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Recipe Corner – Giant Green Pie (Torta Pasqualina)

Adapted from the New York Times

We have a small flock of hens, so we’re always on the lookout for delicious ways to use lots of homegrown eggs! Currently, we have three hens—Chicksie, an Ameracauna who lays bluish-green shelled eggs; PioPio, a Silver-laced Wyandotte (brown eggs); and Fauna, a Gold Star (brown eggs). We raised them from day-old chicks and enjoy watching them forage in the yard.

Buck-buck-buck-buckaw!

If you are interested in backyard hens, the Funky Chicken Coop tour is on April 4 this year and is a great way to learn more about keeping chickens and different types of coops. For more info, visit http://austincooptour.org/

This dish is great reheated and served the next day. Perfect for making the day before a party, or to pack as lunch during the week. It is easier to make than it might seem and is really delicious.

Time: About 1 1/2 hours

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE DOUGH

 

375 grams all-purpose flour, about 3 cups, plus more as needed

1 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons olive oil

FOR THE FILLING

 

2 ½ pounds washed greens (a mix of chard, spinach or other greens) – or one 10 oz. and one 16 oz. package of frozen spinach (or other leafy greens), thawed and squeezed dry

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing pastry layers

3 cups diced onion

Salt and pepper

Grated nutmeg, to taste

1 cup ricotta

3 ounces grated Parmesan

9 large eggs

2 teaspoons sugar, optional

PREPARATION

  1. Make the dough: Put flour in a large mixing bowl. Stir together 1 cup water, 1 teaspoon salt and 4 tablespoons oil, then pour over flour and mix until dough comes together in a rough ball. Turn out onto a floured board and knead until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes, adding more flour if dough is sticky. Wrap and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes. (May refrigerate overnight and bring to room temperature.)
  2. Make the filling: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Working in batches, blanch a handful of greens at a time, dropping them into the water until just wilted, then cooling in a colander under running water. Divide greens into 4 balls and squeeze to remove as much water as possible. Chop greens coarsely with a large knife, then squeeze again. There should be about 4 cups cooked greens.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet or wide pot over medium heat. Add onions and a little salt and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add greens, season generously with salt and pepper, and mix well. Turn off heat. Add nutmeg, ricotta and half the Parmesan and mix. Taste and adjust; it should be highly seasoned. Beat 4 of the eggs. Set aside 3 tablespoons beaten egg; add remaining beaten egg to greens and mix well. Let cool.
  4. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cut dough into 4 pieces and form into balls. Roll out each ball into a very thin 12-inch circle. Place 1 dough circle on a 12-inch pizza pan lined with parchment. Brush lightly with oil, then lay another dough circle on top. Spoon greens evenly over dough to a 2-inch thickness, leaving a 1-inch border of dough. Smooth the surface. With a soup spoon, make 5 indentations in greens and crack a raw egg into each depression. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Cover with another dough circle and paint lightly with oil. Place last dough circle on top. Using a paring knife, trim any excess dough at perimeter of pie. Fold outer edges together and crimp to seal pie. Paint top with reserved beaten egg. Sprinkle with sugar if desired. Using a paring knife, make 2 or 3 steam vents.
  5. Bake for about 45 minutes, until very well browned. Slide torta onto a cutting board and let cool slightly before slicing. May also be served at room temperature.

–Ellie Hanlon

(Editor’s Note: Are there readers out there who have other great recipes to share with neighbors? If so, please submit them to the editor at editorpecanpress@gmail.com. Thanks.)

Deeply Rooted

As noted in the February issue of the Pecan Press, I am now serving as the chair of the Hyde Park Tree Preservation Committee. I am excited to take on this role and look forward to tre(e)mendously serving the neighborhood!

Dendrolatry and tree preservation are embedded in the soul of Hyde Park. Monroe Shipe, the original developer of Hyde Park, understood the value and mythical nature of trees; and a number of his original plantings remain along our streets and avenues. Attention was certainly given to the preservation of the Central Texas ecosystem in the envisionment of the neighborhood as evident with the many heritage trees that remain today. Frank “Fruit Tree” Ramsey, whose nursery existed for decades north of his 45th and Avenue B residence, continued this legacy by making pecans, crepe myrtles, and other fruiting trees available to residents.

