With the arrival of springtime means it time to whip up fresh seasonal dishes. Think vegetables, color and freshness this month as sunny weather will be here to stay soon, and you need the perfect flavors to compliment the weather.
Here are nine recipes worth making during springtime in Austin.
Grilled shrimp tacos with mango salsa
Although the beloved Austin dish is enjoyed year round, modifying your toppings as the seasons change is the best way to eat tacos this springtime. These grilled shrimp tacos with mango salsa are super easy to make and have a wonderfully bright tropical taste that will leave you wanting more. This recipe is simple enough for any cooking level and will only take up 20 minutes of your time, leaving everyone in your house with a meal for any time of day.
You can find the recipe for grilled shrimp tacos with mango salsa here.
Brown butter gnocchi with asparagus and peas
Craving a meal with more of a warm substance? Brown butter gnocchi with asparagus and peas is a comforting and flavorful dish to enjoy for dinner, yet refreshing enough to enjoy during a warm day out. Pop out your cast iron skillet on any weeknight to make this fun and easy-to-make weeknight recipe. Pair this dish with white wine to enjoy the full spring effect.
You can find the recipe for brown butter gnocchi with asparagus and peas here.
Vietnamese spring rolls
Springtime in Austin calls for refreshing appetizers, such as Vietnamese fresh spring rolls, to help pass the warm days. This recipe is simple enough for anyone to make and will only take up 30 minutes of your time. With shrimp, pork, lettuce and herbs, this small dish is perfect for anyone looking to impress their guests with a refreshing springtime bite. Serve your spring rolls with peanut sauce or a traditional Vietnamese dipping sauce called nuoc cham which contains fish sauce, lime juice and sugar.
You can find the recipe for Vietnamese spring rolls here.
Spring vegetable quiche
Looking to host some friends and enjoy a springtime brunch? This spring vegetable quiche has everything you need to impress your guests. An easy and fast recipe to make, you can prep your ingredients and bake the quiche in under an hour. Not sold yet? This recipe is versatile where can add your favorite seasonal vegetables for a filling and delicious brunch option.
You can find the recipe for spring vegetable quiche here.
Lemony spring pasta salad
Something about springtime makes lemons and salads more appealing. Maybe it's the preparation for the hot summer days Texas will endure, but this lemony spring pasta salad, filled with feta cheese, arugula, pine nuts, fresh basil, rotini pasta and lemon vinaigrette is the perfect mixture of filling and vibrantly refreshing. You can make this pasta salad in under 30 minutes and it is a guarantee that it will be loved and eaten up on a springtime afternoon.
You can find the recipe for lemony spring pasta salad here.
Pan-fried cod with orange and swish chard
Adding some seafood to your springtime diet is the best way to avoid all responsibilities and pretend you are on a nice beach enjoying the warm weather. This pan-fried cod with orange and swish chard recipe has all the ingredients for spring: a source of protein, sweet vegetables and acidic fruits. You can make this recipe in 30 minutes to be enjoyed as a late afternoon weeknight dinner or a weekend lunch dish.
You can find the recipe for pan-fried cod with orange and swish chard here.
Taco stuffed peppers
Looking for a healthy colorful meal to feed your household? These taco stuffed peppers are the real deal. With vibrant colors, a delightfully familiar taste and healthy ingredients, this is your next meal to try. Filled with ground beef, tomatoes, onion, black beans, corn, brown rice and cheese, you'll opt out of ordering Chipotle for a long time. This recipe will take up an hour of your time and will improve your night no matter the day.
You can find the recipe for taco stuffed peppers here.
Vibrant spring broccoli Buddha bowl
This is the recipe to try if you're looking for a healthy springtime dish that will give you the energy you need while enjoying the warm weather. This vibrant bowl is filled with hearty ingredients such as sweet potatoes, broccoli, purple cabbage, lemons, avocado and lentils. With 50 minutes to spare, you can enjoy this healthy bowl jammed with proteins, healthy fats and delicious flavors.
You can find the recipe for vibrant spring broccoli Buddha bowls here.
Although you might be hesitant to make a cold soup, this cucumber gazpacho is so creamy, vibrantly refreshing and hydrating you will keep refilling your bowl as warmer days hit Austin. In 20 minutes, you can have yourself this flavorful dish to serve as an appetizer, or a whole dish by adding your favorite protein such as shrimp. This simple and almost ordinary dish is inviting with its vibrant color and will impress all your guests with its flavor.
You can find the recipe for cucumber gazpacho here.
A $500 million mixed-use development spanning 1,400 acres is coming to Southeast Austin, near Tesla’s headquarters at Giga Texas.
Plans for the development by Houston-based real estate firm Hines include 2,500 houses along with multi-family and townhomes, and commercial land. Hines is partnering with Trez Capital, Sumitomo Forestry and Texas-based Caravel Ventures.
The development, which is known as Mirador, will be located off the 130 Toll and Highway 71, which the developers say provides easy access to the Circuit of the Americas Formula 1 racetrack and other Austin attractions like restaurants, parks and live music venues.
Hines also boasts amenities like a 60-acre lake, over 600 acres of greenbelt, community parks, trails and a swimming pool.
“As Austin continues to grow into the tech epicenter of Texas, coupled with a supply-constrained market, the demand for new housing is at its highest,” Dustin Davidson, managing director at Hines, said. “Mirador will be critical in providing more options for Austin’s growing population and we are excited to work alongside our partners given they each provide a unique and valued perspective in single-family development.”
