Archive for the ‘Travel and Eating Out’ Category

Summer Veggie Tostada

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

Family road trips have always been our thing. (Or maybe, rather, my mom’s thing. But we all go along with it.) For as long as I can remember, we’ve taken one every summer. When we moved to Texas 16 years ago, we took a massive road trip through the southwest. We went to the Grand Canyon, Saguaro National Park, Carlsbad Caverns and the Petrified Forest. On the way home we spent the night in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the city completely captured our hearts. Ever since then, some contingent of our family has gone every summer.

For the past several years, it’s been just my parents and one of the kids – the rest of us haven’t been able to go (summer school, work, etc.). But this year, the stars aligned and we set out as a family on the 12-hour drive from Austin. I’m not going to lie – the drive is LONG and BORING. West Texas doesn’t offer much eye candy, and the scenery across the New Mexico border isn’t all that different. But when you get closer to Santa Fe, things start to look more promising. There are mountains in the distance and little adobe houses dotting the landscape.

And, you can always feel the mood in the car shift when people realize that we’re within an hour of New Mexican cooking. On our first night, we drove straight to Harry’s Roadhouse, and 3 of the 5 of us ordered the Tostada. As I’m sure many of you do, my mom had carefully researched where to eat and what to order, and Harry’s Tostada did not disappoint. Completely worth it. The veggies were fresh, the tortilla crisp, the flavors savory. It was my favorite meal of the trip.

When we got home, I couldn’t kick the craving. I wanted more. Apparently, so did my mom. When tomatoes showed up in our farm basket, tostadas were first on the menu. And since then, we’ve had these almost every week. There’s a perfect mix of veggies, and the end result is a meal that tastes light and fresh from beginning to end. They’re a little piece of Santa Fe summer…just what we need in this ridiculous heat!

Gather Up:
2 cups fresh corn kernels from 3 ears sweet corn
1/2 cup diced red onion
2 cloves minced garlic
2 medium diced zucchini or summer squash
1 cup organic black beans, rinsed and drained
pinch dried oregano
flour tortillas, preferably homemade or bakery fresh
olive oil
1 pound peeled and chopped garden tomatoes
1/3 cup fresh chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
Grated soft white cheese (optional)
1 ripe sliced avocado

Slice corn off cob and saute in hot oil over medium high heat until cooked, 2-3 minutes. Season corn and remove.

Adding additional oil, saute the red onion until soft and beginning to brown, 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and stir until the fragrance is released, about 30 seconds.

Add zucchini and saute until just beginning to soften, 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Return corn to the pan, and add the beans and oregano. Stir and heat gently. Check for seasoning. Remove from heat.

Combine tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice and salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside.

Lightly brush both sides of a tortilla with olive oil and slide it into a hot nonstick pan over medium heat. Gently press it with a spatula, and flip it over when the first side begins to turn golden and crispy. When the second side is done, remove to a rack and repeat with remaining tortillas.

To assemble tostada place several spoonfuls of the veggie and bean mixture on a tortilla. Top with a light sprinkle of white cheese if desired, add a generous spoonful of the tomato salsa and top with a few slices of avocado!

Adapted from a recipe by FarmHouseTable; Inspired by Harry’s Roadhouse, Santa Fe

An Engagement in London

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Disclaimer: This post does not contain a recipe. I was going to post one, but in light of recent personal events, this post makes much more sense…

About a month ago, my boss told me I would be traveling to London for a week on our work exchange program. I was SO excited: the shopping, the food, the sightseeing! Naturally, I told Darrell. He came back to me a few days later and said that his company was also starting a work exchange program, and he was looking into participating. I was hoping that his company would let him go; that way, we could coordinate our trips to be there at the same time. Long story short, it worked out…he was able to go, and we booked our flights. I never thought twice about it after that.

Fast forward to last Friday, September 17. Darrell and I arrive at London Heathrow, take the Heathrow Express, check-in to our hotel, change, and head off to lunch. Darrell is acting weird. Although, not any weirder than he’s been acting for the last four months. (Apparently, the four months where he was trying to get my ring in order…the four months where he decided it would be safer to basically just not carry on a conversation with me.) I chocked it up to jet lag and moved on.

After lunch, we decided to walk through Green Park to see Buckingham Palace. (Side note: leading up to the trip, Darrell kept asking me about my favorite thing in London. I told him the parks. I LOVE the parks.) As we’re strolling through the park, Darrell begins to direct me off the path, into the middle of this grassy area, lined with huge, old, trees. Gorgeous.

