<![CDATA[FORKS UP - Daily Blog]]>Wed, 27 Sep 2017 11:20:33 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Roasted Figs with Pomegranate Molasses and Orange Zest]]>Tue, 20 Jun 2017 05:00:00 GMThttp://forksupblog.com/daily-blog/roasted-figs-with-pomegranate-molasses-and-orange-zest
Our fig tree is finally producing fruit this year, but the 3-year old tree has only a few ripe figs at a time and they are rather small in size. Thankfully, our friends have a mature and prolifically producing fig tree and they were kind enough to surprise us with a big bag of 40 figs this past weekend from their bumper crop (here is another favorite recipe we made from a few years back). Ripe figs have a short shelf life, so I broke out the cookbooks to find a way to utilize the most fruit in one dish as possible. I found this wonderful recipe in Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi.

Allot 30 minutes to marinate the figs, but once that is done, the figs cook quickly in the broiler. The flavor of the fruit is heightened by the pomegranate molasses marinade, orange zest and thyme. The yogurt and mascarpone cream combination is a luscious addition, but substituting vanilla bean ice cream wouldn't be out of place. Double the recipe if you have an abundance of fruit. Enjoy fig season!

Roasted Figs with Pomegranate Molasses and Orange Zest

  3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  1 tablespoon lemon juice
  3 tablespoons dark muscovado sugar
  4 thyme sprigs, 2 whole and the rest picked leaves
  1 orange, rind shaved from 1 long strip from half and the rest grated
  8 fresh ripe figs, cut in half lengthwise
  1/2 cup mascarpone
  1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar

In a large mixing bowl add pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of muscavado sugar, 2 thyme sprigs, 1 tablespoon of water, orange strip and a pinch of salt. Whisk well to dissolve the sugar and then stir in the figs. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes. In a small bowl whisk together the mascarpone, yogurt and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Keep refrigerated until serving. Preheat the broiler of the oven. Reserving the marinade, place the figs close together in a small baking dish, about 8" x 8", cut side facing up. Sprinkle the figs with the remaining 2 tablespoons of muscavado sugar and put under the hot broiler, keeping the dish at least 6" from the heat source to avoid burning. Broil for 10 minutes, or until the sugar has caramelized and the figs soften. Meanwhile, pour the marinade liquids into a small saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for 3 minutes or until the sauce is reduced by half and has a consistency of thin honey. Divide the yogurt cream evenly between 4 dishes for serving and transfer the hot figs to the plates spooning over any leftover syrup from the baking tray. Drizzle the sauce reduction over the figs and sprinkle with picked thyme leaves. Sprinkle with the remaining orange zest, serve immediately. (Serves 4)

<![CDATA[Capital City Collins (It's 5:00 Somewhere)]]>Fri, 26 May 2017 05:00:00 GMThttp://forksupblog.com/daily-blog/capital-city-collins-its-500-somewhere
photo by Gillian Shewaga
Austin Food and Wine Alliance sponsored the 2017 Official Drink of Austin competition earlier this month at Fair Market to help raise money for culinary grants. Alexis Mijares and her team from Frank came up with this year's winning cocktail, Capital City Collins. Just right for a warm summer in Austin. Try making it at home with the recipe below, or drop by Frank and they'll mix one up for you. Enjoy the Memorial Day Weekend!

Capital City Collins

  1 1/2 ounces Old Highborn gin
  3/4 ounce lemon juice
  3/4 ounce strawberry-tarragon syrup
  1 ounce unsweetened coconut water
  Salt tincture
  Topo Chico
  A dash of Peychaud's Bitters
  Strawberry and lemon slices for garnish

Add gin, lemon juice, syrup, coconut water and salt tincture in a double old-fashioned glass filled 2/3 with ice. Top with Topo Chico and a dash of Peychaud's Bitters, stir. Garnish with a slice of strawberry and a slice of lemon. (Serves 1)

<![CDATA[A Drink with a View (It's 5:00 Somewhere)]]>Fri, 12 May 2017 16:02:03 GMThttp://forksupblog.com/daily-blog/a-drink-with-a-view-its-500-somewhere
Here's one for all the mothers: Isabella, a cocktail on the Boiler Nine drink menu, is a mixture of Lillet Rosé, Morrison Raspberry, B9 Herbed Gin, Lime and Minerals. Smooth, well-balanced, very drinkable with a celebratory feel; just right for a Mother's Day gathering.

