Thursday, January 31, 2013

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

A rummage through the cupboards revealed a large bag of sultanas that A's brother left with us. I'm not a huge raisin fan, but if you cover them with, say, a cookie, they're pretty damn good. So that's what I did. Thankfully when I Googled "oatmeal raisin cookies" the first thing that popped up was the glorious Smitten Kitchen website, so fate declared that I make them, since Deb Perelman is never wrong.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen


1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces, or 115 grams) butter, softened
2/3 cup (125 grams) light brown sugar, packed (I used demerara, which gave each cookie a little sugary crunch that I liked)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (SK says 1/2 but why not amp up the vanilla?)
3/4 cup (95 grams) all-purpose flour (I had self-raising on hand)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (SK says 1/2 but everyone loved the cinnamonny goodness)
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 cups (120 grams) rolled oats
3/4 cup (120 grams) raisins


In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together. Stir this into the butter/sugar mixture. Stir in the oats and raisins.

Chill the dough for a bit in the fridge and then scoop it, but heat oven to 350°F (175°C) before you scoop the cookies, so that it’s fully heated when you’re ready to put them in.

The cookies should be two inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake them for 12 minutes (your baking time will vary, depending on your oven and how cold the cookies were going in but that's how long it took me), taking them out when golden at the edges but still a little undercooked-looking on top. Let them sit on the hot baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

El Naranjo

85 Rainey St.
Austin, TX 78701

It's been a long time since I've lived in Austin. While I've been able to get back almost every year, a whirlwind trip doesn't quite hack it in terms of keeping up with all the changes that have happened. One big development is Rainey Street, where a lot of food trucks popped up, and some of the more successful ones opened brick-and-mortar locations in what used to be houses. Since J and his wife were in town and wanted to visit El Naranjo, my mom and I joined them there for lunch. It serves more traditionally Mexican fare (as opposed to Tex-Mex, with its additions of cheese and sour cream to almost every dish). I was blown away by some of the flavors - I had the tacos de pescado - achiote marinated fish, shredded cabbage, salsa mexicana on corn tortillas, but my favorite dish was probably my mom's - the tacos dorados (a mix of chicken and potatoes) served with avocado green salsa, cream and crumbled queso fresco. Not a bum dish in the bunch though - my brother's enmoladas de pollo had a wonderfully deep mole sauce and his wife's pork tacos were fabulous as well. The best part is that we were all completely satisfied but not overly stuffed and weighed down - this is one of the few meals I ate out where I came away feeling moderately healthy afterwards! It will definitely make it onto my rotation of places to visit while I'm visiting home.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The County Line BBQ

5204 Ranch Road 2222
Austin, TX 78731

I ate what can only be described as an astonishing amount of terrific food while on my holidays in the US. Much of it was my mom's amazing cooking, but there was also a fair amount of pigging out at some of my favorite restaurants. I managed three meals at my most adored Chinese restaurant, Tien Jin, and also covered off Tex-Mex at Chuy's, Texas martinis at Trudy's, and last but not least, BBQ at The County Line. A's mom joined us in Texas for the first time this year, and while she is usually a vegetarian, she made a little exception in order to dig into some pork ribs. Thank goodness they were worth it - tender, with just enough pull so they didn't fall right off the bones, and accompanied by some incredibly honey wheat bread. A and I still love brisket more than any other form of Texas BBQ, so thankfully our five meat plate came with that, which beat the turkey and sausage hands down. This is a great place to bring guests - it's a nice atmosphere and doesn't require waiting in line for ridiculous amounts of time like some places. Texas, I miss you already.

Thursday, January 03, 2013


63 Dean Street  

PG13 (as opposed to PGTips) had a birthday that needed to be celebrated, so off we went to have some pints and stuff ourselves with ramen. There's been a recent surge in ramen restaurants - we picked Tonkotsu as it seemed to be popular and it was conveniently located for both of us. Ordering was easy, aside from a slight indecisiveness over whether to get chicken karaage or gyoza. Gyoza it was (next time it will be chicken karaage), which was nice and crispy on the bottom, though I personally prefer my homemade ones, except for the fact that they take a lot of effort to make. On to choosing ramen - we both went for the namesake tonkotsu. What came out was a soul warming bowl of goodness with the most delightfully soft-boiled egg floating in it. The picture above does no justice whatsoever. I am getting warm just thinking about this bowl of noodles with its porky essence.