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.

blend page

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!

in cups frozen

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

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a hungry texans guide to thanksgiving!

we all do it- that weekend before thanksgiving when friends gather, drink too much spiced cider, and potluck our faces off for that pre-thanksgiving thanksgiving celebration.  call it Friendsgiving or Fakesgiving, we just call it delicious.

and this year was no different.  the man chefs brought their extremely tasty green beans and a rendition of thomas keller’s stuffing that blew us meat eaters’ socks off (vegetarians beware: this stuffing starts with 1 lb of rendered bacon fat).

use these recipes for your own thanksgiving feast or just as side dishes for a wonderful meal.  click through for recipes!

honey butter chicken biscuits

roasted root vegetables with charred scallion goat cheese & garlic confit

middle eastern spiced roasted cauliflower

jalapeno honey butter & sage roasted garlic butter

cranberry-orange relish

 

happy thanksgiving!

xoxo,

the hungry texans

middle eastern roasted cauliflower

Cauliflower is such a versatile and easy ingredient.  Mashed into potatoes or pureed into a soup, these hearty stalks are usually just happy to be eaten.  I rarely enjoy them in their whole form, but this recipe is so easy and tasty, it would be a shame not to.  These Middle-Eastern Roasted cauliflower are roasted to bring out their nutty goodness, then dressed with tahini and date syrup.  The result?  One of the most incredible veggie sides I’ve had to date (thanks to BB’s uncle in LA!).  Try this for a non-traditional Turkey-Day side or with a quick chicken curry.

You’ll need:

2 heads of cauliflower (I used one white and one mix of purple, green & yellow cauliflower)
3 tbs olive oil
4 tbs date syrup
4 tbs tahini
s&p

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Roughly chop your cauliflower into 2-inch pieces and spread them out in a baking dish.  Toss in olive oil and salt & pepper, then roast for 45 minutes, until they’re golden and crispy.

When they’re out of the oven, cover the roasted florets in tahini and date syrup.  Don’t have date syrup on hand?  Click through for this recipe!  Pop them back into the oven for a few more minutes to let all of the flavors come together.  Serve warm!

favorite things: and we danced edition

1. Bottomless Brunch at Zengo in Chinatown.  For $35, you get to nosh on the yummiest eats and sip some delicious drinks.  We ordered…everything.  Favorites included these lobster-chipotle grits, the crispy tofu with roasted corn-potato salad, shrimp-vegetable potstickers, short rib hash with poached egg and the angry zengo roll.  We literally stayed from open to close.

2. Crafty Bastards in Union Market!  Admittedly, the crowds pushed one of these Hungry Texans indoors to the Rappahannock oyster bar, but we scored a couple of good finds nonetheless.  (pic)

3. Seven thousand people outfitted in neon & music for miles?  Count us in!  We had such a blast at the LivingSocial Glow-in-the-Dark 5k at RFK Stadium.  One of us ran the distance while the other volunteered with the video crew behind the scenes, but a good time was had by all.  Highlights were the step performance at the post-5k dance party and the 1000 Solar Lamps that were donated by LivingSocial to Somalian school children.

4. Why on earth would you wake up at 5am when it’s so blistery cold outside?  To make 24 dozen eggs for breakfast service at Miriam’s Kitchen, of course!

5. Thanks to our frayands John & Julia, we’re lovin’ Macklemore this week.  Sure, his thrift shop threads are bumpin’, but his power ballad “And We Danced” makes us…well…dance. (pic)

6. And finally, happy Bijoulais Nouveau to all you mediocre wine enthusiasts out there.  The celebration is far stronger than the vino, but it gave us a chance to make these French Onion Soup Dumplings, so laissez les bons temps rouler!

xoxo,

the hungry texans

le nouveau est arrive! french onion soup dumplings

a happy bijoulais nouveau to y’all!

bijoulais nouveau is really a cute little holiday.  i only learned about it since moving to DC- the closest I’ve ever come to speaking french in texas is “laissez les bons temps rouler!”  the young french wine is actually quite un-tasty.  it’s aged for only a few weeks, but brilliant marketing has awarded it an entire midnight celebration- brava!  french law prohibits the young red from being uncorked until 12am on the second wednesday of each november, so francophiles wait in anticipation.  a few classic dc bistros, like 1905 and Bistro du Coin, were throwing their celebrations  last night, but who were we fooling- 2am on a school night?

so i hunkered down with Boston Boy in my kitchen, while my roommates set some serious mood lighting and french music, and embarked on a journey into these french onion soup dumplings.  there are recipes for these little succulent pouches of magic all over the internet (ever since making their Cooking Channel debut), so i glanced at all of them and then decided on my own approach.  and here it is!

for 20 dumplings, you’ll need: 

20 wonton wrappers
2 onions (mix of red and yellow)
1/2 bouillon cube
1 tbs flour
10 sprigs of thyme
2 cups beef broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups shredded gruyere or swiss cheese
1 french baguette
Optional: a cut of beef (we used new york strip)

1. Heat 1 tbs of olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Thinly slice your onions and add them to the oil.  Give the whole thing a stir, then cover and let them cook for 10-15 minutes without messing with them.

2. While the onions are softening, dice your beef into 1/2 inch cubes (if you would like to make this vegetarian or if you don’t want beef in your dumplings, then omit this step and just heat your beef broth over low heat on the back burner).  Season with salt & pepper, then sear on each side over medium-high heat until they are caramelized.  Add your beef broth and dry white wine and a couple sprigs of thyme, then reduce the heat to low and let the broth & beef simmer.

3. Remove the top from the onions and stir in 1 tbs flour, leaves from 5 sprigs of thyme, 1 tsp salt & pepper, and 1/2 bouillon cube.  Re-cover and let simmer on low heat for another 10 minutes.

4. When the onions are ready, you’re ready to start building your dumplings.  Lay out a sheet of parchment paper and dip each wonton wrapper in the beef broth (this makes the wrappers easier to work with and more flavorful).  Drop a tablespoon of the onions onto each wonton and wrap the sides up into a little onion purse.  Since you’ve dipped these into the beef broth, the dumpling edges will stick perfectly.  I preferred the more traditional onions, but Boston Boy added a cube of beef to each of his- man hunger!

5. Place the dumplings into an oven-safe dish, ladle the broth over your dumplings, and top with (a lot of) shredded gruyere and swiss cheese.  For that delicious crouton (arguably the best part of french onion soup), poke a toothpick through a cube of french bread and into each dumpling.  In addition to being delicious, these are like little buoys to mark where the dumplings lie.

6. Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, then broil for a minute or until the cheese is golden.

We had tons of broth and onions left since we only made a few dumplings, so we ended up just combining everything for a delicious french onion soup- hello leftovers!   And full disclosure: we popped the Bijoulais cork about an hour before midnight.  BB says we’ll be cursed with bad french kisses for a year… I haven’t noticed yet.