31 March 2011


So those maple bacon cupcakes with chocolate bock-flavored cream cheese frosting I made? Super yummy, but I can't eat more than half of one before feeling like I'm about to have a heart attack.  Basically? They're vice in a frilly pink wrapper.

30 March 2011

Austin Bakes for Japan

I went to the Austin Food Blogger Alliance happy hour at Takoba today with Colby.  Once we arrived, I realized that the only IRL person I actually knew was Colby.  We ventured in the bar for a couple of beers and loosened up a bit.  It turns out that physics majors aren't the most sociable people and much of our socializing in undergrad came with lots of alcohol. *ahem*

Eventually we wandered a bit and found some really neat people to talk with.  I managed to meet two other people named Julie, which is awesome because anyone named Julie is totally rad (duh).  See, even Fountains of Wayne think so:

One person I did hope to spot was the person running Austin Bakes for Japan.  Basically, it's a bake sale being held at several different locations across Austin to raise donations for Americares' humanitarian efforts in Japan.  See here or the flyer below for more details.  This is a really important cause and every donation of food, time, and money will help!

Colby and I will be at the East location from 10-12 on Saturday morning with homemade kolaches.  You should come out and pick up some awesome baked goods for an even more meaningful cause!

29 March 2011

[Si]lly...haha get it?

At one point I started an astronomy humor blog.  Mostly it was because there was a paper that came out with a ridiculous figure.  It turns out that astronomy isn't that funny.  It's mostly frustrating, occasionally satisfying, and supposedly rewarding; hence, I abandoned that blog, but if I hadn't I would have posted this there.

Instead of here.

On my food blog.

Oh well.  I'll explain these later.  Sometime.  You know... in the future.  Until then, I'll just amuse myself and continue on measuring the amount of silicon (seriously, now do you get the title?  C'mon, it's funny!) in the oldest stars observable in the universe.  Yeah..

28 March 2011

Menu Planning Part a zillion

I've begun to venture into the deep dark world of tofu and it's not going so well.  For dinner tonight, we had tofu with a spicy peanut sauce and I mostly wanted to eat the peanut sauce and feed the tofu to the babydog.  She didn't have a problem with that, but I needed to actually eat dinner, so I ate the tofu.  I'm hoping that the rest of the week is tastier, so here's a menu since I haven't posted one in quite awhile.

Monday - Either going out to dinner or probably grilled chicken breast with salad and grilled corn
Tuesday - CSHC goodies.
Wednesday - CSHC goodies part II.
Thursday - We're getting our CSA share that day, so I'm thinking lots of greens, grilled fish, and polenta
Friday - rice and beans and more stuff from the CSA

25 March 2011

Friday Night Jam

I should probably take this advice, but it's 10:52 on a Friday night and I'm working my paper.  ANYWHO. New Orleans Part II coming up soon... after this draft is submitted to the bosspeople.  (I would say "bossman", but there are two and one is a woman.)

23 March 2011

Spring Break Part I

This past weekend was awesome.  Kyle flew in from Tucson for part of Spring break and I took a few days off from paper writing to visit New Orleans.  Colby hates cities and didn't want to spend 18 hours in a car for 36 hours in a city, so he stayed home and watched the babydog.  Kyle and I, on the other hand, took the opportunity to explore creole cooking and meet up with my college friend Traci.

We left on Friday mourning (not a typo) at 7:30 AM and made it to Sulphur, LA by lunch time.  We found a Wendy's because we just wanted something fast and cheap.  This might have been a mistake because it was overrun with a large group of middle school kids, most of whom were girls.  At the register the cashier asked me if I was part of the middle school group... I apparently still look 12 (I'm 25!).  We ended up in New Orleans at around 5:00 PM at the Bywater Bed & Breakfast.  As per usual, the sight of a man and woman together implies marriage or togetherness and so the innkeeper asked if we actually wanted two separate beds.  Yes, yes we did.

