Tag Archive | "Culinary Institute of America San Antonio"

Pan-Roasted Snapper with Pickled Slaw, Corn Maque Choux Purée

Paul Terrebonne's winning Pan-Roasted Snapper dish.

This is the winning recipe, by Paul Terrebonne, presented at the “Almost Famous Chef” Competition, sponsored by Acqua Panna and S. Pellegrino on Jan. 23 at the Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio.

Terrebonne is a student from the  Chef John Folse Culinary Institute of Nicholls State University in Thibodeaux, La., won the competition. His winning recipe as well as presentation style gave him the right to advance to Napa, Calif., where he could win up to $22,000 and an apprenticeship with a master chef.

His dish was Pan-Roasted Snapper with a Pickled Slaw, Corn Maque Choux Purée and Abita Beer Rice. Judges felt the dish was balanced in its flavor profile, all parts worked toward a cohesive whole, and it was straightforward in presentation. And, it tasted delicious — a very important factor as well!

Pan-Roasted Snapper with a Pickled Slaw, Corn Maque Choux Purée and Abita Beer Rice.

Pickled Vegetables

2 cups distilled white vinegar
2 ½ cups water
2/3 cup white sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons cloves
2 tablespoons pickling spice
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 teaspoons caraway seed
1 mirliton
1/3 red onion
2 carrots
2 English cucumbers (skin only)
1 red bell pepper

Add the vinegar, water, sugar, and all the spices together in a medium pot and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain out all the spices and then cool down the pickling liquid. Cut all the vegetables into julienne slices and then place into the cooling liquid for 2 hours. (Makes 10 servings)

Corn Maque Choux Purée (Creamed Corn Sauce)

2 tablespoons butter
1 orange bell pepper (fine dice)
3 ½ cups corn (5 ears corn, kernels cut off the cobb)
½ yellow onion (fine dice)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream

Add butter, orange bell pepper, corn, onion, salt, sugar, and cayenne pepper to a medium pot and gently sauté on medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the milk and cream to the pot and simmer for an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Purée the mixture while it is still hot (use blender or immersion blender) and then strain through a fine mesh strainer or china hat. (Makes 12 servings)

Abita Beer Rice

½ yellow onion (fine chopped)
2 tablespoons butter
2 bay leaves
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups Abita Amber beer
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 cups jasmine rice
2 lemons (juiced)
½ cup thinly sliced chives

Saute the onions, salt, and bay leaves in the butter for 5 minutes. Add the beer, stock, lemon juice, and rice. Bring it to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Then cover and cook for 17 minutes. Fold in the chives. Discard the bay leaves. (Makes 8 servings)

Pan-Roasted Snapper (or other firm-fleshed white fish)

8 fillets of red snapper (or any white flaky fish, skin off)
2 cups flour
Vegetable oil, for frying
Kosher salt
Cajun seasoning

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Heat a large skillet on high heat until it just begins to smoke. Add oil until it covers the bottom of the skillet. Season both sides of the fish with salt and Cajun seasoning. Lightly flour the side of fish where skin was, if it is skinned (or flour the skin side if skin-on). Place the fish into an extremely hot pan, floured side down. Allow it to sear for 30 seconds and then place it into the oven for 5-6 minutes.

For serving: Put a one-serving mound of cooked Abita Amber rice in the center of the plate. Put the fish, skin-side up on top of the rice. Top the fish with a little more of the corn sauce, then put the pickled slaw on top. Spoon a little more of the corn sauce around the plate.

Makes 8 servings.

From Paul Terrebonne, winner of the regional “Almost Famous Chef Competition”, sponsored by Acqua Panna and S. Pellegrino

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Chefs and Cellars Pair Up the Best Food and Wine in Town

Johnny Hernandez's deconstructed chile en nogada featured aspic versions of the pomegranate seeds, the walnut sauce and the poblano, the three colors of the Mexican flag.

Chef Jason Dady talks with his diners at Chefs and Cellars.

Pigeon stuffed with foie gras and bacon. New York strip and shrimp with a roasted pepper stuffed with fresh vegetables. Chocolate mousse with brandied cherries and red velvet crumbles. 1981 Chateau Margaux.

These were some of the many treats that diners were exposed to during Culinaria’s annual Chefs and Cellars dinners at the Culinary Institute of America’s San Antonio kitchens.

