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What I would cook for Patrick Cantwell.

You may have recalled my mention of the Mr. Patrick Cantwell after I attended my first Round Rock Express game over Memorial Day Weekend. Cantwell is a fine, fine looking catcher and isn’t so bad at batting, either. He’s 26, from New York, and I wouldn’t mind cooking him dinner… more than once.

Sure, I bet he lives in the Austin/Round Rock area and could get a delicious meal just about anywhere – there is a Salt Lick right outside of the stadium, afterall. But who doesn’t love a good, homecooked meal?

And that, my readers, is what I’d like to give away today: organic ingredients for meals delivered right to your door, for FREE! I’ve been ordering from Green Chef for six months now, and I love it. You get to choose how many meals (by meal they mean serving) you want delivered, and set your preferences. You can change your food preferences as often as you want, or skip weeks if you’re not feeling it, and there’s NO penalty for it.

I generally have my preferences set on “omnivore” and I get ingredients for 6 meals each week; however, most of the time, it ends up being enough ingredients for 9 meals. Usually the box (which is right on my doorstep and packed with ice packs) has two recipes with meat, and one vegetarian. Some of my favorite meals I’ve gotten so far include:

  • Shrimp Fettucine Alfredo with Tomatoes and Snap Peas
  • Poached Tuna Salad, with Spinach Salad and Olive & Red Pepper Couscous
  • Chickpea Shawarma Salad, with Cucumber & Tomato Millet, Olives & Pine Nuts
  • Sweet & Sour Chicken with Black Quinoa, Edamame, Ginger, Pineapple & Pepper
  • Greek Gyro Flatbread with Baba ghanoush, Ground Beef, Tzatziki & Feta
  • Pumpkin-Stuffed Shells with Spinach & Walnut-parsley Pesto, Orange-chard Salad

So, you’ll get the ingredients and then you cook the meals at your leisure. All of the ingredients are pre-measured, and organized with color-coordinated labels. Some of the ingredients are even prepped for you (chopped, mixed, etc.), so it makes the meals pretty fool-proof. But seriously, no catch with the free meals – I really just want other people to try this delicious stuff!

I have one free gift to give away, so if you’re interested, shoot me your email address using the form at the bottom of this post. I’ll draw numbers tonight at 10pm Central time, and the winner will get an email from me with your code for the free meals.

In the meantime, I’ve got the recipe for this fantastic burger I’m going to make for Patrick Cantwell on our fantasy date, where of course, he’s going to fall madly in love with me.

INGREDIENTS

  • 12 ounces grass-fed ground beef
  • 2 whole-wheat hamburger buns
  • 2 slices nitrate-free bacon
  • Onion & shallot
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • ⅓ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Honey-mustard balsamic vinegar
  • Slaw dressing
  • Carrots & cabbage
  • Scallions & celery

DIRECTIONS

Place carrots and cabbage in a medium bowl. Thinly slice scallions at an angle; discard root end. Small dice celery into about ¼-inch pieces. Add scallions and celery to bowl. Drizzle with slaw dressing to taste. Salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat.

Cut root end off onion; remove peel. Cut into about ¼-inch thick slices. Heat about 1 tablespoon cooking oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; stir. Season with salt and pepper. Cook 4 minutes, or until edges brown, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium. Cook 8-10 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cut ends off shallot and remove peel; mince. Halve grape tomatoes. Heat about 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small pot over medium heat. Add shallot to hot pot; stir. Cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes. Cook 3 minutes, or until tomatoes begin to soften, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, place ground beef in a large bowl. Add mozzarella cheese. Season with about ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper. Mix to evenly distribute cheese. Form into two patties, about ½-inch thick. Halve bacon widthwise.

Add honey-mustard balsamic vinegar to pot with tomatoes. Fill container halfway with water; pour into pot. Stir. Cook 5-6 minutes, or until liquid has reduced by at least half, stirring occasionally. Gently smash tomatoes. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat about 1 tablespoon cooking oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add burgers to hot pan. Add bacon to pan around burgers. Cook burgers 5 minutes on each side, or to desired doneness. Cook bacon alongside burgers until crispy, flipping as needed. Transfer bacon and burgers to a paper towel-lined plate.

Meanwhile, turn oven to high broil with rack 6-8 inches from the top. Cut whole-wheat hamburger buns open. Place on a baking sheet cut-sides up. Broil 2-3 minutes, or until toasted. Crumble (or roughly chop) bacon. Add to bowl with slaw. Toss to combine.

Divide caramelized onion between bottom buns and top with Memorial Day mozz burgers. Spoon tomato jam over burgers. Finish burger with top bun. Serve with bacon slaw on the side. Enjoy!

When I cooked this meal for myself, I ended up putting the bacon on the burger, instead of in the slaw – because bacon on a burger was just a match meant to be. So, enter the giveaway – and, if you don’t win, you can still get a HUGE discount on your first Green Chef order by using my link here.

 

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Pic of the Week.

PrimeTime Burger at Hopdoddy.

PrimeTime Burger at Hopdoddy.

I realize I talk a lot about being a recluse and spending my weekends indoors, and well, part of this is because I find great joy in relaxing at my home, in my sweat pants.

Another thing is that, since I’m working all week, I spend a majority of my weekend writing,  reading, or attempting to just relax. But, I am also realizing that I live in a pretty cool city and I’m not going to discover it or meet people when I’m sitting on my couch.