The local housing market has been hot in recent years, with home sales accelerating earlier in the pandemic. In July 2021, the Austin metro area hit its pricing peak at $478,000. As Austonia previously reported, the area has been expected to see the Tesla effect, with the new workforce driving up demand for housing and other services.
The single-family houses are expected to be developed over the course of six years, in phases. Construction on the homes is expected to start this year and home sales will begin in 2023.
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Editor's note: This story summarizes Sports Illustrated's story detailing Michael Center's involvement in the Varsity Blues college admissions scandal, based on interviews with SI's Jon Wertheim. Additionally, Austonia received comments from Michael Center, included in this story.
Confined to his couch, former Longhorns tennis coach Michael Center praised his players via FaceTime after the program he built produced the Longhorns’ first national championship in 2019—a bittersweet moment as Center faced federal charges as part of the Varsity Blues college admissions scandal.
His name dragged through the mud, Center was fired, arrested by the FBI and sentenced to six months in a Central Texas federal prison after pleading guilty to two charges related to mail fraud. And over a year after his release, Center told Sports Illustrated he doubts he was the only one in burnt orange involved.
When the Varsity Blues scandal broke out to the public in 2019, the investigation was a perfect storm for nationwide attention: Hollywood glamour, blue blood conspiracy and faith in the tried-and-true American education system came to a head as 33 movie stars and other elites were found guilty of paying more than $25 million to pave their children’s way into eight colleges, including the University of Texas.
UT was one of eight schools caught in the college admissions scandal. (Laura Figi/Austonia)
The figure behind Varsity Blues, “college consultant” Rick Singer, would plead guilty to four felony counts for faking SAT scores and bribing coaches at prominent universities for his elite clients—but not before throwing Center under the bus.
Singer's client, private equity executive Chris Schaepe, was looking for a way to bend UT's tight admissions policies for his son, who was seeking a position oddly as a manager on UT’s basketball team. Through a middleman, Singer contacted Center, who eventually agreed.
Schaepe's son hadn't played tennis since his freshman year of high school. It was a detail that Center says passed through plenty of hands before he was admitted, including "academic support staff, the compliance office, the sports supervisor and, ultimately, the athletic director," SI's Jon Wertheim writes.
No one in the entire athletic department, including seven "risk management and compliant services department" employees, was named, implicated or punished. After an internal investigation, Center was the only one named in the Varsity Blues "subterfuge" in a September 2019 UT news release signed by the university president.
He told Austonia he was never contacted by the university during the investigation, and when the NCAA interviewed him for its investigation, he says it cleared him of any violations.
“I almost fell out of my chair,” Center said. “I literally couldn’t breathe. There’s no college coach in America—much less at a state school, much less a coach of a nonrevenue sport—who can admit an athlete without consulting other people in the athletic department. What they were asking people to believe, it’s just impossible.” SI said Center's assertion was backed by multiple UT coaches and administrators at other schools.But why would the Forty Acres be complicit?
Center said UT’s then newly named athletic director Steve Patterson made clear that Center suddenly was responsible for more than building a successful tennis program. He was to be a "fundraiser first and coach second" and he would need to find donors to fund a new tennis facility. Patterson admitted to SI that he wanted his coaches to find donors and said the department was "$15 million in the red" when he started in 2013, though he denies any knowledge of the false tennis recruitment.
Center said he knew he would be "considered a team player" if he let in the son of a Silicon Valley magnate. And sure enough, Schaepe immediately began pulling out his wallet, donating $100,000 to UT tennis and a six-figure check to the school's communication program.
"I never entered this as a way to profit. This was a fundraising mission where I made a terrible mistake at the end,"
Months after Schaepe's son was admitted, Center agreed to meet Singer at the Austin airport and found himself accepting a backpack filled with $60,000 in cash meant for him, personally. He said he immediately knew he had made a mistake. He told SI “I put the money in my basement and gave most of it away.”
“Why did I do it?” Center told Sports Illustrated. "I go to bed and wake up each day asking myself the same question. I had to convince myself that I somehow deserved the money."
Once in court, Center showed texts with UT's compliance official and mentioned Chris Plonsky, a department executive involved in "overseeing men’s tennis, compliance, academic support (which generates letters of intent) and the Longhorn Foundation," according to SI.
“I knew I had to answer for my guilt,” Center said. “But I was like, 'Man, schools are going to get hammered.'"'
INMATE 77806-112 but out on Sunday: Actor Felicity Huffman in prison uniform outside low-security Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin to visit actor husband William H. Macy & their daughter. Huffman admitted to paying $15K to have fixer boost daughter’s SAT score. 📸: @TMZ pic.twitter.com/9jALmqnA0U
— Henry K. Lee (@henrykleeKTVU) October 21, 2019
But Center was the only Longhorn to go down for the crimes. “I was no rogue actor,” Center said. “And this wasn’t my word against their word. There were signatures that went along with it. That’s the system... There wasn’t one point in the process where I thought people wanted to learn the whole truth.”
Back at home in Austin, Center watched as actress Felicity Huffman served just eleven days for her part in the scandal. Some served up to five months; others simply paid a fine, and others, like Singer, await sentencing.
And because the prosecution chose to blame individual coaches, framing schools as victims in the case, universities like UT have received less than a slap on the wrist for their possible involvement.
“I was always taught that actions have consequences,” Center said. “What I’ve come to realize is that, yes, for some people actions absolutely do have consequences. Serious, heavy ones. For others, actions can have no consequences at all.”
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