Five of the city’s best chefs — John Brand from Las Canarias and Ostra, Jason Dady from the Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills and others, Johnny Hernandez from La Gloria and True Flavors catering, Jesse Perez from Alamo Cafe, and Andrew Weissman from Il Sogno and the Sandbar — teamed up with wine collectors from the area to present a feast of flavors.

Jesse Perez prepares a course for his diners.

Guests were seated with an individual chef, who presented the multi-course meal as if it were a chef’s table at a private restaurant. Bonnie Walker and I were lucky enough to be seated with Johnny Hernandez, who created a spectacular array of dishes to match wines chosen by local wine authority and educator Woody De Luna.

The end result offered course after course of spectacular Mexican food, from a salmon salpicon to a fig-topped Cajeta Pound Cake soaked in cream, each of which was paired with German Rieslings; perhaps California’s most sought-after Chardonnay, Stony Hill; a Sauvigny-les-Beaunes Burgundy that found a grateful home with both surf and turf; and a pair of lively Champagnes.

The lesson here was simple and clear: Great wines can work with great food, no matter where in the world each is from. Hernandez may have offered street food in the form of black bean-filled corn tortilla topped with fresh guacamole or cochinita pibil, but the dish was elevated to gastronomic heights when partnered with a 2003 Gunderloch Riesling Rothenberg Grosses Gewachs from Germany. I know first-hand from my family that the Germans wouldn’t know what to make of Mexican food, from low to high, but their wines proved a perfect  partner.

Everyone we spoke with during and after the dinner sang the praises of his or her individual chef, who not only prepared the food with his staff but also explained the dishes and the approach each took.

Jason Dady served pigeons stuffed with foie gras and served with miso-corn and candied bacon.

There were some excellent wines from local cellars to match the dishes, including aged Sauternes, fine Bordeaux and Burgundies, and spectacular Chardonnays, both from California and France.

The interior of the stretch limousine from Lonestar Limousines, which helped us drink and (not) drive safely.

Because of the great amount of great wine poured, Bonnie and I engaged the services of Lonestar Limousine, a luxury service that made sure we enjoyed every last drop of wine poured without driving home irresponsibly in the blessed rain.


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Shere’s Blog: Student for a Day at CIA, a Dream Come True

Editor’s note: Shere Henrici, local cooking enthusiast, is passionate about cooking. “It’s the Italian in me — I just love to feed people,” she says. In addition to establishing her San Antonio Supper Club, she is also immersed in the early stages of developing a mobile food truck business. We asked her to be a student for a day at the CIA Thursday and share the experience with us on SavorSA.

By Shere Henrici

Shere Henrici loves to cook, and here begins her student-for-a-day training in the CIA kitchen slicing brioche for a baked custard.

Today was a dream come true experience.  I got to cook in the kitchens of the Culinary Institute of America’s San Antonio campus at the Pearl Complex!

It was Student for a Day, which the school sponsored to promote its new associate degree program starting in August. We joined current students in the school’s 30-week certificate program.

The last time I was in the kitchens there was during a tour I took with my oldest daughter, who at the time thought she might want to attend their Certificate Program. That has since changed.  During that tour I was so excited by the gorgeous professional stoves that, OK, I got weak in the knees: the amazing perfectly stocked pantry, the stainless steel counters. I wanted so much to cook in that kitchen.

At some point I remember starting to giggle and was thrown the “don’t-you-dare-embarrass-me-mother” glare.  So here I was on Thursday, ready to realize my dream.  We were given chef’s coats to wear with CIA logos, huge drag-on-your-shoes aprons and that cute little paper chef’s hat.

We took a tour of their new and much larger facility, were given a lunch of grilled salmon, Israeli couscous and a variety of really nice salads.  So far lunch is my favorite part.

Shere Henrici, left, and others gather to listen to chef Michael Katz begin his lecture in egg cooking.

We were then partnered up with a student who was most likely briefed to not let us chop any of our parts off or light ourselves on fire.  OK, so my apron string perhaps got a little close to the flame on the stove!  I’m not used to a gas stove, so no big deal.

It was a flurry of activity.  The day’s instruction was the basics of proteins.  That means eggs, folks.  I’m thinking “no problem, who doesn’t know how to cook an egg?!”  We were given five “simple” dishes to prepare and then watched as the chef and lecturing instructor, Michael Katz, demonstrated each.  This was important, we needed to follow instructions exactly, no winging it here.

