A Hungry Texans Easter Brunch

Happy Easter, y’all!

It’s been too long since I’ve posted here. 2014 has been a year of new adventures- new jobs and a new apartment in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn! Our kitchen is big and bright, so expect a few more recipes on Hungry Texans!

Welp, nobody told me that Easter is the one holiday that can clear Brooklyn out- it seemed like all of our friends were home with their families. Luckily, my darling friend Therese also missed the memo, so we enjoyed the day together! Gin cocktails + biscuits + apple pancakes + sun? I’ll take it.

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So what did we make? Click through for links to the full recipes!

Rose Lemonade Gin Cocktails

Gin-Cocktail

Buttermilk Biscuits & Salted Molasses Butter

Thinly Sliced Maple-Glazed Ham (not homemade, thanks Boars Head!)

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Arugula Lemon Salad with Shaved Parmesan

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Naturally Dyed Purple Cabbage Eggs

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German Apple Pancakes

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Try this menu at home for your next brunch and let us know how it turns out!

Love,

Liz

Hungry Texans

HungryTexans Flour Tortillas


tortillas
Y’all, something fun happened this weekend- the HungryTexans took their talents off the interwebs and into the District Flea (brought to you by the kind folks at Brooklyn Flea and gracing DC for the next few weekends).

As hungry Texans, we are huge proponents of the breakfast taco- eggs, cheese, savory meats and veggies, all rolled up into a perfectly fluffy flour tortilla.  The breakfast tacos at Chacho’s in Houston have capped many nights out (as well as nursed our headaches the morning after).  But when I find myself reaching hungrily for a breakfast taco in DC, I come up empty-handed.  So what better to bring to the denizens of our great district than these breakfast treats?

Of course the eggs are important.  Cheese?  Essential to a proper breakfast taco.  But what really makes our breakfast tacos special is the homemade flour tortilla, the perfect vehicle for savory goodness.  And because I promised plenty of market-goers the recipe and top-secret-super-secrets for a tortilla that stays soft and pliable and tasty, I want to share it with all of our readers!  It really is extremely simple and quick to make a tortilla, if not labor intensive.  This recipe uses all vegetable shortening to make our veggimatarian friends happy, and makes exactly 16 tortillas (counting helps visualize the size they should be).

You’ll Need:

2 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
2 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1/2 generous cups vegetable shortening (you could use lard, but we’re accommodating the masses here)
1 cup hot water

Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl or a stand mixer.

Add the shortening in small handfuls and use the mixer (or your hands, which I did for 180 tortillas on Friday- not sure if I can recommend doing this to our readers- it’s quite cruel) to combine until the mixture looks like sand.

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Slowly add a cup of hot water (I do 3/4 cup first, then add as necessary).  You want the dough to seem a bit moist and definitely not crumbly.  Knead the dough ~30 times (or let the Kitchen-aid do this work for you) until the dough becomes a ball.

Let this dough rest, covered with a tea towel, for 30 minutes (up to an hour).  Once the dough has rested, pinch off golf-ball-sized pieces of dough and roll into balls, and set on wax paper.

rolled out

Using a tortilla press or a rolling pin, flatten the dough balls into thin, round discs.  I try to get these as thin as possible with a tortilla press by using my hands to flatten the dough against the press.  Also, breaking news: my grandfather just mailed a beauty of a tortilla roller and I cannot wait to try it out.

pressing dough

You can store these tortillas between wax paper for a few hours in the fridge before cooking them.  When you’re ready, just pop a disc of dough onto a hot cast iron skillet or an electric griddle and cook for 20 seconds on each side.  Keep warm in a…tortilla warmer!

