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Chef Hamlet Dishes Up a Simple, Sensual White Bean Veloute

Chef Hamlet Dishes Up a Simple, Sensual White Bean Veloute

Chef Hamlet's White Bean Veloute

Chef Hamlet’s White Bean Veloute

Chef Hamlet Garcia, or simply Chef Hamlet to the lovers of TV food programs, was in San Antonio Wednesday as part of a fundraiser for KLRN. The star of “Vme Cocina” presented a cooking demonstration of the various dishes that were presented in a lavish dinner held at La Taquilera del Patron, 17776 Blanco Road.

One of the dishes from his Venezuelan homeland was a velvety white bean soup topped with queso fresco, bacon, chives and the earthy brilliance of a few drops of truffle oil. The soup is easy to make, though it takes a day to let the beans soak.

White Bean Veloute

12 slices of bacon
2 pounds of white beans, preferably soaked in water for 24 hours and drained
2 large ribs celery
1 large white onion, chopped in squares
5 cloves garlic, peeled
Fresh thyme
1/4 pound (1 stick) butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 gallon chicken broth
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Queso fresco, cut into small cubes, for garnish
1/2 cup sliced chives, for garnish
4 tablespoons truffle oil, for garnish

Chef Hamlet speaks with guests at the KLRN dinner.

Chef Hamlet speaks with guests at the KLRN dinner.

Cook the bacon in the oven or in a pan until it is very crisp. Remove from the pot and save the fat for later. Finely chop or crush the bacon in a food processor; reserve for garnishing the dish.

In a saucepan, add the bacon fat and briefly cook the onion and celery in it; stir constantly without browning. When the onions are translucent, add the drained white beans, thyme, garlic, butter, cream and chicken broth. When the liquid is boiling, simmer the beans for 90 minutes, stirring and mixing the ingredients occasionally in the pot. Add salt and pepper as necessary.

When the beans are tender, remove the pot from the heat and let it stand for one hour. Then, reserve a little of the broth and add the mixture in a blender or food processor; blend until it achieves a velvety texture. Then add the reserved broth and add salt and pepper as necessary to achieve the desired texture or taste.

Garnish each serving with queso fresco cubes, chives, bacon pieces and a few drops of truffle oil.

Makes 4-6 servings.

From Chef Hamlet

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Boeuf Bourguignon Makes an Appearance in “The Hundred-Foot Journey”

Boeuf Bourguignon Makes an Appearance in “The Hundred-Foot Journey”

It was the star of “Julie & Julia.” OK, maybe Meryl Streep was. But that movie left moviegoers with one thing on their minds: boeuf bourguignon. The hearty beef stew is a centerpiece of one of the movie’s more appetizing food scenes.

Boeuf Bourguignon

Boeuf Bourguignon

It makes an appearance in the new foodie movie, “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” as well. In the scene, the movie’s young hero serves the French classic to his Indian father, who is duly impressed with his son’s culinary gifts.

If you would like to try this at home, here is Julia Child’s original recipe, lightly adapted  from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” and complete with her comments:

Boeuf Bourguignon
Boeuf a la Bourguignonne
[Beef Stew in Red Wine, with Bacon, Onions, and Mushrooms]

As is the case with most famous dishes, there are more ways than one to arrive at a good boeuf bourguignon. Carefully done, and perfectly flavored, it is certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man, and can well be the main course for a buffet dinner. Fortunately, you can prepare it completely ahead, even a day in advance, and it only gains in flavor when reheated.

Vegetable and wine suggestions: Boiled potatoes are traditionally served with this dish. Buttered noodles or steamed rice may be substituted. If you also wish a green vegetable, buttered peas would be your best choice. Serve with the beef a fairly full-bodied, young red wine, such as Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone, Bordeaux-St. Émilion or Burgundy.

For 6 people.

  • A 6-ounce chunk of bacon

Remove rind, and cut bacon into lardoons (sticks, ¼-inch thick and 1 1/2-inches long). Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in 1 ½ quarts of water. Drain and dry.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

  • A 9- to 10-inch fireproof casserole 3 inches deep
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or cooking oil
  • A slotted spoon

Sauté the bacon in the oil over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. Set casserole aside. Reheat until fat is almost smoking before you sauté the beef.

