bourbon & brown sugar pop tarts

PopTarts title page

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.)

process

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

red velvet cake

CakewithBerries_RedVelvet

Last night the Saucy San Diegan grilled a full aquarium (squid, oysters, swordfish, salmon, cod) in honor of Amy Boo Boo’s birthday celebration, and the Hungry Texans were in charge of apps and zerts. SSD requested red velvet, so red velvet it was! I was a little apprehensive as more often than not I feel like red velvet kind of dry, lackluster cake whose primary purpose is to make copious consumption of cream cheese frosting socially acceptable. That said, I put my biases aside and made a few modifications to a Saveur recipe that turned out super moist, flavorful, and good enough that I went straight for a slice for breakfast this morning.

For the cake:

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp red food coloring
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

For the icing:

Icing Ingredients

1 stick butter
1 package cream cheese
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla

This cake couldn’t be quicker to whip up. Start by preheating your oven to 350. Combine all your dry ingredients – sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder together in a bowl. Then, in the bowl of a stand mixer combine – vegetable oil, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, vinegar.

Liquid Mixing

Add your food coloring and combine.

Red Batter

Add your dry ingredients to your sanguine red batter.

Wet & Dry

Pour batter into two round parchment-lined and sprayed cake pans.

Finished Batter Batter in Pans

Bake for 25-30 minutes until your cakes pass the toothpick test. Set cakes aside to cool.

BakedCakes

While cakes are cooling, make your icing. In the bowl of your stand mixer cream together butter, cream cheese, and vanilla. Gradually add your powdered sugar until the icing reaches the desired flavor and consistency.

Assemble your cake. I achieved the coveted double-flip for this cake – making sure the round part was on top. I recommend, you do your first flip onto a plate, then flip back into your cake pan, and then flip on top of your first layer. Cake flipping is a delicate art, so you do you and figure out what works.

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Layer1Iced

Ice and decorate as desired.

IcedCake

Light the candles, slice and serve with ice cream. We served with homemade buttermilk ice cream! Yum!

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Make a wish!

Julia

tofu lettuce wraps

TofuLettuceWrapsFinal

Last night Boston Boy, Boston Sister, and I ate our weight in sushi and tots (that’s right sushi and tots under the same roof!) at Sticky Rice, one of our favorite H Street haunts. Sticky Rice has some of the most unique sushi rolls I’ve ever enjoyed – like the Godzirra (crunchy shrimp, avocado, cream cheese, spicy sauce, cucumbers + crunch) or the Drawn and Buttered (no big deal, just some lump crab sushi you dip in butter! that’s right…sushi dipped in butter. Big Daddy, take notes!) – but in spite of their cornucopia of creative rolls, one of my favorite of their dishes is their tofu lettuce wraps! Chunks of fried tofu mixed with a delicious soy ginger sauce with just the right amount of crisp from the lettuce and crunch from huge chunks of water chestnuts. Delish!

24 hours later and I was hungry for more, so I whipped up my own rendition of this veggie delight. For ease and health, I opted against frying my tofu (although, it would be delish! If you want to try these with fried tofu hunks, I recommend borrowing the frying method from our Soy Ginger Tofu with Bok Choy). Grab these ingredients and you’ll be crunching away on these tofu lettuce wraps in no time! Also…for anyone suffering from tofu-phobia, this dish is a great gateway!

tofulettucewrapsingredietns

1 pound extra firm tofu
5 cloves of garlic chopped
2 tbl ginger chopped (I love ginger, so if you’re less of a ginger nut you may want to reduce)
1 tbl lemon grass
1/2 chopped onion
2 tbl olive oil
1 package of mixed mushrooms, coarsely chopped
4 tbl hoisin
4 tbl soy
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
romaine lettuce hearts
garnishes: carrots, peanuts

Heat oil in a large saucepan and add onions, garlic, lemon grass, and ginger. Let cook for 5-7 minutes until fragrant and tender.

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While those are cooking, combine soy, hoisin, red pepper, and sesame oil to make your sauce.

IMG_1792Add your mushrooms.

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Cook for about 4 minutes before adding tofu and water chestnuts.

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Pour sauce over everything and mix to combine.

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Cook for another 5-7 minutes until everything’s thoroughly hot, combined, and saucy.