Darrell: I can’t wait until we can do these kinds of things together all the time, for the rest of our lives.

Me: Ummhmm. Me either. (Joking now. Seriously, completely joking.) Do you have my ring in your pocket?

[I felt Darrell tense up, and then the rest of the details are a little fuzzy for me. I think I went into shock.]

Darrell: Nooooo…well…(pulling away from me)…I was actually thinking we could start the rest of our lives right now. (Down on one knee now.) Ellen, will you marry me?

Me: Are you serious?! Are you kidding me?! (Crying.) YES!! Are you serious?! Are you kidding me?! (Still crying.)

It was the most thoughtful thing anyone has ever done for me. I’m still in awe of the planning that went into this proposal, and the number of people who kept it a secret from me. I will absolutely remember it forever. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so special or so loved.

We spent the rest of the weekend sightseeing. (There was never any work exchange program for Darrell, so he left on Monday morning.)

At the Globe…

…and on the London Eye…

…and in front of Tower Bridge.

I’ll close by leaving you with two places that you absolutely MUST visit the next time you’re in London: Ben’s Cookies and Hotel Chocolat. (Someone in our London office is laughing at me right now because I probably picked out two tourist traps.) Either way, I LOVE these places.

Ben’s Cookies – big, dense, rich, warm. Doesn’t get any better than that. It was a regular stop for me on my way home from work during the summer I studied abroad. Try the triple chocolate with nuts. Heaven.

Hotel Chocolat is a British chocolatier and cocoa grower. I discovered the shop on my first trip to High Street three summers ago, and I went back every Sunday to stock up as part of my weekly grocery shopping. This time: cocoa penne. You’re welcome, mom!

This post is already MUCH too long, but I’ve been dying to share. If you played any part at all in this story (even just keeping the secret from me) thank you SO much. I really couldn’t be any happier. I am so excited for this next chapter of my life, and I’m even more excited to start it with my fiancé. (EEK!)

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! xoxo

Santa Fe Sangria Slush

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

My luv for the mountains of New Mexico is no secret around our house. Truth be told, after several weeks of 100 degree heat the thoughts of ALL sensible Texans turn to the mountains!

But this summer the schedule has been tight. Once upon a time I thought that nothing could be harder than juggling the demands of 3 young children. Twenty years later I am here to tell you that nothing can be harder than juggling the schedules of 3 adult children…

So it turned out only 3 of us had 1 weekend open to make a run to the mountains. Did it deter us that it is a 12 hour drive? Did we think it was silly to go for only 1 day? Is it really worth all that for red and green chilies, brilliant clear skies and cool mountain air?

In a word, Yes. Welcome to my Sunday in Santa Fe and the drink it inspired!

Here is the hotel where we stayed – The Inn of the Governors. For a last minute booking it turned out to be delightful and authentic.

First we had breakfast. I had a full moon cake. You will see the resemblance to Mexican wedding cookies, but they are made extra large to look like a full moon. Extra large and extra good, I might add…

We walked around town while waiting for my son to come to life, and I’m glad we did! Church bells were ringing and there was an art show underway.

The bulk of the day was spent in the Jemez Mountains. We hiked to ruins, looked down on the Rio Grande and tried not to fall off any cliffs.

Dinner brought the required avalanche of red chili sauce on the meat, green chili sauce on the veggies and honey on the sopapillas! (Because some things are better left just the way they are…especially when you only get them once a year!)

But then there is the margarita… (The original of which is carefully documented HERE.) Something new – green chili infused tequila! Of course I ordered it! Of course it was ridiculous and yummy!

Which brings me finally to my point — the local sangria. Which I also wanted, but could not possibly fit into this day! So instead I chose to make it here! This recipe mimics the sangria sorbet served at a local cafe, and delivers the freshest and fruitiest and slushiest sangria you have ever tasted!

You would never guess the secret ingredient is cantaloupe – I used a ripe Extra Sweet Tuscan Cantaloupe for the puree which forms the base of the drink. The final result can also be used as a fantastic slushy dessert sauce — over chunks of ripe melon of course!

Gather Up:
¾ cup dry red Spanish wine
12 ounces flavored Italian soda, I used blood orange
½ ripe cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and chopped
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
¼ cup honey
4 fresh mint leaves, stemmed and finely chopped
Fresh mint sprigs, sliced oranges, sliced lemons, sliced limes for garnish

You may vary some of the liquids in this recipe to your taste – the flavor of the soda and the variety of the red wine. It is also OK to add a splash of gin or tequila if you want a stronger drink. But the cantaloupe and the mint are both essential. End of lecture.

