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Category Archives: Recipes

Smoked Sausage Queso

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SMOKED SAUSAGE QUESO

There are few things more Texan than the unrelenting pursuit of molten cheese, and there are few things that taste better in said cheese than smoked sausage. For those who think queso can be made only behind the swinging doors in Tex-Mex restaurants, here’s a straightforward process than almost any home cook can navigate.

3/4 pound Texas smoked sausage
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup finely chopped red onion
½ cup finely chopped green bell pepper
3 cups heavy cream
2 ½ cups shredded Monterey Jack
2 ½ cups shredded Pepper Jack
2 teaspoons cornstarch, dissolved in 2 teaspoons water
½ cup chopped green onions
Tortilla chips

In a food processor, pulse the sausage into a fine crumble. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and brown the sausage over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper, stirring until caramelized, 4-5 minutes. Add the cream, reduce heat to medium and whisk to incorporate. Gradually add in the cheese, stirring until melted and incorporated. Thicken with the dissolved cornstarch. Garnish with green onion. Serve in a bowl with tortilla chops. Serves 10-12.

 

Bacon-Onion Sliders for ‘Great Day Houston’

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JOHN’S BACON-ONION SLIDERS 

One fine day when I was minding my own business, I was asked to cook sliders on live TV the next morning – and that “opportunity” (come on, isn’t everything?) sent me meandering down Memory Lane on the way to the supermarket. After all, I grew up eating sliders without ever hearing the name, at a little place called Royal Castle that must have been related somehow or other to the better-known White Castle. Many an early-morning fishing trip with my father featured those caramelized-oniony almost one-bite burgerettes eaten in the car in the predawn dark on our way to the dock.  

3 slices bacon

1 onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Creole seasoning, or salt and pepper

Crushed red pepper

½ teaspoon finely chopped parsley

12 slices pepper jack cheese

12 small slider buns or dinner rolls 

Cook bacon in a skillet until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat. Cook onion in bacon fat until translucent, about 3 minutes, then add garlic and cook 30 seconds longer. Remove mixture from pan and let cool. Crumble bacon when cool enough to handle. In a large bowl, combine beef, bacon, onion mixture, Worcestershire sauce, Creole seasoning, crushed red pepper and parsley, mixing well. Form into 12 small patties and chill. Preheat grill to medium; oil when hot. Cook burgers for about 7 minutes for medium rare, turning once halfway through. Serve sliders with cheese on rolls, melting cheese under the broiler if desired. Makes 12 sliders.

Blue Plate and Blu on Weekend’s Radio Shows

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NOW HEARD IN THREE GREAT TEXAS CITIES! 

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

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

Chef Kent Rathbun has done a lot of great things, most of them (including Abacus in Dallas and Jasper’s in several cities) since arriving in Texas. Yet lovers of comforting homestyle cooking may end up loving his Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen the most, as we learn while tasting and chatting with the chef de cuisine and the general manager. In our Grape & Grain segment, we talk with wine buyer Collin Williams of Spec’s about what it means for a wine to be green, sustainable, biodynamic and a whole bunch of other words we’ve read on bottles lately. 

HOUSTON Saturdays 2-3 p.m., News Talk 1070 KNTH

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

This week we head to Sugar Land to profile a very interesting new restaurant called Blu. Still, even if the restaurant is new, we meet up with an old friend in the kitchen – Thai-born, New York-savvy executive chef Junnajet Hurapan, who was our guest on the show back when he was opening Gigi’s Asian Bistro and Dumpling Bar at the Galleria. In our Grape & Grain segment, we talk with wine buyer Collin Williams of Spec’s about what it means for a wine to be green, sustainable, biodynamic and a whole bunch of other words we’ve read on bottles lately. 

DALLAS Saturdays 7-8 p.m., 570 KLIF

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

Chef Kent Rathbun has done a lot of great things, most of them (including Abacus in Dallas and Jasper’s in several cities) since arriving in Texas. Yet lovers of comforting homestyle cooking may end up loving his Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen the most, as we learn while tasting and chatting with the chef de cuisine and the general manager. In our Grape & Grain segment, we talk with wine buyer Collin Williams of Spec’s about what it means for a wine to be green, sustainable, biodynamic and a whole bunch of other words we’ve read on bottles lately. 

Our 22nd Year of Eating, Drinking and Telling You About It! 

 

This Week’s Delicious Mischief Recipe

JALAPENO-RED PEPPER HUMMUS 

Somehow, all roads must lead to Texas. Otherwise, how can we explain the popularity of this eastern Mediterranean favorite often first encountered in Lebanese or Greek restaurants? Though the basic flavor of ground chick peas, sesame tahini, garlic and lemon is amazing enough, Texas cooks just had to start tinkering to achieve a bit more  great taste. And a little kick of heat, naturally. 

3 cloves of garlic

1 (15 oz. can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

1/3 cup tahini

1/4 cup lemon juice

½ jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, as desired

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ cup roasted red peppers 

Start by draining and rinsing the chickpeas. Place the garlic cloves in a food processor and pulse a few times. This way, you don’t have to chop the garlic by hand. Next add the chickpeas to the food processor, then the tahini. Add the lemon juice, jalapeno and the olive oil. Process the mixture until it’s thick and chunky. Now add the roasted red peppers, and process again until the hummus becomes smooth and creamy. Serve the roasted red pepper hummus with warm pita triangles or pita chips. Serves 8-10.

