Wednesday, March 28, 2018

SXSW: The Food I Ate

Austin is a foodie town, brimming with amazing restaurants and any type of food truck one could imagine. Being in town for the SXSW festival, I wanted to make sure that I experienced a little bit of everything in addition to eating at the actual parties. Here's a quick rundown: 

Day One: This fourteen hour day had me in a bit of a daze because of my 14 hour drive the day before. But you guessed it, BBQ! From the legendary Franklin's BBQ. Delicious and worth the wait. 

Day Two: I'm a major fan of Pinterest, so naturally I headed up to their super cool party on Rainey Street. They had life-sized monitors from which to pin your favorites. I was in heaven. Not to mention delicious tacos and free drinks. Thanks Pinterest!   

Day Three: Food Truck Day! After a few inspirational sessions on Marketing and Branding, I headed up to Rainey Street again to hit the food truck lot. It was a tough decisions, SO many choices. I settled with a Gyro from Big Fat Greek Gyros. The name says it all. Delicious! 

Day Four and Five: Cheese, Cheese and more Cheese! Thanks to the State of Wisconsin. I was walking out of a very serious and Debbie Downer session on internet fake news tactics and saw a long line outside of a conference room. Then I heard someone yelling cheese. Wisconsin had over 100 cheese with all the fixings AND WINE in one room. I can't remember feeling so happy. It was dreamlike. I felt like I was in Willa Wonka's Cheese Factory. Of course, I ate at other places that day but this was the highlight, so much so that I snuck a big plate of cheese out for my starving friend Allen, pictured here. 

Day Six: Met with an old college friend and sorority sister, Shannon and her buddy for drinks at The Ranch. After a few drinks, they insisted that we check out Tumble 22 for some seriously delicious fried chicken. You choose the heat: wimpy, hot, dang hot or fire in the hole. I went with hot, which had my mouth on fire so I cannot imagine the hotter options. I will definitely hit this spot up next time. 

Day Seven: By this day, I was running out of steam. The festival had turned mostly to music so I thought I would spend the day running around Austin. A few days before I had been standing in line for a movie - Eighth Grade, so I had a few hours to kill and the guy next to me, a film teacher from the University of Rhode Island. He was raving about Cherrywood Coffeehouse. So I thought I would check it out. The best breakfast taco I have ever eaten. The outdoor seating had a band playing and it was all around a super chill place for breakfast. Austin is super dog friendly so Bailey got to run around and chase some birds while I ate. 

That evening, I ventured down to S. Congress. My favorite Austin neighborhood. Music was playing everywhere. It was a cool vibe and was the best final night in Austin. I've always loved S. Congress cafe so I stopped in for a sangria and a fabulous duck and oyster gumbo. I walked around a little bit more and took in all the great music. I wasn't really hungry but since when has that ever stopped me. I realized that I was craving some Tex-Mex. Curra's Grill was exactly what I was craving. I had the enchiladas. 

Those are the highlights! I ate a lot of food but walking around for 12+ hours for seven days in a row I didn't feel guilty. Until the next time! 

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Greek Breakfast Casserole

Greek Breakfast Casserole


  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup uncooked long-grain rice
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil Divided
  • 2 1/4 cups thinly sliced leek (about 2 medium)
  • 3 cups shredded zucchini (about 1 medium)
  • 1/2 tablespoons chopped dried mint
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese plus extra if you love feta


Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan; add rice. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Place rice in a large bowl.

Preheat oven to 325°.

Heat half the olive oil a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add leek; cover and cook 12 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from pan; add leek to rice. Heat remaining olive oil; increase heat to medium. Add zucchini; cook 6 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from pan; add zucchini to rice. Add next 5 ingredients (through eggs) to rice mixture; stir until blended.

