Barley Swine

Gulp, gulp, oink, oink. You could say that was certainly me at Chef Bryce Gilmore’s new venture Barley Swine. Chef Gilmore has earned critical acclaim and tremendous success with his food trailer venture Odd Duck. Having eaten there plenty of times, and dreaming of some of his concoctions when I went to bed at night, I was pretty certain Barley Swine was not going to disappoint. I love it when I’m right.

David and I went there with Luke and Lindsay, AKA Apron Adventures, on the restaurant’s first official opening night. Heck, I was even nervous for the restaurant but there was no need for the nerves, the food seriously, seriously rocked.  Just to tell you how much it did, as we were walking in two guys said “Just order everything on the menu, it’s that good.” I did want to order the whole menu but we settled on: Potato fritters with goat cheese, leek, espelette; white bean soup, Spanish chorizo, flaked cod, olive; scallop, duck cracklin, cauliflower, green garlic, coriander; barley, foie gras, duck sausage, mushroom, sweet and sour onion; sweetbreads, garlic puree, almond, brussel sprouts, bacon. INSANE, all of them. I almost licked the sauce off the fritter, scallop and sweetbread plates. One small complaint, the soup came out lukewarm instead of hot. We weren’t sure if that was how it was meant to be served or what but it was still amazing.

For wine drinkers like moi, be warned that the wine list is limited. It’s not called Grape Swine now is it? The beer list is lengthier and I was told had a nice selection. I ordered the Troublemaker blend and thoughrougly enjoyed it. The space is super small and is all either community tables or bar seating so be prepared to get to know your fellow diners or the chefs!  Overall, we loved our first visit and thank goodness it’s just down the street so we can go again and again and again. We’ll be back Barley Swine. Call me, mean it!

Sweetbreads...kidding. We forgot to take a photo but check out this decked out Christmas El Camino we saw on our way home. Oh Austin...
Potato Fritters (Photo by David Kealey)
White Bean Soup (Photo by David Kealey)
Scallops (Photo by David Kealey)
Barley, Duck Sausage (YUM!) and Foie Gras (YUMMMMM!) (Photo by David Kealey)

Tales from the Slow Cooker

If you are a fan of the Cooking Inside the Lines Facebook page, you might have seen my grumblings with the Slow Cooker recipes section from Food and Wine. I tried the Slow Cooker Puerto Rican Chicken in Green Sauce and Slow Cooker Ham Hock and Chickpea Stew and let’s just say former was bland and blah and the latter was simply inedible. It’s rare that I try recipes that we actually can’t even think to stomach to eat. To me these were just poor by recipe design and seemed to lack a lot of flavor – and in a slow cooker to boot…ouch! When I saw that I had chosen yet another one of the recipes from this section, Slow Cooker Lamb Shanks with Lemon, Dill and Feta, I almost decided to not even try. But, since I like to stick to my menu plan I forged ahead. Well thank goodness that I did lambs because this was delicious! YAY!

Slow Cooker Lamb Shanks with Lemon, Dill and Feta (Photo by: Fredrika Stjärne)

What I think worked for this recipe, compared to the others, was you seared the shanks before putting them in the slow cooker and finished it of with fresh ingredients such as dill and more lemon juice to freshen it up. A word to the wise, since you place whole lemon slices in the slow cooker they take on a preserved lemon taste. I’m kind of  fan of this flavor, David likes it better, but we both agree that it can be polarizing. We would recommend to remove unless you and your fellow diners lurve preserved lemons. I served this on top of orzo and sauteed fresh spinach with garlic that was finished off with a little red wine vinegar. Also, if you think you are not a lamb fan, shanks are an easy way to turn non-believers into believers. They.are.delicious. I also like this dish because it was hearty enough for a cold winter night but had a certain brightness to it with the fresh dill, lemon and feta; a little bit of spring in your winter dish.

Make this today lambs!

