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This Valentine’s Day was mostly happy everywhere, but not every everywhere. In Austin, there was the closure of a fabulous restaurant. For thirty years, Jeff Blank ran Hudson the Bend, an eccentric and exotic restaurant on Route 620 out in Hill Country.

A couple of years ago, Jeff sold the restaurant, the new owners renovated, but for whatever reason the fire was lost. The restaurant is now closed. We can only hope that someone will step in and revitalize what has been a national treasure, a treasure with a Texan accent.

Jeff wrote two cookbooks and this is one. I have the other on order and you’ll see a review of that one, too. But Cooking Fearlessly alone can give you abundant ideas. Look at that cover. Yes, the chef has his hat on fire. That’s a sign of what lies inside. This is not an ordinary cookbook. And here are twelve reasons why:

Rattlesnake Cakes in Pistachio Nut Crusts with Spicy Chipotle Sauce

Coca-Cola Baby Back Ribs with Orange Ginger BBQ Sauce

Toasted Piñon-Coriander Crusted Goat Cheese Atop Garden Greens Tossed in a Poblano-Almond Lime Vinaigrette

Green Chili Corn Crawfish Soup

Duck Gumbo

Hot and Crunchy Trout with Mango Jalapeno Aioli

Grilled Ostrich with Warm Strawberry Raspberry Sauce

Smoked Goose Breast Stuffed with Apples and Onions Painted with Cinnamon Ancho Honey Sauce

Watermelon-Injected Pork Tenderloin with Watermelon Salsa

Wild Boar Schnitzel with Apple Cider Brandy Sauce

Bourbon Vanilla Praline Sweet Potatoes

Crumbled Apple with Bubbling Brandy Butter

Yup, you read them right. Personally, I never knew how to cook my ostrich before.

I had the delight of eating one night at Hudson on the Bend. No, I have no clue what I ate. I remember only being dazzled and amazed. I am so happy to have this wonderful book with its ideas that have both great substance and total outrage.

I’ve not tried the ostrich. The Hot and Crunchy Trout will bring you tears.