Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Old Fashioned Apple Dumplings

During the cold winter months, this is a wonderful dessert to serve. Add whipped cream or ice cream and you got a real winner.

  • 1 recipe pastry for double-crust pie
  • 6 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Butter a 9x13 inch pan.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll pastry into a large rectangle, about 24 by 16 inches. Cut into 6 square pieces. Place an apple on each pastry square with the cored opening facing upward. Cut butter into 8 pieces. Place 1 piece of butter in the opening of each apple; reserve remaining butter for sauce. Divide brown sugar between apples, poking some inside each cored opening and the rest around the base of each apple. Sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg over the apples.
  3. With slightly wet fingertips, bring one corner of pastry square up to the top of the apple, then bring the opposite corner to the top and press together. Bring up the two remaining corners, and seal. Slightly pinch the dough at the sides to completely seal in the apple. Repeat with the remaining apples. Place in prepared baking dish.
  4. In a saucepan, combine water, white sugar, vanilla extract and reserved butter. Place over medium heat, and bring to a boil in a large saucepan. Boil for 5 minutes, or until sugar is dissolved. Carefully pour over dumplings.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes. Place each apple dumpling in a dessert bowl, and spoon some sauce over the top.

  • Makes 6 servings.

Stephan Pyles Celebrity Chef Dinner & Live Auction

Sunday, December 4, 2011
Stephan Pyles Restaurant, 1807 Ross Avenue, Dallas
Champagne Reception 6:00 p.m.
Dinner 7:00 p.m.

Join The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas and celebrity chefs throughout the state for the Foundation’s culinary event of the year, the 12th Annual Stephan Pyles Celebrity Chef Dinner.

Named for Texas culinary legend Stephan Pyles, one of the original founders of Southwestern cuisine and the first chef in the Southwest to win the prestigious James Beard award, this event is a five-course, seated wine dinner. Rare and fine wines from around the world are carefully paired with each course for an incomparable culinary experience. Following dinner, a short and lively wine auction will take place, which will help benefit the annual Stephan Pyles Culinary Scholarship.

The Stephan Pyles culinary scholarship is awarded through an Iron Chef style competition each year, rotated to different cities and school locations throughout Texas. The 2011 Stephan Pyles Scholarship winner, Renee Morgan, will be creating the appetizers for the this fantastic fundraising event. Presenting with Renee will be Chef David Garrido of Austin, Chef Jason Dady of San Antonio, Chef Joel Harrington of Dallas, Chef Nick Badovinus of Dallas and Chef Rebecca Rather of Fredericksburg.


Bone Marrow Brulee Tartlett with Cranberry & Red Onion Relish
Country Ham & Gouda Grit Fritters
Tomato Martini Shooters with Mozzarella & Basil Oil
Chef Renee Morgan - Austin

Scallop with Bacon-Potato Ball, Red Jalapeno Crema and Pumpkin Seed Chardonnay Jello
Chef David Garrido - Austin

Bay of Fundy Salmon Confit with Horseradish Panna Cotta, Honeycrisps and Manchego Chicharron
Chef Stephan Pyles & Chef Joel Harrington – Dallas

Cider Roasted Texas Quail, Butternut Squash Grits, Luxardo-Walnut Compote
Chef Nick Bodevinus - Dallas

Pan Seared Lamb Loin with Root Vegetable Spoonbread, Fennel, Wild Mushroom and Smoked Huckleberry Bordelaise
Chef Jason Dady – San Antonio

Sweet Potato Doughnuts with Garrison Brothers Bourbon, Bacon Caramel Sauce and
Caramel ice cream
Chef Rebecca Rather – Fredericksburg

Held at Stephan Pyles highly acclaimed restaurant in the heart of the downtown Arts District in Dallas, the Stephan Pyles Celebrity Chef Dinner is a wine and food lover’s dream. Space is very limited so make your reservations now by calling (512) 327-7555.

Tickets: $150 per person (non-refundable)

For more information including reservations, click here.

Monument Café Welcomes Diners on Christmas Day & Partners with Local Nonprofits to Celebrate 10 Years of Community Christmas Dinners

Monument Café Welcomes Diners for a Home-Cooked Meal on Christmas Day:
Café Partners with Local Nonprofits to Celebrate 10 Years of Community Christmas Dinners

’Tis the season to eat, drink and be merry. And, as it does every year, The Monument Café, Georgetown’s charming, classic roadside diner, will be open and serving up traditional holiday favorites with all the fixin’s on Christmas Day. In celebration of the 10th year serving its Community Christmas Dinner, Monument has partnered with area nonprofits Caring Place, Georgetown Independent School District and Meals on Wheels to offer meal vouchers to some of their clients most in need of a wholesome Christmas Day meal.
 The benefiting nonprofits will disburse Monument Café meal vouchers to their clients, who can then redeem the vouchers for a home-cooked meal on Christmas Day during the Monument’s Community Christmas Dinner service, which, as always will be staffed by a crew of loyal and dedicated volunteers. Additionally, hot and fresh Monument holiday meals will be packaged for delivery through the Meals on Wheels program by the café kitchen staff at the Monument Market location.
Monument will be open for business on Christmas Day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Breakfast will be available until 11 a.m., and guests can choose from a hearty breakfast menu featuring a variety of egg dishes and omelettes cooked with free-range eggs and served with savory sides, and hot-off-the-griddle pancakes, waffles and French toast combinations made to order.
 While Monument’s everyday menu—featuring an assortment of homemade soups and salads, all-natural hamburgers and sandwiches, and mouthwatering entrées and desserts—will be available on Christmas Day, the special holiday menu is guaranteed to offer the best meals of the season. The special holiday menu includes a choice of Turkey and Cornbread Dressing ($12.95) served with Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans and Fresh Cranberry Sauce; a 10-Ounce Prime Rib served au jus ($21.95) with Roasted New Potatoes, Steamed Asparagus and Horseradish Sauce; Pecan-Crusted Pork Tenderloin ($19.95) served with a Raspberry-Chipotle Sauce, Seasoned Rice and Steamed Asparagus; and Tortilla-Encrusted Tilapia ($18.95) served with Cilantro Cream Sauce and Corn Relish, Seasoned Rice and Steamed Asparagus.
 Of course, it wouldn’t be a Monument Café meal without decadent, homemade dessert. And the special holiday menu includes a variety of tempting choices such as the Monument Chocolate Pie, Coconut Cream Pie, traditional Pecan Pie and Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Chiffon Pie, Key Lime Pie, Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie, good old fashioned Apple Pie, Pumpkin Cake with cream cheese frosting, Kendall’s Chocolate Cake and Texas Sheet Cake with vanilla custard.   
“We look forward to sharing Christmas Day with our customers and serving them the best Monument has to offer,” says owner Rusty Winkstern. “And we truly are grateful that we are able to provide meals to those who need our help this Christmas season.”
Monument Café is located 500 S. Austin Ave. in Georgetown. For more than 15 years, Monument Café has been a dining staple for the Georgetown community and beyond. The café serves only the best in fresh, locally grown and organic produce, and uses the finest ingredients in creating its delicious brand of Southern-style comfort food. For more information about Monument Café, its holiday offerings and the café’s partnership with area nonprofit organizations this holiday season, please call (512) 930-9586, or visit

Cuvée Coffee Partners with Austin Beerworks to Create Russian Imperial Coffee Oatmeal Stout Beer