Seasons Eatings 2010

Lambs, poodles and pandas…here we are, another Christmas just around the corner and once again I will be stuffed to the gills with Mama Ingle’s food, taking random cat naps wherever I see fit and beating my Dad at checkers. He won last year, but this year my friends I’m feeling strong. I hope your holidays are filled with warmth, happiness, good food, gentle friends and family and maybe a little bit of A Christmas StoryElf or It’s A Wonderful Life (I choose all three!). Thank you for reading Cooking Inside the Lines and here’s to a happy, prosperous and food-filled 2011. Heart you all!


Put a Little Pep in Your Parm!

For their January issue, Food and Wine focused on the top food trends for 2011 with complementary recipes per month such as gourmet ice-pops in July and and DIY sodas in August. One trend is the General Store Redux which is a good old fashioned general store with a locavore focus. A recipe featured from one of these new types of stores, Seattle’s Take 5 Urban Market, was the Chicken Parmesan with Pepperoni.  I followed this to a “T” and I said to David after we were done eating that it’s the easiest and best chicken parm crust I can recall making in quite some time. The crust is PERFECT and the chicken was still moist and delicious. We loved the sauce, pepperoni and cheese on top and I served this with their superfast salad idea which is simply mixing roasted bell peppers (I used jarred) with fresh basil and toasted pinenuts and then dressed with red wine or we used white balsamic (David’s idea!) vinegar and olive oil, plus a little salt and pepper.

Chicken Parmesan with Pepperoni (Photo by Quentin Bacon)

I cut the chicken breasts in half and baked off two halves in the oven without any cheese, sauce or pepperoni. For some schuper sandwiches today I brolied the leftover breaded chicken halves, cheese, sauce and pepperoni until the cheese was bubbly and melted on whole wheat rolls.

There was one point of confusion as I made the dish. Check out the recipe picture and then read the instructions for cooking the chicken. Doesn’t it look like they plated it backwards from the instructions? I followed the recipe instead of how the picture looks i.e. chicken, with pepperoni, then sauce then the cheese but hey, if you want it to look like the beauty shot for your guests I think it would still turn out delicious no matter how you stack it! Tonight is the Slow Cooker Puerto Rican Chicken with Green Sauce, I can’t wait to try it lambs. UPDATE I made the Puerto Rican chicken last night and let me tell you, you can pass this one up – meh.

Chicken Parmesan with Pepperoni

Food and Wine magazine, January 2011


2 large eggs

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs), finely crushed in a food processor

Four 8-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded 3/4 inch thick

Salt and freshly ground pepper

3/4 cup canola oil

1 1/2 cups tomato sauce

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella

2 ounces sliced pepperoni

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley


1. Preheat the oven to 450°. In a pie plate, beat the eggs with the milk. Spread the flour and panko in 2 separate pie plates. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper and dust in the flour. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture and then in the panko; press to help the crumbs adhere.

2. In a large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the chicken and fry over moderately high heat, turning once, until cooked through, about 7 minutes. Drain the chicken on paper towels, then transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Top the chicken with the tomato sauce, Parmigiano, mozzarella and pepperoni.

3. Bake the chicken for about 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Transfer the chicken to plates, sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

Zilker Botanical Garden

I know my blog 99.99 percent of the time focuses on food but another true passion of mine is travel. Since some of Cooking Inside the Lines’ readers may not be in Austin (Nakiya I’m waiting on you to come down to the ATX!), I thought I would share a wonderful little adventure David and I had this morning at Zilker Botanical Garden to encourage you to visit the next time you come to town or if you do live in our wonderful city and have never been…GO. In a nutshell, from the website:

Zilker Botanical Garden is located on 31 acres of varied topography on the south bank of the Colorado River near downtown Austin. Its diverse topography is especially suited to depicting different habitats and displaying an array of native, hybrid and exotic plants. The Garden is the centerpiece of Zilker Park and the Town Lake (Colorado River) corridor and is its most extensively used facility. Over 300,000 people annually visit the gardens from across Texas and the U.S., as well as over 100 countries.

