Archive | February, 2009

Sometimes You Just Need a Food Hug

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Tonight I had a challenging task in front of me that was very important, but not much fun. When I got home, I was too tired to cook anything elaborate, but was in definite need of comfort food. I passed up the duck breast and went straight for the hamburger meat I bought from Richardson farms on Saturday.

It wasn’t anything fancy – just a regular hamburger steak (with a little Worcestershire sauce and Cavender’s Greek seasoning) and some sauteed spinach with garlic – but it really hit the spot. One of the things that always amazes me though is that even a simple meal like this can taste amazing when you use local fresh ingredients.

I was inspired enough by my dinner to create a Facebook page for Austin Farm to Table. If you are a facebook-er, you can become a fan of the page and follow the blog there as well.

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Market Update and Another Save the Date

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Spring is coming up on us quickly and you can definitely see it at the market. I mentioned last week that you can now get Brussels Sprouts and this week there were STRAWBERRIES. Woo hoo! I love strawberries. If you want berries though, you need to be an early bird – they go fast.

There were also two different beef vendors this week and one even had all beef hot dogs. Imagine, enjoying a hot dog and not worrying about what’s in it.

And, if you are a goat cheese fan, you will be thrilled to know that Made in the Shade dairy is back with their feta and their flavored goat cheese. Yea!

Save the date: I ran into Susan Leibrock, Community Relations Director for the Sustainable Food Center, at the market yesterday and she mentioned that their annual fundraiser, Farm to Plate, will be on Thursday, May 7th. I missed the event last year but understand it was fabulous, so mark your calendar. I’ll post more details as they become available.

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Chipotle Shrimp Tacos

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Sunday night is typically family dinner night with my sister Ginger, brother-in-law and their two kids. I go to their house on Sunday afternoon and we play, do chores and have dinner. I have a tendency to want to make a fairly elaborate meal, taking advantage of my sister’s large kitchen (easily 3-4 times the size of mine), thus also creting a fairly elaborate mess.

On a recent Sunday, Ginger wanted to keep it simple so we decided on shrimp tacos. Easy, delicious and I would only dirty up one frying pan and a cutting board. A win-win for everyone.

If you haven’t tried the shrimp from San Miguel Seafood at the Downtown Austin Farmers Market, you are really missing out. They bring it up from the gulf each week and it is delicious. They usually have a boat mix available that has never been frozen and they are incredible.

I also highly recommend using cabbage, not lettuce, for shrimp tacos. The crunch of the cabbage gives your taco a little something-something that lettuce just can’t provide.

We like our food fiery, so if you have a more timid palate, you might want to cut back on some of the spices.

Chipotle Shrimp Tacos
2 lbs large shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground chipotle chile powder
1 teaspoon olive oil
white corn tortillas
2 cups shredded cabbage, I used red but green will do fine
2 ripe avocados, peeled and sliced
1 bunch of cilantro, cleaned and chopped
3-4 limes, 1 cut in half and the others quartered
salsa verde

Squeeze the juice of one lime on the shrimp.

Mix the chili powder, salt, cumin and chipotle chile powder in a bowl. Combine with the shrimp and coat the shrimp well. Let the shrimp sit for 10-15 minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Saute the shrimp over medium-high heat until cooked through. Depending on the size of the shrimp, this could be 5-10 minutes. Don’t overcook the shrimp; you still want it to be firm when you pull it off the heat.

Warm the tortillas. Serve the tacos with cabbage, cilantro. limes, avocados and salsa as garnish.

I like to serve this with black beans and rice as a side dish.

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Save the Date – Taste of the Market event at Downtown Austin Farmers Market on 3/7

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correction – I originally posted that the Venza was a hybrid.  It is not.  My apologies for the error.

I received this press release last week and it sounds like a fun event sponsored by Toyota to promote their new vehicle.  Hope to see you there….

 TOYOTA VENZA LAUNCHES TASTE OF THE MARKET

Event Series Kicks Off at Austin Farmers’ Market on Saturday, March 7

SEATTLE – February 12, 2009 –The Toyota Venza Taste of the Market event series kicks off with a single-day event in Texas at Austin Farmers’ Market on Saturday, March 7, beginning at 9am.  Toyota Venza created Taste of the Market to celebrate the importance of farmers’ markets to communities across the United States. 

During the Austin event, in booths throughout the market on 4th and Guadalupe, local beloved chefs and popular local farmers will be paired together for a day that highlights Austin Farmers’ Market’s offerings.  The chefs will prepare special tastings showcasing their partner farm’s fresh ingredients and visitors will have the opportunity to sample the chefs’ creations while also learning more about the market vendors, their products, and how to buy and eat seasonally. In addition, to further support the market, Toyota Venza is making a financial donation to Sustainable Food Center, the organization that brings Austin Farmers’ Market to life each week.

“We are blessed with an abundance of food in our region and I truly believe that is what we are meant to eat,” said Taste of the Market participant Jesse Griffiths, chef/owner of Dai Due Super Club.  “By sourcing locally from farmers and ranchers, we are not only eating more nutritious foods but also helping with the local economy.”

Throughout the course of the Austin event, 12 local chefs will offer up their culinary creations featuring their partnering farmer’s fare.  The impressive panel of talented chefs  includes Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due Supper Club, John Bates of ASTI, Jason Donoho of FINO,  Teresa Wilson of Aquarelle, and Greg Ritter of Texas Culinary Academy.

 In addition to the free tastings, visitors will be able to sign up to receive a month-by-month Taste of the Market Guide to Eating Seasonally in Austin. Market-goers will also be invited to pick up complimentary herb plant starts at the Mobile Garden Venza, and can enter to win a unique culinary prize.

 “Sustainable Food Center is thrilled to partner with Venza on Taste of the Market,” said Susan Leibrock, SFC Community Relations Director. “Austin Farmers’ Market has come to represent the community’s commitment to locally-grown, sustainable, and healthful options for eating.  It is through community and individual support that the market is assured a strong future, and Venza’s Taste of the Market is a great way to highlight and celebrate what Austin Farmers’ Market offers to both chefs and citizens week after week.”

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