Chocolaterie Tessa opens pop-up location in the Domain Northside for the holidays

Tessa Halstead has been carrying on her dad’s chocolate legacy in Austin for several years now.

Tessa Halstead now runs two chocolate shops in Austin, one on Burnet Road and another at the Domain Northside. Contributed by Chocolaterie Tessa

Well, at this point, after three years of running a high-end chocolate business in Austin, Halstead is creating her own legacy, but when you’re the daughter of a legendary Dallas chocolatier, you’ll always be tied to your mentor.

Halstead’s Chocolaterie Tessa opened on Burnet Road in 2014, and this month, she opened a second location at the Domain Northside, 3211 Palm Way, where you’ll find her small-batch chocolates and treats.

These are some of the chocolate treats you’ll find at Chocolaterie Tessa. Contributed by Chocolaterie Tessa

The new store is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

In coming weeks, you’ll find several events at the new Chocolaterie Tessa location, including a wine and chocolate pairing at 6 p.m. on Nov. 9 and a bean-to-bar-to-bon bon class at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 30 with Srsly Chocolate. At 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 6, you can meet Lawren Askinosie, who recently co-wrote a book with her father, the founder of Askinosie Chocolates.

At 6:30 p.m. Dec. 7, Halstead is hosting a chocolate and cheese class with Antonelli’s Cheese Shop followed by a 10 a.m. chocolate and coffee class on Dec. 9 with Caffe Medici.


How to eat that decorative squash on your table with Parmesan, brown butter

This time of year, you can find all kinds of squash and gourds at local grocery stores, far more than the variety found just 10 or 15 years ago.

Butternut, hubbard, delicata, acorn and spaghetti squash are among the varieties of squash you can buy right now. Contributed by Phil Skinner.

Some of those squash might be sitting on your kitchen table right now.

In last week’s food section, we shared a handful of squash recipes that you could use with pumpkins or other edible gourds, and this recipe from “David Tanis Market Cooking: Recipes and Revelations, Ingredient by Ingredient” by David Tanis (Artisan, $40) is similarly versatile. You could use butternut or acorn squash instead of Hubbard; all of them pair well with the Parmesan and brown butter.

You could use any kind of winter squash in this dish from Davis Tanis’ new book, “Davis Tanis Market Cooking.” Contributed by Evan Sung

Hubbard Squash with Parmesan and Brown Butter

I can’t think of much that wouldn’t be good with Parmesan and brown butter, actually, but the combination is especially good with roasted winter squash. Use leftovers for a baked pasta — layer the squash with rigatoni or penne cooked firmly al dente, and then shower with grated cheese and bread crumbs.

— David Tanis

2 pounds peeled Hubbard or other winter squash, cut into 1/2-inch slices or a bit thinner
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
Pinch of crushed red pepper
12 large sage leaves, roughly chopped, or a handful of smaller sage leaves
Arugula or chopped parsley for garnish
A chunk of Parmesan for shaving
Lemon wedges

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the squash slices in a large bowl, season with salt and black pepper, and drizzle with enough olive oil to coat. Toss the squash with your hands to distribute the seasoning, then transfer to two baking sheets and spread out the slices. Roast until the squash is cooked through and the edges are browned here and there, about 15 minutes. (You can roast the squash up to 3 hours in advance and hold it at room temperature.)

Arrange the squash on a warm platter or on individual plates, then quickly make the brown butter sauce: Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the crushed red pepper and sage, season with a little salt and black pepper, and whisk the butter and aromatics as the butter begins to bubble and brown. When the butter is foamy and nutty-smelling, in a minute or so, spoon it over the squash. Garnish with a few arugula leaves or chopped parsley and use a sharp vegetable peeler to shave Parmesan over the squash. Serve with lemon wedges.

Makes 6 to 8 servings as a main course, 10 servings as an appetizer.

— From “David Tanis Market Cooking: Recipes and Revelations, Ingredient by Ingredient” by David Tanis (Artisan, $40)

Recipe: Japanese chicken skewers or meatballs? You decide

Thanks to an influx of Japanese yakitori restaurants, Americans are becoming familiar with the skewered meats typically served there. In many places, you’ll find strips of meat threaded onto a skewer, but this yakitori is a good example of tsukune, the meatball-like chicken patties you can grill on sticks.

Chicken yakitori are Japanese skewers that you could serve at a party or for dinner. This recipe comes from a new book called “JapanEasy.”

Tim Anderson, the author of “JapanEasy: Classic and Modern Japanese Recipes to Cook at Home” (Hardie Grant, $29.99), recommends finely chopping the chicken thighs rather than grinding with a food processor because you don’t want a meat paste in the end. You can cook these as meatballs or flatten them to make patties. The skewers allow you to flip them easily on a grill, but you can sear them in a pan if desired.