I’ve lived here for four years now and have never visited the ZBG…what a horrible thing to miss! This was so serene, educational (come on now in a fun way) and beautiful. I can’t wait to go back in the spring to see everything in bloom. If you are coming to Austin be sure to stop by this tucked away treasure right near downtown. Of course, pictures always tell a story better and this is just from a part of the park (all pics taken on my iPhone with the Hipstamatic app).

Isamu Taniguchi Japanese Garden
Hartman Prehistoric Garden
Pioneer Village
Isamu Taniguchi Japanese Garden
Hartman Prehistoric Garden

Holiday Week Menu Plan

Well well well Christmas 2010, you definitely have snuck upon me that’s for sure. I can’t believe it’s already here! After a super gentle reunion weekend with my family here in Austin, it was time to finalize my menu plan for this week and next. As I’m sure yours might be too, the next few weeks are going to be a little wonky but I do hope this serves as inspiration for you no matter what your plans are. I’m so excited about some of these that I will be counting down the days until I make them!

Monday: Roasted Pork Chops and Butternut Squash with Kale

Tuesday:  Chicken Parmesan with Pepperoni and Mixed Bell Pepper Salad

Wednesday: Slow Cooker Puerto Rican Chicken in Green Sauce and Grilled Plantains

Thursday – Saturday: Christmas with friends and family in Austin…Happy Holidays to all of you!!

Sunday: Slow Cooker Ham Hock and Chickpea Stew and Crusty Bread

Monday: Chicken Liver Tostadas with Chipotle Sauce

Tuesday: Breakfast Biscuit Sandwiches and Fruit Salad

Wednesday: Lamb Shanks with Lemon, Dill and Feta and Sautéed Spinach

A Dizzy, Chili, Chocolate Christmas

Oooh lambs, we are getting to my favorite time of year – the holidays! In fact, each year the city of Austin puts on the Trail of Lights and the Zilker Christmas Tree. Sadly (due to budget issues) the Trail of Lights did not happen but the tree, thank goodness, is up. A brief history for you from the Nile Guide

For more than 35 years, one of the tallest man-made trees in the country lights up the holidays in Austin. The 175-foot Christmas tree, decked out in nearly 4000 twinkling lights, is lit every night from early December to the end of the year. It is tradition to stand in the center and spin around with your loved ones underneath the tree for a fantastic light show. Be careful, as you will find many people twirling in circles. The lighting takes place in Zilker Park.  

The Zilker Christmas Tree (Photo by Kari Holloway)

Since we live in the Zilker vicinity, our friend Kari had the great idea for a small holiday get together for some food, hot chocolate and a visit to the tree. Here is her photo from her twirling underneath the tree. I also took my first ever spin with David. Warning, you will get dizzy but there was something magical and yes, a little touching to see all of our fellow Austinites whirling and twirling under the tree. 

Twirling under the Zilker Tree (Photo by a very dizzy Kari Holloway)

But what to make for such a festive occasion? I decided to make this All-American Chili and Mexican Hot Chocolate from Cooking Light. Who doesn’t love chili and hot chocolate!? No one I care to know. I made the chili the day before, because even as Cooking Light says, chili is even better the next day. I really liked this recipe and the perfect chili-ness of it all. Beans, two kinds of meat, veggies and oh yeah, a spicy kick. One thing I changed was instead of ground sirloin, I cut a sirloin steak into small cubes and browned along with the sausage since I tend to like big chunks of beefy mcbeef in my chili. Also, this thing had a KICK. When I tasted it the day before the spiciness was right on, but the next day? Yowza. I would recommend if you are making this to be enjoyed a few days after making, to either deseed the jalapeno or lower the chili powder level if you have a spicy-sensitive group. However, I was getting great reviews from the table so maybe I’ve become a spice-pansy.  

