Well Dined

26Jan/160

Jasper’s Chili

Well Dined | Chili

You may have heard about Snowzilla, the crazy blizzard that dropped 30 inches of snow in as many hours on the east coast this weekend.  People were were panicking about it all week and preparing for the end of the world.  (Not that they were wrong, our street still hasn't been plowed, 3 days after the end of the storm.)  I knew that we would want some comforting food options, so I made a big batch of chili and decided to revisit and revamp my old recipe for you.

Well Dined | Chili

Hubby likes both ground meat and tiny bits of steak, and not too many beans or extra frills.  So this chili is his extra special version made just for him. Plus I made it in the slow cooker so that it would be easy - that part's for me.

15Jan/160

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Well Dined | Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

I actually made this Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie back in March for Pi Day with Melissa from Smells Like Brownies.  We made it with Irish Stout beer so that it would also be appropriate for St Patrick's Day.  But I was in the middle of moving, and so never actually posted about it.  The weather right now is making me crave warm comfort food, and I thought that this dish would be appreciated.  So here I am!

Well Dined | Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

One of the tricks to this recipe is to use grated tofu, which is accomplished by freezing the tofu, then thawing slightly so that it will be the right firmness.  So make sure to freeze your tofu at least a day ahead of when you want to cook.

Well Dined | Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

Next, saute an onion, and add toasted walnuts and the shredded tofu.  Add soy sauce and lemon juice, and cook until the liquid is gone.

28Mar/140

Pearl Brewery, San Antonio TX

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Photo credit: Nick Simonite

San Antonio has become a really hip place since I moved away, and that is due in large part to the Pearl Brewery area.  The original brewery was opened in 1881 and ran until 1985 when Pabst Blue Ribbon took over, and then shut down in 2001.  The land was purchased and slowly developed into a shopping area, which is now booming.  With a weekly farmers market, boutique shops, new apartments, and amazing restaurants - this is now the place to be.  It reminds me a lot of Mosaic District, actually.  They even built a new section of Riverwalk nearby!

Anyway, when I came to visit - all the places my family wanted to take me to ended up being at Pearl, so I have lots of reviews for you!

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The night I flew in, my family took me to Cured, located in the historic administration building of the brewery.  As you can guess from the name, cured meats are a large focus of the menu, but they also have cooked main dishes under the categories vegetable, seafood, fowl, pork, beef, and goat or lamb.  My dad ordered a selection of cured meats for us, and they were delish - especially the country style pate and lamb/citrus terrine.  I also had the pork cheeks poutine, which was AWESOME.  The pickled cauliflower they put in there is totally unexpected and is what makes the dish, I think.  For dessert I had a beet twinkie with meyer lemon curd - yum.  The drink menu includes cane sugar sodas from much-beloved Dublin, TX; craft cocktails; and a killer beer list.  My brother is going to have to get on here and tell me what local beer I had, because it was fantastic.

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The next night, we went to The Granary - a modern BBQ joint located in the original brewmaster's house.  I have never seen a concept like this before - super modern, artistic BBQ - very cool.  Apparently my father comes here for lunch at least once a week, because the waiter greeted him by his nickname and knew his favorite dishes.  We thought that was pretty funny.

19Mar/131

Saint Patrick’s Day

My junior year of college I studied abroad in Galway, Ireland.  Well - not so much studied as occasionally stopped by classes.  It was an amazing semester and really cemented my love of everything Irish - culture, music, food, beer.  So even though St Paddy's isn't as big a deal in Ireland as it is here, I wanted to celebrate it in honor of the time I spent there.  And how do I celebrate holidays?  Dinner party!  So I loaded up a playlist with Flogging Molly, Young Dubliners, and The Corrs, and prepared to have some good craic.

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For the main course - Corned Beef with Colcannon (mashed potatoes with cabbage).  The great thing about this is that you can throw all the veg into the pot with the beef and let it all cook together - easy!  So I started by putting carrots, celery, potatoes, and an onion into the bottom of the pot.

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Mmm - veggies.  They can be rough chopped in big pieces because they will be discarded (except for the potatoes).  Since I was having people over I ended up doing two briskets - one in the slow cooker and one in a cast iron Dutch oven.  Same process, different cooking times.

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I laid the corned beef on top of the veggies, pickling spices included.  You should be able to find corned beef vacuum packed with pickling spices in your grocery store, especially around St Paddy's.  I cut the cabbage into wedges and put them on top/to the side of the beef.  That is half of a head in the picture, the other half went into the Dutch oven with the other brisket.