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Month: November 2022

Notes of The Nutcracker

For a recipe to work, the ingredients must complement each other and stick to a formula. Afterall, there are rules for how to make the dough rise and how to get a smooth sauce. But you and I both know the best recipes do not stick to the formula. The best recipes exude creativity and pull from decades of experience. This month, Texicureans is inviting you into the home of Haley and Easton Smith, both professional ballet dancers. They graciously shared their story, their labor of love shaping The Nutcracker Ballet San Antonio, and a recipe with a twist. Or pirouette?

The Smiths met in the ballet studio in a story measuring up to a movie meet cute moment. He saw her, knew she was the one, and they were on the fast track from there. The Smiths have each individually performed The Nutcracker since they were children and have taken this wealth of experience to choreograph The Nutcracker for Ballet San Antonio.

Haley shares, “Easton and I had such a wonderful time working together in the studio again during the creative process.  Our creative styles complimented each other, and we were always able to keep working and moving forward creatively, loving every minute of it.  We had to edit the musical score, create all the steps for every dancer on stage, choose the props and costumes, create the lighting design, set the music tempos with the conductor, and create all the production cues.  It was a monumental task, but we grew and learned so much through the process and now we get to enjoy seeing the beautiful dancers of Ballet San Antonio perform it every year.”

In the kitchen with them, Haley and Easton’s passion for ballet and their confidence and praise of everyone at Ballet San Antonio was palpable.

About Ballet San Antonio’s The Nutcracker

Ballet San Antonio’s The Nutcracker, originally commissioned by Ballet San Antonio for Ballet San Antonio, choreographed by Easton and Haley Smith and with its world premiere on Friday, November 23, 2018. In the 2021-22 season, Sofiane Sylve became the Artistic Director and Director of the School of Ballet San Antonio.

“The Nutcracker that Easton and I created for Ballet San Antonio was inspired by our favorite productions: the country’s oldest Nutcracker that we performed with Ballet West by Willem Christiansen and one of the greatest Nutcrackers made by George Balanchine. We have both performed in the Nutcracker every year since we were about 9 years old, and we also drew from those experiences to create an exciting, fast paced Nutcracker that would entertain children and adults alike. The classic story is retold clearly with exceptional dancing and mesmerizing lifts.   New digital sets create a spectacular setting for the dancers and a live orchestra returns this year as well. There are also 140 local children in the show, drawing in the community for a wonderful holiday tradition.”

Where: Tobin Center for the Performing Arts

When: Full Length Performances December 2-4 and December 9-11

Dec 2, 2022 – 7:30 pm

Dec 3, 2022 – 2:00 pm

Dec 3, 2022 – 7:30 pm

Dec 4, 2022 – 2:00 pm

Dec 9, 2022 – 7:30 pm

Dec 10, 2022 – 2:00 pm

Dec 10, 2022 – 7:30 pm

Dec 11, 2022 – 2:00 pm

Sensory Friendly Performance

Dec 6, 2022 – 10:00 am (approx. 1 hr.)

Student Performances

Dec 8, 2022 – 9:50 am (approx. 1 hr.)

Dec 8, 2022 – 11:15 am (approx. 1 hr.)

December 9, 2022 – 10:00 am (approx. 1 hr)

Ticket Link: https://www.tobincenter.org/thenutcracker

Tickets can be purchased on the Tobin Center’s website (link above), by visiting the Tobin Center’s Box Office at 100 Auditorium Circle, or by phone at 210-223-8624. The Tobin Center Box Office is open Monday – Friday from 10 am – 6 pm, Saturdays from 10 am – 2 pm and 2 hours prior to show time on performance days for in-person sales.

Bio: Sofiane Sylve was born in Nice, France, where she studied at the Académie de Dance. She was a Principal dancer with Germany’s Stadttheater, Dutch National Ballet, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and Semperoper Ballett. During the 2020/21 season she became a ballet mistress with the Semperoper Ballet as well as the Artistic Advisor for Ballet San Antonio.  In the 2021-22 season, Sylve became the full-time Artistic Director of Ballet San Antonio and Director of the School of Ballet San Antonio. Sofiane Sylve’s full bio can be found at: https://balletsanantonio.org/dancers/sofiane-sylve/


Did you know that the Nutcracker is an historical foodie’s ballet?  It is said that the 2nd act showcases the 19th century’s most precious confections.  At a time of the year when straying from nutrition is most apt – the Smith’s recipe for zucchini bread slips a little “green” into your diet! They also offer twists like a vegan option and a chocolate addition to enhance the appeal. Find the recipe on our website texicureans.com

For me, some of the most wonderful moments leading up to Christmas are baking with holiday music playing in the background. Absolutely one of my favorites is the soundtrack to the Nutcracker Ballet.  With every note of Sugarplum Fairy, can’t you just imagine throwing in a pinch of cinnamon and dancing around the kitchen? That’s what you’ll find me doing this holiday season. Ding ding ding ding ding…ding ding ding…

Zucchini Bread

Course brunch
Cuisine American


  • 3 Cups All-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • cup brown sugar
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans


  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans.
  • Sift flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon together in a large bowl.
  • Beat eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla together in a separate large bowl with an electric mixer until combined.
  • Add flour mixture and beat well.  Stir in zucchini and walnuts until well combined.  Pour batter into the prepared pans
  • Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 -60 minutes.  Cool in the pans on a wire rack for 20 minutes.



