Can you Hear the Birds?

I opened my eyes this morning and the first thing I realized was that I heard birds singing! It took me a moment to realize that I had been missing this sound over the past wintery months. All of a … Continue reading

Diet Schmiet. Make it taste good!

Most of my friends are on diets. I should be too. I really WISH I could be on a diet, but I just don’t want to. This does not stop me, however, from wanting to be healthy and to eat … Continue reading

Goodbye, Garlic


Garlic is one of the most commonly used flavors in food, so it’s hard to get away from if you aren’t a fan or have an allergy to it. Recently we were asked if there were any substitutes for the allium, and we have some answers for you!

Most of the time garlic is used, commonly with onion, early on in cooking to add aroma and flavor. If you can’t find a good substitute, you may be able to avoid using them in the recipe. But, consider a substitute if:

  • Garlic is the only flavor in the recipe
  • Garlic is the main part of the recipe
  • Garlic is used raw or lightly cooked

So you’re thinking, these rules apply to almost every recipe. Don’t worry, we have a quick fix for you! Since garlic is an aromatic, here are some that will still add a mouth-watering scent and flavor to your favorite dishes!

  • Fennel – its licorice-like taste goes well with chicken or fish.
  • Celery – this is surprisingly one of the most popular aromatics!
  • Bell Pepper – often used in Cajun cooking, this veggie makes a good base for rice or stew and goes well with celery!
  • Carrots – these can also be used with celery and are very popular with French foods.

In addition, you can try out these spices and herbs that will add flavor to any meal:

  • Peppercorn
  • Cumin
  • Horseradish
  • Ginger
  • Shallots

Hopefully this will help you the next time you’re looking for a garlic-free recipe. We love answering your tough cooking questions. Ask away any time on our Facebook page or right here on Leah’s Table!

Culinary Trends that are Shaping the Olive Branch

Here at the Olive Branch we like to try cooking trends and experiment with new flavors and recipes. Last month Leah explored the world of southern cousine and whipped up some chicken and waffles. It was a true success and you can make it yourself, just find the recipe here. This month Leah’s looking a little further into cooking fads that are taking over the culinary world. Nation’s Restaurant News recently posted the Top 10 Culinary Trends of 2013. Leah’s excited to experiment with these trends so stayed tuned for recipes featuring these fads! For now, read on to see how you can get creative in the kitchen and impress your friends with the trendiest cook techniques of 2013.

DIY chocolate

This one caught our eye: Healthy Kid’s Meals. With new food regulations, we’ve seen schools improve on their lunch options. At the Olive Branch Leah makes sure our menu includes healthy and delicious meals for kids. Our grilled cheese is served with fruit so your little ones get all the nutrients they need!

Greek yogurt can be found at any grocery store these days; there are so many brands it’s hard to know which one to choose! But Greek yogurt is more for just eating by itself, now it can be used as a substitute for many traditional ingredients. Anything consisting of mayonaise or sour cream can be substituted with plain Greek yogurt. We don’t currently have any recipes with Greek yogurt, but we’re excited to try using it in our homemade mac & cheese or even putting it on top of a baked potato!

It can be challenging to find gluten free items in Central Texas, but due to the increase in demand and popularity, gluten free foods can be found almost anywhere these days! Most manufacturers have started developing not only GF bread, but also GF sauces, desserts and snacks. Leah has been working on creating items that are gluten free and enjoyable for everyone! For those that have celiac or gluten sensitivities, we’re hoping on board with this trend so you can eat at the Olive Branch too! Many of our salads are made with our homemade gluten free dressing. Items like our quiche and chicken salad are free of the protein composite as well. Although our whole menu is not gluten free, we continue to think of ways to accommodate our customers!


For a chef, new culinary trends are an exciting thing. Leah’s mind is constantly turning with new ideas for ingredients and recipes. This month, we’ve even added an appetizer menu! Our Italian queso,  garlic bread, chips, hummus, and salsa are available for you to snack on before you enjoy your dinner. And they’re all homemade recipes by Leah! Stay tuned for more recipes to come, but until then, stop by the cafe to see how we’re putting these culinary trends to use!

(Photo’s curtsey of Nation’s Restaurant News)

Protein Power

Protein is SUCH an important part to our diets! It’s the main component of our body tissues which include muscles, organs, and our skin! It is also a source of energy, particularly when there aren’t any carbohydrates available. And, very … Continue reading