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

gingerbread pancakes

Gingerbread Pancakes_main

Looking for a Christmasy twist to the Sunday morning classic? These pancakes are the perfect way to start any holiday morning – they’ll fill your house with the smells of the season and fill your tum with cheer. Tex-Pat Sprague visited this weekend from Brooklyn & after brunching way too hard on Saturday these gingerbread pancakes & scrambies seemed like the perfect cure for our holiday hangovers. Also, gingerbread pancakes are oh, so special to Tex-Pat Sprague and I as we shared many a platter of Kerby Lane’s every summer we trounced around Austin during debate camp (we were very cool).

While these evoked similar flavors to Kerby Lane’s perfect cakes, the texture wasn’t quite the same on ours. There’s a time and a place for every pancake, so file this recipe under “looking for a thick, dense, hearty cake” (we have a favorite fluffy, cloud-like recipe we’ll share next!).

gingerbread pancakes ingredients

Makes ~12 pancakes

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 c brown sugar

4 tbl buter, melted

3 eggs

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon ginger

1 tablespoon nutmeg*

1/2 c brewed coffee

1/2 c water

1/2 c buttermilk

pancake batter & griddle

Make your batter by creaming together your eggs & sugar. Add your liquids: coffee, water, buttermilk. Mix it all up and then set aside. Combine all of your dry ingredients & then add your eggies. Next, gradually combine the wet & dry until you have a thick batter. Stir in your melted butter for good measure and then start cookin! Plop scoops of batter into a greased skillet or onto a greased griddle and then cook until your pancake comes alive (consistent bubbles throughout). Once your cake’s alive it’s time to flip!

Serve with melted butter & maple syrup.

* Important to note we learned in the creation of this recipe that nutmeg is in fact a seed, so One Sock Wonder could enjoy these tasty cakes in spite of his nut allergy! #themoreyouknow

pecan pie

Two Saturdays ago I helped sort 7,000 Thanksgiving pies sold as a fundraiser for one of my favorite DC nonprofits, Food & Friends. In case you were wondering, 7,000 pies looks like this about 6-times! This pecan pie recipe is poco complicado, but as you read and mentally prepare yourself to recreate its splendor, if you ever think you’re ready to “next!” this recipe, take a deep breath and remember you’re only making one…not 7,000!

Before we get into the thick of it, there are a couple of things you need to know.

  1. This is a recipe for Pecan (“pi-con”) Pie not “pee-can” pie. Few alliterative phrases irk my ears more than “pee-can” pie, and this is coming from the girl who has her own fair share of Texas twists on pronunciation.
  2. This pie was extra special because it was made entirely from the fruits of one of Mimi & Papa’s pecan trees!
  3. This is my first attempt at a Pecan Pie, but you should know Goode Company Pecan Pie (GCPP) is and always will be the gold standard for this species of pie. Important characteristics worth mimicking in GCPP are: a crumbly crust, whole pecans, and balance in the crust & nuts that cuts the saccharine filling.

My recipe features pecans three ways–as a meal in the crust, whole on the bottom of the crust, & chopped in the filling–and its inspired by Tabard Inn’s Crust & Cooks Illustrated’s filling. To embark on this pie prepping adventure, you’ll need:

For the crust:

1 c pecans (chopped)
1⁄3 c sugar
1.5 c flour
1.5 sticks butter
Pinch salt
2 egg yolks
3 tbls 1/2 & 1/2
1 12-ounce can dulce de leche
8 ounces toasted pecans

For the filling:

6 tbl butter

1 c brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 c corn syrup

1 tbl vanilla

2 c whole pecans toasted & chopped

Let’s start with the crust, shall we? First pulse your cup of pecans & sugar in a food processor; pulse until it’s a fine meal. Add flour, butter & salt and continue to pulse until the butter is super crumbly. Then add the eggs and half & half. Once your dough is in a nice ball, flatten it out between two pieces of parchment paper. Chill in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it. When it’s time to bake, roll or use your hands to fit your crust into a pie pan. Be sure to poke your crust with a fork (many, many times) and then bake for ~20 minutes at 350. I covered mine with parchment paper. True story, I didn’t have pie weights and my crust definitely rose a little. Once it got out of the oven, I needed to smoosh it back down to its home in the pan. Remove once it’s golden brown.

While your crust is baking is the perfect opportunity to make your filling! Setup a double boiler and melt your butter. Then mix in your sugar & salt. Then beat in eggs, corn syrup, and vanilla. Pop your bowl back on your double broiler & stir, stir, stir until your mix is shiny and warm. Remove the bowl from the heat & stir in your 2 cups of toasted chopped pecans. Ta da! You have filling.

Now this is exciting. Take your toasted whole pecans and pop those little guys on the bottom of your crust. Drizzle dulce de leche all over the pecan-filled pie crust. Then pour in your filling. Alas! It’s time to bake this baby. Pop it into your still hot 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes or until your pie filling stands up to a  toothpick test. Let your pie rest until it’s time for dessert (or an extra decadent afternoon treat!). I garnished ours with some Grand Marnier whipped cream & it was the perfect cream to cut the sweet.