Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What's Up Athlete?

So I haven't been blogging lately because I've been so busy with work. I've had two major SharePoint projects that I have been swamped with, but now that I think I have them under control, I can relax a little.

What have I done in the past few months besides move to Texas and eat everything that Anna's been blogging? Well, I've dropped about 10 lbs, because I've been more active and Anna has been packing my lunch every day. No more breakfast burritos for breakfast or George Lopez specials for lunch.

I have also been playing more sports...

Been playing tennis a couple times a week with Anna mostly, a friend from work (Pingili) sometimes, and some guy (Randolf) once (He kicked my a$$).

I started playing flag football on Sundays for the past 5 weeks and I joined a flag football league in Round Rock. We had our first game last night and kicked a$$. Final score: 32 -0. I ended the game with a 50 yard touchdown catch, 2 sacks and 1 pass deflection. If we were counting fantasy points, that would be 17.5 fantasy points(6pts(td) + 2.5pts(50yds) + 6pts(2sacks) + 2pts(2tkls) + 1pt(1pd) = 17.5pts). Not bad, eh? I'd draft me in any fantasy football league.

I am also starting to play in a volleyball league at our apartment. I signed up and have 5 other people on my team. Hopefully, it will be fun, but I tend to hate playing jungle ball when people don't know how to play. Our first game is this comming Monday, so I will keep you posted. I did try to play a pick-up game this past Saturday with a few people from my team and found that they were not as bad as i thought they were going to be, but not as good as I had hoped either. They were just average. I do have to say that I stole the show with some nice digs and a few perfect sets.

I'm still waiting on someone from work to set up a softball team. I'd love to play softball too (if my schedule allows).

Oh yea, I also tried playing cricket with a friend from work (Satish). It was very interesting. You "bowl" the ball after running from a mile away trying to knock down the "wickets", but the batter that stands in the middle of the field gets to hit the ball anywhere. It's a good workout when you are bowling though. lol

That's pretty much it. I will keep you posted on my league play and pick-up games from time to time, so check back in...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Carrot Cupcakes

In celebration of Easter, I baked these yummy carrot cupcakes. I did alter the recipe a bit by adding cinnamon and nutmeg to make it taste more like a traditional carrot cake. Enjoy!! I guarantee you will love them. They are quite addicting.

Carrot Cupcakes with Mascarpone Icing courtesy of Williams Sonoma


1/3 cup butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 Tbs. maple syrup or honey

1 Tbs. finely grated orange zest

2 eggs

1 cup grated carrot

1 cup plus 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

7 Tbs. fresh orange juice, warmed

1 tsp. baking soda

For the mascarpone icing:

6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 tsp. grated lemon zest

4 oz. cold mascarpone or low-fat cream cheese

Strips of dried mango for garnish (optional)


Preheat an oven to 350°F. Line 10 standard muffin cups with paper liners.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter, granulated sugar, maple syrup and orange zest until pale and creamy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the carrot.

In a bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. In another small bowl, stir together the orange juice and baking soda. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture in two additions, alternating with the orange juice mixture in two additions until smooth. Do not overbeat or the cupcakes will be tough.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake until the cupcakes are risen and lightly golden, about 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cupcakes cool for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a baking sheet and let cool completely, about 1 hour.

To make the mascarpone icing, in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and confectioners sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the lemon zest and mascarpone until blended.

When the cupcakes are cool, frost them and garnish with strips of dried mango. Cupcakes may be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Makes 10 cupcakes.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Chicken Enchiladas with Roasted Tomatilla Chile Sauce

Saturday night dinner and cocktail...

Chicken Enchiladas with Roasted Tomatillo Chile Salsa Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence

Roasted Tomatillo Chile Salsa:
1 pound tomatillos, husked
1 white onion, peeled, sliced, quartered or whole
4 garlic cloves
2 jalapenos
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 lime, juiced
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock, storebought
Chopped cilantro leaves
1 deli roasted chicken (about 3 pounds), boned, meat shredded
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 large flour tortillas
1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
2 cups sour cream
Chopped tomatoes and cilantro leaves, for garnish
Spicy Black Beans, recipe follows
Yellow Rice, recipe follows
Guacamole, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

For the salsa: On a baking tray, roast tomatillos, onion, garlic and jalapenos for 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the roasted vegetables and any juices on the bottom of the tray to a food processor. Add the cumin, salt, cilantro, and lime juice and pulse mixture until well combined but still chunky.

