Thursday, July 28, 2011

Charcuterie - A Documentary by Christian Remde

Producer-Director, Christian Remde interviews Lawrence and Lee Ann Kocurek, owners of Kocurek Family Charcuterie. Necessity meet invention. Savor. Take it to the next level. Watch. You'll love their joie de vivre.

Charcuterie - A Documentary from Christian Remde on Vimeo.

This short documentary is the July film in my Twelve Films Project. For more information about the project, or to watch the other films, please visit the website:

Be There: Summer Food and Wine Events

The next date in the Roots Music Series at the Gillespie County Pioneer Museum (325 W. Main St., Fredericksburg) will feature live zydeco music and Cajun food items prepared by the Longhorn Street Cafe. Admission is $12; plates of food are $10; proceeds benefit the Gillespie County Historical Society. Saturday, July 30. Gates open at 5pm.


• Stephanie McClenny of Austin's award-winning Confituras and Kate Payne, author of The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking, will present summer canning classes at the Spirited Food Co. Kitchen (1208 W. Fourth). Classes are geared toward beginners and will include a recipe for fig jam. $60 per person; register Sunday, July 31, 10am-12:30pm and 2-4:30pm.

• The monthly Wine Me Dine Me dinner series continues at Cafe Josie (1200-B W. Sixth) with a five-course dinner paired with wines from Argentina and Chile. $69 per person, all-inclusive. Make necessary reservations at 322-9226. Tuesday, Aug. 2, 6-9pm.

H/T Virginia Wood, Austin Chronicle

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I Scream U Scream We All Scream

Beer ice cream

Recipe: Beer ice cream

Homemade beer ice cream. Anyone have a recommendation for a good ice cream machine? I'm thinking peach sorbet.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Eating at the Peak of the Season

Fresh, natural, organic, warm-weather vegetables from Saturday's farmer's market are ready to cook in some of our favorite recipes.

Chilled Summer Squash Soup

Mexican Chopped Salad / Avocado Dressing

Curried Eggplant with Mango Chutney 

There are still plenty of tomatoes for slicing and green pepper for stuffing or for another dish I haven't dreamed or Googled yet. But it's a good start.

What did you get at last weekend's market?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Smoked Dried Tomatoes at Boggy Creek Farm


For me, this summer of eating fresh, natural, organic, local, sustainable goodness has been a flashback to childhood summers filled with the marvelous tastes of home-grown vegetables - tomatoes, corn, green beans, bell pepper, okra, squash, cantaloupe, watermelon.

Now, as the warm-weather vegetables reach their peak comes the many ways to preserve them.  Necessity meet invention.  Drying. Canning. Pickling. Freezing.

At Boggy Creek Farm, what began as an inventive way to save a bumper crop of tomatoes has become a tradition.
This means there will be plenty of farmer Larry Butler’s smoke-dried tomatoes, which he started making almost 20 years ago when he needed to find a way to quickly save a large crop of Roma tomatoes he’d grown on the part of the farm in Milam County. Because it’s so humid in Texas, Butler couldn’t sun dry all the tomatoes, so he build [sic]a smoke house and started smoking the tomatoes.

The tomatoes have become so popular that in years past, Butler has had to put a limit on how many people could buy, either at the Wednesday or Saturday farm stand at 3414 Lyons Road in East Austin or via mail order online. But after two off years, this year’s successful crop means even more smoke dried tomatoes than usual.

H/T: Addie Broyles - Smoke Dried Tomatoes at Boggy Creek Farm 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Chilled Yellow Squash Soup with Fresh Dill

Warm-weather seasonal yellow crookneck squash shows off its star power in this delightful chilled soup. Makes 6 cups.

I am not a big fan of summer squash. But the idea of a cold soup with only three main ingredients and almost no cooking was too tempting. It turned out to be so easy and so delicious, I can't wait to make it again.


2 large leeks, white and pale green parts only
2 lbs yellow crookneck squash or golden zucchini
2 tbsp olive oil
1 quart vegetable broth (more if you need it)
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp white pepper (more if you like)
2 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped (plus a bit more for garnish)
1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1 tsp lemon zest


1. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise, submerge in cold water to rinse out any grit. Chop coarsely and rinse again in a colander under running water.  Shake out moisture before cooking.

2. Peel and coarsely chop the squash.

3. Heat the olive oil on medium until it sizzles.

4. Saute' the leeks, stirring often, until they turn light tan and soften. Add the squash and broth. Add seasoning and dill.

5. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender. (I simmered this for about an hour but started with more liquid and less squash so wanted to reduce it. I'd do it exactly this way again.)

6. Let cool until you can handle it. Puree' with immersion blender or in batches in a food processor. Add more broth if needed.

7. Transfer to a covered storage container and refrigerate until chilled, at least three hours, preferably overnight.

8. Before serving, combine lemon zest, pinch of salt and yogurt (or sour cream.)

9. Serve each bowl of soup with a dollop of this mixture. Garnish with a little more dill.

~From LA Times Food, adapted from a recipe by Teresa Fanucchi in A Place at the Table

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Roasted Bell Peppers Stuffed with Quinoa Dressing

Warm-weather green bell peppers make a delicious plate for mushroom and quinoa dressing. 

Green Bell Peppers

I love what happens when a warm-weather vegetable is so outstanding that I can't pass it by. Last Saturday, the star of the in-season show at Barton Creek Farmer's Market was green bell pepper. I needed two. I came home with a full bag. How about bell pepper stuffed with mushroom-quinoa dressing?


1 cup quinoa - golden, red, black or mixed
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 tbsp EVOO
1 cup broth
4 medium bell peppers
1 chopped red onion
4 cloves diced garlic
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 lb mushrooms
2 finely diced jalapeno peppers
1 cup finely diced carrots
2 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Chipotle Powder
1 tsp Chili Powder
Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning to taste


1. Rinse and cook quinoa according to package directions. Set aside when done.

2. Preheat oven to 350*. Grease baking pan with olive oil. Set aside.

3. Heat olive oil until it sizzles.

4. Saute' onion and garlic until they start to caramelize.

5. Add celery, jalapeno, carrot; saute' until softened.

6. Add mushrooms and saute' until tender.

7. Add 3/4 cup broth to the vegetables, add spices and reduce on low heat for a few minutes.

8. Fold gently into the quinoa. Adjust seasoning to taste.

9. When well mixed, add 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Reserve a little cheese for the top.

10. Split bell pepper into halves. Brush back side with olive oil. Place in greased pan.

11. Fill bell pepper with quinoa stuffing, gently packing it down. Mound it or save the extra for a side dish. Delicious by itself.

12. Drizzle with the remainder of the broth, top each with Parmesan cheese.

13. Cover pan snugly with foil and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour - until peppers are tender and dressing is hot.

This recipe for stuffed bell peppers provides for lots of variations. Use red, yellow or orange bell peppers. Try rice rather than quinoa. Add ground beef or turkey.

Go French with thyme and tarragon instead of the chili powder and cumin. Go Asian with ginger and Chinese five-spice powder. Go South Asian with garam marsala. Go... well you get the picture.

But whatever spices you choose, nothing like fresh, natural, organic, local bell peppers when they are in season.

~Adapted from too many recipes to recall. But we started with one from Whole Foods for Roasted Bell Peppers Stuffed with Quinoa

Monday, July 18, 2011

Rotten Eggs: HSUS and United Egg Producers Enter Agreement That Bird Cages Are Here to Stay

Andrew Gunther points out the cracks in the agreement between HSUS and UEP.  Score 1 PR. Score 0 animal welfare.

The fact is that this new agreement between HSUS and UEP appears to offer little in terms of animal welfare, yet much in terms of positive PR. In light of these concerns, perhaps the two parties involved would agree to publicize the full terms of the agreement to allow an honest and open debate on their proposals.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Betty's Glutenless Gluttony - Gluten-Free from Scratch

What happens when a lifelong baker and a French-trained pastry chef discovers that her personal mainstay and professional art is poison to her body? 

Betty's Glutenless Gluttony offers an amazing array of sweet and savory dishes including cakes, cookies, breads, brownies, cheesecake, savory pies, quiche, egg rolls, pasta and stop me before I drool all over my keyboard.

All are made using cage free eggs, organic milk, organic butter, organic cream cheese, aluminum-free baking soda, sodium-free baking powder, organic cornstarch-free powdered sugar, locally-sourced cage free chickens. And yes, everything is gluten free.

Find Betty's Glutenless Gluttony at Cedar Park Farmer's Market on Saturday, Round Rock Farmer's Market on Wednesday and Bastrop Producers Market in Bastrop between FM 20 and Highway21. Email or call (512) 902-5513 for special orders or to place an order for pick up or delivery.

New at the Farmer;s Market this Week

Confituras offers a rare treat at Barton Creek and SFC Downtown Farmer's Markets on Saturday - pickled blueberries.  We're told that when pickled blueberries are on the table, cranberries hang their heads in shame.
organic east Texas blueberries lightly coated in a sweet brine made from red wine and aged white balsamic vinegars (from con 'olio), cinnamon, and spices. simply stunning on a cheese plate or hold on to it for thanksgiving and surprise your friends and family by replacing your usual cranberry concoction with this. folks have been known to hoard this one so get it while you can! *limited edition 4 ounce jar*  $6

And remember that tomato season is waning. Snag a jar of Confituras tomato confit before production stops.
tomato confit - organic tomatoes simmered with just the right amount of organic cane sugar, lemon, and a touch of vanilla bean. this will be your new summertime favorite! serve with a fresh goat cheese and grilled baguette for the perfect summer snack. $8 *last week!*

Sample Confituras at breed & co - both locations - tomorrow, Saturday, July 16th from 11:00-2:00pm.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Basil-Cilantro Pesto Pasta with Artichoke & Mushrooms

When the basil at the farmer's market looks too good to pass up, here's how to save it for another day. 



2 cups loosely packed fresh basil
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
1/3 cup sliced almonds (or pine nuts or pecans)
4 cloves crushed garlic
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup extra-vergin olive oil

Combine basil, cilantro, nuts, lemon juice and salt in food processor and drizzle in olive oil until relatively smooth. Add a little water if it feels too thick. Freeze it if you are not using immediately. Let thaw to room temperature when you're ready, but do not nuke or cook it to thaw.

(Most pesto recipes call for cheese as a main ingredient. Leave out the cheese if you freeze it. Add it to the pasta when you cook.)


1/2 lb spinach linguine (or any pasta)
2 tbsp EVOO
1 medium red onion, sliced into thin half-moons
4 cloves thinly sliced or chopped garlic
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tbsp white wine (or vegetable broth or water)
15 oz can of artichokes (in water) cut into bite-sized pieces


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente.

2. Saute' onion over medium-high heat in a large sauce pan, Dutch oven or large skillet until it starts to caramelize. Add and saute' garlic another 2 minutes. Add and saute' mushrooms until tender. Add artichokes, liquid, salt and pepper and simmer until the artichokes are heated through and the pasta is done.

3. Rather than drain the pasta, spoon pasta into the sauce pan, stir in pesto and repeat until all the pasta is in the pan and is well coated. Use a little pasta water if it feels too thick.

4. Garnish each serving with parmesan cheese to taste.

The fresh basil from Johnson's Backyard Garden looked so good on Saturday, I couldn't resist it. Pesto wasn't on my menu. I wanted to use up all the fresh ingredients for eggplant marinara sauce. Basil doesn't keep well once it's picked. Plus I had an extra bunch of cilantro left from a previous shopping trip that was heading for the edge. So we prepared and froze the pesto for another day. This is a great way to save time and get the taste of summer when the season is over.

~Adapted from Veganomicon

EWG Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Food

Eat your fruits and vegetables! The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure.

Use EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides to reduce your exposures as much as possible, but eating conventionally-grown produce is far better than not eating fruits and vegetables at all. The Shopper's Guide to Pesticide in Produce will help you determine which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticide residues and are the most important to buy organic.

You can lower your pesticide intake substantially by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated produce.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Johnson's Backyard Garden Grows - Get the Dirt

After releasing the news that Johnson's Backyard Garden has added over 140 acres to its garden, Brent Johnson discusses how expanding acreage supports sustainability.

Johnson's Backyard Garden Adds 146 acres

Egg Producers, Humane Society Agree to Chicken Welfare Standards

Hell just froze. The Humane Society, United Egg Producers have agreed to support unprecedented chicken welfare legislation. Now it's up to us to keep Congress from f*ng it up.

Practices previously supported by the UEP are so loathsome and cruel that a state ballot initiative to ban them passed in California with the most "yes" votes in California ballot initiative history. Similar initiatives were poised for passage in Washington State and Oregon over the next couple years, until the UEP relented.

Extraordinary work by Farm Sanctuary and Humane Society of the United States activists in California, Ohio, Washington, and Oregon has brought the UEP to the table: Even the egg producers can see the writing on the wall, which foretells the end of battery cages, so that now, they have agreed to aggressively support legislation that will lessen suffering for hundreds of millions of animals every single year.

