Food, Updates

Thanksgiving Menu

Thanksgiving is almost here.  I admit it completely snuck up on me this year and on top of that I have signed myself up to cook a feast in someone else’s kitchen.  I love the holidays.  I love cooking for people.  So cue up the holiday music and let’s get ready.

The Menu

After careful consideration of everyone’s requests and dietary needs, I have curated a menu that I, myself, am looking forward to eating.

Turkey Day Menu

While I won’t be smoking the turkey, I will be feverishly prepping everything else in the days to come, like whipping up this coconut milk brown sugar ice cream this week.  I’ll even be dusting off my Grandmothers pecan pie recipe that she fine tuned and has been using since 1966. You can bet that everything will be made from fresh ingredients, homemade from scratch.  No canned yams or cream of mushroom here.

That being said, I’m so thankful to be spending the holiday with people I love and that love and have welcomed me into their family.  May you all have a wonderful time prepping for the Turkey Day Festivities!

 

DIY, Food, Recipes

Roasted Eggplant with Goat Cheese, Pomegranate & Pistachios

A few weeks ago, I snuck up to St. Louis to spend a few days with my mom and her wonderful husband.  It was exactly what the doctor ordered.  While my folks were at work, I spent my mornings reading with the sunrise and coffee and taking walks around Historic Lafayette Park.  During the day, I would catch up on some much-needed adulting I needed to do then saunter off to my mom’s plot at the community garden to collect vegetables for dinner.  One night I whipped up this eggplant dish and accompanying main of stewed tomatoes and rainbow chard… more on that to come.  For now:

Roasted Eggplant with Goat Cheese, Pomegranate, & PistachiosIMG_2659 2.jpeg

  • 3-4 Japanese eggplant, sliced in half the long way
  • 1 four-ounce packet of goat cheese, crumbled
  • Pomegranate seeds, half a pomegranate
  • 1/4 cup of roasted pistachios
  • 1 tablespoon almond oil (I skimmed the oil off of an almond butter jar)
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, minced
  • 1 tablespoon honey, optional
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF
  2. Place sliced eggplant facedown on a lightly oiled baking sheet, place in oven and bake until tender.  About 25 minutes
  3. Remove from the oven.  Flip eggplant cut side up and lightly glaze the cut surface with almond oil and squeeze lemon across the eggplant.
  4. Top eggplant with goat cheese, pomegranate, pistachios, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste
  5. For a little extra pizazz, you can, ever so sparingly, drizzle honey on top with a little extra sea salt.

Enjoy!

Brand, Food, Recipes

Kickstarting with the Cookbook

Screen Shot 2019-06-29 at 5.18.22 PMIt has now been a little over a week since I have finished the Kickstarter Cookbook.  It was definitely an undertaking and I learned a lot about myself.  I like to bite off more than I can chew, every bit of pun intended.  At first, this little cookbook was only supposed to be a little pamphlet or mini-cookbook.  Of course, I got carried away with the spectacular idea of “go big or go home.”  I began compiling over 100 recipes, photos, etc.

What was I thinking?!  After being talked off the ledge, I reigned it in and put together a reasonably sized book for the Kickstarter Incentive.  I am incredibly pleased on the final product and believe I have something worth bringing to publishers for a bigger project as well as the potential for more books down the line.

If you donated to my Kickstarter a couple years ago, please make sure to check for updates from Kickstarter.  To access the cookbook, you must check your email for the link and password for the cookbook download. The emails come from Kickstarter, not me, and are titled “Project Update: #6, etc.”. If you are having trouble accessing the link, please email me at lauraleeimhoff@gmail.com. If you’ve moved or haven’t completed the initial survey, please update your information so I can get your incentive to you.

I’m very excited to be getting these out to you so I can begin focusing on the next steps.  Thank you for your continued support!

 

Food, Recipes

Sneak Peak: Cookbook Recipe

Good morning.

I’m currently sitting here at my antique kitchen table, cup of coffee tucked next to my lap top, with a picturesque view of the countryside.  The birds are chirping, the dogs are snoring, and I, admittedly, am still waking up.  The sun seems to be a little slow to shine this morning as well.

While the coffee is surging into my bloodstream, I recall my last post where I promised a little bit of a teaser to the cookbook that I am writing.  With well over 75 recipes, I had a difficult time choosing just one to share with you.  Below, I think you will find an appropriate recipe for these Texas winter months.

Wilted Bacon Fennel Salad

Fennel.  I had never really had fennel before I started working for a local farm here in Austin.  I’m not a huge fan of anything licorice, but fennel with the right flavor combinations can transform itself into a spectacular little touch to the right dish.  Fennel is currently in season along with citrus and kale so this salad is the perfect fresh addition to spruce up any winter table setting. 

  • Wilted Bacon Kale Salad2 bulbs fennel, 1/4 inch thick, sliced.  1 inch or less length
  • 1 pound applewood smoked bacon
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1.5 oranges diced
  • Juice from half of an orange
  • 1 tablespoon Cider vinegar
  • 2 table spoon agave
  • Salt pepper to taste

 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Chop off ends fennel, leaving bulb and the heartier ends of the stalks.  Remove the outer shell of the fennel bulbs and cut in half.  Slice fennel into 1/4 inch thick slices. 
  • Cut 1 pound of bacon into 1/2 inch pieces.  (just use kitchen scissors, it’ll save you any aggravation of cutting with a knife and you can cut a couple pieces at a time)
  • In a baking sheet, mix bacon and fennel making sure to break up the fennel and bacon. 
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until bacon is cooked and fennel is browned.
  • While bacon/fennel mixture is cooking, course chop kale and put in a large bowl. 
  • Zest one orange, after zesting dice up 1.5 oranges.   Squeeze the juice from the remaining half of the orange onto the kale. 
  • Add vinegar and agave into the bowl.  Toss and massage the liquids into the kale.  
  • Remove the fennel and bacon from the oven and strain the excess bacon fat from tray.  
  • While still warm, mix the fennel and bacon with the kale and dressing. The heat from will wilt the kale slightly. 
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Bon apetit!

*Note: It’s no secret, at least I don’t think, that I love bacon.  This recipe does call for a pound, which can seem a little, how do you say? Overboard?  If your arteries clog at the thought, use less! You do you.

**Note: This recipe does not keep well as left overs, not that there ever is when I make it for friends.

 

Canning, Food, Uncategorized

Pump Up the Jams!

Oh, how I love a good food pun.

Yes, PUMP up the jams!  Last weekend at the ABGB Austin Flea Market, I had a record breaking sales weekend, outside of the holiday season.  This week, I am a jam making fool!  I cannot believe that I am wiped out of stock.

Now, I would have been standing over the stove sooner, but I certainly didn’t foresee blowing out my back, which had me laid up for a few days.  Still a little tender, I got to it this weekend!

I’m kicking off the fall with blackberry rosemary jam.  This one is slowly becoming a silent favorite amongst regulars. It’s got the sweetness from the fruit (obviously), I leave the seeds in for a little bit of tooth and texture, the rosemary adds a touch of savory and is quite aromatic.  I’ve heard folks tell me they put it on an english muffin with butter, others use it as a last minute touch on grilled pork chops, etc.  I, myself, love it with brie! Whether it’s on grilled cheese or a condiment on a burger with arugula and more brie, of course.

Check out the upcoming craft fair schedule over the coming weeks to pick up some Blackberry Rosemary Jam to add to your cupboard.

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Brand, custom, Embroidery, Food

Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness matters.  To be mindful, according to Merriam-Webster is to bear in mind or inclined to be aware, but how often are we really mindful?  More often than not I know I grind through my to do list one item at a time, responding to texts with rapid fire speed, and inhale meals without tasting it because I’m too busy to sit and enjoy it.  The only thing I mind is completing everything I set out to do, very rarely do I feel as if I am aware on a deeper level. That being said, when I got contacted for a recent commission the name definitely inspired me to get back to just maybe being a little more mindful.

Mindful Bowl
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A couple years ago, I worked at the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts here inAustin.  I had no idea how many wonderful people I would meet working there.  I have stayed connected with many of the students and I can’t tell you how inspiring it is to watch their stories and culinary adventures unfold.   One student I stay in touch with, Lana, has recently started her own business.  As someone that has taken the plunge to running her own business, it’s fair to say, I have a little bit of a soft spot for other like minded lady entrepreneurs.

Lana has recently launched the Mindful Bowl project.  The Mindful Bowl is a buddha bowl inspired meal prep service.  Perfect for folks that are on the go who aren’t exactly mindful about what they’re putting into their bodies all the time…. Hmmm, like me?

Lana reached out to me for a custom towel with her branding for her start up.  I was more than happy to team up and provide a little prop action to spruce up her photos.  Although, with all the natural color from those veggies, I’m not sure how much a towel will offer. (insert winking emoji here).

Please support Lana by liking the Mindful Bowl on Facebook and Instagram (@mindful_bowl)!

Book of the Month, Food, Recipes, Uncategorized

If You Can’t Stand the Heat

Getting a little inspiration from some of my favorite cookbooks!

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.  Well,  let me tell you, things have been heating up plenty in my kitchen lately.

As some of you may know, I completed a successful Kickstarter Campaign back in May.  I’ve now been working on the business and more importantly the incentives for all the fine folks that contributed.  One of  these items is a collection of recipes by made by laura lee.

A cookbook!  Yes!  This will be so fun!  I thought to myself.  Well…. I think I underestimated how much work would go into this bad boy.  Wowzah!  I’m still compiling a thoughtful introduction, testing and getting pictures of every recipe, etc.  Putting together a cookbook is a full time job.  My hat is off to some of my culinary creatives that have already put one out.  I appreciate all the help and pointers that I’ve received along the way.

For those of you that are waiting patiently, thank you.  Please know it’s a work in progress.

