Tag Archive | "Don Strange"

Frances Strange Takes the Stage at 18th Annual Holiday Olé Market

Don Strangeof Texas: His Experiences as a Texas Caterer

The 18th Annual Holiday Olé Market, presented by the Junior League of San Antonio, Oct. 19-22, offers shopping and other entertainment. Also, on Oct. 20, it will present a brunch with  Frances Strange of Don Strange of Texas, Inc.

The Holiday Olé Market will be at the San Antonio Shrine Auditorium, Loop 1604 and Blanco Road.

Don Strange's Brioche French Toast and Bananas Foster will be served at brunch.

At the “Ready, Set, Shop” event, the brunch will feature Don Strange’s Brioche French Toast with Bananas Foster. Frances Strange will take the stage to talk about behind the scenes stories from one of the best-loved catering companies in Texas. She will be signing copies of her cookbook, featuring her late husband’s and other family recipes, and visiting with fans after the brunch.

If you like to shop, during the market days you’ll find unique, boutique-like shopping with nearly 90 top merchants offering apparel, jewelry, children’s items, home goods and original holiday items. Experience a wide array of entertainment options including great food, music, auctions, and much more. Net proceeds from the Holiday Olé Market benefit the community programs and projects of the Junior League of San Antonio, Inc.

The Holiday Olé Market begins with a Preview Party on Oct. 19, then continue with a Girl’s Night Out on Oct. 21 and Family Day Oct. 22.

To read more about the events during the four-day Holiday Olé Market, or to purchase tickets, click here,  or call 210-225-1861 for more information.

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Restaurant Notes & Quotes: Fig Tree Tasting Menu, Barriba Cantina to Open

Chef John Besh, right, of Lüke New Orleans and Lüke San Antonio.

Notable Quote
“When I speak of one of our chefs doing good acts through food it’s not about Besh, but it’s about what we can all do each day.”

— Chef John Besh,on Twitter, talking about Lüke San Antonio chef Steven McHugh cooking jambalaya for those involved in the Bastrop area fire.

 Z’Tejas Chile Fest to benefit San Antonio youths

Between  now and Sept 25,  Z’Tejas offers dishes featuring the popular Hatch green chiles. One dollar of every entrée sold from the Chile Fest menu will benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio. This is the first year for Z’Tejas’ new location at The Shops of La Cantera to participate in the annual event.

Barriba Cantina coming soon on the River Walk

Serving Mexican street food and offering catering and live music, Barriba Cantina, from The County Line Bar-B-Q restaurant, will open Sept. 12 on the River Walk, 111 Crockett St.

Barriba Cantina will be on the second and third floors of the same building that houses The County Line. It will have balconies and patios overlooking the river, while the second floor will offer large meeting spaces, also with river and San Antonio skyline views.

Open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday – Saturday, Barriba will serve food such as Mango Pork Carnitas (slow-cooked lean pork with a blend of traditional Mexican seasonings, garnished and served on corn tortillas; Baja Pescado (tilapia seasoned with a mild ancho chile rub, served on corn tortillas); and Tacos Del Rey (beef marinated with mild chipotle chiles and a blend of Mexican spices).  The Tacos del Rey were created in honor of Randy Goss, the late owner of The County Line.

On the drinks menu: Bango Mango Martini (pineapple infused Sauza Tequila, mango, lime juice and Dulce Vida Organic Agave Nectar) and Berriba (Bacardi, Triple Sec, pineapple juice, blueberries and raspberries).  A to-go menu will eventually be added.

Barriba will also offer live acoustical music everyday from 10 p.m. – 2 a.m., with a cover charge after 10 p.m. (cover charge will vary based on musicians).  Music schedules will be updated regularly on Barriba Cantina’s Facebook page.

Fig Tree tasting menus through September

The Fig Tree Restaurant is offering its popular tasting menu through September. The prix fixe price is $39, and there is complimentary parking at the restaurant, in La Villita. The menus will change weekly. To see what is being served, check this website. To make reservations, call 210-224-1976.

Fishland Fish Market to move next door

Fried fish at Fishland.

