Archive | August, 2014

Harvesting Community and Fun at Texas Vineyards

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Most of us have experienced the joy of  sharing a lovely glass of wine with friends and at Texas vineyards, you can take that experience one step further by being part of the harvest.

Messina Hof

Messina Hof

Starting at the beginning of August, vineyards across the state began harvesting their grapes, rescuing them from the brutal summer sun and transforming them into beautiful vintages. Two years ago, I had the opportunity to participate in the harvest at Pedernales Cellars in Stonewall  and this year I joined the crew at Messina Hof in Bryan.


My friend Stacey at the Messina Hof harvest

My friend Stacey at the Messina Hof harvest

Harvest is truly a community gathering, with the vineyards relying on the extra hands of friends and family to race the clock of mother nature to ensure that they pick the grapes at their peak.

Family and friends pitching in at Pedernales Cellars

Family and friends pitching in at Pedernales Cellars

The grapes are collected in large bins and then processed through a sorter to remove the MOG (material other than grapes). From there, the the wine making begins.


Grape collection in the fields

The sorter

The sorter


Material other than grapes (MOG)

You can participate in grape stomp and harvest events at wineries around the state over the next two weekends. Don’t miss this chance to be part of your favorite wine from the start of its journey from vine to bottle.


(And thanks Lillian for pulling together this list of upcoming events!)

Texas Hill Country Wineries – great website with extensive winery events calendar.

Pedernales Cellars
Grape Stomp 2014
August 22, 23, & 24  Noon- 5pm

Messina Hof
Harvest Festival 2014
August 22-23, Bryan
August 29-30, Fredericksburg

Becker Vineyards 
18th Annual Grape Stomp!
August 23-24, & August 30

Fall Creek Vineyard
25th Annual Grape Stomp & Harvest
August 23, 11am-5pm

Stone House Vineyard
Time to Harvest! 
August 23, 6:30 am

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An Ode to Okra Recipe Round-up

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I LOVE okra, and not just fried okra. I like it grilled, broiled, stewed, steamed, sautéed, you name it; I’ve even eaten it raw. (There’s a Dr. Seuss book in this somewhere.) Now, I know some people think it’s slimy, but if it’s fresh and cooked right, it is delicious.

You can imagine how excited I was when I found out that my friend Virginia Willis wrote an Okra cookbook. Yep, a whole book dedicated to my beloved okra. I bought it immediately.

okra cover

Okra by Virginia Willis

The book is part of the Savor the South series from the University of North Carolina Press that celebrates the ingredients and dishes that are Southern to their core. Of course Okra had to have it’s own book.

Virginia does a great job of singing okra’s praises leading you through how to grow and prepare okra, including her top 10 slime busting tips. The book has 50 okra-centric recipes, one of which I had the chance to try at Virginia’s Central Market cooking class.  The okra gougeres were divine and I cannot wait to try the okra cornmeal cakes (featured on Leite’s Culinaria blog).

Virginia Willis' Vegetable Soup with Okra Gougeres

Virginia Willis’ Vegetable Soup with Okra Gougeres

I’m the most excited about the Global Okra Recipes section. Virginia included 24 intriguing recipes from Africa, the Mediterranean, India, South East Asia and the Caribbean. The Moroccan Lamb and Okra Tagine with Preserved Lemons is definitely calling my name.

If you love okra, or are ready to give it a second chance, here are a few recipes from around the web to hold you over until you get your copy of Okra. Thanks Virginia for your lovely ode to okra!

Aunt Kiki’s Fried Okra, Kristi’s Farm to Table

Southwestern Succotash, Kristi’s Farm to Table

Spiced Okra and Tomatoes, Virginia Willis

Okra Gumbo with Glue Crabs and Shrimp, Food & Wine

Summery Okra & Quinoa Pilaf, Allyson Kramer

Skillet-Roasted Okra and Shrimp, Southern Living

Asian Spiced Grilled Oysters with Pickled Okra, Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia

Shrimp and Okra Louisiana Po’boys, Cooking Light

Pickled Okra, Alexandra Cooks

Bhindi Masala, Veg Recipes of India

Roasted Potato & Okra Salad, Erin’s Food Files

Grilled Okra with Red-Curry Lime Dressing, The Bitten Word

Looking for more okra inspired recipes? Check out our Ode to Okra Pinterest Board.





