May 2013 Archives

Mr. Z's Apple Factory

Jenna White
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MrZsAppleFactory.pngLong-time Recipe for Success supporter Bettina Siegel has been making waves with her blog about transforming food in schools through her blog The Lunch Tray. But now, she's shared her message through an innovative new platform - a virtual children's book on YouTube! Mr. Z's Apple Factory serves as a tool to teach families through the familiar format of a children's picture book about marketing tactics and cost-cutting methods used by Big Food that often work against the health of our communities.

Way to go, Bettina! Love the creativity and the action you're taking to raise awareness about these important issues!

Artichoke Bruschetta

Jenna White
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Artichoke bruschetta.jpgReady or not, summer is officially here. To embrace (or distract from) those warmer temps, we suggest leaning in and gearing up for summer parties! Whether you're hosting a backyard barbecue for the whole block or simply entertaining company who have dropped by, this quick and tasty appetizer is a crowd-pleaser and a no-brainer. Perfect to welcome the summer season, it takes advantage of the fresh summer bounty and requires only a quick pop in the oven so you can keep that kitchen cool as an... artichoke? Well, you get the idea. Bon appétit!

Artichoke Bruschetta on Parmesan Crostini

From the RFS Chef Team

Yields about 20-25 crostinis 

Artichoke heart bruschetta-Ingredients.jpg


For the topping:

1 (16 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

3-5 tomatoes, diced

½ white onion, diced

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar 

½ cup parsley, chopped finely

salt and pepper

For the crostini:

1 French baguette

2 tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated



  • Turn broiler on low.
  • Combine chopped artichoke hearts, tomatoes and onions.  
  • Add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Slice baguette ¼ - ½ inch thick on a bias. Brush both sides with olive oil and place on a baking sheet.  Broil on low one side of the crostini; then flip, top with Parmesan and broil cheese until golden.
  • Top with artichoke bruschetta and enjoy!



  • Artichoke topping may be made ahead of time.
  • Use extra topping to make an easy artichoke pasta or pizza!
  • Add to your favorite lettuce for a delicious salad.

Spring bites with Chef Cox

Jenna White
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Neal-Beets.jpgThis May we were pleased as punch to dine with H-E-B at RecipeHouse while discussing exciting ways for us to join forces. The wonderful Chef Neal Cox of The Houstonian offered his services to present a vibrant multi-course dinner that made the most of seasonal offerings provided by Greenling. It's awfully easy to eat your veggies when their candy-colored hues make your plate sing, "Spring has sprung!"

Above: Baby beets with celery, lemon sabayon, pastachio, pears and goat cheese snow

Neal-Tuna.jpgPeppercorn crusted ahi tuna, egglplant caponata and golden raisin viniagrette

Neal-Lamb.jpgSpring lamb with chickpea puree, baby heirloom tomatoes and mint gremolata

The Chef Surpríse series is held the first Monday of every month at RecipeHouse and features a rotation of Houston's hottest chefs. To learn more and sign up to attend upcoming dinners, visit our website.

Gracie weighs in at

Jenna White
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FoodDay.jpgI just spent this spectacular May morning in an elementary classroom surrounded by dozens of excited second graders who were busily putting their creative spin on whole-wheat quesadillas so their team could impress the judges enough to win the Recipe for Success Iron Chef competition.  This final step earns each of them a coveted "RFS Kid Chef" award.

The judges--the Ft. Bend County ISD superintendent and four colleagues from the district HQ--took their jobs very seriously.  But, they couldn't help grinning as they listened to each team's earnest presentation and tasted their dish.  The kids talked about how they made their recipe special, what they loved to cook at home and their plans for summer gardens and dinner menus.  They listed their favorite fruits and veggies--things like kale and Brussels sprouts.  They patiently explained to the judges the fractions and multiplication required to adjust recipes to feed more people and wished the judges "Bon Appétit!"

Over the course of a year in our Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education ™ program, these youngsters have become knowledgeable cooks, easily familiar with a host of fresh produce that they now love.  And that's why I created Recipe for Success Foundation in 2005--to change the way children eat.

In 2005, there were no smiling, supportive school administrators or generous funders.  I was greeted with crossed arms and skepticism when I insisted that I could get kids to freely choose healthier foods.  So, my family donated the seed money and time to get the Foundation started and I negotiated with principals at six schools to allow me to roll portable cooking carts into fourth grade classrooms and deliver my program for free. With the help of two-dozen of our city's finest chefs who volunteered to help, we began turning kids on to the magical adventure of real food.  

