Archive for the ‘BAKED GOODS’ Category

Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead is fast approaching, and it’s a traditional holiday down here in South Texas. According to Wikipedia, scholars trace the origins of the modern holiday to indigenous observances dating back thousands of years – to an Aztec festival dedicated to a goddess called Mictecacihuatl. Pronounced ‘Mikt-eyk-as-see-wahl’. In case anyone asks.

If you are in South Texas, head to Port Isabel for the celebration and enjoy a skull candy workshop, listen to poetry, learn altar making and watch the talented live entertainment. Or gather up your friends/family and throw your own! In search of ofrendas? Vosges has these yummy chocolate skulls ready to go…or try this yummy salted pumpkin caramel recipe from Amanda Hesser. Sure to bring em’ back to the living. Don’t forget the calaveras, pan de muerto and decorations!

Quien con la esperanza vive, alegre muere!


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Les Dames d’Escoffier – San Antonio Chapter is proud to announce the Second Annual International Olive Festival of Texas 2010 on Saturday, March 27, 2010 from 10 AM to 4 PM.

The festival will be held at Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard located at 25195 Mathis Rd., off of I 37, near Elmendorf, Texas 78112.  (For directions, click here).

Everyone is invited to enjoy numerous vendors, gourmet food and Texas wine concessions, cooking demonstrations, health and nutrition seminars, entertainment and an olive buffet featuring olives from around the world to sample and compare.

Admission $10 at the Gate. Advance Tickets Also Available at San Antonio Area H-E-B Stores

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Texas Mesquite Tree

Mesquite seems to be everywhere these days. Folks making beer hope to give it a sweet/bitter taste. Mequite syrup (recipe below) or flour can be used in baking. And rumor has is Blue Bell is coming out with a Mesquite Bean Ice Cream next year. Could be just a rumor though….Shhh…

Mesquite is also a pretty cool plant. According to wiki, mesquite is an extremely hardy, drought-tolerant plant because it can draw water from the water table through its long taproot (recorded at up to 190 ft {58 m} depth). However, it can also use water in the upper part of the ground, depending upon availability. The tree can easily and rapidly switch from utilizing one water source to the other.

Mesquite Bean Syrup/Jelly/Sugar

Pick the beans from the tree after they are ripe – – tan to reddish brown.
An apron full.
Break pods into short lengths.
Cover with water and boil slowly for 45 minutes.
Mash with a potato masher or the like.
Strain through cheese cloth.
Set first brew aside.
Boil the mashed pulp again for 45 minutes with water to cover.
Strain again.
Discard pulp.
Combine again, strongly over high heat at first, then low until liquid becomes light
to medium syrup. Add pectin or Sure-Jell and lemon juice (1/2 lemon for each of
cups of liquid) for jelly.
Continue boiling, carefully, until crystallization, for sugar.

© 1995 John Igo

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From UT Pan American, an informative article about how a South Texas entrepreneur built her tortilla business:

La Abuela Mexican Foods first opened its doors in 1984 as a food manufacturer of various tortillas and tortilla products whose taste, freshness, and convenience make into high sellers. Since then, the company, founded and managed by Ms. Wells, has experienced tremendous growth. Recently, La Abuela embarked on yet another growth experience: obtaining capital resources to initiate an expansion plus physical relocation.

Cristina M. Wells, President and the creator of the company, moved to the United States in 1990 from Monterrey, Mexico. Using the traditional recipes used by Mexican housewives, she began producing homemade, uncooked, flour tortillas, with no preservatives, conditioners, or extenders. This idea has blossomed into a successful small business which offers its products to thousands of customers in an area from the Rio Grande Valley to Corpus Christi.

Initially selling the tortillas to friends, she evolved her concept and tested its marketability. Her first opportunity to introduce the product to a bigger market came from HEB on N 10th in McAllen. Ms. Wells then cautiously increased production for a number of HEBs and later expanded into every main grocery franchise in South Texas, a few convenience stores, and several local restaurants. To keep up with product demand, she moved into a location with a few employees. She combined mass production and distribution techniques to create a product which has a superior taste and is unparalleled in quality.  

Recently, to ensure her company’s continued growth and expansion into new markets, Ms. Wells decided to expand the operations and relocate from its current downtown McAllen facility to Weslaco. The move gave La Abuela the space and flexibility it needs to continue to increase its year round production capability in pursuit of La Abuela’s growth goals.

In preparing for the expansion of the facility, Ms. Wells sought the assistance of various agencies, among which were the Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center, the Department of Agriculture, and the Southwest Trade Adjustment Assistance Center.


Making tortillas at La Abuela

Making tortillas at La Abuela

One particular obstacle, shared by many small and expanding businesses, was the need for capital to support the expansion. La Abuela sought capital assistance from the SBA with counseling support from the Small Business Development Center, a component of CoSERVE. The SBDC assisted Ms. Wells in completing the business plan and loan proposal to the bank and SBA.

Ms. Wells takes pride in leading an organization with a positive business forecast and a positive impact on the community. La Abuela works closely with the Department of Agriculture and is involved in the “Go Texan” program: over 80% of the La Abuela’s product comes from Texas. Ms. Wells welcomes success for La Abuela, its employees, and its vendors.

La Abuela’s greatest assets are its accumulated knowledge of production and marketing combined with its experienced workforce. The staff has grown and Ms. Wells expects the business to continue to grow, creating an overall impact on the local economy. Ms. Wells and La Abuela have garnered a wealth of information and numerous allies in their path to success. They look forward to the new challenges the expansion will bring, working in new markets and strengthening their current knowledge.

For further information on the services offered by the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), please call the SBDC at (956) 292-7535.  SBDC staff will be more than glad to answer any questions you have on starting and/or expanding a business venture.

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Had some wonderful bread made by local baker Jerry in Rockport, Texas. The whole grain loaf had a nice crunchy exterior and was darned good toasted with butter and drizzle o’ honey.  You can purchase his bread at the Fulton Farmer’s Market or email him directly–he might even ship it to you!

Just Loafin Bread

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Noah Thompson who runs Victoria Farmers Market


When: from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Where: 2805 N. Navarro St., in front of the Dr. Pattie Dodson Public Health Center

For more information about the Victoria Farmer’s Market or to sell produce at the local market, call market manager Noah Thompson at 361-277-2268.

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The community of Hallettsville has a proud history rooted in the immigrants from Germany and Czechoslovakia that began settling there in the mid 1800s. Kolache Fest is a tribute and celebration of this rich heritage. A “kolache” is a Czech pastry with a fruit filling. If you’ve never had one, they’re perfect served warm and enjoyed with a hot cup of coffee, and they abound in shops and bakeries throughout this region of Texas. Some of the older residents will delight you with stories about how nothing tasted as good as the kolaches their grandmothers would make. Hot from the oven and melt-in-your mouth delicious! It’s only fitting that this Czech festival be named after this beloved treat.

Held the last Saturday of September at the Knights of Columbus Hall, Kolache Fest has something for everyone! From the Kolache Bake-Off and Eating Contests to the arts and crafts booths to the classic car show featuring cars from all over the area.

The night is finished off with the Kolache Fest dance featuring bands that are local and regional favorites. If kolaches with poppyseed and blueberry fillingyou’re looking for an opportunity to discover what Texas heritage is all about, come to Kolache Fest and learn the wonderful Czech philosophy. Dance to the polka, and sing the songs of the musician. Taste the true ethnic food and lend your soul to the fulfillment of the Czech cultural heritage.

Kolache Fest
Knights of Columbus Hall
321 US Highway 77 S
Hallettsville, Texas 77964
(361) 798-2311

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