Beets, pecans, pears and honey haunt this Halloween salad

Beet, red onion and endive salad from “The Meat Free Monday Cookbook: A Full Menu for Every Monday of the Year” by Stella McCartney and Annie Rigg. Contributed by Tara Fisher
Beet, red onion and endive salad from “The Meat Free Monday Cookbook: A Full Menu for Every Monday of the Year” by Stella McCartney and Annie Rigg. Contributed by Tara Fisher

With their bright red juice, deep flavor and succulent flesh, beets might as well be the official vegetable of Halloween. (Pumpkins are fruit, remember.)

This beet salad is from Stella McCartney, who wrote a new book, “The Meat Free Monday Cookbook: A Full Menu for Every Monday of the Year” (Kyle Books, $22.95) with Annie Rigg as well as her dad, Sir Paul, and sister Mary.

She candies pecans while roasting beets inside a foil packet and preparing the endive leaves. The beets are easy to peel and slice after they’ve been in the oven for about an hour, and although the endive has a bitter taste, the candied nuts, pears and feta take off the earthy edge.

Beet, Red Onion and Endive Salad

5 golf ball-size beets, trimmed of stalk and leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 cup pecans
2 Tbsp. honey
2 red onions, cut into wedges
3 garlic cloves, whole and unpeeled
2 ripe pears, quartered, cored and sliced
2 heads endive, trimmed into separate leaves
Large handful of arugula
1 heaping cup feta, crumbled
For the dressing:
3 Tbsp. walnut oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 rounded tsp. Dijon mustard

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place a large piece of foil in a small roasting pan, put the beets in the middle, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with half of the olive oil and the red wine vinegar. Wrap the foil over and seal tightly. Roast the beets for 1 hour or until tender when tested with the point of a sharp knife. Remove from the roasting pan, unwrap and cool.

Put the pecans in the roasting pan and drizzle with the honey. Stir to coat then roast for about 10 minutes until sticky and glazed. Remove from the roasting pan and cool the nuts on a plate. Put the onions on a baking sheet, add the garlic cloves, drizzle with the remaining olive oil and roast for about 30 minutes, until tender and starting to caramelize.

To make the dressing, squeeze the roasted garlic cloves from their skins into a small bowl, add the walnut oil, lemon juice and mustard and gently whisk until just combined. Peel the beets and cut into wedges. In a large serving bowl, layer the beets, onion, pears, endive, wild arugula, crumbled feta and honey roast pecans. Generously drizzle with the dressing and serve immediately. Serves 4.

— From “The Meat Free Monday Cookbook: A Full Menu for Every Monday of the Year” by Annie Rigg with Paul, Stella and Mary McCartney (Kyle Books, $22.95)

HOPE Farmers Market hosting first night market tonight

The HOPE Farmers Market in Saltillo Plaza in East Austin is hosting its first night market event tonight, that will include costumes, live music and, yes, fresh product. Jay Janner / American-Statesman
The HOPE Farmers Market in Saltillo Plaza in East Austin is hosting its first night market event tonight, that will include costumes, live music and, yes, fresh product. Jay Janner / American-Statesman

HOPE Farmers Market, the longtime Sunday market at 412 Comal St., is getting into the Halloween spirit early with its first night market event tonight from 6 to 10 p.m. with live music, costumes and lots of local food, drinks and artisan products.

Costumes are encouraged, with a best costume prize they’ll be giving away later in the evening. On the live music stage will be DJ Sad Dad from 6 to 9 p.m. and The Zoinks, a Scooby Doo cover band in costume, at 9 p.m.

Johnson’s Back Yard Garden, Yard to Market Co-op will be selling fresh produce, and hot food vood vendors will include Austin Pierogis, Garbo’s Lobster Truck, Grilled Cheese Melt Down, Lua Brazilian Cheese Bread, Tamale Addiction and Wafel Guys, with rinks from Lost Pines Yaupon Tea, Texas Coffee Traders and Wunder-Pilz.

Other vendors include: Luna Rey Granolas, Mantra Bakehouse, Stroop Club, Willigan’s Island, Blue Lux, Collar Me Crazee, Gussy Up Y’all, Industry Prints, Major League Bocce, Mayan Expressions, Namu Craftwork, Solid Gold, Switched On, Vinyl Beauty Studio and Worth Effort.