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Scoop heaps of your tofu mixture into romaine lettuce hearts. Garnish with your choice of toppings – I recommend carrots and peanuts!

xoxo,

Julia

apple bundt cake

applebundt_cake

I know this recipe might have been better saved for the fall, but ever since Boston Boy and I peeled and chopped dozens and dozens and dozens of apples for applesauce at Miriam’s Kitchen I’ve been craving a sweet, cinnamon apple treat. I volunteered to bake dessert for a dinner party our esteemed Ragnar captain, LatinThunder hosted this weekend and this bundt cake is a convenient and easily-transportable (read: won’t Cake Wreck tossed into a bag and hanging from the handles of my bicycle).

Gather the following:

ingredients

Your favorite baking spray
2 cups flour
1 1⁄2 cups sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1⁄4 tsp. salt
1⁄2 cup butter
1⁄2 cup applesauce
3 eggs
2 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (I used Fugi)
1/2 cup raisins (not pictured, these were a game time addition!)

I started by making a half batch of Liz’s yummy applesauce. The rest is a glorified dump cake. You need one bowl, a stirring utensil, and you’ll be golden delicious (couldn’t pass up the opportunity for an apple pun!). In a large bowl, melt butter in the butter melter (read: microwave). Stir in sugar.

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Add your eggs.

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Then your cinnamon.

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Then your applesauce.

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Then your fresh apples.

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Then your raisins (I might also recommend pecans or walnuts if you have any handy!).

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Then your dry ingredients.

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Mix it all up, and then pour into a well sprayed (or buttered and floured) bundt pan.

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Cook at 350 for about 40 minutes (or in my case a little over half of Denise Austin’s yoga tape – streaming on Amazon Instant thankuverrymuch!). Let your cake thoroughly cool before wiggling around the edges with a knife. DSC_0649

Say a little prayer and hope she comes out easy! Thankfully my bundt came right out. Slice & serve! The cake’s delish and makes a great simple dessert that won’t leave you sugar-rushing, side-split, buckled over lamenting whoever initiated the fairy tale that there’s “always room for dessert”, but it’d also make a great breakfast! If you’re looking for a little more presentation and want to glam this cake up a bit – I recommend (in increasing level of difficulty) either a) sifting powdered sugar on top, b) whipping up a quick powdered sugar glaze, or c) getting fancy and making a caramel/dulce de leche sauce to drizzle on top. Get creative!

You’re the apple of my eye!

Julia

white chocolate, coconut blondies

blondies_final

These white chocolate, coconut blondies are a dump everything, mix, and wait dessert. No fuss, no frills. Just a pretty decadent, delicious treat that’s the perfect hybrid between brownie and cookie. The coconut keeps them oh, so moist and the creamy white chocolate’s the perfect companion to the coconut’s chewiness.

This was a Sunday night improvisation a few weeks ago, and I encourage you to do the same. Swap coconut for pecans or white chocolate for dark chocolate or butterscotch chips! Mix in peanut butter instead of coconut oil and add peanut chips. The pantry’s full of possibilities, but this version’s definitely worth a whirl!

Ingredients_blondies

1 cup coconut
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 c coconut oil
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
4 tsp vanilla
1 cup white chocolate chips

Start by creaming together butter and coconut oil in the bowl of a stand mixer.

blondies_butter&coconutoil

Add vanilla.

vanilla_blondies

Add brown sugar and cream until well combined.

blondies_brownsugar

Add your two eggs.

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Remove your bowl from the stand mixer and fold in flour, salt, baking powder, coconut, and chocolate chips. That’s right. Dump everything in!

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Pour into a greased square pyrex dish and bake at 350 for about 25 minutes or until the top of your blondies glisten and the middle passes the toothpick test.

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Cut into squares and shower these blondies’ deliciousness upon adoring coworkers.

xo,

Julia

tabouleh


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I love tabouleh. So much in fact that I often find myself scooping heaps of it from the Whole Foods salad bar and eating it for breakfast (they do a terrific and terribly convenient version of the traditional mezze). Yesterday was my first attempt to make it myself, and although a tabouleh purist might roll her eyes at my creative liberties (no tomatoes, no onion, no cucumbers) it’s the perfect, refreshing delight for my palette.

All you need is:

1/2 cup bulgar

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/3 cup olive oil

two bunches of parsley

a dozen mint leaves

salt to taste, I used ~2 tsp

This was also my first time cooking with bulgar and I use “cooking” loosely because all you really do is rehydrate it. Start by rinsing your bulgar in a fine, mesh strainer. Transfer to a large bowl and pour in half of your lemon juice. Let it sit for 30-40 minutes or until the bulgar starts to fluff and get more tender.

lemon juice + bulgar_1

While your bulgar’s soaking and absorbing your lemon juice, in the bowl of a food processor place parsley & mint. Pulse to mince. Then, combine olive oil with with other half of your lemon juice and slowly pour into your parsley/mint mixture.

