ninfa’s green sauce

Ninfa's Green Sauce Hero

Every Houstonian knows Mama Ninfa is an institution, and this green sauce know doubt helped her emerge as a Tex-Mex queen! I found this Houston Chronicle newspaper clipping for Mama Ninfa’s famous green sauce and didn’t skip a beat before I tried to recreate this famous salsa. The secret that’s not clear from the recipe below, is that this recipe is really good for three unique salsas/dips! With proper pauses, you can stretch this recipe from one creamy green dip into creamy green dip, avocado tomatillo salsa, and tomatillo salsa. All three are delicious in their own right, so use this recipe for one or all three!

Ninfa's Green Sauce Ingredients

Green Sauce Newspaper Clipping

You’ll need:

3 medium green tomatoes, coarsely chopped
4 tomatillos, chopped
1 -2 jalapeños, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves
2 tbl olive oil
3 ripe avacados
¼ c cilanto
1 tsp salt
1 ½ c sour cream (less if you go for more than one of the salsa varietals)

 

 

Combine your tomatoes, tomatillos, jalapeños, garlic & oil in a small pan. Bring to a boil & then simmer for 15 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft.

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For salsa 1: let all these ingredients cool to room temperature & then mix in a food processor adding your salt, cilantro, and lime. Remove as much of the tomatillo salsa as you’d like to enjoy.

For salsa 2: add your avocados to the tomatillo mix & combine in the food processor. This is another reasonable point to pause! Scoop aside some avocado tomatillo salsa & enjoy.

For salsa 3: the most decadent, Ninfa’s-esque, creamy dip, add your sour cream & combine. Depending upon how much salsa you’ve removed already, modify the amount of sour cream you add to reflect the proportions remaining in the bowl of your food processor. Add sour cream to taste & to your desired level of creaminess.

Enjoy any of these three salsas with tortilla chips, as enchilada sauce, or taco toppers!

 

spinach artichoke dip

Spinach Artichoke Dip_Title

Dips take deux with this Spinach Artichoke Dip. I made this for the Texans v. Pats playoffs game a few weeks ago (these Hungry Texans will get our vengeance on those Boston Boys’ team one of these days!), but it will certainly be seeing a return appearance on our Super Bowl spread.

Spinach Artichoke Dip Ingredients

You’ll need:

1 package frozen spinach, thawed
1 can artichoke hearts
8 oz cream cheese
½ c parmesan (usually we prefer the real stuff, but jarred parm is a-okay for this!)
2 tbl crushed garlic
1 c sour cream
¼ c cottage cheese
Hot sauce & pepper to taste

Start by thawing your spinach and wringing out as much of the excess liquid as you possibly can. Place spinach, artichokes, and garlic in a food processor & pulse, pulse, pulse until they’re thoroughly chopped.

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Then add & mix in your cream cheese.

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Then add & combine your sour cream!

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Then add your cheeses. Full disclosure, I usually add way more mozz, but when I set out to make this dip I got home from the store only to realize we had about 2 tbl of mozarella in the fridge (oh, rats!). I ended up adding the sprinkling of mozz I had, but the cottage cheese I substituted in worked great, so feel free to get creative with your queso!

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Next, season to your desired level of kick — I did a few shakes of each pepper & hot sauce — and give it all a final few whirls around your food processor (taking time to scrape the sides and ensure it’s all combined!).

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You could start dipping away now, but I think this dip’s better hot, so fill a square pyrex dish with your dip & bake at 400 for 25-30 minutes or until the top starts to get the littlest bit golden and crusty.

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Enjoy with your favorite dippers and root your team to victory!

Go Texans!
Hungry Texans

A Hungry Texans Inaugural Feast!

