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October 14, 2017

Slow Cooker Carnitas Tacos (6 hours)

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Slow Cooker Carnitas Tacos (6 hours)
slow cooker pork carnitas tacos

Story

This is a great weekend recipe, when you know you are going to be out and about all day but want to come home to some comfort. I’ve been making these tacos for years,  inspired by our favorite Houston taco truck that is faithfully stationed across the street from West Alabama Ice House day in and day out and seemingly always open. The rich simplicity of their carnitas tacos is mind boggling for a copycat. How did they get the meat to be so good that it really needs no toppings at all yet the simple addition of just the smallest sprinkling of onion, cilantro, and salsa to make this one a transcendent taco experience. It has vexed me for years, and while I still don’t know the secret, I personally feel  these tacos are pretty good substitute.

Ingredients

the chili braise
2 dried ancho chilis
2 dried guajillo chilis
1 dried chipotle chilis
1 onion small dice
3 cloves of garlic
1 t cumin
1/2 coriander
1 t oregano
1 lime
2 cups of chicken stock

the pork
4 lb pork shoulder cut into about 8 (2-inch) pieces
1 T salt
pepper
neutral oil for browning
1 cup of fresh pineapple chunks (or 1/2 cup of pineapple juice)

Cilantro, onion and corn tortillas for serving

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October 2, 2017

ENGINEERING

family
ENGINEERING
It might not be Instagram ready but playing in the mud and with water is definitely a year-round & quintessential H&H activity. This image reminds me of a Daniel Heimbinder painting, called Recursion…

 


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September 24, 2017

Mrs. Massie Stewart’s Banana Cake & Texas Pecan Praline Icing

sweets
Mrs. Massie Stewart’s Banana Cake & Texas Pecan Praline Icing

Story

The girls and I whipped this up after breakfast this morning. This cake is nuts! Literally.  My mother has made it on special occasions (and for her Bridge club) since I was a girl. And even though I never liked bananas as a kid, it’s easy overlook a little old thing like after one bite of this cake/candy hybrid. As for the lineage of the recipe…story goes it was past down from one former Garden Club President (Mrs. Massie) to the next (my mother) and luckily into the hands of yours truly. My rustic version is admittedly less civilized than the original intent with unchopped pecans and praline slathered thick on top. Hopefully, what I lack in style by ditching the decorative bundt and carefully drizzled icing, I make up for in taste. We will know soon enough, I’m taking it to Sunday supper tonight at my moms….

Ingredients

cake

1 1/4 cup mashed bananas
1/4 cup sour milk (whole milk with lemon juice or buttermilk will do just fine)
1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda

icing
2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup cutter
1/2 cup milk
1 t. vanilla
pecans (toasted then broken into pieces or left whole or a combination of both)
special tool: candy thermometer

 

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September 13, 2017

chimichurri

sides
chimichurri
chimichurri sauce

Story

Right after Heart was born, Daniel and I went to a restaurant in Houston called America’s. America’s is a South American style restaurant with over-the-top Vegas-style interiors. They do alot of things well, but the real reason to go is the chimichurri and plantains chips, which they’ll serve when you first sit down. The crazy thing is, I usually eat so much of this I actually have no room left for a proper meal. It’s why we can’t go there very much! At any rate, I came home and immediately started tinkering with chimichurri (sans the plantain chips, its not as guilty). Every recipe is different…some use vinegar, some don’t. Some use oregano, some don’t. Mine uses lemon and vinegar and equal parts parsley and cilantro. Every ingredient in this recipe is absolutely necessary. It won’t be the same if one is deleted. The proportion you choose to use, is up to you and totally subjective but the absence of something will leave you worse for the wear.

 

Ingredients

handful of Italian parsley
handful of cilantro
3 large cloves of garlic
1t salt
1/2t pepper
pinch red pepper flakes
1T white wine vinegar (I like Noble)
juice of 1 lemon
½ cup of olive oil

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September 12, 2017

bucatini al’amatriciana

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bucatini al’amatriciana
bucatini al'amatriciana

Story

The recipe for this dish is almost always the same formula, Bacon+Tomato+Onion=Pasta. The only things that really makes this version stand apart is the garlic oil. We go in and out of pasta moments. As I was looking through my recipes, I realized I had never posted this one. The last time we made bucatini this particular way was probably when I took this photo. Which has been years. “Bucatini and Bubbles” was what I was going to call the post. Because I guess we had let the girls run lose outside with bubbles and then ate pasta for dinner. Bucatini is delicious because its unique ability to be slurped but also stow away the sauce so that in every bite you get a little tomato, onion, bacon, and of course garlic. I think I’ll make this again tonight. The oil is a great way to mellow out garlic and add its essence to just about anything you want all week long! Roast vegetables, rice, baked eggs, bread, you name it.

