Austin Urban Gardens

Raised Bed Gardening and Eating Well in Austin, Texas

Update-My Favorite Spring Events, 2015 March 5, 2015

It most certainly feels like Spring may never get here, but surely things will start to warm up soon.  I’m cheering myself up by looking forward to some of my favorite Springtime Events.  This list certainly in not all inclusive, and doesn’t include some of the obvious large annual events – these are just a few more affordable events I enjoy.  The update is to add Live Fire, the details of which were just released.

March 7, 2015  Sunshine Community Garden Spring Plant Sale This event is held the first Saturday of each March, and is my favorite plant sale for vegetable transplants.  The greenhouses will be filled with everything you need for your Spring Garden, including more tomato and pepper varieties that you can even fathom.  Peruse their online inventory and make your own list to take with you, or you might be overwhelmed.  Go early, wait in line, and be prepared for the crush of humanity that will ensue when they open the gates.  It’s part of the fun, I promise.

March 28, 2015  Fais Do Do, Gumbo Cookoff at Rain Lily Farm  This annual event sponsored by Farmhouse Delivery, is held at Rain Lily Farm on Shady Lane.  Your $35.00 ticket will get you unlimited gumbo tastings, complimentary beer, cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages.  Proceeds benefit Creek People.  This is a really fun time, on one of our lovely East Austin Urban Farms.

March 29, 2015  Edible Austin’s Children’s Picnic and Real Food Fair  This is a fun event for the whole family, held at the historic French Legation Museum and grounds.  There will be lots of food vendors, and lots of educational opportunities as well.  Kiddos typically pet baby goats, learn about backyard chickens, learn gardening from volunteers, and leave the event with their own little box garden.

April 4, 2015 Funky Chicken Coop Tour  This-self guided tour of some of Austin’s most interesting and innovative chicken coops.  Homeowner’s show off their coops and share their experiences keeping backyard chickens.  Drawings and giveaways will be available at the launch site, Buck Moore Feed Store.

April 9, 2015 Austin Food and Wine Alliance’s Live Fire This event is a meat lovers paradise each year.  The lineup of chefs has just been released and it looks amazing!  Many of your favorites local chefs and some from restaurants in other cities, will cook over live fire, and for $70 a ticket (early bird price), you will get to sample them all.  The event is held at the Salt Lick Pavillion, and will also feature live music, mines, cocktails, and craft beer.  Proceeds go toward the Alliance’s culinary grant program.

April 12, 2015 East Austin Urban Farm Tour  Also self guided, this is a tour of 4 of Austin’s Urban Farms, Boggy Creek Farm, Springdale Farm, Hausbar Farm, and Rain Lily Farm.  These four farms are all within walking distance of one another, and just a short 3 miles from Austin’s Capitol.  Each unique farm will host hourly tours by the farmers, and you will enjoy bites from some of Austin’s best restaurants, and sips from local beverage artisans and brewers.  While the final restaurant/artisan list has yet to be announced, the early word is very impressive, including Lenoir, Wink, Olamaie, Texas French Bread, Dolce Neve, Live Oak Brewery, Weather up, Austin Wine Merchant, Qui, Kome, Fixe, Fukumoto, Uchiko, Hops n Grain, Mescal, Paula’s, Banner Vodka, The Driskill, Swifts Attic, The Hightower, Anjore, Eden, Gardner, East Ciders, Liber & Co., Zhi Tea, Dai Due, Fresas, Odd Duck, Bola Pizza, Treaty Oak Distillery, Real Ale.  I’ll update this list once it is finalized. The tickets are $50.00 for adults, kids under 10 are free and proceeds benefit Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance.

Ongoing:  Keep an eye out for volunteer opportunities with Green Corn Project.  We will be installing gardens for our recipients through March.

Ongoing:  Antonelli’s Cheese Shop has events every week, including cheese and jam pairings, cheese and beverage pairings, and classes.

Ongoing:  Confituras has jam making classes throughout the year and they are really fun and informative.  It is about to be fruit season!


Pink Wine and Tapenade Dinner, with Paula Disbrowe and David Norman, Part Deux April 24, 2014

Last Fall, for the second year in a row, I was fortunate enough to be the high bidder on a private dinner for eight, offered by Paula Disbrowe and David Norman, as an auction item for Les Dames D’Escoffier’s Food Fight.  The  money raised by the online auction goes towards assisting women get into culinary careers.

Last year’s dinner was epic, so I was very excited to do it again this year.  The theme, again was Pink Wine and Tapenade, and the food represents some of the couple’s favorite foods from their time in France.  The variety of pink wines was provided  by Glazer’s Distributing.

David is the head baker at Easy Tiger and the other restaurants in the ELM Restaurant Group which include Arro and 24 Diner with an Italian concept in the works.  His breads are beautiful and delicious.



David Norman Breads

The first course of passed appetizers included Beet Puree on Toast with Macadamia Nuts and Olive Tapenade.  Delicious.  With this course we sipped on Lucien Albrecht Cremant Sparkling Rose.


A second appetizer was a Caramelized Onion, Anchovy, Olive Tart.  Beautiful and delicious.



The first seated course was a lovely Garlic, Gish Soup, with Aioli on Crostini.  The soup was delicate and light and the aioli was creamy and rich and mostly just perfect.




The next course was Daube of Beef, with Roasted Carrots.  It was served with Braised Fennel in a Red Pepper sauce, as well as Pan au Levain (not pictured)  For this course moved on to Domaine Ott.



For a lighter next course, we had salads of Personal Romaine Lettuces, Frisee in a delicious Mustard Viniagrette.



For a final course, we have an amazing array of cheeses from Antonelli’s Cheese Shop, David Norman’s delicious breads, and Confituras jam.  The combination of the Mt. Tam cheese on David’s Walnut Bread was an outstanding pairing.  By this point, several wines were on the table, and I think we were supposed to be drinking Miraval Cotes de Provence.  We eventually got to it and also opened some Whispering Angel as well.


There was also a birthday cake in the shape of a whale made by my friend Valerie for our friend Paul’s birthday, but I did not get a picture of that.  It was a night of amazing food and fun, and I hope to be able to be the high bidder on this dinner again next year.

Last year I was excited to have my copy of Paula’s first cookbook, Cowgirl Cuisine autographed at this dinner.

This year, I was equally excited to have her sign my copy of her newest book (with Donald Link) Down South.  Both books are amazing!

To read about last year’s dinner go here:


Steak Two Ways – Low Carbs for Lent March 10, 2011

I have always felt better when I eat very little wheat, complex carbohydrates like things made with flour, bread, flour tortillas, and sugar, corn and potatoes.  I think rice doesn’t bother me as much, but I love it, so I’m prone to eat too much.  I like all the white foods, however I find that eating them makes my joints hurt and I don’t sleep as well.  I don’t crave sugar, but I do crave the starches like crazy.  Once I get them out of my system, after 3-5 days, the cravings subside.

I’ve eaten way too much bread and pizza crust in the last few months, so for Lent, although I’m not Catholic, I’ve decided to give up carbs.   I will miss them, but I will feel better for it, and maybe get off my carb addicted track.

So, last night for dinner, I grilled a Richardson Farms Ribeye, on the Big Green Egg.  I sauteed Kitchen Pride mushrooms in Way Back When butter, my garden thyme with Spring onions from Smithfield Farms, and white wine.  I plucked some lettuce from the garden, chopped up a hydroponic tomato from the farmer’s market, and made a simple salad dressing with Roquefort from Antonelli’s Cheese and Way Back When cream.


Ribeye Dinner


No, I did not eat that whole steak, it was huge.  Leftovers soon.

So, my second night of low carb eating, was a variation on the same theme.

I had a package of 2 Thunderheart Bison Tenderloin Filets.  I’m a grill girl, but I decided to cook these classic style.  I heated up a cast iron skillet, until screaming hot, salted, peppers the steaks and seared the quickly on both sides.  Then, I put them in a 400 degree convection oven, in the skillet.  I chopped some Springfield Farms Spring Onions, Kitchen Pride Mushrooms, and sauteed them in Way Back When butter.

I was excited to break out my Staub baby sautee pan.  It is tiny, but perfect for my Roquefort and Reduced Cream Sauce for the steak.


Beginnings of Roquefort Cream Sauce


I sauteed some spinach until barely wilted, plated that, pulled out the rested beef and sliced it, topped it with mushroom/onion mixture, then drizzled the whole plate with roquefort cream and a fresh parsley garnish.


Bison Tender Dinner

I cooked the bison longer than I meant to, leaving it medium well.  I don’t mind sharing my mistakes, I got caught up on email and left it in a tad to long.  Meat keeps cooking when removed from its heat source, and I let it rest for a while.  It still was delicious.  I was eyeing the second steak for a sliced beef sandwich tomorrow.   Then, I remembered my no carb deal, so it will have to be a bison, lettuce salad.  Still delicious!




No Grocery Store, Days 358 and 359 December 16, 2010

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Day 358 I managed a boiled egg for breakfast.  For lunch, I had the red snapper tacos at Cafe Josie.  In the mid-afternoon, I put on a pot of the pinto beans I was gifted earlier this year, and set them on low.  Then I left to go run errands for my folks, and ended up getting home later than I planned, to a big ole pot of burned beans.  So,  my rice and bean dinner, was just Lowell Farms Rice and a snack of Kocurek pork rillettes left over from the party last weekend.

