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Food Matters: Celebrity chefs coming to Austin, Happy Kitchen classes

Staff Writer
Austin 360
Anne Winckler, left, teaches about nutrition and food preparation in The Happy Kitchen class.

Center's classes now offered to public

For more than 15 years, instructors with the Sustainable Food Center have been teaching free nutrition and cooking classes to underserved areas in the community. The Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre classes are offered in Spanish and in English.

In the past few years, there has been a big enough demand from the community at large that the Sustainable Food Center is also offering the classes for a fee, according to Susan Leibrock, community relations manager for the organization. "The fees help offset the cost of providing the classes to those who could not otherwise afford to attend," Leibrock says.

The series of six, 90-minute classes costs $175 and includes cooking demonstrations, nutrition and wellness information, a copy of "The Happy Kitchen" cookbook and ingredients each week so students can try making the recipes at home. "You can go to cooking classes that are entertaining or pretty advanced, but we want to provide the in-between classes where people can find out how to cook on a budget, in season" or following certain nutritional guidelines, says Joy Casnovsky, director of the program.

The next round of classes, which are held in the early evening at various community sites around Austin, won't start until fall, but in order to get a head count and set up the classes, the Sustainable Food Center is encouraging people to sign up now. The organization is also looking for churches, schools, businesses or nonprofits that would like to host classes. E-mail for information on attending or hosting classes or to register.

­- Addie Broyles

Creamy Green Dressing

1 cup canola or olive oil (if using for a dip, reduce amount to 1/2 cup or less)

2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice

2 Tbsp. apple juice

2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

1 tsp. fresh basil, chopped

1/2 tsp. salt

1 garlic clove, pressed or minced

1 cup low-fat yogurt or buttermilk

6 spinach leaves (optional)

Put all ingredients in the blender except for the oil and blend for one minute. While the blender is running, slowly add the oil. Turn off the blender as soon as the dressing thickens and the oil is combined. Chill for 30 minutes and use as a salad dressing, dip for vegetables or as a marinade.

­- From 'The Happy Kitchen' cookbook

Fill your plate with visits by celebrity chefs

June is a big month for celebrity chefs coming to Austin. Culinary bad boy Anthony Bourdain will be speaking and signing copies of his new book, "Medium Raw" ($26.99, Ecco), at 7 p.m. June 29 at BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. Starting at 9 a.m. the day of the event, you can pick up a wristband at the store if you've purchased a copy of the book from BookPeople. Will Bourdain be shooting an episode of "No Reservations" while he's in town? The week of his appearance at the Paramount Theatre in April, his crew shot footage at several local trailers and dropped hints that the former chef might be back to try some of the food himself this month.

Faraday's Cooking Store, 1501 RM 620 N. in Lakeway, is hosting two Food Network notables in the next few weeks. At a free event on Saturday , TV show host and former Gourmet executive chef Sara Moulton will be cooking from her new book, "Sara Moulton's Everyday Family Dinners" ($35, Simon & Schuster), at 11 a.m., followed by a book signing at noon. Faraday's, which is the only Texas stop on Moulton's book tour, will have copies of her book for sale.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 19 at Faraday's, learn how to cook Caribbean-inspired dishes from Dzintra Dzenis, the Austin-based chef appearing on this season of "The Next Food Network Star." Class costs $25, and call 266-5666 to reserve a seat.

- A.B.

Opening, closing, coming soon

• Opening June 18: Braise, a venture from Restaurant Jezebel chef-owner Parind Vora with the owners of Bossa Nova Coffeehouse, which the new restaurant will replace. Vora's menu at Braise is a sauce-driven lineup of midpriced dishes (about $15, with half-portions available) such as Niman Ranch osso bucco, Jamaican jerk pork, black bass and leeks with mushroom ragout. Appetizers range from mussels to escargot to a daily crudo special. Vora said Braise will pour a free glass of wine or beer with food orders, and customers may bring their own wine for a $10 glass and decanting fee (or beer for a $1 service fee). For Vora, Braise represents a tiered approach to the Austin restaurant scene, at least among the three restaurants he operates. "Simplicity's got the low end, Braise has the middle, and Jezebel is the high end. Braise is a place to go for simple food executed well," he said. Braise will be open 6 to 11 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays at 2121 E. Sixth St. 478-8700.

