Thursday, July 29, 2010

White whole wheat fettucine with sage pesto and grilled chicken

I woke up with a horrible migraine, and spent the entire morning in bed. I managed to move to the couch at around 1, and by 6 the pain had subsided enough for me to start thinking about food. I was a click away from having Indian food delivered when I thought about how much food I have in the house and how wasteful it would be to order out. Also, my new George Foreman grill was delivered today and I wanted to try it out. I wanted something like comfort food, heavy on the carbs, but also reasonably healthy, so pasta and grilled chicken with pesto sounded about right.

1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 egg
1 tbsp water

Combine ingredients with a fork, and then roll into a ball and begin kneading. If the dough is too dry and crumbly, add a bit more water. If it's too wet and sticky, knead in a bit more flour. Knead for about five minutes. I use a machine to roll it into sheets, and then let the sheets dry for a few minutes before running through the cutting attachment.

Sage pesto
1/4 cup fresh sage
1 cup fresh parsley
1 oz grated parmesan
1 oz walnuts
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
salt to taste

I do this with the blender, in a mason jar. Use your blender, food processor, or however you normally make pesto. Put the herbs in first, blend until finely chopped. Add the nuts and the garlic, blend. Add lemon juice and oil, blend into a paste.

Grill two chicken breasts. Using two forks, pull apart into bite-sized pieces.

Cook and drain fettuccine, stir in pesto and chicken.

Friday, July 23, 2010


I got two beautiful white eggplant in my local box from Greenling, and I had some potatoes that were on sale at Randall's. I had planned to make potato and eggplant curry, but at some point today I changed my mind in favor of moussaka. I guess I wanted to use up some of the grass-fed beef I have in the freezer. I've eaten moussaka before, but I'd never made it, so I actually used a recipe. Mostly. The recipe calls for two large onions, and after I chopped one, it looked like a lot of onion, so I skipped the second. Also, the recipe doesn't give an amount for bread crumbs. I used 2 cups of panko. And of course I only used two eggplants, although the recipe calls for three. Also, I don't think the original instructions are very clear about the order in which to do things, so I hope I've clarified that a bit.

Heat oven to 375F and lightly grease a 9"x13" baking dish.


2 Medium sized eggplants, unpeeled (500g)

4-5 Medium sized potatoes, peeled (800g)

1 large onion - chopped fine (350g)

1 6oz Can Tomato paste

1/4 Cup Red wine

1 Cup Parmesan cheese - freshly grated

1 lb. Ground beef

3 T Fresh parsley - chopped fine

1/4 tsp. Cinnamon

2 cups panko

White Sauce (recipe below)

Rinse eggplant under cool water.  Pat dry with paper towel.  Cut off ends.  Slice about 1/2 inch thick rounds. 
Lightly sprinkle slices with salt and let sit while you slice potatoes.

Peel and slice potatoes very thin. Place in a bowl of cold water to prevent browning.

Fry eggplant QUICKLY in butter or cooking oil until golden brown.  You want the eggplant to remain firm.  Remove to a plate lined with paper towels.

Dilute tomato paste with about 1/2 cup water and the 1/4 cup red wine. Add parsley and cinnamon, stir until smooth.

Add tomato paste mixture to pan with meat and onions, simmer for about 10 minutes. Prepare white sauce while meat mixture simmers.

4 T
6 T
2 C
Hot milk (not boiled)
1/2 tsp.
Egg yolks, well beaten

Dash of Nutmeg

In medium size bowl, beat the egg yolks with your whisk; set aside.

In medium size sauce pan over medium heat, melt 4 Tablespoons butter and blend in the flour, stirring steadily until butter is absorbed into the flour.  Add salt.
When bubbling slightly, REDUCE heat to LOW; add the hot milk SLOWLY, stirring constantly.  Continue cooking over low heat until smooth and thickened to medium consistency.
Remove from heat and add nutmeg.

Pour finished sauce over the beaten egg yolks SLOWLY and stir constantly.  Set aside.

Sprinkle a layer of bread crumbs on bottom of roasting pan. Beginning with eggplant, begin layering:  eggplant, potatoes, meat.  Each layer should be sprinkled lightly with bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.  Your TOP layer should be eggplant. Pour white sauce evenly over the top.  The sauce will form a thick crust on top of the Moussaka when baked. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bread crumbs.
BAKE at 375 degrees for 1 hour, or until golden brown.

Remove from oven and let stand about 15 minutes before cutting into 8 squares. Serve with the red wine you opened to make the meat sauce. ;)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Stuffed 9-ball squash

I got my local basket from Greenling yesterday, and among all the other goodies, there were some interesting little yellow squashes. I mentioned them to my friend Allie, who suggested that I stuff and roast them. I hadn't thought about it, but as soon as she said that, I knew what to stuff them with - there were also some pinto beans and some lovely pale green bell peppers in the box. This is what I threw together.

