Saturday, June 27, 2009


As a kid I remember the joys of getting that ice cold drink at the country market on the way to our favorite, well my dad's hole...and. if you were really lucky it was not just a 'coke', my dad's favorite...

(my 'friend's cute grandson)

You got a 'Dr. Pepper Float' once you arrived home...and believe me, I love my root beer floats, but something about this that brings back even more memories...

On my visit, I was reminded that the original and oldest Dr. Pepper plant was still producing the original Pure Cane Sugar Dr. Pepper recipe bottles...and how many Texans still love this old nostalgia treat!

I also used a bottle to marinate some beef ribs overnight in the fridge...

...pour a little into your 'bake bean' recipe instead of brown sugar...

...after being on the grill I added some Dean Fearing's Mop Sauce that had a 'Molasses' base, and we decided I should have left them just as they were (made it too sweet), or used a spicy 'hot' based BBQ sauce to the 'sweet' Dublin Dr. Pepper base marinade...they were still tender, and juicy!


Dublin Dr. Pepper History:

In 1885 Waco, Texas was a wild frontier town, nicknamed “six-shooter junction.” Wade Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store was a prominent business and popular meeting place in downtown Waco. People came in for everything from flea powder to stationery, from cigars to fountain drinks.

One of Morrison’s employees, pharmacist Charles Alderton, noticed how customers loved the smell of the soda fountain with its many fruit, spice and berry aromas. He wanted to invent a drink that tasted the wonderful way the soda fountain smelled. After much experimentation he finally felt he had hit on “something different.” Patrons at the drug store agreed.

Soon other soda fountains were buying the syrup from Morrison and serving it. People loved the new unnamed drink and would order it by simply calling out “shoot me a Waco!” But Morrison named it Dr Pepper, after the father of a girl he had loved back in his home state of Virginia.

In 1891 Morrison and new partner Robert Lazenby organized the Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company in order to bottle and sell Dr Pepper as well as other soft drinks. That same year, while visiting Waco, a Texas businessman by the name of Sam Houston Prim tasted the new fountain drink and knew he wanted to sell it in his bottling plant in Dublin, Texas, 80 miles to the west.

Under the direction of Mr. Lazenby, Dr Pepper enjoyed steady growth in sales and began to spread in popularity across the country. But it wasn’t until 1904 that Dr Pepper gained real national exposure. Along with other soon to be favorites like ice cream cones and hamburgers, Dr Pepper was introduced to the rest of the U. S. and the entire world at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.

Since then Dr Pepper’s popularity has grown consistently over the years to become one of the top 3 soft drinks in the United States and the No. 1 non-cola. And over that time Dr Pepper Corporate Headquarters have remained here in Texas. That’s why Dr Pepper can truly claim the title of “Texas Original.”

The Story of “Mr. Dr Pepper”*

Bill Kloster never studied marketing. The words goals, objectives, strategies and tactics weren't part of his vocabulary.

He didn’t promote his product from a textbook; he promoted it from his heart — a concept that would have left marketing gurus cringing. Except that it worked.

Bill Kloster operated on instinct that was so on target that his tiny three-county Dublin Dr Pepper franchise is continuously among the top 10 producers in per capita consumption.

Bill knew his business. He started at the bottling plant when he was 14 years old — a job necessitated by the death of his father and his need to help support his mother and four siblings. For the next 67 years, including the day he died, he put in long, hands-on hours, focusing on quality control, community involvement and his own unique style of sometimes blustery, sometimes covert public relations.

Bill started as a bottle sorter for 10 cents an hour. He got his first painful lesson in economics when he dropped a pallet of glass bottles. After the damages were deducted from his paycheck, he took home mere pennies — his first paycheck. Before long, plant owner Sam Houston Prim took the young man under his wing, becoming a surrogate father as he watched Bill grow into manhood and into a self-styled promoter of Dublin Dr Pepper.

From the bottle sorting chores, Bill worked his way up to production manager. After a tour of duty in Europe during World War II, he returned to become general manager of the plant which was then operated by Prim’s daughter, Grace Prim Lyon.

Mrs. Lyon died in 1991 on the dawn of the plant’s 100th birthday celebration, leaving the Dublin plant in Bill’s capable hands.

As the owner, Bill continued to emphasize those same values he had learned as a young man. He held on to the original drink formula, the antiquated bottling equipment, and a massive assortment of Dr Pepper collectibles which became his passion. Through the years, he used those elements to develop a successful enterprise and a popular tourist attraction. And most important, he built a fiercely loyal following for Dublin Dr Pepper around the world. The media were drawn to him like bees to honey and dubbed him “Mr. Dr Pepper.”