To make the recipe vegan:  substitute organic flax seed for eggs - 1 tbsp flaxseed mixed with 3 tbsp water for each egg.
Keyword bread, zucchini, sweet bread, brunch

Dark Chocolate Pecan Patties

Texas pecans are supremely the very best!  Add dark chocolate, and you have a healthy, satisfying treat.  

I like to buy at least 60% dark chocolate chips for that rich strong element.  Buying your pecans at the grocery store is ok, but if you can purchase from a local orchard, that would be primo.   This candy is a snap to create – and will delight your guests or makes a nice neighbor gift for the holidays. 

Dark Chocolate Pecan Patties


  • 1 pkg Dark chocolate Chips 60% Cocoa
  • 2 cups chopped pecans


  • Melt chocolate in a glass bowl, stirring often
  • Stir in chopped pecans
  • Drop on parchment paper to make 2½" patties

The Three Ps: Pumpkin Pecan Pie

This is where the creaminess of pumpkin filling meets the crunchy sweetness of pecans in one dreamy slice.
I actually tell you how to prepare a fresh sugar pumpkin – those small couple-pound pumpkins sold specifically for this purpose.  The freshness of roasted pumpkin pulp can’t be beat.  You can even roast it a day ahead so it’s ready for you.  (If you must:  Canned pumpkin puree may also be substituted – however, do not use pumpkin pie filling)
At a time of year when pecans are in so many recipes, you might consider roasting up extra to have on hand as an additional snack.
After roasting the pumpkin and pecans, this is a 2-step filling – mixing together the pecan topping and beating together the pumpkin filling.

The Three P: Pumpkin Pecan Pie

Course Dessert
Cuisine American


  • 1 Sugar pumpkin
  • 1 Refrigerated pie crust

Pecan Topping

  • 2 cups halved Texas pecans
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 8 tbsp butter

Pumpkin Filling

  • 1 ¾ cups freshly roasted pumpkin pulp (not canned pie filling)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup cream
  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt


  • Preheat oven to 425 °F
  • Cut the pumpkin in 1/2, remove the pulp and seeds, anyplace cut side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Bake pumpkin until fork tender, about 30 minutes. After cooling for a few minutes, scoop out pulp from rind. You also may be able to peel the skin from the pulp. Reduce oven to 300 °F for pecan roasting,
  • Place pice crust in a deep dish pie pan. St in fridge.
  • Spread pecans out on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven and stir, and place back in oven for another 10 minutes.  After removing, set oven back to 425. Let cool.  Finely chop.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together brown sugar and melted butter.   Stir in pecans.
  • In a large bowl, beat together the pumpkin pulp, eggs, cream, maple syrup, butter, and spices. 
  • Spread the pecan mixture on the bottom of the pie crust.  Pour the pumpkin filling on top.
  • Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes on the bottom rack.  Reduce temp to 350, place pie on middle rack and bake for additional 35-45 minutes.  Pie is ready when reaches an internal temp of 170 degrees or is slightly jiggly in the center but firm around edges.
    Cool to room temp and then chill in fridge for up to 3 days.



1.  You can substitute 1/2 and 1/2 for the cream.
2.  Great pie to prepare ahead and freeze. (Be sure and wrap in both plastic and aluminum foil).  Thaw overnight before serving.
Keyword pumpkin, pecan, pie

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Cranberries

Thanksgiving is a time for tradition.  We all have our fave dishes!  What if you could take one of the expected dishes and turn it into an unexpected burst of flavor?  That’s exactly what Roasted Sweet potatoes and Cranberries accomplishes.

Once roasted, the cranberries release their juices in little pockets of flavor AND the colors of the sweet potatoes and cranberries make a splendid presentation.

Add cinnamon, and you have a beautiful taste combination.  Cinnamon just seems to pair really well with the sweet potatoes.

Of course, Texas pecans add just the perfect crunch to this fabulous showstopper.

At a time of the year that your time is in so much demand, this dish is easy, takes very little time, and has big health as well as show benefits!

I can hear the “ooooooh’s” and ahhhhhh’s now!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Cranberries

A showstopper twist to an old fave
Prep Time 10 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 10


  • 6 cups cubed sweet potatoes
  • 8 oz bag cranberries
  • 1 cup Texas pecans or walnuts
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp Texas olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp cinnamon


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place sweet potatoes, cranberries, and nuts in a large roasting pan.
  • Combine maple syrup, olive oil, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.
  • Pour liquids over sweet potato mixture and stir until well mixed
  • Roast in oven for 40-50 minutes



I have made this dish one day ahead with great results.  You can even roast and refrigerate to free up some oven space the day of your meal.
Keyword sweet potatoes, cranberries, pecans, thanksgiving