A note about sweet soy sauce: You can buy sweet soy sauce at Asian markets and specialty stores, but you can also make a version at home by heating 1 tablespoon sugar with 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 1/4 cup water and 1 tablespoon peanut oil. (A dash of sesame oil never hurts.) Some dark soy sauces are sweetened with ingredients like molasses, so they’ll require less sugar to sweeten for a dish like this.

“JapanEasy” by Tim Anderson

Chicken Patty Yakitori

4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of cartilage
3/4-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 spring onions (scallions), finely chopped, plus 1 extra, finely sliced, to garnish
4 shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped (optional)
Big pinch of freshly ground pepper
Big pinch of salt
Scant 3/4 cup sweet soy sauce

Cut the chicken thighs into small chunks, then mince them – you can do this by hand or with a food processor. Either way, make sure they’re not too processed – the mince should hold together when you shape it, but it shouldn’t be a paste. Little chunks of meat are what we’re after.

Heat a grill on high or, alternatively, turn your broiler on high. If using a broiler, place the rack 4 to 5 inches or so away from the heat.

Combine the chicken mince with the ginger, garlic, chopped spring onions, mushrooms, pepper and salt, then form into oblong patties and thread them onto skewers. Wrap the ends of the skewers in foil and apply the sweet soy sauce to the meat with a spoon or pastry brush. Grill or broil on high for about 10 to 15 minutes, turning the skewers and re-applying the glaze frequently. Garnish with the sliced spring onion. Makes 8 patties.

— From “JapanEasy: Classic and Modern Japanese Recipes to Cook at Home” by Tim Anderson (Hardie Grant, $29.99)

Just ahead of Halloween, FDA issues health warning about black licorice

Black licorice isn’t high on many people’s list, including the FDA’s.

Black licorice contains a compound that can cause potassium levels to suddenly drop, resulting in heart and swelling issues. Contributed by

Today, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about everybody’s least favorite candy, warning that too much black licorice can cause abnormal heart rhythms, as well as high blood pressure, edema (swelling), lethargy and congestive heart failure.

RELATED: 43 Halloween candies, definitively ranked

Black licorice is so strongly flavored that it’s widely yucked, but not everybody hates it. In fact, apparently some people eat so much they have serious health issues.

Halloween candies aren’t supposed to make you sick, but if you eat too much black licorice, you could be at risk. Contributed by Thinkstock Images.

How much is too much? According to the FDA, two ounces a day for two weeks straight, and it has to be the real stuff, not this fake anise-oil flavored licorice that you might find in some plastic pumpkins tomorrow.


The FDA specifies that this warning predominately applies to licorice-lovers over the age of 40. It turns out that black licorice contains the compound glycyrrhizin, which is the sweetening compound derived from licorice root, and glycyrrhizin can cause potassium levels in the body to fall.

From the FDA:

Licorice, or liquorice, is a low-growing shrub mostly grown for commercial use in Greece, Turkey, and Asia. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says the plant’s root has a long history of use as a folk or traditional remedy in both Eastern and Western medicine. It has been used as a treatment for heartburn, stomach ulcers, bronchitis, sore throat, cough and some infections caused by viruses, such as hepatitis; however, NIH says there are insufficient data available to determine if licorice is effective in treating any medical condition.

Licorice is also used as a flavoring in food. Many “licorice” or “licorice flavor” products manufactured in the United States do not contain any licorice. Instead, they contain anise oil, which has the same smell and taste. Licorice root that is sold as a dietary supplement can be found with the glycyrrhizin removed, resulting in a product known as deglycyrrhizinated licorice, or DGL, NIH says.

The agency went on to recommend the following “if you have a fondness for black licorice”:

  • No matter what your age, don’t eat large amounts of black licorice at one time.
  • If you have been eating a lot of black licorice and have an irregular heart rhythm or muscle weakness, stop eating it immediately and contact your healthcare provider.
  • Black licorice can interact with some medications, herbs and dietary supplements. Consult a health care professional if you have questions about possible interactions with a drug or supplement you take.
  • If you’ve experienced any problems after eating licorice, contact the FDA consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Here’s the schedule of food, cooking authors coming to the Texas Book Festival

The Texas Book Festival is just a few days away.

Sylvia Casares, of Houston, prepares a enchilada dish in the cooking tent Saturday, during the Texas Book Fest in 2016. Casares is the owner of Sylvias, which has three locations in Houston. Dustin Safranek for AMERICAN-STATESMAN

If you’re hoping to catch some of the cookbook authors coming to town this week, here’s a look at the food and cooking authors who will be in attendance and any related events they are hosting.

