Monday, October 22, 2012

Hill Country Pumpkin and Pecan Pie

I know I've said it numerous times, but Autumn is my favorite season.   The promise of cooler temperatures, changing foliage colors, falling leaves and the smell of smoke from an outdoor fire make me the happiest!   I am able to put on the breaks of my busy schedule and actually take a moment or two or three and just sit outside enjoying it all.  And even though in Texas we don't get much color, I'm blessed to have wonderful friends who send me their pictures so I can enjoy it with them.   You know who you are... it's amazing and I'm very thankful.

When you make this unique pie, your home will permeate with the smells of Autumn and your family will devour it fast!

Hill Country Pumpkin and Pecan Pie

  • Grandma Bonnie's Double Pie Crust, recipe below (Longaberger Baskets) THE BEST EVER!
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 C dark brown sugar
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 t Ancho Chili Power
  • 1 t ground cloves
  • 1 t ground ginger
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 T vanilla bean paste
  • 15 oz packed pumpkin
  • 12 oz evaporated milk
  • 1 C Texas Pecans, rough chopped
Directions:   Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.   Using the double pie crust recipe below, roll out one large round and lay it into your pie plate, set aside.  Use the remaining dough and make fall cutouts; I used a small pumpkin and leaf cutter.

In a large bowl, mix the sugars and spices together then add your eggs and whisk. 

Add the vanilla bean paste and pumpkin, mixing well.   Slowly add the evaporated milk and again, mix well.   Toss in your pecans, mix and pour into your uncooked pie shell.

Using water as an adhesive, add your fall cutouts to the lip of the pie crust. 

Brush with an egg wash and place in the oven.   Bake for 15 minutes then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake an additional 45 minutes more.   Cool completely.

Grandma Bonnie's Double Pie Crust from Longaberger Basket
(the best pie crust recipe ever, in my opinion)

  •  4 cups flour
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups lard
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1 T. vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
Directions:    In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar and salt. With a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the lard until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix together egg, vinegar and water. Add to flour mixture. Mix until dough is moistened enough so it holds together when it is formed into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or until well chilled. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 12" circle.  Place the crust in the freezer while preparing the filling.
Makes 2 double crust pies.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Shrimp Vodka Shooters

I co-hosted a couples themed Wedding Shower a couple weeks ago, entitled "Stock the Bar".   What better way to greet the guests to that type of function than to offer them a Shrimp Shooter as soon as they arrive!   It's easy, quick but yet makes for an amazing presentation.   Found the nice shooter type shot glasses as Marshall's for $6.00 a box - so I made sure I bought enough for our crowd.   Placed on a tray and carried it around, serving people.   A different approach would be to line a serving dish with course sea salt and put the shooters in that.   Either way these are great for any party you have!

Shrimp Vodka Shooters

  • 2 lbs large shrimp, deveined with tails on
  • Zatarains Shrimp Boil seasoning
  • Zing Zang Blood Mary Mix
  • Vodka, I use Tito's
  • Lemon, sliced thin
  • chives, minced
  • fresh cracked pepper
Directions:  Chill the Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix and place your vodka in the freezer to get them very cold.   Clean and peel your shrimp, leaving the tails on.   In a large pot, boil water and cook shrimp in the Zatarains Shrimp Boil seasoning per the package instructions.  Remove from the water, drain and chill!

To assemble and serve, pour 1/2part Bloody Mary mix, 1/4 part vodka, 1 chilled shrimp, garnished with the thin lemon, chives and cracked pepper.

Serve immediately and keep them cold!

Coming up... the Pumpkin Patch Food Demo

Please join me...

Sunday, October 28th, 2012 from noon to 3:00

at Faraday's Kitchen Store, Lakeway for

The Pumpkin Patch, a Texas style culinary demonstration down the autumn back roads of the Hill Country.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fire Roasted Hatch Green Chile and Jalapeno Pulled Pork Sliders

The title of this recipe is certainly a mouth-full, but the flavor you get with that mouth-full is amazing.

