Wednesday, September 6, 2017

These are a Few of My Favorite Things - August 2017


Disclaimer: This post may include affiliate links. Rest assured opinions are my own and I would never post about a product/service that I don't agree with.

Hey y'all, I'm trying to get into the habit of doing these at LEAST monthly. If nothing else there's always an Austin Food Blogger Alliance Happy Hour to review, a handful of restaurants I spent too much money at to mention, and some random assortment of things I've bought I'd like to tell you about.

But first...

Decidedly NOT a Favorite Thing: Hurricane Harvey

Thank you, friends, for checking in. Austin was extremely lucky--aside from a few friends getting a bit of flooding in certain parts of town and all of us dealing with some excess traffic, we avoided the worst of it. This past weekend there was a gas hysteria that meant we were counting our MPGs a little closely and waiting in long lines to fill up... it was dumb. But we're trying our damnedest to help our friends in Houston!

-My favorite supermarket, HEB, has been doing amazing things to help with relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey. I am so happy Texas has such a dedicated company that loves this state so much. We were actually out of bottled water at our local store because they sent their Austin supplies to those who needed it in affected areas. Read More here.

-The need to help is sometimes overwhelming--what can I do? What will ACTUALLY help and not hinder efforts? What can I do if I'm low on $$ and big on heart? I started to compile a list, but then I came across local Austin blogger Hipstercrite's list of ways to help and felt like it really couldn't be improved upon. Check it out if you want to lend a hand.

-THIS RECIPE from Full of Plants!! I saw this, made it, and wanted to eat the whole thing in a single sitting. I did make a few swaps, however: I used chicken instead of tempeh (making it decidedly NOT vegetarian/vegan), kelp noodles instead of traditional (cuts down on carbs/calories), and pickle juice instead of seaweed since it was the closest thing I could find to something briny. It was one of the best things ever to come out of my kitchen. Go, try this recipe, and thank me later. Want to get some delish kelp noodles? Buy them here: Sea Tangle Noodle Company Sea Tangle Kelp Noodle 12 Oz

-My Sourdough Starter is finally ready to start making delicious bread! I bought mine via Amazon from Cultures for Health and after two weeks of regular feeding it's finally ready. You can make your own from scratch, but I definitely recommend starting with cultures. I made some quick biscuits with the discards, and they turned out delish. Can't wait to do more with it! Buy it here: Cultures for Health San Francisco Sourdough Starter, Organic non-GMO, Natural Yeast, Makes Sourdough Bread, Pizza, Pancakes, Includes 1 Packet Of Starter

-Chicon Happy Hour. As part of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance, I get to try one restaurant a month gratis for a food blogger happy hour. This month the location of the happy hour was at Chicon. They won points immediately by passing out complimentary cocktails, and this [Purple] People Eater was refreshingly amazing. They then gave us a sample of nibbles from their happy hour menu (pictured: Roasted Avocado, Smoked Trout Dip, and spicy Asian wings) and everything was perfect. Not to mention the decor was the gorgeous modern minimalism I've come to expect from new places in town. I'll definitely be back!

Still Austin - A few months back, I wrote an article for Paste about Austin's first whiskey distillery since prohibition AND IT'S FINALLY HERE! The Distillery is open and producing. Look at how pretty it is, have you ever seen clear whiskey before? Since the distillery is brand new, and brown whiskey needs time to age in a barrel, this is what they have for now. I'll be going to a media opening next week, but yesterday I found this adorable little box on my doorstep. Keep an eye out on my Facebook Live and Youtube for a live first-tasting of this New Make style whiskey.

I was pretty impressed with this Sour German Wheat beer I found at NXNW. It's PINK! Not only that, it's tasty. I'm no beer expert, and I do enjoy a good fruity, girly beer, but I think anyone who appreciates a good sour will be into this. They describe it as his unfiltered gose is hazy, tart and sour, but with the addition of 168 pounds of blackberry puree, it’s aperfectly refreshing summer brew." It's tart, not syrupy, and has a nice balance. Pair it with the excellent happy hour, and I'm a happy lady.

