Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with recipes from Houston’s award-winning Backstreet Café

Award-winning Houston restaurant Backstreet Cafe is celebrating its fortieth 12 months in operation by sharing the secrets and techniques of a few of its most iconic recipes and cocktails.

Elevate a pink dragon or some pink sangria and make a want Congratulations To the individuals who have made the award-winning Backstreet Cafe a Houston success story for 40 years.

What began in 1983 as an informal restaurant serving soups, salads, easy sandwiches — and even a popcorn machine within the bar — is now a top-tier restaurant owned by considered one of Houston’s most revered restaurateurs, James Beard Award-winner Tracy Foote. – Award-winning chef Hugo Ortega.

Former geologist Foote opened the restaurant with no expertise within the business, however by way of arduous work, struggles, and a knack for recognizing and nurturing expertise in others, she created a eating landmark in Houston and located her area of interest as a restaurateur. Chef Hugo Ortega began out as a dishwasher, found his pure expertise as a chef and commenced his American dream, pastry chef Ruben Ortega perfected his expertise, and numerous others discovered a house and profession path.

On the Backstreet Cafe, Tracy and Hugo change into a dynamic mixture – in restaurant life and love.

The café began with a quite simple menu however has developed into an award-winning prime desk in Houston with a menu that has developed over time to change into as numerous as Houston, with Southern, Cajun, Creole, Spanish and Asian influences. Amongst different issues.

In 2013, on the thirtiethy Restaurant Anniversary, revealed by Foote and Ortega Backstreet Kitchen: Seasonal recipes from our neighborhood café To share a few of their hottest recipes.

Right here we share two of Backstreet’s iconic cocktails and another scrumptious recipes to toast 40 years of arduous work and success to this native H-town favourite.

Pink dragon

1½ ounces mezcal
½ ounce gin
1 ounce contemporary lemon juice
¾ ounce agave
¼ ounce of ardour fruit
The couple makes use of each orange bitters and Ms. Higher’s Bitter Miraculous, and Snappy’s Bitters Fireplace Tincture

Place all substances in an ice shaker, shake effectively, then pour right into a cup. Garnish with a slice of dragon fruit.

Backstreet Rosé Sangria

1 bottle rose
8 ounces guava juice
5½ ounces peach liqueur
4 ounces lemon juice
2½ ounces easy syrup
2 ounces lemongrass and strawberries
¾ ounce Aperol

Mix all substances. Garnish with lemon wheels and strawberry slices.

Stuffed boiled pears

(serves 4)

On the restaurant, we serve these pears as a salad with purple oak leaves and arugula and use the poaching liquid as a dressing. That is additionally a very talked-about vegetarian facet for our company’ vacation gatherings. It may be ready two days upfront. Slice any remaining pears to prime Stuffed Endive Spears—a straightforward vacation occasion deal with.


½ cup pecans, evenly toasted
1 / 4 cup of dried cranberries
⅓ cup blue cheese, crumbled


2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
¼ cup of chopped shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 entire cloves
1 star anise
3 spices, evenly floor
Pinch purple pepper flakes
½ teaspoon inexperienced pepper, barely crushed
4 giant pears, peeled, with stems intact
1 ½ cups candy purple wine, ideally port
½ cup purple wine
½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
A pinch of freshly floor black pepper

For filling: Place the pecans and dried fruit in a meals processor and pulse till coarsely chopped. Switch to a bowl. Mix the blue cheese and dried pecan fruit combination utilizing your palms. Put aside till prepared to make use of or refrigerate as much as 2 days upfront.

Boil: Preheat the oven to 375 levels Fahrenheit. Warmth a big ovenproof pot or Dutch oven over medium-high warmth with the oil and half the butter. As soon as the butter has utterly melted, add the shallots and garlic and cook dinner for two minutes. Add cloves, star anise, allspice, purple pepper flakes and inexperienced peppercorns. Add the pears and allow them to caramelize barely on either side, about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often for even coloration. Add wine, salt and floor black pepper and produce to a boil. Cut back the warmth and simmer gently for five minutes, basting the pears often with the wine. Take away from warmth and canopy.

