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Triple-Threat Chocolate Chip Cookies


Triple Threat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pack a box of these cookies for your valentine this year rather than buying him or her a box of chocolates. That little bit of personal effort makes a gift a whole lot better and this recipe from Pastry Queen Rebecca Rather and Alison Oresman is one of the best.

Triple-Threat Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped walnuts
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coasely chopped
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla
1/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups semisweet or milk chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange the pecans and walnuts on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast for 7 to 9 minutes, until golden brown and aromatic. Cool the nuts completely.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats, or grease generously with butter or cooking spray.

Melt the butter, bittersweet chocolate, and unsweetened chocolate in a small saucepan set over low heat. Stir occasionally, watching carefully to make sure the chocolate does not burn. Remove the pan from the heat to cool.

Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar in a large bowl on medium speed about 3 minutes until fluffy.  Add the vanilla and melted chocolate. Beat on medium speed about 2 minutes, until the dough is thick and glossy. Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the chocolate mixture, stirring just until incorporated. Stir in the nuts and chocolate chips. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes, which makes it easier to scoop.

Use a 1  3/4-inch-diameter scoop to drop spoonfuls of dough on the prepare baking sheets, spacing them at least 1  1/2 inches apart. Wet your fingertips lightly with water and gently flatted the cookie dough (no need to press hard, just press out the hump). Bake for 10 to 12 minutes before removing them from the baking sheets.

Rather Sweet Variation: Tor Triple-Threat Rocky Road Cookies, a favorite with elementary school kids, add 1 cup quartered mini-marshmallows to the dough along with the nuts and chocolate chips. Bake as directed.

Makes 4 dozen.

From “The Pastry Queen” by Rebecca Rather with Alison Oresman

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The Pink Pig Closes


The Pink Pig has closed.

The Pink Pig has closed.

Where am I going to get my salted caramel bars?

That was the first thought that crossed my mind when I learned that The Pink Pig, 6266 U.S. 290, near Fredericksburg, had closed.

“Pastry Queen” Rebecca Rather opened the cafe and bakery last fall to big business, especially from visitors to the area who thronged to get her lemon cookies, her Triple-Threat Chocolate Chip Cookies and those amazing salted caramel bars.

But according to a post on Facebook, it was too good to last: “We are sad to say The Pink Pig is officially closed due to the loss or our lease. Thank you for all of your amazing support throughout the last year!”

Comfort yourself with Rather’s Quick Bread made with pear and ginger.

 

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Griffin to Go: Wine, Beer and a Day in the Hill Country


Pat Brennan of Brennan Vineyards (center) talks with guests at 4.0 Cellars.

Pat Brennan of Brennan Vineyards (center) talks with guests at 4.0 Cellars.

The slow start of summer offered the perfect excuse for a recent Saturday trip to the Hill Country, where the winery trail has been growing as fast — and as thick — as wildflowers. Drive along U.S. 290, and you feel as if you encounter a new winery every few hundred yards, which is a good thing if you enjoy wine as much as my friends and I do. But wine alone didn’t make up all of our day’s agenda.

The entry to 4.0 Cellars.

The entry to 4.0 Cellars.

Every good food trip starts with a snack or even something more substantial, so we headed north on U.S. 281, looking for a place to have breakfast. We ended up at Sandra’s Cantina in Spring Branch where I couldn’t resist trying the Egg Enchiladas plate. Just typing this is making me hungry all over again. Imagine fluffy eggs tucked inside corn tortillas before being draped in a thick coating of a sauce made of refried beans. Cheese, grilled onions and jalapeños along with a few slivers of ripe avocado finished off the plate.

Well-fortified, we made our way through Johnson City, where the proliferation of wineries begins. We headed past Woodrose, Williams Chris and Hilmy Cellars and ended up at 4.0 Cellars, a collaborative effort among Brennan Vineyards, Lost Oak Winery and McPherson Cellars.

The impressive facility has only been open for about 13 months now, said Jesse Barter, director of retail operations. It features a generous, shaded porch area with plenty of rockers where you can while away an afternoon while looking out over the manicured lawn and freestyle landscaping. There’s also a covered area where live music can be enjoyed on weekends or large parties can be held.

