It’s almost always iced coffee season in Austin, but in summer, the line grows long at Jo’s Coffee on South Congress and Second Street for a beverage they call the Iced Turbo.
The milky coffee drink has a powerful boost of caffeine that’s laced with hazelnut, chocolate and sweetened with condensed milk. Kevin Pang at the AV Club had it a few years ago, and after the flavor memory wouldn’t leave his brain, he decided to try to recreate it at home based on this blog post from a customer way back in 2010.
After seven attempts, he was happy with the result, a mixture of both espresso and cold-brewed coffee with a dash of hazelnut syrup, chocolate milk and condensed milk.
He shares his copycat recipe over on the AV Club’s website, which includes instructions for combining the mixture in a cocktail shaker for peak froth.
Philip Speer’s downtown coffee trailer, My Name is Joe Coffee Co., 168 W. Fifth St., also serves other drinks to get you going in the morning.
One of the buzziest drinks at the moment is this golden latte. You might have seen this drink pop up on Pinterest or Instagram, but if you haven’t, it’s a bright yellow coconut milk-based drink made with good-for-you turmeric and ginger. The ingredients need to infuse overnight, but it makes four servings that you can store in the fridge for a few days.
In a 2 quart container or bowl, mix all ingredients together and whisk until honey is dissolved. Let aromatics infuse overnight or at least 12 hours. Strain off aromatics and adjust seasoning. Add more honey if you prefer sweeter and more almond milk if you like the consistency thinner.
Serve over ice in a clear glass to show off the beautiful golden-yellow color. Serves 4.
Tzatziki is such a refreshing dip, and with all those cucumbers, it’s perfect for summer. Jason Donoho, the culinary director at Verts, isn’t content to simply serve tzatziki with pita bread and call it a day.
In this new dip he’s serving at the restaurant, which has more than half a dozen Central Texas locations, you’ll find minced beets, which add color and an earthy aroma to the plain white yogurt.
It’s more pink that red, but with enough beets, you could turn it into a patriotic dip worthy of this weekend’s festivities.
2 pints plain yogurt
3 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and minced
1 cup cooked beets, minced
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped fine
1/4 cup dried spearmint
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl. Chill for two hours and serve with warm pita bread and vegetables for dipping.
Cantine chef Scott Kaplan has been with Emmett and Lisa Fox since they had Fino, which was located just a few miles up Lamar Boulevard. Now, Kaplan oversees the kitchen at the Italian-Mediterranean Cantine in the Lamar Union development. In that space, he’s serving some Fino favorites, including blistered shishito peppers — a food trend of the early 2010s that seems to be sticking around — and this muhammara dip.
It’s like hummus, he explains, but with roasted red bell peppers, tomatoes and pomegranate molasses, an ingredient found in many cuisines with Middle Eastern influence. Make this tangy, slightly sweet dip as spicy as you’d like with the chili flakes, and serve with crudités and lightly toasted pita bread
3 red bell peppers
1/4 cup Italian canned tomatoes
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 1/2 tsp. red chili flakes
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses
1 cup oil (vegetable or canola)
1 cup toasted walnuts
Roast peppers over an open flame or broil on high in oven. Allow peppers to char on all sides until they are completely blackened. Place peppers in a bowl, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Peel off the skin and remove the seeds from the peppers. Add the peppers, tomatoes, garlic, chili flakes, paprika, salt and pomegranate molasses to a food processor. Turn on the food processor and slowly add the oil until the ingredients are incorporated. Add the walnuts and pulse until the dip reaches desired texture. If needed, you can add a little water to thin it out if it’s too thick.
Knocking off restaurant recipes for the home cook is no small feat.
Stephanie Manley, the Houston blogger behind copykat.com, is one recipe developer working in that space, and another is Marlene Koch, the frequent QVC host and best-selling cookbook author. In her new book, “Eat What You Love: Quick & Easy: Great Recipes Low in Sugar, Fat and Calories” (Running Press, $27), she includes several restaurant-inspired dishes that are a little healthier for you, like this spin on the Cajun chicken pasta at Chili’s.
Koch is a registered dietitian, so I’ll trust her that nonfat half and half is OK to consume. In my kitchen, I’d opt to use regular half and half, even with the extra calories and fat. (Half and half, by definition, is milk with cream. The nonfat version is quite a bit more complicated to process and have the same viscosity.)
Chili’s-Style Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
1 3/4 cups dry penne pasta
1 1/2 cups fresh green beans, cut in half
4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (about 1 lb.)
4 tsp. Cajun seasoning
2 tsp. butter
1/2 cup nonfat half-and-half
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup low-fat milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. lemon zest
3/4 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Cook the pasta according to package directions, adding the green beans during the final 3 minutes of cooking; drain, and set aside. While pasta is cooking, gently pound breasts to 1/4-inch thickness and sprinkle both sides with Cajun seasoning.
Add the butter to a large nonstick skillet and place over medium-high heat. Add chicken and brown well on both sides (about 2 minutes per side). Add 1 tablespoon water to pan, cover, and cook for 1 minute. Remove lid, and cook chicken until done. Transfer to a cutting board and cover.