  • 3 pounds lean stewing beef cut into 2-inch cubes

Dry the beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Sauté it, a few pieces at a time, in the hot oil and bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the bacon.

  • 1 sliced carrot
  • 1 sliced onion

In the same fat, brown the vegetables. Pour out the sautéing fat.

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flour

Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with the salt and pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of pre-heated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to oven for 4 minutes more. (This browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust.) Remove casserole, and turn oven down to 325 degrees.

  • 3 cups of a full-bodied young red wine, such as one of those suggested for serving, or a Chianti
  • 2 to 3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • A crumbled bay leaf
  • The blanched bacon rind

Stir in the wine and enough stock or bouillon so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to simmer on top of the stove. Then cover the casserole and set in lower third of pre-heated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers very slowly for 2 ½ to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

  • 18 to 24 small white onions, brown-braised in stock.
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • salt & fresh ground pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.

Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet and add the onions to the skillet. Sauté over medium heat for about ten minutes, rolling the onions about so they brown as evenly as possible, without breaking apart. Pour in the stock, season to taste, add the herbs, and cover. Simmer over low heat for about 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but retain their shape and the liquid has mostly evaporated. Remove the herbs and set the onions aside.

For the mushrooms, heat the butter and oil over high heat in a large skillet. As soon as the foam begins to subside add the mushrooms and toss and shake the pan for about five minutes. As soon as they have browned lightly, remove from heat. Set the mushrooms aside until needed.

When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan. Wash out the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat.

[amazon-product]0375413405[/amazon-product]Skim the fat off the sauce. Simmer sauce for a minute or two, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 ½ cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons of stock or canned bouillon. Taste carefully for seasoning. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables. (Recipe may be completed in advance to this point.)

  • Parsley sprigs

For immediate serving: Cover the casserole and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times. Serve in its casserole, or arrange the stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles, or rice and decorated with parsley.

For later serving: When cold, cover and refrigerate. About 15 to 20 minutes before serving, bring to the simmer, cover and simmer very slowly for 10 minutes, occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.

From knopfdoubleday.com and www.RecipeZaar.com.

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Put on Your Aprons: Cooking Classes in SA

Put on Your Aprons: Cooking Classes in SA

Chef Steven McHugh at Cured

Chef Steven McHugh at Cured

Kiddie Corner at Cured with Chef Steve McHugh

Chef Steve McHugh of Cured will be offering cooking classes for kids ages 7 to 12 at the Pearl Farmers Market on Saturday, July 26 at 9 a.m.

Children will shop the market for seasonal produce and learn how to safely prepare each ingredient and create dishes they can easily reproduce at home.

The class will last for 30 minutes and cost $15 per child. All proceeds will be benefit Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign to end childhood hunger.

To reserve your spot please call 210.314.3929.

Summer in Tuscany at Sur La Table

Rustic yet refined, Tuscan cooking is famous for using simple ingredients and preparations to create delicious, authentic flavors. Our instructor will teach you the techniques behind these satisfying recipes as well as a few tips to make their preparation a breeze.

Great cooking isn’t about recipes—it’s about techniques. In our classes you’ll work together with other students in a fun, hands-on environment led by our professional chef instructors. Class time is 3:30-5:30 p.m., July 27. The cost is $69. Reserve you place by phone (18 years old and older) at 800-243-0852.  Sur La Table is at the Shops at La Cantera, 15900 La Cantera Parkway.

In this class you will:

  • Learn fundamental skills for a lifetime of great cooking
  • Work side-by-side with other students to prepare each dish
  • Interact with classmates and the instructor for a rich learning experience
  • Classes are 2 to 2 1/2 hours, unless otherwise noted above, and each student enjoys a generous taste of every dish
  • Held in our professional teaching kitchens, each class is led by an experienced chef instructor
  • Hands-on classes are limited to 16 participants
  • Students receive a 10 percent discount coupon to use the week after the class

Cooking at Central Market: Stone Fruits

Join Sustenio chef David Gilbert at Quarry Farmers & Ranchers Market for a tour of the offerings at hand Sunday (July 15) and then brunch.

Hannah Smith, CM Cooking School Instructor, will demonstrate three healthy recipes that are also a delicious way to use these summer fruits. The class is for students ages 18 and older. The cost is $25. These recipes will be demonstrated:

  •  Summer Stone Fruit Gazpacho;
  •  Brandied Peach &  Pork Kebabs;
  •  Burrata Stone Fruit Salad; and
  •  Roast Plums with Almond Crunch, Basil Syrup & Cream.

 

Class is 12-1 p.m. Aug. 1. To reserve a place call 210-368-8617. Or follow this link.

Posted in Cooking, How To0 Comments

Zucchini and Apple Olive Oil Cake

Zucchini and Apple Olive Oil Cake

This is a spicy, flavorful cake that originated as Mario Batali’s Zucchini Olive Oil Cake. We adapted it slightly by substituting half of the zucchini called for in the recipe with grated apples. So, if you like, you could use 2 cups of shredded zucchini. Walnuts will taste great, but if you have pecans you could use those, too.

Zucchini and Apple Olive Oil Cake

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
1 cup of shredded zucchini
1 cup shredded apples
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)
Powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar, eggs and oil until light. Add the vanilla and lemon zest, followed by the dry ingredients, beating thoroughly to combine. Add the zucchini and walnuts.

Pour into a greased 13-inch by 9-inch cake pan.

Bake the cake 35-40 minutes, or until it is golden brown on top and springy to the touch in the center. Dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar and serve.

Adapted from Mario Batali’s recipe, with thanks to www.spoonfulblog.com

Posted in Cooking, Featured, In Season, Recipes0 Comments

Mr. Strange’s Barbecue Sauce

Mr. Strange’s Barbecue Sauce

Barbecue sauce

Thanks to Don Strange of Texas for sharing this recipe.

 

Mr. Strange’s Barbecue Sauce

1 cup ketchup
2 ¾ cups tomato sauce
2 tablespoons medium-hot chili powder
¾ teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons plus 1 ½ teaspoon black powder
1 ¾ cups water
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons plus 1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1 ½ teaspoon honey
1 tablespoons liquid smoke
½ pound (1 stick) plus 5 tablespoons unsalted butter

Combine all ingredients in a heavy-bottomed  3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Stir the sauce until the butter has melted, then reduce heat and cool completely. Transfer to a storage container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate.

From Don Strange of Texas

 

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Make a Breakfast of Carne Adovada with Eggs

Make a Breakfast of Carne Adovada with Eggs

“One of the glories of New Mexican cooking, carne adovada is meltingly tender pork marinated and braised in freshly ground red chile sauce,” write Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison in “The Rancho de Chimayó Cookbook” (Lyons Press, $24.95). “Nothing makes a more thrilling start to the day in home kitchens, the dish usually would be made a night or two ahead for dinner, since it slow bakes for several hours and improves with a two or two’s age. Pairing it with creamy eggs creates a perfect match of soothing and rousing.”

Carne Adovada with Eggs

Carne Adovada with Eggs

Carne Adovada with Eggs

3/4-1 cup Carne Adovada, warmed (see related recipe here)
Canola or vegetable oil for frying
2 large eggs
Salt, to taste
Black, pepper, to taste

Pour a thick film of oil into a heavy medium skillet over medium heat.

Eggs are most often prepared sunnyside up for this dish. Crack the eggs into the skillet and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Fry until the whites have set.

Quickly spoon carne adovada onto a plate in a lery about 1 inch thick. Top with eggs. Serve immediately.

Makes 1 serving.

From “The Rancho de Chimayó Cookbook” by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison

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Savor the Intoxicating Flavors of the Rancho de Chimayó

Savor the Intoxicating Flavors of the Rancho de Chimayó

Long before I ever visited New Mexico, friends told me of the special red chile that comes from the town of Chimayó, which the locals would string together in ristras to dry in the sun.

Sharon Stewart’s photographs fill the cookbook.

That may seem odd given how many chiles, both red and green, are harvested throughout the state, but you’ll find Chimayó chile powder sold in in towns throughout the region and often at prices higher than others from across the state. That little extra is worth it to those who like the balance of sweetness, heat and intensity that marks the heirloom chile.

It’s also one reason that many travel to the tiny town each year to stock up. Another is the Rancho de Chimayó Restaurant, which the Jaramillo family has been running for almost 50 years. In honor of its approaching golden anniversary, Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison’s “The Rancho de Chimayó Cookbook: The Traditional Cooking of New Mexico” (Lyons Press, $24.95) has been reissued and updated — and what a pleasure it is to have.

This was one of the Jamison’s earliest books, before they went on to write “Texas Home Cooking,” “Smoke and Spice” and others in a career that has earned them four James Beard Awards. For this edition of “The Rancho de Chimayó,” they have gone back to update their history of the restaurant, which Arturo and Florence Jaramillo, opened in 1965, and expanded on the number of recipes included.

rancho cookbook1The entire volume speaks to a culture that embraces its history in both the foods that are served and the methods used, from using chicos instead of pinto beans when available to secrets for making tamales. The Chile con Queso recipe is made with Velveeta, which may not seem traditional, but the Jamisons remind us that this processed cheese food dates back to the 1920s and quickly became a staple in New Mexican homes because it melts so easily and smoothly, so they still use it in this dish even as more and more cheeses are becoming available.

The authors also offer a fascinating story of the Chimayó chile itself. It seems that the chile was so sought after in the 1880s that residents would trade it for what they needed. In dealing with the folks from San Luis, “they would exchange 140 pounds of wheat or 16 pounds of beans for two of the scarlet ristras,” they write. “Their potatoes fetched far less, only a ristra and a half for a full sack.” The Depression hit Chimayó hard and the price of the chile took a nosedive, when a ristra went from about $1 apiece down to 35 cents.

rancho signIn the restaurant, you’ll find chiles in most every dish, which is one way in which it separated itself from the crowd and drew the attention of food writers and chile lovers alike. Most have taken to its signature dish, Carne Advocada, which takes a little time to prepare but is worth every step. The end result, whether you make it with Chimayó chiles or what you can find at the market, is rich and deeply satisfying. You control the level of the heat in the dish, by using chiles only as hot as you can handle.

This is a stew that tastes better a few days after you prepare it, so don’t be in a rush to eat it. Also, save a little of the adovada leftovers to be used for breakfast with a fried egg on top. Fans of New Mexican cuisine know that the fried egg appears on stacked enchiladas there, so this seems like a natural variation. Corn tortillas on the side of that bowl, to sop up every last bit of that thick sauce and any egg yolk, would also be a great idea.

A few other recipes I’ve enjoyed were the restaurant’s Classic Margarita, made only with tequila, triple sec and lemon juice (not lime). That’s right: No syrup, no agave nectar and no sugar to pollute the flavors. Plus, their Sour Cream Apple Pie with a streusel topping is both easy to made and disappears quickly, especially when you serve it with a scoop of ice cream on the side. The book recommends vanilla, but we tried it with both cinnamon and dulce de leche, both of which gilded the lily quite well.

By the way, the restaurant has its San Antonio connections, which extend beyond those of us who make regular trips there. Laura Ann Jaramillo Ross, the original owners’ daughter, and her daughter, Lauren Belen Jaramillo Ross, live in town. They, too, are said to visit Chimayó regularly. And who wouldn’t, when there are Chimayó chiles and Carne Adovado to be had?

Sample some of “The Rancho de Chimayó Cookbook” with these recipes:

 

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Rancho de Chimayó’s Carne Adovada Is a Treasure for Chile Lovers

Rancho de Chimayó’s Carne Adovada Is a Treasure for Chile Lovers

“Connoissurs generally consider the village of Chimayó’s heirloom red chile to the best available. Its flavorful balance of sweetness and heat is one of the secrets to Rancho de Chimayó’s signature dish, Carne Adovada,” write Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison in their updated “The Rancho de Chimayó Cookbook” (Lyons Press, $24.95). “Not enough true Chimayó chile is grown today to use in all of the restaurant’s dishes, so it is saved for this specialty. Another variety of New Mexican red can be substituted in the recipe, of course, but the resulting flavor won’t be quite as complex. The dishes reaches a peak of flavor when the preparation is spread over two days, so that the pork can marinate in the red chile overnight. Carne adovada is among he spiciest and most popular items on the restaurant’s menu and, like the local chile, is considered nonpareil. Accompany the meat with beans and posole or chicos.”