As I've been growing my own channel (please subscribe?) I've been studying popular Youtubers to see how it's done. I haven't had cable in about 4 years, but binge-watching Youtube is pretty much my new channel surfing. Here are the ones I love most lately:
-Good Mythical Morning: A daily talk show by two best friends who have a habit of trying disgusting food and talking about it.
-EmmyMadeInJapan: An adorable mom talks us through unique recipes (like prison food and MREs!) and reviews with so much grace and humor.
-Redcow Entertainment (the creators of BoxMac): My friends, who I also wrote a Paste article about, have a Youtube show where they review boxed mac and cheese. But look beyond this popular series and see all the cool stuff they're up to--these guys are expert content creators.
-Sorel Fly - My husband's fishing channel! It's still new, but if you have any interest in fishing, specifically in the Austin area, check it out.

Stay tuned to my channel for more reviews and some upcoming recipes!
Let me know in the comments:Do you have any tips for growing your channel? 

-I just got married. In a modern wedding, you now get your photos digitally. After a lot of poking around, I decided on Shutterfly for my prints. And I am obsessed. For one, the prints were great! I've noticed local box stores have been lacking in their print quality, so I am so glad I went this route. Not only did I get all of my prints for free plus shipping using their app, but I made a gorgeous photo book and used a coupon to snag 40% off this unique keepsake. They ALWAYS have some sort of promotion going, so be sure to keep checking in if you have pictures you want to get printed.

-The Skimm is a pretty nonpartisan overview of what's going on in the world. It's an easy to read daily email. I like that it keeps me informed while not really pushing one agenda or another--though I'm sure there is probably some sort of left-ish tilt to it that I'm just not picking up--and covers a variety of issues. And, regardless of the content, it always ends up being not only an informative but fun read.

-Next on my list of local Austin places to try? Flyrite, to see if it'll measure up to a certain chain. Wu Chow, because somehow I still haven't been here and I love their other restaurant
-Anticipating opening of Fairground, a foodie paradise in downtown Austin.
-Upcoming campaigns: Torani syrups! I'll be making cold brew coffee (and possibly more?) in an upcoming post.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Boozy Mint Cookie Ice Cream aka "Dirty Girl Scout" Ice Cream


FYI: A version of this recipe appeared on my former website, Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine. Since I accidentally let that name expire, I am re-doing some of my favorite recipes here so that I don't lose them forever.

First off, I've heard concerns from many friends across the US asking if I am okay post-hurricane. Austin was lucky enough to just have a rather wet weekend, and it's been sunny and mild ever since. We're a fair distance away from Houston and the coast and never were in any danger. I appreciate the concern.

I have an upcoming post where I'll link to hurricane help, but in the meantime I just wanted to put this on locals' radar: I'll be participating in the Austin Bakes for Harvey bake sale in a few weeks. All proceeds will go to relief efforts, and there will be multiple locations across town where you can buy treats from your favorite local bakers and bloggers. If any of y'all have ideas of what sells well at bake sales, do let me know so that I can make sure I put my efforts in the right place.

Anyways, here is the recipe I had planned for today. It's another oldie-but-goodie from my former blog, and with summer coming to a close it's a great way to cap off the season.

I had my first sip of a Dirty Girl Scout* at my first "High School Party with Alcohol" as a senior in high school. A classmate's older brother had made her this drink and given it to her in a Nalgene bottle to bring to the party. I was baffled that alcohol, which always tasted so awful, could taste so absolutely delicious. I then proceeded to get sick from too much Peachtree--when the older kid asked what I wanted at the store this was the only liquor I knew of--and I didn't have a Dirty Girl Scout again until years later, as a legal adult, and while I don't think I could have more than one in a sitting, it's a great dessert with a bit of a kick!

This recipe is truly a cocktail-turned-ice-cream. No. Really. It's not just FLAVORED like the delicious Dirty Girl Scout ice cream, it actually IS one, in ice cream form. The liquor has NOT been cooked off, it's all in there. Using this method, you can make delicious boozy ice cream! The secret is gelatin--who knew, right?

*Friends warned me that since "girl scout" is trademarked, I may get into trouble here. I'm pretty sure since it's named after the cocktail, I'm okay, but if this suddenly changes to "boozy mint cookie ice cream" you'll know why.

Dirty Girl Scout Ice Cream
(Adapted from Ice Cream Happy Hour's base recipe)
  • 2 oz vodka
  • 2 oz coffee liqueur
  • 2 oz Irish cream liqueur
  • 2 oz creme de menthe (white is preferred for aesthetic purposes)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 packet (1 tablespoon) gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 cup crushed chocolate mint cookies (like the ones the Girl Scouts deliver)
  • shaker of ice
-In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk and cream until mixture is steaming. Do NOT over-heat.

-While milk is heating, stir together the egg yolks, sugar, and cocoa powder.

-Slowly pour bits of milk mixture into egg yolks, whisking constantly, until eggs are as hot as the rest of the milk (in other words, temper it). pour egg-milk mixture into the rest of the milk, and whisk over medium heat until thick. It should coat the back of a wooden spoon when done.

-Strain into a bowl, and chill for 2 hours or, ideally, overnight.

-Mix together the alcohol and place in fridge until fully chilled, or shake over ice and strain.

-Pour cold water into a small saucepan and sprinkle gelatin over top. Wait 5 minutes, until gelatin has absorbed water and bloomed.

-Heat the gelatin over medium heat until dissolved into water. Pour gelatin into a bowl and whisk in the cold liquor mixture.

-Whisking constantly, add gelatin/alcohol mixture into the cold custard until completely combined.

-Pour custard into ice cream maker and process for 20 minutes or until desired consistency is reached. Add cookie crumbles at the very end, and place in freezer until firm.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Summer Poptails - Kiwi Moscato Wine Pops


A version of this recipe appeared on my former website, Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine. Since I accidentally let that name expire, I am re-doing some of my favorite recipes, like these Kiwi Moscato Poptails.

You guys, I have been meaning to put this up here ALL SUMMER and I finally finally had time. This was my very first viral recipe, after appearing on the almighty Buzzfeed a few years ago. You may remember them looking like this:

It was one of the first remotely good looking food photos I took, and to be honest aside from being a bit washed out, it holds up. I forget if this was before or after I got my "nice camera" but I love the bright colors. It makes me feel like these updated pics, while looking rustic-ish, are a little flat. I dunno, what do you think?

These kiwi moscato wine pops are the perfect summer treat, really. A little bit sour, a little bit sweet, and a little bit boozy! And yes, they do freeze solid, but they are a bit soft, so you need to wiggle them out of the mold very gently.

Back in Massachusetts, the end of summer was always a sad time, because it meant the never-ending winter was right around the corner. But now I live in Texas, where the summer stretches through October and the winter is so very mild.

Which means I can enjoy these tasty treats all year round! Boo-yah.

Turning booze into dessert is becoming more and more popular, and I'm definitely not complaining. The term "winesicle" is also becoming a thing. I like it.

Kiwi Moscato Wine Pops/Poptails/Winesicles

  • 3 ripe kiwis, peeled
  • 1/2 cup moscato wine
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp liquid sugar, such as simple syrup or agave nectar (use half as much for artificial liquid sweetener, like stevia)

-In a blender, pulse ingredients until well-blended, but make sure the kiwi seeds haven't been totally pulverized.

-Pour into pop mold of choice. Please note that this makes about a cup and a half of liquid, so you may need more or less depending on the size of your molds.

-Freeze overnight or for 4 hours, checking after 2 hours.

-To remove from mold, run the mold under lukewarm tapwater and gently squeeze while pulling the stick. It should come out intact.

Pssst! I just started a YouTube channel covering a wide variety of stuff, from food to fashion. Subscribe and leave your channel in the comments and I'll return the favor!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

My Wonderful Wedding: Part 2


There were too many things to list in just one blog post, so I separated this into two! Check out Part 1 for all the other amazing things that made our wedding so special.

