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Pass the Hummus, Please!

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By Gini Rainey

If you’re a blog writer, then you know that when you publish your blog, sending it out to cyberspace, it’s almost like putting something out on the air via television or radio – you never really have a sense of whether or not you are reaching anyone with your cleverly put together words.  In an attempt to pull in more readers for the magazines that I write for, I linked my blog up with bloglovin.com, and one of the bonuses from having done that was being able to connect with other writers and find out what they are up to.  One of my favorite blogs is “My Name is Yeh,” and is written by Mollie Yeh, a graduate of Julliard who married a fifth generation farmer and moved from New York to live on the farm that sits on the North Dakota-Minnesota border.  She likes to play music, bake, write, and take pictures.  We seem to have a lot in common, and when my niece announced that she was going to be attending the book signing party for Molly’s new cookbook, “Molly on the Range,” I just had to go to my friendly Amazon bookstore and purchase it.

Molly’s book, published by Rodale in 2016, is 284 pages filled with some of the most interesting stories, recipes, and photographs around.  Her writing is delightful and you’ll find it difficult to put the book down long enough to try the yummy recipes that are included.  From her charming writing style, colorful photographs, and interesting food combinations, you’ll come away with the sense of having had a nice visit with a charming friend.

The story behind her first kiss with her future husband prefaces her recipe for hummus and reminded me of one of my first encounters with that lovely chickpea concoction.  My younger daughter and her family are vegans.  Imagine my distress when I realized I would not be able to do the grandmotherly thing with her first baby – hand him a cookie that I had baked for him with much love and care!  Let me tell you – that was tough!  But, then, imagine if you will, this cutie pie at about 2 years old, toddling into my kitchen, stopping in front of the refrigerator and saying in his cute little squeaky voice, “ummmusnpida, naw naw!” Me saying, “I’m sorry sweetie, what do you want?” Him “ummmusnpida, naw naw!” Me (trying really hard to understand) “What do you want?”  Him stomping his little foot “ummmusnpida, naw naw!” So I call my daughter into the kitchen.  “What does Oliver want Beth?”  He turns to her “ummmusnpida, mommy!”  Beth “Oh, he wants hummus and pita chips.”  Which, thank goodness, she had brought with them!

Well, I’ve never made hummus, but Molly’s recipe sounds like something I’m going to make the next time Oliver comes to visit.  He’s 10 now, but I have a feeling this would be one thing I could make with as much love and care as I would put into cookies.  With the opening cautionary to only use dried chickpeas (as opposed to canned), Molly says to soak them overnight and then boil until they are very soft before going into the hummus.  So, with 1 cup of dried peas that have been soaked, drained, and rinsed, put them into a large saucepan with ½ teaspoon of baking soda, cover with 1 to 2 inches of water and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer until they are very soft.  Drain and cool, then transfer to a food processor.  Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, ½ cup of tahini, ¾ teaspoon salt, and 2 cloves of garlic.  While processing, drizzle in ¼ cup of water and continue to blend for 2 to 3 more minutes.  Taste and season with additional salt if needed.  Transfer to a serving dish and top with a drizzle of olive oil, tahini sauce, finely chopped onion, and chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley.  Serve with fresh pita bread and onion wedges for dipping.  And by all means, pat yourself on the back for making this with love and care!

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Books

Eat It – It’s Good for You!

By Gini Rainey

Now that we are a week down the road from Mother’s Day, I would imagine things around your  house – and kitchen – have pretty much returned to normal.  We’re past breakfast in bed for mom or a meal at her favorite restaurant, and if your kids are anything like my kids were, you’re starting to hear “I don’t like that” or “why don’t we ever have what I like to eat” at meal time.  As a young mom on a limited budget, keeping a family of four food-happy seemed to be a daily struggle – trying to please everyone – that I nearly threw my hands up in the air and said, “Let them eat cake!”

However, being the ever-resourceful person that I was, I came up with a plan.  I sat the four of us down, gave everyone five pieces of paper and asked them to write down their favorite meals.  When they were done, I put all the papers into a bowl and with my calendar in front of me, we drew them out one at a time and entered them in the Monday thru Friday boxes for a month.  Then, I patiently explained to the girls that this was how it was going to be – Mom’s Cafeteria Calendar would rule our daily menus, and if one of us didn’t like what was going to be served, just be patient, because ‘something you will like’ would come along soon.

I will admit that one of my favorite meals to prepare is spaghetti, and I will also admit that I generally would make it on Wednesdays, which were a nightmare for the Taxi Mom.  This was a meal I could prepare ahead of time and have dinner on the table in the least amount time.  In later years, the girls told me they always knew what we were having for dinner after dance lessons, because we ALWAYS had spaghetti on Wednesdays.

