The Austin Food & Wine Alliance gave away $50,000 to local food businesses and nonprofits at its annual awards ceremony Thursday night, the largest total yet in the organization’s six-year history.
In all, the beneficiary of the Austin Food & Wine Festival and host of several well-loved annual events has given out $192,500 to Austin culinary innovators in support of initiatives that give back to the community. The alliance also hosts an annual culinary arts career conference for local high school students.
The eight grant recipients this year were chosen by the alliance’s grant selection committee, which elected to also give an honorable mention.
Winning the top prize of $12,500 was Snodgrass Farms in Georgetown, which will use the money to finish an on-site meat processing facility and support its ongoing veterans program. Farm manager Tessa Snodgrass, who served in the military for 20 years, built an outreach program to help fellow vets with stress management.
Fond Bone Broth , a food company from Alysa and Isaac Seeland of San Antonio, won a $10,000 grant to expand its refrigerated shipping and e-commerce capabilities. The company aims to form a Foodmakers Freedom Alliance, a nonprofit allowing small-scale startups to access food processing experts and equipment without having to individually purchase equipment on their own.
Dripping Springs’ Hills of Milk and Honey Farm , which won a $7,500 grant, hosts camps, classes and tours for everyone from teens to adults. The grant will be used to expand the teaching garden and rainwater harvesting system and to support a summer camp.
Skull & Cakebones Bakery , which won the H-E-B Quest for Texas Best competition in August, won a $5,000 grant sponsored by Whole Foods Market. The company plans to use the money to extend its line of breads using locally milled flour.
Longtime Austin caterer Gina Burchenal and her husband, Ken, donated $5,000 for a grant to be awarded to a female-owned business, and the winner was Joi Chevalier’s the Cook’s Nook , a culinary incubator and shared commercial kitchen in East Austin. In addition to a 2,000-square-foot commercial kitchen, the facility features a coworking and event space, which will host community programs that can be funded by the grant.
LeRoy & Lewis BBQ and Catering , which is based out of a food truck in South Austin, won a $5,000 grant to buy cold storage space and equipment to grow its whole-animal butchery program.
With 10 acres in eastern Travis County, Farmshare Austin is educating new farmers through its 18-week training program, and with a $2,500 Premiere Event Community Grant, the nonprofit plans to build a comprehensive Central Texas farmer training curriculum.
Also winning $2,500 was Yard to Market Cooperative , an organization that helps more than 50 local backyard gardeners and “microscale” farmers sell their produce. The grant will fund cold storage and provide grower and community education on innovative practices such as mushroom cultivation, aquaponics and beekeeping.
Mark Rashap’s KOOP radio show, “ Another Bottle Down ,” won the alliance’s honorable mention. The show airs at 1 p.m. Tuesdays on 91.7 FM.
Trail mix makes these oatmeal cookies even better
Cookies make everything better, even a sub-par Super Bowl halftime performance.
Justin Timberlake dis aside, these cookies were the highlight of my Super Bowl Sunday, and they were also a hit when I shared them in the office last week. I’m a major oatmeal raisin cookie person, so when I saw the trail mix cookie idea floating around the internet, I went straight to the pantry, where I had a big bag of trail mix waiting.
For good ol’, straightforward Americana recipes like this, I often turn to a spiral-bound copy of the 16th edition of “Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.” It’s a modern version of that classic Better Homes and Gardens plaid cookbook; I like it because the recipes include more adaptations and variations for modern cooks.
The oatmeal cookie recipe, for instance, is written so that you can substitute different flours, sugar, fats, spices and flavoring, depending on your mood. You’ll notice quite a few fats, sugars and mix-ins with this recipe — and you could simplify it by using 1 cup of butter and no peanut butter, 1 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated sugar and no honey, etc. — but I really liked how all the layers worked in this cookie. It’s sweeter than a granola bar, but it has a similar texture that my officemates found irresistible.
Trail Mix Cookies
3/4 cup butter
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups regular or quick rolled oats
1 cup trail mix
1/2 cups raisins (optional)
1/4 cup M&Ms (optional)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and peanut butter with an electric mixer for about 30 seconds. Add both sugars and honey, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour and the oats. Add trail mix and additional raisins and M&Ms, if using. Drop dough by the spoonful on an ungreased baking sheet, leaving two to three inches between each cookie. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, depending on the size of the scoop. The centers will appear set, and the oats will be light brown. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.
— Adapted from a recipe in “Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book”