uber-rustic materials.  The result was a house unlike any other I had ever seen before.  Tall metal doors and chalkboard walls and wood carvings and a to-die-for kitchen and other objects made the inside and outside nearly indistinguishable.  It was like visiting the most upscale, artful, designed junk yard of all time.

You can see for yourself:

Austin is totally weird.  And I loved it.

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