It’s Hatch Chile Time: Hatch Chile Shrimp Recipe

By | Dinner, Featured | 2 Comments

Living in Texas one becomes accustomed to many different things.  One in particular is people’s obsession with beer and the other is with hot and spicy foods, which often includes peppers.  On a recent grocery trip to our local Central Market, we saw that it was time for the “Hatch Chile Festival”.  I’ve heard of Hatch Chiles before, but never cooked with them, so I was curious. I did a little research and learned that Hatch Chile Peppers come from Hatch, New Mexico. In addition to their flavor, Hatch peppers are unique because they have a short growing season and are normally only available a couple of months per year.

I saw specialty hatch salsas, hatch chile breads and even hatch tortilla chips. I had to find out what the craze was about, so I found myself picking out hatch chile peppers to experiment with a new recipe. Lucky for me, I discovered one the yummiest peppers I’ve ever had. I found that this shrimp recipe showcases both beer and hatch peppers in a bold and flavorful way and hopefully you will come to love it just as much as I do!

Ingredients

[list]
  • 1 lb Shrimp – Clean and deveined
  • 8 0z Pale Lager (I’ve used both Corona and Landshark for this recipe)
  • Juice of 2 Limes
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1/4 Cup Cilantro Chopped
  • 1 Hatch Pepper (Seeded and roughly chopped)
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Shallot Roughly Chopped
  • 1/2 Tsp White Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
[/list]
Directions
[list type=”numlist”]
  1. Combine the ingredients (except the shrimp) and mix in a blender until smooth. About one minute on high.
  2. Cover shrimp with marinade and let marinate 30 minutes to 1 hour in the fridge.
  3. When the shrimp are ready to cook, heat a frying pan on medium heat.
  4. Add the shrimp and add half of the remaining hatch chile marinade.
  5. Cook on each side 2-3 minutes. You can tell the shrimp is done when it turns pink.
  6. Remove the shrimp from the pan, but leave the marinade.
  7. Cook the remaining marinade for another 5 minutes and allow it to thicken.
  8. Cover the shrimp with the sauce and you’re ready to enjoy.
[/list]
Other Hatch Chile Recipes:
[list]

Can’t find hatch peppers, checkout this article for substitute peppers.

Irie Bean Coffee Bar – Austin, TX

By | Restaurants We Luv | No Comments

“Irie” is a Jamaican word meaning “it’s all good” or “a state of harmony.”

Last Thursday I attended a media event at Irie Bean Coffee Bar to check out their new Caribbean menu. Prepared by Chef Zach Hanson, formerly of the Four Season’s Trio, the new menu was created to bring island inspired street food to the thriving Austin food scene. The new menu features several entrees all reasonably priced ($7 at the time of this article). Overall, I was impressed with the quality and balance of the food and the precise execution of each dish.

Quinoa & Sweet Potato Griddle Cake

When I saw this listed on the menu, I wasn’t all that excited; however, I was pleasantly surprised. Made from a combination of quinoa and sweet potatoes, the griddle cake had a great crisp texture and a wonderful flavor. The pickled onions and fresh baby greens are a perfect contrast to the sweetness of the coconut sweet onion sauce. Highly recommended.

Calypso Jerk Chicken

An interpretation of traditional jerk chicken, this dish features jerk-seasoned chicken thigh served with a mango-habanero BBQ sauce, slaw and a side of Irie rice. The dish had a nice kick, but the spice did not overpower the other flavors.

Jerk Fish Tacos

Served on a roll for the tasting, this was my favorite dish of the night. The Tilapia was perfectly seasoned and cooked, and all the components worked so well together. I guess you could say that the fish tacos for me were “irie”.

Pulled Pork Slider

The pulled pork slider features slow-cooked pulled pork topped with Mango-Habanero BBQ sauce and a fried plantain served on a Hawaiian roll. The pork was cooked perfectly and was not fatty or greasy, which sometimes is a problem with pulled pork. I also loved the crispy texture of the fried plantain, which was a nice contrast to the bread and pork.

Dinner is served Thursday through Sunday from 5 to 10pm. In addition to the new menu, Irie Coffee bar serves Certified Organic & Fair Trade coffee, and has a great selection of local, domestic and foreign beers and wines. They also have a great back patio with a stage for weekly live music.

Location:
2310 S Lamar
Austin, TX 78704

For more information visit http://www.iriebean.com/.

Crock Pot Recipe: BBQ Pulled Pork

By | Crock Pot, Dinner, Featured | No Comments

I love pulled pork, but who has the time and attention to smoke a pork shoulder? Luckily, all you need is a crock pot, about 15-20 minutes to prep and some patience, and you can have a delicious pulled pork.

