As much as I'd like to pretend that it's still summer,the weather has definitely turned colder
chill in the air means that fall is just
around the corner. So, when I think of fall, I think about comfort food, Sunday afternoon football parties, and tailgating, all of which
my inspiration for this month's newsletter.
Peeks into Chef's Inspirations: Fall has officially arrived at Frontera since Richard has brought back
our award-winning Uptown Texas Chili on this month's menu.
It's a robust
chili with a
intensely flavored ancho chile base, a combination of lamb and pork, white runner beans, topped with finely shredded dry jack cheese, onions and
cilantro. This is just the kind of dish that I crave once the weather gets cold and damp. For those of you who
are searching for the best bowl of chili around, look no further and come in at either lunch or dinner and enjoy. If you can't make it in this
month, I've posted the recipe on our web site
Foundation: Applications for
the 2010 grants are now available.
grant to be submitted is
Jan. 31, 2010, and the grants will be awarded in February.
The Frontera Farmer Foundation awards grants for capital
improvements of up to $12,000 to small and medium-size, individually
owned farms that sell their food products to customers in the Chicago
area at farmers markets and otherwise. Farmers must have been in
business for at least two years and must demonstrate how the grant will
improve both their farm's viability and the availability of locally
grown food products in the Chicago area. If you or someone you know is interested, there's more information available on the web site.
Dates and Places Rick will be appearing. On October 10th, Rick will be teaching a class in St. Louis at
Schnuck's Cooking School. There are
spaces still available. You can sign up on line or by phone at 314-909-1704.
On October 15, Rick is part of an event in conjunction with Macy's State Street and the Culinary Council. The event is called "Come Together,"
its mission is to provide 10 million meals to help feed America. Tickets are $25.00, and all proceeds will benefit the Greater Chicago Food
Depository. If you're interested in attending this worthwhile event, call 312-781-9056 or 800-329-8667.
Season 7 of Mexico One Plate at a Time has
around the country. We've had lots of requests for the recipes, which means that you're enjoying this new season. Sorry for the delay in
getting the recipes posted, they're now available under the recipe section.
Meet Mary Jane Gagnier. Mary Jane is co-owner of Casa Sagrada Guesthouse, located in the valley of
She is the
author of "Oaxaca Celebration: Family, Food and Fiestas in Teotitlan." We spent an amazing evening as guests in her home while we were in
Oaxaca. Mary Jane and her staff prepared the barbacoa we enjoyed on our last night. One of the salsas she served is her Salsa de Miltomate y Chile Pasilla de Oaxaca.
I'm sure you'll
enjoy it as much as we did.
Whenever Rick and Deann spend Christmas in Oaxaca, one of their favorite activities is horseback riding at Casa Sagrada. If you share Mary
Jane's passion for horses, you should contact her to set up an equestrian vacation. Not only will you get the chance to explore the area on
horseback, but she often finishes a day's ride with lunch in the home of one of her many village friends. You can contact Mary Jane via phone
310-929-7099 or through her web site.
Kitchen Gadget Adventures. This is just part of the line of kids cooking utensils designed by Curious Chef. When I first saw this line at the Housewares show, I was
very impressed by
the quality of the pieces. Then, once I started testing them, I realized that my first impressions were right on. They're very
sturdy, easy to use, the measurements are very readable and don't wear off. They designed these pieces to work for children who know their
numbers or for younger children who only know
colors. They have cutting boards, utensils, prep bowls, cookie cutters, to name just a few of the 49 products in this line. They even
package various kits that are great for gift giving. The product is very competitively priced. Check out their web site for more
what's available and where to buy the products both retail and on line.
New Recipes from the Test Kitchen. I had a lot of fun coming up with the recipes this month. I tried to
think of recipes that could work in a variety of settings, whether entertaining at home, tailgating, or just for a weekday meal that's a little out
the ordinary. The Chicken Skewers with a
Peanut Salsa works for all three. It's a take on Asian satays with the flavors of
The next recipe is Bacon and Sun-Dried Tomato Queso
Fundido, because what's better than melted cheese with bacon and beer for watching football?
The apple tart pictured above is an easy dessert made
with puff pastry. It's topped with cajeta and
chopped pecans, and it's sure to satisfy
anyone's sweet tooth.
Finally, Jen has contributed a delicious beer-based cocktail that we serve in the bar called Sparkling Passion.
Sustainability. Stewards of the
Land - Part Two.
Meet three young people who are shining examples of the next generation
of farmers. One of the guiding principles of the Stewards group is to
get the kids engaged at an early age so that not only will they want to
stay on the farm, but view this decision as a fulfilling and
financially viable career choice.
Sarah Jablonski from Eden's Harvest Farm. Sarah, now age 14,
started in the family business seven years ago. She and her parents joined the
Stewards two years ago. Sarah sells baked goods (zucchini bread, blueberry muffins, strawberry shortcakes, just to name a few), eggs, and this year
she added cherry tomatoes. Her goal is to expand her business in terms of baked goods and eggs. Right now she's selling through her parents' farmers
market stand and the Stewards CSA. When asked what was the most important benefit of belonging to the Stewards in terms of her business, she said it
was their help in marketing her products. Her long-term plans include upgrading to a better kitchen and attending culinary school.
Derek Stoller from Windy Knoll Produce. Derek
joined the Stewards in 2008 at the age of 10. His crops are Painted Mountain Indian corn,
red and yellow peppers, tomatoes, peas, cucumbers, banana melons, cilantro, parsley and spinach. This year he noticed that some of the
trees that his parents planted a few years back had started growing berries. He did some research on the internet and discovered that these
berries (service berries) are edible, and were used by native Americans. He picked all the berries and ended up selling his whole crop to
us. He's been so successful this year that as of the end of June, he's made back all his expenses for the year, and his major crops haven't
been harvested ... and did I mention that he's the farmer of the family! Although his parents help him, this business is all his doing.
The most important benefit for Derek in joining the Stewards was advice on how to grow his crops chemical free.
Thadd Waldbeser from TW Farms. Thadd started just
over two years ago at the age of 12 growing watermelon in his backyard garden. Last
year he grew and sold 800 pounds of watermelon. Currently, he grows watermelon, rhubarb, mullberries, tomatoes, peppers, and also has a popcorn
business. One of his most popular items is his "Microwave Your Own Popcorn in a Bag", which is a whole ear of dried corn that pops in the
microwave. This year he took over his brother's bio-diesel fuel production business, which was started five years ago. The business had
grown from making fuel for their own consumption, to producing 6,800 gallons in 2008. This year, in June, tragedy struck. They had a
devastating fire that destroyed all the bio-diesel fuel equipment. Luckily no one was hurt. They have rebuilt the business, and as of
1st, they're back in production. According to Thadd, the Stewards have been very helpful in locating used cooking oil, which he uses to
manufacture the diesel fuel. Thadd is always looking for new sources of used cooking oil. For more information, contact him through the
the Land website.
What amazing kids! I really admire Sarah, Derek and Thadd for their ingenuity, work ethic, drive, and ambition, and applaud the
organization for what they've been able to accomplish as a group. For more information on all the Steward members, check out their web
See you next month.
Test Kitchen Director/Web Site Culinary Director
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