Cuvée Coffee Partners with Austin Beerworks to
Create Russian Imperial Coffee Oatmeal Stout Beer:
Sputnik Beer to Debut at Austin Premiere of Locally Made Film ‘Man on a Mission’
Cuvée Coffee Roasting Company, Texas’ foremost coffee roaster, is partnering with two other local Austin businesses to premiere a one-of-a-kind beverage that is sure to be out of this world. Cuvée and Austin Beerworks, a hometown brewery known for its exceptional craft beers, have joined forces to create Sputnik, a truly unique Russian imperial coffee oatmeal stout. A dark, hearty beer combining the smoothness of an oatmeal stout and the rich bite of a coffee stout, Sputnik will make its draft debut during the Austin premiere of “Man on a Mission: Richard Garriott’s Road to the Stars” at Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar on Jan. 20. Sputnik drafts will also be available during additional screenings of the film on Feb. 1 at Alamo Drafthouse Village and on Feb. 9 at Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek. 
 Austin-based production company Beef & Pie Productions and local filmmaker Mike Woolf created the award-winning documentary “Man on a Mission: Richard Garriott’s Road to the Stars,” which chronicles Austinite gaming legend Garriott’s lifelong quest to become the first son of an astronaut to blast into space — a feat Garriott accomplished onboard a Soyuz rocket with the Russian space program.
“Mike Woolf told us about ‘Man on a Mission’ and someone suggested that, given the subject of the film, a Russian imperial stout would be a great beer to drink while watching the movie,” says Michael Graham of Austin Beerworks. “It's a style of beer we all really enjoy and the film gave us a great excuse to make one of our own. We were torn between making an oatmeal stout and a coffee stout, so instead of arguing about it, we decided to do both. Cuvée was our first choice. We wanted to work with a company that was as passionate and nerdy about coffee as we are about beer. Cuvée fit the bill perfectly.”
Filmmaker Woolf, an avid coffee drinker, agreed that Cuvée would be a perfect coffee to integrate into the Sputnik beer, adding, “As soon as I heard Michael say Cuvée Coffee, I knew we were in good hands. We’ve admired their beans and their brand from the beginning.”

Cuvée Coffee is known for its roasted-to-order, sustainable, artisan blends, single-origin and estate coffees from South America, Central America and Africa. The premier coffee roaster in Texas, Cuvée has gained a reputation for providing only the highest quality coffee for its customers, and the creation of Sputnik is no exception. The beer will feature a coffee flavor distinct to Cuvée’s precision roasted beans, creating a beer experience unlike any other. 
“We have a super cool project, an amazing story and a soon-to-be-amazing product to consume,” says Mike McKim, who founded Cuvée Coffee in 1998, and has grown the company to a thriving $1 million business. “It is great to work with such a quality-focused, out-of-the-box local brewery like Austin Beerworks, and we’re very excited to debut Sputnik at the local premiere of ‘Man on a Mission.’ Great beer, great coffee and a great movie — what could be better?” 
Offering more than a dozen coffees, as well as top-quality coffee equipment and training for baristas, Cuvée Coffee Roasting Company is located in the Texas Hill Country. For more information about Cuvée Coffee, the company’s partnership with Austin Beerworks and Beef & Pie Productions, or the eagerly anticipated Sputnik Russian imperial coffee oatmeal stout beer, please call (512) 264-1479, or visit

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Big Celebratio​ns at 24 Diner: Chef Drew Day & More

24/7/365: The Year In Review
Mayoral Proclamation Closes Out A Momentous 2011
On December 1, 24 Diner will celebrate its second birthday. It will probably be a relatively quiet affair, celebrated by the restaurant’s five local partners over pints and shared plates of corn fritters and chicken & waffles. But on the eve of our anniversary, November 30, Mayor Lee Leffingwell is inviting the whole city to celebrate Chef Drew Day and recognizing 24 Diner as “Small Business of the Month!” There will be a ceremony on site around noon, and we will be offering $3 Brooklyn Lagers (Drew’s favorite beer) throughout the day for anyone who would like to raise a glass in honor of these accolades!

Our 2011 highlights include:
  • Chef Drew Curren was a nominee in the People’s Best New Chef competition sponsored by Food & Wine magazine & CNN’s Eatocracy
  • “America’s Top Six Destination Diners,” Bon Appétit
  • “Best Grilled Cheese in the U.S,” Food&
  • Our meatloaf & sweet onion gravy recipes were featured in Food & Wine
  • “Diners That Are Lip-Smacking Delicious,” MSNBC
  • Chef Drew competed on season 9 of Bravo’s top-rated “Top Chef: Texas”
  • “40 Best Breakfasts,” Texas Monthly

Perhaps our most satisfying accomplishment to date is the fact that (under Chef Drew’s leadership) we have spent more than $100,000 in purchases from 73 farms since January 2010. Incorporating local and organic fare whenever possible and supporting other small businesses in the community is central to our philosophy.

Here’s to Chef Drew and 2012 – and the tremendous support of our customers and the local food community! We look forward to the year ahead.

24 Diner: 600 N. Lamar, (512) 472-5400,,
For more information, contact: Evelyn Sher, (512) 589-6596,

Growing Austin's Food Economy - Dinner (Austin, Texas)

Friday, Dec 2 5:30p
at Barr Mansion, Austin, TX
Come join us and celebrate the best food slow money can buy!

We are thrilled to announce our sponsors and participants:

Barr Mansion, Salt & Time, Quality Seafood, Bastrop Cattle Company, Lick Ice Cream, Tiny Pies, The Nurturess, Maine Root, Arnosky Farms
... EIEIO Organic Farm, Greengate Farms, Johnson's Backyard Garden, Springdale Farm, New Earth Center, Farmhouse Delivery, Greenling, Bountiful Sprout, Windy Hill Organics, Pure Luck, 5 Mile Farms, Love Creek Apple Orchard, Tecolote Organic Farm, Real Ale Brewing Company

Barr Mansion's own Chef Chris and Chef Simon will be combining elements from the above participants and creating a hyperlocal, bountiful feast.

Many thanks to our hosts at Barr Mansion, we can't wait to share this spectacular space!

Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased by clicking here.

For more information, click here.

Texas Bluebonnet Wine Trail, Holiday Crystal Wine Trail: Dec. 3, 4, 10 & 11

Get a jump start on your holiday gift giving by touring the Texas Bluebonnet Wine Trail, Holiday Crystal Wine Trail on December 3-4 and December 10-11, 2011. Your trail ticket allows you to enjoy two specially-selected wine tastings, paired with a terrific holiday food sample at each winery on the trail. As an added bonus, have your ticket stamped at five of the participating trail wineries and receive the third in a series of commemorative keepsake crystal wine glass. These 24-ounce Pinot Noir glasses feature the Texas Bluebonnet Wine Trail logo.

This holiday trail package, worth almost $70 per person, is yours for the low single ticket price of $25, plus tax or $45 for a Ticket-for-Two, plus tax. You have four days, on the first two weekends in December, to use your ticket and visit 10 great wineries along the Texas Bluebonnet Wine Trail. The food and wine pairings for the wineries are listed below.

Bernhardt Winery: Antipasto Skewer with an Italian hard salami, cheese tortellini, marinated mozzarella ball, calamari olive, cherry tomato, and basil leaf drizzled with fresh basil Italian dressing paired with Pinot Grigio and Pinnelli.

Colony Cellars: Butter fried, rolled roast beef with olives & cheese paired with Random Harvest Red.

Cork This! Winery: Holiday meatballs paired with Staycation Chardonnay and Boot Leg Red Pinot Noir.

Messina Hof Winery: Raspberry Chipotle Cheese ball paired with Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Mama Rosa Rose’.

Pleasant Hill Winery: “Sicilian” chili paired with 2010 Sauvignon Blanc and sweet Collina Rossa.

Retreat Hill Cellars: An assortment of cake balls from Sweet Tooth Montgomery, paired your choice of any two of our wines.

Retreat Hill Winery & Vineyard: Slow-smoked pork tenderloin, rubbed with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, garlic and fresh rosemary, paired with FM 1836 Riesling and Reserve Cabernet Franc.

Saddlehorn Winery: Holiday Tamales paired with Black Spanish and Muscat Blanc.

Texas Star Winery: Twisted Turkey and Sherry Pecan Tarts with Cranberry Wine and 17K Chérie (Prickly Pear Cactus Sherry).

To purchase tickets, click here.
For more information about the event, click here.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Big Ranch, Big City, Big Beer - Fort Worth, Texas

Big Ranch, Big City, Big Beer
Tuesday, Nov 29 6:30p
Lambert's Steaks, Seafood & Whiskey, Fort Worth, TX

Experience the tastes of Big Ranch, Big City at a fall dinner party with Rahr beer parings hosted by Texas Toast Culinary Tours. Spend the evening enjoying Chef Lambert’s unique cuisine and hearing the stories that have shaped his cooking philosophy. Special guest, Fritz Rahr, will enhance the meal by sharing the stories behind the evening’s beer pairings. Chef Lambert’s co-author, food writer, June Naylor, and photographer, Ralph Lauer, will also be in attendance. Reservations are required.

to be served with specially chosen pairings from Rahr & Sons Brewing:

Passed appetizers:
Pecos Duck Rillettes with Fruited Grain Mustard
Pickled Cajun Shrimp Louie
Foie Gras Mousseline Croustade
* Rahr Blonde (Lager)

Seated dinner courses:
Seafood Posole Verde with Gulf Shrimp and Lump Blue Crab
Pit-Roasted Chile-Dusted Quail with Fig Barbecue Sauce and Smoked Bacon Polenta
Wood-Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Roasted Garlic Béarnaise,
Parmesan Potato Gratin and Pan-Seared Rapini
* Rahr Stormcloud (IPA) and Winter Warmer (Old London Ale)

Gingered Pear Fried Pies with Honey Buttermilk Ice Cream.

Price: $95, includes:
* an autographed copy of Big Ranch, Big City Cookbook
* appetizers and four courses with beer pairings
* tax and gratuity
(Extra copies of the book will be available for sale, too.)

For more information including reservations, click here.

St. Nikolausmarkt - Fredericksburg, Texas - December 2-3

Join us for
St. Nikolausmarkt
A Traditional German Christmas Market
at the Marktplatz in Fredericksburg Texas
Friday, December 2, 2011
Saturday, December 3, 2011

Lighting of the TreeJoin us as we light Fredericksburg's new Christmas Tree on Friday, November 25th at 7:00 p.m. The 30-foot tree features hand-crafted ornaments by local artists and will be on display at Marktlpatz through the holidays, until January 6th.

The ParadeFriday, December 2nd, is the Fredericksburg Community Christmas Parade, starting at 6:30 p.m. on Main Street.  Bring your hot chocolate and comfortable seating and enjoy this small town Willkommen to the holiday season.  At parade completion, join your family and friends at the St. Nickolausmarkt – where good times await!

The PyramidBuilt in Germany to Fredericksburg’s specifications, the 5-tiered, rotating, wooden Christmas Pyramid rises twenty-six feet with each tier decorated with a different theme.  Tier one depicts the nativity scene; tier two, carolers; tier three, nutcrackers; tier four, Santas, and tier five, angels.  The rotating pyramid will also be decorated with lighted candles for a beautiful display.  Skilled craftsmen in Erzgebirge, Germany manufacture these internationally collected Christmas pyramids, which in their smaller, table-top forms, are staples for most German holiday decorations. 

Fredericksburg is currently the only municipality in the United States to have an outdoor pyramid of this grand scale – 26-feet.  The pyramid was shipped from Germany to Fredericksburg where it will be displayed at the City’s Marktplatz (town square) November 25 through January 6. 

St. Nikolausmarkt
White tents at the festival will house the 40+ booths that feature everything from Christmas ornaments, nutcrackers, children’s toys, pyramids, and jewelry, to traditional German clothing.  In addition, traditional German foods and beverages will be served on site.  Enjoy sausage, schnitzel, warm pumpernickel rolls, sauerkraut, and, for sweet lovers – cakes, cookies and candies.  Plus Glühwein, warm and spiced German wine, will be available, along with soft drinks, local wines, and an assortment of German beers.

There’s no admission charge on Friday to the St. Nikolausmarkt; however, tickets on Saturday are $5 for adults and free for children age 12 and younger.  Adult admission is one dollar off on Saturday for individuals with active military ID and seniors age 65 and older.

St. Nikolaus will be available for photos on Friday evening following the Parade and all day on Saturday.  Attendees are invited to take their own complimentary pictures.

For more information, click here.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sugar Cookies

One of the items I enjoy making are sugar cookies. They are very easy to make and are wonderful gifts.
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.
  • Makes 48 cookies.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Zinger Hardware and General Merchant Brings You "Jelly Belly On Tour"

Sunday, December 4th
Zinger Hardware and General Merchant, Austin, TX

The Jelly Belly touring bus is making a special appearance at Zinger Hardware and General Merchant, located at 4001 N. Lamar, Ste 300, Austin, TX 78756 with a host of fun activities.

At the stop on December 4, 2011 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jelly Belly will offer tastes of the newest flavors, and invite the more daring to take the challenge to taste BeanBoozled, with flavors from Skunk Spray and Pencil Shavings to Top Banana and Coconut. Prizes and fun for the kids take place during the stop.

To visit their website, click here.

Breakfast With Santa! Cedar Creek, Texas

Saturday, November 26th
9:00a to 11:30a
Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort And Spa, Cedar Creek, TX

Save the date to have Breakfast with Santa at Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa. Extend your Thanksgiving stay over Saturday, November 26 or drive in for the day and delight in holiday themed arts and crafts, savory breakfast treats and visits with Santa Claus himself!

This is your chance to see if you made the naughty or nice list. To book your stay at Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa, visit

Friday, November 25, 2011

Brunch at Bistrot Mirabelle!

We are happy to announce that Bistrot Mirabelle is now open for brunch! 
Join us on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am-3pm.  The new brunch menu will be on our website shortly. We happily accept reservations.  Make a reservation online or call 512.346.7900.


Next week we are introducing Happy Hour!  Join us from 3pm til 6:30pm daily for:
$5 glasses of our house French red and white wines
$1 off all glasses of wine and bottled beer
$5 off all bottles of wine
$2 off all appetizers and salads
$6 for Chef Clinton's famous house grind burger with gruyere


Beginning next week we'll have a special dish for every week day!
Monday: Cassoulet
Tuesday: Lobster Pot Pie
Wednesday: Poussin
Thursday: Choux Farcis
Friday: Beef Bourguignon

William Shatner Talks about Turkey Fryer Fires

This is a wonderful video that demonstrates dangers of fryers if you fail to follow some basic rules.

Turkey Soup with Dressing Dumplings

If you are like most individuals, you have leftover turkey. Here is a great recipe.

