FARMERS MARKET FAVORITE | Simple Glazed Carrots | Maggie Perkins


With the help of quality ingredients like two of my Texas Farmers Market favorites, Blood Orange Cranberry Pomegranate jam from Stellar Gourmet, and Texas Hill Country Olive Company's white lemon Balsamic, dressing up fresh from the field vegetables like these pretty rainbow-hued carrots courtesy of JBG Organic, makes a simple, nutritious side on the way to your table with little fuss and a lot of flavor in under 30 minutes.

Carrots cooked to a crisp-tender stage will retain most of their heat-hardy beta carotene. Overcooking carrots diminishes their strong nutritional profile and maximum flavor, so we've sort of steamed/boiled these little sweeties very quickly, then allowed the glaze to get a little caramelization going to create texture and layers of flavor.

An excellent source of beta carotene, the antioxidant named for the vegetable, a one cup serving of carrots contains over 100% of the the daily recommended vitamin A intake, and is also an above-average source of biotin, vitamin K, fiber, potassium, some B vitamins and vitamin C.

Carrots can be stored fresh for up to 2 weeks without diminishing the majority of its nutrients. Wrap in a damp paper towel and store in a humid section of your refrigerator, usually the vegetable crisper. Remove greens and store separately-- they will deplete the carrot of moisture and cause them to go limp.


A note about ingredients: I can't recommend these two ingredients from TFM vendors Stellar Gourmet and Texas Hill Country Olive Company highly enough-- they are among my favorite prepared products at the market, however should you find yourself without access to them, your favorite jam and balsamic vinegar can be used. Follow the same recipe substituting your choices, and you'll find the same great results.


Blood Orange Cranberry Pomegranate Glazed Carrots

1 bunch small carrots, sliced into coins
½ cup water
1T Stellar Gourmet Blood Orange Cranberry Pomegranate jam
1T Texas Hill Country Olive Company White Lemon Balsamic
Garnish: Chopped fresh mint, if desired.

Over medium high heat, add water and carrots to a heavy pan. Cook, covered, until water is reduced by half and carrots are just tender. Add Stellar Gourmet jam and balsamic vinegar, stirring and coating carrots well. Continue to cook, uncovered, until liquid is reduced and syrupy.


Looking for more ways to optimize your farmers market fresh haul? Try two quick and easy seasonal recipes that proved to be big crowd pleasers recently, Balsamic Dijon Glazed Japanese Turnips, and Duck Leg Confit with Balsamic Braised Cabbage.

Disclosure: As Market Chef for the Texas Farmers Markets, I am provided vendor food free of charge in exchange for developing recipes to share with market-goers.

Wishing you a delicious day!
Maggie


FARMERS MARKET FAVORITE | Balsamic Dijon Glazed Japanese Turnips | Maggie C. Perkins



Introducing shoppers to vegetables they've either never tried, or never liked before is one of the best parts of my job as market chef. This weekend, many turnip haters were converted! One young toddler fussed as his mother pulled him away from the samples-- he continued to push his third serving into his mouth while he reached for more. Good for Mom for introducing him to a variety of fresh, seasonal vegetables at a young age. He'll be reaching past empty calories and making healthier choices early and often.

Turnips are a root vegetable in the Brassicaceae family, which also includes cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts. They are available almost year-round as a storage vegetable, freshly harvested in the cool weather months. Look for small to medium tubers that are firm-- they will have a sweet and peppery taste, but grow woody and bitter as they grow larger and mature.

Turnips are high in Vitamin C, providing almost 50% of the RDA of this nutrient per serving. And don't toss those greens! Remove turnip greens once home, and use quickly; they lose nutrients rapidly, but boast 4 times the amount of calcium as milder greens like cabbage. Add them to soups, stews, smoothies. Saute them with a little garlic and maybe a piece of smoked port. Mince fine and tuck them into purees and casseroles. You might even chop them and add them to this quick saute for added nutrient value. Prefer your side a little sweet? A small squeeze of honey towards the end of cooking is a nice option, too.

These Balsamic Dijon Glazed Japanese Turnips were prepared for the Texas Farmers Markets with vendor products and produce provided for demonstration. To find specific contributions, find that recipe posted on the TFM website here. Thank you to vendors Johnson's Backyard Garden, Texas Hill Country Olive Oil, and Pogue Mahone Pickles for working with me, and making my job look so easy.

