What’s in a pickle? Couple sues state of Texas over cottage food law definition

Anita and Jim McHaney just wanted to sell pickled beets.

The state of Texas defines a pickle as a cucumber, but a couple is suing the state health services department in an effort for them to allow the sale of other pickled vegetables. Addie Broyles / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The couple had land near Heane, which is in Robertson County northeast of Austin, and wanted to have a retirement side hustle that involved growing and pickling vegetables, maybe even fruit. They sold produce at a local farmers market, but when they started researching the regulations around pickles, they realized they wouldn’t be able to pickle anything but cucumbers.

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The Texas’ Cottage Food Law, originally passed in 2011 and modified in 2013 and 2014, states that home-based food businesses can sell pickles, but only pickled cucumbers. Not pickled carrots, okra, peaches or whatever other briny concoction you might come up with.

Under the current cottage food law, you can’t legally sell beets that were pickled at home in Texas. Rodolfo Gonzalez/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

This put the McHaneys in a pickle. Their farm wasn’t making enough money selling vegetables only, but they couldn’t grow cucumbers and couldn’t legally sell pickles with what their land yielded best: beets.

Fast forward three years and the McHaneys have closed the farm and are now suing the state health services department to change the language around which kind of pickles you can legally make at home and sell. The Texas Tribune published the whole account of their story in an article published today.

H-E-B recalls Creamy Creation sherbet, Hill Country Fare ice cream

If you have Hill Country Fare ice cream or Creamy Creations sherbet in your freezer, you might want to check to see if it is in a new recall.

 

(Photo by Jay Janner/American-Statesman)

H-E-B issued a voluntary recall today for 18 ice creams and sherbets sold under the EconoMax, Hill Country Fare and Creamy Creations brands. According to a release, there was a broken piece of metal found during routine maintenance. The affected products were distributed to stores in Texas and Mexico, but there haven’t been any injuries reported.

H-E-B has issued a voluntary recall for sherbet and ice cream under several names, including Creamy Creations. Contributed by H-E-B

All products related to this recall have been removed from store shelves, and if you purchased the product, you can return it to the store for a full refund. For questions, call 1-855-432-4438 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Here are the products included in the voluntary recall, with the product number, size and best by date:

4122092736 EconoMax Neopolitan 4 quarts 6/1/2019 through 6/23/2019
4122092733 EconoMax Neopolitan 56 ounces 6/24/2019
4122092734 EconoMax Vanilla 4 quarts 5/24/2019 through 6/17/19
4122092731 EconoMax Vanilla 56 ounces 5/26/2019 through 5/27/019
4122090944 Hill Country Fare Chocolate 4.5 quarts 6/24/2019
4122092215 Hill Country Fare Cookies and Cream 56 ounces 5/27/2019 through 5/28/2019
4122090946 Hill Country Fare Fudge Revel 4.5 quarts 6/7/2019 through 6/8/2019
4122090943 Hill Country Fare Neopolitan 4.5 quarts 6/3/2019 through 6/22/2019
4122092212 Hill Country Fare Neopolitan 56 ounces 6/25/2019
4122010102 Hill Country Fare Neopolitan (Mexico) 4.5 quarts 6/17/2019 through 6/18/2019
4122090947 Hill Country Fare Strawberry Revel 4.5 quarts 6/8/2019 through 6/9/2019
4122090942 Hill Country Fare Vanilla 4.5 quarts 6/6/2019 through 6/7/2019
4122083898 HEB CC Fruit Punch Sherbet Quart 12/22/2018
4122034607 HEB CC Lime Sherbet Quart 11/19/2018 through 11/20/2018
4122083895 HEB CC NSA Orange Sherbet Quart 11/28/2018
4122083894 HEB CC NSA Strawberry Sherbet Quart 11/27/2018 through 11/28/2018
4122083897 HEB CC Orange Sherbet Vanilla Cream Swirl Quart 12/10/2018 through 12/11/2018
4122097260 HEB CC Rainbow Sherbet Quart 12/11/2018 through 12/12/2018
4122083896 HEB CC Strawberry Sherbet Vanilla Cream Swirl Quart 11/26/2018 through 11/27/2018

H-E-B adds Whataburger’s hickory-smoked bacon to store shelves

It all started with spicy ketchup.

Whataburger’s bacon is now for sale at H-E-B, as well as Central Market. The price varies by store. Contributed by Whataburger.

Two beloved Texas brands — Whataburger and H-E-B — have been in partnership for several years now, starting with condiments and now extending into pancakes, salsa and chips.

This week, the companies announced the latest product to join the Whataburger line at H-E-B: Hickory-smoked bacon.

Whataburger’s bacon is sold in one-pound packages. Contributed by Whataburger.

