Monday, August 29, 2011

Healthy Chocolate? eh. Not so fast.



From Food Politics this morning, cheery news for chocolate lovers. Read the fine print before you go hog wild!

systematic review and meta-analysis of studies on chocolate and health concludes that the flavonol antioxsidants in chocolate reduce the risk for cardiometabolic disorders such as heart disease and stroke—by a whopping one-third.

As the investigators explain, previous research suggests that:
chocolate consumption has a positive influence on human health, with antioxidant, antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory, anti-atherogenic, and anti-thrombotic effects as well as influence on insulin sensitivity, vascular endothelial function, and activation of nitric oxide.

 

Friday, August 26, 2011

EAT

Watching Anthony Bourdain graze across Puerto Rico last night, I recalled many memorable nights in San Juan. Which set another thought into motion.

"In my 20's, I drank my way around the world; wouldn't it be fun to eat around the world in my 60's?"

Turns out I'm not the only one with that idea.



EAT from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

3 guys, 44 days, 11 countries, 18 flights, 38 thousand miles, an exploding volcano, 2 cameras and almost a terabyte of footage... all to turn 3 ambitious linear concepts based on movement, learning and food ....into 3 beautiful and hopefully compelling short films.....

H/T: food.curated.com

Why Good Husbandry Pays in Food Animals

jamonmain_wide.jpg

Daisy Freund reports for The Atlantic on very good reasons why it pays to raise happy food animals. For starters, it leads to better meat
It wasn't until later, as we watched the pigs inhale their meal, that Armando talked about the rationale behind his methods. He explained that research being conducted in Australia and New Zealand is showing that when stress is minimized in animals, the meat has a lower pH and is consistently more delicate than in animals that experience stress during transport, handling, and slaughter. In other words, when it comes to making a high-quality, rarefied product like jamon Ibérico, a little tenderness goes a long way.
After the tour was done, Loli brought plates of fresh goat cheese and toast rounds spread with homemade pate to a picnic table beside the house, along with a warm salad of cilantro, red potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, and hard-boiled eggs, all from the garden and henhouse. I wondered out loud whether these studies might provide an economic incentive for animal welfare on factory farms. I later realized that industrial meat producers are already well aware that stress has adverse affects on meat. There are even names for the consequences of abuse, like Pale Soft Exudative (PSE). It's so common in fact that the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization talks extensively about PSE in its "Guidelines for Humane Handling, Transport and Slaughter of Livestock." When the animals are subjected to manhandling, fighting in the pens, and bad stunning techniques, the fright and stress causes a rapid breakdown of muscle glycogen. This lightens the color of the meat and turns it acidic and tasteless, making it difficult to sell, so it is usually discarded.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Johnson's Backyard Garden Planting Fall Crops

While I have hunkered down in my air conditioned condo whining about the heat, local farmers are preparing to plant fall crops.



My hat's off to you, Johnson's Backyard Garden and everyone.  You're made of sterner stuff than I.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

AFBA: Donations for Safe Place, Easy As Pie



Austin Food Blogger's Alliance announces the results of its fundraising event at Alamo Draft House for SafePlace, a resource center for women in need.
Needless to say, we are on a sugar high, and are thrilled to announce that between ticket sales, pecan pie slice sales, and pie donations, we raised over $2000 for SafePlace!

With all the enthusiasm and cooperation among the charitable organization, coordinators, members and movie venue, it was easy as pie!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Food Safety Modernization Act Starved for Funding

strawberry.JPG

Who can dispute the need for greater food safety? Every time we turn around, there's another recall of eggs, ground beef, turkey or other foods that ought to be healthful rather than harmful. Yet harmful is becoming SOP.

According to a New York Times report, more than 200,000 Americans get ill from tainted food. Roughly the same number die from tainted food as the number of Americans who have been killed in Afghanistan.

Sadly, it does not look to get better any time soon.
One of the policy items you hear the Administration tout as part of defending their record is the food safety bill. Food policy experts considered it flawed, but generally a step in the right direction, and the first overhaul of the nation’s food safety system in decades. There’s every reason for the White House to use that as part of their list of accomplishments.

There’s only one thing: as a result of the legislation, the FDA has more responsibility but does not have more money:

 

Gardener's Feast: No vote. No tamales. Oh noes!



The Gardener's Feast, our favorite organic tamale company in the Universe is calling for support as a finalist in the Capital of Texas Awards sponsored by the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
We are asking for your support in this big opportunity for us to win: we need votes!!! We want to encourage our customers in the markets, friends and family to help us by voting from Monday August 22nd to Friday September 9th.

The Gardener's Feast specializes in artisanal tamales, gorditas, tortillas and salsas made with fresh, natural, organic, local ingredients. They do not use lard or trans-fat oils.  There are no preservatives or food additives.  And the Gardener's Feast foods are gluten free!

Information about the Awards and winning criteria here.

Go vote here!

No vote. No tamales. Oh nooooooooooo's.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Home-grown Cookbook Authors on Today

Head's up from Addie Broyles to watch Austin's own Casserole Queens on the Today show tomorrow morning at 8am.
It’s a big week for Crystal Cook and Sandy Pollock, the Austinites behind theCasserole Queens delivery company.

The pair — who are a not a couple, in case you were wondering — are headed to New York for an appearance Tuesday morning on the “Today” show to promote their first cookbook, “The Casserole Queens Cookbook.”

Book release party on Thursday at The Book People. Be there!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Summer's Favorite Soup


Yellow Crookneck Squash

I just made chilled summer squash soup with fresh dill for the umpty umph time this year.  Many reasons.

First, yellow crookneck squash is still plentiful. Squash loves heat and if we're long on anything in Central Texas right now, it's heat. Next, it is ridiculously easy to make. Peel, wash, chunk, saute', simmer, cool, puree'. Nothing daunting about that. Last, definitely not least, it's delicious. Admittedly a dollop of sour cream will make anything taste good, but I mean,  really, it's delicious.




Check out chilled summer squash soup with dill!

What is your favorite summer soup?

Some Like It Cold



Trend Central: Cold-brew coffee concentrate is this summer’s buzziest refreshment





Fashionable sunglasses and no-fuss footwear are obvious summertime accoutrements, but for many sun worshippers, the defining warm weather accessory is something that refreshes, rather than adorns, the body: namely, iced coffee. The days of complicated combinations of froth and flavors are over, however, with simple cold-brew concentrate reigning as the caffeinated drink of choice this summer.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fast Food Can Be Ethical, Sustainable



Fast food is the last food we look to for fresh, natural, organic, local, ethical, sustainable fare. Look again.
Steve Ells founded Chipotle Burritos in 1993 in Denver. Nearly two decades later, his restaurant has expanded to almost 900 locations nationwide (with a European expansion soon to be underway in London). What's remarkable is that during that expansion, the quality of food at the restaurant chain has improved, thanks to its Food with Integrity program, which strives to buy naturally and humanely raised meat and locally sourced produce. Recently, Chipotle-already the largest buyer of naturally raised meat in the country-announced that natural-meat godfather Bill Niman would be coming on to help further the goals of the Food with Integrity Program. We spoke to Ells about his conversion to better foods, his work with Niman, and how high-quality fast food performs during a recession.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Be there: Eat. Watch. Do good.

Waitress, with Keri Russell

Austin Food Bloggers Alliance has just announced a larger screening room at Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar to eat pie, watch the movie, Waitress, and do good for  SafePlace, a local non-profit organization that helps end sexual and domestic violence through safety, healing, prevention and social change.
Starring Keri Russell, WAITRESS tells the inspiring story of Jenna, a diner waitress and pie aficionado who overcomes adversity and escapes an abusive marriage. Chef John Bullington and one lucky AFBA member will prepare that blogger's winning pie recipe as part of the menu for the event. After the film, Austin Food Blogger Alliance will sell whole pies donated by local chefs and bakers in the theater lobby.

General admission is $10. Advance tickets can be purchased online. All proceeds go to Safe Place. 

Austin Food Bloggers Alliance: WAITRESS : Austin : Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Weathering the Weather



A persistent pattern in the Pacific ocean has kept Texas hot and dry this summer. A dearth of rain and a record-breaking string of days with temperatures over 100 degrees has been extreme even for a climate that is well-known for its extremes.

Lake Travis where I live is over 40 feet below normal levels exposing a bed of cracked earth. The vendor tables at weekend farmer's markets offer slim pickings. Groves of trees on dry hills are flecked with the sienna of dead and dying vegetation. Last weekend, I saw a sunflower in bloom where it volunteered on the verge of a lawn that is irrigated. One sunflower on dry hills where they usually bloom profusely.

