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Give Thanks, and Don’t Forget to Make Reservations!


A traditional Thanksgiving dinner can be yours at many area restaurants.

Thanksgiving is approaching and there are numerous options if you want to dine out. Reservations are required at all places, unless otherwise marked. Tax and tip are not included  in the prices.

Achiote at the Grand Hyatt, 600 E. Market St., (210) 224-1234 — The buffet will be from noon to 9 p.m. Highlights include a salad station with organic mixed greens, Waldorf salad, tortilla slaw, shrimp pasta salad and fruit salad; a main area with  roasted tom turkey, Virginia bone-in ham, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, candied yams, corn and roasted poblano stuffing, giblet gravy, greens beans, miso-glazed salmon, cauliflower au gratin and roasted carrot kabocha soup with  horseradish yogurt, peach-apple chutney, cranberry-orange relish and whole grain mustard; and assorted desserts.  Cost is $30 a person, plus tax and 18 percent tip.

Antlers at the Hyatt Hill Country Resort & Spa; 9800 Hyatt Resort Drive (210) 647-1234 — Family style Thanksgiving dinner is 3-9 p.m. First course: Caldo verde with chorizo, leek, potato and kale; Fall harvest salad with locally sourced greens, shaved apple and green pear, toasted almonds, Brazos Valley blue cheese, cranberry jalapeño vinaigrette. Second course: Smoked turkey and kettle gravy; Lavender honey glazed ham; Chorizo stuffing; Tequila-jalapeno and traditional cranberry sauce; Butter whipped potatoes; Scalloped sweet potatoes with homemade marshmallow crust; Creamy baked green beans with mushroom and fried onions; Fresh baked breads and butter. Third course: Individual dessert selections; choice of one: Caramelized pumpkin tart with white chocolate whipped cream; Roasted apple-cranberry cobbler; Bourbon chocolate pecan pie. Cost: adults, $51; seniors, $40; children 5-12 years, $20; children 4 and under, free.

Auden’s Kitchen,700 E. Sonterra Blvd., (210) 494-0070 — Thanksgiving dinner will be served 11 a.m.-5 p.m. The special includes a salad, the dessert buffet and choice of entrée.   Appetizers, served a la carte, include  sizzling mushrooms, meat and cheese plate, roasted garlic white bean dip, and steamed mussels and fries. Entrées include sage-roasted turkey, pork sausage and apple dressing, creamy green bean with crispy shallots, skin-on mashers, pan jus, cherry cranberry sauce;  ancho-rubbed roasted turkey, charred poblano and sweet potato au gratin, brussel sprouts with Spanish chorizo, ancho jus;  14-ounce rib-eye, horseradish mashers, rosemary grilled asparagus, sautéed mushrooms, Auden’s Kitchen zinfandel steak sauce;  and whole roasted trout with potato galette, sautéed Swiss chard (if available), pine nut brown butter, cured lemon.  The dessert table will include pumpkin éclairs, pecan pie bars, walnut brownies, snickerdoodles and chocolate chip cookies. Cost is $38.95 for adults or $18.95 for children. The kids menu includes a traditional turkey plate, fish and chips, a burger and fettucine with marinara sauce.

Biga on the Banks,203 S. St. Mary’s St., (210) 225-0722 — The special Thanksgiving meal is 11 a.m.-8 p.m. There will be a buffet of appetizers and salads, followed by your choice of seated entrée: herb-roasted free range turkey with sourdough sage and applewood-smoked bacon dressing;  free-range turkey mole poblano; garlic-rubbed prime rib of beef rib-eye; braised lamb with tomatoes, coconut and curry flavors;  organic Eggs Benedict; and several fish options. Children’s options include chicken or turkey pasta, a child’s turkey plate and a child’s beef plate. The dessert buffet includes Chocolate Pecan Tart, Butternut Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust, Sweet Potato Pie, Maple Vanilla Crème Brûlée, and Pumpkin Tartlette with Sweet Whip Cream. There is also a kids table with desserts, including dried fruit studded Rice Krispie treats, rocky road brownies and mini pumpkin cupcakes. Cost is $55 for adults, $27 for children ages 12 and under.

