Tag Archives: Martha Pincoffs

Kale Risotto with Blue Cheese and Raised Beds!

9 Mar

Hi Everyone!

Now that I am a homeowner I am discovering that I have a whole new relationship with Spring. Every morning Jo and I tour our yard and celebrate the little buds that indicate another favorite plant survived the cold winter. I find myself more in tune with the needs of the plants too. What first seemed like a completely foreign and overwhelming garden that came with the house is starting to make sense to me. I see where the plants need cutting back, with guidance from Jo and my mom! I can tell which plants are weeds and have cuts all over hands and Home Depot refuse bags lined up to prove it. As a renter, I always thought spring was nice enough, but the yard was someone else’s problem. It was flip-flop weather that excited me. This gardening thing is a whole new bug!

To top if off, we have just built 100 square feet of raised beds that are just waiting for tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and a whole lot of herbs that we got this weekend at the Sunshine Community Garden plant sale. Furthermore, raised beds are springing up all over our sweet little corner of the world and we are conspiring with our neighbors what to plant when and leaning heavy on Jalene and Aaron down the street for guidance. They have done this before and they are good!  I woke up this morning and grabbed the seed catalogue to learn more about what these plants need and have played with the layout a million times on our kitchen table, where our starts sit, while we wait for the nights to get warm enough to plant them. I can hardly wait to eat the first tomato grown in our very own garden and I am sure I will tell you and anyone who will listen about it!

Now, for the food… I have chicken stock on right now and anytime I make stock, I make risotto. There is something very satisfying about putting some of that good stock to immediate use! So, in celebration of the last of the winter greens, I am adding kale to the dish today. There are few foods that I love more than a well made risotto. It can be an intimidating dish, but all it takes is time and a little patience, and it its well worth it. It is important to use the arborio rice. It is a short grain from Italy and the key to making creamy risotto. Enjoy!

Kale Risotto

1 T butter

onion, chopped fine

arborio rice

wine (white is typically used, but we had red on hand, so that is what I went with and it was a good move!)

chicken stock, warm

salt

pepper

kale, chopped fine

2 oz parmesan cheese, grated

thinly sliced Velhuizen Bosque Blue Cheese

Melt butter in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until they are translucent (about 3 minutes). Add the rice and stir constantly until the grains take on a pearly look (about 7 minutes). Add white wine and cook stirring constantly until it is mostly absorbed. I keep my chicken stock in a pot on warm and add to the rice with a ladle. Once the rice has absorbed the wine, start adding chicken stock a ladle full at a time. And stir, stir, stir. The stirring causes the rice to release some of its starch, which is what makes risotto so creamy and delicious. Keep adding the heated stock and stir every few minutes. Once the risotto has reached the desired doneness, add chopped kale and it will wilt right into the dish. Stir in parmesan cheese. Serve in bowls and garnish with shaved blue cheese.

Update on the Challenge

We are still truckin’ along 6 months into the challenge. One happy thing that we have noticed is that the jeans we have been wearing since the beginning of the the challenge, are now baggy on us and that is pretty fun. I can’t believe that it has been half of a year since we stepped foot into an Austin restaurant. I am starting to feel pretty out of it as far as the new restaurants go. I can’t wait to try Haddingtons, Barley Swine, Foreign and Domestic and a handful of others. Readers, tell me what I am missing and what needs to be added to my list! This next 6 months will fly by and we will be back on the scene in before we know it. Jo’s first stop will be Tamale House.

The last couple of weeks,  cooking wise, have been devoted to perfecting my pork recipe for The Pork Experiment, put on by The Food Experiments and Brooklyn Brewry. The cook-off is this Sunday, March 13 and starts at 12. The stakes are high as there are a whole boat load of prizes and a trip to Brooklyn on the line. I am in it to win it and would love to see you all out there. There will be 20+ participants and the cost is $20 to attend. If you think about it, that is just a dollar for every taste of porky goodness. Sounds like a deal to me!

The raised beds are a new dimension of sustainability for us. The beds were really simple to build. Just untreated lumber with braces screwed in on the corners. The Natural Gardner delivered the dirt and we got a ton of plants last weekend at the Sunshine Community Garden plant sale. I will keep you posted on the progress of growing our own food.

As always thanks for reading!

Not that Martha

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Hamburger Craving!

