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Tasty Events: Wine, Chocolate, KLRN’s TV Celebrity Chef


Passport to Greece at Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard

Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard’s Passport Adventure Series is a bimonthly dinner series that focuses on areas of the world that produce olive oil and table olives.

Each dinner features an authentic menu featuring olives and oil from the country being highlighted as well as pairing the cuisine with wine from that region.

The next dinner is a culinary trip to Greece, and happens on Feb. 13. The reception is at 6:30 and dinner is at 7.  Greek wines will be paired with each course.

The price is $75 per persoon, with an 18 percent tip. You can call Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard, which is on 25195 Mathis road in Elmendorf, a 25-minute drive from downtown San Antonio. Or, check the website here to make reservations. The menu is below.

Sandy Oaks passport to Greece logo1st Course: Greek Olives
Greek cheese, homemade pita bread,
Dolmas (stuffed grape leaves)

2nd Course:
  Greek Stuffed Tomato
Stuffed with orzo, herbs, citrus, and feta over warm greens

3rd Course: Moussaka
Made with ground beef, eggplant, tomatoes, with a Greek cheese bechamel and fresh garden greens

4th Course: Grilled Lamb Steak
With roasted red potatoes and roasted zucchini; Classic tzatziki sauce

5th Course: Ouzo Spiced Pear Tartlet
With a Chocolate honey sauce
Olive mint sorbet

Mary Ann Esposito chefMary Ann Esposito of “Ciao Italia” appears in San Antonio in March

Join KLRN and Luce Ristorante e Enoteca for a multi-course Italian dinner, wine and fun with Mary Ann Esposito, host of “Ciao Italia,” the longest-running cooking program in America. You’ll also receive an autographed cookbook.

Esposito will be the featured chef at KLRN’s Chef Series on March 22.  Since 1989, PBS Chef Mary Ann Esposito has entertained and enlightened while offering valuable cooking tips. She crafts classic creations that food fans can easily recreate at home.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Dinner starts at 7 p.m. The cost is $150 per person. Luce Ristorante e Enoteca is at 11255 Huebner Road.  For tickets, which are limited, click here.

 Little Gretel’s Denise Mazel named 2014 Businesswoman of the Year

The Boerne Chamber’s 2014 Businesswoman of the Year has been announced as Denise Mazel, chef and owner of Boerne’s Little Gretel restaurant. Mazel’s vision began more than 30 years ago when she spotted a little house for sale on River Road that became her first business in Boerne and the first commercial business established on River Road.

Denise Mazel and daughter Veronica Mazel-Brown

Chef Denise Mazel and daughter Veronica Mazel-Brown

When she first opened her shop, she offered knitting and needlepoint classes and sold yarn. Her long-time dream of owning a restaurant that would depict Boerne’s heritage came true six years ago when she opened Little Gretel.

She was recently nominated as a member of “Best Chefs America” and the only woman awarded that recognition in the San Antonio area.  In 2014, she was invited to compete in the Food Network television program “Beat Bobby Flay.”  She was also featured in an article titled Lone Star Kolaches published in Cook’s Country, a national publication, where her kolaches were praised as the best and most traditional.

During her travels back to her native Czech Republic, she was awarded the Honorary Certificate of Nobility for preparing and serving food to the heads of state. Mazel also is dedicated to linking youth to her profession by offering apprenticeships and sharing her knowledge and skills with Boerne ISD culinary arts students.

Little Gretel Restaurant is at 518 River Road in Boerne. It is open every day for breakfast and lunch, and open Wednesday through Saturday for dinner.   (830) 331-1368

Becker Vineyards Offers Wine, Music and Book Signing

From romantic wine and chocolate tastings to book signings and the annual Bluebonnets, Bluegrass and BBQ, Becker Vineyards in Stonewall provides lots of reasons to make them a destination. For more information on these and other happenings at Becker, please visit their website here.

Red_wine_closeup_in_glassFeb. 7, 8, 14, & 15 Annual Merlot & Chocolate Tasting (Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sundays, Noon – 6 p.m.)  Delysia Chocolatiers will have samples of ganache and bark as well as product for sale.  Al’s Gourmet Nuts will have gourmet nuts (spicy, savory, or sweet), too.  And Chef Ross Burtwell of The Cabernet Grill will have a cookbook signing (“Texas Hill Country Cuisine, Flavors from The Cabernet Grill”) on Feb. 7 only.

Feb. 21 Fredericksburg Wine Road 290 “Ragin’ Cajun & Texas Shrimp Festwww.wineroad290.com.  Visitors will go at their own pace to the wineries on the wine road to sample a Cajun Shrimp concoction to pair with a wine.  Complimentary event; no reservations required.  Time:  11:30 a.m. until out.

March 14 & 15 Annual Bluebonnets, Bluegrass, & BBQ.  Dr. Becker’s brother Robert Becker and the Woodstreet Bloodhounds will play Bluegrass music.  No cover charge.  Chef Jayson Cox will be making BBQ to serve and sell to the public.  BBQ from 11:30 a.m. until out.  Music:  1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

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You Can ‘Mingle with Ming’ as Celebrated PBS Chef Comes to SA


Ming Tsai, one of PBS television’s top chef’s, will be in town filming four episodes of “Simply Ming” next week.

The popular chef will be cooking with some of San Antonio’s own top chefs, in their kitchens, as they collaborate on Ming’s signature “cooking on the fly” style.

