coconut cream pie

coconut cream pieHappy Pi Day, Hungry Texans! In celebration, I wanted to share a Lovett family favorite. We fell in love with this pie during childhood trips to Emeril’s Delmonico in New Orleans, and it wasn’t long before Big Daddy perfected it and this coconut cream pie became the dessert de résistance of every dinner party.

I took a couple creative liberties with Daddio’s classic – 3 mini pies instead of one big one (it’s the closest I could get to 3.14!) & adding coconut oil to the crust, but the core is the same and the proof is in the pudding…or in this case, the coconut custard!

Try it for yourself!coconute_pie_crust_ingredients

Coconut Crust

1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
½ tsp table salt
1 tbl sugar
6 tbl cold unsalted butter, cubed
¼ cup coconut oil
2 tbl vodka, cold
2 tbl cold water

Coconut Filling

Coconut Custard

2 ¼ cups whole milk
¾ cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup for the egg whites
3 egg yolks
¼ cup cornstarch
1 ½ tsp vanilla
2 cups toasted coconut
1 tbl butter

 

For your crust (which you can make a few days in advance if you’re feeling crafty!), start by pulsing sugar, 1/2 of your flour, and salt in a food processor. Add butter and coconut oil. Pulse, pulse, pulse and then add the rest of your flour. Remove from the food processor and transfer into a bowl. Trickle your water and vodka (vodka helps prevent pie crust from getting goopy & too sticky!) on top of your mixture and combine gently with a spatula. The coconut oil will give it a little bit of a crumblier texture, but it should get pretty smooth.

Next, press your dough between two sheets of plastic wrap and chill for at least 45 minutes in the fridge (or a quick 15 in the freezer). When you’re ready to bake, roll your dough out on a well-floured surface. I divided and rolled my dough into thirds for three itty bitty pies. Fold your dough into your lightly greased pie pan and then mold the crust to the pan (don’t forget to poke it!). Bake at 425 until golden brown. I admittedly could have used some pie weights for these itty bitty pies (my crusts won’t win a beauty contest!), but if your crusts start to rise, I recommend smooshing them down with the back of a spoon while they’re still warm.

Pie Crust Steps

Now, for the custard. This custard’s super simple and quite similar to the custard we made for our Mardi Gras King Cake. Start by heating your milk and sugar in a small saucepan until it starts to simmer. While your milk is heating, whisk your egg yolks together and set aside. When your milk is the desired temp, pour a little bit into your egg mixture to temper the eggs (we want to make sure we don’t scramble our yolks!). Stir, stir, stir, and then combine the egg and milk mixture completely.

coconut Custard

Return your milky-egg mixture to the heat and bring to a boil. Once it boils, add in your corn starch. Stir completely and then remove from heat. Allow mixture to cool slightly and then stir in vanilla & coconut! Let your custard cool completely before even thinking about filling your crusts (no one wants a soggy crust!). Once your custard has cooled, fill your crusts and refrigerate until ready to serve. Right before you’re ready to serve, top with whipped cream (or a meringue if you’re into that…these Hungry Texans prefer heavy whipping cream over egg whites, thank you very much!). Slice and enjoy, or if if you’re making the personal size – grab a fork and forget about swimsuit season!

custard filled crusts

three little pies

You’d be (coco)nuts not to love this pie!

xoxo,

HungryTexans

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

Chicago-Style Half Smokes

chicago style half smokes

In honor of Obama’s re-inauguration, we set out to create a Barack-inspired dish that highlighted his ties to both Chicago and our lovely DC.  This Chicago-Style Half Smoke combines the prez’s roots in Chi-City with his new home in DC.

The half smoke is an interesting sausage, popularized by DC’s Ben’s Chili Bowl and named aptly because it is usually half pork, half beef.  We found a half smoke that was produced in the DMV, and the nutrition facts are kindly out of focus, just like my mind treats all sausage.

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So what happens when you load a DC-native half smoke onto a poppy seed bun and heap on Chicagoan toppings?  A culinary mixture fit for the President himself!

You’ll need:

8 Poppy Seed buns (make your own with our recipe here!)
8 half smoke sausages
Tomatoes
Atomic relish
Dill pickle spears
Chopped onion
Yellow mustard

Once your poppy seed buns are out of the oven, this recipe is really all about assembly.  Heat the half smokes on a grill or on the stovetop, just until they have a bit of color and are heated through.  Then pile your Chi-Town toppings- tomatoes, relish, yellow mustard, a dill pickle spear, and chopped onion.

Since we couldn’t decide between a 312 and a DC Brau, we treated ourselves to both!

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.

DSC_0304

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

 

easy marinara

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This marinara is so quick and easy, it has become a fast friend in my kitchen.  You can add to it whatever ingredients you like and have on hand- fresh zucchini, carrots, or basil are just a few.  I’m rarely picky about my canned food brands, but in this case, don’t settle for anything less than San Marzano.  I use their crushed tomatoes to eliminate the blender step, but feel free to use the whole tomatoes.  As long as they’re San Marzano.  Ok, plug over.