23 Feb

Hi Everyone,

I have been craving a good hamburger lately. Bad. It could be that I just got my hands on these pictures that Sarah Wilson took last spring and they are so good that I can’t resist or every time I turn on the TV there seems to be a show on burgers or my girl typically craves burgers at 10:30 each night or the weather is finally right for grilling. Let’s call it a combination of all of the above. A cheeseburger is the ultimate comfort food for me and we will be grilling these tonight. I can’t wait! The quality of beef is pivotal here, grass-fed and finished is the only way to go. You can go grab some this afternoon from Richardson Farms at the Triangle Farmers Market. I like a thin patty with cheese melted right up on it. I was able to get my hands on some arugula this morning at Boggy Creek. Tomatoes aren’t in season yet, but I am going to quick pickle some radishes to get that tartness. Veldhuizen, from Dublin, TX, has some of the best cheeses I have put in my mouth. I am partial to the Bosque Blue, but really you can’t go wrong with any of their products. If you are in Austin, you can pick them up at Antonelli’s Cheese Shop or Wheatsville.

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Grass-fed Burger Time

1 lb grass-fed beef

1 T Dai Due Fireman’s 4 mustard

1 T rock salt

1 t fresh black pepper

1 jalepeno

3 dashes Worshteshire

4 buns

cheese

lettuce or arugula

pickled radishes

Start your grill.

Make sure the meat is cold! Combine all ingredients and mix with your hands since they are the best tool for the job. Divide into 4 portions, roll into balls, place parchment or saran wrap around and squish the ball between two plates like you are stacking them. This makes for a uniform, thin patty.

Once the coals on your grill are nice and hot, place the patties on and cook for 5 or so minutes on each side. It will take longer the thicker your burger. I like to toast my buns on the grill, as well. That just takes a couple of minutes and picks up some really great flavor!

The Challenge

Last week we were in San Francisco which means EATING OUT, my friends!!! (And, yes. I was yelling.) My goodness, what a town to eat in. It really is heavenly there. I have a strong urge to write a love letter to places like Bi-Rite and the Ferry Building and then I would transport them here. I was astonished by how pervasive the farm to table movement is there. We would have had to try to find an establishment that doesn’t operate from that philosophy. Due to that, I can happily report that there was not a Tums consumed in San Francisco. I also couldn’t help but notice that the restaurants there are much smaller. They are geared to serve the neighborhood they are in and the service is familiar in that way. I loved it! It also occurs to me that the size of the restaurant has a corallary to the serving sizes. My take away from that is to seek the smaller restaurants, eat a little less of better food. Sounds like a good deal to me.

Thank you all for reading and have a great week!

Not That Martha

Bison and Grass-fed Beef Chili and “Frito” Pie!

9 Feb

Hi Everyone,

I am going to join the blog world chili bandwagon. I have seen many a blog post about chili in the past few days and since I can think about cooking nothing but chili in this weather, I am going to throw in my two cents. This recipe would work for just straight up ground beef too. Bison and grass-fed beef are both very lean red meats. Fun fact: grass-fed beef and bison are far higher in Omega 3s than their corn fed cousins. Omega 3 is the good kind of fat that makes your cholestoral go down and your heart beat strong. Yay grass-fed red meat!!!! The bison I am using came from Thunderheart and the beef is from a Boggy Creek supplier.

In this version of the pie,  I am using blue corn tortilla chips, but you better believe I am missing those Fritos. I know that they don’t make me feel so hot, so on the blue corn high road I go. The cheese I am using is not the typical frito pie cheese either, but so melty and delicious is the mozarella from Full Quiver, that I can’t resist giving it a try. All of their cheeses are delicious, but I really have a soft spot for their moz. I have noticed is that I like to cook with beer and chili is no exception. I put some Negra Modelo in my chili and it really helps the flavors come along to drink the rest of the frosty beer while the chili cooks. This is totally a scientific fact.

In other news, I have gotten my website up at long last. I would love for you to visit and let me know what you think. There is a place in there for cooking questions under the classes section, so submit away!

Bison and Grass-fed Beef Chili

1 lb. ground bison

1 lb. grass-fed (and finished) beef

1 big yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

3 jalepenos, sliced

1/4 c. chili powder

2 T cumin

2 T olive oil

2 T salt

1 t. black pepper

1 c. crushed or chopped tomatoes

1/3 c. dark beer

3 T fine corn meal, optional (if your chili is thinner than you like, add this at the end and it will thicken it right up)

Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onions and jalepenos and cook for 5 minutes. I like to get my onions just a little caramelized because I think it adds a great deep flavor. I leave the seeds in the jalepenos because I like my chili pretty spicy. If spicy is not your jam, remove the seeds. Once the onions take on a little brown color, add the garlic and let cook for a minute or so, then add the bison, beef, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper and let brown. Once the meat is brownish, add the tomatoes and stir, then the beer and stir. Cover and turn the heat down to low and let cook for 1.5 hours. Every once in a while take the the lid of and stir and smell it. It smells good!

for the pie

Corn chips, if you are going anti-Frito, the chips need to be pretty dang hardy to stand up to the moisture of the chili.

Grated cheese, Full-Quiver or other local cheese

More jalepeno, mine are fire roasted and pickled by Larry from Boggy

Green Onion

Sour Cream, if you like it

Get a bowl, put the chips in it, top with chili and whichever of the condiments that suit your fancy. Then, dig in!!!

Challenge Update

The universe or global warming or whatever caused that cold snap last week tested our mettle with the challenge, but we stayed true. Here is what happened: our water heater busted on Wednesday and due to a part being shipped in, it wasn’t back up and running until yesterday. For a pair of women that aren’t eating out for a year, that meant boiling water to wash our dishes Laura Ingles Wilder style and mooching showers off of our dear friend Mandy. When our hero plumber Michael Hickey showed up yesterday I actually did a dance of joy. I was seconds away from a trip to Taco-Mex to avoid boiling my 110th giant pot of water to do the dishes. We made it, though and I feel way grittier for it!

If you want to get involved in the fight to protect our small farmers and artisan food makers, I encourage you to meet at the Capitol at 10 AM on February 21st for a lobbying day. It is put on by the fine folks at FARFA and a great way to show support and speak up! For information, click here.

I hope that you all keep warm and eat some chili or something really good!

Thank you for reading,

Not That Martha

Its Cold Out and I Want Pork Butt!

3 Feb

Hi Everyone,

You heard me, I want butt today-all weekend, in fact. I am going to dedicate the rest of this day to slow roasting a 4.5 lb piece of ass, the cut is actually from the shoulder. It will see us through the rest of this cold snap in several different applications. Tonight it will be the star of tacos with lettuce from Boggy Creek and avocados from Farmhouse. Tomorrow night it will compliment the posole I am making with a south of the border inspired slaw, perfection for a snow day. My fingers are crossed for the snow. Its final appearance will be in a pumped up mac and cheese with cauliflower and broccoli or a quick ragout with paparadelle. I will let you know which way we go with it. This is one of my favorite time saving ways to cook.

I feel compelled to share with you all the amazingness of all of our hardworking farmers in weather like this. This kind of cold is incredibly hard on the crops and our brave farmers pray and care for the food that feeds us. Yesterday Boggy’s market was reduced to the greenhouse in back of the usual market area. There was about a 10th of the normal traffic, but Carol Ann and Larry were there with the staff bundled up and smiling through the worry. There is something really special about showing up when the weather is nasty. I suppose I can liken it to sticking with a sports team through the good and bad seasons. I promise that I will not be a fair weather fan of farmers, football probably. I encourage you all to get out the beautiful farmers markets this weekend! It is an experience well worth braving the weather. If you are lucky, you may even get to hug a farmer!

Now, on with the cooking. This would be the perfect thing to make for the Superbowl. Roast the pork slow and low on Saturday, pull it while it is still hot and then you have the perfect filling for tacos, quesadillas, or sliders. It is melt-in-your-mouth-good and it totally makes sense to eat pig while the guys in tight clothes throw the pig skin around, right?

Slow Roasted Pork Butt

4.5 lbs, pork butt

1 Fireman’s 4 or amber beer

1 head garlic

1 onion

1/4 c. olive oil

2 T Sriacha

2 T honey

salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 250. Rub pork with a generous amount of salt and pepper, sriacha and honey. Heat oil in an oven safe pot on the stove and brown all sides of the meat. Pour beer over the meat. Make sure that the fattier side of the meat is facing up, this will keep the meat tender, because the fat will melt all down in it and make it extra delicious. Put a lid on it and place it in the oven for 4.5 hours, or until it pulls apart easily with a fork.

(check out that little halo on the pork!!!)

Challenge Update

All is well with the challenge. I do want to share our funny story of the week though. Last weekend was just one of those weekends that we didn’t want to leave the house. We had a lot to do and were just not feeling like getting out even just to go to the store. Come Sunday we had a near empty fridge and bare pantry, so we wound up having tomato sauce on lasagna noodles. To make up for the lack of cheese we ground pine nuts for the top and I have to say the meal was pretty ok! Much better than the alternative of getting out of the house or not eating at all at least.

You all have a great weekend and cross your fingers for a snowball fight!!!

