Houston Food + Wine

Recipes, restaurants and rare food finds from one the nation's biggest foodie cities.
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Purple Sweet Potato Pie I've had the same purple sweet potato plant trailing through the front landscaping for several years now: When the vines begin to die back, it's time to probe around for the sweet potatoes! Children love the Dr. Seuss-like color of this pie, and the baked-on pecan topping adds a satisfying crunchy contrast to the opulent silkiness of the pie.

Prep for these wild Thanksgiving sides can be done prior to feast

Purple Sweet Potato Pie I've had the same purple sweet potato plant trailing through the front landscaping for several years now: When the vines begin to die back, it's time to probe around for the sweet potatoes! Children love the Dr. Seuss-like color of this pie, and the baked-on pecan topping adds a satisfying crunchy contrast to the opulent silkiness of the pie.

Wild Rice with Mushrooms Minnesotan friends sent me some native American-gathered wild rice from Spirit Lake Native Farm, which I've been hoarding for this Thanksgiving. Find this and other hand-harvested tribal rice sources at nativewildricecoalition.com.

Prep for these wild Thanksgiving sides can be done prior to feast

Wild Rice with Mushrooms Minnesotan friends sent me some native American-gathered wild rice from Spirit Lake Native Farm, which I've been hoarding for this Thanksgiving. Find this and other hand-harvested tribal rice sources at nativewildricecoalition.com.

Rosemary Roasted Medley with Olives These pretty little potatoes - red, blue, yellow and purple - are low in starch and ideal roasters, as new (young) potatoes have not yet converted their sugars to starch. You can substitute dried Chinese peppers, Tabasco peppers or cayenne peppers for the chile pequins, but if you're fortunate enough to find some in the wild, you'll be amazed by their smoky, fruity fire. Makes 4-6 servings

Prep for these wild Thanksgiving sides can be done prior to feast

Rosemary Roasted Medley with Olives These pretty little potatoes - red, blue, yellow and purple - are low in starch and ideal roasters, as new (young) potatoes have not yet converted their sugars to starch. You can substitute dried Chinese peppers, Tabasco peppers or cayenne peppers for the chile pequins, but if you're fortunate enough to find some in the wild, you'll be amazed by their smoky, fruity fire. Makes 4-6 servings

Beet and Blood Orange Salad No doubt my version of this Alice Waters salad has morphed some over the past few decades, but it's become a holiday classic at our house. Blood oranges - in season only during the winter - add a soft, floral note. Makes 4-6 servings   1 Cara Cara or blood orange, zested and juiced 2 tablespoons white champagne vinegar ¼ cup raspberry shrub (can substitute ¼ cup raspberry vinegar plus 1 tablespoon organic cane sugar) ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Prep for these wild Thanksgiving sides can be done prior to feast

Beet and Blood Orange Salad No doubt my version of this Alice Waters salad has morphed some over the past few decades, but it's become a holiday classic at our house. Blood oranges - in season only during the winter - add a soft, floral note. Makes 4-6 servings 1 Cara Cara or blood orange, zested and juiced 2 tablespoons white champagne vinegar ¼ cup raspberry shrub (can substitute ¼ cup raspberry vinegar plus 1 tablespoon organic cane sugar) ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Sassy Spiced Pecans Super-fresh pecans and spices in this simple recipe take a perennial Southern favorite from the ordinary to the sublime. Have these treats out on the counter in a pretty bowl when guests arrive; with a big meal like this, why bother with elaborate appetizers? Yields 3 cups   3 cups pecan halves 1 cup coarse organic cane sugar 1 teaspoon sea salt 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder 1 teaspoon ground Saigon cinnamon 1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla

Prep for these wild Thanksgiving sides can be done prior to feast

Sassy Spiced Pecans Super-fresh pecans and spices in this simple recipe take a perennial Southern favorite from the ordinary to the sublime. Have these treats out on the counter in a pretty bowl when guests arrive; with a big meal like this, why bother with elaborate appetizers? Yields 3 cups 3 cups pecan halves 1 cup coarse organic cane sugar 1 teaspoon sea salt 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder 1 teaspoon ground Saigon cinnamon 1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla

Smoked Spatchcocked Turkey Photo: Michael Ciaglo, Staff / © 2016  Houston Chronicle

Wild abundance: This Thanksgiving, celebrate the glorious natural bounty of Texas on your holiday table

Smoked Spatchcocked Turkey Photo: Michael Ciaglo, Staff / © 2016 Houston Chronicle

A Thanksgiving feast by Houston cookbook author Susan L. Ebert using locally grown, foraged and hunted ingredients features, clockwise from top left: Beet and Blood Orange Salad, Wild Rice with Mushrooms, Smoked Spatchcocked Turkey, Bone-Broth Turkey Gravy, Sassy Spiced Pecans, Whole Wheat Icebox Cloverleaf Rolls, Rosemary Roasted Medley with Olives and Purple Sweet Potato Pie. Photo: Michael Ciaglo, Staff / © 2016  Houston Chronicle

Wild abundance: This Thanksgiving, celebrate the glorious natural bounty of Texas on your holiday table

A Thanksgiving feast by Houston cookbook author Susan L. Ebert using locally grown, foraged and hunted ingredients features, clockwise from top left: Beet and Blood Orange Salad, Wild Rice with Mushrooms, Smoked Spatchcocked Turkey, Bone-Broth Turkey Gravy, Sassy Spiced Pecans, Whole Wheat Icebox Cloverleaf Rolls, Rosemary Roasted Medley with Olives and Purple Sweet Potato Pie. Photo: Michael Ciaglo, Staff / © 2016 Houston Chronicle

The No. 1 Gin and Tonic cocktail made with London No. 1 Gin and Fever Tree Tonic Water. Photo: London No. 1 Gin

In praise of the perfect gin and tonic

The No. 1 Gin and Tonic cocktail made with London No. 1 Gin and Fever Tree Tonic Water. Photo: London No. 1 Gin

Cooked in a cast-iron skillet, this Vidalia onion cornbread is light and cakey with a little tang and sweetness. The onions taste almost like they've been fried. Photo: Richard Drew, STF / AP

Recipe: Sweet onion enhances cornbread baked in cast-iron skillet

Cooked in a cast-iron skillet, this Vidalia onion cornbread is light and cakey with a little tang and sweetness. The onions taste almost like they've been fried. Photo: Richard Drew, STF / AP

A selection of sausages - served a la carte - is among the menu options at Liberty Kitchen at the Treehouse. Photo: Melissa Phillip, Staff / © 2016 Houston Chronicle

New door: Liberty Kitchen at the Treehouse

A selection of sausages - served a la carte - is among the menu options at Liberty Kitchen at the Treehouse. Photo: Melissa Phillip, Staff / © 2016 Houston Chronicle

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