I hosted a "Stock the Bar" Couples Shower for my brother and his fiance, Amanda.   I thought having more finger foods would be fun, especially for the guys, as the football games were on and it was a casual atmosphere.   Pulled Pork sliders seemed the way to go and while at the grocery store I noted some Hatch Green Chile's so grabbed those and a few jalapeno's.   Though I fire roasted the chile's and jalapeno's I opted for a cole slaw topping on the first batch of sliders.   It wasn't until later in the evening with the party in full swing was I spurred to try it with those delicious charred gems and I'll thank my friends husband, Chet, for peeling the chile's and starting this.   So in the middle of a party in my home, I'm playing in the kitchen... how fitting.

Some people know my food story and others don't but I grew up playing in the pantry.   My father was an Air Force pilot and we moved every year for 16 years straight.   There were times when we moved into a new neighborhood and I didn't have friends to play with so I'd play in the pantry.   What I know now as marinade was simply the curiosity of a six year old, blonde hair and blued eyed, bored little girl.   I'd steal butter and sugar from the kitchen and run back to my room where I had a complete kitchen set up (in that lovely 70ies avocado green) and pretend to make cakes.   The year I got my Easy Bake Oven was monumental and I still remember it like it was yesterday.

Being able to play in the pantry without any restrictions lead me to my no fear attitude in the kitchen.   I will try anything, attempt anything and if I fail, so what.   I don't normally measure unless I am baking, and I will wander aimlessly through Whole Foods or Central Market to see what I can find to play with.   Yes I play with food... and I love it!

So here is the newly created Pulled Pork Slider recipe, which by the way, is far better than the one with cole slaw on it.  

Fire Roasted Hatch Green Chile and Jalapeno Pulled Pork Sliders

Fire Roasted Chile and Jalapeno Ingredients:
  • 5 Hatch Chiles
  • 5 Jalapenos
  • 1 paper sack
Directions:  Over a high flame on the grill, char and blister the skin of the chiles and jalapenos.   Place in the sack to steam.  Once cool, peel the charred skin.  Split open, remove seeds and chop.

Pulled Pork Ingredients:
  •  2 lb boneless pork shoulder roast, trimmed
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 2 T salt
  • 1 T cracked black pepper
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 C apple juice
  • 1 C Woody's Sweet BBQ Sauce
  • 1 T finely chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
Directions:   Combine dry ingredients and rub over trimmed pork should roast until ready to cook, a day in advance.   In a large crock pot insert or regular pan, heat olive oil and sear roast on all sides.   Add apple juice and simmer, again in either the crock pot or on the stove top, until the pork is very tender.   Drain as much fat off the top as possible, then remove and shred or "pull".   Return to the crock and finish with the Woody's Sweet BBQ Sauce, chipotle in adobo sauce and keep warm until ready to serve.

To assemble:   Toast slider buns on a hot griddle with a bit of butter.   Add the pulled pork and top with a mixture of the fire roasted chile's and jalapeno's.   Slap the top on it and devour!   Perhaps you could add a slice of jalapeno jack cheese, but it's not necessary!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Banana Nut Bars - nom nom nom

Mmmmmmm are the sounds I heard from my family as we sat around the dining room and ended our Sunday meal with this little dessert.   Is it really a dessert - well no, because I think you can eat this for breakfast, lunch AND dinner as well.   Fairly simple and basic banana nut bread recipe with chocolate chips in a baking sheet with a brown butter glaze.   Simply amazing!

Banana Nut Bars

  • 1 1/2 C sugar
  • 1 C sour cream
  • 1/2 C butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 C mashed ripe bananas *see note
  • 1 T vanilla bean paste
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 C walnuts, chopped
  • 1 C chocolate chips
Directions:   Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and grease/flour a baking sheet.   In a large bowl, mix sugar, sour cream, butter and eggs until combined.   Add banana's and vanilla bean paste, mixing well.   Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Mix well then gently fold in the nuts and chocolate chips.   Pour into prepared pan and bake for 28 - 30 minutes until done.