Artisans and Texas Paella on Weekend’s DM

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NOW HEARD IN THREE GREAT TEXAS CITIES! 

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

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

There are artists, we’re told, and then there are artisans. A new restaurant in Houston, created by not one but two exemplary French chefs, demonstrates just how much of the former there is in the latter. We chat with chefs David Denis and Jacques Fox about the foods and wines that make their Artisans tick. Appropriately, in our Grape & Grain segment, we taste and talk about  the wonderful wines of the Famille Perrin from the Rhone Valley in France. 

HOUSTON Saturdays 2-3 p.m., News Talk 1070 KNTH

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

There are artists, we’re told, and then there are artisans. A new restaurant in Houston, created by not one but two exemplary French chefs, demonstrates just how much of the former there is in the latter. We chat with chefs David Denis and Jacques Fox about the foods and wines that make their Artisans tick. Appropriately, in our Grape & Grain segment, we taste and talk about  the wonderful wines of the Famille Perrin from the Rhone Valley in France. 

DALLAS Saturdays 7-8 p.m., 570 KLIF

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

Burgers are big business these days, especially in the market segment known as the Better Burger. Recently we experienced one of these better burgers, in the funky setting that goes by the name Twisted Root. And we’re certain what we think about this all-American classic will never be quite the same. In our Grape & Grain segment, we taste and talk about  the wonderful wines of the Famille Perrin from the Rhone Valley in France. 

Our 22nd Year of Eating, Drinking and Telling You About It! 

This Week’s Delicious Mischief Recipe

COASTAL BEND PAELLA

This dish is half great taste and half nostalgia, since it references the Gulf Coast of Texas that curves south with ever more Tex-Mex flavor to the old shrimping port of Brownsville on the border. My plan here is to take Spain’s classic rice dish on a similar journey, with a nod to the Cajuns and Creoles of southwest Louisiana while we’re in the neighborhood. 

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 chicken breast halves, cut bite-sized

1 pound smoked sausage

1 onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 carrot chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon onion powder

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled

1 tomato chopped

½ cup frozen green peas

3/4 cup chunky salsa

2 (10-ounce) packages yellow rice mix

7 cups water 

Heat the olive oil in a large saute (or paella) pan and brown the sausage and chicken. Add the onion, red pepper and carrot and cook until lightly caramelized. Add the minced garlic and stir quickly until golden. Season with salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, onion and garlic powders. Add the shrimp and stir just until pink, about 2 minutes. Add the tomato, green peas and salsa, stirring to incorporate. Pour in the rice and saffron seasoning, followed by the water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Serves 12-14.

Malaga Tapas, Estancia Wines on Weekend’s Show

NOW HEARD IN THREE GREAT TEXAS CITIES! 

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

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

We’re in Austin this week, talking about the impact of Spanish tapas on the way Americans eat and drink with executive chef Alejandro Duran of downtown’s popular Malaga and cooking school chef-instructor Nancy Marr, who just got back from tasting her way around Spain. In our Grape & Grain segment, we consider the wines of Estancia with the guy who makes them, Scott Kelley. 

HOUSTON Saturdays 2-3 p.m., News Talk 1070 KNTH

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

We’re in Austin this week, talking about the impact of Spanish tapas on the way Americans eat and drink with executive chef Alejandro Duran of downtown’s popular Malaga and cooking school chef-instructor Nancy Marr, who just got back from tasting her way around Spain. In our Grape & Grain segment, we consider the wines of Estancia with the guy who makes them, Scott Kelley. 

DALLAS Saturdays 7-8 p.m., 570 KLIF

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

We’re in Austin this week, talking about the impact of Spanish tapas on the way Americans eat and drink with executive chef Alejandro Duran of downtown’s popular Malaga and cooking school chef-instructor Nancy Marr, who just got back from tasting her way around Spain. In our Grape & Grain segment, we consider the wines of Estancia with the guy who makes them, Scott Kelley. 

Our 22nd Year of Eating, Drinking and Telling You About It! 

This Week’s Delicious Mischief Recipe

PAN-ASIAN BBQ OYSTERS

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 garlic cloves

2 shallots

2 teaspoons minced red onion

2 teaspoons minced cilantro

½ teaspoon toasted Szechaun peppercorns (or crushed red pepper)

2 teaspoons minced mild chile pepper

2 ½ tablespoons white vinegar

1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/3 cup sesame oil

4 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

½ teaspoon ground red (cayenne) pepper

Juice of 1 ½ lemons

½ cup teriyaki sauce

1/3 cup soy sauce

3 dashes hot pepper sauce

½ pound pancetta (or bacon)

2 dozen oysters on the half shell 

Blend all ingredients except pancetta and oysters in a food processor. Roast the pancetta in the oven until lightly browned. Pat dry and crumble or finely chop. Prepare fire in a grill. Place the oysters on the half shell directly above the coals and top with the sauce. Sprinkle with pancetta. Grill until oysters are bubbly, 5-7 minutes. Serves 8.

