Archive | August, 2011

On the Grill: Mojo Beef Kebabs

On the Grill: Mojo Beef Kebabs

Thick sirloin kebabs grilled on a skewer, marinated in a citrusy Mojo Sauce.

Mojo sauce is a classic combination of lime, garlic and oregano. It is also great with whole grilled steaks such as flank or top loin steaks. This recipe is from “The Healthy Beef Cookbook” (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.).


Mojo Beef Kebabs

Mojo Sauce
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon salt

Beef Kebabs
1 pound boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut 1 inch thick
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 large lime, cut into 8 wedges
1 medium onion, cut into 8 wedges
1 container grape or cherry tomatoes (about 10 ounces)

Place Mojo Sauce ingredients in small bowl. Set aside. Cut beef steak into 1 1/4 inch pieces; season with pepper.

Alternately thread beef with lime and onion wedges evenly onto four 12-inch metal skewers. Thread tomatoes evenly onto four 12-inch metal skewers.

Place kebabs on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill tomato kebabs, uncovered, about 2 to 4 minutes or until slightly softened, turning occasionally. Grill beef kebabs, uncovered, about 8 to 10 minutes for medium rare to medium doneness, turning occasionally.

Serve kebabs drizzled with sauce, accompanied by tomato skewers.

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Spectacular Brilliance: My Pursuit of the Perfect Pairing

Spectacular Brilliance: My Pursuit of the Perfect Pairing

Troy Knapp

By Troy Knapp

The process of winemaking, essentially, is quite simple; these miraculous berries almost ferment themselves, with their natural yeast on the outside and the sugars and juice on the inside. When simply crushed, the elements combine and under the right environment can produce something that is mysterious and seductive.

Such a simple process, and the end result can yield extreme complexity in the glass. “Notes of caramel, butterscotch and honey with hints of orange blossom and baking spices, minerality and tropical fruit backed by racy acidity and a long finish that is dry on the palate” — that’s why it’s wine for me. Don’t get me wrong, a hand-crafted beer or cocktail can be quite delicious; however, wine is unique and its relation to food unparalleled.

The more I’ve learned about wine, the more I was seduced: intrigued to a level of excessiveness. As a chef, I felt this was crucial in the pursuit of a heightened experience. It was clear to me, that even if I perfected a dish, it is void of its overall pinnacle that only wine could provide. It was the theory of 1 + 1 = 3. I needed to know more. I started studying and, of course, tasting, quite a bit! Homework has never been so much fun. I had been in the hotel business for 20 years and had always enjoyed a great glass of wine. I had cooked for my fair share of winemaker dinners, lived close to the Central Coast wine region in California, which I visited regularly.

For all intents and purposes, I thought I was pretty well versed on wine. All that changed when I sat in a Las Vegas classroom with the Court of Master Sommeliers for the level one exam. Two days of high intensity lectures, blind tastings and service skills, all culminated with a theory exam that shook me up pretty good. I passed; however, at that moment I realized that although I had been around wine in a fairly high capacity for years, I had never truly actively studied it. If I wanted to learn and delve deeper into my passion I would have take this seriously and dedicate myself to a strict study regimen. There were doubts. Where would I fit this in to my already crazy life of being an executive chef, where a 65- to 70-hour work week was considered normal and still be a good spouse and a dedicated father to my two young children? My wife was extremely supportive and truly became my coach. I worked like crazy to absorb as much as I could to prepare for the next step.

Flash-forward one year later and I was on a flight to Seattle for the level two certification exam from the Court of Master Sommeliers. Everything I had worked for over the course of the previous year came down to one day of testing. The countless hours of studying, blind tasting and absorbing paid off; I passed the exam and was able to return home with the title of Certified Sommelier. Studying and tastings are now a routine part of my life and continued education will always be important in my passion for food and wine.

Wine pairing can be simple or complex, it all depends on how deep you want to go. A few common “safe” rules can take you far and faithfully deliver a consistent result. However, by delving deeper and taking a leap of faith, you just may create an experience of sheer and spectacular brilliance. This column will explore food and wine pairing possibilities, but more so, inspire you to go outside your comfort zone in the effort to create memorable and lasting experiences.

As the actor W.C. Fields said, “I cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.” Cheers!

Troy Knapp is executive chef at the Hyatt Hill Country Resort, including Antlers Lodge. He’s also a Certified Sommelier and Certified Specialist of Wine. 



Posted in Blogs, Featured, Wine Reviews2 Comments

Daily Dish: Dady BBQ Sauces Win Big

Daily Dish: Dady BBQ Sauces Win Big

Two Bros BBQ Market, a Jason Dady restaurant at 12656 West Avenue, took two top prizes, and more, at the 2nd Annual Gettin’ Sauced BBQ competition in Austin this past weekend. 

The restaurant’s Sweet Sauce placed first in the Mustard Category and Tamarind Sauce placed first in the Fresh category.

Some 185 barbecue sauces from 26 states, plus Canada and England, were judged by a panel in the competition.

Two Bros. Shiner Black Coffee & Molasses placed second in the Miscellaneous Category and Two Bros. Spicy BBQ Sauce placed 3rd in the Spicy Category.

Two Bros BBQ Market is open daily at 11.

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Gazpacho Steak Salad

Gazpacho Steak Salad

Top round beef steak, or top sirloin would be good in this recipe from the Texas Beef Council.

This dish starts with a very easy marinade: one can of spicy vegetable juice. It will tenderize beef shoulder or round steak and add flavor. Think ahead — make enough of this steak when you’re grilling to have leftovers for the salad.

Gazpacho Steak Salad

1 pound beef shoulder steak or top round steak, cut 1-inch thick
1 (5 1/2-ounce) can spicy 100 percent vegetable juice
8 cups mixed greens or 1 (10-ounce) package romaine and leaf lettuce mixture
1 cup baby pear tomatoes, halved
1 cup cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, then into thin slices
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Tortilla strips for garnish

Gazpacho Dressing

1 (5 1/2-ounce) can spicy 100 percent vegetable juice
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced


Place steak and 1 can vegetable juice in food-safe plastic bag; turn steak to coat. Close bag securely and marinate in refrigerator 6 hours to overnight.

Combine dressing ingredients; refrigerate. Combine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber and 1 cup green bell pepper; refrigerate.

Remove steak from marinade; discard marinade. Place steak on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill 16 to 20 minutes for medium rare to medium doneness, turning occasionally. Carve steak across the grain into thin slices. Season with salt and pepper.

Add steak to salad mixture. Drizzle with dressing and top with tortilla chips.

Makes 4 servings.

From: The Texas Beef Council

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Restaurant Notes & Quotes: Wine dinners at Las Canarias, Ostra

Restaurant Notes & Quotes: Wine dinners at Las Canarias, Ostra

September wine dinners at Las Canarias, Ostra

Two River Walk restaurants, Las Canarias at the La Mansion del Rio and Ostra, at the Mokara Hotel & Spa, will be offering wine dinners in September. Las Canarias features wines from Far Niente Winery and Ostra will showcase Jordan Vineyards. John Brand is executive chef at both restaurants. Both events begin at 7 p.m.  Call 210-518-1017 to make reservations for either dinner.

The Far Niente Winery Wine Dinner at Las Canarias is Sept. 22. The price is $125 per person. Las Canarias is at 112 College Street.

On the menu: East Coast Fluke, Avocado Oil, Bella Verdi Greens and Citrus w/Far Niente Chardonnay; Hudson Valley Duck Liver and Prosciutto Roulade, Pickled Cherries, Duck Confit Palmiers w/En Route Pinot Noir; Third Course: Peeler Farms Egg Ravioli, Black Trumpet Mushrooms and Smoked Scamorza, Local Oxtail and Short Rib Stew w/Far Niente Cabernet; Culotte of Waygu Beef, Heirloom Carrot Ribbons, Mille-feuille of Gold Potato, Kabocha Pumpkin, Marrow, Marjoram Gremolata w/Nickel & Nickel State Ranch Cabernet and Sullenger Cabernet: Dessert is Cooper Farms Peach and Brown Butter Tart, Pure Luck Sainte Maure and Blue Heron Cajeta/w Dolce by Far Niente.

On Sept. 23, Ostra, 212 W. Crockett St., will feature Jordan Vineyards. This wine and food event will be $100 per person. On the menu: Passed hors d’oeuvres; Green Apple Carpaccio, Pure Luck Chevre, Marcona Almonds, Gold Beets, Watercress; Hawaiian Kona Kampachi Crudo, Grapefruit, Amaranth and Bottarga Aioli w/2009 Chardonnay; Strube Ranch Waygu Beef Flatiron, Engle Farms Squash Gnocchi, Spinach, Caper and Sage Beurre Noir w/2002-2004 Cabernet; Valrhona Equatorial Chocolate Mousse, Jivara Pot de Crème and Cocoa Nibs, Roasted Cherries, Red Velvet Sponge Cake w/ 2007 Cabernet.

Rather Sweet takes a month off

Rather Sweet Bakery, Rebecca Rather’s bakery at 249 E. Main St., Fredericksburg, will be closed for the month of September, according a posting on Facebook. Rather will reopen Oct. 1.

Louis Halfant doing fine dining in Boerne

Chef Louis Halfant, San Antonio chef and former chef/owner of Eclipse, on Northwest Military Highway, is now chef at the Limestone Grill in Boerne. The fine dining restaurant is in the historic Ye Kendall Inn, 128 W. Blanco St.

Support arts’ à la carte on Sept. 27

Grilled Cheese Sandwich at The Monterey.

On Sept. 27, the Artist Foundation of San Antonio will stage a one-day event at area restaurants called arts’ à la carte. Proceeds will assist the Artist Foundation to continue its mission, which is “to enrich our artistic and economic fabric by providing monetary awards to individual artists, across diverse disciplines, thereby advancing their creative enterprise and the arts in our community.”

The participating restaurants and their specials include:

  • Aldaco’s (Stone Oak),  20 percent off food only, 3-9 p.m.
  • Bharmacy, 20 percent off food and drinks,all day
  • Patty Lou’s, 20 percent of food and drinks, all day
  • Bistro Vatel 20 percent off food & drinks/all day
  • Capparelli’s on Main, 20 percent off food and drinks, dinner only
  • Coco Chocolate Lounge, 20 percent off food and drinks, all day
  • Cool Cafe (Stone Oak), 20 percent off food and drinks, all day
  • Counter Culture Cafe, 20 percent off food and drinks, all day
  • The Esquire Tavern, 20 percent off food and drinks, all day
  • Green Vegetarian Cuisine, 20 percent off food and drinks,dinner only
  • Liberty Bar, 20 percent off food and drinks, all day
  • The Monterey, 25 percent off food and drinks, all day
  • Paloma Blanca, 20 percent off food and drinks, lunch only
  • Piatti, 20 percent off food and drinks, all day
  • Twin Sisters (Alamo Heights), 20 percent off food and drinks, all day
  • Twin Sisters (Downtown), 20 percent off food and drinks, all day

For more information on the event, click here.

Benihana Restaurant closed, Sumo Japanese to Open

The restaurant at 8342 I-10 W. has closed and will reopen under the new name this week.

SavorSA co-editor John Griffin contributed to this post.







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Texas-style Grill, The Boiler House, to Open at Pearl in Spring

Texas-style Grill, The Boiler House, to Open at Pearl in Spring

A new restaurant, The Boiler House and Wine Garden, will open next year at the Pearl.

Connected to the landmark Pearl Brewery smokestack, The Boiler House will feature approximately 6,000 square feet of restaurant space along with an expansive outdoor patio.

Most of the original architectural elements will remain intact, and the original boilers will be incorporated into the design and construction of the bar and kitchen areas.  A mezzanine will feature private dining tables overlooking the bar and seating areas below.  The patio will have communal tables, a fire pit, and an area for live music performances.

The cuisine at The Boiler House will be based on Texas ranch-style grilling – with wild game, seafood, and fresh local ingredients.  There also will be a late-night menu featuring smaller plates. Items will range from grilled octopus, lamb meatballs, and pork spare ribs to a dry-aged New York Strip or 32-ounce Tomahawk Rib-eye.  These dishes will be paired with a wide variety of wines from around the world – all available by the glass.

