Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Long, Lazy Weekend: Buttermilk Cake with Raspberries

I think we should work 4 nine-hour days and call it quits every week. I love three-day weekends. Happy to be gainfully employed but enjoying the Labor Day holiday, I puttered each day in the kitchen a bit but I didn't work too hard. I made Alice Medrich's banana ice cream recipe and Gourmet's easy-peasy buttermilk cake with raspberries. Nothing too strenuous...

Eric and I took advantage of the long weekend to take a short road trip. One of the nicer parts about living in Austin is that you can make a day trip to half a dozen towns that offer just enough to see so that you don't really need to spend more than a few hours. It gets rural pretty quick when you drive out of Austin so the scenery is a nice change of pace. Some people say that Austin isn't really Texas but I prefer to think it's just a more enlightened version that incorporates all the best parts. That being said, whenever Eric and I leave Austin, we do refer to the trip as going to real Texas. I've never spent more than a night in any Texas city outside of Austin or Marfa so I can't speak with authority on real Texas. We do try to venture out every few months, though. Barbeque is usually the draw and a good excuse to make a trip. We decided to make the short jaunt to Taylor, TX to try out Louis Mueller's BBQ.

Every barbeque joint in Texas claims to be the best barbeque and, at some point, could probably claim the title. Magazines and newspapers are constantly featuring stories on the best barbeque and ranking their picks. Eric and I, being from a little deeper south, prefer pork barbeque with sauce (or "wet"). We don't say so too loudly in mixed company because beef is king in Texas and some who claim to be purists feel that sauce obscures the true taste of the meat. And some will argue the point until you are beat down and submit. We've been unimpressed by a few of the more famous-named barbeque joints in and around Austin but Louis Mueller's didn't disappoint. Even if they were completely sold out of pork ribs and peach cobbler by the time we arrived at 5pm. We thought we were beating the rush but those in the know call ahead and reserve their cuts in the morning. Now we know too. The beef brisket made up for the lack of pork.

Speaking of making up, our neighbors who signed on to turn our neighborhood into a movie set threw a party for the 'hood on Sunday. They actually sent the party invite before the "major motion picture production" descended. I don't think there was any ulterior motive because they really didn't know what they were getting into. Because I refuse to show up at a party empty handed and I'm always looking for an excuse to cook and mouths to feed, I made a fig and olive tapenade with toasted pita crisps to bring over.

I'm a little ashamed to admit that, despite being an ardent reader of his blog, I've never actually made one of David Lebovitz's recipes. Although I found the tapenade recipe in his book, The Sweet Life in Paris, it is credited to Carrie Brown, owner of Jimtown Store in Healdsburg, CA. I studied his book before I left looking for clues on how to not make an ass of myself while in Paris. The book is hilarious and informative. I do think he gives Franprix an unfair bad rap, though. My little neighborhood store on Rue Choron, right off Rue des Martyrs, was very clean and the staff quite friendly, at least as far as I could tell given my limited French. Recently, I was re-reading some of the passages and laughing with renewed appreciation when I ran across the recipe. The tapenade wasn't the most appetizing-looking recipe I've ever made but feedback was positive. I'll definitely keep it in the arsenal.


  1. Yeah - you went to Louis Mueller's... I'm salvitating just thinking about it...

  2. We finally made it and you were right. It's definitely the best!