There are three bar options when visiting Boiler Nine in the Seaholm Development. On the ground level, Boiler Nine has a full bar inside and a lovely patio with pretty landscape views (their food menu is impressive, too). Or climb the stairs to Deck Nine Observatory Bar for a view of the cityscape with a separate drink and food menu (if you are planning to go this weekend, pop in on Friday or Saturday as the Deck is closed on Sunday and Monday). Feeling like a subterranean adventure? Then go underground to the Boiler Room for their take on drinks and snacks (closed Sunday-Wednesday). All the fun stuff happens in the basement.

<![CDATA[Arugula-Quinoa Salad with Roasted Broccoli and Sweet Potato]]>Sun, 30 Apr 2017 19:11:31 GMThttp://forksupblog.com/daily-blog/arugula-quinoa-salad-with-roasted-broccoli-and-sweet-potato
It's been a while since I posted here on the blog. Not because I stopped eating or cooking, but mainly because I find myself eating on my own more these days since my husband has had a month of insane travel. When that happens, I tend to eat with less purpose and less forethought, e.g. take-away or simple meals like omelets. Recently I did manage to come up with a recipe based on a few leftovers, plus odds and ends in the refrigerator (a favorite thing to do when eating solo). Taking inspiration from a salad I recently made, this bowl came together quickly and was filling, nutritious and satisfying. I added dukkah for extra seasoning, but simply sprinkling some toasted sesame seeds and red pepper flakes on top can punch up the flavor. Including sliced avocado, feta cheese or grilled artichoke hearts wouldn't be out of place. For extra protein add chickpeas, grilled chicken or shrimp. Experiment and make it your own.

Arugula-Quinoa Salad with Roasted Broccoli and Sweet Potato

  1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  1 cup arugula
  1/4 cup roasted broccoli florets, cooled or at room temperature
  1/4 cup cubed roasted sweet potato, cooled or at room temperature
  Season with your choice of a simple vinaigrette, dukkah, and/or salt and pepper

Place all ingredients together in a large bowl, season, toss and enjoy. (Serves 1)

<![CDATA[Herbed Rice with Scallions, Saffron and Crispy Shallots]]>Wed, 12 Apr 2017 05:00:00 GMThttp://forksupblog.com/daily-blog/herbed-rice-with-scallions-saffron-and-crispy-shallots
This rice recipe from the March issue of Bon Appétit is a bit laborious, but it is well worth it. The rice is fluffy and wonderfully flavored with a mixture of herbs, scallions and crispy shallots. I see it pairing well with an Easter lamb dinner along with carrots, a side salad and a make-ahead dessert. Breaking the recipe up into a two day process made it less overwhelming for me. I cut the recipe in half since it easily serves 8 or more (the rice expands when you soak it). There are a few other steps I adjusted to make the recipe more streamline. The first time I made this recipe, I used layers of romaine lettuce between the rice instead of lavash, but I think this is an unnecessary step that can be omitted altogether. I made another version of the recipe omitting the layering of lavash or lettuce and as a result, was able to produce a better crispy layer of rice at the bottom known as tadik, a prized aspect of Persian rice dishes. I skipped the step of mixing 1 teaspoon of the saffron water with 1 1/2 cups of cooked rice; instead I added the teaspoon of saffron water to the bottom the pot with the oil during the final phase of cooking the rice. I also skipped the dried rose petals to avoid gilding the lily. One final note, adding some roughly chopped pistachios for serving would not be out of place.

