Posts Tagged ‘Festival’

On Friday, we packed up all of our Canadian gear and took it to the elementary school for the International Festival.  The cafeteria was the hosting space for the event.  The kids played in the middle of the room as I set up my table.  There was a hockey puck and stick (of course), pictures from trips there, books from my Dad, coins (just found out the penny will be discontinued by the Canadian Mint!), maps, and some goodies.

The stars of the display were Mom’s Butter Tarts.  I tried to make something like Grandma used to with a maple twist, it was alright but not like Grandma’s fudge candy.  I’ll have to make that next year.

To make these tarts quickly I used a pre-made pie crust and managed to get about a dozen mini tarts from each crust.  Reroll scraps into small disks.

Lightly butter each cup even if it’s non-stick.  Gently press the crust into each mini cup of the tin.

Fill the shell half way with the filling (recipe follows).  You can also include a few raisins in each tart if you like.  This batch uses plain filling.

Bake until the crust is golden and the filling puffs.  The filling should be set and spring back easily when touched.

Butter tart Filling

  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • (1 cup raisins, optional)

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Claire Robinson, Food Network Chef, is introduced by Central Market at the Texas Book Festival

The Texas Book Festival included a cooking tent hosted by Central Market, this was the setting of Claire Robinson‘s presentation.

Claire showed the audience how to prepare a roast chicken with fennel and onions, as well as a flourless chocolate cake (I will try this for Sierra’s birthday party!).  Her style is informative and laid back at the same time.  A warm energy surrounds Claire.

Her family once lived in Dallas and Houston, this festival was her first visit to Texas since those childhood days.  Claire lovingly commented that Texas is hot and everything really is bigger here!

She lives in New York with her dog, Newman, who shares her tiny kitchen akin to the size Julia Child used to write Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  She started out on Food Network as production staff for Michael Chiarello.  There was also a time that she was working with Martha Stewart and had a whisk thrown at her.  Claire survived to go on to host her own show, 5 Ingredient Fix.  The first few seasons of 5 Ingredient Fix were shot in a friend’s kitchen. Her friend received some upgraded appliances and she continued shooting there until the current season (5) where a set has been built for her show.

Claire Robinson in Austin Texas

Chef Claire Robinson explains how to roast a chicken

One of her favorite restaurants in NYC is Ippudo (Japanese noodles).
Claire is planning to run a marathon in the spring, she has already completed a half-marathon. It’s no wonder she can stay that petite!

Yours truely and Claire Robinson

Having the opportunity to meet Claire was the highlight of the whole weekend.  She is very friendly and encouraging.  Thank you Claire for visiting Austin!

MORE: Paula Deen at the 2011 Texas Book Festival

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I caught a nugget of a story on NPR this week that Alton Brown was coming to the Texas Book Festival this weekend, as soon as I got home I headed online.  I was going to meet him, and had to start setting the plan in motion to make it happen.

With two kids, going to an event, such as a book signing, seems completely out of the realm of possible.  I called my friend to babysit, no answer, I left a message hoping she would be free Saturday.  My mother-in-law is a school teacher, and avid reader, so naturally I thought she would want to attend the festival.  The day before the festival she sent me a reply…  definitely interested

The book signing was hosted at Central Market (all Austinite foodies have shopped there, I would gander often even) by Barnes & Noble, the sponsor for the event.  We arrived 45 minutes prior to Alton’s presentation to find a very long and rapidly growing line of other adoring fans.

We finally saw the start of the line!

There was a volunteer relaying the questions and answers down the line, my hubby called it an “1847 loud-speaker”.  They should have set up speakers outside so that those of us fortunate enough to stand and wait over an hour could reap some benefit.  Apparently, there were free tickets sold two weeks prior.  I had no clue!  There was nothing at Barnes & Noble (I was there about that time buying hubby his birthday present).  Where was I supposed to be looking for these “tickets”?  Many of the other fans stuck outside with us shared the same questions and frustrations.  The event volunteers did bring free bottles of water, which helped a bit.  If this event were held at the festival, there would be a tent with speakers so that those of us in the back could perhaps listen to what the almighty Alton had to say. 

The volunteers managed to propagate a few hints of the Q&A: Alton’s favorite episode is Oatmeal: Part 2 aired recently, the next book will be a children’s book because his daughter likes Harry Potter, the next possible show on Food Network will be about hunting, and something about brains.  When asked what show we should watch, Alton responded re-runs, then his DVDs, then read the books and turn off the TV.  I would have asked, who is your favorite Iron Chef and why, who or what inspires you, if you cook for your daughter what does she prefer you make for her?  If only I had a magical ticket.

My little trooper

The kids were surprisingly well-behaved, I was thankful to have everyone tagging along to help out.  Baby Sister was passed around to keep her occupied.  Big Brother was treated to a pop from a restaurant along the side lines.  After waiting for over an hour, all of the guests with small children were escorted inside the building to the front of the line.  Thank you!  Whose ever idea that was, thank you very much!  Consequently, once moments away from meeting Alton in person, Baby Sister goes squirrely and Big Brother is turning up his annoyance level.  How do they know this is the coolest day in a long time for mommy?  Happiness radar comes with every well equipped child, that’s how.  We managed to keep everyone preoccupied long enough.

Walk the Baby

Push Big Brother

We reached the front of the line.  I start freaking out.  OMG, that’s Alton… What do I say?  Do I smell bad? 

Made it to the front of the line!

All I could get out was, it’s so nice to meet you!  Alton replied, it’s nice to meet you too.  Of all the books I’ve signed, Heather is the only name that you can only spell one way. 

Alton Brown

Alton was very nice, I’m sure by the time we met him he was getting a little tired.  I blacked out mentally and can’t tell you what else we exchanged.  My hubby told him that we love watching the shows.  I think Grandma got a word in too, just don’t ask which one. 

I left on cloud oatmeal, signed book in hand.

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