Relish Austin

What a 128-year-old piece of cake can teach us about Texas history

What a 128-year-old piece of cake can teach us about Texas history

In 1890, at a Christmastime wedding in Belton, a bride served a wedding cake that people are still talking about. But this wasn’t just any bride. Zollie Luther was the youngest daughter of John Hill Luther, the president of what was then Baylor Female College. Now the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, the college is one of the oldest educational institutions west of the Mississippi River, and...
Stepping up your Instant Pot game with scampi, curry and cheesecake

Stepping up your Instant Pot game with scampi, curry and cheesecake

My multicooker adventure continues this week with a trio of recipes to try after you’ve mastered the Instant Pot basics. In last week’s food section, we covered the initial hiccups you might face and shared some of the first recipes you might want to prepare in a multicooker. After you’ve cooked some beans and rice, maybe steamed a couple of baked potatoes or cooked a beef roast...
Confessions of an Instant Pot skeptic-turned-convert

Confessions of an Instant Pot skeptic-turned-convert

Earlier this summer, I finally ordered an Instant Pot. I’m only about two years behind the multicooker trend — which began in July 2016 when the Ottawa-based appliance company sold 200,000-plus of these countertop devices on Amazon Prime Day — but I figured there’s no better time to start learning how to cook with one than during the summer, when no one wants to turn on their...
12 tips to get started cooking in an Instant Pot or any multicooker

12 tips to get started cooking in an Instant Pot or any multicooker

If you are getting ready to break into a multicooker for the first time, here’s what you need to know to get started. If you have Instant Pot tips and tricks to share, I’d love to hear them. Email me at abroyles@statesman.com. Check out from the library (or buy or borrow from a friend) two or three multicooker cookbooks. With several books to consult, you can compare recipes...
Fruity ice creams, boozy frozen treats to celebrate Independence Day

Fruity ice creams, boozy frozen treats to celebrate Independence Day

My sweet tooth has been in overdrive this summer, and I blame it on that ice cream machine I found at a secondhand store earlier this year. This is the second ice cream maker I’ve picked up at a thrift store — I left the insulated base of the first one in the garage last summer, and it expanded and cracked open in the heat — and though it’s anything but fancy, the machine has...
How to make the easiest Thai curries with a can of curry, coconut milk

How to make the easiest Thai curries with a can of curry, coconut milk

I’ve always loved Thai Fresh. The little neighborhood restaurant on Mary and South Fifth streets in South Austin has been the host of many lunch dates, book club meetings and post-library ice creams over the years, in part because I got to know owner Jam Sanitchat through her food blog when I was starting my own food blog on austin360.com. And then, for a short while a good number of years ago...
A decade of dishing: What I’ve learned in 10 years as a food writer

A decade of dishing: What I’ve learned in 10 years as a food writer

Ten years ago, when the venerable Kitty Crider left the Statesman after 28 years covering food, the newspaper took a chance on a 24-year-old new mom who knew more about journalism than food. I had an enthusiasm for learning, and I think that’s what then-editors Kathy Blackwell and Ed Crowell noticed when I sat for the interview. I’d just returned from “What Not to Wear&rdquo...
For Mother’s Day, revisiting childhood through applesauce muffins

For Mother’s Day, revisiting childhood through applesauce muffins

On snowy mornings when I was a kid, my mom would get up extra early to turn on the oven. Our recipe for applesauce muffins came from my aunt, and it made a huge batch. Mom baked them for us until we grew older and figured out that we could make the batter on a Sunday night, keep it in the fridge and eat freshly baked muffins all week while we watched the “Today” show and got ready for...
Austin author reminds us grilling isn’t just for Saturdays (or burgers)

Austin author reminds us grilling isn’t just for Saturdays (or burgers)

Paula Disbrowe’s new cookbook is ostensibly about grilling. It is, after all, called “Any Night Grilling,” based on the idea that cooking over a live fire shouldn’t be relegated to the weekend. But when you get to know Disbrowe, one of Austin’s most celebrated cookbook authors, or read the first pages of the book, you realize it is about the love of her family and that...
How to make veggie powders at home, even without a dehydrator