Boudro’s, 421 E Commerce St., (210) 224-8484 — The special dinner will be 11 a.m.1 p.m. The special menu includes a choice of butternut squash or green apple soup or spinach salad with pears, pickled red onions and almonds. Entree choices are Black Angus Rib-eye with chipotle bordelaise or achiote butter-basted turkey breast with savory dressing. Dessert options: Sweet potato pecan pie, pumpkin crème brûlée or a regular dessert off the menu. The cost is $38 for adults or $15 for a children’s turkey dinner. The regular dinner menu is also available.

Crumpets, 3920 Harry Wurzbach Road, (210) 821-5600 —The special Thanksgiving menu will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. All adult entrées are served with appetizer, bread, house salad and dessert. Appetizer options include  Mousse Truffle Pâté, Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese, and Puff Pastry with White Wine Mushroom Sauce. Entrée options: Roasted Turkey and Baked Ham with stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy ($28.50); Tenderloin of Beef ($35.50) ; Veal Scaloppini ($33.50)  Fresh Rainbow Trout Amandine or Meunière ($28.50). Children under 10 can have a turkey and ham plate with salad or dessert for $12.

Earl Abel’s,1201 Austin Hwy., (210) 822-3358 — The restaurant will open at 6:30 a.m. with Thanksgiving dinner from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. No reservations accepted. Among the appetizers will be pumpkin soup and deviled eggs. Roasted turkey with handmade cornbread dressing, giblet gravy and cranberry relish; fried chicken with mashed potatoes; Thanksgiving pot roast; fried shrimp; and venison sausage with German potato salad and red cabbage will be among the specials served that day. Pies, of course, will be available, including pu mpkin, chocolate iced box, pecan and maple as well as strawberry shortcake and chocolate and butter crème cakes. A children’s menu is also available.

The Emily Morgan,  705 E. Houston St., (210) 225-5100 — The Thanksgiving buffet is 10 a.m.-3 p.m.  Omelet station with all the fixings; Assortment of dim sum and spring rolls, dipping sauces, ancho chile shrimp, jicama slaw, ceviche with avocado, mango, and fresno pepper, assortment of fruit and berries, selection of imported and domestic cheeses. Salads: Marinated wild mushroom, with pickled onion; seasonal field greens, marinated tomato and pecans; baby spinach. strawberries, spiked almonds; fresh mozzarella and local tomato, aged balsamic vinegar, caramelized sweet potato puree, green bean casserole with blackened breadcrumbs, roasted new potatoes with garlic oil, honey-glazed carrots with pink peppercorns. Main dishes: Braised turkey with smoked apple dressing; Shiner Bock braised beef pot roast with carrots and potatoes; Blackened catfish with braised collard greens. Desserts: Chef’s selection of pies, tortes, and cakes.  $39.95 per person; Kids 10 and under eat free.

Frederick’s Resaturant, 7701 Broadway, (210) 828-9050, and Frederick’s Bistro,14432 N.W. Military Hwy., (210) 888-1500 — Lunch and dinner will be served at both locations. Frederick’s traditional Thanksgiving turkey will home-style stuffing, fresh cranberries and seasonal vegetables will be available for $25 a person in addition to other specials (Black Angus beef tenderloin with Gulf shrimp, jumbo sea scallops, lamb with garlic red wine sauce) and regular menu items.

