Getting Back to The Basics with Bread

By any reasonable accounting, the cash cost of baking your life’s first three baguettes may be about 17 cents. On the other hand, if you factor in your time and effort (especially if you do a 14-hour “pre-ferment” mysteriously known as a Poolish), the cost of those loaves might be $397. Yes, you can buy…

MEXICO ON THE INSIDE

It would unwise for anyone to defame or dismiss the so-called Tex-Mex style of cooking in front of its millions of advocates, defenders, practitioners and passionate fans. Even the snobbiest culinary scholars should see in its intense gravies and undeniable multi-cultural goodness the same things that happen when French and German foods get together along…

Make Ahead Meals

One of the telltale signs of school starting again is the way days suddenly don’t have enough hours anymore. And sadly, some families respond by existing entirely on fast food (a good idea for neither taste buds nor waistline) or on less-than-wonderful frozen dinners from the supermarket. We are not about prohibition around here: we…

Making Meals into Family Memories

With the natural change in rhythms that comes with the start of another school year, yet another change might be good for your family. It might be time to involve your kids, whatever their ages, in the process that produces dinner. The idea of “kids in the kitchen,” is not so much new as old…

The Burning Question: Charcoal or Propane?

Setting meat (or, once in a blue moon on a diet, vegetables) over an open fire has got to be the oldest form of cooking on earth – short of the animal of your choice getting fortuitously struck by lightning. The time-honored technique, which acquired its modern name “barbecue” when European started learning from the…

Born-Again Bread

I can (and do) thank the Tuscans for teaching me what virtually every traditional culture on earth already knows: you never throw away anything that’s still edible, and that includes bread pushing hard on being stale. Over the centuries, as in Tuscany, cultures and cuisines have found tons of ways to make old breads taste…

Jambalaya’s Paternity

“Jambalaya, I am your father.” – Paella If you, like me, happened to grow up in south Louisiana, you were taught virtually on your Mama’s knee that jambalaya is the New World’s much-improved version of the paella invented in or around Valencia, Spain. And considering that Louisiana had a “Spanish period” between two stints as…

Charred Pineapple Shrimp Shish Kebab

1/2 cup teriyaki sauce 2 limes, juiced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 cup Fischer & Wieser Charred Pineapple Bourbon Sauce 1 lb Texas Gulf Shrimp, deveined and peeled 1 (8 ounce) package medium mushrooms, halved 1 red bell pepper cut in 1-inch cubes 2 small white onions 1 green bell pepper, cut in 1-inch cubes2…

Butternut Spiral Noodles with Shrimp

INGREDIENTS ½ lb Texas Gulf Shrimp 1-10 oz box of Butternut Squash Spirals 1-24 oz jar Mom’s Garlic and Basil Spaghetti Sauce INSTRUCTIONS In a skillet over medium-high heat, sauté your shrimp on both sides until pink. In a new pan, sauté noodles and add in ½ jar (or more if desired) of Mom’s Garlic…

Hummus Among Us

I sometimes think that three of the 20th century’s most enduring conflicts – Arab vs. Israeli, Greek vs. Turk and, well, Lebanese vs. Lebanese – could have been resolved had all sides been persuaded to agree on how much they love hummus. To the haunting strains of John Lennon singing “Imagine,” everybody could have gathered…

Dr. Foo’s Pad Thai

This must surely be the most famous of many wonderful dishes in the Thai repertoire, but not one you’re likely to find in even a mid-level restaurant in Thailand – unless it’s one with popularity among tourists. Just as Italian restaurants in Italy don’t make pizza – pizzerias do – pad thai is the province…

Dei Maggi Sets Visit

Michael Dei Maggi, whose career has taken him to esteemed culinary destinations like Paris and New York as well as Houston, will serve as guest chef for one night only at the Culinary Adventure Cooking School in Fredericksburg on Friday March 3. Dei Maggi comes to town representing the legendary Gage Hotel in the Big…