Friday, May 29, 2015

Cheers! It's Friday


It's Friday, and although it was a short work-week for me, it has felt incredibly long. I'm ready for the weekend, and my plans definitely include a glass of wine.

I recently visited Apothecary Cafe and Wine Bar in the Rosedale area in Austin, and it was worth recommending. We sipped a lovely white wine we dined on fresh oysters and an heirloom tomato salad with creamy blue cheese.  The wine list is wonderful without being overwhelming, and the dishes are perfect for sharing. It's a great spot for a date or light bite with friends.

Not in Austin? Whip up some small shared plates at home to pair with your favorite glass of wine. If you're not quite sure about wine pairings, check out this post.

Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Behind the Curtains

Despite the crazy rains and floods this past weekend, we successfully moved into our new house and are fully unpacked. Now the decorating fun can begin! Although paint was our first stop, window treatments are next. Between plantation shutters, valences, cellular shades, roller shades, venetian blinds, and drops, there are SO many options.

We've got a particular style in mind, and there will definitely be drapes in a few rooms. I found this short video from West Elm to be helpful as we start to peruse the different options and make a selection:

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Watermelon Recipes

It's not quite summer yet, but I've already had some of the most delicious watermelon and I can't get enough! It's only going to get better as temperatures rise, so I've been making a list of watermelon-centric recipes to try.


From left to right:

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Bridal Beauty: Hair

We're getting settled into our new home, and I'm finally breathing a sigh of relief that the move is behind us! Now I can return my focus to more fun things like decorating and wedding planning for our September nuptials. I've got hair and makeup booked for the big day, but now the hard part beings: picking just the right style. I've rounded up some of my favorite styles below.
Image from ModWedding.com, via Pinterest
Image from The Wedding Chicks, via Pinterest
Image from Style Me Pretty, via Pinterest
Image from ModWedding.com, via Pinterest
Image from blog.hairandmakeupbysteph.com, via Pinterest
Next step: make a decision about the veil. I'm on the fence! 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Summer Book List

We've had thunderstorms on the forecast for weeks in Austin, but sunshine is on the way and I'm getting my summer book list ready.  Here's what I'm reading:

I'm excited to dig into this fresh, contemporary revision of Jane Eyre. Re Jane, Amazon.com
This is a "below the stairs" version of Pride and Prejudice- from the servants' point of view. Longbourn, Amazon.com
This story is billed as an insider's look into the ever-changing world of fashion, and it sounds like the perfect poolside read! The Knockoff, Amazon.com
I can't wait to be transported back to the vineyards of Sonoma as I read this one. I have high hopes! Eight Hundred Grapes, Amazon.com

Friday, May 22, 2015

Long Weekend Ahead!

It's Friday and that means we're on the brink of a glorious three-day weekend. I'd love to get away, but we're staying in town and we've got a lot on the agenda:


These beautiful baubles are all on sale! Shop Stella & Dot and you earn Dot Dollars too!
  • Shopping Sales. Whether you're looking for a new lawnmower or new accessories for your summer wardrobe, this weekend is a great weekend to shop! Memorial day brings tons of sales, so if you're around town (or just have an internet connection), start shopping. 
Rudy's BBQ Image from Goodtaste.tv
  • Barebecue. We might not be attending a Memorial Day picnic, but we'll still be enjoying some barbecue this weekend! Rudy's is at the top of my list, but we may opt for Lambert's if we want a more upscale evening out.

  • Packing. We're making a move across town, and even though it's not  long distance we still have to pack everything up. I've been following a compressed version of this moving checklist and hopefully by the time I head back to work next week we'll be feeling settled in our new home!
This guy did't come from Austin Pets Alive!, but he DID turn me into an animal lover. 