Hungry Texans Seal(1)Ah, America.  It’s a good time to live in DC, a district buzzing with excitement for the 57th Inauguration.  The Secret Service is in their dry-run stage for Monday’s big event, but we’ve already put together our Inauguration menu fit for the president himself.  Sure, we could have gone with a red, white & blue theme or made 12 versions of apples pie (trust us, we could have).  But we think this POTUS is just about the cutest thing since President Bartlett, so we decided to draw on inspiration from Obama himself.  A man who governed in food-loving Chicago, steals away to his native Hawaii for vacations, and now calls our very own DC his home.  A president who escapes the White House for crowd-drawing trips to Ben’s Chili Bowl and Komi, and, with his lovely Michelle, has reinstated the important White House garden (the produce from which is used not only in the family’s own dinners, but also donated to Miriam’s Kitchen- go WH!)  Yes, I’d say we’ve got quite the foodie president on our hands.

So we created a menu that incorporates many of the POTUS’s foodie roots- from the Windy city to the Big Island.  To escape the crowded Mall (or before you head to a ball), try this Hungry Texans Inaugural Feast!

Inauguration Feast

Featuring:

Chicago Style Half Smokes

Hawaiian Deep-Dish Pizza

Coconut & Pineapple Cupcakes

inauguration dinner hungry texans

We The Pizza.

hawaiin deep dish pizza

Continuing our Obama-inspired menu, we drew from POTUS’s island roots and decided to make a Hawaiian pizza- fresh pineapple, thinly sliced ham (proscuitto would be delicious as well), and two varieties of mozzarella make Hawaiian pizza one of the most popular in the States.  And then we got crazy and paid homage to his Chicago life ALSO, throwing those Hawaiian toppings on a traditional cornmeal deep dish crust.    Check out our recipes for homemade pizza crust and marinara sauce also!

You’ll need:
Deep Dish Pizza Crust
6 oz. shredded mozzarella
2 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese
6 slices of thinly sliced ham or proscuitto
1 tbs olive oil
1/4 cup sliced pineapple
2 cups marinara sauce

Start by rolling out your pizza crust to a 13-inch circle.  Rub the inside of a spring form pan with olive oil and set the crust inside the pan, working it two inches up the side of the pan.

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Layer on the shredded mozzarella and the sauce on top.  Seriously people- cheese FIRST.  Sauce SECOND.  The cheese sort of melts into the crust and creates this gooey perfection.

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Now, layer on your toppings.  We were looking for a traditional Hawaiian pizza, but obviously you could use a variety of other toppings:

  • Pepperoni
  • Assorted cheeses
  • Roasted bell peppers
  • Kalamata olives
  • A bevy of cured meats
  • Shrimp
  • This list could literally go on forever.

Bake at 425° for 20-30 minutes, or until, you know, the pizza is ready.  If you don’t know when a pizza looks gooey and crispy and perfect, then shoot us an email and we’ll come to your house and tell you.  We charge in pizza slices, if you catch my drift.

Love,

The Hungry Texans

Poppyseed Hot Dog Buns

Well Hot Dog, these buns are delicious.  The best part?  You get to personalize the bun size.  And everyone deserves a perfectly sized bun for their sausage.  We adapted this recipe from Serious Eats and pulled our dough together in a Kitchen-Aid mixer, although you could use your hands!

You’ll need:

1 cup lukewarm water
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup instant mashed potato
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup semolina flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
Poppy seeds
Egg wash

To start, combine your water, yeast, sugar, and instant potatoes in your stand mixer.  Let this mixture stand for 15 minutes to allow the yeast to activate.  Then, add the salt and flours, kneading until the dough is smooth.

yeast and mixture

Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for about 20 minutes.  Knead the olive oil into the dough, cover the bowl again, and let the dough rest for about 30 minutes, until it has doubled in size.  DSC_0199

When the dough has doubled, knead it on a floured surface, then divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.

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Form these 8 pieces into cylinders, then brush with egg wash and sprinkle with poppy seeds.  You’ll notice that we tried a few different sizes, not really knowing how each would expand or contract during baking.  It really depends on the size of your sausage, but we liked how  the shorter, fatter buns turned out.

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Pop the buns into a 350 oven for about 30 minutes, then slice down the middle and fill with your favorite sausage-y treats.

