Tag Archives: pizza

Austin: Pizza, Tacos and Sunshine

My sister, who lives in Austin, is getting married this year. And since I don’t want to be an absentee maid of honor, I will be venturing down South several times over the next few months. The first of these visits came last weekend for her engagement party. Over my 2 days there, I ate at no fewer than three Austin establishments. The first of these, Magnolia Cafe, I’ve written about before, so we’ll skip it.

On Friday night, we piled into the car and drove down to the drag to fight the UT students for parking and then for sidewalk space. We did not fight them, however, for a booth at the Mellow Mushroom (8:00p must be when the “old” people eat). We were seated right away and each ordered something different:

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Kosmic Karma: Red sauce base with feta and mozzarella cheeses, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and Roma tomatoes with a pesto swirl.

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Mellowterranean: Olive oil and garlic base with all natural grilled chicken, onions, roasted red peppers, black olives, chives, feta and mozzarella cheeses with a side of tzatziki sauce.

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Buffalo Chicken: Mozzarella cheese, grilled Buffalo chicken, caramelized onions, Applewood smoked bacon with a swirl of Buffalo sauce. Served with your choice of bleu cheese or ranch dressing.

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House Special: Red sauce base with mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, sausage, ground beef, ham, Applewood smoked bacon, mushrooms, black olives, Roma tomatoes, green peppers and onions. Topped with extra mozzarella.

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And Kate built her own salad… shout out to the ring!

The next day was February 2nd and my bestie and I were cruising around with the top down. I repeat: February 2nd, it was 73 degrees and sunny. Texas-1, New York-0.

We went to one of Austin’s favorite food trucks, Torchy’s Tacos on South 1st.

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“Damn Good Tacos” indeed.

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The Wrangler: eggs and potatoes topped with smoked beef brisket and jack cheese. Served with tomatillo salsa.

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Street Corn: Fresh roasted off-the-cob corn topped with ancho aioli, queso fresco, cilantro and dusted with New Mexico red chili powder.

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The Independent: Hand-battered and fried portobello mushroom strips, refried black beans, roasted corn, escabeche carrots, queso fresco, cilantro, and avocado. Drizzled with ancho aioli.

I must say, as someone who aspires to run a food truck one day, I know for sure that I would not make tacos in Austin. This is a market cornered by established joints like this that are, in fact, damn good. What kind of food would you like to see served from a truck?

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Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza

Last weekend, after some inspiration from friends of ours that this can indeed be done without a lot of fancy cooking equipment, we decided to make homemade pizza. This was partly inspired by the fact that my herbs are finally grown up enough to eat, so I used them to both make the sauce and to season the dough.

This was the first use of my lovely garden herbs!!

I made the sauce with onions, green peppers, garlic, oregano and basil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I began by making the sauce, which was from a can of tomato sauce and half a can of tomato paste, to which I added onions, garlic, green peppers, oregano and basil. I let it simmer; the longer, the better.

Test the yeast in some warm sugary water.

I then mixed flour, salt, water, olive oil and yeast with some fresh herbs and garlic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was the scariest part for me and it turned out to be the simplest. If the yeast doesn’t get foamy in the water within 10 minutes, it’s dead, so try again. The recipe I used called for 2 cups of wheat flour and 1 cup of all-purpose flour, a tablespoon of olive oil, a pinch of salt, along with the water and yeast. I added some fresh herbs and garlic to the dough for extra yumsies.

Then cover it with a towel for 1 1/2 hours.

Roll the dough out on a clean, floured surface.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After about an hour and a half, the dough should double in size, indicating that it’s ready to be rolled out. You can make the crust as thin or as thick as you like. Me I like it thin, so we rolled it out tenderly and topped it up.

We did half Margherita and half Mediterranean.

We popped this baby into a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes and pizza came out the other side!

Homemade tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and fresh basil from my garden.

Pesto, red onions, white onions, green hot peppers, red bell peppers, olive-marinated chicken and feta cheese.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not one to toot my own horn, but for a couple of first timers making homemade pizza, this was a big victory… TOOT TOOT.

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