Then we were on our own, working in our teams of course.  The challenge most of the time was not running into the person next to you or the one behind you.  Oh, sort of like a real professional kitchen — imagine that.

We worked for three hours making eggs like crazy.  I had some humbling experiences, like producing the “perfect” over easy egg.  We had to flip it in the pan, no spatula. It must not have any color, too much grease on top and do not even think about having any of the white folded under.  You getting the picture?  Who thought that making breakfast could be so stressful? In all, we learned how to (correctly) boil eggs, make soft and regular scrambled eggs, baked custard and Eggs Benedict (with hollandaise sauce).

It seems I passed, but I’m thinking chef Katz might have cut me some slack.  Just a thought.  It was an awesome day.  Lots of great camaraderie, and as much as I hate to admit it, I learned a lot.

Students had to have their ingredients assembled and ready to go. On the schedule for the day was learning to cook five different egg dishes.

After our cooking demonstrations we had dinner together, as at lunch, family style.  Very nice and casual.  This time we had rice, a perfectly roasted pork loin with a demi-glace sauce, a fresh tossed salad with Italian vinaigrette and shaved Parmesan. For dessert we had the custards we had made for our presentations to the chef Katz.

I had a fantastic day, made new friends and got to cook in a CIA kitchen.  I can cross that one off my list.  I will be looking for other opportunities to come and do this again.

Photographs by Bonnie Walker


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Take Culinary ‘Tour’ of South America at CIA Boot Camp

Embark on a five-day culinary excursion from the western coast of Peru, Ecuador, and Chile, across the Andes and Amazon, and ending in Argentina and Brazil in a food enthusiast class at the Culinary Institute of American June 13-17.

Learn to make Brazilian dishes at CIA South America culinary classes here next week. (Here, Brazilian chef Rodrigo Oliveira presents a dish based on pork belly at CIA Latin Flavors conference last fall.)

You can learn about preparing ceviches and employing regional cooking methods as you explore the flavor profiles and seasonings associated with the cuisines of Peru, Chile, Brazil, and Argentina.

  • Develop an appreciation for the ingredients common to several South American countries.
  • Become competent in the pit roasting and grilling traditions used throughout Peru, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil.
  • Familiarize yourself with the cuisines from Brazil’s five principal culinary and geographic regions.
  • Prepare and sample a variety of authentic South American dishes.

The CIA will provide you with two chef’s uniforms (jacket, pants, neckerchief), chef’s toques, side towels, and aprons.  Those with culinary talents at any level will find plenty of valuable information at this workshop.

The class will be from 7 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. each day. The cost is $1,750. To make reservations (and only a limited number may enroll) call 800-888-7850 or Click HERE to register online.





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Two Top Chefs Returning to San Antonio and More Dining News

A Bliss-ful return

Mark Bliss is headed back to San Antonio.

The chef who started Silo on Austin Highway confirmed a rumor that he is looking for a place, but in his usual terse style, he offered little other information except to say it should happen in about nine months.

Imagine the appetite we’ll have worked up by then.

Jesse Perez

Perez is back, too

Jesse Perez is back in town, working as a consultant for Alamo Cafe. We can only hope that he’ll also find his own place at sometime in the future.

Perez was once at Francesca’s at Sunset before leaving for Atlanta and Los Angeles. He was also named Best Latino Chef in the U.S. at the Flavors of Passion Awards. He recently served up his own barbecue at Culinaria’s Burgers, BBQ and Beer.

Celebrate Alamo anniversary in savory style

Chef Iliana de la Vega from the Culinary Institute of America’s San Antonio campus is offering a unique way to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Battle of the Alamo.

She suggests making Asado de Bodas, a dish typically served at weddings and other special occasions in this region during the early 1800s.

“In English the dish is known as ‘Wedding Stew,'” says de la Vega. “Traditionally it is served with Mexican rice. Today it is also popular served with pasta.”

To watch a video of her preparing the dish, click here.

There's more to Texas de Brazil than meat, as this colorful array of peppers attests.

Rising meat prices and a great deal for customers

“Lamb prices? We’ve seen over a 100 percent price increase since the beginning of the year,” says Evandro Caraegnato, culinary director for Texas de Brazil, which has a San Antonio restaurant at 313 E. Houston St. Beef prices have also skyrocketed.

Yet, the all-you-can-eat Brazilian steakhouse is offering customers a deal. Through the end of June, diners will get the meats, salads, side dishes and desserts for $39.99. For reservations, call 210-299-1600.

A second Magnolia

A second Magnolia Pancake Haus will open later this year, if all goes according to schedule, owner Robert Fleming says.

It will be located on Huebner Road, west of Interstate 10.

Magnolia will also be featured on an upcoming episode of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” though the air date has not been set yet.

When host Guy Fieri was in town, he filmed the restaurant’s signature Apfelpfannekuchen, or apple pancake, as well as its house-made corned beef hash and bacon waffles.

The original is located at 606 Embassy Oak. Click here for more information.

Freetail Brewing Co. is opening a second location in Houston.

Freetail is growing

Freetail Brewing Co. has announced it’s opening a second location. This one will be in downtown Houston.

According to a release, “On Nov. 2, 2010, Freetail founder and CEO Scott Metzger announced the company’s search for a second location. After extensive research and analysis, bolstered by a robust social media campaign by thirty Houstonians, Metzger ultimately decided on approximately 20,000 square feet in a historic building in downtown Houston. Out of respect to the developer, the exact location cannot be named at this time.”

In the meantime, you can enjoy Freetail’s fine brews at its San Antonio location, 4035 N. Loop 1604 W.

This week marks the first San Antonio Beer Week, and Freetail is one of the participants. For a full schedule of events, click here.

Myron’s showcases Navarro Correas

Myron’s Prime Steakhouse, 136 N. Castell Ave., New Braunfels, will feature the wines of Navarro Correas’s Privada collection at a dinner at 7 p.m. Friday.

The menu will include a salad with shrimp, rhubarb, persimmon, beef and dikon in a chimichurri vinaigrette with  Privda Chardonnay; a roasted pepper duo of crêpes with Privada Malbec & Alegoria Malbec Gran Reserva; a duo of quail with blackberry and serrano gravy with Privada Cabernet Sauvignon;  and chili-spiced steak with the Ultra Red.

The cost is  $69 a person, plus tax and tip. For reservations, call  830-624-1024.

Taste some Slovinian wine

From 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, you can sample selections from Pullus, the oldest winery in Slovenia, at Deco Pizzeria, 1815 Fredericksburg Road.

How old is the winery? It was founded in  1239, more than 200 years before Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Wines in the collection include a Riesling, a Pinot Grigio, a Sauvignon Blanc and a pinot noir among others.

The tasting is free. Visit for more details regarding the wines of Slovenia.

If you have restaurant news, e-mail or

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Caldo de Hongos (Clear Mushroom Soup)

Mushrooms of many varieties are part of the cuisine in many areas of Mexico. This soup, presented at the Latin Flavors, American Kitchens Symposium at The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio is a classic, said presenter Iliana de la Vega. De la Vega is a Mexican/Latin Cuisines Specialist at the CIA.

A clear broth seasoned with fragrant pasilla chiles is a flavorful base for this classic Mexican mushroom soup.

“It’s a simple, clear soup, almost Japanese or Asian in style,” said de la Vega. One may use any fresh mushroom, or a variety of types of mushrooms. Here are some tips from De la Vega about this delicate but nourishing soup:

  • Don’t cook the soup too long or the ingredients get mushy. De la Vega likes to start the soup slowly and let it “sweat” awhile, to let the mushrooms release some of their moisture.
  • Use yellow onion in the recipe if you like, but in Mexico cooks use white onions.
  • In Mexican cooking, salt is added at the end, which means that one tends to use less. Many of the presenters at this 2010 symposium also used Mexican salt.

Caldo de Hongos

4 dried pasilla chiles
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds assorted mushrooms
1 white onion, cut into small dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups chicken broth
4 sprigs epazote
Salt, to taste

Slice chiles crosswise in 1/8-inch lengths; discard the seeds and reserve.

In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil, saute the onion for 2 minutes, add the chiles (whole) and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté one more minute.

Add mushrooms and mix well, reducing the heat to very low. Cover the pot with a lid and sweat the mushrooms for about 5 minutes until they change color. Add chicken broth and epazote sprigs. Bring to a boil, season with salt to taste, simmer for 5-8 minutes or until the mushrooms are cooked through; discard the epazote. Do not overcook the mushrooms. If soup is being served later, remove from heat when it begins to boil. Serve hot.

Makes 6 portions.

Presented by Iliana de la Vega/Culinary Institute of America

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Nopales a la Cazuela (Cactus Paddles in Clay Pot)

This is a deceptively straightforward recipe utilizing the paddles of prickly pear cactus. In San Antonio, we are familiar with dishes made from nopales, or nopalitos, as they are called here.  Some of the difficulties in preparing this food include finding good, fresh pads in the store; cleaning off the spines (if there are any) without getting stabbed; and finding ways to cook them so that the sliminess that develops naturally is minimized.

At The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio Latin Flavors, American Kitchens Symposium held here this week, chef Francisco Cárdenas presented a traditional Mexican way of cooking the pads, in a clay pot, or cazuela.  As do most cooks in Mexico, he likes to use dried or lightly toasted Mexican oregano rather than fresh. Also, he used the stems as well as the cilantro leaves, because of the flavor and the added crunch they produce.

Nopales a la Cazuela

1 pound raw cactus pads, trimmed of spines
4 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
Sea salt, to taste

Rinse the trimmed nopales, dice and set aside. In a hot cazuela, add the canola oil and saute the onions until translucent. Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes, stirring. Continue stirring and add the nopales, cilantro and oregano. Season with salt.

Stirring periodically, cook over medium heat for approximately 35 minutes or until no liquid remains. Serve immmediately as a warm salad or side dish.

Makes 6-8 servings.

From Francisco Cárdenas, chef/owner of El Petit Four, a pastry shop and cafe in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

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Latin Flavors, American Kitchens Symposium Opens at CIA

In the new facility at the Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio, students are already using the kitchens for their class work.

As the Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio, opened its third annual symposium, Latin Flavors, American Kitchens Wednesday the big news was the nearly completed facility.

Celebrity chefs and authors, food historians, purveyors, producers and restaurateurs toured the three-story building while tantalizing scents of dishes being prepared for the afternoon’s demonstrations wafted through the air, both inside and outside.

The CIA’s grand opening will be a public event this Saturday.

Several chefs prepare desserts to be served at the Culinary Institute's San Antonio campus.

Shortly after the first announcers took the podium in the afternoon, more news emerged as the plans to open a fourth CIA campus — in Singapore — were announced.

Closer to home, CIA officials said that by the spring of next year CIA San Antonio will begin offering a two-year associate’s degree.  That could be in April or May, said David Kellaway, managing director of the CIA, San Antonio.

The pilot program at the institute here has been a 30-week certificate course, or half of the associate’s degree.

Iliana de la Vega, Mexican/Latin cuisines specialist at the San Antonio campus, moderated the afternoon’s presentations.

Jeffrey M. Pilcher, professor of history at the University of Minnesota, author and lecturer is an authority on the globalization of Mexican food. He discussed the influence of French cuisine, Creole and the indigenous foods of the country, as well as historical factors, as well as aspects of class and ethnicity on its evolution.

Rick Bayless presented the first culinary demonstration, talking about mole in general and putting together a relatively simple green version of the sauce.

An award-winning American chef, author and restaurateur, Bayless has explored Mexican food, its history and culinary intricacies for decades.  He owns the acclaimed restaurants Frontera Grill, Topolobampo and XOCO in Chicago.

Ricardo Muñoz Zurita, one of Mexico City’s top chefs and owner of Cafe Azul y Oro, is also an author and authority on Mexican food. One of his books, which will soon be published in English, is “The Encyclopedic Dictionary of Mexican Gastronomy.” He discussed the famous dish that is traditionally served on Mexican Independence Day, Chiles en Nogada. The dish is so special, he says, that one doesn’t make it for just a few people. It takes a long time to make — in fact, just peeling two pounds of walnuts for the sauce, to make a large recipe of this  beautiful dish, takes more than eight hours.

Francisco Javier Cárdenas prepares Enchiladas del Portal.

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico chef/restaurateur Francisco Javier Cárdenas. His Guanajuato-style Enchiladas and Red Pozole were two popular dishes at the tasting that followed the demonstrations.

Benedicta Alejo from Michoacan, Mexico, Lucero Soto and Federico López prepared their dishes in the downstairs demonstration kitchen, televised upstairs to the conference room.

Alejo ground roasted guajillo chile seeds in a molcajete to a smooth paste along with onion, tomatillo, cilantro and sea salt. She also employed the molcajete to make Mole de Queso, fried slices of queso fresco topped with a simple sauce of dry-roasted chiles, garlic and onion.