Carne Adovada

Carne Adovada

Carne Adovada

Chile Sauce and Marinade:
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces (about 25) whole dried New Mexican red chile pods
4 cups water
2 tablespoons diced yellow onion
1 tablespoon crushed chile pequin (dried hot New Mexican red chile flakes)
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried Mexican oregano

3 pounds thick boneless shoulder pork chops
Shredded romaine or iceberg lettuce and diced tomato, optional

Warm the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until just golden. Immediately remove from the heat.

Break the stems off the chile pods and discard the seeds. It isn’t necessary to get rid of every seed, but most should be removed. Place the chiles in a sink or large bowl, rinse then carefully, and drain.

Place the damp pods in one layer on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 5 minutes, watching carefully to avoid burning them. The chiles can have a little remaining moisture. Remove them from the oven and let cool. Break each chile into two or three pieces.

Purée in a blender half of the pods with 2 cups of water. You will still be able to see tiny pieces of chile pulp, but they should be bound in a smooth, thick liquid. Pour into the saucepan with the garlic. Repeat with the remaining pods and water.

Stir the remaining sauce ingredients into the chile sauce and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce will thicken but should remain a little soupy. Remove from the heat. Cool to room temperature.

Trim the fat from the cut and cut it into 1- to 2-inch cubes. (If you plan to use the meat in burritos, the cubes should be on the small size.) Stir the pork into the chile sauce and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Oil a large baking dish that has a cover.

Transfer the carne adovada and its sauce to the baking dish. Cover and bake until the meat is completely tender and sauce has cooked down, about 3 hours. Stir once about halfway through. If the sauce remains watery after 3 hours, stir well again and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes more.

Serve hot, garnished with lettuce and tomato, if you wish.

Ahead-of-time note: Carne adovada is a perfect make-ahead dish. It will keep improving for at least several days. Add a couple of tablespoons of water before reheating in the oven or on the stove.

Variation: Chicken adovada can be made in a similar fashion. Use 3 pounds of chicken breasts cut into cubes as above. Bake for 2 to 2 1/2 hours until very tender.

Makes 6-8 servings.

From “The Rancho de Chimayó Cookbook” by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison

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A Sour Cream Custard Is a Welcome Addition to Apple Pie

A Sour Cream Custard Is a Welcome Addition to Apple Pie

Sour Cream Apple Pie

Sour Cream Apple Pie

You might not think that you can improve on apple pie, but this recipe from the Rancho de Chimayó Restaurant in Chimayó, N.M., makes a powerful argument. The streusel topping alone will be enough to entice some, but it’s the custardy filling with eggs and sour cream that really takes it over the top.

The recipe is one of many in Cheryl Alter Jamison and Bill Jamison’s 50th anniversary edition of “The Rancho de Chimayó Cookbook” (Lyons Press, $24.95). They explain its harvest-time appeal, when apples are at their freshest: “Chimayó cooks need a supply of tasty apple recipes for the period in late summer when the orchards are brimming with fruit. This streusel-topped pie needs no accompaniment, though a bill ball of vanilla ice cream can gild the lily if you wish.”

Cinnamon and dulce de leche ice creams also work beautifully. And apples at any time of year will make this pie a welcome treat.

Sour Cream Apple Pie

Pie Crust:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, well chilled, cut in small cubes
4 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening, well chilled
3-4 tablespoons ice water

Filling:
1 1/2 cups sour cream
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided use
3 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup flour, divided use
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 – 1 1/4 pounds tart or tangy baking apples
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, well chilled, cut in small cubes

Sour Cream Apple Pie with a streusel topping.

Sour Cream Apple Pie with a streusel topping.

Grease a 9-inch pie pan.