As beautiful as the setting is, the real story of any wine cellar is in the bottle. So, we settled down to a tasting of six dry wines that 4.0 features. (Well, most of us opted for the dry wines; two went for a sweeter wine tasting and seemed as happy with the result as we were.)

Guests sample the wines at 4.0 Cellars.

Guests sample the wines at 4.0 Cellars.

White selections included the Brennan Vineyards Viognier, an old favorite with plenty of ripe stone fruit flavor and a bouquet of honeysuckle blossoms, and Lost Oak’s Quartet, a blend of Viognier, Roussanne, Pinot Blanc and Chardonnel. That’s right, Chardonnel; it’s is a fairly new varietal that’s a hybrid of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. (Lost Oak has plans of bottling its own Chardonnel, Barter said.)

Winemaker Kim McPherson has introduced a new label, Chansa, which features wines only for sale at 4.0 and his other winery, McPherson Cellars, in Lubbock. The Chansa Roussanne, with its tea aroma and savory lemon drop flavor, showcases a rising star on the Texas grape-growing scene.

The reds on our included McPherson’s DBS, a lively blend of Dolcetto, Barbera and Sangiovese, and Lost Oak’s Crimson Oak, a red blend with plenty of forward fruit flavors. The Brennan Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon integrated bright red fruit with soft tannins into a real pleasure.

At the center of the massive tasting room while we were there, Pat Brennan of Brennan Vineyards served as a genial host, answering people’s questions and talking with the visitors, many of whom ended up going to the racks at either end of the room for some liquid souvenirs to take home with them.

We debated stopping across the street from 4.0, where Inwood Estates has opened a winery with a bistro soon to open, but we headed off to the Pink Pig, just a few miles down the road and next to both the Fiesta Winery tasting room that opens July 4 and the just-opened Six Shooter Cellars Winery. I’ll admit I had been dreaming of Rebecca Rather’s Triple Chocolate Threat Cookies since my last Hill Country visit. So I was sad to learn that they were out of those dangerously delicious cookies that day, though our server did tell me the recipe was in Rather’s first cookbook, “The Pastry Queen.” I consoled myself with the knowledge that I’d be able to make my own Triple Threats soon. And I wisely drowned my sorrows in a salted caramel bar, which has now become my latest obsession among Rather’s creations.

If you need something for your kitchen, check Der Kuchen Laden.

If you need something for your kitchen, check Der Kuchen Laden.

What was meant as a quick stop in downtown Fredericksburg turned into a nice shopping trip at Der Kuchen Laden, the kitchen goods wonderland where Bob Oberhelman’s Bell Mountain winery now has a tasting area. Afterwards, we went next door and down below for lunch at the Rathskeller, where a plate of pork loin with brown gravy and sauerkraut made for a great lunch.

We headed out of town on Route 87, where we made one last stop, and it was not a winery. Instead, we dropped in on the Pedernales Brewing Company, makers of Lobo Beers.

Master brewer Peter McFarlane and his partner, Lee Hereford, are on hand Saturday afternoons these days to offer tours of the low-key facility, where 14 employes now work, making and bottling a pilsner, a pre-Prohibition lager, a dark lager, a hefe-weissen and an English-style IPA.

Master brewer Pete McFarlane leads a tour through Pedernales Brewing Company.

Master brewer Pete McFarlane leads a tour through Pedernales Brewing Company.

On the day we were there, McFarlane led us into the tank room, which bore a strong resemblance to many a winery. It’s true, the brewer said, that the same tanks are used to hold the precious liquid before bottling. But the process is a lot faster for beer than it is for wine. Most brews take four to five days to make, while lagers take twice as long, nine or 10 days.

Hops

Hops

I won’t reveal all of McFarlane’s secrets or stories, but he did address the importance of consistency. Each bottle of Lobo Texas Lager has to taste the same, which can be hard, requiring thorough knowledge of ingredients, which include barley, malt and hops and which can vary from batch to batch. Yet consistency is what the customer expects. It’s also been what beer lovers have appreciated most about Lobo Beers. Though the brewery is only a little more than a year old, it has won a devoted following and its audience continues to grow, thanks to sales at H-E-B, Spec’s and other stores.

pedernales4McFarlane offers a few reasons why his staff is happy to report to work each day. They’re insured. They’re challenged in various roles, so that nobody gets stale. They’re given a case of beer each week to take home with them. Plus, they get a beer at lunch and two at the end of their shift. So, if you’ll work for beer, you may want to check Pedernales Brewing Company to see if there are any openings.

Or you could indulge your desire to make your own beer by getting a kit and giving it a try at home. That’s how McFarlane got his start. The next time you’re in Fredericksburg, drop in at the brewery and ask him about Old Green Face, his first brewing effort. Maybe he’ll tell you over a tasting of his Lobo Negro, a dark lager, or the Pedernales Classic India Pale Ale.

Pete McFarlane tapes up a case for his beer.

Pete McFarlane tapes up a case for his beer.

If you’re going to Fredericksburg:

4.0 Cellars
10354 E. U.S. 290, Fredericksburg
(830) 997-7470
www.fourpointwine.com

The Pink Pig
6266 E. U.S. 290, Fredericksburg
(830) 990-8800
pinkpigtexas.com

Der Kuchen Laden
258 E. Main St., Fredericksburg
(830) 997-4937
www.littlechef.com

The Rathskeller
260 E. Main St., Fredericksburg
(830) 990-5858
www.rathskellerrestaurant.net

Pedernales Brewing Company
97 Hitchen Post Trail, Fredericksburg
(830) 669-2917
www.pedernalesbrewing.com

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The Pastry Queen Opens the Pink Pig in Fredericksburg


Rebecca Rather is opening the Pink Pig in Fredericksburg.

Rebecca Rather, also known as the Pastry Queen from her bestselling cookbooks, is opening the Pink Pig in Fredericksburg today. (The name stems from her pink pig shortbread cookies as well as a lifetime love of pet pigs.)

Rather’s pastries will be part of the menu.

Visitors can expect Southern favorites like the Fried Oyster Nachos, Stuffed Mac ‘N Cheese Chile Rellenos, Duck Fat Popcorn, Indian Fry Bread, Bacon and Cheddar Scones, and the from-scratch baked goods that are Rather’s signature. Breakfast will be counter service, with lunch and dinner a sit-down affair. A continuously changing chalkboard will feature seasonal food and drink specials.

Patrons can also expect dishes featured in all three of Rather’s cookbooks, including “Pastry Queen Parties” and “The Pastry Queen Christmas.” She plans to source as many of her ingredients as possible from the area.

Just pig out.

“I’m having a lot of fun drawing upon my years of cooking—it’ll be a mix of Southern, Mexican and Texan cuisines. And since we’re in the middle of the Fredericksburg wineries, we’ll be serving cheese plates, wine and to-go picnic baskets for al fresco picnics,” says Rather.

The Pink Pig is housed in a rustic 19th century log structure, complete with a back patio overlooking the Hill Country landscape. Outdoor fireplaces, leather loveseats, and a 20-foot wine bar will seat as many as 80 guests where they can relax under the Texas sky. Inside, the vintage display cases anchor the interior, accented by rustic seating for 50 and plenty of Rather’s pig paraphernalia on display.

The Pink Pig will be open Wednesday for breakfast and lunch from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday-Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. The restaurant is located at 6266 U.S. 290 (just past Wildseed Farms) in Fredericksburg. For further information, call (830) 990-8800 or visit www.pinkpigtexas.com.

The Hill Country as seen from the Pink Pig’s patio.

 

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S’more’s Cupcakes


This recipe says “party,” so no surprise it comes from Rebecca Rather’s “Pastry Queen Parties.” The author says she makes the cupcakes ahead of time, then swirls on the marshmallow topping and browns it just before serving. All the flavors of the famous campfire treat are there, too, from the graham crackers to broiled marshmallow topping — and plenty of chocolate in between.