  • 1 roasted turkey
  • 6 quarts water
  • 4 medium onions
  • 6 medium carrots
  • 5 stalks celery
  • 6 cups leftover stuffing
  • 6 egg whites
  • cooking spray
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 cup cubed turnips
  • 1 cup fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 1 (16 ounce) can jellied cranberry sauce
  • 1 (16 ounce) can whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning, such as Bell's
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Set the oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source and preheat the oven's broiler. Remove all meat from the cooked turkey and set aside. Arrange bones in a roasting pan and broil until browned on both sides.
  2. Transfer browned bones to large stock pot and cover with 6 quarts of water. Trim, peel, and chop the onions, carrots, and celery; add peels and ends of raw onions, celery, and carrots to the stock pot and reserve the cleaned vegetables for the soup. Simmer bones and vegetable scraps for 1 hour. Turn off the heat and allow stock to cool for 20 minutes. Strain the stock, discarding the bones and vegetable scraps. Remove the fat from the stock by refrigerating the stock overnight and removing the hardened fat layer from the top or by skimming the fat from the top of the liquid with a ladle.
  3. Combine leftover stuffing and egg whites in a large bowl. Form the stuffing mixture into small balls and place on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave the dumplings on High for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Add the dumplings and cook until the are golden brown on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Add the reserved and chopped turkey meat, onions, celery, and carrots to the strained soup stock; simmer for 1 hour. Stir in the peas, corn, green beans, and turnips; simmer until the vegetables are tender. Pour in the jellied and whole berry cranberry sauces, poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper; stir. When the cranberry sauce has dissolved into the soup add the cooked dumplings and heat through.
  • Makes 12 servings.
  • Leftover mashed potato can be added with the corn and peas but they will make the soup very thick.  

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turkey Cooking Times and Temperatures

These times and temperatures are based on a whole turkey placed on a rack in a roasting pan with the oven set to  350 degrees F.

Check your temperature using the thigh meat. Make sure that your thermometer is not touching the bone.

When your turkey has reached your desired temperature, remove it from the oven and allow it to set for 20-30 minutes to rest. This allows the juices to redistribute and carving is much easier.

Weight of Bird

Roasting Time (Unstuffed)

Roasting Time


10 to 18 pounds
3 to 3-1/2 hours
3-3/4 to 4-1/2 hours
18 to 22 pounds
3-1/2 to 4 hours
4-1/2 to 5 hours
22 to 24 pounds
4 to 4-1/2 hours
5 to 5-1/2 hours
24 to 29 pounds
4-1/2 to 5 hours
5-1/2 to 6-1/4 hours

Fires Resulting from Frying Turkeys

According to the National Fire Protection Agency, deep fryer fires cause
  • 5 deaths
  • 60 injuries
  • $15 million in property damages
As a reminder, please exercise caution when frying a turkey. Make sure your turkey is completely thawed and pat it dry to reduce flair ups from water hitting the hot oil. Use a thermometer to accurately check the temperature of your oil. Keep a fire extinguisher handy at all times when frying your turkey.

Here is another video to remind you of the potential for disaster if you are not careful.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Can The Happy Kitchen Come Over?

How can you give the gift of The Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre™ this holiday season? Bid now on a private cooking class for 6 in your own home led by SFC staff!

Or would dinner for 8 with Bryce Gilmore of Barley Swine delight your clients? How about your treating your friends or family to time with Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due? Get a group of friends together and bid!

The best part? The funds raised by the online auction of these eight private dinners benefit SFC and Urban Roots! This first-of-its kind auction is LIVE NOW.

The fifth annual Edible Austin Eat Drink Local Week is happening Dec. 3-10, and tickets are selling fast for each event--from the Urban Farm Bicycle Tour to the Pig Roast and Harvest Dinner, Drink Local Night and the Local Brew Fest!

 VIP passes offer priority access to most of the week's events for a great value. Buy today!

Umiya Japanese Restaurant Has a New Chef

Chef Peter An has now assumed his new role and taken over the kitchen of Umiya Japanese Restaurant. Chef An comes to Cedar Park from Seattle and is looking forward to taking Umiya to the next level in culinary delight.

Location: 1540 Cypress Creek Road, Ste. 106, Cedar Park, TX
Hours: Mon.–Fri. 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m., Sat. noon–10 p.m., Sun. noon–9 p.m
Phone: 512-257-0888

To visit their website, click here.

Bellini's Texas Grill Texas-Tuscan Fusion Open in Cedar Park, Texas

A Texas-Tuscan fusion restaurant has opened in Cedar Park and I think you will be delighted. Gerald and Suzy Freeny, residents of Cedar Park, own this fine restaurant which serves wood-fired pizzas, burgers, salads, paninis, pasta and breakfast.

Give them a try. You will be glad you did.

Hours: Open daily 11 a.m.–11 p.m.
Location: 12800 Parmer Lane, Ste. 202, Cedar Park, TX
Phone: 512-528-8558

To visit their website, click here.

When you get there, ask them about Bellini and Fellini!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Turkey Fryer Safety

Make sure that your turkey is absolutely thawed out and as free from water and ice as possible. There are a lot of individuals who fry their turkeys and some fail to heed the warnings.

Although I am stating the obvious, I need to remind people of the following:
  • Fry your turkey outside. DO NOT FRY IN THE GARAGE OR THE KITCHEN.
  • Make sure you have a fire extinguisher handy should something happen. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher should for grease fires. Do not throw water on a grease fire. It will make it worse.
  • Have the proper equipment (gloves, tongs, etc.) handy. Do not leave your fryer unattended. Do not have small children near or playing near the fryer.
  • Place your fryer on a stable surface. Do not cook on a wooden deck or near grass, wood or anything flammable.
  • Follow ALL safety precautions given in the instruction manual for your fryer. I tried to cover all the major safety tips, but you need to read the manual very carefully.
I am not one to be so dramatic, but when it comes to safety, I will be as blunt and as direct as possible.


Campbell's Soup Launch New Look to Its Nutrition & Wellness Website

With the new year around the corner and most Americans making a New Year resolution to lose weight and get into better shape, Campbell's Soup has a new website with some wonderful recipes to help you look and feel better in 2012.

It has sections on weight management, heart health, vegetables and fruits and grains and fiber to help you plan better meals that are nutritious and, most importantly, delicious.

Check out their new website by clicking here.

Whole Foods Presents Champagne and Sparkler's: The Difference Between Champagne and Sparkling Wine Tasting Class - December 2nd

Whole Foods Culinary Center, Austin, TX
Friday, Dec 2 6:00p to 7:30p

Just what is the difference between Champagne and sparkling wine? How are they made? What are the grape varieties? What is the proper way to open a Champagne bottle? Joan answers all your questions about bubbly just in time for the holidays. Tasting menu: Champagne, Cava, Prosecco, California Sparkling Wine, Moscato d'Asti.

For more information including reservations, click here.


Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar, Austin, TX
Tuesday, Nov 22 7:00p

Twi-hards, Twi-moms, Twi-casuals, and Twi-signifcant others! Come sink your teeth into the first part of the final installment of the Twilight Saga in ultimate style with this full, multi-course FEAST featuring food and drink pairings inspired by the series. This is the beginning of the end, friends, and we finally get to see all the smoochy action between Bella and Edward we've wanted to see on the big screen! Expect a spread so lush for this historic occasion that you won't know which is more swoony, the action on screen or the food on your plate!

The menu:
Twilight Eggs
Artichoke Heart, Roast Garlic Frittata with Fresno Pepper Coulis
KIla Cava
Four Apple Salad
Fresh Fuji, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp and Red Delicious apples tossed in a Sparkling Rose Vinaigrette on Charred Arugula
Mushroom ravioli
Chanterelle , Hen o the Woods and Oyster Mushrooms fill Feet Pasta in Winter Savory-brandy Creme
Drafthouse ESB
Vampire vegetarian plate
Grilled Lamb chop, Short rib and Pork Belly
Le Grand Pinot Noir
Wedding Cake
Blood Orange Sponge Cake with Cinnamon Fondant

For information including tickets, click here.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Creamy Mushroom Mashed Potatoes

  • 6 medium potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 6 cups)
  • 1 small onion, cut into wedges
  • Water
  • 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Condensed Mushroom Soup
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut up

  1. Place the potatoes and onion into a 4-quart saucepan and add water to cover.  Heat over medium-high heat to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low.  Cover and cook for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.  Drain the potatoes and onion well in a colander.  Return the potatoes and onion to the saucepan.
  2. Stir the soup, milk, heavy cream and butter in a medium microwavable bowl.  Microwave on HIGH for 2 1/2 minutes or until the mixture is hot.
  3. Mash the potatoes and onion with the soup mixture until smooth.

