Thursday, May 23, 2013

Dill Ham Sandwiches

Whenever my husband and I visit his family in Idaho, we have several home cooked meals we always ask for. One of our favorites is "Dilly Ham Sandwiches."Jason grew up with these having them as a boy at the Oregon Coast, with family on Sunday afternoons, and even in high school with the football team. They are his all time favorite!

Not sure why they are called Dilly instead of Dill but it makes them even cuter to me. These little ham and cheese sandwiches on mini buns with yummy butter and dill sauce- what's not to like? They are great for a crowd too...just keep assembling sandwiches!

I made these for my recent Kitchen Themed Bridal Shower and they were a hit. And if you really have to, you could use turkey instead of ham but I think the ham is a much better complement.










Dill Ham Sandwiches
The Apron Gal

Ingredients
24 Hawaiian or butter dinner rolls
1.5 pounds thinly shaved ham
1 package sliced Swiss cheese (10-12 slices).

1 cup melted butter
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons dill weed

Directions

Whisk sauce ingredients together. 
 
Spread sauce on top and bottom of each bun, then place ham and 1/2 slice of cheese and close.  Wrap each sandwich in foil and bake 25-30 minutes at 325. Sandwiches should be melted and your house should smell amazing before removing from oven. 

We serve these wrapped in the foil in a basket and just let people unwrap them themselves.

Enjoy!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Meet Austin: East Side King

When we first moved to Austin, one of the people we kept hearing about was Paul Qui. He is a local chef who won Top Chef: Texasa James Beard award and has been the executive chef at two of the most popular and respected restaurants in Austin: Uchi and Uchiko. So basically.....he's an awesome chef and someone Austinites are very proud to call their own!

After all of his successes, Paul opened several Asian inspired food trucks called East Side King. He just recently opened the first brick and mortar version so of course, we had to go!

You might find the menu slightly intimidating if you aren't an Asian food connoisseur, but they make everything on the menu completely accessible and utterly delectable.  Just order everything I ate below and you will do great! Or the people that work there are awesome too and you can ask for their recommendations.

Needless to say, if you are ever in Austin, definitely eat here! The restaurant location is located at the bar called Hole in the Wall. (The other three food trucks are located around Austin). It's also a very "Austin" location with funky wall art and fun people-we loved every minute on the patio on a beautiful Spring evening.


 
 Chicken Tortilla Ramen: Bacon dashi, chicken-tortilla-Tom-Yum paste, chicken thigh, avocado, corn, corn tortilla, pickled yellow onion, jalapeño, cilantro, garlic, lime. This is a Tex Mex twist on a traditional Asian ramen bowl. My friend ordered this but loved it! 
The flavors were really unique!  

 Brussels Sprout Salad fried Brussels sprouts, sweet-spicy sauce, shredded cabbage, basil, cilantro, mint, onion, jalapeño, deep-fried bun. 
These were awesome and I'm not a huge Brussels sprouts fan!

    Beet Home Fries Deep-fried roasted beets, kewpie mayo, schichimi togarashi, green onion. These are sweet -my husband liked them more than me but when dipped in the mayo
 they were pretty irresistible.


   Poor Qui’s Buns: Roasted pork belly in steamed bun, hoisin sauce, cucumber kimchi, green onion.  These are soft pillowy buns that don't have a lot of flavor 
but the flavor of the pork belly is the perfect complement.


 Thai Chicken Kara-age: Deep-fried chicken thigh, sweet-spicy sauce, basil, cilantro, mint, onion, jalapeño. This was probably my favorite of everything we tried! 
Basically Asian fried chicken. 














  We love you East Side King!