Kari, who just got back from Italy, also made awesome Cauliflower Fritters and homemade bread. Maybe if y’all apply enough pressure here she will give me the recipe as these were molto buono! UPDATE, Kari gave us the recipe, see below. Also Lex, being the awesome chef that she is, did some kind of delicious wicked voodoo with Kari’s leftover bell peppers from the farmer’s market. I asked her what she did and all she could say is “magic Aunt Moey!”. She’s so kin to me. 

All-American Chili (Photo by Randy Mayor)

On to the Mexican Hot Chocolate. We loved it. It was simple, chocolatey, spicy and the perfect beverage to take with us down to the tree. And if you want to add a little Bailey’s we would highly recommend it 😉 Overall, the gang loved all the yummy dishes and beverages but isn’t that what food does? It brings us all together to share stories, laugh, and appreciate the time we have with our good friends and family; especially this time of year. Not to get all sentimental but my life has changed in so many ways this past year, from David being in my life, new amazing friends, and my wonderful niece and her significant other moving to Austin. I couldn’t be more grateful and can’t help but look back over this year and grin from ear-to-ear.  In fact, I kind of feel like this… 

Here are some more pics from our fun holiday evening AND we survived our first dinner party with the new countertops. Digital high five! 

David and me making the hot chocolate (maybe with some Bailey's, photo by Kari Holloway)

From right to left: Yours Truly, David, Tyler, Alex, Kari and Raul


Cauliflower Fritters
Recipe by Maria Jewitt in Rogliano, Italy
4 oz/Tbsp white flour
1 tsp Salt
1 egg
1/4 Pt liquid (half water, half milk, or whatever you have)
3 Tbsp parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 garlic clove, diced
Several Tbsp vegetable or canola
Veggies – You can use Cauliflower, brocolli, corn, potato, squash; the more veggies you use, the more fritters you will make. For 6 people, I doubled the recipe and added a whole (small) head of cauliflower.
Mix flour and salt in medium sized bowl. Make a dip in the dry mixture and add egg, mixing together with a fork. Slowly add milk/water mixture – you may not need all of the liquid, it will depend on the size of the egg. The batter should be fairly runny and come off the fork easily. Add diced garlic, shredded parmesean and chopped parsely. Let rest for 10-15 minutes. Cook vegetables until soft while batter rests. Tear (do not cut) into bite sized pieces. Fold veggies into batter. Heat vegetable or canola oil in a medium sized pan – add enough oil so that you will be able to shallow fry the fritters. When oil is hot, add a spoonful of batter in available areas in the pan. Once they start to cook, you should be able to push them closer together and add more batter to the pan. Cook about 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper plate. Serve hot.

Kids Night!

Looking over my blog I realized, gosh darnit, we eat pretty well around these parts. Lamb the other night, Moroccan dates another. I was feeling a little too fancy for my own pants and decided to take it back a notch. Nothing can make me feel like a kid again than crunchy chicken fingers with a dipping sauce and creamy mac and cheese. I grew up in a house with a home cooked meal every night (thanks Mom!) with fun food items like these to look forward to when I came home from school. Something about this simple combo just made me giggle like a little Emily again.

I chose these Pan-Fried Chicken Fingers with Spicy Dipping Sauce and the Chicken, Bacon and Ranch Mac and Cheese both from Cooking Light plus some adult grape juice aka a nice bottle of a 2008 Cols Du Vents Corbieres to go along with. Trust me it just sounds fancy, it was on sale for $9.00 at Whole Foods Market! 

I also like Cooking Light’s comparison of regular chicken fingers versus their creation:

703 calories per serving
1,000 milligrams sodium
10.7 grams saturated fat
Deep-fried in lard
Drowning in sauce
Greasy, heavy coating

414 calories per serving
495 milligrams sodium
1.5 grams saturated fat
Pan-seared in canola oil
Just enough spicy mayo sauce
Light, crispy, crunchy

Pan-Fried Chicken Finger with Spicy Dipping Sauce (Photo by John Autry)

Dude, the sodium and saturated fat difference alone should be enough to convince you to give these a try. I couldn’t find the recommended Kashi brand cereal at our HEB so I winged it and grabbed Grape-Nuts Flakes cereal. YUM! This cereal made a delicious sweet crust for the chicken. I pan-fried two minutes per side as instructed but had to chunk the whole batch into the oven for about 8 minutes at 350 degrees to finish them off as they were still pink inside. After that though? Awesome chicken fingers with a crispy, crunchy crust and not greasy just like they say plus the chicken was still juicy. I heart this sauce. It was so simple but y’all it is a spicy little fireball so watch out and lower the amount of Sriracha if you are not a heat seeker. Of course I loved it’s spicy kick.