Prepare the pie crust. In a food processor, pulse together the flour and salt, then scatter the butter over the flour and quickly pulse several times just to submerge the butter. Scoop the lard into small spoonfuls and scatter them over the butter-flour mixture; pulse again quickly several more times until they disappear into the flour, too. Sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of the ice water and pulse again quickly, just until the water disappears.

Dump the mixture onto a work surface. Lightly rub the dough with your fingers, adding more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed. When the dough holds together when compacted with your fingers, it’s ready. Pat the dough into a fat disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Roll out the dough with a floured rolling pin on a floured work surface into a thin round about 2 inches larger than the pie pan. Arrange the crust in the pie pan, avoiding stretching it. Crimp the edge evenly, and refrigerate the crust for at least 15 additional minutes.

Preheat the oven to 357 degrees.

Prepare the filling. Whisk together in a medium bowl the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, 1 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, nutmeg and salt until smooth. Peel and core the apples, then slice them very thin. Arrange the apple slices in the pie shell. Pour in the sour cream mixture, coating all of the fruit.

Bake the pie for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking until the filling is puffed and golden and the apples are tender, 40 to 45 additional minutes.

While the pie bakes, stir together in a small bowl the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 1/3 cup flour with the cinnamon and pinch of salt. Blend in the butter with your fingertips until the topping mixture forms small clumps.

Remove the pie from the oven. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Scatter the topping evenly over the top of the pie and bake until browned lightly, 8 to 10 minutes.

Cool the pie on a baking rack for at least 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 1 pie serving 8 or more.

From “The Ranch de Chimayó Cookbook” by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison

 

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Starfish Opens: A First Look

Starfish Opens: A First Look

Diego Fernandez, chef at Starfish.

Diego Fernandez, chef at Starfish.

Starfish has opened on South Alamo, and the soft opening went well, says  co-owner Rene Fernandez. Fernandez is also co-owner of Azuca next door. But his partner at Starfish is his son, Diego, a CIA-educated chef — and Starfish is his stage.

The interior of Starfish.

The interior of Starfish.

“I didn’t want to push him into (cooking), but he discovered that he had a passion for it,” Fernandez says. Starfish will be largely in the younger chef’s hands — and the food we sampled on Wednesday showed both training and passion.

The Southtown restaurant is relatively small, with a bar along one side, rustic exposed brick walls and wood floors contrasted with sparkling dishware and white linen napkins. There is a patio with extra tables. Colorful local artwork adds to the bistro feel while artisan chandeliers look like translucent jellyfish that accent some of the tropical touches you’ll find on the menu. We liked the open cooking area where the searing, chopping and plating goes on, keeping customers close to the action.

Banana and chocolate.

Banana and chocolate.

Starters such as a colorful escabeche (pickled vegetables) and a crabcake of abundant proportions started our lunch. The poke, a sort of Hawaiian ceviche,  was absolutely fresh and swimming in a bright, sesame-scented sauce. Baked clams with plenty of shallot and crumbs appeared with a touch of lime foam on top. Breads are made on site by pastry chef, Marita Fernandez, and Diego Fernandez’s sous chef is  Michael Martinez.

While the accent is on seafood, as one would expect, we also had tastes of a juicy and tender bone-in pork chop at lunch, as well as a sage-perfumed Chicken Ballotine on the non-fish side. Scallops were served with a dousing of seafoam and a vibrant contrasting smear of dark, beet gel on the plate. The scallops were moist inside, with an expertly seared crust. A firm piece of black drum had a nice sear on top while braised endive practically melted on the tongue; light gnocchi completed a lovely plate.

Sea scallops with beet gel.

Sea scallops with beet gel.

For dessert, banana met chocolate  in a lively presentation that included scoops of chocolate mousse alongside a slab of banana bread drenched in chocolate more chocolate. A torched banana with a caramelized exterior and peanut butter crumble finished off the playful jumble of textures and bold flavors.

Starfish will be open for dinner only now through Sunday. The crew will take a day off on Monday, then start a regular week with lunch and dinner service.

 Starfish is at 709 S. Alamo St. Call 210-375-4423 for reservations.

Photos by Bonnie Walker and John Griffin

Breads at Starfish are made in-house.

Breads at Starfish are made in-house.

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