Friday, October 31, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Times Ten Cellars
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
My husband and I are both obsessed with this recipe. We both love that it’s a relatively healthy, one-pot (plus one blender) meal. For the record, the reason he loves that is because he does the dishes.
- 2 medium white onions, quartered
- 5 fresh jalapeños, seeded, stemmed and quartered (leave some seeds if you want more kick)
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 1 bottle of Shiner Bock
- ½ cup + ½ cup of chicken broth
- 1+2 tbs. Canola Oil
- 2 lbs ground pork
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 (14- to 15-oz) cans white hominy, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
- Juice of two limes
Purée onion, chiles, and garlic with 1/2 cup chicken broth in a blender.Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown pork, stirring and breaking up clumps with a fork, just until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon.
Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pot. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to pot and heat over moderately high heat until hot, then carefully add purée (it will spatter), cumin, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is thickened and most of liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes.
Add pork, hominy, remaining 1/2 cup chicken broth, and Shiner and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens and liquid reduces by about half (30-45) minutes. Add the cilantro and lime juice and serve.
I have found the best way to serve it is with cornbread and sour cream. It makes four to six servings, depending on how large you want them to be. Yum!
Monday, October 27, 2008
Our table was located in the bar area, which is decorated with all manner of colorful Tex-Mex kitch, and we were treated to some of the friendliest service we've ever encountered. (Note: We were especially impressed by this fact, given that early weekend brunch is notoriously loathed by waiters, often inciting resentment on their behalf which can translate into poor service on ours. Not the case at P's y M's!)
Conversation continued to flow through the aforementioned chips and salsa, an appetizer of crispy tacos and on into the main course. The crispy tacos, while a tad on the greasy side, were great eatin' nonetheless. FP sampled one of the chicken variety, and the meat was tender and flavorful with the lettuce and salsa (of course, she picked the tomatoes off) adding just the right amount of freshness and spice.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
And so, in Part II, let’s take one step forward. Today we’ll begin talking about the many kinds of vino we have to choose from, beginning with white varietal wines. With this post, I hope to help you put into words what it is about Sauvignon Blanc that you love so much, or why you don’t care for Chardonnay. I thoroughly enjoyed researching these wines, and I invite you to take all the credit next time you're pondering a restaurant wine list or just relaxing with friends at happy hour. Maybe you’ll also be tempted to choose a different white next time around – I’m all about expanding horizons. And as an added bonus, today's third question will cover the matter of serving temperature, to achieve optimum deliciousness, no matter which wine you choose.
1. So, what is a varietal wine?
A varietal wine is a wine that is named for the type of grape (or variety) it’s made from. For example, Kendall Jackson Chardonnay is a varietal wine. We like to name our wines this way in America, and many (maybe most) of our favorites from California and elsewhere are varietal wines. These wines are a good place to start, because they eliminate a lot of guesswork when it comes to selecting a bottle. If you have an understanding of some basic characteristics, the name of a varietal wine will give you a good idea of what you’re going to taste when you pop the cork.
Varietal wines need not contain 100% of the main grape, but they must contain wine made mostly from that grape (percentage requirements vary). Small amounts of other types may be added for flavor or balance or a whole host of other reasons, but the overall character of the wine will reflect the type of grape on the label.
Not all wines are named this way, but we’ll get to blends and brand names and other categories later. For today, we’ll focus on varietal wines and touch on the basic characteristics of some of the most popular whites. Reds will follow in the next installment.
Below you’ll find descriptions of the most popular types of white varietal wine, based on expert stats and the empty bottles I take to the recycling bin after a party. By no means is this list complete, but these are the stars that you'll find headlining wine lists and shop shelves.
These descriptions are basic and broad - they are not an in-depth analysis of any or all wines made from each grape. Much like saying that New Yorkers wear a lot of black, ride the subway to work and have very small kitchens, these are general descriptions, but not applicable as a whole in each and every case. ‘Nuff said.
Chardonnay: By far the most popular white varietal wine, Chardonnay is known for being full-bodied (as whites go) and its flavor can range from crisp to smooth and buttery. It is also often oaky. A discussion of Chardonnay, in fact, will often evolve into a discussion of oak. You see, American Chards have a reputation for being aged in or otherwise flavored with oak, and it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Some brands, in fact, are overwhelmingly woody. I enjoy the smoky, toasty quality that a just a touch of oak lends to Chardonnay, but if you prefer a lighter wine with more prominent fruit characteristics, read the label notes or ask your wine merchant for an un-oaked version of this varietal.
Pinot Grigio: One of my favorite go-to wine gurus, Andrea Immer, writes that this varietal “has instant meaning to most people – the words Pinot Grigio connote, quite accurately, ‘dry white wine’”. Many versions of this varietal wine from Italy are sure-fire crowd-pleasers, and affordable to boot. In fact, Immer points out that spending more for Pinot Grigio is almost always unnecessary, as the quality level does not tend to increase with the amount of money you spend. I'm hoping to hold a personal tasting here in my laboratory (living room) soon and learn more about Pinot Grigio, which is also known as Pinot Gris.
Viognier: I’ve added Viognier because I’m so fond of it, though it’s not nearly as popular as the whites I listed above. DallasEats is all about the up-and-coming, though, and this varietal is totally worth a taste. Viognier hails from the Rhone River Valley in France, and is prized for its intoxicating floral aromas and complex, distinctive flavor. French Viogniers are among the most expensive white wines in the world, but American versions are getting great press, and they come at a much more affordable price.
