Sugar Mama's Bakeshop in Austin, TX

Monday, November 24, 2014

The sign at Sugarmama's Bakery in Austin TX

My sis- and bro-in law introduced us to Sugar Mama's on our first visit to Austin back in 2008 and I've made damn sure that I go back every time we're in town. I finally busted out my phone camera when we were there last week so's I could tell y'all about this little gem.

The sign outside Sugarmama's Bakery in Austin TX

Although I am sure that everything they make is delicious, I wouldn't know because I'm so smitten with the James Brown - a moist chocolate cupcake topped with chocolate buttercream frosting and a smattering of rainbow sprinkles - the perfect cupcake, to my mind - that I rarely try anything else. 'Cause I feel niiiiiice. Like sugar and spice, yeah. So nice, so nice, 'cause I got you!

The James Brown at Sugarmama's Bakery in Austin TX

I was briefly tempted by the 'Frida', a "cinnamon Valrhona chocolate cupcake topped with a decadent coffee liqueur buttercream frosting and a generous sprinkling of cinnamon sugar" on my most recent visit but not quite enough to forgo my date with the cape-twirling, be-sprinkled Mr. Brown.

The James Browns at Sugarmama's Bakery in Austin TX

It seems I am not alone in my devotion - according to the young guy behind the counter, the James Brown is their top seller, along with the Marilyn Monroe, a gorgeous blonde confection of vanilla cake topped with a heap of fluffy vanilla buttercream frosting.

Sugar mama's Bakeshop in Austin TX

Sugar Mama's original location on South 1st Street is small with mint green walls, black and white linoleum floors, cherry red cabinets and red and white polka-dotted curtains that create a cheerful, kitschy vibe.

Sugar mama's Bakery in Austin TX

Started by Olivia and Steve O'Neal, Sugar Mama's uses high quality ingredients like Nielsen-Massey extracts, Valrhona chocolate, and locally sourced, cage-free eggs,and fair trade coffee, cocoa and sprinkles for their scratch-baked goods. They also try to give back to the community and lighten their environmental footprint by reducing their food waste through composting and responsible packaging choices.

Sugarmama's Bakery in Austin TX

Olivia and her lead decorator, Andrea, competed on Cupcake Wars last year. Needless to say, they won, creating a cupcake that special guest judge, Weird Al described as "scrumdiddlyumptious" (I can totally picture him saying that, can't you?)

After their victory, they opened a second location on Austin's east side where they serve desserts by the slice and cocktails - kind of a 'grown up' version of their original shop.

Cake at sugarmama's Bakery in Austin TX

They also sell pies, cakes, bars, coffee and a few other things at the southside location. The cupcake menu changes on a daily basis so check their online menu before you go to make sure you hit it on the right day. So get up, get on up and get your butt to Sugar Mama's next time you're in Austin.

Will with his cupcake from Sugar mama's Bakeshop

You can find Sugar Mama's Bakeshop at:

1905 S 1st Street
Austin, Texas 78704
512-448-3727

or

A Roasted Vegetable Feast with Cilantro-Lemon Aioli

Friday, November 21, 2014

Roasted leeks, broccoflower, purple potatoes, sweet potatoes and parsnips by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

As Dr. Evil said, it's frikkin' freezin' in here. The temps have dipped dramatically and I am amazed anew by the degree to which the temperature and my desire to cook and bake are inversely proportional to one another. So we'll be well-fed as we freeze, if nothing else.

Leeks, broccoflower, purple potatoes, sweet potatoes and parsnips by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Hence this fantastic vegetarian feast of roasted veggies with decadent herby aioli. Not only does it fill your belly in a most delicious, vitamin-packed manner, it will also make your house slightly warmer while it roasts.

A purple potato by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

I used leeks, parsnips, a few of our home-grown sweet potatoes, some purple potatoes and broccoli from our CSA, and a beautiful, chartreuse-colored broccoflower that caught my eye at the store.

Broccoflower by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

The combination is pretty darn incredible but you can really choose whatever veggies you like - carrots, fennel and cauliflower would all be delicious, too.

My older son particularly loves roasted leeks and scarfs them down as fast as we can get them to his plate. Roasting turns them a beautiful amber color and makes them mellow, sweet and crispy so I can't say I blame him.

Leeks, broccoflower, purple potatoes, sweet potatoes and parsnips by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

All the work in this meal lies in the prep - washing, peeling and slicing or chopping the vegetables. But all told, it's a pretty simple meal to put together.

One tip is to make the aioli ahead of time - even the night before if you remember - as the flavor will get better and better with time. Although I used cilantro this time, I often use dill or basil if you have those handy. I do not usually go to the trouble of making the mayo from scratch (though here's how you do it if you want to - it is wonderful.) I simply add a little bit of crushed garlic, some lemon juice, chopped herbs and sea salt to store-bought mayo and mix. It's gooood.