It's been hard on flora and fauna, on farmer's and ranchers, on everyone. And it's on everyone's mind whether we speak of it or otherwise.

How do we weather this weather?

Carol Ann Sayle of Boggy Creek Farm plants blue blooms and orders seeds for fall planting.
The oak tree mediates the heat around the little blue flowers, the tree that I "examine" every single day, and ask, "Are you reaching for the aquifer water and are you finding it?" For how in the world can I water its roots? I worry about a tree that saw the birth of this farm in 1839. It survived the tornado of 2001, although the ends of its branches twisted off, and a major branch came to touch upon, delicately, almost reverently, the farm house roof. It survived. We could stand to lose every 80-year old giant pecan tree on this farm, but not the old oak. If it died, would this farm also die, of heartbreak?

Addie Broyles of Relish Austin looks to her backyard chickens for pluck.
Not having to buy eggs is nice, but at this point, smack dab in the middle of August, with perhaps a month of insufferable heat left, what I appreciate even more is their tenacity. If they can not just survive this summer but lay almost an egg a day while they are at it, maybe I can make it through, too.

I worry about the long-range effect on our oak trees. I water birds, squirrels and deer who frequent my patio oasis. I take heart in every cloud that develops in the sky. It has been spotty, but some rain has fallen around the area in the last week. It's moving in the right direction. It's not making a dent in the deficit we're suffering, but it's something.

We may not know how. We may not know when. We may not know at what cost. We know that this too shall pass.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Organic Poultry Farming Cuts "Superbug" Bacteria PDQ

What happens when poultry farmers stop treating birds with antibiotics to prevent disease? Scientific American reports
Farmers can’t expect to get rid of the bacteria altogether, but by cutting down on the birds’ exposure to antibiotics, the amount of bacteria that builds up resistance is not only possible, but also quick. The first generation of poultry that was raised organically at previously conventional farms had way less of the superbug breed of bacteria. Tests of the feed, water and poultry litter showed that on 10 newly organic farms, about 17 percent of the Enterococci bacteria was resistant to multiple classes of antibiotics, whereas on 10 farms that continued to raise their birds via conventional methods with prophylactic antibiotic use, some 84 percent of the bacteria had developed multi-drug resistance.

“These findings show that, at least in the case of Enterococci, we begin to reverse resistance on farms even among the first group of animals that are grown without antibiotics,” Sapkota said. “It’s very encouraging.”

H/T: Will Falconer, Alternatives 4 Animal Health

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Summer Vegetable Ratatouille


What do we do with these vegetables that love warm weather when summer seems endless? How about a French vegetable toss also known as ratatouille? Serves 8.



Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves minced garlic
1 chopped yellow onion
1 diced bell pepper, green or red
2 medium zucchini, diced into bite size pieces
2 medium yellow squash, diced into bite size pieces
1 small Italian or Sicilian eggplant, small dice
1.5 cups tomatoes, peeled and diced (a 14 ounce can)
2 teaspoons ground thyme, 4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 fresh bay leaves (1 dried)
Salt & pepper to taste

Preparation

1. Saute' onion and garlic in olive oil until it starts to turn tan.

2. Add eggplant and saute' until the vegetable is just tender when pierced with a fork.

3. Add bell pepper, zucchini and squash and toss until the vegetables are just tender.

5. Add tomatoes and seasoning. Reduce heat and simmer briefly to let the flavors meld.

Serve over rice, quinoa or pasta with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.



Variations: I added mushrooms to this dish. Sometimes a splash of soy sauce is nice. Olives and capers are great when you toss with pasta. It's a stir fry, so anything goes as long as you consider the cooking time of the vegetables, adding those that need more time at the beginning and those that are flavorful and nutritious when a little al dente at the end.

Purists would cook each vegetable separately, then combine. I'm too lazy for that.

If the rice runs out before the ratatouille, freeze the balance to use in a summer-squash gratin. It's a dish I especially like in Fall's cooler weather.


Bon appetit.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Why more food recalls?



Why do food recalls continue to happen? Do the words "toothless" and "lax" ring a bell? Must read analysis from Food Politics.
But CDC investigations show that turkey-related illnesses have been reported for months.  Despite the reports, the USDA took its own sweet time insisting on a recall.

The rationale for the delay is—get this—the USDA believes it does not have the authority to order recalls for any contaminant except E. coli O157:H7.  It has no authority to recall meat contaminated with Salmonella or other toxic forms of E. coli.

