Steph Chambers's blog

Willy Waks's Summer Vichyssoise

Willy's Vichyssoise
Willy's daughter, Noa, just graduated from high school and will be a pre-med student at UT this fall. We recently attended a brunch in her honor. In addition to the family's incredible hospitality and Noa's beauty, Steve and I came away raving about the food. High on our list was a frothy light non-dairy vichyssoise. It was just the antidote for what is already turning out to be a hot and steamy summer in Dallas.

Healthy Chocolate Macaroons

Raw Chocolate Macaroons

Every Tuesday, when SMU is in session, I attend TEDXSMU Tuesday in the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works Lab for a weekly brown bag lunch series to watc

Tramp Scamp(i)

Tramp ScampIn the first installment of food tease, I provided links to some favorite romantic dining scenes for our readers. Some are benign. Others are quite provocative, like the one in Nine ½ Weeks where the main characters seduce each other with fistsful of food while seated in front of an open refrigerator. The lunch scene in When Harry Met Sally is hard to forget. The often-parodied spaghetti scene from Lady and the Tramp is one of my earliest memories of onscreen romance around dinner.

Curried Broccoli Cheese Soup

Curried Broccoli Cheese Soup

Our 15-month old grandson is a very adventurous eater, a baby gourmet actually. When his mom introduced solid foods, she added sautéed onions, garlic, citric juices, and exotic spices for flavor. He easily accepted many foods that I would not have thought to serve my children. As a result of her 'seasoned' cooking, he loves most foods, texture not flavor being the reason that some might get rejected. During his recent visit, he had a cold with fever and rejected some of his favorite activities and foods. I made a soup for dinner that I was skeptical he would accept because he was ill and cooked broccoli is an acquired taste, even though the yogurt/curry combo dampen the 'gaminess' of it.  And while the yoga moves of his "Ma" and "Pa" failed to amuse and prevent pre-dinner meltdown, the broccoli soup was a thumbs-up hit.

food tease

food tease

We are at the point in our marriage where the small gestures count more than extravagance in showing affection. Brewing coffee on Saturday morning, reading the paper together in our comfy kitchen chairs covered in terry robes, pointing out the stories that mean something to us, and occasionally reading them to each other. Dancing in the living room to a favorite song on iTunes, the comfortable and simple things. Cooking together in our kitchen, then sitting together at our little square glass table with our simple meal and a glass of wine is another such experience.

Spring Berry Shortcakes

Spring Berry Shortcakes

Marcia Chambers, a great cook and my mother-in-law, used to make the lightest, yummiest shortcake every time fresh berries appeared in the stores in spring. It was always a sign that winter was finally on the wane. There have been many desserts in my life, but no more inviting a mother-in-law. Every time I make this recipe, I imagine her in the kitchen on Sylvania street in her apron, homey smells drifting throughout the house she made a home. Thank you, Marcia, for that wooden box of old family recipes that you typed by hand and gave me on my wedding day. I hope I still make you proud that you so graciously shared them with me.

Southwestern Black Bean Soup with Rice and Braised Swiss Chard

Black bean soupThe first snow of the New Year appeared in Dallas today. A hearty warm soup was a welcome solution to the chill!

Godzilla’s Fortune Cookie New Year

Godzilla Cookie

For 2010, we spent New Year's Eve with five other couples at the home of friends. It was pre-billed as a quiet evening sans restaurant-gouging NYE charges, annoying traffic, valets, or being captured by some large hotel's idea of revelry. All guests pooled the cooking and entertainment resources: a little food, a little beverage, a few games, a little fun. The net result: a LOT of fun, a lot of beverages, and anything but quiet.  Through a compounding series of circumstances, dinner got underway a little later than most of the guests calculated that it might.  Cocktail self-service proceeded unabated and without caution. Unfiltered chatter, laughter, and mayhem ensued as the concoctions became more creative, had their way, and took charge of the unfolding events.

Watermelon Salad!

Watermelon Salad!

This is an old recipe from Cynthia Mondell who obtained it from a Greek neighbor when she was growing up in Baltimore, Maryland.  Cynthia remembers the 'Watermelon Man" who would "ride down the alley behind my home in his rickety cart filled with watermelons and drawn by 2 old horses. He'd yell WATER....MELON.....WATER.....MELON.  Everyone would run outside to get their cool melon. And the feta cheese was bought from the cheese shop 6 blocks away." Ahh, memories of staying cool on warm summer days...

Chilled Ginger Carrot Hatch Chile Soup

Chilled Ginger Carrot Hatch Chile Soup

First Place in Central Market's Hatch Chile Contest!

I spent a month in Santa Fe and made frequent trips to the Farmer's Market. On one occasion, I was trying to figure out how to use the Santa Fe Farmers Market's fresh carrots, green chiles, and homemade yogurt in one cool healthy dish. The carrots and chiles are made palatably smooth by the Greek yogurt: ginger adds a zing. When I returned to Dallas, it was a 104 degrees. I dragged myself to Central Market trying to re-capture the Santa Fe experience and was thrilled to see that they were having a deliciously fun Hatch Chile Festival. Refreshing, healthy, and cool, this summer soup is high in beta-carotene and capsaicin. Children will love its velvety smooth texture and don't need to know that carrots are excellent for your eyes, help to keep your arteries clear, and may prevent tumors from growing. Capsaisin in chiles is loaded with health benefits too, where it: assists weight loss efforts, prevents carcinogens from binding to DNA, prevents food borne bacterial disease such as salmonella, aids in digestion and cold relief.

Santa Fe Blue Corn Blueberry Hotcakes!

Blue Cornmeal Blueberry Hotcakes

Every Saturday morning in the summer, Santa Fe has a spectacular Farmer's Market in the Railyard District. Shoppers can park the pooch at the front door and volunteers from the local pet rescue will dogsit and feed treats to 'the kids' while cooks and consumers eat breakfast burritos, peach/cherry/apple strudels, and other delectable baked goods. The local green growers truck in apricots, peaches, apples, carrots, mushrooms onions, peppers, and various other photogenic produce.  If not already a chef-want-to-be, you will be seduced to try your hand at cooking. The stone-ground blue cornmeal, syrups, and homemade cheeses were meals waiting to happen when we loaded up our shopping bag last Saturday.  Ingredients for the hotcakes, or their substitutes, are not hard to find at your local grocers.  Bon appetit!

Shrimp and Crabmeat E'touffe'e

Shrimp and Crabmeat Etouffee

On Father's Day, I asked my husband, Steve, what he would like for a special meal.  He said, "Don't we have some shrimp and crabmeat we brought home from our last trip to Lafayete, Louisiana?" I said, "sure, how about an etouffee!"

Summer Bruschetta!

Summer Bruschetta!

Bruschetta (Italian pronunciation: brus ' ketta)  is an appetizer from central Italy dating back to the 15th century that is usually made with fresh garlic-rubbed toast and topped with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Variations may include toppings of spicy red pepper, tomato, vegetables, beans, cured meat, and/or cheese. The most popular recipe outside of Italy involves basil, fresh tomato, garlic and onion or mozzarella.

Mother's Day "Chicks and Salsa" Sangria and Shrimp Ceviche

Mother's Day

 

 

As the author of the children's book, "Chicks and Salsa" attests, the zest for salsa is shared by all species, particularly by one crafty rooster who tires of the same old Nuthatcher Farm feed everyday.  Last Mother's Day, we sipped sangria, dipped toasty tortillas chips into zesty shrimp ceviche, lapped up smoked ribs, chicken, brisket, and jalapeno cornbread and listened to my great niece, age 5, read this story by Aaron Reynolds to us.

I Heart Chocolate Lava Cakes

I Heart Chocolate Lava Cakes

 

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