No. 19 Fall 2011
Celebrating Central Texas food culture, season by season
Go Wild Taking hunting back to its Texas roots.
Explore San Antonio Escape for a culinary weekend along the San Antonio River Walk. Member of Ed ib le Commu n ities
Local Food. Local Art. Local Music. Here are some of the folks you can find at HOPE Farmers Market:
Every Sunday from 11:00a - 2:00p Fifth Street and Waller St. (Four Blocks East of IH-35) 414 Waller St. Austin, TX 78702 hopefarmersmarket.org facebook.com/HOPEMarketATX twitter: @HOPEMarketATX
Bryan Butler of Salt & Time Salume and Pickles
Bill Nadalini of Wunder-Pilz Kombucha Tea
...from the cow to the people in Two Moons... TM
o Dos Lunas
Colleen Sommers of Pie Fixes Everything Photography by Joaquin Avellan
HOPE Farmers Market Special Events September 11: S p e c i a l S c r e e n i n g o f Q u e e n o f t h e S u n at T h e H i s t o r i c Fr e n c h L e g at i o n . G o t o h o p e fa r m e r s m a r ke t . o r g o r c i n e m a e a s t au s t i n . c o m f o r m o r e i n f o r m at i o n ! September 16-18th: H O P E F a r m e r s M a r ke t @ T h e 2 0 1 1 A C L M u s i c Fe s t i v a l . S at i s f y yo u r f e s t i v a l h u n g e r w i t h d e l i c i o u s o f f e r i n g s f r o m yo u r favo r i t e l o c a l f o o d a r t i s a n s at t h e H O P E F a r m e r s M a r ke t at t h e A C L M u s i c Fe s t i v a l .
artisan cheese www.doslunascheese.com
A PURA VIDA FINC The Best In Ecological Heirlooms Beef Pork Eggs
Fruit Herbs Vegetables
Fayetteville, Texas www.fincapuravida.org firstname.lastname@example.org (979) 249-3866
SUSTAINABLE FOOD CENTER FARMERS’ MARKET AT
S U N S E T VA L L E Y
never tasted (or looked ) so good!
Come see us Saturdays, Year-Round 9 a.m. to 1 p.m 3200 Jones Road at Toney Burger Center Hwy 290 / Brodie Lane Come see the new SUNSET VALLEY ARTISAN MARKET too!
6 Publisherâ€™s note 9 notable Mentions 15 notable Edibles Natural Epicurean, Kids R Farmers, Wildly Natural One.
Contents Fall 2011
32 Edible Endeavors Organics by Gosh.
18 People Valerie Broussard
34 Cooks at Home Sibby Barrett.
Foraging unique treats for W Austinâ€™s Trace.
36 What I eat and Why Zen and the art of food maintenance. 52 Embracing Local Farm to doorstep. 54 handiwork Pickling summer vegetables.
21 Imbibables Lone Star Sake Pioneering organic alcohol production with traditional Japanese style.
56 La Casita de Buen Sabor Spicin' bison. 58 Behind the Vines Texas Hills Vineyard. 61 Seasonal Plate La Condesa. 62 Department of Organic Youth Bake my soul. 65 Seasonal Muse Dollars and sense. 66 Edible Gardens Saving the future. 68 Root Causes You gotta be careful with a buffet. 69 Eat Wild Wild edibles in your yard. 71 Tipsy Texan Trouble in Tequila-ville. 77 Back of the House Parkside. 80 Directory 82 art de terroir New Works: Buster Graybill: Progeny of Tush Hog.
25 Edible Destination Do the River Walk A culinary weekend adventure along the San Antonio River Walk.
38 Farmers Diary Home Sweet Farm The Stufflebeams aim to pass the torch of traditional farming to the next generation.
41 Edible Endeavors New Wave Hunter-Gatherer Celebrate local, healthful, fresh meat the way Texan culture has done for centuries.
47 Cooking Fresh Wild Game Meals Discover the best preparations for wild Texas game from local chefs.
EDIBLEAUSTIN.COM Visit us online for recipes, local resources, events and more! Sign up for our newsletter for updates on news and events.
Cover: Head of Garlic. Photograph by Knoxy.
Publisher’s Note: Just call it Food
rom my long-ago academic days of studying cultural linguistics, I learned to marvel at the complex relationship between language and behavior. Which influences which? Is language largely a reflection of our cultural behavior, or can language itself influence behavior? And many years later, after an intense crash course in political strategizing and media training, I learned how “framing” makes all the difference, and came to respect the power words have to influence a vote. In this vein, I’d like to address our current national language of food. Since when do basic words such as “food,” “cheese,” “meat” and “produce” need to be modified with words such as “good,” “natural,” “healthy,” “organic” and “whole,” in order to assure us that they are the “real” deal? Without these modifiers, we’re left to wonder if our food is fractured, unhealthy or unnatural. And I don’t believe that I’m alone in noticing the exhaustive use of the words “sustainable” and “responsible” when describing farming and other lifestyle practices that aren’t threatening the health of our people and the planet. Why can’t we start modifying the reverse? Perhaps if we were shopping in the “fake food” aisles or buying food from “irresponsible farms” we’d pause and wonder exactly what we’re ingesting and where we’re investing our food dollars. Austinite Joaquin Avellán of Dos Lunas Artisan Cheese makes his cheeses at a dairy farm near Schulenburg using unpasteurized milk from Jersey cows. Like other cheese artisans in this country, he must call his product “raw cheese” in order to sell it at the farmers markets or retail stores. This same product, when produced and sold at his parents’ dairy farm—Finca el Susurro de San Benito in Baranitas, Venezuela—is simply called “queso.” Avellán points out that in Europe, cheeses are primarily made from raw milk and are also just called “cheese”—no need for the scary “raw” modifier that gives some of his customers pause. With all of the ingredients—including unpasteurized milk—listed on the label, why can’t Avellán market his cheese as just “cheese”? Patrick Van Haren, owner of Microbial Earth—which specializes in soil restoration— recently attended a meeting of the Sustainable Food Policy Board of Austin and Travis County. At the meeting, Van Haren offered a proposal to create an annual county fair that would celebrate small, sustainable farms, responsible farming practices and artisan foods—an event much like those he experienced growing up in Canada that recognized the integrity of his father’s farm and influenced his understanding of good land stewardship. What to call it? Let’s just call it a “county fair” and let the event itself define exactly what that means. A step in this direction is a national initiative called “Food Day” that will take place on October 24. Draped with the snappy slogan “It’s Time to Eat Real, America!,” the initiative’s purpose is to improve national health through the promotion of safe, healthful foods, to protect the environment and animals by supporting sustainable farms and to expand access to healthful food for all. What we do to participate in Food Day will, in essence, be taking back how we define “food.” So does language influence behavior, or does behavior define our words? Assuming that both are true, we have an opportunity to make our food words meaningful again. Author and food activist Michael Pollan nailed it when he answered the question of what we should eat to be maximally healthy: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” “Food” should always mean “real food” and “farming” should always be “responsible.” If it isn’t, call it something else.
Publisher Marla Camp
Associate PUBLISHER Jenna Noel
EDITOR Kim Lane
Copy Editor Christine Whalen
Editorial Assistants Melinda Barsales, Dena Garcia, Cari Marshall, Michelle Moore, Ian Sarver
Advertising Sales Curah Beard, Kelty Christman
Distribution Manager Jude Diallo
Contributors Full listing, bios and contact information online at edibleaustin.com
Advisory Group Terry Thompson-Anderson Dorsey Barger, Cathryn Dorsey Michael Guerra, Jim Hightower Toni Tipton-Martin, Mary Sanger Suzanne Santos, Carol Ann Sayle
CONTACT US Edible Austin 1415 Newning Avenue Austin, TX 78704-2532 512-441-3971 email@example.com edibleaustin.com Edible Austin is published quarterly by Edible Austin L.L.C. All rights reserved. Subscription rate is $35 annually. No part of this publication may be used without written permission of the publisher. © 2011. 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.
Join us for Austin’s premier local food event celebrating fresh, local food and foodmakers in Central Texas.
Benefitting Urban Roots & Sustainable Food Center
60 Restaurants 8 Signature Events Urban Farm Bicycle Tour • Pig Roast & Harvest Dinner • Coffee & Chocolate Festival • Moonstruck Benefeast • Drink Local Night Fine Art & Food Night • Local Holiday Gift Fair • Texas Craft Brewers Festival
Tickets and VIP passes on sale! Start planning your week at edibleaustin.com EDIBLEAUSTIN.COM
Neighbors making great food for neighbors www.betterbitesofaustin.com C=94 Y=29 M= 80 K=16
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Dressing for Life! Fabulous flavor with NO: gluten, cane sugar, corn syrup or unpronounceable ingredients! www.freshdressings.com
FALL 2011 Better EDIBLEAUSTIN.COM Bites is an association
of Central Texas natural food and beverage makers.
notable Mentions Farm and Food Leadership conference Join Edible Austin and Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance for this exciting gathering of nonprofit leaders, farmers and ranchers, local food activists and more! Topics this year include food safety bills, genetically modified foods, animal identification legislation, raw milk in Texas, effective activism, growing the local food movement and more. The conference will be held Monday and Tuesday, September 12–13 at the Pearl Brewery in San Antonio. For the full agenda, updates and to register visit farmandranchfreedom.org or call 254-697-2661.
YOUR APPETITE CAN SAVE WESTERN CULTURE If you’re wondering what you can do to defend the sustainable fishing of the threatened ecosystems on the Texas Gulf Coast, local theater collective Rude Mechanicals has a simple answer: Eat! On Sunday, September 25, members of the Rude Mechs’ Oyster Club will again be treated to a seafood and oyster roast feast prepared by some of Austin’s finest local chefs, including Shane Stark of Kenichi, Ben Huselton of Paggi House, Brandon Fuller of Wink and Bryce Gilmore of Barley Swine, along with cocktails by Tipsy Texans and Paula’s Texas Spirits. Roberto San Miguel will bring the best seafood available that week from the Texas coast. All that is required is a membership and a mini road trip to The Plant at Kyle, a dramatic architectural landmark tucked away on 17 acres of Hill Country, 30 miles from Austin. The Rude Mechs’ Oyster Club celebrates local, live culture and leads members on exciting adventures throughout the year to sample the best local food, music, film, dance, art, architecture and more. Join the club at rudemechs.com.
lick honest ice creams
Handcrafted with the finest ingredients Texas has to offer! 2032 S. Lamar Blvd. Austin, Texas
Celebrate Legendary Texas Flavors! 7th al Annu
Texas Fall Fest & Wine Auction September 30 & October 1
Fri. Sept. 30 - Sip and Sunset Stroll with top Central Texas
chefs, wineries and artisan producers at Quail Point Lodge on Horseshoe Bay 5:30–9 pm
FEATURED RESTAURANTS: H-E-B Deli & Catering, Iguana Grill, Inn on the Creek, Jack Allen’s Kitchen, Kerbey Lane Cafe, Lantana Grill & Bar, Navajo Grill, Rather Sweet Bakery & Cafe, Salt Lick Cellars, Sideoats Café & Bakery, Silver K Café, Spanish Oaks, The Gage Hotel, Vivo, Wines Across Texas FEATURED WINERIES: Alamosa Wine Cellars, Becker Vineyards, Bending Branch Winery, Fall Creek Vineyards, Flat Creek Estate, Fredericksburg Winery, Georgetown Winery, Inwood Estates Vineyards, Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards, McReynolds Winery, Perissos Vineyard & Winery, Pillar Bluff Vineyards, Sandstone Cellars, Spicewood Vineyards, Texas Hills Vineyard, Wines of Dotson Cervantes FEATURED ARTISANS: Aurelia’s Chorizo, Broken
Special Screening: QUEEN OF THE SUN: What are the Bees telling us? HOPE Farmers Market, Edible Austin, Cinema East and the historic French Legation present the award-winning film Queen of the Sun, a profound look at the global bee crisis from Taggart Siegel, critically acclaimed director of The Real Dirt on Farmer John. Two short films from the East Austin Stories program in the University of Texas Radio-Television-Film Department will screen prior to the feature including Feeding Austin, an inside look at East Austin’s own Springdale Farm. Enjoy local food from a “mini-market” of vendors from HOPE Farmers Market, honey wine tasting and other bee-themed surprises. $3 per person entry fee includes a chance to win a Johnson’s Backyard Garden CSA box. Sunday, September 11 at the French Legation. Proceeds support HOPE Farmers Market. For more information go to hopefarmersmarket.org or cinemaeastaustin.com.
Arrow Ranch, Christen’s Gourmet Pralines, Confituras, Delysia Chocolates, Dos Lunas Cheese, Hill Country Homestyle Canning, Kohana Coffee, Lick Ice Cream, New Bread Rising, Pâté Letelier, Pie Fixes Everything, Shibber D’Lites Gourmet Cheese Balls, Texas Lavender, Texas Olive Ranch, Texas on the Plate, Zhi Tea
Sat., Oct. 1 - Trail o’ Food Reception and Stroll down Old Main Street in Marble Falls followed by Chef Lou Lambert Dinner and Wine Auction
For tickets and details: texasfallfest.com Sponsors: H-E-B • Edible Austin • GO TEXAN • San Pellegrino Festival benefits Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association and CASA
upcoming SLow food austin events Slow Food Austin will host its Thursday Slow Food Happy Hours September 15, at the Four Seasons Lobby Lounge with treats from TRIO; October 20, at Urban Roots farm; and November 17, at Rain Lily Farm. And join us for a Slow Food Farm Tour on October 2 at Richardson Farms. For more information and updates on Slow Food Austin events, contact Karla Loeb at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit slowfoodaustin.org. EDIBLEAUSTIN.COM
DINING FOR LIFE, September 12–13 The 19th annual Dining for Life is Monday and Tuesday, September 12–13. Join us as restaurants all over Austin unite in the fight against HIV and AIDS. As thousands of patrons fill their plates in support, these restaurants will be graciously donating a substantial portion of each diner's check to AIDS Services of Austin. Visit asaustin.org for a list of participating restaurants.
UPCOMING BOOKPEOPLE EDIBLE Author EVENTS Monday, September 12: Chef Lou Lambert cooks barbeque for you in the parking lot (all day long), then talks about and signs copies of his new book, Big Ranch, Big City at 7 p.m. Monday, October 24: Join Edible Austin as we present a celebration of real, Texas food with Homesick Texan blogger Lisa Fain and her new cookbook, Homesick Texan Cookbook. Now everyone can cook the food Lisa pines for, focusing on Texas culinary traditions using fresh and local ingredients. This is a registered event on the national Food Day calendar.
ri p pi n g Dwith Taste
Dripping SpringS ArEA ChAmbEr of CommErCE
Friday, November 4: Mark your calendar for this unforgettable evening presented by Edible Austin, with author Ellen Sweets telling tales of her friendship and cooking adventures with the irrepressible Molly Ivins from her new book, Stirring It Up with Molly Ivins: A Memoir with Recipes.
Texas fall fest celebrates texas flavors
Wine&Food F estival
Sat., Sept.10, 2011
Creekside Pavilion • 18315 FM 1826 Noon- 7pm • Driftwood, TX 17 Texas Wineries Texas Brewed Ale Culinary Demonstrations Food & Specialty Vendors People’s Choice Award Fine Art • Live Music
Rain or Shine 512-858-4740 $25 Online | $30 Door
drippingwithtaste.org Lisa Fain
The homesick Texan cookbook
When Lisa Fain moved to New York City, she missed the big sky of Texas, but mostly she missed the food. After a fruitless search in New York, Fain took matters into her own hands.With more than 125 recipes, The Homesick Texan offers a true taste of the Lone Star State.
• Bookstore • Giftshop • Coffeehouse 9 am - 11 pm everyday shop online at: www.bookpeople.com
603 N. Lamar 472-5050
The 7th Annual Texas Fall Fest & Wine Auction takes place on Friday and Saturday, September 31–October 1, with the Friday Sip and Sunset Stroll event debuting at the beautiful Quail Lodge on Horseshoe Bay, cosponsored by Edible Austin, featuring our finest local food artisans sampling and selling their products along with tastings from stellar Central Texas chefs and Texas wineries. Saturday evening features Chef Lou Lambert’s Chef ’s Dinner and Wine Auction in downtown Marble Falls. This annual event raises funds for Texas wine research and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children). Go to texasfallfest. com for the complete schedule, ticket information and listing of featured artisans and wineries.
Rally for Real Foods, october 2 at the capitol The Rally For Real Food kicks off October 2, on the south steps of the Texas State Capitol and will march to petition legislation for GMO labeling. The Rally For Real Food coalition includes State Senator Kirk Watson; State Representative Donna Howard; Robert Bard, a Jeffrey Smith Approved Non-GMO Speaker; Doug Foreman, a Non-GMO Advocate and Beanitos CEO; and the national Non-GMO Project organization, Right2Know March.
Rainwater revival in Dripping Springs This award-winning celebration of the conservation practice of rainwater collection will take place on October 8, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Roger Hanks Park in Dripping Springs and will feature presentations, conservation-related vendor booths, local food and live music. Envision Central Texas, a nonprofit organization designed to address growth while recognizing the interests of the region’s citizens, recently named the 2010 Rainwater Revival the winner of its Community Stewardship Award for Public Awareness. Visit rainwaterrevival.com for details.
Dripping with taste Wine and Food Festival Join us on Saturday, September 10 at Creekside Pavilion in Dripping Springs for a celebration of Texas food and wines. Along with tastings from artisan food vendors, area restaurants and wineries, enjoy chef demonstrations from Chef Brad of Creek Road Café (Creek Road’s Watermelon Salad: Texas peach vinaigrette, Texas watermelon, Pure Luck feta cheese, fresh stevia and mint from the Creek Road garden on a bed of arugula), Chef Fabienne Bollom of Rolling in Thyme & Dough (Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Pure Luck goat cheese, spinach and wine herb sauce) and Chef Chera Little of Fork and Company (Pecan Encrusted Gorgonzola Butter Steak: rib eye, Texas Hill Country olive oil and balsamic vinegar, Navidad Farms pecans, gorgonzola, pinot noir). Tickets and more information at drippingwithtaste.org.
25th Annual Gruene Music and Wine festival Celebrate Texas foods and award-winning Texas wines with a Texas-style Musicfest on October 6–9, in historic Gruene on the banks of the Guadalupe River. For information and tickets, visit gruenemusicandwinefest.org.
La Dolce Vita Food & Wine Festival, October 13 Raising funds for Austin Museum of Art’s education program, La Dolce Vita Food and Wine Festival brings Austin’s best chefs, wine and spirits, together for a memorable evening. This year, the grounds at Laguna Gloria will be transformed into an Italian Renaissance-inspired evening, celebrating the centuries-old “Il Palio” horse race. Visit amoa.org/ladolcevita for updated event information.
21st Annual Fredericksburg Food & Wine Fest Held in downtown Fredericksburg on Marktplatz on Saturday, October 22, Fredericksburg Food & Wine Fest is a full-course celebration of food, wine and music, with specialty booths, a food court and fun for all. Tickets and more information at fbgfoodandwinefest.com.