Just in time for deer season, Hank Shaw comes to Austin for new game cookbook

81jdlzpyijlHank Shaw, the bestselling author of “Hunt, Gather, Cook” and “Duck, Duck, Goose,” heard the cry from countless deer (and elk and axis and moose) hunters who said they want more recipes for their game, so Shaw compiled an entire cookbook of them.

The James Beard-winning food blogger is on the road right now promoting “Buck, Buck, Moose,” and just in time for opening weekend of deer season, will be through Austin on Monday, Nov. 7, for a 7 p.m. dinner at Dai Due, 2406 Manor Road.

Tickets to the dinner cost $130 and include a signed copy of the book. You can buy them at daidue.com/hankshaw.

Want to be a better cook? Check out Sustainable Food Center cooking class schedule

Butchery classes are on the schedule this fall at the Sustainable Food Center's teaching kitchen. Contributed by the Central Texas Meat Collective
Butchery classes are on the schedule this fall for the Sustainable Food Center’s teaching kitchen. Contributed by the Central Texas Meat Collective

The Sustainable Food Center has been hosting cooking classes in its teaching kitchen at 2921 E. 17th St. for several years now, and this fall’s classes include a butchery series with former Dai Due butcher and Central Texas Meat Collective co-founder Julia Poplawsky, who is teaching a class Wednesday about how to grind your own meat and a two-part whole hog butchery workshop Nov. 5 and 6.

On Saturday, you can learn how to make three kinds of Indian curry with Akshaya Chinapa Reddy. On Nov. 5, SFC will host a family-friendly beekeeping class, followed by a Turkish cooking class on Nov. 9 with Ayse Koroglu.

On Nov. 10, pick up some nifty cutting techniques at an essential knife skills class, where you’ll also learn how to sharpen knives. El Cruz Ranch, which sells tamales at several SFC farmers markets, will teach a class Dec. 17 about making your own masa and tamales.

SFC is also hosting gardening workshops, including a two-part class on Nov. 1-2 for teachers, parents and other community members who want to help implement and maintain school gardens and learn about lesson plans you can teach from them. On Nov. 15-16, you can learn some similar strategies but for community gardens.

You can find out more about all these classes and sign up to attend at sustainablefoodcenter.org. Most of the shorter classes cost about $40; the longer workshops cost more but often include meat or food you can take home.

Learn the trick to crispy brown rice pilaf from ‘The Happy Cook,’ plus how to meet Daphne Oz in Austin

This crispy brown rice pilaf from Daphne Oz's "The Happy Cook" also has sausage and dates. Contributed by Amy Neunsinger
This crispy brown rice pilaf from Daphne Oz’s “The Happy Cook” also has sausage and dates. Contributed by Amy Neunsinger

Parboiled rice might make you think of quickie boxed rice from the store, but in her new book “The Happy Cook” (HarperCollins, $32.50) Daphne Oz shares her technique for making parboiled brown rice for a crispy brown rice pilaf.

After parboiling the rice, you gently sauté and steam it, but the key is not stirring or moving the bottom layer of rice during those last two steps. If you can resist, you’ll end up with a crisp bottom layer, the same socarrat you hope to find in a paella. Don’t skip the final 5-minute steam off the heat, she says. It’s crucial for perfectly fluffed grains.

UPDATE: I just found out that Oz will be in Austin for a book signing and talk at noon on Saturday, Nov. 5, at Williams-Sonoma, 9722 Great Hills Trail. The event is free, and you can find out more about it here.

Crispy Brown Rice Pilaf with Merguez and Dates

1 1/2 cups long-grain brown rice
3 tsp. kosher salt, divided
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 merguez sausages
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups chicken broth or water (or a combination)
1/2 cup chopped, pitted Medjool dates (about 8 dates)
1/2 cup slivered almonds

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the rice and 2 teaspoons salt and cook, uncovered, until the rice is cooked on the outside but still quite raw on the inside, about 20 minutes. Drain in a sieve and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Turn the rice out onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with a clean kitchen towel to cool and dry.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Squeeze the sausage out of its casings (discard the casings) and cook until it is browned, stirring often to crumble, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the sausage to a large plate and set it aside (you’ll use any fat that collects on the plate later).

Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the pan and cook, stirring often, until the onion starts to brown around the edges, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the butter. When it melts, add the parboiled rice and stir to quickly coat. Let it warm for 1 minute, then add the broth and/or water, dates, almonds and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring the liquid to a simmer, still over medium heat.

Use the end of a wooden spoon to poke about 6 holes through the rice. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered and without stirring, until the liquid level has reduced and doesn’t rise above the rice, 8 to 10 minutes.

Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Cook until all the liquid is absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes more. Remove from the heat. Remove the lid, cover the pot with a piece of paper towel, then return the lid to hold it in place. Let the rice sit covered and steaming for 5 minutes.

Return the sausage and accumulated juices to the pilaf and fluff the rice with a fork, taking care to leave the crispy layer of rice at the bottom of the pan intact. Turn the rice out onto a platter. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape up the crispy, browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Serve them on top of the rice. Serves 4.

— From “The Happy Cook: 125 Recipes for Eating Every Day Like It’s the Weekend” by Daphne Oz (HarperCollins, $32.50)

A double apple crisp to celebrate the official arrival of fall in Austin

This double layer apple crisp is perfect for dessert lovers who savor the oat crumble on top of an apple crisp. Contributed by Kim Smith
This double layer apple crisp is perfect for dessert lovers who savor the oat crumble on top of an apple crisp. Contributed by Kim Smith

Fall, finally!

After a hot October, it feels like the truly cooler weather of fall might be here to stay.

I got a taste of this sweet season a few weeks ago, when I drove to Missouri for our annual fall trip to see the family and buy apples. (Yes, I drive all that way with a No. 1 goal of buying apples from a 5,000-tree orchard in Marionville, Missouri.)

That peace-of-mind road trip was the subject of my column this week, where I also shared a double layer apple crisp recipe that my grandma and mom made on the occasion of our arrival.

It was a new recipe, one that my grandma wasn’t so sure about when she first tasted it. It’s a rich crisp with lots of cinnamon and two layers of the oat topping, but I couldn’t stop sneaking bites even after dessert was over. She eventually agreed that it passed muster.

In the food section this week: recipes for baked potato soup and pumpkin pie cake, two more recipes perfect for the spectacular fall weekend ahead.

Apple crisp is delicious for dessert, but it’s an indulgent breakfast, too, especially when served with a thick yogurt. Addie Broyles/American-Statesman
Apple crisp is delicious for dessert, but it’s an indulgent breakfast, too, especially when served with a thick yogurt. Addie Broyles/American-Statesman

Double Layer Apple Crisp

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup melted butter
3 cups apples
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour and oats. Mix in the melted butter and set aside. In another bowl, combine the apples, sugar and cinnamon.

In a 9-inch-by-13-inch pan, spread half of the oats, sugar and butter mixture. Pour the applemixture on top and spread to the edges. Top with remaining crisp mixture. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Serve hot or room temperature. Serves 8.

— Adapted from a recipe on AllRecipes.com

Tired of pumpkin pie? This pumpkin pie cake might become your new favorite

Pumpkin pie is excellent this time of year, but you might try a pumpkin pie cake instead. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman
Pumpkin pie is excellent this time of year, but you might try a pumpkin pie cake instead. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

In today’s column, I wrote about my annual pilgrimage to Missouri to buy apples, see the fall colors and see my family, which seemed like a pretty good excuse to share a trio of family recipes, including this pumpkin pie cake that is one of my mom’s very favorite dishes. It’s definitely right up there with pumpkin pie in my book, and the dump cake technique of sprinkling the cake mix on top makes is super easy.

Pumpkin Pie Cake

I love this cake! It satisfies the need for a traditional pumpkin pie around Thanksgiving, yet it is better than pumpkin pie. It is good with whipped cream, too. Our family usually grazes over this until it is gone. It doesn’t last long!

— Sis Ann Broyles

For this pumpkin pie cake, you sprinkle the cake mix on top of the pumpkin pie filling. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman
For this pumpkin pie cake, you sprinkle the cake mix on top of the pumpkin pie filling. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

4 eggs
2 (15-oz.) cans pumpkin
1 (14 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 package yellow cake mix
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup chopped nuts, such as pecans

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk eggs and then add pumpkin, milk, sugar and spices.

