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Join Sustainability, Food-Issue Discussion: TEDx, Food Policy Council

Join Sustainability, Food-Issue Discussion: TEDx, Food Policy Council

If your concerns about food reach beyond finding the next trendy restaurant or cocktail bar, this upcoming TEDx salon, with the Food Policy Council of San Antonio, has a variety of issues on its menu.

There's nothing like vegetables at their freshest. The salon-type gathering will be Saturday, July 26, at the Urban-15 space, 2500 S. Presa St. from 5-9 p.m. and includes speakers and a potluck prepared by local chefs. The price is $35.

To address ways to support a healthy, sustainable and local food system for all people, in all walks of life, the discussion topics will range from connecting to the environment, our impact on the economy and include community participants in a dialogue about food and the policies that surround it.

Organizers say the target audience can be best described as: eaters.  Real eaters. These are people in San Antonio who care about equitable access to quality food and quality ingredients. This includes farmers market aficionados, green/environmental activists and supporters, buyers of organic produce, restaurateurs and caterers and educators (K-12 and college level).

Speakers include Judith Vega of San Antonio Metro Health, Angela Harsell of Green Spaces Alliance, Elizabeth Johnson, Mitch Hagney and Kerry Meath-Sinking, local chefs and professionals who work with local farmers

The potluck follows with dishes from Elizabeth Johnson, Steven McHugh, Taste Elevated, Gaucho Gourmet, Brook Summers, Restaurant Gwendolyn and more, including sustainable cocktails by The Brooklynite’s Boulvedier Group.

Tickets are in limited supply: Click on this link

 

Food Police Council of San Antonio

The Food Policy Council of San Antonio serves as a stakeholder forum to support a healthy, sustainable, and local food system for people, the environment, the economy and community; gathers and disseminates information for all who work toward that goal in the San Antonio area; and advocates for policy improvements relating to food.

TEDxSanAntonio

TEDxSanAntonio encourages and supports events intended to foster discussion and community building around ideas worth sharing in San Antonio.

 

(Sponsored by Defining Delicious and Urban 15)

 

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Extra Time to Enjoy Perry’s 4444

Extra Time to Enjoy Perry’s 4444

Perry's Sesame-Crusted Ahi Tuna

Perry’s Sesame-Crusted Ahi Tuna

Perry’s Steakhouse first opened in 1979 as a small meat market in the Houston area. Over the last 35 years, Perry’s has grown to nine family-owned steakhouses across Texas and last year opened in Chicago, its first restaurant outside the Lone Star State. Two more are planned for this year, one in Denver and the other in Frisco, Texas.

Perry's Chopped Salad with Applewood-Smoked Bacon

Perry’s Chopped Salad with Applewood-Smoked Bacon

In honor of its 25th anniversary, Perry’s is offering an extended version of its summer promotion, 4444, which includes 4 courses for $44 after 4 p.m. The special is available now through the end of August.

“The great food gets people in the door, but it’s the unique dining experience that brings them back time and time again,” said Chris Perry, founder and CEO of Perry’s Restaurants. “In honor of our loyal guests who have supported us over the last 35 years, we’re proud to offer our 4444 special during July and August this summer.”

Perry's Crab Cake

Perry’s Crab Cake

On the special menu, you can choose from the following appetizers: fried asparagus with crab, Asian ahi tuna tartare, house-made Polish sausage and jumbo lump crab cake. Salad choices: Caesar, chopped salad with applewood-smoked bacon, field greens with pear and candied pecans, and an iceberg wedge with applewood-smoked bacon.

Entree options: 6-ounce filet mignon, 32-ounce Perry’s pork chop, sesame-crusted ahi tuna or grilled salmon. Dessert selections: crème brûlée, dessert trio, milk chocolate peanut butter candy bar or Nutty D’Angelo, which is prepared tableside.

The San Antonio Perry’s is at the Shops at La Cantera, 15900 La Cantera Parkway. For more information, visit www.perryssteakhouse.com or call (210) 558-6161.

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Benjamin Knack New Executive Chef at Las Canarias, Ostra

Benjamin Knack New Executive Chef at Las Canarias, Ostra

Chef Benjamin Knack

Benjamin Knack named to executive chef post at Omni hotels, La Mansion del Rio and Mokara, both on the River Walk.

Benjamin Knack, a nationally recognized food service leader and former competitor in “Hell’s Kitchen” on FOX American television, has been named executive chef at San Antonio’s Omni La Mansion del Rio and Mokara Hotel & Spa.

Omni says Knack will be joining the culinary team on July 17 to oversee both Las Canarias and Ostra restaurants at La Mansion and Mokara respectively.