S’mores Cupcakes

Graham Cracker Base:
2 cups graham crackers (about 16 whole crackers)
1 cup (2 sticks unsalted butter), melted
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Chocolate Cupcakes
1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup high-quality unsweetened cocoa (such as Green & Black’s or Scharffen Berger)
3/4 cup brewed coffee, or 1 tablespoon espresso powder, fully dissolved in 3/4 cup hot water
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 (12-ounce) bag large milk chocolate chips, (such as Ghirardelli)

Marshmallow Topping
8 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar

To make the Graham Cracker Base: In a bowl, stir together the crumbs, the 1 cup melted butter and the 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

To make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line Texas or standard-size cupcake tins with paper cupcake liners. For the crust, press the graham cracker base into the bottom of each well; about 3 tablespoons for a Texas-size cupcake; about 2 tablespoons for a standard-size.

Melt the 1 cup butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the cocoa and whisk until smooth. Add the coffee and whisk until smooth. Add the 2 cups sugar, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla to the warm cocoa mixture. Whisk until smooth. Add the flour, baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt and whisk until incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Evenly divide the batter to fill each cup almost to the top of the muffin papers. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and when the cupcake feels firm when lightly pressed in their center, 20-25 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and invert onto wire cooling racks. Cool for at least 30 minutes before decorating.

To make the marshmallow topping: Set a large, perfectly clean metal bowl over a pot filled with 2 inches of lightly simmering water. Add the egg whites and the 1 1/2 cups sugar and heat, whisking constantly, until the sugar melts and there are no visible sugar grains in the meringue. (Rub a little bit of meringue between your fingers to make sure all the sugar has melted.) Remove the meringue from the heat and beat it with an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on high speed until the meringue is stiff and shiny, about 5 minutes.

To assemble cupcakes: Spoon the marshmallow topping into a pastry bag fitted with an open star tip. Pipe the topping onto each cupcake in a circular motion, starting at the outside edge of the cupcake and working toward the center. I like to pipe it on generously so that it comes to a peak in the center that is 2 to 2 1/2 inches high. Or, pile the topping on top of the cupcakes. Style it with your fingers by plucking at it to tease it into jagged spikes or shape with a spoon. Using a kitchen torch, brown the marshmallow by moving the flame slowly around the topping, avoiding the cupcake papers until it is evenly golden brown.

Alternatively, you can brown the topping under a broiler. Set the cupcakes on a baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and broil until the meringue topping turns golden brown, about 1 minute. Watch the cupcakes closely, as they can go from browned to burnt in seconds. Serve the same day you make them.

You can make these cupcakes in advance, but not frosted, and freeze them for up to 2 weeks. Defrost them completely before finishing with the marshmallow topping. With topping, they will keep for about 2 days uncovered in the refrigerator.

Makes 12 Texas-sized or 18 regular sized cupcakes.

From Rebecca Rather’s “Pastry Queen Parties”

 

 

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Cool and Refresh With a Watermelon Mojito


Watermelon adds another flavor factor to this great drink.

On a hot, summer evening in San Antonio, there are few things quite so refreshing as a waiter strolling up to your table with a dripping glass pitcher of mojitos; icy, limey and packed with mint.

Here’s a recipe that includes all of the above, with the addition of watermelon, which adds another dimension of flavor and refreshment. This recipe comes from Rebecca Rather’s book, “Pastry Queen Parties,” and she credits the recipe to cocktail specialist David Alan. Rather suggests having the elements to this drink, including chilled glasses, ready for friends after a dazzling day under the Texas sun.

 

Watermelon Mojitos

Mojito Base

1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
Handful fresh mint leaves
1 cup light rum
1/2 cup aged rum

Additions

Per drink: 3 or 4 chunks peeled, seeded ripe watermelon
Ice cubes
Club soda
Watermelon slices and sprigs of mint, for garnish

To make the base: Add the agave nectar, lime juice and mint leaves to a large glass pitcher and lightly bruise the leaves with a wooden spoon or muddler. Add both rums.

For each drink: Add the watermelon to a tall, 8-ounce glass and lightly mash with a wooden spoon or muddler. Add a generous amount of ice and fill the glass two-thirds full with mojito base. Top off with club soda and garnish with a slice of watermelon and a sprig of mint.

