Scenes from an Austin Burns Supper


This weekend we were fortunate to be invited to the home of our friends Kevin and Mary to celebrate Burns Night in high style. Not only is Kevin an accomplished piper, but he and his lovely wife have a deep love of British food and culture, as well as an impressive collection of single malt scotch whiskies. We celebrated the birth of Scotland’s national poet with an abbreviated form of the traditional order, followed by much poetry reading, feasting, and merry-making. It was a lovely evening. Here are some of our photographs–and a bonus video of the piping in of the haggis!


Our sacred text.




The haggis. It’s actually quite tasty.


A selection of some of the delicacies on offer: baked salmon (before going into the oven), pork pies, and bangers.


Our host surveys his Scottish spread.


The haggis, festively decorated.


Just a few of the fine selection of whiskies we gratefully and enthustically sampled (I plan to purchase a bottle of Scapa as soon as possible).


The dinner (clockwise, from top): pork pie, baked salmon, bangers, baked beans, haggis with whisky sauce, and neeps and tatties.


Eric and I (notice the haggis is in focus–priorities). Eric’s enjoying some Belhaven ale.

And, finally, the promised footage:

If you’d like to book Kevin for your next event, let me know, and I’ll get you connected.


This Week’s Eats: 06/14/13


My Broccoli and Pine Nut Soup, with added cauliflower, toasted pecans, and fresh, homegrown mint!


Eric’s garden haul for the week: tomatoes, jalapeños, and habaneros.


See, I told you we’ve been eating a lot of polenta! This is parmesan polenta with “deconstructed pesto” (aka, I’m Too Lazy to Wash the Food Processor): toasted pine nuts and pecans, fried onions, olive oil, grated parmesan, and shredded basil.


The student has become the teacher! He also made me this amazing dinner: locally made-sausage (leftover from a friend’s food truck, gifted); peperoncinis; penne with homemade tomato sauce from homegrown tomatoes and basil. Delicious! One of his top five meals ever!


Uh… I’m gonna need more of the Thirsty Planet Franklin Smoked Porter (yes, as in Franklin Barbecue!). Sampled at The Drag Bar (formerly Varsity Bar).


I know I keep saying it on all media platoforms ad infinitum, but Taco Joint has the best breakfast tacos in town. This is the migas taco (the melted Gouda makes it), with avocado salsa. Dear Lord.


I might’ve also had lunch there.

(El Señor Crockett: basically, a fajita taco.)


Eric also made us a really spicy pizza with some of those homegrown chiles.




His years working in the family Italian bakery have finally started to pay off… for me.  Here’s his recipe.


Cast-iron-pan-fried salmon burger from Wheatsville, topped with melted provolone and leftover avocado salsa from Taco Joint. Bunless. I didn’t see any reason to bother!


Homemade tostadas with homemade refried black beans (with bacon fat and my – refried beans recipe here), Monterey Jack, Cheddar, and homegrown jalapeños!


Eric added fresh, homegrown tomatoes and black pepper.

So, basically, my diet is now 100% Mexican and Italian food.  No gripes.

This Week’s Eats: 05/31/13

Chips & salsa

For our poolside Memorial Day party, chips and e.’s delicious homemade salsa.


He also made us some raspberry lemon iced tea with mint. Refreshing!




We grilled burgers, corn on the cob, and Giada’s Lemon-Cumin Chicken.

Cowboy Burger

Cowboy Burgers

Our friends Mike and Laura brought these amazing, spicy Cowboy Burgers from Central Market, which we topped with cheddar slices, grilled, and served on jalapeño buns. A great pairing!

Salvation Pizza

e. surveying his cheese pie at Salvation Pizza. It was good.

Fredericksburg Brewing

Beer flight at Fredericksburg Brewing Company. They have some great beers; recommended.


They were also seemingly the only place in Fredericksburg that serves pretzels! That mustard was out of control, though. So hot.

Sausage plate

Sausage sampler plate, Fredericksburg Brewing Company. Very good, especially the German potato salad. A lot of food, and a good deal.

Egg Sandwich

Breakfast for dinner: a minimalist version of our favorite meal at Fado, the Hangover Sandwich. This one’s just fried eggs and bacon on fried sourdough. Yes, fried, not toasted. Like in England. Well dench, innit.

Mint julep

One of Eric’s mint juleps, with homegrown mint and homemade syrup.

Lavazza gelato

Hazelnut and chocolate gelato, double macchiato, Lavazza Espression on Congress. Dolce far niente, y’all.


Dinner: blue corn tortillas, refried black beans, Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses, Cholula sauce, sour cream, and homegrown jalapeños!

