Share your favorite holiday cookies
In a baking mood? The 2009 Holiday Cookie Swap is under way at austin360.com/cookieswap, and readers have been exchanging recipes for their favorite holiday cookies, including this recipe from Beth Solomon for Triple Peanut Oatmeal Cookies, which Solomon says is "a serious fix for the devoted peanut-lover."
Enter your cookie recipe in our database, and have a look at others' submissions. We'll be taking comments and ratings into consideration when we pick finalists for Austin's Best Cookie 2009 in December, which will then be judged by a panel of celebrity bakers at a holiday party before Christmas.
Triple Peanut Oatmeal Cookies
3/4 cup butter (1.5 sticks)
3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal (not instant)
1 cup peanut butter baking chips
1 cup roasted, salted peanuts, crushed
Melt the butter with the peanut butter and melt in the microwave. Beat in sugars, milk and vanilla, then eggs. Fold in dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon). Mix in oatmeal, peanut butter baking chips and crushed peanuts. Drop dough by spoonful onto foiled-lined baking sheets. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Makes about 4 dozen.
- Beth Solomon
Veterans can earn their wings during promotion
In honor of Veteran's Day, active-duty military and veterans can eat for free today from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at WingZone, 907 W. 24th Street, and from 5 to 10 p.m. at the Austin and San Antonio Benihana restaurants owned by Austinite Brad Meltzer (9070 Research Blvd. in Austin and 8342 IH-10 West in San Antonio).
Area Applebee's are also offering a free entree to active-duty military and veterans.
- Addie Broyles
Thanksgiving eating out can include lobster
If your plans for Thanksgiving this year don't include cooking at home, you're not alone. The November issue of Bon Appetit magazine dedicated its "Hot Ten" list to restaurant Thanksgiving spots, and Austin's Driskill Grill (604 Brazos St. 391-7162, www.driskillgrill.com) made the cut: "At this beloved farm-to-table treasure, free-range hot smoked turkey wows with quince puree and sourdough sage stuffing. There is lobster on the menu for those who don't need the usual turkey."
Here are a few more Austin restaurant options for Thanksgiving Day, which is Nov. 26. I'll add to this list on my restaurant blog Forklore at www.austin360.com/forklore:
• Cannoli Joe's (4715 W. U.S. 290. 892-4444, www.cannolijoes.com): Buffet includes turkey, pumpkin gnocchi, turkey cacciatore, candied yams, pumpkin cheesecake and its regular Italian dishes. $17.99, $5.99 for children 4-12, free for 3 and younger. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
• The Carillon (AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center, 1900 University Ave., 404-3689, www.meetattexas.com): Buffet features charcuterie, cheeses, smoked fish, roasted turkey, sourdough dressing, smoked duck pozole and more. $36.95, $16.95 for children 12 and younger. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• Crú: A Wine Bar (238 W. Second St. 472-9463; 11410 Century Oaks Terrace at the Domain. 339-9463; www.cruawinebar.com): Three-course dinner. Appetizer choices include sweet-potato tortelloni and lamb tamales. Among the main courses are turkey, beef tenderloin, lamb, or salmon. Dessert options include pumpkin pie and chocolate lava cake. $32, half-price for children younger than 12. Noon to 9 p.m.
• Fortune Chinese Seafood Restaurant (834 Kramer Lane. 490-1426, www.fortuneaustin.com): Full dim sum cart service. Prices vary. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• Four Seasons Hotel Austin (98 San Jacinto Blvd., 685-8300, www.fourseasons.com): Buffet options include salads, pastas, pastries, pâtés, crab claws, sushi, roasted turkey, prime rib, wild-mushroom dressing and desserts. $75 at Trio, $68 in the ballroom, $20 children 6-11, free for children 5 and younger. 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
• Hyatt Regency Lost Pines (575 Hyatt Lost Pines Road, Bastrop. 512-308-4860 ): Buffet including turkey, ham, oysters, omelets and a dessert bar. $47, $23.50 children 4-12, free for 3 and younger. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• SWB (208 Barton Springs Road in the Hyatt Regency Austin hotel, 480-2035, www.austin.hyatt.com): Buffet with complimentary champagne. Choices include pâtés, cheeses, crab legs, shrimp, sushi, breakfast favorites, sea bass, prime rib, turkey and desserts. $52, $27 children 4-12, free for 3 and younger. 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• III Forks (111 Lavaca St. 474-1776, www.iiiforks.com): Options for the four-course meal include tomato-basil soup, III Forks salad, roasted turkey, Châteaubriand,
pumpkin pie cake and bourbon pecan pie. $42.95, $14.95 for children younger than 12. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Kids get cooking with fun facts on new site
Austin cookbook author and kids' cooking instructor Barbara Beery has opened the Batter Up Kids Cooking Shop online at www.kidscookingshop.com . Beery has taught thousands of kids how to find their way around the kitchen, and the Web site offers fun culinary tools created for young chefs. Find kid-friendly utensils, aprons, chef's hats, cookbooks, appliances and baking kits as well as toy cooking supplies for young children who like to pretend they are whipping up dinner. Beery also shares recipes and party ideas on the site.