Hyatt Hill Country Resort & Spa in the Springhouse Café: 9800 Hyatt Resort Drive, (210) 520-4000 for parties of 12 or more — The Thanksgiving meal is from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Reservations are not required. Rustic Soup Station: Butternut squash soup, pozole with cilantro and diced onion; Salad Bar: A selection of local greens, dressings and salad accompaniments prepared to order, composed salads derived from the fall harvest; Seafood: Jumbo shrimp and cascabel chile cocktail sauce, smoked salmon with traditional garnish and mini bagels, Cheese kiosk and artisinal breads, locally made cheeses and crusty breads; the Butcher Block: Citrus coriander basted tom turkey with homemade gravy, maple glazed honey-baked ham spicy mustard, Roasted beef steamship with horseradish, Traditional cranberry sauce; Pasta: Bourbon Barbecue ribbon pasta with red onion and local sausage, brisket with egg noodles with smoked paprika sauce, sweet potato with marshmallow gratin, corn bread stuffing, mashed garlic potatoes, baked “fresh catch” with lime butter cream sauce, roasted acorn squash with sherry and chestnuts, haricot vert and pancetta; breakfast:waffles, pancakes with assorted toppings; omelet bar, bacon and country sausage, biscuits and gravy, pastry, tarts, traditional pies, Black Forest Cheesecake, Red Velvet Cake, Warm Fig Bread Pudding with Bourbon Hard Sauce, White hot chocolate. Cost for adults, $38.95; seniors, $28.95;  children ages 5-12, $19.50; and children 4 and under, free.

Butternut squash and other fall vegetables are many Thanksgiving menus.

JW Marriott, 23808 Resort Parkway, (210) 483-6622 — The Thanksgiving buffet is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The feast includes a Hill Country salad bar; cold seafood including shrimp and slipper lobster; carving stations with slow-roasted tom turkey, prime rib and bourbon-glazed boneless ham; side dishes of roasted carrots, asparagus and parsnips, cornbread stuffing, buttermilk whipped potatoes, country-style candied yams, green bean casserole. The extensive dessert lineup includes Spiced Pumpkin Pie, Spiced Mincemeat Pie, Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie, Cinnamon Crumb Apple Pie, Red Velvet Cake, Fuji Apple Cider Cake, Chocolate Hazelnut Cake, Almond Caramel Cream Cake, Sweet Potato Roasted Marshmallow Tart, Orange Cardamom Truffle Tart, Key Lime Curd, Milk Chocolate Fudge, Pecan Caramel Swirl Cheesecake, Myers Lemon Vanilla Cream Cake, pralines, truffles, chocolate candies, and almond and coconut macaroons. There is a kids buffet, too. Cost is $52.95 for adults, $45.95 for seniors, $25.95 for children, and free for children ages 3 and under.

Las Canarias, Omni La Mansión del Rio, 112 College St., (210) 518-1063 — The Thanksgiving buffet will be 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Highlights include omelets made to order, applewood-smoked Wisconsin bacon, country-style pork sausage, maple blueberry sausages, sweet potato waffle station, Eggs Benedict, quiche, Meyer lemon and beet cured salmon and smoked halibut, charcuterie, salads, colossal shrimp, lobster and crab claws, fresh shucked oysters, heirloom tomatoes with Sandy Oaks Texas Olive Oil, smoked prime rib, roasted suckling pig, Texas citrus and sage roasted turkey breast, grilled Texas sausages from Elgin, grilled shrimp with Spanish chorizo. Pastry choices include Bourbon Texas Pecan Pie, Brown Butter Pumpkin Cheesecake, Caramelized Pineapple Cheesecake, Valrhona Chocolate Mousse Cakes, Pumpkin Pie Mousse Verrines, Rum Raisin Bread Pudding with Vanilla Anglaise, Warm Toffee Puddings with Toffee Sauce and more. Cost is $68.95 for adults, $34.95 for children ages 6-12.

