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Dirty Duck Hunters Chili (recipe)

Posted on: August 19th, 2015 by fcasio

Looking for a new game day favorite? Try Chef Danny Trace’s Dirty Duck Chili recipe this coming football season. It’ll be a winner no matter which team you’re cheering for!

Chef Danny Trace Dirty Duck Chili

Chef Danny Trace’s Dirty Duck Chili

Dirty Duck Hunters Chili

Servings: 8


2 lbs ground or hand diced duck meat

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil

1 large sweet onion, diced

2 tablespoons crushed garlic

1 large green bell pepper, diced

1 tablespoon instant coffee (optional)

2 ribs celery, diced

1 lb of red kidney beans

28 ounces canned stewed tomatoes

4 tablespoons chili powder

6 bay leaves

12 oz beer, your favorite

1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)

2 tablespoons ground cumin

2 cups low sodium beef or chicken stock

1 jalapeno, diced

1 poblano, diced

3 tablespoons Worcestershire

1 tablespoon Louisiana hot sauce

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1/2 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons Kosher salt (or to taste)

1/2 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper (or to taste)

green onion, chopped (optional garnish)

cheddar cheese, grated (optional garnish)


In a large cast iron stew pot on medium high heat, add grapeseed oil and duck meat. Once browned, remove from the pot and reserve.

To the pot, add garlic, onions, bell pepper, celery, poblano and jalapeno. Cook until wilted. Add tomatoes and caramelize.

Once tomatoes are caramelized, add reserved duck meat to the pot.

Stir in chili powder, cumin, beans and bay leaves. Deglaze with beer, add stock, sugar, Worcestershire, hot sauce and coffee. Bring to a boil and reduce to a slow simmer.

Cook until the beans are tender and you have a reached a chili consistency, approximately 2 hours. Season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne. Stir in cilantro.

Served crowned with green onions and your favorite cheddar cheese.

Bon Vivant 2015

Posted on: January 30th, 2015 by fcasio No Comments

The Dream Dinner: 22 top chefs come together to cook for high rollers in a foodie carnival night

By Shelby Hodge

1.29.15 | 10:06 am

24 Danny Trace of Brennan’s at the Bon Vivant dinner January 2015

Brennan’s Danny Trace. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com


Reef’s Bryan Caswell was on a culinary high Monday night as he and 21 other chefs gathered in the Royal Sonesta Hotel ballroom for the annual Bon Vivant Houston dinner party benefiting Youth Development Center.

Caswell was coordinating chef for the evening that is so popular among H-Town’s top toques that they actually volunteer for the dinner benefit. “It’s extremely unique,” Caswell explained. “You have 22 chefs cooking 22 dinners all at the same time and they’re completely independent of each other.”

The draw of this evening for both chefs and diners is that each chef cooks for only 10 paying guests (20 if a table is sold twice) and it’s up to the chef to create to heart’s content. Thus, Corner Table’s Ja’Nel Witt took her diners on an international journey, complete with passports at each plate. Each of her five courses represented a different international cuisine.

Oceanaire’s Rocco Nankervis featured Chilean sea bass with lemon risotto and purple cauliflower while L’Olivier’s Olivier Ciesielski served pan seared scallops on beluga lentils and lamb chops with baby ratatouille.

“I participate every year,” said Silver Stone EventsElizabeth Stone. “It’s so special that we really get to cook out of the box with only 10 people. With 10, you really get to showcase what you do.” Her entrée course — bone-in, herb-crusted veal chop.

The event, at which each chef has his own station with teaching mirror overhead so that diners can see the preparation, was chaired by Kristen Barlen, Richard Flowers, Sabrina and Rob Hallett, Kirby McCool and Candice Wells.

Bon Vivant is basically one big party with the chefs having as much fun as the guests. Consider Max’s Wine Dive’s carnival atmosphere with a fire eater, knife juggler and lighted hula hoops as dinner entertainment while  Radical EatsStaci Davis, aka Lady Gaga on this night, created a rock star backstage experience for her diners.

