Archive | January, 2013

Chef David Gilbert to Leave Sustenio

Chef David Gilbert to Leave Sustenio

Chef David Gilbert has written a food memoir, "Kitchen Vagabond."

Chef David Gilbert has written a food memoir, “Kitchen Vagabond.”

David Gilbert, who opened the Stephan Pyles’ restaurant, Sustenio last year, will be leaving his position as executive chef. Gilbert plans to stay in San Antonio, he said in a message to SavorSA Thursday. Sustenio Restaurant is at the Eilan Hotel Resort & Spa, 17103 La Cantera Parkway.

“I have spent an incredible 15 months working closely with my friend and mentor chef Stephan Pyles. I have decided, however, to officially announce my departure from Sustenio Restaurant so I can pursue other professional ventures. Stay tuned for more details in the near future. San Antonio has given me a warm welcome and support — I look forward to continuing to call this home!”
Gilbert joined the San Antonio culinary scene with enthusiasm, offering presentations at the city’s farmers markets, joining with other chefs in the San Antonio Chefs Coalition and, in the past year, publishing a book. Gilbert’s book,  “Kitchen Vagabond: A Journey Cooking and Eating Beyond the Kitchen” (Infinity, $27.95 hardback, $17.95 paperback)talks about his culinary adventures and includes a few recipes he’s picked up over the years that feed both body and soul.
San Antonio can expect to see, hear, and, of course taste, more from Gilbert as he pursues his next venture.

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Need Tips for Super Bowl Spread? We Can Help

Need Tips for Super Bowl Spread? We Can Help

Whether you watch the Super Bowl or not,  on Sunday you will eat: This game day is one of the country’s biggest group snack attacks.

We wouldn’t even hazard a guess as to how many gallons of chili and guacamole will be scooped up around San Antonio, or how many thousands of pizzas, tamales and chicken wings will disappear, washed down by tankards of beer on Super Bowl Sunday.

But why guess? Make your own contribution to the countrywide feast. Below, we’ll offer a few different suggestions that might help you along.  Some are simple, some take a little effort. All of them, we promise, taste good.

Freeetail Beer and Cheese 21. Artisan ham slices, figs, melon and olives:  Sliced prosciutto and melon is classic Italian, but with other specialty hams in stores now we’d also pile shavings of Spain’s Jamon Serrano and Jamon Iberico onto the platter, and some good quality, thinly sliced smoked ham.

Add a dish of mixed olives, dried Kalymara figs cut in half and slices of fresh melon (We like Crenshaw and cantaloupe.) Provide a crock of unsalted butter, and slices of crusty bread, too.

Cheese, fruit, crudites – all are welcome at any party.

2. Green Goddess Dressing/Spread: Here’s a salad dressing that really deserves a comeback, especially if you are an anchovy lover. We tossed the dressing with a big bowlful of crunchy romaine lettuce and croutons for dinner recently. The next day we served it as a dip, with pita chips; that worked too. The Green Goddess would also be great served in a bowl (make plenty) with a tray of crudites, too, for those who’d rather crunch veggies than carbs. Green Goddess Dressing.

beer icy3. Queso Fundido: Here, from chef and author Rick Bayless, is one very tempting recipe for melted cheese, chiles — and a bit of tequila as well. Rick Bayless’ Queso Fundido

4. Rare Beef Tenderloin: OK, a tenderloin of beef costs something, but your guests are worth it, right? Sear a trimmed and seasoned beef tenderloin, then cook it only to the very rare stage. Cool it. When ready to serve, get out the sharp knife and slice very thin. Spread the pieces out on a plate and garnish with anything from spicy sprouts and radishes to green onions and pickles. Add a garnish dressing or condiment, such as creamed horseradish, butter, an Asian flavored sauce to or a mix of mayonnaise and Dijon mustard. We like tiny squares of cocktail pumpernickel bread with this.

5. Texas-style Chili: Here’s a tried and true method that can be adapted to tastes — spicy or less spicy, with beans or without. Serve with grated cheese and chopped onions. It’s made to warm all that football spirit. Texas-style Chili

A few more great-tasting snacks from SavorSA’s files:

guacamoleSpicy nuts, three recipes, all good.

Quick and easy:  a whole list of suggestions

Guacamole, of course. We like this recipe: Here is a link to a “tastes-like” recipe for Chile’s Roasted Corn Guacamole

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Red Chili, Texas Style

Red Chili, Texas Style

We’ll try to avoid arguments by saying this recipe is probably not the definitive chili recipe — but then, what is? That battle is still being hard-fought at chili fests and contests throughout the world.