Las Ramblas, Hotel Contessa,  306 W. Market St., (210) 298-8040 — The Thanksgiving buffet will be 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Carving stations include slow applewood-smoked prime rib, roasted turkey with giblet gravy, salt-crusted striped bass and Valencian paella station. The main buffet will feature artisan cheese and fruit, roasted butternut squash bisque, roasted beet mélange, Waldorf salad, roasted chicken breast with spinach and sun-dried tomato ragout, honey-glazed spiral cut ham, baked orrechiette with brie fondue, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, spicy corn bread pudding, candied acorn squash, boiled shrimp, snow crab claws, oysters, crawfish, ceviche shooters, mussel salad, and whole poached and chilled salmon. Breakfast items include a waffle station and omelet station. A children’s buffet is also offered. Cost: adults, $38.95; children ages 7-16, $16.95; and children 6 nd under, free. Sangria and mimosas: $9.

The Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills, 1746 Lockhill Selma, 210-349-8466 — The restaurant is not open Thanksgiving Day, but chef Jason Dady is offering a Maine Lobster Thanksgiving Dinner Menu during Thanksgiving week, Nov. 22, 23 and 25, 26. Live Maine lobster will be the star of this four-course menu for $40. Reservations are required and may be made by phone or emailing  info@thelodgerestaurant.com.

Luby’s, various locations — The cafeteria is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. with a Thanksgiving special that’s available whether you want to dine in or take dinner to go. The cost is $10.99 per person.

Luce Ristorante e Enoteca, 11255 Huebner Road,  (210) 561-9700 — Thanksgiving dinner will be served 12:30-4 p.m. There will be a special three-course dinner, starting with a choice of Zuppa di Zucca (butternut squash soup)  or  Insalate Misto (salad with goat cheese truffle), followed by a main course of  Tacchino (slow-roasted tom turkey with pine nut stuffing, vegetables and cranberry sauce). Dessert is a choice of pumpkin pie  or vanilla ice cream with berries. The cost for the special is $23.95 for adults or $7.95 for children under 12. The entire menu will also be available. Complimentary mimosa for all adults.

Lüke on the River Walk, 125 E. Houston St., (210) 227-LUKE — Lüke has invited 50 servicemen and women stationed at Fort Sam Houston to take part in a traditional Thanksgiving meal with a New Orleans twist at 2 p.m., and the public can show up to support the troops by joining them in the meal. The cost is $45 for adults and $20 for children 12 and under. The meal includes a fall greens salad, followed by Pumpkin Soup with Crab Meat. Whole roasted turkey will be served over mirliton and shrimp dressing with Bourbon Pecan Pie for dessert.

Mike’s in the Village, 2355-3 Bulverde Road, Bulverde, (830) 438-2747— The restaurant will be serving turkey and all of the fixings from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thanksgiving Day.

Sweet Potato Pie is one of the many seasonal desserts you'll find.

Ostra at the Mokara Hotel & Spa, 212 W. Crockett St., (210) 396-5817 — Ostra will have its regular à la carte menu available all day. Featured specials will be available during dinner service after 5:30 p.m.

Q on the Riverwalk, 123 Losoya, Downtown Hyatt, (210) 222-1234 — The restaurant is having one buffet from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and another from 5 to 10 p.m. The first will feature chimichurri-based Angus strip sirloin, pan-seared salmon, oak-smoked tom turkey, an antipasti display, salad bar and assorted desserts. The cost is $42.50 for adults, $12.50 for children ages 7-12 and free for children 6 and under. The evening meal will feature roast pork loin with apples and onions, smoked tom turkey, a salad bar, and dessert. Cost is $28 for adults, $12.50 for children ages 7-12 and free for children 6 and under.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House, 7720 Jones Maltsberger Road, (210) 821-5051 — The Thanksgiving menu will be served 2-8 p.m. The special includes a choice of starter, including the soup of the day, Steak House Salad or Caesar Salad; followed by an entrée of sizzling turkey and dressing with gravy and cranberry relish plus your choice of side dish. Dessert options: Warm Apple Crumb Tart, Chocolate Chunk Bread Pudding, ice cream or sorbet. The cost is $49 a person.

