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Ask Addie: Whole Foods tuna salad

Food Matters

Addie Broyles
abroyles@statesman.com
At the request of a reader, Addie Broyles did her best to replicate Whole Foods Market's tuna cranberry salad, left, with successful homemade results, right. The homemade version uses higher-quality albacore tuna.

I'm afraid I have found a new addiction that I can't afford: Whole Foods tuna salad with cranberries with Sonoma Brinery fresh bread and butter pickles. For the past two nights, I have been heaping the tuna right on the pickle slices for a bedtime snack (which I'm sure my husband loves). Anyway, I can't keep running to Whole Foods for these items because of time and budget constraints. Is there any way you can help me with a recipe for the tuna salad?

- Kimberly Schneider, Austin

Looks like you're not the only one with a weakness for Whole Foods Market's tuna salad with cranberries, Kimberly. A quick Google search yields a number of blog posts and forum chats inspired by this creamy, salty, sweet salad, which is just one of dozens of prepared salads that the Austin-based grocer sells. While working on this week's story about nonlettuce salads, I prepared one of the mock recipes I found online and did a side-by-side comparison with the real deal from the store. I have to say, I liked the mock recipe slightly better, mostly because of the higher-quality tuna. (Whole Foods uses yellowfin tuna in this salad instead of the more expensive albacore.) However, making it at home, even with the more expensive tuna, is still less expensive than in the store, where it runs about $10 per pound, but you'll still have to run in for those Sonoma Brinery pickles to complete your late-night snack.

Tuna and cranberry salad

3 Tbsp. mayonnaise

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 Tbsp. finely chopped yellow onion

Pinch sugar, more or less to taste

2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped dried cranberries

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 can solid white albacore tuna, drained

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients except for the tuna. Gently mix in the tuna and season to taste. Serve on bread or with crackers or cooked pasta. Serves 1.

- Addie Broyles

Local food entrepreneurs helping one of their own

Austin's food community is pretty tight, but the circle of entrepreneurs who have chosen to make a living with their small food businesses is exceptionally so.

Several vendors at the HOPE Farmers Market have announced a fundraiser for fellow food artisan Colleen Sommers of Pie Fixes Everything, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

"In many ways, Colleen embodies the best of our little corner of the Austin community," says Jackie Letelier, who owns Pâté Letelier. "Now we are coming together to give back to Colleen, for all of the time, energy, love and pies that she generously gives to those around her."

On June 14, they are hosting an event called Pies & Pigs at Springdale Farm, 755 Springdale Road, that will raise money to help Sommers pay for some of her treatment. ("Like many in the self-employed culinary and creative community, Colleen doesn't have health insurance," Letelier says.)

Charcuterie makers Salt & Time and Three Little Pigs, Raymond Tatum's East Austin food trailer, will go head-to-head in a pig cook-off, and there will also be a pie-eating contest, pie auction and live music from Greyhounds and Whiskey Shivers. The event starts at 6 p.m. For tickets ($25) and info, go to springdale.ticketbud.com/piespigs.

Hungry for some 'Game of Thrones' goodies?

It's a testament to the world-building that author George R.R. Martin put into "A Song of Ice and Fire," the book series known to most people as "Game of Thrones," that the cookbook "A Feast of Ice and Fire" (Bantam , $35) exists at all.

Itself drawn from (and a condensation of) a "Thrones"-inspried website called "The Inn At the Crossroads" (motto: "In the game of food, you win or you wash the dishes"), "A Feast" explicates dishes mentioned in the books. Everything from the hearty fare at the Wall (pork pie, bean-and-bacon soup, mutton in onion-ale broth) to the mutant Mediterranean fare in Dorne (chickpea paste, rattlesnake) is covered; no region goes unrepresented. There are substitutions for the more exotic fare (the folks in the in the lands Across the Narrow Sea may eat dog sausage, but you can substitute lamb sausage), but there is also a devotion to verisimilitude.

There's even a sizeable introduction by Martin himself. (His confession? He cannot cook. Are we surprised? We are not.)

The first chapters are devoted to stocking a medieval kitchen and how to make such then-common staples as the spice Poudre Douce and Elizabethan Butter Sauce. There are two episodes left in this year's season of the HBO hit; dishes from this entertaining tome would make the perfect season-finale party. Here's a light, summery one:

MEDIEVAL COLD FRUIT SOUP

2 firm, tart, apples, peeled, cored and sliced

1 cup almond milk

1/3 cup honey

I Tbsp. sandalwood powder (or a dash of red food coloring)

Pinch of saffron

Pinch of salt

Poudre Douce or cinnamon sugar

Boil the apples until mushy, then drain. Press the apples through a sieve or whiz them in a food processor until mostly liquified. Pour the apples into a saucepan and add the almond milk, honey, sandalwood, saffron and salt. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until the soup thickens to a desirable consistency. Place the soup in the refrigerator until it is chilled through, then serve with poudre douce or cinnamon sugar on top.

Austin brews win medals at 'Olympics of Beer'

Who says canned beer isn't award-worthy?

Austin's Hops & Grain Brewery, known for only packaging beer in cans instead of bottles, took home a gold medal at the World Beer Cup, an international competition that is often referred to as "The Olympics of Beer Competition."

The East Austin brewery's Alt-eration won first place in the German-Style Brown Ale category and was one of six medals awarded to Texas breweries at the annual contest. Live Oak Brewing in Austin won silver with its Live Oak Primus in the South German-Style Weizenbock category, and Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner took home silver in the American-Style Dark Lager with its Shiner Bock.

Saint Arnold Brewing Company in Houston took home three medals: The Endeavour Double IPA won a silver medal in the Imperial IPA category, Pumpkinator won a silver medal in the Pumpkin Beer category, and Santo won a bronze medal in the American-Style Dark Lager category.