Preserves, honey and olive oil from Sonoma
From the Dry Creek Valley of California's Sonoma wine region comes a line of preserves, honey and olive oil cultivated on the same land that produces Quivira Vineyards sauvignon blanc, zinfandel and other wines. The figs in Quivira's honey-fig preserves, for example, come from a 130-year-old tree that grows among the grapevines, and its olive oil is pressed from olives grown on the estate. Is it psychosomatic that they carry a back note of sweet, floral grape character? Decide for yourself. Wine and food products available through www.quivirawine.com and 800-292-8339. Prices range from $12-$15 for honey and preserves to $22 for olive oil.
- Mike Sutter
Openings & closings
• Open: Two Hot Mamas Grill, a fast-casual Latin restaurant behind the Compass Bank in Lakeway. Owner Genevieve Thompson says she's taking inspiration from her Spanish and Mexican roots in her menu. "So it's not your typical Mexican food," she says. 2418 S. RM 620. 547-2249.
• Open: Snack Bar, a diner-by-day, lounge-by-night that specializes in local and organic breakfasts, burgers, tacos and salads at 1224 S. Congress Ave. 445-2626, www.snackbaraustin.com.
• Closed: WeFuse, a bento-style Japanese cafe at 120 E. Fourth St.
• Closed: Ms. B's, a New Orleans-style cafe at 8105 Mesa Drive.
• Closed: La Madeleine, an outlet of the French fast-service cafe at 3418 N. Lamar Blvd.
- M.S., A.B.
Food and wine briefs
• It's gluten-free week at both Whole Foods Market stores in Austin. Starting today through Saturday, learn more about gluten-free products, cooking and even wine pairings at various events. Today's store tours, a Gluten-Free 101 class downtown on Friday and a tasting fair on Saturday are free, but a wine pairing dinner on Thursday costs $35. www.wholefoodsmarket.com.
• Faraday's Kitchen Store in Lakeway is hosting its third annual Holiday Magic Baking contest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Today is the deadline to enter the contest, and each $5 entry fee will go to Mobile Loaves & Fishes. 266-5666, www.faradayskitchenstore.com.
• For the second year, Dishola.com is teaming up with Whole Foods Market to donate up to 1,000 hot meats to Meals on Wheels and More of Austin. Through Nov. 30, Whole Foods will donate one meal for every dish reviewed on the site.
• From 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Lakeway restaurants including Ciola's, Tony C's Coal Fired Pizza and Iguana Grill will be serving food at the Lake Travis Food and Wine Show at the Lakeway Activity Center. Proceeds go to the Lake Travis High School jazz ensemble. $15 in advance, $20 the day of the event. Children 11 and younger, $3; 11-21, $10. Tickets at www.twohotmamas-salsa.com .
• Restaurant Jezebel's Parind Vora recently returned from cooking a command-performance dinner at the Spanish winery Marques de Griñon . Starting next week for a limited time, the restaurant will offer that same menu here for $109 or $175 with wine pairings. 914 Congress Ave. Details at 499-3999.
• Big Reds and Bubbles, an annual fundraiser for the Wine and Food Foundation, will be held from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Nov. 19 at the Driskill Hotel downtown. Enjoy food from local chefs and champagne, sparkling wine and "big reds" from around the world. $75 for foundation members and $90 for nonmembers. 327-7555, www.winefoodfoundation.org.
- A.B., M.S.