I like to eat, eat, eat…

Apples! For those of you who don’t know where this is from, click here, but watch out you will be singing this Barney tune all.day.long.

We definitely had an apples and bananas night with our Peanut Butter Banana Bread and apples in every which way we could think of. There is a huge section on apples in the new Cooking Light and one recipe that sounded so intriguing was this Apple Sangria. Apples! Sangria! Couldn’t suck if you tried! Alas, this was awesome. It’s fun, fall-ish and a pretty cool twist on sangria. Make this at your next party, I think your guests will love it.

Apple Sangria (Photo by: Gentl & Hyers)

To keep up our fiber-consumption we also made this Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Sauteed Apples. I followed this recipe to the letter and it was so simple to put together and absolutely delicious. I loved every single bite.

Spiced Pork Tenderloin wtih Sauteed Apples (Photo by: John Autry)

If you want to start enjoying this chilly fall weather and all of the apples that are in season right now, I would highly recommend these two recipes. I like to ate, ate, ate…


The new Cooking Light cover simply states “Indulge Yourself”…yeah twist my arm Cooking Light, twist my arm. I think I earmarked half of this issue and when I got to the banana bread section – yes lambs you have a plethora of choices for banana breads in this issue – I clapped with glee. When I was little, I would go to  this lovely tea room in Longview, TX with my mom and two older sisters and the one thing I recall vividly was their delicious banana bread. The tea room is long gone, but I will always remember that’s where my love of banana bread began.

As mentioned, Cooking Light has basic banana bread, banana bread with chocolate and the peanut butter banana bread that also happens to grace this month’s cover. I also love a good old peanut butter, honey and banana sandwich, so this one was a clear winner for me.

This was extremely easy to put together. You simply mix all of the wet ingredients, combine the dry ingredients and then mix into the wet. I baked this in the Wolf range for a little less than the suggested time as it was starting to look a little overdone…I was worried…ask David I really was. I decided to forge ahead and make Cooking Light’s go-to glaze of one percent milk and powdered sugar, but this time they added peanut butter. After cooling, I cut into it and took a bite, still very concerned it was overdone. The verdict?  Moist. Delicious, Sweet and nutty. This had perfect banana bread flavor with a peanut butter twist and I liked the addition of the crunchy peanuts to give it some texture.

My only advice is to watch this while it’s in the oven. I’m still getting used to using the Wolf range since it’s amazing but is a little more sophisticated than yours truly. This browned pretty quickly and I was keeping an eye on it. I did pull it out about five minutes early since it was browning on the top and edges, but the flavor and moist texture made this a winner for us…and my office mates.

Recipe Retry of an All-Time Favorite


Milk Braised Pork Shoulder with Semolina Gnocchi (Photo by Elinor Carucci)

I can’t even begin to tell you the love I feel for this Milk-Braised Pork Shoulder with Semolina Gnochhi from Olivia restaurant right here in Austin. I made this dish exactly as directed some time ago and it is still one of my favorites. In fact, when someone ask me the one recipe they should make that I’ve tested, this one is always my first recommendation.

We are in full kitchen remodel mode and as anyone knows who’s been through one, an 1/8 of an inch off of one thing can derail you for days. We had plans to have our Wolf oven hooked up and ready to go – it’s a gas stove I can’t wait – but alas the cabinets threw us off. Thanks company-that-shall-not-be-named, thanks ever so much for making cabinets that require you to alter with a chainsaw, fairy dust and some Vaseline. I kid but only a little.

Since I already had the pork sitting in the nice combo of salt and cinnamon and didn’t want to waste it, I chunked cooking inside the lines out the door and threw all  of the ingredients from the butter to the tomatoes (I didn’t add the flour since I wasn’t making a roux but could not skimp on the butter, do you blame me?) into a large Dutch oven. I cooked this bad boy for 2 hours in our convection microwave and then let cool and sit overnight in the fridge. The verdict? AWESOME. DELICIOUS. PORK.

