Sous Vide Short Ribs

Sometimes I get overly appropriately excited and take on a big culinary project, like homemade English muffins or home-ground burgers.  Ev is a great sport and doesn’t even roll her eyes (in front of me).  Recently I came across an amazing website called Chef Steps, which puts together extremely high quality videos and guides for some seriously impressive recipes.   I decided to leverage my recent fascination with sous vide cooking and one of their fantastic videos for sous vide beef short ribs, and an idea was born.

Short Rib on board

Read more

Coffee Break: Cuvee Coffee Santa Rita

I’m a sucker for “Limited Edition” and “Special Release” items.  I’ve had to make a conscious effort to stop seeking out rare / seasonal / one-time-only beer, for example.  But when Cuvee announced a seasonal peaberry variety, I couldn’t resist.  Peaberry, by the way, refers to a less common (about 5% of all coffee beans) where there is only one seed in the coffee fruit (instead of two), which is smaller and pea-shaped.  Enter: Cuvee Coffee Santa Rita.

Bruer Cuvee Santa Rita

The official tasting profile on the bag says grape-like acidity leads into strawberry sweetness and a dark chocolate finish.  I totally kind of sort of get that.  It certainly has some upfront acidity, but without being as harsh has the Huckleberry coffee from a few posts ago.  The beauty is that it balances itself with some more full-bodied chocolate-y flavor.  It took a few sips to decide if I liked it.  And then I decided that it’s great.  If you come across one of these fair ladies, grab it and thank me later.

Coffee Break: Mozart’s FTO Quack’s

I’ve been using my Bruer coffee maker almost daily and love it!  As I mentioned in my review, I want to showcase and keep track of the different varieties I’m cold-brewing both to share the goodness as well as remember for myself.

The newest bag of beans making the drip trip is from a local shop called Mozart’s Coffee Roasters.  They have a great setup on the lake with lots of delicious treats (including homemade ice cream) to enjoy with your coffee.  I grabbed a bag of their Fair Trade Organic (FTO) Quack’s Blend, which is a special blend made specifically for Quack’s 43rd St Bakery across town in Hyde Park.

Bruer Mozarts Quacks

It’s hard not to compare to the other coffees we’ve brewed so far, so I’ll at least say I don’t like this as much as the Cuvee Fazenda Pantano.  It’s along the same rich, chocolate-y flavor profile (as opposed to the fruity, acidic style of the Huckleberry).  However, it has an over-roasted flavor and reminded me a lot of hot coffee poured over ice.  It’s not totally unpleasant, but it’s noticeable, and a little disappointing.  We’ll certainly work through the rest of this bag, but will try a different blend next time I stop into Mozart’s.

Sous Vide Steak Fajitas

About a year ago I backed a project on Kickstarter for the Sansaire Sous Vide machine.  It was a purchase of passion and took a little convincing to a certain rationally-thinking wife that it was going to be amazing.  It arrived, I tried it out without much fanfare, and put it in the cabinet.  Well I recently got re-excited about it and have had lots of success, so I thought I’d share what came out of our kitchen!

Sous Vide 136

Read more

Postmates to the Rescue

It’s the little things that you don’t think about when your whole routine gets flipped on its head.  With the arrival of Wes we quickly learned how little time we had to plan out meals, go grocery shopping, and spend a relaxing evening cooking dinner.  Thanks to our incredible friends and neighbors bringing over prepared meals, we haven’t starved to death.  But there are times when there’s just no chance we can get out the door to even grab some takeout.  Enter Postmates.

Logo-Postmates

Read more

Caffeine: A Parent’s Best Friend

Whoa.  My first blog post as a dad.  It’s been tough.  As Wes sleeps (or doesn’t), we sleep (or don’t).  These past few weeks have been rough, so to combat the morning … and day … and night … exhaustion, we’ve dialed up the coffee intake quite a bit.  And in the Texas summer, iced coffee is really the only option.

Bruer Vertical

Read more

Waffle Brownies

Some nights after dinner you find yourself with a craving for something more than what the four pints of ice cream in your freezer can offer.  In a moment of sheer brilliance Evelyn simultaneously thought of, searched for, and found a recipe for brownies made in a waffle iron.  So we got to work!

waffle brownie plain

Read more

Magic Chocolate Flan Cake!

