Edible Austin Magazine July/Aug 2021

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Catering is Back / Recipes of the Season / Food Forest Farm / Chop Chop Noodles No. 77 July/August 2021


Cel eb ra ti n g th e ve r y b est of Ce n t ra l Texa s fo o d cu lt u re




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8 What’s On Our Counter 10 N otable Edibles





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Dill Edamame Dip with Crudités and much more





Caterers are ready to take

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14 E dible Endeavor Chop Chop Noodles

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We’re all ready to feel good again, but for our food insecure neighbors there’s no vaccine to fight hunger. The 1 in 5 Central Texas children at risk of hunger deserve a shot at a happy summer.


Presented by

42 S napshots Around Austin



royalbluegrocery.com 3RD & LAVACA • 4TH & NUECES 6TH & CONGRESS

4 / EdibleAustin.com

40 P lant This/Enjoy This Now


GIVE centraltexasfoodbank.org

Farmers Market Fun


Summer Shrub Spritzer Photo by Heather Barnes

Feel enchantment at

your event to the next level

EdibleAustin.com / 5



hen I think back to how things were last summer in the height of the pandemic, I am so thankful for where we are today. With vaccinations widely available across the country, people are moving beyond their bubble and feeling comfortable with dining out again. Many events are going forward in person later in the year and I am optimistic that the restaurant and hospitality industry is poised to make a strong recovery. I encourage you all to do your part by supporting our local restaurants and businesses during our long, hot summer. If you are comfortable going out, take time to reacquaint yourself with your old favorites, or make plans to experience some of the new ones that have recently opened. But please keep in mind that although the restaurants are back open, they still have major challenges, including shortages in labor and supply chain issues. And, if you’re not quite up to venturing into a restaurant, you can still support them by ordering takeout or purchasing their products online. While we often think of the restaurants that struggled during the past year, we also wanted to highlight the challenges the catering industry faced and how they are making a comeback as well. In this issue we have included a story about how they managed through, learned from this experience and are preparing now for a busy year ahead. We also showcase a local food forest that began in the front yard of a home in the Bouldin Creek neighborhood and is now a thriving business called Bouldin Food Forest on a 150-acre property in Rogers, Texas. Here Ben McConnell manages a healthy ecosystem of edible food that works symbiotically with the existing landscape and topography. Chop Chop owners, Eugene Lin and Steve Har, share their story about how they created an Austin-based noodle company and are working hard to redesign the instant ramen experience. Both Lin and Har grew up in what they call traditional Asian immigrant households, where their childhoods revolved around instant noodles. They now want to introduce people to the true flavors inspired by the street food of Asia, not the bland, dry packaged noodles sold in supermarkets. And speaking of flavors, this issue is packed full of delicious summertime recipes that incorporate the abundant fruits and vegetables available now at your local farmers markets and grocery stores. Be sure to try them out and tag us on Instagram when you do! Sincerely,

PUBLISHER/EDITOR Monique Threadgill monique@edibleaustin.com

Ralph Yznaga ralph@edibleaustin.com

Claire Cella Stacey Ingram Kaleh

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Heather Barnes Ada Broussard Nathan Matisse Yolanda Nagy Addison Starr Emily Treadway

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Heather Barnes Madison Boudreaux/David Bates Mackenzie Smith Kelley Michael Maly Emma O’Grady Emily Pape Dani Parsons Patty Robertson Sealie Starr Juliet Yznaga

ADVERTISING SALES Stephanie Walsh stephanie@edibleaustin.com


6 / EdibleAustin.com

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producers and makers, thereby strengthening the local food economy and creating a sustainable


Edible Austin is published bimonthly by Edible Austin Magazine LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be used without written permission of the publisher. ©2021. Every effort is made to avoid errors, misspellings and omissions. If, however, an error comes to your attention, please accept our sincere apologies and notify us. Edible Austin is a member of Edible Communities.

Get it delivered right to your kitchen or find us at a local farmers market

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Wholesale Clients Welcome EdibleAustin.com / 7 FCVB-50-Edible Austin-July Austin 2021-Half Page-3_625x9_875-Cuisine.indd 1

6/9/21 2:58 PM

W H AT ’ S



IT’S JERKY Y’ALL PLANT-BASED JERKY Get ready to try something you’ve probably never had before … plant-based jerky! This is one of our most recent delightful finds that is made right here in Texas. All Y’alls Foods makes their jerky plant-based and protein-rich but just as delicious as normal jerky. There are three Texas-inspired jerky flavors to try: Black Pepper and Sea Salt inspired by the Gulf Coast, Prickly Pear Teriyaki inspired by Texas prairies and lakes, and Prickly Pear Chipotle inspired by the South Texas plains. In addition to being a great plant-based snack, All Y’alls mission is to save the lives of animals and place less of a burden on the Earth with every purchase of their jerky. Snap these up at your neighborhood H-E-B or check them out and place an order on their website. allyallsfoods.com

8 / EdibleAustin.com

Take a look at what we are enjoying this month:



Next time you’re in need of soap, make sure to try out the

nutrients and vitamins that help nourish the body? Look no further

locally made hand soaps by Fredericksburg Farms instead of

than RockIt Snacks’ Pumpkin Seeds. They’re making some

buying a bar at the store. Now that we’re washing our hands

seriously amazing pumpkin seed snacks that come in a

more than ever, a local hand soap that is made with natural and

variety of flavors. Our personal favorite is their Ranch flavor,

sustainable ingredients feels like the best thing we can do for

which is the perfect mix of zesty herbs with a touch of garlic.

our hands. These bars come in a variety of scents including

In addition to Ranch, they also have Nacho and Sea Salt flavors.

Rosemary Mint, Lavender, Fredericksburg Juicy Peach, and our

Pumpkin seeds are naturally rich in powerful nutrients which

personal favorite, Texas Bluebonnet. Their Texas Bluebonnet

makes RockIt Snacks great for muscle power, energy levels and

scent makes it possible to enjoy the scent of the state flower

a strong immune system. RockIt Snacks are also naturally grain,

year-round and is a great gift for a visitor to Texas that

gluten, dairy and soy free; vegan; keto and paleo friendly, and

wants to take some of the Lone Star State back with them.

non-GMO, making them great snacks for anyone and everyone.

Their soaps are available for purchase in local Central Markets,


Marigold Market, Breed & Co. or online on their website.

Central Markets or visit their website to order.



Looking for the perfect tasty snack that also contains minerals,










SIETE HOT SAUCE Everybody needs a little spice in their life and Siete Hot Sauce is just the product to add to your dishes to give them that extra kick. Made with simple ingredients like apple cider vinegar, jalepeño pepper, garlic and sea salt, Siete Hot Sauce is the perfect option to reach for when your meal needs a delicious sauce that is also Whole30 approved and gluten free. Our favorite is their Traditional Hot Sauce, which we love adding to tacos, using for wings, or making Siete’s recommended recipe for a spicy potato salad, which you can find on their website. In addition to their Traditional flavor, you can also try three other delicious flavors: Habanero, Jalapeño and Chipotle. Check them out on their website, place an order or find these sauces and other products at your local H-E-B or Royal Blue Grocery. sietefoods.com

EdibleAustin.com / 9

NOTABLE edibles

NOTABLE edibles

Husband and Wife Team Opens Birdie’s in East Austin

Notable Edibles

Arjav Ezekiel and Tracy Malechek-Ezekiel are excited to open Birdie’s restaurant, a comfortable neighborhood restaurant and wine bar in East Austin. The restaurant serves simple, seasonal American food with influences from France and Italy. Working together as a team on Birdie’s, Tracy is the head chef and Arjav handles the bar and front-of-house operations.


William Chris Launches New Wine Benefiting Feeding Texas Texas winery William Chris Vineyards recently introduced a new wine that was created in collaboration with Texas sommelier and Emmer & Rye wine director Ali Schmidt. The Wanderer Series Relief Project II is a red blend that features 92 percent cinsault and 8 percent carignan grapes which come from the Texas High Plains. The new wine benefits Feeding Texas, the largest hunger relief organization in Texas, and was created with a mission of supporting and nourishing Texas families in need as they get back on their feet. “This wine is meant for summer 2021, for catching up with friends and family, and for hot afternoons that turn into late nights,” says Schmidt. “The wine is best served after chilled in the fridge or on ice for 20 minutes, then enjoyed on its own or with picnic lunches, barbecue, and food off the grill.” The wine is available now on William Chris Vineyards’ website and can also be purchased at select H-E-Bs, Spec’s, Central Markets, Whole Foods Markets, and several independent bottle shops throughout Texas. For more information, visit williamchriswines.com.

Cranky Granny’s Sweet Rolls Opens Storefront in the Domain

photos by DANI PARSONS

UT Alumni Bring Houston’s Local Foods to Austin Local Foods, a farm-focused, from-scratch restaurant, has five locations in Houston and is now setting up shop in downtown Austin where the group of founders and partners have longtime roots. Founder and seasoned restaurateur Benjy Levit, chef and co-founder Dylan Murray, and partner Martin Berson all graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. Levit has over 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry, running and owning Benjy’s in Houston. Murray has overseen culinary operations for Local Foods since co-founding it in 2011 and Berson, Snap Kitchen founder and former CEO and co-founder of Benjy’s, has several decades of restaurant and hospitality experience.

Arjav and Tracy both have extensive culinary backgrounds – Tracy served as a chef in New York, working at Cru, Del Posto, Blue Hill New York and Gramercy Tavern before joining the opening team at Untitled at the Whitney. Arjav worked in Washington, D.C. at The Source by Wolfgang Puck and Komi, and then moved to New York to help open Untitled at the Whitney. This is where he met Tracy and their plan to open a restaurant together was born. Tracy is originally from Houston and grew up in the Tomball area but moved to Spain after graduating from University of Houston. When they decided to open their own restaurant, she and Arjav visited Austin and fell in love with the area and the way people interact with restaurants here. “We really want Birdie's to be an easy-going but thoughtful neighborhood spot that you can pop into twice a week, rather than a special occasion fine dining restaurant,” says Arjav. “Tracy approaches the menu with the same focus on ingredients and technique as fine dining restaurants but delivers them in a much more approachable style with counter service.” Visit this exciting new restaurant at 2944 East 12th Street, Unit A, or online at birdiesaustin.com.

The group is passionate about hospitality, quality, and the sustainability of their menu offerings, and they are committed to partnering with local Austin farmers and vendors. Their menu features scratch-made sandwiches, salads, and sides, using local ingredients whenever possible.


Cranky Granny’s Sweet Rolls founder and owner, Sianni Dean, relocated her at-home bakery service from New Jersey to Austin in 2020, with the goal of eventually opening a brick-and-mortar bakery. She initially sold her tasty confections out of a temporary kitchen space but has now achieved her goal and opened a physical location in the Domain. Cranky Granny’s customers can order Dean’s decadent sweet rolls, which are similar to cinnamon rolls, with various toppings such as cookies and cream, strawberry shortcake crunch, peach cobbler, chocolate peanut butter or a vegan option. You can always get the simple classic sweet rolls, too, and they offer other rotating seasonal flavors.

“Venturing back into Austin for me is full circle,” says Murray. “I cut my teeth in the restaurant business working for Jack Gilmore and Larry Perdido in the 90s so to get the opportunity to rejoin the Austin restaurant community is thrilling and a longtime goal realized.”

Try out this delicious new treat at 10910 Domain Drive, Suite 106, or order online at crankygrannys.com.

Local Foods recently launched their first Austin location with a takeout-only pop up at 5350 Burnet Road, and will be opening their permanent location in Downtown’s 2nd Street District. For more information, visit localfoodstexas.com.


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EdibleAustin.com / 11

NOTABLE edibles

NOTABLE edibles

Mayawell Opens Wellness Pop-Up with Garden 17 in East Austin

It's Peach Time in Texas

photos by PREP ATX

Prep ATX’s Ghost Kitchen To Host Local Favorites Commercial kitchen Prep ATX plans to open its 55,000-square-foot cooking facility this summer to support Austin’s entrepreneurial food community. Prep ATX will be the largest commercial kitchen community in Texas and allows all types of food and beverage makers to prepare their products at this Central Austin location. The facility features 42 private kitchens, along with 16 shared kitchens and space for 16 food trucks, allowing Austin’s food truck operators, caterers, bakers, prepared meal companies, consumer packaged goods manufacturers and restaurant owners to all benefit from the space. The initial list of members includes Tiny Pies, Brooklyn Breakfast Shop, SimpliThai, Fresh Fronks, The Austin Artisan along with others, and many of the kitchens will serve their food on-site where customers can come enjoy their food on the facility’s outdoor dining patio. The kitchen and patio will be located at 1300 East Anderson Lane. For more info, visitt prepatx.com.

Trio Joins Together to Create Grayson Whiskey photos by MAYAWELL

Local prebiotics soda company Mayawell has partnered with Garden 17 to offer a pop-up cafe this summer on Austin’s eastside called Moment by Mayawell. It will be an all-day cafe as well as a home and garden shop that promotes wellness while bringing together locally sourced food and products. On the menu are Mayawell’s popular bubbly agave prebiotic drinks as well as coffee from Lady Elaine, wines from The Meteor and ciders from Fairweather. Food options include items from Blenders & Bowls, Gati Ice Cream, Casa Verde and Lucky Lime. The feel-good retail experience includes home goods, art, apothecary items, plants and more. Open now through October, you can visit this fun new Austin option at 2609 East Cesar Chavez Street.

Former MLB three-time All Star Vernon Wells partnered with author and craft spirits professional Nico Martini and private equity investor Brandon Davis to create Texas’ first blended bourbon. The trio worked with award-winning distilleries Ironroot Republic, Lone Elm Whiskey and Balcones to create Grayson Whiskey, which is a distinct blended bourbon, using three bold whiskies to create one unique blend. “I have accomplished a lot in my life but being able to break the race barrier as the first Black-owned whiskey brand in Texas is one I am most proud of,” says Wells. “This is our way of showing the world what an amalgamation of the best whiskies in Texas can be. We’re awfully proud of the spirits coming out of this state and are thrilled to be a part of this story with Grayson as the first Texas-blended bourbon,” says Martini.

photo artwork by EMMA O'GRADY

With summer around the corner it's the perfect time to experience the mouth-watering magic of Texas Hill Country peaches. The peach farms of Fredericksburg, Stonewall and the greater Hill Country area offer many pick-your-own orchards, or you can get them pre-picked and ready at their stands. The 2021 crops are ripe and ready now and you can visit roadside stands throughout Fredericksburg and Stonewall. Many of the peach orchards offer fun activities, recipes and other products, too. To find locations, events and activities, visit texaspeaches.com.

Grayson Whiskey can be purchased locally at Spec’s and Total Wine, or online at graysonwhiskey.com.



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EdibleAustin.com / 13


Chop Chop

Bringing Authentic Street-Style Noodles Into Your Home


by EMILY TREADWAY ugene Lin and Steve Har, founders of the Austin-based

Compared to the conventional flavors of supermarket ramen, Chop Chop

company Chop Chop, want to redesign America’s instant

offers Tom Yum, Kimchi Udon, Tokyo Curry and Penang Curry. Lin and

ramen experience. “Having both grown up in traditional

Har call Chop Chop’s kitchen the “funk lab” because they’re not afraid

Asian immigrant households, our childhoods revolved around instant

to come up with tastes that may be unfamiliar to the average American.

noodles,” Lin says. But these were not the bland, dry, packaged noodles

According to Har, there’s soul, harmony and a ton of umami that make up

sold in supermarkets: Lin and Har want to introduce people to the true

the flavor of each bowl of Chop Chop’s noodles.