CELEBRATE FOOD DAY with edible austin AT Mexic-Arte Museum’s VIVA LA VIDA FEST! In honor of Food Day, Edible Austin hosts Edible Austin COOKS, a healthful eating chef demonstration booth at the 28th Annual Mexic-Arte Museum fundraiser and Dia de los Muertos Festival, Viva la Vida Fest on Saturday, October 22. Our booth features Whole Foods Market Chef Dan Marek at 2:30 p.m., demonstrating seasonal Aguas Frescas; Chef Iliana de la Vega of El Naranjo at 3:30 p.m., demonstrating traditional holiday foods cooked with fresh, locally grown ingredients; and Chef Jesus Mendoza, Jr. of Mr. Natural at 4:30 p.m., demonstrating vegetarian and vegan cuisine.
Auguste Escoffier school’s Sustainable food center fundraiser dinner, October 23 Enjoy cocktails and a wine dinner in the Escoffier School of Culinarty Arts’ vegetable garden with courses prepared by Austin’s favorite chefs, sourced from local farms. The evening includes a panel discussion with our chefs, farmers and local food activists. Learn more at sustainablefoodcenter.org.
Visit foodday.org for updated listing of Central Texas events. EDIBLEAUSTIN.COM
Locally sourced Mexico City-style cuisine 2010 James Beard Award Nominee Best New Restaurant
hyde park, austin
American fare infused with Austin flair. Zedâ€™s is your new oasis in the city. Learn more at www.zeds.bz. 501 Canyon Ridge Drive 512-339-9337
4220 Duval Street (512) 531-9610
13th Annual Green Corn Project Fall Festival Join us on Sunday, October 30 at Boggy Creek Farm from noon to 3 p.m. for tastings from Austin’s top restaurants, chef demonstrations, live music and more. Tickets available online at greencornproject.org.
20th Anniversary of San Antonio Herb Market With the theme “20 Herbs to Remember,” the San Antonio Herb Market will be held Saturday, October 15 at the Pearl Brewery, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., featuring nationally known herbalist Susan Belsinger, plants for sale and lots of advice from herbal gardening and culinary specialists throughout the day. Visit sanantonioherbmarket.org for more information or call 210-688-9421.
AMOA and EDIBLE AUSTIN HOST WHOLE HOG Inspired by Buster Graybill’s art exhibition at Austin Museum of Art (November 21–February 19), we invite you to join us at Laguna Gloria on Wednesday, November 30 at 7 p.m. for a sampling of the most plentiful, delicious and natural meat out there—wild game—prepared by Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due. Tickets at amoa.org/wholehog.
John Besh on Edible Radio’s Growing HOme Visit edibleradio.com for Edible Austin publisher Marla Camp’s interview with Chef John Besh. Camp visited with Besh at his newest farmto-table restaurant Lüke on the River Walk in San Antonio. Besh talks about the resilience of his native Louisiana’s food communities in the aftermath of recent ecological and economic disasters along the Gulf Coast and about how his new cookbook, My Family Table, brings it all home.
Cook Globally, Grow Locally 13 th A nnuAl F All F estivAl
Sunday, October 30 Gates open from noon to 3pm Boggy Creek Farm - Food from Austin’s top restaurants - Chef demonstrations - Live music
Tickets available online
www.greencornproject.org $35 in advance, $40 at the door, children under 12 free
Let Food Be Your Medicine. North 219-9499 • South 444-8866 • Central 459-9090 • Westlake 327-8877
notable Edibles A New Path to the Plate he culinary academy tucked away in an unassuming South Austin strip center is not your typical cooking school. There are Viking ranges and Vita-Mix blenders, yes, and steamer baskets, tagines and mortars and pestles. Absent, though, are the fryers—because nothing is fried. There is no instruction on butchering, no sautéing of meats, no preparing of roulades. In fact, there is no meat at all. Welcome to the Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts, one of the few plant-based, all-natural cooking schools in the U.S. “We feature food as a healing modality,” explains Chris Phillips-Frishman, an instructor at the school. “It isn’t fringe, but we’re on the edge.” That “edge” refers to the unique curriculum based on raw, vegan, vegetarian, ayurvedic and macrobiotic cuisines, with no single meat-free cuisine being favored over another. Instead, the school seeks to maintain a respectful, culinary non-dogmatism through healthful, holistic cooking. “It’s the only school in the United States that has a curriculum that includes all of these styles of cooking,” says Richard Goldstein, who, along with Michael and Laura Benton, co-owns the academy. Students simply master the fine arts of fermentation and dehydration instead of, say, braising or charcuterie, and focus more on Mother Earth than the mother sauces. “We don’t believe that there’s a particular style that’s right or wrong,” he attests. The teaching kitchen is likely to make other culinary school students swoon with its glossy black subway-tile backsplashes, butcher-block teaching stations and natural light from expansive windows. The room was conceived by noted local designer Joel Mozersky, the same hand behind Uchi, Antonelli’s Cheese Shop and The Highball. There are two full-time programs at Natural Epicurean, as well as an evening-and-weekend program that each take about a year to complete. There are six hours of instruction each day that emphasize seasonal, local and nutritious cuisines. At midday, the students break for lunch, which they cook for one another. While the school has been around since the mid-’90s, it was only last year—after being purchased by the owners of sister business Yoga Yoga next door—that it was expanded to a comprehensive plant-based curriculum. Not surprisingly, many of the school’s graduates have started their own natural-foods companies or catering businesses, and others have
Photography by Amber Snow
Student Leanne Valenti with chef instructor Rachel Zierzow
gone on to write cookbooks or work as chefs in kitchens across the country. Former student Amy Ramm founded Austin’s NadaMoo!—a successful line of dairy-free coconut-milk ice creams—and several current students are apprenticing, such as Brian Henderson who externs at Uchi. There are plans to expand the learning to devotees of plant-based cooking through a state-of-the-art podcast program that will offer cyberinstruction on everything from juicing to the best alternatives to rice. “What we can do virtually is huge,” Phillips-Frishman says. And there’s talk of a possible online-only curriculum. “There’re a lot of people we could serve who don’t live in Austin.” For those closer to home, the school recently secured a lease on an adjoining space that will be crafted into a lecture hall for visiting guest speakers—allowing Natural Epicurean to expand its current roster of public classes and speaking events, and further spread the word about the benefits of local, nutritious plant-based cuisines. —Terrence Henry Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts 1700 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-476-2276 email@example.com; naturalepicurean.com
HANDMADE COMFORT FOOD FROM THE FARMERS’ MARKET TO YOUR TABLE
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Fall Plant Sale & Gardening Festival at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Sat. & Sun., October 15 & 16 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
4801 La Crosse Avenue • 512.232.0100
Every Saturday 9AM-1PM
Friesenhaus on s. Castell
Pick up sites: Austin Fredericksburg Wimberley
ou get to dig . . . with a fork!” With this simple, enthusiastic declaration, six-year-old Adeline Merritt shares a favorite part of her morning’s effort with the Kids R Farmers program at the 6701 Burnet Road Market. Adeline has just finished digging holes for some cucumber seeds. Next she covers the seeds with dirt and waters them. She’ll return to the market in a couple weeks to witness the fruits of her labor (literally!), and her parents, Joshua and Kelly, couldn’t be more excited. “We want [Adeline and her younger sister Emerson] to learn where their food comes from and learn about eating locally,” Joshua says. This is exactly the goal of Kids R Farmers, a three-stage program that takes children through different lessons that follow the life cycle of a plant. “They start with stage one, called Kids Grow at the Market, where they experience veggies growing in soil, plant their own seeds, learn about good bugs and good soil and learn to care for a plant,” explains Paige Hill, one of the program’s teachers and the founder and director of Urban Patchwork Neighborhood Farms, which teamed up with the market to kick-start the program. In stage two, Kids Art at the Market, the children continue to interact with their seedlings while making arts and crafts related to their plants. “The projects reinforce what they learned in the garden and connect them with the concept of seasons,” Hill says. In the third stage, Kids Cook at the Market, the burgeoning gardeners work with a local chef to combine their harvested produce with fruits and vegetables from the market to create a fun, farm-fresh dish. “This gives them an experiential understanding of seed to table,” says Hill. Hill sees Kids R Farmers as a natural extension of the farmers market that benefits both the children and their parents. “While parents are already there shopping, kids can learn about the other steps in growing food that happen before they see the pretty veggies their parents are buying,” she says. “The market is a perfect place to show parents and kids how that food is grown and teach them how they can grow food for themselves.” The program is open to children ages five to eleven, and begins at 9:30 a.m. every Saturday. Parents are asked to preregister their children so that they can be matched with kids of a similar age. A five-dollar suggested donation for each class is requested (but not required) to help cover the cost of materials. The little gardeners are encouraged to come to multiple classes, as each has a different topic and follows the plants through their seasonal cycles. Of course, the lessons are about more than just growing food; they’re about establishing a way of life that will hopefully endure beyond childhood. “Connecting kids with food is a key to a sustainable, healthy future,” says Hill. “When they return week after week, watching the plants start as seeds and grow all the way to create new seeds, the experience is reinforced and becomes a lifestyle.” The market’s director, Jean “J” Kruse, also emphasizes the bigger picture. “The most important thing is that working in a garden teaches patience and love for something, and the outcome is satisfying and builds one’s self-esteem,” she says. “And they get to play in the dirt—something kids don’t get to do much of these days.” —Cari Marshall Kids R Farmers. 6701 Burnet Road Market firstname.lastname@example.org • 6701burnetroadmarket.com
Blended to Be Wild
en Stevens, a wide-smiled and dreadlocked former bluesman, believes cooking should be easy, food should be fresh and you shouldn’t have to sacrifice time or flavor to eat well. But he also believes that one of the biggest obstacles to eating fresh, healthful food at home is the lure of the high levels of sodium and fat found in prepared foods and take-out. It’s his personal mission to get people back into their kitchens, cooking healthfully with friends and family, using his new line of seasoning blends called Wildly Natural One. All natural, low sodium, gluten- and MSG-free, the seasoning blends come in four varieties (Original, Fiery, Salt-Free Select and Salt-Free Spicy) and can be used to enhance everything from fish and meats to quick salad dressings. “It’s like a rub, condiment and spice cabinet all in one jar,” says Stevens. The power of spices and herbs was first revealed to Stevens when he was apprenticing under a Jamaican seasoning master years ago. “Once I started learning from him about all the colors of the spices and herb world, that’s when I learned how to make the blends I have now,” he says. Stevens studied the food science of various spices and herbs—trying to unlock one blend that would be extremely versatile. “I tried it on every different food I could think of … fish, tomatoes, hummus. I tweaked it until it worked for all of them. It was painstaking; it took me years.” After finding the right balance for his first blend, Stevens sent samples to family and friends and asked them to use it the way he had—on everything they could get their hands on. “I realized some of my friends would want something with a little more zing,” he says, “so I created the Fiery mix next.” Stevens then set out to create sodium-free blends— starting with completely new spice combinations. “But they’re not simply a no-salt version of the original,” he says. “They have lemon thyme, basil and other components that give them versatility without sodium.” Wildly Natural One blends are produced according to Stevens’s exacting standards. He has heirloom peppers grown in Colombia from a seed stock he hunted down in the Caribbean, and he sources exotic spices, like Jamaican allspice and Himalayan pink sea salt, directly from farmers—mostly in the U.S. (for garlic, green onions and fresh herbs), but also in Costa Rica, South America, the Caribbean and Africa—while practicing what he calls, “fairer than Fair Trade,” or by paying above market value. The spices and peppers are custom dried and milled either by the farmers themselves or at family-owned Southern Style Spices in Manor. Already gaining momentum after less than a year on the market, Wildly Natural One blends were picked up by Wheatsville Food Co-op in June, and were just approved to be sold at 22 Whole Foods Market stores. Customers seem to be enjoying the new opportunities the blends present, too. Recently, Stevens heard from a woman who had clandestinely taken his spices with her to her favorite restaurant on the east side. She put the spicy Fiery blend on her chocolate ice cream and loved it. “Now I can honestly say it makes everything taste better,” Stevens says with a smile. —Terrence Henry For recipe suggestions, or for more information about Wildly Natural One blends, visit wildlyone.com.
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MONTESINO RANCH & ORGANIC FARM WIMBERLEY, TEXAS
Austin Veggie Chef In-home private chef & catering services We use only the higest quality ingredients and personalize to any special diets. Catering and lessons also available.
“I tell farmers: ‘Think like a chef. Read the food news, look at restaurant menus, follow the industry.’” —Valerie Broussard
Watch a podcast of Valerie Broussard at work at edibleaustin.com 18
Valerie Broussard F o r age r at t h e W A u s t i n b y T e r r e n c e H e n ry • P H O T O G R A P H Y BY Cha s i t y W h i tt i n gto n
arlier this year, Valerie Broussard returned to her office downtown and checked her voice mail. “Hey! Valerie!” a voice exclaimed. “This is Leon Cardwell, with Comanche Oaks Farm. I’ve got six wild suckling pigs I just trapped. Do you want ’em?” Such messages aren’t unusual for Broussard, whose official title is Food and Beverage Buyer and Forager for the new W Austin hotel and its restaurant, Trace. When people grow, harvest or hunt something special, she’s the one to call. The role is something of an experiment for Broussard, and for the hotel—an opportunity to merge upstart, independent farmers with an international corporate brand. While the easier route might be making contracts with a mega-provider like Sysco, Broussard is passionate about putting our unique local flavors on the plates at Trace. “We’re the first W to do this,” she says. “There’s no other model for what we’re doing here in Austin.” Broussard hails from a small Cajun town in Louisiana and, with a green-thumbed grandfather and a mother who baked bread from scratch and made her own yogurt, has always had a connection to local, seasonal foods. But she’s also well versed in the world of fine dining—having worked in high-end restaurants and markets in New York City and as a private chef for families weekending in the Hamptons. She fell in love with Austin and its rapidly evolving food scene after several visits here with family. “I wanted to be able to contribute to [the community],” she says. After gastronomic graduate school in Italy, she made the move to Austin. While other restaurants have employed foragers—nota-
bly Per Se in New York, Wink in Austin and, the founder of the movement, Chez Panisse in Berkeley—their foragers have always been full-time chefs. Broussard is one of the first to do so from the other side of the line. In the months before the restaurant opened, Broussard visited farms with Trace’s chef, Paul Hargrove. “I watched him discover things,” she says. “He wanted to use parts of the plant they didn’t usually sell.” She took copious mental notes as Hargrove wandered the rows—picking out edible flowers and vegetable blossoms. And though her title of “forager” may elicit visions of Broussard hunting for wild mushrooms or picking ramps daily, most of her time is actually spent indoors—fielding calls, sending faxes and processing invoices. Of course, she can often be found at the farmers markets too, where everyone seems to know her. On Saturdays, she visits the two SFC Farmers’ Markets, Sunset Valley and Downtown, and Barton Creek Farmers Market to pick up orders placed earlier in the week. After delivering her haul to the W, she’ll return to the downtown market and take time to talk to the farmers—which is often when she makes interesting finds. She recently learned that Winfield Farm is cultivating prickly pears—so she put in an order, which the restaurant will juice for cocktails and puree for a dessert sorbet. “I’ll see chamomile and I’ll text the pastry chef, Janina O’Leary,” Broussard says. “She’ll end up making chamomile ice cream.” She encountered flowering dill at the market, and soon the restaurant was serving housemade pickles with dill pollen. “It’s those special, unique, one-of-a-kind things that I’m looking for,” she says.
Richardson Farms Grass Fed Beef, Pastured Pork, Poultry, & Eggs
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TAKING BACK CONTROL OF OUR FOOD SUPPLY
oin an exciting gathering of nonprofit leaders, farmers and ranchers, local foods activists and more! • Food Safety and Local Foods • Genetically Modified Foods and Their Impacts • Animal Identification • Raw Milk in Texas • Effective Activism • Fighting Corporatization of Our Food Supply • and more!
WHEN: Mon. – Tues., September 12 – 13 WHERE: Pearl Brewery in San Antonio DETAILS: For full agenda, updates and to register: farmandranchfreedom.org or call 254-697-2661 SPONSORS: Farm & Ranch Freedom Alliance • Edible Austin • Edible DFW • Beanito’s • Boggy Creek Farm • Bradley Farm • Cedar Park & Round Rock Farms 2 Market • Central City Co-Op • Coyote Creek Organic Feed Mill • Farmhouse Delivery • Greenling • Growing Good Things to Eat • H-E-B • Herb Assn. of Texas • Ideal Poultry • Natural Gardener • River Valley Farmers Market • Sustainable Food Center • Texas Organic Farmers & Gardeners Assn.
“We’re growing and harvesting new things because of her.” —Govinda Hough, Winfield Farm Broussard’s efforts to source locally and sustainably go well beyond produce and protein. The hotel uses a local florist, Mandarin Flower Company, and staples for room service include yogurt from White Mountain Foods, oats from Homestead Heritage and teas from Zhi Tea. If a diner wants Worcestershire with their strip steak, it will be from Austin’s handmade-products rock star, Dai Due. Even the physical space reflects the local and artisanal—the charcuterie boards and cornets used for bread and fries were made by local blacksmith Colin McIntyre, and the restaurant’s votives, tables and bars were all crafted locally. Even the minibars in the rooms reflect the local spirit, with mini-bottles of Paula’s Texas Orange liqueur and Tito’s Vodka, and munchies such as Austin Slow Burn Salsa and Cocoa Puro chocolate-covered cocoa beans. There are difficulties with a large hotel sourcing locally and sustainably. Supplies can be inconsistent, and certain needs can’t be met on the local level. “It’s a hotel restaurant,” Broussard explains. “People want bananas with their cereal.” Because of corporate and government rules, she can only buy produce—not protein—from the farmers markets, and all the producers that deliver to her must have liability insurance. “Most farmers have it,” Broussard notes. “But it’s much less common with ranchers.” Finding local ranchers who are fully insured and have refrigerated trucks for delivery has been a challenge, so the restaurant has been using a lot of Niman Ranch meats and gulf fish from San Miguel Seafood (a local company). And not all producers meet the chef ’s needs or the bottom line. “That’s the one part I dread,” Broussard says. “Letting them go. But local alone isn’t good enough. It has to be high quality. Chefs want to serve the best.” Broussard frequently advises farmers to consider how their produce or proteins will be used in restaurants. “I tell farmers: ‘Think like a chef,’” she says. “Read the food news, look at restaurant menus, follow the industry.” She encourages farmers to be specific in their e-mails to chefs—describing carefully the size, color and even flavor of their product. And she tells them not to be afraid to try growing something exotic. “Even if it’s a one-time thing, we’ll try and explore it. Pitch me.” Winfield Farm has grown and harvested clover sprouts and cilantro blossoms for the restaurant. “She’s given me so many ideas,” says farm owner Govinda Hough. “We’re growing and harvesting new things because of her.” The farm now grows edible flowers exclusively for the W Austin. Broussard and Hargrove are busy thinking about the current menu and beyond—putting together a wish list for farmers and reading their newsletters carefully to see what’s going into the ground. Trace is still a very young restaurant, and it’s been a learning process for Broussard—balancing bushels of tomatoes alongside budgets. But she believes her mission will resonate with Austin. “This is the kind of community that supports their own and is fiercely local,” she says. “It’s what people want. It’s what I want.” Trace at the W Austin 200 Lavaca Street traceaustin.com
Lone Star Sake b y Ca r i M a r s ha l l • P hotog r aph y b y J o d y H o rto n
hen Yoed Anis was In an interesting twist, a fourth grader Texas Sake Company sake in Corvallis, Oris made from a type of egon, his teacher regaled the Japanese rice that was first class with stories of her travestablished in Texas more els in Japan. Anis was imthan a century ago. Before mediately entranced. “She he started brewing, Anis instilled a sense of awe about researched the history of the country and its culture,” sake making in the state, he says. “I’ve had a lifelong and couldn’t find evidence yearning to travel there and that it had been done experience it for myself ever before. “But I did learn since.” that a Japanese delegation Fast-forward 14 years to made it to Texas in 1904, 2006, and he did just that— remarked at how wonfalling even more in love derful the rice fields were with Japanese customs, culand committed to sendture and, especially, with the ing aristocratic farmers, country’s national drink— capital and seed to utilize sake. After returning home this great land to help feed to Austin, Anis became fixtheir growing empire,” he ated on quality sake, and he says. “They set up a colony wondered how difficult it near modern-day Clear would be to make his own. Lake. The Japanese rice After some investigating, he grew better and milled was surprised to learn that better, and so was quickly Texas was once the largest adopted.” rice producer in the counThe rice is still in productry—and still produces large tion on the lower Colorado amounts of the grain. “I River around Wharton was curious to see if I could and Bay City, about 150 make my own sake from the miles from Austin. “The local rice,” he says. “It took fact that this rice is Japaa while, but I learned that I nese rice is the only reason could, and I wanted to share we can make sake out of Yoed Anis (left) samples sake with brewer Lino Martinez III. Anis commissioned artist the result with as many peoTexas rice,” he says, noting Eli Halpin to create the artwork of a Texas Whooping Crane to brand his product. ple as possible.” that the type and amount of Meet Anis’s Texas Sake Company—the first alcohol producer to be starch found in Japanese rice makes it the only kind that reacts properly certified organic by the Texas Department of Agriculture, the first sake to the koji spores used for fermentation. “One reason we believe our sake producer to use Texas rice, and the first organic-only sake producer in is so great,” he continues, “is because our rice and sake are made with the North America. Slated to open October 1, 2011, Texas Sake Comsame water, which gives it great balance.” pany will produce two types of sake—junmai tokubetsu (a premium For Anis, the decision to go organic with his product was a noclear sake) and a junmai nigori (a premium cloudy sake)—and will brainer. “We care about Texas and our local environment. Choosing not only handle brewing and distribution of the drink, but offer organic rice versus conventional allows us to make a difference in a tasting room, as well. “We’ll do classes and tastings there, and this regard,” he says. “We also think that since greater care is taken in throughout town, at partnering restaurants and events,” he says. growing organic rice, the rice tastes better and this is reflected in its EDIBLEAUSTIN.COM
Stirring sake during its initial fermentation to allow air into the mash.
