FESTIVALS

Local tastes crowned at Hot Sauce Festival

The Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival had a great debut at Fiesta Gardens two weekends ago. The longtime festival, now in its 22nd year, always showcases the best hot sauce and salsa makers from around the state, from restaurants to commercial manufacturers to regular old home cooks. Food editor Virginia Wood has all the winners in each of the 14 categories at austinchronicle.com/?hot-sauce-festival, but she noted that newcomers Texas Brew Products, Becerras Mild and Hot Line Pepper Products won over judges, as did restaurants El Nuevo Mexico and Buenos Aires Cafe, which placed for the first time. Michael Valencia, Daniel Cook and Vanessa Brightman took home bragging rights in the individual competition. On a side note, it's nice to see Jaime's Spanish Village, which closed two years ago, still going strong with their commercial salsas, which placed in several categories.

LOCAL FOOD

Mueller Farmers' Market opens Sunday

East Austin is getting another farmers' market. Mueller Farmers' Market, a partnership between TexasFarmersMarket.org and the Mueller development just east of Interstate 35 at Airport Boulevard, will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays, starting this weekend.

Market manager Carla Jenkins, who runs sister markets at the Lakeline Mall and in Round Rock, says they'll start with more than 40 vendors, including farmers, ranchers, bakers, cheesemakers and other specialty food and craft makers. Vendors will be set up in the historic Browning Hangar off Airport Boulevard.

This market, the third in East Austin to open in less than three years, is about three miles from the HOPE Farmers Market at Fifth and Waller streets, which became the area's first Sunday market, and only East Austin market, when it opened in the fall of 2009. In March, the Sustainable Food Center, which had operated markets in Plaza Saltillo and several East Austin neighborhoods in the past decade, opened a year-round Tuesday morning market at the YMCA at 51st Street and U.S. 183.

The Mueller Farmers' Market also will become the third Sunday farmers market in the area, along with the HOPE Market and the Lakeway Commons Farmers Market west of Austin.

Jenkins says that the opening day celebration will include live music, free yoga, cooking demonstrations from local chefs and a petting zoo. For more information, including a list of vendors, go to TexasFarmersMarket.org.

HOME COOKING

Indian cooking classes at Whole Foods

Former newscaster Anupy Singla's "Indian Slow Cooker" was such a good first effort for a cookbook author that I was happy to see her follow-up, "Vegan Indian Cooking" (Surrey Books, $19.95), come out less than a year later. Singla will teach two classes at Whole Foods Market Culinary Center, 525 N. Lamar Blvd., this week, a demonstration class at 6:30 p.m. on Friday ($50) and a hands-on class at 10 a.m. Saturday ($70). To register for one of the classes, call 542-2340 or email culinary.center@wholefoods.com.

Masala Chickpea Burger

I cannot stand frozen veggie burgers from the store. They taste like cardboard. That's precisely why my mom and I started experimenting one day in the kitchen. Making your own veggie burgers is easy and incredibly fun for the whole family. Freeze them and pull them out during the week for an easy meal. I guarantee you won't go back to prepackaged burgers again.

2 cups cooked white chickpeas

2 cups cooked brown rice

1 cup uncooked yam or sweet potato, peeled and grated

1 carrot or zucchini, grated

1/2 cup white cabbage, grated

1/2 small white onion, peeled and minced

1 1-inch piece ginger root, peeled and grated or minced

3/4 cup chickpea flour

1 Tbsp. coarse sea salt

1 tsp. turmeric powder

1 tsp. red chile powder or cayenne

2 tsp. garam masala

1 Tbsp. ground coriander

1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

2 Tbsp. oil, plus more for pan frying

In a food processor, blend the chickpeas and rice until well combined. Add the remaining ingredients and process again until smooth. With your hands, form the mixture into small balls and flatten them into patties. If the dough is too sticky and soft, just add a little more flour. Set aside on a tray. In a shallow frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the patties and heat until browned on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes a side. I like to put a lid on the pan and cook for an additional minute on each side to make sure the patties and the flour are cooked through. Serve on a hamburger bun with all the fixings, or on a large lettuce leaf for a lighter meal. Makes about a dozen patties.

— From "Vegan Indian Cooking" by Anupy Singla (Surrey Books, $19.95)

EVENTS

Last summer, we told you about Becky Nichols' dream to keep her daughter's love of giving to others alive through the Loving Libbie Memorial Foundation. On Saturday, Nichols, who runs the Bountiful Bakery and Cafe in West Lake Hills, and her foundation will host the second annual Libbie's Birthday Bash to honor the 5-year-old who died of leukemia in 2004. The event, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Austin Music Hall, 208 Nueces St., raises money for a nonprofit that provides comfort food, holiday dinners and birthday cakes to kids and families at area children's treatment centers. To find out more about the event, buy tickets ($25) or make a donation, go to libbiessecondannualbirthdaybash.eventbrite.com.

The fifth annual Dripping With Taste Wine & Food Festival is taking place from 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday at the Texas Hill Country Olive Company, 2530 W. Fitzhugh Road, just west of RM 12. Six local breweries and more than 20 area wineries will pour samples, and local chefs and food companies will provide the food. Live music, chef demonstrations and more. Tickets start at $30 if you buy them ahead online at drippingwithtaste.com.

Zhi Tea, the Austin-based tea company, is celebrating its fifth birthday with a week of events, including a tea-blending workshop at 6 p.m. today, free tea from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, a tea party at 8 p.m. Friday and a picnic from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday. All events will take place at the shop at 4607 Bolm Road. RSVP to info@zhitea.com.

The HOPE Farmers Market, at the corner of Fifth and Waller streets in East Austin, is hosting its second annual East Side County Fair on Sunday with a petting zoo, bingo, watermelon seed spitting contest and other family-friendly activities. For details about the free event, go to

The sixth annual Farm and Food Leadership Conference is taking place at the Bastrop Convention Center next Monday and Tuesday. Agriculture activists and farmers from across the state will convene to talk about issues including the Farm Bill and genetically modified foods. Registration costs $60 for Monday and $45 for Tuesday. For more information and to register, go to farmandranchfreedom.org.