As Brennan’s Danny Trace noted, “It’s awesome. It’s a great cause for the children. All of our brothers are out here. We all have a good time raising money for a good cause.”

Rounding out the entourage of chefs were Mark Decker of Down House, Ricardo Vargas of Capital Grille on Westheimer, private chef Soren Pedersen, La Griglia’s Luis Rubio, Mark Holley of Holley’s Seafood Restaurant & Oyster Bar, Antoine Ware of Harold’s Restaurant, Peter Laufer of the Royal Sonesta, Tanner Lucas of 1600 Bar+Grille, Jonathan Wicks of Hotel ZaZa’s Monarch Bistro, Randy Evans of Southern Son Consulting, Jacques Fox of Artisans, Brian Evans of the Tasting Room at CityCentre, Richard Knight of Hunky Dory, Maurizio Ferrarese of Quattro at the Four Seasons Hotel, Greg Martin of the new Bistro Menil and Kevin Naderi of Roost and Lillo & Ella.

Featured on NRN: Chicken-fried ‘Lot 42’ Cauliflower Steak

Posted on: May 7th, 2013 by fcasio No Comments

Republished from: Nation’s Restaurant News

Chicken-fried ‘Lot 42’ cauliflower steak

Brennan’s of Houston, Houston
May 3, 2013 Bret Thorn

Chef Danny Trace offers this item as part of his two-course, $25 Farmer’s Corner menu at lunch, as well as part of his $80 six-course vegetable dinner.

Lot 42 is a section of Gundermann Farms near Houston, where this cauliflower is grown. Trace cuts the cauliflower into half-inch slices without coring it. He drizzles the vegetable with grapeseed oil and sprinkles it with sage, thyme and oregano, and roasts it until tender.

Next, he dusts the cauliflower with flour, dips it in tempura batter and deep-fries it to a golden brown.

He serves the cauliflower with a potato salad made of Purple Majesties — a type of Peruvian blue potato — mixed with sautéed shallots, bell pepper and celery, along with capers, Creole mustard, yellow mustard and lemon juice. He finishes the salad with some chopped green onions.

He pours a vegan mushroom gravy on the cauliflower, which he makes by heating four parts mushroom stock with one part almond milk and puréeing it with some cooked rice to thicken it.

Contact Bret Thorn at bret.thorn@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

Source: Nation’s Restaurant News

A touch of New Orleans at Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair with Brennan’s family reunion dinner

Posted on: April 25th, 2013 by fcasio No Comments

REPUBLISH: from CultureMap

4.25.13 | 1:38 pm
Former and current chefs from Brennan’s of Houston with Carl Walker and Alex Brennan-Martin Photo by © Shannon O’Hara

Family Affair at Sugar Land Food & Wine April 2013 Former and current chefs from Brennan's of Houston with Carl Walker and Alex Brennan-Martin

It wasn’t the French Quarter, but a little bit of New Orleans still spiced up Sugar Land Wednesday at the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair kickoff dinner on the grounds of the Imperial Sugar Factory.The seated dinner celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair was part celebration, part Brennan’s family reunion with chefs Mark Holley, Jon Hebert, Randy Evans and Danny Trace combining their culinary talents in six-course meal that paid homage to Brennan’s restaurateur Alex Brennan-Martin.

It was a fitting start to the evening then, that the party started in the Old Imperial Sugar Mill Char House, a red brick building that was both warm and rustic, with white twinkling lights and a jazz band playing.

“(Alex) was about local, before local was cool. He’s my inspiration and why I do what I do,” Evans says.

The Brennan’s inspired dishes started with Oyster BLTs, Roasted New Potato with Dill Cream and Louisiana Caviar, Crawfish Empanadas and Shrimp and Tasso. In true Louisiana style, guests created a spontaneous parade, filing behind the band en route to the spacious white Gallery Furniture tent.