In a small bowl, whisk together the half-and-half and cornstarch until smooth. Add mixture to pan, and place over medium heat. Stir in next 5 ingredients (milk through lemon zest) and cook for 2 minutes, stirring, until sauce thickens. Add pasta and beans and continue to cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, until mixture is hot and coated. Transfer to a serving platter or individual plates; slice chicken breasts and place on top. Top chicken with tomatoes and Parmesan. Serves 4.
The sundried tomatoes and chipotle powder give the soup a smoky taste without having to add liquid smoke or actually smoke the tomatoes. The bacon and cucumber garnishes each add a crunch to complement the seared monkfish. You can use any other firm white fish or even scallops instead of the monkfish.
(Editor’s note: This post is part of an ongoing series of restaurant recipes, which obviously includes other sources that traditional restaurants. Have a favorite dish whose recipe you want to request? Shoot me a note at email@example.com.)
Peel the cucumber. Cut the cucumber into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside 20 percent of the cucumbers for the garnish.
To make the gazpacho: Place the campari tomatoes, most of the cut cucumber, sundried tomatoes, chipotle powder, 1/4 tsp of salt and 1/4 cup water in a blender. Puree until smooth. Additional water may need to be added for desired consistency. Place in the fridge until plating.
Slice the cherry tomatoes thinly with a serrated knife. Combine the sliced small tomatoes, the remaining diced cucumber and white wine vinegar in a bowl.
Chop the bacon into 1/4-inch pieces. Place a large skillet on medium heat and add the bacon. Sauté until crispy. Once the bacon is cooked, remove it from the pan and transfer to a plate for later use.
Use the rendered fat from the bacon to cook the monkfish. Add the monkfish to the pan and cook until golden brown, approximately 4 minutes, then flip over and brown the other side. Do not move the fish around the pan, as this will prevent the fish from browning and will cause it to break up. Transfer the fish to a cutting board, and let rest for 3 minutes before serving.
Ladle the gazpacho into bowls. Top with the cucumbers and tomatoes. Finely slice the basil and sprinkle on top with the crisped bacon. Cut the monkfish into two portions and serve in the bowl or on the side.
You won’t find a mountain of spaghetti anywhere near Andiamo’s meatballs. The North Austin restaurant serves meatballs — or polpette — for both lunch and dinner, one with sauce as an entree (lunch) and at dinner as an appetizer without the sauce. Either way, the veal and breadcrumbs fried quickly in oil make for tender meatballs that don’t need much accouterment.
Editor’s note: This post is part of an ongoing series of recipes from restaurants around Central Texas. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a recipe for your favorite dish.
6 oz. ground veal or beef
1 cup bread crumbs
1 garlic clove
1 oz. pecorino Romano
1/4 oz. chopped Italian parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all the ingredients together and make small balls that are about 2 ounces each. In a deep skillet, pour two inches of canola or vegetable oil and bring to 250 degrees. Fry the meat balls for about 3 minutes and place on paper towels to drain. Serve on their own with a dusting of Parmesan cheese or with sauce.
The popularity of Mexican street corn, slathered in mayonnaise and dusted with chili powder and cotija cheese, has inspired many Mexican restaurants in America, including Tacos and Tequila at 507 Pressler St. in Austin, to use those ingredients for their own spin on elote.
The TNT version uses grilled corn rolled in ancho mayonnaise and grated cotija cheese, the salty hard cheese that often draws comparison to Parmesan, and dusted with a chili-powder-based spice mix, and customers can either eat it on the cob or ask for the kernels to be shaved off tableside. (Let’s be honest, eating corn on the cob can be a messy affair.)
In this at-home version, the restaurant suggests using canned chipotles in adobo rather than roasting, peeling and seeding the ancho chilies yourself. When you buy that can of chipotles, you might as well puree the whole thing with a splash of water and use the liquid in marinades, salsas or this mayonnaise. Whether you eat the corn off the cob or on a plate is up to you.
Chili-Dusted Mexican Corn
4 ears corn, in the husk
1 cup grated cotija cheese
For the chili mix:
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
For the chipotle mayonnaise:
1 tsp. pureed chipotles in adobo (or more to taste)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Peel back the husk on each ear of corn to expose the kernels, leaving husks attached at the base. Remove the silk threads and tie husks together with kitchen twine around base of cob. You can now use this bunch of tied up husks as a handle. Transfer the ears of corn to a large bowl or pot of water and let soak for 30 minutes.
While the corn is soaking, prepare the chipotle mayonnaise and the chili mix. Combine the spices in one small bowl and mix together the pureed chipotles and mayo in another.
Drain the corn and grill on a charcoal or gas grill over medium-high heat. Cook, turning occasionally, until charred and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove corn from grill and brush with the chipotle mayonnaise. Place the grated cotija cheese on a plate and roll each ear of corn in the cheese to coat. Sprinkle corn evenly with some of the chili mix, pressing the corn a bit so that seasonings and cheese stick to the mayonnaise. You may trim the husks before serving, depending on your preference. Serves 4.