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Southwest Cornbread Dressing

Southwest Cornbread Stuffing for 20

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8+ cornbread crumbled

6+ cups jalapeno cheddar sourdough (from Schmaltz) cubed

¾ c butter

8 stalks celery sliced thin

2 medium yellow onions diced

4-5 eggs

4 cups chicken broth

2+ cups milk or cream

½ – 1 t cayenne

Salt

Pepper

1 T rubbed sage

1 T dried parsley

1 T dried thyme

1 T dried oregano

 

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Sauté celery and onion until translucent. While this is cooking, toss cornbread and sourdough in a very large bowl. Combine eggs, chicken broth, cream and seasonings in a mixing bowl and blend together with a whisk. Pour egg mixture breads and toss together. The combination should be a little bit soupy but not overmixed.

Butter two 10-12 cup Bundt pans (traditional pan). Put half of the bread mixture in each, tamping down to ensure that there are no air bubbles.

Bake for 40-50 minutes until firm and browned.

 

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Our Favorite Holiday Appetizers

One can never have enough favorite appetizer recipes. Here are a few of ours – enjoy!

Bruschetta with Roasted Tomato, Pesto and Mascarpone

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Makes 24

2 pints cherry tomatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 baguette, cut on the diagonal into 3/8” thick slices

8 oz marscarpone or whipped cream cheese

½ cup basil pesto

 

Preheat oven to 425. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the cherry tomatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes until they collapse and are lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Set aside.

 

Preheat the broiler. Brush both sides of the bread with olive oil and place on a baking sheet in a single layer. Place 6 inches under the broiler and brown on both sides (3 to 4 minutes total).

Spread a liberal amount of mascarpone on each slice of toasted bread, top the mascarpone with a thin layer of pesto, spoon a dollop of the roasted tomatoes in the middle of each slice, making sure not to completely cover up the pesto.

 

Apple, Pear & Walnut Brie Bites

Makes 10 -12

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1 8 oz  wheel of brie, some rind removed, cut into 1 ½” pieces

1 package puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator

½ cup Apple Cranberry Chutney

1 egg plus 2 tablespoons water, slightly beaten

 

Preheat oven to 375. Cut the puff pastry into 4-5” squares. Place one piece of brie in the center of each piece of pastry and top with 1 tablespoon of chutney. Gently gather the edges of the pastry up around the brie and twist at the top. Brush with egg wash and place on parchment on a baking sheet. Bake for 18 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately with crackers and apples slices.

Warm Rosemary Olives

Makes 2 Cups

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12 oz kalamata olives

Zest of 1 lemon, grated or cut into fine slivers

Zest of 1 orange, grated or cut into fine slivers

Several sprigs of fresh rosemary

½ cup extra virgin olive

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon fennel seed

 

Place olives, lemon and orange zest, rosemary sprigs, olive oil, red pepper flakes, and fennel seed in a saucepan and heat until the herbs sizzle. Remove from heat and let sit at room temperature for about 5 hours. Before serving, remove the browned herbs and replenish with fresh, serve garnished with Rosemary Sprigs.

 

  • Make ahead – this will keep for 2 weeks in refrigerator. Allow the olives to come to room temperature before serving.
  • For a bit of Spanish pizzazz, serve these olives with Almonds and a medium bodied dry sherry.

Karyn’s Broiled Shrimp with Cherry Tomatoes and Green Olives

Serves 6 – 8

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1 # med shrimp, peeled and deveined

12 large green olives, pitted & sliced

8 oz sweet cherry tomatoes, halved

2 T garlic, minced

1 T fresh or dried thyme

1 t salt

1 t black pepper

1 T lemon juice

4T olive oil

Preheat broiled to high. Place all ingredients in mixing bowl and toss to coat. Place ingredients in a baking dish (safe for the broiler) and broil for 5 minutes. Remove dish from oven, stir ingredients to expose uncooked portions of shrimp and return to oven for 2-3 minutes. Serve with crusty bread.