WINES · SP IR ITS
F I N E R FO O DS
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Shop at Spec’s for fantastic prices on an astounding selection of tasty treats, like honey-flavored liqueurs. We’ve also got over 10,000 wines and spirits, plus all the savory suds, mixers and gourmet snacks your heart desires. CHEERS TO SAVINGS 10 Austin AreA LocAtions s p e c s o n L i n e.co m Rare Fine Foods • 100’s of Cheeses Organic Wines and Spirits • Full Deli Fair Trade/Organic Coffees • Bulk Teas 22
ability to make better-tasting sake.” Anis is devoted to brewing sake the way it was done 100 years ago. “Today, the large brewers use highly automated processes and will add additives to get larger yields of sake and produce a batch more quickly—to the detriment of the product’s quality,” he says. This young, self-taught sake brewer also seeks to reinterpret the traditional connection between sake and art—putting a unique spin on a centuries-old craft. “You’ll notice that high-end Japanese sake bottles are always designed with great calligraphy,” explains Anis. “Calligraphy is a delicate and refined art that takes a lot of determination and attention to detail. Once you make a stroke, there is no eraser, no take-backs. You have to plan carefully and execute exactly—a natural parallel to sake making. We wanted to share and extend this part of sake culture to Austin, as well.” With this in mind, Anis hired Austin artist Eli Halpin to design the label for his bottles. The commissioned emblem reflects the company’s philosophy: encased in a circular pattern, a majestic Texas whooping crane, rice and a lone star represent the interconnectedness of the state, its agriculture and the environment. With this more Western take on the traditional, calligraphy-graced Japanese label, Anis acknowledges and embraces the cultural differences between Texas and Japan. “We don’t have a calligraphy tradition in the West,” he says. “But we hope that our customers will appreciate that both the art and the sake were made with pride in Austin.” For more information about Texas Sake Company, visit txsake.com.
1204 West Lynn 512.477.5584 jeffreysofaustin.com
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A locally owned wine retail shop offering a unique selection of wines at an affordable price.
Hours Monday - Wednesday 10am - 7pm Thursday - Saturday 10am - 8pm Sunday closed
East End Wines Welcomes Raymond Tatumâ€™s Three Little Pigs food trailer parked right outside the shop! Raymond has been cooking in Austin for over 30 years and his menu highlights all that is good in the world of pork. Contact East End Wines for more information.
1209 Rosewood Avenue, Austin, TX 78702 512-904-9056 | www.eastendwinesatx.com EDIBLEAUSTIN.COM
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205 E. Guenther Street, San Antonio, TX 78204
New American Cuisine
Overlooking the San Antonio River Walk
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Highest Zagat Rating on the River Walk
One-of-a-Kind Private Events Holiday and Corporate Dinners for groups up to 200 Inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Clockwise from top left: the patio at The Monterey, Ocho Lounge, Restaurant Gwendolyn and Mexican street food at La Gloria at Pearl.
scant 80 miles from Austin, San Antonio offers a memorable weekend escape along its charming downtown River Walk. And just beyond the neon and the bustling chain restaurants that dot the famous waterway awaits
an oasis of culinary treasures from area food artisans, farms and ranches. Whether youâ€™re in search of old-world charm or contemporary chic, all can be found within a short jaunt from the San Antonio River. EDIBLEAUSTIN.COM
experience the Texas Hill Country made from scratch since 1989
From seasonal to classics... Delicious holiday memories—whole or by the slice! 13619 Ranch Road 12, Wimberley • 512-847-9462 • wimberleypie.com
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The Leaning Pear Cafe` & Eatery
Texas First Commercial Lavender Farm Offering a full line of handcrafted local lavender products
Serving the Texas Hill Country Fresh & Seasonal Favorites Using Local Ingredients
at our year round location For information about our year round location at Brieger Pottery call 830.833.2294 or check our website.
Wednesday to Monday ~ 11:00 am-3:00 pm Friday and Saturday ~ 11:00 am-8:00 pm
B r i e ge r P o t t e ry Fine Crafts & Local Artists
located on the north side of the blanco square. Monday - Saturday 10am - 5pm / Sunday 11am - 4pm
111 RiveR Road • WimbeRley, Texas • 512-847-PeaR
Terry Thompson Anderson, CCP www.thetexasfoodandwinegourmet.com 830-456-4393 • email@example.com
Mon. - Thur. 10:30 am - 3:30 pm / Fri. - Sat. 10:30 am - 9:00 pm
Soup, Salads, Sandwiches & Local Wine Featuring Blanco’s Real Ale beer on tap including seasonal releases
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On the blanco town square, next to Brieger Pottery 830-833-0202 / www.redbud-cafe.com
Let us give you a behind-the-scenes look into Central Texas food culture.
Exploring the ethos of Japanese cuisine ? cue e for Barbe nding in lin e sta anklin
s every What’
No. 17 Spring 2011
Austin ® Celebrating Central Texas food culture, season by season
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Cent ratin g
Sum No. 18
Memb er of Ed i b l e Commu n i t i es
Ki ng Ch oc ola te nd th • Gr e Bu ow Fo dg et rth an :S ch oo l Lu d Co Mem nq ue nc he ber of Edib r s • Cr le Com af t Ba mun itie s ris ta
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t in ®
Left: bar at Ocho Lounge. Below: pig head torchon at The Monterey.
Tucked away in the King William neighborhood just south of downtown, The Monterey— with its casual, picturesque patio—has the feel of a stylish friend’s backyard picnic, and is a terrific place to wind down and reset after a long week. With a focus on small plates, the menu changes regularly to highlight seasonal ingredients. Dishes are artfully crafted and full of pleasant surprises—like the housemade pig
head torchon. Paired with pickled fava beans and fresh mint, delicate slices of the galatine are the perfect balance of rich and salty against a backdrop of bright summer flavors. Other dishes, like the silky shaved squash with country ham, egg, squash blossoms and Sriracha, also reflect creativity and skill in combining ingredients not commonly served together. For a late-night drink and snack, Ocho Lounge
Tex as G row n
Yarn & Fiber Alpacas Sculpture Garden
Chef Prepared Chef Nathan creates exciting culinary specials using many of the local ingredients found throughout the Hill Country. These include cheeses, olive oil, produce and meats. Our private dining room is also available for any private, festive or intimate gathering. S T
w w w. U p t o w n B l a n c o . c o m U p t ow n B l a n c o R e s t a u r a n t Main Street in Blanco 830 833-1579
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at the Hotel Havana—the latest from hospitality dream team Liz Lambert and Chefs Lou Lambert and Larry McGuire—gently whisks patrons away with the magical allure of Cuba. Cascading grand chandeliers frame the upstairs veranda, which is a perfect setting for sipping a Hemingway daiquiri or mojito while noshing traditional Cuban fare—like the tangy, spicy shrimp and crab campachena seafood cocktail or the creamy quesadilla studded with huitlacoche, a truffle-like delicacy that grows on corn. Satisfy your sweet tooth with churros—lightly fried doughnuts served with lemon curd and mocha café con leche. Saturday morning, take a stroll down the River Walk to the Pearl Farmers Market, housed in the old Pearl Brewery. With almost three dozen vendors, the bustling complex offers plenty to fill your market bag. Nibble on kolaches and other baked delicacies from Biga on the Banks, or breakfast tacos from True Flavors, while sipping coffee from San Antonio Coffee Roasters. Stop by Melissa Guerra Tienda de Cocina to finish your shopping. This foodie haven stocks kitchenware and food products from around the globe, particularly Latin America, and it’s tough to leave empty-handed. Complete your visit to Pearl at La Gloria, and while away the afternoon on the patio enjoying Chef Johnny Hernandez’s Mexican street food. The intoxicating aroma of searing meat fills the restaurant and wafts out to the patio, making it difficult to narrow the choices from the menu of tacos, tostadas, tortas and ceviches. The tostada ensalada de mariscos is topped with a fresh, zesty seafood salad, and the panucho cochinita pibil—a gordita filled with black beans and topped with pork—is earthy, rich and soaked with the juices of the slow-roasted meat. Lüke, the River Walk restaurant from New Orleans Chef John Besh, offers Big Easy flair with a spotlight on local produce, eggs, game and treasures from the Gulf—like the daily happy hour of 50cent gulf oysters on the half shell and the popular spicy bloody mary 28
From left: Pearl, home to Pearl Farmers Market, bloody marys and gulf oysters at Lüke happy hour.
served in a 32-ounce mason jar and garnished with two plump gulf shrimp and pickled okra spear, accompanied by a beer back. For dinner, Chef Michael Sohocki takes diners on a culinary journey back through time with Restaurant Gwendolyn. Chef Sohocki uses only techniques available to chefs in the 1850s and sources ingredients almost exclusively from local farms such as Martinez Farm, Oak Hill Farms and Texas Quail Farms. The late-Victorian fixtures
and furnishings paired with the attentive, knowledgeable staff complete the effect, for a mannered, but not stuffy, experience. Each dish on the prix-fixe dinner menu (your choice of three or five courses) reflects the kitchen’s careful restraint and culinary balancing skills— for example, the perfect marriage of velvety-soft polenta and stewed leeks topped with a tangle of gently fried leeks, served alongside a perfectly roasted quail bathed in a sharp mustard sauce.
Be Spoiled. Have Fun. Eat Well. Relax. Cool Mint Cafe 415 Burleson San Marcos 512.396.2665 www.coolmintcafe.com
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Notables on the river walk
Baked goods from Biga on the Banks and arugula from Springfield Farm at Pearl Farmers Market.
A nightcap at the newly renovated Esquire Tavern is an ideal way to end the day. On the balcony overlooking the River Walk, you can enjoy the revelry of the evening without having to join in the fray. The Esquire’s eclectic decor—Texas dance hall meets taxidermy studio—is a lively place to toast the weekend while sipping a classic cocktail or one of the house specialties. The next time you need a diversion, saunter down to San Antonio to immerse yourself in its innovative local food scene and sate your appetite. You won’t leave hungry.
The Monterey 1127 S. St. Mary’s St. 210-745-2581 themontereysa.com
Esquire Tavern 155 E. Commerce St. 210-222-2521 esquiretavern-sa.com
Ocho Lounge 1015 Navarro St. 210-222-2008 havanasanantonio.com/ocho.shtml
Biga on the Banks 203 S. St. Marys St. 210-225-0722 biga.com
Pearl Farmers Market 200 E. Grayson St. pearlfarmersmarket.com
Blue Star Brewing Company 1414 S. Alamo St., Ste. 105 210-212-5506 bluestarbrewing.com
La Gloria 100 E. Grayson St. 210-267-9040 lagloriaicehouse.com
The Guenther House 205 E Guenther St. 210-227-1061 guentherhouse.com
Lüke 125 E. Houston St. 210-227-5853 lukesanantonio.com
Il Sogno Osteria (at Pearl ) 200 E. Grayson St., Ste. 100 210-223-3900
Restaurant Gwendolyn 152 E. Pecan St., Ste. 100 210-222-1849 restaurantgwendolyn.com
The Sandbar (at Pearl) 200 E. Grayson St., Ste. 117 210-212-2221 sandbarsa.com
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Culinary “Zauber” that goes far beyond Bier und Brats.
If you come to Fredericksburg anticipating authentic German cuisine, we will not disappoint. But further exploration will reveal restaurateurs that offer decidedly more diverse menus. Escolar and lobster. Seared duck breast with ginger/orange glaze. Tender steaks. And very naughty desserts. All complemented by award-winning cabs, zins, chards, rieslings and merlots from our numerous vineyards and wineries. Incidentally, “Zauber” is the German word for “magic”. Guten Appetit. H V i s i t F re d e r i c k s b u r g T X . c o m
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BY J e s s i c a D u p u y • P hotog r aph y b y A i m e e W e n s k e
“All of our composting material comes from within a 30-mile radius to keep our energy local. Instead of trash, it’s a resource… a treasure.” — Phil Gosh the waste left over from daily service is managed responsibly, as well. Placed around the kitchen are large plastic bins where compostable materials are collected. The bins are picked up three times a week by local company Organics by Gosh and hauled off to a special composting facility 10 miles east of town. Composting isn’t a new idea, of course, but few people may know that for more than 20 years, Organics by Gosh has been the leader in commercial composting in Central Texas—offering service to a variety of businesses and industries from hotels, schools and cafeterias to manufacturers and grocery stores. The company hauls just about anything that was once alive, including plants, trees, grass, shrubs and food. They collect it and place it in mound upon mound of composting earth. The finished product results in an entire retail selection of potting soils, fertilizer and decorative “stone,” much of which is sold to landscaping companies as well as area nurseries and large home-improvement stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s. Owner Phil Gosh has been in the composting business most of his life—taking over his father’s Houston-area business in the 1970s and launching Organics by Gosh in Austin in 1995. For Gosh, the business is simply about managing our resources well. “We’ve created a program that allows us to take a product and create a higher value out of it,” says Gosh. “All of our composting material comes from within a 30-mile radius to keep our energy local. Instead of trash, it’s a resource…a treasure.” Just this year, Gosh’s business became the first in Central Texas to receive the necessary permits to compost meats, fats and dairy products, and has since launched a food waste-diversion program to service restaurants and hotels. “This has put us into a much bigger arena,” says Gosh’s organic recycling coordinator Gina Spratt. “Food coming out of our waste stream is a big deal. It’s the next big step, besides single-stream recycling, and we’re excited to put that onto the plants of Austin instead of having these things going into our landfills.” Making a difference in Austin is a primary goal for Gosh. The City of Austin has an official goal of diverting waste from landfills and incinerators by 75 percent by 2020, and 90 percent by 2040.
Organics are believed to make up between 50 to 70 percent of our overall waste stream. Taking everything from backyard land debris to food waste out of the general waste-disposal stream would leave significantly less to pile up in landfills. Back at Hopdoddy, Gosh’s commitment to changing the face of the city’s waste management makes all the difference to owner Chuck Smith. “We try to be responsible about the ways we source our food, which means we also need to be responsible about how we manage what goes out,” he says. “Financially it may not work for everybody, but we’re committed to being stewards of the earth. Hopefully other food-service businesses will follow.” And follow they have. There are a number of other food-service providers working with Gosh, including the Hyatt Hotel on Lady Bird Lake. “Ever since we’ve used this service, we’ve been more aware of our surroundings and how we can be more responsible,” says Executive Chef Javier Ortiz. As the lead on the Hyatt’s Green Team program, Ortiz was eager to implement a plan throughout the hotel’s food program that would include all the hotel kitchens, the cafeteria and the coffee and snack outlets in the lobby. “It really takes a team to make this happen,” he says. “We’re more green, more responsible and we’ve taken our trash dumpster pulls from six times a week to three, which saves us money.” Interestingly, he notes that eight months after Organics by Gosh hauls away their waste, they buy it back for the hotel’s landscaping. The Hyatt’s example of what it means to truly recycle is what Gosh and his employees like to see. “I come from a gardening family, and I just don’t understand why people would bury things rather than recycle them,” says Maureen Fitzgerald, compost consultant for the company. According to Fitzgerald, it takes about three trash cans to make one cubic yard of compostable material. “We can take one thousand cubic yards of material and probably get about two hundred cubic yards of compost to put back into the community.” “We’ve made a business out of composting, but it’s really important to be good stewards of what we’ve been given,” says Gosh. “I want to be a part of leaving things even better than we found [them] for our future children.” By gosh but they are doing that, one compostable cubic yard at a time. EDIBLEAUSTIN.COM
COOKS at home
Sibby Barrett b y Lay n e Ly n c h • photog r aph y b y M a r c B r ow n
ibby Barrett has a plethora of enticing recipes she can re-create in her eclectic home kitchen any old time. As a baker who founded the Dallas Affaires Cake Company 25 years ago, and the current owner and cooking instructor of Onion Creek Kitchens at Juniper Hills Farm, Barrett moves with great ease and confidence from oven to stove and from sweet to savory. But when it comes to the tried-and-true dish that epitomizes Barrett as a home chef, it isn’t the expected exotic soufflé or ingredient-intensive entrée that springs to her mind, but rather a vibrant green sauce she learned to craft in early adolescence. What had begun in the late 1960s as a father’s retreat to an artistic community in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, turned into an unexpected culinary awakening for his curious 11-year-old daughter. While her science-fiction-writer dad scribbled away, young Barrett was deep in her own study—watching the hardworking 16-yearold housekeeper prepare an array of authentic Mexican dishes for the family. “We had a language barrier,” Barrett says. “But I think cooking was our way of talking and communicating.” The teenager schooled her watchful pupil on such things as sweating onions, cooking garlic, making mole and, best of all, realizing the magic of tomatillo sauce. The lessons in San Miguel extended beyond the confines of the tiny kitchen. Walking the beaten cobblestone streets of the city with a frozen fruit paleta in hand, Barrett saw vendors selling whole pigs and cows. “They used every piece of everything,” she says. “So it’s kind of ironic that, 40 years later, that’s how people are cooking.” Buying from those vendors and artisans, Barrett cultivated an appreciation for all things handmade and locally produced that she carries into her work to this day. Two years later, the family left San Miguel, and for many years Barrett found it difficult to recapture the distinct flavors of the city. Tomatillos proved especially difficult to track down and even harder to buy in bulk. But finally, in Barrett’s early twenties, tomatillos made a dramatic and permanent resurgence in her cooking. As a young chef, eager to find any excuse to throw a themed party, Barrett recreated a version of the beloved tomatillo sauce from her youth for a green-themed St. Patrick’s Day party. “People went crazy over it,” she says. “And I remember thinking this is a recipe I need to keep doing.” Now a staple in her cooking, the versatile tomatillo sauce finds its way into enchiladas and stews, and as an accompaniment to fish, chicken and chips. The many influences of San Miguel are deep and long lasting for Barrett. Colorful kitchen tiles and a heavy molcajete on a corner shelf
pay homage to her culinary beginnings, and much of her teaching reflects the lessons she learned while living in the city. And today, when she places handfuls of green tomatillo orbs into her market basket, people often stop and ask, “What are you going to do with those green things?” The answer for Barrett is easy, of course: everything.