DSC_0329xoxo,

Hungry Texans

 

chicago-style deep dish pizza crust

Chicago Style Crust Ingredients

The Hungry Texans are pro-pizza.  Round, square, cracker-thin crust, New Haven style- we’ll take a slice of anything.  And now, we’re proud to have a Midwest pizza crust recipe in our back pockets- and with good reason!  This recipe, adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, will make enough for one deep dish pizza, so we recommend doubling it.  Because, trust us, you’ll want more than one of these crispy, flavor-filled pies.

You’ll need:

1 ½ c + 2 tbs all-purpose flour

¼ c cornmeal

¾ tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1 packet instant yeast

½ c + 2 tbsp water (room temp!)

2 tbsp + 2 tbsp melted butter

1 tsp olive oil


Chicago Style Pizza Crust 1 Start by combining your dry ingredients (flour, corn meal, yeast, sugar, & salt) in the bowl of a stand mixer. Chicago Style Pizza Crust 2 Add your water & melted butter. We started with the paddle attachment & transitioned to a dough hook once the dough began balling up. Knead your dough in the mixer for 6 to 8 minutes or until the dough is a discrete ball & no longer sticky to the touch (it should be leathery & smooth!). Chicago Style Pizza Crust 3 Transfer your ball of dough to an olive oil coated bowl with enough room for expansion. Let your dough rest & rise at room temperature for about an hour or until the ball has doubled.Chicago Style Pizza Dough 4 Once your dough is doubled, it’s time to get hands-on & tactile with it. Place your ball on a clean work surface (don’t worry about flouring it!). Roll your dough into a  7 x 9ish rectangle, and then brush your rectangle with butter (exclude the outer 1/2 inch perimeter). Roll your buttered rectangle up into a log, place the seam of the rolled cylinder closest to the counter, & then smush your cylinder so it’s more rectangular than cylindrical. Finally, fold your long rectangle into an “s-like” shape (if we’re being fancy, this step is called “laminating”). “S-like” shape, you ask? To achieve this, fold over the top third of your rectangle & then fold under the lowest third of your dough. Voila! “s-like” lamination! Chicago Style Pizza Dough 5 Place your dough back in its oiled bowl, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and pop it in the fridge for at least another hour (dare that dough to double again!) or until you’re ready to roll it out as a real life deep dish pizza crust.   When you’re at a pause in your dough-making process (we recommend during its first rise!), get your sauce a simmering and toppings ready.  Here’s an easy recipe for the most delicious marinara!

After the dough has doubled again (probably 40 minutes), roll it out into a 13 inch circle and place it into your olive-oil-rubbed pizza pan.  We used a springform pan and it worked purrfectly.  Then, layer your cheese first (so important!) and your sauce and toppings next.  
Chicago Style Pizza in Pan

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.  Then let your pizza rest for 10 minutes and pop it out of it’s springform.

chicago style deep dish pizza

That’s it!  Easy as pie 🙂

xoxo,

Hungry Texans

cornbread

cornbread

There aren’t many sides more Texas than cornbread, and these HungryTexans love ourselves some cornbread. Hot, cold, honey buttered or molassesed, we’ll eat it any way you slice it & believe it or not it’s almost as easy to make homemade cornbread from scratch as it is to bake from everyone’s favorite blue & white box. You’ll be done in a jiffy (*wink*).

You probably have most of this in your pantry already!

cornbread_ingredients

1 c corn meal

1 c flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tbl sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp old bay (Texas meets Mid-Atlantic, yall!)

1 dash of chili powder

1 egg

1 c sour cream

1 tbl honey

1/4 c buttermilk

2 tbl vegetable oil

Preheat your oven to 400 & start by combining all your dry ingredients in a large bowl. Then add your egg (note: I regretted using a whisk for this task, I recommend a fork so your egg doesn’t get all caught up in the tines!).

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Then mix in all your soggy ingredients – sour cream, buttermilk, oil & honey.

 

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Pour your chunky-ish batter into a greased loaf pan & bake 25-30 minutes until your loaf is golden!