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Beef & Arugula Roll Ups

The party season is fast approaching, and it has us thinking about our favorite appetizers. Over the past several years, we’ve tested dozens of appetizer recipes. We know, it’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it.

When you’re entertaining, consider these helpful tips as you plan your appetizer menu:

  • Choose recipes that some or all of the preparation can be done ahead of time.
  • Choose appetizers that can be served at room temperature.
  • A cheese platter is always a good idea. Think of it as an edible centerpiece. We like to include three different types of cheeses, assorted nuts, fresh grapes, crackers, and a garnish of fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme.
  • Allow 8 – 12 appetizers per person for cocktail parties.

This recipe for Roast Beef Roll Ups  was one of our most requested catering menu items. It requires absolutley no cooking and can even be made the day before. It is lovely served on a rustic wooden serving board and paired with a hearty Cabernet Sauvignon.

Happy cooking,
The Gourmet Gallery Chefs — Karyn, Jo Ann, Rachel

Beef and Arugula Roll Ups

Makes 24 Roll-ups

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1 lb Seasoned Roast Beef, thinly sliced
4 oz soft cream cheese, Chevre, or shaved Parmesan
2 tablespoons French Dijon Mustard
3 cups fresh arugula
1 red bell pepper sliced in thin strips
Salt & Pepper

PREPARATION INSTRUCTIONS

  1. On a clean work surface, spread each slice of roast beef with a thin layer of  cheese and mustard.
  2. Season with a little salt and pepper.
  3. Lay two to three pieces of arugula and a slice of red bell pepper at one end of each slice of roast beef.
  4. Gently roll up the beef, beginning at the end with the arugula. Secure with a toothpick.
  5. Keep refrigerated until serving. Can be made 1 day ahead.
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Easy Blender Hollandaise Sauce

Easy Blender Hollandaise Sauce

When we go out for brunch, it is very likely that we will order eggs benedict. The combination of a soft poached egg topped with a bright, creamy Hollandaise is the  quintessential “brunch” dish. Have you ever thought “why don’t I make this at home”? We think you should, especially because it’s probably easier than you think. This recipe for Easy Blender Hollandaise Sauce is simple – the blender does the magic! The sauce can also be served over roasted vegetables, like asparagus, or poached fish, like salmon.

Easy Blender Hollandaise Sauce Recipe

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Ingredients

3 egg yolks

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

10 tablespoons unsalted butter (if using salted butter, skip the added salt)

  1. Melt the butter slowly in a small pot. Try not to let it boil – you want the moisture in the butter to remain there and not steam away.
  2. Add the egg yolks, lemon juice, salt and cayenne into your blender. Blend the egg yolk mixture at a medium to medium high speed until it lightens in color, about 20-30 seconds. The friction generated by the blender blades will heat the yolks a bit. The blending action will also introduce a little air into them, making your hollandaise a bit lighter.
  3. Once the yolks have lightened in color, turn the blender down to its lowest setting, and drizzle in the hot melted butter slowly, while the blender is going. Continue to buzz for another couple seconds after the butter is all incorporated.
  4. Turn off the blender and taste the sauce. It should be buttery, lemony and just lightly salty. If it is not salty or lemony enough, you can add a little lemon juice or salt to taste. If you want a thinner consistency, add a little warm water. Pulse briefly to incorporate the ingredients one more time.
  5. Store until needed in a warm spot, like on or next to the stovetop. Serve within an hour or so.
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Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Even a dish as simple as mashed potatoes has room for improvement. Here are the “10 Commandments of Mashed Potatoes” to guarantee perfect, fluffy mashed potatoes every time.