 

Ingredients

Pasta and sauce

1 lb bucatini
6 oz. guanciale thinly sliced and cut into 1– 1 ½ inch long pieces (you can also use pancetta or bacon for this…you can’t go wrong in this dept.)
1 ½ cups strained tomatoes
1 TBSP tomato paste
1/8 cup white wine
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 red onion thinly sliced
1 TBSP olive oil

roast garlic oil
10 cloves of garlic
½ cup olive oil

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September 8, 2017

baked eggs with summer tomato and purple thai basil

brunch
baked eggs with summer tomato and purple thai basil

Story

Baked eggs are the perfect Sunday brunch particularly if you have a baguette or in our case two demi baguettes so there is no fighting over the last piece. Our basil made it through the brutal Texas summer and Hurricane Harvey so I used that and an overage of cherry tomatoes we had on hand. But, baked eggs are no one trick pony. These are equally delicious with a smattering of herbs, parmesan, and a sprinkle of buttery toasted breadcrumbs.

Ingredients

2 eggs
2 t heavy cream
a smear of butter
1 T parmesan
5 grape tomatoes (halved)
5 small basil leaves
pinch of red chili flakes
salt
pepper

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September 7, 2017

braised short ribs thomas keller style

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braised short ribs thomas keller style

Story

If you are going to make or eat short ribs, you might as well go all the way. So even though I have tried many different recipes for this dish and have even gone off the cuff and improvised a few times. I always come back to this one. It takes some prep work, but the reward is the rich layered flavors that are the result of the prep. When you want a Sunday meal that says I love you so much I made you this. Try it.

 

Ingredients

8 short ribs (bone-in)
Salt
Pepper
Flour for dusting
Grapeseed oil
4 bay leaves
4 carrots sliced
1 large onion diced
1 leek sliced thin
1 bottle of dry red wine (one glass reserved for the cook)
5 garlic cloves smashed
one handful of thyme leaves
one small handful of Italian parsley
2 T tomato paste
1 quart of beef broth (homemade or high quality bone broth recommended)
3 celery stalks strings removed and sliced
10 peppercorns
optional: cheesecloth

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September 5, 2017

charred baba ganoush

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charred baba ganoush
charred eggplant baba ganoush + quinoa, parsley, and fava bean salad

Story

Most baba ganoush recipes call for roasted the eggplant whole or halved and scooping out the inside or peeling the eggplant prior to cooking. I love the skin on. It’s how I know what I’m eating. I cut the eggplant into small pieces before roasting for maximum surface area caramelization. I’ve this recipe several times since we have an insane amount of eggplant that we are have cultivated over the past year (thanks to Marcia). It’s such a great recipe, because its flexible… as is hummus. If you think you want more lemon, add it. If you like tahini, add that. But just be sure not to be shy with the olive oil and make sure to use the tastiest one you have.

Ingredients

3 small to medium sized eggplants
2 cloves of garlic sautéed
2 T greek yogurt
Juice of 1 lemon or to taste
1/2 cup of olive oil
2 T tahini
salt
pepper

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September 5, 2017

hummus

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hummus
hummus with zatar and braised short ribs

Story

On our recent family vacation to Turks and Caicos I finally had a chance to finish a book I had started too long ago to mention. The title: an Everlasting Meal… but perhaps the title should have been an Everlasting Book. There were so many aspects of it that were inspiring to me but perhaps these two in particular: first the lesson  of learning to cook with what you have on hand and second, finding ways to turn aspects of one meal into the start of another (like a sourdough starter). This hummus recipe achieved both for me. Use the dried beans I had on hand and second, I turned half of the chickpeas into a fine salad later in the week, and leftover short ribs made this bowl a meal in and if itself. My suggestion, if this recipe sounds delicious to you, just start soaking some chickpeas now. If you wait until you are starving for hummus, it will be too late to impart the serious chickpea flavor my version results in. The key: time