At 10:30 a.m. Saturday in the Central Market Cooking Tent, located on 11th Street on the south side of the Capitol, Terry Thompson-Anderson will talk about her latest book, “Breakfast in Texas,” with Texas Monthly’s Patricia Sharpe.

RELATED: Five new food books with ideas as big as Texas

The Austin-based social justice activist Raj Patel and California peach grower Mas Masumoto are among the contributors to a new book called “Letters to a Young Farmer” that they’ll discuss at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in the Capitol Extension Room E2.012.

Mexican ice cream will be the subject of a session at 11:45 a.m. in the Cooking Tent on Saturday with Fany Gerson, the New York City-based pastry chef who has written a number of books about Mexican desserts. Gerson will have another presentation in Spanish at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in the Ahora Si tent.

“America: The Cookbook” is a new epic tome from Phaidon.

What is American food? That’s a mighty question that a new book called “America: The Cookbook” tries to unpack. Several of the book’s contributors will be at the cooking tent at 1 p.m. Saturday to talk about this new megabook from Phaidon.

“Homesick Texan” author Lisa Fain will talk about her new “Queso” cookbook at 2:15 p.m. Saturday, followed by a session at 3:30 p.m. with Sarah Penrod, author of “Cookin’ With the Urban Cowgirl.” (Fain will stop by BookPeople at 7 p.m. Thursday for her book signing event with Edible Austin.)

RELATED: When it comes to queso, why processed cheese is your friend (and Velveeta is just OK)

Sunday’s events kick off at 11 a.m. with Julia Turshen, the esteemed cookbook author whose new book, “Feed the Resistance,” talks about how food can be integral to an activist movement.

I’m interviewing Mark Bittman at 12:15 p.m. Sunday about the 10th anniversary edition of his book, “How to Cook Everything: Vegetarian.” Emmer & Rye is hosting a three-course brunch with Bittman at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Tickets cost $150 and include a copy of the book.

At 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Austin restaurateurs Tom Moorman and Larry McGuire will talk about their new book, “Elizabeth Street Cafe,” which features French-Vietnamese recipes from the popular South Austin eatery.

“Top Chef” judge Gail Simmons is coming out with her first cookbook this year. It’s called “Bringing It Home: Favorite Recipes from a Life of Adventurous Eating,” and she’ll discuss it at 2:45 p.m. Sunday in the Cooking Tent. Following its Bittman brunch on Saturday, Emmer & Rye is hosting Simmons for a three-course brunch at 11 a.m. on Sunday before her book festival session.

Simmons also has a public event at Lake Austin Spa, 1705 S. Quinlan Park Road, at 5:30 p.m. Sunday that will feature wine, cheese and a book signing with Simmons, who is also teaching a private cooking class for spa guests the following day. The event costs $30, which does not include the cost of the book. You can find tickets at

Honey Fest returns on Saturday to celebrate one of the most magical foods

Honey is a magical elixir. It’s the only food that doesn’t rot. It’s antibacterial. It’s sweet and thick and useful at every meal.

Tara Chapman of Two Hives Honey will be talking about beekeeping and honey at the annual Honey Fest at Texas Keeper’s Buda-area cidery. Contributed by Two Hives

The folks at Texas Keeper and Two Hives Honey know how special honey is. For the second year, they are teaming up to host a Honey Festival, which will take place from 3 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28, at the cidery at 12521 Twin Creeks Road.

The event will double as a release for Texas Keeper’s new Honey Thief Cyser, a bubbly fermented beverage made with apples and honey. Guests will also get to try meads from all over the world as well as other local products made with honey and bee-friendly ingredients.

This is a new fermented drink from Texas Keeper that is made with honey and apples. Contributed by Texas Keeper

Tara Chapman of Two Hives Honey will also give tours of a hive on the property so you can learn about beekeeping. Ten percent of ticket purchases go to the Houston Beekeeping Association to support the rebuilding efforts of beekeepers affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Tickets cost $10 (kids are free) and you can buy them here.

RELATED: Harry Potter-inspired yoga returns to Austin brewery in time for Halloween

Check out the creepiest, weirdest cakes to come out of ‘Texas Cake House’

Where to celebrate Halloween in Austin

A roasted pumpkin poblano soup for this blustery weekend

In this week’s food section, we featured a bunch of pumpkin recipes.

Not pumpkin spice cookies or pumpkin pie smoothies, regular ol’ pumpkin recipes that don’t have any cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice or ginger.

