Monthly Archives: April 2015

Easy-peasy dishes for springtime

Cook them with grains for a side dish, toss them into a salad or incorporate them into pasta dishes.

2½ teaspoons coarse sea or kosher salt plus more for pasta water

Using a slotted spoon or wire skimmer, remove the asparagus and rinse spears under cold running water to halt the cooking.

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water; drain, reserving some of the pasta water, and toss with olive oil to keep from sticking.

Add the cooked pasta to the vegetables, adding a splash or two of the reserved pasta water if necessary to separate the pasta; stir gently to combine.

Per serving: 384 calories, 18 g protein, 61 g carbohydrates, 8 g fat, 67 mg cholesterol, 145 mg sodium, 9 g fiber.

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Peanut-popcorn brittle a sweet baseball-season snack

When you’re at Minute Maid Park – or any other ballpark, for that matter – you’ll buy your favorites wrapped in foil and stuffed into cellophane bags and neatly wrapped cardboard boxes.

If you’ve ever tried to make your own caramel corn, a home cook’s version of Cracker Jack, you know it can be a sugary, sticky mess.

Whether you’re rooting for the Houston Astros or any other team, this Ballpark Brittle will make every victory taste that much sweeter – or even ease the pain of defeat.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and baking soda (it will foam up).

Spanish peanuts have a distinctive flavor, in part because of their skins, that gives the brittle its Cracker Jacklike appeal.

Immediately pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets, dividing evenly.

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Calendar of events

At The Nice Winery, 2901 Sam Houston Parkway, Suite C260; noon-2:15 p.m. Saturday; $65 ($55 wine club members); 713-744-7444.

Bottoms Up!: Third annual wine walk benefiting Italian Greyhound Rescue South Texas:

Last Wednesday, in honor of Earth Day, Papa Johns and TXU handed out 1,200 Loblolly Pine trees (seedlings).

The partners are looking for long-range benefits from the seedlings as well as photos posted with social media hashtag #trees4pizza.

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Strawberries are in the season’s sweet spot

[…] the fine people who make it their business to grow and harvest and sell strawberries started taking these heart-shaped fruits and figuring out ways to extend their growing season through careful breeding of new varieties and improved growing methods.

People can pull from there when they want smoothies, and if enough build up, I whip up a batch of jam.

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Calendar of events

Charles Baur Vineyards tasting and concert:

Spring Wine Festival:

Ruben Ortega, pastry chef of Hugo’s and Backstreet Cafe, will demonstrate how to make some of his favorite dishes, rabbit stew, leg of lamb and a chocolate chipotle cake, at the Central Market Cooking School, 3815 Westheimer; 6:30-9 p.m. Tuesday; $70; centralmarket.com or 713-993-9860.

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