Delish Dish- Sauteed Scallops and Andouille on Baby Greens

I have decided to upload a delicious recipe each week that I have personally made and tried. I truly enjoy cooking as well as feeding others—would much rather cook for two versus one—and love trying new ingredients and flavors.

My most recent and favorite dish to make to date is my Sea Scallops and Andouille Sausage salad. Thank you to my epicurious phone app for finding this. PS- get the app—you can search by ingredient, course, cuisine, etc.

Sauteed Scallops with Andouille and Baby Greens

Makes 6 appetizer servings.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup chopped shallots
  • 3 tbsp. Sherry wine vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup plus 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 4.5oz bag of mixed baby greens
  • 18 sea scallops, side muscles trimmed, halved crosswise
  • 6oz Andouille sausage, cut into ½ in. pieces
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Whisk chopped shallots, Sherry wine vinegar, and Dijon mustard in a bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in ½ cup olive oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. (Dressing can be made up to 3 hours prior to serving. Cover and let stand at room temperature. Re-whisk before serving.)- I like my dressing colder so I place in fridge.

Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper. (I also drizzle with a lil more olive oil to keep them from sticking). Add scallops to skillet in single layer. Cook until scallops are just opaque in the center and lightly browned and all juices have evaporate- approx. 2minutes per side. (This is where you are going to have to feel it out as timing changes… really go off of the color as well as the texture- plump yet slightly firm). Transfer scallops to a side plate.

Add an additional tbsp. to the same skillet and heat over high heat. Add the sausage and sauté until crisp, about 3 minutes. Return the scallops to skillet and stir until heated through, approx. 30 seconds.

Divide salad amongst 6 plates and top with equal portions of the scallop/sausage mixture. Drizzle salad dressing over each salad equally as well. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve.

The cool texture of the scallops plays off the crispy sausage. The dressing adds subtle favor without being too overpowering. I know it says for an appetizer, but be careful as it is filling. I recommend adding “more meat” so to speak and upping it to a meal. Perfect for a cool summer night- or in Texas any night when you eat inside with the AC on.

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Restaurant Rave: The Original New Orleans Po-Boy and Gumbo Shop

If you have never been to New Orleans and are a spicy food or Tabasco enthusiast, then you must take a trip. PRONTO. Cajun cuisine is by far one of my most favorite. It’s the spice and the soul that really make the meal. Not to mention okra, crawfish and Andouille sausage come out pretty high on my list.

Now, since I am from DFW/Austin, finding a place that serves really good AUTHENTIC  gumbo or a red beans and rice with that perfect amount of Cajun spice, is especially hard to come by. When I want gumbo, it is loaded with chicken, shrimp, Andouille, okra, celery, white rice etc. And you better believe that both better be dark.  With crawfish etouffee, it is poured over rice with VISIBLE SPICE- almost to where it is a tad grainy. Red beans and rice better have the dark spiced broth- almost as thick as a cream, as well.

But no worries, a SoCo local trailer park eatery has met my requirements with FLYING colors.

The Original New Orleans and PoBoy Shop is run by Big Chief Darold Gordon of the Young Navaho Mardi Gras Indian Tribe. Gordon had evacuated to Austin after hurricane Katrina only to recognize the lack of good, soulful and spicy Cajun cookin’. Thank goodness he brought his pots and pans with him.

The prices are low, the food is made to order and they cater- including the downtown ATX events Louisiana Swamp Thing and the annual Crawfish Festival. My only complaint- they are closed Mondays—which when something is closed, it seems that’s when you want it the most! (Sunday Chick-fil-A anyone?) But bonus, he will be opening a building once he finds the perfect space, and you know I will be stationed there.

Restaurant Rave: hopdoddy burger bar

It is not for hot dogs anymore.
 

Now, let me preface this- Hopdoddy does not serve hot dogs. However, even having been there multiple times, my use of alliteration and word remembrance tools has decided to take control so even when I explain the ingredients of the last burger I enjoyed to someone I am attempting to wrangle into going with me, the meat always ends up being of the “dog” variety.

No hot dogs here. Hopdoddy actually refers to beer “hops” and “doddy” is the nickname given to the native cow in Aberdeen, Scotland.

However, they do have the most outstanding burgers that for most, the name will not have any effect on twisting your memory to different meat. Apparently I am unbreakable thus far.