A specialist in classical gastronomical techniques for more than 20 years, Knack’s focus has been on high-quality, innovative interpretations of American cuisine and more, according to his new employers.

Also, the chef was featured on season eight of “Hell’s Kitchen,” placing third in the competition.

Knack’s gourmet culinary creations will emphasize fresh seafood and local vegetables.

“The culture and cuisine of San Antonio is something that has long inspired me as a chef, and I look forward to capitalizing on everything the city has to offer in my approach at both Las Canarias and Ostra,” said Knack.

Knack was formerly executive chef for The Bedford Village Inn in Bedford, New Hampshire, focusing on seasonal ingredients to create top-quality meals. As the chef de cuisine for Boston’s Sel de la Terre Long Wharf, Knack also oversaw operations for sister company Au Soleil Catering. Just before joining Sel de la Terre Long Wharf, Knack worked as an instructor and manager for the New England Culinary Institute (NECI) in Montpelier, Vermont, where he instructed chefs-in-training on customer service and consulting.

Knack has also served as a pastry chef with Boston’s L’Espalier; executive chef for the Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro; pastry chef at Hyatt Hotels in both Beaver Creek, Colorado, and Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii; and pastry chef at Christopher’s in Phoenix.

“We look forward to chef Knack joining our renowned culinary team and creating some exciting concepts to incorporate into our restaurants and events,” said John B. Gomes, Director of Food and Beverage at Omni La Mansión del Rio and Mokara Hotel & Spa.

Knack fills the position formerly held by San Antonio chef John Brand. Brand was been selected as executive chef at the new Hotel Emma at the Pearl Brewery, set to be opened in 2015.

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Monterey, Umai-Mi Good Tastes Coming Up!

Monterey, Umai-Mi Good Tastes Coming Up!

The Monterey sign featured
New chef at The Monterey
Luis Segovia, The Monterey’s chef de cuisine, is a taco-loving, Culinary Institute of America Hyde Park grad who previously worked at San Antonio’s The Sandbar Fish House & Market and Il Sogno. Luis makes some pretty killer Beef Tongue Tacos with pickled bell peppers and cotija cheese. They’re on the menu now, along with the likes of Szechuan Queso Dip, a French Fry Po-Boy and a Smoked Sausage Corn Dog.
And because its summer in Texas, the Monty is serving three takes on mariscos: Charred Squid (jicama, mango, lime vinaigrette, green curry, crispy onions), Grilled Shrimp Aguachiles (lime, jalapeño, cucumber, avocados, red onion) and Campechana El Monty (shrimp, bay scallops, fish collar pickled onions avocado). In true El Monty fashion, this new menu is not one that stays within the lines.
The Monterey is located at 1127 S St. Mary’s St, San Antonio, TX 78210, in the King William neighborhood. The restaurant is open Tues-Thurs: 6pm-11pm, Fri and Sat: 6pm-12am, and Sun: 10am-2pm. For further information please visit www.themontereysa.com.

 

Chef Rebecca MassonChef Rebecca Masson teams up with Jason Dady at Umai Mi

Chef Rebecca Masson, acclaimed chef at Houston’s Fluff Bake Bar, will join Jason Dady at Umai Mi – Modern Asian Restaurant & Bar on July 15 at 6:30 p.m.

This is part of a guest chef series, and a chance for you to get some tastes from a Houston chef without making the drive!

This six-course meal is limited seating and you’ll want to make reservations soon at 210-496-0555. Umai Mi is at 555 W. Bitters at The Alley on Bitters.

The cost is $60 per guest, plus tax and gratuity; $30 beverage pairing available;  You can also donate $25 to Rebecca’s Charity Lucky Dog Rescue in exchange for a free high five and a fluffernutter

 

 

 

 

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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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Thrill of the Grill: Plus 5 Steps to a Really Good Burger!

Thrill of the Grill: Plus 5 Steps to a Really Good Burger!

Fourth of July means grills will be fired up all over the state. Pits will be smoking, too, but we’ll offer some tips here on keeping things safe on and around the grill, plus some cooking and planning tips for your cookout from caterer Don Strange of Texas.

Also, below are some simple tips from a chef to cooking great burgers.

Grill Safety

  • Keep your setting in mind. It’s dry, which means that a fire could start easily from an ember or spark. So, have your garden hose, a fire extinguisher or a bucket of sand handy in case a fire does start.
  • Build your fire under only one side of the grill.

    Build your fire under only one side of the grill. You can move steaks to the warm (but not sizzling hot) side of the grill to hold.

    Watch out for children playing in the area.

  • Don’t wear loose clothing around a lit grill.
  • Don’t leave a grill unattended.
  • Don’t have your grill too close to your house or another building. Don’t place it under tree branches or wooden trellises that could easily go up in smoke.
  • Don’t light your fire with gasoline. Don’t spray lighter fluid on already-lit coals.
  • When you’re finished, make sure the fire will go out. If you’re using coals, close all of the vents on the grill.

 

Article from Edible Austin on Grilling Veggies click here.
Recipe: Mr. Strange’s Barbecue Sauce

 

Burger on grillOne Chef’s Five Steps to a Really Great Burger

1. Bun should be smaller than the burger so that the meat drapes over the sides. Pretzel buns best, they soak up juice of the burger without falling apart. Brush with butter, grill and keep hot until ready to top with burger.

2. Grind bacon (partially cooked with caramelized onion and garlic), white, yellow cheddar or smoked gouda, cheese and roasted garlic mixed into the ground meat. Favorite meat grind: Strip loin and tri-tip, using the bacon for the fat and keeping the lean-to-fat ratio at 80-20.

3. Shape the burger: Put a little water on the burger before you shape, helps with the handling. Don’t overhandle the beef as you form into patty.

4.  You might be making your burgers on the grill on July Fourth. That’s great. But, burgers also are very good either griddled or cooked in a cast-iron skillet.  Look for an internal temperature of 120 degrees in the center — this seems to be optimal for flavor profile. Also, do not press down on the burger with spatula as it will press out moisture — and you want a moist burger. If you want cheese, put it on top of the burger as soon as you flip — and only flip once!

5. Take off grill and put in bun that you have already grilled and have your toppings close by. You want to assemble as quickly as possible. Also, keep condiments at room temperature, so they don’t chill down the burger. Other toppings such as grilled poblano peppers, etc., should also be at least room temp or warm.

 

Tips from Don Strange of Texas on general grilling.

• Know your grill — all grills are not alike.  “No matter where or what we’re grilling, on the spot timing is the key. For things to be served at precisely the right time, the fire must be started on time and allowed to reach the right temperature before we start to grill,” says Vice President of Sales and Culinary Vision for Don Strange of Texas Catering Di-Anna Arias.

“Timing and temperature vary depending on your tools: charcoal, smoker, wood, gas grill—you can’t treat them all the same. Just because they each produce a flame, don’t expect them all to cook the same way or require the same amount of time.”

Grill Strip Steak• Not only does the type of grill have to be considered, but the type of meat as well.  Don Strange cooks grill tenderloins to medium rare and hold them in a warming area where they continue to cook. They have to be constantly monitored to be sure they’re not overcooked, then allowed to rest so they can be carved perfectly and served for dinner.

• Fish is another great option for grilling, and hint from the seasoned team at Don Strange of Texas: keeping the skin on the fish for grilling is the best option unless you have a fish basket. Spray the fish with cooking spray or vegetable oil and voila, unless you’re serving salmon. Try grilling the fish in foil with fresh herbs, citrus, whole peppers or chile flake sea salt for a savory taste that isn’t overwhelming.

Posted in Daily Dish, How To, In Season0 Comments

Sandy Oaks Debuts Garden Brunch at the Orchard.

Sandy Oaks Debuts Garden Brunch at the Orchard.

MimosasAdd Sandy Oaks to the list of great San Antonio Sunday brunches. The ranch’s Executive Chef Chris Cook, has created a new brunch menu that will be offered from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Complimentary mimosas or a glass of champagne, live jazz in a serene and beautiful country setting — enjoy these and more in one of the most inviting and interesting (it is a working ranch producing olives, olive oil and other products)  in the San Antonio area.

Brunch is $10 for children and $25 for adults. The kitchen, as well as the ranch, places an emphasis on buying Texas/local products with an emphasis on the same sustainable methods and philosophy practiced at Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard.

Sandy Oaks’ gift shop and olive tree nursery are now also open Sundays (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.), so this 25-minute trip from downtown San Antonio is an eating destination — and also a place to browse through a well-stocked gift shop or just relax for a drink on the patio that gives you a pretty view to the meadows and pastures, as well as the olive tree orchard that thrives on this 260-plus-acre ranch.

If you haven’t visited Sandy Oaks, this is a perfect time to get acquainted! Visit Sandy Oaks website for more information and directions by clicking here.

Sandy Oaks 3

 

 

 

Sandy Oaks Brunch Menu:

Cold Selections:
Seasonal fruit and berries with Queen Bee honey Greek yogurt
Imported and domestic cheeses with dried fruits and pickled vegetables
Young lettuces with Texas pecans, goat cheese, and white balsamic vinaigrette
House pulled mozzarella and heirloom tomato, garden basil pistou
Southern style Biscuits croppedHouse-smoked sustainable salmon with preserved lemon
House-made classic cheesecake and garden peach cobbler

Hot Selections:
Farm-fresh scrambled eggs
Migas with pico de gallo and queso fresco
Garden vegetable quiche
Applewood smoked bacon and country sausage
House buttermilk biscuits and cracked pepper cast-iron gravy
Orchard potatoes with caramelized onions and peppers
Truffled goat cheese whipped potatoes
Herb-seared breast of chicken with garden tomato, caper, and house olive sauce

 

 

One of the first commercial olive orchards in Texas, Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard, owned and operated by Saundra C. (Sandy) Winokur, lies just off of I-37, 20 minutes south of San Antonio, Texas. While best known for olive trees and products, Sandy Oaks is also celebrated for its emphasis on hospitality and education.

 

Sandy Oaks patio and jazz cropped

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‘Everything’s Peachy’ at Quarry Farmers Market

‘Everything’s Peachy’ at Quarry Farmers Market

Peaches Quarry Market 2 cropThe Quarry Farmers & Ranchers Market is celebrating this year’s crop of sweet and juicy Fredericksburg peaches with special fruit treats from market vendors as well as copious amounts of at least seven or eight different varieties of peaches from Engel Farms including freestone, semi-free and cling.

For two Sundays, June 29 and July 6, the market will celebrate “Everything’s Peachy” and honor the peak of peach season with plenty of Engel Farms’ peaches along with edibles made from the farm’s fruit.

To kick off the celebration on June 29, shoppers may purchase handmade peach cobbler pie from Vintage Heart Farm, peach and amaretto sorbetto from A La Mode, peach shrub from Shrub Drinks and a sweet breakfast treat from LocaVore food truck—blue corn crepes filled with almond-tangelo mousse topped with peach jam and sprinkled with cinnamon spiked powdered sugar. For all of our four-legged friends, choose from peach granola bone dog treats and peach-banana-peanut butter ice cream from Katie’s Jar.

Peach Ice Cream Recipe

A sweet year for peaches

After 2012’s bumper peach crop and last year’s late freeze and hail which wiped out the 2013 crop, Engel Farms owner John Engel is happy with this year’s bounty.

“This year’s combination of a real winter with lots of ‘chill’ hours and the late rains put the trees in good condition for a nice crop,” he says. “Almost every afternoon, we are getting good, but not scorching sun which makes for complex sugars in the fruit and that is just the way we want it.”

The 45-acre peach orchard of 4,500 trees on his family farm in Fredericksburg harvests peaches from late May through September providing shoppers with peaches throughout the summer. During the two-week celebration, shoppers will enjoy Harvester, Red Globe, Loring, Bounty and Majestic varieties, all of which are premium peaches.

The best of every season

Quarry Farmers & Ranchers Market vendors are small, independent farmers, ranchers and artisans dedicated to providing fresh products to discerning shoppers who understand seasonality and embrace the growing local food movement. Our farmers proudly grow sustainably without chemical fertilizers and pesticides and our ranchers raise animals on pasture or grass without hormones or antibiotics.

The Quarry Farmers & Ranchers Market is held Sundays, rain, wind, cold or heat, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the parking lot at the Quarry near Whole Foods.

Posted in Daily Dish, Markets0 Comments

Good Press, Causes for Local Women in Culinary Arts

Good Press, Causes for Local Women in Culinary Arts

Saundra Winokur, Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard, featured in New York Times

Saundra WinokurAn article by David Wallis in the Your Money: Retiring section of the New York Times on June 20, featured Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard, owner Saundra Winokur’s ranch south of San Antonio near Elmendorf.

A Texas pioneer in growing olive trees as an agricultural crop, Winokur’s ranch, which she founded in 1997, is shown as a success for those starting second (or third) careers at a time most people would be retiring.

Wallis writes, “Ms. Winokur, a native Texan who worked as an elementary-school teacher and earned a doctorate in developmental psychology, traveled extensively to research olive production. She noticed that renowned olive-producing regions — southern Spain, southern Italy and Egypt — “looked a lot like Texas.” In 1997, she bought 276 acres of sandy land, which she describes as “oceanfront property without the ocean.”

Wallis describes some of the bumps in the road to success, but the orchard now thrives, pressing its own olive oil in the fall, welcoming guests to lush olive orchard for tours, or to The Kitchen at Sandy Oaks restaurant for lunch — and much more for visitors which come from all over the country and beyond. Read Wallis’ article here.