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Why is Kristi always talking about Evernote?

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If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you may have noticed that I talk about Evernote – A LOT. No, Evernote is not some newly discovered species of vegetable or a new farmers market. It’s a free note taking app that I use as the backbone of my business for storing electronic notes, photos, PDFs, audio recordings – you name it. If you’ve been a reader for a while, you may remember me writing about organizing my recipes with Evernote or mentioning that I became an Evernote Ambassador, basically a raving fan with a title, not a paid position.

This year, I upped my Evernote game in two ways. First, I wrote a book with my fellow Evernote Ambassador, Stacey Harmon, about how freelancers, entrepreneurs and small business owners can use Evernote to support their work. Untethered with Evernote: Tips & Workflows for Independent Entrepreneurs came out in the spring, and I’m pretty darn excited about it.


During my career, I’ve helped other people publish six books, but this is the first one with my name on the cover. I liked writing it so much that I’ve already started the next one, and it’s not about technology. (Stay tuned for more on that.)

Since publishing, Stacey and I have been busy building a community of fellow Evernotians (Stacey coined that – cute, right?) who use Evernote in their work. If you fall in that category, we’d love for you to join us on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. We host a monthly Google Hangout On Air on different topics important to independent business people and welcome feedback on new topics. If you can’t make the broadcast, we post them to YouTube  and you can view it any time. We also send out a monthly newsletter and post a couple of times each month to our blog.

Oh, and of course, we’d love for you to buy the book. It’s available on our site in PDF and EPub version or you can purchase in the iBooks or Kindle stores. Use the code KF2T10 for a 10% discount until August 31, 2014. The code is only good for a purchase from our site, not the iBooks or Kindle stores.

The other big news is I became an Evernote Business Certified Consultant. What’s that? Evernote created a certification program for consultants to help deploy, design and implement Evernote Business. Basically, I have Evernote’s seal of approval that I know what I’m talking about and I’m listed in a directory with other consultants. Plus they gave me this fancy badge to show off my new street cred. If you know someone who needs help setting up Evernote business, send them my way.


Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about local food or farmers markets or cooking. There is plenty more of all that coming. I just took a little time to add a few tech feathers to my cap this year and build my business.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled local food programming.

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August Texas Food Events

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Chefs Erica Beneke, Bridge Bishop, Kenzie Allen, Hannah Love, Abby Yates and Alexis Chong at Eat.Drink.Empower dinner.


Texas Restaurant Weeks

August means restaurant weeks all around Texas! It’s hot, you don’t want to turn your oven on so get out and support your favorite restaurants or try a new one.

Houston Restaurant Weeks
August 1 – September 1

Eat Out for Good 
August 3 – August 13

DFW Restaurant Week
August 11 – August 17

San Antonio Restaurant Week
August 16 – August 23

Grub Trivia
August 17, 12-4pm

Whether you’re a cooking connoisseur, a food-biz wiz, or gastronome novice, Slow Food Austin Grub Trivia challenges you to join the second annual fundraising event full of food-focused, pub style trivia. Teams will compete to win the surprise grand prize and the honor of being named the quickest slow foodies in town. Register a team or attend with a general admisson ticket to enjoy the grub and watch the competition.

August 21, 6-10pm

MAX’s Wine Dive Austin is proud to present the second annual Eat. Drink. Empower event showcasing Austin’s top female talent coming together for a worthy cause, and to celebrate the growing number of female chefs on the rise. This year’s event will feature a 12-course menu with beverage pairings, all curated and designed by the talented team of female chefs and bartenders. A portion of the event;s proceeds will go directly to SafePlace’s domestic violence and sexual assault programming.   




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