Since then, we have empowered over 20,000 children in pre-K through fifth grade with the knowledge and skills to support a lifetime of healthy eating.  The kids plant the seeds, grow and harvest the produce, transform it into scrumptious dishes, set the table and sit down to share the meal with their classmates.  Along the way they learn math, science, language arts and social studies, plus a little teamwork, sharing and etiquette.  After just one school year in our program--20 lessons in the garden and kitchen--participating kids are eating an average of 30% more fresh fruits and vegetables and they are willing to try unfamiliar foods.

We designed, tested, measured and codified this engaging, hands-on learning with over 320 lesson plans that link the garden and kitchen along with complementary grade-specific lessons in core curriculum subjects that are aligned to TEKS and Common Core.  At the request of the federal administration in 2010, we created, tested and launched an Affiliate Partner program to train and support schools across the country that want to implement our proven-effective Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™.  It is now available nationwide and meeting with robust enthusiasm.

No one's arms are crossed anymore.

This article originally post on Food Day's blog at Find it here.

Whimsy you can savor

Jenna White
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Jean Philippe - Scallops.jpgChef Jean Philippe Gaston of Cove Cold Bar is a culinary mad scientist meets abstract artist, combining modern technology and artful plating to create unique tastes and culinary landscapes. This creative approach was married with a sense of whimsy at Chef Surpríse, particularly in these two courses presented an edible forest scenes: (above) seared scallops, marinated Asian pear and pea shoot forest, blue cheese snow, crispy fennel chips. Another (below) riffs on a wooded hideaway one might find tromping through the wilderness after a spring rain: Akaushi ttaki, pork sung, quail egg, pickled mushrooms, dehydrated veggies, homemade brioche toast point.

Jean Philippe-Quail egg.jpg

The Chef Surpríse series is held the first Monday of every month at RecipeHouse and features a rotation of Houston's hottest chefs. To learn more and sign up to attend upcoming dinners, visit our website.

2013 Fashion Gene Awards

Jenna White
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fashiongene.jpgThe mother-daugther honorees of this year's Fashion Gene Awards held their own on the runway at Tootsies for the season finale of Dress for Dinner. The runway show was followed by a decadent dinner crafted to The French Cowboy, Philippe Schmit. Thanks to our wonderful chairs, Ceron and Todd Fiscus, and to our event committee, attendees and sponsors for a fabulously stylish season and helping us raise record funds this year! 

See more photos from the event here.

Recipe for Success in Tribeza

Jenna White
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Tribeza-May Cover.jpg"... Eight years ago, Gracie Cavnar founded Recipe for Success in response to increasing childhood obesity rates. At the time, the National Conference of State Legislatures had found a startling nin million children were overweight and consuequently at risk for chronic condigions, including Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. "It boils down to the food we eat and the way we eat it," Cavnar says. "We had a culture of all-day grazing and eating on the run." Her solution was simple enough in concept, yet monumental in impact: teach children the pleasures of mindful eating. ..."

See the full article published in Tribeza-Austin's May issue in an e-reader format here (flip to page 128!).

Strawberry, meet... sriracha??

Jenna White
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Jean Philippe-soup prep.jpgYes. You read that right. Chef Jean Philippe Gaston likes to shake things up in the kitchen at Haven's Cove Cold Bar. At RecipeHouse for Chef Surprise guests was no different.

Now we've done stawberry and mint to great satisfaction, and we were wowed but still following as he swirled a stream of yuzu into the strawberry sorbet. But then Chef Jean Philippe whipped out the sriracha bottle and, as with much of his wildly inventive approaches to the art - and science - of gastronomy,  he gave us pause. But again, like his other zaney concoctions, this one was right on the mark. Sweet and tangy, slow heat, finished with the cooling tingle of mint... quite a ride for the taste buds.

Jean Philippe-Soup.jpg

The Chef Surpríse series is held the first Monday of every month at RecipeHouse and features a rotation of Houston's hottest chefs. To learn more and sign up to attend upcoming dinners, visit our website.

Small Bites a la Kevin Naderi

Jenna White
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Naderi.jpgAs always, spring with Recipe for Success has been full of fun! We're wrapping up our event season with VegOut! in Style, the season finale of We're Cooking Now! A Gala in Small Bites. The dinner party, co-hosted by Divya and Chris Brown and Claire and Rick Thielke will feature a menu of "clean, well-edited flavors and textures" by chef Kevin Naderi of Roost who is currently up for Food & Wine's Best New Chef award.

Learn more and book your tickets here.