Cowboy Breakfast

I headed out super early this Morning to stop by Rodeo Austin’s Cowboy Breakfast. This kicks off the annual rodeo here in Austin. Being a true Texas born and raised, I must admit, I’ve never been to a rodeo! Can you believe that? Anyways, this annual event starts super early, 6am and goes until 9am at Auditorium Shores every year. It’s also free and on my way to work, so I thought, why not?!? Here are a few pictures I snapped!

Huge USA and Texas flags, so construction site chic.

Welcome! Lots of cowboy hats everywhere but that was no surprise!

Buttery Pioneer Biscuit. They had gravy too but I skipped on it.

Real Cowboys serving up biscuits and gravy right outta these pots over coal fires.

Shout out to Pioneer brands!

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Live Music to get the day started off right!

Sausage and a pancake! (cue Austin Powers voice)

Even more live music against the beautiful Austin skyline.

Catfish Toes from The Boathouse Grill. Had a little Cajun kick, def could have used a sauce!

Look at these characters! There was also a rodeo princess complete with a red wrangler denim suit. I kid you not. Sorry, didn’t get a pic of her.

Covered wagon, true cowboy right there!

And last but not least, who wants to ride a longhorn?!? Anyone? Bueller?

If you need a rodeo partner, let me know. This may be the year I participate in this Texas tradition!

Whole Wheat Grill Pizza

I heard about this recipe/idea for grilling pizza crust back in the summer. I never got around to trying it. Mainly due to my old fear of working with yeast but now that I’m over that and have my handy-dandy mixer, I was ready to make my first pizza crust!

I decided to go straight for the gold and make a whole wheat crust even though I’ve heard whole wheat can be harder to work with. It’s harder to work with mainly because whole wheat tends to be a drier crust but don’t worry, easy fix!

For grill pizza, you will obviously need a grill. You can also make this exact recipe, skip the grill and bake it in the oven. I also used a pizza stone after grilling for melting the cheeses and toppings. If you don’t have a pizza stone, you can put the pizza on a baking sheet or straight on the oven grate.

For the whole wheat pizza crust, you’ll need:
1 package of active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

First, we are going to proof the yeast. I’m not a big “you must use certain brands” kinda person but according to my Granny, it’s very important to use Fleischmann’s Yeast.

That’s what yeast looks like. Little cardboard colored balls.

Proofing yeast is kinda old school. Basically we are making sure the yeast is active. Back in the day it could become inactive so bakers would proof it first, to make sure it would rise before going through the whole recipe and then not having the bread rise. Nowadays, packaging and expiration dates are much more efficient so proofing is not as necessary. But whatevs, I wanted to see what all the hype was about it.

For any recipe, to proof, combine the yeast and the amount of lukewarm water in the recipe together.

Add a pinch, literally a pinch, of sugar to the mix. This gives the yeast something to feed on and expedites the proofing.

Mix all of that together and let sit for about 10 minutes.

After about 10 minutes the yeast should start to foam and bubble a little. It will also have a very distinct yeast smell. This is what foaming looks like.

Alright, now add the all-purpose flour to the water and proofed yeast mixture.

Add in the whole wheat flour.

Half a teaspoon of kosher salt.

Add a tablespoon of honey and a tablespoon of olive oil.

Now, I finally get to use my dough hook!! Woohoo! You can also mix this by hand… But it just might take a while. It’s possible, people have been doing it for millennia.

Mixy Mixy!

And there is that dough ball we are looking for!

Now, move the dough ball to a well oiled bowl. I used olive oil and a large plastic mixing bowl.

Take a mental note of the size of the dough ball.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and place the bowl in a warm place and let rise for 2 hours or until the dough doubles in size. A warm place might be a really sunny window or on top of the preheating oven.

Ok now for the fun part! While the dough is rising, set up your pizza topping bar. Go crazy, use whatever you want! Lots of cheese though!!

I drained a can of diced tomatoes.

Brown some sausage.

Chop some fresh basil! And of course, mince some garlic…

Add some arugula and fresh lemon, and your pizza topping bar is complete!

2 hours later… Pizza dough! Technically at this point you are supposed to punch the dough down, knead it and place in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight. I didn’t have time for this and completely skipped this step. The dough still worked out… so, up to you. If you plan ahead enough to fully prep the dough, great. If not, it still works.

When you are ready to use the dough, divide into 4 balls. This will make 4 personal pizzas. Or you could do 2 larger pizzas. I had four people and did a pizza topping bar so everyone could make their own.

Place the dough on a floured surface. Now it’s time to work the dough. My dough was dry so I got my hands wet and then started in on the dough. This takes some time, patience my friend. The whole phrase “working the dough” took on new meaning for me at this point.

After a few minutes, you’ll have a nice little pizza crust! If it

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tears, just patch it up and keep going. You want the dough to be fairly thin or you’ll wind up with more of a bread-y crust.

Drizzle both sides of the crust with olive oil. Now it’s time for the grill!!

Heat up the grill… About medium flame. Then carefully place the crust on the fire. It could tear easily at this point so use caution.

It should start to puff up on the top. Do a little side check to make sure it’s not burning. It’ll take a minute or two on each side. When you can easily scoop the dough with the tongs, you’ll know it’s ready to flip. It should flip easily at this point.

VICTORY!! Check out those grill marks!! I may have done a happy dance at this point… Dancing while cooking is always encouraged in my kitchen.

After you finishing grilling the crusts, have everyone top their own pizza. Yummy! This is Luke’s pizza.

Place the topped pizza in the oven on the pizza stone for 3-5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

And there you have it folks! A perfect personal pizza!

This is my pizza, lots of arugula. I like a little salad on my pizza!

I went halfsies on my pizza. On one half margherita and the other half pizza Bianca with sausage and lemon.

The grill really gives the pizza that fire-flame taste and crispy crust just like a brick oven at the pizza place!


Nacho Cups

For the Super Bowl, I wanted to come up with something really creative, maybe with a little healthy twist, that was easy to share. I had dreams that I was onto something really great here. However after a trip to the grocery store failed on delivering these pastry baking sheets I was planning on using, I opted for uncooked tortillas. Then a last minute addition of jalapeños… I realized as they were baking that I basically had… Nachos in tortilla chip cups. Haha this is definitely one of those times where the dish morphed as I was putting it together. They were still tasty and easy to share, so I’m calling this a win!

You’ll need:
Uncooked flour tortillas
Shredded cheese
Spicy sausage
4 oz cream cheese
1 cup spinach
Minced garlic
Sliced jalapeños

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown the sausage.

Mince up a few cloves of garlic. Ok maybe that’s like 5 cloves… Just do it to your taste.

Take the heat off of the sausage. Then mix the minced garlic into the pan and just let those flavors meld while we prep the other stuff.

Dice up a couple handfuls of spinach.

Slice up the cream cheese. You want it room temperature so it will blend easier.

Throw those cream cheese knobs in with the spinach in a large mixing bowl.

Now add in the sausage and garlic, they should still be warm. Mix all that together.

Now onto the tortillas. I kind of guesstimated how big to slice these. Trial and error here people.

Spray a muffin pan generously with non-stick spray. Then line the cups with tortilla. If there are gaps or the tortilla tears, patch it up with a little piece of tortilla.

Fill the cups with the sausage, spinach mixture. Those corners sticking up are ok. As they cook, they will become crispy just like a chip!

Top with lots of cheese!

Wash and slice a jalapeño.

Top each nacho cup with a jalapeño.

Now these delicious bites are ready for the oven!

Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees or until cheese is bubbly and tortilla edges are brown and crisp.

They smelled awesome!

Ready to share!

I think they are pretty cute too!