I know which one this perfectionist prefers!
My strategy for satisfactory service is simple - I call it the “10 Minute Rule”: Ten minutes before service, place your bottle of red in the fridge. For whites, reverse it, removing them from the icy depths of the chill chest (thanks, Alton!) ten minutes before you uncork. Easy, right? That’s my kind of rule.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
The magazine launched its first test issue on October 14, and it will launch a second test issue in January 2009. It plans to start its regular distribution in June of 2009.
My question is, who will be reading this magazine? I am a HUGE Food Network fan, but I am not sure how I see this translating to print. My favorite Food Network star is The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. I've seen all of her shows, and I own all of her cookbooks. Is there going to be anything in the magazine that I haven't seen before? I find that unlikely. Unless they have a Tyler Florence centerfold in each issue, I don't see any reason that I'll become a regular reader.
I know I sound like a Grinch, but I already subscribe to Food & Wine, Everyday Food, and Cooking Light, so it's not at all that I am opposed to these types of magazines. I just don't think I'll be looking to take on another one.
What do you guys think? Is anyone completely psyched about the new magazine or are you pretty bored with this news as well?
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Me and Freebirds go way back. I first sampled their burritos back in 1996 when I was a senior in High School. I went down to College Station to visit a friend of mine who was a Freshman at Texas A&M, even though I already knew that I was Longhorn bound the next year. I figured it didn’t hurt to see where the enemy sleeps.
I wasn’t particularly impressed with College Station, but when it came to Freebirds, it was love at first sight. This whole build-your-own-burrito concept was completely new to me, but I knew immediately that I was totally into it. I am kind of picky, so being able to get something exactly the way I want it—and without the annoying, “I want the cheeseburger, but can you please make it with cheddar instead of American cheese and hold the tomatoes and mayo, please”—was (and still is) very appealing.
In 1999, when I was a Junior at UT Austin, Freebirds opened their first Austin outpost just a few blocks from my house. I was completely psyched. It became my Sunday hangover fix. Over the next two years I perfected my formula, and I still get exactly the same thing when I visit now. Freebirds Burrito with a spinach tortilla, steak, refried beans, Monterrey jack cheese, sour cream, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, and BBQ sauce. Heaven.
My love affair with Freebirds continued until I graduated from UT in 2001 and moved back to Dallas, which at the time was Freebirds-less. What Dallas did have, however, was Chipotle, and by that time, I was a burrito addict who needed her fix any way she could get it.
Oh, Chipotle. Like most great love affairs, although we hit it off right off the bat, it took a little work to get our chemistry just right. But once I worked up my standard formula (burrito with chicken or barbacoa with rice, fajita peppers and onions, medium salsa, extra corn salsa, sour cream, a little cheese and guacamole), I never looked back. And as those of you who have read our blog for awhile know, I consider Chipotle to be among the best restaurants in Dallas.
Freebirds, on the other hand, was just a distant memory for me until 2004, when they opened one in Addison, right down the street from where I was living at the time. I was excited, but it still took me a couple of weeks to get there when it opened. When I did finally go, the smell hit me as soon as I walked in the door—so familiar and so entrenched in my brain. Visions of my days in Austin started swimming through my head. I ordered my standard formula and sat down to enjoy. Of course, the burrito was delicious and certainly held a lot of nostalgia for me (as well as refried beans and BBQ sauce).
So, the question still remains...which is better, Freebirds or Chipotle? Frankly, as much as I love Freebirds, Chipotle is the clear winner for me. Better quality, better ingredients, better selection, and better presentation. Not to mention, the guacamole at Chipotle can stand up to any in Dallas, in my humble opinion. And I’m pretty sure the corn salsa contains crack cocaine or crystal meth or something else that is highly, highly addictive.
What do you think? Anyone out there want to defend Freebirds' honor?
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Few foods pair as well with football and beer as chili. However, few foods make a room full of guys (and gals) as sluggish and let’s face it, gassy, as traditional chili. Over the years, I have cultivated a healthier chili recipe. It is satisfying, easy and deeply delicious - if a little unconventional - and pleases any football fan (and even those who aren’t - just ask C&S).
Robin’s Four Pepper Turkey Chili
2 tsp. olive oil
1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 tsp. salt (preferably kosher or sea salt) + 1 tsp. salt
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded (or not, if you like it uber-spicy) and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. of lean ground turkey (93/7 is good)
28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
2 tbs. chili powder
2 tbs. cumin
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
6 oz. can of tomato paste
15 oz. can of hominy, drained
In a large non-stick pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onions, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, and poblano pepper and sprinkle with 1 tsp. of salt. Sauté for 5-7 minutes or until the onions start to get translucent. Add the jalapeños and sauté for another minute. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Transfer the pepper mixture to a plate.
In the same pot, add the turkey breast and brown. Once cooked through, add the peppers back to the pot and combine. Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, Rotel tomatoes, 1 tsp. salt and the rest of the spices. Bring to a slight bubble and add the tomato paste until completely incorporated. Add the hominy last, reduce the heat to medium low, and cover. Cook for at least an hour or as long as you can stand it.
Serve it with: