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Travel Eats
Thursday
Jun302011

Goodbye Dinner

Time for one last dinner en famile before Ian heads east...I didn't feel like grocery shopping after a long day packing and picking up my truck after the 90K service.  Luckily I had frozen two steel head filets and some leftover asparagus.  I wanted something fresh and green--mostly so I wouldn't feel too guilty eating apple pie for dessert.

The Thai basil and lemongrass pictured above came from my container garden.  I made a pesto and spread it over the filets.  I used my trusty ginger grater prior to adding it to the mortar...

If you are every lucky enough to get your hands on some fresh wasabi root you can use the same grater. 

Asian Pesto

1 cup Thai basil leaves

Juice of two key limes

2"piece ginger, grated

salt

1 stalk lemon grass--tender white part only

olive or grapeseed oil

one large garlic clove

Mash all in mortar or food processor, adding enough oil to make a paste.

Spread over fish and cook in 400F oven for 15 minutes.

My second asparagus shaving experience was no better than my first, and I vowed to a get a super sharp peeler before I attempt this again....

Asian Style Shaved Asparagus

1/2 lb asparagus spears--shaved thinly

3 TBS soy sauce

3 TBS rice wine vinegar

1 TBS sesame oil

Pepper

Sesame seeds

Kim---this is Korean toasted/salted seaweed, way tastier than Japanese nori, even if it expired a year ago...

Toss asparagus with all except the kim and sesame seeds....add them last so they will be nice and crunchy.

You can't leave Texas without one last margarita....

Tuesday
Jun282011

Cilantro Peanut Pasta with Asparagus

Isn't this Fire King soup bowl jaunty?  It looks like something you ate beef stroganoff out of in the '70s.  I got it in Wimberley at a little vintage shop.  Too bad they only had one, but at least I have a new prop for food photography.

Dinner was nearly a fail tonight after I discovered the bag of sugar snap peas had gone bad...luckily I had some asparagus that I could repurpose.  We served this warm; it would be delicious chilled--just thin the sauce a bit more.

1/3 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup almond butter (you could use all PB if you like, I just ran out)

4 TBS soy sauce

1 Large garlic clove

4 TBS rice wine vinegar

1 TBS sesame oil

1 small bunch cilantro (stems included)

freshly ground pepper

1 bunch asparagus, cut into bite sized pieces, blanched

1 box bow-tie pasta, cooked and drained

Put all ingredients in bowl of food processor (except asparagus/pasta).  Blend, thinning with water until desired consistency.  Toss with warm pasta and asparagus.  Season with more pepper/salt as needed.  Garnish with cilantro leaves.   

Oh, did you want to see the pasta and not just the awesome bowl?  Here you go....

 

Sunday
Jun262011

There's a New Sheriff in Town

With Waffleman heading (temporarily) east, Sophie and I challenged each other to make a new waffle recipe every Sunday.  This week we chose Cinnamon Roll Waffles from Recipe Girl.  Sophie took charge of measuring right away..."I spilled a little."

"You do the eggs."  I declined--how can you get good at something if you never practise? "There's a shell..."

"Ooh, this looks cool. Take a picture."

 These made the lightest, crispiest waffles I have had in a while.  We did make the cinnamon-brown sugar topping, and the adults put mascarpone on their waffles which was an easy replacement for the cream-cheese topping.  I added some peaches...

How good were they?

Going, going....

.....gone....

Even Waffleman conceded defeat. 

Saturday
Jun252011

A Skinnier Smoothie

Sophie is a smoothie junkie.  Like a tractor beam, a smoothie on a coffeeshop menu will draw her attention, and she will focus all her efforts on obtaining it.  It may work if she is with Ian, and heaven help us if the two of them are anywhere near a Jamba Juice.  It kills me to spend $5.00 on a sugar-laden version of a potentially healthy snack. 

Why not make your own?  I used to use orange juice but have recently abandoned it in favor of unsweetened almond milk for an even lower sugar beverage.  Bananas are a great anchor for a  smoothie, they thicken it and make it creamy without taking over the flavor profile. 

2 bananas

6 strawberries

1 cup blue berries

2 kiwi

1 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk (you could use soy or dairy too)

Put all in blender with 2 scoops ice and blend

You can use any combination of fruits; a great way to use up some ripe fruit all at once. Way cheaper and healthier than Jamba Juice.  This smoothie will make your butt look smaller.  

 

 

Wednesday
Jun222011

Rain, and Crumbcake!

This is what crumbcake looks like photographed outside while it's raining.   We were awoken by our cat's frantic pleas to come inside as a thunderstorm finally brought rain to Texas in the first appreciable amount since May! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 This is how crumbcake looks after a certain preteen who has been thinking about the cake all night gets a-hold of it.

Or a perfectionist.

This recipe was simple and reminded me a great deal of Entenmann's crumbcake.  Entenmann's crumbcake was a childhood favorite of my sister and I. Delicious, because only youngsters can overlook dry, tasteless pastry--I give you Poptarts as a prime example--in the setting of a generous sugary topping.  This recipe gives you cake that is worth eating, and not just for the crumbs!  Thanks to Stacey Snacks Online for the recipe, originally from Smitten Kitchen.  Here it is with my modifications:

Better than Entenmann's crumb cake

For the topping:

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

big pinch kosher salt

1 stick butter, melted

1 1/3 cup flour

Mix sugar, spices and melted butter together.  Add flour, stirring with a sturdy spoon until a solid dough forms.  Set aside.

For the cake:

1 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

6 TBS butter, softened, cut in 8 pieces

1 large egg

2 tsp vanilla

In a small bowl mix together vanilla, buttermilk and egg.  In the bowl of a stand mixer put dry ingredients and mix briefly using paddle attachment.  Add butter and a bit of the wet mixture and beat until combined.  Add remaining wet mixture in 2 batches, scraping down between.

Pour batter into a greased 10" springform pan.  Squeeze topping mixture into a ball and crumble over cake, covering evenly.  Bake at 325 F for ~30 min or until cake tester comes out clean.  Cool completely. Dust generously with powdered sugar.  Cut into big pieces, fight over who gets seconds.