While waiting in line at the grocery checkout we chanced upon a copy of “The Best of America’s Test Kitchen” issue full of ATK’s best recipes.  Once home and flipping through the pages, one of the last pages caught my eye: Magic Chocolate Flan Cake.  In true ATK fashion, there was a lot of trial and error and ultimately an explanation of how it works.  But I didn’t read any of it.  I just wanted to start making something called Magic Chocolate Flan Cake!

magic chocolate flan cake slice cross section

Read more

Mike’s Likes: Burgers

In a new segment called “Mike’s Likes” I’m going to keep track of my favorite of Austin’s whatever. This is NOT a list of the best but rather a list of my favorite. I want to be clear that I cannot possibly say “This is the Best [fill-in-your-food-item here]“. I have not had ALL, or even most, not to mention personal tastes make it a completely silly conversation. As this list evolves, I’ll update it with my new favorites. With that said, let’s get into my favorite burgers!

i <3 burgers

Read more

Live Fire: 2014 Edition

This year marked the third year (one and two) of the Austin Food and Wine Alliance’s Live Fire and the third year that Evelyn and I have attended.  Unexpectedly the weather turned wet and dreary, but remained relatively tame for the duration of the face-stuffing festivities.  We met up with Jeff and Lisa (of Full and Content), who had already scoped things out and snapped some great pictures, so check them out for some actually good photos of the event.

Live Fire Banner

After battling traffic Evelyn and I arrived around 7pm and got right to the eating.  Ultimately we tried all but two of the tents, some of which had multiple samples to try.  All pictures are below, and rather than somehow rank 17 dishes, I’ll share a few highlights.

For me, Cafe Josie’s Braised Short Rib and Sweet Potato Skewer, the second thing we tasted, topped my list.

Braised Short Rib and Sweet Potato with Chili Aioli from Cafe Josie

Braised Short Rib and Sweet Potato with Chili Aioli from Cafe Josie

Evelyn and Lisa  both preferred the Toasted Chile and Garlic Skirt Steak with Jalapeno Jelly, Cherry Tomato Relish and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds from Arcade Midtown Kitchen in San Antonio.  That would be my second favorite.

Toasted Chile and Garlic Skirt Steak with Jalapeno Jelly, Cherry Tomato Relish and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds from Arcade Midtown Kitchen

Toasted Chile and Garlic Skirt Steak with Jalapeno Jelly, Cherry Tomato Relish and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds from Arcade Midtown Kitchen

Jeff’s favorite bite came from The Granary (also in San Antonio) and their Smoke-Grilled Beef Cheek, Plantain, and Chimichurri.

Smoke-Grilled Beef Cheek, Plantain, and Chimichurri from The Granary

Smoke-Grilled Beef Cheek, Plantain, and Chimichurri from The Granary

In true Franklin BBQ fashion, he ran out of food very early (like 7:45pm at an event that goes from 6:30-9pm) and many people were left without sampling his beef ribs.  Ev and I made the rounds quickly (more on that in a sec) and still didn’t make it to Franklin’s line in time.  Franklin himself said he prepared 500 plates (the number of tickets that were sold), but alas… sad times.

As for the event itself, it just didn’t have that same “WOW” factor as in years past.  Perhaps being pregnant (i.e. no drinking) coupled with soggy weather meant there was less opportunity to grab a plate or two and then find a spot to just hang out and enjoy while sipping wine or a cocktail.  Instead, we grabbed a plate of food and promptly moved to the back of the next line.  Jeff, Evelyn, and I agree that the quality of the food, for whatever reason, didn’t blow us out of the water either.  Perhaps we’re simply remembering last year with an unfairly high expectation.

We’ll see about if we’ll attend or not next year.  If deciding now, probably not.  But who knows, maybe we’ll remember it with a certain fondness that forgets the downsides of this year’s event.  Until then, onto more (mediocre) food pictures!

Live Fire 2014

In order of consumption: