Monday, August 30, 2010

Huge accident at Four Points... 620 at Bullick Hollow

Wanted to let Austinites know there is a huge accident on Bullick Hollow near FM 620... several ambulances have gone by, fire trucks and many other rescue vehicles.   I'd avoid this area if you can!

Ghirardelli Chocolate Contest goes on without Spicy Pecan

It's with great sadness that I announce that my flavor creation in the Ghirardelli Bring Your Light to Dark contest was eliminated.   I had a remarkable experience and am still overwhelmed by the support I received these past weeks.   Today the big consensus is that I should produce my chocolate anyway.   Although I could never compete with Ghirardelli in mass producing my flavor, I can make it for Holiday's and as Real Estate gifts.   So off I go mold shopping! 

If you'd like to try Spicy Pecan drop me a comment with your address, become a blog follower and I will send you some.  It is very, very good!

So when God closes a door, another one opens... my eyes are wide open to see what occurs next!!!   Woohoo!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

C 130 flyby over Steiner Ranch today!

While in the kitchen today at 12:30 we heard a ZZZZOOOOOOOMMMMMM and I knew instantly what is was... ran outside to the back and watch as 3 additional C 130's flew overhead at a low altitude.   It was an impressive Steiner Ranch fly by and I threw my hands up in the air and clapped as we got buzzed.   My husband asked me why I was applauding and I said "this is my history, this is who I am..."   I'm an Air Force Brat full of pride for the red, white and blue!!!   What impressed my husband the most was that I identified the aircraft immediately.  He came inside and did a google search and sure enough, it was the C 130.  I know my planes and I still love the smell of jet fuel!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Incredibly moist chocolate banana nut bread

This is a great back to school recipe as it makes about 3 mid sized loaves and I serve this continuously throughout the day.  It's a great out the door breakfast or I'm Home from School snack and my husband will steal a piece late in the evening too!

I always freeze that banana's that are too ripe to eat.   Don't let the dark brown skin fool you - squish them out of the skins once thawed and you'll have the best banana's for this bread!

Chocolate Banana Nut Bread

  • 7 over ripe or previously frozen banana's, thawed
  • 1/2 C butter
  • 3/4 C brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 t apple cider vinegar
  • 2 1/2 C flour
  • 1 T baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 C buttermilk
  • 1 C chocolate chips
  • 1 C walnuts, chopped
Directions:   Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly oil 3 medium sized loaf pans, set aside.  In one bowl, thaw out your banana's if using frozen and beat until mashed, set aside.   In mixing bowl, cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy.   Add eggs, one at a time and continue to mix for a few more minutes.   Add vanilla and apple cider vinegar.   Slowly add your flour, soda, baking powder and salt until incorporated.  It will be thick at this time.   Add the buttermilk and you can adjust at this point using less or more depending on the batter thickness.   Toss in your chocolate chips and nuts and stir to mix.  You can use pecans if you'd like...  pour batter into the 3 pans and bake about 50 minutes or until done.   I recommend about 30 minutes of cooling, by my husband swears that eating this when it's super warm is the best!!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Happy Birthday Cocktail Party

My daughter Lindsey turned 23 the other day!   All she asked for was a family dinner but I had other plans... instead, I opted for a surprise Cocktail Party and invited lots of her friends.  Started cooking the night before after she went to bed (she moved back home until Law School next year) and hid it all in the extra refrigerator we have.   Managed to surprise her and these are some of the offerings I made!

 I sauted garlic and sliced cherry tomatoes in a little olive oil to soften, then removed from heat.   Tossed in a handful of basil ribbons and put this on top of grilled Ciabatta bread.  Added a little Parmesan and yum!

An Antipasto - Artichoke and Pepper Marinated Salad

Flank Steak with Brie on fried Ciabatta topped with a dried cranberry
 I marinated a flank steak overnight in balsamic vinegar and olive oil with crushed garlic.  Over hot coals, we grilled it to medium rare and then cooled it for a hour or so.   In a saute pan, I fried Ciabatta in olive oil and plated.   Then I thinly sliced the flank steak and placed that on the bread with a dollop of cream Brie with herbs and garnished with a dried cranberry.

Potato Rounds with Scallion Vinaigrette and Parmesan
The plate has already been attacked or it would have looked prettier.  I sliced russet potatoes about 1/4 inch thick and placed them on a baking sheet, topped with a little olive oil.   Baked at 375 degrees for 15 minutes then topped them with a scallion vinaigrette, garnished with Parmesan and back into the oven for an additional 5 minutes.

Scallion Vinaigrette:  2 bunches green onions, sliced very thin * 2 T French Mustard * 3 T red wine vinegar * salt and pepper to taste* 1/4 C olive oil.   Combine all ingredients and top each potato.