1. DO USE THE RIGHT POTATOES: Yukon golds or Russets
2. DO CUT YOUR POTATOES THE SAME SIZE: start them in cold water, and bring to a simmer until they are cooked through.
3. DO NOT ADD YOUR FLAVORINGS AT THE END: add garlic and herbs in the pot with the milk or cream
4. DO EMBRACE THE TANG FACTOR: add cream, buttermilk, crème fraîche.
5. DO NOT LOSE THE FLUFF: drain the potatoes and put them back in the pot without a lid after they have boiled. Cook them just for a couple minutes on medium-low, shaking the pot, until all the excess moisture is evaporated.
6. DO NOT ADD COLD LIQUID: Make sure the milk or cream you add to your potatoes is HOT.
7. DO NOT SKIMP ON THE SEASONING: Salt the water you are cooking your potatoes in.
8. DO USE A POTATO MASHER OR RICER.
9. DO NOT SERVE A NAKED MASH: top with butter, crispy shallots or chives.
10. DO WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE: peel & cut potatoes the day before, cover with water and keep in fridge. Assemble your milk/cream/butter mixture in a small saucepan and refrigerate that, too. That way, all you need to do on is boil, drain, and mash on the day of your holiday meal.

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Makes 8 servings

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INGREDIENTS
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 2″ pieces
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 2″ pieces
Kosher salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter; plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
Special equipment: A potato ricer

PREPARATION
Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water by 2″. Generously season with salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, 10–15 minutes. Drain and transfer potatoes to a baking sheet; let stand until dry, 10–15 minutes. Set pot aside.
Meanwhile, heat cream, milk, and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; season with salt and pepper.
Pass potatoes through ricer into reserved pot. Mix in warm milk mixture, then sour cream; season with salt. Serve topped with pepper and more butter.

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Aioli Deviled Eggs

Aioli Deviled Eggs

 

6 eggs, room temperature

1/4 cup Stonewall Kitchen Aioli

Salt and pepper

Crumbled bacon, cilantro leaf, parsley leaf, paprika, or dill sprig for garnish

Mayonnaise (if needed)

 

Place eggs in a pot large enough for the eggs to be in a single layer. Cover eggs with cold water, enough to cover eggs by 1-inch. Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook eggs. 14 minutes for large eggs, 12 minutes for small and medium eggs, and 15 minutes for extra-large and jumbo eggs. Add 1-2 minutes more if eggs are cold directly from refrigerator and not room temperature. Plunge eggs into cold water to prevent further cooking.

Once eggs are cooled peel off shells. Cut eggs in half lengthwise. Remove egg yolks to a small bowl. Add Aioli, salt and pepper. Mix until smooth and uniform. If dry add more aioli or mayonnaise. Spoon or pipe egg yolk filling into each white. Garnish and serve.

Tip:  Older eggs are best to use when making hard boiled eggs, they will peel easier. 

Roasted Garlic Aioli
Roasted Garlic Aioli
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Early Summer Recipe


Fried Green Tomato

Late Spring and early Summer is the prime time to find green tomatoes at the Farmers Market. What exactly are green tomatoes? There are two types of green tomatoes, those that are green when fully ripe (generally heirloom varieties), and unripe tomatoes. Here are two recipes for a favorite dish using this seasonal fruit.

Fried Green Tomatoes

1 cup stone-ground cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 pinch cayenne

1 1⁄2 cups buttermilk

kosher salt

fresh ground black pepper

4 large unripe tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices, ends removed

1⁄2 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

hot pepper sauce, for serving

lemon wedge, for serving

 

In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, garlic powder, and cayenne together.

Pour the buttermilk into a separate bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Dip the tomatoes in the buttermilk and then dredge them in the cornmeal mixture, coating both sides well.

Place a large cast iron skillet over medium heat and coat with the oil.

When the oil is hot, pan-fry the tomatoes (in batches if necessary) until golden brown and crispy on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

Carefully remove the tomatoes and drain on paper towels.

Serve with hot pepper sauce and lemon.

