Here's to a decade of Thanksgiving

Every couple remembers their first Thanksgiving. It was probably not the tastiest, or the prettiest. You probably forgot to defrost the turkey or maybe cooked it breast facing down after staring at the thing clueless for a good 20 minutes. (Not my proudest moment, I admit.) Yet, somehow, you survived it and you remember it fondly. Those old Facebook pictures make you realize how much you’ve grown together.

This year being a particularly tough one, we wanted to get some perspective and pay tribute to our first year here, back in Texas. We both still remember vividly leaving our whole lives behind to start a new one in the States. There was no blog back then. And there wasn’t in fact, a lot of anything. We came here empty handed to put our degrees to good use, to make friends, to become part of a community, and honestly, just to enjoy a better quality of life.

And we found that. We found most of it.

This is our home now and for that we are thankful. A lot of good people still keep us going. This is still the place that encourages us and inspires us to become the better version of ourselves. So in the spirit of making things better and being thankful, we wanted to revisit and share with you some of our first Texas recipes and also add a couple that just go well with those country flavors.

Scratch the turkey for this dinner. The right thing to cook here was a good ol’ brisket with a delicious guava glaze to make it all better. We also prepared a simple potato salad with peas and carrots, very similar to the one we used to enjoy at Mr. Natural in Austin. And because green beans are such a staple, we were inspired by those Texas green beans cooked in tomato and bacon. We turned the same ingredients into a panzanella salad with toasty French bread cubes and queso fresco. Lastly, while plantains are not super traditional in Texas, cooked in rum and sugar, they go great with our guava-flavored brisket.

A good glass of Segura de Viuda’s cava was great to start the meal with a spread of green olives, artichoke hearts and local cheese. And for dessert, a fluffy pumpkin pound cake with fresh raspberries was simply the perfect ending.

Everything came together beautifully with rustic table arrangements of green spray roses and purple kale. We were going for a sweet country look and spray roses are pretty great for small floral arrangements. They add a touch of romance and elegance for very little money. We also placed a few seasonal fruits to add a pop of color.

We hope you also enjoy a wonderful meal with those you love. Cook something delicious, make it a point to laugh and think back to how far you’ve come. We are thankful for cool foodies like you.

Guava glazed brisket – Ingredients (serves 3-4 people):
  • 2 Pound brisket
  • ½ Cup of sliced onions
  • ¼ Cup of chopped carrots
  • 4 Cloves of garlic, grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil to taste
Guava glaze:
  • ½ Cup of guava paste
  • 2 teaspoons of spicy brown mustard
  • ¼ Cup of butter
  • 1/2 Cup of water
  1. Marinade the brisket overnight with salt, pepper, garlic and olive oil. 
  2. Preheat the over at 350 degrees. Place brisket in baking pan with onions and carrots. Cover with aluminum foil and cook for two hours. 
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the guava glaze by combining all the ingredients in a medium sauce pan at medium heat. Cook until the paste is well dissolved with the rest of the ingredients. Adjust the thickness with water. 
  4. Once the brisket is ready, smother the sauce and carve in slices. 

Austin style potato salad – Ingredients:
  • 2 Russet potatoes, diced
  • 1 ½ Cup of frozen peas
  • 1 Cup of carrots, diced
  • Olive oil to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 Teaspoons of organic mayonnaise 
  1. Boil potatoes and carrots with a pinch of salt until tender. 
  2. Add the cup of frozen peas when the potatoes are almost done and cover with a lid. Drain and let it rest. 
  3. Then add the mayo, salt and pepper to taste and a drizzle of olive oil. Mix well. 

Green bean and bacon panzanella salad – Ingredients:
  • 5 slices of thick cut local bacon
  • 2 Cups of cubed French bread
  • 3 Cups of fresh green beans
  • 1 ½ Cups of small tomatoes, diced
  • 1/3 Cup of crumbled queso fresco
  • Olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
  1. Boil or steam the green beans until tender. Set aside. 
  2. Cook the bacon until crispy and crumble. (We place a cast iron on top of the bacon to make sure it gets super crispy.)
  3. Mix all ingredients, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Mix again.

Amarillos en almíbar (Sweet plantains in syrup) – Ingredients:
  • 2 Ripe plantains, sliced
  • ½ Cup of coconut or regular rum
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • ¼ Cup of sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons of butter
  • Olive oil to fry plantains. 
  1. Fry plantains with a little olive oil for abut a minute on each side. Remove excess oil with paper towel. Set them aside until they cool down.
  2. Place the slices in a pot with sugar, butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Once the butter melts, add the run and cover with a lid for about 4 minutes.
  3. Then, open the lid and cook until rum is fully absorbed. 

Pumpkin Pound cake – Ingredients:
  • 3 ½ Cups of flour
  • 6 Eggs
  • 1 ½ Cups of butter
  • 1 ½ Cups of pumpkin pure
  • 2 Cups of sugar
  • 3 Teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1 Teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 ½ Teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 Teaspoon of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease baking bread pan.
  2. Combine flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Combine sugar and butter in a bowl until creamy. Add the eggs one by one, until well mixed. Then, add the pumpkin pure.
  4. Combine wet ingredients with dry ingredients and place in bread pan. Bake for about 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

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