Thank you for reading!

Not That Martha

Strawberries are Here!!!! A Salad and a Drink!

26 Jan

Hi Everyone,

I realize this is my third salad post in a row and will likely give it a break after this, but it seems that the January gardens conspire to make us atone for the sins of the holidays. The produce is irresistable for salad.

There was a time when I shunned the idea of fruit in my salad. Nothing about it seemed right to me. Fortunately, with age has come flexibility and a willingness to experiment on the fruit in savory salad front. A memorable dessert bridged this gap: a strawberry sorbet with black peppercorns and balsalmic reduction years ago at Uchi, to be specific. The flavors are burned in my mind. This is my far-more-traditional take on those flavors.

To prove that I am not all salads and butterflies, though, I will leave you with a drink that is absolute perfection for 5PM on the dot. Before the sun goes all the way down, this helps the worries of work and the day receed a little more quickly.

All of the produce came from Boggy Creek this morning. Meet me there next Wednesday at 9!

Strawberry and Feta Salad with Orange Soaked Fennel over Mixed Lettuce

(serves 6)

2 heads, butter type lettuce

1 cup strawberries, sliced

1/2 cup goat feta (I used Wateroak)

1 small head fennel, thinly sliced

juice from 1 orange

1 bunch radishes, sliced

balsalmic vinegar

good olive oil

fresh black pepper, be generous here

flakey sea salt

Thinly slice the fennel and pour the orange juice over it. Let sit while you assemble the rest. Wash the lettuce and make sure it is nice and dry. Tear it up into bite sized pieces. Toss in a bowl.  Top the lettuce with fennel and a little extra orange juice. Add strawberries, feta and radishes. Sprinkle with a generous amount of fresh black pepper and sea salt. To make dressing, use 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. For this amount 1/4 c vinegar and 3/4 olive oil will be just more than you need, so you can put the dressing aside for another salad. Whisk together oil and vinegar, pour over salad and toss gently. Serve and enjoy!

 

Now for the fun part. 5PM!

Strawberry and Rosemary Vodka Soda

3 T Dripping Springs or other good vodka

1 sprig rosemary

3 strawberries, sliced

Topo Chico or other soda water

Place strawberries in the bottom of a glass, top with ice, pour in vodka, top off with Topo Chico, then stir. Garnish with rosemary and drink it down.

Thanks for reading!

Not That Martha

Romaine and Fennel Salad with a Poached Egg

19 Jan

Hello All!

I hope that the holidays and new year are treating you all well and that life is good.

Though I have taken a break from writing, from cooking I have not. I have been working on a lot of new recipes that I am so excited to share. I am committed to writing a post a week and getting these ideas out to you all.

I spent a little chunk of my morning at Boggy Creek, a ritual I relish. The produce is heavenly and there is always the promise of a hug from Larry and good conversation that stretches my brain a little more. This morning, my friend, Barrie, conspired with me on this fresh winter salad. The carrots have given way to lettuces that are almost too beautiful to eat. I couldn’t resist the red and green romaine. The fennel was at the welcome table and irresistible. Fennel and citrus are perfect partners in crime. I let mine soak in some grapefruit juice and the tart and bitter of the grapefruit play very nicely with the perfume of the fennel. The egg is key here because when the velvety yolk breaks over the salad all is right in the world. If you are able to get your hands on a farm fresh egg, please do. The deep yellow-orange yolk puts supermarket eggs to shame. It is worth what you will spend in time and money to get these little gems. It’s good. Real real good.

I hope you all enjoy this recipe. Stay tuned for some heartier recipes coming soon!

Romaine and Fennel Salad with a Poached Egg

(serves 2)

1 head, romaine lettuce

1/2 bulb, fennel

1/2 grapefruit, juice

2 farm eggs, poached

1 handful, pepitas (or other seed)

Maldon or other flakey salt and pepper to taste

Rinse the lettuce and make sure it is nice and dry. Shave fennel or cut thin and pour grapefruit juice over while you do the rest. The fennel will soak up the grapefruit flavor. To poach an egg, bring salted water to a gentle simmer with 1 T of vinegar. The vinegar helps the egg whites stay together. Crack the eggs into separate bowls. Once the water reaches a gentle simmer, swirl the water with a wooden spoon and gently pour one egg at a time into the water. The swirling water keeps the eggs in motion and doesn’t allow them to drop to the bottom. Let the eggs cook for 5-6 minutes if your eggs are room temperature. Add a minute if they come straight from the fridge. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and let rest on a towel. To assemble the salad, chop the lettuce into bite sized pieces, top lettuce with shaved fennel, drizzle a little of the remaining juice over the lettuce. Top the fennel with the poached egg. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and pepitas.