Brown Butter Glaze

  • 1/2 C butter
  • 4 C confectioners sugar
  • 1 T vanilla bean paste
  •  1/4 C whole milk
Heat butter in a non reactive fry pan until boiling.  Watch this very closely, as you want to remove it as soon as it browns.   There is a fine line between brown butter and burnt butter.   Whisk the brown butter together with the confectioners sugar and vanilla bean paste.  Slowly incorporate the milk until you get a glaze which is thinner than frosting.  

Spread the glaze on the warm bars, cool then cut into servings.   Keep any leftovers {if any} in a covered container.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

New York Strip with sauteed mushrooms and Beurre Blanc

Was in the mood for a sexy sauce... you know the kind you lick off your fingers?   This Beurre Blanc really compliments the simplicity of a salt and peppered grilled steak along with some sauteed mushrooms.   I paired it with a simple salad and this was our amazing dinner tonight.

This Beurre Blanc is really delicious and would be the perfect sauce to many things... so experiment!

Grilled New York Strip with Sauteed Mushrooms and Beurre Blanc

  • Your choice steaks, room temp and seasoned with salt and pepper only
  • 1 lb sliced baby portobello mushrooms
  • 1 T olive oil
Preheat your grill.  In a medium sautee pan, add olive oil and sautee mushrooms on medium heat until dark and caramelized. Remove from heat and hold.

Grill your steaks the way you like them, then remove from heat and let them rest, covered with foil, for 10 minutes.

Beurre Blanc Ingredients:
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 8 oz white wine
  • 3 T heavy cream
  • 12 T cold butter, cubed
  • salt and pepper to taste
In a saute pan, reduce the shallots and wine until about 2 T remain.   Add the heavy cream and cook until it bubbles, then remove from heat.  Slowly whisk in the nobs of butter, a few at a time, until incorporated.  As you whisk a few in, the sauce gets thicker and thicker.   Once all the butter in whisked in, season to taste with salt and pepper.
 Sauteeing the mushrooms

 Making the wine and shallot reduction

 Added the heavy cream and bubbling

To serve, top your steak with mushroom and then the Beurre Blanc.  I added some minced chive for a tiny bit of taste and color.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Grilled Peach Shortcake

Fredericksburg, Texas is know for its amazing peaches.    Here in Austin, there are peach stands on almost every corner and they are so delicious.After grabbing a bagful, I made this summer dessert that we can't get enough of!

Grilled Peach Shortcake

Shortcake Ingredients:
  • 2 C flour
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 t sea salt
  • 1/3 C butter, chilled and cubed
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 1 vanilla bean
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment or silpat.   In a food processor, combine the dry ingredients.   Add the cold butter and blend until the mixture resembles corn meal.   Add the milk and the seeds from 1/2 of the vanilla bean.   Drop by rounded scoop onto silpat and bake for about 15 minutes.   As an option, you can brush the tops with a bit of cream for a glossy affect.

Peach Ingredients:
  • 8-10 peaches
  • baking spray
  • heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 C confectioners sugar
  • vanilla bean
Preheat your grill to medium and make sure the grates are really clean and free of the previously grilled food.   Cut the peaches in half and remove the pit.   Spray the cut side with a light coating of baking spray and transfer onto the grill for about 5 minutes.   In the mean time, whip the heavy cream with the confectioners sugar and remaining vanilla bean seeds, until stiff peaks are formed.

Remove the peaches from the grill.   The skins may fall or sluff off easily, then cut into slices and put into a large bowl.   You can add a bit of sugar to the sliced peaches to bring out the juices if you want.   To assemble, cut a shortcake open, add your grilled peach slices and juice, top with the whipped cream and up the top of the shortcake on.   Makes about 10 - 12 shortcakes!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sipping the Summertime Cocktail

Summertime in the evenings... watching the sunset, feeling the breeze, enjoying the end of the day.   Put this in your hand and your enjoyment level will increase!   It's light, refreshing and really flavorful!