So, I made it a goal to get out and do some things I’ve been wanting to do for awhile. And so, I did! On Saturday, I got up, had my coffee, hit the showers, and put on something cute, so I could go explore.

I started at Nordstrom Rack, because there was no Nordstrom Rack in Baton Rouge when I lived there (I believe there’s one there now), and it’s been years since I’ve been to one!

Now, you guys know how much of a bargain shopper I am. And yes, Nordstrom Rack has some great deals, but these are “designer deals” meaning, even at 50% or whatever, they are still just too much for my little budget. But, it’s still fun to look.

Gorgeous.

Gorgeous.

I did spy a gorgeous, gorgeous bag (I’m definitely a bag lady, y’all) by Deux Lux, which is a brand I recognized from my seasonal employment at Anthropologie last Christmas. I used my 50% discount on one item and that was a Deux Lux Weekender bag that I couldn’t stop staring at.

It’s plaid and sequined, and was actually in my car when it got broken into, but the thief took my ancient, nearly ripped Coach bag instead. Little did the thief know, the Deux Lux bag was worth more.

So anyway, this “Rivington Weekender” bag at Nordstrom Rack was gorgeous, woven cognac suede, massive in size, and had this navy blue silky liner. I really loved it. But did I need another bag? I walked away. Then looked longingly back at it… then just snatched the sucker up. It was the last one on the rack, and listed for a third of its original price.

It will make a super cute work bag, not to mention a great carry on when I plan my next flight! I also picked up a super slim phone charger (mine was also stolen), that was on clearance for $8 (originally $35).

After skipping out of Nordstrom Rack, I was really excited to hit up a restaurant I’d heard so much about: Hopdoddy. Not only had my coworkers raved of the place, but I also saw it on an episode of Food Porn on FYI:

Hopdoddy is most known for their burgers, but they also sell pretty decadent shakes. I was originally going to go for a shake, but I ended up guzzling some local beer (Thirsty Goat Amber by Thirsty Planet).

Anyway, I headed to Hopdoddy and as predicted, had to wait in a line that was wrapped around the building. But, I was too excited to care.

I’m also facing my fear of eating alone in the midst of all of this, but they sat me at the bar, and the bartenders were nice. I got my beer, and to my delight, it was frosty and delicious, and the Oklahoma/Kansas game was on. Win-Win!

So, I ordered the PrimeTime burger: Texas Akaushi Beef, Brie Cheese, Arugula, Caramelized Onions, Truffle Aioli, Steak Sauce, along with a side of Parmesan Truffle Fries.

Y’all. This shit does not compare! I’ve had In & Out, Shake Shack… no, no. This shit was amazing. If there weren’t so many awesome restaurants here I want to try, I’d go back this weekend! Wow. I’m still dreaming of it.

I sat there, and I stuffed myself, and I recognize that getting straight up nasty with a burger, beer, and fries probably isn’t the right way to meet people, but I’m more interested in getting every morsel of deliciousness to my stomach. And I did.

I left Hopdoddy with a slight buzz. I was full, it was sunny and 74 degrees, and I’d just done what I thought I could never do: enjoy a great meal alone. I felt great, and I promptly went home and took a food-induced nap. It was a lovely little Saturday.

So, I’m certain I’ll be going on even more adventures in this little city of mine. I’m excited to share them with you, of course! Don’t forget to watch “The People vs. O.J. Simpson” tonight! See, I haven’t lost my reclusive tendencies, completely.

Shake Shack vs. In-N-Out

The competition is on! I’m lucky enough to live in a city that’s full of different food joints, and don’t worry, I’ve got a list of the ones I want to try (and it’s getting longer by the day). Of course, I’ll be right here to report all of my findings with you.

So, the first showdown is between Shake Shack and In-N-Out Burger, which is really like a battle between east and west, right?

In-N-Out opened in 1945 as California’s first drive-thru hamburger stand. In 1994, In-N-Out opened its 100th location, with location number 200 opening in 2000.

When I found out there was a location in Austin, I couldn’t wait to try it! I thought the famous burger joint only existed in California, so I was pleasantly surprised.

My mom and I went to In-N-Out around midnight on a Thursday night, and the place was hopping. We went through the drive-thru, and all of the employees were overly nice. It was great!

We each got burgers, I got mine protein style (with a lettuce bun) and my mom went for the animal style (special sauce and cooked onions). We also got fries and shakes: one chocolate and one strawberry.

It was delicious. Juicy and delicious. How could it not be good?

But, I had another restaurant on my mind: Shake Shack.

Shake Shake started as a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park in 2001. It was such a success, it became a permanent fixture in 2004.

If you’ve hung out with me for a day, you’ll know I love hot dogs. Like, really. Hot dogs are the best thing that happened to baseball (I see you, Skyline)!

So, I ventured to Shake Shack one exit from my apartment a few weekends ago. I swiftly ordered a Shack-cago dog (complete with loads of veggies and relish), crinkle-cut fries, a soda… And… Frozen custard, blended with a slab of pumpkin pie (it’s called a concrete).

Honestly, y’all, there is no competition. Don’t get me wrong, In-N-Out was delicious, and it’s definitely got a cool vibe. But hot dogs? And frozen custard? Dear God.

Now, I haven’t had a burger from Shake Shack, so In-N-Out could win for best burger. We’ll just have to find out!