The mac and cheese. Nom, nom, nom. I omitted the chicken from the recipe because well that’s too much poultry for one night. Also, I decided to use turkey bacon and used three slices instead of regular bacon and only using one slice. I can’t help it, I love bacon or bacon flavor in anything! Otherwise I followed this to the letter and it turned out perfectly. I especially loved the ranch flavor of this dish. With the onion and garlic powder and fresh dill, it just zinged and zanged but without all of the calories of a true ranch dressing.

After dinner, bellies full but not too much, we sat down and watched Zombieland. This was David’s first time seeing the film and my second. My goodness I love this movie. I think every single line of Woody Harrelson’s is an excellent one-liner. My favorite…? Here you go. We have leftovers for lunch today and I’m thinking about making a chicken tender salad with the Pioneer Woman’s – don’t you just heart her?! – homemade ranch dressing with the remaining mac and cheese on the side.

Update! Leftover chicken fingers on top of mixed greens with above mentioned ranch dressing and mac and cheese – SUPER LUNCH!

A Perfect Dinner

There are times after a meal, when you sit back and have loved the whole experience from start to finish. I chose this Roasted Lamb with Pomegranate Sauce from Cooking Light and Mixed Greens with Pears, Walnuts, Gorgonzola and Green-Tea Vinaigrette from Bon Appetit and we loved it.

The lamb was a simple sear and roast and then you let it stand for ten minutes to help all of the delicious juices redistribute. This is going to sound strange, but I liked that when measuring each liquid for the sauce the recipe used up my 1, 1/2, 1/3 and 1/4 cups all at once so I could easily mise en place them all and pour as I go. Anal retentive much? Me thinks so. After resting, the lamb came out perfectly medium rare and juicy to boot plus pomegranate sauce rocked. The only thing I would change is using one teaspoon of flour instead of two, as it was slightly thicker than desired and I think reducing the amount would do the trick if you are into a thinner sauce.

Onto the salad…shockingly easy and the vinaigrette is AMAZING. I was so happy to see a second use of the green tea (matcha) powder I purchased for this dish last week. I feel like matcha is quickly becoming the flavor enhancer of the day. The vinaigrette mixed with the toasted walnuts, cheese and pears was so light and delicious and worked perfectly as an accompaniment to our lamb dish.

I highly suggest giving these two a try lambs! The salad recipe originates from SENCHA in Colorado Springs and I couldn’t find it online so here you go. Heart you!

Mixed Greens with Pears, Walnuts, Gorgonzola and Green-Tea Vinaigrette
Prep 25 minutes
Total 25 minutes

2 tablespoons of Champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon match green-tea powder
3 tablespoons corn oil
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (thanks for the excellent olive oil Kari H.!)
6 cups (loosely packed) mixed greens
2 pears, peeled, halved lengthwise, cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

Puree vinegar, shallot, chives, mustard, basil, and matcha in processor. With machine running, gradually add corn oil and olive oil. Season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper. Place mixed greens, pear wedges, toasted walnuts, and Gorgonzola cheese in large bowl. Add 1/3 cup of vinaigrette to salad mixture and toss to coat evenly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide salad among plates and serve, passing remaining vinaigrette alongside.

– Compiled by Zinzi Edmundson and Janet Taylor McCracken

And now, I leave this for David…the Brie/Gorgonzola line is just too appropriate…There’s Something About Mary