Eating with the Locals: Farmhouse Delivery Austin

Disclosure: I was given a bushel weekly share of seasonal Farmhouse Delivery produce in exchange for my stint taking over the Instagram mic one Friday through Sunday, Sharing some of the ways I put the beautiful bounty to use, all additional condiments, spices, seasonings, proteins, and more, were added at my own expense. The commentary, over-the-top hashtagging, and preparations are my own.  

For information on CSA shares through Farmhouse Delivery, please follow this link.

My Farmhouse Delivery included green tomatoes, bok choi cabbage, broccoli, Texas grapefruit, Honeycrisp apples, hydroponic lettuce, french breakfast radishes, and cool weather greens. 

I began chronicling with the delight of finding my share parcel carefully perched upon my doorstep one Thursday, noon. Flinging the carton open, all the freshness that awaited me, below.

Inspired, I ran with it all weekend long. I'm still enjoying some of the things I received and produced. (I'm saving the apple kale kimchee, rustic brandied apple sauce, and a few other surprises, for another post!)

We can't wait! #Repost @maggiecperkins with @repostapp.
So excited to receive my basket of #fresh from @farmhousedelivery! I have big plans for this bushel, and I'll be sharing them all weekend via the @farmhousedelivery #instagram account. Stay tuned! #localfarms #vegetables #seasonal #locavore #atxfarmers 

You totally had us with "fried green tomatoes"! #Repost @maggiecperkins with @repostapp.
I'm taking over the Farmhouse Delivery Instagram feed this weekend, enjoying the fruits (and vegetables) of local farmers' labors, beginning with iconic, southern fried green tomatoes, with a creole shrimp cream sauce--stay tuned for details, and follow the action with @farmhousedelivery on Instagram.

Hi friends! Batter up! I'm Maggie, @maggiecperkins here, and with the privilege of a bushel of #FRESH, I'll be taking over the Instagram feed for the weekend. You can catch me in Austin's food world as marketing coordinator and guest chef with @texasfarmersmarket, managing the excitement of @austineatsfoodtours, and blogging all about it on #NotesFromMaggiesFarm, at Starting with an iconic Southern favorite, #FriedGreenTomatoes with a Creole Shrimp Cream Sauce. Stay tuned! #farmers #localfarms #vegetables #southernfood #farmtotable #locavore

Hi friends! @maggiecperkins here, eating these @farmhousedelivery #greentomatoes, Southern fried, with a #creole #shrimp cream sauce, #extraspicy! Hearty enough for supper, with a simply-dressed salad of @farmhousedelivery greens. #maggiemakesdinner #NotesFromMaggiesFarm #FriedGreenTomatoes #FRESH #southernfood #farmtotable #foodblogger

I'm saving my #greentomato scraps to make #homemade #vinegar. In a large jar, combine 2c scraps, 4c water, 1t brown sugar. Cover with muslin, and place out of direct sunlight to ferment for 8 weeks. Strain through several layers of cheesecloth, then cover with a lid, letting sit, undisturbed, another 4 weeks. Strain liquid, again, into clean storage bottle or jar, cap and label. Today, I'm experimenting with the addition of #cardamom to the mix. #fermentation #diy #kitchenproject #homemadevinegar #useitall #foodblogger #NotesFromMaggiesFarm

Hi friends, @maggiecperkins here, with a quick lunch from my @farmhousedelivery #bokchoy, made from this #NotesFromMaggiesFarm recipe with only 4 ingredients. Pan roasted with toasted sesame oil, glazed with mirin and oyster sauce. Did you know that allowing bok choy to rest for 10 minutes after cutting optimizes its many health benefits? #nutrition #locavore #localfarms #farmtotable #FRESH #superfood #asiangreens #simplerecipe #foodblogger

This #rainyday weather is perfect for a little bit of canning. My friend, Brenda, put by her remaining green tomatoes this morning. Have you ever had this #sweetandsour #southernfood favorite? Perfect with #leftover #turkey. #canning #preserving #puttingby #condiment #kitchenproject #diy #farmtotable #foodblogger #NotesFromMaggiesFarm

Hi friends, Maggie (@maggiecperkins) here. I used the remaining #bokchoy from my @farmhousedelivery bushel, along with #kale, #collards, and #lettuce to make an old, traditionally African soup, learned at the feet of #chefs in #NOLA-- #Gumbo Z'Herbes, made with smoked, dried #chorizo from @daidue, smoked ham, and seasoned with #thyme, #allspice and #cayenne. First you make a roux.... #recipe #foodblogger #farmtotable #creole #neworleans #firstyoumakearoux #NotesFromMaggiesFarm

Two beautiful heads of broccoli from my @farmhousedelivery await me tomorrow, and I think this #orangebeefbroccoli #recipe from #NotesFromMaggiesFarm will be its first use. What are your favorite broccoli dishes/preparations? #broccoli #farmtotable #FRESH #chinesefood #locavore #recipe #foodblogger

Unwilling to get on with her day, @maggiecperkins eats her @farmhousedelivery #FrenchBreakfastRadishes just as the French do-- with butter and fleur de sel, at any time of the day she pleases! Imagining herself in a Paris cafe, she'll take the #frontpage and espresso, black, please. (But she's not done with those radishes yet! Stay tuned!)

Save those #radish greens! Add the tops to #pesto, #soups and #stews (like last night's #Gumbo Z'Herbes), #fermented #kimchee, or a simple prep of #smotheredgreens. Today, @maggiecperkins sautes them briefly with #Speck ham from @antonellischz, adds a dash of #hotpepper vinegar and #fleurdesel, served with #cracklins #cornbread, for a simple but satisfying late lunch. #useitall #farmtotable #localartisan #farmers #quickmeal

Quick Pickled Radishes #NotesfromMaggiesFarm Brine: bring to a boil 1 quart of equal parts water and rice wine vinegar, unseasoned, spiced with about a teaspoon, each, of brown mustard seed, cracked red pepper, coriander seed, fresh ginger, grated, 1/4 c brown sugar (light), and 1tablespoon sea salt. Reduce heat and summer 20 mins. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Cover about 3-4 c combined sliced radishes, chopped radish tops, sliced or whole scallions, baby pearl onions, or any other seasonal fresh vegetables you have on hand, with cooled brine. Weight vegetables with a heavy saucer or plate to keep immersed in brine. Refrigerate for as little as 30 minutes, or as long as 24 hours(flavors will intensify). Serve as complement to meat, poultry, beans, greens, or simply to top fresh lettuce for a refreshing salad. #FRESH #farmtotable #foodblog #recipe. #quickpickles

#Honeycrisp Apples and #Broccoli from @farmhousedelivery are ready for their closeup. They'll have star billing with a simple crumble of bacon, and a dressing of #balsamic, #walnutoil, and #local honey. Keep an eye open for this @maggiecperkins #recipe on #NotesfromMaggiesFarm.

It's been great sharing my @farmhousedelivery bushel with you this weekend! Like what you saw? I'll be sharing these recipes and more on @maggiecperkinsand #NotesfromMaggiesFarm. Please follow along. You guys are great! Calling it a night with local snacks including this goat Gouda and treats from @antonellischz, #honeycrispapple slices from my delivery, and broiled Texas grapefruit slices, also from my @farmhousedelivery bushel. BROWN SUGAR-BROILED TEXAS GRAPEFRUIT SLICES Preheat broiler. Slice grapefruit 1/4 inch thick. Mound brown sugar atop slices. Grate fresh ginger over sugar. Broil on silicone -lined baking sheet until edges brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool. (I eat these beauties peel and all.) Night, y'all!

Thank you to Farmhouse Delivery for the opportunity to create and develop recipes, and savor seasonal vegetables and fruits. A special thank you, also, for the warm welcome of FD's loyal Instagram following. You guys are the best!

For more Instagram food fun, please follow us both at @farmhousedelivery and @maggiecperkins. Can't wait to follow you back!

Austin's Best Bets for Holiday Gluttony Recovery

I can't believe I ate the whole thing! 
Maggie C. Perkins

If the recent glorious gluttonous holiday feasting has you feeling a bit bloated and off your healthiest game, find these favorite Austin-area healthy eating resources for a nutritious nudge of inspiration, encouragement, and self-discipline. Buckling your belt securely, you'll be on your way back to your finest and fittest for the festivities yet to come with the help of these local fitness favorites.

photo courtesy of Skinny Limits

Four levels of cold-pressed, unprocessed raw juice cleanses, including a low-sugar option, with prices beginning at $54.00 for 6-16oz. bottles.

Skinny Limits, with 7 locations for pick-up as well as overnight shipping, offers cleansing programs, as well as a la carte juices and smoothies at 7 locations. Skinny Limits also offers a coaching-supported 3 day cleanse, for those of us who could use a little cheerleading.
photo courtesy of JuiceLand

Four levels of juice cleanses including a build your own option, programs include 6 (16oz) juices, daily, beginning at $53.95.

Juiceland, with 10 Austin-area locations, offers cleansing programs as well as over 75 a la carte juices, smoothies, hot juices, shots, and cocktails, alongside a selection of vegan salads and sides, many gluten-free.

photo courtesy of Juice Society

Cleanse of 1, 2, 3, and 5-day durations, delivered in home, $60.00 per day.