You’ll need:
1 cup diced onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 large cans San Marzano crushed tomatoes
1 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs died oregano
1 tbs basil

In a large pot, melt the butter and add the onions and garlic.  Let cook for about 7-10 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the onions and garlic are soft and translucent.  Add the crushed tomatoes and dried herbs.  Stir and let simmer on low for 30 minutes, or until ready to serve.  Before serving, stir in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Chicago Style Pizza Marinara Sauce

Use as pizza sauce, over pasta or veggies.

xoxo,

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

basics: homemade applesauce

applesauce title page

Happy Hanukkah,  everyone!

I’m sure all of my fellow shiksahs in the kitchen can agree that the holidays can be a doozy.  As much as you love to cook, you’ll never shine a light to the recipe that has been passed down by tough critics.   I’ve made my fair share of high-holiday-hiccups (starting with a milchigs fork mix-up and ending with bringing a butter-laden bread pudding to Thanksgiving) but this applesauce is not one of them.  It’s the perfect way to preserve your apples and requires only two added ingredients.  And during Hanukkah, you won’t find a better topping for your potato latkes.

You’ll need: (for 2 cups applesauce)
4 apples, mixed
1 tbs honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup water

ingredients

We used Red Macintosh and Pink Lady apples for this recipe.  You can use whichever are in season (the farmer’s market usually has enough apple samples out to give you a tummy ache), but I recommend a mix of apples to elevate the depth of flavors.  Start by peeling your apples roughly (a little apple skin never hurt anyone) and chopping them into cubes.  Add them to a saucepan with the water over medium heat, until they’re just simmering.

apples in pot 1

Add the cinnamon and honey and stir.  In the past, I’ve used white sugar for the sweetness in my applesauce, but switched to honey because, well, apples and honey taste great together.

Let the whole mixture simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.  Then, using a hand potato masher (or a food processor if you’re looking for a really smooth sauce), mash the apples until they look like applesauce.

apples in pot 2

Serve over freshly-fried latkes and or just enjoy as a sweet snack.

applesauce final

xoxo,

the hungry texans

miso soup

Title pageOk this was an exciting night in the Hungry Texans kitchen- our foray into dashi!  The classic Japanese seafood stock is the base of so many dishes, including one notorious cure for an annoying cold… miso soup.  I’m not going to lie, I thought of dashi as the japanese equivalent of chicken stock, but it’s quite different.  It’s smoky and earthy and tastes (and smells) like the sea.

It’s also quite easy to make, if you have a bit of time.  The miso soup, from start to finish, took about 1 hour to make.  So pop open a bottle of sake and get cookin’!

for the dashi, you’ll need: 

3 quarts cold water

3 kombu stalks

1 handful bonito flakes

for the miso soup, you’ll need:

2 quarts dashi

1 quart water

1/4 cup white miso paste

1/2 cup scallions

1 cup shitake mushrooms

1 block tofu

2 cups kale

Start your dashi by filling a large pan with cold water.  Add your kombu stalks and bring to a boil.  Once the water is boiling, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes of simmering, add your bonito flakes.  Stir and bring to a boil.  When the whole mixture reaches a boil, turn the stove off.

kombu and bonito flakes

Drain the dashi through a colander. Alright, you’re ready for Top Chef!

dashi

To start your miso soup, add your dashi to a soup pot.  Add your miso paste and stir until it has dissolved.  Throw in sliced shitake mushrooms & scallions, sliced thin.  De-stalk your lovely kale and chop it into small-ish pieces.  You can add the kale directly or blanch it quickly first.

mix ins

If you are making dashi with the hopes of turning it into miso soup, then slice your tofu and let it drain onto paper towels while your making the dashi.  Then, slice into small cubes and add it to the miso pot.

Ok, now are you ready?  This is the hardest part.  Stir it once and cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat.  Then, you’re done.

soup!

xoxo,

the hungry texans

kale potato mash

kale potato mash title

There are few better dinners than a roasted chicken with a hearty side.  Last night, we made a really special miso butter roasted chicken, and these mashed red potatoes were the perfect side.  On a last-moment whim, I threw in a couple handfuls of blanched kale and a bulb of roasted garlic.  The texture from the kale and the mix of of potatoes was a perfect side for a Friday night chicken.

What you’ll need:

5 red potatoes

5 yukon gold potatoes

1 bulb garlic

1 cup white cheddar cheese

2 cups chopped kale

1/4 cup heavy cream

s&p

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Slice off the top of your garlic bulb and top with olive oil and a pinch of salt, then wrap in foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes, until the cloves are soft.  Boil a large pot of salted water and add your kale.  Let the kale boil for ~4 minutes, then drain.

kale

Peel your potatoes (I liked a mixture of red and yukon gold because it gives the mash a good blend of textures).

sam handsAnd boil for about 10 minutes, until they’re ready to be mashed.  Then, add the kale and the roasted garlic.

potatoes and kaleGive everything a good mash, using a hand masher.  Once combined, add the heavy cream and salt & pepper and give everything a good stir.

mixingAll done!

xoxo,

The Hungry Texans

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