Mango Lassi

Only 8 days left to go on my Indiegogo campaign! I admittedly haven’t promoted it much at all, and it hasn’t been super successful because I think ten people read this blog consistently, but a huge thanks to everyone who has shared it on social media and told me nice things about my writing. I got my first (and only) donation this week, so let’s keep this ball rolling with another recipe!

Oh, how I love a good mango lassi. My favorite Indian restaurant in town, Tarka Indian Kitchen, serves the best one I’ve ever had. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: the recipe for a good mango lassi is a 1:1 ratio of mango and yogurt, with just a touch of added sweetener.

Mango Lassi

Serves 1 | Gluten-free, vegetarian

Ingredients

Plain unsweetened yogurt (I used White Mountain, a local Austin brand.)
1 large mango
1 tbsp. agave or honey (optional)

Equipment

Blender
Fork
Small bowl

Instructions

1. Before slicing it, give your mango a little massage. I had read this on a few different blogs with mango lassi recipes. Apparently, it loosens up the pulp and makes it easier to separate the meat from the pit.

2. Peel and slice your mango, which can be tricky, since it has a weird oval-shaped pit. I usually do it like this. Place the mango chunks into a small bowl.

3. Mash the mango with a fork into a pulp. Measure the pulp and take note of how much it is, because you’ll match that amount with the amount of yogurt you add. For example, if you had 3/4 c. mango pulp, you’d add 3/4 c. yogurt to the blender.

4. Add the mango pulp and the equivalent amount of yogurt into the blender. If desired, add agave or honey if you like your lassi on the sweeter side.

5. Blend until smooth and serve!

Mango Lassi

p.s. Do y’all like my magnetic poetry? I am a kitchen woman! (Rawr.)

Spicy Cholula Black Beans

These beans are my food rut. I’m almost ashamed to admit that I make this same bean recipe for weeks in a row, but they are so good eaten all on their own and even better stuffed into a taco with some fresh avocado slices and quinoa. Who cares, really? Beans are the vegetarian lifeblood and Cholula is the nectar of the gods.

Before you get on to the recipe, I have some news: It’s the first day of my Indiegogo campaign to make Hippie Eats better! I’m trying to raise funds for advertising, branding, and quality ingredients by my 24th birthday on June 30. If you’ve ever made one of these recipes, liked my photos on Instagram, or liked one of my posts, please take a minute to check it out. Thanks, y’all!

beans

Spicy Cholula Black Beans

Makes about 4 cups

Ingredients

2 15 oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp. Cholula hot sauce (I used the original, but go nuts with the other flavors and let me know what you think!)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. paprika (I used smoked paprika, which makes everything better.)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1 bay leaf
1/2 c. finely chopped red onion
1 c. water
2 tsp. olive oil

Directions

1. Heat olive oil in a saucepot. Add onion and cook until soft and fragrant.

2. Add drained beans, water, and spices; stir, and simmer on medium heat until most of the water is dissolved. It’s that easy!

Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

Hey y’all, its been a while! After a fervent post-grad job hunt, I finally got a new job writing at a software company after working at the most amazing bakery and cake shop in Austin for four years. I’m working there as a part-time contractor, so I’ll be filling my new-found spare time by continuing to write for local magazines and getting back to what I love most: food blogging!

Nick and I went to East Side King for our anniversary last month, and hot damn, did I fall in love with those fried brussels sprouts like everyone else in Austin has. Since then, I’ve incorporated them into my repertoire of vegetables and don’t know how I ever lived without them. Excluding ESK’s amazing veggie meshi, this is my favorite way to eat them, by far.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Reduction

Serves 3-4

balsamic brussels sprouts

Ingredients

1 pound brussels sprouts
1 c. balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400F.

2. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of balsamic vinegar to a simmer. Add 1/4 c. sugar and stir until the granules are dissolved. Keep at a slow simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has reduced to a syrup. When finished, turn off the burner but leave the pan sitting there so it keeps warm.

3. As the balsamic reduction is cooking, wash brussels sprouts and cut them into quarters (lengthwise.) Spread evenly on a foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to evenly coat the sprouts in oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until they are fully cooked and the outer leaves are crispy.

4. Lightly drizzle with the balsamic reduction and serve. You may have leftover reduction depending on how sweet you like your sprouts; it keeps well in the fridge for well over a month.

