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For months I’ve been watching the construction just around the corner from my house.  This is part of the excitement of living in a popular growing city, I just hope we don’t get too popular.  I’d like to keep my commute under an hour into Austin.  But if I do get stuck in a sea of suburbanites, at least a good cup of java is going to be available en route to the ninth layer of congestion hell.

I don’t want to spoil it though!  Can you keep this a secret?

Dazzle Coffee is opening in Round Rock!

Dazzle Coffee Round Rock TX

I saw some activity at the site yesterday and poked around their Facebook page.  I’m waiting to confirm the grand opening date (it might be TODAY)!

There’s one thing in the kitchen’s basic handbook that gives me panic attacks.

Pie crust.

Yeah, yeah.  Go ahead and laugh.  I’ll wait until you’re done.

Seriously, making pie crust was my culinary kryptonite.  If my life hinged on my ability to make an apple pie from scratch (without the assistance of a certain puffy little cartoon chef on a box of *gasp* pre-made pie dough) I would be slaughtered.  But, I think staring this challenge in the face has helped quell those fears.

This Thanksgiving I decided to make butter tarts, with a gluten-free tart shell.  Tell me where you can find tart shells that are gluten-free, tasty, and affordable in Austin?  My solution was Blackbird Bakery‘s pie and pastry blend.  The only hitch in my plan was having to prepare the crust for my tarts myself.

Karen Morgan, the genius that she is, took all the uncertainty out of pie crust made at home.  And it’s gluten-free to boot!  Bonus points for being non-GMO and tree nut free.

I used brown rice flour for dusting my pastry mat, which was coarser than the recommended glutinous rice flour (or sweet rice flour).  It did give a sable texture to the crust which was not rejected by anyone too busy to notice they were gluten-free because they were shoving a second helping in their mouths.

Mission complete!

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Texas Rio Star Grapefruit (1)

TexaSweet sent me six huge grapefruit to play with.  I had ideas whirling before the package landed on my doorstep.

The juice was so sweet and my kids devoured the first two grapefruits before I could do anything with them!  I managed to keep one to prepare a bright and refreshing mojito.

Like your traditional mojito, I muddled 3 or 4 fresh mint leaves with a teaspoon of sugar in the bottom of a glass.  I juiced half a grapefruit and added it to my glass.  Plenty of ice cubes and 2 oz. of rum, then ginger ale.  To make it fancy, if you were entertaining friends, save strips of the peel and the tip of the mint sprigs to garnish the drink.

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And guess who forgot to take a picture before devouring it?

Me.

Oops.

I can tell you about it though!

I was in Whole Foods at Gateway during my lunch break yesterday and saw the bountiful array of seafood.  Whole Red Snapper plucked from the water and on grand display on ice in wood crates.  Smoked fish.  Fresh fillets.  So many choices!  I settled on half a pound of bay scallops and a pound of mussels.  These were to foundation of my pasta dish.

The thought of fresh made pasta crossed my mind.  I didn’t buy any semolina so it remained an idea for next time.

Once home from work, I fried bacon and an orange pepper.  Took those out of the pan and used the bacon fat to sear the scallops.  Took the scallops out after a couple of minutes and heated marinara sauce.  Cleaned mussels were tossed in the pan and covered, they steamed until popping open.  The bacon, pepper, and scallops joined the cooked mussels.  Of course there was a pot of spaghetti cooking in the background.

Toss some pasta with the sauced seafood and enjoy!

If I make this again I’ll try to snap a photo for you.

 

 

 

 

A real vacation. For realz.

I can think of a few Food Network hosts whom have staked their claim in the Nevada desert, but which eatery would you recommend? Or is there a perfect place to enjoy lingering conversations over a juicy tender steak?

One restaurant (if it still qualifies as such) that caught my eye was the Peppermill.  A 24-hour diner which was featured as a set in CSI, and I dunno… Casino!?!

Any suggestions from the audience? What dish would make you crawl across the desert to have again?

I really enjoy the different flavors of frozen yogurt at Front Porch.  It’s the perfect way to treat the kids any time of the year.  They always make crazy sundaes with the toppings.  Sierra loves the balls of fruit juice, Ben always goes for Cinnamon Toast Crunch (which btw goes with the chocolate flavor and reminds me of Mexican hot cocoa).

Join their club to get discounts on more frozen yogurt. Yum!

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Check them out on Facebook.

Time flies!  Thanks everyone who reads my blog.  Sorry the posts haven’t been as frequent lately, I’ve been busy with, well…. everything.

 

Much love,

xox Heather

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