Thursday, May 15, 2014

Champagne at Harrods in London

By beth in Travel
Champagne at Harrods in London

There’s nothing quite like experiencing Harrods in London with a bubbling pink glass of champagne.

And I only just found out about it this visit.  

Today was all about going to some of my favorite shopping spots in London.  Luckily my husband, Mike, was game. We first meandered off toward Portabella Road for a quick look at Books for Cooks and a big round of walking and negotiating our way our the tube (London’s metro sytem).  With a great morning under our belt we made our way to the famous Harrods.  

Harrods takes up one full block of London real estate and has seven floors of pure shopping bliss.While some of my more fashion forward friends might make a day (or even a week) out of exploring, we had only a few hours. So, we hit the floors that offered what we wanted; shoes, men/ladies fashion and food.  

This is my third visit to Harrods and my first to taste champagne. While you can enjoy a respite in the food courts (and I suggest you do) for a bit of quite and calm make your way to the third floor.

Nestled between Lingerie and Designer Classics sits The Champgane Bar and Restaurant. And believe me, it IS the perfect sit-down break for weary world travelers.  

We had a glass of the Harrods Own Label pink champagne.  It was fabulous and just the right amount of bubbles to make a girl happy!  

Cheers from Harrods.


Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Visions of Hillside Farmacy in Austin, Texas - Eastside

Visions of Hillside Farmacy in Austin, Texas - Eastside

For those of you who haven’t been to Hillside Farmacy on the Eastside of Austin, Texas here are a few images of what I saw and ate during my first visit.  

Sitting tranquilly on a corner lot of a busy 11th Street corner this restaurant buzzes with constant activity.  I was there right after a Friday lunch rush.  This is the time between 1:30 and 4p when things settle down a bit, shifts change and preparation for dinner is just beginning behind the scenes.  And that’s why I got to sit in a quiet little corner looking out and into a restaurant that was beginning to charm me.


The concept is pharmacy-esque with old-school warm woods and a new-school hip color scheme that is pleasing to the eye; at least mine. 

One of the new trends I’ve noticed in restaurants is the absence of salt and pepper on the table; unless it’s a signiture blend or a cool color.  A primary and learned technique in culinary school is how to season with salt and pepper.  The ideology is that if this is done correctly there is no need for seasoning (salt & pepper) on the table.  That said, I like to have the choice and HF gives you that in the form of two cobalt blue bottles with definitive labels.


Stepping into the restaurant you’re met with a professional staff and fun people watching.


 I had a the Fried Egg Sandwich with Bacon.  And it was REAL GOOD! 


For a Friday afternoon jaunt to the Eastside of Austin it was well worth it.  This first timer left with a happy belly and big smile.

Thank you Hillside Farmacy.  I’ll be back.


p.s. Love the “farmacy girl” on the lavatory door.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

AFBA 2014 City Guide -  Baguette et Chocolat

AFBA 2014 City Guide -  Baguette et Chocolat

“I’ll have a French Coffee, please,” I said to the lovely lady behind the counter.  “Do you know what French Coffee is?” she softly intoned with a whisper of a French accent.  Quizzically, I shrugged my shoulders. She smiled and explained that a French coffee was a shot of espresso with whipped cream. With her hand she measured how much of each went into the coffee mug. When I saw that the volume of whipped cream was twice the amount of espresso, I was sold.  “Yes, I’ll have one, please!” I said.  


This was my first experience at what was then a quickly becoming known French cafe named, Baguette et Chocolat.


An authentic French bakery and cafe it stands alone in the small Uplands Shopping Center just off Bee Cave Road and is a stones throw from HWY 71. It’s right smack dab in the middle one of Austin’s newer suburban landscapes; the City of Bee Cave.  


Walking into the cafe you would never know. On any given day you can count at least 2 to 3 different languages; including French.   It lends itself to feeling as if you’re somewhere else.  Perhaps Paris?!?  And like any good Parisian cafe this one is bustling and very well patronized.  


Why? Maybe it’s little touches that the patrons love; an area for the wee ones with their very own flat screen TV; not having to wait long for a seat even in the busiest times; adding new items but not changing the core menu; a huge ladies lavatory full of natural light. It could be any one of these things. 


But my guess is it’s the bread, pastry, macaroon and the traditional French dishes like salty and sweet crepes, quiche, salads and baguette sandwiches.  


The menu is wonderful.  Fresh bread is made and baked daily.From a traditional baguette to a new 6-Seed sourdough batard there are many to choose from. My favorite to take home and toast is the sourdough batard; crusty on the outside, chewy and airy on the inside.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the olive batard. It has two different types of olive slices gently nestled inbetween layers of chewy baked dough. And has just the right amount of brininess.  




Pastry is center stage eyeing you seductively as you stand in line to place your order. The ubiquitous Americanized croissant doesn’t even compare to the one found here. Biting into one it’s as if the crunchy buttery layers melt into a whispered remembrance of your favorite place in the world, until you take another bite.




Fruit tarts, decadent chocolate cakes and eclairs make a strong showing for desserts. For a lighter option there are any number of different flavored macaroon. And , one of my favorites, the financier; a small French sponge-like cake.  






The prepared breakfast and lunch items are magnificently French.  Starting with the traditional buckwheat crepe you can choose either salty (savory) or sweet.  Salty crepes  are filled with ingredients like rich cheeses, ham and mushrooms. Sweet crepes are filled with jams and  (of course) Nutella.  And as you can see from my friend, Karen (who spent 5 years living in Paris), they incite an inevidable level of anticipation and happiness that can only be found here.  She literally comes from Central Austin just to have a crepe.  




Sandwiches and salads are another option.  Sandwiches start out with a half baguette with layers of fresh ingredients such as salty ham, creamy brie, tuna cucumbers and crisp lettuce topped off with an aioli or herbed vinegar.  Salads come out in bowls piled high with mixed baby greens.  The house made vinaigrette has a soft sweet tang and dresses the lettuce lightly.  Salad Niciose is a house favorite.  




If you can’t stay for breakfast or lunch - no problem. Take-out is just as popular.  And if you’re lucky a handsome French lad will meet you, arms full of your own specified hand crafted treats.  




Ready for a trip to France via Paris? It’s simple! Just jump in your car and make your way to this little gem. Even if you’re not an espresso whipped cream coffee person there’s obviously something for everyone.  


I want to claim Baguette et Chocolat as MY own little food find in MY little neck of the woods but I really can’t.  


It’s been found!  


Here are my recommendations for your first or next visit: 



*French Coffee




*Paris - Austin Eclair

*Lemon Tart

*Anything Chocolate



*Sourdough Batard

*Traditional Baguette

*Olive Batard


Salty/Sweet Crepe:

*Ham & Cheese



Salty Sandwich:

*Parisian Brie

*My Grandpa’s Banh Mi




*Salad with Chevre Chaud




Baguette et Chocolate is on FaceBook

Baguette et Chocolate is on the Web

Baguette et Chocolate is on Twitter

12101 FM 2244 (Bee Caves Rd.) 78738



Tuesday - Thursday  7a to 5:30p

Saturday 7a to 4p

Sunday 8a to 2p

Closed Sunday 





Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Super Bowl Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

By beth in Cookies
Super Bowl Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

In my senior year of high school I got this wild baking idea: I would make chocolate chip cookies for the varsity football team during their playing season.

Every Thursday evening after our family’s supper I would gather all my ingredients in preparation for an evening of baking.  Then I’d painstakingly cream butter and sugar together, add the eggs and vanilla, sift dry ingredients then combine all these ingredients together - by hand.  Gently I would drop spoonfuls of dough onto baking sheets and spend what seemed like hours baking.  After they came out of the oven I would set them on racks to cool. Then I would count them out by the dozen placing them in perfectly even rows.  

Not one family member was to touch them until I knew the end count.  

Finally, I would  dole them out into bags.  When Friday morning arrived I’d proudly take those bags to school and hand them out to “my” team.  

My well intentioned weekly project got the better of me when finally after several games one of the guys came up to me and said, “Beth, we love you and the cookies you make for us but we can’t eat them before or after the game because it might make us sick.”

So, with a bittersweet memory and the craving for sugar and chocolate I give you a fail safe recipe for the best Super Bowl Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie.

Here’s to the end of football season but not my cookie making pleasure! 


1 stick + 6 Tbls of unsalted butter, soften to room temperature

3/4 C Turbinado or Raw Cane sugar

1/2 C granulated sugar

3 large eggs - whole

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 C all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon powder

1/2 tsp ginger powder

3/4 tsp kosher salt

3 C old fashioned oats

2 C chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven 350F


Cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl.


Add eggs, vanilla and stir to incorporate all ingredients. It does not have to be perfectly smooth. However, I used a whisk which helps break up the bigger pieces of butter and or sugar.


In a seperate bowl sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Then gently add into liquid mixture and stir to combine.


With a spatula scrape the inside of the bowl to incorporate all the flour mixture into the liquid.

Once thoroughly mixed add your old fashioned oats and chocolate.  Fold all ingredients into the other.


Using a 2” wide ice-cream scoop, fill it with dough and level the top off.  Place measured dough onto a parchment papered half baking sheet; 2 rows of 3.


Place into the preheated oven, center of the middle shelf and bake for 12 minutes.  Open oven, rotate sheet once (back to front), close oven and bake for 5 minutes.  Take cookies out of oven, set aside to cool.  Repeat until the cookie dough is gone.


Eat with abandon! 

Yields 21 - 3 1/4” cookies.


*I used 60% cacoa bittersweet chocolate.  It lends a more distictive intense chocolate flavor to the cookie itself.

*Since these chocolate chips were larger I did a quick chop to make them go further.

*Notice (see pictures above) how I used 3 different tools to mix; wooden spoon, whisk and spatula.  I DID make this batch of cookies by hand and I wanted to show you the progression of mixing tools which was contigent on how I had to mix and what would work best as the mixture progressed.  Obviously you can use a standing mixer like a KitchenAid. It does make life easier.

* I took some major liberties by adding & exchanging some ingredients.  And you can too! I did follow the basic oatmeal cookie recipe you’ll find on the inside top of the Quaker Oats Oatmeal container.  





Monday, November 25, 2013

A Thanksgiving Side Dish: Saute of Chard, Purple Kale & Broccoli Rabe

By beth in Sides
A Thanksgiving Side Dish: Saute of Chard, Purple Kale & Broccoli Rabe

Cooking Thanksgiving dinner can be a whole lotta fun and often times a stressor of sorts; what to make (excluding the obvious), how to make it, will there be enough food, will everything come out at the same time etc…etc…etc…  Over the years I’ve made it a point to simplify. Which means someone else has the responsibility of cooking the turkey and I the sides.

So last night Mike walked in from the garden with an armful of greens; a veritable bouquet of Chard, Purple Kale & Broccoli Rabe.  

img_1474_300  img_1477_300

Gorgeous! The purple stems are purple kale.

Mike, who is a good cook himself (he cooks the turkey), proceeded to prep the greens for cooking by chopping the stems very small so that they would cook quickly.  


He then continued on to the leaves with a rough chop (bigger pieces than the stems). And put all the prepped greens into a saute pan.


Then onto the stove it went.  

A Saute of Greens is a fresh, simple and quick way to complement the Thanksgiving Day Dinner; no matter who cooks it!

Here’s the recipe.


1 lb of your favorite green, rough chop (stems ooptional - chopped very small)

1 Tbls of extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp of kosher salt

1/2 tsp of fresh ground pepper


Turn your stove burner to medium high.  Place a large saute pan on that burner and add olive oil.  While olive oil is heating add your greens and sprinkle salt and pepper on top.  Begin turning the greens over and over until they begin wilting. Once they have cooked down, turn the stove down to low, cover and cook for 5 to 10 more minutes or until greens soften but still have a crunch (yes you must test).  Once done ladle greens out into a bowl and serve immediately.  

Yields 6 side servings.



Thursday, October 31, 2013

halloween decor - sans kids

By beth in Decor
halloween decor - sans kids

While I wouldn’t say I’m a Halloween lover there are a few things that I do like to keep in fashion around my house, Casa Pav.  And that is the decor that in itself demontrates the holiday.  

