Horned Frog Foodies
These Horned Frogs have gone on to savor the sweet flavor of success in the food world. We asked them to share their stories – and a few of their recipes.
By Allison Fisher Speer '91
Lanny Lancarte '97
Lanny's Alta Cocina Mexicana
How I got here: As the grandson of Joe T. Garcia, I grew up in the restaurant industry, so it has always been in my blood. I worked every position from dishwasher to manager at Joe T’s.
My life before food: There wasn’t one. I worked at Joe T's throughout college and then went on to study in Mexico and at the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, NY. I also worked for Rick Bayless in Chicago.
Favorite part of the job: The ability to express creativity in the kitchen. On a perfect day I don't have to answer the phone and can devote my time and skills cooking. The challenge of taking ingredients and twisting them in manners so that they taste good is the most fun part of the job.
Goat Cheese Cakes
1 1/3 cup cream cheese
2 cups goat cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
4 large eggs
zest of 4 key limes
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Combine cream cheese, goat cheese, sugar and vanilla pulp in mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat until creamy and smooth.
3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the sides as needed. Strain mixture into a bowl.
4. Fill 12 8-ounce cake molds that are lined with foil with mixture 2/3 of the way up. Place in large cake pan in a water bath with boiling water. Cover with foil and bake for one hour.
5. Lift foil and make sure cakes are set. Allow to cool.
Fritz Rahr '89 (MBA '93)
Rahr & Sons Brewery
How I got here: I come from a family of German brewers – my family’s business is the world’s fifth largest malt producer. Today the brewery sells 7 brands – Ugly Pug, Rahr’s Red, Blonde Lager, Summertime Wheat, Buffalo Butt and Bucking Bock and another one whose name you can see for yourself on the Web site.
My life before food: I worked for 11 years in the transportation industry.
Favorite part of the job: Brewing beer and watching people drink the beer and having them look at me and say with a huge smile, "This is great beer! That's what it's all about."
Rahr’s Beer Bread
Makes 1 loaf
3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons turbinado sugar*
2 (12-ounce) bottles of Rahr & Sons Blonde Lager
*Turbinado sugar is raw sugar that has been steam cleaned. The result is coarse, blond sugar crystals with a delicate molasses flavor. Many people use this for brulees or dessert work.
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan with vegetable shortening.
2. Set aside one bottle of Rahr & Sons Blonde Lager. Combine remaining ingredients, mixing well with hands.
Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 1 hour. Loaf should make a hollow sound when tapped.
After placing bread in the oven, open the remaining bottle of Rahr & Sons Blonde Lager and enjoy while waiting for the bread to bake!
1. Add 1/2 cup freshly chopped chives, basil or green chiles to dough.
2. Add 1 cup grated Red Leicester or sharp cheddar cheese to dough.
3. Use muffin tins to make individual servings. The crust is the best part of this bread. Decrease cooking time according to your oven’s temperament.
4. Add 1/4 cup orange marmalade and 1 teaspoon freeze-dried chives to dough for a nifty holiday snack loaf. Serve toasted with a slice of Edam cheese for an easy and impressive breakfast.
Bill Renfro '97
Renfro Foods, Inc.
How I got here: I was born into the business as the eldest son of George and Arthurine Renfro, who began the business in 1940. I developed the Mrs. Renfro’s label and concept in the late 1950s. My brother John ’59 and I have spent our entire career dedicated to the company.
My life before food: I was an
officer in the U.S. Army artillery.
Favorite part of the job: It is a thrill for me to just go back and watch the manufacturing process. When we first started manufacturing, we did everything by hand. Now, we are running with a lot of automation, filling 116 jars a minute and manufacturing 40,000 to 50,000 jars every day. It also fills me with pride when I meet people and they are familiar with our brand. Most of the time they have a favorite product of ours and will compliment it – music to my ears.
Bill Renfro’s Mexican Fudge
1 pound grated cheddar cheese
1/4 jar Mrs. Renfro’s Green salsa
Spread 1/2 pound cheddar cheese on 9 x11 or 7 x 11 baking dish. Beat eggs and combine them with salsa. Spread on the cheese in the dish. Then add remaining cheese on top. Bake at 350 for approximately 30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Cut into 1-inch squares. Serve on tortilla chips.
Connie Guttersen '86
Nutritionist and author
of The Sonoma Diet
and The Sonoma Diet Cookbook
How I got here: I moved to Napa Valley with my husband 13 years ago, where I started working at the Culinary Institute of America with the role of teaching nutrition and healthy cooking. My objective was to use flavorful foods of the Mediterranean, Asia and Latin America to translate the most recent advances of science. What you eat should be a lifestyle you don’t want to give up and include flavorful meals. Living in the wine country of California and working at the Institute as well as working alongside my dad, a doctor, are all inspirations for writing The Sonoma Diet.
My life before food: I worked in obesity research in Washington.
Favorite part of the job: Feeling fulfilled when I read success stories and seeing that my work experiences in both the medical side and culinary arts could really come together to make a difference in how America eats.
Marinated Flank Steak
Prep time: 20 minutes; marinating time: 1 to 24 hours; grilling time: 17 minutes; standing time: 10 minutes. Yields 8 servings.
One 1 1/2- to 2-pound beef flank steak
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tablespoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram or 1 teaspoon dried marjoram, crushed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 1⁄2 teaspoons minced)
1 1⁄2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1. Trim fat from meat. Score both sides of steak in a diamond pattern by making shallow cuts at 1-inch intervals; set aside. In a small bowl stir together rosemary, marjoram, oregano, garlic, paprika, kosher salt, crushed red pepper, and black pepper. Stir in the oil until combined.
2. Spoon herb mixture evenly over both sides of steak; rub in with your fingers. Place steak in a shallow dish. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 24 hours.
3. For a charcoal grill, place meat on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals. Grill for 17 to 21 minutes or until medium doneness (160°F), turning once halfway through grilling. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place meat on grill rack over heat. Cover and grill as above.)
4. Transfer grilled meat to a cutting board. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. To serve, slice very thinly across the grain.
Sautéed Broccoli with Roasted Peppers and Goat Cheese
Prep and cooking time 30 minutes. Yields 4 servings.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups broccoli florets
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup bottled roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped
1⁄4 cup chopped, pitted kalamata olives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram or 1 teaspoon dried marjoram, crushed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add broccoli and garlic; cook for 5 to 8 minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender. Stir in roasted bell peppers, olives, parsley, green onion, marjoram, lemon juice, kosher salt, and black pepper. Heat through. Transfer mixture to 4 serving plates or a platter; sprinkle with goat cheese.
David Rotman '90
Cafe Aspen Restaurant
How I got here: I was already here before I graduated. I knew I wanted to own my own business, be my own boss, so I started looking into the restaurant business my senior year. I opened Café Aspen in May of ’91, just before I graduated. It was a hard business to get into at age 21, and took lots of experience, hard work and staying the course during ups and downs.
My life before food: Studying as a
communications/com studies major at TCU.
Favorite part of the job: It’s always been the people. I’m talking about the people within the company, people who have stayed with me for more than 17 years, and the people who come into the restaurant. We have many patrons who’ve been eating with us since we opened the first location on 7th Street. That’s what keeps me in this business.
Cafe Aspen’s Strawberry Apple Pie0
2 1/2 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoons salt
8 ounces Crisco
1/2 cup water
Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl, then pat out into a 10-12 inch pie pan. With a fork, gently poke holes in the bottom. Put into conventional oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
4 cups strawberries (topped)
4 cups apples (diced)
11/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup flour
2 cups fresh raspberries
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir vigorously and then pour into proofed pie crust and shake gently into place.
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
? cup almonds
8 ounces butter (used on top when cooking)
Combine all ingredients and sprinkle on top of filling, covering it well. Slice butter into thin pats and place generously onto topping.
Place pie back into 350 degree oven for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown. Serve.
Holly Moore '04
Assistant to the president and executive editor
of the French Culinary Institute magazine, Table & Plate;
owner of Pastiche restaurant
How I got here: I started out as a nutrition and food management major at TCU, and through the program had the opportunity to work in everything from four-star restaurants to TCU’s own Main. After graduating from TCU, I moved to New York City to attend The French Culinary Institute. While in school, opportunities popped up, which led me to what I am doing today.
My life before food: I worked as a private chef in NYC and in food styling and research for Bravo's “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.”