Pucker Up! Lemon Bars

I’m going to start by saying that finding the perfect lemon bar recipe has been something like a saga, or perhaps even an odyssey. As simple as this sour treat might seem, recipes for lemon bars are all over the board. Though the flaky shortbread crust is almost always the same, the ingredients for the lemon filling vary widely. I can safely say I’ve tried most of the variations: flour, no flour, cornstarch, egg yolks only, butter, no butter; I felt that even Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen‘s genius idea to puree a whole de-seeded lemon into the filling would surely do the trick for my sour-loving palate. Yesterday, I threw all caution to the wind and decided to try crafting a recipe from scratch, starting with a whole lotta lemon zest.

Lemon zest!

It only gets better from there, I promise. Make ’em for your sweetie for Valentine’s Day, especially if they’re like my beau, who doesn’t like cake (!!!) but is a sucker for anything lemon.

Pucker Up! Lemon Bars

Makes 1 9″ by 13″ pan

Pucker up lemon bars

Ingredients

For the crust:

1 c. oat flour (to make oat flour, throw some gluten-free oats into your food processor)
1 c. sorghum “sweet white” flour
1/4 c. flaxseed meal
1/4 c. coconut flour
1/4 c.granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 sticks butter

For the lemon filling:

6 large organic lemons*
2/3 c. lemon pulp puree
2/3 c. lemon zest
3/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 organic pasture-raised eggs
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/2 c. sorghum “sweet white” flour

* Because this recipe calls for lots of zest, I highly recommend springing for organic lemons, which contain no pesticide residues.

Directions

To make the lemon filling:

1. Using a microplane zester, zest all six of your lemons. Measure 2/3 c. lemon zest (you might have extra!) and set aside in a small bowl.

2. Using a very sharp knife, slice your lemons into medium-sized wedges (about six per lemon) and gently squeeze the juice into a liquid measuring cup until you reach 3/4 cup. Strain to remove any seeds, then pour into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

3. Carefully peel the lemon flesh away from the skin, remove any seeds, and place into a food processor or blender. If you like to clean as you go, go ahead and discard the skins! I was rather messy about this process, as you can see:

Lemony mess

4. Puree the lemon flesh until smooth. Six large lemons yielded a little more than the 2/3 of a cup necessary for this recipe, so be sure to measure 2/3 of a cup and discard the rest. If you have a bit less than 2/3 of a cup, add a little extra lemon juice.

5. Return 2/3 c. lemon pulp puree back to the food processor and add 2/3 c. lemon zest. Blend until smooth, then add the mixture to the lemon juice.

6. Add 6 organic eggs and stir to combine.

7. In a separate bowl, mix sugar, cornstarch, and flour. Add the lemon mixture and whisk gently until ingredients are combined.

8. Set the bowl of lemon filling aside and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

To make the crust:

1. In a large bowl, combine flours, salt, and sugar and mix until well incorporated.

2. Cut room temperature butter into small pieces, and mix with a fork or your hands until it forms a flaky dough.

3. Line the bottom of a 9″ by 13″ pan with wax paper. Grease the bottom and sides of pan with butter or cooking spray. Gently press the dough into the bottom of the pan and pinch to form walls on the sides, so the edges of the bars won’t burn.

4. Bake the crust for about 15 minutes, until very lightly brown and dry to the touch. Remove and let cool slightly.

5. When crust has cooled, carefully pour the lemon filling into the crust. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 35-40 minutes, until the filling no longer moves when you shake the pan slightly. Don’t be afraid to watch them closely, especially if you have an oven light! Take them out at the faintest hint of browning.

6. Let the bars cool, then chill them in the fridge for a few hours before serving. For extra-pretty straight edges, freeze them overnight and then cut them into squares.

That’s all, folks. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Lemon Bar Love

Chai Spiced French Toast

I distinctly remember seeing chai french toast on a breakfast menu somewhere in town, but for the life of me, I can’t remember where. I must have blocked it out of my memory because I couldn’t order it, having sworn off gluten many months ago. Armed with some store-bought GF bread, though, I realized all my chai french toast dreams this morning (er, afternoon, seeing as I woke up around 1:00 today- yikes!)

Chai Spiced French Toast

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

1 loaf bread (I used Udi’s gluten-free bread, but use anything you like!)
5 large organic eggs
1/4 cup half and half
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tbsp. Vietnamese cinnamon
2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cardamom
1/2 tsp. clove
1/4 tsp. salt

chai spiced french toast mix

Directions

1. Lightly oil a skillet or pan and set to medium heat.
2. Crack your eggs into a large bowl or shallow, wide dish (such as a pie pan.)
3. Add half and half and the brown sugar, and whisk until combined with the eggs.
4. Add all of your spices and whisk, whisk, whisk until the mixture is smooth and light brown in color.
5. Coat both sides of bread in the custard and cook until golden brown on each side.
6. Add butter, syrup, or fruit if desired; but this french toast is sweet enough to eat on its own.