A host of Hyde Parkers have served in various roles of tree preservation in the neighborhood and throughout Austin. For example, Dorothy Richter and Margret Hofmann were involved with the original Tree Preservation Ordinance as well as the Heritage Tree amendment in 2010. In addition, other dedicated neighbors played a significant role in documenting the historic landscape at the Elisabet Ney Museum, as well as assisting with readjusting the clearance standards for tree trimming along utility right-of-ways.

Please contact me at jawalewski@gmail.com or walewski@tamu.edu to join in this noble effort.

–John Walewski

Crime & Safety Update

A newly formed group of interest is the Citizen Led Austin Safety Partnership (CLASP).   It is dedicated to encouraging and sustaining a community-wide network of Neighborhood Watch and Patrol leaders.

They report that outgoing City Council again waived the fees for SxSW; and now the Austin Police Department has announced that its plan is to beef up police coverage for this year’s event by 120 officers, including 60 patrol officers that could possibly be pulled from the District Representatives (DRs), Burglary, and TAC programs.

Taking officers from their areas of responsibility to work special events leaves the streets in Austin very low on police coverage. Last year, there were several crime sprees during SxSW, so please be aware and protect your property.

There are a few actions that CLASP suggests. First, protect your property and neighborhoods and work with police to monitor and report criminal activity. 911 should be called for anything suspicious and disruptive during SxSW, March 9-22, so that it will be obvious that the other parts of town need police coverage during that time.

Second, other cities use event fees to hire officers from surrounding cities, so they don’t have to pull so deeply from their own personnel. Doing this would also mean that the taxpayers wouldn’t take a hit on paying overtime. We really need to tell our City Council that we want to stop the fee waivers and the reassignment of so many officers to special events without full reimbursement of expenses. Other cities which do not waive fees still have all the special events business they can handle.

Third, last year, thanks to protests and emails, the North/Northwest police region had to give up officers for SxSW, but didn’t for other events like Halloween. The message was heard, leading to at least some concessions.

CLASP asks that we take a few minutes to email or call the mayor and our City Council member (Kathy Tovo), and then pass this message on to friends and neighbors. Now is the time to help educate the new City Council about public safety.

Also, it was reported at the Commander’s Forum that there have been a number of burglary of vehicles. Purses and other items were stolen from the Hyde Park Baptist Church area and throughout the neighborhood. Please don’t leave any items in your vehicle that could tempt someone to break in. Our District Representative, Josh Metteauer, can be reached at Joshua.metteauer@austintexas.gov or 512-974-8124.

–Carol Welder

An Invitation to Direct Democracy

Direct democracy can be a disconcerting business. People come together, they state their opinions, they vote. They discover, unexpectedly, that their neighbors don’t share their opinions or that there are sides to an issue they hadn’t considered. Some win, and some lose. After the vote, they pick up and move on. It’s all part of the process. We’ve all won and we’ve all lost.

The Hyde Park Neighborhood Association is a direct democracy. Any resident can become a member, a common standard for neighborhood associations in Austin. Its meetings are conducted according to democratic rules. Any participant can speak after raising a hand and being recognized by the person chairing the meeting. Any participant can make a motion or a second. Any member can vote after a 30-day waiting period, another common standard for neighborhood associations in Austin.

Those of us who conduct meetings can’t guarantee that every speaker will be tactful or restrained. Speakers exhibit the spectrum of human behavior. What we can and do guarantee is that everyone who wants to speak will have the opportunity to speak and that every member who attends the meeting will have the opportunity to vote. Accordingly, we invite you to attend, to join, to speak up, and to vote. We welcome you to the world of direct democracy.

–Lorre Weidlich

 

Contact Team Meeting Minutes: January 26, 2015

The quarterly meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church. Kevin Heyburn, co-president of the Hyde Park Neighborhood Association opened the meeting on behalf of Pete Gilcrease, chair of the Contact Team. Mr. Heyburn was asked to chair the meeting through the first two items of business.

