May 2015 Archives

"The Flavors of India" Small Bites

Emily Paul
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Bobbie Nau, Kiran Verma, Andy & Liz Stepanian blog.jpegIndian chef partners with River Oaks philanthropists for one of tastiest dinner parties ever. By Shelby Hodge - May 18, 2015 

Chef Kiran Verma, who seems to never stop smiling, was grinning with extra verve during Recipe for Success' "The Flavors of India" dinner party in the River Oaks home of Bobbie and John Nau. For not only did the hostess dress up her garden with tented Indian party flair but guests fully embraced the theme, many dressing in saris and modern Indian dress.

Liz and Andy Stepanian, the Nau's daughter and son-in-law, joined in co-chairing the dinner evening and all three hosts (John Nau away on business) dressed to the nines, Bollywood style.

Read the whole story.

Fashion Gene Awards star designer Nanette Lepore

Emily Paul
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Tootsies Group Resized .jpegBy Melissa Aguilar - May 6, 2015

Some women are born with a fashion gene. Houston mothers and daughters with innate style walked down the runway Wednesday as Tootsies hosted Recipe for Success' fourth annual Dress for Dinner - The Fashion Gene Awards Show. Nanette Lepore was the featured designer and dinner guest for the post-party feast prepared by chef Barbara McKnight of Culinaire.

Mother-daughter team Leisa Holland-Nelson and Laura Nelson Rose chaired the event. CultureMap's Clifford Pugh served as master of ceremonies. As the duos took their turns on the catwalk, he revealed what each thought about the other's sense of style -- and past fashion faux pas. "Shoulder pads," was the common criticism the daughters had for those moms who lived through the '80s.

Read the whole story. 

S2P Iron Chef Competition

Emily Paul
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Annually in May our Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ cooking classes participate in Iron Chef Competitions. The competition is a summation of the Seed-to-Plate classes for the school year as students' cooking skills are put to the test to make a dish without a recipe. Classes are split into teams to compete for five distinguished categories: Best Knife Skills, Best Plate Presentation, Cleanest Workers, Best Teamwork, and the most coveted, Best Dish Overall. 

Iron Chef April 16th.JPG

Iron Chef Competition at Rodriguez Elementary School with special judges H-E-B Area Community Coordinator Meagan Galbraith, Recipe for Success Chef Susie Mullen, and Recipe for Success Culinary Education Coordinator, Justin Kouri. 

In Jeopardy fashion, teams answer questions from the year's curriculum to pick their ingredient baskets. No two baskets are the same, stirring the competitive spirit even more. 

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Sneaking some help from Chef Jon Buchanan of Trevisio.

This year, students at Rodriguez Elementary school were judged on their salad making abilities, while at MacGregor Elementary School students were judged on garden fresh spring rolls. 

Ms Bell 4th Grade .jpeg

Students presenting spring rolls to Chef Monica Pope of Sparrow and fellow judges. 

When it comes to the judging, the tasting part is easy! Deciding category winners, however, is no easy feat. The amount of effort, sincerity, imagination, and skill the students pour into their final class is enough to deem everyone a winner. 

Summer Veg Paella

Emily Paul
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Summer Veg.jpgPaella is truly an interesting dish. It is a compilation of Roman irrigation, the rice brought by the Moors to the Iberian Peninsula and the Spanish worker. Conceived in Valencia, paella is traditionally cooked in a low, flat-bottomed skillet over an open flame. The Spanish workers would cook paella with chicken, rabbit, snails and vegetables - anything that was inexpensive. Now most Spanish regions have their own twists on this famous dish.

My veggie focused take on paella incorporates the other culinary export from Valencia - oranges. Using the zest brightens the flavor profile and the juice adds some necessary acid and sweetness to the dish. I used summer squash and eggplant in my version, but depending on seasonal availability, feel free to substitute any vegetable.


