Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ten Posts and Holding

Wow, I thought, I'm already at 10 posts.  Then I looked up and saw it was 5:22 pm and I'm still sitting in my pj's.  In my defense, I've also stopped to print about 70 extra New Years Eve menus for the restaurant since it turns out we've got a very busy evening ahead.  I've done all the easier posts on my list, the ones left may take more time to properly write than I have time left.  So I'm first going to shower and change, then see what I can do from there.  And I may post a few to kick off the New Year tomorrow as well.

Rear Window - that makes Hitchcock movie number 5 for today.

UPDATE:  No more time for more posts, but am posting an update to "Too Much Cheer?  Take A Cab".  Tomorrow look for chocolate bacon, Robin Haas, "C is for Capacity", and midlife crisis - not all at once.

Cooking Classes for a New Decade

The most wonderful Freda Ballas sent me the Winter 2010 schedule for the 16th year of cooking classes at the Dallas Farmer's Market, co-produced  by the Dallas Farmers Market Friends and D/FW Chapter of the American Institute of Wine and Food.  Classes begin Saturday January 9th through Saturday February 6th and the cost is $25 if you prepay ($30 at the door) or you can buy a five-class package for $110, call 214-653-8088 for more information.  The lineup:

Jan. 9 - James Neel of Tramontana "Soulful Winter Cooking"
Jan. 16 - Joanne Bondy of Old Hickory Steakhouse at the Gaylord "The World of Cheese"
Jan. 23 - Billy Webb of Opio at the Park Cities Hilton "Opio Cooks at the Farmer's Market"
Jan. 30 - Dan Landsberg of Tillman's Roadhouse "Super Bowl at the Farmer's Market"
Feb. 6 - j W Foster of the Pyramid Restaurant and Bar at the Fairmont Hotel "Foraging the Texas Landscape"

If you happen to go to Billy's class, ask him "how to cook" those award-winning show dogs he raises.

What's Going Up at the Dallas Zoo?

Glad you asked.  A mid-December ZooTube update from Sean Greene takes you through the new additions to the Giants of the Savannah exhibit.  From a cafe with a side of windows that have an up-close view of lions and cheetahs, to the observatory being built above the elephants' "Tembo Janga" home.  All due to be finished by Spring 2010.

Home Cooking - Monkey Bread

Sunday after Christmas we had our extended family breakfast at my sister-in-law's home, she cooked for 11 adults and kids and I confess we did not bring one thing to eat (bad).  She made two batches of Monkey Bread, and during the meal mentioned that they now sell Monkey Bread "kits" at certain retailers for around $20.  Which is interesting, because all you really need is a bundt pan, and Tom Thumb sells those for about $12 if you don't already have one. 

So to save you anywhere from $20 to $8, here's the recipe you can make in less than 10 minutes at home.

1 can refrigerated Country Biscuits (large can of the large biscuits)
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix sugar and cinnamon in bowl.  Open biscuit can and slice each biscuit into 6 wedges.  Roll each wedge into a ball, roll in melted butter and then in sugar mixure.  Place in bottom of ungreased bundt pan, layer by layer.  When finished sprinkle remaining sugar around top and pour remaining butter over sugar.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.  Invert immediately on plate, let set 1 - 2 minutes before removing bundt pan.

10 out of 11 monkeys loved this recipe.

100 Years Ago

Let's take a moment to look back at cooking a century ago.  The Alfalfa Cook Book (Second Edition, 1909) compiled by the Ladies of the Roswell Cemetary Association gives us a glimpse into "what was cooking" in the Southwest at the time.  The advertisements point to an era where kitchen cabinets were what we later called "cupboards" - furniture pieces transportable by families should they move.  There are ads for differing stoves, the Garland Stove competed against the Majestic Range in this market, both appear to be wood-burning.

In the section labeled "Mexican Dishes", Higinia Paredes submitted a recipe for Green Chile with Cream
Roast about eight green pepper pods on top of stove.  Place in cold water till you can slip the skins off, cut off stem ends.  Place in a bowl and mash fine, add two medium sized tomatoes, skinned and mashed.  Place in a frying pan a very little lard, when hot cut up one onion fine and fry until tender.  Then add chile and tomatoes, cook a few moments and add a cup of cream.  Salt to taste and serve hot.
Mrs. S. L. Ogle submitted a recipe titled Texas Lyonnaise Potatoes
Put two tablespoons butter or bacon grease into a frying pan.  When melted add an onion chopped fine, cook two or three minutes.  Add six cold boiled potatoes sliced into strips, seasoned with salt and pepper, fry to a light brown.  The addition of a little chopped parsley and a few drops of lemon juice gives a savory flavor.
I'm not quite sure what made that "Texas".  Mrs. J. P. Dyer submitted Chile Sauce as follows: 
Two quarts ripe tomatoes, four cups vinegar, four quarts onions, three tablespoons sugar, four red peppers or cayenne, two tablespoons salt, cloves, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg.  Boil all together.
Peach Sweet Pickles?  Apparently so, by Mrs. Otto Hedgcoxe: 
If desired sweet take 7 pounds of peeled peaches to 2 pounds sugar, or if preferred sour, use 10 pounds of fruit to 3 pounds of sugar.  1 quart of apple cider, stick whole cloves in peaches and put allspice and cnnamon in muslin bag and cook with fruit sugar and vinegar.
But my favorite, written by Minnie B. Sharp was for Potato Split Biscuit, written in rhyme and with a sense of humor:

I start at nine o'clock, that is, have potatoes baked by then,
At nine in the morning have baked to a turn
Two large, white potatoes - be careful not to burn;
Half and half mix a teacup of butter and lard
With a pinch of fine salt, nor the process retard
Till you add the potatoes, mashed fine and still hot
      (I rice my potatoes)
And two well beaten eggs, but yet you must not
Forget that a teacup of milk you will need
Which you scald and then cool - 'tis a trouble indeed;
In this you dissolve one cake compressed yeast
And a large spoon of sugar, and last but not least,
Add one quart of flour and stir all together.
     (Stir at first, then lightly knead.)
And set away to rise until light as a feather
At noon you must stir in one pint sifted flour
Then leave quite alone till five, at which hour
Turn carefully out on your bread board the dough
With a wee bit of flour, not more you must know,
Roll thin and cut small, then arrange them by twos
One on top of the other and then if you choose
Bake them quickly, when once they are risen again
And they will soften the hearts of the crossest of men.

Gift and Take

Favorite thing I gifted?  A Mexican lime tree duded up with decorations.

Favorite thing I got?  A cupcake tree, which has been eaten and refilled once already.

Four Posts, Four Movies

Turner Classic Movies is having a series of Alfred Hitchcock's movies, so far I've seen Marnie, Shadow of a Doubt, Psycho, and now Vertigo.  Time for some popcorn in our nifty new popper, a gift from brother-in-law Mark. 

And it's not as hard to clean as I thought it would be.

Opportunity Missed

We had "date night" last night, went to a very crowded Dallas mall to see Sherlock Holmes, so crowded was this mall it took us over 20 minutes to find a parking place.  On our way up the escalator, hubby noticed tucked in the back corner a chain restaurant, well, that I had quite a rant about earlier this year.  Sister was going to a movie that was ending an hour later than ours, we figured we'd be hungry after, so hubby asked, "Do you want to give it a try?"

Hesitant after our last visit (at a different location), I agreed in the interest of follow-up.  Seven o'clock we exit the theater, mall's even fuller and the restaurant was on a 30 minute wait - people in their large waiting area were lying down, so apparently they had settled in.  We decided to check out their bar - all bar seats and tables full, then we looked in their back room.  Not a staff member in sight in the room for the two minutes we looked, but the manager made two full rounds of the rest of the restaurant, doing what I couldn't figure out.  Every single of the 20 or so tables were devoid of guests, the only occupants were the unbussed plates and glasses on about half.  Apparently at one point in the day they had somebody waiting on these tables, why would they stop?

We left, shaking our heads at this missed opportunity.  You pay the top rent, you have to turn the tables - all of them - in this economy, which requires appropriate staffing.  How can such a large, publicly traded company afford to miss such opportunities and stay in business?

It turned to our advantage for the evening however, we crossed Central Expressway to the new Park Lane development and visited a new brewpub, enjoying wonderful service with good food comparably priced to the restaurant's inside the mall.  And satisfied we didn't miss the opportunity to experience someplace better.

Too Much Cheer? Take A Cab Tonight

Seriously, nobody wants to hurt anyone else and it is such an easy option to either 1) limit consumption or 2) get a cab .  And I watch TXCN almost every morning between 3:30 and 5:00, it sounds like every single police force possible will be on patrol tonight looking for overimbibers.  Here's a site to help you plan ahead to stay below the drunk driving limit, it also has some handy FAQ's about getting sober "myths".

One of my girlfriends adds about 1/3 club soda to her wine, personally if it's not exquisite wine I've been known to add a couple ice cubes to the last half of a glass of chardonnay.  It's about enjoying consumption, but also being able to drive safely.

So do whatever it takes, maybe for some that means staying home and enjoying the holidays to their utmost.  Just don't take it on the road.

UPDATE:  Apparently there's "An APP for that", was catching up with today's Wall Street Journal about an application you can download to let you know if you're too drunk to drive.  Brilliant.   I don't have an I-Phone but I'm going to see if there's something like that for mine.

Delights From Michigan

It's become so easy to ship food to relatives in other states, in prior years we've been the sender and recipient of The Mozzarella Company, Lou Malnati's Pizza Hot Damn Tamales, and Steve Connolly Seafood.  This year we received something new from our Michigan brethren, and from the time we opened the plain  box exterior, this gift was a delight.

Jim and I grew up in Michigan, but in the Green/White part of the state, not the Maize/Blue part, so Zingerman's Deli was new to us.  Within this box, 100% covered with art, were four crusty loaves of flavored breads.  They came wrapped in similarly artistic paper bags that included instructions for heating or freezing for later consumption.  Also included were enough large plastic bags and twistees to double bag each loaf should they not be able to be consumed immediately. 

Our box arrived on the eve of Christmas Eve so we enjoyed a loaf of Cranberry Pecan Bread and half a  Roadhouse Loaf on Christmas morning, baked to the instructions on the bag they were outstanding. We froze the other half of the Roadhouse as well as the Chocolate Sourdough and 8 Grain to enjoy on New Years morning.

I see from their website that they have many more delicious products that can be shipped, including their Peppered Bacon Farm Bread and items especially for the New Year.  I can see ordering this as a gift again in the future, maybe even to gift to ourselves!

Let's Get This Party Started

I started my New Years Eve Blog-A-Thon last year thinking I would be spending the evening at home while Sevy worked down at the restaurant.  There were so many New Years A-Thons going on, and I had a to-do list of posts that had been growing not shrinking - it seemed like a fun way to end the year.  I ended up being invited to my own restaurant by friends and spending the evening with those I love, but I still managed to get in 10 posts during the day.  

This year I thought the same, an evening as a work widow, but was invited to dine at the home of some friends later this evening so I'll be working with the same time period to complete my posts as last year.  While I have a list, I have not pre-written any of these, except in my head.  And because I am very bad about editing before posting (STOP, reread, post), several errors will have to be revisited and corrected.

Part of being married to a chef is not minding that he works nights.  And some of those nights are holidays.  It's never been a problem, we have many other nights that we can spend celebrating and to tell the truth, for an early bird like me midnight is not so attainable, nor desireable.  Because it is the busiest night of the year for most restaurants (Valentines comes in second) those who love the heat and the scurry of a busy, well-running kitchen love being at work on this evening.  That would be the man I married.

Welcome to my Blog-A-Thon, and yes this counts as post #1.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy New Year 2010!

Come and celebrate the end of a forgettable year and toast the beginning of 2010, we'll be open from 5:00 - 11:00! We've put together a special four-course menu (below) with our best specials for $69.95 - with multiple choices in each course to satisfy all tastes. If you're planning an earlier dinner, we are also offering a three-course menu for $49.95 available from 5:00 - 6:30 pm. We take reservations for all size get-togethers, make yours today! Contact Jimmy, Stefaan or Amy M. at , (214)265-7389, or at .

Tomato, Basil and Goat Cheese Crostini

Choice of:
Fresh Baby Greens, Shaved Fennel, and Red Onion with Warm Mozzarella Croutons and Citrus Vinaigrette
Crispy Calamari Rings with Zesty Cocktail and Tartar Sauces
Our "Award Winning" Caesar Salad (add "The Works" if you wish)
"Chunky" Lobster Bisque, Creme Fraiche and Fresh Tarragon
Caramelized Onion and Mascarpone Tart with Balsamic Fig Reduction
Chilled Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, Dilled Tiny Green Beans, Remoulade and Cocktail Sauces
Grilled Kobe Beef Skewers, Sevy's Steak Sauce and Crispy Sweet Potato Shoestrings
Truffled Duck Confit Hash, on bed of Wild Mushrooms and Blackberry Thyme Sauce
Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops over Corn and Smoked Bacon "Chowder" Sauce with Crispy Green Onion

Choice of:
Seared Snapper Fillet a la "Lobster Oscar", Asparagus Spears, Maine Lobster, Hollandaise Sauce and  Creamy Orzo Pasta
Crab Stuffed Jumbo Shrimp, Tarragon Linguini, Roasted Red Pepper Butter and Tiny Green Beans
Marinated Pair of Quail, Creamy Jalapeno Grits, Chipotle Raspberry Sauce and Grilled Corn Pico
Beef Tenderloin Filet, Truffle Whipped Potatoes, Roasted Portabellas, and Cabernet Sauce
Herbed Lamb Chops, Creamy Roasted Garlic Polenta, Ratatouille, and Minted Zinfandel Sauce
Sea Bass Fillet, Artichoke Whipped Potatoes, Lemon Caper Butter, Smoked Salmon Salad
Dry Aged New York Strip, Grilled Vegetables, "Loaded" Stuffed Potato, Bearnaise Sauce
Fresh Maine Lobster Tail with Fresh Asparagus, Angel Hair Pasta, Drawn Butter and Lemon
Half Maine Lobster and Half Beef Tenderloin, The Best of Both Worlds!

Choice of:
Dark Chocolate Mousse with Toasted Hazelnuts
Fresh Berries with Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream (Also available simply plain)
Warm Flourless Chocolate Torte with White Chocolate Ice Cream and Chocolate Streaks
Three Citrus Pie with Fresh Berry Puree
Crispy Apple Pecan Chimichanga with Cinnamon Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce

Have a Happy and Safe New Years Holiday!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

2nd Annual Blog-A-Thon New Years Eve

I'll have a few between now and then, but I think I'll try to beat last years 10 posts.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Art of the Toast

Some say the toast originated as an ancient offering of blood or wine to the "Gods", held up while offering a plea or wish from the deity.   The word "Toast" was given to this action at a much later date, and is believed to be linked to the floating of spiced toasted bread on wine (of which there are claims that this was to offset the flavor of wine gone bad).  By the end of the 19th century, it became a poetic art of gentility as well as a randy source of humour, and many were published in books until prohibition.

Recently I purchased such a book, "Over the Nuts & Wine, A Book of Toasts" by James Clarence Harvey (1906, H.M.Caldwell Co. publishers), who in his foreword claims,  "It should be a coherent, cohesive pastel in prose or verse, illuminating some one particular thought or line of thought, and when that is complete - sit down.  Many a man has overturned an excellent reputation by not knowing when to sit down", or in poetic form in his The Soul of the Toast:

It isn't so much what you say,
    Or the word - that is heard;
It's the spirit within and the way
    That the heart-strings are stirred.

It isn't so much what you drink,
    Nor the how-nor the where;
It's the truth, in the things that you think,
    That is fair - that is rare.

It isn't the drink, in the bowl,
    With its flow - cheers you so;
It's the radiant glow of the Soul
    Of the Toast - don't you know!

Or this toast, from "After the Town Goes Dry" by Henry C. Taylor (1919, The Howell Publishing Companty), written during the first years of prohibition:

Little drops of water,
    Little drops of rye,
Make a darned good highball
    When a man is dry.

Or here's my favorite, from "Buttered Toasts" by Fred Emerson Brooks (1916, Forbes & Company publishers) called A Human Prayer:

May all the weary ones find rest,
    And those who mourn be comforted;
Those lonely be with friendship blest;
    And every hungry soul be fed.
Let those who toil have fair reward;
    All homeless ones get shelter kind;
God grant no task be made too hard;
    And may each prayer its heaven find.

To which I can only say, "Hear, hear"!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

December Food and Wine Dinner

Happy Holidays!

Sometimes the season just doesn't have enough evenings to see old friends, so we're having our monthly Food and Wine Dinner on Monday, December 28th, to give you another evening to enjoy sharing time with those you love. Reception begins at 6:30 pm, four specially created dishes paired with wines that compliment each course, $59.95 per person (plus tax and gratuity). Seating is limited, reservations are required (no OpenTable reservations, please), contact Jimmy, Stefaan or Amy M. at , or (214) 265-7389.

Additionally, Sevy's Grill will be open all day and evening on Christmas Eve, and for dinner on Christmas night. We will be offering special holiday items, such as Herbed Prime Rib and Maine Lobster Tail, along with our regular dinner menu.

Holiday Crostini
Valditerra Gavi

Jonah Crab Gratin with Sourdough Toasts
Talley, Chardonnay, Arroyo Vista, 2004

Crisped Duck Confit, Braised Lentils and Duck Sausage
XYZIN “50 Year Vines” Zinfandel, Alexander Valley, 2005

Peppered Beef Tenderloin, Sweet Potato and Wild Mushroom Hash with Roasted Shallot Cabernet Sauce
Buehler Cabernet, Napa Valley, 2006

Apple Pecan Tart, Brule Sugar Crust, Cinnamon Ice Cream and Caramel Streaks
Muscat de Beaumes de Venise

and Catering!
8201 Preston Road, Dallas, TX 75225

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Park Cities Prime Now Preston's?

At the annual holiday meeting for our investment club, The Syndicate, somebody mentioned that Park Cities Prime had changed to Preston's.  I claimed "Not", since I had driven by their location the day before and could swear the sign still said Park Cities Prime.  But my fellow club member, and wife of a steakhouse owning chef, promptly whipped out her latest Passbook savings book and showed me the ad.  Same address.

"For a Truly Organic Experience, It's Preston's", where they explain they are utilizing the most natural food ingredients, but nothing about steaks.  Anyhow the coupon is worth up to a $47 value (Purchase one menu item at regular price, get one lesser-priced menu item FREE - one per table) and if $47 is the lesser-priced item, I'd guess the price point for their entrees is rather high.

UPDATE:  Just drove by, and the sign does say Park Cities Prime, and Teresa Gubbins at Pegasus News has the real scoop of what is actually transpiring.  And I swear, swear I did not know about Gene's involvement before the previous post - it has always been a joy to be his neighbor.

Yet Another Reason To Love Gene Street

His holiday decorating.

Why even try to outdo the decorations his neighbors put up?  They hire professionals and it takes about 3 weeks to decorate so he's found his own brand of holiday colorful cheer.

I'll take a neighbor with a multi-color sense of humor any day.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Applause Elfs Needed

I can't write this any better, so I'm just cut/pasting the e-mail I received from Abacus yesterday:
On Saturday, December 12, Abacus will be hosting its 6th annual Seats for Soldiers event where we provide a three course meal to military personnel that have either been wounded in combat or have recently returned home from a year of active duty overseas. Over 150 soldiers will arrive at the Abacus parking lot at 5 p.m. and we would like to ask you to join us in giving them a standing ovation as they make their way into Abacus and to their seats. This is truly a great opportunity for us all to get into the holiday spirit and show our appreciation for all that they do. Happy Holidays and I hope to see you on Saturday!

No RSVP necessary for those wishing to participate, if you want to welcome the deserved troops you need to be at Abacus by 4:30 pm. And dress appropriately for the weather, you'll be outside - the restaurant is closed to all but the service personnel until 7:30 pm.  
(Note - Best wishes to my nephew Kenny who is leaving Dallas for basic training in San Antonio this weekend.)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Home Cooking - Smells Like the Holidays

The wafting scent of turkey soup followed me from the house to Tom Thumb this morning, apparently a "seller" there as well, the lady ahead of me in the check-out had purchased a quart of theirs.   The air was heavy with the same aroma that permeated my own home, having simmered our turkey carcass for most of Sunday evening.  I'm a turkey soup traditionalist - a must have at the holidays when an easy home meal is desired.  It's such a waste not to squeeze the most out of the deliciousness of Thanksgiving, and the flavor delivers on the promise of the odor. 

Also today I'm making a batch of my Grade A Snack Mix to send to a few of the boys in the Class of 2009 - a week ago or so we (The Moms) had a meeting to pack 29 finals study-aid boxes to ship to our freshmen.  There were a few boys who did not have a mom to represent them at the party, so I'm making an extra batch of my treat to send them for their finals and including notes from some of their old teachers within.

So much holiday goodness comes to us through our sense of smell, and while there are many, many good turkey soup recipes out there, there is only ONE Grade A Snack Mix recipe to make your home smell delicious.  And it makes a terrific holiday gift for friends, neighbors or hostesses.

1 stick (8 TBL) butter
4 TBL Worcestershire sauce
3 TBL Sevy seasoning
2 tsp. Chili powder
1 tsp. Garlic powder
1 tsp. Onion powder
1 tsp. Cumin
8-10 shakes (1/2 - 1 tsp?) Tabasco (depends on how much heat you prefer)
3 generous cups Corn Mix cereal
3 generous cups Rice Mix cereal
3 generous cups Wheat Mix cereal
1 1/2 cups pretzel sticks
1 1/2 cups peanuts (optional - you can also substitute Cheez-Its for non-nut eaters)

Heat oven to 275 degrees, put butter on sheet tray and let melt.  Add Worcestershire, Tabasco and seasonings to butter on sheet tray, stir for a few minutes and allow salts to dissolve.  Spread butter mix evenly over sheet tray.  In bowl, mix remaining ingredients and pour over butter mixture.  Stir delicately to coat all with butter mixture.  Place in oven, stir and turn mixture every 20-30 minutes for about 90 minutes to 2 hours - coated cereal should be crunchy, not soggy.