Herbed Rice with Scallions, Saffron and Crispy Shallots

  3 cups basmati rice

  Kosher salt
  Vegetable oil (for frying; about 3 cups)
  4 large shallots, thinly sliced into rings
  3/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  3/4 cup finely chopped dill
  3/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  1/2 cup finely chopped mint
 cup finely chopped tarragon
  1 teaspoon finely ground saffron threads
  4 4-inch squares lavash or 7 romaine lettuce leaves, dark green parts only
  4 green garlic or 4 scallions, white and pale-green parts only, finely chopped
  6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  1 tablespoon finely ground dried rose petals (optional)

Place rice in a large bowl and cover with lukewarm water. Agitate rice with your hands until water becomes cloudy; drain. Repeat process until water stays clear (about 4–5 times). Cover rice with 6 cups cold water and add a generous handful of salt. Soak uncovered at room temperature at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours. Toss cilantro, dill, parsley, mint, and tarragon in a medium bowl; set aside 1 cup for serving. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (using a nonstick pot will help the rice release at the end). Drain rice and add to pot, stirring gently to prevent any grains from sticking to the bottom. Bring to a boil and cook until grains begin to float on the surface and "dance" (rice should be almost tender but with a firm, opaque center), about 4 minutes. Drain rice and rinse well under cold water. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet. Wash out pot (at this point I covered the rice and left it out overnight and continued the process the next morning).

Dissolve saffron in 2 tablespoons hot water in a small bowl, set aside. Pour oil into a medium saucepan to come up the sides about 2", place over medium heat. When oil is hot, add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp, 10–12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shallots to paper towels and season with salt. Strain oil into a small bowl; let cool. Pour 3 tablespoons shallot oil into clean pot. Swirl in 2 teaspoons saffron water; reserve remaining saffron water for serving. Oil mixture should barely coat bottom of pot; add more oil if needed. Season lightly with salt. Lay lavash across pot (don’t overlap). Spoon a third of rice over lavash; top with a third of herbs and a third of green garlic. Repeat, alternating layers of rice, herbs, and green garlic. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke several holes in rice (without hitting bottom of pot) to let steam escape. Wrap lid with a kitchen towel and cover pot. Cook over medium heat until herbs are slightly darkened, 10–15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, uncover and pour melted butter evenly over rice. Cover and cook until rice is fragrant and fluffy, 25 minutes. Remove from heat; let sit 10 minutes. Taste rice and season with more salt if needed. Scoop 1 1/2 cups rice into reserved saffron water and toss to color rice. Layer saffron rice with rice in pot, reserved herbs, and crispy shallots. Top with rose petals if using. Break up lavash crust into pieces and serve alongside rice. (Serves 8)
<![CDATA[Arugula Salad with Sweet Potato, Apple and Walnuts]]>Thu, 30 Mar 2017 13:16:30 GMThttp://forksupblog.com/daily-blog/arugula-salad-with-sweet-potato-apple-and-walnuts
I am always willing to experiment with new salad combinations and this recipe from The Wooden Palate contains one I have never tried. Apples and sweet potatoes together in one bowl is not something I would have considered, but I am now a convert. I made the salad twice and both times I used a Pink Lady apple as suggested. For the sweet potato I used a traditional orange flesh potato the first time, and a Japanese sweet potato (found at Whole Foods) the second time. Both were good, but the traditional sweet potato was sweeter than the Japanese; the latter was more refined and subtle. Since pomegranate is out of season, I skipped this ingredient, but will add it in the winter. I used feta and goat cheese separately in both versions of the salad, and frankly, they both work well. I was having difficulty finding arugula due to the shortage (recent flooding in California damaged crops), so the first time I made it, I served a mixture of spinach and arugula (which was available). The second time I made it this week, I found arugula at Whole Foods. Serve as an entrée for lunch, or as a side for dinner.

In case you were wondering, The Wooden Palate is primarily a shop that sells wooden products (the recipe was on their blog). If resources were unlimited, I would serve this salad in their Mod Bowl.

Arugula Salad with Sweet Potato, Apple, and Walnuts

For the Salad:

  1 large sweet potato (Korean or Japanese if available)
  Drizzle of olive oil (about 1/2 tablespoon)
  Salt and pepper to taste
  4 1/2 cups arugula
  6-8 leaves basil, cut into ribbons
  1/2 of an apple cut into bite-size pieces (Envy or Pink Lady)
  Handful of pomegranate seeds, optional (about 1/4 cup)
  Handful of walnuts, roughly chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  Sprinkle of feta or goat cheese

