Posts in United States
U.S. GP 2018: On Location!

Our first live race!!


Over the year we have narrowed our list to 5 top destinations to see F1 races: Canada, Singapore, Belgium, Japan, or the U.S.

Each for their own distinct reasons. Canada because Montreal seems like such a lively and fun city, and the food culture sounds to die for. We would absolutely find our way to Joe Beef and eat so many bagels in and around the city. Singapore because of the absolutely gorgeous track, the beautiful man-made trees in the Botanic Garden and the intersection of so many of my favorite cuisines. Belgium is the home of my husband’s extended family, and his father tells stories of seeing races at Spa as a child before they moved to the United States. It is also home to the best beer in the world which is always worth a trip to experience. Japan would be a great race to attend primarily because of the fans, it seems like so much fun just to be in the presence of so many people supporting F1, and the track also has great history. The U.S. GP of course is in our home country and is located in the fantastically fun city of Austin. The BBQ, craft beer, funky vibes, and live music all seem like great reasons to visit Austin and the Circuit of the Americas track always has great racing, so that is definitely a win-win.

We looked into each race, and weighed the pros and cons of travel, cost, language, etc. deciding that the U.S. GP would be a great place to start. Turned out we were right. The race was so exciting, the atmosphere was fun, the food was great, Austin was a kick, and we got to see Kimi win it!

COTA is a well designed circuit with plenty of overtaking opportunities, a super exciting up hill start, plenty of esses and curves to keep things interesting, and always results in a great race. This year did not disappoint. We went for General Admission tickets, which was a great option, they provided flexibility in being able to explore the track, get multiple vantage points, and wander around to find the best food and views.

Exploring Austin was also a ton of fun. BBQ food trucks, a visit to the capitol, killer taco places, bats under Congress bridge, hunting for street art, and pizza on our way to live music rounded out the Austin experience. We even found some places which immediately felt like home. Cosmic Coffee was a favorite, they had beer, cocktails, coffee, and food trucks all in one spot with a great atmosphere. Surprising to us was the breakfast taco spot we found on our last day in Austin: Tacodeli. They were so good we ordered seconds and have been dreaming about them ever since.

This was a dangerous experiment because the moment we heard the F1 cars careen around the track we were hooked. I officially want to go to a race every year now. Forget our top 5, I want to go to ALL of them. I want to experience the race, explore the cities, eat all the food, drink all the beer, and soak in the fandom, the atmosphere, and the excitement of an F1 weekend. We’re hooked.

Mojito making


From: Drinking the Devil's Acre

10 to 15 mint leaves, plus 1 sprig for garnish
2 oz white rum
1 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz simple syrup
2 oz seltzer water

Lightly muddle the mint leaves in a highball glass, then pour in the liquid, add ice, and stir. Garnish with the mint sprig, and as the author says "sip and smile". 


Alternate directions: if you don't have simple syrup on hand and don't want to take the time to make it, you can muddle 1 1/2 tsp sugar with the mint leaves and add the liquid ingredients on top, stir well, then add ice. Garnish and enjoy!

Key Lime Pie
Key Lime Pie

As Deb at Smitten Kitchen notes, “despite the name, you don’t need key limes to make this. I mean, if you can get them, please do. They’re wonderful. But I made this, as I often do, with regular grocery store Persian limes and it’s no less dreamy with them.” I couldn't agree more, the perfect description for this pie is dreamy. It transports you to beach somewhere and makes you forget it is mid-winter, no matter where you are or what the weather is doing outside.

Key Lime Pie Ingredients

Key Lime Pie

From: Smitten Kitchen

1 1/2 cups (155 grams) finely ground graham cracker crumbs (from about 12 crackers – processed in a food processor until small crumbs)
3 tablespoons (40 grams) granulated sugar
2 pinches sea salt
7 tablespoons (100 grams) unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated lime zest
3 large egg yolks
1 14-ounce (396-gram) can sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup (155 ml) fresh lime juice (from about 12 key limes or 5 persian/regular limes)

To Finish
3/4 cup (175 ml) heavy whipping cream (or more if you want to cover the full top of the pie)
1 to 2 tablespoons powdered or granulated sugar, to taste

Heat oven: To 350°F (176°C).

Make crust: Combine graham crumbs, sugar and salt in a medium bowl and stir until mixed. Add butter and stir until crumbs are evenly coated. Press crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of a standard 9-inch pie dish. Bake crust until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Set on cooling rack while you prepare filling. Leave oven on.

Make filling: Zest limes into the bottom of a medium bowl until you have 1 1/2 tablespoons. Beat zest and egg yolks with an electric mixer until pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Add sweetened condensed milk and beat until thickened again, about 3 minutes more. Squeeze zested limes until you have 2/3 cups juice. Whisk into yolk mixture until combined. Pour into graham crust and bake pie for another 10 minutes, until set but not browned on top at all. Let pie cool completely before adding topping (okay to do this in the freezer, but don’t leave for more than 30 minutes or so to avoid crystalizing or getting freezer burnt.

Make topping: In a medium bowl, beat cream and sugar until soft peaks are formed. Spread over top of chilled pie. Ideally, pie should be chilled at least another 2 to 3 hours with the cream on top so that it can fully set before you take a slice.

24 Hours of Daytona - Shrimp and Pepper Skewers

The Winter Break is long and dull, with no races to watch, drivers to cheer on, or countries to cook for. 

But lo, our drivers have not abandoned us to lay low the entirety of the Winter with no entertainment or drama. One of our favorite personalities in F1, Fernando Alonso, did what he does best and added a little excitement to the doldrums, by racing in the 24 Hours of Daytona over the weekend. Although admittedly we did not watch all 24 hours it was fun to see another type of racing and to cook some fun food for the race. 

In looking for Florida recipes I came across an excellent piece of terminology: Floribbean, any guesses? You got it: Floridian and Caribbean. It seems like most foods in Florida have a few things in common: seafood, bright bold flavors, rice and beans are ever present, and most were washed down with a libation (or two).


In the mood for something bright and summery to battle the 'meh' feeling of it being dark at 5:00 and consistently blustery outside, we made grilled Shrimp and Pepper Skewers (we even pulled the cover of the grill and brought it out of dormancy for the occasion), Black Bean and Rice Salad, Fresh Pineapple Salsa, Mojitos, and Key Lime Pie! 

Shrimp Skewers

Shrimp and Sweet Pepper Skewers

Adapted from: Fresh from Florida

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined with tail on
2 large bell peppers, cut into 1-inch squares
2 large onions cut into 1-inch squares
Fresh pineapple chunks
10-16 bamboo skewers (soaked in water for 1 hour) or metal skewers
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Skewer Marinade

1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Skewer Marinade

1. Combine olive oil, garlic, cumin, chili powder, cilantro and lime juice in a blender and puree until smooth.
2. Taste marinade and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.


1. Mix shrimp with ¼ of marinade in a medium bowl until coated.
2. Make skewers by alternating shrimp, peppers, onions, and pineapple chunks.
3. Season the completed skewers with salt and pepper and brush on additional marinade.
4. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
5. Add skewers to grill and cook for approximately 4-5 minute each side, brushing on more marinade when flipping.

Black bean and rice salad

Black Bean and Rice Salad

From: The Spruce

1 -15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups long-grain rice, cooked and chilled
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 tomato (or ½ cup cherry or grape tomatoes), chopped
2 to 3 green onions, sliced

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Garnish: fresh chopped cilantro     

1. In a large bowl, combine the black beans with the cold cooked rice, green and red bell peppers, chopped tomato, and chopped green onion.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, Dijon mustard, sugar, cumin, and pepper. I like to do this in a mason jar – just add all ingredients put the lid on and shake.
3. Add the dressing mixture to beans and rice and stir gently to blend ingredients.
4. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
5. Toss again before serving and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.

Pineapple Boat

Fresh Pineapple Salsa 

1 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple
1 bell pepper (any color or combo of colors), finely chopped
1 jalapeño, stemmed and minced
1/2 small red onion, minced
1⁄4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. kosher salt

Mix together all ingredients, serve. 

If you're feeling extra ridiculous you can serve this in... a pineapple boat. To make a pineapple boat, err, bowl, cut 1/3-1/2 of pineapple (vertically) off. Cut up and scoop out inner part of pineapple (use chopped up in recipe and for shrimp skewers), and fill with salsa. Top with cilantro for extra style points. 