Fried fish at Fishland Fish Market, 4941 Walzem Road, is closing for a few days while the owners pack up and move to a larger space next door. The move will give them more room for customers to dine in and enjoy the fried fish, shrimp and oysters on the menu.

The new place will open Thursday (Sept. 15), so be patient while waiting for some of that drum, tilapia or sole.

The phone will still be 210-655-3232.

SavorSA reviewed this gem close to two years ago, on Sept. 10, 2009, and the praise still holds true.)

Take tour of Northern Italy at Tre Trattoria downtown

Italian red wine on the pairing menu

Chef Jason Dady takes you on a tour of the flavors of Northern Italy paired with wines from that region, on Sept. 16. Priced at $40 per person, this four-course wine pairing dinner begins with a cocktail reception and seasonal hors d’oeuvres at 6:30 p.m. Dinner begins at 7 p.m. at 401 S. Alamo St., at The Fairmount Hotel. For reservations: 210- 223-0401 or email

On the menu: first Course, Baby Arugula, toasted walnuts, gorgonzola, roasted grapes with NV Tervisol Prosecco; second course, Risotto Milanese with ‘08 Pieropan Soave Classico; third course,  Bistecca alla Fiorentina, sweet corn crema, roasted mushrooms, goat cheese polenta and radicchio marmelatta with ’06 Sanguineti Nessum Dorma. For dessert,  Lemon Panna Cotta, blueberry and thyme shortbread with  ’06 Ceretto Moscato D’Asti

Country French Wine Dinner at Crumpets Restaurant & Bakery

Crumpets, at 3920 Harry Wurzbach, offers this wine dinner featuring premier French vineyards matched with French fare. 7 p.m. Sept. 16, $70 per person. Make reservations at 210-821-5600. Or send email to Seating is limited, so make reservations soon.

Wine and food pairing: Macon Lugny “Les Charmes” with Vol au Vent St. Jacques; Ragotiere Muscadet with Paté Mousseline aux Truffles; Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Villages with Escalope de Veau aux Cognac; Chateau Larose Trintaudon Bordeaux with Filet de Bœuf aux Poivres; Les Clos de Paulilles Banyuls with Mille Feuille de Deux Crèmes for dessert.

Frances Strange to be guest on KCWX cable channel 4

Don Strange of Texas: His Life and Recipes

What do Paula Abdul, Kim Kardashian, Ivanka Trump and Frances Strange have in common? They all have the distinction of being celebrity guests on the national syndicated lifestyle show from “Better Homes and Gardens Magazine,” titled simply, “Better.”

Now, San Antonio author Frances Strange will head to New York City to tape her “Better” segment, which is scheduled to air in San Antonio Sept. 23 at 7 a.m. on KCWX, local cable channel 4.

Tune in to catch Strange dishing about her famous cookbook “Don Strange of Texas: His Life and Recipes,” sharing her secrets for entertaining and preparing her best Texas-style recipes including Shrimp and Crab Corn Cakes, Pan de Campo, and the cool Café Mystique iced beverage.










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‘Don Strange of Texas’ Cookbook Wins Bronze Award

Published less than one year ago, “Don Strange of Texas: His Life and Recipes,” has been selected as the 2011 bronze medal winner of the Independent Publisher Book Award in the South- Best Regional Non-Fiction Category. The book was written by Strange’s wife, Frances Strange and co-written by Terry Thompson-Anderson. Photographs are by San Antonio food photographer Tracey Maurer.

Strange, who died in November of 2009, built his catering business around the wealth of foods available in Texas and served his fare in a down-home style that was well-received at both black-tie events and cookouts held anywhere from the White House lawn to his Hill Country ranch.

"Don Strange of Texas: His Life and Recipes" wins bronze award from The Independent Publisher Book Awards.

“Words cannot properly express how thrilled I am that our book is being recognized by this distinguished  group of professionals in the industry” says author Frances Strange.  “Just being considered for this award is such an achievement.”

Published by Shearer Publishing, the book is filled with the rich history of this high-profile Texas catering company. Anecdotes, more than 100 recipes and dozens of full color food and family photographs bring the story to life.

The Independent Publisher Book Awards, which was first launched in 1996, is intended to recognize excellence among books published by independent authors and publishers. The awards are open to all members of the independent publishing industry. It contains 69 national categories, followed by regional categories, such as the South, and the Best Regional Non-Fiction Award. Judging is based on design, production quality , content, and innovation.