The Ceremony - We are not religious, and only a little spiritual, so we were having trouble finding a Justice of the Peace in our budget. Thankfully, my friend Erin saved the day by revealing she is an ordained Minister! She put together such a touching ceremony script. I came down the aisle to "Can't Help Falling in Love With You," as sung by my friends Reggie and Kim, who did live music for the ceremony on a uke, bongos, flute, and tin whistle. We had a prayer read by my Nana, to honor the sides of the family who were a bit more religious, and my friends Allie and Christina read "i carry your heart" by ee cummings and an excerpt from The Little Prince respectively. Our moms led a blessing for our rings. Finally, we wrote our own vows and slipped in a few butt jokes because that's how we roll. I loved how wonderfully all the pieces of our history were honored in this ceremony, and it is one I'll never forget.

The Flowers - I had no idea how many flowers you need for a wedding. None. And no idea about budget! I figured bouquets, boutonnieres, done. Nope... I was so overwhelmed with this piece of the day. After a little shopping around, we found Nuttlemen's Florist in Northampton. So many friends and family have used this florist, and Mary was just amazing. Not only were her flower arrangements absolutely gorgeous, but she was just a joy to interact with. My mom was so taken with her, that we actually invited her to stay for the wedding--and she and her daughter ended up helping with so much more than just flowers. The fact they go above and beyond for their customers, and have been doing so in the valley for years, is why they come so highly recommended. My bouquet was a beautiful blend of pink and purple roses with white wax flowers, and my bridesmaids had slightly smaller bouquets that were the opposite. Cory's boutonnieres were actually fly fishing lures that had been hand made by an Etsy shop--a nod to his love of fishing. For the tables we had small roses and some wax flowers, and the ceremony was adorned with sunflowers. All my favorite flowers and colors just made me so happy.

The Details - Our centerpieces were, what I referred to as, "a mish-mash of rustic things." So we had mason jars with fairy lights, milk jugs with flowers, a birch candle holder with candles, a little wooden "Love" sign, a frame with the table numbers lovingly hand-numbered by my Nana, and some butterflies floating above it all atop a slice of tree trunk. We had burlap table runners, gorgeous letters "C&A," a special memorial to my dad (a handmade white vase with his favorite flowers, white roses, inside and his old handkerchief around it. Plus lots of butterflies and pink roses all around. Big thanks to my mom who, among a million other things, spent the year leading up to the wedding collecting these all bit by bit. It turned out even more perfect than I could have imagined!

The Food - Hands down, the best wedding food I've ever had. (If you saw my last post, the food was provided by the venue, The Salem Cross Inn). And, as a food blogger, you know I'm picky! I'm pretty sure I'm not just being biased to my own wedding, either. Multiple friends and family echoed this same praise. We went with prime rib for the beef option, and a feta stuffed chicken for the chicken option. The vegetarian offering was stuffed summer squash with quinoa. Even the sides were top notch--the mashed potatoes were to diiiie for and the veggies were so fresh and tasty. There were a few different types of rolls pre-dinner, including a sweet roll, and those were perfect and freshly baked as well. Everything came out PIPING hot, which we appreciated since it was such a big crowd and we've definitely been to weddings where temperature was not taken into consideration. The venue was extremely considerate of food allergies, and made the appropriate accommodations. We wanted the prime rib to come with a side of au jus, but they did provide it when requested on an as-needed basis. Dinner service was quick and efficient and the waitstaff was lovely. I'm dreaming of going back and having more of those potatoes and prime rib now...

The Cake - My family always got their cakes from Gregory's Pastry Shop for as long as I can remember. So, despite a pretty steep plating fee that my venue put on alternative cakes, we knew we had to make it work. The cake was three layers--two of them with chocolate cake and chocolate mousse, and one with white cake with strawberries and cream filling. Both layers were delicious, though I only know this because I remember the samples we got beforehand. Sadly, I missed out on eating more than just the traditional "first slice" bite. I bought the sugar butterflies on Amazon and the bakery placed them on the finished cake. I kind of wanted more butterflies on it (they didn't use them all) but otherwise the cake was perfect.