Texas de Brazil, 313 E. Houston St., (210) 229-1600 — Dinner on Thanksgiving begins at noon. In addition to the usual array of meats and sides, roast turkey and gravy, sweet potato casserole and cranberry sauce will be available. 

Westin La Cantera Resort, 16641 La Cantera Parkway, (210) 558-2439 —  In the Grand Ballroom, the buffet begins at 10:30 a.m. and will include Sweet Potato, Corn and Jalapeño Soup and harvest greens that can be dressed with smoked duck, spiced pecans, pear, celery and cider vinaigrette. Carving stations will have Sage, Rosemary and Thyme Roast Turkey, Garlic Studded Roast Beef and Honey-glazed Ham, all with  whipped potatoes, turkey gravy, sausage and cornbread stuffing. An American artisan cheese display, chilled Gulf shrimp, chicken breast,  autumn squash, Potato-encrusted Fresh Cod and a chef’s selection of pies including pumpkin, pecan, apple and cherry. Breakfast specialties include Cinnamon Belgian Waffles, made-to-order omelets, smoked  bacon and country sausage and more. There will also be a children’s buffet.  The cost is $42 for adults, $221 or children ages 6-12, and free for children under 6 with a paying adult. Activities include balloon artistry for the kids, live entertainment and ice skating for all ages.

Zocca at the Downtown Westin, 420 W. Market St., (210) 444-6070 — Thanksgiving lunch and dinner will include free-range, hickory-smoked turkey with chestnut dressing, cranberry-citrus relish, and maple-glazed carrots. The three-course sprecial ends with a sweet potato and pecan tartlet with cinnamon-infused cream and warm mulled cider. The cost is $32 for adults and $16 for children.

If your Thanksgiving dinner was not included, email the details to griffin@savorsa.com or walker@savorsa.com.

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Restaurant Notes and Quotes: Erick’s Plans to Expand, Plus Bites Along the Barbecue Trail


As the 2011 begins, here are a few of the things we’re seeing:

Erick’s is expanding

Erick's Tacos is growing.

Erick’s Tacos, the great little taco truck at 12715 Nacogdoches Road, is expanding. The building next door should be ready within a month, the owners say.

It looks like it will offer indoor dining, something we would have appreciated on a recent blustery Saturday when we stopped by for a plate of chorizo con bistec tacos and a cup of fresas con crema (strawberries smothered in Mexican crema).

Things weren’t too cold. The heat from the habanero salsa kept us warm.

For more information on Erick’s, call 210-590-0994 or click here.

On the barbecue trail

Plenty of you have traveled up to Taylor, northeast of Austin, for the barbecue at two famous eateries, Louis Mueller’s Barbecue and The Taylor Cafe. Last week we stopped for  brisket, chipotle sausage and a smoky half-chicken at Mueller’s (photo at right), then headed over to say hello to Vencil Mares, proprietor of The Taylor Cafe.

Mares, 87, still tends the pits at the cafe he purchased in 1948. His brisket is legendary, as is the unpolished, mid-century ambiance of the restaurant, which faces the railroad tracks near a State Highway 95 overpass.

Mares was greeting a smattering of friends and fans — light clientele on a cold, rainy Tuesday night. He still points out the fact that the restaurant once was segregated, right down the middle. The two long, old counters with bar stools are still there, facing each other across a serving area that runs the length of the restaurant. The segregation, happily, is a thing of the past — but there is something very nice about the fact that Mares is still there to oversee the creation of some of the state’s best barbecue.

Weissman to address CIA graduation

Andrew Weissman of Il Sogno and the Sandbar in the Pearl Brewery has been asked to address the next graduating class of the Culinary Institute of America’s Hyde Park, N.Y., campus.

On Jan. 21, the chef will speak to the associate’s degree graduates in the culinary arts and baking programs.

This is exciting for Weissman, who graduated from the campus before launching his own culinary career.

