Archive | April, 2014

Recipe Roundup: Spring in Texas

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Wait Spring, don’t go! I know I complained about the cold weather but I am not ready for the triple digits. I need more 75 degree days and windows down. Spring comes and goes in the blink of an eye here in Central Texas but I try to savor the spring produce to the bitter end. Enjoy the end of the season and take advantage of the remaining local spring produce with these spring inspired recipes!

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Spring Fever Frittata – Kristi’s Farm to Table

Green Goddess Dip – My Recipes

Raw Spring Vegetable Salad with Goat Cheese– Kristi’s Farm to Table

Cucumber- Sugar Snap Salad – Food & Wine

Ricotta Gnocchi with Asparagus, Peas, and Morels – Bon Appetit

Salara od Rotkvica (Croatian Radish Salad) – Saveur

Spring Pea Farro Salad – What’s Gaby Cooking

Roasted Baby Spring Vegetables – My Recipes

Spring Vegetable Risotto – Kristi’s Farm to Table

Jicama & Radish Salad with an Avocado- Yogurt Dressing – Fit Sugar

 

 

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Austin Food & Wine Festival Saturday Fun

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Saturday at the Austin Food & Wine Festival was a fun-filled day at Butler Park with plenty to satisfy the culinary curiosity.  I loved the expanded Fire Pits, now accommodating four chefs each day.  Chef Jack Gilmore of Jack Allen’s Kitchen pulled out all the stops bringing in a retro-fitted fire truck equipped to grill a whole hog, even the head, and erecting what was best described by one reader as a “meat carousel” for grilling chickens.

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Roasting the head in the fire truck

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Chef Jack Gilmore’s meat carousel

The Contigo crew used the opportunity to preview the veggie-centric delights from Gardner, their new project opening this fall in East Austin. Chef Andrew Wiseheart was grilling potatoes and greens in clay and serving roasted white asparagus rolled in pork salt. They were the best vegetable dishes I’ve eaten in months and I can’t wait to see what else they will dream up for their new menu.

Butternut squash and clay vessels on the grill

Butternut squash and clay vessels on the grill

Vegetables cooked in clay from Gardner

Vegetables cooked in clay from Gardner

The Grand Tasting tent also offered up many delights with tasty bites from local chef favorites at the Chef Showcase. The black bass crudo from Chef Allison Jenkins of LaV, short rib from Chef Josh Watkins at The Carillon and the masa gnocchi from Chefs Zack Northcutt and Callie Speer at Swift’s Attic were some of my favorite bites of the day.

Masa gnocchi with a huitlcoche chip from Swift's Attic

Masa gnocchi with a huitlcoche chip from Swift’s Attic

Black bass crudo from LaV

Black bass crudo from LaV

Short ribs from The Carillon

Short ribs from The Carillon

And, once again, I found plenty of artisan products to fall in love with. Stephanie McClenny of Confituras has a new strawberry and thyme jam that is out of this world, and I was thrilled to learn that Celtic Seafare of Dripping Springs now sells their smoked salmon at In.gredients market on Manor. The new to me find of High Brew Coffee, cold-brewed coffee in a can, will be a new staple in my fridge, particularly the salted caramel flavor that has just a touch of sweetness. You can find the elixir at H-E-B and Whole Foods.

Smoked salmon from Celtic Seafare

Smoked salmon from Celtic Seafare

High Brew Coffee, cold-brew in a can

High Brew Coffee, cold-brew in a can

One of the more whimsical treats of the day was served up in the kitschy, but cute Kim Crawford Casa Mariposa. I loved the Kelvin Slushies made with Kim Crawford wine. The Kim Crawford Prickly Pear Punch was a particularly refreshing treat on a hot day.

Kim Crawford Prickly Pear Punch and Kim Crawford Citrus Wine Slush from Kelvin Natural Slush Co.

Kim Crawford Prickly Pear Punch and Kim Crawford Citrus Wine Slush from Kelvin Natural Slush Co.

I’m off for day two and more great finds. See you at the festival!

 

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2014 Austin Food & Wine Festival Kick-Off

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The 3rd Annual Austin Food & Wine Festival kicked off yesterday with a full-day of outstanding events. I spent the afternoon at the Food Republic Interview Lounge at the W Hotel, listening to fantastic interviews, sipping Twisted X Beer and cocktails and snacking on bites from Chef Kocurek’s kitchen. I love the candid discussions with the chefs and Moon Tower Comedy Festival comedians, and the TRACE staff pulls out all the stops. It’s one of my favorite parts of the festival. Thanks Food Republic!

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Twisted X in the Food Republic Lounge at the W

 

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Strawberry Swing Cocktail in Food Republic Lounge at the W

 

 

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Lamb Merguez Sausage from Chef Larry Kocurek of Trace at the Food Republic Lounge at the W

 

From the lounge, we headed to the Taste of Texas event that showcases some of Austin and Texas’s best chefs. I love being able to sample from star chefs across the state without having to leave the comfort of Austin and was thrilled that the kitchens of Pass & Provisions, Grace, FT33 and Arcade Midtown Kitchen were in attendance.

My big find of the night was meeting Chefs Diego Galicia and Rico Torres from Mixtli in San Antonio, a restaurant so committed to the farmers, ranchers and artisans that they work with that they have their own grant program. Their food was outstanding and I will be making a trip to the Alamo City soon to visit them.

 

Beef Cheek Pastrami from Grace at Taste of Texas

Beef Cheek Pastrami from Grace at Taste of Texas

Fried Lamb Rib from Pass & Provisions at Taste of Texas

Fried Lamb Rib from Pass & Provisions at Taste of Texas

Sour Sausage on an Egg Crepe from Lenoir at Taste of Texas

Sour Sausage on an Egg Crepe from Lenoir at Taste of Texas

Blue Corn Macaron from Mixtli at Taste of Texas

Blue Corn Macaron from Mixtli at Taste of Texas

The last stop of the night was the magical Sips & Sweets party at Mellow Johnny’s. The all-female crew of pastry chefs transform this bike shop into a whimsical, beautiful dessert wonderland. It really is just the perfect way to end the evening and such a delight. Even the sign at the TRACE booth was edible – yes that’s chocolate.

TRACE's display at Sips & Sweets

TRACE’s display at Sips & Sweets

La V's magical dessert world at Sips & Sweets

La V’s magical dessert world at Sips & Sweets

Sweet treats from Congress at Sips & Sweets

Sweet treats from Congress at Sips & Sweets

It was a terrific first day and I’m looking forward to feeding my culinary curiosity more today. See you at the festival!

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April Texas Food Events

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East Austin Urban Farm Tour
Sunday, April 13, 1-5pm

If you have never taken part in this Austin tradition, this is the year. From seasoned gardeners to city slickers everyone will enjoy this beloved tour.  You ticket gets you inside access to Boggy Creek Farm, Hausbar Farms, Rain Lily Farm, and Springdale Farm as well as bites from local chefs using farm fresh ingredients at each farm. Not to mention local beer, wine and cocktail sips.

As city dwellers, most of us don’t always have the opportunity to see where our food comes from and meet the growers, which is a very powerful experience. This tour is a great chance to learn about how urban farms operate, meet the farmers and ask questions! It doesn’t hurt that the farms a absolutely beautiful and especially full of life this time of year. All four farms are owned and operated by passionate farmers who love to share their knowledge and love of farming. Hint- they don’t do it for the money, they do it because they love it. Purchase your tickets today!

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If you are excited about the farm tour, make sure to check out the  6th Annual Funky Chicken Coop Tour on April 19. A self guided tour, you can visit a variety of unusual chicken coops,  learn more about raising urban chickens and connect with local feather loving friends.

 

Live Fire! presented by Austin Food & Wine Alliance
Thursday, April 17, 6:30-0pm

Chefs. Fire. Meat. In three words, that basically sums it up. This very popular meat-centric event is hosted at the Salt Lick Pecan Groves to set the perfect mood. Enjoy award-winning chefs, live music, wine, cocktail, and craft beer, all supporting the Austin Food & Wine Alliance culinary grant program.

Each year culinary grants go to selected organizations or individuals who are culinary innovators that contribute to the Austin and Central Texas community. This could range from  food and beverage artisans, culinary professionals or food-focused non-profit. Check out the 2013 recipients and what they did with their grant money.

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