 

Radio with Salsa Shrimp and Cheese Grits

NOW HEARD IN THREE GREAT TEXAS CITIES! 

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

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

Whether it’s touring with her Texas band Ruby Dee and the Snakehandlers or serving up a backyard barbeque, Ruby Dee always has something cooking. From the first listen to her spicy sound to the last bite of a crowd-pleasing dish, she is making fans crave her winning recipes. We chat with Ruby about her new Ruby’s Juke Joint American Cookbook. And in our Grape & Grain segment, we taste and talk about the esteemed wines of Storybook. 

HOUSTON Saturdays 2-3 p.m., News Talk 1070 KNTH

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

Whether it’s touring with her Texas band Ruby Dee and the Snakehandlers or serving up a backyard barbeque, Ruby Dee always has something cooking. From the first listen to her spicy sound to the last bite of a crowd-pleasing dish, she’s is making fans crave her winning recipes. We chat with Ruby about her new Ruby’s Juke Joint American Cookbook. And in our Grape & Grain segment, we taste and talk about the esteemed wines of Storybook. 

DALLAS Saturdays 7-8 p.m., 570 KLIF

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

Whether it’s touring with her Texas band Ruby Dee and the Snakehandlers or serving up a backyard barbeque, Ruby Dee always has something cooking. From the first listen to her spicy sound to the last bite of a crowd-pleasing dish, she’s making fans crave her winning recipes. We chat with Ruby about her new Ruby’s Juke Joint American Cookbook. And in our Grape & Grain segment, we taste and talk about the esteemed wines of Storybook. 

Our 22nd Year of Eating, Drinking and Telling You About It! 

This Week’s Delicious Mischief Recipe

SALSA SHRIMP AND TEX-MEX CHEESE GRITS

By now, just about everybody knows that the Southern staple called shrimp and grits hails from the Carolinas. But it’s safe to assume nobody up there ever thought of taking the dish on a Texas detour, adding a little tomato salsa to the wine-butter sauce and, perhaps even better, adding cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses to the grits. 

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 green bell pepper, finely chopped

1 (8-ounce) package fresh white mushrooms, chopped

1 tomato, chopped

2 green onions, chopped

1 teaspoon minced garlic

¼ cup dry white wine

¼ cup chunky tomato salsa

Creole seasoning to taste

½ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon onion powder

1 pound medium-large wild-caught shrimp, peeled

Cooked grits, with blended cheddar-Monterey Jack cheese 

Heat olive oil with 1 tablespoon butter in a sauté pan or wok. Saute the onion, carrot and green pepper until they start to caramelize, then add the mushrooms, tomato, green onions and garlic, stirring till the mushrooms soften. Add the remaining butter, white wine and salsa. Add seasonings. Stir in the shrimp to combine with the bubbling pan liquid, cooking just until shrimp are bright pink. Serve with sauce atop the hot cheese grits. Serves 4.

DM Radio and a Great Spring Recipe

NOW HEARD IN THREE GREAT TEXAS CITIES! 

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

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

Ever wonder what the next hot trends in food and drink are going to be? Well, we certainly wonder. That’s what sent us through tens of thousands of square feet of exhibit space at the recent Dallas Gift Mart, tasting and talking. In this show, we offer our report. And in our Grape & Grain segment, we taste the great wines of the South of France region called Gigondas (we enjoy just saying the word… GEE-gone-dahs!) while chatting about the latest and greatest of its vintages. 

HOUSTON Saturdays 2-3 p.m., News Talk 1070 KNTH

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

Ever wonder what the next hot trends in food and drink are going to be? Well, we certainly wonder. That’s what sent us through tens of thousands of square feet of exhibit space at the recent Dallas Gift Mart, tasting and talking. In this show, we offer our report. And in our Grape & Grain segment, we taste the great wines of the South of France region called Gigondas (we enjoy just saying the word… GEE-gone-dahs!) while chatting about the latest and greatest of its vintages. 

DALLAS Saturdays 7-8 p.m., 570 KLIF

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

Ever wonder what the next hot trends in food and drink are going to be? Well, we certainly wonder. That’s what sent us through tens of thousands of square feet of exhibit space at the recent Dallas Gift Mart, tasting and talking. In this show, we offer our report. And in our Grape & Grain segment, we taste the great wines of the South of France region called Gigondas (we enjoy just saying the word… GEE-gone-dahs!) while chatting about the latest and greatest of its vintages. 

Our 22nd Year of Eating, Drinking and Telling You About It! 

This Week’s Delicious Mischief Recipe

SPRINGTIME ANGEL HAIR WITH ASPARAGUS 

1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces

1/4 cup chicken broth

1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced

8 ounces angel hair pasta

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

Cook pasta according to package instructions. Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet. Saute asparagus in the pan over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add chicken broth and mushroom slices; cook 3 minutes more. Drain pasta, and transfer to a serving dish. Gently toss pasta with asparagus mixture; sprinkle with Parmesan and crushed red pepper.