When I first began picking up pieces for my Halloween decor I had kids in mind.  My husband and I were working on the “task” of having children and I felt like I should start preparing by buying all sorts of fun holiday decor pieces.  Which goes right in line with my MO; not being too practical.  I was all about the surface decoration rather than the real inside preparedness of having a child.   

dsc_0290_580_01Living Room

Sadly, the kid thing didn’t work out for us.  However, the decor did and still does.  It’s sure not a replacement.  But it does make me feel good to have a few designated pieces of Halloween or that which demonstrates it placed around my home.  

halloween_centerpieces_2013_580Dining Room Table

Each piece has it’s place whether outside or inside.  One of my favorites is the candy corn man that sits outside greeting people when they visit.  Another is the witchy pumpkin cat that sits upon the counter in the guest bathroom.

dsc_0293_580Guest Bathroom

So, for not having a pure love for Halloween I think I’m doing pretty good.  I keep the decor simple; a little elegant and weirdly somewhat full of smiles.  

Happy Halloween from Casa Pav - sans kids!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Boursin Cheese - Homemade

Boursin Cheese - Homemade

Let’s face it, Boursin cheese is one of the best flavored cheeses around.  It’s an airy, buttery and herb cacophony that bursts open on your tongue.  Then melts to nothingness leaving you wanting more and more and more…

The first time I ever tried Boursin, I made it myself.  I had been hired, whilst in culinary school, to help cook for a small catering event.  I was instructed to make an appetizer of baby potato w/ a dollop of boursin cheese; a finger food to pop into your mouth in one bite. I was told that buying Boursin was fine (and delicious) but based on the amount we needed making it would be just as easy. So there I was making a batch of Boursin.  

In truth, and in a pinch, I do buy Boursin.  Making it though is an infinate treat.  I made some for a dinner party this weekend.  With herbs still growing in our gardens all I needed  was a few ingredients from the market.  Can you name all the herbs?


Here’s the recipe.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

16 ounces (2 packages) cream cheese, room temperature

1/8 C of whole whipping cream

12 stems of thyme, leaves only

3-4 sage leaves

5 3” sprigs of majoram, leaves only

1 3” sprig of rosemary, needles only

1 4” sprig of tarrogon (or Mexican marigold), leaves only

15 chives, minced

2 medium cloves fresh garlic

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper


Place all ingredients in a food processor.  Process untill all ingredients incorporate and the mixture becomes a smooth paste.  Pour into an airtight container.  Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Tips & Uses

*Bring to room temperature to soften.

*To melt, place in microwave for a few minutes, checking and stirring at intervals.

*Can be used as a spread and/or dipping sauce.



Friday, September 13, 2013

Tomato, Basil, Aioli & Olive Bread Sandwich

By beth in Sandwiches
Tomato, Basil, Aioli & Olive Bread Sandwich

Tomato season is all but over here in Texas.  We have a few months each year that produce some pretty luscious fruits. These colorful globes can be picked right from the vine and popped into the mouth. Their sun-kissed warmth, acidity and juiciness just about make any dish delightful to the eye; not too mention devoured.

This sandwich is one of my favorites.  It’s best made during tomato season and with a fresh made loaf of olive bread.  

As summer ends this is my final farewell to the Tomato, Basil, Aioli & Olive Bread Sandwich.  Until next year’s tomato harvest….


2 slices of fresh olive bread, 1/4”-1/” slices

1 Tbls of aoili (or your favorite mayo)

1 medium vine ripened tomato, sliced 1/4” thick

Pinch of salt and pepper

4 large basil leaves 


Take 1/2 of the aioli and spread evenly on one piece of bread.  Repeat process on 2nd piece of bread.  Lay each piece of bread side by side.  On one slice of bread place 3 slices of tomato so that it covers the entire piece of bread.  Sprinkle salt and pepper on tomatoes.  On top of tomato place basil leaves.  Place 2nd slice of bread on top of basil leaves.  Gently press down.  Cut sanwich down the center for 2 pieces.  Eat immediately.  Enjoy!

Yields 1 sandwich.


Tuesday, August 06, 2013

The Tim-tastic Salad

By beth in Salads
The Tim-tastic Salad

What is The Tim-tastic Salad? Well, it’s the one salad I wait for all year; THE salad of our annual summer beach vaycay. It’s full of all good things; lettuce, cabbage, tomato, carrot, nuts, dried fruit and cheese.  And there is only one person who makes it just right - Tim.  

When I asked Tim what inspired him to make his salad he said he just loves the combination of ingredients.  Also, he can change things up if he wants to; nothing is set in stone.  Interestingly, Tim doesn’t work with measurements for this particular salad.  He considers measurement, though, by aligning all his ingredients on a cutting board.


Who knew when we arrived at our beach destination yesterday that there were thoughts of making one of my favorite salads for supper.  A super refreshing, lite and healthful way to start a beach vacation with good friends.  

Dubbed especially by Tim’s daughter, Grace, THE Tim-tastic Salad is a definative keeper.  Here’s to it!


3 cups your favorite lettuce, rough chop 

1 cup red cabbage, shredded or cut into 1/4” pieces

1 cup of baby tomato, sliced lengthwise

1-2 cup(s) carrot, sliced 1/4” pieces

1/2 cup any nut of your choice

1/2 cup craisins

1/2 - 1 cup of feta cheese, crumbled


Place all ingredients on a cutting board.  In a large bowl begin layering 1/2 of each ingredient on top of the other in this order: 


Repeat layering until all ingredients are in the bowl.   

Serve immediately with your favoite dressing or vinaigrette.


Tim’s Tips

*In addition to the ingredients above you can add peppers, onion etc…

*If you get tired of Feta cheese you can replace it with Parmesan cheese.

*Layering ingredients is a gentle way of incorporating ingredients.  Also it prevents the smaller & heavier ingredients dropping to the bottom once mixed.

 p.s I took the liberty of adding some measurements to help you get started.  

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Mom’s Forgiving Chicken Salad

By beth in Sandwiches
Mom’s Forgiving  Chicken Salad

Recently I lured my mother for a visit by insisting that she help me with sorting through the hundreds of platters, bowls, glasses and table accoutrements I have.  While we didn’t even come close to going through this left-over spectacle of my catering business we did get to dive into one of her recipes; Forgiving Chicken Salad.  

A little known fact about my mother is that she loves to raid her own refrigerator before she leaves for a visit to one of her daughter’s homes.  So, like many other visits she moseyed into my kitchen with the makings of her chicken salad.  She says it’s forgiving because you can add anything you’d like to the primary ingredients; in this case, dried fruit, nuts and Herbs de Provence.  

It’s always a treat for me to cook with my mom in the kitchen; she’s one of the best cooks I know. And still after all her years of planning meals, shopping and cooking for her family she still clips recipes, loves to experiment and share the outcome.  She’s a great culinary inspiration.  

Here is her recipe just for you.   Enjoy!


2 cups of rotisserie chicken, white meat

3/4 cups of celery, chopped fine

1/2 cup of sweet onion, chopped fine

1/2 cup of craisins or golden raisins

1/2 cup of dry roasted, unsalted sliced almonds

3/4-1 cup of mayonnaise

1/2 tsp Herbs de Provence

1/4 tsp salt (kosher)

1/4 tsp pepper, fresh ground



Assemble your ingredients.


Chopped chicken, celery and onion into small even pieces.


Place all ingredients into a large bowl.


Stir to incorporate all ingredients. 


Use your favorite bread, some lettuce and you have a beautiful and delicious chicken sammie; either open or closed.



Any herb may be used. I like tarrogon and thyme.

If you like a little kick add a pinch of cayenne.

You can use as little or as much mayonnaise as you wish.  Just don’t make it too gloppy.

Fresh grapes can replace dried fruit. Or fruit may be omitted completely.

Any nut may replace the almonds.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Food Find: Flowering Leek from Casa Pav Gardens

Friday Food Find: Flowering Leek from Casa Pav Gardens

Have you ever seen something as beautiful as a flowering leek?  It’s one magnificent life force; pushing it’s soft miniscule flower pods out of a silky tough skin.  

My husband, Mike (gardner extraordinaire), will be pulling these gorgeous leeks this weekend so we might use the white bottoms for a BBQ.  So this was my last chance to share the bloom with you.


It’s my Friday Food Find; and a kind of gift to you - a flowering leek.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.  

Friday, May 24, 2013

Guest Post: baby babas - a polish dessert

By beth in Desserts
Guest Post: baby babas - a polish dessert

Just a few weeks ago I received an e-mail from a dear friends daughter, Natalie.  Natalie asked if she could submit a blog post that she and two friends, Lydia and Savannah,  had been whipping up in the kitchen. How could I refuse my first request for a recipe submission? And, oh, what a recipe it is.

It is a dessert that they are calling “baby babas”.   So, in their own words and with their own pictures, I’m super proud to share this scrumptious looking dessert with you.  I’m off to bake it myself!   

Many thanks Natalie, Lydia and Savanna!

 Here is how to make a Polish dessert known as babeczki smietankowe (ba­BECH­kee shmye­tan­KO­veh)! We prefer to call them baby babas.

First, gather your ingredients. 

For the dough: 

4 sticks butter 

2 3/4 cups all­purpose flour   

2/3 cup confectioners’ (powdered) sugar 

4 large egg yolks 

1 tsp vanilla 

For the custard:

 2 large eggs  

2 large egg yolks 

2/3 cup granulated sugar 

1 tsp vanilla 

2 tbsp cornstarch 

2 cups half­and­half, hot 

Next, gather supplies: cooking spray, muffin tin, stand ­mixer bowl, plastic wrap, measuring cups, measuring spoons, wooden spoon, whisk, rolling pin and timer. 

Attach bowl and paddle attachment to stand­mixer. Make sure the bowl is fully clicked in.

Cut in butter and flour until coarse crumbs form.  Add sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla until thoroughly mixed.


To separate the yolks, crack the egg, but leave the yolk in half of the shell. Transfer the yolk to the other half, emptying out the whites as you go.

photo_2_200  photo_3_200

Knead dough on cutting board, squashing any air pockets. This dough is very sticky, so use lots of flour!


Wrap dough in plastic wrap, and place in fridge for 10 minutes or so. This prevents the dough from being too sticky when you cut it later.


Beat eggs, egg yolks, and sugar for 5 minutes.Add vanilla and cornstarch. Beat more. Continue beating while adding the hot half­and­half. To heat up the half­and­half, pour into glass measuring cup designed for liquids.

image6_200  image7_200

Pour mixture in a non-reactive bowl and place in microwave for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes on medium high heat. Take out of microwave and pour into a medium size sauce pan (with high sides).

Cook mixture on low heat, stirring constantly until thick. Be sure you whisk at a high speed. Cool custard in refrigerator until completely cool.


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness.


Grease muffin tin. Cut circles large enough to line standard muffin tin. We just used a plastic cup to do that. Once circle is placed into tin, fill 1/3 full with custard.


Cover each filled circle with another another smaller circle of dough and crimp edges. To crimp, pinch top and bottom edges together.


Bake for 15 to ­20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let the baby babas sit and cool completely before removing them from the tin. Otherwise, the babas will fall apart. 

We recommend serving the baby babas after they have been in the fridge for a few hours. The custard tastes much better when cold.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Grilled Rosemary Flank Steak: Memorial Day

By beth in Main
Grilled Rosemary Flank Steak: Memorial Day

It’s Memorial Day weekend; and in my mind the offical start of the Summer.

I’ve been preparing steak for many years and this by far is one of my favorite flavor combinations.  It’s simply rosemary, salt and pepper.  

The best technique  to a well cooked steak is to LEAVE IT ALONE.  While there may be many a dissenter on that single point, I’m a firm believer in it.  And it was one of the first lessons I learned about grilling in my early years working in restaurants.  

The best tip is to always season your steak right before you cook it; particularly exceptional cuts like tenderloin.  In this case I’m using flank which originally was lower on the beef food chain until fajitas became so popular.  I really like it for this recipe.  However, you can apply it to any cut you like.  

I’ve also added a little roasted red pepper sauce.  It is a great accompaniment with this steak; and, oh, so simple to make.

So, if you are looking for a simple, quick and delicious steak recipe for your Memorial Day - go no further than a stove top rosemary grilled flank steak.  


For the steak - Ingredients

1/3 C fresh minced rosemary

1/4 C of kosher salt

1Tbls cracked black pepper

1 - 1 1/2lb  size flank steak




Mix first 3 ingredients in a bowl. Generously sprinkle then rub this mixture on all sides of the steak - right before you are going to cook it.  For medium-rare: Place seasoned steak in the heated grill pan over high heat. After 3 minutes turn the heat down to medium. Cook for up to 2 more minutes.  Turn steak over to the other side and repeat the process.  (To check for doneness take one steak off grill slice down the center but not all the way through.)  When the steak is done pull it from the grill pan, set it on a cutting board and let rest for up to 10 minutes.  Slice thinly against the grain.  Serve with Roasted Red Pepper sauce.


Yields 4 6oz servings.


This technique can be used for a charcoal or propane grill as well.  If you use direct flame heat, a good addition to the process is adding some rosemary wood or stalks to add a little extra herbal smoke.





Roasted Pepper Sauce


4 red bell peppers, roasted & seeded

Salt & Pepper to taste



Place peppers into a blender.  Blend until ingredients are incorporated.  When blended thoroughly, pour into a sieve and strain into a bowl.  Place pureed pepper back into blender and add 1/8C of extra virgin olive oil. Blend to incorporate so that mixture is smooth.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with flank steak.


How to roast a pepper:

Over Flame: 

Rub whole pepper with olive oil.  Place over flame on stove eye.  Turn with tongs as each side, top & bottom becomes charred.  

In Oven:

Slice pepper in half.  Rub outside with olive oil.  Place on sheet pan cut sides down. Pop into oven under the broiler until skin is charred.  


Once peppers are charred, remove from prospective heat and place in a bowl.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for up to 30 minutes.  Remove plastic wrap, remove charred skin from peppers along with seeds and stem.

Friday, May 17, 2013

A Very Red Berry and Greek Yogurt “Parfait”

By beth in Fruit
A Very Red Berry and Greek Yogurt “Parfait”

I’ve been checking out the red berries, strawberry and raspberry, in the market over the last few weeks.  There is that one moment during the season where they go from “not ready” to I want to buy every container because the scent and flavor are just perfect.  Well, I think that time is here; at least in ATX.  The strawberries smell so good and their fruity perfume catches you as you walk by the display.  The raspberries are plump and super sweet, not too tart; and just the way I like them.  So this “parfait” is a little ode to my red berry passion.  Enjoy!


2C of Greek Yogurt - Vanilla (or your favorite flavor)

1C of Raspberries

4 large strawberries, sliced in half (w/stem) + 1 large strawberry cut in circles 1/8” thick

4 - 1/2tsp of candied ginger, minced


In a 3”x3” ramekin place yogurt in one half of it.  In the other half gently arrange berries so they butt up against the yogurt and side of the yogurt.  Get creative you can arrange in any way you like.

Garnish the yogurt with candied ginger.  Serve immediately.  Great for a Valentine’s day treat, snack, dessert or breakfast.

Yields 4 portions.


Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Texas State Parks: Springtime Picnic

By beth in Texas
Texas State Parks: Springtime Picnic

Put yourself behind the wheel and slowly drive down a slightly hidden road.  All along the way bursts of red, orange, purple, blue, white and every shade of green almost blinds you angling your head side to side not wanting to miss one bit.  These are the colors of petals, leaves, grass, butterflies and much more. What we natives call a Texas springtime.  And there’s no other place you can see and experience it so prolifically other than a Texas State Park.


And today, I did just that! You see, Texas State Parks and Wildlife is looking to the month of May as their premier “Picnicking in the Park” month.  To kick it off they hosted a wonderful luncheon at McKinney Falls State Park in Austin, TX. While I’ve been to several state parks over the years this one was new to me.  It was the perfect setting for our civilized indoor/outdoor picnic.  

Cecilia Nasti, Producer & Host of Passport to Texas radio series (and KUT’s Field & Feast) asked several food bloggers from the Austin Food Blogger Alliance  and others to provide recipes and or food for the event.  Each recipe is one that is simple and can be made specifically for a picnic.    


As you can see we had a veritable feast!  Check out the recipe I made Sugar Snap Peas w/ Basil; an especially great side dish for grilled meats.

To my suprise, after lunch and a meandering walk through the color-raging wildflowers, I was met in the parking lot by new friends. They wanted me to have a left-over,  just harvested watermelon from the Texas valley.  How could I refuse? I didn’t. Thank you to the folks at GO TEXAN!


So, now it’s your turn.  Pull the the family together, make a simple picnic,  put yourself behind that wheel, drive to the nearest Texas State Park and enjoy your day. Texas State Parks rock! 

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