30 December 2012

"final" new year's eve menu!

I think we've finalized our New Year's Eve menu, so I'm posting it here, mostly so that I can have a place for links to recipes and that people who are coming can see.

cured sausages
aged cheddar
baked brie en croute
third kind of cheese 

sourdough bread
black-eyed pea dip
sundried tomato dip
roasted garlic dip

California-type rolls
vegetable rolls
smoked salmon rolls
scallion pancakes with soy dipping sauce
mini "wedge" salads w/bacon, bleu cheese, mushroom, tomato, green goddess dressing
spiral-sliced ham

stuffed cookies
poppy seed cookies
Swedish heirloom cookies
chocolate chip
strawberry cornmeal pound cake

16 December 2012

Franklin Barbecue

I'm doing something I almost never do: post about a restaurant the day I visit it.  In most cases, it's days or weeks or months (ahem) after I visit, but this was really good and there is at least one cute baby picture involved, so that's motivation enough.

I'm not a huge fan of barbecue, but everyone else is, including Colby.  Two years ago, when it was Colby's birthday, we tried to go to the Franklin trailer, but I was about to fly out to Boston for a work trip the next day and we didn't have time to stand in line.  Colby's maybe only a little bit bitter about that still.  I found out from a friend this year that we could pre-order and pick up if we got our order in early and were willing to buy 5 lbs of meat.  Challenge accepted.

Colby sent an email 5 days before his birthday this year and the earliest availability they had was 11 days later, so this morning we picked up 3 lbs of brisket, 1 lb of pulled pork, and 1 lb of ribs along with a pint of beans.  It comes with three kinds of sauce, bread, and pickles+onions.  Let me preface this by saying that I don't really like barbecue.

We've been to Rudy's a lot, Sam's once (you know, pants meat), Iron Works, Bill Miller Barbecue, places in Lockhart and Elgin, the Salt Lick, and several other barbecue joints and trailers around Austin that I'm sure I'm forgetting.  They run the gamut from should-have-known-better to nationally renown.  From all of those places we've visited, these are my favorite things: Salt Lick's potato salad, getting the hell out of Bill Miller's, Rudy's ice.  Yes, Rudy's used to have crushed ice, which is the best ice and I enjoyed that more than any of the food.  Franklin Barbecue is hands down the best barbecue I've ever had.  This is nothing new.  Everyone thinks this, but let me just say, that as someone who just doesn't like barbecue that I thought this was good, great even.  And not "good for barbecue", just plain good.
beans - $4.50/pint

When I saw the order Colby put in, I questioned why he would get beans, but he said that the reviews said that the beans were excellent.  I no longer question these people.  The beans were magnificent, though it's probably a misnomer to call them beans.  There was a lot of meat in the beans, but I'm not complaining here.  Their hot sauce isn't incredibly hot and it's on the acidic side, but a splash of hot sauce on the beans?  Perfection.

ribs - $14/lb
I really really liked the ribs.  They were fall-off-the-bone good.

pulled pork - $13/lb
The pulled pork comes unsauced and is dry enough to warrant some.  The three sauces were the aforementioned hot sauce, a more traditional barbecue sauce that has espresso in it, and one that reminded me of the tamarind chutney that gets served with samosas at Indian restaurants.  I definitely liked the tamarind sauce with the pulled pork the most.

meatucopia - $16/lb
From all of my friends' exclamations, the brisket is the reason to come to Franklin Barbecue.  It was definitely delicious.  When we put the 3 lbs of brisket on the table to photograph, it looked like a cornucopia filled with meat.  A meatucopia, if you will.  And this bounty of meat lived up to the hype.
take in the meaty abundance
Kimchi was about to keel over with excitement
Kimchi, no surprise, wanted in on the action.  She got a few bites. :)
brisket - $16/lb

Eating this with the loaf of Mrs. Baird's bread is a mistake.  I made a sandwich with pickles and the espresso sauce and the bread brought the meal down, as the juxtaposition of carefully crafted meat with chemically-preserved white bread is strange.  Perhaps a loaf of homemade white bread would have been better.
baby's first barbecue - priceless

We also decided that this was probably the best opportunity to introduce Ramona to brisket.  She really liked it too, although now she's probably ruined forever, since no other barbecue that we get on the regular can really match this.

Will we ever go there "for real", with the lines?  Unlikely.  My barbecue apathy combined with my extreme aversion to waiting will prevent me from ever getting up at the crack of dawn to wait for hours for meat; however, I'm already looking into pre-ordering again.

