Food52 Potluck with Amanda Hesser!

Hi friends! Things are happening! The first Food52 Cookbook is out! I’ve got two recipes in this beaut- my Olive all’Ascolana and Griddled Polenta Cakes. So much fun!

And that’s not all! Amanda Hesser will be in Austin Monday, November 14th to celebrate the launch of the book with a potluck at Boggy Creek Farm! Tickets are $25, but a ticket gets you a Food52 Cookbook as well as admission (retail price $35), so it’s like you’re being paid to be there! Sort of!

Celebrities abound! In addition to the lovely Amanda Hesser, you can meet the talented Austinites behind these award-winning recipes:

My sister, Helen! These are her Devils on Hatchback, one of my very very favorite foods.  She has two recipes in the book also! Her delightful Figgy Pudding Butter Cookies, and deliciously inventive Feta Frozen Yogurt with Blood Orange and Mint Granita!

Our friend, Abbie! This girl can cook!! These are her amazing Barbacoa Beef Cheek Tacos.  One of the many, many delicious treats Abbie is known for.  Her jams and chutneys are swoon-worthy.

Abbie’s husband, Leo! His mashed potatoes are the bee’s knees. So is Leo!

Our sweet friend, Nancy! This is her outstanding Heirloom Tomato and Lemon Mascarpone Tart.  She also makes a fantastic chocolate cake!

Our friend, Elizabeth! This is her beautiful Warm Custard Spoon Bread, which will be showcased in the second Food52 Cookbook, due out this spring!

I hope to see you guys at the potluck! I’ll have a fat baby with me!

Tickets are available for purchase here:

Ok, bye!


Kitchen Makeover!

Don’t worry, reader! This is the before picture. Sorry I didn’t bother to do the dishes.

(If you just want to see the before-and-after without reading my blabber, skip to the end of this post!)

One month before my due date, Andy and I decided to redo the kitchen.  Believe me, I know it was a dumb timing, but that nesting instinct is a powerful beast. Plus, we have a fantastic contractor who promised he could have it done before Henry came (he was true to his word!), and we figured it would be better to have construction going on before the baby came than after.  Anyway, I figured that this was tangentially food-related, so I could post before-and-after pictures here.  I ❤ before-and-after pictures! You could show me B&A pictures of an apple pre- and post-snacking, and I'd probably say, "Wow! Someone ate the hell out of that apple!"

So, first some fun facts about our old kitchen…

  • The handle would often fall off of the faucet.  Extremely annoying. (And occasionally hilarious, as when a friend would flip it on quickly and then look horrified because they thought they’d broken our sink.)
  • The linoleum came in two handsomely-shaded patches, cream and white! Not sure why they thought it was ok to switch to cream for one fifth of the floor. 
  • The drawers were forever falling off their tracks :/
  • The counters actually lifted off the cabinets.

Needless to say, we were ready for an upgrade!  Without further ado:

Hooray for our new kitchen! It’s such a huge improvement.  My favorite part is the huge expanse of butcher block counter space.  Rolling out pie crust used to be such a challenge- there was really only one small piece of usable counter space above the dishwasher.  Now look!
Sidenote: If you’re in the market for remodeling, Artisan General Contracting gets my highest recommendation.  James Monge (pronounced moan-hay) of AGC has replaced all of our windows with energy efficient ones, built us a new fence, and remodeled our kitchen and bathroom.  All of the work was done quickly for a great price. You can contact James at AGC at or 512-922-5131. He’s the best!

How about one last look of the before-and-after!

Austin Bakes for Japan & Other Fun Things!

Good morning, readers! Today is bakesale day in Austin! Check out the five locations around Austin, and swing by and pick up some treats! My baked goods are available for donation at the south location, Hotel San Jose on South Congress (right next to Jo’s Coffee).  Here’s what I contributed (along with help from two lovely ladies, Molly and Jen!):
Aged Cheddar and Chipotle Jam Thumbprints! These aren’t particularly photogenic, but are crazy delicious.  The recipe is my adaptation of this winning recipe from food52.  I just replaced the blue cheese with a dry Grafton cheddar, and the fig preserves with a chipotle berry jam from the farmers’ market!
Homemade Oreos! These are from Martha Stewart’s awesome cookie book, and are always popular! They’re big crunchy chocolate cookies sandwiched with a sweet sweet vanilla cream.   Here’s the recipe!
Chewy Lemon Sugar Cookies! Another one of my faves from the Martha cookie book! These are flavored with lemon zest and juice, and are the size of your head. Yeesss. Here’s the recipe.
Other fun things!
The Hill Country Conservancy is hosting an event on Earth Day, April 22 with a dinner from the Salt Lick, Robert F. Kennedy Jr, and a concert with Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers!  The proceeds benefit the conservancy, which works to protect open space and water quality in Central Texas, so attend if you can! It’ll be swell! Check out this page for more information and to purchase tickets!
I was lucky enough to eat at Barley Swine last night, the new restaurant from the folks who brought you Odd Duck!   The food is incredible, and the service was wonderful too.  If you don’t mind starting early, you should try to get there before six to avoid long wait times.  If they’re still on the menu, you have to try the fried brussel sprouts, grilled carrot salad, and jerk rubbed pork belly- they were all jaw-droppingly delicious. Oh! and the desserts were crazy-time amazing too!
That’s it for me! Have a happy weekend!