I'd serve these Balsamic Dijon Glazed Japanese Turnips with a roasted chicken or braised beef, and I think they'd be an ideal addition to the holiday table.


Balsamic Mustard Glazed Japanese Turnips

Serves 2
3 small Japanese turnips (or any small, seasonal turnip)
½ cup water
1T Dijon mustard
2T Balsamic vinegar
1T chopped fresh mint, optional

To a medium saucepan over medium high heat, add turnip pieces and water. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until water is reduced by approximately half, and turnips are just tender. Stir in mustard, and balsamic vinegar, allow to come to a rolling simmer, stirring frequently, and cook uncovered until liquid is fully reduced. Garnish with fresh mint if using, toss to blend, and serve.


This weekend at the market's chef demo, I prepared 3 simple, crowd-pleasing side dishes using only a few ingredients each-- and all available at the market. Eating healthy and well need not be complicated or time-consuming when you have access to high quality ingredients. Visit your farmstands, markets, and green grocers this weekend and see the bounty of fresh-from-the-field vegetables your local farmers offer.

Adapting these techniques to your seasonal choices is easy, too! Mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and winter squashes-- all could take a little toss in the pan in combination with or substituted for these sweet little turnips. Check out yesterday's Duck Leg Confit with Braised Red Cabbage for inspiration, and keep an eye out for Blood Orange Cranberry Pomegranate Glazed Carrots, later this week on Notes from Maggie's Farm.

Wishing you a delicious day!
Maggie


FARMERS MARKET FAVORITE | Duck Leg Confit with Balsamic Braised Cabbage | Maggie C Perkins


Delicious need not be complicated. With a few high quality ingredients, less is more with this Farmers Market Favorite Duck Leg Confit with Balsamic Braised Red Cabbage, prepared over the weekend for the Texas Farmers Markets. With just 3 ingredients, one pan, and 20 minutes from cutting board to plate, this proven crowd pleaser is a cook's dream.

Duck Leg Confit with Braised Red Cabbage
Serves 2

1 Belle Vie Farm and Kitchen duck leg confit
1 small head red cabbage, shredded
1T Texas Hill Country Olive Company Fig Balsamic Vinegar




In a heavy saucepan over medium high heat, add duck leg and accompanying duck fat to pan, stirring to allow fat to melt, and meat to soften. Pull meat off of the bone with a fork. Add shredded cabbage, reduce heat to medium, and continue to saute, stirring frequently, until cabbage is just wilted. Pour vinegar over all, toss well, continue to cook until fat and vinegar are reduced completely.

Note: If you haven't the fortune of living close to Belle Vie Farm and Kitchen, duck leg confit can be found in gourmet grocery stores in the charcuterie or deli sections. You can also order online from D'artagnan, here, or make your own! (Find a simple recipe, here.)


Interested in other ways to prepare quick, seasonal vegetables? This week on Notes from Maggie's Farm, I'll share simple preparations that taste anything but, with a few of my favorite farmers market vendor products and foods. Stay tuned for Balsamic Mustard Glazed Japanese Turnips and Blood Orange Cranberry Pomegranate Glazed Carrots, two dishes perfect for the holiday table and beyond. 

Wishing you a delicious day!
Maggie


FARMERS MARKET FAVORITE | Sweet Potato Bacon Chowder


BRRRRR! Soup weather has arrived with a vengeance! Keep your kitchen AND your tummy warm with this quick, seasonal soul satisfier. It's packed with potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and high in fiber to keep you healthy, warm, and full.

Sweet Potato Bacon Chowder
by Market Chef Maggie Perkins


1 pkg. Belle Vie Farm & Kitchen Bacon
2 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed well and cubed
1 bunch scallion, minced, whites and greens separated
1 pint Belle Vie Farm & Kitchen duck bone broth
1 pint water
16 oz unsweetened almond coconut milk
In a heavy dutch oven or saucepan, render fat from bacon over medium heat. Add cubed sweet potatoes and cook, stirring frequently, until edges slightly brown. Stir in minced scallion whites, then add duck bone broth and water. Cook, covered, over medium high heat until sweet potatoes are slightly tender.
Meanwhile, fry bacon in a small saucepan, turning frequently until slightly crisp. Drain on paper towel, crumble and reserve.

