A quick round-up of food stories in the Statesman over the past week or so.

Matthew Odam tells us about the up-and-coming culinary hotspots in San Antonio, including Hot Joy, Gwendolyn and Cured. He also gives us the mixed review on Shawn Cirkiel’s Chavez, which is definitely an improvement on the T.G.I. Friday’s that was formerly in the Radisson on Lady Bird Lake but not quite up to par with Cirkiel’s other restaurants.

With the help of a $10,000 grant from the National Recreation and Park Association and Darden Restaurants, Austin will get about five new community gardens in the coming year.

Speaking of gardens, the Smithville school district received some accolades this week for its thriving gardening program, which provides some greens and vegetables for the school cafeterias.

The Sustainable Food Center contributes a monthly article about growing (and eating) local produce, and this month, they gave tips on growing snap, shell and pole beans and shared this recipe for a pinto bean salad.

Pinto Bean Salad

Dry beans are much cheaper than canned beans. To cook dry beans: rinse beans, then in a large bowl, cover with four times as much boiling water as beans. Let soak overnight. Discard water. Cover beans by 2 inches of fresh water in a stock pot and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for one hour or until beans can be mashed against roof of mouth easily with your tongue. Let beans cool, then put in plastic bags in the freezer in two cup portions. Use frozen beans within six months.

3 Tbsp. olive oil

3 Tbsp. lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. fresh basil, minced

2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. salt

2 large tomatoes, diced

1 jalapeño, minced

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cups pinto or other beans, cooked and cooled (or 1 15-oz. can beans, drained rinsed). See note.

To make dressing, in a medium bowl, mix together the oil, lemon juice/vinegar, garlic, basil, parsley, black pepper and salt. Let dressing sit while chopping the tomatoes, jalapeño and onion. Add the vegetables to the dressing and mix to combine.

Add the beans and toss lightly. For best flavor, allow salad to sit for a few hours or overnight in a refrigerator before serving. Serves 4.