Tortillas cooking

Happy pressing and, if you can’t make your own, we’ll be at the District Flea every Saturday until October 18th, slinging tortillas!

brown butter, brown sugar cookies

Brown Butter Brown Sugar Cookies

It’s been so long since last we wrote, but these brown butter, brown sugar cookies are worth the wait. This Hungry Texan will occasionally make a quick detour on her bike to work and pop into Bean & Bite on 15th for a “treat yo self” iced coffee. Aside from their smooth and rich iced coffee the second biggest attraction is that they always have bite-sized samples of their sweet treats cut up in plates by the register. On two separate occasions I’ve been lucky enough to sneak a taste of their brown sugar cookies, and after taste number two I vowed to try my hand at recreating them. I took to my mixing bowl and this recipe triumphed. I’m a modest gal, but these are honest to everything the best cookies I’ve ever made.

Just thank me that I’m sharing this recipe as bathing suit season is waning.

Ingredients

Modified from Cook’s Illustrated’s Brown Sugar Cookie Recipe

1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter 14tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
1/4 cup white sugar
2 cups brown sugar (I used a mix of dark & light)
2 cups + 2 tbls flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp table salt
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 overflowing tbl vanilla

+ an additional 1/4 cup of each brown & white sugar for rolling

Start by preheating your oven 350º.

The secret to this recipe’s success is the brown butter – browning your butter gives it a dense, almost nutty flavor, that combined with salt and sugar becomes borderline carmel-ish. Start by melting all but 4 tbls of your butter in a pan at medium heat. Stir constantly until the butter begins to brown. Transfer to a container to cool and add the additional 4 tbls of butter to the warm butter. You may notice sediment-like solids forming in your brown butter, embrace them!

Brown Butter

Let your butter cool for about 15 minutes and then combine your butter and sugars.

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Add your egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.

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In a separate bowl, combine all your dry ingredients (flour, salt, soda, powder). Begin slowly folding the dry into your wet mixture until fully combined.

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Line a cookie sheet with parchment. Combine 1/4 c white sugar and 1/4 c brown sugar in a small bowl with enough surface area for covering your dough balls. Begin scooping and rolling your dough into spheres the size of ping pong balls, roll your ball in sugar so that it’s completely covered.

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Once your sheet is full, bake for 8-12 minutes. You want to take these cookies out on the rarer side as they’ll firm quite a bit as they cool. The center of the cookie tastes like chewy, salted caramel. The cookies are sturdy, stack well, and would be mean bookends to an ice cream sandwich.

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Get baking!

xoxo,
Julia

watermelon mint julep popsicles

This recipe is featured today on Fortique, a fun DC startup that offers an online marketplace for local talent and creative services.  When Stephanie, their founder, asked me to dream up a Fourth of July cocktail, my mind immediately went to grenadine and blue curucao.  But you don’t need a sugary mess to show your stars & stripes!  Opt instead for a fresh, cool cocktail that highlights America’s bounty.

Nothing says “America” like watermelon.  Except for maybe bourbon.  Okay, let’s face it: together, they’re like the Star Spangled Banner in a glass.  And on a scorching Fourth of July, these polar pops are worth their weight in A/C, packing punches of watermelon, mint, and bourbon, all frozen to summery perfection.  title page

You’ll need:

  • 4 cups of seedless watermelon (about half of a medium watermelon)
  • 1/2 cup simple syrup (1/2 cup sugar dissolved in 1/2 cup water)
  • 3 sprigs mint
  • 1 lime
  • 1 cup bourbon (adjust to your desired strength)
  • 24 Dixie Cups
  • 12 Popsicle Sticks (cut in half)

Makes 24 lil’ pops.

This recipe is so simple, and most of your time is spent waiting for the pops to freeze.  Dice your watermelon and add it to a pitcher (or a blender if you’re not using an immersion mixer).  Want to know the key to finding the sweetest watermelon amongst mounds of the fibrous fruit?  Search for the melon with a large, white spot on it’s side.  You want a watermelon that has been ripening on the ground for a while, and the larger the white spot (that’s where the sun couldn’t hit it), the juicier and sweeter your fruit will be.