The evening benefited the University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Restaurant and Hotel Management and students from the program served as staff, guiding guests through the chef’s dishes, starting with Holley’s crab and corn bisque that was paired with Stags Leap Chardonnay and could have doubled as dessert. Herbert’s course of Texas Wild Shrimp Remoulade balanced the creamy sweetness of the bisque and was paired with Sonoma Coast Chardonnay.

Haven owner Evans, anchored the fourth course of grilled Texas Quail that he served with a Honeycomb Balsamic Gastrique that encouraged guests to play with their food by crushing the honeycomb and combining with the quail. That was followed by Brennan’s executive chef Trace’s take on oysters and steak—the O Rockin 44 Farms Petite Filet, served with CYRUS wine.

It was fitting too that the dessert course was Brennan’s Bananas Foster, served with Iron Horse sparkling wine, but the sweetest moments came when the chefs recalled moments from their times at the culinary institution.

“When Chris Shepherd and I were lucky enough to be sous chefs, Alex brought into his office and asked us what we want to change on the Brennan’s menu. Nothing was off the table,” Evans says. “We were saying to each other, ‘”Even the turtle soup? Bananas Foster?’”

It turned out Brennan posed the question to the young chefs as a way to  “unchain us from the 40 years of Brennan’s history” Evans says. And no, the menu did not change.

“He was about local, before local was cool. He’s my inspiration and why I do what I do,” Evans says.

The High Tech Texan and Sugar Land resident Michael Garfield emceed the event which included Sugar Land Mayor James Thompson and wife Gay Thompson, Rita and Kevin Simon and other city and county officials.

The Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair runs through Sunday, with such activities as the On the Rocks Bartender Challenge, the Sip & Stroll, Bistro Lunch, the Grand Tasting and wine and scotch seminars.

H-Town Chefs Rock Austin Fest

Posted on: April 25th, 2013 by fcasio No Comments


Robin Barr Sussman | Photo: Courtesy Image | April 22, 2013

Attention foodies and chef followers! Top Houston toques will join national celebrity chefs like Susan Feniger and Andrew Zimmern this weekend, April 26-28, for the Austin Food & Wine Festival by Food & Wine Magazine.

Chefs Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrance Gallivan of The Pass and Provisions

Guests will mingle with food and wine luminaries as they cook, shake cocktails, pour hundreds of wines, and enlighten guests on all things epicurean. Live music included! For tickets and a complete schedule, visit austinfoodandwinefestival.com. Can’t make it to ATX? Hit up their H-Town restaurants for these new spring menu items and events.

1. Chef Danny Trace of Brennan’s (3300 Smith St., 713.522.9711) is bringing his Texas-Creole culinary swagger to the party Friday night as a participant in the Taste of Texas Kickoff event. If you miss the fun, there’s always something brewing at Brennan’s, including the last of the Courtyard Series, Mudbug Madness. Or spring for the new Digging Texas Creole Vegetable menu.

2. Chefs Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrance Gallivan of The Pass and Provisions (807 Taft St., 713.628.9020) will both grace the Austin Taste of Texas Kickoff event and dish out samples of their whimsical thought-provoking creations. Back at The Pass, look for a new spring tasting menu of meticulously composed “potato bread” with a lobster roll and corn; eggplant carpaccio; pork crackling, nori bucatini and more.

3. Houston-born Philip Speer, executive pastry chef and culinary director of nationally buzzed Uchi Houston (904 Westheimer Rd., 713.522.4808) and Austin, will wow guests with amazing treats in a demo called Classic Desserts in a Modern Kitchen. Back in H-Town, Feast, a dinner series by Blaffer Art Museum Houston, pairs Houston artists with Uchi for unique wine dinners created in the private homes of Houston collectors, which runs through August.

4. Lauded Underbelly chef Chris Shepherd, recently named this year’s 10 Best New Chefs by Food & Wine Magazine, will strut his stuff this weekend at the Taste of Texas Kickoff Event in Republic Square Park. At Underbelly, (1100 Westheimer Rd., 713.528.9800) look for this new menu dish among others: smoked pork with grapefruit BBQ sauce and fried green tomatoes.

