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Appetizers/ Beverages/ ColdApp/ Fish/Seafood

Poke, Masubi, and MaiTais

Two dishes from the newlyweds! (from Alexis)

While in Kauai we first discovered poke (pronounced  “po-keh”) at the Hanalei Dolphin restaurant in Hanalei Bay. Poke means to “to slice or cut” and is a popular appetizer or snack throughout the islands. I renamed the dish “deconstructed sushi” as it is essentially all of the familiar sushi ingredients: raw, fresh fish (usually tuna or whatever fresh fish is available) and sticky rice and sometimes avocado, Maui onions, seaweed and nut relish, seasoned with sesame oil and soy sauce. After I had my first first taste, I think I ordered this dish every time I saw it on a menu.

One of my favorite places to have poke was at the local Kilauea Fish Market in Kilauea, Kauai. We popped in here to grab some poke and macaroni salad to bring on the road. The fish market was barely large enough for a few people to stand in line inside and there were a few scattered picnic tables outside for people to hang out. It was BYOB too, which helps makes eating out in Kauai much more affordable! I’d have to say my least favorite place for poke was poolside at the Westin in Maui. A few hours later I had a pretty bad stomach ache and I figured I should probably have been a bit more discriminating in my restaurant choices..

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Appetizers/ Bread/ ColdApp

Gluten-free Cheddar Crackers

Did I mention I love cheese? 

About six months ago, I started trying to fine tune my diet by following the basic rules of Paleo eating.  It seems like Paleo or Primal eating has been getting a lot of attention lately.    This New York Times article, depicts a group of New York primal eaters as the modern day caveman, storing large amounts of protein in giant meat lockers, partaking in unconventional exercise such as leaping from boulder to boulder or mimicking sloth like movements on all fours and fasting between meals to recreate the eating patterns of early humans.

So I am not as extreme as this group and I don’t wear the goofy Vibram rubber shoes.  My approach is much simpler.  Eliminate processed foods from my diet, along with grains and dairy (as much as possible, I am a recovering cheese-a-holic).   Eat plenty of veggies, fruit, lean meat, nuts, and seeds.  Real food.  Fresh, local, organic and grass fed when possible, and when the budget allows.  I am human though, and stray every once in a while.  If I eat like this 80% of the time I would be completely happy.

What does this have to do with crackers?  Well, eliminating grains led me to search out recipes calling for other unusual flours.  My new love is Almond flour, followed closely by coconut flour.  Thankfully, I discovered a great cookbook The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbookby Elana Amsterdam.   I do not have celiac disease or have a need to eat gluten free, but it kind of naturally occurs when eating Paleo anyways.  I would highly recommend checking out this cookbook or blog for great recipes using almond flour.

These crackers are amazing.  It almost fills the void left behind when I had to give up my favorite, snackable, child-like indulgence…Goldfish.  I joke with my brother that I’ve been waiting for their baby to get to the age where they will always have Goldfish on hand.  Thankfully, they don’t feed him Goldfish either so there is no temptation yet!

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Pretzel Rolls

My first attempt at pretzel rolls (by Alexis)

This past summer when we were visiting my brother in Chicago we decided to stop at a neighborhood restaurant (Northside) for a quick lunch on the patio.  Chicago’s July was much, much better than July in Texas, so we took every chance to sit outside and enjoy the nice weather.  I had a BBQ sandwich served on a pretzel roll, which I had never heard of before. Pretzel roll…yum, BBQ..not so much, way to saucy.   Funny thing, by the end of the weekend I noticed that pretzel rolls were a popular menu item at a lot of the restaurants we visited.  I’ve been thinking about making them ever since.

Besides pizza dough, I’ve never attempted to make bread before.  On Superbowl Sunday and I had high hopes to whip up tons of these babies to bring to a party.  Like with most things I procrastinated and started too late, then tried to rush things.  Not having a thermometer doesn’t help either, I think it is probably crucial to have the exact water temperature when activating yeast.

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Appetizers/ Entree/ HotApp/ Pasta/ Sauces

Duck Confit Ravioli with Port and Sun-dried Cherry Sauce

Michie Feast – Pasta Course

The idea for this cours started as gnocchi, then changed to ravioli with duck bolognese, and finally settled on a duck confit ravioli with a port sauce.  I have never made my own pasta, or duck confit so I’m not sure what I was thinking!

I shopped for the duck in Austin before I headed to the parent’s house.  I was surprised that duck was $16/lb, I guess I am cheap but I decided right there to cut the duck in the recipe from four pounds down to one pound.  Since the idea was to serve very small portions, like a tasting menu, I knew I would only use a fraction of what the recipe would yield anyways.

Thanks to Paul, my duck confit was cooked to perfection.  Starting almost 48 hours in advance, the duck was first brined for 24 hours, then cooked for 10 hours on a very low temperature.  When it was finished the duck fell apart, it was fall off the bone tender and moist.  This eventually got mixed in with the ricotta and parmesan to create the filling for the ravioli.

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Appetizers/ ColdApp/ Food Stories

New American Feast — Tasting Menu

New American Feast — Tasting Menu and a Michie tradition.

Every Thanksgiving for the past eight years or so we have had our “Michie” feast on the day after Thanksgiving.  It’s a good thing that our Thanksgiving menu is pretty traditional because so much work goes into our meal on the Friday following Tday. Here’s our menu for the night with a few picture teasers.  We will be posting some of the recipes over the next few days.

mushroom mosaic terrine

paired with gloria ferrer sonoma brut


lemon basil sorbet palate cleanser


parsnip bisque with crispy pork belly

pared with robledo sauvignon blanc 2006, california


crab, avocado, mango tower

paired with pierre boniface apremont 2008, france


seared yellowfin tuna tostone stack with mexican coke reduction

pineapple, mango, sesame vinaigrette

paired with st. clement, bale lane, 2007 sauvignon blanc, napa valley


fig and port sorbet palate cleanser


chicken fried deer heart, latke, black pepper cream

paired with mo zin, spann vineyard, 2006


duck confit ravioli with port wine and sun-dried cherry sauce

paired with calvet-thunevin cuvee constance, 2005, cotes catalanese


smoked espresso powdered venison tenderloin with chili, chocolate

fresh gulf crab cake and beer blanc sauce

paired with nero d’avola/merlot evoe aziende agricole aollara


madeira-braised veal cheeks with chive cheese grits

paired with bear boat pino noir 2006, russian river valley


gorgonzola dolce latte with asian pear, Tete De Moine, triple cream brie


pumpkin bread and chocolate bread pudding, frozen honey cinnamon custard with cajeta

paired with assorted liquer

(Sherry)  We decide on a theme in advance. It all started with frying the turkey for the first time eight years ago. We had all this oil left over and thought we should do something with it so the next day we had a fish and frog leg fry. The next year we decided to do all oysters. I think we did them seven different ways. In the following years we have done, sushi, Mexican, Italian, French Country, Spanish Tapas and this year we decided on a tasting menu, New American style.

(Alexis)  This year we had 10 courses, 10 people, 10 bottles of wine.  Everyone comes up with their own recipes for the event in advance.  Paul oversees the entire menu and if you’re lucky he will cook your course for you too.  Just kidding.  But it is a life saver when he looks at your recipe and clues you in to the fact that you really need to start parts of your recipe 24-48 hours in advance.   Thanks to him I had some awesome duck confit already prepared for me when I went to make my ravioli on Friday.

(Sherry)  We have so much fun cooking and laughing and consuming a lot of wine together.  Everyone really gets into their dish, preparing and plating for presentation. We decided this year that everyone should present their dish when serving their course and explain how they prepared it and what wine they were serving with it. That was a lot of fun.

(Alexis) I think I had an advantage of being towards the end of the meal, when I was a little loosened up by the wine and more than ready for some “public speaking.”

(Sherry) We had 2 oz. pours on all our wines and by the end of the night I think we calculated that everyone drank a bottle of wine a piece.  This is not including what my daughter-in-law coined “intermission” wines in case someone wanted more wine while waiting for the next course.

My dish was the only one that flopped. It was tasty but the terrine, even with 24 sheets of gelatin, did not set up like it was suppose to. The veal cheeks came from Chicago and other ingredients came from Austin and Houston.  I made two trips to an Asian market to get the pork belly. We have already been talking about the next feast when we are all together and we’ve decided it will be a “locavore” theme.   We will have to cook only seasonal ingredients within 50-100 miles of where we live. So that will be Chicago, Austin, and Houston. This will be a challenge.

(Alexis) I’d like to add to the local part that the ingredients should also be organic, natural, grass-fed, free range, etc..

Stay tuned for more recipes and photos of some of the highlights from the tasting menu!

Appetizers/ HotApp


(Posted by my daughter, Alexis.)

I like when football season rolls around here in Austin, but not necessarily because I’m a huge sports fan.  Living in a college town, the city definitely becomes a little more alive during the fall.  But mainly, the games are a chance to hang with friends, “watch” the game, eat some good food and partake in a few beverages.

Instead of the usual football watching fare(pizza, queso, etc), I wanted to make one of my favorite appetizers the other weekend for the TX-OU game.  I thought that the spanakopita might resemble mini footballs.  Think junior high.  I remember guys folding notebook paper into “footballs” and flickingthem across classrooms through their friend’s hands forming a “field goal”.  Well anyways, that’s what I imagined while making these.  I tried to get a shot of one of the phyllo triangles being punted through the field goal when Texas kicked one of many field goals during that game.

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Cookies/ Dessert/ Desserts/ Ice Cream

Coffee and Ginger Ice Cream Sandwich

A great dessert for any season.

Now that we’ve broken the 67 consecutive days of 100 degree temperatures , it almost feels like fall here in Austin.  So gearing up for fall, I thought it might be time for me to attempt my first blog post with possibly the best two (fall-ish) flavor combinations…coffee and ginger.

Both of these recipes are great as stand alone recipes, but my idea was to make the ultimate ice cream sandwich.  Smooth, creamy coffee ice cream sandwiched between two soft and chewy gingersnap cookies.  If this isn’t a flavor combination you have tried before, you definitely need to experience it!

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