Makes 8 drinks

From “Pastry Queen Parties” by Rebecca Rather; cocktail recipe from David Alan

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Butterscotch Brownies with Brown Sugar Butter Icing


Rebecca Rather’s book “Pastry Queen Parties,” (Ten-Speed Press, $32.50) offers treats big in Texas style for entertaining. Leafing through it, you’ll see such things as Cajun Catfish Tacos with Chipotle Mayonnaise, a big, cool Marinated Crab Claw Salad, Watermelon Mojitos, S’mores Cupcakes (with marshmallow cream topping, off course) — it’s enough to make you want to start planning a half-dozen parties and start cooking.

These Butterscotch Brownies with Brown Sugar Butter Icing seem like a lighter, brighter version of the heavier chocolate and gingerbread sweets we make at Christmas — perfect for a summer potluck or birthday party.  In the book, the brownies are pictured neatly stacked, all individually half-wrapped in strips of parchment paper. A gracious touch to a very sweet offering.

Butterscotch Brownies with Brown Sugar Icing

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups firmly packed golden brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups chopped pecans, toasted
Icing:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups firmly packed golden brown sugar
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the brownies: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a half-sheet (13-by-18-inch) pan with aluminum foil and grease with butter or cooking spray. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the 1 cup butter and the 3 cups of brown sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and 1 tablespoons vanilla and continue beating for another minute. In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture on low speed until incorporated. Stir in the pecans. Pour into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake until the bars are set and slightly puffed, 25-30 minutes. Cool completely before icing.

For the icing: In a saucepan set over medium heat, melt the 1 cup butter and 2 cups brown sugar. Once the mixture is lightly bubbling, decrease the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 more minutes; set aside. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachement, beat the powdered sugar, half and half and vanilla on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the melted butter mixture and beat until well combined. Pour over the cooled brownies and spread evenly. Let the brownies sit for about 30 minutes to let the icing firm up before cutting into squares.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen 2-by-3-inch bars

From Rebecca Rather’s “Pastry Queen Parties” (Co-written by Alison Oresman)

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Rather Sweet to Become Sugar and Smoke; Auden’s Kitchen Updates Menu


Sugar and Smoke to open in Fredericksburg

Rebecca Rather

The Pastry Queen, Rebecca Rather, is planning a new restaurant. Her original place, Rather Sweet, has been closed for renovations and will reopen in January as Sugar and Smoke.

She will be teaming up with award-winning Wagyu brisket and steak chef Nicole Davenport on the venture.  “Our mission at Sugar & Smoke is to create dishes sourcing fresh, locally grown products that represent the best Texas flavors and styles!” the website says.

Nicole Davenport

Breakfast foods will include quiche, French toast and omelets, while lunch will bring a half-smoked chicken, pork-stuffed loin and pecan-smoked brisket.

The dessert list will include  pocket-sized key lime pies, tuxedo cake, Italian cream cake, hot chocolate cake, red velvet cupcakes, Big Haired Lemon Tarts, Garrison Bourbon apple pies and tiramisú.

Sugar & Smoke will also serve all of your favorite Beer and Wines as well as a selection of grab and go lunches including wraps, chicken salad, chips, and drinks.

The bakery/cafe will be open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday with a Sunday Brunch each week from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information visit www.sugarandsmoke.com.

New items at Auden’s Kitchen

In time for fall: Tomato Chipotle Goat Cheese Soup at Auden's Kitchen.

Auden’s Kitchen, 700 E. Sonterra Blvd., has introduced a new menu for the fall and winter seasons.

Tamarind-glazed quail with an Asian sesame slaw, mussels steamed with a local brew and served with fries, garlicky white bean dip with flat bread, and tomato chipotle goat cheese soup are among the small plates on the menu. Large plates include pan-seared salmon with feta polenta cake, Texas antelope and quail, and a seasonal ravioli.

Happy hour is from 3 to 7 p.m. daily with a new bar/patio menu. Snacks start at $4, while house cocktails are $5 and select wines and beers are $4.

For more information call (210) 494-0070 or click here.

Celebrate a new Texas bourbon

.36 Texas Bourbon Whiskey

Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling, 4834 Whirlwind Drive, is celebrating the release of .36 Texas Bourbon Whiskey with a launch party from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, just after Thanksgiving.

