Thu July 24, 2014 11:55 am By Layne Lynch

Most proud Texans are happy to trumpet the benefits of eating local, and this week, with the seventh annual GO TEXAN Restaurant Round-Up that runs until Sunday, July 27, foodies have an excuse to dine out and enjoy homegrown ingredients.

The event, supported by the Texas Department of Agriculture and hosted by Farm Credit, draws nearly 400 restaurants, each of which incorporate local ingredients and ranch meats on their menus.

“When you dine out, make sure the restaurant is GO TEXAN certified and serves fresh food straight from a Texas farm or ranch,” Texas Commissioner of Agriculture Todd Staples said in a press release. “The GO TEXAN Restaurant Round-Up brings together the best offerings of Texas produce, meats, cheeses, and beverages through the creativity of our local chefs.”

Both upscale and casual restaurants have elected to participate in the affair, including Eleven: XI, a critically-acclaimed Houston restaurant that features an assortment of Gulf Coast dishes and drinks.

“We are damn proud to participate in GO TEXAN Round-Up. From our beverage program, to our food menu, to our non-alcoholic beverages, we source everything we can from our home state,” Joseph Welborn, managing partner at Eleven: XI, said. “Whether it swims in the Gulf, grazes in the Panhandle, grows in the Hill Country, was brewed here in Houston, Dallas or Austin, bottled in Dublin, or stone ground in Waco, if it’s from Texas, we are buying it and supporting it.”

Drew Curren, executive chef of Austin-based restaurants Easy Tiger, 24 Diner, and Arro, has crafted a selection of dishes that include Broken Arrow Ranch-sourced venison sausage (Easy Tiger), a stew prepared with mussels, clams, grilled Gulf shrimp, Texas Gulf amberjack (pictured above), and numerous Texas vegetables and herbs (Arro).

"Partnering with GO TEXAN was a natural fit for 24 Diner since our menu is built on classic dishes that are elevated through the use of local and seasonal produce. One of the things that makes 24 Diner unique is its ingredient sourcing, considering that we use products from more than seventy different Texas farms. 24 Diner and Easy Tiger have both participated in Go Texan in the past, and we were thrilled to sign up Arro this year,” Curren says.

For more information about the GO TEXAN Restaurant Round-Up, a list of participating restaurants, or the opportunity to enter featured giveaways, please visit the GO TEXAN website.  

Read More
Thu June 5, 2014 4:03 pm By Patricia Sharpe

A team of notable Dallas chefs will host a locally sourced dinner at the Dallas Farmers Market on Thursday, June 12, at 6:30 p.m., kicking off a fundraising effort for the bipartisan Legislative group known as the Texas House Farm-to-Table Caucus. A menu prepared by Graham Dodds (with Hibiscus), Sharon Hage (SHage Consulting}, Adam West (The Porch), and Mark Wootton (Garden Cafe) will feature dishes such as red snapper ceviche, smoked beef short rib, jalapeño cornbread, and peach and blackberry cobbler. The purpose is to raise money to help educate members of the Texas House of Representatives on issues such as supporting family farms, sustainable farming, and nutritious foods. 

The following morning at 10 a.m. at the Market, local farmers will partake in an open forum discussion with legislators. The market is located at 1010 S. Pearl Expressway in Dallas.

The Caucus was formed in 2012 and is led by Representative Eddie Rodriguez (D-East Austin) and Representative Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham). It is comprised of House members from across the state.

Tickets are $100 per person and can be purchased here.

Read More
Thu June 5, 2014 4:03 pm By Patricia Sharpe

A team of notable Dallas chefs will host a locally sourced dinner at the Dallas Farmers Market on Thursday, June 12, at 6:30 p.m., kicking off a fundraising effort for the bipartisan Legislative group known as the Texas House Farm-to-Table Caucus. A menu prepared by Graham Dodds (with Hibiscus), Sharon Hage (SHage Consulting}, Adam West (The Porch), and Mark Wootton (Garden Cafe) will feature dishes such as red snapper ceviche, smoked beef short rib, jalapeño cornbread, and peach and blackberry cobbler. The purpose is to raise money to help educate members of the Texas House of Representatives on issues such as supporting family farms, sustainable farming, and nutritious foods. 

The following morning at 10 a.m. at the Market, local farmers will partake in an open forum discussion with legislators. The market is located at 1010 S. Pearl Expressway in Dallas.

The Caucus was formed in 2012 and is led by Representative Eddie Rodriguez (D-East Austin) and Representative Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham). It is comprised of House members from across the state.

Tickets are $100 per person and can be purchased here.

Read More
Thu May 8, 2014 11:09 am By Patricia Sharpe

Dallas super chef Dean Fearing did not get where he is today by being a shrinking violet. Or lacking ambition. Noticing that no one had written a cookbook named The Texas Food Bible, he claimed the title for his own. As a result, The Texas Food Bible: From Legendary Dishes to New Classics is now out from Grand Central Publishing ($30).

In the 256-page book, lavishly illustrated with photography by Dave Carlin, Fearing looks back on dishes he has developed over a career that spans some thirty years, including two decades at the celebrated Mansion on Turtle Creek Hotel in Dallas and seven-plus years at his own restaurant, Fearing’s, which opened at the Dallas Ritz Carlton in 2007. (Texas Monthly named Fearing’s the best new restaurant in the state in 2008.)

Fans will be happy to know that it includes signature dishes (and adaptations) from both restaurants, such as enchiladas with griddled jalapeño potatoes, charred corn and chorizo street tacos, and avocado fries. But he also throws in recipes he’s come across and fallen in love with, like smoky bacon barbecue sauce. Many of the selections pay homage to Southwestern Cuisine, the popular culinary movement that Fearing co-founded with other Texas chefs in the mid-nineteen-eighties.

There is still time to catch him on his short book tour. On Thursday, May 8, he will do a book signing and dinner in conjunction with the Twig Book shop and NAO restaurant in San Antonio. On Saturday, May 10, he will sign books at Neiman Marcus at 8687 North Central Expy, Suite 400, Dallas. On May 24, he will be at Neiman Marcus at 2100 Green Oaks Road in Fort Worth.

Here’s his take on barbecued quail:

Barbecued Bacon-Wrapped Quail with Jalapeño Ranch Dressing

Serves 4 

Ingredients:
Four 4-ounce semi-boneless quail
Salt
Freshly ground pepper
8 thin strips seeded jalapeno chile
8 strips smoked bacon
1 cup warm Texas-Style Barbecue Sauce or use your favorite sauce
1 cup Jalapeno Ranch Dressing

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Place the quail on a clean cutting board. Working with one at a time and using a small, sharp knife, cut the wing tips and legs from each bird. Cut down the center of the backbone of each quail, opening up the body. Lay flat, skin side down.
  3. Generously season all sides of each quail with salt and pepper. Lay 2 strips of chile down the center of each one and, working from one cut side, roll the birds into a tight cylinder.
  4. Working with one bird at a time, place 2 strips of bacon, side by side, on a clean surface. Place a rolled quail on one end, and again roll into a tight cylinder, completely enclosing the quail. Repeat the process to cover all the birds.
  5. Place the rolled quail, seam side down, in a baking pan, leaving about 2 inches between birds. Transfer to the preheated oven and roast for about 12 minutes, or until the bacon is thoroughly cooked and nicely browned.
  6. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes.
  7. Using a serrated knife cut each quail roll crosswise into ½-inch-thick rounds. Place a small skewer through each round, going straight through the center, entering and exiting through the bacon wrap. Dip the quail rolls into the barbecue sauce to glaze slightly.
  8. Place on a platter and serve warm with the ranch dressing for dipping.
Read More
Tue May 6, 2014 2:38 pm By Layne Lynch

It’s not surprising a Texas chef took home the award for Best Chef Southwest last night at the James Beard Foundation Awards; after all, four out of the five nominees hail from the state. And yet, Houstonians and Texans alike couldn’t help but beam when Chris Shepherd, executive chef of Underbelly in Houston, was called up to accept the prestigious culinary medal.

Shepherd surpassed fellow Texas nominees Bryce Gilmore of Barley Swine (Austin), Justin Yu of Oxheart (Houston), Hugo Ortega of Hugo’s (Houston), and Kevin Binkley of Binkley's in Cave Creek (Arizona) to bring home the food world’s highest honor.

"This is an amazing, surreal experience,” Shepherd told Texas Monthly. “More than anything, I wanted to bring this award back to the city of Houston, and I'm thrilled to be able to do that. I built my restaurant for the city, and this award is for the city." 

Under Shepherd’s helm, Underbelly has utilized homegrown fare and purveyor goods from Houston and its surrounding communities to create a playful-yet-refined, ethnically diverse menu. This was also a record year for Houston chefs, who set a record number of nominations in the Best Chef Southwest category. The last Houston chef to bring home the same honor as Shepherd was Robert Del Grande in 1992 (coincidentally, del Grande, chef and co-owner of RDG/Bar Annie in Houston, was one of the chefs who cooked for the gala following the awards ceremony). Congratulations to Shepherd and all the Underbelly employees. 

For more on Shepherd and his restaurant, check out Patricia Sharpe’s review of Underbelly from the September 2012 issue.  

(Photo by Julie Soefer)

Read More