The cookbook is part of the Don Strange of Texas brand which includes the Don Strange Marketplace e-commerce site, the Don Strange Ranch in Welfare, The Waring General Store, The Ropes Course, The Zip Line at Zinc Hill, The Buckhorn Saloon, Catering and Private Dining. The cookbooks are available at booksellers and online at

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Mango and Brie Quesadillas

Mango and Brie Quesadillas (front) with Baked Brie.

Place the brie in the freezer before peeling and the rind will come off quicker, says Emily Carlos of the Central Market Cooking School. It will also make the brie easier to slice.

Mango and Brie Quesadillas

8 (6-inch) flour tortillas
1 pound firm brie cheese, rind removed, cut into very thin wedges
2 medium mangoes, peeled and cut into 32 thin slices
1 large avocado, peeled, seeded and cut into thin slices
4 green onions and tops, sliced thin (optional)

Lay the flour tortillas on work surface. Divide cheese wedges into 8 equal portions (about 2 ounces each). Arrange a portion of the cheese wedges on the lower half of each tortilla. Place 4 mango slices on top of the cheese wedges. Top with several slices of avocado. Scatter an equal portion of the green onions, if using,  over the mango and avocado slices. Fold the top half of each tortilla over the filling and press down firmly. Place the quesadillas on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Heat a flat-top griddle to medium high. Place the quesadillas on the grilled, cheese side down, and grill until cheese begins to melt, about 2 1/2 minutes. Carefully turn them over and grill on the other side until filling is warm and quesadillas are sealed together by the melted cheese, another 2 1/2 minutes. Remove  from grill and slice each quesadilla into three wedges. Return to baking sheet and keep warm in an oven on a low temperature. When ready to serve, arrange on a platter.

Makes 24 wedges.

From “Don Strange of Texas” by Frances Strange and Terry Thompson-Anderson

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Two Ways to Give Your Brie a Boost

Frances Strange addresses a sold-out cooking class at Central Market.

Brie is a favorite appetizer for many because it’s easy to work with. Just wrap the cheese in puff pastry and bake until ready.

But that’s not the only way to serve this creamy favorite.

During a recent Central Market cooking class, Frances Strange of Don Strange of Texas offered two different yet tasty brie recipes that go together quickly and can be done in advance. That will leave you with plenty of time to  spend with your guests.

That’s the point of entertaining at the holidays or any time of year: “Don’t let the little things stop you from being with the people who mean something to you,” she said.

So, make some Mango and Brie Quesadillas, in which the cheese melts into avocado slices as well as the juicy fruit. Or try a Baked Brie without the pastry but with sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil.

When making the quesadillas, it’s easier to work with the cheese after  it’s been in the freezer for a short while, cooking school instructor Emily Carlos said. The cheese is harder, so it can been peeled and sliced quickly. That approach would also work for the Baked Brie, as well.

Mango and Brie Quesadillas (right) with Baked Brie.

Giving you the confidence to entertain in style is what Frances Strange hopes to offer in her new book, “Don Strange of Texas: His Life and Recipes” (Shearer Publishing, $34.95), written with Terry Thompson-Anderson.

“There’s talk of a second edition and it’s only been out a week,” she said, slightly awed at the response it has received.

Good food is always welcome, but that’s not the secret to a memorable party, said Strange, whose family has been in the catering business for decades. It’s something she learned from her husband, Don, who built the nationally recognized business without “one minute of food training.”

“It’s not about the food, it’s about the people you’re with,” she said.

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Baked Brie

Baked Brie (front) and Mango and Brie Quesadillas

If you don’t have a springform pan, use a regular 8-inch pan and spread the brie on the toast rounds before serving,  says Joel L. Barohn, who works for the Central Market Cooking School.

Do not toast the almonds before baking, because they will burn in the oven.