The wines will also be available for take-home purchase through The Black Door, a “wine community” concept first introduced into San Antonio by The Boiler House’s sister restaurant, MAX’s Wine Dive in the Quarry Village.

Jerry Lasco is founder and CEO of Lasco Enterprises, which owns and operates MAX’s Wine Dive, The Black Door, and The Boiler House.

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What’s Hot: Cream, Aerosol Whipped Cream Gets a Kick

What’s Hot: Cream, Aerosol Whipped Cream Gets a Kick

Cream is a new product that feels like it should have been around for quite some time now: Alcohol and aerosol whipped cream combined.

That’s right, you’ve got the perfect topper for an Irish coffee in can. Or any mixed drink of your choice. Or on ice cream. Or orange poke cake. Or wherever your mind takes you.

It comes in six flavors: chocolate, cherry, raspberry, orange, caramel and vanilla.

I tried the chocolate version on the recommendation of a clerk at WB Liquors & Wine, 9801 I-10 W. I enjoyed the chocolate flavor and the ease of use. Then I took it to a party and watched people really enjoy it with everything from fruit to coffee. One woman even gave herself a shot in the mouth she liked it so much.

And who can resist a product with the tagline, “Get whipped”?

The can costs $12.99.

Whatever you do, don’t refrigerate the can, the checkout clerk told me. And that warning is written all over the can, too.

Here are a few ideas from the Cream website to help you get started. All are great without the Chocolate Cream, but each is made better with it.

Chocolate Monk

1/3 part Frangelico hazelnut liqueur
1/3 part Kahlua or other coffee liqueur
1/3 part Bailey’s Irish Cream
Chocolate Cream

Shake the liqueurs with ice. Pour into a chilled martini glass. Top with Chocolate Cream.

From Cream

Chocolate Milk

1/2 shot milk
1/2 shot Droste or other chocolate liqueur
1 dash amaretto almond liqueur
Chocolate Cream

Put the milk in the bottom of a shot glass, pour the liqueur on top and add the dash of amaretto. Do not mix. Top With Chocolate Cream.

From Cream

Peppermint Perth

Hot chocolate
1 ounce Rumple Minze
1/2 ounce white chocolate liqueur
Chocolate Cream
Shaved chocolate
Cocoa powder

Fill a mug with hot chocolate and the liquors. Top with Chocolate Cream and shaved chocolate, then sprinkle with cocoa powder.

From Cream

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Bake, Broil & Brew New Resource for Culinary Entrepreneurs

Bake, Broil & Brew New Resource for Culinary Entrepreneurs

David and Michelle Solis, center, and friends, toast opening of Bake, Broil & Brew.

Small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs in the culinary and beverage industry soon will have a valuable new resource in San Antonio.

Within the next month, this culinary incubator kitchen will be offering commercial kitchen spaces for rent by the hour, day, week or month.  The grand opening was Aug. 24.

The 2,604 square foot facility, the first of its kind in San Antonio, is located at 1508 Guadalupe St. It houses three kitchens, one of which will be functional within the upcoming month, offering classroom space, a walk-in freezer and cooler, and dry storage areas.

Bake, Broil & Brew also will utilize an ADT Pulse security system, food distribution services provided by LaBatt Food Service, and partnerships with non-profit organizations such as ACCION Texas-Louisiana to provide small business seminars and classes. There will be additional resources for finance options, certification, and licensing information.

“We understand the difficulties of starting a small business, having gone through the process ourselves,” said Michelle Solis, CEO of Bake, Broil & Brew, who started her own bake-to-order cupcake business, Sweet Fuzion, in 2009. She quickly learned that the obstacles and limitations of beginning a small business could be overwhelming.

“My husband and co-owner of Bake, Broil & Brew, David Solis, and I knew we couldn’t be the only ones and so we took the opportunity to fill this need in our city,” said Solis.

LaBatt Food Service, a privately owned company that distributes food and related products to food-away-from-home establishments, will also be a help to those new to a culinary business. LaBatt will assist Bake, Broil & Brew clients with increased buying power from LaBatt, in addition to having their products delivered directly to the facility.