Enchiladas: Meanwhile heat a 2 count of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and caramelized - this should take 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin then cook for a further minute. Sprinkle on the flour and stir to ensure the flour doesn't burn then gradually add the chicken stock to make a veloute. Continue stirring over a low simmer until the flour cooks and the liquid thickens. Turn off the heat, add half of the roasted tomatillo chile salsa, some additional fresh chopped cilantro and fold in the shredded chicken meat. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Change the temperature of the oven to 350 degrees F and begin assembling the dish. Take a large baking dish and smear the bottom with some of the reserved tomatillo salsa. Now take the flour tortillas and briefly flash them over the stove-top flame (or put them briefly under the broiler if using an electric stove). Using a shallow bowl, coat each tortilla lightly with the reserved salsa mix. Put a scoop of the shredded chicken-enchilada mix on top of the tortilla followed by a sprinkle of the shredded cheese. Fold the tortilla over the filling and roll like a cigar to enclose it. Using a spatula place the tortillas in the baking dish and continue to do the same with all the tortillas. Finally pour over some more of the salsa and top with the remaining shredded cheese. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes until bubbly and cracked on top. Garnish, cilantro and tomato.

Meyer Lemon Drop Cocktail:

1 shot of Triple Sec
1 shot of Vodka
1/2 a Meyer Lemon, juiced
1/2 shot of simple syrup (boil 1 cup of water with 1 cup of sugar and let cool)

Wet the rim of the cocktail glass and coat with sugar.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Leftover Crawfish = Gumbo

So, halfway through our crawfish meal, Ray had to stop eating. Even after taking 2 Beano's, he still couldn't eat anymore. The crawfish were having a field day on his stomach. I ate most of the crawfish, but after 3 pounds, my stomach couldn't hold anymore down. Ray suggested that I make gumbo with the leftovers. That's a daunting task, I say out loud. Considering that I have very little culinary experience in the field of cajun/creole cuisine. But, it was a challenge and I set out to do it. After all, I did have a brand new Le Creuset Dutch Oven that Ray's mom had just bought us. Thanks to Helen and Bobby for the hook up from Williams Sonoma.

Well, many ingredients later...this was the end result. It turned out pretty good, except it was VERY spicy.

Here's the recipe that I used, courtesy of Williams Sonoma:

Spicy Seafood and Sausage Gumbo

(*The recipe doesn't require crawfish since it is not readily available everywhere. I had leftovers so I was able to add it in place of the crab meat.)


1 large yellow onion
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1/2 lb. okra (frozen works fine)
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
6 Tbs. all-purpose flour
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with juices
5 cups fish stock or bottled clam juice
2 bay leaves
2 1/2 Tbs. Creole seasoning blend
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 lb. andouille sausage, cut into 1-inch
1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup fresh-cooked crabmeat, picked over
to remove any shell fragments
1 tsp. filé powder

Cooked white rice for serving

2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Dice the onion and the green and red bell peppers. Set aside. Trim the stems from the okra pods, then cut the pods crosswise into slices 1/2 inch thick. In a large, heavy soup pot over medium heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the canola oil. Add the okra and sauté, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and softened, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

In the same pot over medium heat, warm the remaining 6 Tbs. oil for 2 minutes. Whisk in the flour until incorporated. Cook the mixture, or roux, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until dark brown, about 4 minutes. Do not let the roux turn black. Add the onion and bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

Add the reserved okra, the tomatoes with their juices, stock, bay leaves, Creole seasoning, salt and pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes to blend the flavors.

Stir in the sausage, shrimp and crabmeat and cook until the sausage is heated through and the shrimp are pink, 3 minutes more. Sprinkle in the filé powder and stir for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaves.

To serve, spoon white rice into warmed bowls, ladle the gumbo on top and garnish with the parsley. Serves 6.

Crawfish Boil, Baby!!!

Over the weekend, Ray and I stopped by Central Market. There are only 2 locations in all of Texas and they are both in the Austin area. The local supermarket chain here, HEB, which dominates all of Texas, created Central Market to compete with Whole Foods...which started out in Austin. Central Market has the feel of Whole Foods, but much better. The variety of gourmet foods they have is unsurpassed. Prices are VERY high, but we believe that top quality here is always something you can, you really do get what you pay for. While there, we decided to check if they had crawfish...and they did. Yay!!! Crawfish boil for us.

We bought 4 pounds and this is the final result. It looks like a lot, but at the end of it all, most of the crawfish is just shell. The meat of the crawfish is really small. You usually finish the meal feeling pissed off because it's not worth all the work.

Needless to say, Ray had the runs after this meal. Not a pretty sight.