From summer sunshine and ample free time to benchmark testing and dry ice experiments, my life has done a complete 180 over the course of the past few weeks. The majority of my days now revolve around 29 fifth graders, and I love every lively second of it. While some might expect a certain mourning of my beloved college schedule to occur, I try to find the silver lining in every day, which isn’t very difficult to do, really. At least not yet!…
Being a Texas girl, I have grown up around spicy foods for the majority of my life. In fact, I wouldn’t doubt chips and salsa were my first solid food. I love the stuff. However, I can still be kind of a wimp when it’s actually time to eat something like, say, a jalapeño. I have always thought eating should be an experience that is replete with pleasure, an act where the “happy-food dance” (more on that later) immediately ensues. Not a masochistic, half-insane endeavor into tearful oblivion……
Last weekend, I ventured to HOPE farmers market, one of my favorites here in Austin, to pick up some fresh organic veggies and artisan meats, breads, cheeses, etc. I adore trips to the farmers market not only for the beautiful, fresh foods, of which there is no paucity, but also for the little lessons I receive in understanding where my food comes from and how it is grown. The farmers, gardeners, and fellow foodies are never too busy to answer my (or your) questions, and that is something you just don’t get in most American grocery stores….
This light yet savory soup has become a fast favorite by loved ones around here. It is versatile, as it can be served hot or cold, as an appetizer for a dinner party or a main course any night of the week. This ambrosial soup hits every part of the palate; it starts out creamy and sweet, then leaves a subtle, lingering kick. Thai dishes are crazy like that! But my words don’t do it justice. You’ll just have to try it and see for yourself. And as my Spanish “mama” always said before every meal, “¡Buen provecho!”…
*photo courtesy of Jonathan Garza
I recently made these delicious dates for an open house event I catered for my brothers awesome home-building company Gossett Jones Homes. They are beyond simple to make yet elegant enough to serve at any party or gathering. The combination of the sweet date and the creamy, pungent blue cheese can’t be beat. Sometimes I like to amp up the flavor volume even more by wrapping them in salty prosciutto and popping them in the oven for a few minutes. Just divine!
To make the job even easier, look for dates that are already pitted!…
When I first began cooking back in high school, egg sandwiches quickly became my “go to” dish. I would make them for breakfast, lunch, even dinner. For beginner cooks, eggs are the perfect place to start, and for those with a little more experience, they possess infinite possibilities. Poached. Fried. Scrambled. Nestled atop sumptuous noodles…etc. However, there is something I adore about layering one between two slices of toasted, buttery bread, allowing the yolk create a delicious golden sauce so good you want to use the last bread bits to mop every last drop. This Croque Madomoiselle is my answer to the perfect egg sandwich. While the Croque-Madam (ham, cheese, and egg) is a step up from the Croque- Monsieur (ham and cheese), I wanted to sophisticate (and healthify) it just a bit more. Lightly grilled, smothered with fresh basil pesto, this sandwich transports me back to France and Italy, (and thankfully not high school! 😉 ) all in one bite….
Welcome to Gouramanda! My hope for this blog is for those who come across it to be inspired by the dishes I bring to the “table”. Cooking is a true passion of mine, and I delight in feeding those I love. I hope the same goes (or will go) for you! But don’t let the name intimidate you! I do not consider myself a gourmet cook. In fact, I am completely self-taught, so I am always learning new techniques and playing around with flavors, textures, etc. To me, the mark of a good cook is never lacking creativity and passion, because without that, the food just won’t taste as good! So, without further ado…my first recipe!
This bolognese (meat sauce) is an easy, hearty recipe for any occasion or time of year. It can be served over whatever pasta you have on hand and is sure to be a crowd pleaser, for kids and grown-ups alike.
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb (ish) lean ground beef (preferably grass fed and organic)...also good with bison, venison
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon dry sage (preferably rubbed)
- 1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dry oregano'
- 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste (optional)
- ½ teaspoon salt (to taste)
- 1 package noodles (I prefer egg or spaghetti noodles, or gluten free noodles)
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmiggiano Reggiano cheese
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh basil (for garnish)
- In a large skillet or wok, sauté shallots, carrots and garlic in olive oil over medium high heat until soft (about 4-5 minutes). Add in beef and sauté until brown (about 3-4 minutes). Over medium heat now, add fennel seed, red pepper, herbs (minus fresh basil), tomatoes, tomato paste and salt. Let simmer over low heat for at least 20 minutes and up to an hour, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. When straining pasta, reserve ½ cup pasta water and add to bolognese sauce. (This is one of the best tricks I've ever learned for pasta sauces...It thins it out a little and the starchiness helps bind the flavors!)
- Top hot pasta (egg noodles pictured) with a generous heaping of sauce, parmesan, and basil!
Hi Foodie Friends and Future Followers!
Gouramanda will be coming soon! Thank you for your patience as I am very new to the convoluted yet exciting blogging world. I am thrilled to begin sharing delightful dishes from my kitchen to yours. See ya soon!