But, this chili is straightforward — scented with a little oregano and chipotle chili, if you wish. We can personally vouch for its satisfying, come-back-for-more flavor. Beans? You know, that’s your choice.

bowl of chiliRed Chili, Texas Style

Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 pounds ground beef (we use 92 percent lean, regular grind)
1 medium onion, peeled, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano (whole leaf)
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce (don’t get the kind flavored with basil)
1 14-ounce can whole tomatoes, squished by hand or whirled in food processor, with liquid
1 dried chipotle chile (leave this out if worried about heat factor)
Chili Seasoning of your choice (we like Williams Original Chili Seasoning). Use one packet for mild, two for extra flavor.
1 15-ounce can pinto beans (if desired)
Salt, to taste
Grated yellow cheese (longhorn or mild cheddar)
More chopped, raw onion
Sour cream

Put the vegetable oil into a heavy bottomed pot and warm it up. Add ground beef and break it up with a large spoon and cook until it starts to brown. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook together until the meat is thoroughly cooked. Add the tomato sauce and 1 can of water, the can of whole tomatoes, processed by hand or food processor, the chipotle chili, oregano and chili seasoning blend. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Let it simmer at least 30 minutes, or up to an hour or more. When the meat is tender, drain the liquid from the beans and add, if you want beans. Let it heat another 15 minutes or so. Before serving, take out the chipotle chile and discard, or chop it up and add back to the chili.

To serve, ladle into bowls and top with cheese and onion, as desired.

Makes 8-10 servings

Adapted from Williams Chili con Carne recipe

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Rick Bayless’ Queso Fundido

Rick Bayless’ Queso Fundido

Queso FundidoRick Bayless’ Queso Fundido
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 medium tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1-2 fresh jalapeños, seeded and minced (or to taste)
1 small onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons tequila
1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Heat olive oil in large skillet. Add diced tomatoes, minced jalapeños, diced onion, and a large pinch of salt. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Pour in tequila and cook, stirring frequently, until skillet looks nearly dry, about 2 minutes.Reduce heat to low. Add cheese and cook, stirring constantly, until fully melted, about 30 seconds.Quickly transfer queso to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve immediately with tortilla chips.
Serves 6.
From Rick Bayless


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Chicken and Kale Salad: A Treat with Benefits

Chicken and Kale Salad: A Treat with Benefits

Chicken and Kale Salad 1Chicken salad is the perfect dish to dress up —  with apples and walnuts, cashews and water chestnuts, celery and chives, spinach and almonds — we’ve seen them all and loved them well.

Here’s just another variation, using the currently popular, nutritional powerhouse, kale. When your doctor says “eat more leafy green vegetables,” she’s not talking about iceberg lettuce – she’s talking about kale.

In this salad, you can chop in just about as much leafy, green kale as you want. But, I kept it to just enough to add some nutrition without it turning the salad green. The kale tastes just fine, mild and a little bit like cabbage. Add some sliced green onion, diced celery, a couple of dashes of Tabasco, salt and dressing and you’ll be happy to have it for lunch – maybe even two days in a row.

Chicken and Kale Salad

Two cups cold, cooked chicken (cut in rough dice)1 6-inch rib celery
1 tablespoon minced chive or onion
2-3 medium sized leaves of kale, washed and patted dry
1 tablespoon minced pickle (your favorite)
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoon sour cream
1 tablespoons mayonnaise
3-4 shakes of Tabasco sauce
Salt, to taste
White pepper, to taste

Put the chicken, celery, chive or onion, kale leaves and pickle into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until you get just the consistency you want — be careful not to get it too fine.

In a small bowl, stir together the mustard, mayonnaise and Tabasco sauce.

Take the chopped chicken mix from the food processor and put in a bowl. Add the mayonnaise mixture, season to taste with the salt and pepper, and blend gently but thoroughly.

Serve as a salad or sandwich, put it in a wrap, or eat with crackers.

Makes 2-3 servings.

Bonnie Walker

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NAO Expands Its Hours and Its Culinary Offerings

NAO Expands Its Hours and Its Culinary Offerings

nao signNAO, the Culinary Institute of America’s restaurant at the Pearl Brewery, has expanded its hours.

Lunch is now being offered from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The menu is less formal than the dinner menu, chef Geronomio Lopez promises. One offering is the piled high Domenican burger, which marries Texas’ love of burgers with the New World flavors the restaurant is known for. These lunches are in addition to the Thursday five-course lunches that include cooking demonstrations.

And the restaurant at 312 Pearl Parkway is now open after hours on Saturday, from 10 p.m. to 1 or 1:30 a.m. The late hours are largely a SIN, or service industry night, says Lopez, referring to a time that waitstaff at other restaurants can enjoy going out themselves after their shifts have ended.

Lopez and his sous chef Zach Garza have planned a rotating menu of dishes such as Fire-Roasted Brussels, Chili and Waffles, Turkey King Ranch Casserole and that Burger, while the bartenders are coming up with some late-night specials. The intriguing Chili and Waffles dish features a chili that takes 24 hours to make. Lopez describes it as completely unique, with a touch of Mexican mole as well as Texas chili mixed in. It’s served over a sweet corn waffle and topped with a fried egg before serving.

“It’s street foods American style,” he says. Or think of it as “a food truck that doesn’t move.”

Reservations are not accepted for either the new lunches or for the late-night hours.

For more information, click here or call (210) 554-6484.

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Get Decadent: Learn to Make Your Own Rich Chocolate Truffles

Get Decadent: Learn to Make Your Own Rich Chocolate Truffles

chocolate cocoaHave you ever wanted to make chocolate truffles as rich and decadent as those you find in a chocolate shop? You can.

Keith Cedotal, the pastry chef at Sustenio, will be teaching people how to make perfect chocolate truffles and chocolate mousse during two cooking classes this Saturday at GauchoGourmet, 935 Isom Road. One is set for 10 a.m., the other at noon.

The cost is $10 a person and includes the class as well as tastes of Cedotal’s creations.

Seating is limited. For reservations, call (210) 277-7930.

The warehouse will be open during the demonstrations for those who want to shop. After the classes and until Valentine’s Day, GauchoGourmet will be selling its chocolate for 20 percent off.


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Easiest and Best? High-Heat Roast Chicken Gets Our Vote

Easiest and Best? High-Heat Roast Chicken Gets Our Vote

This information has been in the wind for the past few years: The best way to roast a chicken is to cook it at high heat, 10 minutes per pound, let it sit for 10 minutes after the roasting. Carve and serve.

The high heat method of roasting chicken gives you golden skin, moist and tender meat.

The high-heat method of roasting chicken gives you golden skin, moist and tender meat.

Could something this easy be the “best” way to roast the bird?

If I’d listened, roasted and learned instead of continuing to baste, roll the bird over on its breast, brine, truss, stuff — and anything else one can do to roast a bird, I’d have saved myself some time. As it is, we tried the high-heat method this week and it was a success.

That golden, crackling skin, blistered here and there, the tender, cooked-just-right breast meat … even the pan juices seemed to be superior in this method, as they sizzled and reduced to a thick, sticky mass in the bottom of the pan, begging to be used for gravy.

I used what was described as an “all natural” chicken, with no antibiotics or hormones added. I seasoned simply with black truffle salt and pepper. I didn’t do a full truss on the chicken, but I did tie together the feet. I don’t think I’ll do that next time.  As you can see in the photo, the wing tips got burnt — no big deal to us.

I’ve seen this method, along with similar recipes calling for a few more ingredients, such as garlic cloves stuffed under skin, or lemons and onions pushed into the cavity — so look around the Internet if you want something a little fancier.

Barbara Kafka is often credited with teaching us this method. Chowhound has a recipe and accompanying article that is a little more complex.

However, this is the easiest way I’ve found to go about making this Sunday dinner classic — and the results were gratifying.

Link to Barbara Kafka’s recipe

High-Heat Roast Chicken

A little vegetable oil
1 4-5 pound roasting chicken
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
A few peeled garlic cloves to tuck here and there, optional

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Rub a little oil at the bottom of the roasting pan. (I sometimes use a roasting rack, but not with this recipe). Let the chicken sit out to bring to room temperature. Put the chicken in the pan. There’s no need to truss. (I tied the feet together, but won’t even do that next time – I think the leg and thigh skin would get more gold and crackly if just exposed to the heat.)

If using some garlic, you can put a clove or two in the cavity, or tuck some under between the leg and the body of the chicken.

Put the chicken in the 500-degree oven for 10 minutes per pound. (Barbara Kafka’s recipe specifies putting the chicken into the oven feet first.) If you don’t want burnt wing tips, wrap them in a little aluminum foil.

