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The Food (and Drink!) of Travaasa

Our 21st Year of Eating, Drinking and Telling You About It! 

HOUSTON Saturdays and Sunday 4-5 p.m., NewsRadio 740 KTRH

A Presentation of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods 

We’re in Austin this week – or, more precisely, on its lovely outskirts along Lake Travis, exploring the food and drink offerings of a new spa and resort called Travaasa. We sit down for a great tasting of both with resort GM Tim Thuell and executive chef Ben Baker, and what they serve us isn’t anybody’s idea of carrot sticks! Also, during our Grape & Grain segment, we prepare for an upcoming wine event at the Italian Cultural and Community Center in Houston with Italian wine expert and all-round yarn-spinner Phil Cusimano.

AUSTIN Saturdays 10-11 a.m., Talk 1370

A Presentation of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods 

We’re in Austin this week – or, more precisely, on its lovely outskirts along Lake Travis, exploring the food and drink offerings of a new spa and resort called Travaasa. We sit down for a great tasting of both with resort GM Tim Thuell and executive chef Ben Baker, and what they serve us isn’t anybody’s idea of carrot sticks! Also, during our Grape & Grain segment, we prepare for an upcoming wine event at the Italian Cultural and Community Center in Houston with Italian wine expert and all-round yarn-spinner Phil Cusimano.

This Week’s Delicious Mischief Recipe

ROMAN SUMMER ORZO SALAD 

Red Wine Vinaigrette:

3/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons honey

2 teaspoons salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

 

4 cups chicken broth

1 1/2 cups orzo

1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1 1/2 cups red and yellow teardrop tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved

3/4 cup finely chopped red onion

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients till emulsified. Pour the broth into a heavy large saucepan. Cover the pan and bring the broth to a boil over high heat. Stir in the orzo. Cover partially and cook until the orzo is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring frequently, about 7 minutes. Drain the orzo through a strainer. Transfer the orzo to a large wide bowl and toss until the orzo cools slightly. Set aside to cool completely. Toss the orzo with the beans, tomatoes, onion, basil, mint, and enough vinaigrette to coat. Season the salad, to taste, with salt and pepper, and serve at room temperature. Serves 6-8.

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About John DeMers

I've been a journalist and author forever. My favorite single word in the English language is "foodandwine." This spirit drives my 45 published books and my weekly radio show heard in Houston, Dallas and Austin.

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