Monthly Archives: November 2011

LOCAL – A Short Documentary

Through the eyes of some of our inspired chefs and farmers, this half hour film from award winning Director Christian Remde discusses the rise of the local food movement, the challenges of sourcing locally and how it’s become a growing part of the Austin, Texas food scene..

Do you know where your food comes from?

Get Ready for the 5th Annual Eat Drink Local Week!

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 14, 2011

EAT, DRINK AND CELEBRATE- LOCALLY, OF COURSE

SFC joins Urban Roots as beneficiary of 5th Annual Edible Austin Eat Drink Local Week

(AUSTIN, TX)— Edible Austin Eat Drink Local Week, Austin’s premier local food and drink event, is returning for its fifth year; and this time with bigger and better events to tantalize the taste buds.  Serving as one of the driving forces behind the sustainable food movement in Central Texas, Edible Austin Eat Drink Local Week successfully raises awareness of the bounty of products grown and made in our region.  Their success is achieved each year by partnering with Austin’s favorite restaurants, providing guests with fun and exciting events and raising generous funds for the Sustainable Food Center and Urban Roots.  Guests are invited to dine at over 50 participating restaurants that will feature a locally sourced menu, and to attend eight signature events throughout the week that raise awareness of Austin’s vibrant local food scene.  This year, Edible Austin Eat Drink Local Week will double its fundraising goal to $80,000.

In its first year, Edible Austin Eat Drink Local Week raised over $8,000 for Urban Roots, a youth development program that uses sustainable agriculture as a means to transform the lives of young people and increase access to healthy food in Austin.  Once a small program under the YouthLaunch umbrella, Urban Roots is now an independent, non-profit organization thanks to the fundraising efforts of Edible Austin Eat Drink Local Week.

Sustainable Food Center is excited to announce that they will serve as a beneficiary of this year’s Edible Austin Eat Drink Local Week for the first time alongside Urban Roots.  SFC cultivates a healthy community by strengthening the local food system and improving access to nutritious, affordable food.  In addition to producing three of the area’s largest farmers markets, SFC’s programs include Grow Local, Farm Direct, The Happy Kitchen and Sprouting Healthy Kids.  With the help of Edible Austin Eat Drink Local Week, SFC can look forward to continued growth as an organization, much like Urban Roots.

By hosting the week-long event in December, guests can enjoy a bountiful selection of local ingredients grown during Central Texas’s most robust growing season.  Diners are encouraged to try a special entrée featured on participating restaurants’ menus crafted entirely from locally sourced ingredients.  Those who participate can also experience a variety of activities each day of the week to meet local farmers, brewers, distillers, coffee roasters, chocolatiers; sample and shop for local food artisan holiday gifts; help select the Official Drink of Austin; and more.

New to this year’s lineup is an Online Chef Dinner Auction, featuring eight of Austin’s favorite chefs.  Bidders won’t want to miss their chance to bring a celebrity chef into their home or private venue for an unforgettable culinary experience for eight of their closest friends and family.  This is a first ever fundraising component of Edible Austin Eat Drink Local Week.  Participants can access the auction now and view dinner details by visiting www.edibleaustin.com/auction.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Bread & Butter Public Relations

Ali Slutsky
815.210.7454
ali@breadandbutterpr.com

Mary Mickel
501.350.3422
mary@breadandbutterpr.com

Edible Aria is not affiliated with Edible Austin.  While we’re huge fans of theirs, the naming is purely coincidental.

Future of Organic Food and Agriculture at Risk

Action alert from The Cornucopia Institute

Dear Secretary Vilsack, Deputy Secretary Merrigan and NOSB members,

As an organic industry stakeholder, I respectfully request that you consider the following:

1.    I object to the NOSB and USDA leadership accommodating corporate interests that want to enhance their profits by including gimmicky synthetics and novel, patented ingredients in certified organic food.

 Martek Biosciences Corporation’s DHA/ARA oils are inappropriate for use in certified organic foods.  Some Martek oils are extracted with the neurotoxic petrochemical hexane, posing questions about human health and environmental impacts.

These supplements, from fermented algae and soil fungus, have never been part of the human diet.  In the late 1990s, Monsanto Corporation’s scientists genetically modified strains of algae for high DHA production (now marketed by Martek and added to some organic products).

Martek’s oils also contain various synthetic ingredients that have never been petitioned and approved for use in organics.  These include ingredients like mannitol, sodium polyphosphate, sodium ascorbate, glucose syrup solids and modified starch.

Adverse reaction reports filed with the FDA indicate at least a subset of infants suffer serious health complications after consuming formula supplemented with Martek oils.  Serious and prolonged gastrointestinal illnesses have resulted in hospitalizations and dangerous invasive diagnostic testing.  Many of the reports indicate that these babies recovered as soon as the Martek oils were removed from their diets.