Lemon basil dill aioli by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2012

Once everything is cut down to size, add several glugs of olive oil, sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper and toss it all together to coat everything.

Cut up leeks, broccoflower, purple potatoes, sweet potatoes and parsnips tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Then dump them out onto two heavy baking sheets and arrange them in a single layer so that everything is touching the pan, cover with foil and put in the oven. You'll need to take the foil off partway through the roasting and turn them once or twice to ensure that everything gets evenly browned.

Cut up leeks, broccoflower, purple potatoes, sweet potatoes and parsnips tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Roasting does especially magical things to broccoli, broccoflower and cauliflower, turning them sweet and nutty to the point of addictiveness. If you have not tried this yet, you will be delightfully surprised.

Roasted leeks, broccoflower, purple potatoes, sweet potatoes and parsnips by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Roasted Vegetable Feast with Cilantro-Lemon Aioli
Serves 4

Ingredients

* 1 bunch of leeks, green parts removed and rinsed well to remove any dirt
* 2-3 medium potatoes, scrubbed and sliced length-wise
* 2-3 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and sliced length-wise
* 3 parsnips, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
* 1 head of broccoli or cauliflower, washed, cut into florets and with stems peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks (don't throw out the stems - they're really good - you just need to peel the tough skin off them)
* Olive oil
* 1 cup of mayonnaise
* 3 tsps fresh lemon juice
* 3 tsps fresh, chopped cilantro, basil or dill
* Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1. Make the aioli - mix the mayonnaise with the lemon juice, herbs and some salt and pepper and mix well. Put it in the fridge and let the flavors meld for up to a day or two although it will still be tasty if you make it right before the meal, too.

2. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Put all the cut up veggies in a large mixing bowl and toss with several glugs of olive oil, sea salt and black pepper. Make sure it's all well-coated and don't skimp on the oil.

3. Turn them out onto two heavy metal baking or cookie sheets and arrange them in a single layer so that everything has one side touching the metal. Cover each sheet with tinfoil and put them in the oven for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and roast for another 10 minutes. Turn the veggies with a spatula and roast for another 10-15 minutes until everything is crispy. If things need more time, turn them and put them back in for another 8-10 minutes. Serve warm with the aioli and let the pigging out begin!

You might also like:
For more delicious recipes, gardening ideas, foraging tips, and food-related inspiration "like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter and Pinterest.

Giveaway: Shrubs - An Old-Fashioned Drink for Modern Times

Friday, November 14, 2014

The idea of drinking vinegar may wrinkle your nose but there is something strangely delicious and deeply refreshing about a shrub -- an acidulated beverage made with fruit juice, sugar and other ingredients that can be drunk mixed with water, seltzer or alcohol.

When I first heard about shrubs a few years back, I was highly skeptical. A fruit-based drink made with vinegar? Gross! But then I tried a few and found the mixture of sweet and tart to be strangely compelling and more than a little addictive.

So when I saw that drinks expert, Michael Dietsch had written a book about them that is beautifully photographed by his wife, Jennifer Hess, who happens to be my Facebook friend, I ordered one a tout de suite. Dietsch's writing is enjoyably conversational and he's packed this little volume full of fun and fascinating historical notes about this beverage that was a staple in Colonial America, drool-inducing recipes and creative cocktail ideas. See below for Dietsch's recipe for a simple, cranberry-apple shrub that would make a great addition to your Thanksgiving meal, either mixed with seltzer or something a bit stronger...

Thanks to the good folks at Countryman Press, I also have a copy of Shrubs: An Old Fashioned Drink for Modern Times to give away!

You can enter by doing any of these things via the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of this post before Sunday, November 23rd:
All entries must be logged in the Rafflecopter widget below by midnight on 11/23/14 to qualify. This giveaway is only open to people in the continental U.S. One lucky winner will be chosen at random. Good luck!

Cranberry-Apple Shrub
Yields 1 cup of shrub syrup

Ingredients

* 3 medium apples, quartered (no need to core or seed them)
* 1 cup cranberries
* 1 cup apple cider vinegar
* 1/2 cup turbinado sugar

Directions

1. Shred the apples using a box grater or a food processor.

2. Add the cranberries and vinegar to a blender or food processor and blend until pureed.

3. Put the shredded apples, cranberry-vinegar mixture and sugar in a nonreactive container. Cover and leave in cool place on the countertop for 2 days.

4. After 2 days, strain the mixture into a bowl through a fine-mesh strainer, squeezing to remove any remaining liquid - you can compost the solids that are leftover.