Sure, the depth of flavor was slightly better in the original but hey, in a pinch and less time in the kitchen this worked! I couldn’t make the semolina gnocchi so I served this as a stew with a Caesar side salad. David mentioned this has been his favorite dish that I’ve made so far…with that poodles make this, make this right now. Try the slow version (it’s seriously not that much trouble) or go rogue and try it my way. Either way, for the love, make this. Now if I could actually go eat at Olivia…

Burgers and More Burgers

Since I got an iPhone I’ve not only embraced apps like Angry Birds (curse this game as it is waaaay to much fun) but I’ve also gotten into Twitter. If you don’t use it yet trust me, I didn’t really understand it’s worth until I started following all of my favorite culinary sites, chefs and magazines out in the Twittersphere and had my “Aha!” moment. Not only does it keep a constant pulse on the latest and greatest food news but I come across items like this, The Best of Epicurious. @FavFoods Tweeted this lovely little post and lo and behold I found that three of the burgers tested on Cooking Inside the Lines made the cut.

Open Face Crab Burgers with Red Pepper Dressing (photo by: Antonis Achilleos)

Coffee-Rubbed Cheeseburgers, Open-Face Crab Burgers with Red Pepper Dressing and The Aussie Burger were in this list of a dozen. If my recommendations aren’t enough for these recipes (haha I laughed as I wrote that) then take Epicurious’ word for it…they are. Now I believe it’s time for me to try the rest to see if these other recipes are up to snuff don’t you?

Follow me on Twitter if you are so inclined @EAIFood and a few of my other foodie friends @tastytouring, @sugadeaux and @apronadventures.

Thai Beef Salad

A flavorful salad that’s done in about 20 minutes max? Sold to the Thai Beef Salad from Cooking Light! In a section all about shortcuts and fast recipes this one stood out to me. One, I heart fish sauce. Lambs, I know that’s a crazy thing to swoon over but I love the salty bite and unique flavor it lends to dishes. Maybe I should produce an “I Heart Fish Sauce” t-shirt? Anyone with me?

Thai Beef Salad (Photo by John Autry)

Two, the flavor combinations looked to die for with cilantro, cabbage, soy sauce, lime juice, honey, orange zest, serrano chile and mandarin oranges. Three, it’s a simple, hardly no-cook recipe that worked around our current kitchen status. We simply broiled the steaks in our Wolf microwave/convection oven to medium rare and made the rest of the salad while it cooked. The one thing that really stood out to me was the dressing. After making it in the food processor I gave it a taste and then did a little jig in our kitchen. Emily jig = really, really good.

Give this one a try for a super fast, delicious and healthy salad, and don’t skimp on the fish sauce.

Tasty Gazpacho

I do love me some gazpacho lambs. Something about the aroma and all the flavors chilled together make it a perfect soup. We had tropical storm Hermine making out with Central Texas earlier this week so I was happy at the notion of making a simple and comforting soup to watch as the rain and thunderclouds passed by.

I chose this Tomato and Pepper Gazpacho with Sherry created by Chef José Andrés in the new Bon Appetit (let’s talk about the cover burger recipe later poodles WOW right?).  I don’t think anything could be as easy as chopping up tomatoes, bell peppers and cucumber, blending in a food processor and chilling. Two notes, I ran out of fresh garlic (yeah that’s weird I know) so I used two tablespoons of garlic powder and didn’t have sherry (that’s not weird I don’t think?) so just used the sherry wine vinegar.

Tomato and Pepper Gazpacho with Sherry
Photo by: Elinor Carucci

I made all of the garnishes – easy peasy – and bam, some really, really good gazpacho on the table and awesome leftovers. I served this with some simple cantaloupe wrapped with prosciutto and black pepper sprinkled on top.

The rain kept going but sadly our gazpacho experience didn’t last long. Make this for a simple, quick and delicious meal at home and enjoy for lunch the next day!

