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Food Matters: Simple recipes still can be full of sophistication; Keep your cool with a creamy margarita

Staff Writer
Austin 360
The Peace Through Pie Social was created by Luanne Stovall and this year will help kick off Juneteenth celebrations.

Simple recipes still can be full of sophistication

Cookbooks that promise culinary glory in only a handful of ingredients usually featured oversimplified dishes that are fine for beginners but not quite imaginative enough for cooks who want to make more than scrambled eggs or casseroles but who still want recipes with half a dozen ingredients or less. James Tanner's "Take 5 Ingredients" (Kyle, $19.95) fills that void. Tanner, a TV chef and restaurateur in England, gives us 100 recipes that still feel fancy even though they only require a handful of ingredients (salt, pepper, oil and water don't count): Roasted hazelnut tart, green curry chicken, mussels with basil and chile, crab linguini and fava bean, mint and pecorino salad. The dishes might carry the fingerprint of a chef who has worked at Michelin-starred restaurants, but they aren't too complicated for a home cook.

— Addie Broyles

Salmon with Caramel Croutons and Confit of Lemon & Arugula

For lemon confit:

2 lemons, peeled

1/2 cup superfine sugar

For croutons:

2 1-inch slices white bread, from an unsliced loaf

3/4 cup superfine sugar

For salmon:

1 Tbsp. olive oil

14 oz. organic salmon fillet, skin on and scaled (you could also use sustainbly caught tuna)

Crushed sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Handful of arugula

For confit of lemon, use a small paring knife to cut between the thin skin (membrane) of the lemon to release the segments. Remove any seeds before placing the segments in a bowl. Pour 3 Tbsp. water into a saucepan, add sugar and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Pour in the lemon segments, turn off heat and leave to cool.

For the caramel croutons, slice the crusts off the bread and discard. Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes. Place sugar in a pan and heat over low heat until the sugar begins to dissolve, but do not stir. Watch it carefully, and when it begins to melt, swirl the pan to ensure an even color. Once it is an even golden color, remove from the heat and toss the bread into the pan. Stir to coat. Using a slotted spoon, remove the caramel croutons from the pan and transfer onto a sheet of parchment paper to cool.

For the salmon, heat the oil in a large nonstick frying pan over high heat. Season the salmon with crushed sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cut the fillet in half, then divide each piece in half again.

Place the salmon fillets in the hot pan, skin-side down, and cook for 4 minutes. Turn and cook for another minute. Arrange the fish on warmed serving plates with the arugula, caramel croutons and confit of lemon slices.

— From ‘Take 5 Ingredients' by James Tanner (Kyle, $19.95)

Keep your cool with a creamy margarita

Avocado margaritas might seem strange to anyone who hasn't tried one before, but the mellow, creamy fruit adds a hint of something different to the official drink of summer, which starts this weekend. Kim Haasarud, the drink specialist behind Liquid-Architecture.com and a handful of cocktail books, includes this recipe for muddled avocado margaritas in her newest book, "101 Mojitos & Other Muddled Drinks" (Wiley, $16.95).

Like many mixed drinks, this one calls for simple syrup, which is a combination of 1 part sugar to 1 part water that has been heated to combine and then cooled. Triple sec is essential to a margarita, and Paula's Texas Orange is a locally made alternative to Cointreau that's worth trying.

— A.B.

Muddled Avocado Margarita

2 lime wedges

Kosher or celery salt, for garnish

1 Tbsp. fresh avocado chunks

1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro (optional)

1 oz. fresh lime juice

1 oz. simple syrup

1 1/2 oz. reposado tequila

3/4 oz. triple sec

Wet the outside rim of a rocks glass with a lime wedge. Dip rim into a dish of salt to coat, and set aside.

In a mixing glass, muddle the avocado with the cilantro, lime juice and simple syrup. Add the tequila and triple sec. Top with ice and shake vigorously. Strain over fresh ice in the rimmed rocks glass. Garnish with the lime wedge.