5. Chef Jamie Zelko of Zelko Bistro (705 E. 11th St., 713.880.8691) is all about local and sustainable, so get in line at the weekend fest for her New American comfort fare with a fresh twist. New this spring to her Houston bistro menu: Verlasso farm-raised sustainable salmon, known for fabulous flavor and texture. Slow-baked salmon with grilled fennel, garlic spinach and Meyer lemon aioli anyone?

Restaurants ready for soft-shell crab season

Posted on: April 22nd, 2013 by fcasio No Comments
Chefs develop new preparations for the delicacy as its season approaches
Apr. 18, 2013 Fern Glazer
Fried soft-shell crab at Brennan's of Houston
Fried soft-shell crab at Brennan’s of Houston.

When Victor Scargle tasted his first soft-shell crab back in 1995, it was at the behest of some more senior chefs he was working with in a New York City seafood restaurant. Then a young, up-and-coming chef who was more familiar with the hard-shell crabs of his native West Coast, Scargle thought his new co-workers were pulling his leg when they told him to eat the whole crab, shell and all. But he took the bait and has been in love with the delicacy ever since.

“It was wonderful,” said Scargle of that first experience. “What a delicious surprise and treat it was.”

Scargle is now chef at Lucy’s Restaurant in Yountville, California, where, once the season hits in late April, he plans to serve fennel pollen and phyllo-crusted soft-shell crabs with Lucy artichokes barigoule, morel mushrooms, wrinkled crinkled cress and apple balsamic.

“It’s such a great product, very versatile, sweet flavor, has a crunchiness to it,” he said. “It goes well with a lot of stuff.”

Scargle isn’t alone in his passion for the delicate crustaceans. Chefs across the country are discovering the uniqueness and versatility of soft-shell crabs and are increasingly adding them to their menus. According to Datassential MenuTrends, soft shells now appear on 15 percent more restaurant menus than they did five years ago.


Brennan's of Houston's Blue Crab Bread Pudding with Soft-Shell Bisque

Brennan’s of Houston’s Blue Crab Bread Pudding with Soft-Shell Bisque.
Soft shells are most common on fine dining menus, where 10 percent of menus feature the item. The biggest increase over the last five years has occurred at the midscale and casual-dining segments, where the appearance of soft-shell crabs on menus increased by 28 percent and 20 percent respectively.

A number of trends are driving the increased interest in soft shells, say chefs, including diners’ desire to eat more seasonally. At a time when most seafood can be had during any season and in any location, soft-shell crabs remain seasonal. They are only available from late April through summer when the crab sheds its shell in preparation to grow a new one.

“It’s a very unique time of year that you can eat the whole crab,” said chef Frederik de Pue of Azur in Washington, D.C, a contemporary seafood restaurant that opened Thursday. “You have to take advantage of products that are in season and unique.”

While soft shells are traditionally deep fried, de Pue prefers a lighter preparation. He will serve pan-roasted Maryland crab with English peas, house-made crème fraiche and Japanese yuzu koshu paste.

Also breaking from tradition is chef Mike Isabella, chef and owner of Graffiato in Washington, D.C., and former contestant on Bravo TV’s Top Chef and Top Chef All-Stars. Isabella will be serving a wild rice–crusted soft-shell crab with eggplant relish and green plum. The breading, which includes fried rice, flour and egg, gives the crab an exterior he describes as being “almost like a Rice Krispie.”


Soft-shell crab

Mike Isabella features fried soft-shell crab in his cook book, “Crazy Good Italian.” Photo: Greg Powers Photography

“It’s cool lookin’ … unexpected,” said Isabella of his puffed-rice creation. “Everyone loves a fried soft-shell crab.”Though soft shells primarily come from The Gulf of Mexico, The Chesapeake Bay, the Carolinas, Louisiana, Georgia and Florida, advances in packaging, shipping and storage mean the crabs can noweasily travel across the country, allowing chefs such as Sonny Sweetman of Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles to serve them as well.

