Austinites seem to be cozying themselves up to the stove even more than ever right now.
Since the start of the new year, I’ve been seeing so many roasts and toasts and breads and pies on the #Austin360Cooks hashtag on Instagram. We’ve been encouraging people to use that hashtag to share their home cooking projects for almost seven years. It’s become a reliable source of inspiration for Austin food lovers who are looking for ideas for what to cook next or who want to meet friendly cooks who share their love for backyard barbecues and sheet pan suppers.
As we start a new month, I wanted to look back on what folks were cooking in January to provide some culinary inspiration. Some of these contributors also post recipes on their own food blogs, while others share tips and tricks in the comments of their Instagram posts. It’s wonderful to scroll through the hashtag and see so many enthusiastic cooks opening the doors to their kitchens through this social media platform. It’s not the same as going over to their house for dinner and feeling the warmth of their stove, but until we can more safely enjoy food together, it’s not a bad way to feel some of that hospitality.
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Feel free to add #Austin360Cooks to your culinary posts on social media. I hope to share a community roundup like this each season of the year ahead.
Nitya Jain, an Austin-based photographer who shares recipes through her Instagram account (@beyond.curry) and blog (beyondcurry.life), celebrated the historic inauguration of Kamala Harris, who is the first vice president of Indian descent, with a vegetarian curry called Pav Bhaji. The dish is made with carrots, onions, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes and a dab of butter on top, an “extremely important” garnish, Jain writes.
Brett Spangler (@beespangley) has been watching a lot of “Best Home Cook” on the BBC, which inspired him recently to make a steak and stout pie using a short pastry crust on the bottom and a rough puff on the top. For the filling, he used a braised rump roast, a trio of mushrooms, onions, shallots, carrots and Murphy’s Irish Stout. He served it with mashed potatoes and butter peas.
Beverly Acosta (@bevinthemiddle) says she didn’t grow up eating sopa de albondigas (meatball soup), but it’s a dish she found herself craving recently. She hadn’t made it before, so she looked up a few recipes online and created her own version. The first version was only OK, but she made a few tweaks the second time, including using one egg per pound of meat (in addition to rice and breadcrumbs) as a binder, and her family agreed it belongs in the regular rotation.
Maggie Perkins of From Maggie’s Farm (@frommaggiesfarm) has been teaching virtual cooking classes during the pandemic, and she’s always developing new recipes. On a recent Tuesday afternoon, she turned a bunch of peanuts into a Maple Roasted Spiced Peanut Butter with cinnamon, ginger and allspice.
The blogger behind Fearless Captivations (Anita of @wanderlustanita) used our recent snow day as an excuse to make mango lime coconut ice cream, one of her favorite treats from Thai Fresh’s recently published cookbook.
Taylor Francis (@doievencookbook), who has a blog called Do I Even Cook? (doievencook.com), is keeping things simple this year by making dishes that don’t require many ingredients. She recently made a garlic shrimp pasta with white wine that used only five ingredients.
Nelly Ramirez (@seizeseasons) has been making quick lunches with leftovers this month, including a mix of soba noodles and ramen broth paired with pan-fried tempeh, roasted cauliflower and green beans. To season the tempeh, she used soy sauce and a dash of liquid smoke.
Elizabeth Lindemann (@bowlofdelicious) has been cooking lately with ras el hanout, a fragrant and warming spice mixture that she recently used in lamb meatballs that were inspired by Evi Aki’s cookbook “Flavors of Africa.” She browned the meatballs in a pan before simmering them in a sweet and savory tomato sauce. Lindemann threw in 1/4 cup of raisins to add depth to the tomato sauce, and she served the meatballs and sauce over couscous. You could serve them with rice or quinoa, too. She posted the recipe to her blog, bowlofdelicious.com, and included a recipe for homemade ras el hanout.
Moroccan Lamb Meatballs
This Moroccan Lamb Meatballs recipe is simmered in a sweet tomato raisin sauce and flavored with ras el hanout. (Check if your ras el hanout already has salt. Some pre-mixed versions contain salt; others do not. If yours does, omit the added kosher salt in this recipe and adjust seasoning to taste when you are finished.) If you don’t have pre-mixed ras el hanout, you can make your own: Mix together 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin, 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander, 1/2 tablespoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. This will yield the 2 tablespoons needed for this recipe.
— Elizabeth Lindemann
1 yellow onion finely diced and divided
1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/4 cup milk
1 large egg
Kosher salt, as needed
2 tablespoons ras el hanout, divided
1 pound ground lamb or beef, or a mixture of both
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic minced
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, preferably fire roasted
1 cup chicken stock/broth
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
Juice of one lime
Cooked rice, couscous or quinoa, plus extra cilantro/parsley for serving (optional)
In a large mixing bowl, mix together half the diced yellow onion, the breadcrumbs, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 tablespoon of the ras el hanout.
Add the ground lamb to the bowl and, using your hands, mix until everything is just combined (try not to over mix).
Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Roll the lamb mixture into 1-inch balls (I like using a cookie scoop to measure them equally into my hands, then giving them a gentle roll) and place directly in the skillet. When all the meatballs have been added, sear for 1 more minute undisturbed. Flip to the other side (starting with the meatballs that were added to the skillet first) and allow to sear for 2 more minutes. Remove to a plate.