5. Pour the liquid into a clean Mason jar or glass bottle. Cover tightly with a lid or cap and shake well. Store in the fridge. Shrub will keep for up to one year.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sugar Mama's Bakeshop in Austin, TX

The sign at Sugarmama's Bakery in Austin TX

My sis- and bro-in law introduced us to Sugar Mama's on our first visit to Austin back in 2008 and I've made damn sure that I go back every time we're in town. I finally busted out my phone camera when we were there last week so's I could tell y'all about this little gem.

The sign outside Sugarmama's Bakery in Austin TX

Although I am sure that everything they make is delicious, I wouldn't know because I'm so smitten with the James Brown - a moist chocolate cupcake topped with chocolate buttercream frosting and a smattering of rainbow sprinkles - the perfect cupcake, to my mind - that I rarely try anything else. 'Cause I feel niiiiiice. Like sugar and spice, yeah. So nice, so nice, 'cause I got you!

The James Brown at Sugarmama's Bakery in Austin TX

I was briefly tempted by the 'Frida', a "cinnamon Valrhona chocolate cupcake topped with a decadent coffee liqueur buttercream frosting and a generous sprinkling of cinnamon sugar" on my most recent visit but not quite enough to forgo my date with the cape-twirling, be-sprinkled Mr. Brown.

The James Browns at Sugarmama's Bakery in Austin TX

It seems I am not alone in my devotion - according to the young guy behind the counter, the James Brown is their top seller, along with the Marilyn Monroe, a gorgeous blonde confection of vanilla cake topped with a heap of fluffy vanilla buttercream frosting.

Sugar mama's Bakeshop in Austin TX

Sugar Mama's original location on South 1st Street is small with mint green walls, black and white linoleum floors, cherry red cabinets and red and white polka-dotted curtains that create a cheerful, kitschy vibe.

Sugar mama's Bakery in Austin TX

Started by Olivia and Steve O'Neal, Sugar Mama's uses high quality ingredients like Nielsen-Massey extracts, Valrhona chocolate, and locally sourced, cage-free eggs,and fair trade coffee, cocoa and sprinkles for their scratch-baked goods. They also try to give back to the community and lighten their environmental footprint by reducing their food waste through composting and responsible packaging choices.

Sugarmama's Bakery in Austin TX

Olivia and her lead decorator, Andrea, competed on Cupcake Wars last year. Needless to say, they won, creating a cupcake that special guest judge, Weird Al described as "scrumdiddlyumptious" (I can totally picture him saying that, can't you?)

After their victory, they opened a second location on Austin's east side where they serve desserts by the slice and cocktails - kind of a 'grown up' version of their original shop.

Cake at sugarmama's Bakery in Austin TX

They also sell pies, cakes, bars, coffee and a few other things at the southside location. The cupcake menu changes on a daily basis so check their online menu before you go to make sure you hit it on the right day. So get up, get on up and get your butt to Sugar Mama's next time you're in Austin.

Will with his cupcake from Sugar mama's Bakeshop

You can find Sugar Mama's Bakeshop at:

1905 S 1st Street
Austin, Texas 78704
512-448-3727

or

Friday, November 21, 2014

A Roasted Vegetable Feast with Cilantro-Lemon Aioli

Roasted leeks, broccoflower, purple potatoes, sweet potatoes and parsnips by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

As Dr. Evil said, it's frikkin' freezin' in here. The temps have dipped dramatically and I am amazed anew by the degree to which the temperature and my desire to cook and bake are inversely proportional to one another. So we'll be well-fed as we freeze, if nothing else.

Leeks, broccoflower, purple potatoes, sweet potatoes and parsnips by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Hence this fantastic vegetarian feast of roasted veggies with decadent herby aioli. Not only does it fill your belly in a most delicious, vitamin-packed manner, it will also make your house slightly warmer while it roasts.

A purple potato by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

I used leeks, parsnips, a few of our home-grown sweet potatoes, some purple potatoes and broccoli from our CSA, and a beautiful, chartreuse-colored broccoflower that caught my eye at the store.

Broccoflower by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

The combination is pretty darn incredible but you can really choose whatever veggies you like - carrots, fennel and cauliflower would all be delicious, too.

My older son particularly loves roasted leeks and scarfs them down as fast as we can get them to his plate. Roasting turns them a beautiful amber color and makes them mellow, sweet and crispy so I can't say I blame him.

Leeks, broccoflower, purple potatoes, sweet potatoes and parsnips by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

All the work in this meal lies in the prep - washing, peeling and slicing or chopping the vegetables. But all told, it's a pretty simple meal to put together.

One tip is to make the aioli ahead of time - even the night before if you remember - as the flavor will get better and better with time. Although I used cilantro this time, I often use dill or basil if you have those handy. I do not usually go to the trouble of making the mayo from scratch (though here's how you do it if you want to - it is wonderful.) I simply add a little bit of crushed garlic, some lemon juice, chopped herbs and sea salt to store-bought mayo and mix. It's gooood.