Martek creates the impression that scientific consensus supports its DHA and ARA oils as beneficial supplements.  But Martek leaves out the preponderance of key studies which point to a single conclusion in independent scientific analysis: Martek DHA in infant formula does not benefit infant development.

2.    I object to the NOSB allowing factory farming practices in the production of chickens (both for egg and meat production) and hog production.

The livestock subcommittee’s proposal for requiring 2 square feet per laying hen, outside, is woefully inadequate, as are some of the other recommendations for poultry production (including turkeys) and the miserable amount of space proposed for hogs. These standards would literally make the US the laughingstock in international organic production and marketing.  Welfare benchmarks need to be mandated in the regulations, not merely in unenforceable “guidance.”

I support a minimum of 5 square feet per laying hen and enhanced space for pullets, turkey, other fowl and hogs.

3.    Enforce the organic standards on factory dairies masquerading as “organic.”

After the organic community has invested almost 11 years of policy debate, attempting to rein-in “factory farms,” milking thousands of cows each and masquerading as organic, it is entirely unacceptable that the USDA has been unwilling to expend the resources necessary to carefully verify whether these dairies, and their certifiers, are complying with the new regulatory benchmarks set in the “pasture rule.”

I respectfully ask USDA leadership to immediately verify that the largest producers of certified organic milk are not economically disadvantaging smaller ethical competitors or continuing to defraud consumers and that new rules immediately be promulgated to prevent conventional cattle from being brought on to organic dairy farms as replacements for expansion.

4.    And finally, I want to clearly go on record that I want the Obama administration to appoint the best and brightest representatives in the organic community to sit on the NOSB board, truly upholding the will of Congress.  No more corporate-backed imposters!

As a consumer, I buy food with the USDA Organic seal precisely to avoid unproven, questionably safe products like Martek’s oils—genetically novel and synthetic—in my diet and to support humane animal husbandry practices resulting in superior nutrition.

The NOSB should improve animal husbandry standards and reject the Martek petition for “DHA Algal Oil” and “ARA Single-Cell Oil.”  I call on the USDA to immediately remove these materials from the marketplace.

Thank you for listening to my concerns.

Sincerely yours,

Grilled Bavette, Mushroom Beurre Rouge

Bavette d’aloyau (flap steak), cut from the bottom sirloin of grass-fed beef.  Marinated for 2 days in olive oil, fresh garlic, rosemary and thyme, then quickly grilled over high heat to rare-medium rare.  Rested, then thinly sliced across the grain and served with a reduction of dry red wine, red wine vinegar and shallots with knobs of cold, pastured butter whisked in to form an emulsion.  Finished with Fleur de Sel and freshly-ground black pepper..

Wiener Schnitzel

The classic Austrian dish, not the American fast food chain.

Free-raised Limousin veal leg pieces are uniformly pounded into to 1/4-inch-thick cutlets, seasoned and breaded in freshly-made bread crumbs before being gently fried in pure beef lard, drained and served hot with freshly-squeezed lemon, parsley and mustard potato salad.  Totally old school, totally delicious..

4 4-oz veal cutlets
sea salt and black pepper
fresh lemon
2 tablespoons heavy cream
3 pastured eggs
4 thick slices fresh bread
1/4 cup fresh parsley
gluten-free multi-purpose flour for dredging
pure beef lard for frying

Trim veal of any remaining fat or sinew, then place between slices of wax paper and pound with a meat mallet until of uniform thickness between 3/8 and 1/2 inch.  Pat dry and season with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper (add a pinch of granulated garlic if you like) and let stand.

Lightly toast the bread, trim the off crust and add to the bowl of a food processor along with the parsley. Pulse until crumbs are approximately 1/8 inch across. Set aside.

Beat the cream with a wire whisk until thickened, then add the eggs and whisk until thoroughly combined.

Meanwhile, melt pure beef lard in a heavy skillet over medium heat to a depth of about 1/2 inch (the veal should float rather than stick to the bottom of the pan. It actually absorbs less fat that way) and hold at no more than 350 degrees.

Lightly dredge the veal in the flour, patting it between you hands to shake off any excess.

Using one hand, dip the floured veal into the egg wash and hold aloft for a moment to let the excess drain off.  Drop the veal into bread crumbs and coat on all sides without packing the bread on too tight.

Carefully slide the breaded veal into the hot lard and fry until cooked through and golden brown on both sides (about 4-5 minutes total, depending on thickness. Don’t overcook).  Transfer cook veal to a paper plate to drain for a minute, then dress with freshly-squeezed lemon juice and serve hot with a side of mustard potato salad.

Cumin-Roasted Duck, Orange/Hibiscus Mojo

Fresh, locally-sourced duck is rubbed with cracked cumin, coriander and garlic, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper and roasted until golden brown.  Served with a sauce of pan juices, crushed oranges, fresh hibiscus leaves, red onions, jalapeño and cilantro..