Read about my nacho theory, and see my vegan nacho recipe, here.


Lots of things taste as good as skinny feels. Like this hunk of brie, salami, and pecans I had for lunch.

Breakfast tacos

Super decadent breakfast tacos: fresh corn tortillas with refried black beans, scrambled eggs with cream, grated cheddar, Cholula sauce, and bacon.


Perfecting my biscuit recipe.


Biscuits, butter, and Gruene Three Berry Jam. Nom.


Lunch special at El Mer. One cheese enchilada with sour cream sauce, one beef taco, rice, and black beans. Oh, and a $3.50 margarita. Oh, yes.

Kismet Cafe

Gyro plate at Kismet Cafe. Prettttttty good.

Dad's Roman Holiday

Dad’s Roman Holiday. Recipe here.

Cheese Enchiladas

My Old School Tex-Mex Cheese Enchiladas with The Fieldmarshal’s Old School Tex-Mex Sauce. They turned out kind of flat (the horror!), because my tortillas were old, but they were darn tasty.  Not pictured: raw, diced white onions, added to the top.  Crunch, crunch.

Tempura Green Beans

We finally made it to Contigo. These tempura fried green beans were delicious.

Contigo salad

A salad of wilted arugula, onions, mushrooms, and spicy dressing, Contigo.


Contigo salumi and pâté plates, Contigo. The foreground is rabbit pâté.

Sausage plate, Contigo

I’m just going to go ahead and call it now. This will be the summer of German sausage plates for me and e.; Contigo.

This Week’s Eats: 05/10/13

Two weeks’ worth, once again! I need to post more recipes and less recaps, and hopefully I’ll have time to do so again soon. Until then…


We finally went to Rainey Street.  At Banger’s, and at Kris’s insistence, I ordered the fried chicken sausage with braised greens, horseradish mustard, and a honey biscuit.  I was not disappointed. And their prices are reasonable, making this dinner a bit of a steal.


Of course, the Banger’s beer selection is also a draw.  I’ll never say no to an Austin Beerworks Black Thunder Schwarz (especially on draught!).


We also stopped by Craft Pride, where I couldn’t resist trying a pint of Guadalupe Brewing Company’s Texas Honey Ale. Texas honey is used in this gem with part of the proceeds benefiting Texas A&M Bee Research!  And it’s 7.32%!  If I keep drinking it, it’ll heal my allergies, right?  Positively medicinal.  Highly, highly recommended.


Our fish dish of the week was pan-fried salmon in lemon and herbs with lightly curried Brussels sprouts and buttered farfalle pasta.


Not bad at all.


We took my coworker Chaz to Burrito Factory this week, where he tried his first burrito suizo.  He actually finished it, too!


Challah and my plain chicken salad. (Not to be confused with my Southwestern Chicken Salad or my Chipotle Mayo Chicken Salad!)


The Brahman Wrap from The Green Cart, at BookPeople. A vegetarian Indian wrap, with rice, curry hummus, spinach, carrots, onions, sundried tomatoes, and corn.  Very good indeed.  We were there to see Robert Jensen talk about his new book, Arguing for Our Lives: Critical Thinking in Crisis Times, which I also highly recommend. Here’s a video of his talk.


How about some fried plantains with melted cheese and sour cream?  My friend ordered this at our recent brunch at Polvo’s, and I can see why it’s one of her favorite items.


I also ordered the chilaquiles with scrambled eggs and salsa verde.  This was fantastic, and so much food that I ate it for three breakfasts in a row.


In addition to the Fried Polenta with Creamy Mushrooms I developed this week, I also made some delicious pasta: fresh tagliatelle tossed with butter and topped with pork and venison sausage; homegrown, wilted basil and sage; parmigiano reggiano; and toasted pine nuts. Divine.


We also went to Dog and Duck Pub three times this week.  Last night, I had fish and chips.  Still the best in town, hands down.

We eat very well, and I’m grateful.  Life is good.

Cinco de Christos

My sidekick Alex and I decided to host another Greek Easter party this year, then noticed it fell on Cinco de Mayo.  So, in a typical stroke of utter brilliance, we threw a Cinco de Christos party!


Alex, your host.


And her amazing tzatziki.


Eric, the grillmaster.




The setting.


Greek salad by Karen (Alex’s mom!).


Melissa, Paola, and Karen.


Hummus with carrots and pita crisps.



The amazing Kris and Julie.







Chips and queso. With sausage. Oh, yeah.


The weather was practically Californian.  Not humid, for once!


Melissa’s moussaka.  Unbelievable!




Alex’s homemade baklava.  Heavenly.

Until next year!  Zapata anesti!