This Week in Houston Food Blogs: Southern Cooking Tips and DIY Cured Olives

This week, we've got some excellent recipes to get you in the spirit of fall (even though the thermometer still says summer), plus a few restaurant reviews and some cooking-myth-busting that you desperately need.

Nishta shared this pear-hazelnut muffin recipe on Blue Jean Gourmet that has us thinking of fall, even though the weather hasn't quite caught up yet. She also includes some substitutions for those gluten-free foodies who still want their muffin fix. Maybe if we all eat fall foods, we can make the weather change, right?

Rico's Morning + Noon + Night at 401 Gray has the potential to become a cult burger-and-fries favorite, and Marcy de Luna of Zagat is offering up some advice on what to get when you go. She recommends the loaded burgers, all of which are under $7 each, the bacon-wrapped hot dog with onion jam, loaded fries and frozen sake piña colada. Did we mention that most of the ingredients at Rico's are locally sourced, like 44 Farms beef and Slow Dough bread? Finally, a 2 a.m. meal you can feel good about the next morning.

Karen at HonestlyYUM created this unusual deconstructed falafel salad, but don't let the word "falafel" scare you away! The most difficult part is baking the garbanzo beans, which isn't difficult at all. You'll need a food processor if you want to make a smooth dressing, or you can leave it chunky for an even more interesting texture. She recommends kale for the greens, but if kale isn't your thing, any leafy green will do.

Looking for some quality creole dining outside the Loop? Le' Pam's House of Creole at 1644 FM 1960 West may be just what you've been hoping for. Albert at the H Town Chow Down blog simply adored the smooth grits and firm shrimp of the shrimp and grits, while Pam's Trio took the gold. It's dirty rice covered with a lightly breaded catfish filet and a shrimp étouffée topping that forced Albert to wax slightly poetic; if you're looking for excellent creole fare, Albert says that this is it (and so do we).

Jed Portman of Garden & Gun's Daily Shot blog teamed up with J. Kenji López-Alt of The Food Lab, a home cooking guide, to debunk five Southern cooking myths for you. Among those myths: You can't clean a skillet with soap, and you can't salt beans before you cook them. The worst part of this post is finding out all the things you've been doing wrong this entire time.

Finally, Robb Walsh is trying to cure his own olives, and he's posting about the process on his Texas Eats blog. They're olives from a tree in his backyard — possibly an African olive tree — and you can follow along with his progress by fermenting your own olives using his recipe. He says the whole process should take three months, but the olives are starting to taste so good that he's not sure he can wait that long. Can we blame him?

That's all for This Week in Houston Food Blogs! Is there a blog you'd like to see featured here? Leave us a comment or send us an email to tell us about it.
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Alexandra Doyle