Archive | May, 2009

Dining Out Sustainably: Blue Dahlia

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053009_1Sometimes, you really should listen to other people’s advice. For months, my friends have been insisting that I try Blue Dahlia Bistro, and I finally had the opportunity last Friday. This gem of a restaurant is tucked away on East 11th, 1115 E. 11th, near Primzie Osteria, the Longbranch Inn and the Victory Grill.

The first thing that struck me about Blue Dahlia is that, with both a front and back patio, there are plenty of places to enjoy your meal al fresco. I love discovering a new place where you can sit outside and enjoy a meal.

053009_2But, they really had me when I opened the menu. Tucked among the listing for tartines (open-faced sandwiches), salads and breakfast offerings was their mission. A mission! I’m a sucker for someone with a mission, particularly when their mission includes serving organic products whenever possible and making choices that have a positive impact on our community and environment. I love it!

The food was delicious, the atmosphere was inviting and by eating at Blue Dahlia I am supporting a business that wants to do good in our lovely home. Returning to Blue Dahlia will be an easy choice.
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Market Update and New Ways to Support SFC

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Phew has it been a busy week! Who knew a four day week could be so intense. I’m looking forward to the weekend and, of course, the farmers market.

This week, I’m planning to visit the downtown market, but don’t worry, I’ll venture out soon enough. I have a promise in to a few friends to visit the Sunset Valley market shortly. Two of the Saturday markets that I also plan to visit this summer are Brushy Creek Farmers Market, 16318 S. Great Oaks Drive in Round Rock, and Angel Valley Farm Stand in Jonestown. If you’ve been to either (or both), please let me know the ins and outs.

Next Saturday, June 6th, is Customer Appreciation Day at the Downtown Austin Farmers Market. There will be prizes, blueberry and vanilla ice cream from Remember When Dairy and J.D. Bass Farm, and a cake walk. Shawn Cirkiel, chef at Parkside, will be doing a demonstration in the Chef’s Circle and Violet Crown Theater will be performing Jack in the Beanstalk for the kiddos. Not often that you get rewarded for shopping! Yea!

And of course, I’m always looking for a way to support the Sustainable Food Center (SFC) in addition to heading to one of their markets (Triangle on Wednesday and Downtown on Saturday.) Today they announced that you can support them by eating out (or in).

First, Mighty Cone, one of the trailer chic eateries at 1600 S. Congress at Monroe, is donating a portion of their proceeds to SFC. If you haven’t read about this new great venue, it is a venture of SFC Advisory Council member, Robert Rhoades and his Hudson’s on the Bend partner, Jeff Blank. You may have had one of their Hot and Crunchy Cones at ACL Fest; it’ll be great to get them year round!

You can also eat in without turning on the oven and benefit SFC. That’s a win-win! Soup Peddler, the local natural food delivery service, is donating 5% of their proceeds when you order online and have the food delivered to you. To earn the donation, you need to use the following link when you place your order: www.souppeddler.com/sfc.

See you at the market!

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A Lazy Sunday Morning with Watermelon (Radish) Eggs

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So far, this Memorial Day weekend has been about making simple meals with my market finds as I dash between commitments with friends and volunteering for the Austin Wine Festival and the Cap Tex Tri.

This morning, I was granted a little extra downtime by the rain clouds when my bike ride in Pflugerville with my friend Lindsay was canceled lest we get soaked.  I hate to admit it but I’m a fair weather cyclist, particularly after getting caught on foot in the downpour on Saturday. I try to only sport the drowned rat look sparingly.
I decided to use my new found time to treat myself to a proper breakfast.  Several weeks ago, I bought radishes from  Acadian Family Farm and they shared with me that one of their favorite ways to eat radishes is to saute them in butter and add them to their eggs.  This piqued my interest.
While I love radishes, I typically eat them raw in salads or as a dipping vehicle for my weekly supply of  Grandma’s Humus.  Cooked and in eggs – hmmmm.  As with most new ideas, I had to let that incubate for a few weeks.
Today, I decided to give it a shot.  I had some beautiful watermelon radishes that I bought from Urban Roots and I just knew that would look very pretty in my scrambled eggs.  Sauteing the radishes cuts the spiciness and they added a great crunch to the eggs.   I will definitely add this dish to my weekend breakfast rotation.
Photo by Sandra Ramos

Photo by Sandra Ramos

Sauteed Radish Scrambled Eggs

1 bunch of radishes (I used watermelon radishes, but french breakfast or any other type of radish would work just as well)
1 tbsp butter
3 eggs, beaten with a little bit of milk (about 1 tbsp per egg)
salt and pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a skillet and saute the radishes until just tender.  Add the eggs and cook to desired doneness.  (I’m not even going to get into what the “proper” doneness is – an endless fight in our family as 1/2 the family prefers what I would consider overcooked eggs.)
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
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Veggies, Veggies, Everywhere and the Perfect Post-Market Sandwich

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052309_1I had a great time this morning, first exploring at Boggy Creek Farm and then heading to the Downtown Austin Farmers Market to round out my purchases.

Boggy Creek Farm is another East Austin gem nestled in the neighborhood off of Airport & Springdale.  The farm stand, which operates from 9 am – 1 pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays, was already packed at 9:03 when I got there.  I was a little worried, that things might be picked over, but there was still plenty for me to buy.  
052309_2I decided on a couple of pounds of potatoes, a bunch of leeks, 2 different kinds of squash, cucumbers, and a bunch of aramanth.  I’m not sure if I had even seen aramanth before this week, but both Rain Lily and Boggy Creek had it so I decided that it was time I figure out what to do with it.  According to the sign at Boggy Creek,

it’s best suited for sauteing or soups.

052309_3
I was still missing a few things I needed for the week, particularly some

 protein, fruit, granola and milk so I headed downtown to the Austin Farmers Market.  And of course, I bought more veggies there too.   
The best part of the trip was running into a number of friends at the market who were searching for specific things and not sure where to find them.  From helping Sandra find a mint plant to introducing Penny and Addie to Remember When Dairy, it was really fun to be their shopping guide.  We were having such a great time we decided we needed to show off our purchases.
  
052309_4Are those two gorgeous bags of produce or what?  Penny De Los Santos, a brilliant photographer, took the photo with my iphone (so no judging her genius because of my lack of camera) and is the proud owner of the bag on the right, which is stuffed with greens, daikon radishes and Remember When Dairy milk.  The Blue Avocado bag on the left belongs to Laura Kelso, writer and contributor to the wonderful food review site www.dishola.com. I didn’t search through Laura’s bag (trying to have some level of decorum), but it was stuffed to the gills with goodies.

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After two hours of shopping, I had worked up quite an appetite so I came

 home and made one of my favorite post-market treats, a sandwich with Grandma’s Humus from the Mediterranean Chef, Tomato Basil Chevre from Made in the Shade, sliced tomatoes and basil.  I added a few radishes as a side dish and ate a fresh Texas peach for dessert.  HEAVEN!

So, what did you buy at the market today?

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