Sibby Barrett’s Tomatillo Sauce Makes 4 to 5 cups 1 lb. tomatillos, husked, cored and rinsed 2 T. olive oil 2 green onions, sliced 1 small yellow or white onion, diced 1 large jalapeño, seeded and minced 1–3 large garlic cloves, minced 2 T. flour 1–2 T. Onion Creek Kitchens Chimayo Spice Mix* (or a combination of ground cumin, dried oregano and chili powder) ¼ t. black pepper 1½ c. chicken or vegetable stock 1 roasted green chili, peeled, seeded and chopped (poblano and Anaheim work well) Juice of one lime ½ bunch cilantro, chopped 1–4 T. cream (optional) ½ t. salt, or more to taste
Place the tomatillos in a medium pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain, cool and roughly chop by hand or with a food processor to a rough texture and set aside. Heat the oil in a large skillet or stockpot. Add the green onions, onions, jalapeño and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes over medium-high heat, then add the flour, spice mix and pepper. Sauté for an additional 5 minutes. Add the stock, tomatillos and chilies, and allow the mixture to reduce by about a third—about 10 minutes. Stir in the lime juice, cilantro and cream, if using. Salt to taste. The sauce is great as an enchilada topping or salsa for chips. Chopped avocado is a nice addition, or stir the sauce into rice, beans or corn soup. Ladle the sauce onto nachos, flank steak, grilled fish or chicken, or tuck into tacos or huevos rancheros. Add cooked pork tenderloin, extra stock and some masa harina for a fantastic green chili pork stew. * You can find Onion Creek Kitchens Chimayo Spice Mix for purchase at juniperhillsfarm.com
What I eat and why
Zen and the Art of Food Maintenance
tea in black and white, woodblock print, by Kylie Budge
by Robin Bradford
Everything in our lives is practice.
—Dogen, Instructions for the Zen Cook
ur group of 20 Zen students ranges in age from 25 to 75, and when we’re not chasing enlightenment at Zen camp we love burgers, Diet Coke, wine, M&Ms and seaweed. It’s up to me to feed us for a week, even though with the exception of a long-ago fling with an Italian who taught me to turn Romas into marinara sauce, I have no training as a cook. That’s 18 meals, 12 dozen eggs, 15 pounds of tofu and a six-page shopping list. I am the tenzo, or head cook, for a silent meditation retreat. For seven days we will wake early, sit in meditation, quietly walk among the pine trees at the retreat center near Houston, eat, sit, meet with our teachers, sit, eat, sit, sit, sit, eat and sit, sit, sit. The schedule is full, but there’s not a lot to do. My teacher likes to call a Zen retreat a “manufactured crisis.” In a traditional Zen community, the tenzo is one of the most experienced monks; but in Western Zen, we all pitch in with work assignments to prepare meals, wash dishes, clean toilets and take out the trash. Four years ago, on my first retreat, I was assigned to help with breakfast. What luck! Instead of counting 400 breaths on my medita-
tion cushion to stay awake, I was in the bright kitchen peeling mangoes, slicing apples and boiling water. Last year I rose to Zen middle management, serving as head lunch cook, where I met my Waterloo on the fifth day with a meal that included four jars of thick peanut butter, jalapeños, a wad of sticky rice noodles and a mean-spirited food processor. While the Thai-inspired dish was a hit, my fingers were on fire from the peppers until dinner. I volunteered to be tenzo this year because I thought that mindfully planning a big project might make me better at my job as a nonprofit fundraiser—or even make me a better person. Here’s what I learned:
Instructions for the Zen (or any) Cook 1. Know what you’re getting into. Was it really my brilliant idea to upload the mish-mash of past retreat recipes into a computer program that would make the menu scaling and grocery list easy? Yes, it was. Just days before the retreat, ingredients and quantities accumulate into a disorganized mess. At 6 a.m. I am editing, not meditating. My teacher, who shared with me the highs and lows of her own tenzo experience, e-mails me, “This is your practice now.” So I approach the monotonous, frustrating work with gentleness
and compassion, like I try to do while sitting still on the cushion.
3. Set an intention. A Zen kitchen has rules, and a Zen cook works with intention. Rule number one is put on an apron. A dozen black chef-style aprons hang on a hook in the kitchen. It takes a moment to adjust the neck strap and tie a bow in the back. The rules that follow include gathering by the little altar set up on a kitchen stool in the corner, watching as the cook lights the incense and inhaling the woody scent that reminds us of sitting in the quiet meditation hall. We remember everyone we’re cooking for—they will be hungry. Bow, wash hands, fill the sink with soapy water. The head cook tells us what to do for today’s meal. It is our job to have no opinion. Nod and set to work. After using a knife, immediately wash and put it away. Know where the first aid kit and fire extinguisher are. Cook. 4. Trust others and yourself. This one is particularly challenging for me because I’m a worrier. I obsess about all the bad things that can and might happen, like heatstroke. Though the meditation hall is air-conditioned, the kitchen and dining hall are not. By lunchtime, the thermometer under the shaded patio says it’s a few notches over 100 degrees. I line up tumblers of water in the center of the kitchen counter as a reminder. When I check on the cooks the first day, they look cagey and reckless, like children asked to perform surgery. I worry my math is wrong and we’ll have enough carrot soup to fill a bathtub. On day five, we discover there is no pasta for dinner—we’ve simply forgotten to buy it. So I change the meal to black bean chili. Now the cooks work quietly and easily, trusting one another and themselves. It’s a beautiful, silent dance involving food and heat and knives. 5. Be grateful. We silently file into the dining hall and say a prayer which ends, “Let us be like the lotus at home in the muddy water, living life as it is.” Then the cooks, still in their black aprons, lift the lids and offer their miracles: perfectly hard-cooked eggs with yolks yellow as the feverish sun; chilled soup that cools us from the inside out; hearty black beans and bread to satisfy. We eat on the patio, unrushed. I take a bite and put down my spoon, taste, chew, taste. I watch the sparrows, the rustling pine needles, the blank sky. In Zen practice, there’s nothing special about cooking, or eating, or the sky. The heat, the worry, the perfect soup—it’s all just life unfolding as it is. Cooking Zen, what happens in the kitchen doesn’t stay in the kitchen. When the cooks work with patience and steadiness, even hours later in the meditation hall as joints ache and exhaustion moves in, everyone sits with strength and courage. Zen helps one develop the skills to trust that we’re connected to one another, to accept that most things are out of our control and to respond to life’s current crises (manufactured or not) with equanimity and resilience. Sometimes cooking isn’t just about eating; it’s about how to live your life.
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2. Work with what you’ve got. Six of us arrive a day early to shop at the H-E-B in Tomball, Texas. I’ve already bought eggs from a local farm and bulk tofu and Asian ingredients that I wasn’t sure we could find here. We’ve picked up some homegrown tomatoes and peaches at a roadside stand, but everything else, we’re getting now. I invite the group to strive for locally grown, organic and reasonably priced. “What does a mango look like?” asks Aman, a software engineer and bachelor. Aman is the head breakfast cook. In a week, he will know how to make fruit salad, prepare a perfect hard-cooked egg and even bake oatmeal. Right now, he has a beginner’s mind—a Zen way of saying he’s clueless.
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Home sweet farm b y E l i z a b e th W i n s l ow • photog r aph y b y A n d y Sam s
n 1787, Thomas Jefferson wrote to George Washington: “Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals and happiness.” Brad Stufflebeam is a man who knows his history and shares Jefferson’s values. His 22-acre Home Sweet Farm in Washington County, near Brenham, is not only a model of sustainability, but proof of the rewards available to those who are willing to do things the old-fashioned way while chasing the “wisest pursuit.” The core of Home Sweet Farm is a family who values togetherness, community and self-sufficiency. “We love working together,” Stufflebeam says of the family that includes his wife, Jenny, and daughters, Carina (age 14) and Brooke (age 12). Jenny and Brad met in high school and married young, at 21 and 22. “We always shared the same values,” he says. “Both of us wanted to leave suburbia.” Stufflebeam became interested in horticulture, and the young couple opened a landscape business in McKinney. Soon, the two-lane highway on which the property sat had expanded to six lanes, and the landscape business was suddenly across the highway from a Home Depot. When Stufflebeam had the opportunity to sell the business and the property, he seized it—allowing the couple to move farther out of town. “I’ve been chased by the growth of suburbia since I was a child in Richardson, Texas!” he says with a rueful laugh. “When we closed on this property in 2004, a Home Depot, a Lowe’s and a Starbucks opened in Brenham.” The encroachment of urbanization on rich farmland is a big motivating factor for Stufflebeam. “We need more growers out here. We began farming to build the life we wanted as a family, but part of my original dream was to be a small-farm resource—a sort of laboratory for showing
Brooke Stufflebeam riding farm horse Carla Sue.
“Here we are in the birthplace of Texas—every acre in Washington County was under cultivation at one point. It was feeding Texas.” —Brad Stufflebeam people what can work, what can be achieved. We want our farm to be proof that it can be done, that a family can sustain itself with a comfortable living on a small piece of land. I feel like it’s our duty to continue that tradition, to pass the torch to the next generation of people with a dream.” To share his vision and further the grassroots education of the next generation of farmers, Stufflebeam organized an annual Market Growers Symposium—a two-day event where participants attend technical discussions led by experienced growers and horticultural experts, network with other farmers, buyers and market managers and attend a technical farm tour at Home Sweet Farm. Stufflebeam is also involved with the Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (TOFGA), having served as regional director in 2005, then as president from 2006 to 2008. He also has plans to begin posting online farming tutorials on the Home Sweet Farm website. The tutorials will offer online workshops for homesteaders and market growers of any size, and join the Home Sweet Farm Radio podcasts, which spotlight topics such as “Grass Farming and Holistic Livestock Management,” “Amending the New Farm” and “The War on Bugs.” Stufflebeam’s success lies in the very things that make his farm sustainable: smart planting and grazing, structures that do part of the work and community effort. Carina and Brooke oversee all the farm’s animals—including four Haflinger draft horses that plow the fields; three dairy cows that supply the family with milk and will, one day soon, support the farm’s commercial cheesemaking operation; about 100 lay-
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ing hens; and various dogs, rabbits and cats. Farm buildings include a barn that serves as crop storage and provides space for regular market days, and will soon house a commercial kitchen to create value-added products that will supplement the bottom line. A well house recently built by a Home Sweet Farm community-supported agriculture (CSA) program member is a personal favorite. “This is the well house of my dreams,” Stufflebeam says, smiling. “The guys who designed it are brilliant. The water is stored up top, so that it can be pumped to the house or the fields with gravity, and it creates a cool cellar underneath for storing root vegetables and storage crops. And all it cost me was materials and some cucumbers.” The community effort is paramount to Stufflebeam. “We came up with a volunteer work-share program,” he says. “We ask people to commit for a month, and now we have fifteen to eighteen people every week who have gotten very close to us. The work—weeding, harvesting, planting—is rewarding to them, but it encourages us, as well.” And instead of relying on borrowed money, Stufflebeam uses a model of community investment. “I’ve never been to the bank,” he says. “This business was funded exclusively by customers.” Stufflebeam looks out over the rolling green acres and considers the fertile countryside of Central Texas. “Here we are in the birthplace of Texas—every acre in Washington County was under cultivation at one point,” he says. “It was feeding Texas.” If it’s up to him, it will again soon.
New Wave Hunter-Gatherer b y J e r e m y Wa lth e r • photog r aph y b y J o d y H o rto n
the deer; its big brown eyes just looked so peaceful and full of life. I did not talk to my uncle about it at the time. I was trying to be a big boy. I just didn’t know how to process the emotional complexities of killing. It was just too heavy.” During his high school years, hunting became more of a social exercise for Barker— something to do because it was cool. But in college, his view on hunting shifted dramatically. He started thinking about food and where it came from. Interested in the realities of the commercial meat, dairy and fishing industries, Barker did some casual investigating and became repulsed—enough to drastically change his lifestyle. “I began following a strict vegan diet supported by the probablyunhealthy combination of beer, tacos and cereal,” he says with a laugh.
o some people, hunting is a sport, in which winners and losers were determined by the evolutionary development of a trigger finger. It’s a cultural tradition, as deeply ingrained as church on Sundays and stadium lights on Friday nights. And that’s how it started for Chris Barker, who’s been killing animals for food his entire life. “I remember very clearly the first animal I killed,” he recalls. “This occasion was also my first time to shoot a real rifle, a .270, and I didn’t have the slightest inkling of what I was in for. I’m surprised it didn’t rip my arm out of [its] socket.” Barker was a nineyear-old growing up in Kerrville at the time, and in a life stage still represented by fading innocence and a growing desire to be mistaken for a much older kid. “I felt really bad for EDIBLEAUSTIN.COM
And then a funny thing happened. “Although I felt that the commercialized supply of meat was carried out in a repulsive manner, the cornerstone of my qualms rested in a belief that animals are sentient, intelligent beings. As these thoughts grew and developed, a somewhat surprising, and potentially contradictory, outcome emerged: I felt no moral conflict with hunting and fishing.” Barker’s thinking further developed after he graduated from college. “I moved to Durango, Colorado, where I met some folks attempting to turn a ranch into a center for sustainability,” he explains. “We tried to emulate a balance between food production and land stewardship. These types of farms gave me great encouragement—a hope that small, local, ethically run farms could turn a profit and raise food for their local communities. And it also helped me realize how hunting can be an important part of that.” Now married to his wife, Celeste, and back in Kerrville with two young children of his own, Barker hunts and fishes regularly. “My five-year-old daughter is very quick to let me know if I miss a spot when we clean and process a deer that I’ve shot,” he says. “She and her brother know that if we eat pastrami, it came from a cow just like their favorite calf, White Spit Spot. Connection with our local food is empowering, and, for me, it offers an important connection with life, death and our inevitable involvement.” Barker’s self-developed notions might be original and personal, but
they’re certainly not uncommon. The desire to make a meaningful connection with food is driving a new trend in Central Texas—one that extends beyond the waving rows of vegetables and fruit trees at local farms and into our rolling, wooded hills and bountiful streams, rivers and lakes. Mindfully and sustainably harvesting and processing one’s own wild game has quickly found its way into the burgeoning food culture, and the growing movement is attracting followers from a rainbow of demographics—men, women, young, old, rural and urban—as more and more seek a DIY approach to our area’s abundance of white-tailed deer, doves, catfish, squirrels, rabbits, ducks, geese and wild turkeys, as well as naturalized exotics like axis deer and feral hogs. Marshall Wright was raised in the South, and his father-in-law used to hunt, but until recently, that was the extent of his history with hunting. Yet Wright is a strong supporter of the local food movement and area farmers, and regularly buys produce at the SFC Farmers’ Market–Downtown—not only to boost the local economy, but also to improve the distal relationship our culture has with food. A devout meat lover, Wright decided that learning to sustainably hunt and process meat and fish seemed like a natural next step to being a locavore. “I attended a Texas Parks and Wildlife [TPWD] class on hunter education, and a second on hunting field skills,” says Wright. “These workshops helped me understand the safety concerns with hunting,
“We want to share hunting as it was before the age of commercial processing
—take it back to its original source and celebrate local, healthy, fresh meat the way Texan culture has done for centuries.” —Jesse Griffiths
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Jesse Griffiths (left) instructing Morgan Angelone at his fly fishing school at Madroño Ranch.
but also taught me that possessing a firearm and purchasing a hunting license doesn’t make you a hunter. It can be more cerebral than that… and should be more cerebral than that.” After the workshops, Wright was given the opportunity to go duck hunting with an experienced hunter—a timely chance to apply new insight and knowledge to practice. “Hunting certainly brought me closer to thinking about how bad I want or need food,” explains Wright. “I have a clear idea of why I’m hunting and what I want to get out of it, and it’s not to put a deer head or duck on my wall. For me, hunting is all about honoring the animal and the sustenance it will provide my family. I don’t feel any different about that than I do about humanely harvesting a domestically raised animal.” Adding healthy, local meat to one’s lifestyle might be akin to building a vegetable garden in the backyard, but the process is much more complicated. No deadly weapons are required to harvest an heirloom tomato, and the licensing requirements to grow spinach are pretty lax. But, as in Wright’s experience, the best way to face the challenges of hunting and fishing is with help. “People can go to the farmers market and, with reasonable effort, act on the inspiration to grow some herbs or tomatoes at home,” says Dai Due Supper Club and Butcher Shop owner, Chef Jesse Griffiths. “Then they can get chickens and have their own source for eggs. But when it comes to fresh, healthy meat, most can’t have a cow in the backyard. But they can go out and shoot one or two feral hogs or white-tailed deer and have a year’s supply of delicious, free-range meat in their freezer. We live in a great state to be able to do just that.” Griffiths is as passionate about hunting and fishing as he is hard to label, and his company follows a model that is difficult to describe in a brief paragraph. His extremely popular roving Supper Club prepares multicourse feasts in settings that provide as much seasoning and flavor to the meals as the local ingredients used to prepare them. But the main focus of Dai Due is its Butcher Shop. Open to the public each week at the SFC Farmers’ Market–Downtown, it offers wild-game 44
“For me, hunting is all about honoring the animal and the sustenance it will provide my family. I don’t feel any different about that than I do about humanely harvesting a domestically raised animal.” —Marshall Wright products like venison breakfast sausage, burgers, wild-boar bangers and chorizo. Dai Due also offers classes on sustainable food preparation, most notably the Deer School and Hog School—intensive three-day workshops held at Madroño Ranch in Medina, about 15 minutes west of Kerrville. “The three we did last year were so successful, we’re doing six this year— including one open only to women,” explains Griffiths. “We’re also offering two scholarships for each of the eight-student workshops, to help make this accessible to everyone. We cover everything: shooting, field dressing, eviscerating, butchering, cooking and eating.” Workshops like these attempt to make local, healthy meat available to people from all backgrounds. Non-hunters who want to go deeper into their relationship with food are taught how to access sustainable meat, and lifelong hunters are shown efficient ways of butchering and processing by people who hold a deep respect for the animal as a food source, and not as just a trophy.
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Taste the Difference.
Tamara Mayfield (left) and Margaret Salzer pluck, prepare and grill doves during a Dai Due hunting trip.
“My experiences through Jesse’s workshops have pretty much been life changing,” says past attendee Brad Otts. “When I was hunting with Jesse this past winter, it was my first time to ever shoot a deer. It was an intense spiritual and emotional experience. I was able to have a time of prayer, and, seeing the animal up close, I was filled more with a sense of responsibility versus pride. Jesse’s class helped me to learn this, and for that I am forever grateful.” It’s these kinds of revelations that reward Griffiths more than anything else he has experienced in his career. They also validate a broader vision he has for the culture of hunting in Texas. “We want to share hunting as it was before the age of commercial processing—take it back to its original source and celebrate local, healthy, fresh meat the way Texan culture has done for centuries,” he says. The sustainable harvest of animals contributes more than just meat to local food economies, too. Hunting and fishing license fees go directly to wildlife conservation, and science-based regulations and limits on quantity and quality of harvested animals promote healthy animal populations. The ripple effect that hunters and fishers have on local economies is also significant. “The total Texas economic impact from hunting and fishing is almost $10 billion per year,” says Clayton Wolf, director of the wildlife division for the TPWD. “Nearly $15 billion, if you include wildlife watching.” Hunting can also have a direct environmental benefit. According to Mark E. Mapston, a wildlife biologist with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, feral hogs are the most prolific large wild mammals on the continent. Of the four to five million feral hogs in the U.S., about half are found in Texas, populating 80 percent of Texas counties. As a free-ranging exotic animal, feral hogs in Texas may be hunted by any legal means, any time of the year. “Feral hogs are the linchpin of the environmental arguments for hunting,” says Griffiths. “The State of Texas officially regards them as a destructive pest—as farmers, ranchers and native wildlife managers can testify. Eliminating hogs through hunting helps prevent erosion dam46
age in riparian areas, native plant disruption, the spread of diseases like swine brucellosis and competition with native wildlife for food sources. Feral hogs also happen to be a delicious food source.” Like Griffiths, modern hunters are not easily categorized. But more and more these days, they’re sharing a renewed veneration and responsibility for the animals they hunt and harvest. “I sat in a blind with a longtime deer hunter once who teared up after bagging a doe,” says Cecilia Nasti, executive producer of TPWD’s Passport to Texas radio program. “I shared this experience with a game warden, who I expected to be completely detached from the emotional side of killing animals. His response was grave and genuine: ‘The moment you lose compassion for the animal, you need to stop hunting.’ It was eye-opening.” “That’s just part of it,” agrees Chris Barker. “Fresh, delicious meat from a beautiful animal should come with a price. If a wild deer or duck or hog sacrifices its life for our sustenance, the least we owe them is a tear. It deserves a hunter’s respect; it deserves to be hunted with reverence.”
RESOURCES Austin Woods and Waters Club: austinwoodsandwaters.com Dai Due: daidueaustin.net Hank Shaw, author of Hunt, Gather, Cook: Finding the Forgotten Feast honest-food.net Texas Fishing Forum: texasfishingforum.com Texas Hunting Forum: texashuntingforum.com Texas Parks and Wildlife Hunter Education: tpwd.state.tx.us/learning/hunter_education
WILD GAME MEALS p h o t o g r ap h y b y K n o x y
LAVENDER-CRUSTED ANTELOPE RACK WITH FENNEL AND GOAT CHEESE GRATIN Courtesy of Hudson’s on the Bend Chef Kelly Casey Serves 4 For the marinade: 2 c. vegetable oil, divided 1 shallot, chopped 4 garlic cloves, chopped 4 lavender sprigs, chopped
4 rosemary sprigs, chopped 1 2½–3 lb. antelope rack Salt and pepper to taste ¼ c. Dijon mustard 1 lavender crust (recipe at right)
Combine 1 cup of the vegetable oil with the shallot, garlic, lavender and rosemary, then apply to the antelope rack. Marinate, refrigerated, for 24 hours. Wipe the excess marinade off the meat with a paper towel. Season the meat with salt and pepper, rub with the mustard and then press on the lavender crust. Heat the remaining oil in a large, ovenproof sauté pan. Brown the meat on both sides, then place the pan in a 350° oven for approximately 25 minutes. Allow the meat to rest for 5 minutes before cutting into chops.
For the lavender crust: 2 c. panko bread crumbs 2 sprigs lavender, leaves only
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves only 1 T. sea salt 1 t. black pepper
Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse to a fine crumb. For the fennel and goat cheese gratin: ½ onion, julienned Salt and pepper to taste 1 large bulb of fennel, julienned Pinch of nutmeg 1 T. butter 2 oz. local goat cheese, 1 T. flour ¼ c. bread crumbs ½ c. heavy cream ¼ c. grated Parmesan cheese
Cook the onion and fennel in a sauté pan with the butter over low heat to soften, but not brown. Stir in the flour. Add the cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Bring to a boil and add the goat cheese. Turn off the heat. Pour the mixture into a casserole pan and top with the bread crumbs and Parmesan. Bake at 375° for 10 minutes. EDIBLEAUSTIN.COM
GRILLED AXIS VENISON LEG FILLET OVER WILD BOAR SWEET-POTATO HASH WITH CHIPOTLE-SHINER BLANC Courtesy of Hudson’s on the Bend Chef Kelly Casey Serves 4 For the hash: 1 bone-in leg of boar 2 T. chili powder 2 T. onion powder ½ c. brown sugar 2 T. sea salt, plus more to taste 2 T. black pepper, plus more to taste
1 onion, roughly chopped 2 carrots, roughly chopped 1 head garlic, cut in half 2 c. chicken stock 1 T. butter 2 sweet potatoes, grated
Season the boar leg with the chili powder, onion powder, brown sugar and a tablespoon each of the salt and pepper, and place in a roasting pan with the onion, carrots, garlic and stock. Cover and roast the leg for 6 to 8 hours at 300°, or until the meat is falling apart. Allow the meat to cool, then shred it with two forks. Set aside. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the butter, 1 cup of the prepared boar meat and the sweet potatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Press the mixture flat into the pan and allow it to brown on the bottom. Flip with a spatula, and brown the other side. For the venison: 2 lb. Axis venison leg fillet, cut into steaks Sea salt and black pepper to taste Pecan wood, for grilling
Season the steaks with salt and pepper, and grill over pecan wood until cooked to your desired doneness. Allow the meat to rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes. Slice the venison against the grain, to ensure tender meat.
For the sauce: 1 12 oz. Shiner Bock beer 1 shallot, minced 2 garlic cloves, minced 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, diced
¼ c. heavy cream ¼ c. fresh lime juice (from about 2-3 limes) 1 c. butter, cut in 1-in. cubes, room temperature Salt and pepper to taste
In a four-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, simmer the beer until it’s reduced to ¼ cup. Add the shallot, garlic, chipotles and cream and simmer until the mixture reduces by half. Add the lime juice, and return the liquid to a simmer. Carefully pour the mixture into a blender and puree while adding the butter cubes, one at a time. Season with salt and pepper. To serve, place the sweet potato hash on a serving plate. Arrange the sliced meat on top, and drizzle with the sauce.
SOUTHERN-FRIED QUAIL WITH BLACK-EYED PEAS AND RED-EYE GRAVY Courtesy of Hudson’s on the Bend Chef Kelly Casey Serves 4 For the quail: 4 semi-boneless local quail 2 c. all-purpose flour 2 T. sea salt 2 T. black pepper
1 T. garlic powder 1 t. cayenne pepper 2 fresh eggs 2 c. buttermilk 1 qt. vegetable oil
Cut each quail in half. Mix together the flour and seasonings. Whisk together the eggs and buttermilk. Dredge the quail in the flour, then dip into the egg mixture. Finally, dredge the quail in the flour again. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Fry the quail until golden brown. For the black-eyed peas: 2 c. fresh black-eyed peas 4 strips bacon, diced ½ onion, diced 2 stalks celery, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced 2 c. poultry stock ½ t. dried thyme Pinch cayenne Salt and pepper
Simmer the black-eyed peas in water (to cover) for 45 minutes. In another pan, crisp the bacon. Add the vegetables and sauté until nearly done. Drain the peas and add them to the vegetables. Add the stock and seasonings. Simmer for 15 minutes. To serve, spoon black-eyed peas onto a plate. Place the fried quail on top and pour gravy over quail. 48
For the gravy: 4 T. duck fat 4 T. all-purpose flour
1 c. brewed coffee 2 c. milk Salt and pepper to taste
Melt the duck fat in a small saucepan over low heat, stir in the flour, and continue cooking to make a light roux. Stir in the coffee and milk. Simmer on low for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
WHOLE WHEAT LINGUINI WITH OYSTERS, MUSHROOMS, BEANS AND BREAD CRUMBS Courtesy of Dai Due Camp Chef Morgan Angelone Serves 4 For the pasta*: 4½ c. whole wheat flour (or 2¼ c. each, whole wheat and all-purpose)
1 egg Pinch of salt 1 c. water
For the oyster butter: 2 cloves garlic, minced ½ small onion, finely diced 6 T. unsalted butter Salt and pepper, to taste
2 fresh-shucked oysters and their liquor 1 T. lemon juice, plus more to taste (or champagne vinegar) 1 oz. water
For the remainder: 6 oz. fatty bacon, cut into strips 2 slices day-old bread, pulsed in a food processor until crumbly 8 oz. green beans or Chinese long beans, cut into 1-in. pieces 2 c. heavy cream
6 oz. mushrooms, such as oyster mushrooms, wiped clean, sliced 4 fresh-shucked oysters, sliced in half if large 4 T. chopped parsley 2 T. chopped fresh tarragon Black pepper, optional
Make the pasta. In a mixer, combine all the pasta ingredients and mix with the paddle attachment until mostly combined. You may need more liquid or flour if the dough feels too wet or dry. Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead 5 to 10 minutes, until smooth. Set aside to rest under a dishtowel for 30 minutes. Make the oyster butter. Cook the garlic and onion in the butter on medium heat for 2 minutes with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Add the oysters and gently sauté for 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Transfer everything to a blender or food processor and purée until smooth, adding more oyster liquor if you want to intensify the flavor. Set aside. Cook the bacon on low heat, stirring occasionally, to render the fat and crisp the bacon. Strain and reserve the fat. In a bowl, mix most of the bacon fat with the crumbs, using your fingers. Transfer to a sheet pan and toast in a 300° oven until golden and set aside. Blanch the beans in boiling, salted water until just cooked, about 5 minutes. Cool in ice water, strain and set aside. Roll and cut the fresh pasta. Divide the dough into 2 pieces (I like to press each piece with a rolling pin first to get it flattened a bit before I begin using the pasta machine). Run each piece through the machine to make sheets. Dial the size down after each pass to roll it incrementally thinner (to approximately 1mm in thickness). Cut the sheets into 8-inch lengths. Using a linguini-cutting attachment, run the sheets through to cut into strands. Place on a dishtowel. Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil. *If using dried pasta, cook 1 pound of whole wheat linguini in salted water to just before al dente. Drain and reserve ½ cup of the cooking water. Make the sauce. Heat the cream in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat to reduce it by half. Put the remaining bacon fat in a skillet and sauté the mushrooms on medium-high heat until they sweat. Add the blanched beans, oysters and the oyster butter. Add the reduced cream and reduce the heat to a very low simmer. Drop the fresh pasta into the boiling water a little at a time, keeping the water at a boil. Stir and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking water. Strain and stir the pasta into the simmering sauce. Chop and add the bacon, parsley and tarragon and simmer together for about 1 minute. The pasta should be coated in the thickened sauce. If it’s runny, continue to simmer. If it’s too thick, add some pasta water to thin it out. Top each portion with the bacon-fat bread crumbs and cracked black pepper.
ROASTED WHOLE RED SNAPPER WITH CHORIZO BROTH, ESCAROLE AND POTATO Courtesy of Dai Due Camp Chef Morgan Angelone Serves 4 2 medium potatoes cut into ½-in. slices 10 oz. chorizo 1 12-oz. beer (I like Real Ale Fireman’s #4) 1 c. canned tomatoes, or 6–8 Larry’s Smoke-Dried Tomatoes from Boggy Creek Farm 4 T. unsalted butter
1 whole eviscerated, rinsed snapper, 1½–2 lbs., scales removed Sea salt Extra-virgin olive oil Lard or vegetable oil 1 head escarole, tough outer leaves removed, washed and chopped into large pieces
Cook the potatoes in boiling, salted water until almost tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. Drain the potatoes and set aside to cool. In a pan, sauté the chorizo until fully cooked, using a wooden spoon to break it up. Add the beer and tomatoes and simmer about 8 to 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the butter and check seasoning. With a very sharp knife, score the snapper’s skin on both sides diagonally. Season the fish with the sea salt inside and out, and rub with the extra-virgin olive oil. Tie the fish closed with kitchen twine in sections around the belly. Place the snapper on a roasting rack in the center of a 450° oven. Roast for about 15 to 20 minutes, or longer for a thicker fish. Turn the rack after 10 minutes to ensure even cooking. Meanwhile, fry the cooled potatoes in a little bit of lard (or vegetable oil) on both sides, until crispy. Place the crisp potatoes on a serving platter. Top with the escarole and drizzle with most of the chorizo broth. Place the roasted fish on top and spoon the remaining chorizo broth over the top. EDIBLEAUSTIN.COM
VENISON TARTARE Courtesy of Dai Due Chef Jesse Griffiths Serves 4 This is perhaps the best way to enjoy fresh-killed deer or antelope—raw. 1 lb. venison tenderloin, trimmed of any sinew Salt and pepper, to taste 6 dashes Worcestershire sauce 6 dashes Tabasco sauce 1 T. coarse-ground mustard
Juice and zest of one lemon ¼ c. chopped parsley or arugula 2 T. finely chopped red onion or shallot 2 farm-egg yolks Coarse sea salt, to garnish
With a heavy, very sharp knife, dice the meat to a fine consistency, but not a paste. Season with the remaining ingredients, adjusting to taste. Mold the tartare into a bowl or ramekin and invert onto a plate. Sprinkle with the coarse salt. Serve with grilled bread and a salad or French fries. Note: The Travis County Health Department would like for you to know that consuming raw or undercooked meat may increase your risk of foodborne illnesses.
RABBIT SCHNITZEL Courtesy of Dai Due Chef Jesse Griffiths Serves 4 Season the rabbit with salt, then dredge in the flour. Dip the dredged pieces in the egg mixture, then coat completely in the bread crumbs. Refrigerate for a couple of hours.
4–6 wild rabbit loins, pounded thin Salt, to taste ¼ c. flour 1 egg, beaten with 1 T. water ½ c. finely ground bread crumbs ½ c. lard or clarified butter Lemon wedges, to garnish
Heat the lard over high heat until almost smoking. Pan fry the loins on each side until golden. Serve with lemon wedges.
FLOUNDER WITH CHARD AND RAISINS Courtesy of Dai Due Chef Jesse Griffiths Serves 4 4 oz. high-quality butter 4 flounder fillets Salt and pepper, to taste ¼ c. flour Juice of 1 lemon 1 bunch parsley, chopped
1 T. olive oil 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin 1 large bunch of chard, washed well and chopped ½ c. raisins
In a pan large enough to hold all the fillets in a single layer, melt the butter over high heat. Season the flounder with salt and pepper and dredge in the flour. When the butter is very hot, add the flounder and cook until browned on one side. Carefully flip the flounder and brown well on the other side. Cook until the fish flakes easily. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the lemon juice and parsley to the butter in the pan and set aside. In another large pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté until it just starts to brown. Add the chard and raisins and cook, stirring, until the chard is wilted and tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the chard and raisins among four plates. Place a fillet on each plate, and pour some of the butter and lemon sauce over each. Serve immediately.
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armers markets are a delightful way to shop, but some people find it difficult to fit visiting the market each week into their busy schedules. Joining a farm’s community-supported agriculture (CSA) program or a local produce delivery service is a smart alternative for buying local, fresh produce. CSA program members commit to a farm for an entire season and, in return, receive a weekly or biweekly share of fruits and vegetables. Members receive copious amounts of delicious produce, and the farm has a built-in customer base. Each farm distributes a sampling of its seasonal harvest in each basket, though members should be forewarned that while many farms make accommodations for food allergies, the farms aren’t able to customize bundles according to food preferences. Households that favor only green beans and broccoli may not be pleased with a box full of kale, chard and beets. On the other hand, some enjoy the challenge of making the best of their farm bounty, which often includes fruit and vegetable varieties unavailable in grocery stores. As a courtesy, farms often provide helpful tips, suggestions and recipes to complement their weekly shares, and to help encourage members to think outside their CSA boxes.
Local produce delivery services such as The Bountiful Sprout, Farmhouse Delivery and Greenling aggregate their weekly inventory from several area farms and allow customers to add meat, dairy and pantry items to the order. While not traditional CSA programs, these services provide additional flexibility to the customer while expanding the reach of the farms. Consider a few key questions as you evaluate farm programs. First, can your household eat a full share, typically enough to feed four people, in a week? If not, find a friend to split a share with, or find a farm service that offers half or biweekly shares for smaller households. Second, can you pick up your share, or do you need delivery? Most farms offer various pick-up locations to their members, and a few deliver to homes or offices for a small surcharge. And finally, before making a commitment, visit the farms you’re interested in and ask questions about their farming methods and what they’re planning to grow that season. If you do your homework and pick a farm or service that’s a good match for your needs, you’ll receive fresh, healthful foods and invest in the future of local farming—money well spent!
Have a suggestion for picking a CSA program? Share them with us at email@example.com. Learn more about the farms offering CSA memberships in the Edible Resources section at edibleaustin.com.
Can you eat a full share in a week?
Yes Bikkurim Farms (Blue) The Bountiful Sprout (Wimberley) EIEIO’s Organic Farm (Wimberley) Farmhouse Delivery Green Gate Farms Greenling Hairston Creek Farm (Burnet) Home Sweet Farm (Brenham) Johnson’s Backyard Garden Millberg Farm (San Marcos/Kyle)
Millican Farms (Bryan) Natural Springs Garden (Lakeway) Ottmers Family CSA Springdale Farm Tecolote Farm (Manor) Urban Roots Walnut Creek Organic Farms (Rockne)
The Bountiful Sprout Farmhouse Delivery Green Gate Farms Greenling Hairston Creek Farm Johnson’s Backyard Garden Natural Springs Garden
Pick up or delivery?