flavors inspired by the street food of Asia. “Our flavors are bold and uncensored, our ingredients wholesome and clean, and our noodle bowls as convenient to make as they were when we were kids,” Lin says. Chop Chop produces homemade, fresh-frozen noodle soup bowls that are sold in the freezer sections of select local independent grocers and national market chains in Austin. For the noodle fanatic, Chop Chop’s Club Mian delivers noodle bowls directly to customers’ doors. Members get to mix and match noodle cups and have their orders delivered at the beginning of every month. Chop Chop also delivers

explains, “but there’s also parsnip as a topping so that when you taste sweetness, you’re doing so in layers. In our Tokyo Curry, we make a curry roux by hand, so you get all the complex flavor from turmeric contrasting with the spiciness of cinnamon.” Chop Chop makes a cold brew kombu dashi — their vegetarian broth base — which combines mushrooms, alliums, miso, gochujang and tomatoes. Many of these ingredients have gone through a fermentation process that brings out the deep savory flavors usually found in traditional meat and bone-based broths, but “in a way that is healthier for you and more sustainable for the planet,” Lin says.

individual orders for non-

The typical grocery store product focuses on simplicity over complexity

club members, too. Chop

of taste for cost reasons. And while Lin admits there are lots of exciting,

Chop is Lin and Har’s third

up-and-coming Asian food brands, he and Har never want finances to

venture together, and it is

hinder their creation of complex flavors or great taste.

their most personal one. “It’s a labor of love,” Lin states. The friends first met

photo by SARA RYAN

“We use agave to introduce caramel-like sweetness that adds depth,” Har

at an innovation and design company



worked to help corporations and startups create new, healthier and more sustainable food brands. Then they worked together with a

Each dish is inspired by an authentic, personal experience, Har says. “Our noodle bowls are moments that we treasure and, in a way, are frozen snippets of time we want the people of Texas to get a taste of.” For future flavors, they want to create nostalgic, yet innovative dishes based on not only the experiences of their youth but also on their knowledge of Asian street food blended with the best of Texas.

specialty coffee chain in Shanghai, and after spending more than a

“We felt it was time to create an elegant take on an iconic product like

decade in Asia, they returned to an America where Asian

instant ramen,” Lin says. “And what better place to do that than from

products at grocery stores were often the cheap commodity

Austin, Texas, where comfort food is treated with respect and craft?”

choice. These choices represented “neither the Asian experience nor our Asian American experience,” Lin notes.

To experience authentic Asian noodles in your home, place orders online at chopchop.cc.

In response, Lin and Har decided to make their own healthy, plantbased street noodles with no artificial flavors or additives, while still providing the expected convenience of instant noodle bowls. “No need to watch over a stovetop for hours on end,” Har says.

Eugene Lin and Steve Har by JULIET YZNAGA 14 / EdibleAustin.com

EdibleAustin.com / 15

spotlight on LOCAL

spotlight on LOCAL

Farmers Market Fun Pedernales Farmers Market by YOLANDA NAGY


magine sipping a pineapple hibiscus mimosa with live music

MacKow has taken much pride in building this market family from 25

playing in the background, an outdoor yoga class happening

to now 50 vendors, and you can find certain beloved vendors only

on your right, and all the fresh items on your grocery list at the

at her market, like Gary and Mary Wood's locally grown produce,

farmers market set up right before your eyes! After a year of

St. G Kitchens, Hat & Heart, and some of the best grass-fed beef at the

quarantine, the Texas Farmers Markets are making a strong comeback

Brangus Best Cattle Co. booth. (Tip: vendors have the best knowledge

with new amenities for everyone to enjoy. So grab your yoga mat and a

on how to store and prepare their items, so just ask). Remember there is

basket or a cooler and join me on a Sunday adventure in Central Texas.

no middleman, you are buying straight from these farmers and vendors.

Take a short drive beyond the Austin city limits to get to the Pedernales

I don’t mess with the Texas heat, so after I’m done chatting and

Farmers Market in Spicewood. Drive up to plenty of parking and

buying almost everything on site, I take my goods back to the car to

head straight to the 10 a.m. flow class with Casie Hall, founder of

pack in my trusty cooler. Now, I’m nosey, so afterward I walk over to

Nectar Flow Yoga. (Tip: Make a reservation on her website beforehand

Pizzeria Sorellina too, for a bit of eatin’ and sippin’. Ahhh yes, farmers

because her classes fill up fast.) After cooling down, take a stroll over

market shopping is the life for me!

to the market, which is just the right size and filled with a variety of vendors. Karina MacKow, one of the founders, started the market with her sister and brother-in-law from Terra Purezza Regenerative Farm. I found out about them last year when COVID-19 hit Texas hard, and inspired my personal mission to help bring awareness to these outdoor markets. I met MacKow through Instagram and was intrigued by one of

Yolanda Nagy photos by MICHAEL MALY

My favorite things to bring with me on this adventure include a yoga mat, lawn chairs to listen to the jams, a cooler and some reusable bags. (Tip: I like to freeze a bag of ice along with a few 16 ounce water bottles for the cooler. This is perfect for meat and fresh items, and when you get thirsty, you can grab a bottle to stay hydrated in the Texas heat.) I check out a different market each week and share tips

The edible austin farmers’ market guide is brought to you by

and tricks on how to enjoy each market, because no two are alike! Find Yolanda on IG: @eatin_and _sippin_locally and Facebook: Eatin’ and Sippin Locally.

her posts, which read: "25 Amazing Local Vendors!” Seeing


LAKELINE sustainably grown food from


gets as excited about a

local farmers & ranchers

partnership as I do put a huge smile on my face. I say



saturdays 9a - 1p @ Lakeline

vendors are not employees of the markets; they are small business entrepreneurs, and I’ve learned that a market is only as strong as the

sundays 10a - 2p @ Mueller

people who work together to create it.

for locations, vendor lists & more info visit


16 / EdibleAustin.com


EdibleAustin.com / 17

COOKS at home


Taylor Dadds Keeps it Simple, Tasty, Healthy and Fun


by NATHAN MATISSE t’s a dreadful situation many of us are all too familiar with: After

With that, @OneBalancedLife was born and would eventually become

an eight-hour workday that somehow felt like 18, the last thing

Dadds’ popular website and handle. And although she claims the journey,

you can think about is cooking. Taylor Dadds knows this feeling

as any can, began a bit rocky, those who visit her pages are greeted by a

well. Back in 2016, Dadds was working in marketing in the Dallas area,

visual feast no matter how far back they scroll. Wallpaper-worthy grain

regularly “drained at work in a job I didn’t love,” she recalls. “No one then

bowls, brightly colored fruits and vegetables, desserts that demand a

wants to come home and be like, ‘What am I going to make for dinner?’”

second look — it’s an eyeful visitors will quickly want to turn into a mouthful. And as Dadds has recently demonstrated for Edible Austin,

Yet rather than allowing professional exhaustion to paralyze her at

that’s the point. She wants to show everyone who comes across her

dinnertime, Dadds began to find that very moment to be what kept

recipes that anyone can do it themselves.

her going. She moved to Austin in 2018 for a new job and to be closer to family, and then she got into meal planning, prepping the kind of meals she wanted to




easy-to-reheat ways so that the transition from office to (microwave)



happen in an instant. She also started



to continually improve in the kitchen, finding inspiration in anything from ingredients she loved to restaurant meals she dreamt about in order to

“I always want people to feel like, when they come to my page, they can make whatever I share. It shouldn’t feel complicated or super gourmet, even if it might look that way because of the way I’ve plated something,” she says. “People can easily make this stuff in their own house, and that’s one of my biggest focuses whenever I create. I want recipes to be simple and for everyone to feel like they can make them at home.” Dadds’ shrimp tostadas with pineapple salsa, for instance, sound and look fancy, but they’re quite manageable in practice. She starts with premade corn tortillas and notes how effortless it would be to swap in a premade salsa or an easier-to-prepare protein (like chicken or chickpeas). You can tailor the recipe to be ready in 10, 20 or 30 minutes depending on your needs and tastes. (You’ll likely want to taste her pineapple salsa, though, as its fresh and bright produce components

routinely make different things at home.

really hit the spot during an Austin summer.) And her southwestern

Beyond this new habit in the kitchen, the thing that eventually changed

peppers and onions, canned black beans — that are easy to make at

Dadds’ life was the fact that she documented the process online, too.

scale so you can then freeze them for quick on-the-go meal options. “It’s

breakfast burritos build off basic ingredients — scrambled eggs, fresh

something I’ve done really since college — the process of cooking for

“I started using my Instagram feed as a passion project,” Dadds says. “I

myself and wondering, ‘How can I make it easier?’” Dadds says.

enjoyed cooking, I followed a lot of people on Instagram who did similar things. So I was like, ‘I’ll just start sharing my food on Instagram with

The chocolate covered banana bites may be the crowd favorite, however

this page.’ My focus was on healthy eating and simple recipes, kind of

(in fairness, probably because of “chocolate”). The recipe is simple

weaving in wellness and fitness as well. That’s what I was passionate about.”

enough to fit in an Instagram caption and the resulting treat is freezer

18 / EdibleAustin.com

photos by RALPH YZNAGA

COOKS at home

COOKS at home

photos by RALPH YZNAGA friendly so that you can make them last a few bites at a

feed a family from the freezer, and various one-pot and one-pan ideas to

time … if you’re not sharing with a few extra Edible Austin

execute in less than 30 minutes. It’s no surprise that her following passed

onlookers, at least. “Those never last long,” Dadds admits.

the 100,000 threshold (and counting) last year.

In 2021, as life slowly unfreezes and society finds a new normal, Dadds and

“In the last year with the pandemic, more people were cooking at home and

One Balanced Life are doing the same. Right before the pandemic really

they wanted easy stuff, because some people didn’t previously even know

took hold, she had made the decision to quit her day job and make creating

how to cook,” she says. “So that was an opportunity to share more about

content for One Balanced Life a full-time focus. For now, that’s still the case.

meal prepping, planning out your meals, and making the transition to being

So, on top of the chaos of the last year, it also proved to be a very challenging,

at home more in the kitchen. I think I filled a niche — and luckily it’s what I

chaotic, new experience in Dadds’ kitchen.

liked to share already.”

Just as her work in the kitchen was inspired by trying moments, it may have

Follow Taylor Dadds on Instagram at @OneBalancedLife

ultimately risen to a new level during this even tougher time. One Balanced Life’s ethos — keeping it simple, practical, tasty and healthy — became more important to a wider audience as we all largely quarantined at home and had to navigate less access to grocery stores and various supply or ingredient shortages. Being comfortable in the kitchen in 2020 may have never been more critical to day-to-day life, and One Balanced Life was there to help. Dadds offered meals with less than five ingredients, options that could

photo by JULIET YZNAGA 20 / EdibleAustin.com

EdibleAustin.com / 21

COOKS at home

COOKS at home


These shrimp tostadas make for an easy weeknight dinner filled with all the easy summer flavors and ingredients that we yearn for during this season! 3

corn tortillas




avocado (or guacamole)

Avocado oil

Seasonings for shrimp:

photo by EMILY PAPE


Your sweet tooth (and your kids) will love this sweet, simple treat of chocolate dipped bananas. Use any nut butter or chocolate that you prefer. Tip: Make extras because they won’t last long in the freezer. 2



peanut butter (we prefer crunchy

1/2 t.

garlic powder

1/2 t.

smoked paprika

1/2 t.

chili powder

1/4 t.