The Photographer - Carly Weekley Photography of Arizona did our photos. Why did I pick a photographer who lived so far away? Because she's an old college friend and I've been a fan of her work for years. I remember the first time I saw a wedding shoot of hers I was so impressed--it really looked straight out of a magazine! And, regardless of bias, I think that the pictures turned out beautifully. She had so many fun poses for us, and really got all of the details down. I half-considered hiring a second photog since she works without an assistant, but turns out I definitely didn't need one. It was like she was in a million places at once all by herself! Carly was creative, supportive, and helped make my day truly amazing. I love the shots she got and would recommend her to anyone!

The DJ/music -  Cory's second cousin is a DJ, but unfortunately he wasn't available for our event. Thankfully, his colleague at Milestone Entertainment of New England was! Gabe was great--he had the energy we were looking for and kept our reception moving along.  His voice was like a wacky radio announcer and I loved it. The song list was extensive but the only parameters we gave were the songs we needed to have and Gabe did the rest--our first dance was Frank Sinatra's "I Got You Under My Skin," my stepfather-daughter dance was "Hero" by Mariah Carey, and Cory's mother-son dance was "My Wish" by Rascal Flats. I wanted to honor by dad, who passed away in 2007, by playing "Butterfly Kisses" and my uncles (both family and family friends) surprised me by dancing with me so I didn't have to be alone. After all the tears--my own included!--dried, we welcomed everyone to the dance floor to dance to "Footloose," a favorite of my theater friends since that was our senior year musical. The DJ did a great job with upbeat dancing the night away.

The Photobooth - We rented this as a package deal with our DJ. A photobooth was my must-have silly wedding thing. And it was a HUGE hit! The only place we could fit it all was the upstairs area of the reception, so I worried that people wouldn't use it. But they did, and the results were hilarious. There was a booth attendant who took care of the printing and passing out of props. The booth would print two strips of each set of photos, one for the guest and one was put into a scrapbook for the guests to sign. It's a fun keepsake and we got digital downloads of all the photos in case anyone wanted extra prints.

The Favors - We practically had swag bags. I was so worried about the unpredictable July weather in Massachusetts that I wanted to make sure if it was balls-hot outside our guests would be okay. I may have overdone it. So, on each chair we had a bag that included the following: our program (designed by Cory), sunglasses and a koozie with our names and a hidden water bottle inside, a paper fan, glow sticks for the reception, and bubbles for our recession. On each table we had a little box that contained a pot and seed starter for everyone to grow their own Texas Bluebonnets, and as guests left we handed them a bag of Italian cookies from La Fiorentina, a tradition in Cory's family.

My wedding was incredible, and such a wonderful and happy day. Planning a wedding from 2000 miles away is a feat, and we couldn't have done it without help. Huge thanks to my mom and stepdad, as well as Cory's family, for all their help. We are so lucky to have you guys as parents! And thank you to all our guests who came out to share this day with us--we hope you had as much fun as we did!

One final thing--this is Cory's reenactment unit, giving us a sword arch as we walked back down the aisle! A fun touch and shout out to Cory's family's traditions.

Monday, August 21, 2017

My Wonderful Wedding: Part 1


You guys. I don't want my wedding to be over, but it's been a month and a half of blissfully married life already. I keep re-living the day and being happy that it was so wonderful. I've already gotten my pictures printed and hung all around me, and they always make me smile.

Since I'm a blogger, I thought I'd share the bits and pieces that made up my amazing day!