Hopdoddy is located on South Congress Ave. right before Gueros to the right and the trailer park eatery to the south left. What is nice about Hopdoddy’s location is that they have PARKING. And a PARKING GARAGE. For my fellow Austinites, you understand the godsend of this message.

The inside is a contemporary open eatery feel with tables being sectioned off for parties by menu holders while a bar takes over the majority of the left half of the room—which is an excellent choice as you have to walk/wait past before giving your order. Drinks while you wait anyone?

As you wait to place your order, they reserve a table for you. Depending where you are in line, they tell you your estimated wait time.  As much as standing in line can be obnoxious, there system moves so smoothly that most forget they are even waiting until they sit down at the table to wait for the food. Again- drinks anyone?

Their burgers range from the classic hamburger to the Ahi Tuna. The menu dives into the perfect mix of standard hamburger etiquette with new twits. My favorite thus far has been the magic shroom.With field mushrooms, goat cheese and a basil pesto- you can’t go wrong. I also recommend the greek and the goodnight. But honestly, any burger you choose will leave you satisfied and glad you didn’t have a hot dog.

Restaurant Rave- Trudy’s Texas Star

Being a native Texan and Spanish speaker, a love for Mexican food comes second nature. During my first year attending UT Austin, I kept overhearing of Trudy’s Texas Star, a Tex Mex restaurant located a mere two blocks from my dorm second semester. Of course, upon taking my first taste alongside my sorority sisters, I was hooked.

Now, where I feel Trudy’s stands out among the rest of the run-of-the-mill Tex-Mex restaurants is while you normally may need to down several drinks prior to eating in order to increase the foods “value” (basically get sloshed in order to make the food mediocre), Trudy’s food can stand on its own.

The menu is extensive, ranging from brunch/breakfast items which they serve Friday-Sunday to Tex-Mex and even American-style and Southern-Comfort food for those not desiring a cultural cuisine. Plus with a happy hour M-F from 2-7 ranging in cocktails and beer, you can bet that Trudy’s Texas Star stays packed with the local college crowd.

Here are my recommendations:

Drink: Mexican Martini

This may look like a fancy-schmansy martini cocktail, but it packs a bunch. Taking the classic martini recipe and mixing it up with tequila versus vodka/vermouth, the Mexican Martini is the perfect blend of class and southern spark. The martini is paired with olives and comes alongside a full shaker, giving you approximately four glasses to devour. Be advised- there is a two-martini limit and if you start with one, you cannot switch over to another drink/beer afterward. Believe me, two is plenty, make sure you have a cab or designated driver ready, these will sneak up on you.

Appetizer: Zingo Nachos 

Having first started out as an item on the specials board, Zingo Nachos received such praise, that Trudy’s gave them a permanent placement on their appetizers list. With about 12 LARGE nacho chips covered with Monterey Jack and cotija cheeses, zesty black beans, marinated garlic shrimp, guac and fresh limes, there’s plenty to share, or take home for later.

Entree: Stuffed Avocado 

This is what Trudy’s is known for, the famous stuffed avocado. How it is created, it still a mystery to me, but an avocado is stuffed with spiced chicken and cheese, breaded and fried and then smothered with your choice of sauce, (I enjoy their spicy sour cream Suiza sauce– chosen by most) and topped with a slice of fresh avocado. With Spanish rice and your choice of beans, the cool consistency of the avocado pairs well with the heat of the spiced chicken and Suiza sauce. Make sure you keep your appetite ready for this perfect ending.

 

With three locations in Austin, Central, North and South, the atmosphere follows the mantra of “Keep Austin Weird,” while the food leaves you wishing they would come to a town near you.

 

Please visit http://www.Trudys.com for contact information, menu and locations.
Photos courtesy of Trudy’s Texas Star.

Movie Minute- Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo focuses on the journey of a small town Texas girl, Selena Gomez, who, just graduating from high school, plans a trip to France with a friend, Katie Cassidy, in hopes of finding her true self and a bigger life. Her trip hits its first snag when her mother, who recently remarried, has her older step-sister, Leighton Meester, tag along as well. Once arriving in Paris, the trip keeps proving  a disaster as the tour group is wretched and they eventually get left behind. It is then that, stumbling into a fancy hotel room, that her sister and friend see the resemblance and the game begins.

The story line is extremely similar to the Lizzie McGuire movie, a previous Disney teen queen hit, with Grace, Gomez,  pretending to be a wealthy socialite while the real Cordelia Winthrop Scott is gallivanting around the country. However, they put a bit more effort into it, giving each girl their own growth within the film. Katie Cassidy, Emma, realizes her small-town life is all she needs as long as she has the love of her life, Cory Montieth, by her side. Leighton Meester, Meg, learns to let go of her mother’s death and live her life with more spontaneity. Grace finds a true calling and passion for where her life can take her.

Of course, with any teen romantic comedy, the love interests are there, PDA-light style, with more dancing than anything. And of course, they always get caught. However; as expected, they get away with it as they were just “helping the children.”

Although this flick is PG, and is in no way a realistic adventure without felony charges and people with zero recognition,  I still think the message behind it speaks volumes– about how to go for what you want, be vulnerable and find the passion that completes your own life, the way you want it to.

It has gone to the Dogs.

This post is in honor of my best friend and brand new puppy owner, Whitey.

Finding the Perfect Pooch

When deciding to get a dog of your own, it is never the time to rush into it. You need to take account not only what will be best for you, but for your soon to be new family member as well. (Don’t forget cost– you are adding a new member with needs!) First thing first– puppy or dog. Puppies take more time, training, and attention. Not to mention, less sleep and more accidents to deal with. Do not fear that by getting an older dog that you will be unable to form a bond– I have done both. With older dogs, the bond may take a while longer, only due to being unsure this relationship is lasting having known previous owners. With puppies, you are all they know since you plucked them from mom so they immediately depend on you. Either way, the love created is lasting and unconditional.

Next– picking a breed. This is important, you need to base it on the amount of energy you want to put into it. With more energetic dogs, including herding and hunting breeds, you need to have the time to play fetch, run around, throw the ball and run again. So make sure the breed you choose matches your “outdoorsy/physical activities” side… aka you love daily walks and the game ring toss- you can go energetic, including Aussies, Labs, Retrievers and Weimeriners. On the other hand, if you would rather stay inside and bake cookies, then make sure your breed does not require much leg work. Go little so they wear out quickly or for the more “foofy” breeds (no offense)- including Maltese, Shitzu, and Pampions. You need to realize that if you get an energetic dog and cannot put in the time, this can lead to health problems– including obesity, depression, and heart complications. Also, make sure you research their temperament, whether or not they are good with kids, as well as common health problems.

Another reminder for breed choice- your environment. It is not fair to get a large dog for a tiny apartment/townhouse, not to mention most apartments/rental agencies have weight and breed requirements of their own.

For those who already have a dog, sex will matter. Older female dogs have a tendency to get competitive with younger female puppies for attention when first brought into the home. It is best to get a male with an older female dog, otherwise it is up to you.

Once you have chosen you breed, I always recommend going to different breeders/shelters to meet the possibly new bundle of joy. I cannot stress this enough. Just like people, you cannot judge a book by its cover or know how they act/behave until you are there seeing them interact with you, the current owners, and other litter mates. From personal experience, I went to a breeder looking to purchase the brother of the dog I have now. He had zero personality, was not interested in myself, the other puppies…  basically he just wanted to lay on the couch and face the wall. Not at all the personality, activity or behavior I was looking for, for my companion.

Upon choosing you new joy, always make sure they are up-to-date on shots and exams. It is an extremely emotional and tragic situation when you get attached, bring a do home and they have complications.

Bringing home baby

Be prepared. You should already have a crate, food/water dish, food/treats, leash/collar and a couple toys. Also extra towels, accident cleaner and for puppies potty pads if desired.

Depending on the time you bring the pup home, your day will vary. With puppies, the car ride home is usually filled with wines for mom and a familiar face. However, if getting them in the morning or afternoon, you have more time to bond before bedtime. Bedtime. Oh lord. Now, if you made the conscious decision, in that you enjoy sleep and feel it necessary to maintain function, and went with an older dog you will most likely not have the next couple of nights… Puppies cry at night. Nonstop. Similar to the ear-piercing shrieks of dolphins, ranging in volume and tone. No matter how fun-loving and easy-going your puppy was, night makes them remember they are away from mom. My first night with Archie resulted in myself getting under 30 minutes sleep, and that was only with the help of my ever so loving sister who came in town and held him while I got some rest. This is especially true if your puppy was not crate trained. Going from an open pen with family to a crate– similar to a little jail cell– is unnerving. However, the worst thing you can do is let them sleep with you– this makes it near to impossible to ever leave them alone, as they will hate , cry and bark 24/7 in their crate. I recommend two things…

1- Invest in a toy that makes a noise similar to a heart beating, or get a loud manual alarm clock and place it under a warm pillow in their crate. This will give a similar feel to the warmth and beating heart of their mother.

2- Sleep just outside their crate with a blanket covering most of crate, allowing about an inch at the bottom so they can see your body next to the crate. It will comfort them that you are near, but without the blanket they will continually wake anytime you move.

The first couple of nights will be the worst, with the first couple of weeks being similar, just slightly less whining. You need to stand strong and keep up the routine. Routines are the most important thing to instill early on. Puppies will adjust quicker, more easily, and more comfortably with a structured routine.

Feeding

Your puppy should be weened and onto solids when you get them, which is after 8 weeks. Ask the shelter or breeder what brand of food they use, it is important not to mix and match as it can upset your pup’s digestive system. Also ask about feeding times, eating three times a day for the first year, and amount. These are questions you can ask your vet as well during the first check-up and most dog food bags have the suggested serving size based on your dog’s weight, age, and overall size. Only leave down the food about 15 minutes per meal, don’t allow them to come and go as they please– routine is the best route.

Potty Training

If your newest member is not potty trained, here are my best tips. Although potty pads are scented with some kind of chemical that supposedly attracts dogs to have their business there, I do not believe in them. Only twice perhaps did Archie use potty pads versus my carpet or tile if he was inside and decided to unexpectedly go. I recommend, more so for larger/less ‘foofy” dog breeds, skipping over the potty pads, considering they are supposed to be a transitional tool anyway (moving them from inside to outside) and go immediately to nature. Puppies need to be taken out several times an hour, especially after naps, feeding, and playing. Every dog, like toddler, has a “potty dance” you will pick this up and be able to know, hopefully before it is on your floor, that it is time to rush out. Also with dogs, while having an accident, if you pick them up mid-stream while saying no A-they will know they cannot have accidents and B-they will stop going as they do not want to pee on themselves, so you can rush them outside and praise them when they finish on the grass. Potty training will take several weeks, and accidents will still occasionally happen, especially with apartment dogs as it is not as simple as stand by the back door to be let out, but its mom has to get the keys, down the hall, stairs, etc. You just need to be patient, pay attention and continually take them out.

Crate Training

Your dog’s crate should only be big enough for them to walk in, turn around, and lay down comfortably. Now, since no one wants to spend money buying multiple crates through the growth process, you can buy dividers. Without dividers, your dog will have accidents in one area and sleep in another… epic fail on crate training.

In order to get them comfortable with the crate, you should not only put them in there for bedtime or when you need to leave them home unattended, but “for practice” as well. Letting your puppy into the crate while being in the same room in eyesight will let them know it is ok, they can relax because they will get out.. it is not forever.

You should never use the crate as a disciplinary tool. The crate should be their sanctuary, never a time-out spot. You want them to want to go in there so they are comfortable when they do need to go in there when you leave.

Healthy Habits

After bringing your dog home, immediately set-up an appointment with your vet. Make sure to get all paperwork and records from previous owner’s in order to stay on top of vaccines and not accidentally double-up or miss the necessities. Plus, if you are like me, in order to plan your pup’s first b-day, you need the BOD.

Puppies require multiple shots and check-ups while maturing. You need to make sure not to bring your puppy around unvaccinated dogs until they have received their third puppy shot, rabies, bordatella and several others. I feel most people ignore this important rule by bringing they puppy around to multiple places, around a bunch of people or to dog parks. Puppies can easily pick up an airborne or ingest a virus from another dog just by being in the same field as an unvaccinated or sick dog… who may have been there weeks prior. In order to avoid your puppy getting sick, please consult with your vet concerning their safety, when they can be introduced to other dogs, and only bring your dog around dogs whom you know have all their vaccinations. It is usually around 3-4 months that puppies can safely be taken to the dog parks as they have completed the necessary vaccinations.

Do not fret if your puppy snoozes multiple times a day– puppy life seems to happen in spurts… excited play, feeding, potty and tons of napping.