Thumbs up for Luby’s salad ‘bar’

You can now build your own side salad at Luby’s — at least at the Main Avenue location just north of downtown.  The popular cafeteria has reconfigured the bowls of greens, vegetables and other salad ingredients at the beginning of the serving line. Point out your choice of greens and the server will custom build your salad for you. Pepperoncini, sliced cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, bacon, feta cheese, hard-cooked eggs and more can add up to a pretty good-sized salad. It could easily be a main dish as well. If it’s the tuna salad or the creamy lime Jell-O mold you like at Luby’s, those types of salads are still there, too.

This sent us looking on the Luby’s website where we found a photo depicting a prototype of a new generation Luby’s. It looks great — will there be one built in San Antonio? Or, maybe they’ll remodel some of the older Luby’s. We’ll keep you posted.

Casa Grande opens

Casa  Grande has opened at 389 N. Loop 1604 W. It offers Mexican food, including a dish called a casuelita. Call 210-545-7600 for hours.

Two closings

Pizzabella, 14218 Nacogdoches Road, has closed. A sign on the door thanked its customers but said it was closing , 13777 Nacogdoches Road, is closed.because of the economy. The Italian restaurant opened in 2005.

Fatty’s Burgers, 13777 Nacogdoches Road, has closed.

If you have restaurant news, e-mail info@savorsa.com.

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10 Cookbooks That Make Great Gifts


CookbookGifts

The past year has been a good one for cookbook lovers, with dozens of new titles covering every topic from opulent cocktails to special desserts. Here are 10 choices in no particular order that would make great gifts to various people on your holiday shopping list:

1. “La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy” (Rizzoli, $45)  – Fifty years ago, a group of Italians known as the Accademia Italiana Della Cucina decided to collect recipes from throughout their home country. The recipes were gathered region by region, and the project was only completed in 2001. It took eight years, but this encyclopedic approach to the country’s culinary riches is finally available in English. The end result can be richly rewarding for those who are not slaves to a recipe, as some need finessing (too little water here, too much spice there). Yet the compilation is exhaustive, exhilarating and an exciting new way to view Italian cuisine.

2. “I Know How to Cook” by Ginette Mathiot (Phaidon, $45) – The success of “Julie & Julia” has turned the spotlight on Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” But don’t overlook this French volume, first printed in 1932 and now available in English for the first time. More than 6 million copies have sold in its home country, and it’s easy to see why. It’s clear and concise. Yes, editors have updated the work, making the 1,400 recipes more direct without losing their Gallic charm. Soon, you’ll be saying “Je suis cuisiner” (“I know how to cook”), too.

3. “Pastry Queen Parties: Entertaining Friends and Family, Texas Style” by Rebecca Rather and Alison Oresman (Random House, $32.50) – Who can resist a cookbook with a recipe for something called Peach Daiquiri Likkercicles? Fredericksburg pastry chef Rebecca Rather offers recipes for six Texas-style parties ranging from San Antonio Fiesta (of course) to Gulf Coast Beach Bash. Nothing pretentious here, and many of the recipes use home-grown recipes, such as Honey-Lavender Rack of Lamb.

4. “The Craft of Baking: Cakes, Cookies and Other Sweets With Ideas for Inventing Your Own” by Karen DeMasco and Mindy Fox (Clarkson Potter, $35) – DeMasco, Tom Colicchio’s former pastry chef, uses seasonal ingredients to create an array of spectacular desserts. She also tells you how to adapt your recipe to what’s in season, so a Rhubarb Rose Cobbler becomes a Mixed Berry Cobbler as the seasons change. The list of must-bake recipes just keeps growing as you leaf past the likes of Pine Nut Tart With Rosemary Cream, Pumpkin Seed Brittle and Raspberry Granola Bars.

