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Food Matters: Web tool makes everyone an author

Staff Writer
Austin 360

Want to self-publish a cookbook?

There are all kinds of websites out there to help you create an actual book of recipes ( and come to mind), but to turn that collection of recipes into an iPad app, you needed a hefty chunk of change to pay some up-and-coming app developer to bring the book alive. founder Babette Pepaj has created a nifty free tool to change that.

Cookbook Cafe, a free app for the iPad with a corresponding website, lets anyone with a computer make an interactive cookbook app that can be viewed on an iPad or a traditional web browser, and we're not just talking about a PDF to scroll through. Each cookbook can be viewed two ways, either in a traditional format or in what they call "cook mode," which displays the essentials that you need while actually cooking the dish.

Cookbook Cafe is a fun app, even if you aren't making your own digital cookbook. If you're looking for a specific dish, you can type in the name, and the app will search through all the cookbooks in the database to find that dish.

Most of the cookbooks are more like free booklets, with just a handful of recipes, but some of them are bigger projects that cost a few dollars.

Pepaj says that one of her goals is to help nonprofits raise money through digital cookbooks, so there is an entire section called "Recipes for Good" that you can browse on the app or the computer.

Within the app, users will find an intuitive tools section that lets you set up to five timers, as well as convert measurements and search for ingredient substitutions.

Mr. Ham's Sweet Brown and Red Barbecue Sauce

Austinite Chad Andrews recently used the app to create a cookbook called "Mr. Ham's Sweet Brown & Red Barbeque Sauce & Other Awesome Recipes," which features a tangy barbecue sauce with a gentle kick that he promises "will curl your toes." "Making barbecue sauce puts me in a zen space," Andrews writes. Like any good barbecue sauce, this recipe has a bunch of ingredients, and Andrews specifies the brands he uses to get the flavor he wants. Make substitutions at will and with care. He warns this recipe makes a big batch, so you'll have plenty to last you through the summer, but you can reduce it proportionately, if needed. "But trust me: If you make this in a big batch, you'll be using it all the time."

1 1/3 cup blackstrap molasses

1 1/3 cup loosely packed brown sugar

1/2 cup pure cane sugar

1/3 cup red raspberry vinegar

1 (15-oz.) can of Hunt's tomato sauce

2 1/2 Tbsp. Cholula Chili Garlic hot sauce

10 oz. Hunt's tomato paste

1 cup honey

2/3 cup apple cider vinegar

6 cups Heinz tomato ketchup

2 cups Annie's Naturals Organic ketchup

1/2 cup corn syrup

1 tsp. Pete's House Blend coffee grounds

1/4 cup Martinelli's Apple Juice

2 Tbsp. pomegranate juice concentrate

1/2 cup Chimay Ale

1 tsp. celery salt

1/2 tsp. paprika

1 1/2 tsp. garlic salt

2 tsp. onion powder

1 Tbsp. dried minced onions

1 1/2 Tbsp. chipotle chile pepper

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

2 Tbsp. ground rosemary

1/2 tsp. ground oregano

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. basil leaves

1 tsp. salt

3 large cloves pressed garlic

4 Tbsp. drippings from wood-smoked pork

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for half an hour. Let cool and then store in bottles in the refrigerator.

- Chad Andrews

Learn to whip up healthy baby food

Whirled Peas and Taste and See Healthy Baby Food ­- two mom-run companies that specialize in helping parents feed their little ones ­- have teamed up for a series of free classes on making baby food.

Hilary Simon of Whirled Peas sells and delivers food for a range of young eaters, from purees for infants to broccoli and cheese nuggets for toddlers. Through Taste and See Health Baby Food classes, Cheryl Carey teaches parents how to make those kinds of foods at home. "There is so much evidence about how crucial good nutrition is for development, and I feel it is a responsibility of us all to help children get the best start," Simon says.

Most of Carey's individual or group classes take place at people's homes, but once a month, she and Simon host a free Baby Food 101 class. The next class is at 11 a.m. Saturday at Bright Beginnings and Bee-Yond, 701 S. Capital of Texas Highway, and to attend, you need to register online at or or by calling 222-7327. (Both Whirled Peas and Taste and See Healthy Baby Food have active, engaging blogs on their respective sites if you're looking for more tips or information.)

Take home your favorite wine on tap

If you're a craft beer enthusiast, you've probably taken home a growler of your favorite beer from the local brewpub at one point in your life.

Now Whole Foods has come up with the wine equivalent of a growler so wine drinkers can take home wine on tap from Bar Lamar.

"Old Schoolers" are reusable containers customers can buy and fill with wine straight from the tap. Bar Lamar will offer three sizes of Old Schoolers to purchase, 12 oz. Mason jars (2 glasses of wine) for $1.99, a 32 oz. medium jug for $2.99, and large 64 oz. size for $4.99. The cost of the wine varies depending on which brand is selected, just like with beer growler purchases.