When sweet potatoes have softened, reduce heat to medium, add remaining scallions and bacon, and cook for 10 minutes longer.
Finish by stirring in nut milk (or substitution), season with sea salt and coarse pepper to taste, slowly warm to serving temperature.
Note: Suitable substitutions for duck bone broth would be chicken, turkey, or vegetable stock. Whole cow’s milk, half and half, or your favored milk replacement may be used in exchange for almond coconut milk.
Serves 4.

Read more about the nutrient dense sweet potato here
Disclosure: Recipe prepared for and originally posted with Texas Farmers Market. Thanks go to Belle Vie Farm and Johnson's Backyard Garden for food and produce provided without charge for market promotion.


If you find yourself in the Austin area this weekend, I'd love to see your smiling face! Stop by the Texas Farmers Markets at Lakeline on Saturday and  TFM Mueller on Sunday for a hearty, seasonal bite, advice on what to do with your seasonal market haul, and a stroll around Austin's bustling favorite community markets.

And STAY WARM out there!

Wishing you a delicious day!

Maggie

Holiday Tamales with Maggie C. Perkins | December Classes & Events


It’s a Texas tradition, y’all!

Holiday tamales grace the countertops and tables of traditional Texans at potlucks, company dinners, glittering soirees, and Christmas Eve feasts alike during this season. Learn how to make your own and bring this tamalada tradition to your own family and friends.

Over the last decade plus a few, I've produced holiday tamales for hundreds of Central Texans, both solo, and with the help of many friends, and have shipped to returning customers from outlying states, as well. I'll bring stories, recipes, techniques and tips to the table in this intimate hands-on class where you will learn to make tamales from the husk up, and bring home a dozen of your own to share-- or not, heck I won’t tell.

Your tamalada tradition recipe packet will include recipes for each filling below, as well as for traditional and vegetarian masa, a list of resources, and tips for pulling together a holiday tamale feast.

Grab a spot quickly in one of four December classes-- space is limited and, well, TAMALES.

Find complete class listings at Kitchen Underground, or click on the links below to go straight to that class's ticket page.

Wednesday, December 7 | Green Chile Chicken

Thursday, December 8 | Red Chile Pork

Wednesday, December 14 | Smoked Brisket

Thursday, December 15 | Black Bean & Cheese

NOTE: Does this mean I'm selling tamales this year, again, finally? Why YES, it DOES. A small batch (NOT the hundreds of dozens my friends and I handled one year) of tamales will be sold and available for delivery, pickup, or shipping on December 16-18. To inquire or place an order, shoot me an email, and I'll get back to you regarding pricing and availability. 


Tamales not your thing? I'm offering the last beginning bread baking classes of the year on Tuesday, December 6, and Tuesday December 20. Space is limited so grab your seat fast! Learn class details by following the links, or referring to this Kitchen Underground class listing roster.


And should you find yourself at Austin-area farmers markets in December, stop by for a tasty fresh bite and a visit at chef demos for Texas Farmers Market Lakeline on December 10, and Texas Farmers Market Mueller on December 11. I'd love to see you there!


Tips for Tuesday | Roasted Shrimp Powder | Maggie C Perkins

I think it was probably that stash of used aluminum foil, carefully ironed out by hand and folded only enough to fit properly in its quarter of the drawer. Next to its drawer mates, all of the rubber bands collected from the morning newspaper. The third quarter housed reusable plastic bowl covers. I believe the fourth quarter had some other repurposed purpose, but the particular item escapes me (and my brother won't answer my text.)

Granny Mac also had plastic bottles into which the leftover restaurant condiment packets were emptied. She had an entire bottle of Roy Rogers' barbecue sauce in the fridge, yet I never remember actually going to Roy Rogers. She handed over aluminum pot pie tins for my brother and me to create a backyard 'kitchen' of creatively garnished mudpies, and near-emptied dish detergent bottles were our bubbles. And then our squirt guns.

We used old furniture casters as cars, and our racetrack was the oval, braided rug in the back room. When clouds loomed, she set out large empty tubs in the back yard to collect rainwater (back before air pollution was even a thing) for soft hair and softer clothes.

So when folks ask me why I resist just throwing stuff away, well I trace it back to that stash of aluminum foil. My grandmother grew up in the depression-- the big one before the others, and she was clever and practical. There was no reduce reuse recycle in her homekeeping lexicon. She needed no ad campaign to encourage her thrift. She learned it from her own mother, a widow farmer raising two children in tight times.

I doubt shrimp was on their menu very often, if at all, but thanks to the thrifty ways she handed down to her granddaughter, I can justify the budget splurge by not wasting one. little. bit. Beyond stock and bone broth, which shrimp shells will find their way into frequently, I have another little trick to help shrimp yield its full flavor, and value.


Roasted Shrimp Powder

On their way to a Shrimp and Mirliton dressing (that I hope to share before the next big holiday feast), these shrimp were deveined with shells on by simply using a sharp paring knife along the curve of the shrimp's back, and removing the black trail of....stuff, without disturbing the shells.

I laid them out on a cast iron, or other oven safe pan in a single layer and seasoned them lightly with my go-to homemade seasoning salt. Use your favorite blend like Tony Chachere's or any other Cajun seasoning, or go rogue and sprinkle on your own mixture of salt, pepper, spices, etc, or use none at all.

In a 350℉ preheated oven, roast shrimp for 3 or so minutes or until shells remove easily from shrimp flesh. Let cool to handle, then peel shrimp, reserving shells. Send your peeled shrimp off to their final destination for cooking, concentrating on the shells, only, at this stage. Return shells to pan in a single layer, reduce heat to 300℉, and roast about 45 minutes, or until completely dry and crisp. Remove from oven and allow to cool about 5 minutes.

When cool to the touch, transfer shells in small portions to an electric spice or coffee grinder. (Additional tip: keep flavors clear by cleaning your grinder frequently-- I grind rice and discard, and wipe any additional residue with a slice of bread.)

Collect your shrimp powder in a clean, reusable jar. Keep refrigerated and use within a few months for the sake of freshness.

WHAT THE HECK DO I DO WITH IT you ask? and WHY?

Besides being a jarful of briny beauty, shrimp powder, or rather the shells from which it is made, is primarily chitin, also called chitosan, which is a source of organic fiber. Along with other purported benefits, chitin has been suggested as a food supplement to control cholesterol and triglycerides.

Use your roasted shrimp powder anytime you'd like a little taste of the sea. It seasons soups, stews, curries, and stir fries. It punches up bone broth and stocks for a quick snack. It tastes great simply sprinkled over salads and sides. It creates unique flavors for sauces, and can be used to make compound butters with the addition of your favorite herbs, or simply solo.

So tell me, what are your favorite homemade thrift tales? What do you use/do/create to extend value and save the budget? I'd love to share your suggestions in upcoming Tips for Tuesday posts. Comment below, reply via social media, or shoot me an email. I can't wait to hear your hints and tips!


In the Garden: July
Monthly guide for gardening tasks, forecasts, and more



"Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability." 
- Sam Keen  

Fertilize: Give annuals a complete fertilizer. Water well before and after application. Deadhead and fertilize roses. Fertilize young fruit trees (except pears) with a 3-1-2 ratio product at 1-2 cups per inch of trunk diameter.

Water: Water all planted areas deeply but infrequently during dry periods. Outdoor container plants need daily watering. Consider landscaping with drought resistant native plants in the future.

Soil: Mulch all bare soil. Turn compost pile and add new ingredients. Clean up spring vegetable gardens and replenish with compost.


Lawn Care:   Mow every 5-7 days and leave the clippings on the lawn. Watch for take-all patch. Set mower higher in shady areas to promote denser turf.

Diseases/Pests to Look for: 
spider mites, leaf rollers, lacebugs and aphids, chinch bugs, fleas, ticks, chiggers and grubs in lawns;
scale insects on euonymus, hollies, peaches and plums;
webworms in pecans and persimmons;
powdery mildew on crape myrtles and roses;
aphids on crape myrtle, roses and Mexican milkweed;
scale on peaches and plums.
Remove any diseased leaves from beds; do not add to compost.

Prune:   Remove vigorous growth from center of peach and plum trees to prevent shading of fruiting shoots. Tip new blackberry canes at 4’ to force side branches. Prune dead and damaged wood from trees and shrubs as needed.