For the Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette:
  1 small shallot, chopped
  3/4 cup olive oil
  1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  1 teaspoon honey
  Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the dressing: In a blender or food processor, purée shallot, oil, lemon juice, mustard, and honey until smooth; season with salt and pepper. For the salad: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and cut sweet potato into 1/2" pieces. On a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil, toss sweet potato pieces with drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast until soft, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool while you prepare the rest of the salad (sweet potato can be made one day in advance). In a large serving bowl, add arugula, basil, apple, pomegranate seeds and sweet potato. Toss with lemon mustard vinaigrette and salt and pepper to taste. Top with walnuts and cheese. (Serves 4 as a side)
<![CDATA[The Verdant Garden (It's 5:00 Somewhere)]]>Fri, 17 Mar 2017 13:34:40 GMThttp://forksupblog.com/daily-blog/the-verdant-garden-its-500-somewhere
Skip the green beer this St. Patty's Day and treat yourself to a fresh cocktail using green herbs and cucumber. I streamlined this recipe from Feasting at Home following the suggestion to make a fennel-infused simple syrup in lieu of Pernod. I loved the herbaceous quality, the acid from the fresh lemon, and the balance that was struck by the fennel-infused simple syrup in this drink. It's like a bright spring day in a glass. Enjoy the last days of SXSW,  the beginning of spring and all of the luck of the Irish to you.

The Verdant Garden

  1/2 small Turkish cucumber, sliced into 1/4 inch slices, about 1/4 cup (I used a regular seedless cucumber)
  Handful tender herbs, torn (basil, Italian parsley, celery leaves, or mint or a mix)
  1/2 ounce fennel-infused simple syrup (see note)
  2 ounces of vodka
  3/4 ounce fresh lemon or lime juice
  Splash celery bitters (optional)
  1 thin slice Turkish cucumber (use a veggie peeler) and violet, for garnish

In a shaker, add the cucumber and herbs and muddle with the simple syrup. Add vodka, fresh lemon juice and the celery bitters. Fill shaker with ice and shake well. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with cucumber slice and flower. (Serves 1)

Note: Make a fennel bulb-infused fennel seed-infused simple syrup, using one part water to one part sugar or honey. Heat water and sugar or honey in a small saucepan, add fennel bulb or fennel seed (I used 1/2 tablespoon of fennel seeds with 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup sugar). Bring to a simmer and stir until sugar dissolves, allow to cool. Remove seeds or fennel bulb by straining syrup into a glass jar. This keeps in the refrigerator for two weeks. 

<![CDATA[Dukkah]]>Thu, 02 Mar 2017 06:00:00 GMThttp://forksupblog.com/daily-blog/dukkah
I ran across the recipe for this Egyptian condiment in Nopi by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully and now feel I should have it on hand at all times. It is essentially a mixture of roasted nuts, seeds and spices. It has a very distinctive flavor and tastes great on salads, roasted vegetables, mixed into hummus, and works as a seasoning to  finish meat or poultry--basically anything savory. Best advice is not to overprocess the nuts in the mortar and pestle. It keeps well in an airtight container for one month.


  2 1/2 ounces hazelnuts, with their skins
  2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  1 tablespoon dry green peppercorns (or white, as an alternative)
  3 tablespoons coriander seeds
  1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds
  1/2  teaspoon Maldon sea salt
  1 teaspoon paprika

Preheat the oven to 320 degrees. On a parchment lined baking sheet, place the hazelnuts in a single layer and cook for 20 minutes. After 10 minutes, add the sunflower seeds, separating them from the hazelnuts.  Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool. Place a heavy skillet on medium heat for 5 minutes to warm up the pan. Place the the fennel seeds in the pan in a single layer and roast for 30 seconds (set the timer; you do not want any of the seeds to burn). Add the cumin seeds to the pan and cook for another 30 seconds or until they start to pop. Transfer the seeds to a small bowl to cool. Place the pan back on medium heat, add the peppercorns and cook until they start to pop, about 30 seconds. Place these in a separate bowl from the other seeds and allow to cool. Roast the coriander seeds for up to a minute, or until they start to pop. Place these in a separate bowl. Reduce the heat to low and add the sesame and nigella seeds to the pan, toasting them until the sesame seeds turn light brown; stirring occasionally then remove from heat. Once the hazelnuts have cooled, rub them between the palms of your hands (or in between a folded tea towel) to discard some of the skins. Using a mortar and pestle, chop the hazelnuts coarsely; transfer to a medium bowl. Lightly crush the cumin and fennel seeds with the mortar and pestle; add to the hazelnuts. Repeat process with the coriander seeds, then the peppercorns and then the sunflower seeds. Add these to the nut bowl, along with the sesame and nigella seeds. Add salt and paprika; mix well.
<![CDATA[Vinny Margarita (It's 5:00 Somewhere)]]>Wed, 22 Feb 2017 06:00:00 GMThttp://forksupblog.com/daily-blog/vinny-margarita-its-500-somewhere
photo courtesy of Vinaigrette
Since today is National Margarita Day it was decided the usual Friday cocktail post needed to be pushed up a few days. This drink from Vinaigrette leans more toward a Paloma rather than a traditional margarita, but I couldn't resist the use of fresh grapefruit juice since citrus season is at its peak. The elderflower liqueur is a nice floral addition, while the grapefruit bitters keeps things from getting too sweet. The incredible spring weather we have been experiencing lately paired with the enormous live oak tree that shades Vinaigrette's lovely patio, makes for one of the most relaxing places in town to sip a cocktail.