How to make veggie powders at home, even without a dehydrator

Even Chrissy Teigen is into vegetable powders. Earlier this year, the popular cookbook author and social media star tweeted an “aha” moment about DIY snacks: She could make her own jalapeño potato chips by drying jalapeños to make an intense homemade powder to toss with homemade or store-bought chips. It was a revelation that Cane Rosso chef Josh Healy had years ago. Healy...
Spring feast: Lamb, ham and sunny sides to celebrate Passover, Easter

Spring feast: Lamb, ham and sunny sides to celebrate Passover, Easter

We’ve spent the winter months sending our roots deep and looking for warmth anywhere we can find it. Now, with spring officially here and with Easter and Passover upon us, the seasons are changing both inside and outside our homes. For Christians and Jews, these holidays are a celebration of faith and a great excuse to gather with families and neighbors. But no matter what your religious affiliation...
How an Aussie cupcake baker became a Texas barbecue expert, author

How an Aussie cupcake baker became a Texas barbecue expert, author

There’s nothing Jess Pryles won’t grill, smoke or sear. The local barbecue star and author of a new book has taught meat classes to scientists and cooking classes to everyday burger lovers, and she even has her own signature edition smoker and a line of meat and steak seasonings. It’s all part of the Hardcore Carnivore life that is now capped by Pryles’ first book, “Hardcore...
Which Austin grocery store makes the tastiest rotisserie chicken?

Which Austin grocery store makes the tastiest rotisserie chicken?

How many rotisserie chickens do you buy in a year? Americans bought nearly 700 million in 2017: about two chickens for every person in the country. We are a nation that gathers around the proverbial spit — in this case, a chrome carousel with heat lamps — to buy this ultimate supermarket timesaver. The rotisserie craze started more than 20 years ago. The drive-thru restaurant chain Boston...
Ellsworth Kelly crowns Austin with an artistic jewel

Ellsworth Kelly crowns Austin with an artistic jewel

Patches of color drip ever so slowly down the walls, then pool onto the smooth black granite floor. On sunny days, the tall white barrel vaults swim with jewel-toned iridescence. Not only do the intense hues migrate minute by minute, they alter from day to day according to the position of the sun above “Austin,” a phenomenal new building that doubles as a monumental work of art on the...
Get to know some of Austin’s local chocolate makers

Get to know some of Austin’s local chocolate makers

Edible chocolate boxes, avocado margarita truffles and bean-to-bar chocolate with rose petals and cranberries — these are just a few of the Austin-made chocolate gifts you might be giving (or getting) for Valentine’s Day this year. But the artisans who make them are committed to chocolate 365 days a year. At Chocolaterie Tessa on Burnet Road, owner Tessa Halstead is making high-end truffles...
Global flavors: Celebrate the Olympics with creative nacho recipes

Global flavors: Celebrate the Olympics with creative nacho recipes

The global experience that is the Olympics returns this weekend, which gives us a fun opportunity to learn about different countries and parts of the world while watching the triple axels and halfpipes. Food is one way to bring far-off places a little closer to home, and snack foods are perfect for eating by the TV. I propose that you could probably come up with a riff on nachos for every country...
Strained relations with your kitchen? Try a cooking challenge

Strained relations with your kitchen? Try a cooking challenge

Cooking at home isn’t an Olympic feat, but even dedicated home cooks have to admit: Eating convenience and restaurant foods is easy. A little too easy. Frozen and prepared meals are getting healthier and more artisan by the minute, and so are the grab-and-go meals from the market by your office. Tacos on every corner can feel irresistible. For $5, you can buy ingredients and cook food for yourself...
How far will $15 go at a local farmstand, and what can you make?

How far will $15 go at a local farmstand, and what can you make?

As part of my #30atHome cooking challenge, I’ve been trying to get out of my everyday grocery shopping habits, which is why I went by two East Austin farmstands recently. Boggy Creek’s farmstand is open Wednesday-Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Springdale Farm, just a few blocks away, is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday. Between those two places, I spent $14.87 on...
The secret sauce to Fischer & Wieser’s success? Family and new flavors

The secret sauce to Fischer & Wieser’s success? Family and new flavors

No jam, jelly or savory sauce is too weird for Fischer & Wieser’s product development team to try out. Weird is what won them the country’s biggest specialty food award in 1997. That’s the year the Fredericksburg-based food manufacturer became nationally known for its roasted raspberry chipotle sauce, a smoky-sweet sauce that became one of the signature flavors of the decade. CEO...
One grandma’s legacy of peach pies, goulash and community service