Things To Plant In July:

Flower Plants:
ageratum, ajuga, alpine aster, balsam, blue daze, boltonia, cockscomb, silver dollar plant, periwinkle, portulaca, purslane, gloriosa daisy, mexican bush sage, sedum, stoke's aster, wax begonia, wishbone flower, vinca, zinnia

Flower Seeds:
ageratum, balsam, castor bean, cleome, cockscomb, cosmos, four-o'clock, gaillardia, impatiens, marigold, moonflower, morning glory, periwinkle, portulaca, tithonia, torenia, vinca, zinnia

Bulbs:
autumn crocus, liriope, lycoris, monkey grass



Vegetables
  • Early—Mid Month: Pumpkin, Sweet Potato    
  • Mid—Late Month: Corn, Eggplant, Peppers, Tomatoes
Additional to-dos:
  • Gather herbs and flowers to dry.
  • Preserve the bounty by freezing, canning or drying vegetables and fruits.



  • Plan fall gardens and prepare beds by removing perennial weeds before tilling

  • Add compost and fertilizer.

  • Drink lots of water,



Gardening tasks courtesy of the Garden Guide for Austin & Vicinity, published by the Travis County Master Gardener Association, copyright 2000-2002

Farmers Market Favorite
Summer Tomato Ratatouille


Ratatouille is a traditional French Provençal stewed vegetable dish, originating in Nice. Though referred to commonly as ratatouille niçoise, ratatouille is popular among the entire Mediterranean coast as an easy summer dish. Wikipedia


Summer Tomato Stovetop Ratatouille
Serves 6

All vegetables sourced from Texas Farmers' market vendor Johnson’s Backyard Garden.

Ingredients

¼ cup grapeseed oil, divided
1 large clove elephant garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 leek, sliced, separated into ringlets, rinsed thoroughly and dried by squeezing in paper toweling
1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced
4 sweet peppers, sliced thinly (we used banana peppers, bell peppers, and Italian peppers)
Assorted in-season tomatoes, chopped, to yield 4-5 cups
1 small bunch fresh basil, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
_____________________


In a large, heavy saucepan, heat a small layer of oil over medium, to medium high heat to shimmering. Add garlic to heated oil and sauté, stirring constantly, about one minute.

Add sliced leeks to garlic in oil. Sauté, continually stirring, for about a minute, or until limp.

Add diced eggplant to mixture. Stirring frequently, cook until eggplant is tender. (Eggplant will soak up oil. Add oil as needed to prevent ingredients from sticking to the pan.)

Add sweet peppers and tomatoes to tender eggplant. Continue cooking over medium heat as tomatoes release juices and peppers reach tender-crisp stage, about 15 minutes.

Add minced fresh basil to pan, tossing to incorporate. Season well with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for additional 5 minutes, or until all vegetables are soft and seasonings are well-incorporated.


Serve warm as a side dish, sandwich filling, pizza topping, or complement to meat, poultry, seafood or cheese.

This dish was prepared as a Chef Demo for local Texas Farmers Market, where I work as market chef, preparing seasonal dishes with best of the market ingredients monthly at both TFM Lakeline and TFM Mueller markets. All vegetables were donated by Johnson's Backyard Garden

If you find yourself in the Austin area next month, I will be at the TFM Lakeline market from 10-12noon, August 13, and the TFM Mueller market from 11-1pm, August 14. Bring your seasonal food questions and an appetite! I'd love to chat.


Home Cheesemaking 201
Zilker Brewing Company | Kitchen Underground


Hey food friends! You asked for it, you GOT it. A second class in the Home Cheesemaking series will be held Thursday, May 26, 2016.  Find the details below, and information on grabbing a ticket here. Class size is limited so grab your spot ASAP!

You are a cheesemaker! Sound impossible? Well it's not. It's absolutely within reach of beginning and experienced cooks alike. 

In the second class of this beginning series, local food writer and market chef Maggie Perkins will lead you beyond your first cheesemaking experience, into delicious, wholesome, homemade soft cheeses.

You'll taste and learn how to make cultured butter, cultured buttermilk, sour cream, cream cheese, yogurt, and Labneh, a traditional Middle Eastern yogurt cheese. You’ll even take home your very own jar or olive-oil marinated Labneh balls, prepared in class, as well as a packet of recipes to keep your skills fresh.