 4c chicken stock

Pinch of saffron

5 sprigs of thyme

2T olive oil

1 small yellow squash (cut into ¼"coins)

1 small zucchini (cut into ¼" coins)

½ eggplant (cut into ¼" coins)

1 oz of dried chorizo, finely chopped (about ¼c)

½ onion, finely chopped (about ½c)

1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped (about ½c)

2T tomato paste

3 cloves garlic, minced

1T fresh thyme

1t paprika

¼t cayenne

Zest of 1 orange

Juice of 1 orange

Pinch of saffron

1c Arborio rice

1t salt

Flat leave parsley, roughly chopped, for garnish


  1. Bring stock, saffron and sprigs of thyme to a simmer in a medium size pot. Keep at a simmer until ready to use. 
  2.  Heat oil in a large flat bottom skillet over medium high heat. Quickly sear both sides of the vegetable: 2 minutes per side for the yellow squash and zucchini; 4 minutes per side for the eggplant. Set aside.
  3. In the same skillet add chorizo, onion and pepper. Cook until the onions are translucent and starting to brown. Add tomato paste, garlic, thyme, paprika and cayenne and continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add rice to skillet, continuing to stir, toasting the rice for 2 minutes. Add the orange zest, juice, saffron and chicken stock. When the liquid boils, reduce heat to low. Stir the rice mixture frequently for 5 minutes. Stop stirring and allow rice to cook for 20 minutes. DO NOT STIR. After 20 minutes, nestle the seared vegetables into the paella, cover the skillet and turn off the heat. Allow to rest for 15 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.


Yields: 4 servings

Prep time: 15 minutes

Active cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Inactive time: 15 minutes

Total time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Skill level: Easy

 Justin Kouri is Recipe for Success' Culinary Education Coordinator. He tweets at @ChefJustinR4S.

Who's ready for Eat This! Summer Camps?!

Emily Paul
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While you're counting down the days till school's out, don't forget to check out the fun-filled Summer Camps at RecipeHouse coming up in June and July. Kids spend the week learning about cooking and gardening alongside talented chefs and wonderful garden instructors.

Choose from two programs: the original Eat This! Camp combination of cooking and gardening and product development, and Eat it! Food Adventures with Marco Polo exploring cuisines from Italy, Greece, Turkey, India and China. 

 Enrollment is open to all children ages 8-11. The 5-day camps are held at RecipeHouse, conveniently located in Houston's Museum District. Find camp dates and program details and download registration forms via the Eat This! Summer Camp page. 

A Gala in Small Bites 2015 Season

Emily Paul
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Gracie & Bob Cavnar launched the 2015 season of We're Cooking Now! A Gala in Small Bites with two sold out events in late March. April's exciting dinners featured seafood, Spanish cuisine and the art of the easy gourmet! Guests at the remaining Small Bites fundraiser dinners happening in May will delight in the exotic flavors prepared by celebrated chefs and be inspired by the latest collections from top fashion designers - with two of the May dinners featuring tabletop accents by Christofle! Savor dishes prepared by acclaimed chefs, such as Chef Danny Trace of Brennan's, Chef Barbara McKnight of Culinare, Chef Kiran Verma of Kiran's and Chef Charles Clark of Ibiza Food & Wine Bar, Coppa Osteria and others. Chef Clark's event is the final dinner in the 2015 series and takes place in the exclusive penthouse at the Four Seasons!

 See the full 2015 season page to buy tickets or view the official invite.


The Almost-Healthy Mexican Cocktail

Emily Paul
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Cinco de Mayo is a day of colorful celebrations and a fiesta of flavors. From loaded enchiladas to fishbowl-sized margaritas, it's easy to forget about a balanced diet. If you're looking to add a few more vitamins to your Cinco de Mayo happy hour, try our vibrant Almost-Healthy Mexican cocktail. It will have you saying, "Orange you glad there is tequila in this?"

Healthy Mexican.jpg

The Almost-Healthy Mexican Cocktail

Recipe by Jusin Kouri 


2oz Tequila

2oz Carrot Juice

2oz Orange Juice

1oz Pinapple juice

1 oz Jalapeño syrup (recipe below)

1 Jalapeño slice, for garnish


Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Shake until shaker forms condensation. Strain over ice in a highball glass. Garnish with jalapeño slice. 

Jalapeño Syrup


1 cup Sugar

1 cup Water

1 Jalapeño, quartered (include ribs and seeds)


Combine ingredients in a small pot over high heat and bring to boil. Remove from heat and all to cool completetly. Strain. Discard jalapeño. Keep in air-tight container until needed. 


farmers marKIDS in Edible

Recipe for Success
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Thumbnail image for Farmers MarKIDS stand.jpgThe publication highlighted our entreprenurial kids in their #3 issue in May 2015 with this story by Jenna White.

farmers marKIDS

Program helps students sell the food they grow

Last year, after nearly a decade of connecting children with their food through hands-on culinary and garden lessons, Recipe for Success Foundation sprouted a sweet idea: Use the garden to teach financial literacy. They named the resulting program Farmers MarKIDS. Read more.