Baked Brie

1 (8-inch) wheel brie cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt
5 green onions and tops, sliced thin
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
1/3 cup minced fresh basil
1 cup skin-on sliced almonds
Toasted French bread rounds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of an 8-inch springform cake pan with parchment paper. Spray parchment and side of pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

Remove all the  rind from the cheese. Using a thin-bladed slicing knife, cut the cheese wheel in half horizontally. Place the bottom half, cut side up, in the parchment-lined pan. In a medium bowl, combine the sour cream, salt, green onions and garlic, whisking to blend well. Spread half of the mixture on top of the cheese. Top with half of the sun-dried tomatoes and all of the parsley and basil. Place the remaining half of the cheese on top of the tomatoes, cut side down. Top with the remaining sun-dried tomatoes, sour cream mixture and the sliced almonds.

Bake in preheated oven until almonds are browned and the brie is very soft, about 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven and place on wire rack. Allow to cool until lukewarm, then remove sides of pan and slide brie onto a serving platter. Serve with a basket of toasted French bread rounds.

Makes 14-18 finger-food servings.

From “Don Strange of Texas” by Frances Strange and Terry Thompson-Anderson

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Don Strange’s Corn Pudding

“When Don (Strange) and his parents began to cater large parties serving their popular barbecue, Don wanted to serve side dishes that were also noteworthy, rather the same old menu of coleslaw, potato salad, and pinto beans,” writes Frances Strange in “Don Strange of Texas: His Life and Recipes” (Shearer Publishing, $34.95). “He settled on Corn Pudding, which no one else served with barbecue, and it became one of the company’s signature barbecue side dishes in the 1980s. … Hard to beat a good side dish!”

This easy-to-assemble dish will also go great with Thanksgiving turkey, grilled steaks or whatever you’re serving.

Corn Pudding

2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup sour cream
2 cups cream-style corn
3 eggs, beaten
1 (6-ounce) package Pioneer Brand corn muffin mix
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; set aside. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until it is wilted and transparent, about 5 minutes. Do not allow it to brown. Remove from heat and blend the onions and sour cream in a bowl. Mix well; set aside.

In a separate large bowl, combine the creamed corn, eggs and muffin mix. Turn out into the prepared baking dish. Spoon the onion mixture evenly around the baking dish in dollops. Scatter the shredded cheese over the top and bake in preheated oven until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cut into squares and serve hot.

Makes 8 servings.

Variation: Cornshuck Pudding

For a striking presentation at a formal seated dinner, serve Corn Pudding in corn shuck “bowls,” which are made by lining a large muffin tin or popover tin with corn shucks.

Soak 12 corn shucks in a large bowl of lukewarm water for about 45 minutes, then drain and pat dry. Instead of a baking dish, use a muffin tin with 12 large (2 1/2-inch-diameter) cups; spray each cup with nonstick vegetable spray. Push a softened corn shuck down into each up, letting the ends extend upward. Set aside and make the Corn Pudding as directed in the rcipe.

To bake the individual puddings, spoon equal portions of the corn batter into the muffin cups. Spoon equal portions of the sour cream mixture into the center of each cup. Scatter the shredded cheese on top of each serving and place the tin on a large baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden toothpick inserted in the enter of the cups comes out clean, for about 30 minutes.

To serve, grasp each end of the corn shucks and gently lift the puddings out. Place on individual serving plates and serve hot.

Makes 12 servings.

From “Don Strange of Texas: His Life and Recipes” by Frances Strange with Terry Thompson-Anderson

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Mary Singleton, Baker and Don Strange Family Member, Dies

Mary Singleton died Wednesday night at home, according to a Don Strange of Texas, Inc. spokeswoman. She was 93.

Singleton was the mother of Frances Strange, wife of caterer Don Strange. Don Strange died last year on Nov. 11.

Singleton’s breads and pies and were just a small part of her legacy with the famous caterer. She contributed recipes,  such as Mother’s Brownies, which became the caterer’s signature treat. She also made desserts for the Steak Nite event each Wednesday in Waring.

Some of her recipes appear in the new “Don Strange of Texas: His Life and Recipes” cookbook released this month by Shearer Publishing.  The book was compiled and written by Frances Strange and Terry Thompson-Anderson.

Services will be announced.

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Mother’s Brownies

Mother's Brownies

These brownies were created by Mary Singleton, Frances Strange’s mother, an excellent baker who worked with Don Strange of Texas in part by recipes and making the desserts for the Steak Nite each Wednesday in Waring.

