We moved to Texas about 10 years ago, and fell in love with some of its iconic foods: queso, kolaches, migas, sweet tea, and smoked brisket. Oh baby, that’s good brisket! I read all the books. No, that’s not an exaggeration. I like to tackle things nerd-on. And I practiced, just making one little modification each time til I got my perfect brisket.
The dolly store. My kids are way past that now, but I remember when we used to trek in to American Girl. They would pour over all the historical doll displays, oohing and aahing at all of those darling little accessories. They loved the books, too, and got a decent idea about American history from the nerdier volumes. The New York store (we used to live there) used to have a theater in it where you could watch plays. They were wonderful. I tried to steer them clear of the hairstyling area. I used to cut their hair myself, and couldn’t fathom forking over for a doll to get her style on. Then we’d go to the café. Have you been? They have little doll seats that clip on to the table so that the dolls and kids can eat together. The dolls even get served tiny cups of cocoa when the kids do. Holy adorbs! I wasn’t into the food, but didn’t really care. Then once, I ordered a parmesan crusted tilapia and it was delicious! So, I pulled together a similar dinner at home so we could have dolly night. They’re hopping off electronics or the treadmill, instead of hitching dollies to the table, when I make it now.
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Oh brunch! How I love you! A few years ago, we spent a few days in Denver on the way to Yellowstone. What a cool city! If you go, the art museum there is absolutely amazing. Definitely in my top 5 art museums ever. There’s a breakfast place there called Snooze. http://snoozeeatery.com/ You have to wait to get in, but it’s oh so worth it! Mmmm. Sweet potato buttermilk pancakes topped with homemade caramel, candied pecans and ginger butter. Buttermilk pancakes with caramelized pineapple chunks, housemade vanilla crème anglaise and cinnamon butter. I LOVE those pineapple upside down pancakes!
I started playing with that idea in my kitchen trying to bring a little vacation home. I added dollops of crushed pineapple and a sprinkle of sugar to each pancake before flipping it, and it caramelized so nicely. Delish. Then it hit me! Coconut flour is healthier than regular flour and it’s banging the same tropical vibe. And coconut milk makes everything more decadent even though it’s good for you. Oh baby! The wheels were spinnin’! Coconut flour and almond flour pancakes love to stick to the pan, so you need to make them smaller. And that would make adding a little dollup and sprinkle to each fussy. Hmmm. In Maricel Presilla’s Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America, she makes the most cravable caramelized pineapple, avocado, and red onion salad. (She has a killer restaurant in Hoboken, New Jersey, right through the Lincoln Tunnel from Manhattan, called Cucharamama, and you must go if you’re ever near there. She’s a culinary genius and food history nerd extraordinaire!) The pineapple is caramelized under the broiler, just getting turned once. Perfect technique for this!
They’re healthier this way, but they’re yummier, too! It tastes like an island vacation. It’s a little plate of sunshine. Delicious, delicious sunshine.
It’s a weekend, so let’s set the kitchen mood! Put on a Marley’s Legend or turn your XM to 42 for the reggae channel. Prefer a little Cuban music? Albita’s No Se Parece A Nada wonderful. Or a little Jazz or Blues is always brunch appropriate. Or crank Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All (Remastered). You do you. Open the windows. But brunch is really at its yummiest on the porch. Truth.
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We eat everything, but I end up with a lot of vegetarian and vegan books because I’m a massive produce-head. I stumbled upon a recipe in The Simply Vegan Cookbook: Easy, Healthy, Fun, and Filling Plant-Based Recipes Anyone Can Cook by Dustin Harder (Great book – at the very healthy end of the vegan spectrum and super easy), where sweet potatoes stood in for the bread in avocado toast. I loved the idea. A total vitamin punch with twice as much vegetables in breakfast – I’m in! I wanted stronger flavors and enjoy a little protein in the morning, so I started playing with the idea.
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I love smoking fatties. They look really cool, even though they couldn’t be easier. They’re quick to assemble. Everyone loves them. And they smoke in just a few hours. So they’re the perfect easy breezy party food. Get ready to be a Superbowl hero! Here are a few of my fatties to try. Each one serves 8 petite humans or 4 really hungry adults. They definitely only serve 4 teenagers.
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Valentine’s Day is approaching! Need a special dinner? I got you! Lobster Mac and Cheese. 2 ways! The real deal for those who really like to play around in the kitchen and get a kick out of the process, and a cheater version for those that would like to get to that “ta-da” finish. And then I hand it over to B for beer pairings in B’s Beer Buzz! 🙂 Happy Valentine’s Day!
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Greek Salad is one of my favorite things in the whole wide world. I love it filled with chopped vegetables, some sort of topping, and usually skip the romaine. The kids love it, too, but I always saw dishes in the sink with raw onions framing the empty plates. In salads all over Latin America, onions are soaked in vinegar to cut their sharpness. I started tweaking my notes. The plates in the sink are totally naked now.
Below, I’ll give all my variations, starting with my seasoning blend, a raw or grilled salad base, then 5 toppers to pick from. Two are vegetarian, two are for carnivores, and one for pescatarians.