Readers love recipes, we’ve learned, especially those that feature the intricate work of local chefs, bakers and bartenders. In this age of digital anything and Internet-search everything, home chefs (or those who aspire to be) still clip and save gorgeous food photos and the step-by-step instructions that accompany them. One reader even tells us she makes each and every recipe that comes out in Indulge every month. (We’d like an invitation to dinner, please!) Here are 10 of the most requested, most mouthwatering recipes we’ve published through the years — from whimsical macarons complete with edible “paint” to a daring dish that stars a sea creature that’s worth every minute of prep. Bon appetit!
Wood Fire Roasted Octopus with Crispy Potatoes and Smoked Paprika Aioli
The daring diner will appreciate Next Wood Fired Bistro chef and owner Ying Aikens’ recipe for roasted octopus, which is first boiled to tenderize, then grilled or fired in a wood-burning oven until crispy. Octopus is highly flavorful and popular in Japan and Mediterranean countries, so it’s no surprise Aikens, who regularly fuses Asian and Medi flavors on her evolving menu, chose the sea creature as the star of this standout starter.
- 2 medium-size octopuses
- 1 head of garlic, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 onion, peeled and cut in half
- Salt, for boiling water
- 2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 to 3 sprigs of rosemary, stems discarded and leaves chopped
- 1 bunch of parsley, chopped reserving approximately 1 tablespoon for garnish)
- Zest of 3 lemons
1. In a large pot add the octopuses, garlic, bay leaves and onion and fill with approximately 2 gallons of salted water.
2. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cook for about 45 minutes or until the octopus is tender. Strain and let octopuses cool, then coat with olive oil, rosemary, parsley and lemon zest.
3. When ready to serve, grill the octopus until the legs become crispy.
Smoked Paprika Aioli
Makes 2 1/2 cups
- 1 egg
- 2 garlic cloves
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon Spanish smoked
- 2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt to taste
1. In a blender add first four ingredients, and blend.
2. While the blender is running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until mixture is thick and creamy. Season with salt to taste. You will have leftover aioli for another use.
- 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat approximately 1/4 inch of oil in a large skillet.
2. Fry potatoes until crispy and season with salt and pepper.
1. Place potatoes on a plate and top with octopuses.
2. Drizzle with aioli and garnish with chopped parsley.
— Next Wood Fired Bistro, 5003 Colleyville Blvd., Colleyville, 682-325-4046, www.next
Buffalo Tenderloin Peppersteak With Smoked Whiskey Cream Sauce
Chef Jon Bonnell’s buffalo tenderloin peppersteak is one of the most popular dishes he has ever served, he says. Though it’s technically not true buffalo, he says American bison meat is similar in anatomy to beef, but much richer. “It really takes well to generous amounts of black pepper,” he says. For any steak preparation, Bonnell recommends using plenty of seasoning first. “Salt and pepper is a great way to start,” he says. “Season well on all sides and allow to soak in for 15 to 20 minutes while the steaks come up to room temperature.”
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cracked black
- 1 8- to 9-ounce buffalo filet
- (found at Central Market)
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 small shallot, finely
- 1 clove garlic, finely
- 1 1/4 ounces (ri)1 Kentucky
- Straight Rye Whiskey (found
- at Majestic Fine Wines
- & Spirits)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
1. Mix the salt and cracked pepper together and spread on a large plate. Press the filet down in the seasonings to coat both sides well.
2. In a hot skillet, brown the steak on all sides in canola oil. Place the pan and steak in a 350-degree oven and finish cooking until desired temperature is reached (130 degrees, medium rare, is recommended). Remove steak from pan and allow to rest while finishing the sauce.
3. In the same pan, add the butter and finely chopped shallot and garlic. Saute until lightly brown, then add the whiskey, which will flame briefly when added to the pan. Be careful to not pour any whiskey directly onto the stove flame. If using an electric range, add the whiskey, then light it with a match and stand back.
4. After the whiskey has burned out, add the cream and reduce to a slightly thick consistency that will coat the steak. Pour the sauce directly over the cooked filet, allowing the sauce to run down all sides.
— Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine, 4259 Bryant Irvin Road, Fort Worth, 817-738-5489, www.bonnellstexas.com
Chocolate Pumpkin Cream Pie
Pastry chef Melody Fitzgerald, who got her start working for Dean Fearing at the Mansion on Turtle Creek and has appeared on Food Network Challenge: Paranormal Cakes, knows not all folks are fond of the sometimes stiff, gelatinous texture of traditional pumpkin pie. So the Sugar & Frosting owner instead created a fluffy, spicy pumpkin mousse that tops this layered cream pie.”It’s a little more fun and the layers make it beautiful to serve,” Fitzgerald says. Those layers include a rich, chocolate chess bottom and scratch-made pecan shortbread crumble topping, producing creamy, crunchy mouthfuls of fall splendor. With straightforward steps and simple technique, Fitzgerald’s recipe makes for an easy pumpkin pie upgrade.
Chocolate Chess Layer
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- A pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 (1-ounce) Baker’s semisweet
- chocolate baking squares
- Unbaked pie shell
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Blend sugar, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and salt to combine.
2. Melt butter and chocolate and mix with blended ingredients.
3. Pour into piecrust and bake for 35 minutes. Chill completely and top with pumpkin mousse and pecan shortbread crumble (recipes follow).
Pumpkin Mousse Layer
- 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1. Combine pumpkin, 1 cup cream, sugar and spice in a medium saucepan. Simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes. Cool completely.
2. Whip remaining heavy cream and vanilla to medium to firm peaks and fold into cooled pumpkin mixture. Pour over chocolate chess layer and top with pecan shortbread crumble.
Pecan Shortbread Crumble
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup pecans, finely chopped
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 large egg
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, sugar, salt and pecans. Stir in the butter and egg until mixture is crumbly, like coarse, wet sand.
2. Sprinkle crumbs evenly on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
3. Sprinkle over pumpkin mousse pie layer. Serve pie chilled.
— Sugar & Frosting, 126 Taylor St., Keller, 817-562-2500, www.sugarandfrosting.com
Rose Water Ice Cream with Rose Syrup
Rose water, with its intensely perfumed fragrance, has been a popular flavoring for Middle Eastern, Indian and Chinese cuisines for centuries. Christina and Nehme Elbitar of Chadra Mezza make their own at their Park Place Avenue Mediterranean eatery, Chadra Mezza & Grill. Ice cream varieties change regularly, but rotating favorites include pomegranate, tamarind, Turkish coffee, spice cream and the aromatic rose water. When making rose water syrup for this recipe, Christina recommends reserving extra to use in soda floats or even cheesecake.
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup organic edible rose
Bring water and rose petals to a boil for 15 minutes. Strain rose petals. Add a bit of red food coloring, if desired. Cool and reserve.
- 1 cup rose water
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 citrus geranium leaves or
- juice from half a lemon
Combine rose water and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Add leaves or lemon juice and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Store at room temperature.
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 cups whipping cream
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 4 ounces rose syrup
1. In a heavy saucepan, combine first five ingredients. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat a metal spoon and reaches at least 160 degrees. Remove from heat. Cool quickly by setting pan in ice and stirring the mixture.
2. Cover and refrigerate overnight or use to make ice cream immediately. When ready to make ice cream, pour mixture and rose syrup into ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s directions.
— Chadra Mezza & Grill, 1622 Park Place Ave., Fort Worth, 817-926-3992, http://chadramezza.com
Toasted Coconut Macarons
Though she doesn’t have a storefront, Emily Allen of Cake Walk Bake Shop is well known in wedding and special-event circles for her whimsical desserts with handmade details, inspired by her love of vintage baking. She says creating these robin’s egg-inspired coconut macarons can be tricky, as factors like humidity and under- or over-mixing play into getting the shells just right. “But if you can get that down, the rest of it is super easy and fun,” Allen says, adding that splattering the macarons with culinary “paint” is a great way to involve children in the process.
Makes 24 cookies
For the Macaron Shells
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 3/4 cup almond meal
- 2 egg whites, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon egg white powder
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons granulated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or coconut extract
- 1 teaspoon blue gel food coloring
- Egg Paint (recipe follows)
- Coconut Ganache Filling (recipe follows)
- Toasted Coconut Flakes (recipe follows)
1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and prepare a piping bag fitted with a medium-sized round tip.
2. Using a food processor, process the confectioners’ sugar and almond meal until smooth.
3. While the almond mix is processing, whisk the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer on low until frothy. Slowly add the powdered egg white and granulated sugar, gradually picking up speed with the mixer. Mix at medium/high until the egg white mix forms glossy, almost-stiff peaks. Add the extract and gel food coloring and mix until thoroughly combined.
