Thursday, October 29, 2009

MAX’s Premier Austin Cellar Classic to Benefit the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas

MAX’s Premier Austin Cellar Classic to Benefit the
Capital Area Food Bank of Texas
Designated event proceeds to provide thousands of meals for Central Texas families

AUSTIN, Texas (Oct. 20, 2009) –MAX’s Wine Dive has quickly made its mark in downtown Austin serving up gourmet comfort food and now MAX’s is extending that comfort to local families through the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas.

Patterned after its five-year-old sister celebration of food and wine in Houston, MAX’s Wine Dive is hosting the first annual Austin Cellar Classic on November 6-7, 2009 in MAX’s Underground, a newly created event space located beneath the restaurant at 207 San Jacinto and 3rd St. in downtown Austin.

A portion of the proceeds from the event’s retail wine sales will go to support the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas. The management and staff of MAX’s Wine Dive hope to raise the equivalent of 10,000 meals for Central Texas families in need of help during the upcoming holidays.

“The people of Austin have been tremendous to MAX’s since we opened our downtown restaurant in May 2009. We wanted to show our thanks by bringing people together and giving back to our local community,” said Jerry Lasco, owner of MAX’s Wine Dive in Austin. “We can’t think of a more deserving charity than the Capital Area Food Bank, which helps hundreds of families through some really tough times. Austin is our home, too, so we will continue to host events throughout the year to support our Central Texas neighbors in conjunction with the Food Bank and other local organizations.”

The Austin Cellar Classic features a Grand Wine Dinner on Friday, Nov. 6 and two Grand Wine Tasting sessions on Saturday, Nov. 7. Guests attending the events will have the opportunity to purchase by the bottle or the case any of the wines served. For every total case purchased, the equivalent of 30 meals will be donated to the Capital Area Food Bank.

Austin Cellar Classic Grand Wine Dinner – Friday, Nov. 6
During the Grand Wine Dinner, guests will enjoy incredible food expertly paired with multiple courses of wines. “This dinner showcases another side of MAX’s with uniquely prepared cuisine specially created for this celebration,” explained Brian O’Neill, general manager of MAX’s Wine Dive in Austin.

The dinner begins with a Lobster Crepe with honeycrisp apples, melted leeks and Prosecco served with Pommery Champagne. The following courses feature Foie Gras Torchon paired with Chaputier Blanc; Tellicherry-Crusted Scallop paired with Marc Kreydenweiss Val d’Eleon; Rabbit Cassoulet paired with Faiveley Mercurey Rouge; Guiness Braised Short Ribs paired with Gaja Conteisa Barbaresco; and a dessert course featuring Cranberry Poached Pears paired with Otima 20-year Tawny Port. MAX’s chefs and resident wine expert Ike Johnson will answer questions about the six courses and hand-selected pairings.

Austin Cellar Classic Grand Wine Tasting – Saturday, Nov. 7
The Grand Wine Tasting on Saturday offers two tasting times: 2-5 p.m. and 7-10 p.m. Guests will have an opportunity to sample more than 100 different wines from around the world including highly sought-after and limited production wines like Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay; Mer Soliel Chardonnay; BV Reserve Pinot Noir; Krug Grande Cuvee; Bollinger Special Cuvee Rose; Far Niente Cabernet; Caymus Special Selection; Gaja Conteisa Barbaresco; Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet and many more. The complete wine list of more than 100 wines can be found at

Guests also will enjoy live music, savor MAX’s famous gourmet comfort food and have the opportunity to take advantage of the best retail wine prices in Austin through, MAX’s new retail wine sales program.

About the Austin Cellar Classic
The Austin Cellar Classic is open to the public, but space is limited and attendees are strongly encouraged to purchase tickets early. Tickets are $80 per person for the Grand Wine Dinner and $40 per person/per session for the Grand Wine Tasting. Guests may purchase a MAXimum Experience combo ticket for $110 per person which includes both the Friday night dinner and one Saturday tasting session. For more information and to purchase Austin Cellar Classic tickets visit or contact MAX’s at 512-904-0111.

About Capital Area Food Bank of Texas
The mission of the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas is to feed the hungry by providing food and grocery products to human service agencies serving people in need throughout Central Texas. In its 28th year of service, the Food Bank currently provides food and grocery products to 355 Partner Agencies in 21 Central Texas counties. In 2008, CAFB distributed more than 17 million pounds of food. For more information on the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas and its programs, visit or call 512/282-2111.

About MAX’s Wine DiveLocated downtown in the heart of the Convention Center District, MAX’s Wine Dive specializes in what already are two of Austin’s favorite indulgences: gourmet comfort food and divine wines. The wine list features an impressive 100+ selections from every region imaginable, including many unique and hard-to-find offerings. Every wine is available by the glass or the bottle and all are available for retail sale in the restaurant through, MAX’s new retail wine sales program. MAX’s Wine Dive is located at 207 San Jacinto Blvd and 3rd St. For more information about MAX’s Wine Dive, visit

Farmhouse Delivery: Memberships Available

Farmhouse Delivery is the brainchild of local food advocate and chef Elizabeth Winslow and East Austin farm owner Stephanie Scherzer. The service, which operates out of East Austin’s Rain Lily Farm, offers home delivery of local produce, meats, dairy, beverages and pantry items.

In an effort to create a sustainable revenue stream for local growers, Farmhouse Delivery is replacing week-by-week individual delivery services with a weekly or biweekly farm membership. There are a limited number of memberships available for the upcoming 8-week subscription period and the deadline to sign up is Oct. 30, 2009. The season will run from Nov. 2 – Dec. 21. Weekly ($35) or bi-weekly delivery ($37) is available with a $20 set up fee. Additional local, fresh items (meat, cheese, breads etc.) may be added to your delivery each week; a full list is available at this link.

Farmhouse sources their food from a variety of local farms, which means that there are about ten types of vegetables in each bushel. Seasonal, local produce that we expect to see over the next couple of months includes:
Green beans
Heirloom Cauliflower
Greens and lettuces
Sweet potatoes
Citrus including limes, Myer lemons, oranges, Tangerines and grapefruit

Membership includes invitations to exclusive Rain Lily Farm events including demonstrations, dinners, cooking classes and more. (Click here for photos from the Oct. 17th Pig Roast.) Another perk is that deliveries are accompanied by recipe ideas (perfect for novice chefs or those trying to eat their way to a healthier lifestyle).

Eating local means supporting local farms, enjoying better tasting and higher quality food and limiting the carbon footprint by reducing the miles logged when trucking food from faraway locations.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Recipe: Scotch Eggs

A very old favorite in the British Isles. In past centuries Scotch Eggs were sometimes called birds' nests.

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce (if desired)
10 to 12 small hard boiled eggs
1 lg. egg, well beaten
Fine dry bread crumbs (make your own or use packaged seasoned bread crumbs)
1 tbsp. seasoned flour, (made with 1 tbsp. flour, 1/8 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. black pepper, and 1/8 tsp. dried thyme)
1 1/2 lbs Sausage (See note below).

Place the sausage meat and Worcestershire sauce in a medium sized mixing bowl. Add the seasoned flour mixture and blend the ingredients together with your hands. Divide the mixture into 10 to 12 equal pieces (to cover the eggs).
Mold each piece of meat around an egg and carefully roll each egg between your hands to shape the sausage meat coating.
Place the beaten egg and bread crumbs in two separate shallow dishes. Dip the eggs first in the beaten egg, and then in the bread crumbs, coating them thoroughly and shaking off any excess crumbs.
Place coated eggs on a cookie sheet and cook in a 350 degree oven approximately 30 to 45 minutes (until the sausage is cooked). Don't let them get too crispy. Remove from cookie sheet and drain on paper towel to drain.
Place the eggs on a warmed serving plate and serve at once (whole or halved) if they are to be eaten hot. They make a very good hot or cold snack.

When it comes to sausage, it is difficult to gauge how much. Some like a lot of sausage around the eggs. So, you need to gauge how much sausage you need. About 1 1/2 lbs places a thin to medium sausage crust around the eggs. Once again, the size of eggs used and the how thick or thin you would like your sausage crust.

Food Network's Sandra Lee: 'No way' smart shoppers should buy generic

Food Network's Sandra Lee: 'No way' smart shoppers should buy generic

When you are unemployed or having budget problems, store brands are often the only alternative. I shop at Walmart and purchase primarily the store brand. There are a few items that aren't very good, but the majority of items that I have purchased have been great.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Recipe: Pumpkin Praline Pie

I saw this recipe and will be giving it a try when I get back to Austin. It looks delicious and would be a wonderful addition to the Thanksgiving table.