Midnight Tortas – Updated

As one reader pointed out in my previous post this recipe was missing a few key items such as rolls, cilantro, cotija and tomatoes in its ingredient line-up – always read the instructions before heading to the store poodles. Regardless, I had pork belly sliders last weekend at the always-fantastic Odd Duck food trailer here in Austin and was dying to try and make pork belly on my own. Plus, this Midnight Tortas recipe featuring delicous pork belly had been calling my name for sometime anyway.  I mean how can you beat a recipe from the food truck in Los Angeles, Kogi, from Best New Chef Roy Choi? He just looks like a muy badass doesn’t he? The only hitch was I would need to make the gentle belly in the convection oven/microwave that I already have a huge crush on, but was a little hesitant since we are only a few dates into our culinary relationship.

Chef Roy Choi

We stopped by our local HEB off of Oltorf and Congress and I assumed they would have pork belly given they have trotters, feet and cow tongue, but they had just run out of pork belly…sigh. I grabbed short ribs instead as I thought it would make a nice stand-in. Who am I kidding, I love short ribs but nothing replaces pork belly. David then recommended we go to Whole Foods Market to see if they might have the delicious pork product. I was loving David’s commitment to the mission at hand. Whole Foods did have some and then I suggested why not do the sandwich with pork belly and the short ribs – we both started drooling at the same time. Once again, you’ve got to love dating a fellow food lover.

I seasoned the pork belly and short ribs with smoked paprika, pepper and Herbes de Provence to follow along the lines of  this recipe. I placed in the oven at 400 degrees for an hour and then cooked for another two or so at 200 degrees all on the high mix roast setting.

Pork Belly and Short Ribs Prior to Their Trip to the Convection Oven

After letting the short ribs and pork belly rest, I went on to split the bolillo rolls (love the local HEB so, so much for having these) and decided that since I had put my pinky toe outside the cooking lines why not just go all out lambs? I broiled the jalapenos and a hatch chile (’tis the season and nice call by David to add in!), let them cool, peeled and cut into thin strips. I decided instead of just mayonaisse to blend the juice of one lime, a pinch of cumin and mashed one avocado into the mayonnaise and then sprinkled in the cotija cheese – that way the bits of the crumbly cheese would stay on your sandwich and not on your plate. I also decided to keep the spinach fresh to provide a bit more texture to the sandwich and sliced the tomatoes. For the eggs, we don’t have a an application to cook the eggs stove top so I oiled a few ramekins, cracked an egg in each and placed one tablespoon of heavy cream to bake instead.  I baked at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, which was a bit longer than we wanted but due to the cream in the eggs the whites looked not cooked through yet…they were and the eggs turned out creamy and delicious but the yolks were a little overdone. Key learnings with the new oven!

I shredded the pork belly and short ribs together and placed the jalapeno/hatch chile strips in with the meat. I smeared one half of the roll with the avocado mayonnaise then topped with the meat mixture. Next came the sliced tomato, fresh spinach, creamy eggs, a dollop of my cilantro salsa and then topped with the other half of the roll. Needless to say this sandwich was EPIC folks.

Midnight Tortas - Courtesy of Food & Wine (Anna Williams)

Another key learning from the convection oven, the pork belly turned out a little too crispy because I think I did it for too long, but the short ribs were perfect. Overall, I really liked this sandwich and would like to troubleshoot my mistakes for next time since the flavor combinations were delicious together and I could see this being a perfect tortas recipe to enjoy…well, maybe once in a blue moon given the decadence of it all.

If you have any tips or recommendations let me know and I’ll give this tortas recipe a try again. Oh, I almost forgot! I served this sandwich with this very simple but quite tasty Orange and Red Onion Salad and Red Pepper from Cooking Light. Great little side dish if I so say so myself.

Orange and Red Onion Salad with Red Pepper - Courtesy of Cooking Light (Randy Mayor)