One grandma’s legacy of peach pies, goulash and community service

The world lost a great goulash-maker two weeks ago. My dear grandmother died after a long summer of falls and failing health. She lived to be 87 years old, and for 60 of those years, she was the comfort-food-maker-in-chief of Aurora, Mo. She made lemon cakes for people who needed a little sunshine in their day and goulash — a casserole of ground beef, canned tomatoes and dried macaroni &mdash...
How to get your kitchen, eating habits back in the routine for school

How to get your kitchen, eating habits back in the routine for school

We’ve been gearing up for school in my house, and I’ve been consciously trying to get my culinary house in order to keep up with the new routine. What does that mean? Well, making sure I have plenty of cereal and after-school snacks on hand is at the top of the list. And like many parents, I treat this back-to-school time like a second New Year’s, where I start fresh by trying to...
Instead of paying $20 for lactation cookies, here’s how to make them

Instead of paying $20 for lactation cookies, here’s how to make them

It’s been a long time since I was a breastfeeding mama, but I’m still an advocate for all things that support mother’s milk. In the years since I had my kids, we seem to hear about fewer incidents where moms who are feeding their babies are asked to leave an establishment or cover up, but women still need all the help they can get. Moms have many tricks up their sleeves to increase...
Why it’s not a vacation without cooking in someone else’s kitchen

Why it’s not a vacation without cooking in someone else’s kitchen

I can go two weeks without sleeping in my own bed, but I can’t go two weeks without cooking. I’m a budget traveler, so I prefer staying with friends or, at the very least, an Airbnb with access to a kitchen. I feel pampered in a hotel, but after a few days without the ability to prepare food for myself, I start to get a little blue. Having a stove and a fridge when you’re traveling...
During Camp Mom, soaking up summer vibes in the Pacific Northwest

During Camp Mom, soaking up summer vibes in the Pacific Northwest

I’ll be dreaming about that grapefruit radler by a creek in the Mount Hood National Forest for weeks. There I am, sipping on a shandy in the shade, and my kids are playing in the stream by some waterfalls. They are slathered in sunscreen borrowed from another family hanging out at this enchanted waterway under a bridge. We have just hiked a mile and a half along a fern-lined trail with soaring...
Eight recipes to get you through summer

Eight recipes to get you through summer

We’re in the thick of summer, which means some of us have turned off our ovens for good until school starts. Some of you might fire up the smoker instead, while others prepare stove-top or no-cook meals exclusively. No matter how you’re getting through these triple-digit days, here are eight recipes to spice up your summer cooking. This is the kind of thing I’ll whip up on a...
Historic restaurants bring aspic, spinach pudding into 21st century

Historic restaurants bring aspic, spinach pudding into 21st century

During a typical dinner service at the newly reopened Stagecoach Inn in Salado, guests place more than 80 orders for the strawberry kiss. The dessert — meringue topped with ice cream and sweetened with fresh strawberries and strawberry sauce — was a customer favorite for decades, perhaps 50 years or more, until the restaurant and hotel closed in 2015 for a two-year renovation by La Corsha...
New pasta shop opens in Westlake; Amazon teams with Sprouts

New pasta shop opens in Westlake; Amazon teams with Sprouts

NEW STORE Westlake has a fresh pasta shop selling the pappardelle of your dreams Austin’s options for fresh pasta have been somewhat limited until recently. The good news is that more restaurants than ever make pasta by hand right now, but most grocery stores still only carry a limited selection of national brand fresh pasta in the refrigerated case. For more than 30 years, Pasta & Co. has been...
What we can learn from old nutrition books about eating healthy today

What we can learn from old nutrition books about eating healthy today

It’s too bad that the word “diet” has come to mean restricted eating. The broader idea of a diet — all the foods you eat — is a wonderful idea. It’s our personal landscape of the tastes, smells and textures that, over a day, a week, a month and beyond, keep us alive and determine much of our physical and mental health. But the way we use “diet” now indicates...
Headed out on your own? Here’s a no-knead bread for beginner bakers

Headed out on your own? Here’s a no-knead bread for beginner bakers

Of all the fundamental kitchen skills for new cooks to learn, baking bread isn’t very high on the list. It’s far more important to be able to roast or steam vegetables, boil a grain and saute a protein. Once you master those basic, easily interchangeable cooking methods, you can cook with just about anything on the outer edge of a grocery store, where you traditionally find unprocessed...
City’s first food incubator hub opens in East Austin