Soto demonstrated making sopes, little corn tortilla cakes with a center depression. The sopes are filled with beans, but then the fillings can vary. For the red, white and green colors of Mexican Independence Day (Diez y Seis de Septiembre), she used fried jamaica flowers, lightly sugared, fried queso cotija, avocado sauce and red Chile Capon.

Federico Lopez demonstrated Tatemado Short Ribs, Queretaro Style. These succulent ribs were braised with chiles and the Mexican drink pulque, wrapped in maguey leaves and covered with nopalitos (cactus paddles). The hours required to make the dish are well worth it, in the tenderness of the caramelized beef and the dark, chile-laden sauce.

This was just the beginning: More in-depth exploration of authentic Latin flavors are ahead as the symposium continues through Friday.

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Weekend Calendar: ‘Julie & Julia’ at the Pearl

“The problem with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you’re hungry again.”    —  George Miller

Movie Nights at Pearl featuring  ‘Julie & Julia’

Come to a free, outdoor showing of the film “Julie & Julia” at 8:45 this evening at the Pearl Brewery, 200 E. Grayson St.

For food and other activities, come a little early. These begin at 7:30 p.m.  At about 8 p.m., CIA, San Antonio chef-instructor Hinnerk Von Bargen will demonstrate a vichyssoise recipe from Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” and pass around samples of the chilled leek and potato soup.

CIA's 10-foot chef's hat (toque).

Also, look for the 10-foot inflatable CIA toque that’s making the rounds of community events, such as at movie night at Pearl, the Blue Star Arts Complex’s First Fridays, the Avenida Guadalupe Diez Y Seis Celebration and other events. At the toque, CIA staff members are sharing info about the latest programs, events, news on the expanded campus and the chance to win a weekend class with a CIA chef. People can sign up to win or get info on the new campus by texting: 45384 Subject CIASA or by visiting the website.

Ramblin Rosé at Becker Vineyards

We’re seeing the end of summer coming – and what better time to take a drive into the Texas Hill Country and sample a cool selection of good, dry rosé wines?

You can do it all this Saturday at Becker Vineyards in Stonewall for Rambling Rosé.  Attendees of this Culinaria event return year after year for the opportunity to sample wonderful rosé wines, including one from Becker Vineyards.

You’ll accompany the wine panel through a blind tasting. On the panel are Dr. Richard Becker, Becker Vineyards; Steven Krueger, Resort Sommelier for The Westin La Cantera; Dr. Russell Kane, Vintage Texas wine blog; and Bonnie Walker and John Griffin of SavorSA and San Antonio Taste magazine.  They will help guide you through a palate of flavors.

Two sessions:
Noon and 2 p.m., Saturday
$25 per person
Tickets are available now. Call the Culinaria office at 210-822-9555 to reserve your spot today!

Exploring the Americas at the Lodge

The Lodge at Castle Hills, 1746 Lockhill Selma Road, is offering a new, five-part dinner series.

“Exploring Our Roots” features a modern American interpretation of cuisines from our ancestors. Chile is the highlight for this weekend. Upcoming dinner explorations will be inspired by foods from Mexico, Portugal, Ireland and England.

The four-course prix fixe menu is $30 and will be available tonight (Friday) and Saturday. Make your reservations by calling 210-349-8466.


1st Course: Palta Reina: Crab-stuffed Hass Avocado with Spicy Arugula, Fresh Lemon and Chilean Olive Oil
2nd Course:
Pastel De Choclo: Paila Baked Polenta with Ground Filet Mignon, Roasted Chicken, Corn and Chilean Spices.
3rd Course:
Merken Glazed Salmon A La Plancha with Fingerling Potatoes and Chilean Chimichurri
Dessert: Chilean Lemon Tart with Spiced Grapes and Red Wine Reduction

This offer may not be combined with other offers, coupons, vouchers or promotions.

Good Things at Mike’s

Check out Mike’s in the Village weekend specials, including a Chicken Tortilla Soup special, a Pan-seared Black Drum over Cajun Rice with Court Bouillon Sauce and a New Orleans Pasta Jambalaya with Gulf Shrimp, Chicken, Venison Sausage and more over pasta. Wednesday-Friday from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., check out the lunch specials, including Fried Shrimp or Catfish Po’ boy, Ground Tenderloin Burgers and more.