For desserts and drinks... Mojitos and Key Lime Pie (posts coming soon!).

Banana Cream Pie

Dessert is always a favorite subject for me. I have many loves. Chocolate chip cookies, lemon bars, pumpkin bread pudding, apple pie, cherry pie, chapple pie (I'll tell that story one day), flourless chocolate cake, bacon fat spiced cookies, those peanut butter cookies with the hershey's kisses on top. 

It's too hard to pick a favorite or to even pick one that says: AMERICA. Well, maybe that's a little easier: American as Apple Pie. Ice Cream Sundaes. Sheet cake with over-sugared frosting drawings of minions or superman. But let's not go there. Let's go to that place our 5 year old selves might go. To that place that feels like home, childhood, and goes perfectly at the end of a picnic. Those are a few of my favorite things and this banana cream pie in a jar is too. 

Banana Cream Pie in a Jar!

Banana Cream Pie

From: The Mac + Cheese Cookbook 50 Simple Recipes from HomeRoom by Allison Arevalo and Erin Wade
With thanks to ChineseGrandma for writing up the recipe

5 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
½ cup cornstarch
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 large bananas, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
18 to 24 vanilla wafers
Heavy whipping cream + one teaspoon sugar, whipped (optional)

1.    To make the custard: In a bowl whisk together 1 cup of milk, egg yolks, cornstarch, sugar, and vanilla. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat the remaining 4 cups of milk and 1 cup of cream over medium heat.
2.    When the milk mixture begins to simmer, add the milk-yolk-cornstarch mixture and whisk rapidly. Continue stirring over medium heat for a few minutes until the mixture thickens.
3.    Remove pudding from the heat and pour into a large bowl. Let cool at room temperature for an hour or more (it continues to thicken as it cools).
4.    To assemble: In eight-ten 6-ounce mason jars, layer 2 or 3 vanilla wafers, 2 or 3 banana slices, and 1/2 cup of pudding. Repeat to fill.
5.    Cover each jar and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
6.    Before serving, top with whipped cream (optional) and/or fresh banana slices or cookie crumbles if you like.

Jars of Pie
Tangy Cabbage and Collard Slaw

I found this slaw for one summer barbecue two or three years ago and it has been in constant rotation ever since. It is bright and tangy, it doubles easily, it rests well, it can be vegetarian or for a more robust side and if your party is omnivorous you can add a few slices crisp bacon to kick up the umami. Either way, it is a perfect side for most occasions! 

Tangy Cabbage and Collard Slaw

From: Country Living

1 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 c. cider vinegar
2 tbsp. whole grain mustard
1 1/2 tbsp. honey
1/3-1/2 c. olive oil
pinch kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 small bunch collard greens, stems discarded and leaves shredded
1/2 small head green cabbage, shredded
6 slices thick-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)

1. Combine onion, vinegar, mustard, honey, and oil in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand, tossing occasionally until onion is wilted, 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Add collard greens and cabbage, and toss to coat. Chill 15 minutes. Toss in bacon (if using).

American Slaw
Smoky Bacon Mac
American Classics aren’t only books you read — they are things you remember. They’re ice cream cones, apple pie, gym class, parades, homeroom, and mac and cheese.
— Allison Arevalo and Erin Wade of HomeRoom Restaurant in Oakland, California
Smoky Bacon Mac


From: The Mac + Cheese Cookbook 50 Simple Recipes from HomeRoom by Allison Arevalo and Erin Wade

1/2 pound dried elbow pasta
1 lb sliced bacon
2 cups Mac Sauce (see below)
1 cup grated smoked cheddar cheese
1 cup grated jack cheese

Mac Sauce

2 1/2 cups whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

To make the Mac Sauce

1. Heat the milk in a pot over medium heat until it just starts to bubble, but is not boiling, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.

2. Heat the butter over medium heat in a separate, heavy-bottomed pot. When the butter has just melted, add the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture turns light brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

3. Slowly pour the warm milk, about 1 cup at a time, into the butter-flour mixture, whisking constantly. It will get very thick when you first add the milk, and thinner as you slowly pour in the rest of the milk. If you want a thicker sauce do not add all 2 1/2 cups. You can check consistency after adding the cheese and as more milk as needed to reach desired consistency. It will continue to thicken as it cooks. 