Watermelon Lime Cocktail

  • 1 C seedless watermelon, cubed
  • 1 t sugar
  • 2 oz Vodka {I love Tito's}
  • juice of 1 lime
  • splash of beer
  • lime and watermelon wedge as garnish

Directions:   In a tall shaker muddle the watermelon and sugar together until well mixed and very juicy.   Fill a glass with crushed ice then drain the watermelon liquid into the glass {it should fill it 2/3 full}.   Add 2 oz vodka, lime juice and splash of beer.   Mix and sip... delicious!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Grilled Redfish on the half shell

Trey and I managed to sneak away for a couple of days to Aransas Pass with some friends. We rented a lovely home in Bahia Bay and in talking with some friends, discovered the most awesome Guide! He picked us up at our rent home in his boat and off we went on a full day of fishing.   Caught 17 Trout and 5 Redfish.  I brought in the biggest Red of the day at 27 5/8 inches long and weighing in at 8.25 lbs.   Took me 25 minutes to bring her into the boat.

So my task today was to cook some of the Redfish for dinner... Oh. My. Gawsh!   It was delicious!!!

Try this recipe on whatever fish you have because it compliments the meat of the fish so well.   And as you can see, there was nothing left {nothing}!

Grilled Redfish on the half shell

  • 1/2 C Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/3 C Olive Oil
  • 1 T Cajun Seasoning
  • 1 t paprika
  • sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 sweet onion, sliced thinly into rings
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly 
  • juice of 1 lime
Directions:   Preheat your grill to medium.   Rinse and pat dry your Redfish fillets on the half shell.  Our great Guide, Scott McCune, actually did the filleting for us {thanks Buddy}.   In a shallow pan, place the Redfish and pour over the Worcestershire Sauce and Olive Oil.   Top with the Cajun Seasoning, paprika, salt and pepper, onion, garlic and juice of 1 lime.   Let stand and marinate for about 20 minutes.

Remove the onions and garlic and lay the Redfish meat side down on the grill to mark for about 3 minutes.   Then flip over so the skin is grill side down.   Return the onions and garlic to the top of the Redfish and pour half the marinade over the fish.   Close the lid and grill for about 15 minutes on medium low heat.   After 15 minutes, pour the remaining marinade over the fish and finish grilling for an additional 10 minutes.

While the fish is finishing on the grill, make the Butter Cilantro Sauce {recipe below}

Butter Cilantro Sauce

  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, minced
  • sea salt and pepper
Directions:   Melt the butter and remove from heat.  Add the juice of 1 lime and the cilantro, stirring well.

To assemble:   Remove fish from grill and plate, keeping the onions and garlic on the fish.   Generously add Butter Cilantro Sauce and serve with fresh lime.   Amazing!   Make more than you actually need as it'll be gone!
Completely devoured!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Tilapia with a Leek Cilantro Salad

This is just a yummy dish!   Oven baked tilapia is a good staple.  I breaded mine with panko for a really light and crunchy texture.  But what sets this recipe apart is the leek and cilantro salad on top.   Served over a bed of jasmine rice, this is the perfect summertime meal.

Oven Baked Tilapia with Leek Cilantro Salad

  • Jasmine Rice, cooked per the package to serve 4
  • 4 Tilapia fillets, rinsed and dried
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 12 oz panko bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper
Directions:   Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Prepare Jasmine Rice per the package to make 4 servings.   Rinse and dry tilapia fillets and rub each one with olive oil.   Dredge through the panko break crumbs, pushing with your fingers so it sticks.   Add a little extra olive oil onto your pan and place the breaded tilapia on it.   Season with salt and pepper and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until done.

Leek and Cilantro Salad

  • 2 leeks, green tops discarded, sliced in half, rinsed and patted dry
  • 2 bunches cilantro, rinsed and dried
  • 2 T rice vinegar
  • 1 T butter
  • 2 T olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
Directions:   Chop off the green tops of the leeks and slice in half, which makes cleaning easier.   Remove all sand and pat dry.   Slice the leeks and add to a saute pan with the 1 T of butter.   Saute until tender, remove from heat and cool.   Meanwhile, pick the clean cilantro leaves off the stems and add to a bowl.   Add the cooled sauted leeks, rice vinegar, olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To assemble: Start with a bed of jasmine rice, then the baked tilapia and topped with the delicious leek and cilantro salad.   Serves 4.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

{Comfort} = Mac and Cheese

I just had a "hankering" for some Mac and Cheese and thought it was all American perfect for our Memorial Day celebration with the neighbors.  Who doesn't like Mac and Cheese, especially the homemade version topped with a cheese and bread crumb mixture.   You can easily vary the types of cheeses and tailor this for even picky eaters.