Recipe
[list]
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8-10 hours with Crock Pot set to low
Ingredients
[list]
  • 3 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
  • 2 Teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 Teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 cup Jarritos Mexican Cola (You can use any dark soda like Pepsi, Coke, Dr. Pepper, Root Beer etc.)
  • 1/2 Large Onion
  • 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce (We used K.C. Masterpiece Original)
  • Cilantro
  • 3-4 pound pork shoulder
Disclaimer: Jarritos Mexican Cola was provided free of charge for use in recipes.
[/list]
Directions
[list type=”numlist”]
    1. Combine salt, smoked paprika, garlic powder and pepper to create your rub
    2. Generously coat pork shoulder with dry rub on both sides
    3. Place pork in crock pot. Pour in 1 cup of any dark cola into your crock pot. Do not pour it directly on the pork to avoid washing off your dry rub. We use Jarritos Mexican Cola because it has no high fructose corn syrup.
    4. Add chopped onion and cilantro
    5. Coat pork with BBQ sauce
    6. Cook the pork for a total of 8-10 hours with crock pot on low. The pork is ready when it pulls away from the bone and shreds easily.
    7. After the pork is done cooking, use two forks to shred the pork. I also like to remove some of the fat when I’m pulling the pork. I also add a table spoon or two of BBQ sauce for a little extra flavor.
    8. Finally, place on a bun and enjoy!
[/list]

Do you have a favorite crock pot recipe? Share it with us in the comments.

Miette – San Francisco, CA

By | Desserts, Restaurants We Luv | 2 Comments

If you are looking for a sugar fix, Miette is sure to deliver this and so much more. Conveniently located inside the San Francisco Ferry Building (and several other locations),  this cute bakery has what you need to satisfy that sweet tooth.

Our favorites include:

    • Cupcakes (named the best cupcake in America by Food Network)
    • Classic french macarons
    • Cakes
    • Cookies
    • Homemade marshmallows (just to name a few!)

We tried their signature Gingerbread cupcake with cream cheese frosting and chocolate cupcake with strawberry frosting.  I must say they were DELICIOUS.  If you can’t make it to San Francisco they also have mail order directly from their website.

Their macarons were simply the best I have ever had! The soft chewy texture made you want to keep coming back for more.

Their strawberry shortcake was so moist and light I felt like I was eating a bit of heaven on a plate.  This might have been one of my favorite desserts in all of the city!  But lastly their macarons were simply the best I have ever had.  The soft chewy texture made you want to keep coming back for more.  Luckily we were staying right across the street from this bakery so we made it a daily ritual to try something new, as you should too!


 

Jarritos Mexican Soda Review

By | Drinks | One Comment

A few weeks ago, we were contacted about doing a review of Jarritos soda. For a minute I was hesitant. For those of you who know me, I don’t drink soda very often, mainly because most soft drink companies use high fructose corn syrup. After doing a little research about Jarritos, I was relieved to find out that it’s made with 100% real sugar and that’s something that’s very important to me.

You may not have heard of Jarritos before, but it’s been popular in Mexico for more than 60 years. After trying it for the first time, I can see why it’s become such a popular beverage. Overall, we really enjoyed Jarritos, especially the wide-range of flavors they offer (listed below).  Not only is it great served over ice, but Jarritos makes a great mixer and the assortment of fruit flavors is great for recipes. In fact, over the next couple weeks, we’ll be featuring a couple new recipes using Jarritos.

Available Flavors:
  • Mandarin
  • Fruit Punch
  • Lime
  • Jamaica (Hibiscus)
  • Mango
  • Strawberry
  • Mexican Cola
  • Pineapple
  • Tamarind
  • Guava
  • Toronja (Grapefruit)

On their Facebook page, Jarritos is having all kinds of exciting promotions. They’re having a daily scavenger hunt where you can follow clues to win free sodas, t-shirts, gift cards and other great prizes. There’s also currently a daily summer promotion where you can win cash instantly just for signing up and redeeming your cap codes – including a cash prize of up to $100,000 now through the end of September! Head on over to Facebook and check it out.

Have you tried Jarritos before? What’s your favorite flavor?

Make Magnolia Bakery’s Delicious Desserts at Home

By | Desserts | 2 Comments

Last summer, when we were in New York City, we had the pleasure of visiting Magnolia Bakery in Grand Central Station. While we were there  we tried everything from the world famous banana pudding (one of the best we’ve ever had), cupcakes (the vanilla are my favorite), brownies, and bars.  After tasting their yummy treats we were inspired to recreate the experience at home.