Weekly Half or Biweekly
Pick Up Bikkurim Farms The Bountiful Sprout EIEIO’s Organic Farm Farmhouse Delivery Green Gate Farms Hairston Creek Farm Home Sweet Farm Johnson’s Backyard Garden Millberg Farm Millican Farms Natural Springs Garden Ottmers Family CSA Springdale Farm Tecolote Farm Urban Roots Walnut Creek Organic Farms
Pick Up Delivery The Bountiful Sprout EIEIO’s Organic Farm Farmhouse Delivery Greenling Johnson’s Backyard Garden Natural Springs Garden
Delivery The Bountiful Sprout EIEIO’s Organic Farm Farmhouse Delivery Johnson’s Backyard Garden Natural Springs Garden
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Pickling Summer Vegetables
all is the perfect time to think about pickling in Texas. Summer (and even some spring) vegetables—like cucumbers, summer squash, onions, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers—are still in season, and as the breezes of fall finally make their way through Austin, we also welcome cooler-weather vegetables—like cauliflower, broccoli, hardy greens and cabbage. Such bounty calls for ways to preserve and use those vegetables for just a little while longer. In Thai cooking, we love to pickle—everything from watercress to lime to duck eggs. Most Thai pickles are used to add depth and complement the foods they are served with or used in. And because Thai food is about the harmony of five flavors—salty, sweet, sour, spicy and bitter—pickles provide a necessary flavor profile and counterbalance. For example, a quick-pickled cucumber relish or cucumber salad usually accompanies a dish that has coconut milk and dried spices like curry powder or turmeric. The sweet-and-sour taste of the relish helps cut the heady spices and rich coconut milk and makes the dish more balanced to the palate. This is the reason that Thai pickles are usually not eaten alone; they almost always work in concert with other foods. Many Thai pickles are quick and easy to make and are meant to be eaten within a few days. The aforementioned cucumber relish is the most popular quick Thai pickle. It’s usually served with yellow curry or satay, but the relish is so versatile that it can be served as a side dish for any spicy food. Another quick pickle is the spicy mixed vegetable, which goes great with sandwiches, spicy curries and grilled meat or fish. Best of all, many different types of vegetables
can be used to make it, so it’s perfect for the change of season. And finally, the Texas fall brings hearty greens. Pickling them allows their intense flavors to grace stir-fries, soups and side dishes well into the cooler months. The recipe below is designed for Chinese mustard greens, but bok choy, Chinese broccoli, regular mustard greens, napa cabbage, regular cabbage, kale or collard greens can also be used. Using the water reserved from rinsing rice to preserve the greens helps promote fermentation, and the mixture of white sugar and palm sugar gives the pickled greens a complex sweetness.
Thai Cucumber Relish 2 c. quartered and thinly sliced pickling cucumber 1 serrano or jalapeño pepper, sliced into very thin rounds 1 shallot, thinly sliced 1 t. minced ginger ½ c. cilantro leaves
Dressing: 3 T. white vinegar 3 T. white sugar 4 T. water Pinch of salt
Combine the dressing ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and stir until the sugar is dissolved, then cool completely. Once cool, toss the dressing with all of the relish ingredients and let sit for 20 minutes before serving. The relish will keep in the refrigerator for a few days.
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Thai Spicy Mixed Vegetable Pickle 1 T. chopped long red chili (or jalapeño, serrano or finger pepper) Pinch of salt 1 T. chopped shallot 1 T. chopped garlic ½ c. vegetable oil 1 c. coconut water (fresh or canned) 1 c. white vinegar 1 c. water 1 c. cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces 1 c. diced cucumber 1 c. shredded cabbage 1 c. corn kernels Pinch of salt 1 T. white sugar 1 t. toasted sesame seeds
Make a smooth paste by pounding the chili, salt, shallot and garlic with a mortar and pestle. In a large pan, heat the oil until hot. Add the paste and fry until fragrant. Add the coconut water, vinegar and water and bring to a boil. Add the vegetables in the order they appear and boil for 1 minute, until wilted—be careful not to overcook them. Add the sugar and, if needed, more salt. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. This is best used immediately, but will keep in a lidded container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Thai Pickled Greens 2 bunches mustard greens Salt water (1 t. salt dissolved in 4 c. water) 4–6 c. rice-rinsing water (the water reserved from rinsing the rice before cooking) 1 T. salt 2 T. palm sugar 1 T. white sugar
Wash the mustard greens and separate the leaves. Cut the leaves into 2-inch long pieces and soak them in the salt water overnight (this helps remove their peppery taste). Discard the water and dry the leaves completely by laying them on the counter near the window or in the sun, if possible, until completely dry—usually about 24 hours. Mix all other ingredients together, making sure the sugar is dissolved. Place the greens in a large, lidded jar and pour the liquid over them. Let ferment at room temperature in a cool, dry place for 1 to 2 weeks, then refrigerate. Greens will keep a few months in the refrigerator. Find Jam Sanitchat’s recipe for Pork Ribs with Pickled Mustard Greens at edibleaustin.com.
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La Casita de buen sabor Spicin’ Bison B y l u ci n d a h u t s o n
arney made an impressive getaway! He busted through the gate of the neighboring estate, trampled the new landscape and catapulted 1,800 pounds of bulk into the swimming pool—pulverizing its imported mosaic tiles in the process. Even though he caused $10,000 worth of damage, Barney wasn’t ground into patties, but rescued because he was much beloved—the only bull in a small herd. Yep, Barney was a bison (aka a buffalo), raised on my friend’s Hill Country ranch about 15 years ago. Around the same time, my brother, Stuart, was introducing buffalo to his Mesilla, New Mexico farm with the intent of making buffalo jerky flavored with the red chiles and garlic he grew there. A visionary, he knew that lean bison meat—loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, nutrients and one-and-a-half times more protein than beef, yet low in calories and cholesterol—would attract health-conscious eaters. His enterprise, though, was short-lived. Buffalo love to roam, and Baby Huey, Stuart’s bull, met an untimely fate. Led by the same migratory instinct as Barney, Baby Huey escaped and devoured a final feast of deadly oleander leaves. I applaud the brave ranchers who try to confine these spirited animals, as it’s been said that “you can lead a buffalo anywhere IT wants to go!” Still, others have fared better with their herds. Thunder Heart Bison humanely gives its barrel-chested beasts free range on a family ranch in South Texas (and boasts stock bred from the famed Goodnight bison—a herd that was cobbled together and saved by Mary Ann and Colonel Charles Goodnight in the wake of the extreme bison overhunting and slaughter in the late 1800s). High Country Bison, another free-range producer, has also had great success with their herd. Both vendors sell bison at local farmers markets. Like beef, bison comes in popular cuts like rib eye, tenderloin, roasts, stew meat, top sirloin, New York strips and more (because of the current hot dog revival, High Country Bison's lean “franks” are quite popular). Rich and flavorful in taste—not gamy as some assume—bison burgers, chili and steaks are becoming more popular on menus today, and many grocery stores sell bison too. Just be sure to choose grassfed bison for the highest quality of flavor. Cooking tips: Beef lends itself to hot searing. Lean bison cooks best low and slow, though it generally cooks more quickly than beef. 56
Take caution not to overcook it—pink in the center and juicy is best, so check it often. Because of bison’s low fat content, rub grills and griddles with oil to keep the meat from sticking. Keep the bison 4 to 6 inches away from a direct heat source when broiling or grilling it. Try braising bison roasts at a lower temperature and for a longer amount of time than you would a beef roast. Season roasts with a combination of the herbs and spices listed below, and throw in onion, garlic, a few whole dried red chilies and fresh bay leaves. Shredded bison makes a tasty taco or sandwich filling. Spicin’ bison: Season bison (or venison, quail or other wild game) with Southwestern and Mexican flavorings, aromatic herbs and freshly ground spices. Local autumn fruit chutneys, chunky preserves, jellies and jams make tasty glazes and sauces. And don’t forget other fall complementary favorites like orange marmalade, dried cherries, pomegranates and cranberries. Local producer Confituras creates gorgeous preserves like apple Hatch chile chutney, pear preserves with sage and honey and tomato preserves with lemon that all call out to bison. Homemade barbecue sauce, Mexican salsa, spicy honey mustard, jalapeño or habanero jelly and tangy vinaigrettes make good dunkers and drizzlers, but use sparingly so as not to obscure the bison’s flavor. Herbs: cilantro, Italian parsley, Mexican mint marigold, mint, rosemary, sage, savory Extras: garlic, onions, shallots, carrots, celery, fennel bulb, potatoes, pepitas or pine nuts (great in meatballs or meatloaf ), cinnamon sticks (whole or ground), juniper berries Freshly ground spices: whole allspice berries, anise seeds, black peppercorns, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds Grind whole spices and chilies in a spice grinder to use as a rub for steaks or for seasoning ground bison, stews, chili and kabobs. Chilies: freshly roasted Hatch green chiles or poblanos, Mexican dried red chilies: ancho, chile de arbol, chipotle (dried or canned), guajillo, pasilla, New Mexico dried red chiles, Sriracha sauce
SPICY BISON MEATBALLS WITH TEQUILA-SPIKED CRANBERRIES Makes 20 bite-size balls At your next fête, serve bison meatballs hot from the oven to dunk lightly in a sauce of your choice. They’re also good simmered in a robust tomato sauce with Hatch green chiles and served over pasta. Or try them formed into sliders, instead of meatballs, to sandwich between homemade cornbread or sourdough biscuits. Enjoy them instead of fatty sausage for breakfast. ¹/³ c. dried cranberries, plumped in 3 T. tequila reposado (soak for approximately 15 minutes, drain and reserve liquid for other uses) and coarsely chopped if desired ¼ t. heaping, allspice berries ¼ t. heaping, cumin seeds ½ t. black peppercorns ½ t. coriander seeds 2 dried red chiles de arbol 2 T. olive oil, divided ¾ c. chopped red onion 3 cloves garlic, chopped 1 lb. ground bison ½ c. tostada chips, crushed to a medium crumb with a food processor or rolling pin 1 large egg, beaten ¹/8 t. cinnamon ¾ t. salt 3 T. combination of fresh herbs (cilantro, mint, Mexican mint marigold, rosemary, sage)
100% Locally Sourced
Plump cranberries in tequila and set aside. Grind the whole spices and chiles de arbol in a spice grinder and set them aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a heavy skillet, then cook the onions and garlic until translucent, but not browned. Cool. In a bowl, mix the bison, onion mixture, chips, egg, ground spices, cinnamon, salt, fresh herbs and drained cranberries until combined, but do not overwork. With dampened hands, form meatballs or patties. Pat the meat gently between your palms to compress them slightly, then roll them into bite-size balls. To cook: Heat the remaining olive oil in a cast-iron skillet. In two batches, cook the meatballs on all sides until lightly browned yet still slightly pink inside—8 to 9 minutes. Or heat them on a greased baking sheet in a 350° oven for about 15 minutes, turning once.
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SPICY DIPPING SAUCE OR GLAZE Here’s a quick and easy sauce to inspire your own creations! 4 T. autumn fruit chutney or chunky preserves (I use orangecranberry marmalade) 3 canned chipotles in adobo, chopped, with some of the adobo sauce (or use Sriracha) 2 green onions, finely chopped Reserved tequila from plumped cranberries, plus a splash more 2 T. finely minced herbs or fresh cilantro Juice of 1 lime 1½ t. orange zest (optional)
The one independent food label that means healthy, safe, environmentally responsible and humanely raised.
Combine ingredients in a small bowl and adjust flavorings to taste. EDIBLEAUSTIN.COM
Behind the vines
Texas Hills Vineyard b y T e r ry T homp s o n - A n d e r s o n • photog r aph y b y B i l l A l b r e c ht
hen Gary and Kathy Gilstrap bought their land—on which they would plant their vineyard—in 1994, they brought a new perspective to the Texas wine industry. Both Gilstraps are pharmacists by trade, with well-established scientific backgrounds, so their methods and approach to the business of grape-growing and winemaking have often skirted tradition. And some of those methods have not only been heeded and applied by other winemakers following the Gilstraps’ example, but also have led to a new, more modern wave of traditions in the Texas industry. Before their foray into winemaking, the Gilstraps owned a drugstore/pharmacy and a software company—both of which they sold in order to become semiretired. Looking for a way to invest their money and maintain a fairly active lifestyle, they agreed that starting a new business would result in a better return, on both accounts, than other traditional investments. They loved wine and had been closely follow58
ing the growth of the wine industry in Texas, so it seemed that a logical next step would be to start a winery. “So much for semiretirement,” Gary says, as both he and Kathy shake their heads. “Neither of us had ever worked as hard as we have on the winery. It’s been a labor of love …and continues to be.” Today, Gary and Kathy are joined by their son Dale Rassett, who manages the vineyard. Dale also operates their mobile bottling facility— a unique operation (which they developed) involving a bottling line fitted into a streamline trailer. The mobile unit travels to smaller wineries that don’t have their own bottling facilities, and, for a fee, bottles their wines on-site. Also part of the vineyard crew is Hilario Penalta-Moreno, who not only taught himself English, but has worked at Texas Hills from the beginning. Kathy says he’s become one of the family. The Gilstraps planted the first 10 acres of their vineyard in 1995 and produced their first wines in 1997, though their production facility and
“Neither of us had ever worked as hard as we have on the winery. It’s been a labor of love…and continues to be.”—Gary Gilstrap tasting room were not yet completed. Instead, they had the first vintage produced at the late Ned Simes’s facilities at Grape Creek Vineyard. Since that first pressing, Texas Hills has produced distinctive wines. Gary, a hands-on, blue-jeans kind of guy, works in the vineyards, as well as in the production room. His scientific approach to grape growing gives him the advantage of being able to manipulate the grapes. For example, he introduced the use of N-pHuric—a mixture of urea and sulfuric acid—as a stabilizer in his vineyard irrigation system. In doing so, he was able to get micronutrients into the vines and avoid the usual buildup of limestone in the vineyard soil. When the harvested grapes are on their way to becoming wine, Gary employs modern techniques to achieve a good acid balance by using tannins to round out the wines. Once the wines are in the barrel, he uses micro-oxygenation—a process whereby a carefully calibrated amount of oxygen is injected into the wine—which results in a shorter barrel-aging time, and reduces the chance of bacterial contamination
that can occur with extended barrel aging. Micro-oxygenation also enables more control over the fermentation process—maintaining the viability of the yeast and reducing the production of undesirable sulfides. Wines that are barrel aged using this technique taste as though they’ve been barrel aged for twice as long as they actually have. Over the years, the Gilstraps, like most Texas winemakers, have experimented with different varietals. Gary says that if he had it to do all over again, he never would’ve planted pinot grigio. Although the Texas Hills pinot grigio is excellent—and one of the winery’s most popular wines—Gary says it’s the grape that gives him the greatest number of headaches with its low yields and tendency not to thrive. As for the hardiest grapes—he cites merlot, with chardonnay right behind it; the vineyard produced an excellent estate-bottled chardonnay in 2010. In 2008, Texas Hills produced a 100 percent roussanne that is very good, though Gary laments the fact that he can’t produce enough grapes to do a cold fermentation, which would make the wine even better. Roussanne is an ideal warm-weather grape varietal that is gaining popularity in Texas, and is now being produced by several wineries. From the inception of their winery, the Gilstraps have been committed to making only Texas appellation wines—meaning that the grapes they use are grown in Texas and the wines are produced at the Texas Hills production facility. For varietals other than those grown in the estate vineyard, the Gilstraps source fruit from growers in the Texas High Plains and the Hill Country. Gary is a winemaker who believes solidly in the concept of terroir, that sense of place that imparts its taste in the things grown there. If the grapes are grown in California, they certainly won’t make wine that tastes like Texas.
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Noteworthy Vintages Chardonnay 2010 (Estate): Chardonnay was one of the first wines produced by Texas Hills Vineyard, and it was a good one. Gary used to age the chardonnay in both French and American oak, but the 2010 was aged exclusively in American oak. The buttery taste is gone, but you won’t miss it. The spice of the American oak doesn’t come close to overpowering the generous fruit flavor. This is a full-bodied white— dry and crisp, with an invigorating mouthfeel. It’s got the flavor profile of a California chardonnay—Honeycrisp apple, a faint hint of coconut and that nice, spicy hazelnut finish—but it’s also got the fine thread of minerality that marks a Texas chardonnay. Perfect for our warm Texas fall weather. Think rosemary-scented foods.
HalF yum. HalF wow.
Everyone likes their coffee their way, but great organic taste is universal. With Organic Valley Half & Half that taste comes from two—count ‘em, two—organic ingredients: milk and cream. That’s it. Nothing less, nothing more. And it comes from pastured cows on organic family farms. So it’s creamier. It’s better for your earth. And, oh yeah, it’s better for your coffee! Also try our new organic non-dairy creamers. The world’s first!
©Organic Valley 2011-11018
Syrah 2009 (Texas Hill Country): Gary refers to his 2009 Syrah as a FINE wine, and it is indeed. Syrah is one of the noble black grape varietals. Grapes for the 2009 vintage were sourced from Drew Tallent’s vineyards in Mason County. 2009 was not a great year for Texas grapes, due to a very late freeze that cut production drastically—but in some cases, fine wines resulted from the low yield, which had a large canopy of vine growth that supported the development of great flavor. This is a full-bodied wine with a rich, perfectly balanced flavor and soft, well-integrated tannins. Aromas of earth with dark, dusky berries start, then a rich berry flavor follows on the palate, ending with a big, jammy, plum-like finish. Good aging potential. It appears that syrah is destined to be a good varietal for Texas. Kick Butt Cab (Texas High Plains): The Kick Butt Cab has been the most iconic wine produced by the winery since its original 2001 vintage. Although Gary had produced a cabernet sauvignon in previous years—even an award-winning one—the 2001 vintage was so outstanding that he began to refer to it as the “kick butt cab.” The name stuck with customers, so Gary made the name official, and the tradition continues. The Texas High Plains bottling is produced with fruit from Neal Newsome’s vineyard near Lubbock, where the cabernet sauvignon vines are now 22 years old and the fruit is showing a very nice maturity. This is a richly colored, supple wine for the serious red wine lover. Aromas of dark berries promise blackberry jam on the palate. Subtle tannins ease over into a long, rewarding finish.
Texas Hills Vineyard 878 Ranch Rd. 2766, Johnson City 830-868-2321 texashillsvineyard.com
Seasonal Plate by jody Horton
La Condesa Pastry Chef Laura Sawicki presents Buñuelos de Requeson: Dos Lunas Ricotta Fritters, caramelized white chocolate, poached pear (Davis Orchard, Fredericksburg), honey and thyme braised grapes, cape gooseberries (Ottmer Family Farm, Stonewall) and nasturtium (Bluebonnet Farms, Schertz)
department of organic YOUTH
Bake my Soul b y M a r y B r y ce
t was a bad hair day, unbearably hot outside and just a rotten, no-good Tuesday. My precious loaves came out of the oven squat and shriveled—like large, nut-brown prunes. Not that they didn’t taste good—chewy, yeasty and grainy, just the way I like them—but the loaves weren’t fluffy, and they certainly weren’t pretty, which was a serious downer. I’ve made bread plenty of times, but I still can’t match the buxom, bodacious loaves that my mother can whip up with an ease that most people associate with making their morning coffee. Homemade bread has always been a staple at my house. It’s been a source of tremendous family pride (and maybe a little snobbery) since I was a child. My mother is such an enthusiastic bread-maker that she bought a grinder that attaches to our KitchenAid mixer, so that she could grind her own wheat berries. Yes, bread-making puts you on a slightly different level from most mortals; when I was younger, I was close to believing that God allowed the bread-makers into the pearly gates of heaven before the Mrs. Baird’s white-bread eaters. I began making bread when I was 11. While I’ve had some notable failures, I’ve also managed to impress myself on some occasions. So I’d say that being my mother’s bread apprentice has been mostly successful. Over the years, my bread has been criticized for flavor and presentation, yet even my sorriest-looking loaves were eaten. However, in the past few years, as my life has become increasingly hectic, I stopped making bread. As with anything, bread-making only gets better with practice, and I was out of practice—hence my aforementioned sad, depleted
loaves. But bread-making also offers several life lessons, the most noteworthy being that practice makes better, not perfect; and that you don’t learn without making mistakes (i.e., don’t forget to add salt, which I did on one of my attempts). While these life lessons are there for the learning, the ultimate reward for making bread at home is in the eating—warm, wholesome pieces of bread torn from piping-hot loaves, slathered with butter and jam and eaten with a tall, cold glass of milk. And then there’s the smell. It makes me nostalgic and reminds me of my family, home, butter, apples and cheese, warmth, love, dinner parties, friends, walnuts and fall. Bread is my soul food. I’m going to college this fall and, while I’m excited, the prospect of life as I know it changing so suddenly is daunting. Regardless, I expect bread will comfort me through the next phase of my life. It will be a way to differentiate myself from the crowd. Maybe I will bake bread in my dorm kitchen, and the luxurious smell will waft through the halls. People will wander in, I’ll give them a slice slathered with butter and jam and they’ll wonder, who is this girl who makes this exquisite bread? I’ll stand there—in my floury, aproned glory, a smug smile on my face—shrug and say, “Want some more?”