Black Bean and Corn Salsa
This one is super easy and yet so delicious.   In a bowl, add 1 can black beans, drained with 1 can corn, drained, 1/2 C salsa and 3 T finely sliced green onions.  Mix well and serve with chips!

Steiner Ranch Restaurant closing - TexMex coming soon.

It was announced recently that Thai Harmony Restaurant in Steiner Ranch will be closing its doors on September 19th.   It was a difficult decision for the owners, but having 2 asian inspired eateries in Steiner proved to be tough.  So in it's place will be Suelo Nuevo, a Tex Mex Bar and Grill.

Steiner needs a Tex Mex Restaurant as right now everyone heads over to Flores and Mesa Rosa.  So our inventory will consist of the following delicious places:
  • Steiner Ranch Steak House
  • Fions
  • Lakeside Grill
  • Cho Sushi
  • Suelo Nuevo TexMex Bar and Grill
And don't forget about Cups and Cones for your dessert or morning coffee or The Market for those already prepped meals for the busy family!

At this point, I'd say that we are set!   We certainly don't need to throw in a Randall's now - do we?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Texan survives the Ghirardelli cut

Stacey Rider, from Austin, has survived the first round cut and is a top 4 finalist in the Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate Bring Your Dark to Light contest and is the only contestant from Texas.   More than 14,000 people entered the competition by creating a unique flavor idea using one of Ghirardelli’s Intense Dark chocolates and 3 extra ingredients.   In addition to creating a unique taste, each entrant had to name and write the story of their creation that would capture attention.

Rider’s creation?  A combination of 72% dark cocoa chocolate with pecans and chili named Spicy Pecan.
“My inspiration was Central Texas with its pecan trees and spicy food influence,” said Rider.  “It was an ‘aha’ moment that intense dark chocolate, pecans and chili would blend into a memorable taste combination.”

Rider is mother to 5, cook, and local Realtor with the Bartlett Real Estate Group, Keller Williams Realty.  In her spare time, she is also the Four Points Foodie food blogger, where she writes about creating custom cuisine and shares her recipes.

To vote for Stacey's flavor, SPICY PECAN, go to

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Vote for Spicy Pecan today!

Tomorrow, the least voted for flavor in the Ghirardelli Chocolate Bring Your Dark to Light contest will be removed, leaving 4 top flavors. Vote today for Spicy Pecan!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Contest - Stacey Rider

Here is a video that was shot during the demo/tasting of my dessert that emulates my Ghirardelli Chocolate flavor, Spicy Pecan!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Zesty Green Cabbage Cole Slaw with Chardonnay Vinaigrette

I love cole slaw but my oldest daughter, Lindsey, doesn't like it made with the traditional creamy sauce.  I came up with a different "none mayonnaise" type dressing and we couldn't stop eating it!   Added sliced almonds for an additional texture and it's great!

Zesty Green Cabbage Cole Slaw with Chardonnay Vinaigrette

  • 1 head green cabbage, julienned
  • 3 carrots, grated
  • 1/2 sliced almonds
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • zest of 1 lime

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/3 C chardonnay
  • 3 T french mustard
  • 1/3 C olive oil (I used lime infused olive oil)
  • splash raw apple cider vinegar
  • sea salt
  • lots of fresh cracked pepper
Directions:  I like to cut my cabbage in half through the stem, remove the tough bit, and julienne each side into thin ribbons about 3 inches long.   To that, I add my grated carrots, zest of both lemon and lime and the sliced almonds.  I salt and pepper the dry "slaw" at this point.   You can make it ahead of time and NOT combine the slaw with the dressing until ready to serve.

In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for the vinaigrette and whisk until incorporated.   Pour over slaw until moistened and to your liking.   Gently salt and taste... then pepper very well.   Keep cool!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Austin woman is finalist in Ghirardelli chocolate contest

I was on TV today... our local CBS station KEYE did a couple live segments of me plating my dessert that emulates my Ghirardelli Chocolate creation!   I'm a top 5 but one flavor will be eliminated next Monday... I certainly don't want that to be me...

Please VOTE for me everyday at

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Living a dark chocolate dream...

Whew - I feel wonderfully immersed in dark chocolate and I love it! The Ghirardelli Bring Your Dark to Light contest has kicked off and the support I've received so far has been incredible. Thank you thank you thank you to everyone who voted and continues to vote every day.

I'm getting ready for a TV interview on Friday and then the big demo/tasting event this Saturday at Faraday's Kitchen Store in Lakeway. If you're close by, please stop in!

Lastly, here it the link to vote!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Dark Chocolate Dessert

Here is my Ghirardelli Dessert that mimics my chocolate creation for the Ghirardelli contest I'm in... one of the top 5, you can vote for me every day!   I need help in naming this... email me your ideas!