The one-pound packages will be sold at both H-E-B and Central Market, and the price varies by store. Whataburger’s sausage is already on store shelves.

Bacon is a popular addition to many burgers at Whataburger, and now you can add Whataburger’s bacon to your hamburgers at home. Contributed by Whataburger.

“Whether fans are topping mac and cheese or adding crumbles to baked potatoes, we’re proud to introduce Whataburger’s Hickory Smoked Bacon and make it easier than ever for fans to cook up their favorites from home,” Whataburger Vice President of Retail Mike Sobel said in a release. “H-E-B has been a great partner to us and we look forward to hearing about all the unique pairings our customers create with the newest addition to our grocery lineup.”

 

These two middle school culinary students created a taco that AISD will serve in every school next year

Two middle school culinary students made a taco last week that tens of thousands of their fellow AISD students will be eating next year.

Janett Macias-Lopez and Cierra Salazar of Bedichek Middle School won AISD’s Diced & Sliced cooking competition, whose prize included being served on AISD menus next year. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

Janett Macias-Lopez and Cierra Salazar of Bedichek Middle School students were part of a Diced & Sliced cooking competition, a collaboration between the district’s Nutrition and Food Services and Career and Technology Education departments. At Austin Community College’s Eastview campus on Friday, six teams from local middle schools, including the Gus Garcia Young Men’s Leadership Academy, competed for a really cool prize: Your taco on the menu at AISD schools next year.

As a judge, I got to try all of the competing tacos alongside fellow judges AISD Career and Technology Education Director Tammy Caesar, KXAN Anchor/Reporter Erin Cargile, Superintendent Paul Cruz, Chef de Cusine at L’Oca D’Oro Matt Lester and “Tacos of Texas” co-author Jarod Neece.

Last week, I got to judge a cooking competition between middle school students that took place at Austin Community College’s Eastview campus. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

Bailey Middle School’s team made a breakfast taco, Gus Garcia’s team created a bacon and ranch taco (a ‘la Jack in the Box, they said during their presentation) and Lamar Middle School made a Brazilian-inspired steak taco.

This fajita chicken taco from Kealing was notable for its walnut guacamole and fajita spice. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

 

Students from Dobie Middle School made homemade tortillas for their pork carnitas taco, which got second place. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

These were good tacos, but they didn’t make the top three. Dobie Middle School students created a pork carnitas taco with cabbage slaw and an excellent salsa verde that earned second place at the competition, and Kealing Middle School’s team took third place with its chicken fajita taco, featuring a walnut guacamole.

The winning taco at AISD’s Diced and Sliced culinary competition came from two students at Bedichek Middle School. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

But it was the “Loaded Taco,” made with chorizo and ground beef browned with carrots and potatoes and then topped with fresh cilantro, avocado and a little sour cream, that won over the judges. Macias-Lopez and Cierra Salazar might have had the smallest team, but if the chatter on the judging panel is any indication, their taco will be a huge hit with students next year.

 

 

 

 

Aguas frescas, creamy salsa, cecina-style jerky: Keep your eyes peeled for these products this summer

At the Taste of Mexico event earlier this month, I tried a handful of new local food products that you’ll hopefully be seeing on store shelves soon.

Aguas frescas are a popular, refreshing summer drink, and there’s a new local company called Alegria that is selling bottled versions at some neighborhood markets. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

Serving a delicious trio of aguas frescas was Alegria, which makes the refreshing drink in hibiscus, cucumber-mint and melon. The drink is currently sold at some neighborhood corner markets, like the Rosedale Market, but with less sugar and more flavor than other aguas frescas on the market right now, you’ll see this product more widely available this summer.

I could eat this Pancho Bigotes salsa on everything, including saltine crackers. It’s made in San Antonio and you can buy it online, for now. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

The same is true of Pancho Bigotes Salsas, a creamy salsa company out of San Antonio, with makes a spicy, rich salsa verde with serrano, garlic and cilantro. The company also makes a “chimi hot” version with fresh chiles de arbol and no cilantro, but they are both welcome additions to chips, tacos, scrambled eggs and sandwiches. (I bought a jar at the event it was so good.) Most creamy salsas you can buy in grocery stores now are on the sweet side, but this one isn’t, thanks to the vinegar, spices and egg. With any luck you’ll find this good-on-everything sauce in supermarkets soon, but for now, you’ll have to buy them online.

Amaranth is the key ingredient to alegrias, a Mexican candy that Sweet Tsopelik sells at the HOPE Farmers Market on Sundays. Contributed by Sweet Tsopelik.

I discovered Sweet Tsopelik on the rooftop of Mexi-Arte’s popular annual party. This local Mexican candy company uses traditional ingredients, such as peanuts, coconut and amaranth, to makes treats like alegrias, a crispy snack made with amaranth, agave nectar, pecans, pumpkin seeds, raisins and lime juice. The company, which sells at the HOPE Farmers market from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays, also produces tamarindos, palanquetas and mazapanes.

El Norteno makes cecina-style jerky that includes a small bag of hot sauce. You can find them in some convenience stores and H-E-Bs in Central Texas. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

El Norteño Foods makes a line of beef jerky that’s worth checking out, especially if you like the popular Mexican-style jerky called cecina or are looking for a spicy jerky that’s low in sugar. The jerky comes in several flavors, including mango habanero, and they all include a little packet of hot sauce. The meat sticks, which come in lime and habanero flavors, don’t have the hot sauce, but they well-spiced on their own. Find these at convenience stores throughout Central Texas and some H-E-Bs.

Good news from the Hill Country: Fredericksburg peaches are ready and plentiful

The peach season can be feast or famine for the farmers in Gillespie County near Fredericksburg and Stonewall, but when it’s a good year, it’s a good year, and this year is looking like a good one.

The 2018 Hill Country peach season is looking great, according to the Hill Country Fruit Council. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

According to the Fredericksburg Convention and Visitor Bureau, the region’s peach crop has produced “a bumper early yield and is primed for a strong summer showing.”

There are more than 700 acres of peaches growing in Gillespie County, and for decades, peaches were the primary tourism draw. But in the past 15 years, U.S. 290 has become known for its wineries and vineyards, which bring year-round tourism. The peaches, however, remain a beloved Central Texas treat from mid- to late-May through July.

In recent years, the crop has been smaller, earlier or shorter than farmers would prefer, but this year, “the crop looks great,” according to the Hill Country Fruit Council.

Peach season typical runs from mid-May through the first week of August, but the season is often shorter due to varying conditions. This year’s crop, however, has arrived on time and in good numbers. Photo by Mauri Elbel.

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Cling peaches, the peaches whose flesh sticks to the pit, ripen first, followed by the freestones, which ripe in June and July. There are several pick-your-own options, but many of the peach stands carry blackberries and a variety of fresh produce for sale.

You can find a listening of Texas peach stands and growers, including hours of operation at TexasPeaches.com.

 

 

 

Think Austin’s food scene is thriving? At Food for Thought events, learn why the answer isn’t so clear

If you think Austin has a thriving food scene, you only know part of the story.

Austin’s food scene might look like it’s thriving, but it’s not thriving for everyone. At several Food for Thought ATX events this week, you can learn more about food access and insecurity. Jay Janner / American-Statesman

A third of kids who live in Austin are considered food insecure, and so are 25 percent of the adults who live here. A lack of affordable housing and living wages mean food industry employees are struggling to stay in Austin, despite incessant news reports about new restaurants that are opening and the latest 10 top list that the city has landed on.

But anyone who has looked with a critical eye on Austin’s food system knows that inequities abound and that the ecosystem is more fragile than you might think.

This week, the Entrepreneurs Foundation and Blackbaud are hosting Food for Thought ATX, an annual spring service week that encourages tech workers to volunteer at local nonprofits during the day, but some of the evening events are open to the public.

Raj Patel, a research professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at UT Austin and recipient of the James Beard Foundation s Leadership Award, will speak at the Capital Factory at 4 p.m. on Monday. Contributed by Sheila Menezes

At 4 p.m. Monday, the Capital Factory, 701 Brazos Street, will host an afternoon of speakers, including Raj Patel and Erin Lentz, who oversaw the most comprehensive study of food access in Austin, and leaders from a handful of food nonprofits, including Derrick Chubbs of the Central Texas Food Bank, Ronda Rutledge of the Sustainable Food Center, Max Elliott of Urban Roots, Robyn Metcalfe of Food & City magazine and Edwin Marty with the City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability. These leaders will give their insight into what is and isn’t working in the local food economy.

On Tuesday, Springdale Farm and Eden East are hosting a free networking event on the farm that starts at 6 p.m. and includes light bites and drinks, and on Thursday at 7 p.m., organizers are hosting a screening of the movie “Chef” at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Mobile Loaves & Fishes Community First! Village. Bring chairs and a blanket, and burgers, french fries, snacks and drinks will be available for purchase.

For the latest information about the events, go to foodforthoughtatx.com/schedule.

You don’t have to be a student to take these food science, cooking classes at UT this summer

Want to learn about food science, nutrition and cooking this summer?

Susie’s Kitchen is a new series of science, nutrition and cooking classes taught at the University of Texas. The first class is June 16. Contributed by Vivian Abagiu.

The University of Texas is offering four classes, starting June 16, in the Susie Jastrow Teaching Kitchen, which is part of its nutrition sciences department in Mary Gearing Hall.

Susie’s Kitchen, as the new series is known, will cover some of the hottest topics in nutrition right now, including the Mediterranean diet, fermentation, plant-based diets and anti-inflammatory foods. Each Saturday class is taught by advanced undergraduate students in the nutritional sciences department and features a classroom portion on the science behind the diet recommendations and then a cooking class in the test kitchen where students learn how to incorporate the recommendations into their cooking. The class then gets to eat the food together for lunch.

The classes from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. cost $100 each, or you can get a discount if you buy all four.

The Susie Jastrow Teaching Kitchen at UT is in Mary Gearing Hall. Contributed by Vivian Abagiu.

Plan your royal wedding brunch with scones, flapjacks and elderflower cupcakes

Tomorrow’s the big royal wedding between Prince Harry and American Meghan Markle, but because it takes place so early in the day, you’d better start planning your big boozy brunch now.

Pimm’s Cup is a classic British cocktail that many Americans will be drinking while they watch the royal wedding on Saturday. Creative Commons @whitneyinchicago.

Today is the day to pick up a bottle of Pimm’s after work, plan your snacks and queue up “The Great British Baking Show” on Netflix tonight. I’ve rounded up a bunch of British recipes to inspire you.

British food isn’t all Marmite and bangers and mash, and flapjacks aren’t pancakes. But you know that already.

There’s always the traditional approach to making British food — with a British chicken pot pie and a pavlova with peaches and blackberries, perhaps — but Britain wouldn’t be the complicated mess of a monarchy without it’s complicated past, which means chicken curry should be on your recipe shortlist.

These strawberry shortcake-inspired scones are our latest Year of Baking project. Photo by Addie Broyles.

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You could make strawberry scones or currant scones, but for an impressive treat, how about making elderflower cupcakes inspired by the royal wedding cake?

If you’re not having a Pimm’s Cup, you could make a batch of punch, like this big batch of booze called Love Hall Tea popularized in England. (This recipe serves a whopping 50 guests.)

Many Americans might not have tried a Scotch egg, but it’s like a hard-boiled egg wrapped in breakfast sausage.

Alice Bachini-Smith and Shadrach Smith in the Full English Cafe, a restaurant they own in South Austin. 2012 photo from Alberto Martinez for the AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Don’t want to cook at all? Full English is one of Austin’s best places to get a bite of traditional British fare — tonight is the restaurant’s popular fish and chips night — but you could also find one of Austinite (and British ex-pat) Tracy Claros’ Sticky Toffee Puddings. These little pots of hot decadent British pudding are sold all over the country (at Whole Foods, Central Market, Fresh Plus and Cafe Medici in Austin) and are served on some international flights.

This Sticky Toffee Pudding is from Austinite Tracy Claros, who sells these desserts in stores across the country and on some international flights. Contributed by Sticky Toffee Pudding.

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When delivery isn’t fast enough: Plated meal kits now for sale at Randalls

We’ve been watching meal kits evolve in the past few years, with many grocery stores, including Walmart and H-E-B, opting to make their own meal kits.

Plated meal kits are now for sale in hundreds of Albertsons-owned stores across the country, including Randalls, Tom Thumb and Safeway. Contributed by Plated.

Albertsons took a different strategy last year by acquiring Plated, one of the largest meal kit delivery services on the market, for roughly $300 million. It’s no surprised that we’re starting to see Plated meal kits being sold in many chains owned by Albertsons, including Randalls, Safeway, Vons and Tom Thumb.

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The company announced this week that the kits, designed by head Plated chef Elana Karp, are already available at four Austin-area locations, with more stores being added each week. The local Randalls stores that currently sell the Plated meal kits include 9911 Brodie Lane, 1400 Cypress Creek Road, Lakeline & Crystal Falls Parkway in Leander and 5721 Williams Drive in Georgetown. All of the local Randalls stores will carry Plated meal kits by July, the company said in a press release. Randalls offers delivery and curbside pick-up, too.

Plated meal kits are also available for home delivery, but Randalls is hoping customers will pick them up in their stores, too. Contributed by Plated.

The ingredients are pre-measured and serve about two people. Of the more than 2,200 meal kits in Plated’s database, the current meal kit options include:

Crunchy Chicken Milanese with Honey Mustard and Arugula
Roasted Chicken au Jus with Orzo and Peas
Beef Noodle Bowls with Dinosaur Kale and Mushrooms
Steak Frites with Creamy Shallot Sauce and Sautéed Spinach
Fresh Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce and Burrata
Pine Nut–Crusted Salmon with Creamy Tomato Farro and Roasted Green Beans

The kits cost between $14.98 to $18.98 in the stores, and you can also still order Plated meal kits via subscription model on the website.

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