1 cup all-purpose flour, divided
3 1/2 tablespoons ice water
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
Vegetable cooking spray
1 3/4 cups unsweetened canned pumpkin
1 cup 2% low-fat milk
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons bourbon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dark corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine 1/4 cup flour and ice water, stirring with a wire whisk until well-blended; set aside. Combine remaining 3/4 cup flour, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl; cut in shortening with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water mixture; mix with a fork until dry ingredients are moistened. Gently press mixture into a 4-inch circle on heavy-duty plastic wrap, and cover with additional plastic wrap. Roll the dough, still covered, into an 11-inch circle, and chill for 10 minutes or until the plastic wrap can be easily removed.

Remove 1 sheet of plastic wrap; fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray, and remove top sheet of plastic wrap. Fold edges under, and flute; prick bottom and sides of dough with a fork. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes; let cool on a wire rack.

Combine pumpkin and the next 13 ingredients (pumpkin through egg) in a bowl, and stir well with a wire whisk. Pour into prepared crust; bake at 400° for 40 minutes.

Combine the pecans, 1/4 cup brown sugar, corn syrup, and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, and stir well. Sprinkle pecan mixture over pie, and bake an additional 15 minutes or until filling is set (shield the edges of piecrust with aluminum foil, if necessary). Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

McDonald's Earnings Rise To $1.15 a Share

McDonald's Earnings Rise To $1.15 a Share -

NEW YORK -- McDonald's Corp. said Thursday that third-quarter earnings were $1.26 billion, or $1.15 a share, compared to $1.19 billion, or $1.05 a share, in the same period a year ago. Revenue fell 4% to $6.05 billion compared to $6.27 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet Research estimated, on average, eanings per share of $1.10 and sales of $6.1 billion.

McDonald's is hitting on all cylinders. Just a look at their menu tells you a story of listening to the public and responding. I believe the success in the menu is due in large part to the success of McCafe.

Additionally, McDonald's now serves Frappe drinks. McDonald's Frappe drinks are made by blending coffee, skim milk and flavoring with ice and topping the drink with whipped cream and a swirl of caramel or chocolate syrup.

Posted using ShareThis

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Slow Feast in the Field at Green Gate Farms

Third Annual Benefit for Unique Public Charter School

Austin, TX - October 10, 2009 - On Saturday evening, October 24, 2009, Green Gate Farms will host its third annual Slow Feast in the Field celebrating local, naturally grown, freshly harvested food to benefit the Austin Discovery School (ADS).

This magical evening will feature a progressive five-course gourmet meal served outdoors at the historic Bergstrom homestead. Guests will dine on seasonal fare surrounded by fields of produce. The menu will feature heirloom vegetables and Duroc/Berkshire pork raised at the farm and prepared by Chef Jesse Bloom of Ecstatic Cuisine.

“We look forward to hosting this event each year because Austin
Discovery School is one of the most innovative elementary schools in
Austin,” says Erin Flynn, co-founder of Green Gate Farms, a family-owned and operated sustainable farm eight miles east of downtown
Austin. “Putting on this feast is such fun: the farm twinkles and the
food is divine.”

Local sponsors include: Slow Food Austin, Sweet Leaf Tea, Richard’s Rain Water, Marquee Event Group, Flat Creek Estate, Stacey Hoyt Events, Mary Louise Butters Brownies, Elixer Coffee, Texas Olive Ranch, Good Flow Honey, and Texas Medicinals.

This intimate dining experience is limited to 100 guests. The Austin Discovery School will use funds from the event to support it’s innovative programs, which include one of the county’s most established organic Junior Master Gardener® programs. Tickets are $100 per plate and are available at

About Austin Discovery School,
Cinnamon Henley, Executive Director, 512.674.0700
Austin Discovery School (ADS) is an innovative free public charter school serving children in grades K-6. A small, community oriented school, ADS offers spacious, naturally lit, beautiful classrooms with a 32:2 student to teacher ratio. ADS features hands-on math and science, integrates literacy across the curriculum, and offers fine arts and an organic Junior Master Gardener® program. Our fresh approach to education emphasizes social responsibility, good health, and environment while pursuing a rigorous academic program.

About Slow Food,
Sara Weber, Slow Food Austin President, 512.964.6514
The Slow Food Austin Convivium hosts slow educational and taste events throughout the year. It is part of Slow Food International, founded in 1986 in Italy, in reaction to the opening of first the McDonalds in Pizza Spagna near the historic Spanish Steps in Rome - a nod to the contrast with fast food values. The organization was created to celebrate and promote rich and delicious food traditions that are part of our cultural heritage.