When bottom line indicated the tiny Dublin plant should give up Imperial Pure Cane Sugar in exchange for less expensive corn sweeteners, Bill balked. He continued to subscribe to the country theory of “dancin’ with who brung ya,” refusing to change the recipe which has always given the local product its unique taste. Bill Kloster, the Dublin bottling plant, and Dublin Dr Pepper remained true to themselves.

The story was widely told that when his wife Iona told Bill he was drinking too much sugar and should switch to the sugar-free variety, he secretly had the regular Dr Pepper put into diet bottles which he stocked in his home refrigerator.

Residents of the community and the region enthusiastically support what they consider “their” Dr Pepper. But Bill was no less enthusiastic about giving back. Seldom does a community event take place without Dr Pepper, usually provided as a donation to a worthy cause. Most of the major projects in the area had a Dr Pepper signature somewhere, even though many of Bill’s contributions were done inconspicuously and, by his choosing, without fanfare.

Bill always spent long hours at the Dr Pepper plant. But following the death in 1995 of Iona Kloster, his beloved wife of 54 years, he dedicated himself to the expansion of the museum collection and the promotion of Old Doc’s Soda Shop.

The years took no apparent toll on Bill mentally, but he deeply resented the physical limitations caused by arthritis. He wore out the knees he came with, and several replacement knees as well. He rarely fussed about the pain, but he fussed often about the inconvenience, particularly when he had to take time out for surgery and rehabilitation. In the summer of 1999, he underwent his last knee surgery. As he began the therapy which would put him back on his feet, he suffered a severe heart attack, followed by several more. His doctors were not optimistic about his survival, much less his recovery.

But miraculously, Bill survived and returned to work, leaping headlong into the development of the commemorative 2000 calendar. He wanted this millennium calendar to be a tribute to the four young ladies who have worn the title of Pretty Peggy Pepper, his favorite advertising icon.

Bill died suddenly on Sept. 27, 1999 after a full day at the bottling plant where he had spent the day approving designs for this 2000 calendar. He is gone only in the physical sense; the echo of his chuckle and the shadow of the wide grin that accompanied his favorite Dr Pepper stories will always be felt in the oldest Dr Pepper plant in the world.

Bill Kloster was a man of conviction. When small bottlers have been gobbled up by conglomerates, the tiny, independent Dublin Dr Pepper plant remains. Its signature product is produced just like it was more than 100 years ago. Bill wasn’t afraid of bucking marketing trends because he believed in the unique quality of his product.

No, it wasn’t the textbook way of doing things.

But it was Bill Kloster’s way.

*Text from the 2000 Dublin Dr Pepper calendar

Chili Cheese Burgers

We all know who this 'Guy' is right? Surely you have seen him take a big ole bite out of some good greasy food just after you have already had supper. Somehow he manages to make you hungry all over again...right?

Cheryl and I discovered we both love watching him; then we watched him each free night on my visit, and before I came I had seen one of his episodes where two male diner owners make these cheese burgers...well, she saw the same episode, and we decided to give them a try...

Who wouldn't like to bite into a good juicy burger, and have cheese run down your chin...

Begin by making four or five inch round patties x 2 (top and bottom)...

...patties, hunk of cheddar, and a few with green chili, my own little twist...

...begin to cover them with the second patty tops, and pinching together the meat...

Mark the green chili centers with a piece of cheese...

Here we made an extra one just for you!

...and yes I also enjoyed big glasses of Texas Sweet Tea while I ate this juicy burger...

Photo: Guy Fieri, Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives
Tune in: Mondays at 10pm and 10:30pm, Fridays at 9pm and 9:30pm and Sundays at 3pm and 3:30pm (All Times Eastern)

How Sweet It Is...

There has been so much to do while I am in a matter of fact my friend and I are heading out to a huge restaurant and chef's expo in downtown today. Lots of food, wine, and friends will be there. Yes, I took a three week vacation...

I insisted that many of them either come over to share a meal, or I have gone by their house for a visit. I felt that there is no way I could meet everyone out to eat as they had wanted...

My friend Cheryl and I have had fun cooking so many meals together, and especially the sweet treats...

She likes to bake, so the plan is to make some yummy White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies. I had seen this bottle of Mexican Vanilla in her pantry, so we pulled that out for our mise...

She says she wishes she had time to go and take some pastry classes. Cheryl likes to bake, and I like to cook the main meals, so we have a good friendship!

Get Your Mise Together:

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

(Makes 36 small cookies, or 18 large cookies- we decided the smaller cookies worked best)


1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
- all ingredients organic or natural
1 lg. egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup macadamia nuts
-between her and I there were a LOT more of these!
1 cup white chocolate chips


Mix butter with sugars until lumps are gone. Add ingredients in following order:

egg, vanilla, flour, baking soda and salt.

