Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Mix in cabbage, pecans, and apples

As a runner, your told salads are too much roughage, AVOID. It saddens me really because I crave salads the most the day before I run. I guess its the whole warning. So I try and arrange my salads on days I don't run the next day. That's what I did yesterday.
I was reminded last week that Bon Appetit had a napa cabbage salad I wanted to try. So I put it on my Menu and made it. Oh was it yummy! Napa cabbage, red cabbage, braeburn apples, spiced pecans, and a mustard vinigrette. Who could resist?
It was definately crunchy. I liked the spiced pecans. Sugar mixed with spice. Sounds like me?
The vinigerette wasn't impressive. For me it tasted too much like olive oil. I'll need to create my own.


2 teaspoons butter
1 cup pecan halves
2 tablespoons golden brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon (scant) cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar*
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil

2 medium unpeeled Braeburn or Fuji apples, quartered, cored, thinly sliced crosswise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
2 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage
3/4 cup dried tart cherries (about 5 ounces)

Melt butter in nonstick medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add pecans and stir 1 minute. Add brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and cayenne; stir until nuts are coated, about 1 minute. Transfer nuts to foil sheet and cool.

Whisk both vinegars and mustard in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Do ahead Spiced pecans and dressing can be made 1 day ahead. Store pecans airtight at room temperature. Cover and chill dressing; bring to room temperature and rewhisk before using.

Toss apples with lemon juice in large bowl. Add cabbages and dried cherries; mix. Add dressing and toss. Stir in pecans and season salad with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

All in the Dough

One thing you must not do is kill the yeast.
It is a very sad occurence, when you do. It falls to the bottom of the water and looks limp and lifeless. The water looks dirty with specks of bottom dwellers.
Sadly, this happened to me Saturday, when I was making pizza dough. I heated the water for 2:30 minutes. Major mistake. 60 seconds is problably enough. I didn't take the temperature, just add the packet of yeast. About five minutes later, I see that the yeast is at the bottom. Whom did I call? My father. He said that I need to make sure the temperature was less than 120 degrees. So I drove to the grocery store and bought another packet of yeast.
The next batch I tested the water with my candy thermometer. The yeast bloomed. It grew. It foamed.
The pizza came out crusty on the outside and soft on the inside. From now on I check the water before adding the yeast. I can't have too many deaths on my conscience.

Monday, February 26, 2007


The parking lot is always full. You bring your own alcohol. The line winds around the brick building. The wait is sweet and there is a reward at the end of the line.
It’s distinctively Texas.
Sure there’s Bar-B-Que in other states, mostly throughout the South. It’s what makes the South- the South.
But Texas has the best.
Now I’m not making the claim because I’ve lived here for 16 years. I’ve had the pleasure of traveling throughout the South. I’ve tried Bar-b-que in Georgia, South Carolina, and Arkansas. Ok, so it’s not many, but still I always go for Texas.
Close your eyes and imagine.
You smell the burning smokey smell miles away. The sweet smell of burning wood. It tickles the nose making you salivate, but you don’t know where it’s coming from.
As you draw closer, you smell a sweet smell mixed with a bit of paprika and pepper. Your stomach growls. You see the Bar-B-Que sign and pull in.
There you’re meet with a long list of choices. Sausage, Brisket, Ribs, Turkey, Chicken. And that’s just the meat.
I never go for the ribs. Ever. Gnawing on an animal’s bone, freaks me out! Sausage- occasionally, Turkey- sure near Thanksgiving, Chicken- I can cook at home. No for me. There’s only one main star on this menu- Brisket.
The sweet tender piece of meat. The velvetly look that meets the eye. The chewy bites your mouth enjoys. Yes, there’s no other cut.
No sauce. Nothing. Just a bite with pepper and salt with the spices it was smoked in. Dry rub all the way.
Where to go?
Salt Lick, Iron Works, Rudy’s, Buster’s Bar-B-Que. Sure they got good Bar-B-Que.
But for me, I go home.
There is nothing better that my Dad’s brisket.