4. Once all the milk has been added, set the pot back over medium-high heat, and continue to whisk constantly. In the next 2 to 3 minutes the sauce should come together and become silky and thick. Use the spoon test to make sure it's ready: Dip a metal spoon into the sauce—if the sauce coats the spoon and doesn't slide off like milk, you'll know it's ready. You should be able to run your finger along the spoon and have the impression remain. Add the salt.

5. The Mac Sauce is ready to use immediately and does not need to cool. Set it aside while you prep the pasta and bacon. (You can make it ahead of time and store in fridge for up to 2 days.)

Now, to make the Smoky Bacon Mac

1. Cook the bacon in a frying pan over medium-high heat until crispy. Remove from pan onto plate lined with papertowels, pat away extra grease as necessary.  Cut into bite size pieces. 

2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted boiling water until a little less than al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain the pasta again. 

3. Add the sauce and both cheeses to a large heavy bottomed pot (I use my handy dutch oven) and cook over medium heat. Stir until the cheese is barely melted, about 3 minutes. Add the bacon and stir to combine. Slowly add the cooked pasta, stir, and continue cooking while stirring continuously until the dish is nice and hot, about 5 minutes. 

4. Spoon into bowls and serve hot. 

*If you prefer baked mac with the little crispity crunchy bits on top you can additionally:

Spoon mac into an even layer in a 9x11 baking dish and top with 1/2 cup panko. Bake until bubbly, and topping is golden brown, about 15 minutes (or you can do this right in the dutch oven, it just won't be as pretty). Then spoon into bowls and serve hot. 

US GP F1Cookbook

This duo has created, not only an amazing restaurant, community, and cookbook, but they have included in said cookbook some very clever recipes and funny stories along the way. They even inspired the dessert recipe for this race, a lifelong favorite of my husband's: Banana Cream Pie. I've used their variation on this by making them in mason jars for individual servings! 

Mac + Cheese Cookbook
Jars of PIe
U.S. GP - Pulled Pork Sliders
Ricciardo Merica.jpg

I think Ricciardo's style really exemplifies much of what I love about this race. The feel of this race is so un-stuffy and is just about the excitement of racing, the joy of fast cars, and a really fun atmosphere. COTA is a great track, built with F1 in mind, awesome hill rise on the first corner, epic esses, and in a place with changeable weather and plenty of race fans. What more could you ask for?


As I mentioned in my last post it was so hard to choose what to make for this race. I eventually closed my eyes and thought about some of my favorite food memories, with family, at get-togethers, childhood memories. This meal is a combination of all those things. The crowning achievement though is a recipe for killer pulled pork. So without further ado, I share with you today my brother-in-law's Pulled Pork. I'm pretty sure I got his permission to post this. Though... come to think of it I'm not so sure, I hope I don't get disowned. Even so, it would be worth it. The secret to the deliciousness is the Carolina sauce. I didn't know it until I got my hands on the recipe, but I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the stick o' butter. 

I served the Pulled Pork on buttery dinner rolls for some excellent hand-held sliders. Along side I made Smoky Bacon Mac and Cheese from the geniuses behind Home Room restaurant in Oakland (an ALL mac and cheese themed restaurant) and Tangy Cabbage and Collard Slaw (also with bacon...) To wash it all down we had a house favorite cocktail, Rye and Ginger. And, since no meal is complete without dessert, we finished it all off with Banana Cream Pie (in a jar)


Some fair warnings on the following recipes, the Carolina sauce and the pork shoulder both need overnight rest time, so make sure to prep for making this recipe in advance. The pork also cooks for 7 hours so you'll want to get it in the oven in the morning if you want to be eating at a reasonable hour. All that time and prep is sooooo worth it. The tender falling apart meat and the melded tangy and rich flavors of the sauce make you glad you just made enough food to feed an army. 