Mix until creamy. Stir in macadamia nuts and chips.

Use a scoop and drop cookies on an un-greased baking sheet...

Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes

I also stuck some caramel pieces in the center of the last batch...

Sorry Maxie...this cookie is mine!

Friday, June 26, 2009


Hey Everybody!! Girlichef here...fillin' in for Chef E while she lazes the day away in the big ol' state of Texas. I was super excited when E asked me if I'd like to be a guest blogger because it would mean a whole new experience for me (you can normally find me here)! I mean, I probably know some of you...but not all of you. So the movie that normally plays out in my head furiously starts scribbling a new script. Oh no...Chef E is an educator and people are used to being schooled when they visit her. Will they just see that a guest blogger is here and skip right on by? What should my post be about? Will they enjoy it? Will they enjoy me? Breathe in. Breathe out. eek. Finally I decided to just do a post the same way I would if I was at "home".

I knew I wanted to cook up something reminiscent of Texas. Just before Chef E left for Texas, I asked her what some of her favorite "food that reminds her of Texas" was. And in true foodie fashion, she listed quite a few things and those thoughts led to tummy growls and plots of what she could make quick before leaving...or soon after arriving. But, the thing that really caught my fancy was her Tex-Mex Brisket (come on, you had to know she had me at Tex-Mex). So, since I was unable to be in Texas, I brought a little Texas to me.

Chef E's Tex-Mex Beef Brisket
(amounts are guesstimates...go w/ the tastes & flavor combos you enjoy)

2-3 lb. beef brisket
Salt I used Espresso Brava Sea Salt (coffee+beef=delicious)
Black Pepper
Garlic Powder
Chili Powder I used Chipotle Chili Powder
Liquid Smoke

Start off by preheating your oven to 300 degrees F.

This is a 3-something pound brisket. See that thick layer of fat on the top? If you are doubting your butchering skills, ask your butcher to trim this down to ~1/4" thickness. I actually like to do it myself, but I'm cuckoo like that. So, beef brisket...trim...

Next, rub your chosen amount of the dry spices all over and into your meat. Set it in your roasting pan fat side up and give it a little liquid smoke massage. Cover tightly with foil (or a lid if you have one) and slide that baby into the oven for ~30-45 minutes per pound.
When you remove it from the oven, carefully lift back the foil (steam!!) and test the middle of the brisket to see if it is "pull" tender (that was Chef E's term). If it isn't, slide it back into the oven for a while longer. When it is done, it'll look a little somethin' like this...
aw yeah..."pull" tender with a delicious crust around the outside! If you're not going to eat it right away, let it cool down a bit and then pull the meat apart and use some of the delicious cooking juices to store it in (refrigerated) so it doesn't dry out. Chef E does some other things with the juices afterwards...but this is my version of her version, and here's what I decided to do with it.

Refried Black Beans
by girlichef

1 heaping Tbs. bacon grease
1 (30 oz) can Black Beans w/ a bit of their juices
minced onion
garlic powder

Put your bacon grease into a small to medium sized non-stick pan over medium heat. Once it is melted, pour in the black beans with some of their cooking juices. Add your spices and let it bubble away for a while, stirring occasionally.
After some of the juices have begun to evaporate, smash up the beans with a potato masher...a few larger chunks are okay by me. Let the beans continue to cook over low heat, stirring here and there.
They are done once they have begun to dry out...and basically look like refried beans. Remove from heat.
So, are you wondering what I'm going to do now? Some of the brisket "after-talk" was about tostadas....and if you know me, you know that adding a tortilla to something is never a bad thing. What do you get when you take those refried beans in the picture above and add them to the pulled-beef from the Tex-Mex brisket below...

...and then fry up a few tortillas into crispy tostada shells....
...and then add some Salsa Verde, some Mexican Crema, a bit of chopped green onion, thinly sliced radish, torn up cilantro and chunks of creamy avocado...with a sprinkling of Queso Quesedilla?

This, dear friends, is what you get.....
Chef E may have Texas...but I am completely content with my Brisket & Black Bean Tostadas that bring the taste of Texas right into my own kitchen. Of course, these are almost gone...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Parallel Chops

One of the things I miss most about Dallas, Texas is the selection of markets. I miss the Fiesta Market for its large selection of Hispanic ingredients; I miss the Hong Market in Richardson for its large selection of Asian ingredients (Well in Jersey I do have a few of those pretty close); although I do not have to miss my Indian markets in Richardson, because they are almost on every corner of Jersey.