Vinny Margarita

  1 ounce Herradura Silver Tequila
  1 ounce St. Germain
  2 ounces fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, plus a grapefruit segment for garnish
  Drop of grapefruit bitters
  Crushed Himalayan pink salt

Add tequila, St. Germain, grapefruit juice and grapefruit bitters into cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously. Salt the rim of a 12 ounce glass with crushed Himalayan pink salt. Fill glass with ice. Pour cocktail into glass and garnish with a grapefruit segment. (Serves 1)

<![CDATA[Shrimp Poke with Pickled Radishes]]>Thu, 16 Feb 2017 06:00:00 GMThttp://forksupblog.com/daily-blog/shrimp-poke-with-pickled-radishes
This recipe from the February issue of Bon Appétit was tagged as "healthyish", part of their new online launch. I was intrigued by this dish since I have wanted to make poke at home for some time, but wasn't quite sure about serving raw fish as an entrée. You can get around the raw fish issue with this version since the shrimp is lightly poached. I substituted the soy sauce for tamari (to keep it gluten-free) and used nori instead of the hijiki since the latter was a little too steep in price for the amount required. There are several other poke recipes in BA's February issue to try if you have no reservations about serving raw fish, or you can leave it to the professionals and drop by Poke-Poke, the local go-to for bowls that recently opened a second location on Hancock Road.

Shrimp Poke with Pickled Radish

  6 red radishes, trimmed, thinly sliced
  3/4 cup white wine vinegar
  3 tablespoons sugar
  1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more
  1 1/2 cups short-grain sushi rice
  1 tablespoon dried hijiki (seaweed)
  1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled, deveined
  1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  1/4 cup soy sauce (I used tamari to keep the dish gluten-free)
  1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
  4 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  1 tablespoon fish sauce
  2 teaspoons honey
  1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  2 cups baby mizuna or arugula (I used arugula)
  2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds (toast in a small pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes)

Place radishes in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, add  white wine vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 cup water and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Pour brine over radishes and allow to cool. Cover and chill at least 2 hours (radishes can be pickled 5 days ahead; keep chilled). Rinse rice until water runs clear (this removes surface starch and prevents a gummy texture). In a medium saucepan, add rice and 1 1/2 teaspoon salt to 1 1/2 cups water and let sit 30 minutes. Bring rice to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork; keep covered to stay warm. Soak seaweed in 1/2 cup cold water in a small bowl until softened, about 11 minutes. Drain water; set aside. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil then season generously with salt. Add shrimp, cover pot, and remove from heat. Let sit until shrimp are cooked through, about 3 minutes. Drain and place shrimp to a bowl of ice water; allow to cool. Drain and pat dry, then cut shrimp into 1/2" pieces. Set aside (shrimp can be cooked 8 hours ahead; cover and chill). In a large bowl, whisk shallot, soy sauce, gochujang, rice vinegar, fish sauce, honey, and oil. Add reserved seaweed and shrimp to honey-gochujang dressing; mix well to coat. Cover and chill for 1 hour. Taste and season with more salt if necessary. Dividing rice among four bowls, top with shrimp mixture, drained pickled radishes, and mizuna or arugula. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. (Serves 4)