Fundraiser Event & Tortilla Soup

Family, Friends, and Fans of Dutch Lovin’,

I’ve been given the opportunity to lend my culinary skills to Austin Achieve Public Schools, a tuition-free, open enrollment public charter school preparing East Austin youth to attend and excel at top universities. In early November, they are hosting a fundraiser called “Maze”, an interactive event presenting culinary artists and mixologists from Austin. The event will include a maze, where visitors will navigate a series of rooms featuring a seven-course, bite-sized tasting. To learn more about tickets and sponsorships, please click here.

Maze

As a featured chef, I will be sharing my popular Tortilla Soup. This is an event you do not want to miss. Not only will your purchase of a ticket go to a great cause, but you will get to eat my Tortilla Soup, too. People have begged for this recipe and/or faked being sick just so I would make it for them. If you are one of the lucky ones, you have tried this hearty soup before. I am so excited to have the opportunity to give back to the Austin community and I hope to see your face there!

DL's Tortilla Soup

Photo Credit: Jerrid Williams

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Shrimp Scampi with Zoodles

It’s my birthday month, I will be 30 on the 30th! Neat, right? Which brings me to this, my brother, Lawrence, was in town a few weeks ago and bought me a spiralizer as a very early birthday gift. I couldn’t be more thankful, because now I can make “zoodles” (zucchini noodles).

In an effort to become healthier, I have changed my entire diet. So, the blog will reflect some interesting recipes. For the most part, eating now is so boring. I can’t eat beans, bread, pasta, sugar, and most fruits — it’s insane, especially for me. However, because of the changes in my diet, it has required me to get a little more creative, in different ways — so, challenge accepted.

Since I am on a high-fat/high-protein diet, I added some heavy cream to this recipe, which is not something you typically find in most scampi recipes.

Zoodle Scampi

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 5 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and cleaned
  • 2 zucchinis, made into zoodles
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • juice from half a lemon
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. roasted garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning (optional, for some spice)

Directions:

  • In a 5 1/2-quart Dutch oven over medium heat, heat the oil.
  • Add shallots, mushrooms, and bell peppers. Stir occasionally until shallots become translucent.
  • Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes, or until all of the shrimp are red.
  • Add the zoodles and mix everything together.
  • Add the chicken broth, heavy cream, lemon juice, cheese, and spices. Stir to incorporate, turn the heat up to high, and bring to a boil.
  • Once it comes to a boil, drop the heat to medium-low, and cover with the lid for 5-10 minutes.
  • When it’s done, transfer to a bowl or a deep plate and garnish with more parmesan cheese (something I forgot to do).

Europe, French Fries, and Mussels – Oh My!

Back in September, my mom and I went to Europe to visit with some family friends. My parents were newlyweds when they met Tammo in Houston, Texas (circa 1981), and they all worked together. Tammo was homeless, because of some unfortunate circumstances upon his arrival in Houston from The Netherlands. My mother asked Tammo to come stay with them in their one-bedroom house.

Long story short, they helped Tammo get back on his feet and he eventually went back to The Netherlands. When he returned, he got married and had two boys. The boys are four years apart and the oldest is just a year and some change younger than me. At a very young age, I remember when Odji and Gitchy would send us drawings and Tammo always wrote letters and sent photos.

During the summer of 2006, I had the privilege of meeting our life-long pen pals when I was in Europe for my study abroad in Spain. After the 5-week long study abroad, I took my friend Michelle with me to The Netherlands to meet them. The visit was short, we spent one night and day in Amsterdam and stayed with Tammo and his family in Warffum for four more days.

1927719_512536865147_4123_n[Left to Right: Gitchy, Tammo, Me, Michelle, and Odji – Amsterdam, June 2006]

I often laugh that my website is called “Dutch Lovin’,” because it works for many reasons. I definitely love my Dutch friends, but I also love Dutch ovens, as in the cooking utensil. Clarification is nice sometimes. 😉

IMG_0477[This is Tammo preparing breakfast in Wimereux, France. That’s fresh-squeezed orange juice he made for us. Thanks for spoiling us, Tammo. September 2014]

Making the trip to Europe with Mom this past September was long overdue. It was 33 years since Mom and Tammo had even seen each other. Obviously, they had a lot of catching up to do.

The trip was a culinary experience for me, because FRANCE!!! Ready to indulge in the culinary treasures of France, we spent about a week in The Netherlands and a week in North France. Having Tammo there was the best! One day, in Wimereux, he made “Suquet” and called me a pussy (I laughed my ass off), because I couldn’t help him finish off the rest of the soup. Sorry, Tammo, I was too busy filling myself up on French fries beforehand, or as they call them in France, “frites”.

IMG_9924[Second day in France, we were about to check-in to our apartment in Wimereux. First time I ever ate French fries in France. September 2014]

Tammo always told my mom that he wanted to take her to France. Not only did she love it, but she also made me so proud. Mom ate so many things that she had never tried before, including duck, veal, mussels, African food, and the list goes on. There were a few times where I had to tell her, “Don’t be a wimp, Mom.” This is also why Tammo called me a pussy, because I kept calling Mom a wimp.

Now, let’s talk about mussels and French fries, better known as “la moule-frite” in France. Before we got there, Tammo told me that in Lille, France they love their moule-frite. Already a fan of mussels, trying la moule-frite was one of the things I anticipated the most.

IMG_0568[September 2014]

First of all, let me admit to how much I just love mayonnaise. Tosh.O has a joke where he makes fun of people that dip their fries in ranch dressing. He says that it’s disgusting, because it’s one step away from dipping with just straight mayonnaise. I am guilty of this, I love dipping fries in ranch dressing and if it were socially acceptable in the U.S., I would dip my fries in mayo all the time. No shame here!

Needless to say, I was hungry and seated at an Italian restaurant in Lille on my third day in France when they placed my moule-frite in front of me with a side of mayo for dipping my fries. I was in heaven! Seriously, look at that face and the sun was shining through like I was Jesus.

foto (27)[Me with my first moule-frite. September 2014]

IMG_0040[Here is my view of the feast! September 2014]

I am positive that this was Mom’s first time trying mussels. I need to get her out more, because it was tasty and she didn’t seem to object.

IMG_0624[Here is another moule-frite I had on my last night in Wimereux, France. September 2014]

IMG_0248[Finally, here is a photo of a salad that came with fries at Restaurant de la Haute Ville in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France. September 2014]

It’s no wonder that as Americans we call them “French fries.” The French really do love them and will serve them with just about anything. It’s funny, because Bob (my boss) told me that he was at a U.S. airport restaurant and the salad he ordered came with fries in the salad. He and I both talked about how that was a strange concept. It wasn’t until I got this salad in France that I realized it’s just a normal French thing to do and not a bad idea at all. This was a decadent salad, it had herring and a citrus dressing that just worked so well with the fries.

I have a lot more food photos to share from my trip to Europe. We ate out a lot, but I feel like we definitely did our fair share of cooking as well. I enjoyed cooking with Tammo, because I learned a few things from him and everything was so delicious. One thing is certain though, you can take the girl out of Texas, but you can’t take Texas out of the girl. After being there for two weeks, the only thing I really missed was breakfast tacos.

Beef Stew

This is a very hearty stew. It’s hearty in the sense that I like to use more vegetables than meat, it’s better for you and I am a sucker for cooked carrots. Feel free to add more meat to this recipe and cut back on veggies, if that is what you fancy.

There are a lot of ingredients here, but trust that this recipe is worth it.

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Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 3 hours

Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1.5 lbs. beef stew meat
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. ground pepper
  • ¼ tsp. sweet smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp. onion powder
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. roasted garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp. dried basil
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 2 porcini mushroom bouillon cubes
  • 1-6 oz. can tomato paste
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2-32 oz. beef broth
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 lbs. golden baby potatoes, rinsed and cut in half
  • 2 lbs. carrots, peeled and cut into thick slices
  • 2-14 oz. bags frozen pearl onions

Directions:

  • In a 10-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat the oil.
  • After the oil heats up a little, add the meat, spices (salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, and garlic powder), and herbs (oregano, thyme, and basil). Stir occasionally until meat is browned.
  • Once the meat is browned, add the butter and porcini mushroom cubes. Stir to combine.
  • Add the tomato paste and incorporate.
  • Drop to a medium heat and add the flour a little a time, incorporating after each addition. The flour will soak up all the fat.
  • Turn up to a high heat, add beef broth, and stir to incorporate the flour with the liquid.
  • Let the stew come up to a simmer and stir constantly.
  • Drop to a lower heat; add the 4 bay leaves, potatoes, and carrots.
  • Cover and let it cook for two hours on low heat, stirring occasionally.
  • After two hours, add the frozen pearl onions, cover and let it cook for one more hour.
  • When it’s done, let it cool for a few minutes before serving.

I like to make the blue cornbread to accompany this dish. It’s deLIZcious every time.

As you can see, I used porcini mushroom bouillon cubes, a product I brought back from Europe when I went in September. I haven’t tried looking for them here yet, but I am sure Whole Foods or Central Market carry something similar.

I got the olive oil (amazing) and porcini mushrooms cubes from an Italian market in Groningen, Netherlands. My friend Tammo took me there, since his friend owns it. I also got away with some of the best garlic I have ever had and some vinaigrette. It was a wonderful little market.

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Also, pictured here are the pink peppercorns I got from a market in France. The bottle says, “baies roses”. I use these peppercorns in my pepper grinder with some black peppercorns. It’s a nice little medley.

Happy eating!

Shrimp Bisque

Hello, Blogosphere. Oh, how I have missed thee. Sometimes life just happens and certain things have to go on the back burner. Among many big/recent changes in my life, I have recently taken on a new job/project that I am excited to be a part of. However, carrying a full-time and part-time job is very time consuming.

