Archive | February, 2014

Shuck ’em: Oyster Recipe Roundup

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Living on the Gulf Coast has its perks including access to some of the freshest seafood. It’s easy to forget about the humidity and elephant sized mosquitos when you are eating oysters. Bug spray and margaritas don’t hurt either.

I can eat a million oysters on the half shell with just a squeeze of lemon, but getting a little fancy every now and then is fun too. Even oysters like to play dress-up in the kitchen.


1.Fried Oyster with a Chipotle Lime Dipping Sauce – Although I will never be able to comprehend how some people don’t like raw oysters, fried isn’t a bad call either. This Homesick Texan fried oyster recipe includes a killer creamy and flavorful sauce.

2,Oyster-Swiss Chard Gratin with Country Bacon– The perfect side dish for any occasion. The Rushings are the chefs behind MiLA in New Orleans and trust me, they know their stuff.

3,Barbecued Oysters  – This recipe encompasses the spirit of Texas to me. You can’t go wrong with these suckers served up at a backyard gathering.

4. Oyster Po’ Boy– Enough said. When you bring the oyster and the po’ boy together they can speaks for themselves. Spoon Fork Bacon includes a tangy coleslaw and spicy aioli to pull it all together.

5. Chili, Lime and Gin Marinated Oysters – For the tipsy oyster lovers, try the Chef’s Pencil recipe. This one is for the rambunctious crowd who is up for a fair bit of kick.

6. Oyster Nachos – A tip of the hat to Tex-Mex. Hilah Cooking has got you covered and even has a video to boot. While we are in the Tex-Mex spirit try oysters on the half shell with a little pico de gallo spooned on top.

7.Oysters with Japanese pickled vegetables – If you are looking for beautiful presentation on the half shell, look no further. The delicate pickled vegetables add an elegant pop of color.

8.Oyster and Artichoke Soup – Decadent, creamy, and something you don’t see everyday. Yum.

9.Acme Chargrilled Oysters – It feels wrong not to include this classic. You can never go wrong with Acme Oyster House chargrilled oysters.


For great local oyster try Whole Foods Market at the Domain, Quality Seafood and Central Market. Get Shucking!




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Austin City Guide: Loving every moment at Lenoir

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I fell in love with the idea of Lenoir before it even opened. I was already an unabashed fan of husband and wife chef team Todd Duplechan and Jessica Maher at their respective previous gigs at TRIO at the Four Seasons and Dai Due. When they told me they were opening their own place, I knew it would become a favorite – that ideal combination of excellent food, lovely service and a welcoming atmosphere.

Dining at Lenoir feels like having dinner at Todd and Jessica’s home. It has a casual  intimacy, even at the communal tables, that invites you to relax and savor the meal while sipping one of the expertly selected wines selected by Sommelier Mark Sayre.  The servers are friendly, helpful and engaging, encouraging you to explore the menu.

snapper ceviche

Snapper Ceviche, photo by Jody Horton

They call the cuisine “hot weather” food, flavors from around the world with a similar climate to Austin. You might find a soup inspired by Vietnamese pho or a distinctly Italian pasta on the same night and yet,  Chef Duplechan makes the diversity work without feeling discordance.  I particularly love any dish that features  Chef Duplechan’s housemade sour sausage or pho style broth.

Diners choose three dishes for $38 from a menu with four sections: Field, Sea, Land and Dream, with the option to add a fourth course for an additional $10. The prix-fixe style lets you follow your whimsy. If the three seafood dishes strike your fancy, you are welcome to order from that section alone.   The dishes change often because Lenoir sources locally, so you are guaranteed to never get bored.

pork balchao side

Pork Balchao, photo by Jody Horton

Though I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, I  always enjoy Chef Maher’s desserts which are inventive and well-balanced. Her dish with midibleu spanish roquefort, caramelized pound cake, grapefruit and ras el hanout is the perfect balance of savory and sweet for someone who usually skips the dessert course.

mitibleu and grapefruit cake

Midibleu and grapefruit cake, photo by Jody Horton

For a more casual evening or to ease into dinner, enjoy drinks and snacks in the backyard wine garden, listening to tunes from the record player or local musicians.  Happy hour in the wine garden is a particularly good deal with half off small plates and $6 house wines from 5:00-7:00 pm Tuesday through Friday. 

