When we heard there was a wine country outside of Austin (the Texas Hill Country AVA), we were immediately intrigued, mostly because, well, we had never really thought about the fact that winemaking was happening in Texas.
French Chocolate Macarons with Chocolate Ganache
No lie: macarons can be fairly finicky to make, in that they might spread into uneven shapes or form dark spots on their tops -- but even if they're not as beautiful as bakery specimens, they will still be delicious. The smooth chocolate ganache filling sandwiches the light, chewy-inside, delicately-crisp-outside chocolate macarons together, for a classic French dessert you shouldn't be afraid to try making.
Basic Vegetable Soup
This soup is an equally wonderful way to use up all the leftover veggie odds and ends in your fridge, or to celebrate the freshest produce in season by buying it specifically for the dish (and if you get a CSA box, it can serve both purposes). Whatever vegetables you use, this is an easy, nutritious, and delicious meal, and endlessly customizable. Fresh pesto makes a great, vibrant garnish, but you could also simply sprinkle on a bit of grated Parmesan and cracked black pepper.
Quick Bites: Richard Blais
Check out restaurateur, Top Chef winner, and cookbook author Richard Blais's honest opinions on a variety of ingredients (like ramps, sea urchin, and bacon), see if you agree with where he sides on classic food debates like cake vs pie and milk vs dark chocolate, and find out which kitchen tool you can pick up for a lot cheaper at a pet store.
Basic Chocolate Mousse
Simultaneously rich and light, chocolate mousse just requires a little bit of finesse, and the freshest, best-quality ingredients (eggs, chocolate, and cream) you can procure. Be sure to chill your cream very well and get every speck of water out of the bowl and whisk you'll use for the egg whites, then use a light hand when folding in the whipped cream, and you'll have a perfectly fluffy and decadent dessert.