Thursday, November 18, 2010

Post-Wedding Party

A few months ago, our good friends Suz and Nate said their "I do's" in a beautiful ceremony in San Antonio. Since Micah was the "best man"he had to step up to the plate and make a couple of beers for the wedding (to supplement their wine/liquor/commercial beer bar).

{The silly posters that I made for the wedding}

For the groom, since he really enjoys Stone Brewing Co.'s Arrogant Bastard beer, Micah made a clone of the beer and we dubbed it "Lucky Bastard" since Nate was lucky to find such an amazing girl in Suz. *winkwink* This beer was dry-hopped as well - so it was not lacking in the hop department.

For the bride - we wanted a more universal beer that most of the wedding guests would be able to drink - so we went with a pilsner and called it "Blonde N' Chain." Get it?! I know, we are some clever folks, I tell ya! This 5 gallon keg was tapped at the end of the night.

At the end of the night, there were a few gallons of the Lucky Bastard left as well as our personal kegs of the same beers at our house. The couple also had leftover commercial beer bottles... what to do with all those drinky drinks?! Party, of course!

I told Suz that I would cater a post-wedding party to help get rid of all the alcoholic beverages, this is the menu I came up with:

Spring rolls, egg rolls, potstickers, shrimp on sugar cane sticks (chao tom), fried rice, and salad with ginger dressing. Recipes for the Spring rolls, egg rolls, and potstickers are below. Fried rice will have to wait.

1. Spring Rolls: My sister and I rolled shrimp and pork ones the morning of the party since the rolls can stay at room temperature for 12 hours. The rice wrappers were filled with rice vermicelli, cilantro, and green leaf lettuce. Really easy and fresh!

To make the hoisin peanut sauce: Saute a couple cloves of garlic in a small amount of vegetable oil in a small saucepan, add the jar of hoisin, dilute with about 1/2 C. of water. You can add a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter if you so choose. Let it come to a simmer until everything is blended. You can add crushed peanut and chili sauce to kick it up a notch.

2. Egg Rolls: These are not your Chinese restaurant egg rolls (not that those aren't amazing), but these are my Mom's egg rolls!
-1 lb. ground pork or turkey
-1/2 lb. ground shrimp
-1/4 C. woodear mushrooms (soaked in hot water, then diced)
-1 bundle bean thread noodles (soaked in hot water, then cut into short strips)
-2 carrots shredded
-1/2 onion diced or grated
-2 Tbsp oyster sauce
-2 Tbsp fish sauce
-1 Tbsp ground pepper
-sprinkle of sugar and salt

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and allow to sit for 1 hour before making the egg rolls. I actually microwave an itty bitty piece before wrapping to make sure the filling is seasoned they way I like.

When filling the egg rolls, put about a heaping dinner spoon on the lower third of the wrapper. Follow the instructions on the wrapper packaging. I use some egg wash to seal the roll. Fry @ 375 for 6 minutes, or until golden brown.

3. Potstickers: The link I provided is pretty similar to how I make mine. The ones I made for the dinner only had napa cabbage as the veggie though. I actually made the potstickers ahead of time and froze them. A few hours before the party, I partially thawed the dumplings, cooked them completely and threw them into my electric skillet to keep warm at the party. It actually worked out better than I thought it would.

I served these with a simple tangy soy dipping sauce: 1/4 C. soy sauce, 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp. grated ginger, and 1 clove garlic grated.

Before we dug into the food, Suz and I had to take a pic of ourselves in our cute aprons!

{Adrienne got me the cutest apron for my bday a few years ago! I *heart* it.}

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Z'Tejas: Sizzlin' up La Cantera

For the past month, my friend Jenny kept telling me we had to check out Z'Tejas once the restaurant opens at its new location at The Shops of La Cantera. She was familiar with Z'Tejas from living in Austin and tried to convince me that this place is the shiznits.

Four of us were able to get in on some pre-opening VIP party action at Z'Tejas on Halloween weekend (as if we our schedule wasn't jam-packed already). The dinner we were invited to included complimentary: 1 drinky-drink, 1 appetizer/couple, 1 entree, and 1 dessert/couple.

We were seated on the patio, which has a great fireplace and it's also a great place to gawk at the shoppers walking by.

{yummy Margarita}

To kick off the "free" dinner, Jenny and I got the Perfect Patron Margarita - it was strong and came in it's own shaker. Micah had a beer and J's date had a Z'Mexican 'Tini - how clever of them!

Z'Tejas is known for their fresh skillet corn bread. Each table gets a skillet and the corn bread is cut into 4 pieces. I thought the corn bread was moist and perfectly cooked; I do prefer my corn bread to be on the sweeter side.

{Micah isn't a fan of corn bread, how do I date him?}

We shared two appetizers:

Grilled Shrimp & Guacamole Tostada Bites: tostada rounds topped with fresh guac, a dash of chipotle and cilantro pesto marinated grilled shrimp

These were little bites of spicy goodness. The crunchiness of the tostada, the rich coolness of the guac, and the spicy kick from the chipotle made for a great bite! Everyone really liked this dish.

Green Chile Pulled Pork Nachos: pork simmered in green chiles and ancho peppers, topped with cheese, black beans, guac, and jalapenos.

The description above make it sounds like it's ah-mazing, right? Actual tasting proved that the dish lacked overall flavor. I think the dish would have benefited from some salt and more spice.

**full dish description here**

My Dish: Santa Fe Smoked Chicken Enchiladas -- This was a pretty simple dish. I liked the smokiness but the overall dish was unimpressive. The beans and rice were fine but nothing I couldn't make at home. Note: their enchiladas are of the layered variety, not the rolled kind.

{santa fe enchiladas}

Micah's Dish: Grilled Miso Salmon -- The fish was smothered in a sweet and tangy glaze. I'm not sure what's Southwestern about this dish, but it tasted good.

{pretty plating on the tuna}

Jenny's Dish: Baked Seafood Enchilada -- J said she's eaten this all by herself before, I can't even imagine doing that due to the richness of the dish. I had a bite and boy was it creamy! The seafood tucked inside the enchilada was good though.

{she is ready to dig in!}

Alex's Dish: Chorizo Stuffed Pork Tenderloin -- I really liked the bite that I had. I liked it better than the dish I got. Chorizo will help any dish though.

{chorizo stuffed pork - oinkoink goodness}

DESSERT TIME! Disclaimer: I was too lazy to take pics of the dessert.

We shared the Tres Leches and the Ancho Fudge Pie. The Tres Leches gray color was a little off-putting, but the flavors were spot-on. The pie was chocolaty but it was lacking any special kick. I didn't pick up on the ancho flavor that much.

Since the dinner was a "test-run" for the restaurant, we really enjoyed the food and the company. Margaritas + patio + mild San Antonio evening = dining bliss.