Thanksgiving Waldorf Salad with Spinach

Here is a healthy holiday variation on the classic Waldorf salad.

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 large red eating apples, cubed (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup seedless red grapes, halved
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery (1 medium stalk)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 4 cups torn fresh spinach leaves

  1. In large bowl, mix mayonnaise, juice concentrate and cinnamon until well blended.
  2. Stir in apples, grapes, celery and walnuts to coat.
  3. Before serving, place spinach in large salad bowl. Spoon apple mixture over spinach; toss to mix and coat.

  • If you are serving this during your Thanksgiving meal, combine all of the ingredients except the spinach several hours before serving time. Cover and refrigerate. Just before serving, toss in the spinach.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Turkey Salad

If you are like me, you probably bought a big turkey for your thanksgiving meal. I always do and I turn the leftover turkey into turkey salad.

Here's a great recipe that I use every time.

  • 2 cups cooked turkey breast, cubed
  • 1 large red apple, cored and cut into small pieces
  • 1 orange peeled and segmented (or use a small can of mandarin oranges)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1/2 cup of chopped onions
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Mayonnaise, to taste

  • In a mixing bowl, combine turkey, apple pieces, cranberries, orange, walnuts, celery and onions.
  • Mixing in mayonnaise to taste and season with salt and pepper.

  • You can add poultry seasoning to the recipe to give it a hint of sage.
  • Mayonnaise can be added, but not taken out. If you like a "wet" salad, add more mayonnaise. "Dry" is less.
  • Use toasted multi-grain bread and use the leftover cranberry sauce as additional dressing if you wish.

Lemon Icebox Pie

This is a very easy to make pie and tastes so delicious.

  • 1 small can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 graham cracker crust
  • 1 small tub Cool Whip

  • Mix everything together until smooth and pour into pie crust. Refrigerate until set about 1 hour.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ambrosia Salad

One of the staples of a holiday meal is an Ambrosia salad. It is one of those side dishes that can be eaten with the meal and after as a dessert.

  • 1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 (8 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 cup sour cream
DirectionsIn a large bowl, combine the oranges, pineapple, marshmallows and coconut. Add sour cream and toss to mix. Cover and refrigerate for several hours.

The Texas Wine School The Fundamental: Wines of Spain “The Fundamentals”

The Texas Wine School The Fundamental: Wines of Spain “The Fundamentals”

Cost: $60.00
Dates: Wednesday November 30th
Time: 7.00- 9.00
Location: French Country Wines, 2433 Bartlett Street, Houston, TX 77098
Instructor: James King

This is the wine tasting class that gives you a glimpse into the wonderful world of Spanish Wine.

I intend to lead you through the regions, highlighting the commercially significant wines, discussing what makes each unique whilst tasting wines.

Also one of my passions is the "when to drink" session where we get to explore the thinking behind the wine and how it is to be applied, for example, Rioja , when to drink -  with who, when, what, why and where- best friend, loved ones, special occasions, it is unique, eat it with food, great restaurant.

We will be looking at:

Over view of Spanish wine history and industry

Location, geology, geography and climate

Overview of the main commercial regions

Main Grape varieties

Main styles – Modern versus traditional, Food friendly, neutral to complex

When to drink - with who, when, what, why and where

The wines will come from these regions, which I think gives us a very good range across Spain:

Rioja; Priorat; Ribera del Duero; Rias Baixas; Toro; Bierzo; Jumilla; Jerez

Visit Website: The Texas Wine School

Pumpkin Bread

Want to serve something delicious Friday morning after the big day? Here is a great recipe.

  • 3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. each nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 c. each granulated sugar and packed brown sugar
  • 1 c. oil
  • 2 c. canned pumpkin
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 c. each raisins and nuts (optional)
  1. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Add the sugars, mixing well.
  2. Mix dry ingredients with the oil and pumpkin, stirring until well combined.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, blending thoroughly. Pour into 2 greased and floured 9 1/2 x 5 1/4-inch loaf pans.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes. Remove from pans. Place on wire rack to cool.
  • Makes 16 servings.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Apricot Cranberry Stuffing

This is a wonderful recipe which will definitely be a traditional hit with your family and friends.

  • 1 loaf whole-meal bread
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped peeled apple
  • 3/4 cup dried apricots (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 large grated zucchini
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste (good when peppery)

  1. Crumble or cube bread. Add all ingredients and mix well. It should be moist and sticking together.
  2. Place it into a foil loaf pan, cover with silver foil (may refrigerate for up to 8 hours).
  3. Bake covered in 325°F oven for 1 hour. If drier stuffing is desired: uncover and bake another 10-15 minutes.

Stuffing and Dressing: What's the Difference?

Here's another question that comes up often around the holidays. What is the difference between stuffing and dressing?

Stuffing is traditionally prepared inside the turkey so that it will absorb the juices of the turkey and give it a wonderful taste.

Dressing is prepared outside of the turkey. You will find that the term, dressing, is also preferred in the south. In fact, some cooks refuse to use the word, stuffing, due to its unpleasant sound. Because of that, most cooks prefer to use the word, dressing, instead of stuffing.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Green Beans Almondine

Another classical dish that is served around the holidays is Green Beans Almondine. It is a very simple, but elegant dish.

  • 1 1/2 lbs. green beans
  • 4 oz. almonds
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • Salt and pepper

  1. Sauté almonds in butter until lightly browned; do not burn.
  2. Steam green beans.
  3. Toss with almonds and season with salt and pepper before serving.

  • Use fresh green beans if possible or frozen.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe Using Canned Sweet Potatoes

Here is a fast and easy way to make a sweet potato casserole dish.

  • 2 large cans sweet potatoes, drained
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup crushed pecans
  • 3/4 cup shredded coconut
  • mini marshmallows

  1. Mix the first 6 ingredients with a mixer. Prep baking dish with cooking spray, then pour in. Mix the topping ingredients by hand. Sprinkle on top.
  2. Bake uncovered at 350°F for 25 minutes. Sprinkle marshmallows on top, then bake uncovered 5 more minutes.
If you prefer, you can use just the mini marshmallows.

2012 Barbecue Summer Camp

Get your 2012 Barbecue Summer Camp Tickets Beginning Friday November 18th for Members and December 1st for the General Public

On the strength of our 2011 Barbecue Summer Camp presented in partnership with Texas A&M University's Meat Science Department and the ongoing (and overwhelming) interest in future barbecue camps, Foodways Texas and Texas A&M will make the event annual and hold our second Barbecue Summer Camp over the weekend of June 8-10, 2012.

Foodways Texas members will be able to purchase tickets in advance of the general public and at a discounted rate. Starting this Friday, November 18th at 10am, members can purchase tickets through our website at Space is limited in order to accommodate the hands-on experience of the camp, so we expect tickets to sell-out very quickly. Your best chance to reserve your spot in College Station is to become a member of Foodways Texas today. Information regarding membership in our organization can be found on our website on our Membership page. If tickets are still available on December 1st, we will open up registration to the general public.