Here's Paul Qui's biography if you wanted to know a little more about him:

Paul Qui is the recipient of the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Southwest 2012, and the winner of Top Chef Season 9. Born in Manila, Philippines and trained in classic French and Japanese cuisine, Paul takes a modernist approach towards food, where there are no boundaries. Starting as a stage, Paul worked his way up the ranks of Uchi to Chef de Cuisine and eventually Executive Chef at Uchiko. While training under Uchi Chef and Owner Tyson Cole, Paul learned to adapt traditional Japanese dishes with an eye towards local flavor, all while incorporating influences from South East Asian and European cuisine. Paul is currently the chef/owner of his flagship restaurant, qui, which opens in Spring 2013. He is also the co-founder and chef/owner of East Side King, a group of Asian-inspired street food trailers and restaurants in Austin, Texas.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Cucumber Goat Cheese Mini Toasts

I think I have mentioned many times that I am totally enchanted by all things "miniature." When I was growing up, my parents used to take me antique shopping a lot. Or rather, they went antique shopping a lot and dragged me along. Eventually, I grew to love it. I loved the adventure of walking up and down aisles, hunting for treasures. My stepfather is a professional calligrapher and he was always searching for old pens, pen points and pen boxes. My mom had a certain china pattern that she hunted for all over the US. 

And not wanting to be left out, I needed my own special items to hunt for.  I'm not sure how I picked them-most likely because they were cheaper and smaller and I was a kid afterall so I myself was smaller back then. But I fell in love with all things miniature. I found a mini iron, mini doll furniture including a toilet and sink, mini baskets, mini cow, mini eggs.....well, you get the idea. I didn't really do much with them other than collect them but I still have many of them today. I have a hard time parting with things with such strong memories. Feel free to call me a hoarder but just looking at those mini treasures reminds me of the unforgettable smells of those stores. 

Somehow, this miniature obsession has found it's way into my favorite foods as well. Especially appetizers for parties. So when I stumbled on this package of "mini toasts" at Central Market, I knew I had to have them. They were especially dainty for the bridal shower I threw recently. 





Cucumber Goat Cheese Mini Toasts
The Apron Gal

Ingredients
1 package mini toasts
Goat cheese, feta cheese or cream cheese
Mini cucumbers  
Dill weed


Directions

Thinly slice the cucumbers. Spread each mini toast with a thick layer of goat cheese-if it's too thin, the toast will absorb the cheese. Then top each toast with a slice of cucumber. Sprinkle with dill weed. 

These can't be pre-assembled too far in advance or the toast will absorb the cheese and the cucumber will dry out. So make them just before your party starts!

Enjoy!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Insta-Yum April

I have some great restaurants to share with y'all in more detail later but for now, here are my eats from this month!

 Coconut crusted chicken with pineapple slaw from the University of Texas. It was yummy but from their catering department so I doubt you can get
 find it unless you attend an intern fair like me! :)

 My new favorite treat from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.
 It's one of the cheapest things there and those cookies are giant! 

 Red Chile fries with Cotija cheese and green onions from Jack Allen's Kitchen. We also had the bacon wrapped quail, the blue crab artichoke dip and the pork belly sliders. Everything on their menu is amazing. Locally sourced ingredients, reasonable prices and great service. My husband is obsessed and has been literally 4 times since this time!

 Fat noodles with Chinese broccoli and chicken from Madam Mam's noodle house. 
These were delicious but o so spicy!

 Pulled pork with creamed corn from Uncle Billy's. I have to say-I wasn't that impressed. 
The queso and potato chips were really good but nothing else on the menu was that impressive.
 Fun outdoor patio though.

 The chicken parmigiano sandwich on the lunch menu at Olive Garden.
 It was really good and the perfect size and cheap too!

 Zeppoli donuts from Fat Tony's food truck. I had high hopes for these but they had little flavor and a weird texture. Definitely would not recommend.

 The steak and arugula with fried onions salad from Jack Allen Kitchen. I don't love arugula so I couldn't have done without but it was still really good and as aforementioned, I love Jack Allen. I wouldn't get this again though because there are so many other things I like :)

 Chocolate mousse with raspberry sauce from the AT&T Conference Center at UT. I liked the chocolate part but there was a little too much raspberry sauce for my liking.

 A deliciously perfect Round Rock Donut with sprinkles. I've decided when offered the chance of sprinkles or no sprinkles-always choose sprinkles!

 I received a shipment of Chobani yogurt on my doorstep and was so excited! Can't wait to share a recipe or two with y'all using their awesome Greek yogurt as a starting point. Not to mention this is great sprinkled with my homemade granola!

 The green belt pizza with ricotta, red onions, spinach, grape tomatoes, poblano peppers, and mushrooms. This wasn't my favorite pizza from them but I love their crust, their salads and the lunch specials at Pinthouse Pizza.

Chicken Ranch casserole with sweet potato fries from The Monument Cafe. I didn't like this much at all. I thought it was overpriced, a small menu and nothing special (sorry!). My husband ordered breakfast items for dinner and he really liked them- the waffle and eggs etc. But I won't be going back even though it seem to be a local favorite.

Ok, where have you gone lately that you recommend?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Austin Bakes for West Update & Gooey Chex Mix Recipe

I just wanted to post a quick update on the Austin Bakes fundraiser!

I went to drop off my goodies on Saturday morning and this is the scene I saw! Tables filled with delicious goodies and treats baked and donated by bloggers, Austinites and businesses. I was truly moved.

And even more moving?
 The total that was published from the 8 different bake sale locations and online!

 $19,257

I was just a tiny part of this amazing effort and I am so impressed with my community of both bloggers and those in Austin who volunteered or purchased goodies! 
THANK YOU to all those who helped!
 If you are still interested in donating, do so here!
To see more photos of goodies & those who participated, visit the website AustinBakes.com 


 Cute sign!

 One of my goodies!

 Look at these cake pop pushers! So beautiful and delicious too! 

Here are the goodies I bought! And they were delicious!

-----------

Here is a recipe for one of the goodies I made! 





Gooey Caramel Chex Mix with Nuts
The Apron Gal

Ingredients
*12-14 cups (Around 1 box) of Rice or Corn Chex or combination (I always choose both so it has more texture!)
1 7 ounce bag of sweetened coconut
1/2 cup nuts (I used sunflower seeds but you could use slivered almonds or pecans) 
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) butter (I prefer salted)
3/4 cup light corn syrup
**1/2 cup caramel bits

*I usually start with around 12 cups, coated with the mixture, then add more depending on how gooey you like each piece!
**If you don't have caramel, use an additional 1/2 cup light corn syrup

Directions

Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Measure out cereal and toss with coconut and nuts. (You could also add anything else you like! I think marshmallows, pretzels, craisins etc. could be fun additions!)

In a medium sauce pan, combine the sugar, butter, corn syrup, and caramel over medium heat. Whisk until smooth. Bring to a full boil, turn heat back down to medium, and cook for three minutes, stirring constantly. 

Pour over the cereal mixture in the bowl and gently toss as evenly as you can.

Spread cereal evenly on wax paper or Silpat and let cool.


Enjoy!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Austin Bakes for West!

I'm not sure how many of you have heard about the recent fertilizer plant explosion in the town of West, Texas. It is just over an hour north of where I live and Austin has united to help aid the rebuilding of the town and to honor the 15 victims of the explosion and fires. 

Austin bakers and bloggers have decided to raise funds to help aid the relief efforts in West by BAKING! This Saturday they are having a citywide bake sale to try to raise $15,000 for West. You can find all the locations and further details at the website: http://austinbakes.com/

I'm joining the efforts by donating baked goods and spreading the word! If you are in the Austin area-definitely check out the bake sale locations. The awesome thing is all baked goods are available for donations. Each location will have all kinds of goodies: cakes, breads, cookies, cake pops, etc. Stop by and pick up some delicious treats or just say hi and lend your support. The website also has information if you have some time to bake tomorrow or make posters to help out!


If you would like ot help spread the word- use the hashtags #AustinBakes #WestTX
Or if you would just like to help those in need in West-please donate here.


I'm so amazed to see all the support of our local community
 coming together to support one another! Go Austin!

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