Blast From the Past

Posted on February 24, 2016
Filed Under Recipes | Leave a Comment

March 1998 Bon Appetit Cover
Was reorganizing my library and found this March 1998 issue of Bon Appetit magazine. Remember well being asked to be a part of the feature, “The Five Basics of Great Cooking.”

"Braising" Page 1

“Braising” Page 1

My contribution was on “Braising.” Created a Menu for Six starring Braised Lamb Shanks. Entire Menu was:

  • Yellow Bell Pepper Soup
  • Braised Lamb Shanks with Fennel, Tomatoes, Turnips, and Carrots
  • Rosemary Mashed Potatoes
  • White Chocolate Cheesecake with Cinnamon and Lemon
  • Pair with Syrah, Pinot Noir, or Merlot

    "Braising" Page 2

    “Braising” Page 2

    Looking forward to going back to the kitchen and making this menu again.

    All recipes are on Search by the title of the recipes, and you will get matched to the recipe from the March 1998 article.

    "Braising" Photo Page

    “Braising” Photo Page


    NEW YORK CITY TRIP WITH STEPHANIE: February 4 – 8, 2016

    Posted on February 23, 2016
    Filed Under Travel, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment

    Renie and Stephanie

    Renie and Stephanie

    Thursday, February 4, 2016
    Comfortable American flight DFW to Laguardia arriving at 3 pm. Wore collar and had wheelchairs. Was a major help in getting through longest security lines we had ever seen!

    Uber to Hilton Midtown 54th and 6th — Uber was a challenge. Driver canceled trip — said he had emergency. Tried to get another Uber and screen kept coming up with original driver. So weird, but we had an advocate in Renie’s wheelchair driver who fiercely explained our situation. And yes, we were cold and in a brisk wind. Driver came and we safely arrived at hotel. Great room on 40th floor with a lovely city view and Central Park in background.

    Met Jill Miller Perrin at Aureole on 44th Street at 5:45 pm for appetizers and wine with yummy cheese platter and delicious short rib sliders. We walked into a happily crowded restaurant and Jill waving telling us to make our way to her at the bar. Thankfully we were able to gather three stools and loved the hour-long visit with Stephanie’s childhood friend and Renie’s former Bluebird.

    We slipped around the corner at 6:50 pm and walked out back door one block to theater for Beautiful, a two-hour journey of terrific music and a deeply meaningful story about how Carole King came into her own. So uplifting — Carole King began picking out songs on the piano at seven years old and began writing music as a teenager. ENERGETIC, FABULOUS, AND UPLIFTING!! A truly Beautiful story!

    Benoit's Melt-in-Your-Mouth Salmon

    Benoit’s Melt-in-Your-Mouth Salmon

    Renie read about a restaurant, Benoit, in the New York Times the day before this trip. It received two stars and a comment like, “A bistro that will take you to Paris.” Complete with small tiles for the floor, antique enameled vignettes between the mirrors and light fixtures with glass shades on the wall and those from the ceiling. The New York Times asked, “Are those French accents for real?” Everyone we came in contact with was brought here from France. The silverware was hotel heavy, the linens white and weighty, and the wine list mostly French (we had Chablis). Potato and leek soup, frisée salad, salmon, and warm chewy bread were perfect. We slept soundly!

    Friday, February 5, 2016
    Friday we caught a taxi to the Tenement House Museum for our reserved “Hard Times” tour — two families and their stories. Each had a three room flat that hadn’t been touched since the late 1800s. These flats were purchased in 1988 as is, and have been kept that way. The story of the Italian immigrant family alongside of their neighbors of German-Jewish descent revealed a life that was incredibly hard but devoted to family and making the most of life in their new country, America. The children of the families are still alive and gave testimony of the struggle and joy of being raised in a tenement house.

    After the tour, a trip to Pleats Please was in order. Renie is a model for all their clothes. She and Dani loved meeting and talking about what she would enjoy in the coming months (on sale of course).

    Lentil soup and yummy fresh nutty wheat bread followed at a ‘hole in the wall’ shop. We were two of four customers and it was crowded! We were chilled and the soup was balm for a cold soul.

    Although we took Uber some, we soon learned that New York City is still a taxi town. Taxis are always present and the drivers generally polite. Only negative was that several of them didn’t take MasterCard. After our card was denied again, we were told that MasterCard fees are too high so drivers sometime don’t use them.

    Frank Stella Show at Whitney

    Frank Stella Show at Whitney

    Off we went in a taxi to the Whitney Museum. We loved the Frank Stella show and were smitten with an adorable security guard, Aaron, who has ties to a woman in Dallas, Joanne Costello, who is a Fort Worth Country Day graduate and on the board of the Whitney. The Frank Stella show was amazing! Who knew canvases and art could be so dynamic -— huge enormous blobs of color and dynamic shapes were everywhere. The show is coming to the Modern Museum in Fort Worth in April. We can’t wait!!

    We left the Whitney to walk on the High Line in winter and watch the sun set over the river. The wind was very chilly but we loved seeing the day turn to night as the evening took hold over the pretty colors of the river.

    Perfectly Cooked Pork Chop at Supper

    Perfectly Cooked Pork Chop at Supper

    Back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner with Julie and Russell Cartwright. Julie was a classmate of Stephanie’s at Randolph College (formerly Randolph-Macon Woman’s College). Fabulous smells in this small, noisy, crazy restaurant named Supper. Supper, was as exciting as the many hugs, hilarious stories, smiles, laughter, toasts, and memories that filled the evening. We had delicious wine and Italian food overshadowed by fabulous friendships over lots of years. It was a wild, fun, very late evening!

    Saturday, February 6, 2016

    9/11 Museum

    9/11 Museum

    Saturday we started out at the 9/11 Museum tour at noon. Make reservations. Super-duper audio-enhanced two-ear device allowed us to listen and focus on the painful day of 9/11. We spent three hours and needed every minute of it. Only left because we were exhausted and hungry. Got in a taxi at 3 pm with a pretzel, coke, and water —- guess it’s a New York City lunch.

    Took a cab to the Frick museum. The elegance and beauty of the building was comforting as we walked into the home of wealthy people graciously conceived as a repository of beautiful art. It was like walking through history. Portraits of people painted by top artists of that day made for a memorable trip to learn about that era of history.

    We meandered down 5th Avenue and went to the Neue Museum, the home of a large sumptuously beautiful painting, The Woman in Gold, by Gustave Klimt. We were stunned by its beauty and radiance. Its history is a fabulous story of a moment in time when an important piece of art would shape future generations. This painting had been stolen by the Nazis, recovered by Austria, and claimed as Austrian. After a Supreme Court decision, the painting was given to the rightful heirs, and in turn given to the Neue museum for the public to enjoy.

    Renie and Lynn

    Renie and Lynn

    Dinner at Lynn Fredericks was a joy. Lynn and Renie adore each other and there is a love of everything food. Lynn’s company, Family Cook Productions, has made a huge impact on families cooking and eating together. New York Times recognized this and did a terrific article about Lynn and in January. Robyn DeLuca, Renie’s chef friend from Boston and roommate on a trip to India drove down and joined us for the evening. Robyn shared stories of her current culinary endeavors for a company that develops tools for the kitchen. Lynn served us cheese with truffle and tomato jam and hummus with every color of carrot accompanied with delicious wine. She told us stories of living in many places over many years and the
    impact different cultures make on the world we live in today. Her insight and observations over a lifetime of global exposure give her a unique clip of our life today and the choices we have in the coming months to elect leaders. Her son, Stephan, joined us and allowed us the opportunity to have 24-year-old energy into the room. He is a charming, smart, young man who specializes in private physical training. He is sincere and kind (and very good looking). We loved his company!

    Throughout a delicious brisket dinner, the discussions of life, the future of nutrition as it can overlay decisions of health care providers and the decisions that are made at the bedside given the impact of the Affordable Care Act. Lynn says she can help get the patients healthy. Pursuing this with a
    science-based approach and the fact that the hospital gets paid more if the patient’s outcome is good is motivating.

    Sunday, February 7, 2016
    Sunday was another beautiful day. Stephanie walked/ran in Central Park and the city for about two hours every morning after she kindly brought Renie coffee. So luxurious! We took gorgeous photos of the city from our 40th floor room. The light was perfect!