“If you like your brownies soft and cakelike, but ultimately chocolate-y, then you’ll love this recipe, which Mother developed in the commissary kitchen years ago,” Frances Strange writes in “Don Strange of Texas” (Shearer Publishing, $34.95). “It’s become the ‘official’ Don Strange of Texas brownie. They’re served at party-planning conferences and other meetings, at parties, and often at Steak Nite, when guests have one or two before their steaks, heeding the advice ‘Life is short — eat dessert first!'”

Mother’s Brownies

1 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup canola oil
2/3 cup boiling water
2 1/2 cup ssugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-by-13-inch baking pan, tapping out all excess flour; set aside. Toss together the cocoa and baking soda in a large bowl, blending well. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the canola oil. Add the boiling water and whisk until well blended and thik. Stir in the sugar, eggs and remaining canola oil. Stir until smooth. Add the flour, vanilla and salt, stirring to mix well.

Turn the batter out into prepared baking pan and bake until a wooden toothpick insert into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on wire rack before slicing into 2-inch squares.

Makes 24 brownies.

From “Don Strange of Texas” by Frances Strange with Terry Thompson-Anderson

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Griffin to Go: Don Strange Gave Us Razzle Dazzle and More

DonStrangeIn the musical “Chicago,” a shyster lawyer advises his clients to give the jury “the old razzle dazzle” to cover up how shallow their cases really are.

Don Strange, who died Wednesday at age 69, certainly followed the first half of that equation – his passion for impressing people was legendary – but the flash was always built on a sure foundation. It was built on Texas product and principle. And that, more than the firework displays or the lavish arrays of food, was the basis of his success.

Talk to anyone who hired Don Strange of Texas for an event and you’ll hear stories of how memorable certain images were from the event. But they’ll also tell you how good the food tasted.

Talk to any of Don Strange’s friends or acquaintances, and you’ll hear the story of a big-hearted man who loved working and helping others. This is a man who started several charities, including Helping Hands and Breakfast of Champions, to help children in need. He also championed Roy Maas’ Youth Alternatives for the same reason.

Bruce Auden of Biga on the Banks would consider himself more of an acquaintance than an intimate friend, yet he was broken up by the news of Strange’s death. “He was one of the nicest people you could ever know,” the chef said. “He never had anything negative to say about any restaurant or any one. And that’s rare in this business. His outlook on like was so much better than anybody else’s.”

Auden will miss “the positive vibe” that Strange gave off, a feeling that more of the newcomers on the catering scene would do well to adopt, he said.

I could feel that the few times that I really talked with him, which was only in recent months. Though we had met at numerous functions in the past, we never really had even a short conversation until he appeared for a taping of the “Today” show in July at the Arneson Theater.


Don Strange of Texas' Grilled White Wings feature chicken, jalapeno and cheese wrapped in bacon.

When I re-introduced myself, he immediately made the conversation about me. I have been friends with his mother-in-law, Mary Singleton, over the past 8 or 9 years. She once taught how to make a pie crust and had been a great source of encouragement ever since. He told me that she had been worried about me since losing my job, and he was pleased that he would be able to tell her that I was fine.

In a matter of a few words, he made me feel as if I had known him for ages. And it makes me sad to note that I won’t have the chance to get to know him better.

It didn’t really matter to him that he was downtown on that sweltering morning.  He was there to do something he loved: promote Texas’ fabulous food. He was there with folks from Mi Tierra, and both waited several hours to get on the air. In the end, the show ran long and both missed their chance.

Most of us would have grumbled about all the wasted time. Not Don Strange. The next time I saw him, he just shrugged it off. He had promoted Texas food to the nation for years, appearing on numerous talk shows and serving his mouthwatering fare from the White House to Hollywood.

As Auden said, Don Strange was always out there, pounding the pavement to tell people about what Texas had to offer in terms of great eats. And with that came exposure to the land that produced it. “He was one of the first people who really promoted San Antonio on TV,” Auden said.

San Antonio is grateful for that. All his customers will certainly relish the memories of events he catered for them. But those who knew him even slightly will treasure more highly the warmth and generosity of the man behind the business.

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