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Rants and Raves

REVIEW - Mak Chin's

Asian Twist

Mak Chin's Pan-Asian take on the classic Asian dishes is delightful. I have quickly become a regular at this trendy night spot. One half order-at-the-counter, take it easy, casual dining; the other a stylish bar and inner loop diner.

The menu offerings are great for the adventurous or conservative as well. Offering a twist on classic Sweet and Sour in the Mango Sweet and Sour with red chiles, shrimp fried rice and savory baby bok choy. It is a dish that has me coming again and again. There are exotic creations as well such as the flavorful Lemon grass Tofu and the specials of the day.

The condiment bar with kim chee and a variety of sauces to hold you over while your waiting to chow down. They also offer a selection of great specialty hot and cold teas that vary from visit to visit.

Over at the bar they offer a short happy hour with mediocre specialty drinks but the food and ambiance make up for the lacking. If you are in the mood for casual asian fare or a night out inside the loop be sure to hit Mak Chin's.

by Chef Natasha Treu Fletcher

1511 Shepherd Dr
Houston, TX 77007
(713) 861-9888

* Sun-Thurs 11am-10pm
* Fri & Sat 11am-11pm

Opening - June 16, 2007 7pm

Zoë Imaging & Vintage Inspired Fashions

Zoë Jackson-Jarra - known for her adoring talents as a vocalist and sense of great style is launching her boutique!
How appropriate is it for her to launch her brand of influence which endears the trust of her famous face clientele to the public. Her appealing sense to create award winning looks
while imaging celebrities has garnered the attention needed to make a success of this venture called none other than Zoë.
Join us to witness her inaugural presentation of fashionably trendsetting designs made famous by top designers with her current twist on those same fashions in a mega fashion show experience.
We invite you to join us as we applaud and salute Zoë in this grand opening event that will sure to allow the reminiscent you to indulge the trendsetting you.

Elegance’ with Urban Chic Charisma will be presented like none other can - Zoë.

Friday, June 16th 2007
7:00PM – Midnight
3400 Montrose Suite #801, Houston, TX 77006
(right next door to La Colombe D’or Mansion & Le Grande’ Salon)
Tele: 713.521.9963 Email: zoejjimage@aol.com

Joining us this evening will be
Top Chef  Natasha Treu’– Indulgence by Natasha
Vocalist/Composer - Hanq Neal
And some of the most beautiful people on the planet!

Download the invitation

RSVP soon as space is limited for this fabulous event!

Highlights - April 14, 2007

The turnout for the 2007 Glass Slipper Ball Benefiting Zonta Intl was superb. Over 400 attended including Houston's socialites, most talented and greatest food lovers to the aid of women all over the world!

Houston's top chef's turned out in numbers as well. Critically acclaimed Executive Chef of Max's Wine Dive Chef Jonathan Jones created a marvelous play on the Manwich with his delicious "Lambwich": Pulled, braised Colorado lamb shoulder with San Marzano tomato sauce and spring onion marmalade, on locally baked Kraftsmen brioche bun, topped with fresh chevre from Chateau de Fromage of Dallas, TX. Marvelous!

Among other favorites of the night was Chef Michael Rodgers of Maggiano's Little Italy's decadent Rib stuffed cantalone with cream sauce.

Indulgence by Natasha's Head Chef created a play on the classic Bagel and Lox with her signature hors d'oeuvre that she couldn't supply enough of: Her own citrus cured and Jasmine tea smoked salmon atop a garlic rubbed bagel and topped with a grapefruit cream. The combination of sweet and salty was palate perfection.

Glass Slipper 2007


Tips and Tricks

Baking the Perfect Cookie
Copyright 2007 Chef Natasha Treu’ Fletcher

Everyone loves cookies! But all too often people make cookies that are hard as a rock, taste like flour or fail to rise to the occasion. Here is my method for soft golden flavorful cookies.

1 - Know What You Should Know
There are allot of factors that can make such a simple project go horribly wrong. Do you know your oven? You should, because 350 might be 300 or even 450 in your oven. It makes a big difference!

Also go over the recipe BEFORE you ever get anything out of the cupboard. This will ensure you know what needs to be done and whether you have the proper ingredients.


Troubleshooting Tips
courtesy of AllRecipes.com

If you have a cookie recipe that you love, but still aren’t getting the desired results, try these tips:

* Flat If you want your cookies on the flat side, you can do some or all of the following things: Use all butter, use all-purpose flour or bread flour, increase the sugar content slightly, add a bit of liquid to your dough, and bring the dough to room temperature before baking.

* Puffy For light, puffy cookies, use shortening or margarine and cut back on the amount of fat; add an egg, cut back on the sugar, use cake flour or pastry flour, use baking powder instead of baking soda and refrigerate your dough before baking.

* Chewy Try melting the butter before adding it to the sugars when mixing. Remove cookies from the oven a few minutes before they are done, while their centers are still soft but are just cooked through. The edges should be golden. Use brown sugar, honey or molasses as a sweetener. Let cookies cool on the pan for several minutes after baking before transferring to cooling rack.

* Crispy For crisp, crunchy cookies, use all butter and a proportion of white sugar. Use egg yolks in place of a whole egg. Cookies should be baked completely. Let cool on the baking sheet for one minute before transferring to a cooling rack.


2 - Have "The Right Stuff"
If you have read over your recipe then you know what ingredients you need, but do you know what tools are best? I recommend using either a Silpat (a silicone treated cooking pad that nothing can stick to) or an air bake cooking sheet sprayed with an organic unflavored cooking spray. Non-stick can really make a difference in the life or death of your cookie transfer.

Also make sure you have a colander/strainer to sift your dry ingredients so no unsavory items or lumps of flour and baking soda get into your dough. This also makes for a lighter cookie. And of course you always cool on a cooling rack. None of you would ever cool on the cookie sheet since you know that the cookie keeps cooking even once its out of the oven.

3 - Keep It In Good Taste
Don't trust that because you measured the ingredients exactly that the outcome will be delicious. Cooking isn't a science, its an art. be sure to taste your dough. If the recipe doesn't call for flavoring add it. If you like cinnamon, add it. If it doesn't call for enough, add more. This is part of the fun of cooking, trusting your instincts and making it your own.

4 - Don't Be A Quitter

Again don't trust that the cook time on the recipe is the cook time for you. Never set a timer and walk away when baking. If it says 9 minutes set your timer for 5 then check. Take your cookies out when they are just slightly gold on the top but not quite done, they will continue to cook for a couple minutes more while on the baking sheet. Use a large spatula and let them cool on the baking sheet for about 30 seconds to 1 minute before transferring them to the cooling rack so they don't melt, or fall apart.

If you don't make the perfect cookies, TRY AGAIN!


Recipe of the Month

Sumptuous Butterscotch
Chocolate Chip Cookies

Few things are as cheery and familiar as a chocolate chip cookie. This recipe takes an old familiar and changes it up and depth of flavor and a softer texture.



Original Recipe - Copyright 2007 Chef Natasha Treu’ Fletcher

Making Cookies with the Kids



7 garlic cloves

Fresh basil - 4 cups packed

1 cup good extra virgin 1st cold pressed olive oil

Fresh Lemon - 1 tb sp

1/4 c walnuts

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Kosher Salt or Sea Salt to taste

Ground black pepper to taste
  • Directions:

    1. Place walnuts on cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Toast in 400 degree oven until golden brown.
    2. Add walnuts and all ingredients to food processor.
    3. If too thick add a little more olive oil.

    Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: aprox 9 mins


hank you
to everyone who voted for us to be the Best Caterer 2007



Great Gift Ideas:

  • Treat a friend or family member to their own Chef For the Day!

  • Gift them a weeks worth of personal chef services .

  • Plan a catered party in their honor .

  • Surprise them with a gift certificate for gourmet cooking classes for the two of you to do together.

Sharing food is a great way to
have fun with those you love!
Family Dinner


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Copyright 2007 Chef Natasha Treu’ Fletcher