What They Said Wednesday
Never Look Back | Thoreau

Arro | 601 W Sixth St. | Austin | 78701

"Never look back unless you are planning to go that way."
Henry David Thoreau 

Farmers Market Favorite
Honey-Glazed Butternut Squash with Sweet Potato Greens

Farmers Market Favorite butternut squash, grows well and goes well with holy basil, sweet red peppers and sweet potato greens, warmed with a light glaze of local honey and a little red pepper pep.

Butternut squash is in season at the local markets. One favorite way to enjoy it on its own is in a creamy, savory/sweet soup, however it also stands up to the "what grows together goes together" test-- here it is prepared with the addition of sweet red peppers, sweet potato greens, and fresh, seasonal herbs. This dish was demonstrated at the Texas Farmers' Markets in Austin last weekend. It was a BIG hit with both men and women, tots and adults. And a few puppies. Definitely the market staff. It's always so affirming for folks to come back for seconds. (But thirds are pushing it, y'all. Just saying,)

Butternut is a popular winter squash with earthy, slightly sweet orange flesh, and marries well with other vegetables, especially greens, and beans and legumes. It is often used in place of meat to offer heartiness to vegetarian and vegan dishes. One cup of butternut squash is only 63 Kcal, low in fat, sodium and carbohydrates, high in fiber, potassium, and Vitamin A-- yielding close to 300% one's daily requirement!

An additional perk? Kids LOVE this stuff. And if you're keeping it meat-free, it pairs well with soft cheeses, eggs, black beans, brown rice, and raw or braised greens. Consider it for your holiday meals; butternut squash and greens might just knock your standard sugar-laden standards out of the running.


2T grapeseed oil

2 medium- large butternut squash, peeled and cubed

2c +/- sweet red pepper--cored, seeded, sliced to equal about 2 cups

1/2 bunch fresh holy basil, leaves only, chopped (about 1/4-1/2 cup)

2-3T honey

1 bunch sweet potato greens, leaves only, rough-chopped

1 +/- tsp crushed red pepper, or favorite hot pepper sauce, to taste

Salt, to taste

Do the Thing

Heat grapeseed oil in medium skillet until shimmering. Add cubed squash, tossing occasionally while cooking over medium-high heat, until edges are slightly browned. Add sweet red peppers, and basil, cooking until wilted, 3-5 minutes. Add honey and your choice of crushed red pepper or hot pepper sauce to skillet, toss with vegetables to coat, reduce heat to medium low. Fold in chopped greens, cover, and cook, stirring just enough to prevent scorching, allowing greens to wilt. Remove from heat. Serve warm.

Serves 4-6 as a side dish.

Meatless MANIC Monday
Nectarine | Shishito | Gorgonzola Flatbread Pizza

Monday thinks it gets the last word.

Monday is a stern schoolmistress-- everything you’ve got to give is rarely enough. You’re short on patience, paperclips, sandwich bags—temper. Traffic is a beast. The telephone you hate to answer just won’t give in. NOBODY answers their texts. (yes, I’m talking about you. And you. And YOU.)  Every little thing blamed on the fact that it’s Monday. I mean Monday is the boss of EVERYthing.

But what Monday doesn’t know is that I’m onto her, and her wicked ways. I’ve a strategy to combat her chaos. After a day of missteps, miscommunication, missed deadlines, and general Monday mayhem, I’m wrestling back control. Beginning with dinner plans.


Well, at least the kitchen. I’m in charge of my kitchen. I’m in charge MONDAY, through Sunday. My strategy? Keep a few things stocked in pantry, fridge, and  freezer, and call on them for these kinds of days. The kind of day when stopping at the store on the way home is just ONE THING TOO MUCH TO ASK. WAY TOO MUCH. Pulling out a recipe is asking too much, as well—and following instructions isn’t my strong suit when I’ve been asked to follow TOO MANY DIRECTIONS already.

You, too?

Take back your kitchen. Take back your world. TAKE BACK YOUR MONDAY. GET THE LAST WORD.

Start by eating a delicious dinner. There, there. It’s going to be all better.

Where’s my wine glass?


Let's play it fast and loose, here. This week, I'm going meatless (although a version with the same ingredients with the addition of Belle Vie Farm duck prosciutto was just as amazing, not long ago and I encourage you to try it if you can't imagine a meal without meat), and I'm running with everything I have on hand-- no stops on the way home. NOT ONE STOP.

Lavash, a type of flatbread that comes in packages where I shop. It lasts a bit on the shelf, as it is hermetically sealed, but you can also freeze the package, for longer life.

Olive oil-- about a tablespoon

Fresh mozzarella-- I keep a container in brine in the fridge-- it lasts a few weeks, and is fantastic on panini, with eggs and greens, and more.

Nectarine-- it took only one. I leave it unpeeled, and just cut half-moon slivers straight from the pit. Peaches or plums would make a nice substitute

Shishito peppers-- I keep a pint in the fridge all of the time when they are in the peak of season. Folks love to snack on them (see how, here), but don't stop there! They are a mild pepper with great flavor and perfect for roasting on and in dishes, as well as an appetizer.

Gorgonzola cheese-- You really don't need much-- just enough to crumble over the top, but choose a decent quality, and be sure to adjust your seasonings, especially salt, to accommodate the sharp, briny bite of this pungent choice. Not a fan of gorgonzola? Blue cheese, goat cheese, feta-- all good substitutes.

Do the Thing

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place pizza stone, if using, on middle rack of oven. Alternatively, use an inverted sheet pan to bake the pizza upon, for optimum crust crisp.

Brush lavash with a thin layer of olive oil. Strew thin slices of fresh mozzarella cheese down center of pizza. Layer nectarine slices, halved shishito peppers, and crumbled gorgonzola atop. Using proscuito? Tear into small pieces and strew across topped pizza. Using crushed red pepper? You can add now, or season arugula topping, if using, after pizza is removed.

Cook until toppings begin to brown and crisp on the edges and cheeses are bubbly and melted, about 10 minutes. If lavash is getting dark before topping is cooked, turn oven to broil, allow to heat fully, and place pizza a few inches under heating element to reach desired results.

Optionals: I finished this particular pizza much they way Italians finish their famed Neapolitans, topped with a high pile of fresh, organic arugula, after removing from the oven. I like to dress the arugula with a little truffle oil, a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice and/or zest, a little salt (watch the saltiness closely-- remember that gorgonzola) and black pepper, and a healthy sprinkle of crushed red pepper if it hasn't already been added to the cooked pizza.

All that's left is to allow to cool a bit before slicing-- just long enough to pour a very slightly chilled glass of my favorite Cabernet Sauvignon. Your well-informed wine steward might have something to say about that, and trust me, I'm sure she/he knows much more about it than do I, but CS is my favorite and on Mondays, I get to choose the wine pairing. And where I'm eating (maybe not the dinner table), and what time I'm eating (whenever I darn well feel like it), and who I'm listening to (NO DEBATES. Maybe Dean Martin.)

And I'll be praying Tuesday is a little gentler on my mind. Hope it is for you, too.

Made in Austin: Coterie Sampler | The Coterie Market

There are certain months of the year here in Texas that become packed with the best social events of the year, and we have come upon 2 of them. The food community, especially, enjoys event after event this month and the next, and again in Spring. There are 5 events on the calendar this week, alone, and we all do our best to make every single one of them. In fact, as I write this very post, I am missing a book signing I intended to visit. Alas, we will not always make it, and we will regret those we miss. 

I'm awfully grateful I did not miss the Coterie Market's media party launch of their new Coterie Sampler! There's an embarrassment of food-lover riches in Austin every day of the year, however this particular day blogger and media representatives were gifted with a full box of locally-sourced artisan products-- the same Sampler box that consumers can now subscribe to receive monthly, with new surprises in every box. 

The celebration was held in the Keith Kreeger Studios, located at the rear of Big Medium, the art gallery responsible for the wildly popular East and West Austin Studio tours. Kreeger, whose iconic dinnerware can be seen gracing some of the finest tables both public and private, graciously demonstrated his process at the event, and Kellie's Baking Co.delighted each willing party-goer with their likeness printed on sugar paper and mounted on a cookie. Sips and bites were provided by Barbecue Wife Bloody Mary Mix, and Contigo Restaurant catering. 

This morning, with a cup of steaming coffee, I got down to the business of play. Like a kid on Christmas morning, I giddily unpacked my box of treasures. I shot a few photos for Instagram (Hey! Follow me on Instagram! I'd LOVE that!), and reacted to each surprise in real time, sharing my thoughts in the captions, below. 

I'm having so much fun digging into the very generous local products sampler box from Coterie Market they so graciously gifted us all at their Sampler box media launch this week. I've loved Lavande Farm since I first discovered and photographed their lavender-laced products for the Texas Farmers' Market. I'm thrilled to receive a bottle of their natural Lavender Mosquito Repellent. These big 'ol Texas skeeters eat me alive and I HATE the scent and loads of chemicals in standard insect repellents. This comes not a moment too soon!

I would love to show you the thick, luscious, siren-song of a cookie--Rosemary 'Gin & Juice' Shortbread Tea Biscuits from Skull and Cakebones, that was included in my generous Coterie Market sampler box, but I ate them all. Every one. All by myself. Don't judge me! And don't try to get my biscuit, either!

Squeeeee! So excited to get my hands on these Lenoir Finishing Salts found in the Coterie Market monthly sampler box. The mix includes large flake sea salt, pink Himalayan salt, house-made Herbes de Tejas (dried herbs with chiles, lavendar, and fenugreek), and dhana dal (roasted coriander seed). I'ma sprinkle it on ALL of the things!

Have you tried Austin-made Sway water? A healthy alternative to sugar-laden drinks, Sway infuses purified water with organic fruits and vegetables like this refreshing Cucumber-Lime-Mint included in the Coterie Market monthly sampler.

Couldn't be more delighted to have had TWO opportunities to enjoy Confituras jams and jellies yesterday! 1) This full-sized producer's favorite seasonal preserve was included in the generous monthly box gifted by Coterie Market, and 2) Confituras "kicked off" a Kickstarter campaign at happy hour located at Salt and TimePACKED with well-wishers, yesterday. All cocktails and nibbles, both savory and sweet, were "jam-forward" and nothing short of the mouth-party we've all come to expect from Confituras. Funds raised will go towards building a commercial kitchen and a jam & biscuit shop.

It's not hyperbole to profess Sarah's Kale Chips the best I've ever had. Included in the generous Coterie Sampler box I was lucky to score yesterday, Sour Cream & Onion tastes natural and has a nice, solid texture that doesn't crumble to powder in your fingers. Count me a new fan!

"The Coterie Sampler is the brainchild of Coterie Market's founder Chelsea Staires Sun who founded the local e-purveyor in 2012. Since then, Coterie Market has earned the reputation of being the go-to resource for all things local, artisanal, and made with the utmost integrity in Austin. Wanting to offer these local Austin luxuries to people far and wide, Chelsea dreamed up The Coterie Sampler, a box of small-batch, choice, handmade products delivered to your doorstep every month. The Coterie Market team researches, tests, and hand-selects each of the items inside the box, and thoughtfully prepares a balanced assortment of food and craft items for customers to enjoy. The Coterie Market Team personally knows and associates with each of the local Austin Makers featured in the box and are on a mission to educate and delight customers with hand-selected, small-batch products so in turn the local Austin community continues to flourish. Follow them on TwitterFacebook, and on their website". (Source: Coterie Market Press Release, August 2015) 

Thank you to the Coterie Market, Big Medium, Keith Kreeger Studios, Contigo, Barbecue Wife, Skull and Crossbones bakery, Sway water, Lavande Farms, Confituras, Lenoir, Sarah's Kale Chips, Kellie's Baking Co, and Emily Kealy of Conversation Piece Marketing & PR.

Disclosure: As mentioned above, each product in the Coterie sampler was provided to media representatives free of charge, at a party where we were treated to food, fun, drink, and more. Opinions are my own. 

The Seasonal Plate | What to Eat in September

Eating in season saves money, provides optimal nutrition, and supports local farmers. In North America, find many of the vegetables, fruits, nuts, meat, poultry, and seafood below, in season and in markets for the month of September. Need some inspiration for preparing your market basket bounty? Follow each food's link for recipe ideas, too.

Fruit and Nuts
almonds  + apples + chestnuts + cranberries + limes + melon + pears + plums + pomegranate + raspberries + tomatoes

Meat and Poultry

Varies by season, location, and weather patterns

North America: lobster

Primarily year-round species include ahi tuna + atlantic, true, and ling cod + catfish + flounder + grouper + mahi mahi + rainbow trout + sole + (atlantic) salmon + swordfish

Source: Eat the Seasons

And a couple of great links, with maps, charts, and interactive resources, to keep yourself, and those you love, eating well:

Tips for Tuesday
In the Garden: September

It is utterly forbidden to be half-hearted about gardening. You have got to love your garden whether you like it or not.  ~W.C. Sellar & R.J. Yeatman, Garden Rubbish, 1936
September in the garden--that time, in our part of this world, where the horrific heat of midsummer begins to wane, and the early morning hours spent preparing for a late fall harvest remind one that indeed, there may yet be cooler days ahead.  

It's brown here right now. Not the brown leaves turning and falling of more temperate climes, but rather the brown of I give! Time to pull away the dead growth of a summer too hot and too dry, and start over again, with the promise of a second coming of green before the coldest days of winter set in. It's the garden days of second chances. Don't give in just yet--the work of this month will yield some of the most pleasant moments, the sweetest harvests of the year, and perhaps the reminder that yes, you really do love your garden.

Feed chrysanthemums every 2-3 weeks until buds appear, then weekly until buds show color. Fertilize roses, gardenias and magnolias.

Water trees and shrubs deeply and slowly.

Transplant after dividing: Amaryllises, Callas, Cannas, Daylilies, Irises, Liriope, Wood Ferns.

Test soil every 3 years to help plan fertilizer applications. Start a compost pile with fall leaves and yard debris; shred with lawnmower. Replenish mulch in beds.

Lawn Care
Watch for brown patch in St. Augustine turf as temperatures cool. Lawns with a history of the disease should be sprayed in late month and again in 3 weeks with Terraclor or Daconil. Early morning is the best time to water lawns. Mow every 5-7 days, leaving the clippings on the lawn.

Diseases/Pests to look out for
Watch roses for blackspot and mildew. Fall webworms are easiest to control when treated early with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt).

Remove dead and damaged wood from shrubs and trees. Lightly prune pyracanthas so berries will show.

Things To Plant In September

Flower Plants
ajuga, alpine aster, wax begonia, boltonia, butterfly weed, calico plant, candytuft, chine forget-me-not, cockscomb, cornflower, dianthus, daisy--english, shasta, painter, euryops, impatiens, larkspur, liatris, lobelia, petunia, phlox, obedient plant, salvia, sedum, stock, stokes' aster

Flower Seeds
alyssum, african daisy, balsam, bluebell, bluebonnet, calendula, castor bean, cockscomb, columbine, cornflower, cosmos, daisy, delphinium, four-o'clock, hollyhock, larkspur, liatris, marigold, poppy, snapdragon, stock, sunflower

allium, amarcrinum, calla, autumn crocus, cooperia, daylily, dietes, hardy cyclamen, spider lily, liriope, louisiana iris, ipheion, lily, lycoris, oxalis, monkey grass, rain lily, scilla, watsonia

Purchase tulip, crocus, hyacinth and daffodil bulbs to pre-chill.

  • Early-Mid Month: Beans, Peas (English & edible pod), Summer Squash
  • Mid-Late Month: Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chinese Cabbage, Collards, Garlic, Kohlrabi.
  • Prepare soil now for winter fruit tree planting

Other Things To Do

Trick Poinsettias into holiday bloom--
Beginning on the fall equinox (September 21/22) make sure potted plants get 14 hours of darkness every 24 hour period. Use a water-soluble fertilizer mixed about 1/4 strength with every watering. Plants should show color around Thanksgiving. At that point, restore them to bright, indirect sunlight and cut back on fertilizer.

Gardening to-dos courtesy of Central Texas Gardener

About Town: Austin | Happy Hour: The Highball

The Highball, located in the newly-developing Lamar Union complex in South Austin adjacent to the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, offers adult fun, food, and drink, in a swanky, sexy spot. Ultra old Hollywood-hip decor, tasty bites, reasonably priced drinks, imaginative cocktails, dedicated karaoke rooms with assigned serving staff, and popular, creative special events, make the Highball a winning destination with the added benefit of being easy to get to by car, bus, cab, bike, or on foot, with ample parking available-- no small value in Austin.

Recently, the membership of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance enjoyed a bimonthly happy hour hosted by The Highball, where we were treated to a preview of their newest menu items. We arrived curious, and we left stuffed and satisfied with ample samplings of their menu of small plates. Beer, wine, bubbles and cocktails were offered at Happy Hour pricing, too. I celebrated my AFBA member friendships with a few glasses of Champagne-- a delightful steal at $4 per flute.

Happy Hour at The Highball runs from 4-7:00 pm, Monday through Friday, and features select draft beers for $4, well drinks for $5, Lone Stars for $2, and House red and white wine and Champagne for $4. On Wednesdays, Happy Hour extends to 11:00 pm, and Sunday through Thursday, 'Happy Meals'-- a Lone Star beer and a well shot--are offered for $5, all day long. 

Below, find some of my favorite bites--

 Cashews, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, and almonds.

with Ketchup & Aioli.

Lime, cotija cheese, cucumber, baby carrots, celery, red peppers, seeded crackers, baby romaine lettuce leaves, radish.

Black-eyed peas, cucumber, radish, fried avocado, herbs.

 White BBQ dipping sauce with brown sugar candied bacon.

 Selection of three cheeses. Smoked almonds, fig jam, seeded crackers.

Choose Allan Benton's Country Ham, Spanish Chorizo or Tasso. With B&B pickles, Shiner Bock honey mustard, warm bread.  

Dr. Pepper BBQ, peanuts, scallions.

Two boneless thighs, pickle juice-brined, black pepper & honey.

Mickey's beef & Shiner Bock chili, Fritos, cheddar cheese, cotija cheese, red onions, lime sour cream, scallions. Add a fried sunny egg or sliced avocado for $1.50 more. 

Fresh corn, red peppers, Cholula-lime butter.
Housemade vanilla bean & rum pudding, bananas, vanilla wafers, whipped cream. 

Make it a night with a visit to the +Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar, then head next door to continue the fun. Check out the weekly schedule: 

9pm | Motown Monday starring Matchmaker Band &
The Nightowls
8pm | Cards Against Highball | The card game for terrible
people - now with prizes!
10pm | Tittie Bingo | Porn parodies minus the sex, plus bingo.
8pm | Geeks Who Drink Pub Quiz
8pm | Texas Thursday: Honkey-tonk, blues and western bands.
10:30pm | Action Pack Dance Party: A different decade-styled
party every week.

Plus, all weekend long we’ve got a rotation of bands,
comedy shows, and other live events. Check
theHighball.com for our full listings!

Below, find the species #crazybloggersasaurus doing their blogging thang in their natural habitat. According to custom, certainly, all food should be consumed past its prime, preferably 10-15 minutes after the actual service, and allowed to get cold while brought to the flattering natural light of the window for their closeup. This is the blogging way. Yours truly, bottom left.

Photo by Linda Nguyen of Girl Eats World

Farmers Market Favorite
Duck Egg Omelet | Crabmeat | Caramelized Onion | Chevre | Microgreens

The past weekend in Austin was stunningly beautiful-- sunny and surprisingly temperate for a Texas September-- just enough encouragement to remind us that, indeed, it will fall below 90 degrees some day. I spent time at two of our Texas Farmers' Markets, chatting up the marketeers and convincing folks to give something new a try. I think I made believers out of several food-loving patrons with a chef demo comparing chicken and duck eggs, offering a tasty bite to sample and test our collective theories.

Have you tried duck eggs? I may have been forever and firmly in the heck no category prior to raising ducks on my farm a few years back. By default, first, and by my stellar palate, after, I became an enthusiastic fan of the big golden-yolked treasures. I know a few who turn their noses up at the thought-- oh you know who you are!--assuming that the egg will taste gamey, like duck meat occasionally does. My experience suggests there is a slight difference-- but not at all gamey. Duck eggs taste richer, and cooked, are a bit fluffier, likely because there is a greater ratio of yolk to egg white in duck eggs as opposed to chicken and their relative water content is lower. They are larger than chicken eggs, from slightly larger, to markedly so, and ounce for ounce, they are a bit higher in calorie and cholesterol count, but also higher in protein. They are an excellent source of Omega-3 and monounsaturated fat, a good fat found also in avocados, olives and nuts.

Below, find a quick and easy, but delightfully decadent Duck Egg Omelet, filled with products sourced solely from the market. Duck eggs from Belle Vie Farm and Countryside Farm, claw crabmeat (swooon) from K&S Seafood, chevre from Pure Luck Dairy, and microgreens from Joe's Organics. These items are available seasonally in Texas right now. Visit your city's farmer market to source wholesome, top quality choices of each ingredient in your region.

C'mon. Take a walk on the wild side you culinary rebel. Step away from the usual and ordinary, and try a duck egg! Crack that shell...and Whip it good!

Serves 6


½ stick unsalted butter
2 large yellow onions, halved, and sliced into uniform half-moons
1 dozen duck eggs
¼ cup half & half, divided
½ pound claw crabmeat
4 ounces chevre
½ cup trimmed arugula, or favorite, microgreens
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Caramelize Onions

In a medium omelet pan or skillet, melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter over medium heat. Add sliced yellow onions. Stirring frequently,allow onion to very slowly brown until golden, about 20 minutes.

Assemble Filling

Prepare 3 small bowls, each, containing claw crabmeat, chevre, crumbled, and microgreens, trimmed.

Mix Batter

In a large mixing bowl, crack eggs. Add about half of the half & half. Fold in caramelized onions. Salt and pepper full surface. Mix well.

Now, you're going to have to hold your mouth jussst right. See? Like kind of goofy and off kilter. Yeah, that's it. Perfect.
Prepare omelet

In a medium omelet pan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter. Add enough batter to cover the bottom of the pan (about ½-1 cup). Allow to bubble and set, leaving untouched. When edges firm, slightly lift the edges, gently, tilting the pan and allowing  still-liquid batter to run under the solid egg. Add crabmeat and chevre to one half of the omelet. Cook until top is just under being fully set (the heat of the folded top will help finish cooking the interior without overcooking, which makes for a tough omelet). With a sturdy spatula, carefully slide under half, tilting pan slightly, and gently cover the opposite half and filling. Remove from heat when bottom is browned, slightly. Garnish with microgreens. Serve.

Interested in eating locally, seasonally and sustainably? If you're in the Austin area, please stop by for a chat at the Texas Farmers' Market's Lakeline and Mueller locations, where I demonstrate ways to use that bountiful market basket of wholesome ingredients to get the most bang for your buck, and produce delicious meals simply, affordably, deliciously. Please consult the market calendar for upcoming appearances. I'd love to visit with you there!

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