Day 359, I ate a little raw milk yogurt.  Lunch was an impromptu office (really the whole floor) at The Austin Club.  I had a salad, a cheese enchilada, and a taco.  (Buffet style)  I had two events last night – first was a Farmhouse Delivery Happy Hour at Olivia, where the chef prepared several appetizers using Farmhouse Delivery produce.  So I had a radish, a strawberry (interesting, they are getting greenhouse strawberries) a bite of a potato gratin, and a bite of a fried green tomato.  Next up, an ornament exchange party, where there was an elaborate Antonelli’s cheese plate.  I usually just buy stuff to assemble my own cheese plate, but now I see why the Antonelli’s cheese plates are so popular.  Because they are gorgeous!  This plate had 5 or so cheeses on it, adorned with curls of cured meats, and some chocolates, yellow raisins and some nuts, I think.  It had already been partially eaten, but it was a work of art.  So for dinner, I snacked on the cheese plate.


No Grocery Store, Day 297 – Green Corn Project October 25, 2010

Today was one of my favorite events all year, the Green Corn Project fundraiser at Boggy Creek Farm.  I have been a fan of this event for several years, and started donating a raised garden kit 3 years ago.  After having some scrambled eggs for early breakfast, I loaded up my garden kit and headed out to Boggy Creek early, to help anyone needing set up assistance.  Charles and crew were already there from Cafe Josie, and shortly thereafter my dear friend Stephanie from Confituras arrived.  After helping for a bit, I toured the farm to see what Boggy Creek had growing and to get inspiration for my own Fall/Winter garden.


Farm Entrance



The Front Field



Bare root strawberry rows



Broccoli for days



Seeds starting in trays


As the restaurants started arriving and setting up their food tents, I could see it was to be a fabulous food day.  This literally was the “who’s who” of food in Austin, in my opinion.  Aquarelle, Antonelli’s Cheese, Confituras, Mulberry, Thai Fresh, Fino, Asti, Cafe Josie, Wink, Jeffrey’s, Cippolina, Olivia, Farmhouse Delivery, Whole Foods and the list goes on.  My friends Christian and Jamie were a new addition with Bola Pizza.


Bola Pizza



Best Pizza in Town


Antonelli’s cheese shop provided several different varieties of cheese and charcuterie tastings.


Antonelli's Cheese shop



Thai Fresh



Paella from Fino


Fino brought their Paella which was delicious.

This radish salad from Farmhouse Delivery was gorgeous.


Radish Salad from Farmhouse Delivery


Charles Mayes from Cafe Josie did the first of three cooking demonstrations on the back porch of the farmhouse, and made his amazing mac and cheese.


Charles teaching cooking


Cafe Josie made 4 different kinds of tacos for the event, a departure from the tropical fare served at the restaurant, but nonetheless, very tasty.


Cafe Josie tacos


Cipollina may win for “most attractive dish” with this gorgeous house made pate.


Gorgeous plate


Hoover’s brought some amazing looking food as well, stuffed okra and (I think) stuffed cabbage leaves.  I didn’t get a chance to try these:




Stephanie of Confituras paired up with Barrie of Amity Bakery and served pumpkin butter and pear preserves with bread, which were a crowd pleaser, but also a bee pleaser!  The bees were attracted to Stephanies sweet treats, as we all are.




Mulberry brought their candied bacon wrapped around stuffed figs, which was amazing.


Mulberry's Candied Bacon


I didn’t get pictures of all of the food, or attendees at this event.  The Boggy Creek Farm Stand was also open for veggies, Larry’s salsas and other goodness.


Farm stand



Larry's Fire Roasted Salsa


There were some interesting silent auction items, like this Garden Angel.


Garden Angel


With live music on the porch, and spirits provided by Balcones Distillery and Paula’s Texas Orange, I’d say a fine time was had by all.  It might have been the perfect day.  Friends, great food, beautiful setting, music and all for a good cause – what more could one want?


Hosting a Party with Locally Sourced Food May 15, 2010

My jewelry party for Viola and Jean is coming together.  I’m up too early to run to the farmer’s market, so here I sit at the computer.  Yesterday, John Antonelli, of Antonelli’s Cheese, very thoughtfully assembled my cheese plate using all local cheeses.  We will have CKC Marinated Feta, Veldhuizen Bosque Blue, Sand Creek Farm Gouda, and Brazos Valley Farms Brie, which I think I’ll top with the Blackberry Conserve I’m about to get from Dai Due.  I also got some Toscano Salami, made by Salt and Time, using Richardson Farm’s pork, there.  The Antonelli’s know how to make cheese buying enjoyable and and easy.  And they are wonderful people, to boot!

So, I’m off to pick up the Kocurek’s Pate de Maison, (I picked up the rabbit rillettes on Wednesday) some Texas French Bread, the Dai Due Blackberry Conserve, some Dr. Kracker, Texas Olive Ranch Olives, and whatever I’ll need to eat for the week.  Champagne is cold, Hibiscus Mint tea is made, so I think I’m just about ready.  I’m looking forward to spending the day with good friends, after working so hard for the last few months.

Update:  I got all of the above with the exception of Dr. Kracker, because he was not at any of the markets.  I got carrots, strawberries, Full Quiver jalapeno cheese spread, and a Full Quiver Cheese ball.  Also some interesting local bread from Sunset Valley Market.  I believe I’m good to go!  (And I believe the local cheese industry will be well represented.)