When the time comes to take it out, set the chicken in a warm place on the stove and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. Carve and serve.

Makes 5-6 servings.


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Brisket, Sausage, and Chicken, Oh My: Meat Week Continues Through Sunday

Brisket, Sausage, and Chicken, Oh My: Meat Week Continues Through Sunday

What barbecue do you want to try during Meat Week?

What barbecue do you want to try during Meat Week?

“It was a hot winter’s day in Tallahassee, Florida. Two bored co-workers, Chris Cantey and Erni Walker, sat in an office pretending to edit video footage of an insurance seminar. To take a break from the monotony of escrow lectures, they decided to play with the random word generator on Chris’s website. It summoned the holy combination of Meat-Week. They decided it would be a holiday during which BBQ was eaten every night of the week. It was scheduled for two Sundays later (the day after Sorcerer Day), which happened to be the last Sunday in January.”

That was back in 2005, according to the Meat Week website. The event has since grown beyond Florida to encompass a growing number of cities across this country. This year marks the first time that San Antonio has a part of the event, and that’s all due to the sponsorship and efforts of Noel Cisneros and Denise Aguirre, owners of the Point Park & Eats, 24188 Boerne Stage Road.

The tastings around town began Sunday at Two Bros. BBQ Market and continued Monday at Bobby G’s Old School BBQ and Catering.

Here’s the lineup for the rest of the week:

7 p.m. Tuesday: Outlaw BBQ and The Institute of Chili at Alamo Street Eats Food Park & Bar. (It’s part of Downtown Tuesday, so parking is free in city garages.)

6:30 p.m. Wednesday: Augie’s Barbed Wire Smokehouse, 3709 N. St. Mary’s, near the San Antonio Zoo.

6:30 p.m. Thursday: The Granary Cue & Brew, Avenue A at the Pearl Brewery. An RSVP is required for this event and seating is limited. Send your RSVP to

Noon Friday: Lunch at Congers Smoke Shack. Congers Smoke Shack is a food truck at the corner of Loop 410 and Nacogdoches. The location is non alcoholic. You may want to bring your own chairs as limited seating is available. Your Meat Week Captains will have their pickup on site and tailgate down!

7 p.m. Friday: Dinner at Mortons BBQ trailer. Mortons is located off U.S. 281 at the corner of Thousand Oaks and Henderson Pass.

2 p.m. Saturday: Bolner’s Meat Company, 2900 S. Flores St.

Noon Sunday: The Point Park & Eats. The last day of Meat Week will be at The Point food truck park and bar at 24188 Boerne Stage Road. The Super Bowl will be on the giant outdoor screen, and the bar has more than 85 beers to choose from. Saint Arnold Brewing Co. will have beer samples from 1-4 p.m. The park is kid- and pet-friendly.


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San Antonio Wine Festival: Prepare to Celebrate the Vine

San Antonio Wine Festival: Prepare to Celebrate the Vine

At the KLRN wine competition.

At the KLRN wine competition.

The KLRN wine competition was held this past weekend, meaning that the San Antonio Wine Festival, benefiting our local public television station, is just a few weeks away.

The festival is Feb. 15-17, and as always, wraps up the weekend with the venerable (33 years!) and popular Fine Wine & Cuisine Tasting, Sunday, Feb. 17, from 6-6:30 p.m. at the Alamodome. This event, which hosts around 3,000 enthusiastic wine and food aficionados, will be pouring both imported and domestic wines, while San Antonio restaurants and caterers will pass out plates, offering tastes of some of their best culinary creations.

KLRN Wine-Festival-LogpWhile the Fine Wine & Cuisine Tasting is at the heart of the festival, the party starts two days before that event with the 19th annual Winter Wine Opener at the St. Anthony Hotel. This black-tie event, Feb. 15, from 7:30-10 p.m. and features the gold-medal winners of the San Antonio Wine Competition plus a generous buffet of fine cuisine to complement these winning wines. Dance, if you love Latin jazz, to music from Henry Brun and the Latin Playerz.

On Sunday, Feb. 17, 11 a.m.- 1:30 p.m.,the Champagne Brunch, another sparkling event,  allows patrons to taste medal winners from the San Antonio Wine Competition, alongside a multicourse brunch prepared by chef Michael Mata of the St. Anthony Riverwalk Wyndham Hotel.

For complete information, including prices, where to buy tickets, how to be a sponsor and more, check online at the festival’s website.

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