Thursday, May 26th

6:30-9:00

Class will be held at Zilker Brewing Co. (1701 E. 6th. Street). Beer will be available for purchase.


Let's get CHEESY, y'all. Looking forward to seeing you there!



Farmers Market Favorite | French Bean & Potato Salad with Aioli


Employing the old adage what grows together, goes together this weekend at the market, we prepared a simple, classic French potato salad using the best of farmers' harvests, and a favorite vendor condiment. Find the basic recipe below, and following, additions and adjustments for carnivores and vegans, alike.


Green beans are in season in southern markets this month, so with that morsel in mind, and without a recipe, I set out for the market looking for inspiration for my monthly chef demo. I wanted to keep it simple, seasonal, and market-sustainable; that is I wanted to use only ingredients available at the market. A quick perusal of the always-generous Johnson's Backyard Garden market stall set the tune-- young green beans rubbed shoulders with small, freshly dug potatoes, jewel-red onions, and flat-leaf parsley. The culinary stage was set, as I swung by the booth of Stellar Gourmet, for a sampling of their popular aioli. I had a stash of Texas Hill Country Olive Company extra virgin olive oil, and a little salt and pepper. I was golden.

Here, the basics:


French Bean & Potato Salad with Aioli
Yield: 6 servings



Ingredients

6 small potatoes, quartered
½ pound young green beans, trimmed, sliced
½ cup Stellar Gourmet aioli
1 cup flat leaf parsley, minced
3T extra virgin olive oil
2 small red onions, halved and sliced thinly
Salt and Pepper to taste.

In a large Dutch oven, bring potatoes to a boil in salted water, reduce heat, and cook until fork tender, about 15 minutes.  Strain from boiling water and drain. Reserve.

Prepare an ice bath in a large mixing bowl by filling ½ with water, and adding a cup or two of ice cubes. Reserve.

Bring water back to a boil (adding salted water if necessary), and add green beans. Reduce heat to a medium boil and cook beans until just tender, about 3-5 minutes. Shock green beans (to retain bright green color and retard further cooking) by removing from pot with a slotted spoon and placing in ice bath, above. Allow to cool about a minute, then remove and drain on paper toweling.

Prepare dressing by combining aioli, parsley, and olive oil. Mix well, then add potatoes, green beans, and sliced onion, folding gently. Serve chilled, warmed, or room temperature.


Variations on a theme

While potatoes and green beans are the basic building blocks of this dish, a few substitutions, additions, and adjustments can be made to suit individual preference:

  • Try a little lemon juice, or the zest of a lemon
  • Toss whole garlic cloves or garlic scapes in with the boiling water if you just can't get enough garlic (and need to keep vampires at bay?)
  • Add chopped celery, sliced radishes, sliced scallions, olives, cornichon, dill or sweet pickle, or capers to the salad. 
  • Turn a side into a hearty main dish with the addition of bits of smoked pork or bacon. Try serving with hanks of leftover roasted chicken. And in my mind, shrimp goes with everything.
  • Add fresh, chopped herbs like tarragon, thyme, or chervil, or dried herbs such as Herbes de Provence or Fines herbes
  • Substitute alioli for the aioli suggested for a no-egg vegan version.
  • Blend your favorite mayonnaise, minced garlic, and a squeeze of lemon juice in a blender or food processor to closely approximate the flavor of aioli


So what is the difference between alioli and aioli you ask? 

Arguments abound, most suggesting it is the same sauce just incorrectly spelled by the offender. Am I just misspelling? Trying to put the difference in words was challenging me, however. Research unearthed the same question on GoodFood.com, and the answer so spot-on, I cede to their authority:
I read recently somewhere that allioli was a sauce from Provence. I always thought it was Catalan. M. Brun
It's amazing how fiercely one can defend a national dish.....Allioli is from a family of oil and garlic-based-emulsion sauces found around the Mediterranean rim. Pliny the Elder, based in Roman Tarragona in the first century AD, observed a sauce made only with garlic, oil and a little vinegar. Tarragona sits in the south of Catalonia. Allioli, pronounced ah-ee-ohlee, is a Catalan emulsion sauce made with pounded garlic, olive oil and a little salt. That's it. In his authoritative book Catalan Cuisine Colman Andrews quotes an old Catalan saying, "allioli made with egg is just fancy mayonnaise". In greater Spain it is called alioli (ah-lee-ohlee) and is often made with egg. Aioli is another garlic and oil emulsion sauce from Provence in France. This velvety garlic mayonnaise is emulsified with raw egg yolk and is famously napped over morsels of fish in the fish stew bourride.
Texas Farmers' Market vendor Stellar Gourmet produces BOTH aioli and alioli so be sure to look them up on your next visit to the market and learn more about the versatility of this classic sauce. 

If, by poor fortune, you're nowhere close to a Stellar Gourmet booth, learn how to make your own Aioli or Alioli. The challenge is to find a source that correctly represents the TWO sauces. A good recipe for Aioli can be found here, and a good recipe for Alioli, below

THEY ARE NOT THE SAME THING. Whew. I got that off my chest.  
Alioli | Olive Oil and Garlic Sauce Traditional Recipe: adapted from Spanishfood.com
Ingredients
1 cup extra virgin olive oil6 garlic clovesa pinch of saltmortar (ideally marble) and wooden pestle
Chop the garlic cloves and put in mortar with salt.Using a cruet, slowly drizzle the olive oil into the mortar, while stirring the oil and garlic with the other hand, non stop. A thick, uniform paste will form, that will grow as you pour in oil. Remember that you must not stop stirring. You know that Alioli is ready when it has a very thick consistency.  
At the TFM Mueller chef demo, we used award-winning Pogue Mahone pickles, chopped, with a little pickle juice used to thin the alioli dressing. It created a completely different flavor profile, with heavy dill tones that were favored by many visitors used to a mustard-based potato salad.
If you find yourself in the Austin area in the month of June, please drop by the Texas Farmers' Market Lakeline on Saturday, June 11, 10-12 noon, and the Texas Farmers' Market Mueller on Sunday, June 12, 11-1 pm, for a visit and a tasty bite during my monthly market chef demo. Come with questions and let's put our heads together to figure out the best, healthiest, and most efficient use of your bountiful market haul. I'll be happy to see you there!

In the Garden: April
Monthly guide for gardening tasks, forecasts, and more

UPDATE: This In the Garden, monthly guide for April has been updated with new gardening tasks and scheduled plantings, and Farmers' Almanac weather forecasts and moon phases for April 2016. 

Thinking about starting a new hobby? Maybe grow a bit of your own food or flower this year? Get growing and going with this post from the archives, Preparing Your (New or Existing) Garden.


April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.

  ~William Shakespeare

The subtle signs of the season are springing up around the Texas Hill Country. Chilly mornings warm to sunny afternoons.  Tender green-leafed branches provide the perfect stage for the trill of birdsong. Winter's thaw yields a riotous profusion of color soon-- the bluebonnets are already dotting roadsides, to be accompanied by wildflowers of yellows, oranges, reds, and purples so vivid they seem to have been hand-painted.  

It promises to be another glorious Texas spring. 



In the Garden: April 

In this post, find information about gardening in general, and planting advice specifically for USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 8. To find the USDA zone in which you garden, consult the map, below, or visit usda.gov, and adjust planting dates accordingly.  




Fertilize: Tomatoes and peppers should be fed with a liquid fertilizer. Feed crape myrtle beneath the branch spread with 1/3 cup complete fertilizer per sq. yd. After second mowing, fertilize lawn with 3-1-2 ratio product; aerate first, if needed. Fertilize all houseplants with complete fertilizer.

Mulch trees, shrubs, vegetable garden and flower beds (after soil has warmed) with 2-4 inches of mulch. Pine needles and oak leaves make a good mulch for acid-loving plants. Spread coffee grounds around azaleas and other acid-loving plants.

Water: Water as needed.

Transplant: Divide and transplant late summer-and fall-flowering bulbs. Container-grown plants (almost any kind) can go into the ground now. Plant summer annuals to get their root systems established before the extreme heat arrives.

Lawn Care: Plant grass sod or plugs. Water daily for one or two weeks to establish. Begin regular lawn care. Mow every 5-7 days, leaving the clippings on the lawn. Keep St. Augustine grass at 2-1/2 to 3 inches.

