Elegance and Grace
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February 08 Edition   ::   THE OH SO INDULGENT NEWSLETTER
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Mark your calendars! Here is a list of not-to-miss culinary events coming up soon.
Let everyone know you heard it here first!

The 2008 Rodeo Uncorked! Roundup and Best Bites Competition

What:This year we will participate in the Best Bites competition as more than 4000 people come to sample our food! This lively event will feature the announcement of the 2008 International Wine Competition Champions, as well as a culinary competition of regional restaurants and catering institutions. The excitement will be uncorked as guests visit winery and culinary stations, tasting 2008 Champion Wines and voting on their “Best Bites.”
When:Monday, Feb. 18, 2008, at 7 p.m
Where: The floor of the legendary Reliant Astrodome
How: Visit Website for Schedule and to Buy Tickets

Springfest-Wine, Art, and Food Festival - Texas Style.
What: Located just 20 miles north of Houston, Old Town Spring invites you to its 9th Annual two-day celebration of Texas wineries and artists. A pleasant stroll around the town will acquaint you with Texas wineries offering tastes of some of their finest wines, talented Texas artists showing their original art and 150 unique shops in the historic railroad town. Cost: Parking - $3. Wine tasting - $20. Please mention this listing when inquiring. Held annually, mid-March.
When:March 8-9, 2008 -
Where:Old Town Spring - Beginning on 403 Main Street, Spring, TX 77373.
How: For more information, call 888-U-STOP-IN or visit Web Site

German Heritage Festival
What: Music/Street Festival celebrating German heritage with music, food, carnival, 3 stages, kids area, heritage center, beer, like Oktoberfest in march, fireworks, German church, 150 vendors, antique shops, and much more. Wir sprechen Deutsch. Cost: Free. Average attendance: under 50,000. Held annually, last weekend in March.
When:March 28-30, 2008 Time: 10am - 10pm.
Where: Old DownTown Tomball. 200 block of Main St. (FM 2920)
How: This event is Free! For more information, call 281-379-6844 or visit WebSite

Flavors of Houston 2008
What:Benefiting the American Liver Foundation. This fourth annual fund-raising event brings some of the top chefs in the Houston area together for an evening to offer their signature culinary talents to a limited number of guests in an intimate and exclusive setting. Each chef prepares a five-course dinner, complete with complementary wines, their restaurant’s table setting and wait staff to a table of 10 guests.
When:Sunday March 30, 2008 6 to 10 pm
Where: Hilton Americas Hotel downtown
How: For more information contact the American Liver Foundation at 713-622-1318 or email pwittlif@liverfoundation.org.



Steak Dinner

Succulent Strips
To go with that Lobster you're getting whats better that a Perfectly Succulent New York Strip?
Here's Your Recipe and Go To Guide on Making it Mouthwatering!

Original Recipes - Copyright 2008 Chef Natasha Treu’ Fletcher

Succulent Strips
Simple to make and easier to eat.

Basic Ingredients:

Dry Rub Ingredients:

2 Once Inch Thick Kobe or Prime -New York Strips - Trimmed

2 Clove Minced Garlic
2 tbsp Room Temperature Butter 2 Tbsp Kosher Salt
  1 Tsp Crushed Quality Dry Green or Black Peppercorns
  • Directions:

    1. Prehat Broiler to Hi
    2. Rinse steaks and pat dry
    3. Mix together dry rub ingredients and rub all over steak so it is seasoned well. If there are spots that are not heavily seasoned make more and season again.
    4. Wash hands, then push dabs of butter into meat.
    5. Heat a steel pan very hot.
    6. Place steaks in it for about one minute on each side without movng them so that they carmelize on the outside then immediatly transfer to broiler.
    7. After five minutes in broiler they should be crispon one side. Flip and cook to desired doneness. Aprox 2 more minutes for med-rare.
    Makes 2 servings. Prep Time:5 minutes Cook Time: Roughly 9 Minutes for Med-Rare
Rants n' Raves


"Am I In Heaven?" "No, you're in Kiran's."
Kiran's Bar and Grill
By Chef Natasha Treu'

Last month my visit to t'afia was a sore disappointment but Houston offered a Female Executive Chef this month with a menu that was innovative and cuisine that was delightful. I rarely Rave about a restaurant but my visit to Kiran's was the first meal I have truly enjoyed in months.

