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Updated: 3:13 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012 | Posted: 3:10 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012

Food Matters: Grocers go all out for Hatch green chiles



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Food Matters: Grocers go all out for Hatch green chiles photo
Central Market
Hatch green chiles are in season and available at local grocery stores and restaurants this month.
Food Matters: Grocers go all out for Hatch green chiles photo
Austinite Nino Cooper, far right, of the Dirty River Boys has launched a Web series about wine, music and food on YouTube.

Sure, August means it's almost time for the kids to go back to school, but it also means it's time to celebrate everyone's favorite New Mexican import: Hatch chiles. Every year, area grocery stores bring in thousands of pounds of the peppers, which are similar in taste and appearance to the Anaheim but are grown in and around Hatch, N.M. Central Market and Whole Foods generally make the biggest noise about having them in stock, but other grocers carry them, too.

Central Market is hosting five Hatch-themed cooking classes during the store's two-week festival, which starts today and runs through Aug. 21 at both locations. Guest chefs Emily Swantner and Paul Petersen are among the instructors, and you can find the details about the classes and sign up at centralmarket.com/cooking-school.aspx. You have until Monday to enter your best Hatch recipe in Central Market's annual contest. You can submit a recipe through centralmarket.com, which is also where you can enter your name for a drawing to be one of the judges for the contests that take place in the stores later this month.

Whole Foods Market is throwing a Hatch Me If You Can event with a scavenger hunt, pepper-roasting, live music and relay race from noon until 3 p.m. Saturday at the downtown location of the store. Chuy's 24th annual Green Chile Festival starts Aug. 20 and runs through Sept. 6 at all of the area locations of the popular Tex-Mex chain, which has been rapidly expanding in recent years. During that period, Chuy's will offer special Hatch dishes that they'll announce soon on their website, chuys.com.

Hatch Green Chile Mashed Potatoes

8 medium (about 2 lb.) Yukon gold or red-skin potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks

1/2 cup peeled, seeded and diced freshly roasted Hatch green chiles

1/2 cup milk or half-and-half

4 Tbsp. softened butter

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Salt, to taste

Shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese for garnish

In a large saucepan, simmer the potatoes in heavily salted water and cover over medium heat until fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes thoroughly and return them to the pan. Set the pan over medium heat and add the chiles, milk, butter and cilantro. Mash with an old-fashioned potato masher, mixing thoroughly. Taste and season with salt, then scoop into a warm bowl. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

— Recipe from Whole Foods Market

Travel Channel show features local eateries

At 8 p.m. Monday, you can catch a number of local restaurants and food entrepreneurs on the Travel Channel's "Bizarre Foods America," which is hosted by the James Beard Award-winning TV host, chef and food writer Andrew Zimmern, who completed the Austin episode of the hourlong show last fall. (Earlier this spring, he was in town again for the Austin Food & Wine Festival.) In addition to segments on Foreign and Domestic and Barley Swine, look for Zimmern's visit with Sebastian and Esther Bonneu of Countryside Farms.

Dirty River Boy hosts 'Vino with Nino'

You probably won't find many "outlaw folk-Americana" musicians who are as interested in — and well-spoken about — wine as Austin musician Nino Cooper.

When he's not playing and touring with his band, Dirty River Boys, Cooper explores the wide world of wine (and music and food) in his new "Vino With Nino" Web series that thus far has featured guests including Ed Jurdi and Gordy Quist from Band of Heathens and Ashley Monical and HalleyAnna Finlay from a local band called the Wildflowers.

"I'm no wine expert critic, I'm just a guy who loves wine and who loves music and I want to share that passion with you," he says in the introduction of several of his videos.

Hearing him talk about a recent dinner at Fabi & Rosi in the episode with his bandmates, watching an episode that includes smoked meatloaf and Chilean sea bass skewers, and reading his Twitter stream (@VinoWithNino), it's clear he's as into food as he is wine. Cooper is seven episodes into the series, which you can find at facebook.com/VinoWithNino or by searching "Vino With Nino" on YouTube.

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