Full Custom Gospel BBQ

December 21st, 2010

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For a comprehensive review of Texas BBQ joints check out Full Custom Gospel BBQ.  Blog author Daniel Vaughn is a self-made guru of Texas BBQ.  He loves smoke, he studies the science, art and alchemy of BBQ, and he has personally sampled the BBQ at every place he reviews.  Good or bad he gives it to you straight.  Sure this is one guy’s opinion, and when it comes to BBQ opinions run strong in Texas.  You might not always agree with his ratings but Full Custom Gospel BBQ is a good place to up your Texas BBQ knowledge.

Cowtown BBQ and Brewery Tour

November 4th, 2010

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On Saturday, October 23 Food Roots led a group of BBQ lovers on a tasting tour to three select Fort Worth BBQ joints and a brewery of hand crafted artisanal beer.  We had a chance to sample the best of the BBQ and learn what makes Texas BBQ unique.  We also got a first-hand look at how a local brew master is making premium beer in Fort Worth.  This tour was all about tasting, comparing and learning about Texas BBQ.  Education is a big part of what we do at Food Roots, so for this tour we enlisted the help of our own on-board expert and BBQ guide, Daniel Vaughn, author of the Full Custom Gospel BBQ, a blog dedicated to all things Texas BBQ.  Daniel picked three of his favorite BBQ restaurants in Fort Worth for our tour.  No chain places for this group.  Each one is locally owned an operated with meat smoking on site and its own special reason for being.  If one place looks like a Dairy Queen, well, it used to be.  But the smoke stack in the back means they now serve up tender smoky ribs and chicken.  Smoked hamburger made from brisket meat?  Yes, we found some.  At each of our stops we sampled the house specialties and talked to the owners and pit masters about how they make their BBQ.  It was a dark and stormy day (it really was) but the rain held off until we finished our tour with a happy hour visit to Rahr & Sons Brewing Company.  It was raining outside but inside the brewery it was warm and happy.  Rahr & Sons has been brewing hand crafted beer in Fort Worth since 2004 and their beer is widely available in Fort Worth.  We joined the weekly open house for few glasses of beer and a discussion of the brewery process by owner Fritz Rahr.  Our group had a great time and learned a lot, and everyone agreed that throughout the day they gained a greater appreciation for the hard-working folks who make great Texas BBQ.

Pan de Campo – the official state bread of Texas

June 2nd, 2010

Texas toast is the state bread of Texas, right?  Texas Toast is popular and ubiquitous, and Texas may be the only state with its own toast, but since 2005 the official state bead of Texas is Pan de Campo.  Literally “camp bread”, Pan de Campo is also called cowboy bread because it originated on the range made from ingredients that a cowboy would ordinarily carry.  Pan de Campo is a simple biscuit-type baking powder bread made with flour, baking powder, salt, lard and water, and it was traditionally baked in a Dutch oven over a camp fire.

 

I made Pan de Campo on a camping trip to Big Bend Ranch State Park. BBRSP is west of Big Bend National Park on the big bend of the Rio Grande.  At over 280,000 acres it is the largest state park in Texas.  It is rugged and remote.  There are no paved roads in the park and the only facilities are at the Sauceda headquarters in the middle of the park.  Their most popular months are October through March.  We were there in May, and with daytime temperatures reaching into the mid 90s my friend James and I were the only two guests in the park during our stay.  All camp sites are primitive with a table and fire ring and maybe a rough shelter.  If you are not into primitive camping the Sauceda headquarters has some lodging and meal service available.  If you want a real west Texas desert wilderness experience, BBRSP is awesome.  And, it was the perfect place to cook up some Pan de Campo.

 

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I made mine the simple traditional way but I substituted Crisco for the lard.  Either will work.  My recipe was two cups of flour, a tablespoon of baking powder, a teaspoon of salt, one-third cup Crisco and water.

 

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Combine the dry ingredients, cut in the Crisco and work the mixture with your fingers until you have a mealy consistency.  Then mix in enough water to form a dough.  Kneed the dough slightly until it comes together.  Form the dough into a round, one to two inches thick.

 

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Place in the Dutch oven, cover, set the oven in the fire and load the coals on top.  Bake for 20 to 30 minutes.  Remember, the secret to Dutch oven cooking is more coals on top than on the bottom.  You want to bake the bread, not fry it.  Too much bottom heat and the bottom of your bread will burn.  Also, no direct flame.  You want hot coals, not flaming wood.

 

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Perfect Pan de Campo.  Brown and crusty on the outside, soft and steamy on the inside.

 

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Traditionally served with honey or molasses but you can eat it however you like.  Even plain is yummy.

 

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There are many variations of Pan de Campo.  Some recipes call for milk, sugar or vegetable oil.  Instead of one large loaf you can form the dough into individual biscuits.  Charcoal is more popular than a wood fire for Dutch oven cooking because you can control the heat easier.  And, of course, you can always bake Pan de Campo at home in the oven.  However you make it or enjoy it, Pan de Campo is part of the history and tradition of Texas food.  

Dallas - Mockingbird Farmers Market

April 29th, 2010

Thursday afternoons from 4 - 7 p.m. EatGreenDFW.com is sponsoring a farmers market at Mockingbird Station in Dallas.  Right now they have about a dozen vendors lined up selling farm fresh eggs, baked goods, fresh baked bread, honey, shrimp, yogurt, herbs olive oil, salsa and more.  The market is planned for every Thursday afternoon on the upper level plaza of Mockingbird Station between the DART rail station and the Angelika Theater.  Mockingbird Station is at 75 Central Expressway and Mockingbird Lane.  If you are on the Dallas DART rail, stop at Mockingbird on the red or blue line.  The market is next to the station entrance.

A PEEP AT THE COOPS - a Dallas urban chicken coop tour

April 7th, 2010

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Take a peek (or a peep) in some east Dallas backyards and you might find chickens.  Yes, chickens in Dallas.  The city of Dallas actually has some rather liberal rules when it comes to keeping backyard chickens.  This is not true of many neighboring cities.  And, the chickens are thriving.  On Sunday, April 18 eleven east Dallas homes will open their backyards for a free self-guided tour from 11 am to 5 pm.  You can look as much or as little as you like.  Learn about backyard chickens and meet and talk to the owners.  You can find all of the information on the apeepatthecoops blog.  Brochures with addresses to the coop sites will also be available at Walton’s Lawn and Garden Center , Green Spot Market and Fuel, the Lakewood Whole Foods and the East Lake Veterinary Hospital.  Remember, the tour is Free.  Just show up.  Not in Dallas?  Austin just had a coop tour in early April.  Check out the Austin funkychickencooptour site.  It has lots of information and a list of coop tours all over the U.S.

Food Fraud – a rising problem. Is that fish really Red Snapper?

April 6th, 2010

The Washington Post reports that food fraud is a growing problem that needs more FDA attention.  Many products from cheese and olive oil to fish and honey have recently been found to contain cheaper ingredients and fillers, or to be intentionally mislabeled.  It has been a back-burner issue at the FDA which has been focusing on more immediate food contamination issues but we can take our own action by buying from our own list of trusted sources.  Food fraud makes an easy case for the importance of knowing where your food comes from.

The Urban Cow Tour - Saturday May 1, 2010

March 30th, 2010

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Hey Luckly Layla yogurt fans!  If you are going to be in Dallas on Saturday May 1, here is your chance to visit the makers of Lucky Layla,  Lavon Farms and the Lucky Layla creamery.  Join us at the Dallas Central Market Cooking School for the Food Roots Urban Cow Tour.  We will visit the Plano diary farm that supplies all of the milk for Lucky Layla and then go to the creamery in Garland to learn how they turn the milk into their delicious cheese and drinkable yogurt.  We end the tour with a one hour class at Central Market where we will sample and discuss Texas cheese.  Not familiar with Luckly Layla?  Come find out what you have been missing and learn about some unique locally made Texas dairy products.  This tour is sponsored by the Dallas Central Market Cooking School and Food Roots.  We have more details here.  Register today at the Central Market Cooking School.  Space is limited.

Women Stars of Wine & Food

February 20th, 2010

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Looking for an awesome food and wine event next week in Dallas?  On Sunday evening February 28th The Dallas chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier is hosting their 2010 Raiser Grazer, Silent Auction and Cork Pull at the Fashion Industry Gallery in downtown Dallas.  The Women Stars of Wine and Food is a who’s who of women who have defined a new era in wine and the culinary arts featuring wine women from California and Texas, as well as food samplings from over twenty of the Dallas chapter chefs and culinary professionals.  Tickets are $45 in advance and $50 at the door.  Purchase tickets at the Les Dames website.  Mary Kimbrough, co-owner of Food Roots, is a Dame and a member of the Dallas chapter.

Olives Ole, Texas International Olive Oil Festival

February 20th, 2010

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Saturday, March 27, 2010   10 AM to 4 PM

Did you know that Texans are growing olive trees and making olive oil?  If you are in the San Antonio area on March 27th come on out to the Second Annual International Olive Festival of Texas 2010 sponsored by the San Antonio Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier and H-E-B.  The 2010 festival will be held at Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard located at 25195 Mathis Rd., off of I 37, near Elmendorf, Texas (20 minutes south of San Antonio).  Everyone is invited.  Enjoy numerous vendors, gourmet food and Texas wine concessions, cooking demonstrations, health and nutrition seminars, entertainment and an olive buffet featuring olives from around the world to sample and compare.  Tickets are $10 at the gate.  Advanced tickets are available at San Antonio area H-E-B stores.  Proceeds benefit Les Dames d’Escoffier scholarships and community outreach programs.  For more information visit Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard.

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Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard is a 10,000 tree olive ranch.  Owner Sandy Winokur planted her first trees in 1998 and has transformed her love of Mediterranean olive groves into one of the largest olive orchards in the state of Texas with over a dozen varieties of olive trees.  Sandy presses Texas olive oil, sells nursery stock trees and makes oil into various hand-crafted skin care and spa products.

 

Learn How to Cook Grass-Fed Beef at Burgundy Pasture Beef

January 23rd, 2010

 

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I want to eat more grass-fed beef but I don’t know how to cook it.  We hear that a lot.  Well, if you live in North Texas help is here.  Burgundy Pasture Beef in Grandview is offering cooking classes on selected weekends.  Their class last weekend, COOKING WITH GRASS FED BEEF & MORE, featured Chef Nick Amoriello and Burgundy Pasture co-owner Wendy Taggart demonstrating and discussing fundamental cooking techniques for braising, roasting and sautéing grass fed beef & lamb.  Chef Nick is Executive Chef of Potager in Arlington and a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park New York.  Burgundy Pasture Beef is a 100% grass-fed beef ranch with their own butcher shop, store and grill.  The Taggart’s raise and pasture their cattle on native and select cultivated grasses at their ranch south of Fort Worth.  At the Boucherie (butcher shop) they dry-age and cut their own beef for optimal flavor and tenderness.  The Boucherie is the first exclusively pastured meats butcher market in the D/FW area.  The cooking class included a cooking demonstration, tastings, lots of interaction and Q&A, and a 10% discount on all meat purchases so you can practice what you learn.  The Burgundy Boucherie is at 800 McDuff in Grandview, TX just east of I-35W about half way between Fort Worth and Hillsboro.  Information is on their web site