The first item on the agenda was a vote on whether or not to replace the current Contact Team chair. Statements in support of and in opposition to replacing the chair were presented. After deliberation, the Contact Team voted to replace the chair (24 voted to replace, 7 voted not to replace and 3 abstained).

Mr. Heyburn then entertained nominations from the floor for a new chair. After discussion and a vote, Jennifer Berbas and Adrian Skinner were elected to serve as co-chairs (29 voted in favor, 0 opposed, 5 abstained). Jennifer Berbas is a former Hyde Park resident and now owns rental properties in the neighborhood. She is a real-estate agent. Adrian Skinner lives in the neighborhood. He is currently serving as co-vice president of HPNA. He works at the Attorney General’s office and is a student at St. Edward’s University.

The evening’s agenda then continued with a discussion and resolution regarding the proposal to change the zoning of 4500 Speedway from Residential to Neighborhood Office. The following Resolution was requested and accepted (25 voted in favor of the resolution, 0 opposed the resolution, 4 abstained): The Hyde Park Contact Team does not support a change in the zoning of 4500 Speedway from Residential to Neighborhood Office. The main argument against the change in zoning was the reluctance of neighbors to lose residential properties along 45th Street. Following the vote, the Contact Team asked the co-chairs to follow up with the property owner to confirm his intentions for the property.

Next was a discussion related to neighborhood planning and the City of Austin Planning Department. Concern has been growing over the confusion caused by Hyde Park’s Planned Land Use Map (PLUM). Hyde Park, as well as Old West Austin, wrote its neighborhood plan early in the city’s process and, as required by the city, created PLUMs. The city now requires a Future Land Use Map (FLUM) and does not recognize the PLUMs. The Contact Team would like to change our PLUM to a FLUM as it makes the neighborhood plan amendment process easier. The Contact Team agreed to place the following resolution on the April meeting agenda: The Hyde Park Contact Team changes the name of its Planned Land Use Map to Future Land Use Map and agrees to whatever further steps are necessary to eliminate this confusion with The City of Austin Planning Department. This resolution may change, depending upon the outcome of conversations in the Planning Commission about this matter.

The Contact Team then agreed to establish a sub-committee to work on CodeNEXT and how it will impact our neighborhood plan. The sub-committee will work with HPNA and develop informative presentations for all neighborhood groups. The following Contact Team members agreed to serve on the sub-committee: David Connor, Barbara Gibson, Kevin Heyburn, Ellie Hanlon, Wanda Penn, Kathy Lawrence and Karen McGraw.

The last item on the agenda was a discussion of proposed changes to the Contact Team bylaws. The authors of the proposed amendments withdrew their proposals and agreed to pass them along to the Contact Team sub-committee on bylaws, which agreed to take them into consideration.

The co-chairs welcomed Kathy Tovo, Mayor Pro-Tem and the District 9 City Council Member, to the Contact Team meeting and expressed our appreciation and congratulations.

The Contact Team concluded its business with a brief discussion of two April agenda items. Lisa Harris announced that a representative of the city will attend the April meeting to discuss sidewalks. Reid Long, chair of the sub-committee on bylaws, will present proposals for amending the bylaws for discussion only.

The next quarterly meeting of the Hyde Park Contact Team will be on April 27, 7:00-8:30 p.m. An agenda will be posted to the Contact Team and HPNA listservs two weeks prior to the meeting.

All residents, renters/tenants, property owners and business owners in Hyde Park are encouraged to become members of the Contact Team and participate in discussions.

–Submitted by Mity Myhr

Contact Team Secretary

 

About and Around the Avenues – March 2015

Don’t Miss the Hyde Park Egg Scramble: You’re invited to the Third Annual Hyde Park Egg Scramble at Shipe Park on Saturday April 4, 10:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m. This HPNA event, sponsored by Grande Communications, will feature popcorn, snow cones, and cotton candy as well as many fun activities including egg hunts, a bounce house, and a balloon twister—all free to Hyde Parkers who attend the event! A photo booth, provided by Carolyn Grimes of Coldwell Banker United, Realtors will also be there for pictures with the Egg Scramble Bunny!

For those who are new to the neighborhood or have not participated in the past, an egg scramble is basically a traditional Easter egg hunt; the only difference is that you provide the eggs yourself for your child’s age group. The egg hunt will start at 10:45 and be divided into the following three age groups: under 3 years old, 3 & 4 year olds, and 5 years old & up. If your child is going to participate in the egg hunt festivities, please drop off one dozen plastic eggs filled with age appropriate treats any time between Saturday, March 28 and Friday, April 3 in the bins marked by age group on the front porch at the following houses:
Rossomando/Williams House

4307 Avenue F

– OR –

Fitzgerald House

4402 Avenue F.

Questions, comments, or interest in volunteering, please email Tim Luyet.

*          *          *          *          *

It’s My Park Day: Sponsored by the Austin Parks Foundation, this annual event is scheduled for Saturday, March 7, from 9:00 a.m. until 12 noon. Thousands of volunteers will be working to improve parks & greenbelts throughout the city.  Volunteers receive a free T-shirt! Join your neighbors at Shipe where HPNA and Friends of Shipe Park will be organizing the work projects.

*          *          *          *          *

Organic Plant Sale: On Saturday, March 7 from 9 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Sunshine Community Gardens (4814 Sunshine Drive) will be the scene of the largest nonprofit organic plant sale in Texas, featuring, for example, 150 tomato varieties, 72 types of bell peppers, and thousands of herbs ready for spring planting. It promises to be a fun-filled occasion with live music and opportunities to learn organic gardening practices, talk with vendors, and walk the 180 gardens.

*          *          *          *          *

Support a Local Public School: On Saturday, March 7, Lee Elementary will host its premier fundraising event, Lee Live, 6:30 p.m. at the Spiderhouse Ballroom, 2906 Fruth St. The event features live music by Lee parents Kelly Willis, Bruce Robison, and Hayes Carll, and a live and silent auction. Proceeds help fund things like technology enhancements, special-area teachers, playground and outdoor classroom opportunities, and teacher development. Individual and business sponsorships are welcomed.

*          *          *          *          *

More Awards for Restoration Work: The National Association of the Remodeling Industry named local Austin construction and remodeling firm Avenue B Development as the South Central Regional Contractor of the Year winner in the Historic Renovation category of its annual awards competition. This marks Avenue B Development’s second straight South Central award and fourth straight local Austin Chapter award for the Historic Renovation category. In its five years of operation, it has been the company’s goal to enhance the character of Austin’s unique neighborhoods by creating homes that are both timeless and modern. Congratulations to our neighbors!

 

From the Desk of the Co-Presidents – March 2015

Spring seems to be upon us and, accordingly, we look forward to our annual Easter celebration—the Egg Scramble! In only a few years, it’s become a prized part of our yearly cycle of events and festivities. Being an adult is no excuse to miss it; you can still enjoy the balloon twister, face painter, and photo booth. And who doesn’t look forward to an annual visit by the Bunny? Please join us at Shipe Park on April 4 to enjoy watching Hyde Park’s children—and grown-up children—celebrate the season.

Congratulations to Adrian Skinner, HPNA co-vice president, and to Jennifer Berbas for their recent election as co-chairs of the Hyde Park Neighborhood Plan Contact Team. At the same meeting, the Contact Team created its second joint HPNA-Contact Team committee, CodeNEXT. (The first was the ASH committee, under the leadership of John Williams.) These events mark an increasingly closer working relationship between the Contact Team and HPNA. Given the shared interests of the two groups, that relationship will benefit both groups.

We also welcome Mark Fishman back to the Steering Committee, this time in the position of co-treasurer. Mark’s experience with QuickBooks enables him to provide the relief I. Jay has needed since he assumed the treasurer position alone. We appreciate Mark’s ongoing willingness to contribute to the neighborhood.