Pour in a 9-inch-by-13-inch ungreased baking dish or two 8-inch-by-8-inch pans. Sprinkle dry cake mix on top. Drizzle melted butter over top and then sprinkle with nuts. Bake for 45-50 minutes. (Lower heat to 325 degrees if using glass.) Serves 10.

— Louise Wagner

 

Getting creative with jams, chutneys and more, including spiced cider jelly

This spiced cider jelly is one of the creative creations in the new book “Better Homes and Gardens Jams and Jellies: Our Very Best Sweet & Savory Recipes.” Contributed by Meredith Corporation
This spiced cider jelly is one of the creative creations in the new book “Better Homes and Gardens Jams and Jellies: Our Very Best Sweet & Savory Recipes.” Contributed by Meredith Corporation

Since I was writing about apples for my column this week, I thought I’d run this spice cider jelly from the new jam and jelly (and preserves and compote) book from Better Homes and Gardens. The editors of this book solved a common problem in preserving books: Giving readers ideas for how to use the jams, jellies and more they make.

My fridge is full of condiments I can’t seem to use up, so it’s inspiring to see a photo of a grilled chicken wrap next to a curry coconut apple butter recipe, rosemary tomato jam served with slices of grilled halloumi cheese or raspberry lemonade jelly spread on a mini cupcake.

This recipe turns a traditional spiced cider drink into a spreadable treat for toasted bagels and fresh biscuits. When warmed, it makes a great glaze for pork chops and pound cake, too. As the editors suggested for the lemon-lime honeydew jelly, this jelly would also be great mixed into a whiskey- or rum-based cocktail.

Ground spices won’t make for a clear jelly, though, so seek out whole from the baking aisle or, better yet, the bulk spice section.

Cider ‘N’ Spice Jelly

5 cups fresh-pressed apple cider
2 cinnamon sticks, broken
8 whole allspice
8 whole cloves
7 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 of a 6-oz. pkg. (1 foil pouch) liquid fruit pectin

In a 6- to 8-quart nonreactive heavy pot, combine the first four ingredients (through cloves). Bring to boiling; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, 20 minutes. Line a sieve with a double layer of 100-percent-cotton cheesecloth; place sieve over a large bowl. Strain cider mixture through cheesecloth. If desired, reserve spices to add to canning jars.

Wash the pot, then return strained cider to pot. Stir in sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Add pectin. Return to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Ladle hot jelly into hot, sterilized half-pint canning jars, leaving a 1/4-inch headspace. If desired, add some of the reserved cinnamon, allspice and cloves to each jar. Wipe jar rims; adjust lids and screw bands.

Process filled jars in a boiling-water canner for 5 minutes (start timing when water returns to boiling). Remove jars from canner; cool on wire racks. Makes 7 half-pint jars.

— From “Better Homes and Gardens Jams and Jellies: Our Very Best Sweet & Savory Recipes” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $19.99)

Austin-based food invention wins $500,000 on “Shark Tank”

Austinite Doug Foreman won over "Shark Tank" judges to get a $500,000 investment from Lori Greiner. Contributed by ABC
Austinite Doug Foreman won over “Shark Tank” judges to get a $500,000 investment from Lori Greiner. Contributed by ABC

When I was a kid in the 80s and 90s, we definitely bought into the fake butter craze. I even remember some fat-free butter spray that I used to use on toast. I’m pretty sure whatever liquid was in that bottle is no longer classified as food, but one Austin food entrepreneur wants to bring back the spray.

(Wait, wait. *presses earpiece firmly in ear to make sure she’s hearing correctly* Actually, sources are now reporting that, despite many years of real food activism and a national pushback against artificial flavors, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter is, indeed, still selling fat-free butter spray for your eating pleasure.)

If you are one of those millions of Americans who doesn’t want anything to do with a bright yellow bottle of butter-like spray but would still like to spray fat from time to time, you might be interested in the Biem, a new product from Austin entrepreneur Doug Foreman.