4. Sift half of the processed almond mix into the meringue and gently fold just until combined. Sift in the remaining half of the almond mix and gently fold, making sure to mix in all of the dry pockets, until the mixture is a thick, smooth batter. Do not under-mix or over-mix. (To test desired consistency: Scoop up a bit of batter and drop back into the bowl. It should create a ribbon effect and dissolve into the batter within 30 seconds.)
5. Fill pastry bag with batter and pipe 1-inch rounds of batter onto the lined baking sheets. The piped sheets will then need to rest on the counter undisturbed for 30-60 minutes depending on humidity.
6. Heat oven to 300 degrees. When the batter looks dry (it should not stick to your fingers when lightly touched) bake one sheet at a time in the middle of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. The macarons are fully baked when you gently press the tops and they do not move at all. (If you see any movement, continue to bake for another minute or two.)
7. Remove from oven and let cool.
8. Paint with Egg Paint.
Coconut Ganache Filling
- 2/3 cup good-quality white chocolate chips
- (Callebaut or Valrhona brand)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract
1. Place chocolate chips into a shallow glass or metal bowl and set aside.
2. Add the cream and butter to a small saucepan over low to medium heat and bring to a simmer. Immediately pour over the chocolate and let sit for 1 minute.
3. Add the extract and whisk the mix together until the white chocolate is smooth and shiny.
4. Once cooled, let firm up in the refrigerator for several hours. The ganache should become a solid but workable paste.
1. Fill a piping bag fitted with a small round tip with the Coconut Ganache. Pipe rounds of ganache onto half of the painted macaron shells.
2. Immediately sprinkle Toasted Coconut Flakes onto the piped ganache. Sandwich the cookies together.
3. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours to let the macarons “mature,” or soften via osmosis. Macarons are best enjoyed 24 to 48 hours after assembly and refrigeration. They will keep for up to five days in the refrigerator, or up to a month frozen.
Toasted Coconut Flakes
- 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment and top with an even layer of coconut flakes. Bake for about 10 minutes, checking and tossing, until coconut flakes are golden and toasty. Remove from oven and set aside.
- 1/2 ounce brown culinary color dust
- (Wilton brand available at Michaels or cake
- supply shops)
- 1 teaspoon vodka or clear vanilla or coconut
- extract (Vodka dries most quickly and is
- 1 small-tipped clean food paintbrush
1. Using a very small dish, mix the color dust with the vodka or extract until a thick liquid brown paste forms.
2. Liberally dip the paintbrush into the brown paste, and using quick conductorlike motions over the macaron shells at a distance of about 6 to 12 inches, fleck or splatter the paint onto the tops of the shells. Let dry about 10 minutes.
— Cake Walk Bake Shop, 817-291-1129, www.cakewalkhome.com
Beef Short Ribs of Stew
Continually creating tastes of true Southern comfort that evoke warmhearted memories for many diners, Buttons executive chef Keith Hicks shares one of his own fond foodie memories in his recipe. Hicks was a child when he earned his endearing nickname “Buttons,” given to him by his grandmother, who thought he was as cute as one. It was during this time, he says, when he would pop open Campbell’s beef and barley soup cans and avidly slurp up all the barley. The soulful chef re-creates a beautiful grown-up version of the typically visually unappealing stew by using bone-in short ribs, colorful veggies and buttered and herbed pearled barley. “It’s almost like a deconstructed beef stew,” he says. “I used to love those little barleys.”
- 16 classic-cut beef short ribs
- Kosher salt and coarse black pepper
- 8 cups beef stock
- 1 gallon water, plus more for barley
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 3 carrots, diced
- 2 large yellow onions, diced
- 1/4 cup fresh garlic, minced
- 1/8 cup shallots, minced
- 1/8 cup fresh thyme, chopped, plus
- 1 tablespoon for barley
- 1/8 cup fresh oregano, chopped,
- plus 1 tablespoon for barley
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 2 sticks butter
- 1 cup olive oil
- 8 cups cooked pearl barley,
- prepared according to package
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese, plus more
- for garnish
1. Season short ribs with salt and pepper. In a very large pot, pan-sear ribs over high heat until browned.
2. Deglaze the pan with beef stock. Add the water and simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Add the celery, carrots, onions, garlic, shallots, thyme, oregano, fennel seeds and salt and pepper to taste to the simmering liquid. Simmer for 10-15 minutes more.