No additives, preservatives, or pasteurization, Juice Society aims to support the organic farming community with their glass-packed hand-crafted, small batch juices. Hand pressed, packed, bottled, and delivered to the Austin-area.

photo courtesy of Daily Juice

Offering 5 unique cleanses comprised of 8-16oz. juices, at around $60 per day.

Daily Juice Café, with 2 Austin-area locations and 2 more on the way, offers a la carte juices and smoothies, grab-and-go salads and sides, to pick up or dine in.

photo courtesy of Daily Greens

Offers cleanses of self-chosen lengths with 3 cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices for $30 a day, available for pick-up or overnight delivery.

Daily Greens juices are available at local markets, as well as the newly-opened Daily Greens Juice Bar, located on Springdale Road. 

photo courtesy of Snap Kitchen

Three juice cleanse programs, ranging from $47-$54, and a build-your-own-option, all with online support, offering delivery or curbside pickup at 3 Austin-area locations.

Snap Commit, a 21-day meal plan of 3 daily calorie ranges priced from $575-$750. Gluten-free, Paleo and vegetarian meal plans also available.

photo courtesy of My Fit Foods

Promotes a 21-Day challenge developed in-store under the guidance of a ‘nutrition coach’, with prices varying according to individual program.

My Fit Foods offers portion-controlled a la carte meals and snacks, as well as nutritional beverages and supplements, at 6 Austin-area locations.

Of Note to the Non-Conformist

Are you a rugged individualist when it comes to food and fitness plans? Like to follow your own road less traveled? Below, find our favorite locals for developing or maintaining your self-guided gluttony recovery plan:

Photos courtesy of Soup Peddler's Real Food & Juice Bar, Mother's Cafe, Counter Culture, Mr. Natural, Casa de Luz, and The Picnik, Austin. 

For a healthy dose of Comfort and Convenience: Soup Peddler’s Real Food & Juice Bar
For Vegetarian and Vegan vittles: Mother’s Café, Counter Culture, and Mr. Natural
For Macrobiotic munchies: Casa de Luz, and Paleo provisions: The Picnik, Austin

Portions of this article were published by CultureMap Austin.

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday
Meet Me at the Market

Mueller Farmers' Market

Farmer’s markets are more than places to buy food. They’re important parts of the community. I meet my neighbors there, and I meet farmers. Since most of us are urbanites, we have very little contact with the countryside, but the countryside always supports the cities. Cities cannot survive without rural areas to feed them. At the farmers market, city meets country. People learn about where their food comes from and the people who grow it.-- Michael Pollan

Red Rabbit Cooperative Bakery

Engel Farms

Bernhardt Farms

Engel Farms

Bernhardt Farms

Kitchen Pride Mushrooms

Johnson's Backyard Gardens


Hairston Creek Farm

Scenes from the Mueller Farmers' Market, Austin, Texas.

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday
Solitude and James Joyce

Padres Island 2014

He was alone.

He was unheeded, happy, and near to the wild heart of life. He was alone and young and wilful and wildhearted, alone amid a waste of wild air and brackish waters and the seaharvest of shells and tangle and veiled grey sunlight.

James Joyce

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Farmers Market Favorite: Spicy Squash Bisque

The first seasonal cool breeze blew through the Hill Country last Saturday morning, and thoughts moved quickly from the autumn salad I had planned to prepare to this silky, slightly spicy, soul-warming Squash Bisque.

With long summers, and mild autumns, you'll often find summer and winter squashes peacefully cohabitating, side by side, on Texas farmers' market tables. We've used patty pan squash from Johnson's Backyard Garden for this particular version, prepared at the Cedar Park and Mueller Farmers' Markets, but if not available in your area, substitute any seasonal squash such as butternut, or acorn winter squashes, zucchini or yellow summer squashes, peeled or unpeeled, according to the thickness of the skin. Alternatively, use frozen squash, oven roasting as directed, below.

This bisque was strained through a chinois, or china cap, therefore peeling, seeding, and/or prepping squash, ginger, and remaining ingredients is unnecessary. Alternative methods for preparation without straining include pureeing with an immersion blender, or cooling slightly, pureeing in a traditional blender, returning to the pan, and heating gently after adding milk or cream.

Serves 4, for entree

2# patty pan squash, sliced
1 large sweet red bell pepper, sliced
2 large New Mexico green chiles, sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 thumb of fresh ginger, grated
1t ground sage
1T white wine vinegar
salt, to taste

1 pint half & half
Chives or Scallions, garnish

Local vendors: Squash, ginger, scallions, and garlic from JBG. Peppers and Chiles from Tecolote Farms. Ground Sage from Organicare Farms. Half & Half from Mill-King.