Regardless, I am excited to be blogging today. Today is a special day, because I am blogging. Now that I have adjusted to my new/crazy schedule, I think I can blog a little more often than every 3 1/2 months.

Also, I have an exciting food project coming up in about 2 weeks at a new art gallery opening up here in Austin. I don’t want to give too much away and I don’t have all the details yet, but more to come on that later.

With the crazy weather that we have been having in Austin, I figured it’s still not too late to post a “soup”. This shrimp bisque has helped me win friendships (Kevin, that’s you). Serve this up with toast points, because the broth is so good that you will need something to soak it up. Happy cooking, friends!

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Picture 1

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Pumpkin & Rum Raisin Bread Pudding

Pumpkin season is in full swing and I couldn’t be more excited. This season, I promised a few recipes, including pumpkin whipped cream, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin cheesecake. I plan on getting to all of them, but when I had the idea to do this pumpkin & rum raisin bread pudding it was at the top of my list. I just knew it would be amazing and had to try it.

This recipe calls for 1 cup of cooked pumpkin. Take a look at my Pumpkin Basics blog post for instructions on cooking your own pumpkin. Also, I am biased to the fairytale pumpkin. Try it if you haven’t yet, it’s definitely a tasty pumpkin.

Since I knew the pumpkin would make for extra moisture, I used a little more bread than usual. It helped the bread pudding set beautifully. I am afraid that if I would have used less bread, I would have had a really mushy bread pudding. This recipe worked well for me and I hope it works for you too! In the words of Alton Brown, “I bid you good eating!”

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Bread Pudding [Click on the recipe to enlarge it.]

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Baked Macaroni & Cheese

This is a recipe that will definitely aim to please. I typically only do this baked macaroni and cheese for special occasions. There is a lot of work involved in creating this decadent dish, but well worth all of the love and effort. This recipe requires some Dutch Oven Lovin’. If you don’t have a Dutch oven, this can be done in a 13 x 9 inch glass baking pan and it can be covered with foil while it bakes.

1 Mac

Mac & Cheese Recipe

2-Mac

This is what the pasta should look like after it has been tossed in butter.

3-Mac

This is what it should look like after you have incorporated the creamy cheese sauce,  pre-garnish. 

4-Mac

This is another completed version without the parsley. Note: The lack of color doesn’t make it pop as much, though it was still very tasty!

Other ideas for this recipe:

1. I have added sliced/cooked venison sausage to this before and served it as a full meal.

2. To make it vegetarian, take out the bacon and use just a little more butter.

3. Play with the cheese, you don’t have to use the ones listed. Just make sure to utilize cheeses that melt well. Mozzarella, cheddar and gruyere are nice alternatives.

Enjoy!

Turkey Egg Rolls

These are the lightest version of egg rolls that I have come up with.

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Turkey Egg Rolls RecipeClick on the photo to enlarge the recipe. 

Liz’s Righteous Cabbage

Liz’s Righteous Cabbage: The Mind Changer

Years ago (when I was a teen) my mother did some part-time work at a convent. She helped all of the nuns with cleaning, organizing and cooking. One day, Mom came home with a head of cabbage and told me that we were going to do it the way the nuns did it. She was so excited to show me how to do it and claimed that it was just so delicious. She gave me the directions and we served it as a side for dinner. It was a huge hit among all of the family members and became something that we did more often.

To this day, I have changed many minds about their feelings toward cabbage with this simple recipe. I get it; cabbage is just one of those things. Up until we discovered this recipe, cabbage was just another ingredient in caldo  and was definitely underutilized in our household.

As most of you know, I am not one to give out really top secret family recipes (i.e. tamales – Grandma would kill me), but I figured – this is a recipe that came from nuns and nuns are very sharing (or should be). I can’t argue that it is actually something that my family came up with; therefore, it is fair game.

Without a doubt in my mind, this is one of my easiest, healthiest, and tastiest recipes; just ask my friends. Other than all of the chopping involved, it requires very little effort. The original recipe (from the nuns) called for butter, but once I discovered that this recipe is just as tasty with olive oil, it became protocol to save the butter for other decadent little things.

I have finally decided to put this recipe up on its own, because so many of my friends continue to ask for it. Now I can refer them to the site. This recipe calls for some Dutch Oven Lovin’. If you don’t have a Dutch oven, just use a pot with a secure lid.

Cabbage Post-Its Recipe
IMG_0720This is what it looks like before it cooks down all the way.

cabbage

This is how it should look when it’s done. I don’t think I added tomatoes to this batch.

Sometimes, I like to do this cabbage with bell peppers, jalapenos, hatch chiles or poblanos; if you would like to do this too, just add the peppers in when you start the onions.

No Starter Sourdough Bread

This is the Sourdough bread that we made for my birthday party about a month ago. It’s simple to make, but requires a lot of inactive prep time. This dough will sit at room temperature for 19 hours, this is how it becomes a “sourdough”. I would like to eventually have a sourdough starter that I keep up with, but until that happens, this recipes works just fine.

Please click on the image to enlarge the recipe.

Happy baking!

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