Pour egg mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 325° for 45 minutes or until golden brown and set.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Shrimp Mushroom Risotto

Shrimp - Mushroom Risotto

Just do it, making

2¼ hours | 1 hour prep


  1. Toss shrimp with 1/2 tsp marjoram, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp of pepper.
  2. Heat oil over medium high heat.
  3. Add shrimp, cook 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Remove shrimp from pan and set aside.
  5. Add mushrooms to pan and cook 4-5 minutes until browned.
  6. Remove mushrooms from pan and set aside.
  7. Add butter, onion, garlic, remaining marjoram, salt and pepper to pan and cook till tender 3-4 minutes.
  8. Add rice, and stir for 2-3 minutes.
  9. In a small pot bring broth and turmeric to boil, remove from heat and cover with lid to keep hot.
  10. Add wine to rice mixture, stirring constantly until wine is absorbed 2-3 minutes.
  11. Add 1 cup of hot broth at a time, until almost all liquid is absorbed.
  12. Rice should be tender, 25-30 minutes.
  13. Add shrimp and mushrooms to last 5 minutes of cooking.
  14. Remove from heat and sir in cheese, sprinkle with parsley and lemon zest-- Serve immediately.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Artichoke Mushroom Risotto

Artichoke Heart and Mushroom Risotto

Makes 4 main-course servings.

4 cups chicken broth (40 fl ounces)
1 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
3/4 pound fresh mushrooms (choose what works for your budget, porcini are great) stems discarded and caps cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
2 large fresh artichoke hearts, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices, prepared or

1 15 oz can Artichoke Hearts
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (10 ounces)
1/2 cup dry white wine (a good Spanish white)
2 ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 cup, though I used half)

Put broth and water in a sauce pan and heat up until warm, then turn to low. Mark sure it is always heated.

Heat oil with 1 tablespoon butter in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then saute mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a bowl.

Cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter in saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine and cook, stirring, until absorbed, about 1 minute.

Ladle in 1 cup simmering broth and cook at a strong simmer, stirring, until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue simmering and adding broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition be absorbed before adding next, until rice is just tender and looks creamy, 22 to 24 minutes. (Save leftover broth for thinning.)

Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Gently stir in artichokes and mushrooms, then cover pan and let stand 1 minute. If desired, thin risotto with some of remaining broth. Serve immediately with remaining cheese on the side.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Acorn Squash Puree

I've had a bunch of acorn squash in my car leftover from a photo shoot a few weeks ago. I looked at tons of recipes but nothing that jumped out at me. It's definitely one of those winter vegetables that gets overlooked. In the end I came up with this easy recipe, just a bit time consuming. But it's something to do while I watch the Bronco game. You can also substitute Butternut Squash.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

2 acorn squash cut in half, seeded
1 tbsp unsalted butter
salt and pepper

Put the squash cut side down in a baking sheet. Fill the baking sheet with water just a 1/2 inch above the the squash. Bake for 45 minutes. Let sit for about 20 minutes to cool. Peal the squash and put into a food processor. Add the butter, salt and pepper and process until smooth. Taste test for additional seasoning.

This can be used as a sauce, eaten as is or used for soup.

Serves 4 as an appetizer.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fall Apple Oatmeal Crisp

Still on the oatmeal kick. These apples came straight from the Farmer's Market. It's a combination with Jonagold and Honeycrisp apples. The jonagolds are mushy so they make the sauce and the Honeycrisp provide that familiar apple taste.

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 tspn vanilla extract
  • 3 cups apples - peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 pear chopped (optional, adds sweetness)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C.) Lightly grease an 8 inch square pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, oats, flour, vanilla and butter. Mix until crumbly. Place half of crumb mixture in pan. Put apples in a bowl with sugar and cinnamon and mix well so the apples are coated with the mix. Spread the apples evenly over crumb mixture. Top with remaining crumb mixture.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Oatmeal Banana Walnut Bread - Low Fat

The key to this recipe is the molasses. A vanilla flavored oatmeal packet takes the place of vanilla extract although extract can used. Applesauce significantly reduces the fat. The oatmeal packet really drives home the fiber and makes it a bit different then most breakfast breads. Feel free to experiment.


Set oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan.
In a bowl sift together white and whole wheat flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
In another bowl beat the butter with sugar and molasses for about 2 minutes.
Add in eggs, beat until combined.
Add in bananas and applesauce ; beat until blended.
Add in the flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moistened.
Spoon the batter into prepared baking pan.
Bake for about 1 hour, or until bread tests done.
Cool for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Serves 8.