The facility’s ADT Pulse security system alarm system will enable home or business owners to have remote security control over arming or disarming their security systems, climate, lights, and video monitoring.

“With this added technology, not only can we protect our facility and equipment, but we can also ensure the protection of our client’s assets as well, such as receiving a text when a freezer door has been left open too long,” said David Solis.  “Management of time slot punctuality using video snapshots is another great way to keep our facility running at its most efficient level, which is integral in small business management.”

In preparation of opening its doors, Bake, Broil & Brew has been offering small business classes to potential clients in coordination with various guest speakers to ensure that the potential clients have the proper items in place, (ie insurance, licensing, business plan, and business structure, etc.) prior to kitchen utilization.

Those interested in knowing more about what Bake, Broil & Brew has to offer can visit their website.


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Give Them Buttermilk and Sour Cherry Pancakes

Give Them Buttermilk and Sour Cherry Pancakes

Who doesn’t like pancakes? And who doesn’t like a new way of making them? Nicola Graimes offers a variation in “New Vegetarian Kitchen” (Duncan Baird, $24.95) that combines the tang of buttermilk with sweet and sour dried cherries. These would make a great eye-opener or even a party dessert.

Buttermilk and Sour Cherry Pancakes

Scant 1 1/2 cups flour
A large pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons milk
1 cup dried sour cherries
Sunflower oil, for frying
Blueberries and other berries, to serve
Greek yogurt, to serve
Maple syrup, for drizzling

Sift the flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Stir until combined, then make a well in the middle. Add the eggs, buttermilk and milk to the well and gradually work in the dry ingredients, beating to make a smooth, thick batter. Let rest 20 minutes, then stir in the dried cherries.

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees. Heat a little oil over medium heat in a large, nonstick skillet, and wipe away any excess with a acrumpled piece of paper towel. Drop 3 spoonfuls of the batter into the pan, spacing them apart. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook 2 to 3 minutes until bubbles appear  on the surface, then flip over and cook 2 minutes longer. Transfer to an ovenproof plate and keep warm in the oen while you cook the remaining pancakes.

Serve 3 pancakes per person. Top with berries and a generous spoonful of yogurt, then drizzle with maple syrup and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

From “New Vegetarian Kitchen” by Nicola Graimes

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Alonti Catering Opens Its Doors in SA

Alonti Catering Opens Its Doors in SA

Alonti Catering will open its doors on September 6.  The space located at 8025 Callaghan Road includes a full kitchen that prepares fresh meals daily. Alonti Catering originally opened its doors in Houston in 1974 after New Yorkers Cecile and Al Pepi Sr. relocated their gourmet grocery business.

Alonti offers a variety of sandwich platters and fruit trays, with a selection of hot entrees, breakfast platters, desserts and more. Individually prepared and packaged boxed lunches are among the most popular items in addition to hot plate meals like the pecan crusted chicken served with creamy pecan sauce and green beans with roasted red peppers, herb roasted red potatoes and garlic bread.

Alonti catering menu highlights:

  • Premium Sandwiches: An upscale sandwich assortment prepared with our homemade spreads. • Ham and Swiss on Black Russian • Santa Barbara Turkey on Ciabatta • Vegetarian on Focaccia • California Club on Ciabatta • Monterey Chicken with Avocado on Jalapeño Cornbread • Big Al’s Club on Wheat
  • Tomato Basil Pasta Salad Bowl: Cavatappi pasta tossed with zesty red wine vinaigrette, tomatoes and fresh basil
  • Beef Brisket with Crushed Red Potatoes and Corn Sauté: Slow-cooked beef brisket with barbecue sauce served with fresh-from-the-cob sweet and smoky corn sauté and crushed red potatoes
  • Premium Sweets Selection: Fresh-baked cookies, brownies, lemon bars and raspberry oatmeal bars, coffee cake and fresh fruit

“All of us at Alonti Catering are thrilled to bring our menu and services to San Antonio,” comments Owner Al Pepi. “This city is one of the most unique and culturally rich in the country and we’re proud to be part of it.  Our new customers have given us a very warm welcome and we’re flattered by their positive reviews.”

8025 Callaghan Rd, Ste 102
San Antonio, TX 78230
Phone: 210-365-3419


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