The best remedy for a lonely kitchen is a new project

Homemade Chinese BBQ Pork Loin

Homemade Chinese BBQ Pork Loin

My kitchen has been feeling neglected lately. With all the craziness of the holidays, it’s been weeks since I’ve had the time or energy to contemplate a cooking project, let alone actually accomplish one. This is probably why my list of resolutions is basically a list of foods to make!

To get back into the groove, I decided to start the new year with a two-part project: making Chinese BBQ pork and then using it as a stuffing in Chinese steamed buns (Char Siu Bao). Steamed buns are one of my favorite dim sum treats and since I hadn’t ever made them before, I thought it was about time to check them off my list of missions to accomplish.

For the steamed buns, I used a Fine Cooking recipe that I found online more than a year ago. The link can be found here. In that recipe there is a sub recipe for the BBQ pork so I started there. While I could have purchased the prepared meat from a Chinese grocer, I think there’s something infinitely more fun about a project if it’s all made from scratch.

Continue reading

Baby hasselback potatoes topped with burrata

baby hasselback potatoes with burrata

Baby hasselback potatoes with burrata, crispy chicken skin and fried garlic

I love cute food. I can’t help it — give me tiny one-bite appetizers or adorable mini anything and I will love it. There’s just something about a petite portion of food that is so pleasing.

And early summer is great time to find produce to aid with this mission. There are tiny spring onions, mini patty pan squashes and the smallest new potatoes that taste like butter. A week or so ago, I was woo-ed into buying some little red potatoes and after having roasted a batch or two, I was looking for something new to try.

I had a ball of burrata cheese in my fridge, crispy chicken skin from a recently roasted bird, and thanks to this recipe, things started to come together.

Continue reading

Waiting in line at Franklin BBQ (doing what has to be done)

Fatty brisket, ribs and sausage at Franklin's BBQ

Fatty brisket, ribs and sausage at Franklin’s BBQ

Franklin BBQ is legendary. It is supposed to be the best barbecue in the country. Aaron Franklin started his company as a food truck back in 2009 and moved into a brick and mortar building in 2011. Every day, without fail, he sells out of his amazing brisket.

Franklin's BBQ

The doors open at 11am…the line starts as early as 6 am! People bring chairs, books, coolers and make waiting for 3-6 hours as much fun as possible.

This was on our list as the one “must do” thing in Austin so we bought an inflatable cooler, a 6-pack of local beer and woke up at 7am yesterday to brave the line.

The line already forming!

The line already forming!

Continue reading

Halfway through my trip to Texas…and I’m so full!

Don’t worry — I haven’t vanished! I’m just on vacation mode (and I had a bit of camera drama) so I haven’t posted since arriving in Texas on Sunday. My husband and I have been busy enjoying Austin and its surrounding areas so expected some fun pictures soon. Here’s a few to tide you over — and make you hungry!

Fried chicken sandwich, biscuit, red eye gravy and lemon jam. Foreign and Domestic, Austin.

Fried chicken sandwich, biscuit, red eye gravy and lemon jam. Foreign and Domestic, Austin.

Smoked meats, Kreuz Market, Lockhart, TX

Pork chops, brisket and sausage from Kreuz Market in Lockhart — the BBQ capitol of Texas!

Continue reading

A new pickle will perk up old summer favorites

Pork Tacos w. Pickled Corn

Pork Tacos w. Pickled Corn

These three things are not much of a surprise to anyone who knows me: I love corn, pickled anything (except herring) and culinary magazines. So when I came across a recipe for pickled corn in the latest issue of Bon Appetit, I waited…oh, like two hours before making it.

Seriously. Two hours, no lie. The magazine arrived that afternoon, I leafed through it while basking in the sun and then it was time to start cooking.

My husband and I had decided to make tacos for dinner and I had two beautiful fresh ears of corn that I wanted to use up. I almost just shucked them and added them to the pot of beans but then I gave in and made this instead. It seemed too serendipitous to resist the temptation.

Continue reading

The best accompaniment for a new recipe is an old friend

Ricotta & Parmesan Stuffed Sweet Peppers

Ricotta & Parmesan Stuffed Sweet Peppers

Having grown up in a small town, it’s often hard for me to recall how long I’ve known someone or when I first met them. I’ve known my best friend, Nikki Sea, since before I can remember and most of my graduating class in high school I knew in preschool.

One of the people I have no recollection of being introduced to is my friend Florence. I actually remember her from my kindergarten class, though it’s very possible we met before that. While she and I were never really close, we shared enough mutual good friends to stay aware of each other throughout the years, though we could have very easily never spoken again after high school.

But strangely, as social media fate would have it, I can thank Myspace for reconnecting us about 6 or 7 years ago. I can also thank our shared love for drinking wine, eating good food and gossiping about our former schoolmates for cementing our growing friendship.

While she is currently living in Alaska, every summer Florence spends a few weeks in Portland, taking classes and tests for her studies. And every visit she sends me a text, sometimes after a full 12 months with no contact, saying she is in town. And just like that, it’s on — we do what we do best: we drink a bottle of bubbles and stuff ourselves silly while rehashing the past and catching up on the present.

Continue reading