Ingredients

1 cups dried chickpeas (makes 2 cups of hummus)
¼ cup tahini
1/3  good olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves
salt
olive oil for topping
Topping ideas: zatar, a few reserved whole chickpeas, roasted garlic, or heck if you are feeling crazy throw some leftover short ribs on there like me! (optional)

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September 5, 2017

sausage, sage and mushroom quiche

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sausage, sage and mushroom quiche
Sausage, Mushroom, and Sage Quiche

Story

I made this quiche Thursday night before the Hurricane out of nervousness when we found out that Harvey was headed our way and was more than likely going to be a category 3 hurricane that would make landfall in Rockport that was likely cause a lot of damage, flooding, and power outages. And now it did, and it has, but at least for now, in Houston, things are starting to get back to normal-ish at least for the lucky ones. When I thought of buying up provisions, instead of running to the canned soup aisle…I decided I’d make a quiche. I know, I am sick. But to me it made sense… excellent leftover, hot out of the oven, or just straight up room temperature. We had it that night and this morning with a cup of coffee while playing Spirograph, Playdoh, and every board game you can think of…anything to keep those little hands busy. They were climbing the walls!

Ingredients

Crust

2.5 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
ice water (2-4 TBSPs)
2 sticks of ice-cold butter

Filling

1 container Bella or cremini mushrooms
¾ cup grated Gruyere, Swiss or provolone cheese)
1.5 lbs Italian sausage casings removed (about 3 large links from Central Market or Whole Foods)
2 shallots
6 eggs
1.5 cups of half and half or mixture of heavy cream and milk
salt
pepper
thyme
sage
2 T butter
1 T olive oil

 

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July 20, 2017

roast chicken and penne soup

soups
roast chicken and penne soup
roast chicken and fennel soup

Story

Don’t relegate your chicken soup to boiled chicken, celery and carrots. This quick soup incorporates roasted chicken and fennel that adds a caramelized flavor that is worthy of a second helping.

Ingredients

1/2 roast chicken
1/2 box of penne pasta
6 cups of chicken (preferably homemade or high quality bone broth)
4 tbsp chopped herbs  (thyme, oregano, rosemary)
3/4 onion sliced super thin
1 fennel bulb sliced super thin
4 stalks of celery sliced super thin
2 tbsp olive oil
bay leaf
salt
pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes
parmesan & dash of heavy cream for serving (optional)

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May 1, 2017

In the Garden: Eggplants

in the garden
In the Garden: Eggplants
this could be a bumper crop
Marcia and the girls planted this I want to say last summer. It only yielded a few last year. The single freeze we had zapped it this past winter. And…

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April 23, 2017

how to fiesta

family
how to fiesta
puerto adventuras, mexico (Nov. 2016)
I have very fond memories of Mexican fiestas. Everyone gets cleaned up at the end of a big beach day and settles in for a long evening of fun. If…

 


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March 28, 2017

five bean soup

soups
five bean soup
my kids die for this

Story

My mom has always made five bean soup, and it has gotten better and better over time but I’ve never asked for the recipe. I sort of don’t need to anymore. I think I have an idea of what she does without having to ask. Simpatico. Of course she will probably correct me…so before she does… I think she uses ham hock instead of sausage and definitely all chicken broth instead of the half veg/ half chicken.

Ingredients

3 links Italian sausage browned
1 lb mixed beans (soaked)
1 qt. chicken stock
1 qt vegetable stock
6-8 carrots sliced  in half moons about 1/3 inch thick
2 small onions
4 celery stalks
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp tomato paste
5 small whole peeled tomatoes crushed with hands
4 sprigs of thyme leaves chopped
2 sprigs of oregano chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin
salt
pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter

chopped parsley or buttered croutons make a nice garnish

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March 8, 2017

waygu + homegrown root vegetable hash

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waygu + homegrown root vegetable hash
the last of our winter veggies

Story

A few years ago we got a real into making vegetable bowls for dinner. Well, bowls are having resurgence in the house, but now we are adding protein… and not just any. A visit to the Texas  Farmers’ Market off Mueller inspired the addition of Texas Waygu to vegetable-centered dish and we are loving it.

Ingredients

3 rainbow carrots
2 small turnips
1 large watermelon radish
1 small butternut quash
3 handfuls of baby kale
1 waygu sirloin or 2 sm. NY strips
sesame seeds
olive oil
salt
pepper

 

 

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