Alright, Farmer Liz, we’ll get back to the recipe.  Add your simple syrup and juice of a lime to the pitcher.  I also added a couple extra tablespoons of sugar on top.

chunks in pitcher

Using an immersion blender on high speed, mix the contents of your pitcher until your watermelon looks like melon-colored-water.

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Add your mint and bourbon, give the whole thing a quick stir, and you’re ready to fill your popsicle molds!  While there are a slew of modern gadgets designed to pop out the perfect popsicle, you don’t need a store-bought popsicle mold to dazzle your Fourth of July crowd.  Use 3 oz Dixie cups and wooden sticks to make perfectly miniature frozen treats.  The wooden sticks keep the look classic while the small size ensures your guests don’t overindulge on the sweet nectar too early in the afternoon.

Fill the dixie cups with your watermelon-mint-bourbon goodness and pop the ‘sicles in the freezer for about 45 minutes.  Once they are semi-frozen, stick the popsicle sticks in the center of each one and then let the popsicles freeze over night. Depending on the amount of bourbon you use, these little guys could take up to 24 hours to get good and frozen, so plan ahead!

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When your guests are ready, just tear off the disposable cup and watch the fireworks fly!

watermelon mint julep popsicles

Whew, was that easy.  And you didn’t even have to break out the blue curucao & grenadine to capture the spirit of Independence Day.

Love,

Liz & The Hungry Texans

bourbon & brown sugar pop tarts

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Whew!  That was quite a break.  Between moving houses and switching jobs, winter has thawed into spring, and I’ve been a Hungry Texan on hiatus.   But no fear!  I’ve emerged with a whole slew of new recipes.

These pop tarts are not one of them.  To be honest, homemade pop tarts have been done before.  From fruit fillings to chocolatey ganache to savory, you’ll probably find these pastries on the menu of your neighborhood restaurant.  No, homemade poptarts may not be the most wildly innovative recipe in the world.  But they’re delicious and flaky and can probably be made with pantry ingredients in a pinch.  And they finish off a brunch spread like you wouldn’t believe.

Plus, this dough was the perfect first recipe for my new KitchenAid Stand Mixer, a birthday gift from my doting boyfriend.  Before now, I’ve never been the one to throw together my own crusts or breads.  But it’s so easy (and way less expensive than storebought) and makes a great, refrigeratable, flaky crust.

poptarts ingredients

Makes 8 poptarts

For the pastry:

2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbs sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) of butter
1 egg
2 tbs milk

For the filling:

1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tbs flour
1 tbs bourbon

Mix the sugar, flour, and salt together in your stand mixer.  Add the butter, in cubes, and blend until the dough looks like sand, with chunks of butter still visible.

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Whisk the egg and milk together, then add to the dough.  Mix for a few more seconds, until the dough has come together.  Then divide the dough into two equal parts.  Roll out the dough to 1/8 in thick , then cut even rectangles.

Pop the pastry into the fridge to keep it from getting all melty (especially if you have a teensy kitchen that gets quite warm).  Then, whip up your filling!

poptarts filling

You can fill these with almost anything- savory leeks and goat cheese, balsamic cherries, homemade nutella etc.  For the brown-sugary filling,  whisk together the brown sugar, flour, and bourbon.

brown sugar filling

Pile ~1 tbs of the filling on each tart shell, then seal with the other half of the pastry.  Seal the edges with a fork (some of the filling will probably spill over in the oven- it happens, you’ll live.)

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Bake on a parchment-lined tray for about 25 minutes at 350°.

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Serve warm with ice cream or on their own!

Love,

Liz

cinnamon crumb coffee cake

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There’s nothing better to scarf on your way out the door to church on Easter morning than a big hunk of crumbly coffee cake – it’s moist, crumbly, and will give you a more stable sugar high than a Cadbury egg for breakfast. Alleluia!

We think this cake gets better with age, so whip up & bake the evening before your coffee o-cake-sion!