“They have an amazing natural, briny, sweet flavor, and they remind me of home,” said Sweetman, who is originally from Maryland. “But the season is short so you have to get them quickly when they are available.”

Sweetman puts soft shells on the menu at Wolfgang Puck every spring and varies the preparations. This year he’ll be coating Maryland soft shells in tempura, deep frying them and serving them with fava beans, eggplant and Indian spices.

In Houston, chef Danny Trace of Brennan’s of Houston plans to take advantage of the rare product by serving a variety of preparations. His menu will include Soft-Shell Crab Imperial, Blue Crab Bread Pudding with Soft-Shell Bisque, Blue Crab Soufflé with soft-shell saffron cream, Crispy Smoked Soft-Shell Crab and Soft-Shell Provencal.

“There’s something unbelievable about a fried soft shell crab,” said Trace. “[I’m] always excited to see them coming. We always try to do something different.”

Brennan’s chefs will kick off the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair

Posted on: March 27th, 2013 by fcasio No Comments

REPUBLISHED: YourHoustonNews.com

Posted: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 7:57 am

Brennan's Crawfish Shortcake

Brennan’s Crawfish Shortcake


I can remember going to Brennan’s as a kid. The opening of their Houston location more than 40 years ago was a big deal in our household. We always knew it was a special occasion if we were going to Brennan’s.

H-town’s culinary scene has certainly changed since then, but one thing that hasn’t changed — Brennan’s is still a beloved spot by so many. Some of our city’s best chefs hail from the iconic restaurant’s kitchens, and four are them are planning a delicious reunion!

Their “Family Affair” will kick-off the 10th anniversary of the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair, a week-long event for food and wine enthusiasts on April 24-28. The event will be on the grounds of the historic Imperial Sugar Factory in the Gallery Furniture Pavilion.

Brennan’s current executive chef Danny Trace and former chefs Randy Evans of Haven, Mark Holley of former Pesce and Jon Hebert of Houston City Club will unite to create an incredible wine pairing dinner featuring premier vintages from Sterling Vineyards, Far Niente Winery, Iron Horse Vineyards, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and Frank Family Vineyards among others.

For a preview of what could be included in the evening’s incredible fare, Chef Trace shared Brennan’s delicious recipe for Breaux Bridge Barbecue Crawfish Shortcakes with Goodtaste.tv. (http://goodtaste.tv/recipes/ showrecipe/ display/breaux-bridge-barbecue-crawfish-shortcake)

The savory barbecue sauce is incredibly rich with just the right amount of kick thanks to the hot sauce he adds. Chef Trace garnishes the dish with a St. Arnold’s beer aioli.

One of Chef Randy Evan’s most popular dishes at Haven is also a Cajun favorite–his wild-caught Gulf shrimp with stone ground grits. You can watch Chef Evans prepare the dish and get the recipe at Goodtaste.tv. (http://goodtaste.tv/recipe/wild-texas-shrimp-with-house-made-worcestershire-meuniere)

All proceeds from the five-day Sugar Land Wine and Food Affair will support a permanent scholarship endowment at the University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management.

For more great recipes and wine pairing ideas, head to Goodtaste.tv. While you’re there sign up for our newsletter for exclusive recipes and chances to win fabulous prizes.

Tanji Patton writes about food and restaurants for HERE. She may be reached via email at: goodtaste@tanjipatton.com.

Brennan’s Digging Texas Creole Vegetable Menu

Posted on: March 23rd, 2013 by fcasio No Comments
03.20.13 | 11:35 am

It’s due time that a Creole restaurant realizes there’s more to vegetarian cuisine than a house salad with ranch dressing — and Brennan’s of Houston seems to be doing it right with a newly-released Southern-style vegetable menu.