We went out the first night and went to Luke, a brasserie-style restaurant.  One of my motivations to go to New Orleans in the first place is my major crush on John Besh.  This restaurant did not disappoint.  We started by sharing the pate of Louisiana rabbit and duck livers topped with a muscato gelee, which was served with whole grain mustard, fennel relish, something that was pickled that we never did figure out, and sweet pickles.

The muscato gelee wasn't so much to our liking, but once you get around that, it was awesome.  The pate was incredibly rich and the whole grain mustard and fennel relish helped to cut through it and made it a wonderful appetizer.  This was really way too much for two people, but it was definitely a really great choice.

Kyle ordered drum meuniere, which was served with roasted vegetables.  I don't remember if I tried it.  I think I did.  It didn't matter, though, because in terms of this dinner, I totally won.  

I ordered the moules et frites.  These were Prince Edward Island mussels steamed with garlic, thyme, butter, and wine and served with fries.  The fries were delicious, but this was all about the mussels.  So. freaking. good.  Once I ate a layer or so off, I was able to get to the delicious sauce in the bottom of the vessel.  Dipping the mussels in it was divine.  Dipping the fries in it was even better.  Dipping the bread in it?  I don't even have words to describe how delicious.  This was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.

Afterward, we wandered around the French Quarter for a bit, but mostly we stayed on Bourbon Street.  Bourbon Street has been described like Sixth Street, but longer and filthier.  I knew this in the back of my head, but I just wasn't prepared.  Bourbon Street-style drinking involves things called "hand grenades" and "hurricanes" and some other concoction that's served in a fish bowl.  The bars don't have to close at 2 AM, unlike everywhere else I've ever lived and patrons are allowed to wander out of the bars as long as they have "to go" vessels (i.e. not glass bottles).  Not that anyone cares whether or not there are glass bottles.  Kyle and I walked up and down and eventually got to Tropical Isle and we each had a hand grenade.  I have no idea what's in it, but holy crap it had a lot of alcohol.

After finishing ~3/4 of our drinks, we found ourselves at Pat O'Brien, home of the hurricane and a dueling piano bar.  I love dueling piano bars more than is reasonable for someone my age.  I think part of it has to do with watching old people get crazy drunk... and then singing.  The place was packed and we were seated next to a gay couple from Houston.  I decided that I needed something slightly less alcoholic than the hand grenade, so I opted for a beer.  Kyle wanted to try the signature hurricane.  After making it through about half of the beer and half of the hurricane, the couple decided that we looked thirsty and ordered us one.  At that point I knew I was in trouble.  The next morning was rough, but well worth the night before.  But this is a story for another post.

16 March 2011

Spring Break Posting

I've been busy and lazy, hence the posting has vastly slowed down.  This doesn't mean, however, that I've abandoned the internet.  Here are some interesting links from the past couple of weeks that I've been meaning to share.

Universal Wrapping Paper - Too cool!  And I'd totally get/make some if I actually wrapped my presents. ;)

Redesigned Recipes - New and (mostly) interesting ways to represent recipes.  I really like the Choose Your Own Egg Adventure

I Don't Need a Hug - This is basically my mantra.

Mapping Gangs and Cupcakes - this is mostly just interesting, but Colby just came in and said that it was stupid. :(  Asshole.

And there you have it.

12 March 2011

Wherein I suck. Also, coffee is delicious.

Colby's uncle died last week.  He was 81 and had 7 children and 15 grandchildren.  His funeral is going on right now and I should be there.  Instead, I'm at a coffee shop 2 miles down the road waiting the service out.  I sort of knew that it was going to be hard, but I couldn't quite put my finger on why.  I've never met this person and the last time Colby saw him, he was 11.  We got a call from Colby's dad on Thursday.  Actually, Colby sent it to voicemail and Thursday night we listened to the message that said that he and Jason, Colby's brother, were in the midst of driving down to Texas from Michigan and that they'd be in the state on Friday and the funeral was Saturday.