• Open: Hit the Spot Cafe, a home-cooking breakfast and lunch spot at 5121 Albert Brown Drive, Del Valle. Open 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays. .

• Opening June 11: M Two Food and Drink, from Joe Reynolds, founder of the M Bar in Los Angeles. The eclectic menu from chefs Mat Clouser and Mark Strouhal includes beet chips with green olive dust, grilled Texas peaches with Round Rock honey, an antelope kebab and a pulled lamb sandwich. Open for dinner Wednesdays-Sundays. 208 W. Fourth St. 478-7222, .

• Open: My Fit Foods, the fourth location of the prepared-meals business emphasizing nutrition and fitness. 10740 Research Blvd., Suite 100. 372-8323, .

• Open: Cantina del Rio, an icehouse serving tacos, burgers, pizza, cold beer and frozen margaritas in the Gruene Historic District in New Braunfels. 1299 Gruene Road. 830-515-1950, .

• Open: Shu Shu's Asian Cuisine, a Chinese food restaurant at 8303 Burnet Road. 291-3002

• Open: The Local Pub and Patio, a bar pub in the old Little Woodrow's location at 2610 Guadalupe St. 478-2337, .

• Open: #19, a red double-decker bus at 1112 E. Sixth St. that specializes in cheesesteaks, burgers and hot dogs.

• Open: Spicy Pickle, the second Austin location of the sandwich and salad chain restaurant at 300 S. Lamar Blvd. 519-9607, .

• Reopened: Red Robin Gourmet Burgers at 13315 N. U.S. 183. 249-8902, .

• Closed: Roy's Hawaiian Fusion at 340 E. Second St.

- Mike Sutter, A.B.

Food briefs

• Learn how to grow and use medicinal herbs to both treat health problems and promote wellness on Saturday at the Natural Gardener, 8648 Old Bee Cave Road. The free class, taught by Ellen Zimmerman of EZ Herbs, will begin at 9 a.m. Call 288-6113 to confirm attendance or for more information. .

• Montesino Ranch, 300 Little Arkansas Road in Wimberley, is hosting a farm tour, dinner and screening of the movie "Fresh" on Sunday . The tour starts at 6:30 p.m. and dinner by the Leaning Pear is at 7:30 p.m. with the film to follow. Tickets cost $30, and all proceeds will go to Wimberley's Crisis Bread Basket. Buy tickets at the Leaning Pear, the Wimberley Farmers Market and the Sustainable Food Center Farmers' Market at Sunset Valley. Bring chairs or blankets and alcoholic beverages, if you choose. For more information, call 512-847-7393 or visit .

• Green Gate Farms in East Austin is featured prominently in "Eating Local," a new cookbook by Janet Fletcher. To celebrate the book's launch, Fletcher will be on hand for a potluck at the farm, 8310 Canoga Ave., from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday . Bring a dish to share, plates and utensils. Potluck costs $20, which goes to Green Gate's Farm Camp scholarship.For more information and to RSVP, contact

• Vega, a disco pop band with ties to Austin, will appear on "Dinner With the Band" on the Independent Film Channel on Tuesday . The episode features chef Sam Mason preparing a menu of grilled snapper, apricot salad and Bloody Mary Beer with the band, which performs songs between courses. The show airs on IFC at 9:30 p.m. Want the recipes for the dishes? Find them at .

• 24 Diner will host a four-course dinner (lobster, halibut, pork tenderloin, chocolate pot de crème) paired with Krupps Brothers wines at 7 p.m. on June 16. $75. 600 N. Lamar Blvd. 472-5400, .

- A.B., M.S.