Executive chef Danny Trace and his culinary team developed the Digging Texas Creole menu, which will be be offered at the Kitchen Table — the 12-seat communal table in the midst of the restaurant’s kitchen — from here on out.

The tasting menu includes a Gumbo Z’herbes Moderne (with dino kale and mustard, collard and Swiss chard greens, buttermilk fried okra and green garlic “Sunset Rice”), Mushroom Creole Bread Pudding Soufflé (blue-foot mushrooms whipped into egg whites with thyme and melted leeks), Le Coupe de Milieu (sweet tea “Mint Julep” sorbet), Chicken Fried “Lot 42” Cauliflower Steak (served with Purple Majesty potato salad, pickled mirliton and oyster plant with sherry creamed onion), Froberg Farm Eggplant Grillades & Grits (with goat cheese stone-ground grits, fire roasted trinity and Chicory coffee red eye gravy) and a Candied Creole Tomato Galette (with mozzarella ice cream, black garlic and tomato pralines, Poirier’s cane syrup and Chipotle Imperial sugar).

For lunch, Brennan’s will offer a two-course Farmer’s Corner special that highlights “a local farm’s seasonal bounty prepared in a Texas Creole style.”

“This menu is a natural extension of my family’s philosophy to utilize local and regional farmers. We are proud to work with incredibly fresh bounty from Houston area farms and incorporate their offerings into our cuisine,” said Alex Brennan-Martin, owner of Brennan’s of Houston, in a statement.

A restaurant representative tells CultureMap that the Digging Texas Creole menu could change seasonally to accommodate what’s fresh and available, and that some of its offerings might be added to the regular menu in the future.


Source: CultureMap Houston

A Texas-Sized Mardi Gras

Posted on: February 12th, 2013 by fcasio No Comments

Republished from The Local Palate:


Posted in News & Events on 12 February 2013

Written by Sydni Hebert
Photos Courtesy of Brennan’s

It’s Carnival season ya’ll! A time for eating, drinking and catching beads at the parades. That is, if you are lucky enough to live in a place that actually celebrates Mardi Gras. If not, you should order a King Cake and throw on your purple, yellow and green to get you feelin’ festive. For our friends in Texas, a special treat is in store for you. Brennan’s of Houston will be hosting their very own Texas-Sized Mardi Gras Extravaganza on the big day. The event promises to be an authentic New Orleans-Style Fat Tuesday celebration, complete with a faux float, live jazz band and fortune teller.

Guests will feel like they are in the French Quarter as they indulge in Executive Chef Danny Trace’s Texas Creole favorites. Highlights of the prix fixe menu include BBQ Breaux Bridge Crawfish Shortcake served with a buttermilk biscuit, NOLA-style barbeque sauce and St. Arnold’s beer aioli, and Lamb Chops Tchoupitoulas with Creole mustard crusted Colorado lamb chops, lamb debris meat pie, lamb sausage jambalaya and Mint Julep Tchoupitoulas sauce. And since no Mardi Gras party is complete without King Cake, Chef Trace has cooked up his own version, appropriately named Mardi Gras Mambo King Cake. It will be accompanied by Bulleit Bourbon praline caramel, Imperial sugars and Creole cream cheese mousse. Specialty cocktails will also be flowing (to make sure you really get in the Mardi Gras mood).

So if you’re feeling blue because you can’t make it down South to participate in the festivities, head to Brennan’s and enjoy a NOLA-style Mardi Gras deep in the heart of Texas. Reservations are required and can be made by calling Brennan’s of Houston.

Don’t forget to say “throw me something mister!” and let the good times roll!

web Brennans photo 3

Mardi Gras at Brennan’s

Posted on: February 21st, 2012 by fcasio No Comments

Chef Danny Trace fixed a Fat Tuesday breakfast for our friends at Fox. Get ideas for next year and a taste of what’s to come if you can join us at Brennan’s for our Ultimate Mardi Gras celebration tonight!

Mardi Gras at Brennan’s of Houston: MyFoxHOUSTON.com