1/2 t.

sea salt and pepper

Red pepper flakes, for topping

Fresh cilantro, chopped, for topping

For pineapple salsa:

photo by EMILY PAPE


pineapple, diced

1 1/2

cup tomato, diced


lime, juiced


lime zest


small red onion



1 t.

garlic powder

Some mornings, it’s inevitable that we will be running out the

Heat oil in a skillet set to medium heat on the stove. Whisk together

Sea salt to taste

door and won’t have time to make breakfast. That’s where these

the 6 eggs and pour into the pan. Slowly scramble by bringing the

Southwestern Breakfast Burritos come in. Not only are they a

eggs into the middle of the pan. Once down, set aside. In separate

satisfying breakfast that will keep you full all morning, but they are

pan on the stove set to medium, add a splash of oil, the red bell

also easy to prepare at the beginning of the week.

pepper, onion and black beans to sauté. When finished, set aside.

Prepare the tostadas by preheating the oven to 400°. Spray or brush avocado oil on both sides of the tortillas and place on a silicone


baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes (flipping halfway through). You’ll


large flour tortillas

want them to get crispy. Prepare the shrimp by mixing all seasonings



together in a large bowl and adding the shrimp. Toss to fully coat.

Avocado oil

Place in a large pan on the stove, heated to medium and sauté. Cook

1/2-1 c.

shredded Mexican cheese

thoroughly. The shrimp will turn pink when they are done. Once


small red bell pepper, diced

Slice the bananas into coins (not too thin or thick). Sandwich

ready, set the shrimp aside to cool. Prepare the pineapple salsa by

1/3 c.

yellow onion, diced

peanut butter between two banana coins and place them on a piece

combining all the ingredients in a bowl and mixing. Set aside.

1/3 c.

black beans, drained and rinsed

1 T.

taco seasoning

Sea salt, pepper

Salsa, optional

Guacamole, optional

frozen before dipping them in chocolate. Melt the chocolate chips

Fresh cilantro, chopped, optional

on the stovetop or in the microwave with the coconut oil. Dip each

Red pepper flakes, optional

over creamy versions) 1 c

chocolate chips

1 T.

coconut oil (melted)

Sea salt, optional but recommended, for topping

of parchment paper over a plate. (Make sure that you have some parchment paper on hand for this or else the bananas will stick to the plate.) Once all of the banana sandwiches are assembled, place them in a freezer for 2 hours or longer — the key is to make sure they are

To assemble the tostadas, start with a crispy tostada and then layer on mashed avocado, shrimp and pineapple salsa. Finish with red pepper flakes and fresh cilantro.

To build the burritos, lay the tortilla out flat on the counter or work surface. Layer in the scrambled eggs, sauteéd vegetable mix, and shredded Mexican cheese. Roll up into a burrito and place in a low-heated pan. Cook on both sides to until the outside is golden brown and the cheese inside has melted. Serve with salsa, guacamole, red pepper flakes and fresh cilantro. If preparing these at the beginning of the week for later, make sure to let the burritos cool completely before wrapping them in plastic wrap and storing in the freezer. To use later, place them in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours before consuming and reheat in a microwave for 1 to 1½ minutes.

banana sandwich into the chocolate until it is completely covered. You can use a spoon to make sure it’s coated. Top the creation with sea salt, eat a few and return the rest to the freezer to store.

22 / EdibleAustin.com

EdibleAustin.com / 23


SEASON recipes and photography by HEATHER BARNES

DILL EDAMAME DIP WITH CRUDITÉS Makes: 5 small servings

For the Edamame Dill Dip: 2 c.

cooked edamame

5 T.

olive oil

2 T.


2 T.

lemon juice

2 T.

fresh parsley

3 T.

fresh dill

3/4 t.


1/4 t.


1/4 t.

garlic powder

For the Crudités: 4

cucumbers, sliced in half lengthwise

and then quartered


yellow squash, sliced in half lengthwise and then quartered


zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise and then quartered


watermelon radishes, sliced in rounds


sweet peppers, sliced in strips


roasted okra


Cook the edamame per package instructions. Strain and let cool. In a food processor, blend the edamame with olive oil. Add in the rest of the ingredients up to garlic powder. If the dip seems too chunky, just add more lemon juice or olive oil. Arrange sliced vegetables on a platter around the dill dip. Garnish with colorful flowers like bee balm or petunias.

24 / EdibleAustin.com

EdibleAustin.com / 25

recipes of the SEASON

recipes of the SEASON

PEACH LAVENDER GALETTE Makes: 1 galette plus extra pie crust

For the pie crust: Makes 2 crusts: 2 c.




1/2 t.


³ c.

1 c. or 2 sticks cold butter 1/4–1/2 c.

ice water

For the filling: 2 c.

fresh peaches, thinly sliced

3 T.

lavender honey

1 t.

vanilla extract



1/4 t.


1 T.

fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 T.



egg, whisked for the egg wash

³ t.