— From ‘101 Mojitos & Other Muddled Drinks' by Kim Haasarud (Wiley, $16.95)

Annual fundraiser seeks pie donations for event moved to June 4

For the past few years, local community activists have been hosting a pie social around Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January to help bring people together and build community through slices of pie. Organizers Luanne Stovall and Toni Tipton-Martin are breaking with tradition to host another Peace Through Pie event at 4 p.m. June 4 to help kick off the city's Juneteenth celebration, which marks the date (June 19) in 1869 when African American slaves in Texas learned they were free. The social will be hosted at, and is a fundraiser for, the 115-year-old Limerick-Frazier House, 810 E. 13th St., which Tipton-Martin is restoring as part of the SANDE Youth Project.

Organizers are seeking both sweet and savory pie donations from restaurants, chefs, culinary students and professional bakers for a pie auction. To contribute, or find out more about the event, email Tipton-Martin at luv2eat6@hotmail.com.

— A.B.

OPENINGS, CLOSINGS

& COMING SOON

Open: A fourth location of P. Terry's Burger Stand, 204 W. Ben White Blvd. Designed by Austin architect Michael Hsu, the 1,000-square-foot glass-front shop is drive-through-only and is the second P. Terry's, along with 3303 N. Lamar Blvd., to offer a breakfast menu, opening at 7 a.m. Mondays-Fridays and 8 a.m. Saturdays-Sundays. It's open until 11 p.m. daily, stretching to 3 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. www.pterrys.com.

Open: Dive Bar and Lounge, 1703 Guadalupe St. 482-3483, www.diveaustin.com.

Open: Yogurtland, a self-serve frozen yogurt shop at Northcross Mall, 2525 W. Anderson Lane. 452-7300, www.yogurt-land.com.

On the way: A fourth Austin location of the locally owned sushi franchise How Do You Roll, at the Triangle, 4700 N. Lamar Blvd. www.howdoyouroll.com.

— Mike Sutter

Food and wine briefs

Chipotle Mexican Grill at 801 Congress Ave. will mark Bike to Work Day on Friday by giving a free burrito, burrito bowl, tacos or salad to anyone who rides their bicycle to the restaurant from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Citizen Gardener and the Austin Permaculture Group are hosting a potluck from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday at the Barr Mansion to celebrate the local food scene and graduates of the Sustainable Food Center's Citizen Gardener course. The potluck is free; bring a dish made with local ingredients and RSVP to Josh@sustainablefoodcenter.org.

Austin Restaurant Week has announced Sept. 4-7 and 11-14 as its fall dates for another round of special three-course dinners, lunches and brunches at dozens of Austin restaurants.

24 Diner will host a six-course wine dinner featuring MacPhail Family Wines May 25. $85. Reservations at 472-5400.

• Fino Restaurant Patio & Bar (2905 San Gabriel St.) will host a five-course chef's table dinner with Fino chef Jason Donoho and guest chef Jesse Griffiths at 6:30 p.m. May 25. $80 including opening cocktail. Reservations at 474-2905.

— A.B., M.S.

Bring your appetite and comfortable shoes

Sometimes even people who live here need a guide to their ever-growing city. When Austin Eats Food Tour owners Andy and Lindsey Potter started giving walking tours of some of their favorite places to eat earlier this year, "we thought it was going to be the majority of out-of-towners, but it's flipped," Andy Potter says. "We get a lot of people from Round Rock, Cedar Park, Leander and even San Antonio."

The Potters currently offer two tours, one that starts at 10 a.m. on Saturdays at the SFC Farmers' Market downtown and another that starts at 10 a.m. on Sundays on South Congress Avenue. The downtown tour requires less walking than the South Congress tour (8 to 10 blocks versus 1.6 miles), but Potter says the stop-and-go nature of the walk means it isn't as difficult as it might seem. (The tours are for anyone ages 15 and older.) In addition to their downtown and South Congress tours, Potter says they are adding an afternoon bike tour that will hit eateries along Barton Springs Road and an evening tour of high-end restaurants downtown that will pair appetizers with cocktails.

Tickets for the current tours are $65 and include tastings at six to eight restaurants. Go to www.austineatsfoodtours.com for more information.

— A.B.