 

Crunchy “Baked” Fried Green Tomatoes

4 large firm green tomatoes

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon Kosher salt, more for sprinkling

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 cup Panko Bread Crumbs

Pam Cooking Spray or olive oil for drizzling

Slice tomatoes 1/8 inch thick. On a large plate mix flour, salt, and pepper. Place yogurt and buttermilk on a second plate, and Panko Bread Crumbs on a third plate. Coat tomatoes with the flour mixture, then the yogurt – buttermilk mixture (you may want to put the yogurt in a small bowl so that dipping them is easier), then the Panko Bread Crumbs.

Place coated tomatoes on a cookie sheet and spray with Pam Cooking Spray liberally on both sides or drizzle them on both sides with olive oil. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 7 minutes on one side then flip them over and bake for another 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a platter, sprinkle with extra salt and serve warm.

 

Buttermilk dipping sauce: 

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup mayonnaise

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon chopped chives

hot sauce

In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chopped chives and stir to combine. Add a few dashes of hot sauce to taste. Chill until ready to serve.


 

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Making Marshmallows

The Making of Marshmallows & Memories – Family Holiday Traditions

By Karyn Miller

Reprint from October 2013

 

The scents of the cool fall air always spark different emotions and trigger memories for me. As a child, once the Trick-or-Treat candy was consumed (or otherwise mysteriously disposed of), my family got to work on the next series of events. Football, Homecoming, a few fall birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day inspired us and gave us all something pleasing to anticipate.

My father owned and managed retail businesses during my youth. He worked six days a week as long as I can remember, holidays being the rare exception. Mom taught high school homemaking and was a foodie before the word existed. While she managed to deliver some amazing meals for us despite the limited help from her industrious husband and her three indolent children, her magic really sparkled when the cool weather and fall fog rolled into town. From homemade hot chocolate to the best pralines ever, from candied orange peel (still not my favorite) to sand tarts and divinity, Mom’s greatest gifts flowed forth from kitchen. For our family, holiday traditions focused on these sweets and other favorite foods.

My daughter and I rely happily and heavily on those holiday traditions from my mother’s kitchen. With the first breath of chilly air, we make homemade hot chocolate just like we did when I was a kid – that perfect combination of chocolate with the tiniest pinch of salt and spice. After I pour it into mugs, my daughter Molly mounds marshmallows so high that it takes half an hour to get to the beverage. By the time the marshmallows are gone, she and I are halfway through another longstanding family holiday tradition, “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.” Never a drop of hot cocoa remains in either of our cups by the end of the show.

One of our newer traditions is to make our own marshmallows – not for the ordinary cold night hot chocolate, but as holiday gifts for teachers and friends, and of course, as a gift to ourselves. The recipe isn’t difficult, but it is time-consuming and messy. And worth every bit of waiting, togetherness, powdered sugar, and fun. That time together is the stuff that holidays are made of, the stuff I remember as a kid with my brother and sister.

Thanks to a mother who was and is a fabulous cook, both of my siblings and I love cooking and eating good food, bantering and being silly with each other; so, what many might view as an onerous tasks in the kitchen I see as luxurious indulgences when we truly take the time to create good food and good memories. I savor the hours “slaving” in the kitchen, even if I complain about how little time we have to sleep, to relax, and to relish the season. Despite my family’s mutual admiration of all things food and all things cooking, our holiday season typically starts with the same friendly sibling argument:

“What are we doing for Thanksgiving this year?”

“I don’t know. I don’t even know what I’m having for dinner tonight.”

“How about turkey?”

“I don’t want turkey this year.”

“How about ham?”

“I don’t like ham.”

“Fine. I’ll ask Gary.”

“Gary, are you and Beth in town for Thanksgiving this year?”

“I think so. I don’t know. You’ll have to ask Beth.”