One batch makes approximately 7 zip-lock sandwich bags full of mix.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Thankful Week

I'm feeling Thankful today, the prospects of a home full of family, cooking  and talking, and maybe even some card games has me ready for the holidays to begin.  The Boy arrived home Friday night, in time to catch Sister's performance as a napkin, then off to visit friends at UT Austin for a few days.  We have more family coming down with three appetizer-sized dogs, we'll see how the dynamics of that work with our three 80 pounders.

So this is a long winded way of saying I'm taking the week off, but wanted to leave you with some things to read.  Here are links to some of my favorite Thankful posts I've written on this blog.

The Things We Gift Away - A garden, Alice Waters and a cook book.
How To Cook For Kids - A baseball recipe for East Dallas children.
Cooking In the Eruv - Orthodox Judaism is alive and well in North Dallas.
How To Cook An Eagle  and The Eagle Prepares to Fly -  Not the bird, but a boy named "Mijo".
Friday Night Tailgating - It's A Doozie - Because googling the Doozie Sandwich has sent almost as many people to this blog as Golumpki Soup.
Order In! 70 Smiles - To Go - You can't help but smile when kids eat their veggies.
Dallas ISD - You've Been Served - Kids in the court serve us some delicious results.

Have a happy, safe and Thankful holiday.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sevy's Scotch Event #4 - The Macallan

Tasting #4 - The Macallan
Join us on Monday, November 30, 2009 from 5:00 - 7:00 pm for our monthly scotch tasting, five pairings with specially created dishes to compliment each scotch. $44.95 per person (plus gratuity and tax), reservations are required as seating is limited for this event. Contact Jimmy, Stefaan or Amy M. at (214)265-7389 or

Crispy Goat Cheese and Risotto Cakes with Wild Mushroom Sauce
The Macallan 10 Year

Mini Venison Sausage “Dogs” with Whole Grain Mustard Sauce and Caramelized Onions
The Macallan 12 Year

Smoked Salmon salad with Cucumber, Red Onion, Dill and Pumpernickel “Spoons”
The Macallan 15 Year

Grilled Beef Tenderloin, The Macallan Peppercorn Sauce and Crispy Fingerling Potatoes
The Macallan 18 Year

Dark Chocolate and Mascarpone Turnovers with Raspberry Puree
Grahams “Six Grapes” Reserve Porto

Sevy's Grill and Catering
8201 Preston Road, Dallas, TX 75225

Note:  Sevy's will be Closed Thanksgiving day, but open regular hours for the rest of the holiday weekend.  Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving and may God bless you all.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cooking For Beauty

Yeah, the Beast was great too, but tonight's performance of Hillcrest High School's Beauty and the Beast was all about Belle. 

For those who follow Dallas theater, come and see Lilly Stafford in the starring role - nobody, nobody could believe this girl is a freshman!  One day (when this girl wins a Tony) you'll be able to say you saw her at her high school premier - and I'm not kidding.  

Pipes and poise, wow.

Lilly "Belle" Stafford with Ruby "Chip" Loman

Also a big thank you and standing ovation to Music Director Gary Okeson (Woodrow grad), cellist David Witherspoon, Paul Dutka and Woody Rowand on reeds, Eric Brewer trumpeteer, Nancy Jarrett on Horn, Michael Plotkin percussionist, Scott Eckert synthesizer, and last but most delicious, Hillcrest Band teacher Brian Smith, playing three different instruments!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hubby Says "Yum", I Say "Can I Blog That?"

I've mentioned before that Sevy has developed products with Canyon Specialty Foods, their Star Chefs line as well as their Dean Fearing's line are sold at HEB/Central Market stores throughout Texas.   Last week an out-of-town group came into the restaurant, they wanted to see these sauces, dressings and dips used in actual dishes to get an idea of their ease of usage and quality.   And hubby came home saying that one dressing in particular was absolutely delicious, and a creative twist on old favorites - I'd call it Dallas Food for sure.  The Dean Fearing's BBQ Thousand Island Dressing bottle has only lasted in our fridge this long (1 week) because we've been traveling, it is truly tasty.

Now you may have grown up learning how to make homemade Thousand Island Dressing with Miracle Whip (ok, so maybe in Texas they use mayonnaise), catsup and sweet pickle relish.  "So", you think, "how much harder could it be to make my own and switch barbecue sauce for catsup?"  Well all I can say is good luck.  Because the delicacy of the flavors is incredibly complex, this is not made with just these three ingredients, it also includes capers, tamarind, lime juice, molasses, anchovy and ginger puree. 

And yum, lots of yum. 

How To Cook Disclosure

I walk a fine line with what I will and won't post on this site, it's become part creative writing experiment, part food business information and yes, part marketing for the business - not unlike cookbooks that are published by food producers, equipment makers, retailers and in olden days, radio shows.  I have a few in the Collection:  a S. S. Kresge book of 50 recipes for marshmallows ("Marshamallows are delicious, appetizing and unusually wholesome"), a Jell-O recipe book by Jack Benny and Mary Livingstone, whose Jell-O Radio Hour was sponsored by the food producer back in 1937.  There are many more examples, currently the Williams Sonoma cook books are sold in several stores, and are respected and purchased by many home cooks.

My hope is that readers find this blog credible enough to return here to read more, which requires keeping an eye on the quality of what is posted.  Likewise, hopefully it creates an interest in what we offer at the restaurant, and Hubby knows that requires keeping an eye on the quality of the guest's experience.  And while I try to tell it like it is, I work within the confines of my "food life" of friendships, business relationships and information that can't or won't be disclosed, which is why you won't find restaurant reviews here or information overheard at events.  Not only would it be disingenuous for me to tattle or downgrade a competitor, it is also perhaps disingenuous not to include this information, either way it impacts the credibility of what you might read here. 

But I think there is an interest in how people in the hospitality industry really conduct their lives, because in some ways it's a been glamorized, dramatized and self-aggrandized to the extent that people are beginning to recognize that artificial flavoring has been added.   This isn't the real lives most of us live, we see each other at charity events and occasionally at each others places of business, a few of us have worked together before and have formed close family ties.  And sometimes we even get to take awesome work-vacations together.   Even though we are competitors daily, we also enjoy tasting each others successes, so I choose to leave the bad stuff out of my blog, and revel in the good news (as she throws those 3rd quarter state tax receipt reports in the trash).

It's more of a life than I ever thought I'd enjoy, and I'm thankful every day that I have this opportunity.  If by not challenging or disclosing negative information makes this less of a news source and more of a marketing source, so be it.  It was never intended to be either, really.  And so in the interest of full disclosure, I should probably warn anyone who continues to read this blog:

I'm trying to sell you something good.

Monday, November 16, 2009

November Food and Wine Dinner at Sevy's

Join us on Monday, November 23rd at 6:30 pm to enjoy a special four course (plus sparkling reception) menu featuring
Flavors of Autumn
Seating is limited and reservations required (no OpenTable reservations please), $59.95 per person (plus tax and gratuity). Contact Jimmy, Stefaan or Amy M. at or (214)265-7389.

Duck Confit on Corn Cake
Cristalino, Sparkling

Crab-stuffed Jumbo Shrimp, Smoked Bacon and Jalapeno Grits with Leek Butter
Domaine de la Becassonne, 2008, Cotes du Rhone Blanc

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Blue Cheese Fritters
Miner, 2008, Viognier "Simpson"

Peppercorn-crusted Beef Tenderloin on Parsnip Whipped Potatoes with Pomegranate Glaze, Green Beans with Roasted Shallots
Domaine Fondreche, 2007, Cotes du Ventoux "Persia"

Milk Chocolate Mousse with Cranberry-Candied Orange Chutney
Elio Perrone, 2008, Bigaro

SEVY'S GRILL AND CATERING, 8201 Preston Road, Dallas  75225

Saturday, November 14, 2009

An Evening On Me, For Free

Check your calendars, November 19, 20, 21st, 7:00 pm, Hillcrest High School Theatre Arts Department presents Beauty and the Beast.  Because if you have one of those evenings free and are looking for something fun to do......
 I am giving away two free tickets each to the first 3 people

who email me at  Your choice on which evenings performance, and if you happen to miss the free offer tickets are $10 ($12 for reserved, $5 for students) and available here.

Be my guest! Be my guest!
Take a load off, let it rest.
Let us say, for a play
That you may enjoy Hillcrest's.
Parents worked, students toiled
Can we find a used gargoyle?
Brand new paint and carpet too
All just there to welcome you.........
One by one, scene by scene
Transformed, we hope you've been -
This is "local" artists efforts none-the-less.
C'mon down to Hillcrest
We'll do our best to impress,
Be our guest, be our guest,
Please, be my guest.

Lanie Simonton Hayslip, Director; Gary Okeson, Music Director; and Hillcrest junior Madeleine Sherrington, Choreographer.  Hope to see you there. 

Disclosure:  These tickets were not received as comps, no, no, no, no, the money flows the other way in supporting student activities - Sister is in the chorus.  And family, you are not eligible for this freebie but I have a turkey with ya'lls name on it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Home Cooking - Mom Fairies, How Am I Doing?

So a month or so ago I read this post by Dave Fairies over at City of Ate, and I thought I'd made a food discovery roughly on par with a Dallas Morning News writer finding something amiss at DISD.   Gooey. Butter. Cake.  yum.  And the entire post was a kind of checklist of how to be a good Missouri Mom, did I mention that we have one child up at Mizzou?  Don't worry, he's not studying journalism.

But seriously I read this post and got too excited, because I knew I could do this!  Cardinals fan?  No problem, they are my favorite bird - and red happens to be my best color.  Everyone up at Hillcrest High School knows I can talk through an entire 7 innings of baseball, what's two more?  But wait - there was no recipe included, and not personally knowing Dave's mom, this was a game stopper - like a rain out or a dugout-emptying-fight.

Of course the real challenge for me is the cooking throwdown.  And I confess I was hesitant to take it even though Dave's references to the ingredients included my favorite three:  eggs, butter, sugar.  So I thought about it for a few days as I sat in the kitchen entering accounts payable on QuickBooks.  Thought about it as I waited for my daughter to finish theater practice, thought about it as I waited for my husband to come home from a double shift.

I decide to take an inventory of the recipes on and what is in the pantry, hmm, got this, and this, not that.  What was really needed, I determined, was to forge a way to a new Gooey Butter Cake concoction - because that is what Dallas food is, taking other foods and making our own mark on them (and besides I only had Carrot Cake mix on hand).   After all, what is more tasty than Carrot Cake and sweet cream cheese at the holidays?

Well "perfect" took four tries, a few of the recipes were total failures and my desire to have a round shaped cake required purchasing a 10" spring form pan when the 8" attempt was still too gooey after two hours in the oven.  But I think I got it, the Dallas version that is, and it is a delicious and easy option as either dessert or coffee cake for company or as a gift.

1 package Duncan Hines Decadent Carrot Cake
1 cup hot water
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1 lb. confectioners sugar
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (for dark or glass pans, 325 degrees).  In small bowl, mix packet of carrots and raisins with hot water and let sit for 5 minutes.  Drain all water thoroughly.  In medium bowl, add (cooled) butter, 2 eggs, cake mix, when well mixed add carrot/raisin mixture and pecans and stir.  Pour into ungreased 10" springform pan (or 9" x 13" pan), gently pushing batter up sides slightly.  Reserve 2 tablespoons of confectioners sugar, pour the rest in a bowl with 2 eggs and cream cheese, mixing until pretty smooth.  Pour into center of springform pan, allowing it to spread to edges naturally.  Bake for 20 minutes, sprinkle top with reserved confectioners sugar.  Continue baking for 70 minutes.

Have insulin ready.

How To Cook - Dallas Food

"What is Dallas food?" is a question that has been knocking around my head for quite some time, and certainly it means different things to different people.  Perhaps it is a favorite dish from a restaurant, or a recipe that typifies a specific era.  Maybe it's a dish your Bubbie cooked every year for the holidays, or one you taught yourself while growing up in Dallas. 

In Dallas Is Cooking, by Renie Steves, Caroline Rose Hunt's foreword lists the restaurants she remembers from the 1930's and 1940's
"To be assured of fresh fish, we went to Vincent's Seafood Restaurant, which was established in 1898 at 101 S. Poydras Street.  They brought their fish packed in ice by truck from the Gulf of Mexico; there was no plane service in those days.  Their cole slaw was wonderful.  I wish I had the recipe."
 as well as what was occurring in the current restaurant scene (1992):
"many different ethnic groups have settled in Dallas bringing their distinctive types of food and the peoples to appreciate them.  Dallas is famous not only for the diversity of its cuisine, but also for the creativity and quality."
I grew up outside, in DamYankee territory on the 1947 map of Dallas, and after moving here in the early 1980's tasted my first Red Velvet cake, Tex-Mex, and Pimento cheese spread.  I remember going to dinner at Stephen Pyle's Routh Street Cafe right before my (then) boyfriend was leaving for a year of culinary school and having the Tornedoes of Beef, each twin tenderloin dressed with a puree of either red or yellow peppers.  Or having business lunches at the former Agnew's up on the tollway when Dean Fearing was between Mansion gigs, at the beginning of Southwest cuisine's explosive popularity.

But several of us "DamYankees" have moved here in the last half century, and part of us has influenced what Dallas food has become, from relaxing liquor licensing in the 1970's to allow for more individual restaurants, to adding beans to chili, to helping the metroplex expand to it's multi-suburb neighborhoods.  And this movement of people to Dallas has over the years combined with other food influences to become the historical crust of Dallas' food pie.

My hobby of collecting historical cook books has taken a life of it's own, because I'm searching for the answer to "what is Dallas food?" and I know part of the answer must lie within.  We can't change history, we can only choose to ignore it, and in ignoring our past aren't we permitting the future to forget our todays as well?

So in the spirit of the holidays, I ask you to share.  What does Dallas food mean to you?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009

Helping Save Babies

Food Parade from last nights March of Dimes feast fundraiser at the Fairmont Hotel.

Del Frisco's David Holben prepared Beef Tenderloin on Buttermilk Bleu Cheese Bread Pudding with Pepper Bacon Demi Glace.

Sevy's Sevy served Sugar Cane Skewered Jumbo Shrimp with Mango Black Bean Relish and Citrus Butter.

Stephan Pyles was right next to us, his restaurant made a beautiful Ancho-Orange Duck Breast with Butternut Squash Polenta, Smoked Cracklings and Kumquat Marmalade.

And Anthony "Tony" Bombaci made a Mint-Lime Lemonade with Ahi Tuna, Coconut and Thai Chiles.

From Suze, hunky Gilbert Garza prepared Sweet Gulf Shrimp and Shellfish Portuguese with Basil Essence and Creamy Organic Brown Rice.

Abraham Salum of Salum might just make the mothers of my Jewish friends a little green with envy.  His Ropa Vieja (shredded brisket) with Onions, Tomato, Avocado, served on Fried Plantains was to-die-for good.  I sent everyone over to taste this one.

Friend Lisa C. was helping her husband at the Chamberlain's booth serving Apple Cured Duck with Spicy Sweet Potatoes and Cherry Pecan Sauce.

Chef Elvis was in the building, from Shinsei that is along with TJ Lengnick, serving a beautiful selection of various sushi rolls.

And "the kid" is back, and it makes me very, very happy.  I met Aaron Staudenmaier about 12 years ago (at the opening of Citizen) and he was literally, a kid.  He's back in Dallas again at Abacus, Jasper's and Rathbun's, and making great food like this Slow Braised Pork Belly, which was very tender.

Chef Jamie Samford of Winn Meat Company made a Imperial Wagyu Beef Roasted Tri Tip with Red Curry/White Soy Glaze on a Celery Root Puree and Sweet Mandarin Almond Salad.

Bringing the pot pie to new heights was Scott Gottlich's Duck Confit Pie, which I would visit Bijoux to have again.

And J. Chastain (and he goes by "J", I asked) of The Second Floor made the most beautiful Crab Ravioli with Aspargus, Wild Mushrooms and Tomatoes.

My pitifully poor camera and picture taking does not do justice to what these chefs created last night.  But best of all they created an environment where people wanted to help give money to help others.  And that's good cooking.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Old definition:  An island of east-central Philippines in the Visayan Islands northeast of Leyte in the Samar Sea, an arm of the Pacific Ocean. The island was the first in the archipelago to be discovered by the Spaniards (1521).

New definition:  An island within downtown Dallas, part of the chain of Stephen Pyles Islands on Ross, an arm of the Dallas Arts Center.  The island offers tapas from three regions:  Spain, the Middle East (various countries), and India and you'll want to taste them all.

Luckily we were with two couples who have traveled extensively and have tasted the "real deal", which they fully endorsed as authentically flavored.  My impression?  You can have a wonderful meal and not have to mortgage the house, the setting beautiful and soothing.  Each plate was enough for two to have a full taste of the dish (but they are small, tapas sized helpings)  and in general the wine prices were really affordable.

Of course I don't review restaurants - and truthfully he sent our group out the entire selection of desserts, gratis.    But even if he hadn't, I'd still recommend giving it a try.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

You Want How Much For That Bottle?

Louis Louis, oh no you gotta go.
Aye-yi-yi-yi, I said
Louis Louis, oh baby
You gotta go.

Thirteen years of great tasting brew
Has Sevy's not been good to you?
At nineteen hundred it's too much to spend
I guess our relationship now must end.


Second bottle's gone, but now I see
A six-year return is too long for me.
There's many a cognac waiting to sip,
Satisfying guests in an economic dip.


OK Let's give 'em something else!

Guitar solo

See Dallas is mostly dry to the bone
As restaurants go, Sevy's ain't alone.
Too bad on E-bay we cannot deal
At eight hundred thirty it's an absolute steal!


Let's take it on out of here now
Let's go!

* UPDATE:  With 21 hours left in the Ebay auction the .75 liter bottle of Louis XIII is now at $1,025, still a significant discount (over 40%!) from retail for those looking to schmooze the boss at the holidays this year!
UPDATE UPDATE:  Auction closed at $1,125 (COUGH, COUGH) I would have paid more if allowed to sell it through my business.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November's News

Well there's that big food holiday, of course, as well as today being Chef Kevin Garvin's birthday. But there's some other fun things going on around Dallas in November, some in-town, some just outside. First, today is voting day, go vote. OK, here are some of the other fun things you can do this month:

November 2-5th and 9-12th (This week and next) - AIWF's "Days of Taste" program is what we need in all schools to help kids get over their "vegetables are yucky" phobia. Chefs, growers and the Dallas Farmers' Market combine with volunteers to help kids learn about good food. You can't miss them, they are all over the market in groups right before lunchtime picking out their veggies for the pasta salad they'll make back at the Resource Center. If you see them, slip them a few strawberries for dessert.

November 5th (Wednesday) - March of Dime's annual "Signature Chef" fundraiser is down at the Fairmont Hotel and Chef Kent has lassoed 20 restaurants, each plating small dishes of tasty treats. Tickets for the event are here, and the price includes helping kids who are born with some serious life-threatening illnesses.

November 8th (Sunday) - Help fund a cooking scholarship and dine on some "world-class" cuisine at Stephan Pyles Restaurant for "A Decade of Dining", a fitting name for 10 years of sending fiscally challenged students to top culinary schools. Chef Stephan has called in a fun group of Celebrity Chefs, each cooking a course. Last years winner is sous and there is a live wine auction for more fun.

November 14th (Saturday) - Chef Florine of Florine Bowman Homemade Quality Pastries will be the lead judge at this year's North Haven Gardens Fall Harvest Pie Contest. Chef Sevy probably doesn't realize yet that the first prize winner gets at $50 gift certificate to Sevy's Grill (I'll tell him later) as well as a $100 gift card to North Haven Gardens ($75 NHG gift card for 2nd, $50 NHG gift card for 3rd). And at 1:00 they have a wonderful fruit tree (FREE) seminar, it's worth every penny.

November 14th (Saturday) - Sunnyvale Chamber of Commerce is holding the First Annual Pecan Harvest Festival, featuring the "Nut Ball Hop" (a dance, I swear), vintage cars, vendors selling food and stuff, and pecans. Chef Andre Bedouret, instructor at Milestone Culinary Arts Center and El Centro Community College will be judging the Pecan Cooking contests for cake, pie, candy and cookies - all leftovers to be consumed at the Nut Ball Hop (no kidding). No word on whether it will be a wet or dry event, and I'm not talking about rain.

November 14th (Saturday) - PR person extraordinaire Karol Wilson chairs the annual Fur Ball, "Paws in Paradise" for the Dallas SPCA, which is food-related because (not Chef) Claire Heymann is the Honorary Chair. They will be auctioning off one-of-a-kind specially made dog and cat food bowls. Not made by chefs, but I'm going to make that suggestion for next years event.

So that's it for todays edition, plan accordingly.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

State of the Garden

So before the rain came (again), I took a few pictures of the last of the fruit on the agrilicious trees planted in our backyard in the last year.

There were a few end of season figs that the squirrels had missed, the crop was pretty small overall but the nice lady at Bob Wells Nursery in Lindale told me it's due for a "pop" of fruit. Plus we cut down a nasty old hackberry tree that was giving it too much shade. Once we get volume, I plan to make "Miss Figgy Jam" for my friends.

Both the persimmon and pomegranite trees had blossoms, but no fruit developed. Maybe next year. They should be fine this winter as long as I remember to water them, they are pretty cold-resistant.

I love the citrus trees, no insects, squirrels don't eat the fruit, but they are not so hardy. My Key lime tree was pretty damaged by the latest of last winter's cold and died back to 3 feet of trunk. It now stands at about 8 feet tall, but no limes this year, all of it's energy went into recovering not fruiting. Last year it produced so many limes I had to sacrifice some so the branches wouldn't break.

I definitely had to sacrifice some of the ginormous beautiful-looking (but sadly weak tasting) Mandarin oranges, I only ended up with three very large specimens. My Mexican lime tree had lots of limes, they are beginning to turn yellow, as are my Meyer lemons.

The Meyer tree is planted in a container and I bring it in the house when it gets below 40 degrees, the other citrus are planted in the ground and I will be better about covering them this winter than I was last.

Oh and our newest additions, Popeye and Brutus the Arbequina olive trees? Well, poor Brutus was killed (et tu, Deuce and Tres?), but Popeye has found his earth, with a large fence placed around to protect him from those dratted back-stabbing dogs.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Kent Rathbun Does Iowa

On Iowa PBS, with Nick Stellino on his "Cooking with Friends" show he prepares his Grilled Asparagus with Blue Cheese and Grilled Chicken Salad preparation. It aired earlier today.

I love this shiet!