Lemon basil dill aioli by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2012

Once everything is cut down to size, add several glugs of olive oil, sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper and toss it all together to coat everything.

Cut up leeks, broccoflower, purple potatoes, sweet potatoes and parsnips tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Then dump them out onto two heavy baking sheets and arrange them in a single layer so that everything is touching the pan, cover with foil and put in the oven. You'll need to take the foil off partway through the roasting and turn them once or twice to ensure that everything gets evenly browned.

Cut up leeks, broccoflower, purple potatoes, sweet potatoes and parsnips tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Roasting does especially magical things to broccoli, broccoflower and cauliflower, turning them sweet and nutty to the point of addictiveness. If you have not tried this yet, you will be delightfully surprised.

Roasted leeks, broccoflower, purple potatoes, sweet potatoes and parsnips by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Roasted Vegetable Feast with Cilantro-Lemon Aioli
Serves 4

Ingredients

* 1 bunch of leeks, green parts removed and rinsed well to remove any dirt
* 2-3 medium potatoes, scrubbed and sliced length-wise
* 2-3 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and sliced length-wise
* 3 parsnips, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
* 1 head of broccoli or cauliflower, washed, cut into florets and with stems peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks (don't throw out the stems - they're really good - you just need to peel the tough skin off them)
* Olive oil
* 1 cup of mayonnaise
* 3 tsps fresh lemon juice
* 3 tsps fresh, chopped cilantro, basil or dill
* Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1. Make the aioli - mix the mayonnaise with the lemon juice, herbs and some salt and pepper and mix well. Put it in the fridge and let the flavors meld for up to a day or two although it will still be tasty if you make it right before the meal, too.

2. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Put all the cut up veggies in a large mixing bowl and toss with several glugs of olive oil, sea salt and black pepper. Make sure it's all well-coated and don't skimp on the oil.

3. Turn them out onto two heavy metal baking or cookie sheets and arrange them in a single layer so that everything has one side touching the metal. Cover each sheet with tinfoil and put them in the oven for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and roast for another 10 minutes. Turn the veggies with a spatula and roast for another 10-15 minutes until everything is crispy. If things need more time, turn them and put them back in for another 8-10 minutes. Serve warm with the aioli and let the pigging out begin!

You might also like:
For more delicious recipes, gardening ideas, foraging tips, and food-related inspiration "like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter and Pinterest.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Giveaway: Shrubs - An Old-Fashioned Drink for Modern Times

The idea of drinking vinegar may wrinkle your nose but there is something strangely delicious and deeply refreshing about a shrub -- an acidulated beverage made with fruit juice, sugar and other ingredients that can be drunk mixed with water, seltzer or alcohol.

When I first heard about shrubs a few years back, I was highly skeptical. A fruit-based drink made with vinegar? Gross! But then I tried a few and found the mixture of sweet and tart to be strangely compelling and more than a little addictive.

So when I saw that drinks expert, Michael Dietsch had written a book about them that is beautifully photographed by his wife, Jennifer Hess, who happens to be my Facebook friend, I ordered one a tout de suite. Dietsch's writing is enjoyably conversational and he's packed this little volume full of fun and fascinating historical notes about this beverage that was a staple in Colonial America, drool-inducing recipes and creative cocktail ideas. See below for Dietsch's recipe for a simple, cranberry-apple shrub that would make a great addition to your Thanksgiving meal, either mixed with seltzer or something a bit stronger...

Thanks to the good folks at Countryman Press, I also have a copy of Shrubs: An Old Fashioned Drink for Modern Times to give away!

You can enter by doing any of these things via the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of this post before Sunday, November 23rd:
All entries must be logged in the Rafflecopter widget below by midnight on 11/23/14 to qualify. This giveaway is only open to people in the continental U.S. One lucky winner will be chosen at random. Good luck!

Cranberry-Apple Shrub
Yields 1 cup of shrub syrup

Ingredients

* 3 medium apples, quartered (no need to core or seed them)
* 1 cup cranberries
* 1 cup apple cider vinegar
* 1/2 cup turbinado sugar

Directions

1. Shred the apples using a box grater or a food processor.

2. Add the cranberries and vinegar to a blender or food processor and blend until pureed.

3. Put the shredded apples, cranberry-vinegar mixture and sugar in a nonreactive container. Cover and leave in cool place on the countertop for 2 days.

4. After 2 days, strain the mixture into a bowl through a fine-mesh strainer, squeezing to remove any remaining liquid - you can compost the solids that are leftover.

5. Pour the liquid into a clean Mason jar or glass bottle. Cover tightly with a lid or cap and shake well. Store in the fridge. Shrub will keep for up to one year.

a Rafflecopter giveaway