Tag Archives: Texas

The Odd Couple: Texas Chili and Bubbles

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I made Texas-style chili (no tomatoes, no beans) for Christian and paired it with Cava De Pró. Who could have known that the balance could be so magical? The crisp, bubbly cava tempered the bold, spicy chili fabulously. Savor the flavor, y’all. (recipe credit: Homesick Texan blog)

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Filed under Dinner, Food, Recipes, Wine

Moroccan Hot-Smoked Sockeye Salmon with Salsa Verde

It’s never too hot to grill (even in Texas). My husband and I recently tried our hand at smoking wild salmon, and I think it turned out pretty darn good…

Step 1 – If you’re going to be smoking fish at home, always start with a very fresh fillet. I used to work at a fish market, so I know how to finagle a fishmonger into giving me the freshest fillet in the market. Here’s how it works:

Monger: How may I help you today miss?
Savvy Customer: When did the sockeye arrive at the market?
M: Yesterday.
SC: Do you have any whole fish? (Some whole fish have a longer shelf life than fillets.)
M: No, I’m sorry we’re sold out.
SC: No problem. These fillets here, do you process them in-house?
M: No, they arrive already filleted.
SC: I like the look of these in the case, but do you have any in the back that might be fresher?
M: Yes, as a matter of fact we do have some cases that arrived this morning. Let me just go to the back and fetch one for you.
SC: (smiling politely) Why thank you!
M: Here you go. You can see the harvest date right here (points to the unopened case with his index finger, opens the case, and removes a glistening, sweet-smelling fillet). How about this one?
SC: Perfect! Thanks for all your help! (secretly to herself: Damn I’m good.)

Step 2 – Rub skin-on fillet with “smoky” rub of choice and season lightly with sea salt. I used a Moroccan spice blend that my sister Caitlin brought home from her trip to Morocco last January. There’s no other way to describe it other than divine. I think I detect hints of saffron and pimentón, if you’d like to try to recreate it.

Step 3 – Prepare charcoal grill; simultaneously soak planks or logs of your choosing (cedar, pecan, mesquite, maple, etc.). Spread the hot coals evenly over the grill, then top the soaked planks. Spray the skin-side of the fillet and the grill grate liberally with nonstick cooking spray. Place the fillet in the center of the grill and close the lid. Hot-smoke for approximately 15 min. Do not over cook!

Step 4 – Move fish from grill to serving platter and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Step 4 – Slice salmon and serve with salsa verde (preferrably homemade) and cool Greek yogurt to temper the heat.

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Filed under Dinner, Food, Recipes

The ATX Bucket List

So it’s official…we’re moving to Richmond, VA in four months, which is NOT enough time to see all there is yet to be seen in our fair city of Austin, TX. We’ve come up with a short list of places we want to revisit – our all-time Austin favs so to speak. We hope you will help fill out the list with places that we may not have visited yet and that you think would be cardinal sin to leave ATX without experiencing. Thanks in advance for your comments!

Christian’s ATX Bucket List

  1. Eat at the Salt Lick BBQ
  2. Swim in Barton Springs Pool
  3. Take a guided tour of the Capitol building (this one we haven’t done yet)
  4. See a film at the IMAX

Sarah’s ATX Bucket List

  1. Swim in Blue Hole
  2. Eat a breakfast taco from a trailer
  3. See at least one more live show
  4. Have a beer at the Cactus Cafe

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Tulip mania

On a recent trip to Dallas, we drove across town to the Arboretum, and boy was it worth the journey! While the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center’s mission is to preserve native Texas flora, the Dallas Arboretum seeks to promote the “art, enjoyment, and knowledge of horticulture.” Think of it as Disney World for gardeners. Typical of Texas, and especially Dallas, everything is bigger here. The arboretum grounds are so vast – a full 66 acres – that they take at least an hour to cover on foot. And that’s if you don’t plan on stopping and smelling the tulips on along the way. In addition to all the beautiful flowers, there were swarms of toddlers dressed in their Sunday best – their clothes’ hues matching perfectly with a number of the blooming buds. According to the Dallas Arboretum website, the gardens were voted one of the Top Places to Take Photographs by Southern Living Magazine in April 2010. Maybe parents had brought their kids out to do reconnaissance work before the big Easter egg hunt in two weeks. We’d hate to be among the groundskeepers who has to collect the Easter eggs that aren’t found by young Dallasites on April 24th.

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Filed under Dallas