Ferra Coffee LogoCoffee roaster and importer, Susan Jaime, takes spotlight in this month’s San Antonio Magazine

Read Julia Rosenfeld’s article in the most recent issue of San Antonio Magazine. Susan Jaime, whose business is Ferra Coffee, in Boerne. She does much more than roast beans and sell coffee — she goes directly to the growers in several countries to source the beans and pass along some of her expertise to growers, as well.

From San Antonio Magazine: It’s a lot to think about when drinking your first cup of the day, but the coffee we crave each morning is often traced back to impoverished farmers being paid less than one dollar per pound of beans. When Susan Jaime thought about it, she couldn’t stop. And a business and a movement was born.

Food lovers. curious cooks: Learn the science behind some of your favorite foods

This summer, Landa Library’s adult summer reading program will feature science-based talks will be held every week in June and July with a variety of speakers and activities. The next one is Monday, June 30, from 4-5:30 p.m. at the library, 233 Bushnell Avenue. There is “no fee” to attend. Gather in the “Meeting Room.” For more information, call 210.207.9090.

From Di-Anna Arias, vice president of sales and culinary vision for Don Strange of Texas, you’ll learn some fascinating facts about cooking as she shares her favorite recipes and her “secret” formulas. Along with sharing some of her favorite kitchen “experiments,” Arias will be delving into some of her favorite cookbooks, teaching the science involved and sharing her secret “formula” for cooking for a crowd.

The Barrios family restaurants honor Viola Barrios’ birth month in July

Violas Ventanas croppedIn July, the Barrios family restaurants will celebrate founder Viola Barrios’ birth month with a cake special at all three restaurant. Viola’s Heart Cake is a chocolate or vanilla cake with creamy flan and sells for $5.99 a slice or $49.99 for the whole cake. The sales go directly to Viola’s Huge Heart Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization that gives out full school scholarships to girls. For more information on the foundation, visit www.violasheart.org.

The restaurants and addresses are: Los Barrios, 4223 Blanco Road; La Hacienda de los Barrios, 18747 Redland Road, and Viola’s Ventanas at 9660 Westover Hills Boulevard.

 

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Becker Provençal Rosé Wins Double Gold at SF Int’l Competiton

Becker Provençal Rosé Wins Double Gold at SF Int’l Competiton

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.:  In its 34th year, the 2014 San Francisco International Wine Competition was held June 20th thru 22nd at the Hotel Nikko in downtown San Francisco.

After more than 4,500 wines from around the world were judges, the results have been announced.  Becker Vineyards won Best Rosé, Double Gold Medal 95 points with the 2013 Becker Vineyards Provençal (Mourvedre), Tallent Vineyard.

Becker Vineyards 2013 Provencal croppedRichard and Bunny Becker, proprietors of Becker Vineyards, own three vineyards but also purchase grapes from several grape growers, including the Mourvedre grapes from Drew and Laura Tallent of Tallent Vineyards, Mason, Texas.  The Mourvedre grapes were fermented into wine by Jonathan Leahy, winemaker, and Rachel Fanning, oenologist, and the winery team.  There was limited skin contact with the juice, creating a pale salmon color.  It was also fermented completely dry.

The Beckers were inspired to make a dry rosé after a trip to the Provence region of France.  “We were at an outdoor café in Tavel sipping on a dry rosé.  It was so delightful.  I told Richard, ‘I wish we could make a dry rose’ and he said, ‘I’ll make you one.’  And, although we’ve been making this wine for several years, it is a limited production.”

She also added, “It is also a food-friendly wine.  It pairs well with deli meats and is a great bottle to bring on a picnic or to sip on a hot, Texas day.”

Four silvers and six bronze medals were also awarded to the following Becker Vineyards wines:

Silver Medal Becker Vineyards 2012 Culinaria;  Silver Medal Becker Vineyards 2012 Reserve Cabernet Franc Bingham Vineyards; Silver Medal Becker Vineyards 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon; Bronze Medal Becker Vineyards 2012 Barbera-Merlot; Bronze Medal Becker Vineyards 2012 Raven (75% Malbec, 25% Petit Verdot); Bronze Medal Becker Vineyards 2013 Prairie Rotie (Rhone-style blend); Bronze Medal Becker Vineyards 2012 Claret; Bronze Medal Becker Vineyards 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Newsom Vineyard Reserve; and Bronze Medal Becker Vineyards 2012 Fleur Sauvage (and off-dry white wine blend).

Becker Vineyards is located 11 miles east of Fredericksburg, off US Hwy 290 at Jenschke Lane.  Business hours are Monday thru Thursday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Friday thru Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; and Sunday, Noon – 6 p.m.

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