Favorite part of the job: The food! I get to eat at amazing restaurants and stay on top of all of the latest trends in the industry. I create/edit the FCI’s student and alumni magazine. At Pastiche, we develop recipes for print media and television, as well as test recipes for cookbooks, magazines and newspapers. We just finished testing for a cookbook project with chef/producer Lauren Deen and will soon be working on developing recipes for the Mexican Hass Avocado Board.
Holly Moore’s Mini BLTs with Avocado Wasabi Cream
6 slices of thick sliced, dense white bread, crust removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 cherry tomatoes
1 Hass avocado
1/2 teaspoon Fruit Fresh (or other fruit preservative powder), optional
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup wasabi mayonnaise
6 thick slices of smoked bacon
24 leaves of mache (lamb’s lettuce) or baby spinach
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cut each bread slice in half, and then in half again, to create four equal squares.
3. Place the bread squares in a single layer on a baking sheet that has been greased with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
4. Place in oven and bake for about 15 minutes, turning once, until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool entirely.
5. Slice the ends off of each cherry tomato, and then slice the tomato in half. Place the tomato halves in a single layer on another baking sheet that has been greased with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Bake these in the oven as well, for about 15 minutes, until the tomatoes begin to wilt.
6. Cook bacon slices on the stove or in the microwave until crispy. Divide each slice into four even pieces and set aside.
7. In a medium sized bowl, mash the avocado, Fruit Fresh and salt together. Once combined, add the wasabi mayonnaise and mix on high for about 30 seconds, until a paste forms.
8. Once the toasts have cooled, spread about 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon of the avocado wasabi mixture on each toast.
9. Next, place one leaf of the mache or baby spinach on top of the avocado wasabi mixture. On top of that, place a piece of the bacon, and then a half of the tomato. Each part of the BLT can be made a day in advance and stored overnight. Assemble up to an hour before serving.
Celia Smith McGrath '83
How I got here: I married into the company in 1997.
My life before food: I was in the banking industry for 14 years. Winning a ski trip as a TCU student for raising money during a TCU Phonathon in the early '80s and being recruited for sales positions by insurance companies before graduation had not convinced me that sales and marketing were my forte.
Favorite part of the job: Several TCU departments are loyal clients, as are companies, nonprofits and gift basket businesses across the country.
McGrath Candies Chocolate Clusters
1 pound milk or dark solid chocolate melting wafers
1 to 1 1/2 pounds of your favorite roasted nuts (Spanish peanuts, almonds, cashews, filberts, pecans), raisins, or shredded coconut
Wax paper, butcher paper, or a marble slab
1. Melt the chocolate wafers in a double boiler, being careful NOT to get any water in the chocolate.
2. When the chocolate is melted, remove the top of the
double boiler from the bottom part so the chocolate will begin to cool.
3. Add your favorite nut or fruit ingredient from the list above, and incorporate it completely into the chocolate.
4. Using your fingers, drop tablespoon-size amounts of the cluster mix onto the paper or marble to cool. After the clusters have cooled, store them in a cool, dry container. Any leftover melted chocolate can be used to dip pretzels, crackers or your favorite cookie.
Allow the products to cool and set.
Melting wafers have a hardener which facilitates using these products at home. Ordinarily, premium chocolatiers such as Olympia Candies use pure milk and dark chocolate, which must be tempered by hand to avoid the white streaks which occur when the chocolate changes temperature too rapidly.
Ryan Schobel '98
How I got here: I have been surrounded by the restaurant business since I was 5; my parents and aunt and uncle owned the restaurant. I’ve done everything from busing tables, cooking, waiting tables to being manager. After being in the real estate business a few years, I decided I wanted to go back home to Columbus, so I spent four years as a manager before my wife, Andrea ’99, and I purchased Schobels’ in 2004.
My life before food: When I was at TCU I had an internship with Woodbine Development Company in Dallas and then worked there after graduation.
Favorite part of the job: The food. I really enjoy my time spent in the kitchen.
Schobels’ Buttermilk Pie
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 melted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
Combine first four ingredients and beat, then add remaining ingredients. Pour into a 9- inch pie crust then bake at 350 for about an hour.