10 December 2012

menu draft

New years eve is coming up and I'm trying to put together a menu.  Below are some random thoughts and links.  This is mostly a "for me" type of post, so feel free to ignore my scatterbrained cooking thoughts

california roll
veggie rolls (cucumber, avocado)
smoked salmon + cream cheese + capers + red onion roll
scallion pancakes with soy dipping sauce

clam chowder

sundried tomato
bacon jam
roasted garlic + salt + butter?  Is that really a dip?  It sounds good enough to be one.

mini wedge salads with green goddess dressing

spiral sliced ham. ugh, you guys suck.

This is lifted from Chris' blog.

  • Mini crab cakes
  • Baked colcannon balls with drawn butter
  • Quick fried scallops with a lemon/herb aioli
  • Assorted sausages and cheeses.
  • Mini stromboli segments.
  • Spinach parmesan wontons
  • Kabucha tempura
  • Fried asparagus, to share the aioli
  • Mixed green salad, apple cider/sriracha dressing
  • Shortbread, strawberries, and pepper balsamic whipped cream
  • Chocolate shells with assorted ices and sorbets.
Then for desserts, I'm thinking Momofuku Crack Pie, something with a cinnamon roll crust, and all sorts of cookies. 

08 December 2012


Whenever Ramona's napping, I feel like I should either be a) napping too or b) doing something productive.  I am not above option a, but her naps usually don't last that long.  I suppose I could use that time to do a quick load of laundry/dishes/something-else-you-do-in-loads, but sometimes, it's just much better to snuggle a sleeping baby.

I would have totally taken a picture, but hello, sleeping baby!

05 December 2012

A Very Colby Christmas

My crazy night/day schedule is still ongoing and it still sucks, but I figured I'd use some of this quiet time to write a post.  Colby doesn't really read my blog unless I tell him to.  Usually this happens around the time I make my annual birthday list.  If he did read my blog, it wouldn't matter if I posted this because the list at the end of this post is likely fictional.

Colby's birthday is 9 days before our anniversary and 15 days before Christmas, so it gets lost a lot.  Most years he gets a big birthiversarmas gift and this year is no exception.  We just dropped a lot of money on a new dishwasher.  It's pretty and it has a sanitize option, but most importantly, it's EIGHTY times quieter than our old dishwasher.  It's money well spent, but it also put a big dent in the Christmas gift budget.  So below is my list of what I'd totally get Colby for his birthiversarmas this year.

1. Boston terrier print - duh
2. Essential Pepin - Colby's favorite chef
3. Basketball hoop - because we just bought a basketball that Colby torments Kimchi with
4. The Greatest Hoodie - there was a Slate article about this. The tl;dr version is that it's expensive but made with better materials + techniques and made in the US.

03 December 2012

The unwilling insomniac

Right this moment, my house smells of garlic and onion and chicken and Ramona's sitting on the floor playing with a pile of toys.  It's quite lovely.  We had chicken and 40 cloves last week and I harvested the thighs and drumsticks from an organic roaster chicken to make it.  Since I knew I had time to kill, I decided to cook the rest of it in the slow cooker on a bed of onions, garlic, and carrots.  While this all sounds like a wonderful Sunday afternoon, it's not Sunday afternoon.  It's 4:48 AM on Monday morning and I started the chicken at about 3 AM with the knowledge that I would be awake at 8 AM to get it out and (likely) put it in the fridge.

"Why," you ask, "are you going to be awake at 8 AM if you're awake at 4:48 AM?"  Good question.

This all started with Ramona's 9 month well check.  When the pediatrician asked about her sleeping habits, she was surprised to hear about her late schedule (down at 3 AM up at noon) and then gave us a pamphlet about sleep phase disorders.  It turns out that I probably have delayed sleep phase syndrome and Ramona either has it too or is being subjected to mine.  I guess what happens is that for whatever reason, your circadian rhythms get out of whack and you just want to go to sleep later than most people in your time zone do.  I've been like this for as long as I can remember.  My family used to joke that I was "stuck" on Korean time, but I'm pretty sure that after 26 years here, I should have adjusted by now.

For the most part, it's not a big deal.  DSPS has been linked to ADHD (which I probably have), and clinical depression (which I don't).  It seems like the problem stems from not getting enough sleep since people with DSPS don't have a problem staying asleep, they have problems going to sleep at a societally indicated time.  In high school and college, I powered through and consumed a lot of caffeine.  I also relished the days in which I had no classes before noon.  In grad school, it was mostly more of the same, although I've always had to TA early classes.  Once I became pregnant, the caffeine stopped, but I did manage to sleep more because I was tired all. of. the. times.

