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, & Pistachios
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
Preheat oven to 400ºF
Place sliced eggplant facedown on a lightly oiled baking sheet, place in oven and bake until tender. About 25 minutes
Remove from the oven. Flip eggplant cut side up and lightly glaze the cut surface with almond oil and squeeze lemon across the eggplant.
Top eggplant with goat cheese, pomegranate, pistachios, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste
For a little extra pizazz, you can, ever so sparingly, drizzle honey on top with a little extra sea salt.
It’s been a pretty exciting week around here. Last week the laura lee’s kitchen – digital cookbook went live on the website and is now available for download. Not only that, but I was also featured in a write up by Voyage Houston this past week as well. This was the first little bit of press that made by laura lee has ever received. It’s pretty exciting!
Two big firsts for me! I’ve got plenty more firsts coming later this fall as well. I’ve feverishly been working on a new “Fall” line of embroidery that will be featured in the rolling out of the new online store! Doesn’t that sound très trendy? Not to mention, I may or may not already be in panic mode for the holiday gift ordering season. It’s coming, whether I’m ready or not! In fact, make sure to get your orders in.
While I sip my spiced chai, I’ll be sitting here embroidering away. If you haven’t purchased laura lee’s kitchen – digital cookbook, you can order it here. And if you’re unsure about the cookbook, feel free to catch up on some more Laura Lee reading here in the Voyage Houston Article.
Back in February, I attended the Mother Earth News Conference where I sat in many a talk, workshops, and more. One of the workshops I sat in on was Kristen Shockey’s of Ferment Works. In just a short hour, Shockey covered the basics of fermenting and was also able to walk the crowd through making mustard and hot sauce.
Since then I’ve made several batches of hot sauce and experimented with the different mustards. In fact, in this house, I can’t make them fast enough and have to make double batches. I’ve been tweaking them a little bit and adding more hot peppers. Because we like it hot, you know, spicy.
Fermented Hot Sauce
2 bell peppers
5 habaneros (I actually use 6)
2 teaspoons salt
Gloves for cutting peppers
Make sure cutting board, mason jar, and all other equipment is clean
Remove stems and seeds from the peppers, and chop
Place all peppers and salt in the blender. Blend until smooth
Pour into the mason jar. Make sure sauce fills the jar at least 3/4 full
Screw the lid on tight and store in a dark cabinet
Twice a day, unscrew the lid enough to let the air escape. This is called burping. (I literally say, “It’s time to burp the babies”)
You can let your hot sauce ferment anywhere from 3-14 days. I typically ferment mine for two weeks.
This is great on everything that you would put hot sauce on eggs, tacos, beans, and rice, etc.
It 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 email@example.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!
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.
2 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
*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.
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.
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!
While I’ve been an absolute mad woman creating gig posters, updating my blog with shows, my Etsy Shop with more of my Cards for a Cause, learning others songs (more on in an upcoming post), taking on the social media for where I work (OPA!, go ahead and give them a like on the ol’ Facebook), I have been silently sticking to my #1 New Years Resolution: READING.
January’s Book: Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson
A few years ago my cousin, Lucy, came to visit me here in Austin. Lucy is an amazing woman, a doctor, and I’ve always looked up to her in that big sister I never had kind of way. I hadn’t seen her since she got married and she looked fantastic. She was in town for “some Paleo Conference.” Lucy was talking non stop about this Paleo business. She told me that I had to read this book. After her departure, I got home one day and there on my porch waiting for me, freshly from Amazon, was this book compliments of Lucy.
Fast forward 3 years, maybe more, to January 2015. I still haven’t read the book, because like any book that anyone tells me to read I, of course, drag my feet. What prompted me to pick up the Primal Blueprint, besides my New Year’s Resolution? I have a particular health condition that has been passed down through the women on my mother’s side of the family (Thanks Mom!) and I find as I have gotten older certain symptoms are rearing their ugly head. My doctor, who is fabulous, gave me several options to help me with some of the symptoms, none of which either of us were thrilled about.
I think we can all agree, my doctor included, that a lot of what happens here in the States is we treat symptoms rather than the cause. Because of my condition, I have side effects such as a very hard time keeping stable blood sugar levels, which can be more than frustrating and turn me into a HANGRY monster in no time. I started with two major changes immediately:
1. Butter Coffee. I cannot give up coffee. EVER. I am Laura Lee and I am addicted to coffee. The problem being, I can have my two cups in the morning (which is all I ever need) and then all of a sudden crash like nothing you have ever seen. I have made the change to butter coffee and that crash has gone away completely. Not to mention it tastes like drinking a latte!
2. Protein. I have been raw, I have been vegan, I have been a vegetarian. In recent years, I have just settled eating meat once or twice a week, nothing crazy. This last month though, I have forced myself to eat meat once or twice a day.
HOLY COWS AND BACON, BATMAN! Who knew that eating a little more protein would make such a drastic difference in my life?!?!!?!?!? The symptoms of my condition have completely dissipated, I have way more energy, I am in a much better mood, productivity has gone up, I am sleeping WAY better, and the most amazing thing… My sweet tooth has virtually disappeared! Ok, ok, and even though this next item wasn’t on my New Years to do list, I’m not going to lie and I am pleased with the results, but I have unintentionally lost 6 pounds since January 4th. Not bad, right?
This was a great read. Usually health stats and medical articles are daunting to read, Primal Blueprint was smooth sailing and easy to relate to. It’s true, there are moments of discomfort when Sisson challenges everything we are taught to know and believe, but given the results, I would say there is a whole lot of truth to this, not just a diet, but lifestyle. Enjoy!
Summer is slowly coming to an end, which in Texas, means cooler weather is rapidly approaching. In fact, we actually got some this weekend, but I’m not holding my breath as this weeks forecast is back up in the nineties. While we are all itching to bust out our sweaters and scarves, This particular seasonal crossover allows for glorious finds at the farmers market. The last cucumbers, melons, and peppers are still making an appearance, but the fall favorites are starting to show themselves too. Although, I am eagerto be able to walk outside without my make up sliding off my face, I am not quite ready to let summer slip through my fingers. Reflecting on these last few months, I definitely got in my vacation time, hiking, swimming at the springs, but the one thing I did not get my fill of are summer fruit and margaritas. Now, in most cases, they don’t have to be combined. In this instance, I went for the most bang for my buck. Inspired by Rio Rita’s Honeydew Thyme infused tequila, I grabbed a cantaloupe and jalapeños from the farmers market. I’ve dipped my fingers into infusing many a time (yes, the rumors of bacon infused vodka are true), but for the sake of quenching my thirst, the juicer came out!
I’m looking forward to drinking this Jalapeño Cantaloupe Margarita next year, all summer long.
Jalapeño Cantaloupe Margarita
1/2 cantaloupe, cubed
1 jalapeño (seeds removed)
1 lime- tequila of choice-triple sec (or Cointreau)
Put cantaloupe, jalapeño, and half of the lime through the juicer. In a glass, pour 2 parts tequila and 1 part triple sec over ice, top off with melon pepper mix. Garnish with lime wedge.
Note: I find margaritas are very personal, just like coffee in the morning. Some like them stronger, sweeter, or more sour. I dissolved a little agave and shook it in with the mix and tequila. However, you like your margarita, this one is delicious! Enjoy!