Kiran's has replaced another Indian restaurant that too was very good but she has used her woman's touch to add beauty and grace to the decor. Walking in you feel welcomed by the gracious hostess. Promptly seated our waiter was both poised and knowledgeable. Not a moment went by that our needs were unattended.

Sitting at the table my eyes can't help drifting to the cart on my left. Golden light exudes from it and once focused I realize it is a divine selection of single malt scotches and cognac. Already I'm feeling pretty happy to be here and I haven't even eaten a bite.

I'm presented with a fabulous list of wines by the glass and bottle. Chef Kiran prides herself on offering a great selection of wine and scotch as well as having staff who can pair them for you. Despite her many awards there is no pretentious feel in this relaxed yet formal setting. I wait to order my wine until I have chosen my entree. We peruse the appetizers and I gaze upon the Tandoori Quail ($11) Kirans RestaurantStuffed with figs, black currant and pine nuts. The waiter informs us that if we like they will split it in two so we can share easier. This seems pointless with a quail but we concede, however once it is brought we have the largest, and I might add, most tender quail I've ever set eyes on. Perfectly cooked to medium with juices flowing freely. Glazed in subtle sweet currant flavor. I devour it, even picking up the bones and nibbling off the last bits; formality be darned! I'm excited now to receive my main course; and of course I will switch half way through the meal eating half of my husbands. It is, after all, for research.

I order the Wild Game ($32) Venison chops cooked with ginger and garlic, served with fig-currant and berry chutney. I feel this will pair with the flavors from the appetizer, plus I'm a sucker for fig-currant combinations. My husband orders Lamb Korma ($22) Tandoori leg of lamb simmered in a creamy sauce of cashews, almonds and cardamoms. Tender flavorful lamb subtly infused with aromatics and nutty flavor; it is divine. We are stuffed but I must find out what exotic desserts Chef Kiran has created.

Our server starts the list with a Trio of Crème Brulée ($12) A sample of three traditional French crème brulées with a hint of cardamom, saffron & pistachio. I let him speak no more, what a perfect end to this perfect meal. They come and he tells us the flavors in the wrong order causing some palate confusion however it it quickly solved once the cardamom hits the tongue. The saffron is delicate and floral with its unique taste blending harmoniously with the cream. THe pistachio of course is a perfect match; subtle, barely traceable but leaving hints of its presence after in the mouth. And then the bold cardamom with its punchy spicy and unmistakable fragrance ends the meal with a refreshing tone.

After paying our bill we are cheerily bid adieu by the bartender and hostess again and offered some wonderful gourmet chocolate as a parting gift. This fabulous experience capped off by a great exit.

4100 Westheimer

Lunch- Tues-Fri 11:00am-2:30pm
Dinner- Mon-Sun 5:30pm-10pm

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Seasonable Selections
Why eat seasonal?  

From a Chefs view:

Seasonal food is at its peak of flavor.
Its fresher and so it tends to be tastier, more
colorful, easier to work with, less expensive
and more nutritious.

Buying seasonal produce also provides
an exciting opportunity to try new foods
and to experiment with seasonal recipes.

From the Earths view :

By purchasing local foods in-season, you eliminate the environmental damage caused by shipping foods thousands of miles, your food dollar goes directly to the farmer, and your family will be able to enjoy the health benefits of eating fresh, unprocessed fruits and vegetables.

It also helps to to reduce the energy (and associated CO2 emissions) needed to grow and transport the food we eat.

FEBRUARY: What's In Season Locally in Harris County

HERB / FRUITSeasonal TX Fruit

Lavender (year round) Pick your own
Mix Herbs (year round) Cut your own
Grapefruit Pick Your Own
Lemons Pick Your Own
Limes Pick Your Own
Oranges Pick Your Own
Peaches Pick Your Own
Winter Strawberries (Limited)
Winter Blackberries (Very Limited)
Watermelon Pick Your Own

Cut Flowers & Artisanal Goat Cheese - Pure Luck Dairy
Texas Honey Is Now Ready!

PEPPER / VEGETABLETX Seasonal Vegetables

Greens Cut Your Own
Spinach and other Leafy Greens
Sweet Potatoes Uproot Your Own
Tomatoes (year round) Pick Your Own

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buy lobster dinnerThere is nothing more Indulgence than a buttery lobster tail. Whether you serve them alone or with a steak (Surf & Turf), you will want to read this article so you don't order an inferior product.

Clawed or Unclawed?
Most of us think of live Maine lobsters with those two large, meaty claws when we think of lobsters. You buy them live in many supermarkets today or have them sent to you via the Internet. If a Maine lobster is missing a claw, it is called a "cull".

Spiny lobsters, also called Rock Lobster, have no claws but hard shells and very long antennae. They come from both warm and cold water climates and are the most the source for frozen lobster tails. There are more than 40 species of clawless lobsters found around the world. They can grow as large as 15 pounds but most range from 1 to 5 pounds.

Warm Water or Cold?
When it comes to lobster tails, the first and most likely the most important decision you will make is whether to buy warm water or cold water tails. Warm water tails come mainly from Florida, the Caribbean and Latin America with big suppliers from Cuba and Nicaragua. Cold water tails generally come from Maine, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

According to Chef Lee, 1 out of 5 warm water tails that he handled while in the restaurant business were bad. What does he mean by bad?

* The tail stays mushy after being cooked.
* It doesn't firm up.
* The tail firms up but falls apart easily.
* It has an ammonia odor.

What was his experience with cold water lobster tails?Lobster Dinner

Over his 25 year experience and having cooked more than 10,000 lobsters, he figures he only had 5 bad ones.
That's some difference. It tells me if you want to avoid a disappointment when making a special diner,
you want to buy cold water tails.

Yes, you will pay more for cold water tails. Lee figures it's about a $5.00 difference per pound. It will end up
costing a lot more if you end up throwing one of the tails away besides ruining a beautiful dinner.

How can you tell the difference between warm water and cold water tails?

* Ask before you buy. You want to know specifically if they are from warm water or cold and where they were caught.
If you fish provider doesn't know, stay away.
* Check their shells. Caribbean warm water tails have distinct yellow spots and a yellow band across the tail.
Australian tails don't have these markings.

Quality and Taste Differences
There is a definite difference in taste and quality between warm and cold water tails. The cold water tails have whiter meat and are considered more tender because they grow more slowly in colder water. Most people will tell you the more expensive cold water tails also have a cleaner taste.

How to buy frozen lobster tails.
* Buy from a reputable source like Indulgence
* If you see lobster tails at some unbelievable price, they most likely are warm water tails or you will pay for what you get.
* If they are not marked warm water or cold water and no place of origin given, assume they are warm water tails.
* If you see discoloration in the flesh, especially black spots, figure they were not handled properly.
* If the tail has a grayish color, it is a sign the lobster wasn't alive during processing.
* Any signs of yellowing or dull meat should be avoided.
* Ask your fish purveyor if the tails have been soaked in sodium tripoyphosphate prior to freezing. If it has, don't buy them.
* Look out for "glazing". This is when water is injected between the meat and the shell before freezing. It adds up to 20% additional weight to the tail so you pay more for less. Typically only done to warm water tails to protect during storage.
* The best time of year to buy lobsters is during the winter when prices tend to be lower.


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