The event will featuring food from Lüke, 125 E. Houston St., including cochon du lait jambalaya, house-made sausages, Ranger Creek OPA-fried chicken, traditional Southern sides and bourbon pecan pie.

You can meet the distiller and have your bottle signed.

The cost is $60 a person, plus tax and gratuity. To make your prepaid reservation, call 210-227-LUKE or email jsoloman@chefjohnbesh.com.

Dady, Rather part of Pyles’ Celebrity Chef Dinner

Jason Dady

Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills chef Jason Dady and Rebecca Rather are among the six chefs who’ll be part of the lineup for the 12th annual Stephan Pyles Celebrity Chef Dinner & Live Wine Auction, which is set for Dec. 4 at Pyles’ flagship restaurant in Dallas.

The event, presented under the auspices of the Wine & Food Foundation of Texas, raises money for the Stephan Pyles Culinary Scholarship.

Pyles will be cooking as well as Renee Morgan from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin, who was the 2011 scholarship winner, David Garrido of Garrido’s in Austin and Nick Badovinus of Neighborhood Services Bar & Grill in Dallas. this is the second time Dady has participated in the event.

A Champagne reception kicks off the evening at 6 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m. Seating is limited and reservations are required. The price is $150 a person (tax and gratuity included). Reservations can be made by calling the Foundation at (512) 327-7555 or by visiting www.winefoodfoundation.org.

According to a press release about the dinner, “The Stephan Pyles Culinary Scholarship is based upon an “Iron-Chef”-style cook-off each spring. Numerous students apply from across the state, and the top three applicants are selected for the challenge; the students must create a three-course menu utilizing a predetermined list of Texas ingredients.”

County Line class canceled

The County Line, 10101 I-10 W., has canceled its November cooking class. The class, which was set for this Friday, was too close to Thanksgiving for so many of the regulars, pitmaster Garrett Stephens said.

We’ll announce the next class as soon as it is scheduled.

 

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Restaurant Notes & Quotes: Wine dinners at Las Canarias, Ostra


September wine dinners at Las Canarias, Ostra

Two River Walk restaurants, Las Canarias at the La Mansion del Rio and Ostra, at the Mokara Hotel & Spa, will be offering wine dinners in September. Las Canarias features wines from Far Niente Winery and Ostra will showcase Jordan Vineyards. John Brand is executive chef at both restaurants. Both events begin at 7 p.m.  Call 210-518-1017 to make reservations for either dinner.

The Far Niente Winery Wine Dinner at Las Canarias is Sept. 22. The price is $125 per person. Las Canarias is at 112 College Street.

On the menu: East Coast Fluke, Avocado Oil, Bella Verdi Greens and Citrus w/Far Niente Chardonnay; Hudson Valley Duck Liver and Prosciutto Roulade, Pickled Cherries, Duck Confit Palmiers w/En Route Pinot Noir; Third Course: Peeler Farms Egg Ravioli, Black Trumpet Mushrooms and Smoked Scamorza, Local Oxtail and Short Rib Stew w/Far Niente Cabernet; Culotte of Waygu Beef, Heirloom Carrot Ribbons, Mille-feuille of Gold Potato, Kabocha Pumpkin, Marrow, Marjoram Gremolata w/Nickel & Nickel State Ranch Cabernet and Sullenger Cabernet: Dessert is Cooper Farms Peach and Brown Butter Tart, Pure Luck Sainte Maure and Blue Heron Cajeta/w Dolce by Far Niente.

On Sept. 23, Ostra, 212 W. Crockett St., will feature Jordan Vineyards. This wine and food event will be $100 per person. On the menu: Passed hors d’oeuvres; Green Apple Carpaccio, Pure Luck Chevre, Marcona Almonds, Gold Beets, Watercress; Hawaiian Kona Kampachi Crudo, Grapefruit, Amaranth and Bottarga Aioli w/2009 Chardonnay; Strube Ranch Waygu Beef Flatiron, Engle Farms Squash Gnocchi, Spinach, Caper and Sage Beurre Noir w/2002-2004 Cabernet; Valrhona Equatorial Chocolate Mousse, Jivara Pot de Crème and Cocoa Nibs, Roasted Cherries, Red Velvet Sponge Cake w/ 2007 Cabernet.