  •  Wine Tasting. This is a funny one to put on the list along with all sorts of moving activities, but I'm looking forward to taking a break from packing to attend a wine-tasting event benefitting Austin Pets Alive

What's on your Memorial Day weekend agenda?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Say the RIGHT Thing

I have a very dear friend who has had trouble getting pregnant, and I realize that her decision to tell me was probably a difficult one. I'd like to think that I handle most situations appropriately, but in this case, I said all the wrong things. I've never been in her shoes, and I don't have a child myself, so I wasn't quite sure how to respond. Luckily, she let me know that my response was NOT what she needed to hear.  Here are some tips for supporting your friends though challenging situations (trouble conceiving, or otherwise):

  • DON'T: Tell them they're just trying to hard or are too stressed. Yes, they're definitely stressed! And yes, this is where I went terribly wrong. I told my friend to relax and enjoy this part-it's the fun part... WRONG response!
  • DO: Acknowledge her negative feelings. It's OK to commiserate and say something like "your sadness and anxiety are completely understandable."
  • DON'T: Stop talking about it. I have a different friend who miscarried, which was an incredibly painful experience, but she appreciated the opportunity to talk about something different or cry over the phone as needed. Sometimes just being present is the best thing you can do. 
  • DO: Be sensitive. You might have fabulous news to share,  but understand that your good news might rub salt in your friend's wound. It shouldn't be that way, but broaching the topic before you blast it on Facebook may help to alleviate some resentment. 
  • DON'T: Tell your friend that it will happen when the time is right. Yep, I said this one too. It's like telling a kid that he can have a cookie at some point in the future when the stars align- nobody wants to hear that. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Recipe Roundup

I've posted a lot of recipes, but now that summer weather is upon us, I'm rounding up some of my favorite warm-weather treats. Here are a few that are on a regular rotation at our house:


Tortilla Espanola with Romesco Sauce is AWESOME served warm or cold. It's definitely a bit more labor-intensive than a 30 minute meal, but it's worth it. 


 This French Potato Salad recipe comes from the Barefoot Contessa, and as usual, it does not disappoint. It's mayo-free, but the fresh herbs and addition of whole-grain mustard give it incredible flavor that pairs well with anything you're grilling.


Fresh zucchini, corn and basil pasta is a summer-y treat that is SO simple to pull together. It's a quick weeknight meal that makes yummy leftovers too. We're having this for dinner tonight!


When life give you lemons (or when you just buy them at the farmer's market), make lemonade. This Watermelon Raspberry Lemonade is such a yummy treat, full of fresh juices. It's a huge upgrade from the yellow lemonade drink mix that you buy at the store.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Wedding Parties

Image by Inslee Haynes, Inslee.net via Pinterest
As you plan a wedding, you're probably focused on one (huge) celebration on your special day, but there are many other wedding-related events that take place before  and after you say "I Do." Here's a run down of each (optional) event:

Engagement Party
This is the big kick-off to an exciting year, although it's completely optional. Keeping it informal and celebratory is totally appropriate, but make sure to toast to the year ahead with some delicious bubbly!
  • Hosted By: Bride's parents (tradition), or the wedding party
  • Guest List: Close friends an relatives 
  • Notes: Although traditionally the Bride's parents throw this party, the groom's parents are welcome to throw a separate fete or join in and co-plan the event. 
Bridal Shower
This is traditionally a party for the bride and her closest female relatives and friends, where she's "showered" with love, well-wishes, and gifts. 
  • Hosted By: A close relative or the bridal party
  • Guest List: The bride's side of the guest list (ladies only)
  • Notes: It's a bit of a faux-pas for the bride's parents to throw a bridal shower as it may suggest that they are "asking" for gifts.  Let someone else plan this one!
Bachelor/Bachelorette Party
This is meant to be a night on the town for the soon-to-be-newleyweds, but it's usually the bridal party that has the most fun. 
  • Hosted By: Maid of Honor/Best Man
  • Guest List: Bridal party and close friends of the bride and groom
  • Notes: Choose a date and share your "no way" list (things you absolutely don't want to do) with your wedding party. Then let them handle the rest while you focus on the wedding plans- they'll have fun taking the reigns.
Rehearsal Dinner
After you practice walking down the aisle, a rehearsal dinner is a great way to kick back and celebrate the start of the wedding weekend with your bridal party and close family members. 
  • Hosted By: Groom's parents
  • Guest List: Wedding party, immediate family
  • Notes: If you're having a destination wedding or are inviting several out-of-town guests, it's appropriate to either invite them to the rehearsal dinner or host a "welcome party" the night before the wedding. Make sure their weekend is as memorable as yours!
Bridal Breakfast/Luncheon
It's a nice gesture for the bride to treat her bridal party to a lunch or brunch in the days leading up to the big event. It's a nice way to say thank you and to acknowledge how important they are to you.
  • Hosted By: Bride
  • Guest List: Bridal party
  • Notes: Grooms can thank their friends too- a round of golf or an early morning fishing trip with a cooler of beer can be the perfect way for the men to bond while the ladies are enjoying their lunch. 
After-Party
Your reception may have your partying late into the night, but if not, an after-party is a great way to extend the wedding day. 
  • Hosted By: Bride and Groom
  • Guest List: All wedding guests
  • Notes: Official invitations aren't necessary for this casual affair. Post details on your wedding website or have the wedding party casually spread the word. If you feel that something more official is necessary, you can have details printed on small enclosure cards to include with your wedding invitation. 
Post-Wedding Brunch
At the end of the weekend, brunch can be a great way to wind-down and say your goodbyes. It's completely optional, but often if you've acquired a block of rooms at a hotel, they'll provide you with a ballroom and an option for a catered breakfast. 
  • Hosted By: Bride's parents 
  • Guest List: All wedding guests
  • Notes: It's a nice gesture for the bride and groom to pick up the tab for this one. If you decide to forego brunch (my preference, since I am averse to any buffet-style breakfast options), it's a nice gesture to point your guests in the way of breakfast the next morning. Give them a map of the best bloody mary's in town, or show them the way to delicious pancakes at your favorite local diner- they'll probably enjoy exploring your city!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Fitness Fun