Eric McLendon '85
The Food Network's "Recipe for Success"
How I got here: I was a broadcast journalism major and played baseball at TCU, so eventually I started doing the baseball games at KTCU. During college, I also worked for television stations in the Fort Worth area, producing and reporting the sports segments of the news. I worked as a sportscaster in Huntsville and Mobile, Alabama; Port Arthur, Texas; Hartford, Conn.; Sacramento, Calif.; and finally in New York at WNBC. When I got to New York I decided I wanted to fulfill my lifelong dream of being an actor.
My life before food: My acting career has included off-Broadway plays, parts on NBC’s “Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” CBS's “Guiding Light,” ABC's “All My Children,” and a recurring role as officer Steve Madison on “One Life To Live.” “Recipe for Success” was an offshoot of my broadcasting and acting careers.
Favorite part of the job: “Recipe for Success” is about people who are trying to start businesses in the food industry. We follow them for up to six months. I love getting to know the people and telling stories and trying to get it across and make it interesting. The beauty of the show is that you get to live the experience with them. Also, the show is produced by Al Roker Productions, so I get to work with him on a regular basis.
Eric McClendon’s Mama’s Brownies
Yields approximately 16 brownies
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup chopped nuts
1 egg, well beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 squares melted unsweetened chocolate
Mix and sift flour and salt, stir in nuts. Cream shortening until soft; gradually beat in sugar, then eggs, vanilla and chocolate. Stir in flour mixtures. Turn into creased 8 inch square pan and bake in a moderately low oven (325-350 degrees) about 30 minutes. These fall slightly upon removing from the oven but are moist and fudge-like. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into squares.
Patty Sutherland '96
Tuscan Women Cook
How I got here: After several years of traveling to the tiny village, my husband and I bought a 300-year-old farm house to “retire in.” In 2000 we sold our business in Texas and Tuscan Women Cook was born.
My life before food: I had my own business for more than 20 years designing and painting wall murals and then went back to school and finished my BFA in Fine Art at UTA before going to TCU for my master’s degree.
I also taught design and color theory at TCU the year before we moved to Montofollonico.
Favorite part of the job: I think that the best part of what I do is to share the history, culture and beauty of where I live with other people. I always want our guests to understand that people still live very close to the earth here in Tuscany. The hand is visible in everything that is done, from making pasta, picking grapes and olives to painting pottery. There is a simplicity of life that is part of the tradition and hopefully will never change.
Patty Sutherland’s Tiramisu
8 eggs, separated
10 tablespoons sugar
5 espresso cups Italian caffe
1 1/2 pounds mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 cups vin santo
2 packages lady fingers (1/2 lb)
1/4 pound dark chocolate
1. Whip eggs yolks and 8 tablespoonfuls sugar for 5-8 minutes in electric mixer. Add remaining 2 tablespoonfuls sugar in the last minute or so of mixing.
2. Whisk mascarpone until light. Whisk egg whites until semi-stiff.
3. Fold mascarpone into egg whites, then egg yolk mixtures.
4. Mix vin santo and caffe together. Soak biscuits only to soften (do not make soggy) and put in bowl. Cover with mascarpone/egg mixture.
Add small chunks or shavings of chocolate to the surface and place in refrigerator to chill.
Bread and vegetable soup
Ribollita translates as “re-boiled” and many Italian women will cook the soup one day for serving the following day. Don’t add bread until second day. Ingredients for ribollita vary every time it is made – it seems to be basically what vegetables are on hand
1 loaf stale bread
1/2 pound dried white beans
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
4 celery stalks
1 small bunch chard
1 bunch spinach
1 large can tomatoes
1. Soak beans overnight in water. Pour off water and cook until done.
Heat olive oil on high and cook onions and garlic. Add remaining vegetables and beans and cook for 1 hour, adding liquid from cooked beans as necessary.
Slice stale bread and arrange on the bottom of a serving dish, then cover with a layer of the soup (it should be fairly thick).
4. Continue to layer bread and soup until dish is full.
May be served hot or at room temperature. Serve with fresh chopped onions over the top and another splash of extra virgin olive oil.
Other Notable Frog Foodies
Barclay Ryall ’86, Rocco's Wood Fired Pizza
Mark Taylor ’72, Escargot Restaurant
Hon. Charlie Geren, (TCU Trustee) Railhead Smokehouse
Mark Hill ’73, Thornhill Catering
Robert Pulido ’85, Pulido's Mexican Restaurant
Eric Tschetter ’92, The Pour House
Park Kerr ’82, El Paso Salsa
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