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lemon + greens_1

Once your bulgar is adequately soaked, pour in your green mixture and stir to combine.

green + bulgar

There you go! Super simple tabouleh – no heat required. This is also a great make ahead dish, I had some for lunch today and I think it improves with age as the flavors have longer to gel.

A refreshing addition to any summer plate or breakfast of champions,

Julia

almond peach tart

almondpeachtart

Spring has finally sprung in the District! The cherry blossoms are in full bloom, the Nationals’ season is off to a solid start, and thankfully (knock on wood & fingers crossed) we’ve had more sunshine than showers so far this April! This week has been unseasonably warm and visions of summer stone fruits have been dancing through this Hungry Texan’s head. Try this almond peach tart (inspired from a recipe from Peace Meals, the newest Junior League of Houston cookbook) and start and tempt your tastebuds with the summer sweets to come!

You’ll need:

peachtartingredients

almond cream

2/3 c slivered, blanched almonds

1/2 c sugar

6 tbl butter

2 eggs

2 tbl chambord (raspberry liquor, rum would also work)

2 tbl flour

PieCrust

Peaches

tart

1 pie crust (I used frozen!)

2 bags frozen peaches or 5 ripe peaches

glaze

1/3 c peach jelly/jam

4 tsp chambord

Preheat your oven to 425.

almondfilling1

Now, this recipe is really quite simple! To make your almond cream, start by grinding almonds and 2 tbl of sugar to a fine meal in your food processor. Remove the almond meal from the food processor and set aside briefly.

almondfilling2

Cream your butter in the food processor until soft. Then add the remaining 6 tablespoons of sugar and continue creaming. Add your eggs one at a time and process until smooth. Finally, add back in your almond meal mixture, add the flour, and chambord until well mixed and creamy.

almond filling

Next, assemble your tart! Pour your almond mixture into a prepared pie crust (fork-poked).

FilledPieCrust

 

Arrange peaches in a radiating or concentric design.

Peaches+PieFilling

 

Bake for 10 minutes in your preheated oven and then reduce heat to 350 baking for another 25 – 30 minutes. Remove and let your pie cool.

Jam+Chambord

When the pie cools, prepare your glaze by bringing peach jam and chambord to a simmer in a small saucepan. Stir continuously until the mixture is melty and wonderful.

Glaze Straining

Then strain through a fine mesh strainer. With a pastry brush, brush the glaze generously over the top of your tart.

Enjoy room temperature with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (Blue Bell if you’re so lucky!).

Sweet & creamy,

Julia

orange ginger carrot cake

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This post is a special one because it just so happens to be my better half’s birthday cake! That’s right, this past Thursday we had a Hungry Texans’ birthday bash for Miss Liz and it was a belly-buster on all fronts. We dined with a wonderful group of friends at one of the most unique restaurants DC has to offer, Thai X-ing, and in the spirit of Thai flavors for dessert too Liz blew out the candles on an orange ginger carrot cake. My dear friend, Jonny, introduced me to this scrumptious cake years ago and before last week I’d recreated it once on my own. Until this week, we’d both stuck to letting the cake’s deliciousness speak for itself and not fussed over presentation – opting to prepare it in the suitable and ever-practical large, rectangular, pyrex; but for such a special occasion I had to prep this cake with a little more pomp. Despite initial hesitations about layering it, it turned out scrumptious! Even the non-dessert lovers at the table sang its praise, huzzah!

Before diving into the goodies, important to note this cake was a co-production with Boston Boy. It would have taken twice as long without him, and for his very first cake he pulled out a showstopper!

thebrowns

thewhites

thebrights

the cake

2 1/2 c all purpose flour

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp fresh grated ginger

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 pound medium carrots, peeled & shredded

1/2 c brown sugar

4 eggs

1 tbl orange zest

1 1/2 c vegetable oil

~20 ginger candies, crushed or 1/2 cup crystallized ginger, minced

 icing_ingredients

frosting

8 ounces cream cheese

5 tbl butter

1 tbl orange juice

1 1/4 c powdered sugar

Start by whisking together your whites (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt) and most of your browns (all of your spices) in a large bowl.

Then, with the grater attachment of your food processor, start shredding your carrots (Be very careful handling these grating discs, Juju ended up with a little boo boo on her thumb. Don’t worry, Mom, no blood – just shaved off a layer of exterior skin). Transfer all shredded carrots into a large bowl.