I know for cookbooks that I purchase, I love pictures!  I want a picture for every recipe!  Obviously, I rely heavy on the visual side, but is there something you like in a cookbook? What is ideal for you?Let me know, I’ll see what I can incorporate just for you.

Thanks again, ya’ll!

Food, Recipes

Something Sweet in the New

I am one of those people that if I am not learning something new on a regular basis I begin to feel stagnant.  I feel stuck.  I then become frustrated.  Usually, I don’t pay attention to the nagging in the back of my mind until it’s too late.  The last few weeks I have been overwhelmed with lengthy to do lists, custom orders, and planning some big life changes (more to come soon).  As I was rushing around yesterday, I had a iCalendar notification for an ice cream class that I had signed up for a month ago.  Signing up for this event had completely escaped me.  What a treat, an ice cream class in August! Well done! Thanks, past Me!

The co-owners of Lick Ice Cream partnered with Sustainable Food Center to host this class.  What a great opportunity for such a great cause, for more on that click here. There was a demo and then we broke off into groups to create our own fig inspired ice cream!  We were given a base, chocolate sauce, fig jam, and neufshatel (fancy cream cheese).  I, clearly, fell into the right group when the decision that all of the ingredients would have to be used!  We went with a chocolate and neufshatel base, with fig & chocolate swirls.  Heaven!  Due to the smokiness of the figs this year, it tasted like toasted marshmallow.  As a serious s’mores fan, I was completely blissed out.  In fact, I would have taken a picture of our batch, but…. we ate it all.

Who knew making ice cream was so easy.  I was always under the impression it was much more difficult.  I’m looking forward to testing out new recipes and maybe, potentially, incorporating some recipes into the upcoming cookbook!

Thanks Lick and SFC for a great learning opportunity!

12 Day of Crafting, Canning, Food, Uncategorized

When Life Gives You Oranges

FullSizeRenderWhen I first started experimenting with canning I asked everyone what there favorite jam or jelly was.  The people pleaser inside of me was eager to make an impression.  Naturally, I asked my mother. She was quick to let me know that her favorite flavor out of a jar was lemon curd.  I was quick to learn that it is one of mine too.

Being in Texas we have the luxury of having some really great organic citrus grown in our backyard in McAllen, TX.  G&S Grove, check them out. (Seriously, the best grapefruit I’ve ever had.) So why does delicious curd have to stop with lemons?

FullSizeRender

I heard through the grapefruit vine that a friend liked grapefruit curd, viola, it appeared!  I had done a blend of grapefruit and orange, which was delightful! This holiday season, I will be introducing straight up orange curd! Yes, I certainly tried my darn-dest not to eat it all before canning it up!

I will have these little babies available at the Holiday Handmade Show at OPA! this Saturday!  See you there!

Cocktails, Food

A Good Little Wife: Back in the Kitchen

I don’t know anyone that likes to be sick.  I think most would actually prefer to be at work or school than be home in bed.  I rarely get sick and when I do, it’s at the mercy of allergies.  This past week was one of the times I feel victim to seasonal allergies with a serving of mold allergies.  There was a stretch that I slept for 24 hours, not an exaggeration, which drove me to go to the doctor.  Something I avoid at all costs because I know it always results in antibiotics. On three, 1, 2, 3,…. UGH!

I’m on the mend, finally.  I have an urge to move around the house, cook, and get back to making things.  While I still a have limited energy, the sun has been such a driving power… and the salsa music… and the coffee, of course, the coffee.

I have my next batch of jam simmering away (details soon) but I just have to share some of my kitchen creations, as of the last few months I have felt completely uninspired in this department.

Saag PaneerFullSizeRender

Indian food is my favorite.  Hands down.  It’s what I consider comfort food at its best.  A world of complex flavors that warm the soul.  Saag Paneer (spinach & cheese) is my go to when I am feeling blue.  It has been tough to find a recipe that I like, but, believe it or not, I nailed one down!  Of course, I amped up the amount of ginger, garlic, and spice, but it’s a good one!   (Click here for the recipe)

 

IMG_1983Infused Rum

Ok, so I can’t drink at the moment due to being on antibiotics, but boy, oh boy, this one is going to be a treat once I’m in the clear to have an adult beverage!

2 cups of white rum + 1 cup pineapple + 1 tsp. red chili flakes = cocktail in 2 weeks.

I’m hoping for some sweet and spicy goodness! Just add club soda!

 

Juice, Juice, Juice

I really like to say that I am not a picky eater.  I was raised to eat what was put in IMG_1975front of me, because there are starving children all over the world.  Admittedly, there are a few things I just cannot stand: my grandmothers hot red sauerkraut with vinegar being at the top of that list. Raw celery, number two.  If I have the opportunity, I pass on cooking with parsley or munching on a green apple.  Feeling under the weather lately and having no appetite, I know that parsley and green apple are so good for you, so I bent my rules.

(4 Granny Smith + 1/2 bunch Parsley)/juicer = DAMN!

I’ve made this 3 times this week! That has to say something about how good it is, right?

Enjoy!