Please contact Marvin Bendele at or call our office at 512-232-8560 with questions. See below for details about the camp.

2012 Foodways Texas Barbecue Summer Camp
Sponsored by HEB Fully Cooked

June 8-10, 2012
College Station, Texas

Tickets: $495 (members)
$550 (non-members)

Ticket price includes five meals (three lunches, two dinners)

See our website for more details.

Yams and Sweet Potatoes: What's the Difference?

Often around Thanksgiving, there is a discussion that goes on in the kitchen. You may have one of your children ask, "What's the difference between a sweet potato and a yam?"

YamsYams are closely related to lilies and grasses. Native to Africa and Asia, yams vary in size from that of a small potato to a record 130 pounds (as of 1999). There are over 600 varieties of yams and 95% of these crops are grown in Africa. Compared to sweet potatoes, yams are starchier and drier.

Sweet PotatoesThe many varieties of sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are members of the morning glory family, Convolvulacea. The skin color can range from white to yellow, red, purple or brown. The flesh also ranges in color from white to yellow, orange, or orange-red. Sweet potato varieties are classified as either ‘firm’ or ‘soft’. When cooked, those in the ‘firm’ category remain firm, while ‘soft’ varieties become soft and moist. It is the ‘soft’ varieties that are often labeled as yams in the United States.

Why the confusion?
In the United States, firm varieties of sweet potatoes were produced before soft varieties. When soft varieties were first grown commercially, there was a need to differentiate between the two. African slaves had already been calling the ‘soft’ sweet potatoes ‘yams’ because they resembled the yams in Africa. Thus, ‘soft’ sweet potatoes were referred to as ‘yams’ to distinguish them from the ‘firm’ varieties.

Today the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires labels with the term ‘yam’ to be accompanied by the term ‘sweet potato.’ Unless you specifically search for yams, which are usually found in an international market, you are probably eating sweet potatoes!

Classic Green Bean Casserole Recipe

It is a dish that has become a tradition at every family holiday table. In fact, I could never serve a holiday meal without it.

  • 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed Cream of Mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • Dash ground black pepper
  • 4 cups cooked cut green beans
  • 1 1/3 cups french fried Onions

  1. Stir the soup, milk, soy sauce, black pepper, beans and 2/3 cup onions in a 1 1/2-quart casserole.
  2. Bake at 350°F. for 25 minutes or until the bean mixture is hot and bubbling.  Stir the bean mixture.  Sprinkle with the remaining onions.
  3. Bake for 5 minutes or until the onions are golden brown.

  • Makes 6 servings

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Man Bites Dog Opens Second Location in Austin, Texas

Just months after opening its first brick-and-mortar location on Burnet Road, Man Bites Dog is set to open its second restaurant in the Corners Shopping Center at 3005 South Lamar.  This hot dog hot spot has been on the hunt for a place in South Austin ever since it closed its original trailer location on South First. 

The new 1,262 square-foot space will offer the same hot dogs, corn dogs and sides (not to mention quality service and relaxed atmosphere) as the Burnet location.  It will also offer a selection of board games and a TV for movie and sports fans alike.

The hot dogs at Man Bites Dog walk the line between gourmet and ridiculous. The Greek Dog, a special- turned-menu-favorite, offers a Merquez lamb sausage, topped with tzatziki sauce, tomatoes, diced onions, olives, cucumber sand feta cheese, and the Hair of the Dog boasts a bacon-wrapped, deep-fried, all-beef frank, topped with homemade chili, cheddar cheese, Tabasco sauce and a fried egg.  Classic chili-cheese dogs,Chicago-style dogs and house-dipped corn dogs are also favorites, along with signature items like Pulled-Pork Mac N’ Cheese and the Howler, an open-faced chili cheese corn dog.

Man Bites Dog was awarded Runner-Up for “Best Hot Dog” and Runner-Up for “Best Street Food” in the Austin Chronicle’s 2011 Restaurant Poll.

Each dog is wrapped in a kolache-style bun baked fresh by Austin’s Kolache Shoppe.  Vegetarian dogs and chili, kosher franks and gluten-free buns are also available.

A selection of beer will also be available at the new location, which will feature happy hour specials each night of the week.

The South Lamar Man Bites Dog is expected to open in early December.

Click here to visit their web site.

Learn How to Make Tamales

The Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre™ and...tamales?
Learn to make tamales from the masters, Amparo Domínguez and María Arias, using olive oil, broth and local, seasonal ingredients from the SFC Farmers' Market. You'll go home with a dozen delicious tamales (vegetarian or chicken) and the skills to make more! We'll also make a variety of fresh salsas and atole, a traditional Mexican masa-based hot drink.
When:  Saturday, December 3, 10:00AM-1:00PM
Where: 5604 Manor Road, Austin, TX 78723
Cost:   $55 per person. Click here to register

Monday, November 14, 2011

Chicken and Dumplings in a Slow Cooker

Here is a great and easy chicken and dumplings recipe that can be done in a slow cooker.

  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 2 cups baby-cut carrots
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 cans (10 3/4 ounces each) Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups all-purpose baking mix
  • 2/3 cup milk

  1. Stir the chicken, potatoes, carrots and celery in a 6-quart slow cooker.
  2. Stir the soup, water, thyme and black pepper in a medium bowl. Pour the soup mixture over the chicken and vegetables.
  3. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 to 8 hours or until the chicken is cooked through.
  4. Stir the baking mix and milk in a medium bowl.  Drop the batter by spoonfuls onto the chicken mixture. Increase the heat to HIGH. Tilt the lid to vent and cook for 30 minutes or until the dumplings are cooked in the center.
Makes 8 servings

Simple and Easy Cranberry Sauce

Here is a very simple and easy recipe for making cranberry sauce. You do not have to buy the "cran in a can".

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups (1 12-oz package) fresh or frozen cranberries

  • Wash and pick over cranberries. In a saucepan bring to a boil water and sugar, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add cranberries, return to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 10 minutes or until cranberries burst.
  • At this point you can add all number of optional ingredients. We typically mix in a half a cup of roughly chopped pecans with or without a few strips of orange zest. You can add a cup of raisins or currants. You can add up to a pint of fresh or frozen blueberries for added sweetness. Spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice can be added too.
  • Remove from heat. Cool completely at room temperature and then chill in refrigerator. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.

  • Optional items that you can add are pecans, orange zest, raisins, currants, blueberries, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice.
  • Cranberry sauce base makes 2 1/4 cups.

2nd Annual Feeding the Frontier - Montgomery, Texas

Saturday, November 19 · 11:00am - 7:00pm
Fernland Historical Park
780 Clepper Street
Montgomery, Texas

Chuck wagons, BBQ, dutch-oven cooking, kids inflatables, horse shoe tournament, and pioneer re-enactments all day

Free admission!

8th Annual Houston Championship Chili Cook-Off

Presented by the Houston General Go Texan Committee of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Champion chili cook teams from across southeast Texas will compete for the title, Houston's Best Chili Cook. Tons of award winning cook teams from throughout Houston will be cooking up some of the best chili and beans in Southeast Texas. There will be a live auction and taster's cups available for a donation to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Awards will be given in Open Chili, Open Beans, People's Choice and Showmanship categories.

Free to the public, parking $3.

The largest, most visited open-air market on the Texas Gulf Coast, Traders Village is at 7979 North Eldridge Road near Highway 290, just minutes northwest of downtown Houston. Call 281-890-5500 for more information.

