Tag Archives: Texas

A Persian Rosh Hashanah Menu

Today marks the start of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, a day of renewal, celebration, and of course food! Honey-based or dipped foods are also a culinary tradition on this day, with the thought that they will usher in, and symbolize, a sweet new year. Searching for some Rosh Hashanah inspiration, we came across Jewish Food Society, a site that covers a diverse variety of Jewish foods from across the diaspora. We love that the site includes all of the different roots (and routes) the recipe went through to reach its current form, in the case of the Texan honey cake, a peripatetic path of Białystok, Poland > Manhattan > Houston. We were delighted to see an entire comprehensive Persian Rosh Hashanah menu on the site. The dishes, shared by Israeli cookbook author Rottem Lieberson, had the route of Tehran, Iran > Sha’ar Haliyah (near Haifa), Israel > Jerusalem > Tel Aviv. We are seriously tempted by Lieberson’s recipes including Fried Eggplant with Mint Vinaigrette, Rice with Barberries, Saffron and Potato Tahdig (seen below), and Toot (Persian Marzipan). Check out the Jewish Food Society’s impressive list of posts to discover more family recipes with roots from around the world.

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Filed under Holidays, World Eats

Celebrating Juneteenth with a feast

Today marks Juneteenth, commemorating the day on which enslaved people in Galveston, Texas were finally told of the Emancipation Proclamation, on June 19, 1865, two years after it was issued on January 1, 1863. Since then, Juneteenth has been a celebrated by the African-American community as a day of celebration and reflection. Juneteenth is a state holiday in Texas since the 1970s, but there have been calls to make it a national holiday. One of the classic celebrations of Juneteenth is the family and community cookout, full of recipes passed down through the generations, along with new favorites. Many of the biggest celebrations of Juneteenth are still held in Texas, and Texan foodways and traditions have influenced what have become the iconic Juneteenth foods, as showcased by Chef Adrian Lipscombe’s Texan-tinged menu at the James Beard House. Nicole Taylor unpacks some of the food traditions of Juneteenth for the New York Times. The color red is a symbol of resistance, and red foods have become popular on Juneteenth for symbolic reasons, including red-tinted hot links, red velvet cakes, and red beverages.

Sacramento Juneteenth celebration foods by Lisa Nottingham

Michael Twitty draws linkages between the popularity of red foods for Juneteenth and the foodways of West Africa. Says Twitty, “The practice of eating red foods—red cake, barbecue, punch and fruit– may owe its existence to the enslaved Yoruba and Kongo brought to Texas in the 19th century.  For both of these cultures the color red is the embodiment of spiritual power and transformation.” Other traditions include tea cakes, a common sight on the Juneteenth table according to Etha Robinson. Ultimately, what is at the Juneteenth table is a reflection of the community cooking it, as highlighted by the four chefs in this Saveur article featuring chefs Carla Hall, Marcus Samuelsson, JJ Johnson, and Jerome Grant.

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BBQ with Franklin YouTube Series

It’s no secret that Franklin BBQ in Austin, Texas is one of the most popular and acclaimed barbecue restaurants in the country. The waits are so long, that the line to get inside even has its own Twitter account. If you, like us, are nowhere near Austin, we have found something to tide you over: a BBQ-centric YouTube series by Aaron Franklin, “Barbecue with Franklin,” which covers BBQ tips, recipes and techniques.

Here, in the first video, Aaron walk us through the process of preparing a brisket! This series is putting us in the BBQ mode, so hopefully some BBQ weather will be right around the corner.

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The Food Trucks of Austin

SXSW is notorious for having free food at many shows, and I definitely enjoyed this aspect. At the British Music embassy, food was available nearly all day every day, ranging from tacos to trifle. The Barbados tent, on the other hand, was dishing out BBQ and the Dutch party had Speculoos and tea. However, the pickings were more slim at night time, and that’s when I took to the food carts. Austin is known for its competitive and varied food truck scene, even branching out into some more esoteric varieties.

The first food truck we tried was on our night of arrival – Mmmpandas. They served nothing but – you guessed it – empanadas – in my opinion one of the most perfect portable meals. There was a small variety of empanadas for sale, though the selection dwindled rapidly as the night wore on. One of my colleagues in fact snagged the last green chile chicken empanada. I ordered the ($4) spinach and cheese empanada.

After seeing many of the shows at venues around 5th and Congress, we frequented what I would like to call the “Food Truck Court” a small gathering of foodtrucks in a parking lot. Over the course of our stay there we indulged in many of their offerings. By far my personal favorite was a cleverly titled truck called “Coolhaus” – which combines playful Mid-century modern references with build-your-own ice cream sandwiches. The truck itself was tiny and had a very midcentury-modern sloped roof, as befitting the name.

An ice cream sandwich at Coolhaus runs $4, and allows you to choose the type of cookie outer layer (chocolate, ginger, oatmeal or chocolate chip) and a rotating range of ice cream flavors (Mocha, Mexican Chocolate, Pistachio, Vanilla), etc. We actually ended up eating at Coolhaus 2 nights in a row and I can safety recommend their ginger and chocolate cookies and the Mexican chocolate and coffee/toffee ice cream. In theory the sandwiches are portable, but definitely only if you eat very quickly (I opted to put the whole sandwich in a bowl to consume at a slower pace). The cookies were soft and fresh-baked and as if that wasn’t cool enough, the labels were even printed on edible rice paper.

Also in the food truck court was a rather well-known truck called Chi-Lantro. Chi lantro is a purveyor of tacos with a Korean Twist – such as bulgogi or kimchi tacos. We split a chicken bulgogi burrito, and enjoyed the vinegary tang of the kimchi with the usual taco fixins. Korean Quesadillas and loaded fries were also available.

The final stop in the food truck Court was The Peached Tortilla  – an eclectic truck selling exotic tacos ($3) (Bahn mi, BBQ Pork) and sliders (like crab cake). However, they also had sweet potato fries ($3.50) an assortment of sauces (like peach mint and sriracha mayo). I was also impressed by their wide selection of esoteric canned and bottled drinks – including canned Thai iced tea.

On 6th street, right in the heart of all of the SXSW mayhem, another foodtruck caught our eye with it’s aesthetic sensibility. Housed in an airstream trailer with a giant Plexiglas cupcake on top, “Hey Cupcake,” serves nothing but cupcakes ($3). A small menuboard announces the flavors – including carrot cake, red velvet and a confection called the Michael Jackson – a chocolate cupcake with cream cheese frosting (my pick). While the hordes descended on the pizza stands we were happy with our choice to go sweet.

While I only scratched the surface of the Austin Food Truck Scene, it was easy to see why it was popular – Austinites are definitely spoiled for choice. Hopefully Chicago will someday reach such food truck heights. Which reminds me, we need to visit the Southern’s Mac and Cheese Truck very soon.

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