San Antonio’s Convention & Visitor’s Bureau pitched this event nearly a year ago, and they’ll all be on hand at the events next week along with KLRN Chef Series, which is hosting a special “Mingle with Ming” event Wednesday at 6 p.m. Tickets still are available.

Casandra Matej, executive director of the CVB, says the bureau approached Ming believing that this Emmy-award-winning chef would be an especially good match for San Antonio.

“We’re so excited to bring ‘Simply Ming’ to San Antonio. Chef Ming Tsai will join several of the city’s talented chefs in their kitchens. The results should be inspiring. His passion of bringing together a mix of cultures and tastes makes him a natural fit for cooking in San Antonio,” Matej said.

The chefs who will be working with Ming, as they film four episodes, are Johnny Hernandez (La Gloria, Casa Hernan), Elizabeth Johnson (CIA), Diana Barrios Trevino (Los Barrios and Hacienda de los Barrios) and John Besh, another celebrity chef (though not a San Antonio resident) who owns Lüke, in downtown San Antonio. Johnson’s segment will be filmed at the CIA. The other chefs will host Ming at their kitchens.

The other cities featured at out-of-studio locations for Season 10 of “Simply Ming,” include the Azores and Chattanooga, Tenn.

According to the CVB, the show averages roughly between 750,000-1 million unduplicated viewers each week, and runs on 93 percent of the PBS stations in the top 50 markets.

The sets will be closed to the public, but, the public can purchase a ticket from KLRN and “Mingle with Ming” at the Pearl Studio in the Full Goods building. The event begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10, and your $85 ticket includes an autographed cookbook from Ming.

This reception is part of the KLRN Chef Series. To order tickets, click here.

 

Photos courtesy PBS/KLRN/Ming Tsai

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Raichlen’s ‘Planet Barbecue’ a Fiery Worldwide Tour


From recipes for Korea’s spicy grilled pork to real Moroccan shish kebab, barbecue king Steven Raichlen’s new book holds a feast of information on the worldwide art of barbecue.

Raichlen will share some of these secrets of his “live fire” cooking Monday, when he is in San Antonio for KLRN’s Chef Series.

Looking through the new “Planet Barbecue” (Workman Publishing, $22.95) is delicious enough that it will inspire the backyard cook to head for the grill.  As with all of Raichlen’s books on this subject there are recipes, of course, but so much more. Information is packaged in a logical, readable style, with clear instruction that has made Raichlen the country’s No. 1 teacher of the art.

The front of the book offers a timeline, beginning from the days of Homo erectus, or “upright man”  in Africa 1.9 million years ago.

“This manlike, if not fully human, ancestor of modern man invented barbecue.” he writes.  (This bit of information might be fun to impart to your own backyard fellow as he fumes over his fire.)

How did this man-animal figure out to use fire to cook? We have no historical record, but Raichlen poses that it probably was opportunistic. Think about this manimal returning to a burned out forest and finding a whole roasted auroch (an ancestral steer) or a hippidion (early horse) cooked to a turn. The real turning point, writes Raichlen, came about 1.8 million years ago when this same ancestral cousin to man began eating fire-cooked meat regularly.

Fire offered any number of social consequences.

Grilled corn

“Fire meant protection against predators. Fire meant leaving the safety of sleeping in trees for encampments based on the ground. Fire meant the shared communal activities of cooking, eating, sitting and sleeping around a fire,” he writes. Fire also meant a division of labor, first between man and woman, then between hunters and gatherers, and eventually “between people who tended the home fires (literally and figuratively) and people who did their work in the world at large.”

Bringing the information up to current times, the author includes a section “Grilling with a Conscience: A Word About Ingredients and Shopping.” (Buy free range, support your farmers markets, buy fair trade, etc.)

Another page is devoted to “The Perfect Burger” with 20 tips. My favorite tip: “Make a slight depression in the center of each patty. Burgers shrink more at the edges than at the center, so the indentation will give you a patty of a more even thickness when the meat is cooked.” The best combination of beef cuts for burgers, he says, is brisket with chuck, in a ration of 45 to 55 percent. Fat content should be 22 percent fat.  You can cut your fat content elsewhere, he suggests.

The book travels the globe for tasty recipes, and is presented in the logical progression of a meal, from starters through dessert. If Serbian Bacon-Grilled Prunes doesn’t grab you, the recipe for Smoked Ice Cream at the end certainly should. Salads, vegetables and breads have their turn as well.

Burgers on the grill

Sauces are paired with the appropriate grilled dishes, such as the Creamy Asian Peanut Sauce with the Chicken Satés from Malaysia. Sides are included, such as the Icicle Radish Salad that accompanies the German preparation, Onion-Stuffed, Spit-Roasted Pork Shoulder. This article also shows in clear photos how to prepare the pork shoulder for the rotisserie.

He presents the familiar-to-San Antonio recipe of Peruvian Beef Kebabs (Anticuchos), calling for beef rib-eye or sirloin, but also suggesting the traditional meat used in this dish, beef heart. The use of beef heart, he suggests might have originated with African slaves, brought to Peru to work the mines and plantations. They were likely to have been served the organs and innards of the cow. The traditional meat in Peru, though, was llama.

This is a book that any barbecue author would long to write, and Raichlen does it in great style. it is also a book that any barbecue lover should read.

Recipe: Grilled Veal Chops with Sweet and Sour Onions

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