For more information, click here.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sagra Trattoria Hosts Special Wine Dinner-Entertaining Italian Style

1610 San Antonio St., Austin, TX, 78701
Monday, Nov 14 7:00p

You're invited to a very special wine dinner next November 14th at 7:00 PM. A five course holiday meal with wine pairings will serve as your holiday menu cheat sheet this season. The evening will be hosted by vino experts, Gina Hunt and Jerome Chlaudil of Kobrand Corporation and Republic National Distributing, respectively. Guests will enjoy a five course menu created by Sagra’s Chef/owner Gabriel Pellegrini along with wine pairings from various regions throughout Italy. In the spirit of holiday merriment, diners will also receive the recipes for each of the dishes served that night, including Kumamoto Oyster with ginger cider mignonette and Smoked Boar Osso Bucco with porcini risotto, so that they can share....$55

For more information, click here to visit their website.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Dinner Detective Austin - Friday, December 16th

Friday, December 16, 2011 from 7:15 PM to 10:30 PM (CT)
Marriott Hotel Austin
300 East 4th Street
Austin, TX

America's Largest interactive murder mystery dinner show!

You'll enjoy an elegant four-course plated dinner (no buffets here!) while you solve a hilarious murder case. A tantalizing Prize Package awaits our Top Sleuth of the evening. Just be careful! In this show, everyone is a suspect, even You, and the killer could be at your table!

For more information and ticket pricing and availability, click here.

Friday, November 11, 2011

23rd Annual Heritage Syrup Festival - Henderson, TX

Henderson is proud to host the only folk life festival in East Texas. The Heritage Syrup Festival is always celebrated the second Saturday in November from 9:00am-5:00pm. Beginning in November 1989, this unique fall festival is centered around the making of sugarcane syrup.

The 7 acre grounds of the Depot Museum and the 10 blocks in the National Register Historic Downtown District are the locations of this event.

A bustling center of activity featuring old time syrup making with mule power, craftsmen and folk artist as well as outstanding food vendors, retail vendors, musical entertainment, children’s activities, antique tractors, antique & classic cars, cloggers and square dancers complete this fun filled day.

A hayride shuttle sponsored by the Rusk County 4-H Club transports visitors between the Depot and downtown.

Approximately 25,000 people from Texas and neighboring states attend the festival each year.

For more information, click here.

45th Annual Sutton County Game Dinner

For more information, call 325-387-2880.

North Austin Mini-Wine Trail - Four Wineries in One Day!

Join us for another Mini-Wine Trail Event and explore four wineries on a day of Wine & Food fun – Sunday, November 13th, Noon – 5 pm.

Come enjoy a pleasant fall day of food and wine on a new burgeoning wine trail with four wineries all in one day!   Ticket price includes wine tastings, appetizers, and a wine glass at each winery.

A $35.00 advance purchase ticket will get you on the trail to visit Perissos Vineyards, Pilot Knob Vineyard, The Vineyard at Florence and Inwood Estates Vineyards. A limited number of tickets are available. Call Pilot Knob Vineyard at 512-489-2999 to purchase your tickets TODAY!!**

** Pilot Knob Vineyard's Tasting Room hours are Thursday - Mondays, Noon - 6 p.m. If you call during off hours, please leave your contact information and event name, and we will call you back to get your purchase information in the order that the calls were received; or you may provide contact information and ticket requests to and we will follow up to get your purchase information via phone. Thank You!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Preparing for Cooking a Turkey

There are several steps you need to take BEFORE you start cooking your turkey.

Step 1: The temperature in your oven has to be accurate. You might want to test your oven by  preheating it to 250° and testing it with a cooking thermometer. I highly recommend this step. It can make the difference between a moist, juicy turkey or something that resembles a wooden block.

Step 2: Your turkey needs to be safely and totally thawed and cleaned. The only safe way to thaw a frozen turkey is to place it in the refrigerator. Other methods such as running cold water over it or placing it in a microwave oven are not safe because of the chance of bacterial growth and contamination. Because of that risk, I will only give you guidelines using the refrigerator method. Most store-bought turkeys will have instructions for thawing. I recommend that you read them prior to Thanksgiving.
Time Required to Thaw a Turkey
8 to 12 lbs.
2 to 3 Days
13 to 16 lbs.
3 to 4 Days
17 to 20 lbs.
4 to 5 Days
21 to 24 lbs.
5 to 6 Days

Step 3: Be sure to remove the neck and giblets from the inside of the turkey. When people get in a hurry, they often forget a few items. This one can easily be overlooked.

Step 4: Know the actual weight of the turkey excluding the giblets so that you can accurately calculate the cooking time of your turkey.

Winery U: Wines of the Southern Hemisphere

Wines of the Southern Hemisphere

Take a multimedia tour of the major winegrowing countries of the Southern Hemisphere: Argentina, Australia, Chile, New Zealand and South Africa. We’ll be tasting examples from each.

What Do I Get From Each Class?
Besides enduring our wonderful personalities and receiving a nifty Winery U! diploma at the end of class, each participant will receive printed course materials, additional informational materials, and maybe even a surprise or two?
You’ll even get to taste some wine.

What Does It Cost?•Cost is $30.00 per person per class, or register for any 4 Winery U classes for only $25.00 per person per class.
•Pre-registration is required & limited to the first 30 people.
•Cancellation and refund policy is posted at

All classes are held on Saturday, 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m* at Dry Comal Creek Vineyards

Dry Comal Creek Vineyards
1741 Herbelin Road, New Braunfels, TX 78132
Phone: (830) 885-4076
Fax: (830) 885-4124

For more information including registration, click here.

Texana Chili Spill and Go Texan Barbecue Cook-Off - Edna, TX - November 10-12

Texana Chili Spill
Go Texan Barbecue &
Christmas in the Outback
Arts & Crafts Show

This event is jointly sponsored by Jackson County Chamber of Commerce and Brackenridge Plantation Park & Campground. It is held at Brackenridge Plantation Park & Campground
on Lake Texana, Highway 111 South of Edna.

Lots of food, fun, exhibits, and music, plus a special program honoring veterans.

CASI & Homestyle Chili Cook-Off, Bean Cook-Off, Bar-B-Que Cook-Off, Jackpot Chicken & Jackpot Pork Ribs Cook-Off

Horseshoe & Washer Tournaments, games & rides, petting zoo, exhibits, auction.

Call 361-782-5456, for information.
For more information, click here.

Chipotle Sauce

If you enjoy the smokey flavor of chipotle chiles as much as I do, I think you will enjoy this wonderful sauce.

Ingredients2 Chipotle Chiles;
2 Bacon; Slices, Finely Cut Up
1/4 Cup Onion; Finely Chopped, 1 small
3 Cup Tomatoes; Finely Chopped
1 Cup Beef Broth
1/4 Cup Carrot; Finely Chopped
1/4 Cup Celery; Finely Chopped
1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro; Snipped
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Pepper

You can make this sauce as hot as you want by adding up to a total of 4 dried Chipotle chiles. Cover chilies with warm water. Let stand until softened, about 1 hour. Drain and finely chop. Cook and stir bacon and onion in a 2−quart saucepan until bacon is crisp; stir in chilies and remaining ingredients. Makes about 4 cups sauce.

Austin Girls' Choir presents "Women Who Cook" - Austin, TX - November 13th

It’s that time of year again! The Austin Girls’ Choir is proud to bring you their annual Women Who Cook performance and fundraiser, coming up on Sunday, November 13th from 5:30 – 8:30pm in the Great Room of St. John’s United Methodist Church, 2140 Allandale Rd, Austin!