Mike’s in the Village is at 2355-3 Bulverde Road, in Bulverde.

Coming up later this month!

Restaurant Week

Mark your calendars for Aug. 21-28.  Join in the celebration of Restaurant Week in San Antonio.  Guests will be able to sample food from San Antonio restaurants at delicious prices. Three-course prix fixe menus will be offered for lunch ($15) and dinner ($35).

Culinaria, formerly the New World Wine & Food Festival, says these restaurants are already signed up: Acenar, Antlers Lodge at The Hyatt Hill Country Resort, Auden’s Kitchen, Biga on the Banks, Bin 555, Bistro Vatel, Boardwalk Bistro, Boudro’s, Broadway Bistro, Cafe de Artistes, Citrus at Hotel Valencia, Coco Chocolate Lounge & Bistro, Kirby’s Steakhouse, La Gloria, Las Canarias, Maggiano’s, Paesano’s, Paloma Blanca, Restaurant Insignia, the downtown Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, The Grey Moss Inn, The Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills, The Palm Restaurant, Tre Trattoria and more. For a full listing and more information, check out 2010 Culinaria Restaurant Week.

Hatch Chile Fest and a hot contest

Chef Jason Dady and Central Market executive chef, Tan Nguyen help Central Market celebrate 15 years of Hatchmania on Aug. 31. Central Market’s Hatch Chile Fest is Aug. 18-31.

Dady and Nguyen each brings his own style to the dishes while using minimal ingredients and quick preparation. Dishes will feature Hatch Chiles and Chicken Thighs; Hatch Chiles and Shrimp; and Hatch Chiles and Watermelon. Pick up lots of tips and sample six dishes that feature everyone’s favorite chile.

6:30 – 9 p.m., Tuesday, August 31
Central Market, 4821 Broadway
Call 210-368-8600 for reservations.

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WalkerSpeak: Del Grande’s Skewered Scallops with Fresh Corn Mayo


Robert Del Grande

I’ve only attended two or three classes presented by Robert Del Grande, one of Texas’s top chef/restaurateurs. He is perhaps most famous as the longtime proprietor of Houston’s (now closed) Cafe Annie.

He is personable and amusing. More important, though, he can teach as well as cook.

As I awaited Del Grande’s presentation at the Culinary Institute of America’s recent conference here, I remembered a lesson from him I learned years go, and never forgot. It was a discussion about the deceptively simple art of roasting vegetables, such as a tomato or an onion to use in a salsa or a mole, or as a garnish for tacos.   You can lightly roast something or you can nearly burn it. In between these two extremes are the series of in-between stages — and all of them will yield a specific flavor.  Master these and you’ve learned an important lesson about making Mexican food taste right.

At the Latin Flavors, American Kitchens conference, Del Grande taught us another dish that will go into my repertoire:  Sea Scallops Roasted in Green Corn Husks with Fresh Corn Mayonnaise.

While it sounds fancy, and maybe a little complex, it was actually simple. Wrap a big, juicy scallop in a strip of fresh corn husk, jab a skewer through it and sear it in butter until the bottom is nicely browned. Flip it and do the same to the other side. Dress it with the fresh corn mayo, top it with some sprinkles of red chile and serve with a wedge of lime.

DelGrandeScallops1If one wishes to serve these scallops as finger food (and this presentation was about Latin street foods) the skewers make them easy to pick up. If you’re serving it on plates, it’s best to take out the skewers but leave the husk on. They come off easily.

The best part about the dish, as far as I was concerned, was the Fresh Corn Mayonnaise. It was perfect for the scallop, but looked as though it would adapt widely to many other uses — as a dip or a spread as well as a topping.

The basic technique is to pull of the husks and silk on fresh ears of corn, then grate the raw corn on a grater over a bowl.  The result will be a wet, starchy purée of corn. Heat up butter in a skillet, add the corn and cook it, stirring. As Del Grande pointed out, it looks just like scrambled eggs as you cook it.

The corn is mixed with mayonnaise, olive oil, lime juice and salt then used to top the scallops.

Other beautiful dishes were prepared that day, and we’ll run more of the recipes in the near future. But, for me, this dish was a great excuse to drive out to Costco for a pound of fresh scallops.

Click below for Del Grande’s recipe:


Sea Scallops Roasted in Green Corn Husks with Fresh Corn Mayonnaise

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