SOUTH CENTRAL WEATHER FORECAST | APRIL 2016

1st-3rd. Stormy weather conditions. 4th-7th. Sunshine, dry weather. 8th-11th. Blustery winds spread east. 12th-15th. Fair skies prevail for most areas. 16th-19th. Unsettled weather. 20th-23rd. Potentially severe thunderstorms for Arkansas, down into Louisiana. Storms may be capable of cloud-to-ground lightning, damaging winds, large hail, even tornadoes. 24th-27th. Abundant sunshine. 28th-30th. Clouds, showers move in from the West.


GARDENING BY THE MOON | APRIL 2016

1st-3rd Excellent time to kill weeds, briars, poison ivy, and other plant pests.
4th-5th Set strawberry plants. Excellent for any vine crops, such as beans, peas, and cucumbers. Good days for transplanting. Favorable days for planting root crops.
6th-7th Poor planting days. Break ground or cultivate.
8th-9th Favorable for planting beans, corn, cotton, tomatoes, peppers, and other above-ground crops.
10th-11th Poor days for planting, seeds tend to rot in ground.
12th-13th Plant seedbeds and start flower gardens. Plant tomatoes, beans, peppers, corn, cotton, and other above-ground crops on these most fruitful days.
14th-18th Grub out weeds, briars, and other plant pests.
19th-20th A favorable time for sowing grains, hay, and fodder crops. Plant flowers. Plant corn, melons, squash, tomatoes, and other above-ground crops.
21st-23rd Start seedbeds. First day is a favorable day for planting above-ground crops, especially cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, kale, celery, and other leafy vegetables. Last two days are good days for transplanting. Last two days are also good days for planting beets, carrots, radishes, turnips, peanuts, and other root crops. Also good for Leafy vegetables.
24th-25th Neither plant nor sow on these barren days.
26th-28th Favorable days for planting beets, carrots, turnips, radishes, onions, and other root crops.
29th-30th Excellent time to kill weeds, briars, poison ivy, and other plant pests.


Flower Plants: Ageratum, ajuga, joseph's coat, balsam, wax begonia, blue daze, blue cardinal flower, boltonia, scarlet bouvardia, calico plant, chocolate plant, cigar plant, cockscomb, coleus, columbine, coneflower, copper plant, coreopsis, cosmos, dahlia, shasta daisy, feverfew, geranium, gomphrena, hibiscus, hollyhock, impatiens, jacobinia, lantana, marigold, nierembergia, penta, periwinkle, persian shield, plumbago ,phlox, portulaca, purslane, rudbeckia, salvia, sedum, stokes aster, sunflower, wishbone flower, yarrow, zinnia.


Flower Seeds: Ageratum, balsam, castor bean, celosia, cleome, cockscomb, coleus, coral vine, cosmos, cypress vine, dahlia, coneflower, feverfew, four-o'clock, globe amaranth, gourd, impatiens, linaria, nasturtium, marigold, moonflower, morning glory, periwinkle, petunia, pinks, portulaca, scabiosa, sunflower, sweet pea, tithonia, torensia, vinca, zinnia.

Bulbs: Achimenes, acidanthera, allium, alstroemeria, amarcrinum, amaryllis, ground orchid, caladium, calla, canna, crinum, dahlia, daylily, dietes, ginger, gladiolus, gloriosa daisy, host, spider lily, hyposix, liriope, monkey grass, rain lily, society garlic, tigridia. 



Vegetables: Early to Mid-Month: Pepper, Radish, Squash, Tomato
All Month: Amaranth, Bean, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Muskmelon, Okra, Peanuts, Pumpkin, Southern Pea, Sweet Potato, Tomatillo, Watermelon

Herbs: Anise, star anise, basil, bay, borage, bouncing bet, caraway, catnip, chives, comfrey, costmary, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, scented geranium, germander, horehound, horseradish, lamb's ear, lavender, lemongrass, lemon verbena, mexican mint marigold, monarda, oregano, perilla, rosemary, sage, santolina, summer savory, winter savory, sesame, sorrel, southernwood, tansy, tarragon, thyme, common wormwood, roman wormwood, yarrow.

Fruit: Container grown fruit and nut trees, vines, bushes




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