Experience tastes of women chefs from all over Austin, local musical acts Lex Land and Adam and the Bullshark, a silent auction, SXSW wristband raffle, and of course the Austin Girls’ Choir doing a performance you won’t soon forget! This event will sell out, so get your tickets early! Call 453-0884 today for details and tickets!
Date: Sunday, November 13th
Time: 5:30 – 8:30pm
Location: Great Room of St. John’s United Methodist Church, 2140 Allandale Rd, Austin, TX

For more information, click here.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Chef Sonya Coté Launches Locavore Movement: Homegrown Revival (1st dinner Nov 16th)

After years of embracing the local food movement, Chef Sonya Coté (East Side Showroom), is commencing a dinner series around the state that will incorporate local foraging and farming. The events, cleverly dubbed The Homegrown Revival, will be held monthly with less than 50 attendants. Every month, Coté will create a new meal from locally sourced meats in addition to vegetables found in the gardens of Springdale Farm, prepared in the style of Italian family dinners. This is the ultimate in local, seasonal eating, and only 24 seats are available each month. Tickets are $65 and the events are BYOB.  Each dinner will have a farmer who grew or raised the food, and some dinners will welcome historians and provide a food preparation lesson. The first dinner is slated for November 16.

“I’m proud to announce the first round of The Homegrown Revival dinners in Austin. Our hope is to raise awareness and educate diners on the accessibility of local foods. “I would hope that people would take away a sense of empowerment where they would be able to prepare things for themselves based on simple technique and to not be afraid to try it,” shared Coté.“These dinners are meant to be informative and fun and, of course, tasty,” said Homegrown Revival founder Coté. “We want to create an intimate atmosphere that will spur conversation and action. Ultimately, we hope to take this show on the road and educate Texans in small towns about their local bounty.”

The first dinner on Nov 16 will be hosted at Springdale Farms and will feature porchetta of rosemary-stuffed suckling pig, spit-roasted over pecan wood. Jason Stevens (East Side Showroom and The Tigress Pub) will create a unique aperitivo and digestivo cocktails to bookend the Italian Feast.

The December 14 dinner will be a traditional Italian Feast of Seven Fishes that will highlight Texas Gulf sourced seafood and by-catch.  Other upcoming dinners include: a January dove dinner, February frog dinner and a March hare dinner. For dates, tickets and info visit their web site.

Indian Pudding Recipe

This Indian pudding is a surprising mix of milk and corn meal. It is excellent served warm with vanilla ice cream.

  • 4 1/2 cups milk
  • 2/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup dark molasses
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease a 1 1/2 quart baking dish.
  2. Scald 3 1/2 cups of milk in top of double boiler over direct heat. Remove milk from heat.
  3. Mix cornmeal with remaining 1 cup of milk, and stir this mixture into the scalding milk, stirring constantly. Place the milk mixture into the top of the double boiler and cook for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Stir butter, molasses, salt, sugar and cinnamon into the mixture. Pour into the prepared baking dish.
  5. Bake in the preheated 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Corks and Cars Wine and Music from Retreat Hill Cellars & Cork This! Winery

November 12, 2011 (Sat) from 2:00 PM - 6:00 PM Montgomery, Texas

Do Corvettes, Porsches, Wine and Music turn you on? Come to downtown Montgomery, Texas on November 12 and enjoy a FREE Corvette and Porsche Car show, FREE music by Two Times Up Top and fine wine available for purchase by the glass or bottle from Retreat Hill Cellars and Cork This! Winery. This is the second annual Corks and Cars event, featuring the Corvette Club of Houston and the Porsche Club of Houston. Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy a beautiful day of music and great wine and up to 50 great performance cars. Food will be available from Logan's Restaurant and all of the downtown merchants in Montgomery will be open for your shopping pleasure.  
To visit their web site, click here.

Becker Vineyard Pumpkin Festival - Stonewall, TX - November 12, 2011

Punkin' Chunkin' with Famous Musician Doug Moreland

Date: Saturday, November 12

Time: See Itinerary Below

Dinner Fee: $85 per person + tax; Wine Club Members 10% Discount.

11 a.m. While They Last

Pumkin Chunkin'
First Trebuchet launch at 12:30 p.m., and continuous throughout the day.

1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Musical Performance by Doug Moreland and the Flying Armadillos

5:30 p.m.
Punkin Chunkin' Fall Vintner Dinner in the Lavender Haus Reception Hall

4 course "fall" inspired dinner with wine pairings

$85 per person (Wine Club members 10% discount)

Reservations Required.

Becker Vineyards is located 11 miles east of Fredericksburg, off US Hwy 290 at Jenschke Lane.

For reservations and more information, contact: or 830-644-2681 x 302 and

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Messina Hof Winery Host Fall Cooking Party with the Vintage House Chef - Bryan, TX - November 10, 2011

The award-winning Messina Hof Winery and Resort will tickle your taste buds with a variety of themed cooking parties with the Vintage House Chef this fall.

The monthly programs provide guests the opportunity to learn the intricacies of creating the perfect menus for any occasion. The cooking parties will feature an array of themed dishes expertly paired with award-winning Messina Hof wines.

Novice cooks and expert chefs alike will learn an array of useful tips, tricks, recipes and techniques sure to come in handy for any group gathering. All guests will receive a tote bag filled with seasonal goodies and a recipe booklet. Additionally, guests may register to win door prizes that will prove to be useful in the kitchen.

The theme for November is “Let’s Talk About Thanksgiving Dinner and Mise en Place”

First Course
Pinot Grigio Roasted Sweet Potato Bisque Topped with apple smoked bacon
Paired with Moscato

Second Course
Chardonnay Creole Stuffed Bell Pepper Stuffed with Roasted Shrimp, Crawfish and beef dressing
Paired with Private Reserve Chardonnay

Third Course
Smothered Rock Cornish Game Hen
Braised with a Cabernet Franc roasted onion reduction sauce, served with pumpkin & Carrot soufflé and sautéed baby green beans
Paired with Paulo Merlot

Fourth Course
Baked Peach and White Chocolate Bread Pudding
Topped with an Ivory Port Almond sauce and an essence of caramel & white chocolate drizzle
Paired with Ivory Port

Dinner parties take place on Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. For more information or to make a reservation, call Messina Hof Winery & Resort at 800-736-9463, ext. 234.   
November 10, 2011 (Thu) from 6:30 PM - 10:00 PM
Bryan, TX 

Visit Website: Messina Hof Winery & Resort
For their calendar of events, click here.

5th Annual Holiday Baking Contest - November 12, 2011 - Austin,TX

Faraday's Kitchen Store
5th Annual Holiday Baking Contest
Do you make the Best Holiday Dessert in Austin? Here's your chance to show it off!

It's time for our 5th Annual Holiday Baking Contest, Saturday Nov. 12th, at Faraday’s Kitchen Store in Lakeway from 10AM-4PM.
Winners will be selected in four categories- Pies and Tarts; Cakes and Cupcakes; Cookies; and "Other" (for anything that doesn't fit in the other categories)- with great prizes being awarded to the winner of each category, as well as an Overall Grand Prize winner.

This year, our Grand Prize is a set of Wusthof Classic Knives valued at $300!
Participants who have entered a dessert in the contest are invited to sample the other entries and vote for the People's Choice award. Desserts will be available for tasting immediately after judging at 12 noon until 3 pm, with prizes being awarded at 4 pm.

To enter, just submit a registration form and signed rule sheet by Thursday, November 10th. If
you have questions, call us at 512-266-5666. You can mail, email (, fax
(512-266-5903) or drop off your entry form at the store. Your suggested entry donation of $5 will be
donated to The Austin Disaster Relief Network, a locally-founded charity which assists those
who have lost their homes and property in the recent wildfires.
Faraday’s is located at 1501 RR 620 North , Suite A, Lakeway, TX 78734

For registration information, click here.
To visit their website, click here.