From a release:

Two years in the making (and set to ship to consumers, beginning mid-November), the Biem Butter Sprayer is a first-of-its-kind kitchen tool that lets users convert a stick of real butter from solid to liquid spray in seconds.  The new hand-held device gives users a much more efficient way to use and enjoy real butter in a way not possible before.  The Biem does so by using its proprietary touch-controlled design, motion-detecting technology and without any chemical propellants.

Foreman has a number of food hits under his belt, including Beanitos and Guiltless Gourmet, but this new venture landed him a spot on Shark Tank last week, where he made a $500,000 deal with Lori Greiner.

The product is only available online at BiemSpray.com for now, and it costs $129. According to the site, the first Biems will ship on Nov. 30.

That price seems way high in my mind, but I bet Greiner will help get that price below $100 soon. Still too high for my culinary budget but at least spray butter fanatics have options beyond what’s currently in stores.

(No one asked for my two cents on this, but I also have to point out what a terrible name Biem is. Say it outloud and you might agree.)

Why we all win when all students eat breakfast in the classroom

A total of 22 schools in AISD are now serving free breakfast to all students in their classrooms. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman
A total of 22 schools in AISD are now serving free breakfast to all students in their classrooms. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

If you think school lunch has a stigma, consider school breakfast.

I’ve been speaking out on behalf of school lunches for years now, ever since my own kids started attending public school and I decided they were going to eat the hot lunch served in the cafeteria.

The lunch that the school provides is much healthier and substantial than what I’d make, and not having to make their lunch at night or in the morning gives us an extra 15 minutes of time together every single day to read books or bond over “Shark Tank” at night or, in the mornings, talk about our day ahead or sneak in a little extra sleep.

But those are selfish reasons I want them to eat the school lunch.

Each morning, the student breakfasts are dropped off in front of the classroom, and the teachers are in charge of distributing the meals as the students get warmed up for their day. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman
Each morning, the student breakfasts are dropped off in front of the classroom, and the teachers are in charge of distributing the meals as the students get warmed up for their day. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

Far more important is this: I firmly believe that eating what the school provides is a unifying and equalizing force, and we’d be better off as a community if more students ate it. My sons aren’t showing off new lunch boxes or drinking Capri Suns or eating fancy processed foods, like Lunchables, that would further emphasize their privilege as white, middle class students in the ethnically diverse and majority low-income school they attend.

They are choosing from the same options as their peers, and it becomes something that they bond over as opposed to something that might divide them into the haves and have nots.

So you can imagine my delight to find out that this year, their elementary school is one of 22 in Austin that is now serving breakfast to all students, every day, in the classroom at the start of the school day.

This Breakfast in the Classroom program was approved in 2014 when the Texas Legislature approved Universal Breakfast in schools that have 80 percent or more students qualifying for a free or reduced meals.

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When all students are served breakfast, it reduces the stigma of those who might be eating it because they can’t afford to eat at home. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

This morning, I popped by my oldest son Julian’s classroom to see how this breakfast in the classroom worked. Instead of having to show up early to school to get breakfast in the cafeteria, students can arrive later and simply eat at their desk as they start to warm up for a day of learning.

Today, Julian and his classmates got to choose from sausage biscuit sandwiches and a few kinds of cereal, and milk or juice to go with it. Every single student was chowing down when I walked in, and let me tell you, they were stoked.

Even though my kids eat the school lunch, they’ve never had the school breakfast because we’ve always just eaten it at home so we don’t have to leave so early. In order to eat in the cafeteria, students had to arrive at least 20 minutes earlier than the students who weren’t eating breakfast at school. And now, because we aren’t having to eat before we leave, the kids and I are able to get an extra 10 minutes of sleep.

Across the district, officials are seeing fewer tardies and absences in the schools with Breakfast in the Classroom, and even fewer nurse visits and discipline interruptions, according to AISD food services director Anneliese Tanner.

My son’s teacher seemed as excited as the students to be able to watch them fill their bellies so that they could fill their minds, without any stigma of the haves and have nots because every single student was participating.

That is a powerful shift that I don’t imagine we’ll ever see at the lunch hour, but one that I wish every student (and their sleep-deprived parents) could enjoy.

Have you had an experience with Breakfast in the Classroom/Universal Breakfast? What do you think about it? Should it be expanded beyond Title I schools? What other ways can we destigmatize school food?