Our early-morning pre-race photo

In February, my friend Kate joined me in Austin for the Austin Half Marathon. It was my first big race, and I followed my training program pretty closely. With good music and a great friend by my side, I had a lot of fun. However, I have to admit that I've been slacking on exercise lately, and I felt winded after just a couple of miles this weekend. I need to stop making excuses and get back into a routine, and a fun playlist is sure to help motivate me! Here's what I'm listening to this week (reserve your judgement- there's a little bit of everything in there):

Lauren's Playlist (about 1 hr, 15 min of tunes)
  1. Let's Get it Started- Black Eyed Peas
  2. Break the Ice (Remix)- Britney Spears 
  3. Show Me the Money- Petey Pablo
  4. Gettin' Over You- David Guetta
  5. Lose Yourself- Eminem
  6. Stolen Dance- Milky Chance
  7. Beer for My Horses- Toby Keith and Willie Nelson
  8. Animal- Neon Trees
  9. Wake Me Up- Avicii
  10. Trumpets- Jason Derulo
  11. Shake SeƱora- Pitbull
  12. Best I Ever Had- Gavin DeGraw
  13. Drinking Class- Lee Brice
  14. Take Your Time- Sam Hunt
  15. Flavor of the Week- American Hi Fi
  16. Timebomb- Beck
  17. It's My Life- Bon Jovi
  18. Maneater- Nelly Furtado
  19. My Body- Young the Giant
  20. Take Me to Church- Hozier

What songs motivate you to get moving? If you're looking for a change of pace and aren't quite sure where to start, check out some of the free downloads from RockMyRun.

Friday, May 15, 2015

BBQ Review: Lambert's Downtown

Image from RootsRated.com

Austin has some killer barbecue joints- from Franklin to John Meuller Meat Co. to Rudy's, it's hard to go wrong. We checked out Lambert's Downtown Barbecue this week and although it's a bit "fancier" than some of the other spots in town, it did not disappoint. 

Rudy's is still my favorite (food comes fast, brisket melts in your mouth), but Lambert's was a great option for a fun night out. This 2nd Street spot has all the trappings of a  hip downtown restaurant, but still serves up some incredible smoked meats. We tried the brisket and the short rib, and both were fall-apart tender. 

The craft cocktails were fantastic, and we started with an achiote seared chickpea appetizer that was out-of-this-world unique. It was the perfect manly-yet-upscale venue to celebrate Neal's birthday, and if you happen to be around town, I highly recommend stopping in. 

Can't make it to Austin? I haven't found the secret to their oak-smoked brisket, but here's the recipe for the Achiote Seared Chickpeas with Goat Cheese.  Yum!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Honeymoon-Worthy Getaways

Whether you're looking to sip mai tais on the beach or bordeaux in Provence, there are so many fabulous honeymoon-worthy getaways to choose from! The first step is determining what you're interested in. Here are a few of my top picks:

Image from AmanResorts.com
For an adventure: Ranthambore National Park, India. The Aman-i-Khas resort is a luxurious retreat in Rajasthan. Enjoy a romantic spa day, followed by adventurous safaris through the park. You'll have private chefs, luxurious accommodations, and a unique scene to explore.