We can’t make a trip to NYC every time we crave Magnolia’s delicious baked goods. Fortunately for us, Magnolia has published their own cookbook, so you can recreate their recipes in your own home.

Recently we made the banana pudding and vanilla cupcakes with vanilla butter-cream icing.  I have found our 2 favorite recipes (links below). These and many other recipes are available in the cookbook:

Magnolia’s Vanilla Cupcakes:

Find the recipe for the vanilla cupcakes here.

Magnolia’s Banana Pudding

Find the recipe for the banana pudding here.

They truly come out just as good as the treats we had at the NYC location.  I totally recommend purchasing the cookbook so you can have the full Magnolia Bakery experience, especially if visiting NYC is out of the question.

If you’re ever in the city, CHECK THIS PLACE OUT! If you can’t make it to NYC we highly recommend the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook available on Amazon.

 

Restaurants We Luv: Wayfare Tavern – San Francisco, CA

By | Restaurants We Luv | 3 Comments

I’m sure you are all familiar with celebrity Chef Tyler Florence.  However, I bet few of you have ever heard of his restaurant Wayfare Tavern.

If you are like us and don’t live in the bay area, finding this place and actually getting a reservation is apparently like winning the culinary lottery.  Lucky for us, we had a wonderful concierge at the Hotel Vitale that managed to get us 2 of the most coveted seats in this tasty tavern.  After eating there for our three year wedding anniversary, it’s easy to see how this is one of San Francisco’s top restaurants.

Starting out with the ambiance, the place is filled with young, classy business execs sipping on a cold brew at the bar hoping to get a seat inside.  Lucky for us, we didn’t have to wait long before the hostess escorted us upstairs into the small but cozy dining room above all the chaos.

 

If you are looking for a quiet intimate dinner, this is not the place for you. However, the service alone made this restaurant the BEST dining experience I ever had.  (But make sure you make your reservations early, because the place is so small it’s very hard to get a reservation or else you might be stuck waiting for service at the bar which is often packed).  You have a designated beverage filler who makes sure you are never thirsty in addition to your waiter, who might I add had the best recommendations and was so kind and attentive. Our waiter Lane, thoroughly explained the menu to us, made great recommendations and made us feel at home.

Appetizer:

We started off with the Steak Tartare, which apparently is AMAZING.  I am not one to eat raw food, but my husband on the other hand could not stop raving about how this was the best thing he’d eaten in San Francisco.

Stake Tartare Wayfare Tavern

Entrees:

Moving onto the entrees, John ordered the Wayfare Tavern Burger “Le Grand” with a fried egg and I had the famous organic fried chicken.  I will now say that his burger was THE BEST hamburger I have ever had in my entire life.  This is probably due to the fact that it consists of 4 pieces of choice meat that have been grinded together to perfection.  Thanks to the world wide web, I found this link to the recipe. It’s easy to see how some claim this to be the best burger in all of San Francisco.

 

The organic fried chicken, although a bit pricey for fried chicken, was quite tasty.  I was sad to find out that it didn’t come with any sides aside from roasted garlic and herbs, so lucky for me I shared the fries that came along with my husbands burger which was enough for the 2 of us.

 

Dessert:

For dessert we opted for the Summer Berry Shortcake with Creamsicle ice cream.  It was so light and refreshing, the perfect summer dessert.  The ice cream was the best part!

 

Our Thoughts:

Overall, the food, service, and ambiance make this one of our new favorite restaurants and we will be sure to visit it on any future trips we make to San Francisco and you should too! We highly recommend it.

Classic Homemade Hummus

By | Healthy Snacks | 2 Comments

Hummus is a healthy snack with bold flavors. In just 10 minutes, you can have delicious homemade hummus without the extra preservatives included in most store bought varieties.

Ingredients

[list]

  • 1 3/4 cup canned organic chickpeas (look for an organic variety such as this without preservatives)
  • 1/4 Tahini (also known as sesame paste)
  • 3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • Smoked Paprika
[/list]
Directions
[list type=”numlist”]
  1. Drain, rinse and dry the canned chickpeas
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and combine until it reaches your desired texture
  3. Finish off your hummus by sprinkling with paprika
[/list] [box type=”info”] If your hummus is chunky after combining in the food processor, gradually add additional olive oil while the food processor is running (about 1-2 teaspoons). This will help to create a smooth texture.
[/box]

Do you have a favorite hummus recipe? Share it in the comments.

 

Restaurants We Luv: La Boite Cafe – Austin TX

By | Restaurants We Luv | No Comments

Not to be confused with coconut macaroons, macarons are made from a combination of egg whites, sugar, almond powder and food coloring. The cookies are filled with butter cream frosting, jam or ganache and come in a variety of colors and flavors. These small cookies have become a world-wide favorite.

