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Shipley’s Boudin Kolaches

Homespun Houston: Robb Walsh from Contemporary Arts Museum Houston on Vimeo.

“Robb Walsh is a Three Napkin Name”

Much obliged to Paul and Angela Knipple for the review of Texas Eats in their blog from the southern table.

There was one passage in the review that really made me smile. The authors were discussing the various kinds of cookbooks on the market and what makes one stand out from the others, here [...]

Praise for Texas Eats!

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A new review of Texas Eats by Mick Vann appeared in the Austin Chronicle today:

Texas Eats: The New Lone Star Heritage Cookbook by Robb Walsh Ten Speed Press, 304 pp., $25

“For 20 years or more, food writer and culinary historian Robb Walsh has branded himself as the culinary expert on all things [...]

Update: Kudos for Hot Sauce

Review in the Oregonian: “In a nutshell: If you like to pour on the heat, you’ll dig the firepower in this new cookbook of pepper sauce recipes. Rather than offering creative uses for bottled sauces, hot sauce authority Robb Walsh shows how you can create fresher versions using chiles, fresh veggies and basic [...]

Walsh Family Venison Pâté

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By Katie Walsh

I spent some time in Houston with my dad On A Meat Mission, to learn about meat and how it’s cooked. Over the next several weeks we’ll be sharing recipes and tales from our meaty adventures.

Up to my elbows in bits of raw venison, trimming away pieces of membrane and feeding chunks of clean meat into the sausage grinder, my adventures with meat had reached their peak. It was pâté day.

My friends crinkle their noses when I recall that afternoon on the back porch (where Dad and I had preemptively banished ourselves to contain the mess), and my fellow veggie-heads seem downright bewildered that I describe it with excitement and not trauma.

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Dad showing me how to skim away the slimy membrane

But raw meat don’t give me no willies; in fact I got some sort of primal pleasure out of handling the flesh and bones myself, and especially out of creating something from an animal I’d all but known personally. This deer and I had travelled great lengths together.

When I told my Uncle Dave that I was heading to Houston to cook meat with Dad, he promptly began arranging to send me down with some of the spoils of his latest hunting trip. As I’d dragged my luggage up to the Megabus in Austin, the cargo guy raised his eyebrows at me.

“What’s in the cooler?” he asked.

“Deer meat,” I said simply.

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Dining with Dad: The Pass, Taste-By-Taste

By guest blogger Katie Walsh

I spent some time in Houston with my dad On A Meat Mission, to learn about meat and how it’s cooked. Over the next several weeks we’ll be sharing recipes and tales from our meaty adventures.

A few weeks ago, I was oblivious to the French-style “tasting menu” trend sweeping the restaurant scene. Riding around Houston with Dad, he broke it down for me (as he does in this month’s Houstonia review of his birthday dinner at Tony’s); its degustation origins, its surge in popularity, its delights, and the outcries it’s inspired. On this night, he’d made reservations for just the two of us at the tasting menu half of Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan’s The Pass & Provisions.

 

As we walked through Provisions to get to The Pass, I couldn’t help noticing that the former seemed like the place to be. Big groups, lots of laughter, colorful outfits and characters. The hostess pushed all of her weight into the far wall as we followed and it gave, an entire solid section sliding back like a hidden passageway, revealing the entrance to the quieter, dimmer, intimate dining room of The Pass.

The first morsel to hit our table was an off-menu amuse-bouche, a wildly shaped dehydrated shrimp chip served in a rough stone pedestal, like an artwork. Translucent and flecked with bits of Japanese shichimi togarashi spice and black sesame seed, it burst with flavor and then almost melted in the mouth.

Then the tasting officially began. We each went with the full eight-course menu.

1. “Snacks”

Oyster on the half shell, simple and clean with a vibrant mignonette and small sprig of fennel; Old Fashioned cocktail “foie gras” (“It’s like a jello shot!” said Dad) and a Pocky stick coated in white chocolate and dehydrated black olive, which worked way better than I expected, sweet and salty and crunchy.

The standout of this course was a warm, pureed shot of green soup topped with a hearty dose of orange foam, made from nasturtium—all the way from its green leaves to its orange flowers. Herbal, floral, beautifully spiced and a lovely taste of comfort next to all the snacks. I took baby sips of mine, savoring every bit.

read more Dining with Dad: The Pass, Taste-By-Taste »

Katie’s Meat Series: Wild Duck Gumbo

 

By guest blogger Katie Walsh

I spent some time in Houston with my dad On A Meat Mission, to learn about meat and how it’s cooked. Over the next several weeks we’ll be sharing recipes and tales from our meaty adventures.

With a fridge full of fresh daikon pickles, the next lesson on Dad’s list was wild duck. And what better to do with wild duck than make a big pot of gumbo?

We opened Texas Eats to Chapter 5: The Cajun Invasion and read through a recipe from Jim Gossen. It called for 6 wild ducks—the exact number we had on hand.

As they defrosted, I asked my dad whether they were hard to clean—ours seemed ready to go except for one feathery wing still attached. He explained that usually, a kid at the hunting site charged a couple bucks each to clean them for you, stripping them down to the breast (where most of the meat is) and throwing the rest aside.

One wing had to remain in tact so that the game warden could identify the breed. So the first step was to chop it off.

Lots of teeny feathers had plastered themselves to the clean meat, so after that I carefully plucked them clean, rinsing each bird under water to make sure they were fuzz free. We seasoned the duck breasts inside and out with Cajun seasoning. Then, we covered them with water in a big pot to get the stock started.

Cooking wild duck takes forever. It’s very lean, and very tough, so in order to get it nice and tender you really have to be patient. It would usually take 3-4 hours, but lucky for us we had a pressure cooker, which took it down to a quick 30 minutes.

We lifted them out, replaced them with a whole chicken, and topped off the pot with water. The chicken would continue to flavor the stock and also tone down the strong gamey flavor of all that duck.

Once they were cool enough to handle, I broke the duck breasts away from the bone and pulled the meat apart.

We did the same with the chicken. Meanwhile, we made a copper penny-colored roux and cooled it down with the holy trinity (onions, green pepper and celery) and a couple of minced garlic cloves. We seasoned the roux with white pepper, red pepper, dried thyme, and a little more Cajun seasoning. Then we added the roux a little at a time to our stock to thicken it. Finally, we added all that chopped pulled poultry meat.

To serve it, we would mound rice in the middle of a soup bowl, slide a couple of raw, shucked oysters and then ladle in some hot gumbo. But duck gumbo is one of those dishes that tastes better after a few days in the fridge. So we stowed it away in anticipation of the big party we’d started to plan for the coming weekend.

It was time for a little lunch, anyway.

 

read more Katie’s Meat Series: Wild Duck Gumbo »

Houston Ramen: Waiting for Goro

Soma's Kaisen ramen

Goro ought to be here anytime now. While waiting, I sampled some ramen from other spots around Houston. In July 2011, the Modular food truck and Soma, the Japanese restaurant on Washington had a ramen throw-down. Some might say Soma chef Jason Hauk cheated by serving foie gras ramen with [...]

Pickled Daikon: Meat’s Perfect Pal

We got them radishes all day, son!

By guest blogger Katie Walsh

I spent some time in Houston with my dad On A Meat Mission, to learn about meat and how it’s cooked. Over the next several weeks we’ll be sharing recipes and tales from our meaty adventures.

Strangely enough, the first step on our meat program was pickling daikon. Dad has a small, raised-bed organic garden in back of the house that was overflowing with daikon radishes. (Thanks to gardening guru Jim Sherman for suggesting that we plant daikon this year!)

Inspired by the julienned pickled daikon served on Vietnamese bánh mì sandwiches, Dad had experimented with several recipes. The most successful were radishes cut into thin coins. He said he asked Kelly (my step-mom) to taste them and she proceeded to kill a whole jar in one sitting. They rock.

We’d planned on making a venison pâté, and thought that daikon pickles would taste great with it. Plus those babies were just dying to be harvested. First ya pull ‘em out. Grab down by the base, near the ground.

Now that's a dirty daikon.

Then ya wash ‘em off. We had a big bowl of water we dunked them into. Cut the tops off, give ‘em one more rinse and throw them in a clean bowl.

Now it’s time to put ‘em up.

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The Walsh Family Road Trip Tradition

Guest Blogger Katie Walsh

While I have always advised my brilliant and talented daughter, Katie Walsh, to find something better to do, I have been secretly delighted at her progress as a food writer. Amazingly, she has lately put together enough freelance work to make a living at it. After watching her diligently photograph nearly everything we ate on a recent road trip for her blog on the Whisked Foodie website, I asked her to do a guest blog about the trip here.

Katie, and her sister Julia Walsh are in their early twenties. I was so broke during my early years as a freelance food writer that when Katie and Julia were young, our family vacations were mostly car trips to visit relatives. The kids were greatly amused when I would sometimes do a cooking lesson for my relatives’ friends and neighbors and autograph cookbooks I brought along. They thought I was a celebrity; I did it for the gas money. And while we skimped on hotels, a Walsh family road trip always involved lots of good eating.

The children of my second marriage, Ava and Joe Walsh are being indoctrinated into the road eating routine by their older sisters. Here’s Katie’s story:

Road Trip!

by Katie Walsh

The Walshes recently returned from a road trip to Tyrone, Georgia for a family wedding, which was of course rife with good times and good eats. My sister Julia and I have been road tripping with Dad since we were tots, so this time was especially cool, being able to welcome our siblings Ava (6) and Joey (4) into the tradition.

We took I-10 from Houston to Mobile before turning north toward Atlanta. The Gulf coast portion of this route is one that Julia and I hold near and dear, after having done it countless times to go see our Nana in Florida. But it was new to the wee ones, which made it really fun and exciting to share.

Our first stop was in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, for boudin at the legendary meat market Poche’s. Here’s Julia teaching Ava and Joey how to squeeze the filling from a hot crawfish link.

Poche’s holds a special place in my heart. I ate my first taste of boudin on their little covered porch, and now there we were again, at the same picnic bench, while Ava and Joe got their first taste. They took it very seriously.

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