For a beach-y getaway: Maui, Hawaii. Fruity drinks on the beach and snorkeling with sea turtles make for a relaxing vacation. Hawaii is full of luxurious resorts and fun activities to squeeze in while you soak up the sun.


Cultural adventure: Paris, France. This city just oozes romance! Enjoy taking in the museums, sipping wine by the Seine, and holding hands as you stroll the Champs-Elysses. If one city isn't enough, expand your itinerary and travel south to Provence, or head over to Italy and take in as much European culture as you can handle!


For extreme romance: Santorini, Greece. The sunsets in Santorini are incredible- I've never been to a more serenely romantic place. This destination offers a good mix of cultural activities and beach-y relaxation.

Image from Resort at Paws Up
Outdoor fun: Montana, USA. You don't have to leave the continental US to have an incredible honeymoon! I love the idea of heading north to the Resort at Paws Up or another glamorous camping location.  It's a few notches above a sleeping bag and a tent, so it will feel just as celebratory and special as a far-away adventure. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Cooking with Cookbooks

Recipes are easy to find online, but there's something so satisfying about a real cookbook. Plus, as you explore and cook your way through the recipes inside, you can make notes and edit as you see fit. Here are some of my favorites:


100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know: For the novice cook, this cookbook has tons of simple recipes that also are great for busy weeknights. Throw together a Kale Caesar salad to serve with some Marry Me Lasagna.  Even a more experienced cook will find something she enjoys. 


Colorado Collage: Published by the Junior League of Denver, the pages of this book are filled with unique recipes that make for impressive entertaining. My favorite recipe is the Chicken Enchiladas Suizas, but beware- it makes enough for a crowd!


The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook: Ina Garten knows her stuff! I have a collection of her cookbooks, but this one in particular is one of my go-to publications. This book makes a great housewarming or wedding shower gift- tie a wooden spoon into the bow for a little extra "wow" factor. 


Flour: Anyone in Boston can tell you that Flour Bakery makes the most delectable treats. This cookbook helps you recreate some of the sweetest sweets at home (although I have found that the recipes require slight tweaking). It's a great dessert-centric addition to your kitchen cupboard!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Be the Best Bridesmaid

Navy and Pink Bridesmaid Attire, Image from Pinterest
I've been in several weddings, and although it's fun to have your besties by your side, the bridesmaid experience can be stressful! Bridesmaid dress distress, bachelorette party budgets, and even just a few strong personalities can quickly take the focus off of the bride. If you're a bridesmaid, here are a few dos and don'ts that are sure to keep your experience fun and celebratory (as it's supposed to be!):
  • DO defer to the bride. Yes, you may never wear that dress again, and yes, you may even feel uncomfortable on the day-of, but it's not your day! Your job is to put a smile on, wear the outfit that bride chose, and dance the night away with your dear friend who just started a great adventure. 
  • DON'T be catty. Girls can be mean, so take the high road and be friendly with the rest of the wedding party. Being pleasant and trying to get to know the other women will make the bride feel good (everyone wants their friends to get along!), plus it will make the bachelorette party, wedding shower, etc. a lot more fun. They're parties after all!
  • DO ask the Bride how you can help, and if she has an idea, go with it! She might need your help with a specific task, or she may just need something simple like for you to make her sister feel welcome and included in the bachelorette festivities. Regardless, she'll be touched that you offered. 
  • DON'T commit to being a bridesmaid if you're heart (or your budget) isn't in it.  Being a bridesmaid means that you'll attend the bridal shower (or throw one), host a bachelorette party, don a dress of the bride's choosing, and be there for all wedding-weekend activities. It's a commitment, and if you feel like you can't really commit, it's best to state that early on when your friend asks you to be in her wedding party. It's ok to just be a guest!
  • DO be up front about your budget once you've committed to being part of the wedding party. Destination bachelorette parties seem to have become a trend, but being a bridesmaid doesn't have to break the bank. Be reasonable about your expenses, but it's ok to be up-front about your budget. Keep in mind that the bride/maid-of-honor may move forward with more spendy plans, in which case you may graciously opt out rather than throwing a fit about it. 
  • DON'T try to plan a party for you. If this is not your bachelorette party, then it's not a party for you. You're there to celebrate the bride, so plan it with her in mind. For example, if you think a striptease class and a night of bar hopping and drinking would be fun, but the bride is more of a spa-day-followed-by-a-cooking-class kinda gal, that's OK. You're planning this to celebrate her. Feeling stuck? Try TheBach.com, a website specially designed to help you plan a fabulous bachelorette party, no matter which city you're in!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Fried Green Tomatoes


We're entering tomato season, which means it's the PERFECT time to start enjoying some fried green tomatoes. This very southern dish uses unripe green tomatoes, which means they're a bit firmer and perfect for frying.