Homemade Mac and Cheese

  • 1 lb macaroni, cooked al dente (about 7 minutes)
  • 1/2 C pasta water
  • 3 T flour
  • 1 lb New York Cheddar, grated
  • 8 oz. Fontina, grated
  • 8 oz. Gruyere, grated
  • 6 oz. Parmesan, grated
  • 1 C whole milk
  • 2 t fresh grated nutmeg
  • cracked pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 3 T butter
  • 1 C panko crumbs
  • 1 C Cheddar Cheese, finely grated
Directions:   Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil and cook macaroni al dente, about 7 minutes.   Drain and transfer pasta to a casserole dish.   Reserve 1/2 C pasta water for sauce.   In same saucepan and using 1/2 C pasta water, add 3 T flour, stirring all lumps out for about 5 minutes.    Then add the milk, grated cheeses and nutmeg.   Bring to a simmer, melting the cheese.   Add the salt and pepper, mixing well, then pour over the macaroni, making sure it coats everything.  Melt the butter in a small saucepan and toss the bread crumbs to coat, then mix with the cheese and top the casserole.   Bake in oven for about 25 minutes until hot in center.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Grandpa Thompson's Texas Sheet Cake

In celebrating Memorial Day Weekend, our cul-de-sac is getting together for a block party tonight.  To make things simple, one of the neighbors ordered a bunch of pizza's and then everyone is bringing a few items to share.   Besides making my homemade Mac and Cheese, which I'll feature later... I'm making my Grandfather's Texas Sheet Cake.

I have had this recipe in 1982 and you can tell how worn and well-used it is by the condition of the recipe card.  My grandfather, Dale Thompson Sr., was a well known baker and his nick name was Pie Baker.  He'd get up at 3:30 a.m. when we'd visit and make all sorts of delicious recipes from oven baked Quail, homemade biscuits, pies and this wonderful sheet cake.   All the cousins would devour it in a day.

My Grandfather was in the Navy and served during WW II.   He was a business man who owned his own Plumbing Company, Thompson Plumbing.   My grandparents bought their dream home in 1955 in Lawton, Oklahoma and my darling grandmother, Virginia, still lives {yes, in the same house}.   It's been 3 years since we last visited, but the house looked and smelled the same as I remember when I was younger.

This is a tried and true recipe that you cannot beat.   Enjoy it as much as I enjoy making it, in honor of my Grandpa.

Grandpa Thompson's Texas Sheet Cake

  • 1 C butter
  • 4 T cocoa powder
  • 1 C water
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t chili powder
  • 1 t soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 C sugar
  • 2 1/2 C flour
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 C sour cream
  • 1 t vanilla
Directions:   Preheat oven to 375 degrees.   In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, cocoa and water and bring to a boil.  In a separate bowl, mix together the cinnamon, chili powder, soda, salt, sugar and flour.   Add the butter mixture, stirring well, then add the eggs, sour cream and vanilla.  Mix well and pour into a greased and floured sheet pan.   Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

Icing Ingredients:
  • 1/2 C butter
  • 4 T cocoa
  • 6 T half and half
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 1 lb box confectioners sugar
  • 1 C chopped Texas pecans
Combine butter, cocoa, half and half and vanilla in a saucepan, and heat until butter is melted.   Add confectioners sugar and chopped pecans. Mix well and spread over cooled cake.   Cut into individual servings and place on a large platter.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Chocolate Cab Cupcakes

As a 1st Anniversary gift to my friend Rod Williams and his beautiful wife, Shelley Mac, I created a signature cupcake using their favorite flavors - dark chocolate and Cabernet Sauvignon.   Rod and Shelley are musicians and one of Shelley's songs Take Me Back is my summer anthem!   Check out her Reverbnation page.