Place the pears within the oven and cook dinner till the pears are tender when pierced with a pointy knife, about 45 minutes. Take away from the oven each quarter-hour and rotate the pears with tongs to make sure poaching. Take it out of the oven. Rigorously switch the pears to a tray to chill. Place the pot with the poaching liquid over excessive warmth and scale back the quantity by half, about 10 to 12 minutes. Beat the remaining two tablespoons of butter, then take away from warmth. Switch to a stockpot.

As soon as cool sufficient to deal with, peel the underside of the pear utilizing an apple extractor. Stuff every pear with the dried fruit combination. Go away the remainder of the combination apart to make use of for adornment.

Place the pears on a plate, and pour half the sauce over every pear. Set the remaining sauce apart. Garnish the pears with extra of the dried fruit combination.

Candy potato gratin

(serves 8 to 10)

Rising up, my household served candy potatoes the normal American method. The candy potatoes had been whipped and had marshmallows on prime. Those we serve at Backstreet are a extra elegant model with a candy crumb on prime. They’re baked for a really very long time. Whenever you reduce into it you will see many layers of candy potatoes inside – it is well worth the wait. That is essentially the most requested merchandise on our Thanksgiving menu and might be made as much as two days upfront. Reheat by eradicating from the fridge half-hour earlier than baking in a preheated 350°F oven for 30 to 45 minutes.

6 kilos candy potatoes, peeled
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
½ almonds and oats recipe (see web page 99) for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 levels Fahrenheit. Spray a 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray and put aside.

Place the mandoline on a clear chopping floor. Lower the candy potatoes, lengthwise, into skinny 1/8-inch slices. Whisk the heavy cream and sugar collectively in a small bowl and put aside.

For every layer, prepare the candy potatoes in a single layer within the ready dish. Sprinkle somewhat of the cream and sugar combination over the potatoes. Repeat this course of till all of the potatoes are used. For the topping, sprinkle all the remaining cream and sugar combination. Cowl with aluminum foil, place on a tray to catch the cooking juices, and place within the oven till the candy potatoes are tender or till they’re simply pierced with a knife, about 2 hours. Each half-hour, flip the tray for even baking. We take it out of the oven, uncover the lid, and sprinkle the gratin with the streusel. Return to the oven and bake till evenly browned on prime, 15 to twenty minutes. Take it out of the oven. Serve heat.

Observe: Topping

Omit the oatmeal for the almonds and oats when getting ready this recipe.

Wild mushroom soup

(serves 8)

For this soup, we use quite a lot of mushrooms relying on what our native provider can provide us out there. It’s considered one of our hottest soups. A drizzle of sherry earlier than serving and the optionally available addition of Sottocenere cheese give the soup a lift of wealthy taste. At Backstreet, we additionally garnish the soup with a skinny crostini smeared with blue cheese for much more taste.

8 ounces white mushrooms
4 ounces every of shiitake and portabella mushrooms
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
2 tablespoons contemporary thyme, leaves solely
1 ½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
4 cups of entire milk
Half a cup of heavy cream
¾ teaspoon freshly floor black pepper
¾ teaspoon floor white pepper
6 skinny slices of sotsinore cheese, optionally available

Rub the dust off every mushroom utilizing a clear, damp kitchen towel. Take away the legs and ribs utilizing a small kitchen spoon. Place the cleaned mushrooms in a meals processor and grind till finely chopped.

Warmth a big pot over medium warmth with the butter. As soon as the butter is totally melted. Add garlic and shallots and cook dinner till tender. Add mushrooms, thyme and salt and cook dinner for six minutes, stirring.

Add milk, heavy cream, black and white pepper and permit to boil. Cut back the warmth and simmer the soup for 18 to twenty minutes, stirring. Add cheese, if utilizing, and soften utterly. Take away the soup from the warmth, then put it within the blender. Purée to a easy consistency. Work in batches.

Serve heat. Garnish as above or with a couple of further sautéed mushrooms, if desired.

Notes: Below the ashes

(pronounced SOTTO CHEN-eh-ray) is a semi-soft Italian cow’s milk cheese made with shaved truffles. It has an ash-coloured rind and is a mix of nutmeg, coriander, licorice, cloves and fennel. It is considered one of Hugo’s favourite issues to make use of. It’s accessible within the cheese part of connoisseur grocery shops. Take away peel earlier than use.

Go to their backsTree cafe on-line. Vacation tip: They promote and ship superb fruitcakes.

Pictures: Courtesy of Backstreet Cafe

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