The Rings - The diamonds are all from my family. The center diamond in my engagement ring was the ring my mom and dad put on layaway when they were engaged and visited every week. The two other diamonds are from my great-grandma's wedding ring, and Cory's parents' original engagement ring. The wedding band is made up of my mom and dad's anniversary diamond insert. The smaller diamonds are slightly different shapes and sizes, but I love how the asymmetry makes it unique. I chose a swirl type base and had the other diamonds added in. My ring was originally made by a local jeweler in my parents' hometown, but unfortunately there were some major issues with it. Thankfully, my mom's friend one town over was able to fix it for me, and design my wedding band to nestle perfectly within the customized engagement ring. If you live in Western Massachusetts, definitely check out Ted's Creative Jewelers! His custom work is GORGEOUS and I truly wish I had come to him in the first place. Cory's ring is titanium, and he got it from Hannoush, a local jewelry chain.

The Invitations - Cory made them! They came out gorgeous and we had so many people ask where we got them or if they were super expensive. I think, in total, we paid about $300 for the paper, ink, and postage. Cory hand-lettered them on a borrowed press, and we backed them onto purple paper and tied with twine and a tag with our initials. Then I went through with butterfly stamps for some extra flare. If you're interested in hiring Cory as a reasonably priced designer or printer, you can reach him on his business Facebook page.

The Wedding Party - I was so lucky that Cory's friends are my friends too, because our whole wedding party felt like one big happy family. My party included Allisonn and Jenn, two of my best friends from elementary school and high school; Jessika and Jill, my two best friends from college; and Emma, Christina, and Lauren, who became my best friends once I graduated and started living on my own. Emma and Jenn shared the role of Maid of Honor, and they were amazing. Emma lives in MA, so she was able to pop over at a moment's notice to help my mom, and was a huge help once I was home as well. Jenn provided morale support in Texas, and then kicked into MOH gear once we both were in town. Cory's party included both our brothers (Andrew and Trevor), his best friend Chris from college, our friend Jess who became our friend in Austin but has known Cory since high school, and John and Dan, who were my good friends in high school (I even dated Dan!) and became Cory's friend when we started dating. We all had SO much fun together and our respective Bachlorette and Bachelor parties were a blast.

The Dress - I'm extremely lucky that so many of my friends are so talented! My good friend Cristen runs Aliber's Bridal in Greenfield, Massachusetts, and I knew that's where I would find my dream gown. I used to model dresses for her store at bridal shows, so in exchange I got a little discount, too. Cristen REALLY knows her stuff. She already knew what I liked since we were friends, but I've seen her work with strangers too--after researching your personal style, she pulls a number of dresses on the day of your appointment. Based on your likes and dislikes in your first round of trying on, she narrows the search until you find your perfect dress. My dress was absolutely gorgeous, and I think it was the third or fourth dress I tried on. Fitted sweetheart neckline with large lace details in a less traditional pattern (I loved the modern look), with a flowing skirt with just a tiniest hint of pink. We jazzed it up a bit with a crystal belt, which gave it the little bit of sparkle I was hoping for. It was so flattering and so pretty. For my shoes, I wore cowboy boots. GUYS. Cowboy boots are the BEST wedding shoe, hands-down. My heels didn't sink in the soft grass, I was able to keep them on all night for dancing, AND they doubled as a sort-of purse to keep my phone in for pictures. I highly suggest them to anyone.

Wedding Colors/theme? - I've always loved purple and rose, so those colors were prominent throughout our wedding, with bits of yellow as a highlight. I let my bridesmaids pick their own dresses in a dusty rose color (called "Quartz"), which was easiest at David's Bridal since they were across the country. The quality of dress wasn't perfect, but I didn't want my bridesmaids to spend more than they had to. Cory picked khaki colored suits with lilac details (in "Wisteria" also from David's Bridal) and although they didn't match the bridesmaids perfectly, they complemented each other well. We didn't set out with a wedding "theme" but because we put in so many little details of things we loved, there was a sort-of half Texas Rustic, half butterfly theme. My bridesmaids wore cowboy boots, which ended up being a great decision for our outside farmland wedding, because one of my maids of honor stepped in cow poop!