Although I think this recipe turned out smashingly, it’s my first time taking the flavors of a drink and applying them to something totally new. If you make this recipe and have any suggestions, please let me know!

deep purple smoothie

I know it’s cold in Austin today, y’all, but I still need some nutrients after eating leftover mashed potatoes and stuffing for days on end! Even though there’s plenty of greens in here, the pomegranate and blueberries in this smoothie turned it a lovely purple.

Deep Purple Smoothie

1 c. almond milk

1/4 c. frozen blueberries

1/4 c. frozen mango chunks

3 frozen peach slice

1 handful greens (or about 1 cup loosely packed)

1 banana

1/4 c. pecans

2 tbsp hemp protein powder

1/2 of a pomegranate

(Postscript: The pomegranate seeds made this smoothie kind of chunky, even though I blended it thoroughly. I’m sure this smoothie would be perfectly delicious without them, or you could substitute some pomegranate juice for the almond milk. Yum.)

 

sometimes, it’s nice to pretend

I want so badly for it to be fall. I’ve opened my windows in the vain hope that a cool October breeze might flow through them, but the only thing coming through is some very loud Tejano music from my neighbor’s house. That’s okay, though, because dinner tonight tasted like fall and that’s really all that matters. Butternut squash soup is one of my all-time favorite cold weather soups, and anyway, I’ve been looking for an excuse to use my fancypants immersion blender my boyfriend’s mom gave me for my birthday back in June.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup (Vegan, serves 4)

Ingredients

1 large butternut squash
1 can organic coconut milk
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp white pepper
Salt to taste
Optional: 3 tbsp mulling spices, 3 sachets ginger tea

1. Cut the butternut squash in half, lengthwise, and place on a sheet tray lined with foil. Scoop out the seeds and save them if you’d like toasted seeds on top of your soup as a garnish. Rub the squash halves with olive oil and put into the oven to roast at 400 degrees for about an hour.

2. Drizzle a whole clove of garlic with olive oil and wrap it up in a little foil pouch to roast along with the squash. Take it out after about 25 minutes, though!

*Optional: while your squash and garlic are roasting, you’ll prepare a spiced tea to add to the soup when you’re finishing it on the stove. I thought this was sort of a genius idea, but flavoring things with tea is always really difficult. The results were more subtle than I would have liked, but still noticeable. I bought mulling spices in bulk from Whole Foods, and simmered 3 tbsp in 1 cup of water along with 3 ginger teabags on the stove for about 30 minutes. It made the house smell amazing and produced a really strong spiced tea- yum!

2. When your squash is done roasting, remove it from the oven and let it cool. After it’s cooled, scoop out the meat and add it to a large soup pot along with the roasted garlic.

3. Add a can of coconut milk and use an immersion blender to combine the roasted squash, garlic, and coconut milk.

4. Heat the soup on medium-low and stir in the spiced tea, white pepper, cinnamon, ginger, and sea salt to taste.

5. In a small pan, toast the seeds you reserved earlier and season with salt. Once the soup is heated through, ladle into a bowl and garnish with toasted squash seeds.

Here’s to fall (and boots weather!)

review: galaxy cafe south

Highlights from Galaxy Cafe’s South location last night:

Salad. Crunchy romaine lettuce with lots of cabbage, fresh tomato, and onion. I was so in the mood for a crunchy salad, not a spinach or mesclun greens salad a lot of restaurants have taken to serving these days. I love shallots, so when I saw they offered a roasted shallot vinaigrette I had to have it. The verdict? I probably could’ve drank the stuff if given the opportunity, it was that good. I would go back just for the salad.

Pesto & Mozzarella Polenta Cakes off the dinner specials menu. It did look like sort of a small portion when it came, but once I was done I was decidedly full. The polenta was cooked to perfection and seasoned with italian spices, topped with mozzarella, grilled tomato, and grated parmesan. To top it off, all of the cheesy, tomato-y splendor was bathed in a roasted red pepper sauce. Next time I make polenta at home I’m going to attempt to replicate this, but something tells me I won’t be able to…

Whipped Sweet Potatoes for “dessert”. Light, perfectly cooked, with a good amount of brown sugar and (I suspect) nutmeg. No lumps! It was like eating a cloud made of sweet potatoes. I can’t even begin to tell you how good these are. Galaxy also offers sweet potato fries, which I have a particular affinity for, but I don’t think I could resist these whipped sweet potatoes even for something fried. Which says a lot.

