I just took my first big girl vacay, and I think I fell a little bit in love. I visited my lady Lauren in Austin, TX, where she and fiance Dave have lived for the past year. That city is crammed full of Mexican food and fitness lovahs, and I’m a little into both myself. And by “a little into,” I mean that I’d like to die by means of salsa and avocados after a nice outdoor jog. I haven’t worked out the specifics for that amazing/slightly morbid fantasy, but what a way to go.
Lauren let me tag along while she did her grocery shopping at the organic red light district-esque Central Market. You know, if the red light district offered free samples and was about food, rather than prostitution. Just look at the fish counter:
How sexy is THAT? She didn’t come outright and say that she was challenging my loyalty to Trader Joe’s, but I could see it in her eyes.
One of the things I love most about TJ’s is the customer service, but the employees at Central Market are above and beyond. They pretty much stop just short of going home with you and preparing the food while you watch Days. Maybe if coaxed? I think they could be talked into it.
Lauren and I were all, “Hmm maybe we’ll make crab cakes. How does one prepare those?” And the employee was like, “Hold please, I’ll go print a recipe for you.” And then he DID. And it was an Ellie Krieger recipe! It’s like he sensed we’re Food Network addicts, and we both totally took care to cover our track marks.
We were in Central Market to buy breakfast burritos ingredients, which is one of Lauren’s specialties. We went back and she prepared, while I sat stove-side and observed. She started with a couple of russet potatoes and one yellow onion, which she chopped and threw in a pan with a little canola oil. She added about a clove of chopped garlic, some cumin, paprika, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste. Those sauteed for about 10-15 minutes, and she covered the pan for most of the time to expedite the softening:
She then scrambled about five eggs in a separate skillet, which she prepares by heating the skillet on high and adding the eggs immediately. She scrambles for about a minute, and then turns off the burner to let it cook a minute or so more. Although Sunny says cook eggs low and slow, I totally approve of this method. Who doesn’t love fast and easy? No one. No one doesn’t love it.
Lauren heated the tortillas in yet another skillet, which is kind of great because it snubs the microwave. I get such a thrill out of that. When everything cooked up all delicious-like, she threw them all in the warmed tortillas and dressed with salsa verde and hot sauce.
They were so spicy and flavorful, and I’m taking her recipe without shame. Meanwhile, see below for the final product:
I spent four days with Austin, and by the end of my trip we realized we forgot to make the crab cakes that the fish counter man was so committed to!
We were too busy having the most amazing Indian food in life, excellent mushroom pizza at The Alamo, and great $10 brunch that kept me full for like 12 hours. Oh yeah, and cinnamon and nutella crunch gelato. I had that also.
Come Tuesday, I tried to leave Austin, but the city like wouldn’t have it. My flight was supposed to leave at 1 p.m., but it delayed, delayed, delayed and was eventually canceled by 6 p.m. Not one airline wanted to fly anywhere near NY at that point, so I called Lauren and filled her in on the situation. The quickest flight out was this morning, so I crashed for one more night with my favorite Texans.
We made our collaborative crab cake dinner, meaning Lauren made the cakes (the important part) and I cut sweet potatoes into fry-like shapes. She made the cakes by mixing lump crab, a diced red pepper, and chives with some worchester sauce, hot sauce and dijon mustard. She then mixed in one egg, rolled them in bread crumbs, and pan seared them in a little oil for about five minutes. I cut the sweet potatoes, brushed with olive oil, salt and pepper and baked them at 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes.
I’m an unapologetic grill fiend, so I was all ready to grill the corn on Lauren’s indoor grill. Rather, she wet the corn still wrapped in its husks, and microwaved it for about 8 minutes. They steam when nuked that way, and they came out perfectly done. Also, the husks just shed right off that way, which is pretty convenient for the husk-challenged.
The meal was delicious and totally reaffirmed Jetblue’s decision to ground me for one more night. See below: