I realize that we have been MIA for over a year now! The 30 second update is simply this: life has taken a crazy turn in the last year and while we are still cooking yummy home-cooked meals, the three of us are cooking them from separate homes instead of one, we have all taken new jobs (or first jobs), and we all have been swept away in the sureal world of wedding planning with Ellen! She is officially up and running and has orchestrated some stunning events over the last few months. (http://westcottweddings.com)
While this post is not a new glorious spring recipe to welcome in the 90 degree heat here in Texas, I would love to introduce everyone to Noonday Collection, my latest blessing and adventure. I came across Noonday through my sister who was lucky enough to attend one of their trunk shows this past fall. Noonday is a fair trade organization that works to provide a stable income for women all of the world.
When I was in college, I began hearing real life stories for the first time about individuals around the world who were oppressed, enslaved, and starving. I learned that companies like Noonday were providing these people with jobs and teachings them trades to help them pull their families out of the daily struggles of poverty. These stories not only moved me and encouraged me, but also got me thinking: If I was hearing these stories for the first time, how many other people out there would be encouraged to know that there are organizations and businesses built around helping these families succeed.
Today I have the privilege and opportunity to share with you the stories of these amazing artisans and the products they create, while at the same time helping you step up your style with vibrant colors and trendy designs! One story that sticks out in my mind is a group of women in Ethiopia who have been removed from their village because they are HIV positive. These women live together outside the city where they collect artillery shells and bullet casings from the Ethiopian conflicts and turn them into beautiful beaded necklaces and bracelets. The money they make from Noonday has enabled them to vaccinate themselves and others against the spread of HIV as well as provide them with a stable income to live off of.
I have literally been moved to tears by this stories and so many other like it. It’s pretty powerful to think that I get to be a part of supporting these women! By purchasing from Noonday, you can be assured that you are having a direct impact on someone’s livelihood.
And if supporting these women isn’t enough to encourage you, we also support adoption. If you or someone you know is adopting we will donate 10% of trunk show sales in cash to go towards the adoption.
Feel free to take a look at my website to see all the beautiful pieces we have! www.robinreynolds.noondaycollection.com If you’re interested in hosting a trunk show or doing a blog giveaway please feel free to contact me! Even if you’re not in Texas, I can connect you to the right ambassador. firstname.lastname@example.org
Is it just me, or do the veggies at the farmer’s market look just a little bit brighter and just a little more enticing as the weather gets hotter? In my heat-induced delirium I choose to believe that it is nature’s way of drawing me in as the heat intensifies and my resolve to cook wanes…
Because my resolve to cook is waning… Can’t use the oven, too hot to grill, tired of salads, what’s a cook to do??? With a counter covered in produce and the air filled with the smell of basil, this quick pasta recipe is a lovely way to get dinner on the table!
3 pounds garden tomatoes, mixed varieties if you wish, peeled and quartered
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1/3 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ pound penne pasta, cooked al dente
2 teaspoons sugar
½ pound loose Italian turkey sausage
3 zucchini, or summer squash of your choice, sliced and halved
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan
Large handful fresh basil leaves
In a large heavy sauté pan put the garlic and the tomatoes. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook slowly over medium low heat until the tomatoes are falling apart and their juices have mixed with the olive oil to form a nice sauce, about 30 minutes. Stir in the sugar and taste for seasoning.
In a separate sauté pan, heat a few splashes of olive oil and sauté the sausage until brown and caramelized. Remove. Add another splash of olive oil if needed and sauté the zucchini until caramelized around the edges.
Add the sausage and zucchini to the tomato sauce. Toss in the cooked pasta.
Remove from heat, and gently work in the Parmesan with tongs. Top with torn basil leaves and serve.
Adapted from Tyler Florence: Quick Farmer’s Market Pasta
About two weeks ago I got put on a new client project at work. My role on this particular project is all about food. I’m responsible for creating content. About food. Ummmm, could this be a more perfect match? I’m thrilled. I was actually on a business trip for a different client when the spot opened up, and I will love my boss FOREVER for suggesting my name. She pretty much made my life.
For the past two weeks, I’ve been researching and writing. Cooking and baking. Snapping pictures and editing. And it has been FUN. I haven’t had this much fun at work in a loooonnngggg time. I feel excited and inspired. It’s refreshing.