And now I have a 9 month old who likes to go to bed at 3 AM, which is around the time her mama prefers.  I'm currently being paid as a graduate research assistant, which means that I can make my own hours.  While most people are getting to work , I'm in the middle of my night.  I usually end up working in the afternoons and late at night, saving the early evenings for Ramona and Colby.  There isn't this tired all the time problem because I do get enough sleep, it's just offset from everyone and my work output isn't suffering because I'm tired, it's suffering because I have a baby.  The one thing that is kind of hard, however, is Colby's schedule.  Colby usually goes to sleep around the same time as us, but he *does* have a job that requires him to be somewhere before the early afternoon (oppressive, I know!).  This means that he usually averages about 5 hours of sleep a night.  When the doctor mentioned DSPS and the "simple" way to fix it, he was super excited.

So.  After all this rambling, my birthday present to him is to try to fix our weirdo sleep schedule in time for the holidays.  While we could work on sleep hygiene and take melatonin and blah blah, we're currently trying to stay up an hour later each day until we get back around to a normal schedule.  While most people can't do this, this has been perfectly timed because it gives me extra time to work and Colby time to sleep.  Today, I'm supposed to go to bed around 8 AM, although I suspect it'll be a bit later.  By the weekend, we'll be going to bed at 2 PM, which sounds crazy, but I'm hoping that we can get back to some sort of normal schedule so that Colby isn't so sleep deprived.

02 December 2012

Thanksgiving Photos

sweet potato pie with cinnamon roll crust

apple pie

apple+cranberry sauce

bacon cheddar mashed potatoes


Kimchi's plate

the spread

action shot of the sweet potato pie

Kimchi trying to swipe Ramona's dinner

01 December 2012

Random Answer to Random Questions

Now that I am no longer shackled by the convention of the giant fail that was NaBloPoMo, I finally have something to post. The lovely Mica, who is also a Korean adoptee with a smushy-faced dog, nominated me to answer 7 questions about myself.

1. Do you wear make-up every day?
Not at all. Since college, I've worn make up 3 times - once for my wedding, once for Halloween (does that even count?) and once for my friend's wedding.

2. In your opinion, what is the best part of the holidays?
Winter. We go home for Christmas and get actual winter and I can do crazy things like wear sweaters and boots without dying of heat stroke. it's wonderful. I'm sure that I'm supposed to say something sentimental about Ramona, but um... Texas is really hot.

3. Which character are you most like from Winnie the Pooh?
I would say Eeyore because I'm kind of a huge pessimist, but I'd say now I'm more like Pooh. Breastfeeding means that I'm hungry all. of. the times. and that seems to parallel Pooh's hunny addiction.

 4. What holiday movie are you excited to see?
There aren't really any new holiday movies that I'm excited about, but my favorite movie that includes the holidays is definitely You've Got Mail, although if we're going for something that's only the Christmas season, I'd have to say it'd be Love Actually.

 5. How many pairs of jeans do you own?
A lot, but I don't wear most of them. I'd say that I have about 6 pairs in my regular rotation: 2 normal denim skinnies, 1 black denim skinny, 1 teal skinny, a stonewashed pair of flares and a dark denim pair of flares.

 6. What’s a gross fact about yourself?
I have pregnancy dreams after I eat a lot of cruciferous vegetables. If this doesn't make sense to you, then you've obviously never felt fetal kicks (which totally feel like gas).

7. What would you choose to eat as your “last meal”?
Oh. Man. Let's make this not from the same place and a progressive meal because this is supposed to be a food blog, damnit.

Mexican coke
Chateau Chantal chardonnay
unpasteurized apple cider from any number of cider mills in Michigan

Cold Appetizer/Hot appetizer/soup/salad:
Hummus + zataar spice + olive oil + pita from Steve's Backroom
fried potato knish from Zingerman's Delicatessen

cheddar cheese soup from Hudson's  (which was department store chain in Michigan)
Olga salad from Olga's Kitchen


Brussels sprouts from Uchiko
truffled grits from Dusty's Cellar
Picanha from Fogo de Chao

After dinner:
a cheese plate from Antonelli's Cheese Shop
bavarian cheesecake from Champs Rotisserie

So in theory, I'm supposed to make up 7 questions for 7 other people to answer, but I actually only know of one person who reads this consistently with a blog (who didn't already nominate me. *ahem*) So Chris, you get to answer these questions and everyone else can feel free to answer in the comment section. :) 1) What Adventure Time character is your favorite and why? 2) What's the perfect New Year's Eve dinner menu? 3) If you could go back in time and change your major, what would you change it to? 4) Who makes the best chili-cheese fries? 5) What's been your favorite book you've read this year? 6) What vacation spot would you want to visit in the U.S. in 2013? 7) cake or pie? recipe for your favorite.