Add the other half of the diced onions to the skillet and sauté until softened and starting to brown (about 3 minutes). Turn down the heat to medium and add the minced garlic and the other 1 tablespoon of ras el hanout and sauté for 30 seconds to 1 minute longer, until spices and garlic are fragrant. Add the canned diced tomatoes, the chicken broth and the raisins, stir together, and bring to a gentle simmer.
Place the meatballs and any juices from the plate into the sauce and simmer uncovered without stirring too much for 10 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through and sauce has reduced and thickened a bit.
Turn off heat and stir in the chopped fresh cilantro or parsley and juice of one lime. Taste and season with more salt if needed. Serve the meatballs and sauce on cooked rice, couscous, or quinoa, with extra herbs sprinkled on top if desired.
— Elizabeth Lindemann, bowlofdelicious.com
Sheet-Pan Roasted Trout with Asparagus
Austinite Marie Saba has been working on a book based on her popular puns, which she posts frequently on her Instagram account (@mariesaba) and blog (mariesaba.com), but cookies and sweets aren’t the only thing she’s making these days. She recently made a sheet pan supper with roasted trout with asparagus topped with a sauce made with lemon juice, Dijon mustard, capers and shallots. You could use salmon instead of the trout. It was a 20-minute dinner she’ll be making again, she says.
— Addie Broyles
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons minced shallot
2 tablespoons capers
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 pounds steelhead trout (or other fish) with skin on
1 pound asparagus, trimmed
For serving: about 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil and mustard. Add shallots, capers, salt and pepper, and mix again.
Place the trout on a sheet pan and surround with asparagus. Pour the dressing over the trout. Drizzle a little olive oil over the asparagus and season with salt and pepper.
Roast trout and asparagus for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and dot fish and asparagus with softened butter, if desired. Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately.
— From Marie Saba of MarieSaba.com
Zesty Beef and Potato Gnocchi with Zucchini
Kelly J. Larson, the blogger behind @kellyskitchencreation and kellyskitchencreation.com, recently made a ground beef-based skillet dish that included zucchini and gnocchi. She cooks the squash first over high heat and then browns the ground beef. By cooking the main ingredients separately, she can get a good sear on the zucchini and drain the excess fat from the ground beef before combining with the chile pasta-seasoned sauce and gnocchi. You can find that Calabrian chile paste at a store like Central Market or Whole Foods, but you could also use a tablespoon of paprika or another chile powder. (If using a particularly spicy chile, such as cayenne, only use a small amount.)
— Addie Broyles
1 pound ground beef
2 zucchini, cut in semicircular pieces
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons, tomato paste
1 tablespoon Calabrian chile paste
1/3 cup cream
1 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
1 package gnocchi (about 17 ounces)
Fill pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high. Cook half the zucchini for 3 to 4 minutes, without stirring. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the other half.
In the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil until hot, then cook beef for 5 minutes or until browned, using a chopper to mix and break chunks as it cooks. Drain oil.
Add garlic, tomato paste and chile paste, cooking and stirring 2 minutes. Add the cream and water. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently 3 to 4 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the gnocchi to pot of boiling water. Cook 4 minutes or until the gnocchi float to the top. Turn off heat, drain water.
Combine gnocchi, zucchini, beef and sauce. Top with cheese. Serves 4.
— From Kelly J. Larson of Kelly’s Kitchen Creation (kellyskitchencreation.com)
Lemon Garlic Chicken and Potatoes
This lovely one-dish bake is full of potatoes, carrots and a bone-in chicken breast baked with garlic, rosemary, lemons, olive oil and chicken drippings. After the chicken is roasted, it is cut into pieces and tossed with the vegetables for a delicious lemon garlic chicken and potato dinner.
— Deana Evans
2 large lemons
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 small organic Yukon potatoes
6 skinny organic carrots
1 large bone-in chicken breast
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash the lemons with a baking soda and water paste to remove any residual wax and dirt.
Zest one of the lemons and squeeze out the juice. Add to that the olive oil, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir and set aside. Slice the other lemon and remove any seeds.
Scrub and rinse the potatoes, then cut into 1-inch cubes. Peel the skinny carrots and cut into 2-inch pieces. Place the potatoes and carrots in a large baking dish with a space left in the center for the chicken.
Peel back the skin on the chicken breast and place two lemon slices inside. If you need to secure the skin use a toothpick to keep it in place. Wash your hands.
Drizzle the veggies and chicken breast with the olive oil mixture. Place the remaining lemons slices on the potatoes and carrots.
Place in the oven to bake. At 20-minute intervals, take the baking dish out of the oven and toss the vegetables. The chicken should be done after 50 to 55 minutes.
Remove the baking dish from the oven and transfer the chicken breast to a cutting board. Peel off the skin and discard with the lemons. Cut the chicken breast into large pieces and add back to the baking dish. Toss the chicken and veggies a few more times. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve in a clean bowl.
— From Deana Evans of The Weekly Menu Book (theweeklymenubook.com)