Monday, September 1, 2014

Welcome to Austin

New city, new school, new apartment, new kitchen... same old me! Welcome to Student Savor: Austin Edition.

It's been two weeks since I moved here and I must admit I'm loving it so far. I come with high expectations--having cities like Boston and DF to compare--but it seems Austin will meet and surpass them in no time.

I'll hold my verdict on the city until a later post--given that I've barely seen it in through the eyes of a local--but I will admit that in terms of food and social life, Austin is amazing! I have yet to visit 6th Street in all its glamour (or lack thereof) and I still have to attend one of the infamous music festivals (I'm going to ACL in October!). But the restaurants, bars, events, etc. I've been to have proven to be enough to keep me smiling.

On another note, the weather is not to my liking. I appreciate the sunny mornings and blue skies until 8 p.m., but I'm in not okay with the constant temperature over 30 degrees Celsius (86 Farenheit). Sure it may be the time of year; and sure I may have to learn to deal with it now that I live in Texas; but I never thought I would miss the New England wind chill as much as I do now.

Moving onto the main course--pun intended--here's a recipe I adapted from my favorite cookbook to make a healthy version of Salmon with Beurre Rouge. It could've been that I was starving, but I actually think this dish turned out quite delicious--and clearly photogenic or it wouldn't be on here. It's also a quick and simple recipe that can be adapted to other fish filets or even a chicken breast. Enjoy!

Salmon with Coconut Wine Butter (adapted from How to Cook Everything)
Makes 2 servings
Active time: 20 minutes; total time: 30 minutes.

  • 2 tablespoons diced shallots
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 salmon filets (about 1/3 lb. each)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  1. In a small saucepan, combine shallots, wine, and 2 tablespoons vinegar over high heat. Cook until reduced to about half, stirring occasionally. 
  2. Season salmon with salt and pepper. Preheat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add salmon filets, skin-side up and raise heat to medium-high. Cook until crispy, about 5 minutes and flip over; cook for another 3 minutes, then 1 minute on each side, until filets are cooked through. 
  3. Once sauce is reduced, reduce heat to medium-high and add the coconut oil one tablespoon at a time, stirring to mix well. Add remaining vinegar and continue to cook until mixture reduces to about half again, about 3 minutes.
  4. Place salmon on plate and spoon sauce before serving.

**I served the salmon with thinly sliced zucchini marinated in balsamic vinegar and olive oil and sautéed over high heat.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Fruity Goodness

These days, I seldom have dessert--or at least compared to my regular dessert-wholfing habits. If you know me at all, you know that I basically live for dessert, which is why cutting it out of my diet (for marathon training purposes) has been so hard. It's been more than three months of intense training and I have yet to go a full week--maybe even a day--without a bite of some kind of sweet.

People said there's fruit; people said I'd get used to fruit as dessert. People said--and continue to say--a lot of nonsense.

No I haven't gotten used to eating fruits as dessert and no I haven't abandoned dessert altogether (nor will I in the remaining week and a half of my training). What I have done, is create scrumptious fruit-based desserts to satisfy my sweet tooth.

This one in particular was a friend's request. It turns out my mom's variation of this raspberry crumble from six years ago turned into an all-time favorite. And even though this was my first time making it, baking it once is enough to vouch for the taste and easiness of the recipe.

Boysenberry Crumble (adapted from Gourmet)
Active time: 30 mins. Total time: 3.5 hours
Makes about 10 servings

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5-7 tablespoons ice water
  • 3/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • About 6 cups frozen boysenberries (or fresh if available)

  1. Pulse flour, butter, shortening and salt in a food processor (or mix with your fingertips) until mixture resembles coarse meal with small pea-sized lumps. Transfer 2 cups mixture to a bowl; and reserve the rest.
  2. Drizzle 4 tablespoons ice water evenly over the 2 cups mixture; stir gently with a fork until incorporated. Squeeze a handful of dough, if it doesn't hold together, add more ice water (1/2 tablespoon at a time), stirring until incorporated. Be careful not to overwork dough or pastry will be tough. 
  3. Turn out dough onto work surface and divide into 4. With the heel of your hand, smear each portion once or twice to help distribute the fat. Gather all dough with pastry scraper and press into a ball, then flatten into a 5-inch disk. If dough is sticky, dust lightly with additional flour. Wrap dough in plastic and chill until firm, at least 1 hour. 
  1. To make topping, add almonds and sugar to remaining dough mixture and rub together to form some large clumps. Set aside.
  2. Place a large baking sheet on the lower third rack of the oven and preheat to 375F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out disk dough into a 13-inch circle. Fit into tart pan and trim excess dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold overhang under pastry and press against rim to reinforce edge. 
  3. Fill pie shell with berries and sprinkle evenly with topping.
  4. Place tart on the baking sheet and bake until topping and crust are golden and the filling is bubbling, about 1hr. Loosely cover with a foil sheet after 30 minutes to prevent dough over browning.
  5. Cool in pan on a rack 30-40 minutes and serve warm.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Hot Pink

Hello blogosphere. I'm here for the day (and maybe a couple more depending on my schedule and inspiration this week) because I wanted to showcase the ravioli I made for dinner the other day.

I had a few friends over for dinner so I thought I would treat them to home made pasta. Kill two birds with one stone: surprise my friends with a unique dish (which turned out to be a crowd pleaser) and gather material for my almost abandoned--keyword almost--food blog.

Before I move onto the recipe let me write an update on my life. I'm officially three weeks away from my first marathon! I can't begin to explain how excited and scared I am. Even though my initial fear of not finishing was obliterated by months of hard training and disappeared somewhere along week 12, a new fear has emerged in its place. I'm now terrified of not reaching my goal of a Boston Qualifier.

In a way, I'm happy I still fear something because it's making me challenge myself and stay focused on the running ahead. But at the same time, I'm anxious for the day to come when I can turn my dream into an achievement.

Ok. Enough writing about my running--I don't want to jinx anything--here is the recipe to these delicious and photogenic beet ravioli. I'll link to the pasta recipe, but if that is too much for one go, wonton wrappers are a good substitute (or so Epicurious says). Still, if you have the time and the motivation, I recommend making the pasta dough too; no need for a pasta machine and completely worth it.

Beet Ravioli with Poppy Seed Butter (adapted from Epicurious)
Makes about 60 ravioli.
Active time: 45 mins. Total time:

  • 2 red beets (about 14 oz.)
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/4 Fresh Egg Pasta (or other pasta recipe)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese + extra for serving

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Wrap beets individually in foil and place on baking sheet. Roast until tender when pierced with knife, about 1 hour. Open foil and let cool.
  2. Peel beets and finely grate. Add ricotta cheese and season with salt and pepper. Stir in breadcrumbs.
  3. Prepare a baking sheet by placing a layer of plastic wrap (or half of a clear plastic bag) and sprinkle it with flour. Roll pasta dough into sheets according to recipe above. Working with one sheet at a time, using a 3-inch round biscuit cutter, cut 7-8 rounds out of each sheet. Transfer rounds to prepared sheet, lightly sprinkle with flour and cover with another layer of plastic. Repeat with remaining dough.
  4. Sprinkle two smooth kitchen towels with flour and set aside; place a small bowl of water next to work surface. Working in batches, place pasta rounds on work surface and spoon 1 teaspoon beet filling onto half of each round. Dip fingertip into water and dampen edge of the round; fold over the filling, pushing out as much air as possible and pressing edges to seal. Transfer sealed ravioli to prepared towels. Repeat with remainder. 
  5. Melt butter in a large skillet and stir in poppy seeds; keep warm. Working in batches, cook ravioli in a large pot of salted boiling water until tender, about 4 minutes each. Using slotted spoon, transfer to skillet with butter and toss to coat. Transfer ravioli to serving dish and and sprinkle with 1/4 cup parmesan. Serve warm and with extra parmesan cheese.