Aaaaarghhhh! Thus the holiday tradition in the Miller family begins. Eventually my sister and I will congregate over a glass of wine and talk about our plans through the season. We ponder over recipes, menus, new and old favorites. Finally we emerge with our Thanksgiving dinner plan, typically a mix of a new twist on a turkey we likely found in Bon Appetite, our grandmother’s traditional Southern Dressing, Gary’s Potatoes Dauphin, Beth’s rolls, something green (changes every year), a variety of pies, and of course, Mom’s pralines. Perhaps we should just keep that same menu every year, but then we would lose the traditional pre-holiday argument I have come to anticipate and enjoy.

I “interviewed” my daughter before writing this article to find out what she considers her favorite family holiday traditions to be. Without any prompting she said, “Grandma’s pralines. Grandma makes the best pralines ever.” Next she mentioned hot chocolate and homemade marshmallows. She even mentioned how her Aunt Caryl and I have to wrangle over our holiday dinners and gatherings.

She mentioned how she loves for our whole family to get together, usually after New Year’s, to have our official family Christmas where each family member gets to open his or her gifts one by one for all to see. I don’t know why, but it surprised me that Molly defined her holiday traditions and memories so similarly to the way I define mine.  I realized we all have our own traditions – an imperfectly perfect blend of all the traditions that have graced and cursed us through the years. I can only hope she is so lucky with her own family someday.

Mollymallows

Molly and Karyn’s traditional homemade marshmallow recipe for gift-giving and hot cocoa.

4 envelopes unflavored gelatin

1 ½ c water

2 ½ c white sugar

½ c brown sugar

1 ¼ c light corn syrup

¼ t salt

½ t cinnamon

2 t vanilla extract

½ c confectioners’ sugar

½ c cornstarch

Combine confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Set aside.

Line a large jellyroll pan with lightweight foil. Spray with vegetable spray and dust pan lightly with sugar-cornstarch mixture.  Set pan aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, soften gelatin with ¾ c water.

Place the white and brown sugars, corn syrup, salt, cinnamon, and ¾ c water in a heavy saucepan. Stir to mix well. Bring to a boil and cook over high heat until the syrup reaches the soft-ball stage (234-240°F). After it reaches the soft-ball stage, remove pan from heat and add vanilla. The mixture will be dark at this stage.

With the whisk attachment and the mixer at high speed, slowly pour the hot syrup mixture into the gelatin until the mixture is very stiff. This takes about 15 minutes. The mixture will fluff up and turn almost white.

Pour the mixture into the foil-lined pan and smooth the top with a well-oiled spatula. Allow the mixture to sit, uncovered, at room temperature for several hours, overnight it usually best.

Light sprinkle some of the cornstarch-sugar mixture over a cutting surface. Turn the stiffened marshmallow mixture out onto the cutting surface. Dip a slightly oiled cookie cutter into the remaining cornstarch-sugar mixture, and cut the marshmallows into shapes. Drop freshly-cut marshmallows into cornstarch mixture, then store in an airtight container.

These make beautiful homemade gifts, especially when combined with a cup of homemade cocoa mix and a peppermint stick in a mug.

Variations: Chocolate marshmallows, chocolate-cayenne, peppermint marshmallows, coconut marshmallows. Call me for more ideas or for specific recipes for these. Enjoy.

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The Art of the Charcuterie Platter

Now that I’ve typed it what does it mean? It is the branch of cooking devoted top prepared meat products, such as salamis, sausages, terrines, pates and confit.

According to Lori Krieger, the creator of  “Tastes Elevated,” the idea of a perfect charcuterie platter features cured meats paired with artisan condiments, cheeses, breads and a variety of other condiments.

For more ideas watch this space, and come on February  7, to meet Lori and learn first hand.

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Fredericksburg with Fourteen Fun Friends

We place the reporting of the Spain Adventure on hold to write about “Fredericksburg with Fourteen Fun Friends.” Early on the Thursday before Easter fourteen friends of Gourmet Gallery loaded onto a luxury coach from Brazos Valley Travel that took us on a four day adventure.

You know us! Emphases–food and wine. We have some recommendations to pass on to our friends who did not get to go with us. And let me tell you that you missed a great time with lovely travelers.

Three Cheers for the Top Three 

1. The three wineries:
 Texas Hills Winery, Johnson City. Kathy Gilstrap gave us a private tour and we tasted five wines for $5.00. Their Kick Butt Cab is one of their best-known wines and one of our favorites. (They also had some cheap Pinot Grigio that accidentally missed a step in the wine-making process. The Cab was better.) A mid-sized winery, the grapes are grown there and in other parts of Texas,.
Becker Winery, just off of US 290. We bought sandwiches from Dutchman’s Meat Market, and had a picnic under the porch. The lavender was in bloom, a band played part of the time we were there. Six wines for $10 and we got to keep the glass. Many of Becker’s wines are available here and in some restaurants in Fredericksburg. A beautiful setting, a lot of visitors on that day before Easter.
Sister Creek Winery, just north of Boerne at Sisterdale. David, the tasting room manager, had an employee who knew the wines well, conducted the tasting. The Burgundy and Bordeaux wine-makng techniques are used for making the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot wines. These traditional wines are aged in 60 gallon oak barrels for up to three years. Look for the old cotton gin between East and West Sister Creek. Not fancy buildings, but some good wines. They also have a tasty pinot grigio.
We made a surprise stop at Pedernales Cellars. this winery is being enlarged; so, there was more construction than wine-tasting. A glass of viognier a treat on the front porch and the view was quite nice.

Now to the food:

August E’s,  San Antonio Street, Fredericksburg. This was recommended and worth the visit. Our group’s food choices ranged from egg rolls to New Zealand lamb. The service was near perfect, the food well above the average and the wine list offered an adequate selection.
Fredericksburg Herb Farm,  on Whitney Street. This lunch stop was included in the cost. I had eaten there more than once and was confident of the quality. We were given the choices of quiche and fruit, chicken salad and fruit, meatloaf and veggies and chicken potpie. I was a little dubious of the meatloaf, but all the offerings were tasty. One drink order was confused, but that was easy to correct. Flowers were in bloom, the gardener helpful with explanations, and the new Sunday Houses are a charming addition to the property.
Cabernet Grill, on the Kerrville Hwy just across from the airport. Food was excellent from the crab cake, Curried Pheasant, Sausage and Apple Chowder to the sesame crusted fried shrimp with mango slaw, or the pan-seared trout or the Golden Fried Eggplant Pirogue topped of with Chicken Fried Pecan Pie with Jack Daniels ice cream. Wonderful food and perfect service! Many Stars!

Food and wine were the focuses, but other adventures included the First Friday Art Walk, a performance at the Rockbox Theater, a late night stop at the Lincoln Street Wine and Cigar, a little time for shopping, quick lunch and viewing of the poppies and other blooms at the Wild Seed Farm, a drive over the Willow Loop Road (the bluebonnets were in decline, but the white poppies were spectular) dinner at the Gin on Nolan’s Creek in Belton.

A busy four days with fourteen great traveler–the bus driver included. Now aren’t you sorry that you missed it!!!

I am including the recipe for the chowder at served at Cabernet Grill.

Curried Pheasant, Sausage and Apple Chowder

1/3 salad oil
1 cup celery, cut in 1/2 dice
1 cup carrots, peeled and cut 1/2 inch dice
1 1/2 cup, yellow onion, cut 1/2 cide
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons madras curry powder
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1/3 cup flour
5 cups pheasant braising liquid, chicken stock or water
1 1/2 cups potatoes, cut 3/4 inch dice
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup smoked polish sausage, sliced
2 cups braised pheasant meat
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup dried apples, diced

Heat salad oil in a heavy bottom soup pot over medium heat and add in celery, carrots, onions and garlic.  Cook the vegetables slowly, stirring frequently, until the vegetables start to soften and onions begin to turn translucent
Add curry powder, thyme and bay leaves to the pan and stir into the vegetables.  Allow to cook for about three minutes stirring frequently until the mixture becomes very fragrant. Do not burn the spices.
Add the flour to the pan and stir until incorporated
Add the braising liquid or combination of liquids to equal five total cups) to the pan one cup at a time, stirring in each time until fully incorporated.
Add the potatoes to the soup and allow soup to simmer for about twenty minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
Add cream sausage and pheasant to soup and simmer for about five minutes.
Adjust season with kosher salt and black pepper.
Add a little dried apple to each cup or bowl and ladle hot soup over. Serve immediately.
If you are completely out of pheasant, braise chicken thighs and drumsticks with salt, yellow onion, carrots, celery, bay leaves and thyme and chicken stock or water. Substitute the shredded chicken for the pheasant. Different taste, but entirely pleasant!
Happy traveling and happy eating.
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How About Pancakes?

by Jo Ann Miller (Karyn’s mom)

Well, how about them? You’ve probably eaten some version of them most all of your life, and  have not given  a second thought to the fact that this quick bread has been around on this earth about as long as any food made with grain. Crushed grain mixed with a liquid and baked on a hot stone was probably the first pancake (or stonecake.) In the United States we call them flapjacks, pancakes, griddlecakes or hotcakes. They may be made with white, wheat, oat or buckwheat flour. Johnnycakes are a variation made with ground corn. Different names in different countries: French crepes, German Pfannkuchen, The Netherlands Pannekoekenk, Swedish pannkakor and on and on and on. If you are interested in all the variations in all the world, Check http://en.Wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancakes.

My experience with them started when I became engaged. I was teaching a Home Economics class, and one of my students wanted to know how to make pancakes. I confessed that I had never made them,  He said, “Well, Miss Orr, if you are getting married, you’d better learn.” This was good advice since pancakes were my husband’s favorite food. And I’ve made many a pancake in the last 55+ years. They are quick, easy, versatile and so wonderfully delicious in so many different variations.

After we had children we had pancakes EVERY Sunday Morning. Pancakes, sausage and syrup. It’s our tradition!! When we had company, I would simmer sliced apples or peaches with butter, cinnamon and sugar.. Just slather THAT on the pancake for a company meal! Throw in a few blueberries to the batter before baking. Sprinkle some chopped pecans on the top when the pancake is poured on to the griddle. We had orange, thyme pancakes at a B&B in Maine; my friend makes wonderful ones from a biscuit mix. There are as many ways to make and serve as there are kitchens–almost.

On Shrove Tuesday, March 8, beginning at 8:30 a.m. we will be serving the British Isles version of pancakes along with some American ones from my “old family recipe.” (Come and enjoy. No confessions required.)

The following is the British Isles pancake recipe:

1 cup flour
2 eggs
2 cups milk
Pinch of salt
Butter for cooking

Whisk together milk, eggs and salt.
Fold in sifted flour a little at the time and whisk until smooth.
Let rest for 10 minutes.
Heat a small amount of butter in a small skillet until it almost smokes.
Pour enough batter to thinly coat the pan.
Cook until lightly brown. Turn and brown on the other side.
Serve with lemon juice and sugar.
Note: the first one will be a disaster. It’s the “one for the dog.” The first one seasons the pan.
(Our neighbor always said that kids are like pancakes. You practice on the first one and pitch it out.)

My basic recipe is as follows:

l cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons cooking oil

In a medium mixing bowl whisk together all dry ingredients.
In a smaller bowl or a large measuring cup mix the milk, egg and cooking oil.
Pour liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and stir. Do not over mix, Mixture will have some lumps. Let rest about 5 minutes.
Drop by spoonfuls on a preheated griddle (about 375F.) that has a bit of cooking oil to prevent sticking.
Turn when light to medium brown and cook on other side to desired doneness. Remember that the first one seasons the pan, and the others will be better. To keep hot while cooking the entire batch, place a cookie sheet in a warm oven and place cooked cakes on that. That way maybe the cook can eat when everyone else eats.
Serve with butter, syrup, jams, jellies–with any of the variations mentioned or any other food that strikes your fancy.

