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Food Matters: July 4th food ideas

Staff Writer
Austin 360

Celebrate your way, with tips from us

Thanks to the drought, we won't have fireworks in Austin to celebrate this year's Independence Day, so the holiday sparkle will have to come from food we'll share with our friends and family over the long weekend. We've gathered some of the best July Fourth food stories from recent years and reposted them prominently on our website, austin360.com/food. (That's a good site to bookmark on your computer, readers. The food stories that appear in the Wednesday edition of the newspaper are posted on austin360.com/food on Tuesday afternoon, plus you'll find new links throughout the week to blog posts other content from other features writers.)

This week on the site, learn how to turn inexpensive cuts of meat like chicken legs and skirt steak into show-stealing July Fourth main dishes. Find out which hot dog won our taste test with local food bloggers, and print out a recipe for spicy Guiness mustard or Dagar Catering's special baked beans.

You'll also find more than half a dozen recipes for potato salad, including Skeeter Miller's once-secret recipe from the County Line.

- Addie Broyles

County Line's Secret Potato Salad

5 1/2 lb. Idaho No. 1 potatoes

3/4 lb. yellow onions, finely chopped

3/4 lb. celery, finely chopped

1 lb. dill pickle relish

1 1/2 lb. sour cream

3/4 lb. mayonnaise

2 heaping Tbsp. coarse black pepper

1 heaping tsp. garlic salt

1 heaping tsp. celery salt

1 Tbsp. salt

paprika for garnish

parsley for garnish

Boil potatoes with skin on until you can stick a knife through them. (Watch out so you don't stab your hand.) Put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and allow to cool. While you're in the fridge, grab a cold beer to knock back while you wait. Carefully peel each potato (take your time ... you've still got more cold beer to drink), cut into 1-inch cubes and set aside. In a separate mixing bowl, blend together remaining ingredients; the mix should resemble tartar sauce. Add potatoes and gently mix. Place in refrigerator until ready to serve. When serving, dust with paprika and garnish with a sprig of parsley. Serves 10-15.

- Skeeter Miller, County Line co-owner

Mixing it up with Burgers and bourdeaux

One of Texas' Master Sommeliers wants you to have a little fun with your wine drinking habits this summer.

Lose the tie, choose your flip-flops over your high heels and don't overlook classic wines just because the food is casual, says Guy Stout, a Houston resident who was in Austin this week for a class at Central Market about burgers and Bordeaux.

Why pair Bordeaux wines with casual foods?

The reason for hosting such a tongue-in-cheek dinner is to get more people to drink fine wine with a simple meal. Why not have a glass or Bordeaux with a meal I think we all love, the burger? Not all Bordeaux is expensive, and we should recognize the fact. My favorite Bordeaux aren't all expensive. It's fun. That's what wine should be and why I do it.

What makes Bordeaux a good pairing wine? Why do you like it?

There is a diversity to Bordeaux wines that is unsurpassed in the world for quality and price. People should know more about them, especially now when the prices of the top wines are getting out of reach for most of us.

Can you speak to the coupling of burgers and Bordeaux in particular? What works and what doesn't work?

I think that the rich flavor of the grill adds to the great combination of Bordeaux and burgers. The tannin structure of the reds goes well with the smoky heat, which clams down the aggressive character of the cabernet sauvignon. As for particular brands for pairing with burgers, I like Chateau Saint Georges, Chateau Graville-Lacoste Blanc, Chateau Bonnet Rouge.

Are there things that simply do not match well with Bordeaux?

I was drinking a Pauillac with oysters. Not a good call.

- Emma Janzen

Chefs cook up benefit for injured colleague

The Austin restaurant community has rallied behind Daniel Curtis, the assistant director of food and beverage for the Carillon who was seriously injured in an accident over Memorial Day weekend. Curtis is in a rehabilitation facility in Houston, and local chefs Josh Watkins, David Bull, Shawn Cirkiel, Shane Stark, Philip Speer and Paul Qui are hosting a benefit at 6:30 p.m. July 13 at Grand Ball Room at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center (1900 University Ave.) to help pay his medical bills. Cocktails by the Tipsy Texans and music by the Derailers. Buy tickets ($75-$125) or make a donation at benefit4daniel.org .

- A.B.

Openings, closings and coming soon

• Opening today: Flix Brewhouse, a movie theater with an in-house microbrewery and restaurant 2200 S. Interstate 35 at the northwest corner of Hester's Crossing in Round Rock. The theater will show first-run movies, starting with "Transformers 3" this week. The full-service kitchen, run by chef Scott Reed, won't be fully up and running for a few more weeks, though, and the first tastings from the microbrewery are slated for mid August. 244-3549, flixbrewhouse.com .

• Open: Spec's Wine, Spirits and Finer Foods, the ninth Austin-area location of the Houston-based food, wine, liquor and beer store at 10601 RR 620. 506-­8316, specsonline.com .