I made a dozen, but sent Rod home with a box of 9 as hey, I had to try one and of course, Emma and my husband had to be tasters also.   They're really good - with a gooey dark chocolate center and a not too sweet dark chocolate buttercream with a cab reduction instead of vanilla.   Paired with their favorite Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon, I'm certain they had a wonderful celebration.

Try these decadent cupcakes when you need a special dessert and pair it with your favorite Cab!

Mac-Williams Chocolate Cab Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcake Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 C all purpose flour
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t sea salt
  • 1 C special dark cocoa
  • 1/2 C canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 t Ancho Chili Powder
  • 1 C Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1 special dark chocolate bar
Directions:   Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake pan with papers.   Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.   Add the oil, eggs, chili powder and cab and blend with a mixer.   Using a 1 inch ice cream scoop, place 1 scoop in each paper.   Add 1 piece of dark chocolate, then add another scoop of batter.

Place in oven and bake for 18 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool.

Chocolate Cab Frosting Ingredients:
  • 1/2 C vegetable shortening
  • 6 oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 C confectioners sugar
  • 1 C special dark cocoa
  • 2 T Cab Reduction {see note below}
Directions:   Blend shortening and butter together until fluffy and add confectioners sugar and cocoa.   Mix to combine then add the Cab Reduction and blend well.   If the frosting is too thick, add a hint of vanilla or cream to thin it out.   Place in pastry bag and pipe onto cooled cupcakes and serve.

 I stumbled upon this Cab and love it!
Cab Reduction:

In a small saucepan over medium low heat, reduce 1 C of your favorite Cabernet Sauvignon until it renders about 2 T.   Cool and use in the frosting.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

2012 Sausage and Opera Festival, Elgin GIVE AWAY!

I have 2 VIP tickets to the 2012 Sausage and Opera Festival in Elgin on Saturday, May 26th.   These tickets include front row seating during the 2 hour FAVA performance and includes 2 meals!   FAVA is the Franco-American Vocal Academy set with a beautiful chamber orchestra.

How do you win them???

Follow The Four Points Foodie on FB or become a follower of the website and leave me a comment.   Already a follower???  Share my FB page with your friends and family.

Tickets will be at will-call for pick up!


The City of Elgin Welcomes Specialty Sausage and Sounds from Franco-American Vocal Academy


WHEN:            2012 Sausage and Opera Festival
Saturday, May 26
 WHERE:          Elgin Depot Square
310 North Main Street at Depot Street
Elgin, Texas 78621

WHAT:            Music and flavor collide at the 2012 Sausage and Opera Festival. The City of Elgin welcomes lovely sounds and tasty bites through a unique evening festival. Opera singers from the Franco-American Vocal Academy along with a chamber orchestra will serenade festivalgoers in a memorable two-hour performance. The group will perform La Perichole, Offenbach, which is sung and acted in a combination of French-English and Spanish. To satisfy the palates of guests, a plethora of famed Elgin sausage will be on site including a special “opera sausage” created exclusively for this year’s event.

                        With the 2012 Sausage and Opera Festival come a number of story ideas:

                        Memorial Day Recipes: Just days before Memorial Day, the 2012 Sausage and Opera Festival will show off the best barbeque in Texas. Interview festival participant and Southside Market Chef Bryan Bracewell on secrets to perfect grilling for Memorial Day guests.

                        Profile A Fava Student: Deemed “especially likeable and pleasing” by the Boston Globe, American lyric baritone DeMar Austin Neal IV consistently delights audiences at home and abroad on both the operatic stage and in concert halls. Interview Neal to find out what a day in the life of an opera singer contains. For more information on DeMar Austin Neal IV, visit

                   Why Sausage and Music: Beginning as a joke when asked by friends why they moved to Elgin, FAVA Founders William Lewis and Frederique Added’s answer of “to start a sausage and opera festival” became a reality.  The two incredibly accomplished, classically trained singers moved to the “Sausage Capitol” after a stay in Austin. Find out why/how the two combined their passion for the arts with the city’s love for sausage and how the festival benefits up and coming talent.