Monday, April 24, 2006

Spring Cleaning

In yet another effort to find myself, err... my waist in particular, I cleaned the pantry/cupboards yesterday of all "junk food". What I didn't throw away, I brought in to the breakroom at work this morning and it promptly disappeared. Also, this weekend I grilled off (6) bell peppers (red, orange, and yellow), fresh gulf shrimp, asparagus, zucchini, onions, and corn. I had them for dinner Sat., lunch yesterday, and lunch again today (yes, I actually brought lunch to work today). They were soooo good. I love grilled veggies. I wish I could take credit, but grilled veggies are one of those things that you don't have to do anything to. I tossed them in a little olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Perhaps that's what makes them so delicious. You don't have to add unnecessary flavors to them, like a good steak.

Well back to the subject, I want my family to start eating healthier and being more active (mostly me). And now, with no company in-site, the "vacation" is over and the pantry is clean. Perhaps the lack of sugar will slow my three year old down (not holding my breath) and help me fit into the clothes in my closet. Also, put my gym bag in the car today. Now the next step will be getting me out of bed in the mornings and back to hitting the gym again. Wish me luck! And Robin, I'll be looking to you for motivation. Keep it coming!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Shell Games

I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Cooking School last night for the Terry Conlan "Shell Games" Class. He is such a great guy. I was a little nervous because it was my first "non-Central Market chef" class. It went pretty well though. Here's what was prepared/served:

SHELL GAMES: Terry Conlan, Cookbook Author, Guru of Low-Fat Cuisine and Executive Chef, Lake Austin Spa Resort. Terry brings you low-fat and unique flavors with his savory "Sea and Tree" combinations fresh from Lake Austin Spa Resort. Menu includes Diver's Sea Scallops with Tangerine Beurre Blanc & Toasted Hazelnuts; Almond Crab Cakes with Gingered Tomato Jam; Pistachio Stuffed Shrimp with Lemon Aioli; Pecan-Crusted Soft Shell Crab; and Lobster Saute with Curried Walnuts.

After class, Mr. Conlan graciously signed my cookbook and chatted about his "Canadian" travels. If you have a chance to pick up his cookbook Fresh, do so. It is beautiful and filled with low-fat, tasty recipes.

I just love working the CM classes. Paul and Vance always are very helpful, teach me a lot, and are a heck of a lot of fun!

Can't wait until my next class mid May with David Bull from the Driskill...

Monday, April 17, 2006

Vespaio? No.

My sister-in-law, my husband, and I went to Vespaio on South Congress on Thursday evening for a kid-free meal (my parents babysat). I was looking forward to it, since I haven't been there for a couple of years (and then, only once).

We ordered a bottle of wine, and a mozzarella appetizer. Both were good. I had the Butternut squash pasta (sorry I forget the proper name). It is like eating dessert for dinner. My pasta was a little more than Al Dente. It was actually pretty hard, but still tasty. My sister-in-law had the "silk handkerchiefs" which she enjoyed. And hubby had the seafood stew, which was good (except he had one bad/disgusting tasting mussel that ruined it for him).

However, our server was so pretentious! Not to say the service was bad. My water glass was always full and wine never empty. But it was like we were inconveniencing him by being there.

The meal was good, but nothing special. I am in NO hurry to go back.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Texas Chefs, Great Wine

My mother, sister-in-law, and I attended a recreational cooking class at Central Market last night. It was great! Here is the official class description:

Justin Raiford, Executive Chef, 34th Street Cafe
In the second class of our Texas Chefs, Great Wines series, we bring you one of Austin's most promising up-and-coming chefs, Justin Raiford. You'll enjoy his creative, complex cooking style. Menu includes Baby Butter Leaf Lettuce with Slivered Purple Onions, Citrus Vinaigrette, Citrus Supremes, Farmer's Cheese & Toasted Pistachios with Richard Bourgeois Sancerre; Thai Coconut Curry Soup with Chicken & Fresh Sweet Peas with Gunderloch "Diva" Riesling; Lamb Loin Chops with Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Cucumber-Mint Salsa with Brown Brother Shiraz; and Lemon & Coconut Tart with Whipped Cream & Fresh Berries with Peter Lehmann Semillon.
There is usually something in every class I take that I do not care for, but I really did enjoy all the dishes last night. Also, Darcie Jane, the CM Wine Gal who did the "Wine" portion of the class, was so incredibly knowledgeable and passionate, she made it a special treat!

Chef "Raif" is very well traveled and culinary educated, but so young! You can check him out at Austin's 34th Street Cafe. He really makes his ingredients purposeful and the dishes were delicious.

Darcie did an excellent job with the Wine parings (they deviated slightly from those posted in the class description above).

I had a great time with the gals and I hope they enjoyed their trip to Austin and our evening of culinary adventure!