Lenoir is the perfect spot for those nights when you want to indulge the palette without breaking the bank and be treated with tender loving care. Todd and Jessica are very special people and its no surprise that their restaurant reflects who they are in every detail.

1807 South First
Austin, Texas

Hours: Tues – Sat, Seating from 5 pm – 10:30 pm
Sunday, Seating from 6 pm – 8:30 pm 

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Featured Texas Food Events for February

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Photo from The Red Cross.


Free Week of Cheese
Monday, February 10 – Friday, February 14

Antonelli’s Cheese Shop, locally-owned and operated by John and Kendall Antonelli, will celebrate its fourth anniversary on February 11, 2014.  To commemorate this cheese-y day, as well as thank customers and partnering wholesale restaurants, Antonelli’s Cheese Shop is continuing its annual tradition of giving away free cheese plates around town from February 10 – 14.  While supplies last, the following restaurants will be participating. Each will begin offering free cheese plates at 5pm (unless otherwise noted below) and will go until the cheese runs out!

Monday, Feb. 10th:   Cipollina & Easy Tiger
Tuesday, Feb. 11th:        Bess Bistro & Max’s Wine Dive
Wednesday, Feb. 12th:   24 Diner & House Pizzeria
Thursday, Feb. 13th:       Bufalina (starts at 5:30) &  Qui
Friday, Feb. 14th:           Drink.Well

Night of 50,000 Lives
Thursday, February 13, 6-8pm

The Alice Kleberg Reynolds Foundation and the American Red Cross of Central Texas present the Night of 50,000 Lives, an exclusive dinner at Sway to benefit the Measles & Rubella Initiative. It costs $1 to vaccinate one child and save a life. With your help, the American Red Cross of Central Texas can save 50,000 lives in one evening.

 Sway Executive Chef Alexis Chong will prepare and present a spectacular 5-course menu, featuring award-winning modern Thai cuisine and hand-selected beverage pairings. Purchase tickets here.

Slow Food Houston Happy Hour
Thursday, February 20, 5:30-7:30pm

Slow Food Houston invited you to join them for their monthly happy hour. This months event will be hosted at Sparrow Bar + Cookshop with a special introduction by Monica Pope. Check out the Slow Food Houston Facebook page!

Official Drink of Austin
Thursday, February 20, 7-10pm

Official Drink of Austin returns as The Austin Food & Wine Alliance partners with Tipsy Texan for an evening that celebrates Texas spirits and shines a spotlight on the talented bartending community. Six bar teams from local bars and restaurants will be mixing up Austin-inspired cocktails to raise funds for culinary grants. Purchase tickets here.

Beer & Bacon Festival
Saturday, February 22, 2:30–5 pm

Two of Austin’s favorite things—bacon and beer—come together for this festival at The Marchesea as a partnership between Eat Boston and Edible Austin. The festival will feature local chefs, restaurants and craft brewers and we’ll all toast to bacon and beer! A portion of the proceeds will benefit Capital Area Food Bank of Texas. Purchase your tickets today.




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Recipe Roundup: 7 Seasonal Winter Soups

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Soup is always a good idea but especially with the crazy weather we have been having where some mornings you wake up and it’s 28 degrees, oh joy. The good news is it’s so easy to incorporate more seasonal vegetables into your diet with winter soups. Also a great way to rescue wilting vegetables that need a little help but are still begging to be eaten.  Check out these recipes I have put together for seasonal soup inspiration. Happy cooking!


Scarlet Runner Beans and Turnip Soup – No scarlet runner beans around? No problem, use whatever dry beans you have in the pantry. And don’t forget to put those extra turnip greens to work with some Spicy Skillet Turnip Greens.

Chorizo & Winter Vegetable Stew  from Kristi’s Farm to Table

 Spicy Pork and Mustard Greens from Bon Appetit

Cauliflower, Bacon and Potato Soup from The Whimsical Wife

Black Bean, Pork and Sweet Potato Stew from Kristi’s Farm To Table

White Bean Swiss Chard Soup from Pickled Plum

Red Curry Coconut Chicken Thai Soup from Vanille Verte




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