There’s nothing wrong with pumpkin pie spices, of course, but sometimes you want to let pumpkin’s natural sweetness shine in a recipe like this roasted pumpkin poblano soup.

Roasted pumpkin and poblano soup from Mariana and Ian McEnroe of Yes, More Please! Contributed by Ian McEnroe

This dish comes from Mariana and Ian McEnroe, the bloggers behind Yes, More Please! I met through through #Austin360Cooks, and they’ve been regular contributors for months. I was grateful that they let me publish this pumpkin soup recipe because it’s a solid pureed soup recipe that could work with so many root vegetables and squashes.

RELATED: Year of Gadgets: Why fall is an immersion blender’s season to shine

Mariana McEnroe knows that the secret to a creamy vegetable soup that doesn’t taste like baby food is adding multiple textures. In this case, it’s charred corn and crunchy tortilla strips, with a cooling dollop of cream.

Immersion blenders are perfect for pureeing roasted vegetables into soups. Contributed by Ian McEnroe

RELATED: Want to see more home cooking photos from readers? Check out #Austin360Cooks

Roasted Pumpkin-Poblano Soup

For the past few years I’ve been making my vegetable soups under one principle: “Do not add chicken stock.” I don’t want, under any circumstance, my broccoli soup to taste like chicken (or my potato, carrot or any vegetable soup to taste like chicken instead of the star vegetables). It is certainly a challenge to follow this principle because our inner chicken stock-flavored souls desperately want to add more “depth of flavor.” I add that depth by roasting, grilling and braising; all these cooking methods bring out the qualities in the vegetables and enhance the sweetness and flavor concentration to the soup.

Pumpkin has a delicate flavor, so it is easy to accidentally cover up if you’re not careful. For this soup, I roasted the pumpkin and then added caramelized sweet onions to bring out the similar flavors in the pumpkin. The finished soup shines with crunchy tortilla strips and charred poblano and sweet corn. If you want to use canned pumpkin puree, make sure it is the plain pumpkin puree, not one with the pumpkin pie spices already added. You’ll need either one large or two small pumpkins to make two cups of puree. You can freeze any extra pumpkin puree for smoothies or other uses, and this soup also freezes well.

— Mariana McEnroe

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small sweet yellow onion
2 cups roasted pumpkin puree
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon of butter
To garnish:
2 poblanos, roasted, skinned, deseeded and cut into strips
1-2 ears corn, charred on a comal or cast-iron skillet and then kernels removed from husk
2 corn tortillas thinly cut into strips, baked or fried
1/4 cup cream or Greek yogurt

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium high heat. Cook the onions with a pinch of salt until they are soft and translucent. Lower the heat and let them become brown and caramelized, which will take at least another 20 minutes of cooking.

Add pumpkin puree, water, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper and nutmeg. Let it simmer until bubbly hot. Adjust the liquids for desired consistency. Add the tablespoon of butter and stir until melted and incorporated.

Serve warm in a soup bowl and garnish with the poblanos, charred corn and thinly fried tortilla strips. You can add a dollop of Greek yogurt or swirl of cream. Serves 2 to 4.

— From Mariana McEnroe, Yes More Please (

Check out the creepiest, weirdest cakes to come out of ‘Texas Cake House’

Natalie and Dave Sideserf, the stars of “Texas Cake House” on the Food Network, have made some pretty gruesome cakes.

Natalie and Dave Sideserf made this heart cake for a cardiologist office. Contributed by Sideserf Cakes

In one cake, a fox pulls back its own skin with its teeth. Another cake — commissioned by a cardiologist office — looks like a replica of an actual heart covered in blood. For their wedding cake, the Sideserfs made a cake sculpture that looked like their severed heads.

This is one of the innovated cakes that Natalie and Dave Sideserf have made in their Austin studio. Contributed by Sideserf Cakes

For our latest episode of “I Love You So Much,” these celebrity cake bakers came to the Statesman studios to talk about their most gruesome cakes and the exhausting work of putting on a reality TV show from their Austin shop.

Dave and Natalie Sideserf are featured on this week’s episode of the “I Love You So Much” podcast. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

You can find the latest episode here, and while you’re listening, check out these weird and freaky cakes they’ve made recently.

RELATED: Hear more recent episodes of “I Love You So Much”



The secret ingredient to the darkest treats you’ll make this Halloween

Grill-loving Americans are used to cooking over charcoal, but we’re just now starting to think about how we might cook *with* it.

The blogger behind Rice and Flour made this zebra cake using activated charcoal to darken part of the batter. Contributed by Rice and Flour

Activated charcoal popped up on my radar a couple of years ago when I saw activated lemonade from Juice Society that was darker than any food product I’d consumed in a long time.

