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gulf coast special magazine




New Texas Cookbooks Transition you from Spring to Summer
By Robin Barr Sussman

With the uptick in cooking at home, these new Texas cookbooks will come in handy when you start craving new eats. From comfort food recipes to swanky chef-driven restaurant creations and downright healthy options, you may not miss going out. At least for now.
Chris Shepherd’s Cook Like a Local debut cookbook, a true locavore love letter, is a collaboration between Shepherd, author/cook Kaitlyn Goalen and photographer Julie Soefer. The 100-plus-page book is full of recipes divided into six chapters of Houston’s ethnic cuisine staples and insights into some of the city’s top chefs. Korean braised goat and dumplings, cha ca-style snapper, green papaya salad, banh mi sandwich, Vietnamese crawfish, even Shepherd’s version of nachos grace the beautiful pages.

Texas Seafood showcases the expertise of longtime fishmongers and chefs PJ and “Apple” Srimart Stoops. Find familiar fish like Red Snapper along with little-known finfish and tunas, bivalves, crabs, and other “bycatch” among our regional bounty. Expect a primer on sourcing and advice on discerning quality, plus simple, delectable recipes, many infused with the flavors of Apple’s Thai heritage. Steamed curried crab, crispy white shrimp, and grilled escolar with green mango salad are a few ways to savor the best of the Gulf coast.

If you can’t get to a Tex Mex restaurant, chef Ford Fry’s newest cookbook is a godsend. Houston-born Fry has an empire of restaurants in Atlanta and several in Houston including Superica Tex Mex in the Heights. Co-written by Jessica Dupuy, the whimsically designed cookbook includes all the usual suspects and new surprises. Expect basics like chile paste, salsas and sauces, retro standards (puffy tostado con queso, tacos, cheese enchiladas) and breakfast options, dessert recipes and fun cocktails, too. Cheers to Tex Mex at home!

In Figure 1 Publishing’s new cookbook written by Francine Spiering, top Houston restaurant chefs spill the beans on their popular recipes. The cookbook offers a glimpse into the Houston restaurant scene and highlights our award-winning chefs. Anticipate a wide variety of dishes like pork belly with sweet potato hash and guajillo sauce from Field & Tides, sweet corn bisque with crabmeat from Common Bond, and towering chocolate cherry pie from The Dunlavy. Every one of them mouthwatering. A portion of proceeds goes to Second Servings of Houston.

Buy all of the above cookbooks at most major booksellers.


A gorgeous and ambitious dessert from chef Jane Wild for Mother’s Day or any day!

Pie Crust
2 cups all purpose flour (divided plus extra for dusting)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, cut into small cubes, chilled
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablesppon water for brushing
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
Chocolate Coated Cherries
1 heaping cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/3 cup Stout beer
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 lb. dark sweet cherries, pitted
2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla paste
1 cup shaved chocolate (or cocoa powder), or to taste
1 to 2 cherries, for garnish


Pie crust
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter, a little at a time, mixing on low speed. Once all the butter has been added, increase speed to medium and mix until crumbly. Add the remaining 1 cup flour and mix for 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add 1/4 cup ice-cold water and mix for another 2 minutes. Transfer dough to a floured work surface and shape it into a ball. Wrap it in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Working quickly, roll out dough to about 12 inches in diameter on a floured work surface, then place it in a 9-inch pie plate. Crimp the edges. Using a fork, prick the base, then chill for 20 minutes in the freezer. Place a piece of parchment paper over the base of the unbaked crust, then add pie weights, dried beans, or uncooked rice. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until crust is lightly golden. Remove pie weights and paper. Brush the crimped edges with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for another 10 minutes or until crust is golden. Set aside to cool.

Chocolate-covered cherries
In the top pan of a double boiler, combine chocolate chips, butter, corn syrup, and stout and set over gently simmering water for 1 to 2 minutes, until chocolate has melted. Stir in cream. Remove from heat.

Add cherries and stir to coat well. Pour mixture into the baked pie crust and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours, until set.

Prepare the topping just before serving. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip cream, sugar, and vanilla on high speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until soft peaks form. Top pie with cream and garnish with shaved chocolate (or dust with cocoa powder). Finish with a cherry or two on top. Pour what’s left of the stout into a pint glass and enjoy.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

*Recipe excerpted from Houston Cooks by Francine Spiering. Photographs by Chris Brown. Copyright 2019 by Francine Spiering. Recipe copyright by The Dunlavy / Jane Wild. Excerpted with permission from Figure 1 Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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