Rather Sweet takes a month off

Rather Sweet Bakery, Rebecca Rather’s bakery at 249 E. Main St., Fredericksburg, will be closed for the month of September, according a posting on Facebook. Rather will reopen Oct. 1.

Louis Halfant doing fine dining in Boerne

Chef Louis Halfant, San Antonio chef and former chef/owner of Eclipse, on Northwest Military Highway, is now chef at the Limestone Grill in Boerne. The fine dining restaurant is in the historic Ye Kendall Inn, 128 W. Blanco St.

Support arts’ à la carte on Sept. 27

Grilled Cheese Sandwich at The Monterey.

On Sept. 27, the Artist Foundation of San Antonio will stage a one-day event at area restaurants called arts’ à la carte. Proceeds will assist the Artist Foundation to continue its mission, which is “to enrich our artistic and economic fabric by providing monetary awards to individual artists, across diverse disciplines, thereby advancing their creative enterprise and the arts in our community.”

The participating restaurants and their specials include:

  • Aldaco’s (Stone Oak),  20 percent off food only, 3-9 p.m.
  • Bharmacy, 20 percent off food and drinks,all day
  • Patty Lou’s, 20 percent of food and drinks, all day
  • Bistro Vatel 20 percent off food & drinks/all day
  • Capparelli’s on Main, 20 percent off food and drinks, dinner only
  • Coco Chocolate Lounge, 20 percent off food and drinks, all day
  • Cool Cafe (Stone Oak), 20 percent off food and drinks, all day
  • Counter Culture Cafe, 20 percent off food and drinks, all day
  • The Esquire Tavern, 20 percent off food and drinks, all day
  • Green Vegetarian Cuisine, 20 percent off food and drinks,dinner only
  • Liberty Bar, 20 percent off food and drinks, all day
  • The Monterey, 25 percent off food and drinks, all day
  • Paloma Blanca, 20 percent off food and drinks, lunch only
  • Piatti, 20 percent off food and drinks, all day
  • Twin Sisters (Alamo Heights), 20 percent off food and drinks, all day
  • Twin Sisters (Downtown), 20 percent off food and drinks, all day

For more information on the event, click here.

Benihana Restaurant closed, Sumo Japanese to Open

The restaurant at 8342 I-10 W. has closed and will reopen under the new name this week.

SavorSA co-editor John Griffin contributed to this post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rebecca Rather’s Green Olive Beef Tenderloin


Rebecca Rather’s recipe, from “The Pastry Queen Christmas” (Ten Speed Press, $32.50), is a delicious memory from her own family holidays.

Green Olive Beef Tenderloin

3 pounds beef tenderloin, trimmed
1⁄4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
2 cups large pimento-stuffed green olives, halved
1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup olive juice from the green olives

Coat the tenderloin with olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Sear the tenderloin in an extra-large sauté pan for about 1 minute on each side, or until it is nicely browned. Place the tenderloin in a roasting pan. Spread the olives across the top of the meat and pour the olive juice evenly over everything. Roast for 9 minutes (3 minutes per pound), then turn off the oven and leave the roast undisturbed for 45 minutes (for medium-rare). Do not open the oven door during this time. Remove from the oven and loosely tent with aluminum foil. Let rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Carve and serve.

Note: Let the roast stay in the oven for 1 hour if you prefer your meat medium or medium-well.

Note: It seems hard to imagine that you’ll have much in the way of leftovers, but if you do, there’s nothing better than a tenderloin sandwich served on a soft roll. Try it on homemade sandwich rolls with a touch of horseradish or a slathering of horseradish sauce (see below).

Rather Sweet Variation

Although this roast is wonderful as is, I often serve it with a simple homemade horseradish sauce: In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup mayonnaise, 1⁄2 cup sour cream, 1⁄4 cup prepared horseradish (or more to taste), and 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice. Pass the sauce in a serving dish as an accompaniment to the tenderloin.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

From “The Pastry Queen Christmas: Big-Hearted Holiday Entertaining, Texas Style” by Rebecca Rather with Alison Oresman.

Photo by Laurie Smith © 2008

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