Mary Bryce is a student at the University of Texas in the Plan II Honors Program. She loves butter, singing, dancing, coffee, libraries, Paris and red shoes. Follow her blog at: adventureswiththealwayshungry.blogspot.com.
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“Bread is my soul food.” —Mary Bryce MARY BRYCE’S FAVORITE BREAD Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison 5 T. honey, divided ½ c. lukewarm water 2½ t. active dry yeast 1 c. milk 1 c. warm water ¼ c. vegetable oil 3 t. salt 5–7 c. of a combination of white and whole wheat flour, plus extra for pans 1-2 cups additional white or whole wheat flour (for spreading on bread board) Oil for bread pans
In a small bowl, stir 2 tablespoons of the honey into the lukewarm water to dissolve. Stir in the yeast. Set aside until the yeast begins to look foamy—about 10 minutes (this is called proofing the yeast). In a larger bowl, combine the remaining honey with the milk, warm water, oil and salt. Stir in the yeast mixture. Using a fork or a wooden spoon, begin to slowly stir in the flour, 1 cup at a time. I like to alternate cups of whole wheat and white flours. When the dough begins to thicken and become shaggy and heavy, turn it out onto a counter or bread board dusted with about 1 cup of the flour. Start pushing, prodding and rolling the dough over the flour until the flour is absorbed into the dough. Continue to add flour, and begin to knead. Knead until the dough is smooth and springy, about 5 minutes. Return the dough to a large, clean bowl, cover with a clean towel and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours. Deflate the dough by pressing down on it. Divide it into 4 equal pieces, shape the pieces into balls, then cover them with a clean towel and let rest for about 10 minutes while you oil and flour 4 8”x4” bread pans. Shape the balls of dough into loaves, and place them in the prepared pans. Allow the loaves to rise in a warm place for 45 to 90 minutes, or until the dough has risen to just above the edges of the pans. Preheat the oven to 375°. Bake the bread for 25 minutes and remove from the oven. The bread should be golden or nut brown. Remove the bread from the pans and place on a cooling rack. Eat.
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Boggy Creek Farm
Sustainable Food Center
Farm to School
Market Days: Wednesday and Saturday 9 AM to 1 PM www.boggycreekfarm.com
B y A n d r ew S mi l e y
Plant a Future - in Ronda’s Montessori Garden! In the future, children will need this skill! Use the child’s Absorbent Mind to learn to eat healthy from the beginning. Children ages 2-4 yrs. It takes a garden to grow a child. Full & Part time openings available.
Ronda’s Montessori Garden www.rondasgarden.net 512-707-8635
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nsuring that every student in the Austin Independent School District (AISD) has access to fruits and vegetables from local sources at lunchtime is a lofty goal. Hitting that target may even seem impossible to some, considering that there are 124 campuses with more than 85,000 students in the district—as well as the rising demand for local produce, combined with the production challenges our farmers face. Despite these challenges, the Sustainable Food Center is taking its (SFC) Sprouting Healthy Kids Farm to School project district-wide more quickly than even the most optimistic supporters could have dreamed a few years ago. The first step in getting the program off the ground was identifying potential barriers. Challenges to initiating a farm-to-school program in Central Texas, or any region, may include limited availability of fresh produce from local farms, lack of interest among district leaders and schools’ food-procurement policies and distribution mechanisms. Preliminary meetings with the district revealed, though, that the food-service staff, led by Chris Carillo-Spano, was incredibly supportive. So, too, was the AISD School Health Advisory Council (SHAC), which endorsed Farm to School with an official resolution submitted to the board of trustees. And an assessment of local farm capacity showed that, among midsize, direct-market farms like Naegelin Farms, the supply was ample and a distribution system was in place for a small pilot program. Next steps included menu planning and the development of specific purchasing and delivery processes. SFC staff helped the AISD team identify abundant, cost-effective and seasonal produce, and matched those products with existing school lunch menu items. And because of SFC’s experience working with hospitals and universities, an efficient online ordering system was already in place. In fall 2007, the first two Sprouting Healthy Kids farm-to-school and food-systems education project partner schools were named. Dobie Middle School is a partner in all aspects of the program—local food in the cafeteria, classroom lessons about local food and food systems and an active after-school gardening and cooking club. The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, also a valuable partner with an ongoing after-school program, serves as a model for using local foods in school cafeterias. Other early partners included KIPP Austin Public Schools, as well as Webb, Garcia and Pearce Middle Schools. As the project expanded, a few elements changed. For example, instead of farmers selling directly to the schools and handling their own deliveries, a food distributor that focuses on Texas-grown produce now supplies the district—adding efficiency to the food acquisition and delivery mechanism. Elementary schools and high schools are now participating, in addition to the original middle school partners. And, with SFC’s new community-organizing effort in partnership with Marathon Kids, parents, school staff and community members are taking an even greater role in education and outreach. From its humble beginnings, the Sprouting Healthy Kids farm-toschool food-systems education project will grow in the 2011–12 school year to include nearly 50 AISD campuses—more than a third of the district’s schools, representing about 30,000 students, plus an additional 1,000 from KIPP Austin Charter Schools. sustainablefoodcenter.org/sprouting-healthy-kids
Dollars and Sense b y ca r o l a n n say l e
young customer once brought her New York City parents to see our farm. As I visited with the ladies, Larry took the father on a tour. It was August, and the man wasn’t appropriately attired for—or used to—such heat, but he was game to see the withering tomato vines, the crisp Bermuda grass, the struggling squash and the freshly tilled beds ready for fall-crop seeds. After they left, Larry told me that the father had asked incredulously, “Can you really make a living doing this?” His disbelief was apparent when Larry replied, “We do.” Months later, a tricked-out van drove up to the farm stand. Out climbed two plump, middle-aged folks sporting diamond rings on nearly all 20 fingers. They wanted to look around, as they were idly thinking of farming. “Go ahead,” I encouraged them. Tour completed, the obvious question materialized again: “Are you making a living with this?” “Yes,” I responded, thinking that our “living” has a broader interpretation that includes produce of breathtaking beauty and nourishment. The couple departed, perhaps considering that they’d have to pawn the rings, sleep in the carpet-walled van and eat only the food they were able to produce. Sweat in the summer; freeze in the winter. And, yes, bend over half the day! I doubt that they were eager to pursue the farm lifestyle. For those who truly have the passion, perseverance, intelligence and physical ability to farm, the opportunity will come in time— perhaps not while young (unless there’s family land to be had, or a sweetheart-deal of a farm on which to practice—look for those!), but when savings are actual, when personal debts are paid and when the kids are grown. Hopefully, the aspiring farmers will be wise enough to look for farmland in unlikely places where few would want to live, and where there’s access to plenty of good water and a reasonable amount of soil. And if the price of the land is low enough, there exists hope for viability. A farm is, after all, a business, and the biggest challenge is for it to pay its way, initially, and then, as soon as possible, provide a living for the farmer. The living may, for the first few years, require a vigilantly Spartan existence for the farmer—a wet towel at night coupled with a box fan instead of an air conditioner; eating every
meal from the food produced rather than meals in restaurants; used equipment and clothing instead of new; hand tools instead of tractors. With prudence, new can be a reality if indeed it ever becomes important. As the farm grows, help might be needed. People are eager to volunteer in exchange for vegetables and the farmer’s knowledge, but remember: volunteers may be cheaper than another tractor, but they will come and go. And employees should be cautiously hired, too. They stay awhile— for better or worse—and they have to be paid. On our farm, employee compensation averages almost 50 percent of every dollar made at the farm stand. And there are additional expenses to subtract from that income—supplies, tools, soil amendments, tractor expenses, fuel, feed, seeds, utilities, taxes, permits and more drain off another 30 percent from that same dollar. Payroll and expenses are almost constant costs. And the farmer’s 20 percent is a constantly threatened target—it will often be pelted and diminished by weather conditions (drought, flood, hail, heat, cold), pestilence and market conditions (recessions, competition, traffic). But there’s hope! If the farmer produces quality crops that folks want, exhausts every means to bring the crops to the customers or vice versa and charges an honorable price that reflects the above costs and some profit, then there’s reason to expect success. A good farmer must be conservative (avoid debt) and realistic (protect the money earned in good seasons, for there will surely be a bad one coming), as well as creative in marketing and making the most of the crops (add value). He or she must practice diversity in crops grown and animals tended (some will produce if others fail) and know that crop failures can be fed to chickens or pigs, become part of a nourishing compost pile or be strewn in footpaths between beds to nourish the soil. Waste nothing. Finally, a farmer must not give up. Short-term pessimism is understandable, but in the long run the farmer must always be optimistic. And when that inevitable question comes around (and it will), we in the field think it’s fine to answer that doing the work you love, knowing the people you feed and being able to make enough money to continue doing so, is indeed considered a successful living. EDIBLEAUSTIN.COM
Saving the Future b y La u r a M cKissac k
here are many reasons to save seeds from your harvest. The first, of course, is an economical one, but other reasons include quality control and self-sufficiency. By saving seeds, you can even choose and manipulate preferred genetic traits—such as taste and productivity—and take the growing process to a whole new level. First it’s important to understand which plants to harvest seeds from. Open-pollinated plants (plants pollinated by nature—insects, wind, etc.) will produce the same plant and fruit as the parent plant from which they come. But hybrid plants are different. Many of the fruits and vegetables we buy commercially come from hybrids that are the result of a cross between two or more open-pollinated plants. Plants such as Early Girl tomatoes or Yellow Granex onions are first generation hybrids (F1), and subsequent generations of seeds saved from these plants will not produce the same fruit. When buying seeds or starts at the nursery, read labels carefully to ensure they are open-pollinated. Once the open-pollinated plants are growing in your garden, care must be taken to avoid creating accidental hybrids through cross-pollination. Squash, beans, peppers and broccoli will readily cross-pollinate with others of the same species unless proper precautions are taken. For example, all plants of the Brassica oleracea family (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kohlrabi, kale and Brussels sprouts) will cross-pollinate with one another. Thus, if the broccoli and cabbage
plants are flowering at the same time near each other, the seeds from each new plant can produce something unlike either parent. Two ways to avoid this are to separate potential cross-pollinators with distance, and to cover them with row cover before they flower. The process of harvesting and storing seeds is pretty straightforward, though the methods vary from plant to plant. When saving tomato seeds, for example, it’s a good idea to ferment the seeds for a few days before drying them. To do this, cut open a tomato, squeeze the seeds into a nonreactive container and add about ¼ cup of water. Let this sit, covered, at room temperature for three to four days. The fermentation process breaks down the gelatinous coating that keeps the seeds from sprouting inside the tomato. It also helps to kill any diseases they might carry. At the end of the process, remove any floating seeds, as they are not viable. Save only those that sank to the bottom. Lay them on newspaper to dry for a few more days. Once they’re completely dry, place them in a paper envelope and store in the refrigerator. You can also store them in a medicine bottle or other airtight container, but you will need to add a packet of desiccant or a spoonful of rice tied in cheesecloth to absorb any moisture. Most seeds don’t require fermentation, though, and if they’re the kind that can be harvested dry, they don’t require rinsing. To harvest seeds that grow in pods—such as beans, peas or broccoli—let the pods
get brown and dry, then gently crush the plants in a burlap sack to loosen the seeds. Pull out the bulk of the plant, then winnow, or separate, the seeds from the chaff (the material mixed in with the seeds) by tossing the mixture on top of a sheet or sack and blowing off the lighter materials—or letting them blow off in the breeze. The heavier seeds will eventually be all that remains and are ready to be stored, as is. Harvesting some seeds requires more than one season. To save carrot seeds, harvest the best and earliest disease-free carrots in the fall (before the first hard frost), and trim the green part down to one inch. Store the root in dry sand, sawdust or leaves, then plant it in the spring. Let the plant flower and go to seed. Harvest the seeds when they’re dry. Be certain to isolate the plants when flowering, as carrots will crosspollinate with a common local wild herb, Queen Anne’s lace. Neil Schmidt, the greenhouse specialist at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, suggests keeping harvested seeds cool, but warns not to freeze them. “Keeping them dry is essential,” he says. “And don’t store seeds in plastic bags—they hold in moisture.” At the wildflower center, dried seeds are stored in manila envelopes—neatly labeled, arranged in plastic tubs and refrigerated. Save the earliest and best-quality seeds from each crop. At the Natural Gardener, we grow a few boxes of runner beans (known as “half-runner string beans”) from seeds given to us by longtime customer Earl Hall. He’s saved and improved his bean stock over the course of 30 years, and the result is a delicious, high-yielding bean—a favorite among the staff. Hall always grows a row of beans for seeds and another for eating—at the same time—and notes that if you eat the first rush of beans and don’t save the seeds until the plant is dwindling, you’ll save the worst of your seeds instead of the best. Seed saving is fun, easy and important. In a world of mono-cropping, profit-minded genetic engineering and herbicide-ready vegetables, we need more farmers and gardeners working to preserve biological diversity, seed availability and quality for future generations.
“The Ultimate Nursery for Herbs” Austin Chronicle
Culinary herbs for chefs— and fruit trees, veggies and native plants for gardeners
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or more information about saving seeds, visit Seed Savers Exchange F at seedsavers.org, or check out Seed Sowing and Saving: Step-by-Step Techniques for Collecting and Growing More Than 100 Vegetables, Flowers, and Herbs by Carol B. Turner (Storey Publishing) or Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners by Suzanne Ashworth and Kent Whealy (Seed Savers Exchange). C
Local Seed-Saving RESOURCES •N eil Schmidt, greenhouse specialist at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, www.wildflower.org
•K LRU’s “Central Texas Gardener” feature on seed saving with Natural Gardener owner John Dromgoole, which can be seen at klru.org/ctg •N atural Gardener, naturalgardeneraustin.com •E arl Hall, member of Austin Organic Gardeners, main.org/aog
Capital Area Foodbank
Waste Not, Want Not By John Turner
y parents grew up in London during World War II, when food was scarce and rationed. Consequently, when I was a child, we never threw anything away, and my sister and I were encouraged to clean our plates at each meal. My parents understood the intrinsic value of food, and after their wartime experiences, how precious it is. According to Feeding America, our nation’s leading food-bank network, 50 million Americans live in food-insecure households. Yet it’s estimated that about one third of the world’s food produced for consumption is wasted or thrown away each year in the U.S. That’s 68 billion pounds of food, or 226 pounds for every American. It’s grown, but it never makes it to the shelves because it’s either plowed back into the soil or thrown away by retailers or consumers. This absurd paradox in the richest country on the planet plays out every day of the year. With many of our friends and neighbors struggling to put food on their tables, how can it be possible that ANY food, much less such an astronomical, unfathomable amount, is thrown away and wasted every year? We all share in the responsibility for wasted food, and I, myself, plead guilty to allowing food to rot on my refrigerator shelves out of neglect and lack of meal planning. There’s no need for a food-waste caped crusader, though. We can all do our part by purchasing food more responsibly and giving it the respect it deserves, rather than treating it like the commodity it has become. Here at the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB) we do our part with the help and support of local retailers. Our Central Texas Food Rescue program rescues and recovers food that is perfectly edible, but not sellable and thus destined for the landfill. These are typically items that are closing in on their sell-by dates, or those that consumers will reject if a newer, fresher version is available—think day-old pastries, bread, milk, vegetables or salads. Last year, our program rescued 4.3 million pounds of food and dairy products. That food was quickly retrieved, inspected and made available to our partner agencies, soup kitchens, shelters and food pantries. On September 15, as part of Hunger Action Month, CAFB, in partnership with the Blanton Museum of Art, will host a special screening and panel discussion of Dive!—a film that explores this ultimate irony of food waste coupled with soaring hunger levels. or more information on CAFB’s Central Texas Food Rescue program F and how to attend the screening of Dive! visit austinfoodbank.org.
Yum-Scaping: How to EncouragE Wild Edibles in Your Yard
Photography by Andy Sams
b y A m y C r o we l l
Mashed Jerusalem artichokes and black-walnut encrusted chicken with wild blackberries, served with a wild salad, containing lamb’s quarter, Turk’s cap flowers and spiderwort leaves from Crowell’s yard.
f you’re not interested in fussing over a vegetable garden, you can still eat fresh from your yard. In fact, you probably already have plenty of wild edible plants lurking in your lawn. An average urban lot often harbors many more microclimates than larger plots of land and can support unique populations of wild edible plants, laborfree! Wood sorrel (Oxalis spp.), lamb’s-quarter (Chenopodium spp.), amaranth (Amaranthus spp.), spiderwort (Tradescantia spp.), dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), thistle (Cirsium spp.), henbit (Lamium amplexicaule) and plantain (Plantago spp.) tend to colonize yards and are delicious. When we bought our South Austin home, we were lucky to inherit a lawn complete with over 10 species of wild edible plants—including one of our staples, wild onions. Over the years, I encouraged these plants by not mowing, or mowing strategically to spread seed, and by giving them a bit of extra water during droughts. By doing so, I was able to harvest something wild to eat every day of the year. So, before heading out into the forest or prairie or hills to forage, you might want to pick through your grass first to find something unique and tasty for your table. What if your lawn is landscaped? Do you have any prickly-pear cactus, Turk’s cap or redbud trees? How about agaritas or spiderwort flowers? Many native Texas plants that are commonly found in a land-
scape actually have edible parts and, when managed organically, are great candidates for dinner. Use your Turk’s cap leaves for dolmas, or the gorgeous red flowers to spice up your salad. Throw redbud flowers into a salad or sandwich for a sweet, pea-like flavor, or sauté the young bean pods for tacos. Young spiderwort leaves are an excellent substitute for lettuce, and agaritas make a delicious jelly or sauce. Your young prickly-pear cactus pads will make a wonderful vegetable side dish, and the fruits are traditionally used to make a tasty agua fresca (among other things). If you’re not already blessed with a wild yard, you can easily and affordably establish wild edibles. Collect some seeds or dig up a small plant from the wild and transfer it to your yard, and you’ll have an instant, easy-to-maintain edible garden. You can also take cuttings from certain plants such as wild grapes, and re-root them, but be sure to read up on this propagation technique, as it is a bit involved. Of course, always harvest responsibly and legally!