About Green Gate Farms,
Skip Connett and Erin Flynn, co-owners, 512.949-9830
Green Gate Farms, a small family farm, uses sustainable methods to
grow vegetables, flowers, and meat just eight miles east of downtown
Austin at the historic Bergstrom farmstead. Visitors and volunteers
are encouraged to participate in our weekly CSA membership program,
shop at our farm stand, tour the farm, and join in our workshops and

For a copy of the flyer with additional information, click here.

About Ecstatic Cuisine,
Jesse Bloom, Chef 512.919.5100
Ecstatic Cuisine creates spectacular food events that inspire clients, nourish community, and sustain the earth. They use Iocal and organic ingredients in a unique brand of world fusion cuisine. Their professionalism, passion, and uncompromising gift for flavor combine to create food experiences that are, in a word, ecstatic.

Monday, October 12, 2009

What's for Dinner? Beer-cooked Brats!

Tonight, I'm serving a nice hearty German dinner with Hillshire Farm Miller High Life Beer Brats. Yes, you read correctly. See the press release below.

Sara Lee North American Retail is hooking grillers up with a new sausage product this summer, Hillshire Farm Miller High Life Beer Brats.

The line of brats, precooked in Miller High Life beer, are debuting at the Char-Broil road tour, visiting cities nationwide until Nov. 15. Six-packs of the brats will hit supermarkets soon and will retail for $3.99.

"Bringing together the great tastes of brats and beer has been a long-standing tradition that began to take shape with our customers," says Tim Roush, vice president of lunch and dinner brands for Hillshire Farm. "We knew we had an opportunity to provide this perfect flavor profile in a single product offering. By teaming up with one of America's most popular beers to create Hillshire Farm Miller High Life Beer Brats, we've made it easier for consumers to enjoy quality beer brats, bursting with flavor."

Add a little sauerkraut to the meal and you have yourself a delicious meal for those cool October evenings.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Scoop on Whole Grains

Whole grains, such as whole wheat, corn, oats, and barley, are sources of several nutrients and are a great part of a healthful diet. Not only are they a delicious addition to your meals, whole grains contain nutrients such as B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, folic acid, and niacin), minerals (magnesium, selenium, copper, and iron), vitamin E, protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Pyramid, called MyPyramid, recommends “making half your grains whole.” This translates into at least three ounce-equivalent servings of whole grain foods a day for a 2,000 calorie diet.

Click here for the complete article. It is excellent.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

2,700-Calorie "Super Scooby" Burger Stands 6-Inches Tall, Weighs More Than 3-Pounds

2,700-Calorie 'Super Scooby' Burger Stands 6-Inches Tall, Weighs More Than 3-Pounds - Nutrition Physical -

The towering burger is called the “Super Scooby.” It's 6-inches tall, weighs more than 3-pounds and packs a whopping 2,645 calories — more than the 2,550 recommended for men and much more than the 1,940 recommended for women.
Spiros Lomvardos, who co-owns the Jolly Fryer fast food joint with his brother, Andreas, said the idea of the super-sized snack started out as a joke.

OH MY! What a burger!

Posted using ShareThis

How to Pack a Healthy Lunchbox

How to Pack a Healthy Lunchbox - Food & Drink -

Many parents want to give their children a healthy lunch, but it’s not always so easy. They often don’t know what to buy, don’t have the time to shop for it, and, when they’re trying to get everyone out the door in the morning, sometimes they just flat out run out of time. Even if they do pack a nice lunch, there’s no guarantee that the kids will actually eat it. Kids are, after all, kids. And the school lunches they get aren’t always the healthiest, either. But if one chef has her way, that may soon change.

When you really think abou it, everyone can benefit from eating a healthy lunch without costing a lot.

Posted using ShareThis

Monday, October 5, 2009

Recipe for Pumpkin Cheese Dip

My wife discovered this wonderful recipe and has asked that I make it. I think you will really enjoy it. YUMMY!

Pumpkin Cheese Dip

4 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
2 (8 oz each) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (30 oz) can pumpkin pie filling mix
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground nutmeg (optional)

In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar and cream cheese, beating until well blended. Beat in remaining ingredients. Store in airtight container in refrigerator. Serve with pretzel crisps.

A small hollowed out pumpkin is a great way to present the dip.