Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year Cocktail

We're avoiding amateur night, as per usual, making our own little NYE celebration at home. Snuggled on the couch with Depeche Mode tunes and Thai red curry chicken, we must kick off the night with a celebratory cocktail.

We have no idea what the hell this is but it's amusing. It appears to be some sort of white trash cross between a martini and an adult pineapple float. Cheers to the new year - may you always be amused!

CoupleNextDoor WhiteTrashTini

Place a small scoop of pineapple sherbet into a martini glass
Add a few glugs of vodka
Squirt with a swirl of homemade grenadine
Float a few glugs of sparkling wine on top

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winter Solstice Supper

Nothing suits a cold, damp evening better than piping hot pots of soup. We ushered in this dark winter solstice with our interpretation of caldo de pollo.

There isn't really a recipe so much as a process. That's the way Granny does it, y'know. It always starts with some sort of bone-in chicken. On occasion we use a whole chicken and then de-bone it before adding the veggies if that's what's on hand. Our preference, however, is to use a combination of legs and thighs or leg quarters and then just leave them bone-in.

We dump the chicken into a pot and cover with water. Then we season generously with salt, a good amount of chili powder and garlic, a fair amount of cumin, a bit of cayenne and sometimes a bit of oregano. That simmers gently until the meat is tender and the kitchen smells good.

Large chunks of whatever veggies are handy get dumped into the pot at that point. Usual suspects at our house are potatoes and carrots. Once those are tender, we usually turn off the heat and drown small cabbage wedges into the broth if we have any in the fridge. By the time it's cooled just enough so the kids don't get scalded, the cabbage is done.

We dish it up in wide, relatively shallow bowls. Everyone chooses from diced onion, chopped cilantro, avocado chunks and rice to spruce up the basic soup according to our own preferences and then squeeze limes over the top.

Warm up some corn tortillas and dinner's done.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Just A Light Lunch

Listen up all you ladies who lunch. We totally get it that you'd just want a small salad, minding your girlish figures and all. But when you dump a shit-ton of ranch dressing on top it ceases to serve said figure sparing function. This is particularly true when you wash it down with a Jack in the Box-esque deep fried Tupy Taco.

If you're headed to a Mexican joint, we surmise it would be much more enjoyable to drop the delusions. Jump right in with a margarita and savor the salty rice, borracho beans, grilled meaty goodness and nice warm corn tortillas. While you're at it, leave the funky fried tacos to all the drunks hitting up Jack in the Box after midnight.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Steamin' Hot Dumplings

MomNextDoor is a self-admitted dumpling slut and DadNextDoor would give it all up for the perfect bowl of soup. We were giddy with excitement last week when we enjoyed brunch at Jeng Chi Restaurant in Richardson. This glorious hideaway is the perfect place to indulge both our vices. 

The hot & sour soup was the perfect balance of flavors and the broth wasn't laden with thickener like many Americanized places can tend to serve. Tender tofu and crispy vegetables provided a great texture contrast. The dark broth beef soup was both rich and at the same time refreshing. The chewy, tender beef worked well with the wilted greens and complex broth.

                                                                                       Onion Pancake

The most perfect accompaniment to our soups was the onion pancake. This was our first experience with this amazing treat and we were anticipating something more along the lines of a crepe or tortilla. These wedges of goodness are crispy on the outside and oh so chewy in the inside. Dipped in our hot, salty and spicy broth, the scallion pancake was nearly foodgasmic.

Finally, to finish us off, we doubled up on dumplings. One cannot skip the juicy steamed dumplings. These bundles of goodness have a flavorful pork filling, bathed in salty broth, all embraced by a fluffy steamed dumpling. They are the perfect bite all on their own. The pork and napa dumplings rocked our socks too but they definitely benefited from a generous lather in the ginger vinegar dipping sauce.

                                                                  Juicy Steamed Dumplings

We were stuffed and spent at the end of our Sunday brunch, our wallet only about $25 lighter. We have temperamental tummies which showed no signs of MSG induced crankiness.

This unassuming little family restaurant, tucked away at the back of a shopping center at Greenville & Apollo, is one of our new favorite gems. Can't stop thinking of all those steaming hot morsels ... thinking we'll find ourselves there again this weekend.