A Saturday at the State Fair of Texas

A Saturday at the State Fair of Texas

The State Fair of Texas isn’t necessarily something I need to attend every year, but certainly every few years. For those who don’t live in this great state, this fair is known world-wide as one of the highest attended and best state fairs in the country. In fact, it has taken place every year since 1886 except for a few years during World War I and World War II.

The State Fair of Texas is also know for it’s food. Below is literally the most turkey legs I’ve ever seen in one place in my whole life. Insane.

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While we were there we walked around the Auto Show, saw some African Acrobats and watched the Dog Show. The Dog Show was actually really entertaining and one of the dogs actually did backflips.

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One of the biggest attractions (Oprah even did an episode on it) is all the fried foods. It’s become a huge competition between the vendors to have the most creative and tasty fried foods. Here is a link to several past winners. We both agreed the fried spaghetti and meatball was the best.

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Along with the fried bacon (below) we tasted fried alligator balls and fried frito pie. Previously, I’ve tried the fried chicken and waffle on a stick, fried pizza, fried cookie dough and fried oreos. While it may sound like we were total fat-asses, believe it or not but the portions are actually pretty small, especially when you split everything. Which we did, of course.

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We also walked around and saw some of the livestock. This picture doesn’t do justice to how massive this hog was.

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Neither of us really drink beer but there was a beer garden in the Cotton Bowl, so we decided that might be a good place for a photo op.

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I’ve told Nathan many times that “I’m not a ride person” but of course, being at the Fair, it only makes sense to go on a ride. The famous Ferris Wheel had too long of a line so we saw the Pirate Ride. From afar, this ride didn’t look very scary but now that I’ve survived it, I don’t need to do that one again. I know it’s stupid, but I hate the feeling of my stomach going up in my throat… I feel like I can’t breathe. So while everyone else on the ride quietly enjoyed it, I had my head buried in Nathan’s shoulder, small tears streaming down my face, laughing and screaming “Oh God! Oh God! Oh God!” all at the same time.

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Of course, we had to see Big Tex. Big Tex has become the cultural ambassador to visitors at the Fair and a cultural icon in Dallas.

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We had a blast and especially for those who aren’t from the DFW area, mark your calendars for the State Fair of Texas for next year. It’s a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Meet the Staff

Here’s a little video I did for work introducing some of our key staff members that we have now who previously worked for Mr. Hogan.

#TBT Golf with the Cochran boys

#TBT Golf with the Cochran boys

In 2012 our family decided to go on an Irish golf trip. Trips like that don’t come along very often so if you are going to do it, you might as well do it right. We used PerryGolf to organize our trip and it couldn’t have been more amazing. Here’s a throwback picture of me with my dad and brother at Old Head Golf Links.

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Blue Apron’s Fresh Linguine with Roasted Fennel

Blue Apron’s Fresh Linguine with Roasted Fennel

On Tuesday I got another box from Blue Apron which included a recipe for roasted fennel on a bed of linguine. I love pasta but had never had fennel before. Come to find out, it reminds me of an onion and I discovered that I really liked it. This was yet another easy and really delicious recipe.

Cook along with me in the video below.

INGREDIENTS
10 Ounces Fresh Linguine Pasta
⅓ Cup Part-Skim Ricotta Cheese
3 Cloves Garlic
1 Fennel Bulb
1 Lemon
1 Bunch Parsley
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Shallot
¼ Cup Breadcrumbs

INSTRUCTIONS
1 . Prepare the ingredients:
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Pick off and mince a few of the fennel fronds (the thread-like tops of the plant). Cut off and discard the fennel stems. Halve and core the fennel bulb; slice into ½-inch-thick strips. Pick the parsley off the stems. Peel and mince the garlic. Using a peeler, remove the lemon rind, avoiding the pith; mince to get 2 teaspoons of zest (or use a zester). Quarter and deseed the lemon. Peel and mince the shallot to get 2 tablespoons of minced shallot (you may have extra).

2. Roast the fennel & make the lemon ricotta:
Place the sliced fennel bulb on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper; toss to thoroughly coat. Arrange in a single, even layer and roast, stirring halfway through, 18 to 20 minutes, or until tender and lightly browned. While the fennel roasts, in a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese and the juice of 3 lemon wedges; season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Make the breadcrumb mixture:
While the fennel roasts, in a large pan, melt the butter on medium until hot. Add the garlic, shallot and half the parsley. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant and softened. Add the breadcrumbs. Cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 4 minutes, or until toasted and browned. Season with salt and pepper to taste; transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Wipe out the pan.

4. Make the sauce:
While the fennel continues to roast, in the pan used to make the breadcrumb mixture, combine the lemon zest, the juice of the remaining lemon wedge, ½ cup of water and 2 tablespoons of olive oil; season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat to boiling on high; stir to thoroughly combine. Remove from heat.

5. Cook & finish the pasta:
Using your hands, carefully separate the strands of the pasta; add to the pot of boiling water. Cook 4 to 6 minutes, or until tender. Reserving ¼ cup of the pasta cooking water, drain thoroughly and transfer to the pan of sauce. Add the roasted fennel bulb, minced fennel fronds and reserved pasta cooking water. Cook on medium-high, stirring occasionally, 2 to 4 minutes, or until well combined. Remove from heat; season with salt and pepper to taste.

6. Plate your dish:
Spread a layer of the lemon ricotta onto the sides of 2 dishes. Divide the finished pasta between the dishes. Garnish with the olives, breadcrumb mixture and remaining parsley. Serve with the remaining lemon ricotta on the side. Enjoy!

For all the deets and the tails about this recipe, click here.

Mushroom & Swiss Poppy Seed Rolls

I recently saw a ham and cheese recipe on Pinterest from Kevin & Amanda. I don’t care for ham so replaced it with slices of mushrooms and it was amazing. Try this super easy recipe and let me know what you think.

INGREDIENTS
• 1 can of Pillsbury Crescent Seamless Dough Sheet
• 1 cup of white button mushrooms sliced
• 6 slices of Swiss cheese

MUSTARD POPPY SEED GLAZE
• 8 tablespoons of butter
• 2 tablespoons of brown
• 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 1 tablespoon poppy seeds

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Unroll the pizza dough onto a cutting board and press into a large rectangle. Top with the mushrooms and cheese slices. Starting on the longer side of the rectangle, roll up the edge tightly. When you reach the end, pinch the seam together and flip the roll so that the seam is face down. Cut into slices approximately 1-inch wide. Arrange in prepared baking dish.
3. Next combine the butter, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and poppy seeds in a sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk until the butter is melted and the glaze is smooth and combined. Pour evenly over the rolls.
4. Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours or bake, uncovered for 25 minutes until golden and browned. Enjoy!

 

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