Recently, I heard about La Boite Cafe on Twitter. Built from a re-purposed shipping container, La Boite features not only macarons, but also french style baked goods, fresh beverages, and sandwiches.   With a green mindset, this company really puts it’s mark on the Austin foodie scene.  We tasted a number of things on the menu but really enjoyed the macarons. In fact, we ended up taking a dozen home with us to share with our family.  The variety of colors and flavors were very exciting to try.  I recommend this creative cafe to anyone who has a desire to indulge in these heavenly little bites.

[box type="info"]Insider tip: Take some home, pop them in the fridge, and enjoy after the filling has hardened.  We actually preferred them when they reached their refrigerated temperature.  It was tastier and less messy![/box]
[image type=”frame-css3″ align=”none” width=”300″ caption=”La Boite”]http://www.luvs2eat.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/La-Boite-Front.jpg[/image]
Featured macarons: (changes frequently)
[list]
  • Fleur de sal
  • Pistachio and Chocolate
  • Orange Blossom
  • Coffee and Chocolate
  • Peach
  • Bananas Foster[/list]
[image type=”frame-css3″ align=”none” width=”199″ pad=5 caption=”Macarons. Yum!”]http://www.luvs2eat.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/La-Boite-3.jpg[/image] [image type=”frame-css3″ align=”none” width=”300″ caption=”Chocolate Brioche”]http://www.luvs2eat.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/La-Boite-4.jpg[/image]
Location:

1700 South Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78704

Restaurants We Luv: Franklin Barbecue – Austin, TX

By | Featured, Restaurants We Luv | 5 Comments

Recently featured in Bon Appetite as the best BBQ in America, Franklin BBQ has quickly become the talk of the town. With lines forming at 9 a.m. and BBQ selling out as early as 1 p.m., I was extremely excited to get the chance to try it out. Think five year old kid on Christmas Eve excited. My wife and I both had a random Thursday off together, and what better way to spend time together than to eat great food!

Franklin BBQ 3

The one to two hour wait sounds terrible, but time seemed to pass quickly. I’ve waited in longer lines at Disney World with the end result being much less satisfying than Franklin BBQ. We met some interesting people while waiting including folks who’d driven in from Houston just for lunch and Diana even made a new four legged friend. It’s all part of the Franklin BBQ experience.

Most of the line was in the shade, but the worst part of the wait was the 15 minutes we had to spend standing in the sun shortly before we made it inside the building. Thankfully, there were waitresses selling reasonably priced Shiner and Lone Star (it’s OK to drink beer before noon in Texas) as well as other cold beverages. Once arriving at the counter, you are greeted by Aaron Franklin himself. Friendly and enthusiastic, you can tell he takes pride in his food and it shows.

Did the BBQ live up to the hype? Absolutely. The thing that amazed me the most about all the meats was that I made it half way through the meal before I realized I wasn’t using sauce. If you are a BBQ sauce lover, they do have a variety of tasty BBQ sauces including  an espresso sauce with a distinguished flavor. The meat was all so moist, well-seasoned and had such a great flavor there was no need for sauce (even though all their sauces are delish).

  • The brisket was moist, perfectly seasoned and had an enjoyable smoky undertone that doesn’t overpower the meat.
  • The turkey (my wife’s favorite of all the meat options) was probably the best turkey I’ve ever eaten.
  • The ribs fell right off the bone and had a mouthwatering flavor.
  • The sausage was great, but it would be hard to order sausage as a substitute for the ribs, brisket or even turkey. I’d recommend ordering an extra link on the side instead of as a substitute for the other meats.
  • The pulled pork sandwich combined pulled pork, coleslaw, pickles, onions and tasted as good as it looks.

The sides were a great compliment to the meat.

  • The potato salad was simple featuring a mustard base, perfect for non-mayonnaise eaters like my wife.
  • The coleslaw was tasty. At first glance, it looks like your average creamy coleslaw, but looks can be deceiving. The coleslaw includes a tangy flavor with a hint of vinegar.
  • The beans were good for beans, but I’d have a hard time passing up the the other sides.

I would highly recommend Franklin BBQ to anyone. If you’re going to go through the trouble of waiting in line, plan ahead. Bring a camp chair and have a cooler in the car. Order a ton of food and then pack your leftovers in the cooler on the ride home. My wife and I did this and we’ve been eating off of our leftovers for a couple days. It reheats very well.

Franklin BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

To find out more about Franklin BBQ, visit their website at http://www.franklinbarbecue.com/.