US GP F1Cookbook

Pulled Pork Recipe

From: Brother-in-law extraordinaire John

Spice Rub

2 tablespoon chile powder
2 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup brown sugar

Other stuff

1 pork shoulder roast (also called pork butt) approx 7lbs
4 onions, cut into halves
2 1/2 cups of  John's Carolina Sauce
Good-quality rolls, for serving
Slaw, optional


Rub the spice mixture all over the pork shoulder
Wrap the pork in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight
Place pork roast atop onion halves in a Dutch oven or similar large pot
Cook in oven at 300 degrees for 7 hours
Remove onion halves
Add Carolina Sauce (see recipe below) to pan sauce, and shred pork

Pot 'o' Onions
Pot 'o' Pork

Carolina Sauce
Makes about 8 cups

4 cups prepared yellow mustard
1 cup brown sugar
3 cups cider vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 cup chili powder
2 tablespoons black pepper
2 tablespoons cayenne
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 stick o' butter

Mix all except soy & butter
Simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally
Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer for 10 more minutes
Refrigerate overnight
Stores well in the fridge due to high acid content from the vinegar, great on sandwiches, grilled chicken, and phenomenal on pulled pork. 

Carolina BBQ Sauce ingredients
SOOOOO many spices
Plenty of sauce

Put it all together:

Serve the pulled pork on ciabbata, french rolls, or if you are over-ambitious like me, buttery cafeteria-style rolls from scratch, from yet another stolen, errr borrowed, recipe (below).

Top with slaw or just as is. On that note: If you want a slaw for your pulled pork sandwiches I would recommend a simple sliced cabbage, bell pepper, olive oil and lime blend (maybe some green onion and tomatoes if they are in season). If, on the other hand you want tangy, crunchy, goodness to eat along side your pulled pork sliders and mac n cheese, then this Tangy Cabbage and Collard Slaw is for you. 

US GP Dinner

Cafeteria Lady Rolls

From: My husband's co-worker's husband Gary

Makes: 16   
4 cups flour
2 tablespoons yeast
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup melted shortening (or butter)
1 3/4 cup warm milk

1. Add yeast to warm milk and let sit 1 minute; stir and add melted shortening. This step is unnecessary if you are using instant yeast - in that case, mix the yeast directly into the dry ingredients. Make sure to stir the yeast and sugar in before adding salt.

2. Have dry ingredients ready and add to milk. Slowly mix on medium speed until the dough no longer sticks to the side of the bowl.

3. Place dough in a well-greased bowl and let rise until doubled in bulk (approximately 45 minutes - 1 hour).

4. Stir down and form into rolls (note that dough is sticky) and let them rise again.

5. Bake at 425º F until brown and brush with butter while hot. 10-12 minutes. 

Ready to bake rolls
My kitchen smells amazing... rolls

Ferrari's contribution to the U.S. GP Art portfolio:

Austin 2017 Ferrari poster.jpg
U.S. Grand Prix Preview

It is hard to believe that there are only four races left in 2017. The next one is the closest to home at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Then we are on to Mexico, Brazil, and the final race at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. Lewis looks in position to win the Championship, but with Forumla One you never know what is around the corner. I am hoping for some last minute excitement! 

To tide us over until the weekend, here is some more epic F1 art from around the web:

Ferrari and Renault have yet to release their U.S. GP Posters, but if any of their past posters are a sign of things to come, I am excited to see them. 


For the U.S. GP, there are so many recipes I have in mind. It is difficult to choose what to make for one's own country. What dishes exemplify the United States? Burgers. Apple Pie. Barbecue. Steak and Potatoes. Corn on the cob. Fried Chicken. Bourbon. The list goes deliciously on. 

My addiction to cookbooks has not been a help in this matter. It just exacerbates my indecision. I have some excellent classics and some of my favorite bloggers and restaurantuers on my shelves just begging to be opened and a thousand recipes to be made. And of course Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook with tips for the woman on the go! 

Last year we went full Texan with Fried Chicken, Calabacitas, and Palomas all from Texas Monthly and all delicious. 

What would you make? I think am going to go with some personal favorites and some American classics: My brother-in-law's Pulled Pork, Creamy Macaroni and Cheese, Southern Cabbage and Collard slaw, and for dessert, well you'll just have to wait and see. 

Last but not least for today, a little extra fun this week: the F1 YouTube channel shared a video of this years drivers sharing a little bit about their cooking talents (or lack there of)...