We want to thank Chandra Muller and William Beckner for their donation of shelves to our storage closet. Our archivist, Griffin Brown, has been putting our records in order, but a reorganization of the closet is long overdue. Now that we have shelves, we’re looking at taking on that task in the near future.

–Kevin Heyburn & Lorre Weidlich

HPNA Co-Presidents

HPNA Meeting Minutes: February 2, 2015

The February meeting of the Hyde Park Neighborhood Association was called to order by Lorre Weidlich, co-president, at 7:07 p.m. Lorre announced that the agenda had changed due to cancellations. The DownHome Diner was not able to attend, and a representative of the Friends of Hyde Park was not present to give an update on the organization’s activities.

The City of Austin’s Sustainability Department offered a presentation on the history of sustainability activities in the city and the development of the city’s Climate Protection Plan.   Four Technical Area Groups have been charged and are proposing 1-3 items for future action towards meeting the city’s sustainability goals. The items will be presented to the Council for action, probably in March.

The next item for consideration was a report from the Nominations Committee. This committee selected Mark Fishman to serve as co-treasurer with I. Jay Aarons. Mark Fishman was then unanimously elected.

Lorre opened the meeting for discussion of the general state of 45th Street. After some discussion, a resolution was proposed by Karen McGraw stating “HPNA supports existing zoning along 45th Street and does not support changes to any residential zoning for commercial use.” The resolution was seconded and after discussion the resolution was passed 21 in favor, 2 against, and 3 abstentions. Additional discussion of other considerations in regard to 45th Street included reducing lanes, reducing the speed limit, and ways to resist commercial development along the street. No additional resolutions were proposed.

Finally, Adrian Skinner and Mity Myhr gave a report on the January quarterly meeting of the Contact Team. At that meeting, the previous chair was removed and Adrian Skinner and Jennifer Berbas were elected co-chairs, a discussion of CodeNEXT was started and a joint committee with HPNA was created to review CodeNEXT and its implications for the neighborhood plan and the NCCD. Additionally, the Contact Team will take action on the transition from the PLUM presented in the neighborhood plan to a FLUM, in order to align with current city practices. Finally, a city representative will present on sidewalks and the bylaws committee will make a presentation on potential bylaw changes at the April Quarterly meeting.

The meeting was adjourned around 8:30 p.m.

–Submitted by Artie Gold & Reid Long

HPNA Co-Secretaries

Waiting & Smelling, Rowdy Ladies Telling – Poem

Much of life is spent waiting,

Waiting in lines,

Waiting in doctor’s offices,

Waiting for Santa Claus,

Waiting for someone, a relative,

A loved one, to arrive

Waiting to be picked up,

Riding in a car,

Waiting to get somewhere,

If you don’t like waiting,

You are, basically, S-O-L

If waiting is hell for you,

 

Women learn to wait

On babies to be born

Speaking of which,

This is the reason I am writing,

Our assignment was to

Bring an aroma, an odor

That carries a memory,

Smells are the most evocative

Of all the senses and,

Even though the cells

Responsible for smells,

Are rapid adapting,

That is to say, one becomes

Accustomed to a smell

Very quickly, and yet,

As fast as the assault is felt

And as fast as it is forgotten,

Whatever is happening

When it is first smelled,

Burns into the memory so that

Should even a tiny whiff

Of that aroma, odor, or scent

Make its way to near the brain,

It carries with it the entire memory,

 

Which brings me, at last,

(I made you wait)

To the aroma/memory

I chose to share, tonight,

This is a scent, incomparable

By any other, an aroma

Known by every mother,

Known by any aunt,

Known by any person

Who has ever had the

Privilege of holding

A newborn baby,

Light as a feather,

Pure as crystal,

Soft as a cloud,

Infants come from

The other side and

Bring the scent

Of Heaven.

 

–Herzle

9/30/14

 

 

 

Categories – Poem

People with nothing to do

are dangerous.

people with too much to do

are dangerous.

people who walk past a

sliding board

without being tempted

are not dangerous.

They have succumbed.

 

–Albert Huffstickler

(no date)

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