Teal pumpkins signal a treat for kids with food allergies

Michelle Fandrich
Teal pumpkins are a quick and easy way to indicate that you are passing out treats that kids with food allergies can enjoy. Photo by Michelle Fandrich.

For kids with severe food allergies, there’s nothing scarier than accidentally eating nuts, wheat or some other food allergen, which means trick-or-treating just isn’t very fun when all the houses have only candies that could trigger a reaction.

The national organization Food Allergy Research and Education has been spreading the word about the Teal Pumpkin Project, a way to alert others that non-food treats are available for trick-or-treaters.

The idea of painting a pumpkin with teal paint as a symbol of a food allergy-friendly house started with a food allergy group in Tennessee, but once FARE started posting about it earlier this month, the concept took off, hitting parenting and food blogs from coast to coast.

To the delight of dentists everywhere, Teal Pumpkin Project participants are encouraged to have inexpensive toys, trinkets or items like glow sticks, bubbles or crayons on hand in addition to or instead of traditional candy.

You can find out more at foodallergy.org.

Locals to compete in 47th Pillsbury Bake-Off in Nashville

The Pillsbury Bake-Off is back, and a handful of locals will make the trip to Nashville this weekend to compete.

Lauren Wyler of Dripping Springs earned a place in the finals with Mexican Street Corn Cups, a twist on the popular lime and Cotija corn dish.

Wimberley resident Tomoko Long will compete with her Easy Asian Pork Bundles, a cabbage-and-ground pork stuffed biscuit.

Melanie Eichman of San Antonio, who is a City of Austin employee and University of Texas graduate, will compete in the dessert category with her Hummingbird Macaroons.

This is the 47th year for the recipe competition, whose $1 million prize is the country’s largest. You can find all of the finalists’ recipes at pillsbury.com.

These Mexican Corn Cups from Dripping Springs resident Lauren Wyler are among the finalists for the 47th Pillsbury Bake-Off. Photo from Pillsbury.
These Mexican Corn Cups from Dripping Springs resident Lauren Wyler are among the finalists for the 47th Pillsbury Bake-Off. Photo from Pillsbury.

Mexican Street Corn Cups

Lauren Wyler of Dripping Springs created this spin on Cotija-coated street corn for the bake-off. Her recipe calls for Green Giant, Pillsbury and Watkins-branded ingredients, but other brands can be used when making this yourself.

1 bag (11 oz.) Green Giant Steamers frozen honey roasted sweet corn
1 can Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations refrigerated seamless dough sheet
1 Tbsp. grated lime peel
2 tsp. lime juice
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup crumbled Cotija cheese
3 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 tsp. Watkins chili powder

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Microwave frozen corn as directed on bag. Cut open bag; set aside. Unroll dough on work surface. With pizza cutter, cut into 24 squares. Press 1 square in bottom and up side of each of 24 ungreased nonstick mini muffin cups.

In small bowl, mix lime peel, 1 teaspoon of the lime juice and 2 tablespoons of the cilantro until combined; set aside.

In medium bowl, mix remaining 1 teaspoon lime juice, remaining cilantro, cheese, mayonnaise, chili powder and corn until combined. Spoon 1 slightly rounded tablespoon mixture into each cup.

Bake 8 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes. Serve cups topped with reserved cilantro lime mixture.

— Adapted from a recipe by Lauren Wyler

Events: Richardson Farms to host Homegrown Revival feast on Saturday


Kay and Jim Richardson Austinites don’t get as many excuses to visit Richardson Farms in Rockdale as they do the other farms a little closer to the city.

But this Saturday, Hillside Farmacy chef Sonya Cote and Tink Pinkard, Austin’s pig roasting aficionado, are teaming up for a Homegrown Revival feast at the farm run by Jim and Kay Richardson, omnipresent figures at local farmers markets who provide pastured pork, beef, chickens and turkeys to restaurants and home cooks alike.

The dinner, which starts at 5 p.m. with a hayride tour of the farm, costs $85, and you can find out more on the Homegrown Revival website.

Austin360 Taste Test: Pumpkin spice soda, kefir, ice cream and more

It’s fall, which means pumpkin spice has invaded every aisle of the grocery store.

I tapped Statesman social media editor Jackie Stone as my pumpkin-spice expert for this week’s Austin360 Taste Test video. We tried seven pumpkin and pumpkin spice products: Maine Root soda, Pepperidge Farm swirl bread, Central Market sandwich cookies, H-E-B pumpkin ice cream, Pillsbury strudels, RW Garcia chips and Lifeway kefir.

What’s your favorite application of pumpkin spice? Pumpkin pie?


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:

<div class=”storify”>

<script src=”//storify.com/broylesa/austin360cooks.js?header=false&border=false&template=grid”></script><noscript>[<a href=”//storify.com/broylesa/austin360cooks” target=”_blank”>View the story “Austin360Cooks” on Storify</a>]</noscript></div>

Austin360Eats: Patika Wine & Coffee from @mjsoko

Patika Wine & Coffee, 2159 S. Lamar Blvd., draws coffee lovers from across the city, including @mjsoko, an Austinite who posts equally between her dog, her food and her travels.

That means the only thing missing from this recent photo of Patika coffee, a pastry and the New York Times travel section is her Boston Terrier, Jack.

You can still find Patika’s coffee trailer near Fourth Street and Congress Avenue downtown, but their brick-and-mortar location near the intersection of Kinney Road and South Lamar.

To share your own pics, add #Austin360Eats to your photos on social media, and for more photos of what Austinites are eating and drinking around the city, check out this awesome (and ever-growing) Storify gallery:

Food activist Raj Patel joins LBJ School of Public Affairs at UT

rajpatelOne of the most noted names in food activism is now a research professor at the University of Texas.

Raj Patel, who has been a featured speaker during Edible Austin’s Eat Drink Local Week, has joined the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, as of this semester.

Patel is best known for his research on and advocacy for social justice and the food system, as well as genetically modified crops, poverty, democracy and other issues that would fall under the “public affairs” umbrella of the LBJ School.

He has degrees from University of Oxford, the London School of Economics and Cornell University, and his most recent books are “Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System” and “The Value of Nothing.”

For the past few years, Patel has been working on a documentary and book project called “Generation Food” with director Steve James.

From the LBJ School:

“Raj will be engaged in a combination of teaching, research, and documentary film making.  He will be teaching a few graduate courses on food policy here at the LBJ School over the next three years, as well as a couple of large undergraduate courses across campus.  His presence on our faculty greatly strengthens the breadth and depth of the LBJ School’s profile in international development studies and, indeed, that of the University as a whole. Raj’s role as a prominent public intellectual extends the reach of our teaching and research to key opinion leaders in the United States and around the world. “

Toni Tipton-Martin wins John Egerton Prize from the Southern Foodways Alliance

ToniTiptonMartin.jpegToni Tipton-Martin, the Austin-based food writer and culinary historian, won one of two John Egerton Prizes awarded at this year’s Southern Foodways Symposium in Oxford, Mississippi.

Martin has co-authored three books and founded a nutrition education nonprofit called SANDE Youth Project, but one of her most noteworthy projects is called The Jemima Code, which started as a blog and will publish next year as a book from the University of Texas Press called “The Jemima Code: 150 Timeless African American Cookbooks and their Extraordinary Legacy.”

When she’s not in Austin teaching nutrition and gardening classes or working on the book, Martin is traveling around the country sharing the stories of African American cooks who indelibly (and often anonymously) shaped the cuisine that Southern Foodways celebrates.

jemima code

The other winner this year was Chuck Reece, co-founder of a digital magazine called The Bitter Southerner. Both will receive a $5,000 stipend as part of the award named after Egerton, the journalist and author who helped found the Southern Foodways Alliance in 1999 and who died last year.

Meat-free chili shines at 26th annual Lone Star Chili Cook-Off



The 26th annual Lone Star Vegetarian Chili Cook-Off took place in Round Rock on Sunday. Photo by Rachel Ross Thompson.
The 26th annual Lone Star Vegetarian Chili Cook-Off took place in Round Rock on Sunday. Photo by Rachel Ross Thompson.

Chili has always made me think of home.

It conjures up images of my mother stirring beans and tomato sauce with a spoon in our California kitchen. Catering to my poultry-only preferences, she always made it with ground turkey.

In Texas, friends sometimes scoff at the idea of chili without beef. After all, the red meat is a bit of a tradition in the dish, but I was always convinced my mother’s turkey version was much tastier.

As it turns out, there are a lot of people who think chili is better off without red meat- and many who think the classic dish is better without meat at all.

The Lone Star Vegetarian Chili Cook-Off has taken place annually in Texas since 1989. Started when four vegetarian societies formed the Lone Star Vegetarian Network, the competition has been held in several major Texas cities and draws hundreds of eager chili tasters each year. This past Sunday in Round Rock marked the 26th annual cook-off and featured vegan chilis prepared by 11 different teams from all around the state.

Along with six other judges, I took a small scoop of each chili and rated it based on consistency, appearance and overall flavor. The variety of vegan chilis was astounding. Some teams used squash and tomatoes, others simply mixed a variety of classic beans; some were thick and sweet, others more soupy and spicy. My favorite chili was a mix of beans, corn and quinoa with a thick consistency and hint of sweetness.

Once the judging was over – we gave the top prize to Phillip Steifer from Elgin – we were allowed to leave the table and walk around to greet the chili chefs, each of whom proudly scooped out servings with a ladle.

Despite the fact that I was stuffed from 12 chili samplings, I couldn’t resist another taste of the corn-quinoa chili.

The cook-off aims to show that vegan foods can be just as delicious as those prepared with meat, and there was no denying the scrumptiousness of these meat-free chilis.

Beef-loving friends, take note.


Texas food festivals, from Brady to Oatmeal