4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove the ribs with about half of the cooking liquid and veggies and place into the oven for about an hour-and-a-half.
5. When ready to serve, melt butter in large saute pan and add half the olive oil. Add the cooked barley, additional thyme and oregano and the chicken stock and cook until liquids are reduced. Add remaining olive oil and Parmesan cheese.
6. To assemble, divide prepared barley across eight bowls, top with simmered liquid with veggies and two short ribs each, bone up for presentation.
— Buttons, 4701 West Freeway, Fort Worth, 817-735-4900, www.buttonsrestaurant.com
Partridge in a Pear Tree
Be sure to fashion a “partridge” made from foam and pear slices and perch it atop this first-day-of-Christmas drink, created by mixologist Eddie “Lucky” Campbell, of the now-closed Bailey’s Prime Plus.
Makes 1 drink
- 1 1/2 ounces Flor de Caña
- 1 ounce white pear nectar
- 3/4 ounce amaretto
- 3/4 ounce yuzu juice
- (available at Asian grocery
- 3-4 dashes allspice dram,
- or a pinch of ground
- Fresh pear and Ginger-
- pear Foam for garnish
- (recipe follows)
1. Place all ingredients except garnishes in an ice-filled shaker tin and shake vigorously, then strain into a stemmed cocktail glass (or a martini glass).
2. Garnish with a dollop of ginger-pear foam for the partridge’s “body” and arrange thin slices of pear into “feathers.”
- 3 or 4 egg whites
- (depending on size)
- 1 cup (about 275 milliliters)
- white pear nectar
- 1 cup (about 275 milliliters)
- ginger beer
- 1/4 cup sugar
1. Combine all of the ingredients. Whisk vigorously until sugar is dissolved and egg whites have thoroughly blended with other liquids.
2. Pour mix through a nitrous oxide-charged whipped cream siphon, if you have one, or dollop onto the drink by hand.
The Brown Stetson
The guys at Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co. have created a drink for the Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival that’s sure to become the toast of the town. The Brown Stetson dons a name that captures the Western heritage for which Fort Worth is recognized. It offers smooth TX Blended Whiskey and rich clover honey balanced with tart grapefruit juice for a libation that’s perfectly sweet and tangy.
- 2 ounces TX Blended
- 1/2 ounce clover honey
- 1/2 ounce warm water
- 1 ounce freshly
- pressed grapefruit juice
- Thinly sliced
- grapefruit for garnish
- 1. Chill a 5 1/2 -ounce general purpose glass.
2. Add whiskey, honey and water to the chilled glass and thoroughly stir, then add the grapefruit juice.
3. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and cover and seal the mixing glass with the shaker. Shake vigorously to mix, chill, dilute and aerate the cocktail until completely cold, about 20 seconds.
4. Strain cocktail into glass, and garnish with thinly sliced grapefruit.
— Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co., 901 W. Vickery Blvd., Fort Worth, 817-840-9140, www.frdistil
Barkeeps at local restaurants are taking this refreshing, tequila-based libation to new levels with innovative additions like pomegranate juice, jalapeños and organic agave nectar. This was Hacienda San Miguel’s signature margarita. The West 7th development restaurant had just opened when the recipe was published but has since closed.
Makes 1 drink
- Ice cubes (about 10 or 11)
- 2 ounces silver or white
- 1 ounce orange liqueur
- (such as Cointreau)
- 1 ounce fresh lime juice
- 1 ounce pomegranate
1. Fill a shaker with 5 or 6 ice cubes, and pour in tequila.
2. Pour orange liqueur, lime juice and pomegranate juice into shaker.
3. Wet the rim of a margarita glass, turn it upside down and dip into salt.
4. Turn the glass right side up, add 4 or 5 ice cubes and pour in the contents of the shaker.
Creole Drum with Chayote Salad and Oysters Rockefeller
Prevalent in Louisiana’s coastal waters, black drum will be found on many New Orleans white-tablecloth restaurant menus. Louise Lamensdorf, who lived in New Orleans for more than a decade and has a deep understanding of the city’s food culture, presents the fish (attractively folded to create thickness and height) with a luxurious champagne and shellfish veloute, oysters Rockefeller and a julienned chayote salad. “Chayote is very common in New Orleans,” the tenured chef says. “This dish encompasses the type of cuisine that is now the focus of New Orleans dining.”