Sift flour into a bowl. Add the salt and sugar. Cut the cold butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or fork until the dough resembles the size of peas. Add the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing with a spoon until well combined. Gather dough together with your hands and roll it into a ball. Turn onto a floured surface with a floured rolling pin (the colder the surface, the better!). Roll dough out into a circle and then assemble the galette ingredients by stirring them all together in a large bowl, making sure the peaches are coated. Starting from the outside of the dough and working in, leaving a ½-inch of dough on the outside, arrange the peach slices in a spiral. Fold the edges of the crust into the center. Whisk the egg and brush it around the crust and center. Sprinkle turbinado sugar on the crust. Bake for 30 minutes at 350°. Let cool for 10 minutes and serve with vanilla custard or ice cream. Garnish with fresh lavender sprigs.

26 / EdibleAustin.com

EdibleAustin.com / 27

recipes of the SEASON


1 c.

fresh chopped peaches

3/4 c.


2 t.

fresh thyme

3/4 c.


3/4 c.

red wine vinegar

1/4 c.


Roughly chop the peaches and thyme. Combine the peaches and thyme with the sugar in a bowl and stir well. Let the mixture macerate in the fridge for 24-48 hours. Add in the red wine vinegar and water and stir, and let sit for another 24–48 hours in the fridge. Strain out fruit and add sparkling water and ice for a summery refreshing drink!

Beesforall.com 28 / EdibleAustin.com

recipes of the SEASON

Catering Comeback

spotlight on LOCAL

makes a



arch 2020 seems like a bad dream,” says Asia Gonczar, owner and executive chef of Apolonia Catering, referring to the worldwide shutdowns that began that month due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Food industries were hit particularly hard and, over a year later, many catering businesses and restaurants are still struggling. Some didn’t survive. Leslie Moore, owner of Word of Mouth catering and an Austin institution in his own right, has been a caterer in Austin for 30 years — hosting presidents, governors and celebrities. “COVID was a most unusual event that affected all caterers in different ways,” he says. “Uncertainty and fear of the unknown were our daily companions,” he adds, as companies wrestled with the decision to stay open or close up shop. Kristen Stacy, co-owner of Royal Fig Catering, agrees. “We couldn’t hold events until the beginning of June 2020 when we started to receive Photo by Word of Mouth Catering guidance on how to do so safely.” But by that time most people had already canceled or postponed their events. Moore admits, “It’s pretty devastating when all of a sudden you’re told it’s not safe to do business.” In an effort to keep their doors open, restaurants and catering companies everywhere scrambled to recreate or restructure their business models. But Kristin Stephens, director of Austin Catering, points out, “Caterers are known for thinking on their feet and for being creative, but 2020 challenged us to really think outside the box and find ways to keep moving forward.” For many, this included selling takeout meals. Stephens says, “We used to believe food couldn’t be dropped off, but when that’s all you can do, you figure it out.” 30 / EdibleAustin.com

Moore is confident that most of the catering companies will recover, though, and Stacy says, “Now that the world is opening up again, clients are wanting to reschedule their events. We’ve never been so booked!” There are still challenges that remain, however, and one of them is a lack of staffing. During the pandemic many companies had to let employees go, and even those who didn’t struggled to keep their staff because there were no events for them to make money from. “A lot of them decided that the industry is too vulnerable,” Moore explains, “and they’ve moved on or will move on to other careers.” Moore was one of the employers who was determined not to let any of his staff go, so he put them to work preparing takeout meals and his planning staff to work sorting out client contracts, finding new venue dates and arranging refunds. He and his team also established new company health and safety protocols.

Leslie Moore/Word of Mouth Catering

Asia Gonczar/Apolonia Catering

While Word of Mouth was writing their own standards for health regulations and procedures, the rest of Austin’s catering companies were also adjusting their contracts to account for unforeseen circumstances like COVID-19. This, according to Stacy, speaks to the great relationship that Austin caterers have with one another and the open communication between them. When Moore started Word of Mouth in 1987, there were only a handful of caterers in the Austin area. Today, there are many more catering companies, not to mention the restaurants that also cater. “Competition is a good thing in my eyes,” Moore says. “We learn from each other and there is so much more creativity. We have a much more vibrant food scene now.” Moving forward, Stephens at Austin Catering says, “We’ve learned the value of meeting our client’s needs right where they are, whether it’s providing a roll of toilet paper with their meal delivery or executing a seated dinner for 300 from their backyard.”

photo by Apolonia Catering

Gonczar believes this past year, while difficult, provided her with new business opportunities and growth, from expanding her menu to acquiring a new kitchen. It also made her more likely to take chances she may have been afraid to take before. The big takeaway, however, always remains the same. “As caterers, we’re participating in our client’s life moments. No matter how big or small, they all deserve the same level of attention,” says Stephens. Austin’s caterers are open and ready to serve clients at their events, big or small. For more information on these caterers, visit edibleaustin.com/caterers. Kristin Stephens/Austin Catering

Austin Catering

EdibleAustin.com / 31

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32 / EdibleAustin.com

EdibleAustin.com / 33





ven though it was before

and digital ecosystems. On the side, he stayed busy transforming his

10 a.m. when I visited

front yard into an oasis of vegetable production using principles of

Ben McConnell at the

permaculture. McConnell reflects on his personal introduction to

Bouldin Food Forest, the day was

permaculture systems, “I was like, what?! You can design an

already devastatingly hot. As

actual living ecosystem as opposed to [one made up of ] customers,

McConnell showed me around

and vendors and company data?!” Unlike his work consulting, the

his enchantedly diverse farm, we

metrics McConnell uses to measure the success of his farm are

zig-zagged from one shady spot

physical, unable to fit into the format of a spreadsheet cell. “You plant

to the next — seeking refuge

all this stuff, and [you experience] the visual impact as well as the

underneath a native persimmon

tangible impact at the [farmers] market of how people talk about

tree, alongside a tool wall and

your food and what they liked ... I mean, that is just, to your core,

underneath one of the many

so gratifying.”