Then, swap out your grating disc for your blade attachment and get to creaming your sugars. Combine brown & white sugar in a few quick pulses, then add your orange zest. Pulse to combine. Add your four eggs and run until your mixture gets a little frothy. Next, with the food processor running, drizzle in your oil until the mixture is emulsified. Scrape the mixture into the bowl topping your carrots (here’s a vine account of the above…!).

Next, stir in your candied ginger.

+gingercandy

Then, start slowly adding and mixing in your floury, dry mixture. Stir well!

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Mmmmm! Look at that batter, Boston Boy!

cakebatter

Pour into two parchment lined, circular baking dishes (or your baking dish of choice). I chose 2 pans (sorry, I’m not sorry).

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Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes or until your cakes pass the toothpick test. Let your cakes cool (I left mine to cool overnight), but let them cool at least an hour or until they have reached room temperature.

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first_layer

The frosting’s simple! In the bowl of a stand mixer with your paddle attachment, cream together cream cheese & butter, add orange juice, and then begin gradually adding powdered sugar until frosting reaches desired taste and consistency!

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Frost your cake however you please!

icing1
icing2

fully_iced

I turned this cake from plain white drab to birthday fab with a little died yellow sugar & some food colored frosting. I piped the birthday greeting through a ziploc bag (one of these days this Hungry Texan will get a proper pastry bag).

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Make a wish,

Julia

cinnamon crumb coffee cake

CoffeeCakeFinal

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!

 

CoffeeCakeTopping1

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.

BatterUp

 

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.

BakedCrumble

 

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

mushroom barley risotto with beans & greens

Risotto FinalMushrooms, and barley, and beans, oh my! The best thing about this risotto is it’s hands on, but mind off. As long as you nail the basic barley to broth ratio and are committed to stirring like crazy, it’s pretty hard to mess this up. Ease aside, don’t under-estimate this dish as a secret weapon for a weekday dinner party. Risotto screams “fancy-labor-of-love”, so any guests would be trés impressed by your rustic, rich, flavorful, faux-fancy feast.

It’s the perfect post-work dish when your brain’s drained and your tummy’s grumbling, and it messies minimal dishes.

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Ingredients:
2 tbl olive oil
2 tbl + 2 tbl butter
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 quart veggie broth
1 cup pearled barley
¼ tsp dried thyme
¼ c parmesan cheese + more for garnish
mixins_risotto
4 oz mushrooms
1 can cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
1 bunch asparagus
arugula
salt + pepper to taste
Onions + Thyme

Start by sautéing your onions in olive oil, stir for about 1 minute and then add your garlic and two tablespoons of butter. Add your thyme and continue cooking until onions become soft and fragrant (note: I love onions and was eating sans Boston Boy who does not, if your dining with folks who curl their nose at a lot of onions I recommend using half a chopped onion). While your onion and garlic are softening, pour your quart of veggie stock into a large pot and bring it to a borderline simmer. Add your barley to the pan and stir it around until all ingredients are combined, about 90 seconds. Add a sprinkle of salt to flavor your barley.

Barley + Broth

Then, start ladling in your hot broth to the barley mixture. Add broth one ladle at a time until all the broth is absorbed (this is where it’s nice to start zoning out and stirring, or in my case carrying on a great conversation with One Sock Wonder). Once you reach the point where you’re almost out of broth in your broth pot, lower the heat slightly on your risotto mixture and slow your stir. I do this mainly out of necessity to free my hands to prep my other veggies.

mushrooms_beans_cheese_risotto

Sauté mushrooms (I used a mix of oyster, baby bella, and shiitake, yum!) in two tablespoons of butter and season with salt and pepper. Once browned and cooked, transfer your mushrooms into the risotto mixture (hopefully the risotto is still a little soupy and has some liquid to absorb). Stir in your white beans to the mix. Next, chop your asparagus in half (hamburger style) and then blanch it, so it maintains a nice crunch in the risotto. Continue stirring your risotto until most of the final ladle of liquid is absorbed and then add your parmesan cheese, season with salt & pepper. Stir in until the cheese melts and give it a taste. You want your risotto to be slightly al dente. Once it reaches desired consistency, remove from heat and plate with asparagus and arugula.

The beauty of this recipe is you can improvise with whatever’s on hand – innovate with your beans and greens – use the barley as the base and get weird with whatever ingredients you feel like or have on hand. With the right fixin’s, this dish will be delish with any mixin’s.

xoxo,

julia