Well, all of this is to say that Dom DeLuise put together a great cookbook filled with his Mama’s recipes, as well as some from his friends and celebrities. DeLuise, the quintessential Italian wrote, “Eat This…It’ll Make You Feel Better!” It was published in 1988 by Pocket Books and is filled with some really terrific recipes and photographs of, not only Dom and his family, but also the likes of Ronald Reagan, Ricardo Montalbon, Anne Bancroft, and Burt Reynolds. There are also lots of tales about Dom and his friends that are written in such a great way it’s like you can almost hear him talking off the page.

While we often think of Italian cooking as being hearty and loaded with calories, nothing could be farther from the truth with this cookbook.  The majority of this book leans towards a healthier cooking/eating style and reflects Dom’s attitude about natural flavors, i.e. “Salt may be good for melting ice in your driveway, but let’s face it, it is not very good for you.”

Well, here’s a dish that sounds really yummy and is good for you, too.  Broccoli with Rigatoni by itself sounds great, but can also be augmented with chicken and mushrooms for a heartier version.  In a large skillet, heat 8 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter and gently brown 4 minced garlic cloves.  Add a bunch of broccoli that has been separated into florets (reserve the stems for another use) and stir gently until the pan gets very hot.  Add 1 cup of chicken broth, cover, and simmer just until the broccoli is al dente.  Meanwhile, cook one pound of rigatoni until al dente and then add to the skillet, along with ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh basil.  Mix thoroughly and put on a hot serving dish and sprinkle with another ½ cup fresh basil, pepper, fresh, chopped parsley, and grated romano or parmeson cheese. Serve with crusty bread and a tossed green salad.

Mangia!

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May 17-24th Foodie Events: Boards & Bites Coming Soon!

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May 17th (7-9pm) – Kiepersol Pairing Event – Held at Strada Caffe, 302 E. Front St., Tyler, this wine pairing is a one-of-a-kind experience pairing a special, one-night only small plate menu with some of your favorite Kiepersol wines. Tickets include four courses of small plate and wine pairings, including discussion and education of flavor profiles, tasting notes and the winemaking process with the winemakers themselves. Learn why each wine has been specifically paired with each course. Pre-sale tickets are only available at eventbrite.com. No purchase at the door available.


Boards & Bites: Board Games and Yummy Food For All Ages

A New Concept is Coming to Tyler

Boards & Bites is soon to open in Green Acres Shopping Center in Tyler and is a new concept for Tyler, geared towards all ages and focusing on family fun. You will be able to find a classic game from decades ago, the hottest games from today, and a bunch of really weird things in between!

From their Facebook page, “We will be a board game café and we will serve food like an array ofsandwiches, appetizers, shakes, and desserts – all perfect to pair with your gaming experience. For those unfamiliar with the concept, at Boards & Bites, you can stop by and pick out some of your favorite games to enjoy along with a nice drink or meal. You can hang out and enjoy the fun or you can just stop by just for lunch or grab a coffee to go.”

They promise a catalog of over 550 different board games. This spans the classic games you grew up with like Clue, Monopoly, and Life; contemporary favorites like Ticket to Ride,Carcassonne, and Catan; along with successful new award-winning titles like Scythe, Terraforming Mars, and Great Western Trail.

“There is something for everyone – all ages, skill levels and more. A fee of $5 gets you access to the library, which means you can stay all day and play anything you want to try out. Whether you are a novice or seasoned veteran, we will do everything to assure your experience is an enjoyable one. We will even offer lessons and instructions in case you either want to learn a new game or just improve your skill level.”

Game types to be offered are:

  • Breadstick Games (quick and fast games)
  • Cooperative Games (games where you and your friends can work against the game to achieve victory)
  • Family Classics (games like Rack-O, Life, Clue, Risk, Monopoly, Apples to Apples, Wits and Wagers, etc)
  • Getaway Games (modern classics like Catan and Ticket to Ride)
  • Heavyweights (games with a steep learning curve and often a complex rule set like Twilight Struggle and Through the Ages for those who put in the time to learn)
  • Kids Games (3 years and above)
  • Party Games (this game category is for you to win at trivia without ever knowing the answers, build ridiculous monuments, and insist that the person across the table is REALLY the spy)
  • Two Player Games (games exclusively designed to play with two people)
  • Plus a full catalog of others games (the ones that don’t fit in of these areas)

“The thing we are most excited about is building a community. We think people have become disconnected from each other for innumerable reasons. We want to bring them back together by and through games. We’ll do this in a lot of different ways, but this stands as our unifying vision. As a teaser, we’ll be exploring the prospect of kid’s strategy summer camps, game tournaments, singles’ nights, design workshops, private event hosting, and plenty more. Stay tuned to both our Facebook page and our website for more details.”

 

 

An up-to-date copy of their library is available at boardsandbitestyler.com. Check often, it will change.

Boards & Bites is expecting to open in late May or June 2018. They are located at 1851 Troup Hwy. in the Green Acres Shopping Center in Tyler. They will be open Tuesday-Thursday 10am-10pm, Friday and Saturday 10am-11pm, Sunday 11am-10pm, and closed on Monday. For more info go to boardsandbitestyler.com or find them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


Every Saturday (8am-12 noon) – The Rose City Farmers Market is open at its new location at 236 S. Broadway Ave., just a half block north of Front St. in the parking lot of Bill’s Unclaimed Furniture. The market is open from April to November. This is across from “Moss, Where Flowers are Fair” and ETX Brewing Co. There is free parking in the Fair Plaza Parking Garage across the street. The Rose City Farmers Market is a family- and dog-friendly community gathering place, providing locally-grown produce, herbs, wood oven breads, pastries and granola, jams, pickles, locally roasted coffee, cheese, artists and artisans, live music, and sometimes even yoga. They are open every Saturday, April through November, 8am-12 noon. For more info on the market or to apply to be a vendor, contact (903)539-2875, info@foodcoalition.org, or foodcoalition.org.

June 20th (7-10pm) – Vintner’s Dinner: Mediterranean – This Mediterranean inspired meal will be sure to transport you to another world. Come join in for this wonderful Summer night of food and wine. July 25th (7-10pm), the Vintner’s Dinner: A Taste of Alaska will be held. This dinner is full of classic Alaska flavors and paired with our exclusive and adventurous wines. These will be held at Kiepersol, 21508 Merlot Ln., Bullard. RSVP by calling (903)894-3300 or go to kiepersol.com, Other Vintner’s Dinners will be September 26th, South of the Border; and November 28th, Fall Harvest.

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Foodie Events: Farmers Market Open Across East Texas

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Lunch is served! Cork Food & Drink, located at 109 E. Grande Blvd., is now offering lunch. Cork offers delicious and unique wines, hand crafted cocktails which pair well with small plates and tapas. Their menu features farm fresh vegetables, free range poultry, wild isle organic salmon and grass-fed beef. Every Wednesday there is half price bottles of wine. Go to CorkTyler.com for more info.

The Catch on Old Jacksonville is open for lunch and dinner now. On the lunch and dinner menu is PoBoys, Jalapeño Crab Chowder, fried baskets, salads, Dungeness crab, crawfish,shrimp, whitefish, oysters and tons more. This new location of The Catch is located at 7428 Old Jacksonville Hwy., Tyler. Their Facebook page is teasing a Sunday Cajun Brunch feast coming soon.

NOW OPEN! Flavors Cajun Cuisine & Daiquiris Bar is now open! Located in the Old English Shopping Center at 3502 S. Broadway, Ste. 204 in Tyler, Flavors has a nice courtyard and a bar inside with beer and daiquiris, muffulettas and poboys made with authentic with New Orleans french bread.

Events

Opens Saturday! East Texas State Fair Farmers Market, located at the Fairgrounds, 2112 W. Front St., Tyler, is located under the large pavilion. They are open Tuesdays and Saturdays, 7am-1pm starting May 5th. The East Texas State Fair Farmers Market is sourced from 100% local farmers who grow all of the food they sell on their own land. This is a covered/open air market, with local grown, fresh fruits, veggies, and flowers. There are also crafters, homemade baked goods, preserves, and fresh eggs. This farmer’s market is located right behind the Rose Garden.

Every Saturday (8am-12 noon) – The Rose City Farmers Market is open at its new location at 236 S. Broadway Ave., just a half block north of Front St. in the parking lot of Bill’s Unclaimed Furniture. The market is open from April to November. This is across from “Moss, Where Flowers are Fair” and ETX Brewing Co. There is free parking in the Fair Plaza Parking Garage across the street. The Rose City Farmers Market is a family- and dog-friendly community gathering place, providing locally-grown produce, herbs, wood oven breads, pastries and granola, jams, pickles, locally roasted coffee, cheese, artists and artisans, live music, and sometimes even yoga. They are open every Saturday, April through November, 8am-12 noon. For more info on the market or to apply to be a vendor, contact (903)539-2875, info@foodcoalition.org, or foodcoalition.org.

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