To get the most flavor from your vegetables, pan or oven roasting are your best bets. Below, find the easiest method for preparation, oven roasting (we prepared our bisque at the market with stovetop only, and a hot, dry, cast iron skillet).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a large, silicone pad or spray-lined baking sheet, strew sliced squash, peppers,and garlic cloves. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Roast in preheated oven until tender, but not browned, about 30 minutes.

In a deep soup pot, add roasted vegetables, ginger, sage, and white wine vinegar. Add water, filling to cover vegetables. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium, simmering for about 15 minutes, or until vegetables begin to break apart. Remove from heat.

With a hand-held immersion blender, puree vegetables in soup pot until smooth. (For additional silkiness, press through a fine-mesh strainer or chinois. Return to pot.) Stir in half & half, adjust salt and seasonings, warm gently. Garnish with chopped chives or sliced scallions. Serve.

 Chili? Gumbo? Chowder? Stew?  What is YOUR favorite first cool snap dish to prepare?

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday
Get Lost

Panna Maria, Texas

“...but I preferred reading the American landscape as we went along. Every bump, rise, and stretch in it mystified my longing.” 
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Halloween Treat (No Trick, Promise.)
A Sweet, Maybe Salty, Maybe Spicy, Nutty, Fruity, Chocolaty-drizzled Popcorn Treat

Why should the kids have all the fun?!  

Whether handing out treats to the wee ones a'knocking, or hitting the streets for raucous, costumed celebration, the big kids about this 'hood will be munching on something a tad more creative, and less sugar-soaked than what fills the ubiquitous plastic pumpkin. 

Play around with the components to suit your fancy. I like it a bit salty, a bit sweet, a bit spicy, and I prefer my chocolate drizzle as delightfully dark as I can find (Because memory, y'all), but any easy-to-find chocolaty meltable bark will work as well. 

Note: To make it an even healthier snack, eschew the candy bark coating, and toss in some semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips. 

It's addictive, friends! You'll find yourself sneaking in from the doorstep duty for nibbles....then perhaps give in to your cravings and bring the entire batch back to your post. Maybe hide it with a towel. Pretend you just have that cheapo taffy you got ten minutes ago at half price you're handing out. 

It really has no name, so let's just go with what it is--

A Sweet, Maybe Salty, Maybe Spicy, Nutty, Fruity, Chocolaty-drizzled Popcorn Treat.

There. Isn't that catchy? 

Prepare popcorn according to package directions. Try kettle corn, it really is perfect for this.  

Strew on Silpat-lined baking sheet. (Alternatively,  spray sheet pan down with silicone cooking spray.) Let it mingle with whatever treats your heart desires-- we used almonds, pistachios, and dried mixed fruits. 

Season with your favorites-- we used a little cayenne on one batch, a little chat masala, a popular salt-bomb of an Indian snack spice mixture, so goooood, on another, and simply a little sea salt on a third batch.

Melt chocolate candy coating according to package directions.  I found mine to be thicker than would easily drizzle (glop!) so I transferred it to a handy-dandy squeeze bottle, and went to town.  Drizzle chocolate over the top, as shown.  Pop the tray into the fridge for a few minutes (Really. It only takes a few minutes to harden.)

Now, I talk a mean game, but I'll break down and share it with the neighborhood kids-- the ones I know (because strange neighbors with unwrapped candy are s-c-a-r-y). This year, and this neighborhood, well it will likely be University of Texas co-eds that gather, and hey, co-eds need treats, too, right? To soak off all that liquor they consume? To have a nutritious snack?

I'll gently break off chunks to share in baking treat bags, and maybe a few in cupcake liners for the kids who hang around to pet the dog. (Jack loves Halloween, but wonders why he can't go door to door with the others, and for research purposes, only, where are the houses with the doggie treats?)

Really, the sharing-- that's important. If I don't, I'll likely eat the whole batch (or 2 or 3) for dinner.  

And maybe breakfast the next day, stealing the show from my usual healthy, adult, Saturday morning meal of cold pizza.  I may never grow up.

Now spill the beans!  What's YOUR costume going to be this year?  

I want to go as Edie....but I'm afraid I look more like Andy.

Meatless Monday
Healthy Eats in Austin

It's been quite the change, moving back to the city after six years on a farm. My vocation keeps me hopping, and somewhat erratically--in fits and starts, often with schedule scattered, and on more days than I care to admit, insufficient preparation for insistent hunger.

What I mean is.....