COLLECTING SEEDS A few, easy-to-find, wild edible plants that are good candidates for spreading in your yard include dandelions, wood sorrel, lamb’s-quarter, plantain, amaranth and chili pequins (Capsicum annum). When you see these plants go to seed in the wild, collect as many seeds as you EDIBLEAUSTIN.COM
can find, leaving several seed heads so that they can regenerate there. Spread your seeds in an area in your own yard that gets enough water and sunlight to support plant growth. Don’t worry about spreading too much—only a few seeds will actually germinate, which is also the case in the wild. This is why one plant produces so many seeds. So be generous when spreading the seeds, and make sure the seeds make contact with the soil. Raking the seeds gently into the soil and watering them will increase your chances for successful germination. You may not see the plants present themselves for six months to a year, so be patient. Acorns and pecans can be collected and sprouted in pots for transplanting, but be sure you have enough room for an oak tree (yes, acorns themselves are edible) and our beloved native pecan, as they will end up being large, sprawling focal points.
GARDEN • DESIGN • BUILD D AV I S G A R D E N D E S I G N . C OM
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When transplanting, choose a young plant so you can dig up as much of the root system as possible. Transplanting in late winter or early spring is ideal, as the plant will have time to adapt and grow during the spring season, before the hot, dry summer sets in. You’ll need a good shovel and a way to transport the plant so that the roots stay moist; a plastic pot already full of wet potting soil would be great, but if that’s too heavy to haul around, a plastic bag full of wet newspapers to wrap the root ball and roots will do. Try to dig up the plant when the soil is wet, as this will help keep the root ball intact. Once you get back to your yard, quickly find a good spot that mimics the wild place where you found the plant (was it sunny, shady, rocky, wet or high and dry?), and plant it. Make sure to keep it watered for the first few weeks until it gets established. Wild blackberries or dewberries (Rubus spp.), chili pequins, Turk’s cap, spiderworts, dayflowers, wild onions and prickly pears are easy to find in the wild and to transplant. For wild onions, be sure to dig up the underground bulbs, and prickly pears will easily regenerate if you simply grab a pad or two, stick them an inch or two into the ground where you want them, and allow them to re-root. Using some basic landscape-design principles will help your wild edibles look more complete, if that’s what you desire. Sketching a design for your entire yard will help with appropriate plant placing. Be sure to pay attention to scale—the size of mature plants in relation to each other and to your house. Planting in repeating patterns is often pleasing to the eye, especially if you plant in odd numbers. And, of course, balance—though not necessarily symmetry—should be considered so that there is equal or complementary weight on all sides of a focal point, such as your house or a large tree. Begin thinking about placing bigger trees or shrubs first, as each will be an axis in your yard. Always consider the plant’s mature form, colors and textures when planting. Once your wild edibles are established, you might be sorry you introduced anything! Wild plants survive and multiply much better than cultivated plants, as they have adapted to grow and reproduce in our challenging soils and climate. So be persistent when getting things established, and then be prepared to share the tasty, wild and bountiful treats you’ve encouraged with your friends and neighbors.
Tips y Te x a n
Trouble in Tequila-ville B y Da v i d A l a n
exans have a special relationship with Mexico and its native spirit, tequila. Like many songs tell us, across the border is where cares (and sometimes spouses) are left behind, and where a unique kind of magic awaits. A few sips of tequila and a little mariachi music is about all it takes to lift us out of our chairs to dance and shout strained gritos into the air; Old Mexico is a panacea to Texans, and tequila takes us there. But just as the reality of Mexico differs from its idyllic portrayal in song lyrics, the same is true of tequila. I recently had the opportunity to travel to Jalisco with a group of spirits-industry professionals to get a behind-the-scenes look at the tequila industry. Our guide was David Suro, Philadelphia restaurateur, and founder of Siembra Azul tequila. This was no brand trip, however; Suro is a charter member of the Tequila Interchange Project, a collaboration between academics, tequila producers, bartenders and others who advocate on behalf of traditional tequila. As Suro took us around his native Jalisco—touring distilleries and meeting with regulators, distillery owners and historians—it became apparent that the reality of tequila is no fiesta. One of the most troubling developments in the tequila industry lies with agave plants themselves. According to regulations, 100 percent agave tequila (the good stuff, and the only stuff worth drinking) can only be made from Weber blue agave—one of hundreds of agave species found in Mexico. Though there are millions of agaves in the ground right now—more than at any other time in history—the genetic diversity of the plants is at an all-time low. This is, of course, partially because
of the aforementioned tequila-agave regulations (other agaves are used in the production of sotol and mezcal). The more genetically uniform a plant population is, the more uniformly susceptible it is to disease or pests—increasing the likelihood of a devastating event like the phylloxera epidemic that wiped out European vineyards in the late 1800s. Another contributing factor is how the Weber blue agaves are cultivated. Instead of allowing the plants to sexually mature and go to seed as in the wild, the quiote (flower stalk) is cut back and offshoots, known as hijuelos, are collected from around the base of the mother plant and then planted. This practice saves time because the hijuelos already have a head start in their life cycle. It also saves money because when the mother plant goes to seed, it siphons off energy from the piña (the core, where fermentable sugars are stored), leaving behind fewer fermentable sugars and rendering the plant useless for tequila production. Another strike against tequila is that agave plants take a long time to mature—sometimes well over a decade. Distillers today must forecast tequila consumption in 2018 or 2022. If they underestimate demand, there will be an agave shortage, as there was in the late 1990s. If they overshoot it, there will be a glut of agave, as there is now. Unlike with some grains and commodities, agaves cannot be stored in silos. The only thing to do with a ripe one is distill it. When an agave is at optimal ripeness, there is a window of less than a year to harvest it; the longer a grower waits to harvest ripe agave, the higher the chance that their plants will have started decaying—sometimes even fermenting in the fields. When EDIBLEAUSTIN.COM
As family-owned tequila companies transfer into the hands of muchbigger companies, they cease to be the sole force of a family’s being… [and] become a small piece in a corporation’s much bigger puzzle.
Previous page: agave fields next to Carlos Camarena’s La Alteña distillery, maker of Tequila Ocho. Above: new still at Camarena brother Felipe’s La Esmeralda distillery. The kettle is insulated to preserve heating energy, an innovation that makes the process more efficient.
driving through the growing region, it’s saddening to see endless hectares of neglected agave fields—overgrown with weeds, damaged by pests or overripe and rotting in their own footprints after all those years in the making. When agave prices are especially low, as they are now, it may cost a farmer more to harvest the plants than the trimmed piñas could be sold for; thus, it makes better economic sense to leave the plants to rot in the field. Other fields are ripped up before they mature and replanted with food and other crops that can yield a higher or faster return. The glut affects growers large and small. Well-known tequila producer Herradura, an operation that oversees tens of millions of plants, built colossal storage tanks that are said to house a year’s worth of tequila—or more—and they lost millions of plants during the latest glut. One of the hosts of our group was Tomas Estes, a restaurateur who has opened more than a dozen venues in Europe and the U.K. Estes first developed a love for tequila while vacationing in Mexico in the 1960s, and the spirit has always been a focus at his restaurants. Having lived and worked in France for 16 years, Estes is intimately familiar with the notion of terroir—the idea that the flavor of grapes (and subsequently the wine) is heavily influenced by the climate, soil and other natural 72
and human factors around them. Given that agaves spend as much as a decade or more in their environment, it makes sense that they would be influenced by their surroundings, perhaps even significantly so. In recent years, some spirits professionals have begun to distinguish between tequilas made from agaves grown in the highlands (los altos) and those grown in the valleys around the town of Tequila. Estes wanted to take this a few steps further—along the lines of French wines that are produced from a single vineyard. His longtime international advocacy eventually led to a partnership with the Camarena family, producers of Tapatio, Tesoro and other traditional tequilas in the Arandas area. Together, they developed the idea for Tequila Ocho, the world’s first single-estate tequila. The Camarena family produces the tequila from only their own agave fields. Production methods are organic, though they are not certified as such. Each bottling of Tequila Ocho is labeled not just with the name of the ranch where the agaves were harvested, but also its vintage. When comparing tequila from several estates side by side, the difference in flavor is striking. When the question of terroir was brought up at one of the major distilleries we toured, the factory director said that their data did not support the concept of terroir in tequila. For a large producer, consistency—across production batches and over many years—is the most important factor. The ideas of vintage and terroir are understandably vexing to them. However, while the data may not yet confirm it, the evidence in the glass is resoundingly affirmative. Thanks to the status of our hosts, we were granted an uncommon level of access—not just at the distilleries, but also at the regulatory and marketing agencies we visited. El Consejo Regulador del Tequila (CRT), the tequila-regulatory council, enforces the policies governing tequila through laboratory testing, field inspections and other assessments. And the Cámara Nacional de la Industria Tequilera (CNIT), the tequila chamber of commerce, markets it. The potential problem with both organizations is that the regulations—and enforcement thereof—are heavily influenced by the producers themselves. The CNIT is funded based on tequila production; therefore, the more tequila a company produces, the more it contributes to the CNIT. This sets up the potential for a scenario where the more a company contributes to the CNIT the more influence it might wield over the regulations—including what techniques can be used and what additives are allowed. One of the most controversial topics in tequila production is the use of modern technology in place of traditional methods. Whereas traditionally agave piñas are roasted for a day or more in brick ovens,
the introduction of autoclaves—essentially giant pressure cookers—has significantly sped up the process. Some modern factories have started to use diffusers—machines that wash out fermentable sugars and are said to yield 3 percent more sugars than traditional methods. One factory spokesman referred to a diffuser as a “giant power washer for agave.” Some companies don’t roast the agaves before running them through the diffuser, turning the entire process on its end. Others use chemical agents to help the diffuser do its work. Lastly, whereas only traditional copper-pot stills were used in the past, modern column stills—which further refine the alcohol and are thought by some to diminish the flavor of the finished produce—have been introduced. The effect of the new developments is debatable, and theoretically, none of the technologies are necessarily bad. To the proponents of such technologies, they’re a natural step in the evolution of tequila production and keep them competitive in a global marketplace. To the connoisseurs, the big companies are in a race toward the bottom—with the regulatory agencies toeing the line. In one tasting, we sampled tequilas from one house—the same mark but from a decade apart in age. The older tequila was much more flavorful and the younger one more neutral—less tequila-y. When we mentioned this quality difference to one of the industry spokesmen, he corrected us with a masterful spin: “[The new technologies] do not affect quality,” he said. “They affect profile.” The early 1990s saw the rise of so-called premium and super-premium tequilas. Sold in fancy glass bottles, they captured the hearts of drinkers and transformed the way the world viewed tequila. The premium brands fetched hitherto unimaginable prices, and consumers had a seemingly insatiable demand for the new tequila. No label better exemplifies this than Patrón. Originally manufactured through a contract with the González family at the Siete Leguas distillery in Atotonilco, Patrón was created as a brand for the American market and came to define the super-premium category. Eventually the demand for Patrón exceeded the capacity of Siete Leguas, and the company built its own modern distillery, though not without a lengthy legal battle. Although some tequila aficionados deem it too smooth and less vegetal than a premium tequila should be, Patrón has performed spectacularly at reorienting the public perception of tequila and driving demand. While perceptions about the juice are a matter of opinion, there is a crucial difference between Patrón and its former manufacturing partner: Patrón is a brand—a label, a bottle and a brilliant marketing campaign. Siete Leguas is the product of a family’s passion, a trade passed from parents to their children that’s rooted in traditional methods. When I asked Fernando González, current patriarch of Siete Leguas, about getting started in the business, he said, “I was eight years old when my father died, but I believe that tequila is in my blood.” As economies are globalized, so is the drinks industry—with the tequila industry following suit. As family-owned tequila companies transfer into the hands of much-bigger companies, they cease to be the sole force of a family’s being—the singular focus for generations of families like the Camarenas and Gonzálezes. They become a small piece in a corporation’s much bigger puzzle. It is often said of such transactions that control of the company has been transferred to the accountants. In the interest of appeasing shareholders, and of satisfying an ever-increasing demand for tequila, loving and time-consuming traditional methods are replaced by the time-saving (and cost-cutting) industrial techniques of modern manufacturing. Tequila, in short, becomes a victim of its own success. But ultimately, this question must be asked: if it no longer tastes like tequila, does it matter how high the “quality” is, or how much of it we can make?
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Back of the House
Parkside b y M a r s h a l l W r ig h t
’m conducting orchestras,” says Parkside Owner and Chef Shawn Cirkiel. It’s Friday night at Parkside, and the happy hour rush is in full swing. In the kitchen, Cirkiel—stationed at the expedite window, the restaurant-kitchen equivalent to the conductor’s stand, directs the waitstaff and fires food orders to the cooks on the line. The three-and-a-half-year-old American tavern is located in the heart of Austin’s Sixth Street entertainment district in the old Dan McCluskey's building. Its exposed brick walls, reproduction lighting and warm ambience blend seamlessly with the restaurant’s hip, urban flavor and offer a welcome respite from the frenetic pulse that lurks outside.
Cirkiel has been impressing Austinites for more than a decade with his creative approach to cooking fresh and local food. It’s literally in his blood, having grown up on the family farm where roots in the food business date back to his great-grandparents. It was this passion for fresh and local that eventually led Cirkiel to become a founding member of the SFC Farmers’ Market–Downtown, where he still sources for Parkside. It’s what drives the focus of the restaurant’s menu as well. There’s no yelling—no real chaos—like in some kitchens. The cooks are focused, but jovial, trading jabs with one another. The kitchen is efficient despite its oppressive heat. The clock in the kitchen reads 100.4 degrees—hotter if you’re hovering over the sauté pans on the EDIBLEAUSTIN.COM
line. If the cooks are “in the weeds” it’s hard to tell; and the servers are in step with them. “I need a runner,” calls Cirkiel. “Runner, Chef!” a server responds from a group waiting directly behind him. As a conductor’s job is to unify the players, set the tempo, clearly execute the performance then critically listen and shape its sound, so too is Cirkiel’s role in the kitchen. “People ask if I cooked a dish, and I joke that I yelled to make it better,” Cirkiel says with a laugh. “But everybody cooks here….so I’m conducting orchestras.”
Page 77: Chef Shawn Cirkiel conducting orchestras. Also pictured: Chef de Cuisine, Justin Rupp and grill cook Ki Kang. Opposite page, clockwise from top left: Cirkiel buying paletas for the staff; line cook Gabriel Rodriguez works the line during service; a delicate touch is required when cutting the daily catch; like father, like son—Cirkiel’s son Noah works in the kitchen with his dad one day a week; Nathan Ming shucks oysters at the raw bar. Above, clockwise from top left: server Erin Pennington runs food out to the dining room; a salad of local produce; fry cook Sergio Valle tosses an order of Parkside fries; crab fritters ready to plate. EDIBLEAUSTIN.COM
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Farm to Market Grocery
Cipollina West Austin Bistro
FALL SUMMER 2011 2010 EDIBLEAUSTIN.COM EDIBLE AUSTIN 2011 EDIBLE AUSTIN
October 22 fbgfoodandwinefest.com
HOPE Farmers Market
September 12-13 farmandranchfreedom.org
Fredericksburg Food & Wine Fest
Cedar Park Farms 2 Market cedarparkfarmersmarket.com
The Guenther House East Side Pies
Brownwood Chamber of Commerce 325-646-9535 visitbrownwood.com
Every Sunday 11am - 2pm hopefarmersmarket.org
It's About Thyme
Jack Allen's Kitchen
The Natural Epicurean
River House Tea Room
Thunder Heart Bison
Jeffrey's Restaurant and Bar
Ronda's Montessori Garden
Jody Horton Photography jodyhorton.com
John Davis Garden Design davisgardendesign.com
Kerbey Lane Cafe
512-451-1436 (Central) 512-445-4451 (South) 512-258-7757 (Northwest) 512-477-5717 (UT) 512-899-1500 (Southwest) kerbeylanecafe.com
Kim the Dog Trainer
Tito's Vodka Navajo Grill
Royal Blue Grocery
512-499-3993 (3rd & Lavaca) 512-476-5700 (4th & Nueces) 512-469-5888 (6th & Congress) royalbluegrocery.com
The Leaning Pear Café & Eatery 512-847-7327 leaningpear.com
Lick Honest Ice Creams 512-743-6470 ilikelick.com
512-478-8645 (West) 512-445-0000 (South) themagnoliacafe.com
Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop 512-473-0222 mellowjohnnys.com
Montesino Farm + Ranch 512-618-2450 montesinoranch.com
512-916-9223 (South) 512-477-5228 (East) mrnatural-austin.com
October 15 sanantonioherbmarket.org
Old Oaks Ranch
Savory Spice Shop
512-366-0537 (Trailer Park) 512-444-0300 (South) 512-514-0767 (William Cannon) 512-494-8226 (Campus) 512-291-7277 (North) 512-382-0823 (Burnet) 512-614-1832 (South Lamar) torchystacos.com
Onion Creek Kitchens
The Turtle Restaurant
New Braunfels Farm to Market
St-Germain Organic Valley
La Dolce Vita
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
TNT / Tacos and Tequila
San Antonio Herb Market Association
organicvalley.coop October 13 amoa.org/ladolcevita
The Studio Kitchen Paula’s Texas Spirits 512-636-6389 paulastexasspirits.com
Viva la Vida at Mexic-Arte Museum October 22 mexic-artemuseum.org
Sustainable Food Center People’s Rx
512-219-9499 (Lakeline) 512-459-9090 (Central) 512-444-8866 (South) 512-327-8877 (Westlake) peoplesrx.com
Picture Your Health
The Purple Fig 512-351-1405 cleanfig.com
Quintessential Chocolates 800-842-3382 chocolat-tx.us
Red Corral Ranch
Wheatsville Food Co-op
Ten Thousand Villages
Whole Foods Market
Texas Fall Fest & Wine Auction
512-476-1206 (Lamar) 512-345-5003 (Gateway) wholefoodsmarket.com
The Texas Hill Country: A Food and Wine Lover's Paradise
Wimberley Pie Co.
September 30 - October 1 texasfallfest.com
Texas Olive Ranch
Woerner Feed & Garden Supply
Texas Performing Arts
Texas Quail Farms
Texas Food & Wine Gourmet
thetexasfoodandwinegourmet.com EDIBLEAUSTIN.COM EDIBLE AUSTIN.COM
Buster Graybill, Tush Hog Surveillance: 2/20/10 02:47 PM (Vanity), 2010, Archival Inkjet Print, 21 x 28 inches. Artwork originally commissioned by Artpace. Image courtesy of the artist.
art de terroir
New Works: Buster Graybill: Progeny of Tush Hog On view at Austin Museum of Art – Laguna Gloria 3809 West 35th Street November 21, 2011 – February 19, 2012
Whole Hog Wednesday, November 30 | 7 p.m. Inspired by Buster Graybill’s art, join us at Laguna Gloria for a sampling of the most plentiful, delicious and natural meat out there—wild game—prepared by Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due. Tickets at amoa.org/wholehog. Co-presented by Edible Austin.
TEXAS PERFORMING ARTS
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: The Infernal Comedy featuring John Malkovich, The Miles Davis Experience, Crisol Danza Teatro, Jonathan Franzen, SO Percussion Photos from left to right: Nathalie Bauer, Emra Islek, Arturo Campos, Greg Martin (Freedom), Janette Beckman
E b I R c S Sub A N d 5% 1 E v SA
ANNOUNCING THE 2011-2012 SEASON
SUBSCRIBE NOW AT TEXASPERFORMINGARTS.ORG | 512.471.4454
CELEBRATING 30 YEARS
Published on Sep 1, 2011