A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

Mad Updating

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Things have been nuts. Nuts in the way you can’t post on your blog. I’m doing really well with my boyfriend, friends and family. So do the math. Yeah, can’t post about any of it. Yet.

David and I are going to Santa Barbara for Shaun’s wedding in a few weeks, that will be fun. We also booked at trip to Belize for xmas, which I’m very excited about. I’m going to try to learn to swim better, and possibly dive by then. We’ll see.

I just started my Leading Strategy class at school, the first class was great. Whew.

I’ve been writing, and writing, and writing, but since everything we write is about work, again, can’t post it. Even on my school blog. Dammit.

Anyway, burn some green candles for me. I have a lot of love in my life, for which I’m very grateful, but I could use a bit of help on the prosperity and success side right now.

Austin Food Bytes – Down Home Cooking at Sambet's

Last week was the Web Team’s annual Crawfish Boil, chefed by our own Brent Babin and Leon Fainbuch. Brent is a true Cajun cook, so we all look forward to the Crawfish Boil with great anticipation. Spicy boiled crawfish, corn, potatoes, mushrooms and eggs appear in abundance, becoming progressively spicier as the afternoon goes on.The only problem is it’s only once a year! So for those of you that missed out, or are craving fiery foods in the interim, here’s another haunt of the International Food Club.

Recently, International Food club ventured to another venue – Sambet’s Cajun Store on Spicewood Springs. Sambet’s carries all manner of Louisiana favorites, from the hottest sauce you’ll ever taste, to chicory coffee and beigniet mix.

The store is rustic, and has long wooden tables for eat-in patrons. The menu includes bayou favorites like crawfish etouffee, jambalaya, boudin, red beans and rice, and poboys. I had the lunch special, I chose a boudin sandwich with crawfish etouffee. Both were delicious, the boudin sausage (a sausage filled with pork and spiced rice) was excellent, the etouffe was peppery and flavorful. They also serve iced tea the traditional southern way, nice and sweet.

Sambet’s didn’t take credit cards until recently, so if that’s scared you off a quick lunch near NI, be sure to give them another try. Just be sure to bring a big appetite!

Sambet’s Cajun Store
8650 Spicewood Springs Rd
Austin, TX 78759-4322
(512) 258-6410

Austin Food Bytes – Fast and Easy

Whether it’s a picnic, potluck, or barbecue, everyone needs a few simple, reliable, tasty recipes they can whip up on short notice. This is my specialty.

I come from a family of increasingly rabid foodies. My mother is in cooking school and is an amazing pastry chef. My brother cooked at an expensive resort and been a personal chef in Hollywood. He once spent four hours making a mole sauce. Can you imagine? My dad makes amazing roasts and breads from scratch. I consider myself a good cook, but I cannot compete when it comes to innovative, detailed, elaborate dishes. What I do excel at is fast, simple, easy and tasty ones.

Some families hoard their best recipes, refusing to share them with anyone not related by blood; even then you might have to sign an affidavit promising never to reveal their arcane secrets. My family has no such reservations. We freely exchange recipes, tips, and techniques. Some people call their mothers for advice on how to deal with the kids, I call mine to ask the right amount of time to blanch asparagus. Some people call their fathers for financial advice, I call mine to find out the best technique for roasting sweet potatoes (I actually called him from the grocery store last weekend).

In the tradition of my family, I share with you some of my most successful recopies for flavor, speed and ease of preparation. If you have a recipe you would like to share, email

Thai Cucumber Salad

1 large hothouse cucumber (these are the big ones that come shrink-wrapped)
1/3 C boiling water
1/3 C sugar
1/3 C unseasoned rice vinegar
1 clove crushed garlic
1 tsp Vietnamese sircha sauce (this is available in most grocery stores in the Asian section, it’s a big plastic bottle with a rooster on it)
1/2 tsp salt

Slice cucumbers thinly and place in large bowl.

In a small bowl, combine sugar, boiling water, garlic, salt and hot sauce. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add rice vinegar.

Pour over cucumbers, toss, and refrigerate for an hour to one day in advance. Serve chilled.
No-cook Pasta Sauce – this is a great recipe if you have a tomato and herb garden

4-6 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped coarsely
1 large shallot, minced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 C olive oil
2 large sprigs of fresh basil (about 10 leaves), chopped
1 sprig of fresh oregano, chopped
1 C crumbled goat cheese, feta or ricotta salata
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lb pasta

Combine all ingredients except pasta, whisk well, and let sit. Cook pasta according to directions for al dente, drain and toss with sauce. Serve.

Austin Food Bytes – Now That's Italian!

There’s a new player in town for authentic Italian food: Mandola’s Italian Market. Located where Guadalupe and Lamar intersect, just past 45th, it looks like a cute corner store from the outside, but inside it’s a whole other story.

Mandola’s is a market and restaurant. The walls are stuffed with imported goodies, including extra-virgin olive oil, wine, pasta, meats and cheeses. Ensconced within are several small dining areas, a gelaterie, bakery, and espresso bar.

I got to sample a few menu items last Saturday and they were all delicious. I had the Tuscan Tomato Salad – ripe cherry tomatoes topped with basil, olives, and ricotta salata – sort of a tangy cousin of feta. It was light and lovely, and left room to sample several other dishes. I also tried the Aranchini – rice croquettes filled with prosciutto, peas, mushrooms and mozzarella. They were unusual, rich and delicious – crispy on the outside, soft but complexly flavored on the inside. The Cannelloni was also lovely, as was the Italian Cream Cake and Chocolate Torte (it helps to have several friends with you when trying an new restaurant). My only regret was not having the capacity to try more dishes. I guess that means I’ll have to go back!

Open 7 days a week, 6:30am to 10pm
4700 W. Guadalupe #12
Austin 78751