City’s first food incubator hub opens in East Austin

After a career in startups and a not-so-little startup called Dell, Joi Chevalier decided it was time to go to culinary school. She was well-established in the industry but not ready to retire. She grew up in a family where food was a central force and thought that might be a good pivot, but she didn’t want to be a chef. She did, however, want to learn everything she could about starting a business...
10 things to know about the new 365 by Whole Foods store

10 things to know about the new 365 by Whole Foods store

The grocery world has been abuzz about 365 by Whole Foods Market since the concept was first announced a few years ago. The first stores opened outside Texas, but last week Whole Foods opened its first 365 by Whole Foods Market in Central Texas with a 30,000-square-foot store in Cedar Park. Opening day was busy with a packed parking lot, aisles teeming with shoppers and lots of excitement about what...
How readers paid off every student lunch debt in Austin, for now

How readers paid off every student lunch debt in Austin, for now

Last week, every student lunch debt in the Austin school district was cleared, thanks to more than $18,000 in donations. That meant 3,500 students went to school before the long holiday weekend and had the option to get whatever meal they wanted in the cafeteria line. That meant 3,500 students didn’t have to carry home a note to their parents, reminding them of the debt they had accrued simply...
What’s the secret to great brunch? Slowing way down, says Joy the Baker

What’s the secret to great brunch? Slowing way down, says Joy the Baker

Joy Wilson was already a pancake expert before writing her new brunch cookbook. Wilson, the longtime blogger behind JoytheBaker.com, had written two cookbooks about decadent dishes, including pancakes and French toast, but she was curious about developing more savory recipes. Brunch seemed like a pretty good place to combine her love of baking with her love of leisurely meals, not to mention...
Nut butter recipes to take you through breakfast, lunch and dinner

Nut butter recipes to take you through breakfast, lunch and dinner

Once Pippa Murray, who makes and sells peanut butter in the U.K., realized that pesto and her product were practically cousins, her job writing “The Nut Butter Cookbook” became much easier. She’s first and foremost a food entrepreneur, but writing an entire cookbook about creative ways to use peanut, almond, macadamia, pistachio, walnut, pecan and hazelnut butters revealed to her...
Barton Springs Mill turns ancient grains into fresh flour

Barton Springs Mill turns ancient grains into fresh flour

If you’ve recently seen the name “Barton Springs Mill” pop up on restaurant menus across Austin, you’re not alone. For two months, the newly opened mill near Dripping Springs has been selling flour to restaurants across the area on the day the grains are milled. Chefs hadn’t been able to buy that kind of fresh flour locally, and that means Barton Springs Mill owner...
New generation of cake artists push the limits of edible art

New generation of cake artists push the limits of edible art

Cake culture in Austin looks nothing like it did 15 years ago, when Jennifer and Randy Bartos bought a wedding shop that specializes in cakes. They weren’t that interested in selling garters and invitations and other wedding gear, so they transformed All in One into what is now Make It Sweet, the largest baking supply store in Central Texas. Not long after getting into the baking business...
New-to-Austin nonprofit surpasses million-pound produce donation

New-to-Austin nonprofit surpasses million-pound produce donation

In the past 18 months, Brighter Bites has given away a million pounds of produce to Austin-area families. For free. The Houston-based nonprofit launched in 2012 and expanded to Austin at the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year, serving eight local schools. For eight weeks in the fall and eight weeks in the spring, every family at each of those schools can sign up to receive two brown paper bags...
Need a new winter dessert? Try wine-poached pears in sorbet, cocktails

Need a new winter dessert? Try wine-poached pears in sorbet, cocktails

Soft pears are a winter delight — if you can catch them at the right moment. Too hard, they are inedible. Too soft, they are mealy enough to turn a person away from pears forever. That was me for many years after always encountering tough cubes of pear in fruit cups. But when I finally learned the patience to let them ripen, I discovered the joy of the soft, juicy (and room temperature) pear...
School food director embraces buying power, diversity to improve menus

School food director embraces buying power, diversity to improve menus

One rainy day last fall, Anneliese Tanner scrolled through photos of sweet potatoes on her phone. The managers at some of the 114 school cafeterias under her watch in the Austin Independent School District were posting photos of the vegetables as their cooks made baked sweet potatoes for the first time. All morning long, Tanner kept an eye on how everyone was reacting to the change. “They have...
Start the new year fresh by cleaning out pantry, cookbook collection

Start the new year fresh by cleaning out pantry, cookbook collection

It’s the new year. Time for a fresh start. You’ve cleaned out your car, your closet and your garage over the holidays, but when was the last time you purged your fridge, freezer, pantry, spice cabinet or cookbook shelf? Sometimes, this isn’t an easy task. A visiting friend last year took one look at the 20 glasses filling the lower half of one of my cabinet shelves and said, &ldquo...
The powerful thing that happens when you turn a rut into a ritual

The powerful thing that happens when you turn a rut into a ritual

How many rituals do you have in a year? Maybe you eat fish stew on Christmas Eve and black-eyed peas on New Year’s, and make sure your holiday thank you cards are written by the Super Bowl and that your sister gets a card in the mail for her birthday. What about how you make your coffee or put your kids to bed? What about where you get breakfast tacos on Friday mornings or the special bakery...
When artificial intelligence fails in the kitchen

When artificial intelligence fails in the kitchen

If you need an extra hand in this kitchen this week, don’t turn to that fancy new voice-controlled speaker you got. At least, not yet. Last week, my colleague Omar Gallaga and I tried to use a new feature on his Amazon Echo, aka Alexa, from Allrecipes.com, one of the largest online food hubs anywhere on the internet. Allrecipes also now prints a food magazine that I quite like and think would...
Through ups and downs of the year, keep an eye on your favorite things

Through ups and downs of the year, keep an eye on your favorite things

Kelly Clarkson’s Christmas album, “Wrapped in Red,” is one of my favorite things this time of year. In particular, her jazzy rendition of “My Favorite Things” is now something that my oldest son and I belt out as we wrap Christmas presents (or fold laundry and pretend we’re wrapping presents). He’s old enough to know the tingling joy of snowflakes on eyelashes...
Don’t let one holiday party spoil your healthy eating, exercise habits

Don’t let one holiday party spoil your healthy eating, exercise habits

Cheryl Forberg’s best piece of healthy eating advice for a holiday party might seem weird: Eat before you go. Not a huge meal, of course, but eating half a sandwich or yogurt with berries and nuts means that you’ll make better decisions when you get there because you won’t be so hungry. “When you wait too long to eat or skip meals — Americans are notorious for that &mdash...
Announcing the winners of our Austin360 Holiday Cookie Contest

Announcing the winners of our Austin360 Holiday Cookie Contest

When we asked for your best holiday cookie recipes back in October, we knew we’d get recipes from every corner of Central Texas and from every decade in the past 100 years. Between attending cookie swaps, baking cookies for Santa and eating holiday treats at the office, I’ve seen enough cookies to start to categorize them in my head: the thumbprint and rolled cookies that visually delight...
‘American Cake’ gives us a taste of U.S. history through sugar, flour

‘American Cake’ gives us a taste of U.S. history through sugar, flour

Anne Byrn was always a cake person, long before she made a career out of it. The Nashville-based author of the “Cake Mix Doctor” books grew up eating scratch-baked cakes, and she went to culinary school in Paris to further hone her pastry skills. But when she moved back to the U.S. and became the food editor for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and, later, the Tennessean, she started using...
This Thanksgiving, lessons in grief, love and stuffing

This Thanksgiving, lessons in grief, love and stuffing

This year’s Thanksgiving won’t feel complete. My aunt, Leesa, will host all of us in her North Austin home. Her husband, Carlos, will carve the turkey that his brother-in-law, Tom, will fry; my cousin Carlee will prep the pies; and my cousin Christopher will be waiting with plate in hand to be the first through the line. But at the head of the table, the seat occupied for nearly every...
Cookbook author’s history inspires thoughts on food and Thanksgiving

Cookbook author’s history inspires thoughts on food and Thanksgiving

Immigration has been on everyone’s minds lately. It’s been on my mind, personally, in the months after an ancestry trip to Sweden, where my own family lived before moving to the U.S. almost 125 years ago. Immigration, of course, was a major part of the presidential election, and as we prepare for Donald Trump’s inauguration in January, many are talking about the idea of a wall and...
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