• Open: The Hitch Mobile Eatery at 312 E. Hopkins St. in San Marcos, a food trailer park featuring How Sweet It Is Cupcakes and St. Pita's, both extensions of popular eateries in Wimberley. St. Pita's, operated by the owners of the Leaning Pear, is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. stpitas.com and twitter.com/thehitchsm .

• Open through August 10: SFC neighborhood farmers' markets. In addition to the farmers' markets in Sunset Valley, downtown and at the Triangle, the Sustainable Food Center operates the following neighborhood markets during the summer: 8 to 11 a.m. Mondays at Northeast WIC Clinic/H-E-B, 7112 Ed Bluestein Blvd., noon to 2 p.m. Mondays, St. John Community Center, 7500 Blessing Ave., 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays, Montopolis WIC Clinic, 1416 Montopolis Drive, 9 to 11 a.m. on Wednesdays, Rosewood-Zaragosa Neighborhood Center, 2800 Webberville Road. (For a list of other area farmers' markets and farm stands, go to austin360.com/go/farmersmarkets .)

• Opening July 1: East Side King, the third location of the Japanese street food trailer at 1615 E. Sixth St., inside Shangri-La. Each of the East Side King trailers has a different menu, and this one will focus on chopped Asian sausages.

• Closed: The Good Knight, the cocktail-centric restaurant at 1300 E. 6th St. The quiet, hauntingly tattered yet beautiful tavern was recently noted in Esquire Magazine as one of the best bars in the country and was set to debut new menus last week, but the restaurant announced the closure on Twitter and Facebook last week. When contacted, owner Randall Stockton said, "There's not much to say. It was time." He said he does not currently have plans to pursue any new ventures.

• Closed: The Screaming Goat, a taco bar at 900 W. 10th St.

• Closed: South Austin Bar and Grill, 1003 Barton Springs Road.

- A.B., E.J.

Give this yummy, gooey pie another try

A recipe for Texas Caramel Apple Crunch Pie we ran on May 25 contained several errors, so we are reprinting a corrected version here, just in time for you to make a caramel apple pie for the Fourth of July. Warning: Don't serve this pie without vanilla ice cream. It's reminiscent of apple crisp on a pie crust, and the homemade caramel is just begging for some cold ice cream to go with it.

- A.B.

Texas Caramel Apple Crunch Pie

1 frozen pre-made pie shell

1 cup sugar

2 Tbsp. water

1/2 cup (1 stick), plus 2 Tbsp. butter

1/2 cup cream

5 tart apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch dice

1 tsp. nutmeg

4 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Pinch salt

For topping:

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1 tsp. cinnamon

Pinch salt

1/2 cup butter, chopped in 1-inch cubes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pre-bake the pie crust according to directions on the package, about 10 minutes. (You can also use a homemade or refrigerated pie crust, but pre-bake before filling.)

Place sugar in a heavy-bottomed sauce pot and fill with enough water to cover, about 2 Tbsp. Use your fingers to stir the sugar, ensuring there are no dry spots. Heat the sugar on medium heat, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reads 335 degrees. Once the temperature hits 300 degrees, the temperature will rise very quickly, so be ready to pull the pot off the heat as soon as it gets close to 330 degrees to starts to smoke. There's no saving burned caramel, so if you cook it too long, you'll have to start over.)

Stir in 1 stick butter and cream carefully by hand with a wooden spoon until all lumps of butter have melted. (The temperature difference may cause popping and will cause some clumping of the sugar. If this happens, just stir over low heat to melt clumps.) Set aside.

Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Mix together nutmeg and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add apples and spice mixture to pan and cook for about 3 minutes. Stir apple mixture into caramel and pour into pie shell. You might have extra filling, depending on the size of your pie shell and apples.)

To make topping, mix flour, sugars, oats, cinnamon, salt and butter together, using fingers to work butter into dry ingredients until chunks are slightly larger than pea-sized. Pile crumble on top of the filling.

Put pie on sheet pan and bake in oven until the crumb topping looks toasted on top, approximately 20 minutes.

- Adapted from a recipe by Leah Tackitt

Food and wine briefs

• The Washington D.C.-based physician Neal Barnard will be talking about his book, "21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart: Boost Metabolism, Lower Cholesterol, and Dramatically Improve Your Health" at a free event at 7 tonight at Whole Foods Market downtown (525 North Lamar Blvd.) with Austin author and former firefighter Rip Esselstyn.

• Starting today, the Williamson County and Cities Health District is offering free cooking and gardening classes at the WIC Clinic in Taylor (115 W. Sixth St.). The two-hour classes, which include a bag of ingredients so you can prepare the recipe at home, start at 9:30 a.m. today, July 6 and July 13. Contact Carol Bennett (cbennett@wcchd.org, (512) 238-2109) to register.

• Fall Creek Vineyard (1820 CR 2241/222 off U.S. 29 in Tow) is hosting Burgers `n Blues, a wine tasting featuring burgers and blues music by Bill Rives and Corporal Punishment, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Call (325) 379-5361 for tickets ($16 per adult, $8 for kids 10 years and younger).

- A.B.

UPDATE: As originally published, this story stated that Guy Stout was the only Master Sommelier in Texas. He is one of four.