The Venue - We could not have picked a more perfect venue. I have always dreamed of a rustic outdoors wedding, and had looked at a few outdoorsy venues (farms, orchards, etc) before my mom suggested The Salem Cross Inn. It was absolutely perfect. Not only was it nestled on a few acres of farmland (there were COWS out there!) but it was originally a colonial inn. I don't know if I've mentioned it on this blog before, but Cory grew up doing Revolutionary War reenactments with his family. So it was the PERFECT aesthetic for us. We were married outside by the gazebo, and had our reception in the gorgeous barn room attached to the main restaurant. There were so many areas of the grounds that were perfect for pictures! Thankfully, the weather held out, but had it rained we would have had the wedding in the "basement" area--which sounds weird but it had big bay windows looking out into the farm land, pretty lights hung on the walls and hanging from the ceiling, exposed wooden beams, and a large fireplace--so even that would have been gorgeous!

...Okay so, I'll have to cut this into two blog posts. Check back for Part 2!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Heirloom Tomato Galette with Ricotta

This recipe originally appeared on my old blog, Quarter Life (Crisis) Cuisine, which I let expire after not using it for a year. When I realized blogger didn't publish these anywhere else but the domain, I tried to re-buy it and found some spammy site had bought it up instead. So, I am rescuing some of my better recipes and re-publishing them here!

When I first developed this recipe, it was my first fall outside of New England. And let me tell you, New England has the best fall season. The leaves are gorgeous, the veggies are delicious, and the air is finally not humid and it's lovely and cool. However, I always lamented the end of summer because it meant that winter was just a whisper away.

Living in Texas, the fear of winter is definitely gone. But I do miss fall. Thankfully, I have a few weddings I'll be attending during that time, so I'l be able to get a little glimpse of those wonderful leaves. In the meantime, I'm just happy I don't have to worry about a looming cold!

And while Texas doesn't have the same amazing veggie game that New England does, it does have the best fruit I've ever tasted. And, remember, tomato is a fruit. Plus, due to the warmer climate, we can grow things year-round! Local chain supermarket, H-E-B, has such a wonderful focus on local food that I can get fresh Texas tomatoes whenever I want. These little baby heirloom tomatoes are so pretty! And they are truly amazing.

This galette reminds me of a very fancy pizza. Prior to creating this recipe, I'd only ever had sweet galettes, but this one has made me a believer in the savory. It's a great dish to make after a trip to the farmer's market!

Heirloom Grape Tomato Galette with Ricotta Filling
(Crust based on instructions Food52)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1.5 sticks of COLD butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup of ICE water
  • 1 tbs garlic powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg (for glaze)

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (I used Heirloom)
  • 1 tbs corn starch
  • 1 heaping tbs herbs de provance
  • salt
  • ~1/4 cup ricotta cheese

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

-Mix together flour, garlic powder, and salt. With your hands, a pastry cutter, or a food processor, mix together the flour mixture and the cold butter. If using your hands: pinch together the butter into the flour until the biggest bits left are the size of peas. If using a food processor: Pulse until the biggest bits are pea-size.

-Sprinkle the ice water over the dough, folding gently and making sure the ice cubes don't fall in. With your hands, gently press the dough together until smooth. If too crumbly, use a tablespoon more water at a time.

-Spread some plastic wrap on the counter, and press dough into a disc. Wrap up, and put in fridge for at least 1 hour.

-Prepare filling: Mix together tomatoes, corn starch, herbs, salt. (A splash of red wine vinegar or balsamic might be nice here too!) Let sit for 5 minutes.

-Back to the dough... Pull it out of the fridge and gently roll into a circular, flat disc (Ideal thickness is about 1/3", but I think mine was closer to 1/2", oops). Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a silpat.

-Spread ricotta cheese in the middle of the disc, leaving about 3 inches or so around the edge. Pile tomatoes on top of the ricotta.

-Carefully fold the edges of the pastry up and around the tomatoes. Pinch lightly to make sure it stays closed.

-Whisk egg and use a pastry brush or your fingers to "paint" the edges of the crust. Sprinkle with more garlic powder, salt, or herbs if you'd like.

-Bake for 1 hour OR until the crust is golden brown. (mine took 35 mins)

-Transfer, GENTLY, to a cooling rack and cool completely before serving. Serve with slices of fresh basil.