The legislation supported by the UEP will: 1) require the eventual nationwide elimination of battery cages; 2) require environmental enrichment for all birds so that they can engage in important natural behaviors currently denied to them in barren cages; 3) mandate labeling on all egg cartons nationwide to inform consumers of the method used to produce the eggs; 4) prohibit forced molting through starvation -- an inhumane practice which is inflicted on tens of millions of hens each year and which involves withholding all food from birds for up to two weeks in order to shock their bodies into another laying cycle; 5) prohibit excessive ammonia levels in henhouses -- a common problem in the industry that is harmful to both hens and egg industry workers; 6) require standards for euthanasia practices; and 7) prohibit the sale of all eggs and egg products nationwide that don't meet these requirements.

Humane Society, United Egg Producers Team Up To Support Historic Chicken Welfare Legislation

Monday, July 11, 2011

Be there: Taste of the Hill Country

Taste of the Hill country

Taste of the Hill Country at Galloway Hammond Recreation Center in Burnet, TX from 2pm to 6pm on July 16 promises a feast for the eyes, ears and soul. A celebration of food, wine and music from the best Hill Country wineries and restaurants. Tickets for adults only 20 bucks.

Details here

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Is Fresh, Organic, Local Worth It?

Natural Springs Garden CSA

Sometimes I wonder if there's really any value to shopping fresh, natural, organic, local in terms of climate change and energy saved. The answer is an unqualified "yes." This Facebook post from Natural Springs Garden CSA:
A mind boggling tidbit from the book I'm reading "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle"..."if every U.S. citizen ate just ONE MEAL a WEEK composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would REDUCE our country's OIL CONSUMPTION by over 1.1 MILLION BARRELS EVERY WEEK!


Friday, July 8, 2011

Making Deckle-Fat Enhanced Burgers - Food.Curated

In days past, poets would write sonnets in praise of their favorite things. Now we make videos. This video about the burger from The Brindle Room by Liza de Guia, food.curated, raises the question, what's the best burger you've ever had?

Shopping Farmer's Market: Plan or Browse

Shopping List

I have two schools of thought about shopping the farmer's markets.

One is to browse and let my stomach do the shopping. What looks good? What smells good? What's at its best right now? Once home, I can always come up with a recipe or two dozen with a Google search. Indeed, extending my repertoire and menu is one of the top forms of entertainment in my house these days.

OTOH, when time is tight or the temperature is already hitting 90* and it's only 10AM, having a plan and a shopping list is awfully helpful.

To that end, Cedar Park Farmers Market has just posted the layout for tomorrow's market at Lakeline Mall, 183 and 620.

What's your plan of attack for weekend farmer's markets?

Shop? Browse? Stay cool at home?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Can Whole Foods Lead Animal Welfare Standards?

An article in today's Austin American Statesman praises Whole Foods for taking a stand on the welfare of food animals eventually sold in their stores.
The grocery chain made headlines this year when it implemented a new animal welfare rating system for its meats and other livestock products. While Whole Foods has long had its own set of animal compassion standards, officials say they will eventually require all their meat suppliers to comply with the new, more stringent rating system. And they helped launch a third-party group, the nonprofit Global Animal Partnership — which includes retailers, farmers, ranchers, scientists and animal advocates — in the hopes that other grocers will adopt the same standards.

There is no doubt that Whole Foods has the clout to dictate the growing conditions for its vendors. The question is will the rest of the industry follow?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Hot Diggety Dog Deal

Special offer from Salt & Time and Drippin' Sauce ketchup -  take $1 off when you buy both a pack of all-beef hot dogs and a bottle of Drippin' sauce homemade ketchup. Only available at Barton Creek Farmer's Market Saturday 9 - 1pm.

Which Potato Would You Rather Eat?

A grade school science project turns into an object lesson for supermarket shoppers. Adorable. And skeery!

What's On for Fourth of July?



Fourth of July gets busy Way Out West Austin.

That takes care of the calender. Now what's on the menu?

I'm thinking yak burgers laced with goat cheese and chopped scallions for starters.  I've been thinking about peach crisp for a while.

*drumming fingers*

Decisions.  Decisions.

Whatever it is, it will be fresh, natural, organic, local and sustainable.

What's on your Fourth of July menu?