90g fresh pinto beans (~1 cup cooked)
3 ball squash
1 med bell pepper
1 med onion
1 Tbsp olive oil
fresh basil, roughly chopped
lemon juice to taste

Cover beans with water and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium, and simmer covered till tender (about 45 minutes.) Drain. Chop pepper and onion, saute in olive oil. While those are sauteing, cut the tops off the squashes and scoop out the insides with a melon baller. Add squash guts, basil, and lemon juice to pan and saute for 2-3 minutes. Combine vegetable mixture with beans and spoon into hollowed out squash. Replace squash tops. Bake for about 30 minutes at 350F in a casserole dish with an inch or so of water.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Waffles with fig compote

I didn't get very many figs today, only this many:

It was very sad, but I decided to make the best of it. I made waffles with fig compote.

I used Alton Brown's basic waffle recipe, except that I halved the recipe, and used all white whole wheat flour instead of half white all-purpose and half regular whole wheat.

Fig compote
Makes 2 servings (enough for 2 waffles)

About 15 fresh figs
1 cup water
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp sugar
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 cardamom pod

Place all ingredients in saucepan, bring to boil. Simmer uncovered on med-low heat, stirring occasionally, until figs start to break apart and most of the water cooks off, about 20 minutes.

The spices wafting from the simmering compote smelled so good that I decided to make some chai, using the same spices I used for the compote plus a handful of whole cloves. I'm not one of those people who can drink hot beverages when it's hot, so I made iced chai. Now, I've heard there's no such thing as iced chai (I guess this is similar to the "no such thing as iced cappuccino" argument) but I saw no reason I couldn't make some extra strong chai and then put ice in it. So I did. Sorry about the lack of measurements, but I never have and probably never will use real measurements for my chai. I have this (possibly silly and superstitious) belief that trying to use measurements would ruin it. However, I will certainly share my method.

I simmer water and the spices until it smells good and the water starts to turn a little brown. Then I throw in a handful of osmanthus tea and simmer gently for a couple more minutes, till it really looks like tea. I then turn off the heat, stir in a spoonful of honey, and enough milk to make it look the right color. In this case, I used a little less water than usual, so the ice wouldn't make it too watery.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

My inaugural post; chocolate dipped figs

Hello, and welcome to my blog. If all goes as planned, I'll be posting recipes and photos of food. The reality is that sometimes I forget to measure things and to write down my measurements, and that I sometimes forget to take pictures of my food before I eat. But we'll see how this goes.

I'd also like to briefly explain my blog title. Texas Everbearing is a variety of fig; specifically, it's a subtype of Brown Turkey. It's the most common type of fig tree found here in Austin, and it's what's been producing and inspiring a great deal of what I've been eating over the last few weeks. Now that you know what Texas Everbearing is, the pun becomes obvious, and perhaps a bit groan-inducing. However, in my defense, the other (better) names I thought of had already been taken - and not even for food blogs, which really irks me.

Now let's get to the real reason we're here - the food!

Chocolate dipped figs

~1 lb figs, about 15 medium-sized
6 oz dark/semisweet chocolate, use what you like
1 pinch ground cloves (maybe 1/2 tsp, see what I mean?)
1/4 cups chopped pistachios (optional)

I got the figs from the tree in my front yard. If you don't have a fig tree or a friend with a fig tree, you may be able to find some fresh figs at a farmer's market. Failing that, you can used dried figs, but it won't be the same.

Rinse the figs and gently pat them dry with paper towels or a dish towel (skip this step if using dried figs.) Line a baking sheet or flattish container with parchment or wax paper. I managed to separate most of the figs from their stems during harvesting, so I stuck toothpicks in them to use as handles.

Break the chocolate into pieces and put in a microwave-safe container. Microwave about 45 seconds at 50% power, stir, and repeat till melted. It may be tempting to lick your spoon or spatula, but as you may or may not know, you don't want to get any moisture in the chocolate, or it'll seize. If you must lick the spatula, grab a fresh one for the next round of stirring.

Once the chocolate is melted, stir in the cloves, and start dipping. This is the fun part. Dip the fig in the chocolate, gently swirl it around till it's coated, pull it out and let the excess drip off, and then set it on the parchment paper. If you're using pistachios, sprinkle them over the fig. Repeat until all the figs are coated (obvious instruction is obvious.) Depending on your climate, you may want to put them in the fridge to set. Since I live in Austin, I put them in the fridge and keep them there.

Since these are fresh figs, they won't keep long, maybe two days. In my house they don't last that long anyway, so spoilage is not an issue.

Now let's pretend that I know how to take pictures: