Show Me Your Hands

Okkervile River

Did you see Okkervil River on Austin City Limits? Holy crap! They killed it! I dig how food and music are intertwined in Austin. Both are creative endeavors that are shared with others (minus that grilled cheese sandwich I made last night at midnight).

My Morning Jacket

Music In The KitchenGlenda Facemire just published a book, Music In The Kitchen,  on the grazing habits of bands that have been on Austin City Limits (pre-Okkervil). The recipes are not ground breaking, but it’s fun to see them paired up with the artist. My Morning Jacket are hip to the Quinoa? Who would have guessed.

Mechanic’s Grip


Tom Colicchio originally became famous for cooking food. He is on a TV show judging how other people cook, but it isn’t as interesting to me as who he is as a Chef. I found his first two books to be groundbreaking: Think Like A Chef and Craft of Cooking. They were less of a cookbook, more of a lesson on technique. At the time, complicated French cooking was the ‘in’ thing. Tom wasn’t on that train. His style was focused on single ingredients and how they work together. These books have recipes in them, but the main thing I gleaned was how, why and when to use a particular technique with a particular ingredient. Why braise a rib and not a tenderloin. When to sweat a vegetable. Why fresh stock matters. Building blocks to make me a better cook.

Craft of Cooking Think Like A ChefMy favorite section of Think Like A Chef is called Trilogies. He takes three ingredients that are suited to each other (ie: lobster, pasta and peas) and using different techniques, makes many unique dishes. It was a real eye opener and pressed me to think differently about how I cook.

Book Report: Urban Italian

Urban Italian

518I-nRljaL._SL160_I like pretty pictures, don’t get me wrong. But if a book doesn’t have some guts to it, I’m not interested. This book falls squarely into my “I’m interested” category. Andrew Carmellini has a great writing style that makes you feel like he is there cooking with you. Straight forward dishes with thorough explanations on how to execute them in the kitchen. As an added bonus: some good stories and a little swearing. This book just moved up to the top of my 2009 book list.

Event: Big Red / Edible / Kennedy

512MOmRESbL._SL160_Event this last Friday at Big Red Sun for cookbook author Diana Kennedy. Engaging people, festive setting. My favorite food was Rio’s Brazilian’s Kibe (beef, tabuli and mint meatballs). Fantastic. Perfect pairing with their spicy original sauce. Honorable mentions: Ecstatic Cuisine‘s Mac and Cheese with peppers and FINO‘s ceviche.

2009 Awards

James Beard

31UV0aav2tL._SL160_ 5120836scRL._SL110_The results are in for the James Beard Foundation’s annual awards. No one from Austin!?! What’s up with that? A few of my favorites did win: Alinea cookbook by Grant Achatz and a rising star award for Nate Appleman at A16. We will get’m next year.

Some Continuity

A16 Food and Wine

I finally found two cookbooks that have the same pizza dough recipe. A16 Food + Wine and Artisan Baking. 1/4 tsp yeast, 1 1/2 cups water, 3 (or 4) cups four and salt. I know! But, I am still considering it a victory. What’s a cup of flour between friends? The variance is probably acceptable, given the differences in humidity, air temperature and the like. I guess a formula will only take you so far. Like most things in life, in the end you just have to eyeball it.

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