 

 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Be There: The 5th Annual Farm and Food Leadership Conference

Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance has announced an exciting line-up of speakers, topics and activities for the 5th Annual Farm and Food Leadership Conference to convene at The Pearl Stable in San Antonio, September 12 and 13. Early registration ends August 15.


It stands to be an informative and empowering event for activists, farmers and ranchers, consumers and nonprofit organizations who care about fresh, natural, organic, clean, fair, sustainable food.

John Ikerd, author of Sustainable Capitalism, A Return to Common Sense, Small Farms are Real Farms, Crisis and Opportunity: Sustainability in American Agriculture, and A Revolution of the Middle will deliver the keynote address.

This is an important opportunity for anyone concerned about the quality, safety and affordability of our food supply. Which ought to be everyone.

I came of age in the 1960′s when food was becoming cheap, easy, plentiful, picked green, shrink-wrapped, cold-stored, trucked long distances and held way past its nutritional sell-by date. But agribusiness practices that make tomatoes possible in January do not make them healthy for our bodies, the environment, local farmers, farm workers, our local economy or future generations.

Indeed, the more I learn about the unintended negative consequences of our industrialized agriculture system, the more alarmed I have become. We no longer have say-so about the quality and safety of our food supply. And the government agencies charged with advocating for us are often playing ball for the other side.

This issue affects everyone. If you want your children to eat healthy and affordable food now and in the future, you'll get involved.

The 5th Annual Farm and Food Leadership Conference brings home to Central Texas the impact and opportunities surrounding hot topics including Genetically Modified Foods, Water Issues in Texas, Lessons from the 2012 Farm Bill, Food Justice, Raw Milk, Animal ID: Recent Activity from USDA, Corporatization of Our Food Supply, Food Safety and Local Foods

Download the Registration Form and mail it in with a check, or register online.  Registration includes lunch on both days, prepared by Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due!

For complete details of the two-day parlay, go to Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Peach Clafoutis


When the heady fragrance of summer's bounty of ripe fruit excites your appetite, batter up this light and easy sweet or savory French pudding. Serves 6.



Ingredients 

3 cups of ripe peaches, cherries, apricots, pears, your pleasure
3/4 cup all-purpose organic flour
1/2 cup evaporated cane juice sugar (plus extra to dust the dish)
3 whole eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon butter for the baking dish

Preparation

1. Generously butter a 9-inch pie pan or fluted tart dish; sprinkle sugar to coat it, tapping out any excess.

2. Combine all ingredients except the fruit in your blender. Mix for a minute. Stop briefly to scrape the sides. (You can also whisk this together PDQ.) The consistency will be a little lighter than pancake batter.

3. Pour half the batter into the baking dish. Arrange 3 cups of sliced fruit  in the partially filled pan. When you're satisfied with your arrangement, pour the remainder of the batter over the top.

4. Bake at 350 degrees until the top puffs and turns golden brown, 45 to 60 minutes.

5. Serve warm or at room temperature with a dusting of powdered sugar or a dollop of whipped cream.

I have been lusting for this dish since the fragrance of ripe cherries began their sweet seduction last month. But it's been eons since I've baked and all the recipes I read for clafoutis seemed too fussy for this blast furnace called Texas summer. Until now.

Thank you Margaret Roach, A Way to Garden, for a clafoutis batter so easy that I could no longer resist the temptation. Just in time to in-season, organic Texas peaches. It seems that peaches are one fruit that just love hot and dry. A-maz-ing.

In case you're wondering, clafoutis is a traditional French dessert made with black cherries. The texture is somewhere between a tart and a bread pudding - tasty, light, not overly sweet. When other kinds of fruit are used instead of cherries, the dish is properly called a flaugnarde.

Everyone has a favorite recipe for clafoutis batter.

Margaret found this one in "The Martha Stewart Cookbook: Collected Recipes for Every Day." Martha offers other variations on her website. Mark Bittman recommends less flour, more cream or plain yogurt in cranberry clafoutis.

After baking it, I get how easy it is to riff on the original recipe with other fruit, be it fresh or dried mixed with nuts or to go savory with tomatoes, onions and eggplant.

Bon appetit!

Five Food Day Principles

What can participation in Food Day achieve?
1. Reduce diet-related disease by promoting safe, healthy foods.