 

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Serve alongside your favorite soup or g’nosh a big hunk for breakfast!

nommable: scratch dc

scratch_dc_boxMaybe one of your resolutions for 2013 is to cook at home more often.  And maybe it isn’t.  Either way, Scratch DC is making it easier for busy Washingtonians to cook a seriously stellar dinner for a fraction of the time and money required.

Here are three reasons Scratch DC is awesome:

1. Price per ingredient.  The ingredients are fresh and locally sourced.  They even outline which farms their cheeses & produce came from (ours were from Farmdale Organics, Natural by Nature, Trickling Springs Creamery, and White Swan Acres, all in PA).  The price for our two-person brunch (full disclosure: we got a great dinner offer with friends Friday night, so we made our bundle for brunch this afternoon.  even more disclosure, we poached eggs and threw them on top) was only $26.00, and I can easily see myself spending twice that at Whole Foods on the same meal.  But since Scratch pre-portions all of the ingredients, there are no leftover bunches of parsley or sad can of chipotle peppers of which you only used one.  Genius!

2. Time saver.  Ordering is easy as pie online, delivery is free and straightforward, and the cleanup & prep work that Scratch DC takes care of for you is incredible.  From start to finish, this took us 40 minutes.

3. It’s nom-nom-nommable!  The fresh ingredients shine and the guys at Scratch are not afraid of flavor.  They tell you which ingredients are most spicy or powerful so that you can add to taste and the components are marinated and seasoned well.  Plus, they now include general nutrition facts for each meal.

We chose Friday’s meal- Shrimp and Veggie Enchiladas with a Creamy Jalapeno Sauce.  And listen- I’m a Hungry Texan, people, so shrimp and enchiladas are my life blood.  I make shrimp of most every variety, and these enchiladas were truly great.  Here’s our story in pictures:

The bundle is cute, succinct, and biodegradable:

Scratch_DC_Ingredients 2

We made our sauce from the sour cream, chicken stock & jalapenos and sauted our cabbage, spinach & carrots.
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And thanks to Scratch’s surprises & delights, we enjoyed surprise cookies and mimosas

(the cookies were a gift from Scratch, and since we didn’t have to worry about prep, we could focus on mimosas!)

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And the whole thing turned out beautifully!

scratch_DC_enchiladas

Sure, there were a couple things they need to improve on- pictures in the instructions would be nice for unseasoned chefs who don’t make roux on the reg.  But this is the first iteration of a company that is fit to succeed.  Can’t wait to try it again!

xoxo,

hungry texans

savory oyster crackers

savory oyster crackers

Happy New Year, HungryTexan-verse! We have a lot up our sleeves to keep your mouths watering and tummies full in 2013. Just in case you woke up this morning reaching for the holy trinity of manymanymany ounces of water, a gatorade, and a grande iced coffee; popping ibuprofen; and scarfing a Five Guys egg & cheese faster than a 10-second countdown to midnight, with the looming knowledge that in a few short hours you need to function like a human and put your best, “I-have-slain-my-hangover” foot forward at New Year’s Day festivities…here’s an easy breezy recipe for savory oyster crackers that all the guests at the party will love munching on! Here’s one of my Mimi’s delicious holiday staples that you’ll nom by the handful.

You’ll need:

1 & 1/2 bag of oyster crackers

1 package of ranch dressing mix

1 tsp garlic salt

2 tsp dill weed

1/2 cup of a neutral oil (I used canola)

Since reading might be a little much right now, here’s a picto-recipe & the captioned cliff notes.

oyster crackers 1

oyster crackers 2

oyster crackers 3

oyster crackers 4

Combine oyster crackers & all seasonings in a large bowl. Once seasonings are evenly distributed, mix in 1/2 cup of oil. Start nibbling immediately.