“caterpillar” or high tunnels that the farm uses to keep things warm in the winter and cool(er) in the summer. Despite the relentless rays beaming down from above, there were moments of reprieve — and these moments were not happenstance but part of the farm’s design. Bouldin










neighborhood. At the time, McConnell was working as a management consultant helping big companies design customer ecosystems

34 / EdibleAustin.com

The term food forest, or forest garden, is used to describe a landscape of edible trees, shrubs and plants situated together to mimic the natural edge of a forest wherein a healthy ecosystem of edible food is achieved by a holistic approach. Indigenous and traditional cultures around the world have been encouraging the growth of food forests for thousands of years — a history that should point to the pure logic of this system. Why not create a style of crop production that works with nature, versus one that goes against it?

EdibleAustin.com / 35


In 2016, McConnell moved his vegetables, and his life, from the South

moving onto the land. He tells me that when he started the process, the

Austin neighborhood to a 150-acre property in Rogers, Texas, about an

pond was a lifeless pool of water, a fact which is hard to imagine considering

hour and a half north of Austin and east of Temple. To find the farm,

the current state: dragonflies, amphibians, bugs and birds, not to mention

you must drive past thousands of acres of what you might call “big ag”

all the microscopic life, buzz about. “They all work together in helping to

— huge swaths of land monocropped into things like feed corn and

become a central home for the kinds of insects and animals that we want.

hay — a perfect foil to the type of farming systems McConnell fosters.

We’re trying to keep a nice balance.”

Bouldin Food Forest gracefully dances the line between a more typical,

But it’s not all organically organized berms and dreamy ponds at

Western-centric diversified production farm and a traditional food

Bouldin Food Forest, the farm also consists of small blocks of beds

forest. McConnell describes his farm as simply “ecologically-driven.”

that you would more readily recognize as a vegetable farm. On

Following this compass, he works to steward a spirit of symbiosis with

McConnell’s scale, he can more easily employ no-till and low-till

the Blackland Prairie ecoregion he operates within. “We want to use

methods designed to maintain better soil structure and health. On

the land and the topography to our advantage. So you'll see right here

the hot June morning when I visited, we strolled through rows of

... this is our first little orchard,” McConnell says as he motions to an

soon-to-be black eyed peas, heirloom corn, and a striking row of deep

area just near where we’re standing. “All the berms are planted on the

purple leaves that McConnell identified as Bull’s Blood Beets —

contour lines of the land.” Sure enough, a rainbow-shaped arch of berms,

a unique variety that definitely falls within the specialty crop

or small mounds, are planted with budding fruit trees designated by

modifier. Hidden under the shade of several tunnels was a large variety

T-posts. When I look to the distance, I can see that yes, these berms

of crops like swiss chard, tomatoes, squash and a colorful pop of

cup and cap a slow and gradual decline in the landscape, stopping and

zinnias. The plants were all thriving under the 30 to 50 percent shade

retaining the water from the surrounding pastures and irrigating the

cloth covering the metal frames, which can lower the ambient

trees, before eventually trickling into the pond.

temperature 8-12 degrees — a significant difference for plant (and

The pond lives at the center of McConnell’s property, and he refers to it as the “heart of our ecosystem” — a muscle he’s been dutifully restoring since 36 / EdibleAustin.com

employee) health. “I think my story right now is trying to battle or be prepared for Texas’ crazy weather. Hence the tunnels,” McConnell says. In addition to providing shade in the summer, incorporating tunnels


into his crop plan also provides protection from severe wind, hail, excessive rains, and snow — all weather events that the farm has experienced within the past year. Each and every corner of this small but mighty farm operates on a system built to support the whole-ecosystem and all of its players — including the full time staff as well as the visiting WOOFers, of which there are usually a couple. I couldn’t help but notice the knee pads Vanessa Bates, McConnell’s partner and the farm’s resident tunnel constructor, had on. When we caught our breath in the air conditioned pack room, I noticed a wall of similar knee pads, a simple and elegant solution to help reduce the aches and pains of farming. In the corner of the shed was a tidy vegetable wash station that diverts the used water from washing back onto the farm’s growing trees. If you open your eyes wide and know what to look for, elements of an intentionally-built and very ergonomic farming system are plentiful at Bouldin Food Forest; it’s clear that McConnell has a mind for system design and also a thumb for farming. To fill your plate with Bouldin Food Forest veggies, fruit, and herbs, you can visit the Mueller Farmers’ Market on Sundays or swing by Wheatsville Co-op locations. Or, keep an eye out on fine dining menus around town — chefs have taken note of McConnell’s high-quality produce and unique variety selections. And if you’re on Instagram, be sure to follow the farm for the most up to date news, offerings, and plenty of farm dog pics: @bouldinfoodforest.

38 / EdibleAustin.com

Sweet Corn Chard Pepper plants Black-eyed Peas

Plant This Now

Enjoy This Now

Winter Squash Tomatoes Watermelon


Lima Beans


Snap Beans





Corn, Sweet




Dill Eggplant Figs Green Beans Green Garlic Leeks Mint Okra Onions Parsley Peaches Peppers, Hot Peppers, Sweet Squash, Hard Squash, Summer Tomatoes Watermelon Zucchini

photo by KIM DANIELS

40 / EdibleAustin.com


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