Challenge Update

Well, its official, I am SICK of my clothes. On pretty much every level of wardrobe, I am sick of mine. I was daydreaming this morning about finding some fun, new socks in my drawer, to no avail… It might be time to break out one of the white t-shirts I put aside at the beginning of this challenge. It could do wonders.

I can’t believe that we are nearly 5 months into this, that means nearly half way through.

On the food front, the seasons are really keeping us on our toes and enthusiastic about cooking. I can’t stop making slaws right now. Slaw as a side, on fish tacos, veggie burgers,  with avocado in it. I love it. I recieved a fabulous Indian cookbook for Christmas and can’t wait to dig into some curries and paneer and you know what? I will probably put slaw on that too.

Work has taken Jo to Houston recently and she has taken me, so we have had the pleasure of dining out. We were thrilled and a little in awe at the reality of having menus in our hands and someone else doing the dishes. Eating out was great, but we were both anxious to get home and back to our routine. On the last day of our trip I couldn’t stop thinking about the cauliflower sitting in our fridge. Something we both noticed is how much better we feel when we are eating at home. We have been away from restaurants for long enough now to notice a major difference in how we feel when we know where our food is coming from and exactly what is going into it. I’ll say this, in our time in Houston, we took more Tums than we have in the last 4 months combined. Capice? That alone has been worth the journey.

Thank you all for reading!

Not That Martha

Carrot Salad with Feta and Honey Dressing

15 Dec

Hi Everyone,

I can’t believe how long it has been since I have written a new post! My apologies. Things have gotten a little nuts coming into the holidays so I have been in the kitchen. Today, though, I must share with you my morning findings. I spent my ritual Wednesday morning at Boggy Creek and am beside myself with the excitement of the bounty. Every season I am sure it is my favorite time of year, I mean, in early summer when the tomatoes are full and ripe I am certain it doesn’t get better. Well, turns out same goes for this time of year. I fiercely love carrots! Maybe it is a need for carotin or maybe it is that I was a rabbit in my last life. Who knows, but they thrill me. Today at Boggy I was greeted with was a table exploding with carrots. The maroon ones and the yellow ones and the old reliable orange ones. They really warrant a trip to Boggy Creek or the SFC Farmers Market this weekend. So, for our mid-morning snack, Jo and I are sharing a carrot and feta salad. It is sitting right next to me and dissappearing as I type. The recipe is super fast, it took me 10 minutes photos and all. So, here you go.

Carrot Salad with Feta Dressing

1 bunch carrots, multi-colored if you can swing it

2-3 handfuls of mixed greens

Dressing

2 T, Texas Olive Ranch Olive Oil

1 lemon

2 oz Feta cheese (mine was Pure Luck)

1 T, honey

salt and fresh black pepper

Serves 2-4 depending on hunger level/carrot love.

Wash the greens and carrots (I don’t peel mine anymore, I just wash them really well). Place greens on a serving dish. Slice carrots thin, on the bais (diagonal) increases surface area and dressing holding capacity. Place carrots on greens. Put all dressing ingredients in a bowl and mix well with a fork. Pour dressing over the salad and enjoy.

Challenge Update

We are still going strong on our eating at home/no shopping challenge. While we are eating really well at home, there are places I miss and new joints I can’t wait to try come September 1, 2011. We are also enjoying torturing each other with the “what-if” game. For example, we had a hideously long meeting last night after not eating much all day.  We were ravenous!  The presenter kept talking and talking and then even tried to force us to watch an archaic VHS tap from 1989 all the while we’re digging thru Jo’s purse for a morsel of candy or gum.  As soon as we were outta there, the game began…”What if I ran into an old friend right now, here, at this stop light, and insisted that we pull over to chat?  Would you rush us to Chick-fil-A? What would you have?” You know, that kind of game. It was hilarious and got us through the drive and home to some really great tacos that we put together in approximately 2.5 minutes. So, scenarios come up, but we, for the most part, have been able to laugh ourselves through them.

It has really forced me to get out of my comfort zone culinarily and despite a couple of real food disasters, Asian and Indian foods are areas where I am developing a real love and respect.

On the clothing side, though we are realizing we really aren’t missing much. We are wearing the same old clothes that we have had and still managing to look presentable. Jo may have a different take on this part of the challenge….

Thank  you, thank you for reading and I hope that your holidays are full of love, good company and good food.

Not that Martha