    Grand Central Station

    Grand Central Station

    Off to Grand Central Station for our 12:30 pm tour. Our guide, Barbara, was full of enthusiasm and abundant knowledge of how the station had fallen into disrepair into the late 80s. An insurance company guy took 15 years to raise money to renovate the station. Barbara told us many stories of the air rights and the importance of keeping them. Vendors were put in the station which helped traffic. Jacqueline Kennedy called the renovation committee and offered to help save the station. There is a bronze plaque describing what she did. Grand Central is a terminal station meaning trains only originate and end there. There is no commuting.

    Went to see Broadway’s Noises Off, but we eventually decided to leave because it was our last day together and we had not gone to the Metropolitan. We had two hours before it closed and were shocked at the crowds because it was Superbowl Sunday. We zeroed in on European paintings of the 19th Century, Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Van Gogh, Rousseau, Matisse, etc., contrasted with American 19th and 20th Century art and artists, Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, and Childe Hassam.

    Renie went to an evening opening in the hotel of VINO 2016 sponsored by the Italian Trade Commission while Stephanie packed. At the tailgate party, the main change was tasting and spitting wine instead of drinking a glass (although some of both was appropriate). The highlight was tasting both quality and quantity.

    Afterwards Stephanie and I spent another ‘evening in Paris’ by revisiting Beniot restaurant. So delicious, easy to get to, and fabulous atmosphere. Foie de Veal (sautéed liver) and again over-the-moon succulent salmon. We ended the night with yummy scoops of pistachio and caramel ice cream while finishing our Chablis.

    A truly glorious trip! Such a pleasure to share with a daughter. We walked arm-in-arm at a fairly fast pace, and never even had a close call at falling. Since Renie’s neck is still broken, being careful is paramount. Maybe it was all the smiling and laughing that made every day brighter and more fun than the last. We are blessed!!!

    Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival Sipping Series: Texas Fine Wine

    Posted on February 3, 2016
    Filed Under Uncategorized, Wines | Leave a Comment

    Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival’s growth is impressive! Wildly popular events over four days in March are all Texas by birth. New events are being added throughout the year. The Sipping Series: Texas Fine Wine was held recently at Classic Wine Storage.

    Texas Fine WineDenise Clarke of Texas Fine Wines, said that Texas Fine Wines was formed to promote the wineries and their wines to sommeliers, retail, and restaurant wine buyers, media, and wine educators. The Website,, welcomes visitors to discover a “distinctive group of highly respected wineries recognized for making quality wines from Texas appellation vineyards.”

    Pat Brennan of Brennan Vineyards said at the Sipping Series event that when presenting wines at various venues, people will make comments like, “That’s pretty good for a Texas wine.” Texas Fine Wines hopes to end that qualifier “for a Texas wine” from being said. Nearly 40 wines from the member wineries have won awards since the 2015 Texsom International Wine Competition.

    TexasFineWines The Sipping Series Tastings:

    Bending Branch’s 2014 Comfortage This Roussanne was floral and perfumery and very full-bodied for a white with a nice oak finish.

    Pedernales 2014 Texas Viognier was the Top Texas Wine of the 2016 Rodeo Uncorked! competition. Fruit-forward with grapefruit, peach, and melon aromas and pleasing green apple notes, this wine was very smooth and lush.

    Winner of one of Texas Monthly’s Best Texas Wines of 2015, Duchman Family Winery’s 2012 Montepulciano continues to be Duchman’s most popular wine. The nose has plum, pipe tobacco, and vanilla, with flavors of blackberry, black cherry, and a hint of spice and nice acidity.

    The newest member of Texas Fine Wines is Spicewood Vineyards, owned by “one cool dude,” Ron Yates. Yates is part of Texas wine royalty as the nephew of Ed and Susan Auler of Fall Creek Vineyards. Spicewood’s 2013 Syrah, made with grapes from Escondido Valley in Southwest Texas, has aromas of blackberry and smoked meats and is round and tangy.

    Rated by many the star of the night was Brennan Vineyards 2012 Super Nero (Nero d’Avola). This Sicilian grape does well because as the sugar goes up, it maintains its acidity. This wine is much lighter than traditional Nero d’Avolas from Italy, which are very dark, inky, intense, and meant to be only sipped with food. Brennan’s wine was full-bodied with tart strawberries, prunes, black currants, cedar and vanilla notes, and drinkable just for the pleasure of it. Everyone at our table loved the cedar flavor! Due to spring freezes, production of this vintage is limited. Let’s hope future vintages are more plentiful!

    keep looking »


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      Renie Steves
      Cuisine Concepts
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