Friday, March 27, 2009


Well lookie here, this guy ended up on another blog. Why didn't I think of that (clunks forehead with palm).

(Second Clunk) - And I might mention that Sevy will be appearing at the Southlake Central Market in their "Foodie Kitchen" tomorrow (Saturday 3/28) from 1 pm to 4 pm demonstrating dishes using his Star Chef Sweet Ancho Chile Relish from Dallas' Canyon Specialty Foods.

Sublimely Sublime Chocolate

Looks Yummy? I'd agree, but that's all I can say about this amazing collection of chocolates that came home with hubby last night. Because when I went to bed, they were set out on the countertop, but when I woke up this morning, everything except the cardboard was gone. I know the three dogs came to bed with me, which left three humans, one of which is a serious chocoholic.

Sublime Chocolates opened last August in Allen, and is a family endeavor (yay!) of Troy and Bliss Easton (Mr. & Mrs.), and Bliss' sister, O'Lynn McCracken. You can read Teresa Gubbin's September review of Sublime for Pegasus News, here.

It's fair to add that this photo does not completely do justice to the beautiful color of these chocolate pieces, perhaps overcome by the poor lighting and the bright orange of their logo'd bag. The boxes which are a bright orange inside with a bronze and gold metallic exterior are well constructed, "They were designed to be jewelry boxes for the chocolates," according to O'Lynn. And she said many people collect them, including a math teacher that uses them to teach students about volume.

So because I missed out on this special treat (and because it's time to stock up on two teenagers' summer apparel at the outlet mall), I'm taking a road trip up to Allen in the next two weeks to check this place out. I'll keep you posted - and take pictures.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

New On The Blog List

Welcome Cowgirl Chef and check out her business website Cowgirl Tacos. Yum, yum, yummy.

Certains jours, je souhaite pour sa vie.

The Beef About (kosher) Kosher

Last May federal immigration agents raided America's largest kosher meatpacker, Agriprocessors, Inc. based in Postville, Iowa. In November they filed for bankruptcy, by December shortages of kosher meat were being reported. Owned and run by Orthodox Jews from Brooklyn, they technically followed the rules of Kashrut, but stories of less than "kosher" treatment of their employees and animals raised a larger ethical issue for Jews desiring to follow Kaf-Shin-Reish.

Now comes the creation of the food designation "Magen Tzedek" by the Hekhsher Tzedek Commission, which will designate kosher foods prepared by companies that have completed an additional ethical certification. "By introducing Magen Tzedek, we are inviting the public to be a part of the conversation about kashrut, justice and Judaism", said Jerold Jacobs of the commission. Or as Hekhsher Tzedek founder, Rabbi Morris Allen put it, "Jewish people shouldn't have to choose between the free-range chicken and the kosher chicken. There shouldn't be that split."

Much of the support for this designation comes from the Conservative and Reform movements, however Orthodox groups are fighting it as a defense of tradition. Rules defining kosher were written in the Torah, and as such cannot be changed. "There is nothing in Jewish law that conflates the status of kosher food with the way the food is produced," said Rabbi Avi Shafran, member of a panel discussion at Yeshiva University in December 2008. "Lapses of business ethics, animal rights issues, worker rights matters - all of these have no effect whatsoever on the kosher value."

I happen to live within an Orthodox (and Conservative and Reform) Jewish neighborhood, and our corner Tom Thumb has a large selection of kosher foods, including an impressive meat counter, supplied by A. D. Rosenblatt Premium Kosher Meats. It turns out the owner, Yaakov Rosenblatt is my neighbor, a friendly gentleman willing to spend a few minutes discussing this issue. While he has heard whispers of the movement in his food circles, the actual implementation of a new designation does not seem likely locally.

"We already follow a humane protocol for both our animals and employees, with an annual humane audit conducted by regulators already. To add another layer of audits, distribution and packaging would require a strong enough demand to justify the costs." said Mr. Rosenblatt over the phone. Fair enough, many kosher food businesses are not run like Agriprocessors, and are just trying to deliver the best quality at the lowest cost. And it appears that the marketplace is already beginning to satisfy the kosher consumer looking for organic and natural products through niche businesses like

We are facing a time of distrust in our food production, whether kosher or not. It's just unfortunate that the bad ones make us mistrust all.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Don't Eat That!

This article draws a parallel between the problems rocking the financial industry and current problems facing the food industry. Bad behavior, bad oversight has hurt both industries, and not just those making poor choices. After many years of de-regulation, it does seem the system needs a tweak, because currently the system of self-regulation is not fair.

Not only did Nestle hold themselves to a higher cost of regulation standards, but they paid the cost of market decline due to others in the industry who didn't. Their competitors were allowed to purchase an inferior product at a lower cost, and also save on the cost of checking on their suppliers. Not to mention how unfair it was to those who suffered severe and mortal losses from possibly tainted regulation information. Badly, sadly a need for more auditing not less.

Recently suggested on Eats Blog (The Dallas Morning News' food blog) was the issue of whether or not to publish a restaurant's inspection scores, and as a restaurant owner (and diner), I don't have a problem with that. Until of course, you start comparing how different municipalities grade infractions. There are large differences in point deductions on differing cities health inspection codes. So the question then becomes, if a restaurant in Dallas would have scored a 76, but in another suburb scores a 93 for the same issues, is the user being served well by following the score of the suburban restaurant?

Current events seem to justify the argument that higher standards in regulation benefit us all, but it is only fail safe if all adhere to the same standards.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Working, Working

Just back from spring break, somewhere sunny and warm where the wine coolers did not end. Saw a little high school baseball while there too. Wish I could say we ate at some swanky places, but not so, actually had great Italian here three times in one week.

Back to work, and blogging after work.

Monday, March 16, 2009

March Food & Wine Dinner at Sevy's Grill

A Dinner with Rodney Strong Wines
Monday, March 23, 6:30 p.m.
Four courses of specially created food paired to compliment these delicious wines, $59.95 per person. Jack Harvey, District Manager of Rodney Strong will be our featured guest. Contact Jimmy, Stefaan or Amy M. at, reservations are required, seating is limited.

Tomato, Basil and Olive Tartlets
Cristalino, Sparkling


Griddled Feta and Spinach Cakes, Red Pepper Aioli and Baby Greens
Rodney Strong, Chardonnay, Chalk Hill

Atlantic Salmon and Crab Pinwheels, Creamy Tarragon Orzo and Pinot Noir Butter
Rodney Strong, Pinot Noir, Russian River

Herbed Prime Rib with Crispy Truffled Grits, Wild Mushroom Jus and Roasted Shallots
Rodney Strong, Cabernet, Alexander Valley

"Chunky" Dried Cherry and Pecan Brownies with White Chocolate Ice Cream
Rodney Strong, Port

Ummmm, Be Right Back

Friday, March 13, 2009

Halfway Between Here and There

Halfway between here and where? Last week Sev & I had a little overnight getaway and while on the road he was very excited to treat me to his latest restaurant discovery (Thanks Kevin!), the Dairy Palace in Canton, TX.

I've been asked several (hundred) times "What do chefs like to eat?", and this place has the home-style menu. The most expensive item is the Catfish & Shrimp Plate at $11.89, they also have a Salmon Burger ($8.99) and a whole section of "Great Tasting Mexican Food" that includes a Supreme Fajita Wraps (with "East Texas Chicken or West Texas Beef") as well as 12 different (World Famous) Hamburgers.

"Country Breakfasts" (served 24 hours a day) include classics like the #5, Chipped Beef On A Shingle ($3.59) or the #8, Chicken Fried Steak-N-Eggs ($6.39). Along an entire side of the restaurant is the Blue Bell Ice Cream Center, with over 36 flavors like "Black Walnut", "Cake Batter" and "Cotton Candy".

As many times as I've been to First Monday Trade Days, I've never noticed this little place off of I-20, usually I take the exit before. But when we pulled into the parking lot (adjoining the gas station on the corner), it was unmistakeable that the Dairy Palace draws quite a crowd.

This place has quite the following with Dallas chefs too following a certain pig hunting getaway. And I have to concur, it's a treasure of a spot that the big city just can't afford to offer. And not only did Sevy and I stop on the way there, but we stopped the next morning on the way back, too.

Jackpots are relative, I'd like to say I had a winning hand with this find.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Canyon Foods Star Chef Products To Premier At Southlake Central Market

Finally, what others in Texas can enjoy purchasing from their HEB, local shoppers can now purchase from their sister store, Central Market. Beginning March 11th through April 14th two products will be featured each week at the Southlake Central Market.

Chefs from the Dallas area will also be making appearances, cooking recipes that compliment their named products. To make it even more enticingly delicious (if that's possible), to celebrate the launch of these new products, featured items will be paired up, buy one get the other free! Quite a deal, especially if you can catch it while the chef's are cooking.

Here is the weekly schedule of specials:

March 11-17th - Purchase Canyon Foods Tomato Basil Bisque, receive free CF Tortilla Soup, Canyon Specialty Foods to demonstrate on March 14th from 1 - 5 pm.

