Dai Due Spring Culinary Courses

14 12 2010

Dai Due, the uber creative and wonderfully skilled culinary team based in Austin, Texas, just released their 2011 schedule.

If you live in the Austin area, or are planning a visit, you will want to book your seat quickly for these courses, or their supper club . They also have a table at the downtown farmer’s market in Austin. Each week I read their emails about all of the lovely items I am too far away to purchase, but on my last visit to Austin you know I was there buying stuff to bring home and to snack on around the market. 

For more information, check out the Dai Due website.

Sunday, January 16, 2011 and Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Whole Hog Class – Learn how to break down a half Richardson Farm hog into chops, ribs, hocks and roasts.  Sausage making (4 types), charcuterie (pates, rillettes, head cheese), stocks, braises, curing and smoking (bacon, ham) will also be covered.  Class includes a recipe book, source lists, suggested reading, a light lunch and beverages, and you take home a really nice selection of the products we make (pickup of these items is the following day).  

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Wild Game Workshop – Venison, wild boar, furred game (wild rabbit) and birds (doves and ducks) will be covered. From after the shot to cooking techniques, this class will focus on the most responsible and effective ways of dealing with the most natural meats out there – wild meats.  Slow cooking, raw preparations, high-heat cooking, roasting, stock-making, frying and stewing will be covered, as well as discussions on compatible flavors, aging and storing.  Class includes recipe book, light lunch and suggested reading lists.

Friday, March 4 – Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hog School – Hog School will focus on four key factors in utilizing this great resource: hunting (guided hunts that teach the habits and habitats of wild pigs, harvesting animals and planning hunts), cleaning of game taken (skinning, evisceration and field care), cooking (a head-to-tail cooking class covering all aspects of hog cookery – learn how to make sausages, prosciutto, roasts, braises, charcuterie, chops and hocks), and dining (the necessary enjoyment of animals taken in the field with a celebratory meal, as well as stocking up for an entire year on delicious, basically organic meat).

Hog School is for beginners, skilled hunters seeking to improve their kitchen skills, and anyone in between.

At the end of the class, all students will take any animals harvested by them and utilize them to their full potential.

Friday, May 13 – Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Freshwater Flyfishing Workshop – At Madrano Ranch as the classroom, we are offering another 3-day workshop focused on the outdoors, and collecting food from it.  We have specifically chosen this weekend to coincide with the first warm-weather full moon, which should drastically increase fish activity (and catching).

Join fly-fishing guide Tink Pinkard and the Dai Due staff at this beautiful ranch for an intensive flyfishing, flytying and cooking weekend.

Austin, Texas Farmer’s Market Experience

3 05 2011

One of the highlights of visiting a city like Austin, Texas is the enthusiasm over food. However, we are not just talking about any old meal which might come off the assembly line in other cities, but rather produce, and protein from the farm to the table. All of this enthusiasm develops a demand for organic food, and restaurants unable to supply simply do not survive in Austin.  Even the countless food carts in Austin offer a listing of all of the farms from where their ingredients originate. 

With all of this in mind, just imagine the downtown farmer’s market on a Saturday morning. Folks prepared with grocery lists for the week track down their favorite produce or beef or chicken stand or grab a bite to eat at one of the many tents offering hot food.   It is a madhouse and a rush to ensure you do not miss out on the limited quantities.  After an hour or so of hustle and bustle you will find groups enjoying live music or performances, maybe even a couple of people dancing, children running across the fields, a one man band, and trash bins organized and watched to ensure that your garbage goes to either, trash, compost, or recyclable.

Like my last visit to Austin, I was on a mission to make it to the Dai Due tent at the market.  Knowing the menu ahead of time (because I get their weekly emails), I had nothing on my mind but Nopales, Chorizo and Egg Tacos with Garlic Salsa.  Your mouth is watering, right? Nopales are made from a prickly pear cactus and delicious!!!  Dai Due is an interesting business. It is not quite a restaurant because they are just a tent at the farmer’s market, and they host supper club dinners at various outdoor locations throughout the city. It is not a culinary school either, even though they offer culinary courses throughout the year.   Their diverse business plan just fascinates me. I had a taco, purchased grapefruit worcestershire sauce to take home, and ohh’d and ahhh’d over their country pate, and salt pork available for purchase.

Overall this is a great people watching spot and a good way to grasp the energy of the city.

Bee Aware This Summer

22 06 2009

Pollination is something we rely on heavily to ensure fruits and vegetables are available in the grocery store and then later on your kitchen table.  However, without bees pollination can be tricky! Due to a variety of problems, colony collapse disorder, pesticides, killer bees, etc… bee populations are dropping rapidly.  With 3 bee hives currently (3 hives drowned in the flooding of the Withlacoochee River) we are doing our part to assist in the sustainability of foods.  While the work is hard, the benefits of having your own hive are endless and the simple pleasure of fresh honey is worth the effort. 

Our most recent honey harvest includes wildflower and citrus flavors, as this was the most recent meal of the bees.  Depending on the time of year Florida variations can include palm honey as well. 

My personal favorite honey treats include, wheat toast, a smidge of butter and lots of honey, as well as, wheat toast points, gorgonzola cheese, a walnut, and honey drizzled over the top.  Glorious!

Even if you are unable to raise your own bees, it is always important to be aware of such issues, as bees are a vital part of our daily food sources. 

Interested in more? Check out this program from PBS, Silence of the Bees.

Here are the pictures of our most recent honey harvest.