Hot plates: Recipes, tips and photos of what you’ve been cooking up this summer

Aug 22, 2017
American-Statesman Staff
Nicolai McCrary, a local food photographer (, @thenicolai), isn’t afraid of having a stack of pancakes for dinner, especially if they are these cornmeal cakes with fresh berries, powdered sugar and boysenberry jam.

It’s been the hottest summer we’ve had in a while, but that didn’t stop your creativity in the kitchen. Here are some fresh ideas from Austin-area cooks on Instagram to get you through the next few weeks.

— Addie Broyles


Mariana and Ian McEnroe (@yesmoreplease, used their summer tomatoes in a Oaxacan frittata seasoned with green onions, a bit of sliced pepper, Mexican crema and Oaxacan cheese, also known as quesillo. Photo: American-Statesman Staff

Oaxacan Frittata

Use butter and oil to get a nice crust on the bottom of the frittata, but don’t rush the cooking by increasing the heat, Mariana McEnroe says. “When frittatas are cooked slow and at low temperature in the oven or on the stove top, it produces the most magical situation; a crusty bottom and edges while keeping the top and center creamy,” she writes. If you don’t want to have to flip the frittata, you’ll have to cover the pan with a lid to cook the top. Top with a dry cheese like Parmesan or manchego and/or a few panko bread crumbs, right at the end of the cooking time. You can place the frittata under the broiler for a crusty top. Use the epazote if you can find it in a Mexican market or, if you’re lucky, in your garden.

— Addie Broyles

1 to 1/2 pounds heirloom tomatoes

2 to 3 green onions, finely sliced, including the green parts

1 serrano pepper, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

8 to 10 large eggs

1/3 cup Mexican crema (or crème fraîche)

Sea salt and black pepper

1 to 2 sprigs fresh oregano, remove leaves and roughly chop

1 sprig fresh epazote, remove leaves and roughly chop

2 tablespoons sunflower oil

1 tablespoon butter

2 cups Oaxacan cheese, shredded

Parmesan or manchego cheese, for topping (optional)

Panko bread crumbs, for topping (optional)

Slice large tomatoes, halve cherry tomatoes and wedge the rest, scraping some of the excess seeds aside so the frittata won’t get soggy.

In a 9-inch cast-iron pan over medium high heat, saute the green onions, serrano and garlic until bright green. Place in a bowl to stop cooking while you use that same pan to quickly saute the tomatoes. Place the tomatoes in a separate bowl and set aside.

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Whisk the eggs, crema, a pinch of black pepper, a pinch of sea salt and the herbs together in a bowl and set aside.

To assemble the frittata: Drizzle the sunflower oil on the bottom of the cast iron pan and place the butter in the center. Place half of the tomatoes in a layer, and then top with 2/3 of the shredded Oaxacan cheese and half of the crema mixture. Add another layer with the rest of the tomatoes, followed by the rest of the Oaxacan cheese and crema. Sprinkle additional herbs or crack fresh black pepper on top.

Place the frittata in the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until top and center is just set but slightly jiggly. Remove from oven and cover for a few minutes. The remaining heat will cook the egg center without overcooking the edges.

If you like a crusty top, sprinkle some dry cheese and/or panko on top of the frittata and finish under the broiler. Let the frittata set for 5 to 10 minutes before serving so it can set for slicing. Serve with a green salad, crusty bread or whatever rocks your boat. Serves 4.

— Mariana and Ian McEnroe, Yes, More Please (

Aimee and Josh Pruett (@foodbanjo, might be expecting a baby this summer, but that hasn’t slowed down their cooking and blogging. They shared their recipe for a lemon chicken piccata a few weeks ago. Photo: American-Statesman Staff

Chicken Piccata

1 large or two small chicken breasts

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon paprika

Salt and pepper

3/4 cup flour

1/3 pound dried angel hair pasta

1 tablespoon capers

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

2 tablespoons butter

1 lemon

Pound out the chicken with a mallet or heavy pan. Cut into two pieces, if needed. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet on medium-high heat.

Onto the chicken, sprinkle the cayenne and paprika and season each side with salt and pepper. Dip each chicken piece in flour and shake off the excess. Fry chicken 2 to 3 minutes per side. Make sure to check for doneness, as this will depend on how thin you pounded the chicken.

Remove chicken from pan and drain on paper towels. Wipe out excess oil from pan if needed. Start boiling the angel hair pasta; cook according to package directions.

Add capers to the pan and fry for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and butter, and stir. Add the juice of 1/2 the lemon. Heat to boiling and then reduce by half. Add chicken back to pan, and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Plate the pasta, then top with the chicken breast and some of the sauce. Serve with lemon slices, if desired. Serves 2.

— Aimee and Josh Pruett, Food Banjo (

Jordan Bauman (@gingersnapatx, used an air fryer to make this crispy pecan-crusted chicken, but she gives instructions on using a regular oven in the recipe she posted on her site. Photo: American-Statesman Staff

Crispy Pecan-Crusted Chicken over Salad and Hummus

1/3 cup ground pecans (or whole pecans chopped in a food processor)

2 tablespoons whole wheat bread crumbs

1 teaspoons sea salt

Generous pinch of pepper

1 egg

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to thin slightly if thick

Olive oil spray

2 generous spoonfuls of plain hummus

1 bag of prepared salad or slaw mix, or any simple salad

Mix the first four ingredients in a shallow bowl. Crack the egg into another bowl, and whisk with fork to mix yolk and white.

Coat each chicken breast in the egg, allow excess to drip, and roll in the pecan mixture to coat. Spray lightly all over with olive oil spray.

Cook the chicken in a countertop air fryer at 350 degrees for 12 minutes, then turn up heat to 400 degrees and cook an additional 5 minutes. Or, you can bake them in the oven at 425 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes.

While the chicken cooks, spread a dollop of hummus on each plate. Divide the salad between the plates.

When the chicken is done, allow it to rest for 5 to 10 minutes, then slice and plate over the salad. Serves 2.

— Jordan Bauman, Gingersnaps (