CoffeeCakeIngredients

Ingredients:

Topping:

8 tbs butter + 8 tbs butter

¼ c sugar

6 tbs brown sugar

2 tbs cinnamon

½ tsp kosher salt

1 ½ c flour

Cake:

2 ½ c flour

1 c sugar

¾ tsp salt

2 ½ tsp baking powder

8 tbs butter

1 c heavy cream

6 tbs sour cream

2 eggs

2 ¼ tsp vanilla

Filling:

1 ½ tsp brown sugar

⅓ c chopped pecans

2 tsp sugar

½ tsp cinnamon

Start by making your crumble topping. Melt 1 stick of butter, and stir in both sugars, cinnamon, and salt. Then gradually mix in your flour until your mixture is nice and crumbly!

 

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CoffeeCakeStir

Crumble

 

Next, make your filling by combining brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon and pecans (mine were hand-picked Arkansas pecans, yum!).

Pecans

Topping1

 

Now, it’s time to make the cake batter. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In a measuring cup, whisk together melted butter, cream, sour cream, vanilla, and eggs until smooth & creamy. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and stir to combine.

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Then, it’s time to assemble the cake! Butter a square pyrex dish (8×8 or 9×9 recommended). Pour half your batter into the pan, sprinkle filling over the first layer of batter, then cover with remaining batter. Finish by heaping the topping on top of the batter.

BatterPrep

Bake at 325 for 45 minutes to an hour or until your cake passes the toothpick test – I recommend taking this cake out when it’s slightly on the rarer side. Let your cake cool. Before serving, melt a stick of butter and pour over the top of the cake.

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This coffee cake is a stand alone breakfast treat or would be the perfect addition to any brunch spread. If you’re feeling funky, try adding your favorite berry (we’re trying blueberries next time). Special thanks to HoustonFoodGuy for sous-chefing.

Crumble love,

Julia

chess pie

title page southern chess pie

Oh Pi Day- the most delicious contribution from mathematics since Avogadro’s Number.  Get it?  Avogadro sounds like Avocado?

What kind of food nerds would we be if we didn’t celebrate?  And celebrate we did.  I hosted a Pi Day bake-off at the office, and while I may have fudged the scores a bit because of Bakeoff Rule #451 (Though shalt not win thine own bake-off), I think I can spill the beans here: my Chess Pie won!  

Now y’all, I thought I was up a creek without a paddle attachment when I realized that my roommate had taken the stand mixer.  But this classic southern Chess Pie is not only scrumptious, you can also make it with a fork.  No fancy mixer needed here!  Although you can, of course, use a Kitchen-Aid to make your life easy and breezy.

For the Filling:

2 cups sugar
2 tbs cornmeal
1 tbs flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup milk
1 squeeze of lemon or 1 tbs white vinegar (you could also replace milk + lemon/vinegar with buttermilk)
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 large eggs, lightly beaten

For the Pie Crust: Use your favorite!  I’m really not the baker in this friendship, so I would go with any of Julia’s pie crusts.

 

Preheat the oven to 425° and bake your pie crust in a pie pan (you can line with foil and fill with beans, or you can not) for ~5 minutes.

pre baked crust

In a large bowl, stir together sugar, cornmeal, flour, salt, melted butter, milk, lemon/vinegar, and vanilla.  Then lightly beat your eggs and add them to the mixture.  Ok, are you ready for the hard part?

Stir.

add your eggs and stir

Pour into your pie crust.

pre-baked pie

Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes.  After about 10 minutes, wrap the edges of the crust in foil so the edges don’t get too brown.  Once your Chess Pie has cooled completely, enjoy a slice.  Or two.  And then take it to your Pi Day bakeoff and win because it’s basically cheating to make a pie out of butter and sugar.

out of the oven

If you want to mix it up, you can add baking chocolate, lemon, raspberry, or top it with whipped cream or powdered sugar.  You can vary it all you want, but this pie will always be delicious and old-fashioned.

post-baked pie

xoxo,

Liz