Puppies can only handle certain shampoos, chew toys, and food for several months. Make sure to check all labels.

My Favorites

Here are some of my favorite treats, toys, and tips for dogs:

Training treats: Bill Jak. They come in several flavors, sizes (small/large dogs) and are a moist treat great for training.

Waggon Train: These duck and chicken jerky treats are good for gums and should be given minimally– there is a serving size recommendation on the bag.

Nylabone: By far my FAVORITE BRAND. They have great puppy starter packs, ranging in safe-chew flavored bones, teething toys and treats for healthy gums and clean breath.

Squeaky toys with Zero Stuffing: Puppies love noise and squeakers. You will love that when they tear it up, there is not cotton sprinkled around your floor.

Pet Training: I love PetSmart. They have good prices, great results– which are guaranteed otherwise you can re-take the class for free.

I hope my insight will help those to finding, bonding, loving and living with their new best friends. Archie is nearly 1… his birthday is Aug. 8. I know I am still learning as a new “mom” but I am happy to say it has been the best decision and most rewarding work. I mean, just look how he has grown up!!

First Weekend Home!!

Full-grown Mini Aussie

All shaved for summer

Fanciful Fedoras

The fedora is by far my favorite hat style of all time. It got its name from the 1882 play by Victorien Sardou titled “Fedora,” in which the play’s heroine, Princess Fedora, dawned a hat similar to today’s fashion.

Gaining popularity as a middle-class male fashion in the 1920s, the fedora has moved from the top accessory to the gangster’s pinstripe three-piece suit, to the 21st century’s casual cool west-coast vibe. With its androgynous feel and shape, it can dress down a flirty and flowy maxi-dress while punching up the hipster chic to a classic pair of denim jeans and white tee.

Although the fedora started as a felt hat with the crown crease, my favorite use is the straw fedora. The lightweight texture makes it the perfect hat for spring and summer. I recommend sticking to a beige base with either a black or brown band in order to avoid attracting anymore humidity, sweat and heat to your tresses.

For the winter months, go dark. A sleek black or gray fedora will give a beatnik look to slim fitting cardigans and snug sweater dresses.

Avoid the white, unless you want to resemble Michael Jackson. Add one glitter glove and you’re all set to be Billy Jean.

Although I pair my fedora with pretty much everything I wear, especially when fixing my hair seems too time consuming, check out some of the photos below for adding this top piece into your wardrobe look.

Bad Teacher Fails.

For my first official blog post I will be doing what I would like to call “Movie Minute.” Consisting of reviews of current, classic and soon-to-come movies, Movie Minute will give a quick glimpse into my true passion–  cinema.

Yes, I am the only girl who would love to have the stereotypical date of dinner and a movie. I honestly get lost in the luster and bright lights that are the movies. Whether it be blockbuster, foreign, or indie flicks you will most likely find in me a theatre, at a Redbox or browsing the web for the latest movie trailers–  speaking of movie trailers are my favorite part of going to the movies, almost more than the movie itself. I get giddy with anticipation knowing what awaits to entertain me in the following months.

For this particular Movie Minute I will be reviewing Cameron Diaz’s new flick “Bad Teacher.”

The premise is simple and ironic- Cameron Diaz plays a gold-digging teacher with no skill or desire to be an educator. The real irony however is that her love interest is former 3 year fling Justin Timberlake. The majority of the movie slowly drudges on, with Diaz sleeping, drinking and smoking pot while showing her students movies every class day. It is only until Timberlake takes a shying towards a more engaged teacher, Lucy Punch, for not only her motivation for kids, but her “big heart/s” as well, that Diaz cracks down and strives to win the test score bonus and Timberlake’s heart. Timberlake falls a little flat, going for the easy laughs. My real disappointment though is the lack of Jason Siegel. Siegel plays a gym teacher vying for the attention and affections of Diaz. Not only is his 30 lb. weight loss noticeable, ow ow Jason, but his comedic timing and ability to carry the slower scenes through his expressions make him the real star. Phyllis Smith from “The Office” also plays a minor role, as an eager to please counterpart to Diaz. Smith’s character’s personality is a little too overkill.  Finally, the ending is completely predictable, especially with multiple hints thrown throughout the movie- no need to pay attention or take notes, you will pass through with or without your eyes open.