Austin360Cooks: @shoalcreekcook’s tooth-friendly alternative to candy apples

Earlier this month, Katherine Dube, the Austin blogger behind shoalcreekcook.com, posted the only photo of coated apples that I’ve actually wanted to eat this year.

The apples in her shot are only half coated in chocolate instead of caramel or candy, which makes them far easier and less messy to eat. Apples are so sweet anyway, and Dube’s technique allows the fruit to shine, instead of that glossy red that looks better on a car than a Granny Smith apple.

I have so much fun scrolling through the #Austin360Cooks photos every week, and it seems like you guys are posting even more beautiful and inspiring images of what you’re cooking at home.

To share your photos in this project, use the #Austin360Cooks hashtag on social media and we’ll do the rest. Here are the latest submissions:

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Austin360Cooks: How to host a dinner party without breaking a sweat

Shawn Harrison is a 25-year-old Austinite who learned to cook as a kid and has developed hundreds of recipes as an adult. Addie Broyles/AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Shawn Harrison is a 25-year-old Austinite who learned to cook as a kid and has developed hundreds of recipes as an adult. Addie Broyles/AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN

I’ve always been impressed with cooks who can prepare a meal and entertain guests at the same time.

I’m not one of those cooks, unfortunately.

I’m pretty good at making multi-dish meals and chatting with friends, but not simultaneously. It’s probably because I haven’t had enough practice — dinner parties stop being so much fun when you add little kids and a tiny house in the mix — but I’m trying to take notes from people like Shawn Harrison, a 25-year-old Austinite I met at Con ‘Olio earlier this year.

He’s a Texas native who has been cooking for more than half his life, and his creativity in the kitchen is infectious. He was leading an olive oil tasting class, and within a few minutes of talking to him about what kind of food he likes to make (everything) and where he learned confidence in the kitchen and in a retail setting (four years of studying abroad when he was in high school), I knew I wanted to profile him as part of our Austin360Cooks project, which aims to highlight what everyday Austinites are cooking in their own kitchens.

We finally got together for a little dinner party he hosted at a friend’s house in South Austin late last month, which I wrote about for today’s food section.

Harrison has recently revived his blog, Enjoy and Indulge (enjoyandindulge.blogspot.com), and you can follow him on Instagram at @sharris6.

Here’s one of the many recipes he’s developed over the years, and one that he served at that party a few weeks ago.

Butternut Squash, Sage and Honey Puree

1 whole butternut squash
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 large shallot, peeled and quartered
2 cloves garlic, peeled
3 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. roasted butternut squash seed oil
1/2 cup almond milk
6 large leaves fresh sage, chopped
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Peel the butternut squash and cut it into 1-inch cubes. Place in a large baking dish and cover with a pinch of salt and pepper and 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Add the peeled shallot and peeled garlic cloves to the roasting dish as well. Roast for about 45 minutes or until a fork slides easily in and out of the pieces.

Remove from the oven and let cool for about 15 minutes. In a food processor, add the roasted vegetables, butternut squash seed oil and honey. Pulse for about a minute. Then add the remaining olive oil, almond milk, chopped sage and balsamic vinegar to the mixture and pulse until smooth. (You might need to add additional almond milk based on the size of your butternut squash. You are looking for a consistency like a baked potato soup where you can insert a spoon and the spoon will be evenly coated.)

Add salt and pepper to taste and serve. Serves 6.

— Adapted from a recipe by Shawn Harrison

Austin360Cooks: Cardamom Coffee Beet Salad from @whatjewwannaeat

This Cardamom Coffee Beet Salad is from Austin blogger Amy Krizer, who writes about modern Jewish cooking at whatjewwannaeat.com.
This Cardamom Coffee Beet Salad is from Austin blogger Amy Krizer, who writes about modern Jewish cooking at whatjewwannaeat.com.

Amy Krizer, the Austin writer behind the popular Jewish cooking blog whatjewwannaeat.com, is always coming up with new ways to keep old favorites fresh, and this week’s featured Austin360Cooks post is no different.

Krizer posted this Cardamom Coffee Beet Salad on her blog and Instagram (@whatjewwannaeat) last week, catching our eye with not only the surprising combination of ingredients but the bright, bold colors of the dish. She says the recipe, which you can find on her website, is easier to make than it sounds and utilizes beet greens, a part of the beet that is usually tossed in the compost.

You can share what you’re cooking at home in this series by adding the #Austin360Cooks hashtag to your posts on social media.

We gather them for a photo gallery at bit.ly/austin360cooks and pick our favorite each week to run in print.

Austin360Cooks: Local produce from Farmhouse Delivery

Local produce from Farmhouse Delivery, photographed by Mary Helen Leonard as part of our #Austin360Cooks social media project.
Local produce from Farmhouse Delivery, photographed by Mary Helen Leonard as part of our #Austin360Cooks social media project.

The fall produce season is starting to pick up steam, but local farms are still harvesting some summer favorites like okra, zucchini and eggplant.

Mary Helen Leonard, the blogger behind marymakesdinner.com, posted this photo last week of her weekly produce box containing butternut squash, grape tomatoes, creamer peas, pea shoots and red potatoes from Farmhouse Delivery, the Austin-based company that delivers produce from a number of area growers, including Rain Lily, Lightsey and Fruitful Hill farms.

To find out what’s in next week’s Farmhouse bushel, go to farmhousedelivery.com, and for more photos in our Austin360Cooks series, go to bit.ly/austin360cooks.

Austin360Cooks: Making pizza with Ballet Austin’s Anne Bloodgood

Anne Bloodgood, a dancer with Ballet Austin, prepares pizza while her husband, Paul, a fellow dancer in the company, washes dishes. Photo by Ashley Landis.
Anne Bloodgood, a dancer with Ballet Austin, prepares pizza while her husband, Paul, a fellow dancer in the company, washes dishes. Click on the image to see the related photo gallery.  ASHLEY LANDIS/ For the Austin American-Statesman

Anne Bloodgood is one all-star baker.

She’s also a dancer with Ballet Austin, whose season opens this weekend with “The Firebird” and “Agon,” and is married to Paul Bloodgood, another member of the company.

When we first launched Austin360Cooks, Bloodgood tagged a bunch of pizza-making videos she’d posted to her Instagram account, @annembloodgood. A ballerina who makes homemade pizza every Friday night? Sign me up.

I reached out to her to ask if I could crash one of her pizza-making sessions, and she obliged.

Photographer (and dancer) Ashley Landis and I showed up at Anne and Paul’s North Austin house a few weeks ago and found out just how much they love from-scratch pizza and baguettes, not just for the flavor but for the fuel it gives them for their grueling rehearsals.

It was fascinating to learn more about the lives of these professional dancers, what goes into a production like “Firebird” (or “The Nutcracker” for that matter) and how this sweet couple spends so much time together without going crazy.

(A hint: Cooking helps.)

Here’s the link to my column from yesterday’s section, and here is a link to Ballet Austin’s website so you can check out tickets for this week’s performances.