I'm not one to shy away from the occasional fried treat, but this recipe, served up with buttermilk dressing in lieu of heavy ranch dressing, is a bit lighter than some others that I've tried. Plus, the quick brine in cider vinegar means that the tomatoes don't require a heavy dose of salt.

What You'll Need:
1 cup water
1 cup cider vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
16 1/4 inch thick slices of green tomatoes
7 Tbsp nonfat buttermilk, divided
2 Tbsp chopped basil
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp finely chopped thyme
2 tsp cider vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
3/4 GF panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup masa harina
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/2 cup all purpose GF flour
3 Tbsp canola oil

Directions:

  1. Combine 1 cup of vinegar, with 1 cup of water, 2 Tbsp sugar, and 1/2 tsp salt in  a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil.
  2. Add tomato slices to the brine. Cook for about 2 minutes, then remove from heat and allow them to sit for 15 minutes. 
  3. White the tomatoes brine, combine 5 Tbsp buttermilk and the next 5 ingredients on the list (down to the garlic). Stir vigorously with a whisk and season with a bit of black pepper. Set aside.
  4. Drain the tomatoes and pat them dry. Then stir the panic together with the masa marina, remaining 1/4 tsp of salt, and a bit of black pepper. 
  5. In a shallow dish, combine the last 2 Tbsp buttermilk with the egg and egg white. Whisk well.
  6. Place flour in a shallow dish, then dredge each tomato slice in the flour, followed by the egg mixture, then in the panko mixture.
  7. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add enough canola oil so that it just barely coats the bottom. Add the tomatoes (just one layer at a time, do not overlap!) and allow them to cook for about 4 minutes on one side. Then flip. 
  8. Cook the tomatoes until golden on both sides, adding more oil to the pan as needed.
  9. Remove the tomatoes from the oil and allow them to drain on paper towels. Serve with the buttermilk dressing while they're hot!


Friday, May 8, 2015

Mermaid Workout

Growing up, we had a big pool in the backyard, and on warm spring/summer evenings it was fun to take a dip in the pool. I have fond memories of swimming like "mermaids" with my sister,  so this workout made me smile. I can't wait to test out some of these moves at the gym this afternoon- bikini season is upon us!
Workout from Tone It Up, Featured on LaurenConrad.com

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Cream Cheese Cookies


I'm always on the quest to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. There's nothing better than freshly-baked cookies, but not all recipes are created equal! Although substituting gluten-free flour often yields a flatter, crispier cookie, this recipe made with cream cheese create fluffy, soft cookies that retain their texture for several days.  Try it out and let me know what you think!

What You'll Need:
1 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened (not the whipped kind!)
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups Cup-4-Cup GF Flour
2 tsp cornstartch
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2-3 cups chocolate chips or chunks

Directions:
  1. Cream the butter, cream cheese, and sugars together. 
  2. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well. 
  3. Mix the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and gradually add it to the butter mixture, mixing until fully incorporated. 
  4. Add the chocolate chips or chunks and stir well. 
  5. Spoon even scoops of the cookie dough onto a baking sheet prepared with parchment. Press each ball down slightly to flatten, then freeze the dough balls for about 2 hours. Tip: Once it's frozen, move the cookie dough balls to a freezer bag. They'll stay in there until you're ready for a hot cookie or two. This way you can bake as many or as few as you like!
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spread the cookie dough balls on a prepared baking sheet (allowing for space in between). 
  7. Bake for about 6-10 minutes, or until the dough is slightly glossy but not too browned. Remove from the oven.
  8. Allow the cookies to cool and set, then enjoy! 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Make-Ahead Chicken


Crispy fried chicken is super yummy, but heating up a fryer mid-week can be a hot mess! I love the idea of simplifying my weekday cooking routine, so these make-ahead crispy chicken cutlets are perfect. You prep them in advance, then when you're ready, you can pop them in the oven for a health-isn baked chicken dish or quickly whip up something a little fancier like chicken parmesan.