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Flat Irons and Red Cabooses

Fall Favorites – Flat Irons and Red Cabooses
Gourmet Gallery is offering our first Flavors of Fall cooking class for 2010 on Saturday, September 18 Soups, Stews, and Chilies Class. Check out our website for more information at www.GourmetGalleryWaco.com.

It takes so little for me to get excited about Autumn. The slightest change in weather stirs that expectant waiting of warming comfort foods, colorful leaves, football, fall picnics, red wine. To celebrate the harbingers of Fall, Jo Ann, Caryl, Molly, and I went to the Red Caboose Winery in Meridian, TX. Whether or not you are a wine drinker, this is a beautiful place to visit. The facility is GREEN; the people are warm and inviting; the wines are enticing and delicious.

We tasted a few wines, but my favorite, especially for Fall, was a Syrah-Malbec that will knock your socks off, or, as winemaker Evan McKibben phrased it, “It really hits you in the face.” He meant it in a good way, and he’s right. It’s a hearty, earthy wine that is rich enough to stand up to any steak or Texas bar-b-que yet mellow enough to complement a piece of dark chocolate. My family and I shared two bottles of it on Labor Day with a medium-rare flat iron steak. (Recipe to follow.) The steak was fantastic, but the wine really set it off.

Red Caboose winery has a Cork and Fork the last Friday of the month. They sell wine by the glass and by the bottle. You can take your own picnic and enjoy the lovely scenery. The folks at the winery suggested we bring our own lawn chairs to ensure a seat. You can find out more at www.redcaboosewinery.com. If you go, please tell them you found out about us from the girls at Gourmet Gallery. Maybe they will come to Waco to do a tasting for us! In the meantime, pack up a picnic and get ready for a beautiful Autumn. To me, it’s the best time of the year to experience the feelings, tastes, and smells of the outdoors.

Grilled Flat Iron Steak*

This recipe is modified from one my mom found on Allrecipes.com. Theirs was cooked in a nonstick skillet. Truth be known, I simply didn’t want to spend the money to feed my whole family. When Mom said she had some of these “new, trendy”steaks in her freezer, it was a lucky day. The steaks were fantastic thanks to a good recipe and Caryl’s grilling expertise. The few remaining leftovers made a wonderful steak salad.

2 lbs flat iron steak*
2 ½ T unfiltered olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T chopped fresh rosemary
1 T shallot, minced
¼ cup hearty red wine (don’t waste your Red Caboose on this, though! Any nice red will do.)
½ t salt
¾ t fresh-ground black pepper
1 t dry mustard powder
1 T meat tenderizer, such as Adolph’s

Sprinkle tenderizer on both sides of steaks. In a small bowl mix the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, shallots, salt, pepper, wine, and mustard powder. Pour over steaks. Cover tightly and marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Grill over medium-hot coals for about 3-4 minutes per side. Let rest for five minutes, then slice across the grain into thin slices.

Serve with jasmine rice and a colorful green salad, or use on rolls for a delicious sandwich to take to
Red Caboose Winery. Don’t forget the deviled eggs and a hunk of dark chocolate to go with the Syrah-Malbec.

*Flat iron steaks are a fairly-recently “discovered” a thin cut that is surprisingly lean and tender. Scientists were trying to find a way to minimize the wasted cut from the shoulder of the cow. According to About.com, these “friendly scientists” found a way to take out the thick connective tissue that made the cut undesirable. Like other thin cuts, flat iron steaks, also known as “top blade steaks,” benefit from marinating and from cooking no more than medium-rare. This cut also makes a wonderful chili or beef stew.

Happing cooking and eating!

Please see our website at www.GourmetGallery.com for a complete listing of our cooking classes.