Hubby and I do miss living almost next door to Central Market. A hub of gigantic proportion of one stop retail and specialty shopping under one roof. Sure Whole Foods can provide much of what this store holds with my desire for organic, natural, and fresh global ingredients, but CM is the Disney World for foodies...

If you go over to the web site, or take a tour (yes you can call ahead and be given a tour by one of their valued employees), you will find out that H-E-B opened the first Central Market in Austin in 1994, have the store design explained, and how it was quickly dubbed “an amusement park for food lovers.” The European-style fresh market concept amazed shoppers and chefs alike, and the store quickly became one of Austin’s most popular tourist destinations. In fact, it boasts an average of 2 million visitors each year! Then somewhere down the line they got smart and opened them in our area. I had been to the original one in Austin and I was envious!

My favorite market is filled with produce, ethnic ingredients, chocolates and candies, dry goods, frozen foods, a deli next to the huge bread department that is around the corner from the ready made foods for that "Oh, I do not feel like cooking all this stuff in my basket tonight" moment, and many more rows of ingredients you might want. Hubby's favorite is the large wine and beer selection. That is like a hubby day-care for me. I can shop for hours, and when I am ready to leave I just go to that department and pick him up!

We took my friends here in Little Elm who had never ventured into Central Market, and they were amazed. When we hit the meat and seafood department...their jaws dropped. Purchasing some brisket, ribs, a pork roast (pulled pork post), and some big pork chops...I was determined to have 'death by meat' on this trip. I knew I was saving up the past months with my healthy cooking and eating, but hey its vacation and at least I am cooking much of the time.

Take the chops out and placed them in a brine over night of some brown sugar, garlic and salt water. The next day bake them with a Chicago style seasoning (my friends hubby is from Chicago and a big fan of this mixture... hickory smoke, Tellicherry black pepper, sugar, onion, garlic, lemon zest and citric acid), a sprinkle of brown sugar along with a pat of butter for a nice crispy coating. They came out very juicy, and tender. Everyone was satisfied with this meal.

I also took some red onions, walnuts, and caramelized them with brown sugar. This was a nice addition to some baked white potatoes, and a can of french style green beans (I am anti-can anything, and only cook fresh; unless you are desperate) they keep in the pantry. I have some time left on my vacation, and I plan on hitting them one more time...

If you are in the area of one of these Texas towns; then I recommend you visit one of my favorite parallel markets...

Central Market Locations:

* Austin-North Lamar
* Austin-Westgate
* Houston
* San Antonio
* Dallas
* Plano
* Fort Worth
* Southlake
* Cafe on the Run at H-E-B (only in the Austin area)

Come back later on and see what I do with this CM purchase...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Texas Update

Growing up in Texas sometimes meant you had a great big bowl of beans, and a slice of hot buttery cornbread waiting for your supper, and that was not a bad thing. At least in my childhood memories any way...

Many a cowboy who suffered the long hard cattle trail looked forward to a meal like this!

Who does not like beans...well...I actually had a taste of my parents beans, and I still do not care for them; unless I decide to cook and perfect them in some wild shape or form...

'Thin plantains for dipping into the 'pinto gallos' later...'

I am keeping busy while visiting Texas. Staying out of the real heat...that's for sure! From teaching my friend about Costa Rican foods before her party last weekend, eating out at the never ending places that dot old Texas highways like tumbleweeds and mesquite used to, and the unending flow of gourmet markets that are providing me with great ingredients for some of our suppers...I imagine I will never stop, or drop.

'Slice plantains...fry...remove, and smash...fry again...'

This is just a peek into what is going on here at the hacienda in Little Elm, Texas...

'Pulled BBQ pork sandwiches for leftovers is not a bad thing either...'

'Cold watermelon on the patio is not so bad either...'

'A little piece of Tres Leches cake for a few birthday and friends...'

'Visiting with my old Texas Chef Association buddies, and my son's former boss at the country club, Micheal Scott...'

'...another good friend, and former associate in my catering business here, Michelle AKA The Cake Diva...'

'...and let me tell you about the cupcakes she baked for my birthday celebration...well, maybe next blog or two...'

'Lots of GOOD chips and salsa...and this was not taken in my light box...just a good sunny and hot day here...'

'Good seats at the Rangers Game that featured Ivan 'Pudge' Rodriguez breaking the world's record for Total Games Caught here tonight, and he also played for the Rangers before he was traded to the NY Yankees, but now plays for the Houston Astros...'

'...and it made the night even more special having good friends to celebrate with...'

Does that last photo seem blurry? Well, that is because I just wanted to give you a little taste of whats to come. This presentation has only been the icing on my tasty trip...

Now go over and check out my TMI blog...Friday Shoot Out- Metal...