Place the cubed cantaloupe, the orange juice, the honey and the mint in a food processor and process until smooth.

Pour into a large bowl with a spout and add the red wine and Italian soda. Blend well. Cover and place in refrigerator until thoroughly chilled. Pour into a prepared ice cream maker and freeze until slushy consistency is reached, according to manufacturer’s directions.

To serve, pour into a glass and garnish with fruit slices and mint.

For a dessert treatment, pour drink over cubes of melon and garnish with mint.

Adapted from a recipe in Cafe Pasqual’s Cookbook.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

I kind of pride myself on my baking abilities. Most attempts are fairly successful, but there’s one thing I haven’t been able to master – the birthday cake. At some point I even relinquished control and let my mom and sister give it a whirl. We’ve ALL tried, and we’ve failed more times than I care to discuss. And quite frankly, I know the reason why. There’s a bakery in Houston, where we lived for 13 years, that makes the MOST AMAZING cake and buttercream icing that you will ever have. Period. (This is not up for debate.) For those 13 blissful years, we had perfect, dense, moist, sweet cake at each birthday.

When we moved from Houston to Austin three years ago, we contemplated driving back and forth to pick up our birthday cakes, but ultimately decided it was silly. We resolved to either make our own cakes, or find a bakery here. Like I said, we tried…but now my boyfriend drives the cakes over from Houston. True story, y’all. (I can’t make these things up.)

These cakes have kind of become a part of our family – we have literally celebrated EVERY major occasion with them for the past 15 years (with just a slight, misguided intermission). And just look at the joy these cakes bring. Here’s Robin at her high school graduation…

And here’s me, at my last birthday…(And yes, that is Hedwig, Harry Potter’s owl, on my cake. Because apparently, vampires aren’t the only mythical characters I have a thing for.)

And for my mom’s last birthday, we (appropriately) commissioned a garden cake. Keep in mind, this was right after my mom decided to throw away all of our prepackaged food and join a CSA. Were we poking fun a little bit? Yes. (I guess the joke’s on us – welcome to our blog!)

So this past weekend, as is tradition, we celebrated my mom’s birthday with a picnic dinner and RJ Goodies cake at Shakespeare at Winedale.

BUT, today is her real birthday. So, Momma, on your birthday, we want you to know that we love you so very much! We hope your day is fabulous – if anyone deserves it, you do. HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Love…Ellen, Robin, Sean (and dad, who took the pic).

PS – RJ Goodies (although they know us by first name) did not have anything to do with this blog post. We simply love them that much. Although, if someone from the bakery is reading this, we would never say no to free dessert…

The Best in Dublin: Sausage Rolls

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

My mom arrived in Dublin a few days ago, all in a frenzy I must add. I hadn’t really realized how calm and relaxed I have become since I got here, but the Irish culture is so much slower than our “gotta be going every minute of every day” way of life. So needless to say it took some adjusting! But in the spirit of everything Irish, and to satisfy my mom’s intense need for a cup of coffee, I took her out to my favorite Saturday afternoon activity: the Dublin Farmers Market.

Every Saturday local Dublin vendors come to Meeting House Square for the weekly farmers market. Fresh organic fruits and veggies from Ireland, France, Holland and Spain share space with fair trade coffee, crepes, cheeses, pork sandwiches, lamb kebobs, smoothies, oysters and fresh baked bread.

There is however one food I have become particularly attached to: sausage rolls. For the last three Saturdays I have awakened with a single thought: “sausage rolls for breakfast”! The Cake Eater Bakery is one of the many vendors at the farmers market and in my opinion, they make the best!

Unfortunately our European kitchen can in no way support the large quantities of produce my mother wanted to buy.  While I insisted that carrots, oranges, purple kohlrabi and Irish sausages would not all fit in the fridge, we did agree on a box of fresh Wicklow strawberries, which have served as a great snack after work!

More amazing food to come; we have a bus to catch for Galway! Happy fourth of July from the Emerald Isle!

Welcome to Like Mother Like gal, stay at home mom, college student. Just 3 girls who love to eat and are dedicated to doing it the old-fashioned way! Plan, shop, cook, bake, clean, sleep, repeat. Hope you enjoy - we are so glad you are here!
Ur Mom Search
Subscribe to our Blog!
Ur Mom Archives
If you would like to feature a recipe, article, or photo from our blog, please ask first. We will probably say yes! In return, we will ask you to credit the content back to us.