Food Matters: Low key Sweets for Valentine treats; OrganicareFarms CSA in Taylor; 'Princess Bride' wine
Cast iron skillets show versatility in cookbook
Cast iron skillets are legendary for their utility, longevity and versatility, and many of the cast iron pots and pans in the U.S. come from Lodge Manufacturing, which was founded in 1896 in South Pittsburg, Tenn., a small town near the Appalachian Mountains. This week, the company is publishing its second cookbook, "The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook" (Oxmoor House, $24.95), which has more than 200 recipes that prove you can make more than chicken fried steak in one of those notoriously heavy skillets. Many of the recipes come from cookbook authors, but some are from Lodge employees and their family members. They've even dedicated an entire chapter to cooking outdoors with your cast iron. You can buy the book online at lodgemfg.com and through sites such as amazon.com.
Skillet Cauliflower-Feta Pizza
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour, plus more as needed
1 tsp. rapid-rise yeast
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. honey
3/4 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 1/4 cups cauliflower florets (8 ounces)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
2 ounces Asiago cheese, shredded
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley or basil
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine the flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Stir in the honey, warm water and 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Knead or mix in the bowl, kneading in extra flour if needed to make a soft, barely sticky dough. Place the dough in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Let rise until it is doubled in volume.
Toss the cauliflower, onion, bell pepper, garlic and remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large roasting pan. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. The cauliflower should be soft and partially golden brown. Allow vegetables to cool slightly.
Lightly grease a 12-inch cast iron skillet with canola oil and sprinkle the bottom with the sesame seeds. Punch down the dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Shape dough into a large round. Press the dough into the bottom of the skillet and up the side about 1 inch. Top with the roasted vegetables, cheeses, and parsley. Bake until the crust is crisp in the center of the pizza and the cheeses are melted and golden, about 30 minutes.
Tilt the pan and use a metal spatula to transfer the pizza onto a cutting board. Cut it into 6 wedges and serve. Serves 2 to 3.
- From "The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook" (Oxmoor House, $24.95)
Try low key sweets for Valentine treats
A little bit of salt makes sweets go a long way, and two new dessert products will satisfy the not-so-sweet tooth of your sweetie this Valentine's Day.
Serena Hicks was inspired by her 84-year-old grandmother's vanilla shortbread recipe to create a line of cookie-based bon bons that would be a great gift for people who find traditional truffles or cake balls too sweet. Hicks makes four bon bons - the cherry-stuffed Matriarch (above); a brown sugar bon bon topped with a banana chip; the Susie Q, which is stuffed with a dried apricot and dipped in coffee bean liqueur frosting; and the Texas pecan, which is both stuffed and topped with pecans and dipped in a mixture of chocolate and Balcones Blue whiskey. The bon bons cost $11.50 for four or $32.50 for a dozen, and Hicks makes deliveries within the Austin area or ships them anywhere in the country. 348-7321, bonbonsbyserena.com.
Sipping chocolates are thicker than traditional hot chocolate and are a treat even if you don't have churros for dipping. Choxolat Concepts has just released a line of dark sipping chocolates called Sip, which you can find at Thom's Market, Live Oak Market, Whip In, and at the Sustainable Food Center Farmers' Market at Sunset Valley on Saturdays. (You can also buy it by the cup at El Meson, JuiceBox, Rio's Brazilian and Whip In.) There are three varieties - peppermint; a spicy one made with cinnamon, clove and ancho and chipotle peppers; and a third mixed with a hint of Himalayan pink sea salt - and each is sold in a 7.5 ounce bag. When mixed with hot milk, it makes 10 servings and costs about $15. Choxolat also sells from-scratch marshmallows that pair well with the chocolates. 565-7451, sipchocolate.com.
Local, Organic foods for delivery or pickup
• OrganicareFarms in Taylor has launched a community-supported agriculture program, which offers the delivery of organic seasonal vegetables to people who live within a 15-mile radius of Taylor. The boxes cost $38, but you can also buy the farm's produce from 10 a.m. to noon each Saturday at Olde Thyme Gardens. organicarefarms.com.
• The Bountiful Sprout, a member-owned local food organization based in Wimberley, has added an Austin pick-up site at Hops & Grain Brewing, 507 Calles St. in East Austin. Customers have to become members or order from The Bountiful Sprout online. bountifulsprout.com.
• Emancipet, the local nonprofit that offers low cost spay/neuter and medical services for dogs and cats, is hosting an inventive fundraiser this week. For $150, you can order a box of goodies, including items from Sweetish Hill Bakery & Cafe, Tiny Pies, El Milagro Tortilla Chips, Duchman Winery, Sugar Mama's Bakeshop, Cornucopia, Love Puppies Brownies, St. Arnold Brewery and Tito's Handmade Vodka. The box will be delivered on Friday , which is the second annual Sit Stay Day. sitstayday.com.
'Princess Bride' Wine Line Debuts at Alamo
The Alamo Drafthouse has announced the debut of its signature wine, inspired by "The Princess Bride." CEO Tim League explained in a news release that the idea came about during a staff brainstorming session on what they could do to inject some fun into their wine list. The group discussed their favorite movie scenes featuring wine, and "The "Battle of Wits" sequence in "The Princess Bride" (when Westley first rescues Princess Buttercup from Vizzini and his henchmen) quickly rose to the top of the list. Thus, the "Bottle of Wits" signature wine series emerged.
There are two varietals in the "Bottle of Wits" line - the "Inconceivable Cab" and the "As You Wish White," both of which were sourced from the Terravant Winery in Santa Barbara County, Calif. The Cabernet is a medium-bodied 2009 vintage (with, rest assured, no trace of fictional toxin iocane powder), and the White, a medium-bodied blend.
Both will debut Feb. 14 at the Valentine's Day Quote-Along feast and screening of "The Princess Bride," which will screen at each of the Alamo locations at 7 p.m. The wines will be paired with a five-course menu by chef John Bullington for the event, and will be available to buy at all Alamo locations for $7 a glass and $28 a bottle thereafter. Online purchasing will follow.
Tickets for the feast ($60) are available at drafthouse.com.
- Emma Janzen