What You'll Need:
10 chicken cutlets
4 cups GF panko-style breadcrumbs
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
GF flour for dredging
4 eggs, whisked
Parchment Paper

Directions:
  1. Combine the breadcrumbs with the olive oil and salt. Spread them on a baking sheet and toast at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. The breadcrumbs should be golden brown. 
  2. Pat the chicken cutlets dry and season with salt and pepper. Dredge them in the flour, then dip them in the egg before coating them with the toasted breadcrumbs. 
  3. Place the coated chicken cutlets onto a piece of parchment and freeze for about 1 hour. 
  4. Wrap the frozen chicken in the parchment and seal it in freezer bags. 
  5. Mid-week, when you're ready for a yummy chicken dish, pull a cutlet or two out of the freezer, throw them on a baking sheet, and bake until cooked through at 400 degrees. Enjoy!

We served ours with a fresh caprese salad this week and it was the perfect weeknight meal! Healthy and quick to prepare, with almost no cleanup.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Texas Two Step

Neal and I went to a concert on Saturday night, and although the music was a mix of genres, there was a lot of Texas Two-Stepping going on! The Two-Step is a pretty straightforward partner dance with tons of variations, and if you can master the basics you're sure to look like a natural out on the dance floor. Here's a quick tutorial:


If you're in Austin and want an authentic experience, head over to the Broken Spoke on South Lamar.  The Broken Spoke is a honkey tonk offering dance lessons at 8pm Tuesday-Saturday, followed by lots of live music so you can put your newly-acquired skills to the test. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Cinco de Mayo Party

It's hard to believe that it's already May, and tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo. Even though the holiday falls mid-week, it calls for margaritas and some delicious eats. Here's what's on the menu at our house:


Donkey Chips (my favorite) with fresh homemade salsa
Ensalada de Jicama con Melon
Mexican Vanilla ice cream from Amy's (mine will be topped with hot fudge and pecan praline sauce!)

The recipe for the Ensalada de Jicama con Melon comes from Fonda San Miguel, one of Austin's oldest restaurants and sill a favorite spot for food from the interior of Mexico. I love the mix of fresh flavors- it's a great way to start off a meal, but it also makes a cool and refreshing snack on a hot day. 

What You'll Need:
1 large jicama, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch wide strips
3 navel oranges, peeled and sectioned
1 large melon, peeled, seeded, and cut into bite sized chunks
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1 cup fresh lime juice
2 springs cilantro, chopped
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp chile powder (or more to taste)

Directions:
  1. Combine the jicama and fruit in a large bowl, then toss it with the lime juice, cilantro, and salt. 
  2. Refrigerate the salad for about 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld. Then, pull it out, toss with chile powder, and serve. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Chef


We had a little rain this week, and to me, there's nothing better than enjoying the sounds of a thunderstorm while curled up on the couch with a glass of wine and great book or movie. Chef is an fun, feel-good movie, and Jon Favreau had me craving a hot pressed sandwich by the end.

If you're not interested in watching a movie tonight, you can still get your fix by cooking up this Cubano Sandwich recipe, created by chef Roy Choi specifically for the film.

What You'll Need:
6 oz thinly sliced boiled ham
Softened butter, for brushing
6 six-inch soft baguettes
Yellow mustard, for brushing
3/4 lb. thinly sliced store-bought roast pork
1/2 lb. thinly sliced Swiss cheese
3 half-sour dill pickles, sliced lengthwise

Directions:
  1. Heat a large cast-iron griddle or panini press. Add the ham slices to the griddle and cook over moderate heat, turning once until browned in spots. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Butter the cut sides of each baguette and toast on the griddle over moderate heat until slightly browned. 
  3. Transfer the bread to a work surface and brush the cut sides with mustard. Layer on the ham, pork, Swiss cheese, and pickles, then close the sandwich. 
  4. Generously brush the outsides of the sandwiches with butter and set them on the griddle. Press them and cook for about 3 minutes. They should be browned and crisp on the outside and the cheese should be melted.
  5. Cut the sandwich in half and enjoy!