2. Support sustainable farms and limit subsidies to big agribusiness.

3. Expand access to food and alleviate hunger.

4. Protect the environment and animals by reforming factory farms.

5. Promote health by curbing junk-food marketing to kids.

Food Day October 24 2011

More at www.foodday.org

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Top Chef Season 9 Saddles Up for Texas

Round 'em up. Move 'em out. The Top Chef team and two new judges are headin' for Texas for its ninth season of the award-winning (and addictive) cook-off.

Emeril Lagasse and Hugh Acheson
Whether Padma Lakshmi will be donning a cowboy hat remains to be seen, but we know she'll be saddling up with the regular judges chef Tom ColicchioGail Simmons, and new two new faces -- famed chef and restaurateur Emeril Lagasse and critically acclaimed chef Hugh Acheson. Emeril is known for bringing the heat, and Hugh's certainly not known for holding back (just relive some of his best zings from his run on Top Chef Masters for a refresh), so it seems like they'll fit right in.

Locations include Austin, Dallas and San Antonio. Fans can tune in to Season 9 Top Chef on Bravo TV this fall.

Wah-hoo! 

Here's hoping we see some of our favorite fresh chefs and plenty of fresh, natural, organic, local, sustainable ingredients.

Perfect Picnic Salads - Kristi Willis

Thanks to Kristi Willis, Ditch the Box for picnic- salad suppers. Lovely recipes. I'm having my picnics inside for now.



More lovely recipes at Ditch the Box.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Why Bacteria Resistance to Antibiotics?

Thank you Lauri David for putting it in terms everyone can understand: antibiotic-resistant bacteria is every mother's nightmare. What is the source?
Perhaps it has something to do with the massive amounts of antibiotics used on factory farms every day. Food Animals use up about 29 million pounds of antibiotics a year, compared to the 7 million used in people. The overuse and misuse of antibiotics on factory farms can lead to the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria, such as Salmonella Heidelberg. You might recall last May when I asked Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack: "When will the government do something to stop producers from squandering 70% of our antibiotics on healthy farm animals?" And he answered with the question, "How do you basically legislate that?"

Well, Mr. Secretary, one thing you can do immediately is to demand that the Department of Agriculture stop turning a blind-eye to Salmonella contamination in our meat supply. When it comes to routine Salmonella testing in ground turkey meat, according to the Consumers Union, current USDA standards allow 49.9 percent of samples in a test run to be positive for Salmonella -- 44.6 percent for ground chicken. Are you kidding me?

PS The European Union banned the feeding of all antibiotics and related drugs to livestock for growth promotion purposes in 2006.

Be There: La Piazza Italiana

Texas Olive Oil Company will be at Laguna Gloria for the Austin Italian Festival Sunday, August 21 from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

A Taste of Italy

This is the eighth year to celebrate everything Italian in Austin: cars, food, wine, art, jewelry, music, dance. Sponsored by Elsa Gramola, a transplant who envisioned the event to promote local Italian businesses and the love of the Italian culture, language, food, art, fashion, music, and activities. Admission is $10 for adults. Proceeds support the Austin Museum of Art.

You had me at Texas olive oil.

 

 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Are Farmer's Markets Good for the Local Economy?

As Huron Daily Tribune staff writer Traci Weisenbach reports explosive growth says "yes." 
While farmers markets are growing in numbers nationally, they could be doing a lot better, according to a report released Thursday by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). What’s holding farmers markets back? Federal policies that favor industrial agriculture at their expense, the report stated.
“On the whole, farmers markets have seen exceptional growth, providing local communities with fresh food direct from the farm,” stated Jeffrey O’Hara, the author of the report and an economist with UCS’s Food and Environment Program. “But our federal food policies are working against them. If the U.S. government diverted just a small amount of the ... subsidies it (gives to) industrial agriculture to support these markets and small local farmers, it would not only improve American diets, it would generate tens of thousands of new jobs.”

UCS released the report just a few days before the 12th annual U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Farmers Market Week, which starts Sunday. According to the report, “Market Forces: Creating Jobs through Public Investment in Local and Regional Food Systems,” the number of farmers markets nationwide more than doubled between 2000 and 2010, jumping from 2,863 to 6,132, and now more than 100,000 farms sell food directly to local consumers.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Safety Tips to Avoid Food Contamination



After another scary recall of tainted meat from a factory farm outfit in Arkansas, everyone starts to wonder what's safe to eat?