Stay tuned for the full works on all the recipes you need for a traditional Texas New Year’s Day feast!

texas birthday cheesecake

texas birthday cheesecakeCheesecake was far and above my favorite dessert when I was growing up & I was lucky enough to live right next door to the best cheesecake baker in all the land. My neighbor baked her delicious cheesecakes for a handful of Houston restaurants by the dozen, and was always quick to share samples of new flavors or the very rare cratered cake that was still scrumptious but wouldn’t win a beauty contest when plated at the restaurant. Elizabeth’s cheesecake is and always will be my gold standard, but miles and miles away from the expert I attempted my own and it came out better than I could have ever imagined! The impetus for this particular baking extravaganza was Boston Boy’s surprise birthday party. You see, Boston Boy doesn’t like sweets as much as this Hungry Texan, but he always says if he had to pick a favorite dessert it’d probably be cheesecake; and with that resounding enthusiasm who wouldn’t want to humor his tastebuds!

Cheesecake has always been super intimidating to me (you read about water baths and thermometers…stressful!), but this recipe is all things considered pretty “set it and forget it”. After texting with the expert, I also learned a couple of tricks that helped alleviate some of my fears!

  • Make your cheesecake a few days early if you can! I made mine Wednesday evening for Friday evening and it was delicious after a few days of rest in the fridge.
  • Once your cheesecake seems solidly cooked (the inside can & should be a little jiggly), turn off your oven and let the cheesecake cool in an oven whose temperature is very slowly decreasing opposed to the volatile elements of your kitchen. The slower your cake cools, the less likely it is to crack or crater!

To recreate this Texas cheesecake (that admittedly isn’t the most-Texas, but these HungryTexans couldn’t flaunt a “New York” cheesecake!), you’ll need:

For the crust:

8 graham crackers pulverized to crumbs in your food processor

2 tbl butter melted, plus additional for the crust

cheesecake ingredients

For the filling:

4 1/2 packages of cream cheese

1 cup sour cream

2 tbl lemon

1 1/2 tbl vanilla

1 1/2 c sugar

8 eggs (6 full, 2 yolks)

*note: half & half is pictured, but I didn’t end up using any!

Start by preheating your oven to 400 then make your crust! Pulverize your graham crackers, melt your butter, & combine. Press your crumbs into the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan (already assembled). Pack your crumb crust in tight and use the back of a spoon to smooth it out. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the crust begins to golden.

cheesecake filling_steps

Turn your oven up to 500 and get working on your filling. Start by creaming your softened cream cheese with the paddle attachment of your mixer (it helps to cut the sticks in half). Cream for 3 minutes or so until the cream cheese is sufficiently soft. Add half of your sugar & keep mixing. Once that’s combined add the second half. Add your lemon & vanilla followed by the cup of sour cream. Keep mixing, mixing, mixing until everything’s smooth (being sure to frequently scrape the sides of your bowl). If you want to taste the filling, I recommend doing so now because your risk of salmonella poisoning is about to increase 8-fold! Now, los huevos! I had NO IDEA how many eggs go into a cheesecake! Sooooo many eggs! Count ’em e-i-g-h-t, delicious little pre-birds. Start by adding your two egg yolks and then procede to add your six whole eggs two at a time until everything’s combined. Give the sides of your bowl a few good scrapes and confirm everything’s combined. Your mix should be soupy, creamy, wonderful.

Put your crust pan on top of a cookie sheet (just in case) and pour your filling into the prepared crust. Pop into the oven and bake for 12 minutes at 500 before lowering the heat to 200. Check on your cake in an hour to see how it’s doing (but try your hardest to look and not touch…opening the door and changing the temperature of the oven even a little bit will increase its propensity to fall). Your cake will probably take ~an hour and a half to be sufficiently cooked. At this point, you might need to bite the bullet and give it a little poke. If everything seems like the appropriate cheesecake consistency (except maybe a little jiggle in the middle), shut off the oven and let the temperature fall while the cake cools. I left mine in the oven over night & plastic wrapped and popped it in the fridge the next morning.

I left my cake in at heat for a few minutes too long or opened the door too many times and it cracked (bummer!), but it was nothing a creative strawberry topping couldn’t cover. Remember when cakes give you cracks, get creative!

Say cheese!