Cake:     2 C all purpose flour, 1 ½ C special dark Cocoa powder, 4 T ancho chili powder, 2 ½ t baking soda, ½ t salt, ½ lb butter softened, 1 C granulated sugar, 1 C brown sugar, 3 extra large eggs, 3 t vanilla extract, 2/3 C buttermilk, ¾ C sour cream, 3 T brewed espresso

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a sheet pan and set aside.   In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, chili powder, baking soda and salt.   In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approx. 5 minutes.   Add the eggs one at a time, the vanilla and mix well.   Combine the buttermilk, sour cream and coffee in a separate bowl.   On low speed, add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture alternately in thirds until only blended.   Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 25 – 30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.   Cool cake before cutting into sections and set aside until assembly.

Ghirardelli Chocolate Panna Cotta:         ½ C water, 5 t or 2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin, 8 oz Ghirardelli Bittersweet chocolate chopped, 6 oz Ghirardelli 70% cocoa chocolate chopped,  2 ½ C heavy whipping cream, 2 ½ C whole milk, ½ C granulated sugar, 4 t ancho chili powder, 2 t vanilla, 1 vanilla bean split and seed scraped.

Place ½ C water in small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over, let soften for 10 minutes.   Place both chopped chocolates in a large metal bowl.   Combine cream, milk, sugar, ancho chili powder and vanilla in large saucepan.   Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves; remove from heat.   Add gelatin mixture and whisk to dissolve.   Pour cream mixture over chocolates in bowl and whisk until completely melted.   Place bowl over a large bowl of ice water and stir often until mixture thickens like pudding, adding more ice if needed, about 30 minutes.   Remove and keep refrigerated until assembly.

Pecan Mascarpone Cream:          2 C Mascarpone cheese, ½ C pecans finely ground, 2 T powder sugar, 1 C heavy whipping cream.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the whipping cream with the powder sugar until stiff peaks form.   Gently incorporate the Mascarpone cheese with the whipped cream and the pecans until mixed.   Form into quenelles for the top of the dessert.
To assemble:     On a plate, start with a piece of cake centered.   Spoon the Chocolate Panna Cotta over the top and let it ooze over the side.   Top with the quenelle of Pecan Mascarpone Cream and lightly dust with ancho chili powder.   Serve immediately and enjoy!

I am a top 5 finalist in the Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate contest!

Stacey Rider - Top 5 finalist!

I have been chosen as one of the top 5 finalists in the Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate Bring Your Dark to Light contest.   Over 13,000 people entered the competition by creating a unique flavor idea using one of Ghirardelli's intense dark chocolates and 3 additional ingredients.   I created a combination of 72% dark cocoa chocolate with pecans and chili.

I've created a dessert that mimics my chocolate flavor, as only the winner will be produced by Ghirardelli in 2011.   Please join me for a FREE demo/tasting at Faraday's Kitchen Store, Lakeway on Saturday August 7th from 10:00 - 2:00

My inspiration was Central Texas with its pecan trees and spicy food influence.   I had an "aha" moment that intense dark chocolate, pecans and chili would blend into a memorable taste combination.   Coming up with the dessert is a way to share those flavors during the voting process.

Starting today, August 2nd, consumers can visit to vote for their favorite finalist.   Once a vote is registered, consumers are automatically entered for a chance to win thoughsands of instant chocolate prizes, including Intense Dark Chocolate bars and gift baskets; and on elucky person will win free Intense Dark Chocolate for a year.

Consumers can vote every day for more chances to win.   Every two weeks, the flavor with the least number of votes will be eliminated.   The flavor that survives each round, by receiving the most number of consumer votes, will become the next Intense Dark flavor, announced on Sept. 20th.

This is an honor and I'm excited to share this incredible privilege with Central Texas!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Excitement and a new recipe too!

I've mentioned I have a HUGE announcement tomorrow... and I'm about to bust at the seams in excitement.  But I do have a new recipe I want to share as well...

We had leftover salmon and I wanted to create something that could be made at breakfast, lunch or as an evening appetizer and this is what I came up with!

Salmon with Shallot Spread Appetizers

  • Smoked Salmon
  • Ciabatta bread, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 T olive oil
  • 1 pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 1 shallot, minced fine
  • 1 T fresh rosemary, minced fine
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions:   In a saute pan, heat the olive oil and fry your Ciabatta bread until toasted on both sides.  In a bowl, mix the softened cream cheese with the shallots, rosemary, lemon zest and juice and season well with salt and pepper.  Spread onto each piece of toasted Ciabatta bread and top with the smoked salmon.  I like using chilled salmon, but room temperature is just fine as well.  For added zip, squeeze a little additional lemon juice over each piece and pepper again.   Enjoy!