March 18-24 - Purchase Star Chef Dean Fearing's Red Jalapeno Dressing, receive free CF Sweet Chile Lime Dressing, Chef Dean Fearing to demonstrate on March 21st from 1-3

March 25-31 - Purchase SC David McMillan's Dried Cherry Steak Sauce, receive free SC Sevy Severson's Sweet Ancho Chile Relish, Chef Jim "Sevy" Severson to demonstrate on March 28th from 1 - 4 pm.

April 1-7 - Purchase SC Dean Fearing's Silky Orange Blossom Sauce, receive free SC Dean Fearing's Sun-Kissed Apricot Sauce, Canyon Specialty Foods to demonstrate on April 4th from 1-5 pm.

April 8-14 - Purchase SC David McMillan's Pineapple Teriyake Marinade, receive free his Tomato Coriander Dressing free, Chef David McMillan to demonstrate, date and time TBD.

Strong Winery Featured at Sevy's March Food & Wine Dinner

Join us at Sevy's Grill on Monday, March 23rd for
"A Dinner with Rodney Strong Wines"
With speaker Jack Harvey, District Manager of Rodney Strong to tell wine tales of the wonderful sampling we will be serving. We've specially created a four course menu to compliment each wine, and are excited to feature such a premier vineyard with our foods. Four courses plus champagne reception, $59.95 per person. Seating is limited and reservations are required contact Jimmy, Stefaan or Amy at
(214)265-7389 or
Reception begins at 6:30, dinner at 7:00.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Dallas ISD - You've Been Served

"I really hope you advance, well, I really hope our boys advance too. In a perfect world, we'd both advance." (said the Hillcrest mom to the Skyline coach prior to announcing the semi-finalists at the 30th annual Texas Mock Trial Championship).

18 kids in DISD helped make today, in Dallas, a perfect world. From almost 170 original contesting teams (ranging from Decatur to El Paso to Houston), only four, or about 2% would make it to the semi-finals, and two of those four were Hillcrest High School and Skyline High School, both of DISD.

During regionals, a few weeks back, Hillcrest and Skyline had dueled twice, each claiming a victory. It was an epic showdown, not North vs. South, but boys vs. girls on the last match - the Skyline attorney and witness seats were filled by beautiful females. Our boys didn't look too shabby either, but their handsome good looks couldn't sway the ladies from their goal of winning.

DISD is a region unto itself for mock trial competition, and because they have so many schools participating they are allowed two entries into the state tournament. At states, held in Dallas over two days, 24 of the original regional combatants make it to this level. Other local teams represented were Decatur HS (last years state champs), Ursuline (Dallas), Richardson HS, Creekview HS (Carrollton), Midway HS (Waco), and Paris HS.

Well, Hillcrest faced Americas HS (El Paso) during the semi-final round, and Skyline faced Highlands HS (Highlands), while it was a close fight Hillcrest did not make it to the finals. Impressively, Americas came this far with a first year attorney/coach.

As to Skyline, well I'll have to post an update - I'm headed off to feed the Boy a steak after a tough loss. His dad knows how to make it just right. But this post wasn't about the ultimate winner, it was just a Dallas story about kids in DISD that excelled - and something you probably wouldn't hear about otherwise.

After two days (15 hours) of sitting on hard court benches, would someone please serve me a cushion?

UPDATE: Skyline advances to Finals, which are held tonight. More to follow, but I have chills. Go Skyline, You Rock!

UPDATED UPDATE: Still no news on the winner, and I've checked multiple sources, aargh! But photos of the participants can be seen here (Thanks Bruce!)

SKYLINE WINS! Go get them in Atlanta at Nationals!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

No, Not That Severson

Friend Vivian emailed to ask if we were related to a food writer for the New York Times with the same last name, sadly no. But it appears we share more than a last name, her latest article was about cube steak, a particular favorite for the kids and myself.

So since today was very busy with a baseball doubleheader, my Dad arriving from Michigan, and working a shift at the concessions stand, I'm going to share with you my recipe for cube steak. Because it's quick, and easy - both to make and to post on the blog. Not only does it make a great dinner, but the leftovers are wonderful heated up and placed on toasted bread for a Pizza Steak Sandwich.

Pizza Steak
4 large cube steaks, cut in half
1 jar spaghetti sauce (your preference)
8 slices mozzarella cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 9 x 12 pan with cube steaks, pour spaghetti sauce over. Bake for 45 minutes. Place slices of mozzarella over each steak and bake longer until the cheese has caramelized and is brown.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Seems Like Old (Hard) Times

In the early '80's I left college to work full time as a bank teller. It paid $4.35 per hour, barely covering housing, car and food expenses, but Michigan was going through some very tough times and jobs were non-existent. Lee Iacocca had just stepped in to save Chrysler, the government was spending like crazy to win the cold war, and a 5-year $10,000 CD paid over 16%.

I remember these times as some of the best working years in my history, and not just because I met my future sister-in-law while there. It was the camaraderie we shared, and to help build that we were allowed to have pot-luck lunches frequently. I still cook some of the dishes eaten in the tiny basement kitchen. Food is a way to show others you care, and many times it is a link to our pasts - sharing recipes is a form of sharing stories.

So there it is on today's front page of The Dallas Morning News, Hard Times Are Back, and if it hasn't hit you, you probably know someone who it has. Maybe you're an employer, or even just an employee, hell this would even work for PTA meetings, but if you want to start making things at least taste a little better, consider a pot-luck lunch or dinner for your group.

To get you started, here is a recipe from The Papert Family Cookbook (Revised Edition, 1995), published by Dallas neighbors Ida and Sam Papert for the benefit of the Dallas Farmer's Market Friends.

Jalapeno Chicken Casserole by Rosalie Mothner Kern
4 boneless chicken breasts, boiled, diced
1 doz. corn tortillas, torn in strips
1 c. milk
1 lb. grated cheddar cheese
1 onion, grated
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 (4 oz. ea.) cans chopped green chiles
1/2 c. chicken stock
salt and pepper

In greased 3 quart casserole, layer ingredients as follows: Tortillas, chicken, [half of the] cheese, onion, and peppers. Mix milk, soup and stock, pour over ingredients, cover with remaining cheese. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until firm. Serves 6 to 8.

Sounds pretty comforting to me.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Home Grown Tomatoes Really Are Better

Some say to-may-to, some say to-mah-to. Some say slavery. The story here.

You Don't Have To Be Irish To Love French Wines

So sayeth Ms. Hayley Hamilton of Dallas Uncorked, whose organization is having a French wine tasting at Veritas Wine Room on March 17th from 6:30 - 8:30.

All kinds of French wines, and meats and cheeses will be paired with. Five tastings total, and a discussion of regions and varieties by Whit Meyers. In honor of the holiday, he'll be discussing the "Green" commitment by winemakers to make a better wine for you and the environment.

Best of all, Veritas will be offering a special bottle pricing on the evening's wines if you want to take more home.

Tickets are $40 in advance through the , or $50 at the door. Veritas is located at 2323 N. Henderson .

Monday, March 2, 2009

Salmon Infection Inflation

From friend Willie Warner of Boston's Steve Connolly Seafood Co. news about the price of salmon in 2009. Expect it to go up anywhere from 35-50% just in 2009, and in 2010 - well it may just go higher. One year after the crippling outbreak of Infectious Salmon Anemia in Chile, the virus is still raging, forcing the government to begin regulating the management practices of salmon farmers to amend the damage done so far.

2008 saw a record $2.4 billion in Chilean salmon sold to the U.S., partly attributable to the large numbers of salmon harvested prematurely when the illness broke out. These were placed into frozen storage until sold, word on the street is that dockside leased freezer space was at a premium. But early harvesting didn't make the disease go away, so more measures are in store including stricter regulation of aquaculture permits, limiting use of antibiotics and slowing down the production cycle to allow for environmental recovery.

The result of the premature harvest and new regulations means that the production of salmon in Chile is expected to drop 70-90% by 2010. "Production is dropping from about 390 metric tons last year to under 200 this year", according to Robert Chandler, seafood buyer for Steve Connolly's, "and restrictions on starting new stock essentially shuts down infected sites until August. It will take 18-24 months for new schools to mature to a harvestable size".

This is the price that the Chilean producers may have to pay for poor farming techniques; overcrowded salmon pens allowed the disease to spread to a devastating level.

While a fish killer, this disease is not harmful to humans. But it does weaken infected fish, making them susceptible to parasites and lice infestations before they die, which can be harmful. And some testing of imported fish has revealed the presence of chemicals used in infection treatment that are banned in the United States, moving Safeway (or in my 'hood, Tom Thumb) to restrict imports from Chile. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration is still allowing imports of farmed fish under special scrutiny for now, for which I am sure we are all reassured.

Tempering the declining Chilean supply is the Norwegian and Scottish salmon industry, which due to the declining Euro and rising U.S. prices sees our market as strong and they are trying to fill the void. Canada also has a large salmon industry, Steve Connolly's salmon comes from the Bay of Fundy, off the shores of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. They ship overnight fresh Atlantic seafood to several restaurants in Dallas, and they have an exclusive retail relationship with TJ's Seafood Market in North Dallas.