Colby and I made the trek to Richmond, TX, just outside of Houston, this morning.  It only occurred to me enroute that this was going to be flashback inducing.  Colby's grandparents are the oldest non-religious people I've ever met.  I've never met anyone before whose grandparents weren't religious.  It was a little bit strange, but I attribute that to my incredibly Catholic upbringing.  The thing is, though, that these are his maternal grandparents.  His dad's side is all Catholic and this was going to be a Catholic service.  I prepped Colby about the proper way to make the sign of the cross (spectacles, testicles, watch, wallet), what happens during a mass (DO NOT under ANY circumstances try to receive communion, you heathen).  It was only then that I realized that the last Catholic funeral I attended was my mom's.  This was going to be the stuff of emotional napalm.

I convinced myself that as long as the service was different, it was going to be okay.  Apparently all Catholic funeral services are the same.  The song of the opening precession was the same.  As long as they didn't play "On Eagle's Wings" I was going to be okay, but that was the second song.  At that point there were tears.  Totally inappropriate tears for my mom, at someone else's funeral.  And then I left.  And now I'm sitting at a coffee shop.  It's probably the only independent coffee shop in Richmond, TX if Richmond is the way Kyle describes it.  And the coffee is pretty good.

So the next time you find yourself in Richmond, TX avoiding a Catholic funeral because it's way too much like your mom's, go to Mugz.  They make a good latte.

10 March 2011

Spicy Syrup

I was going to post about an apple pie that's in the oven, but honestly, I'm not convinced that it's going to be that good.  I was going to bake a pie for the talk I gave a week ago, but I was too busy.  I had Colby chop up some apples for that effort, but they've been in an plastic bag in my fridge for over a week now and if they weren't going to be used now, they weren't going to be used ever.  I decided that I wanted to make a "spicy" pie.  I'm still convinced that it can be done well, but I phoned it in and used store bought crust.  I'll post a real apple pie recipe when I make a real apple pie from scratch.  And by "from scratch" I mean starting with flour and butter, not Carl Sagan from scratch. ;)

The one thing that came out of this that was incredible, was the seasonings I used for the apples.  It ends up being spicy and sweet and it's begging me to get some ice cream, but I'm lactose intolerant and ate a bunch of pizza at dinner, so my carb limit is kind of maxed out for the day.  I can imagine using this on fruits like peaches and plum (ooh... perhaps grilled peaches and plums) or over ice cream or just of a jar with a spoon

Spicy Syrup
1.5 oz Pimm's No 1
2.5 T butter
1 T vanilla extract
3/4 c sugar
1 t corn starch
1 T cinnamon
1/2 t cayenne
1 t ginger
1/2 t cloves
1/4 t fresh ground black pepper

Melt butter over medium heat.  Whisk the pimms, vanilla extract, and corn starch together.  Add this to the butter, along with the remaining ingredients.  Reduce until it can coat the back of a spoon.  Don't lick the spoon because it's going to be hot.  Like crazy hot.  Not that I know that from experience or anything.  *Ahem*

08 March 2011

Martes Gordo

chalupa especial, queso, and the best salsa in the world. nom nom.

Or should it be martes grasa?

Also, Amaya's Taco Village is the best Tex-Mex in Austin.

Happy March!

Okay, so I haven't posted much lately.  I also haven't been dealing with my glucose intolerance very well lately either.  It turns out that healthy eating is mostly difficult for me because it involves lots of planning and free time that is apparently being ripped from my hands.   But whatever, everyone's busy.  I didn't come here to post and bitch about my busy schedule.  I came here to bitch about Paczki Day.  Or, really, the lack of Paczki Day in Austin.  I miss the ooeygooeyjellyfilledpowderedsugartopped doughnuts from Hamtramck.  The closest thing we have in Austin, it seems, is the kolache.  It turns out that those make a poor substitute for the beloved Paczki.

And this?  This is how you do Paczki Day.  You stand in long lines outside bakeries in Hamtramck and get a dozen amazing paczki to go.  Next year, I'm totally making my own.