5. “America’s Most Wanted Recipes” by Ron Douglas (Simon and Schuster, $15) – Ever wanted to make Olive Garden’s salad dressing in your own home? Or Johnny Carino’s Five Cheese Chicken Fettuccine? Copycat versions of all your favorites are here, including Red Lobster’s Cheddar Biscuits and Luby’s Spaghetti Salad. There are no pictures in this affordable paperback. But who needs pictures? You’ve had the dishes enough at each of these chain restaurants to know what it looks like. The recipes are no presented in a no-nonsense way that makes each easy to replicate in your own home.

6. “The Conscious Cook” by Tal Ronnen (William Morrow, $29.99) – This vegan chef has taken a familial approach to his cookbook, inviting fellow vegan chefs to join him in creating a surprisingly varied array of dishes. He starts with the basics, including a section on cashew cream, which he swears “makes it easy to live without dairy.” He then moves on to small plates, salads, soups, sandwiches, entrées and desserts. Even meat-eaters could like Paella With “Sausage,” Nori-dusted Oyster Mushrooms and Wine-braised Artichoke Hearts or Cajun Portobello Sandwich with Avocado and Rémoulade.

7. “Ad Hoc at Home” by Thomas Keller (Artisan, $50) – The chef/owner of the French Laundry goes for more accessible fare at his home-style restaurant, Ad Hoc. By accessible, we mean Buttermilk Fried Chicken and chicken pot pie. Those who were put off by the tortured, laborious recipes Keller presented in his overwrought “French Laundry Cookbook” will be surprised by the warmth and down-home style here. “Ad Hoc at Home” is still a large, coffee table-sized book that won’t fit into many small kitchens easily, but the recipes will leave you hungry for more.

8.  “My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method” by Jim Leahy (W.W. Norton & Company, $29.95) – If you’ve always wanted to make bread but haven’t trusted yourself around yeast or the controversy about kneading (too much vs. too little), then this book is for you. Leahy mixes flour, yeast, salt and water together quickly, then leaves the mixture alone for 12 hours before baking it in a Dutch oven. That’s it. And people swear by the results. Once he finishes the basics, Leahy takes cooks on through a series of breads as well as pizza dough.

9. “Foods and Flavors of San Antonio” by Gloria Chadwick (Pelican Publishing, $19.95) – Want to send a taste of home to some friends who live far away? Check out this cookbook, which is a savory mix of traditional Alamo City classics presented alongside some colorful variations, such as Chipotle Salmon to Apple Enchiladas. Chadwick also offers some good information on the city’s cultural traditions and attractions, making it a keepsake for locals and tourists alike.

10. “The Pioneer Woman Cooks” by Ree Drummond (William Morrow, $27.50) – Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond (thepioneerwoman.com) welcomes you to her culinary frontier, where home cooking is prized by all. Recipes for Cowboy Calzone, Tomato-Basil Pizza and Edna Mae’s Sour Cream Pancakes are all accompanied by step-by-step photographs, so you can cook to your heart’s content with assurance. From Spicy Pulled Pork to Patsy’s Blackberry Cobbler, this is an Oklahoma answer to Thomas Keller’s “Ad Hoc at Home.”

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Luby’s Spaghetti Salad


This cold salad gets a kick from an Italian vinaigrette.

Luby’s Spaghetti Salad

1 pound spaghetti, noodles broken in half
1 (16-ounce) bottle Italian vinaigrette dressing
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
1 medium red onion, diced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
Fresh parsley sprigs, for garnish

Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions. Drain. Rinse with cold water and drain again well. Transfer to a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the Italian dressing, cheese, sesame and poppy seeds, seasoned salt, paprika, garlic powder, and black and cayenne peppers until well blended.

[amazon-product]143914706X[/amazon-product]Stir in the cucumber and onion.

Pour the mixture over the spaghetti and toss lightly to coat evenly.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.

Toss with the tomatoes and garnish with parsley.

Makes 12 servings.

From “America’s Most Wanted Recipes” by Ron Douglas

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