MORE: Charcoal cocktails offer their own kind of dark magic for Halloween

It wasn’t until Jess Pryles’ released her Hardcore Carnivore product that activated charcoal entered my house, and now I used that pitch-black meat rub on just about every steak I sear.

I haven’t started using activated charcoal in baking, but there are lots of bloggers who are way ahead of me on that trend. It looks like you can add a small amount to many different batters and doughs to get a darker color in the finished product. Most cooks say the charcoal adds more color than flavor, while others have mentioned a slightly charcoal-y taste.


Activated charcoal is one of the ingredients in this black lemonade from Austin’s Juice Society. Contributed by Juice Society

Our beer/wine/spirits columnist Arianna Auber has a story this week featuring local spirit-makers who are using activated charcoal for spooky drinks this October.

She addressed the health concerns of ingesting activated charcoal, which is also used to counteract some poisons and overdoses.

Well before bartenders began co-opting it for pitch-colored cocktails, activated charcoal was popular with those who say it provides myriad benefits in the fields of health, beauty and science. Far more porous than the charcoal that barbecues your steaks, the powder traps toxins and chemicals, so whether it’s in your gut in the form of a capsule or on your face as a mask to flush out your pores, activated charcoal is both a bona fide poison treatment method and a popular home remedy.

The detoxifier has its downsides, however, which is why some bartenders hesitate to use it. Namely, activated charcoal doesn’t differentiate between the kinds of chemicals that it might absorb, which means that it could potentially affect the medications and supplements you take while they’re still in your stomach. (More cautious mixologists recommend avoiding charcoal cocktails if you’re taking prescription medications, or at least waiting a few hours until they’ve been absorbed.)

You can find activated charcoal in the bulk and spice sections of some natural and higher-end grocery stores, but it’s also found in the health section of some retailers, including Walmart.

Walmart is now selling this brand of activated charcoal, which you can use for health/beauty care or in baking and cooking.

Some people use it for teeth whitening, which is good news for those of us who might be use it in extra-dark cupcakes: Unlike food coloring, the activated charcoal won’t stain your teeth.

Have you used activated charcoal in your kitchen? Any tips for others who want to try it out?

//[View the story “Austin360Cooks: September-October 2017” on Storify]

Feeling brave this Halloween? Can you prove it by eating bugs?

You’ve heard about bug-eating, right?

Aketta is an Austin-based company that sells crickets and cricket powder. Contributed by Aketta

Even though we’re all eating bugs (and parts of bugs) pretty much every day of the year, there’s a growing entomophagy movement afoot to get more people to eat insects, including crickets and mealworms.

Two local organizations are at the forefront of this effort. The non-profit Little Herds has been around since 2012 and is now a co-host of the Austin Bug-Eating Festival, a 10-year-old summertime event that encourages the exploration of insects as food.

Many in the entomophagy — or bug-eating — movement became supporters when they found out how much water, feed and land is saved, per ounce of protein produced. Contributed by Aketta

In 2014, Austin became the official home Aspire Food Group, an international company focused on producing and promoting the consumption of insects. In addition to a farm in Ghana, they run a cricket farm south of Austin that supplies insects to some of the many companies now making insect products. They also sell their own line of cricket flour and protein powder called Aketta.

RELATED: Why it’s silly to bug out over entomophagy

This Halloween, don’t let the idea of eating bugs scare you

But let’s great real: You’re here because eating bugs still seems like a crazy idea that’s maybe just crazy enough to do, especially for a Halloween party.

So, where do you find these little buggers? Little Herds offers a list of companies selling insect products, but you can also find some of the most established products, including Chapul, made famous on “Shark Tank,” at area stores, including Central Market.

Many of the products available on the market contain the insect powder and don’t look like bugs, but Aketta sells roasted crickets that are fun — to me, at least — to pop in your mouth, especially this time of year.

You can find those whole crickets at Ingredients, the small grocery store store on Manor Road that sells a handful of insect brands, including Chirps and Seek Foods. Wheatsville sometimes carries Chiridos, a cricket chip, and Fresh Plus and Natural Grocers have carried cricket bars, according to Robert Nathan Allen of Little Herds.

Chirps is a national brand of chips made with cricket flour. Contributed by Chirps.

The local chocolate company Delysia makes a cricket bark, and La Condesa serves the classic Oaxacan dish of chapulines, but it’s a off-the-menu, request-only kind of thing, so you might call ahead.

Be sure to check out the FAQ on Little Herds’ site to find out about why people with a seafood allergy should be careful and how to make sure you’re getting insects raised for human consumption.