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Food Matters: 'Dishing with the Divas' cooking class, Primizie and Texas French Bread close, 'Cook This, Not That,' tango night at Annies, tailgating at Jack Allen's

Staff Writer
Austin 360

Getting jazzed about learning how to cook

We've all been to dinner shows where a musical act performs as we eat our chicken cordon bleu , but what about a cooking class where the instructors sing? For more than five years, Austin's Beat Divas have been teaching and singing for Central Market cooking classes. Led by jazz vocalist Mady Kaye, the trio includes voice instructor Beth Ullman and Dianne Donovan, whose voice you'll recognize from her years as a host on KMFA-FM.

Each member of the group takes turns teaching a dish, and in between courses, they perform songs about food, cooking and the love of being in the kitchen. "We're the only nonprofessional chefs that keep getting asked back," Kaye told a class earlier this year. But just because they aren't trained in culinary arts doesn't mean they aren't whipping up some show-stopping dishes. At a Jan. 30 "Cozy Winter Cuisine" class, they'll be making dishes including tomato basil soup, parsnip and bacon bread pudding and savory meat and mushroom strudel.

To sign up for this month's "Dishin' with the Divas" course ($50), go to www.centralmarket.com/cooking-school.aspx .

- Addie Broyles

Garlic-Parmesan Roasted Broccoli

2-3 large broccoli crowns

4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

6 1/2 Tbsp. good olive oil

1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 tsp. grated lemon zest

2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 Tbsp. pine nuts, toasted

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp. julienned fresh basil leaves (about 12)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut the broccoli florets off the stem end, trimming excess stalk in the process, and then tear the flower apart rather than cutting it. You should have about 8 cups florets. Place florets on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Toss the garlic on the florets and drizzle with 5 Tbsp. olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and paper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until tender and some of the tips are browned. Remove the florets from the oven and toss with remaining olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, cheese and basil. Serve hot.

- Beth Ullman

Two guides to what we eat

Last month was all about the abundance of good cheer. This month is all about dropping the weight that came with it. Two books can ease the pain by bridging the gap between eating light and eating out. "Cook This, Not That" ($19.99, Rodale Books) by David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding is a home-cooking extension of the popular "Eat This, Not That" series that suggests calorie-saving restaurant substitutions. "Cook This," for example, includes a recipe for potato skins that claims to shave 1,000 calories off the T.G.I. Friday's version. For easy-to-follow charts showing thousands of nutritional trainwrecks at fast-food chains and grocery stores, turn to "The Calorie King Calorie, Fat & Carbohydrate Counter 2010" ($8.99, Family Health Publications) by Allan Borushek. It's possible you didn't want to know that a Starbucks grande strawberries-and-cream Frappuccino packs 440 calories, but it helps justify your brand-new gym membership.

- Mike Sutter

Whole hog on tailgating

Need a place to get a tailgating fix for the Longhorns' national championship game on Thursday? Jack Allen's Kitchen at 7720 W. Texas 71 is hosting a tailgating party, featuring a whole roasted pig, sliders, chicken wings and gumbo, starting at 3 p.m. Alabama slammers and burnt orange margaritas will also be available. For a list of more places to catch the game, see Thursday's Austin360 tab in the American-Statesman.

- A.B.

Food and drink briefs

• Annies Café & Bar (319 Congress Ave., 472-1884, www.anniescafebar.com) is hosting weekly tango nights on Wednesdays. Organized by Monica Caivano, left, of Esquina Tango and Laura Pellegrino of Tango in Texas, tango nights will start at 7 p.m. with a free mini-lesson. Music will alternate weekly between live acts and DJs.

• Emerald City Press, the drive-through and walk-up coffee shop at 915 N. Lamar Blvd., is now offering drive-through beer and wine sales. Owner Emily Fleming-Nash says customers can now buy mix-and-match six-packs to go and gift-wrapped bottles of wine.

• After last year's record haul of $200,000, the ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot has surpassed $1 million in donations to the Austin nonprofit Caritas since the Thanksgiving Day run began 19 years ago. This year, more than 14,500 people participated.

• At 2 p.m. Sunday , "Raw Energy" cookbook author Stephanie Tourles will host a demonstration and book signing at BookPeople, 601 N. Lamar Blvd. Tourles' book explains various "uncooking" techniques and includes recipes for trail mixes, energy bars, soups, vegetable chips and dozens of other dishes that don't require heating to more than 116 degrees.

- A.B., M.S.

Openings, closings and coming soon

• Still open: In this column Dec. 23, we incorrectly reported that La Perla, a bar at 1512 E. Sixth St., had closed. As Manager Eddie Costilla will tell you, La Perla is still open, serving beer 3 p.m. to midnight Mondays and Tuesdays, then noon to midnight Wednesdays through Sundays (and until 1 a.m. on Saturdays). The bar's new phone number is 401-3310.

• Reopening: The downtown location of the Cuban restaurant Habana, calling itself the Habana Cuban Underground and sharing space with the Texas Embassy at 709 E. Sixth St. www.habana.com.

• Closed: Primizie, the Italian restaurant run by Mark and Lisa Spedale at 1000 E. 11th St. The Spedales will continue to offer catering services. www.primizieaustin.com.

• Closed: Texas French Bread, 1722 S. Congress Ave. The location at 2900 Rio Grande St, is still open.

- M.S., A.B.