Places that do standard American fare with inventive twists on them just have a special place in my heart, and for that reason alone I’ll definitely be back to Galaxy South, because they do it extremely well. Second reason for going back: to dip sweet potato fries in whipped sweet potatoes. Don’t judge.

Hop on over to Hopdoddy

In between classes today, I drove down to check out the new addition to South Congress that everyone has been fussing about, Hopdoddy.

Being the progressive burger virtuosos they are, Hopdoddy offers a veggie burger aptly named the Janis Joplin. Now, I’m a fan of the veggie burger that screams “I’m fake meat!” rather than “I’m a bunch of vegetables squished together!” so I was a little wary of the “hemp seed vegetable patty” the Janis featured. But once I tried it, that was that. The patty was moist, like a real burger would have been, and the hemp seeds gave the patty a really nice texture without tasting grainy or (gasp) healthy. It only got better from there. Nevermind the fresh avocado, melty cheddar, overflowing sunflower sprouts, tomato and onion- Hopdoddy has the best bun I’ve had on any burger. Baked fresh, naturally. I’ll just let the photo speak for itself:

deliciousness

The Janis Joplin

Oh, and the condiments! I am such a sucker for condiments, and Hopdoddy puts the perfect twists on classic ketchup and mustard. The chipotle ketchup had just the right amount of spice and acidity, but the horseradish honey mustard was my favorite, and I ended up giving it sole french fry dipping rights about halfway through. If you’re a stark traditionalist, not to worry, there are countless bottles of the regular stuff to bring back to your table. And for the truly Texan, there’s many a bottle of hot sauce right alongside the standard condiment fare.

Another happy discovery was the sight of Buddha’s Brew kombucha on tap right next to a smattering of local beers from 512 Brewing Company, Thirsty Planet, and Independence Brewing Co. And, of course, there was also good old Shiner. I was intrigued by 512 Brewing Company’s Pecan Porter, which I will be sure to seek out at a later date, pecan-lover that I am. In addition to conventional sodas, Hopdoddy also offers Maine Root sodas on tap.

The food aside, this place is beautifully designed and just has a great concept overall. The layout really lends itself to a heightened dining experience. There’s something about having to walk all the way through their busy dining room to place your order at the counter, which adjoins to the open kitchen. There are little mini-booths made for two, and all the tables have a purse hook under them, which I (and I’m sure every other lady) greatly appreciate. Anyway, I could go on all night about all the great stuff Hopdoddy does, but I’ll let them summarize in their own words why they’re so great- with the sign that hangs proudly in their dining room.

Sushi Niichi

While Uchi and Uchiko are definitely worth the price, I feel I enjoy my sushi more when I’m a) wearing jeans and a t-shirt, and b) not worrying about the bill at the end. I never have to worry at Sushi Niichi, my affordable and tasty sushi standby. Tucked away in a little corner of West Campus off 24th street, Sushi Niichi is not only easy on the wallet, but perfectly charming.

Sushi Niichi has a pretty expansive menu, with all the standard fare plus some inventive rolls to boot. Although veggie sushi is pretty difficult to mess up completely, Sushi Niichi offers the most flavorful veggie rolls I’ve ever come across. The Garden and Jade rolls are my favorites, both at $4.95 apice. The Garden roll is pretty much what the name suggests, containing avocado, carrot, cucumber, and daikon. The Jade roll is a simple avocado and cream cheese, but Sushi Niichi’s chefs do it up right, with a substantial amount of cream cheese and big chunks of fresh avocado. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve eaten an avocado and cream cheese roll with brown avocado and a tiny smidgen of cream cheese, I’d have at least a buck by now.

Although I can’t speak to the taste of their sashimi and nigiri personally, I shamefully admit I ogled the boyfriend’s giant plate of raw fish tonight. In addition to being quite large, the color was beautiful, and judging by the dreamy look on his face after he ate each piece I bet it tasted quite nice too. I think it’s safe to conclude that while it might not be the absolute best sushi in town, whether your inclinations involve roe or tofu, Sushi Niichi will give you large, delicious portions of it at a fair price.

Quite possibly the best part: they are even willing to let me Americanize my sushi with gobs of that spicy orange mayonnaise without judgy-wudgy looks. The super nice Niichi waitresses give me a giant dish of it every time every time I ask without even batting an eye, and I love ’em for it.

As an added bonus, it’s located right next to Momoko, a popular bubble tea spot that looks like a Japanese kawaii bomb exploded all over it. If they’re still open by the time you finish dinner, I highly recommend popping over there for dessert!