Posts tagged ‘San Antonio’

March 21, 2012

(Fairly) Wordless Wednesday | Dough Pizzeria

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Dough Pizzeria | 6989 Blanco Road, San Antonio, Texas | 210.979.6565

July 21, 2011

Roots | Tex-Mex Enchilada Gravy

It almost pains me to give up this recipe.  Almost.

But I think everyone should try hyper-local specialties: Texas style enchiladas with chili gravy; Taylor ham, egg and cheese; mirabelles.  It’s a taste of place.  It should be a bite that makes you say, “Yes, this is what it tastes like in San Antonio.”  “This is what it tastes like in northern New Jersey.”  “This is what it tastes like in Nancy.”  It’s one way of understanding the world in a deeper way.

This recipe harkens from my father’s mother, passed to my mother, passed to me, passed to Cherub.  (She still likes my Mom’s better than mine.  But she’s not wrong.)  To me, this chili gravy that smothers corn tortillas that cuddle spoonfuls of ground beef, chopped onion and cheeses tastes not only of San Antonio, but of childhood and tradition and family.  And love.  Lots of love.

Enchilada Gravy, makes enough for approximately 48 enchiladas

1/2 c flour

1/2 c vegetable oil (or lard)

1/2 c chili powder (what your powder tastes like will be the dominant flavor of the sauce, taste for sweetness, heat, etc.)

2 heaping T ground cumin

3 or 4 garlic cloves, finely minced

Salt to taste

2 bouillon cubes dissolved in 6 to 8 c very warm water

In a large pan (ideally a cast iron skillet) over medium heat, warm the oil or lard and brown the flour lightly.  Remove from heat.  Add the chili powder, cumin, garlic and salt.  Return to medium heat with enough water to make a gravy.  Simmer for twenty minutes.

{To assemble enchiladas, warm corn tortillas in oil, then roll, filling with any combination of grated cheese, diced white onion and ground beef.  Place in a baking pan in in close rows that had a ladleful of gravy covering the bottom.  Ladle more gravy over the tops of the enchiladas, sprinkle with cheese or whatever fillings you’ve chosen.  Cover with foil.  Bake at 350 for approximately 30 to 40 minutes.}

Playlist included Blisters May Come, by Centro-Matic.

June 6, 2011

Spanish Tapas | Almond Toasts

Lately I’ve been enjoying the idea of meals with lots of little bites.  Doesn’t matter the country or the culture.  Just about everybody has the concept.

Sunday, with the addition of some sage flower sangria (the sage flower syrup was from my friend Kate) we had a lovely meal of Spanish tapas.  My favorite bite was this almond toast from Steve Parle, whom I stumbled across in his terrific writings for The Telegraph.

I really love his aesthetic.  He has the dream job of researching and uncovering truly local foods from around the world.  And honestly, if I could do something everyday, it would be to travel everywhere and find out how people are cooking in their homes in all corners of the world.  I am inspired.

It’s the Belle Lorraine of Alsace, the liquor distilled from the yellow Mirabelles that are local to Nancy and Lorraine.  It’s the puffy tacos found only in San Antonio, Texas.  Or it’s takoyaki  from Japan that is now found in a little stand on the streets of Columbus, Ohio.  Or Korean bibimbap.  My plate is eternally full.  Everywhere, each day, cooks – especially home ones – are transforming local ingredients and family recipes into moments that encourage everyone to slow down, savor and remember.

This little two bite wonder is a symphony of flavor: smoke from the grilled bread, citrus, fresh mint, rich Marcona almonds and perfect umami from anchovies.  It’s perfect paired with that sangria and encourages you to do just what you’d love to do: relax.

Playlist included Lover’s Carvings by Bibio.

January 24, 2011

Puffy Tacos | Leftover Brisket Part 3: Son of Braised Brisket

This is a seriously regional favorite.  So seriously regional that much of Texas won’t even know what these are.  Only the folks from San Antonio will smile knowingly and nod their head, saying, “Yes.  Puffy tacos.  We go way back.”  San Antonians love their puffy tacos.  So much so that the local minor league baseball team The Missions has a secondary mascot: a puffy taco.  PK tip: A bizzare seventh inning stretch tradition involves a small child that circles the bases in furious pursuit of the taco.  They almost always manage to tackle the taco just before the it reaches home.  Good times. I keep telling you to visit.

Some say they were originally created at Henry’s in San Antonio.  It’s different from a regular taco in the sense that the raw masa tortilla is simply fried, not griddled then fried as in most gordita, taco and chalupa shells.  The resulting shell is, well, puffy.  And delicious.  And like no other taco you can buy anywhere outside San Antonio.  You know you’re curious.  Go on, fire up that fryer.

N.I.O.S.A. Puffy Tacos, serves 4

For the filling:

Last bit of that braised brisket, about 3/4 pound, shredded, not chopped

1 T chile powder

2 T cumin (or comino, people)

1/2 c homemade chicken, beef or vegetable stock, otherwise use water.  Really.

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January 16, 2011

Breakfast Tacos, San Antonio Style

I grew up eating breakfast tacos.  Notice I did not refer to these as breakfast “burritos.”  You won’t find vegetables in these.  They are not some sort of fancy omelet in a flour tortilla.  They are typically leftovers and eggs wrapped in a warm flour tortilla.  They usually consist of some combination of the following : Meat (carnitas, chorizo, bacon, brisket, carne guisada), beans (usually refried), cheese (usually grated cheddar), potatoes, and eggs (scrambled).

In San Antonio, where I spent my early years, breakfast tacos are more popular than donuts.  There are places you can pick up a dozen for work (you’ll always get brownie points for this).  My favorite little taco place (read: hole in the wall) has housemade flour tortillas and a seemingly endless variety of fillings for your taco.  My favorite: bean, egg and bacon.

Thousand Oaks Breakfast Tacos

Refried Beans (mine were pinto, that I pureed, then reheated in bacon drippings and seasoned with chili powder and ground cumin)

Scrambled Eggs (I used Holistic Acres)

Slices of meaty fried bacon (mine was Neuske’s)

Small (not burrito sized, y’all) flour tortillas (I heat mine directly over my gas burners on the stove. Use tongs if you must, but I’ve got asbestos fingers and do it by touch, flipping and rotating until they bubble).

Assemble your taco with a base of beans, a spoonful of egg and a slice of bacon.  Fold in half as you would a soft taco.  Nothing more complicated than that.  Serve with hot sauce or pico de gallo.  This morning I didn’t have salsa so I used Sriracha for the heat.

Playlist included Give Back the Key to My Heart, by San Antonio boy, Doug Sahm.

 

December 16, 2010

South Texas Locavore | Mushrooms on Toast, Poached Backyard Egg

I am so happy to have a friend who is raising beautiful chickens.  Her name is Mylene, and her urban “farm” in a North San Antonio neighborhood produces all manner of vegetables and flowers, and as of November, the little jewels that star in this dish.  Upon arrival, I found her chickens happily pecking around Mackey Farms, softly clucking their pleasure.  Cherub had a fantastic time following them around and tempting them with deep green leaves of kale, like chicken catnip.  I had fun holding them and watching them.  It’s like an avian version of an aquarium.  But make no mistake, these birds aren’t a quirky diversion.  Just like the vegetables in her beds, they’re there to put food on her family’s table.

I will never, ever turn down a few fresh eggs.  I will honor every ounce of the effort that chicken gave to produce that egg and eat it with all the reverence of a holy meal.  So when she offered me five, including one that was laid while I visited, I knew exactly how I would use them – mushrooms on toast.  It’s a true bistro classic, elevated here by earthy Texas mushrooms and, of course, those transcendent eggs.  It’s a simple, humble dish – you can have it for lunch, you can have it with your tea.  Please, I urge you, try it.

Mushrooms on Toast with Poached Backyard Egg, Serves 2

4 cups of fresh, local mushrooms, diced.  I used 2 cups of crimini and 2 cups of shiitake.

1 shallot, finely diced

2 thick slices of the crusty bread of your choosing.  I used a buttermilk sourdough.

Vermouth, a splash

1 leaf of Texas sorrel, cut into ribbons, for garnish

1/2 t butter

olive oil, salt, pepper

2 beautiful Mackey Farms eggs

Coat the bottom of a large frying pan very generously with olive oil, and heat until shimmering.  Add the mushrooms, allowing them to sear, about 3 minutes.  Deglaze with the vermouth.  Then add the chopped shallots and turn the heat to medium-low.  Season well with salt and pepper, and stir regularly for another 3-4 minutes.  This is a good time to make your toast.

Now poach the eggs for 2 1/2 – 3 minutes in simmering water – long enough from the white to be firm, but without cooking the yolk through.

Add the butter to your mushrooms and give it a stir to incorporate

Spoon the mushrooms onto your toast, and top it with the egg and a tiny sprinkle of sea salt.  Garnish with the sorrel ribbons.  There is no doubt you will enjoy this.

Playlist included Maybe Sparrow, by Neko Case.

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December 13, 2010

Dining Out | Lunch at Lüke

South Texas has a long growing season, plentiful meats, feathered and furred game, and lots of space to grow and roam.  Why has it been so hard to find it?  I had an opportunity to meet CIA-trained  Chef Steve McHugh after a demo at the Pearl Farmer’s Market.  He may be planting the flag for San Antonio’s late- blooming local-food movement.  Having grown up on a Wisconsin farm, Chef McHugh knows a thing or two about how great local, fresh-from-the-farm produce can taste.  He sources many of his ingredients for Lüke from vendors at Pearl, all of whom are within 150 miles of San Antonio.  The salad he made at the market, which is on the menu, included Humble House baby blue cheese – some of the prettiest I’ve ever seen – snuggled up next to chili-spiced pistachios and candied beets.  I looked over the menus and decided we would cancel our lunch reservations to eat at the three-week-old bistro, Lüke. 

Lüke, on the Riverwalk, is the new sister to the original in New Orleans.  As a John Besh restaurant, Lüke has definite French Quarter flavor.  But there are menu touches here and there that make you remember you are in South Texas.

We started with cocktails, a French “75” for me and a Sazerac for Hades.

To start, I couldn’t resist the pâté de campagne of wild boar.  Served with watermelon pickles, mustard and a gelee, the pâté was luscious spread on crispy olive oil toasts.  Equally intriguing in terms of a first course would have been the fried Texas quail, which I will be sure to try next visit.

Hades ordered from the express lunch menu, which included a cup of soup.  He wisely chose the shrimp and sausage gumbo.

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