The fact is that any food can become contaminated between the field and your fork. Some situations are higher risk, of course. But bacteria are everywhere.

Here are a few tips on how to stop worrying about food contamination.

35x35: Austin's Influential Foodies - Kathryn Hutchinson

Kathryn Hutchinson's list of 35 influential foodies under 35 recognizes the accomplishment of people who are shaping the food community in Austin. They were selected on the basis of the following criteria.

  • Received media attention or awards.

  • Foreshadowed culinary, economic or demographic trends.

  • Changed how Austinites eat, cook, access or think about food.

  • Inspired other people in Austin to do similar work.

  • Helped to define the food culture of a particular Austin neighborhood.




I shy away from lists that equate age and accomplishment, especially when it comes to fresh, natural, organic, local, sustainable food. This probably reflects my own advanced age and the belief that decrepitude is good seasoning.

Given the criteria, I would be embarrassed to omit people like Carol Ann Sayle and Larry Butler of Boggy Creek Farm.  And I would question the eligibility of a venture that has gotten plenty of media attention but has not yet opened its public doors. But hey, it's not my list and chacun a son gout. 

Who of any age would you add to the list?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Eggplant Marinara with Spaghetti

Warm-weather eggplant abounds in August adding a bonanza of flavor, nutritional goodness and texture to this rich, healthy marinara sauce.



Ingredients

1 pound penne rigate, rigatoni or spaghetti
1 medium or 3 small eggplant
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 large cloves minced garlic
1 large yellow onion, small dice
1/2 red, yellow or green bell pepper, small dice
2 or 3 teaspoons oregano to taste
1 teaspoon ground thyme (or 2 teaspoons fresh)
1 teaspoon cane sugar
1/2 cup red wine
28 ounces crushed or stewed tomatoes
Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper to taste
1 handful chopped flat-leaf parsley
Shaved or grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Asiago cheese for topping

Preparation

1. Peel, dice and salt eggplant. Set aside 20 minutes.

2. Heat a saucepan over medium to medium high heat. Add oil and garlic. When the garlic speaks by sizzling, add onions and sautee' until they start to tan.

4. While onion is caramelizing, rinse and dry eggplant. When onions caramelize, add eggplant and bell pepper. Sautee' until tender.

5. Add tomatoes, wine and seasoning. Sugar is optional.

6. Simmer on low heat until all ingredients are well married. Adjust seasoning to taste before tossing with pasta.

7. Cook pasta according to package directions. When al dente, drain and add pasta sauce, tossing until well mixed.

Serve immediately topped with grated cheese.

Chef's note: In season from August to October, eggplant is rich in antioxidants and an excellent source of phytonutrients believed to reduce serum cholesterol and lessen free radical damage in joints, which is a primary factor in rheumatoid arthritis. It's a healthy, low-calorie alternative to ground beef in marinara.

Earth Day for Food Debuts in October

Organizers of Food Day planned for October hope to replicate the success of Earth Day in raising awareness and sparking new initiatives around fresh, natural, organic, local, sustainable, clean, fair and HEALTHY food.

Nina Simonds dishes details about the event and healthy eating with its creator.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pie-Luck: Local Bloggers Give Generously

Girlgonegrits shares her enthusiasm for the Austin Food Blogger Alliance Pie Luck contest.

Imagine a potluck where pie is the only thing on the menu. But not just any pie - eye-popping, mouth-watering, sugar-rushing, home-made pie. Fruit pie. Nut pie. Savory pie. Custard pie. Even a pudding pie guaranteed to send you into sugar shock. And it's all for a good cause.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Austin Pesto Company to Wheatsville Co-op

Starting Saturday, shoppers at Wheatsville Co-op can purchase the yummy pesto made by The Austin Pesto Company.



Choose from three flavors - traditional, Jalapeno or Thai.

We love the Thai Pesto noodles with Bay scallops. It's such a tasty treat without much cooking.

What's your favorite?

Jack Allen Kitchen Touts Local Foods

Fresh chef, Jack Allen, shares three benefits to eat locally sourced food.



Jack Allen's Kitchen is located at 7720 Highway 71 West, Austin, TX 78735.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Peak Season: Eggplants

Tired of zucchini? Eggplants are reaching their peak. LA Times offers a quick primer on how to choose, store and prepare them.




Eggplants - How to choose, store and prepare - LA Times