You know what else is refreshing? Sherbet. Specifically, this raspberry buttermilk sherbet. It’s icy and creamy. Light and dense with flavor. It’s the best of both worlds: everything there is to love about the fruitiness of a sorbet combined with the flavor and density of an ice cream. It hits the perfect summer note.
6 cups raspberries (4-5 pints)
1/4 cup 100% grape or apple juice
1 cup superfine sugar
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup heavy cream
Puree the raspberries, juice and sugar in a food processor until smooth. Stir in the buttermilk, cream and a pinch of salt. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 4 hours.
Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until firm.
To serve, allow to thaw on the counter for about 20 minutes before scooping.
Enjoy big spoonfuls, or in ice cream sandwiches, with the cookie of your choice. We used mini gingersnaps – yum!
Recipe from the Food Network Magazine
This recipe is all about the carrots… The kind pulled fresh out of the ground, sweet and crunchy and carroty. I think I love garden carrots as much as I love garden tomatoes!
I’ve wanted to make a version of this sandwich all season long… It has been in the “Spring/Summer Want-to-Make” pile ever since I drooled over it week after week during a show about food trucks on the Food Network.
I knew there was something special about the flavors in this sandwich, and I correctly figured if it could be made in a food truck it could be made in my kitchen!
Sad to say, the banh mi truck did not win, (nor did the food truck from Austin…). The winning truck was from New York, and they made killer burgers, which now that I think about it actually seems kinda boring compared to a few bites of this sandwich!
3 cups shredded garden carrots
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup white vinegar
Pinch kosher salt
1/3 cup shoyu soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons garam masala, recipe follows
Freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1.5 pounds thin pork loin chops
6 soft rolls
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
Jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced circles
About 2 hours before serving prepare the pickled carrots. Whisk the sugar, vinegar and salt until dissolved. Add the carrots, cover and refrigerate.
About 1 hour before serving, combine the soy sauce, sugar, garam masala, black pepper and garlic. Pour over the chops, seal and marinate in the refrigerator.
Heat a heavy pan over medium high heat and oil lightly. Take the pork chops out of the marinade and place in pan, being careful not to crowd the chops. No meat should be touching, so do this step in 2 batches.
Cook on each side about 2 minutes; each chop should be a caramel brown color. Remove to carving board and let rest for 5 minutes.
Slice the chops into thin strips. Lightly toast the buns.
To assemble sandwich, spread mayonnaise over bottom of bun. Pile a layer of pickled carrots, then a layer of cucumber slices, then some sprigs of cilantro. Add a generous amount of pork strips, thin slices of jalapeno and a big squeeze of lime juice over the whole thing!
Garam Masala (This is totally worth making and keeping on hand!)
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon ground fennel seed
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
Mix well, using a spice grinder if some of your spices are still in seed form. Store in a tightly closed container and use at will!
Recipe inspired by Texas carrots and adapted from Banh Mi Wrap
I love hippies. I always wanted to be one. My children think I was, and I do nothing to dispel that notion… So naturally, health food places and local sustainable farming is my thing… (That part, at least, is true.)
There is a certain restaurant in Austin (probably the hippie capital of Texas, or maybe the entire Southwest even…) where they serve local produce, embrace all manner of vegetarians, remain eternally chill and operate 24 hours a day. If you have been to Austin, someone has told you to go to Kerbey Lane, and heaven help you if you did not go!
The pancakes have a cult following, and let me tell you, once you have eaten their peach pancakes in the summer, they will haunt you… In a good way… In a come-back-for-more kinda way… So go. I will not judge you. And sister… neither will they!
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 ½ cups buttermilk, at room temperature
4 tablespoons oil
2 ½ cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ginger
Pinch ground cloves
2 cups ripe, peeled, diced peaches
Blend egg, milk and oil. In a separate bowl blend dry ingredients together.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Gently fold in peaches. Let sit 5 minutes. Batter will be lumpy.
Heat griddle until drops of water sizzle. Grease lightly if needed.
Drop large spoonfuls of batter onto hot grill and smooth out slightly. Flip pancakes once pancakes puff and bubbles have formed, but before bubbles break.
Turn and brown on the other side, pressing down gently to make sure batter cooks evenly around the fruit.
Serve immediately with powdered sugar, butter, warm syrup, peach butter, or topping of your choice.
Inspired by Kerbey Lane Café, Austin