I eat out. A lot

I work for Austin Eats Food Tours. I work with the Texas Farmers Markets. I am a personal chef. I write about, report of, and photograph food. I blog about food. I tweet, I post, I Instagram that stuff every day. Y'all. My days can be some pretty high-calorie affairs. I'm a lucky girl.

Until it catches up with me, and I need to get back to culinary basics as penance for my wild-dining ways. Fortuitously, Austin boasts an embarrassment of healthy-eating riches, and I'm on a quest to discover the best. The healthy, plant-based, pescatarian, ovo-lacto, vegetarian, vegan, paleo, gluten-free, tasty, satisfying, economical.

In an ongoing series, I'll be sharing my favorite healthy eats in Austin, I'd love to hear your favorites, too! Please leave a comment and help me in my search for the best. 

I recently visited the Danish modern funky Eastside coffee shop and cafe, Counter Culture, the emerged-from-the-ashes Hyde Park healthy eats anchor, Mother's Cafe and Garden, and the tranquil oasis of zen-like calm, community, and culinary care, Casa de Luz. My favorite meals included ...

PAC MAN + Garbanzo Mock Tuna 

Counter Culture Cafe

2337 East Cesar Chavez
Austin, TX  78702

Tues-Fri: 11 AM-10 PM                
Sat & Sun: Brunch 11 AM-3 PM    Reg Menu: 3-10 PM

This vibrant kale, carrot & chia seed salad, with a creamy garlic dressing and the addition of garbanzo mock tuna salad, is gluten-free, economical (the side salad plus scoop only set this vegan-seeker back a mere six bucks), fiber-rich, and satisfying. For a dinner entree, opt for the full size, with scoop, for $10.00.

Counter Culture is a great place to hunker down over a steaming cup of dark joe with your favorite thrift-store pilled and worn-soft sweater and an engrossing novel. Maybe a beret, you beatnik, you.

Szechuan Stir Fry 

Mother's Cafe & Garden

4215 Duval Street 
Austin, TX 78751

Mon-Fri 11:15 AM-10 PM
Sat-Sun 10 AM-10 PM
Sat-Sun Brunch 10 AM-3 PM

Fresh vegetables stir-fried in canola oil with tofu, green onions and mushrooms. Finished with a sauce of fresh ginger, garlic, toasted sesame oil and Szechuan spices and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Served over organic brown rice with black beans. $10.50

Mother's is laudable in catering to special dietary needs, and this dish was satisfactorily adjusted to meet the requirements of a detox diet, with the omission of brown rice and black beans, however when served as described, the full entree is enough for one, and a take-home parcel for the next day's lunch, (or perhaps a midnight snack. No judging.)

Mother's Cafe is just a goldmine for people-watching. Get a two-top to the left of the door, and sit back and enjoy everyone under the sun.  Discreetly, of course, Hedda Hopper.

Mixed Vegetable Taco with Guacamole and Salad of Garden Greens with Fresh Basil, Walnut, & Pecan Dressing.
Casa de Luz

1701 Toomey Road 
Austin, TX 78704

Breakfast: 7:00 to 10:00 AM
Lunch Menu: 11:00 to 2:30 PM
Dinner Menu: 5:30 to 8:30 PM

Casa de Luz offers a set menu of macrobiotic, vegan, organic and gluten-free meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner in it's zen-like 'campus', an oasis amid the encroaching development boom of Barton Springs Road.

Prix Fixe Meals which vary by day (check the website for daily offerings) are $9.00 for Breakfast, and $12.00 for lunch and dinner. A favorite meal of this diner is served weekly on Thursday, and with some variations, might feature Vegetable and Yellow Split Pea Soup, Salad of Garden Greens with Basil, Walnut & Pecan Dressing, Mixed Vegetable Taco with Guacamole on homemade corn tortilla, Black Beans with Sun Cheese, Blanched Greens with Lemon, Rice Pilaf (or other grains), and Pickled Vegetables. Includes Beverage.

Though a family-style dining room accommodates gatherings of all types and sizes, I love to dine alone at the southwest shore's urban ahhhh of a dining retreat. Don't go in a hurry. Breathe. Take it all in. Indulge in gratitude for a peaceful and well-prepared meal.

These meals, and more, are featured in Full and Content's guide, Eight Tasty Vegetarian Meals to Enjoy in Austin.  Check out more of what my friends find to be their beloved nutritious meatless meals in the city. And if you're vegan, don't miss Lazy Smurf's Austin Vegan Guide.

Whether in Austin, or points beyond, I'd love to hear about your favorite healthy meals and restaurants. Please share your best-kept delicious dining out secrets!

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