- 2 1/4 pounds drum (This can be ordered from Central Market. Red snapper is a suitable substitute.)
- Olive oil and butter, as needed
- 4 tablespoons Champagne and Shellfish VVeloute (recipe follows), plus more for plating
- 2 tablespoons Rockefeller Pesto (recipe follows)
- 18 raw oysters on the half shell (remove oysters and reserve shells)
- Crayfish for garnish, if desired
1. Cut drum lengthwise into 18 2-ounce pieces. There will be three pieces for each portion. For each portion, cross two pieces to create an “X.” Roll up the third piece and place it in the center of the “X.” Bring up the four sides of the “X” and fold them over the center to create a packagelike presentation.
2. Heat a saute pan with just enough olive oil to keep the fish from sticking. When the oil is hot, add the prepared fish bottom-side down. When the bottom begins to cook through, add 1-2 tablespoons of butter. (The amount of butter depends on how many portions are cooking at one time.) The butter will immediately brown. Lower the heat and keep basting the fish with the brown butter until it is cooked throughout. Remove and keep warm.
3. In a small skillet, heat 4 tablespoons of the Champagne and Shellfish Veloute with 2 tablespoons of the Rockefeller Pesto. Add oysters to pan for 30 seconds. Remove and place back in reserved shells. Keep extra sauce mixture for final plating.
Champagne and Shellfish Veloute
- 3 cups Mussel Broth (recipe follows)
- 1 cup champagne
- 1 cup heavy cream, reduced to 1/2 cup over medium heat
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 tablespoons softened butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
1. In a saucepan over medium heat, reduce Mussel Broth and champagne to 2 cups.
2. Add the reduced cream and simmer over medium heat to blend. Add cayenne.
3. Combine softened butter and flour to make a roux.
4. Remove saucepan from heat and add two-thirds of the roux mixture. Whisk well. Bring sauce back to the boil, then simmer 5-10 minutes. If sauce seems thin, continue to add more roux, little by little, until you achieve a velvety texture.
- 3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 3 sticks celery
- 1 tablespoon celery seed
- 8 parsley stems
- 4 bay leaves
- 3 cups dry vermouth
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 pounds of black mussels, washed (available at Central Market)
1. Bring all ingredients, except mussels, to a boil. Add mussels. When they open, remove and reserve for another use.
2. Strain broth and in a saucepan reduce to 3 cups over medium heat.
1. Place Chayote Salad in the center of each plate. Top with warm fish, then drizzle Champagne and Shellfish Veloute around the salad.
2. Completely coat the oysters with an even layer of the warmed mixture of the Cchampagne and Sshellfish Vveloute and Rockefeller PPesto. Place three oysters on each plate, banked against the Cchayote Ssalad.
3. Garnish with crayfish, if available. Pass around more Cchampagne and Sshellfish Vveloute for guests to enjoy with the fish.
- 4 chayote squash
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 3 green onions, finely diced
- 8 ounces jumbo lump crabmeat
- 1/2 cup Rockefeller Pesto (recipe follows), room temperature
1. Peel chayote, then julienne on a mandoline so the pulp resembles spaghetti. Toss with salt and let sit about 30 minutes, allowing the salt to draw out the liquid. Place chayote in a tea towel and slightly squeeze to remove most of the liquid. Place in a bowl and fluff with a fork.
2. Incorporate green onions and lump crab, lightly tossing so as not to break up the lumps.
3. When ready to serve, lightly toss with Rockefeller Pesto.
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup yellow onion, finely diced
- 1/4 cup green onions with tops, finely diced
- 1/2 cup green bell pepper, finely diced
- 1/2 cup celery, finely diced
- 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped garlic, mashed with 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups raw spinach, finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons Pernod liqueur
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
1. In a saucepan, melt butter. Add onions and green peppers and glaze with butter until onions are opaque. Incorporate celery and garlic. When all vegetables are soft, add the spinach, black pepper and cayenne pepper.
2. Place mixture in a food processor. Fold in the basil and Pernod. Puree until well-blended. With machine running, drizzle in the olive oil until all is well incorporated into a pesto texture. Reserve.
Note: This can be made several days ahead. Any leftover pesto may be used with pasta and shellfish.
— Bistro Louise Catering, www.bistrolouise.com, 817-291-2734