Savor The Earth

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Blueberries abound June 29, 2009

Filed under: muffins — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 10:24 am
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berry blues

Still enjoying the heck out of that Logan’s Turnpike Mill stoneground Georgia cornmeal that we picked up in Atlanta.  I’m using the yellow more because that’s what I’m used to but I’ll get back to the white after a while.

Texas blueberries are all around with Central Market selling full pints of the organic jewels for $3.99.  I’ve been finding similar deals at the farmers markets and Whole Foods. The last issue of WF’s Whole Deal offers coupons for Organic Valley butters ($1 off per package)that expire tomorrow and both OV’s cultured butter (gold package) and Pasture butter (green package) are on sale right now at WF for $3.39 per half pound block.  These specialty higher butterfat butters are luscious and perfect for gilding your muffins.


  • 94 grams (1 cup) organic whole wheat pastry flour
  • 92 grams (3/4 cup) organic all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/4 ounces cornmeal (2/3 cup), preferably organic
  • 1 Tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder, I use Rumford
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt, preferably local
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3  to 1/2 cup honey, preferably local
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • a cup or so of fresh Texas blueberries, preferably organic, rinsed and dried
  • optional enhancements:  lemon zest, freshly grated nutmeg, vanilla extract
  • turdinado sugar for sprinkling on top, optional

Grease your muffin tins and heat up your oven to 400°.

Whisk together your dry ingredients through the baking soda.  In a separate bowl whisk together the buttermilk, salt and honey.  Pour the slightly cooled butter on top of the wet ingredients then dump the dry ingredients on top.  Give it a couple of stirs then pour on the blueberries.  Stir quickly and gently just to mostly combine everything.  Don’t overmix!  Fill your pans (use a scoop) and top the batter with turbinado sugar if desired.  Bake 12 minutes or more, until baked through.  Cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes then loosen each muffin with a small knife or spatula and unmold onto your cooling rack.  Enjoy now or later.

This recipes halves easily so you can bake just 6 muffins in your toaster oven.


Peas please June 22, 2009

Filed under: beans,Uncategorized,vegetables — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 6:58 pm
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This week’s Central Market coupon (expires June 28) gets you $5 off any produce when you spend $40 total at the store.  That’s just right for picking up a 1 pound bag–at $4.99 each–of fresh blackeyed peas or purple hull peas (or cream peas or pinto beans when they show up) from Oak Hill Farms in Poteet, Texas.  These are the same folks that bring us that wonderful triple washed spinach in the cooler months.  Fresh peas and beans couldn’t be easier to cook–no soaking required.  I like to cook them in broth made with a ham bone or Whole Foods very smoky ham hocks (from humanely raised pigs).  You can make broth ahead and freeze it but it only takes 20 minutes to cook up in the pressure cooker.  Of course you save time and energy by cooking the beans and pig parts together.  Whatever suits your schedule.

I employ the usual cast of  characters when fixin’ a pot of peas:  onion, bell pepper–Finca Pura Vida at Sunset Valley Farmers Market grows the most delicious California Wonders, red or green–garlic, thyme (try to grow your own), bay leaf, parsley or celery if you have some and a healthy shot of  vinegar towards the end.  Fresh field peas take about 40 minutes or so to cook up.  I usually just cook them in a pot on the stove, regular style (no pressure cooker or slow cooker).  Salt them in the beginning if your broth isn’t robustly seasoned and add the spicy peppers of your choice then as well if you don’t have to coddle tender young palates.  Otherwise embellish your own bowl as desired.



Prose and Corns

Filed under: bread,easy,fast — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 11:23 am

I couldn’t wait to try out Logan Turnpike Mill’s stoneground white cornmeal so I gave it a whirl in my standard cornbread recipe.  I wanted to emphasize the flavor of the corn so I didn’t jazz it up as I often do.  Fresh-cracked black pepper couldn’t even sneak its way into this batch.

This cornmeal tastes fresh and sweetly corny.  Just right for sweetening with local honey (I use Goodflow wildflower from Central Market’s Bulk department) and enriching with very good butter.  I love Lucky Layla from north Texas and Organic Valley’s Pasture butter (green package) is great, too.  Whole Foods usually offers the best prices on these and if you still have a Whole Deal Organic Valley coupon (expires June 30) for $1 off one package of any of their butters you’ll score a great buy.


If you prefer a crunchier crust, preheat your pan–cast iron or cast aluminum can do the job–in your toaster oven at 425° while you assemble the ingredients.  Grease the pan just before pouring your batter in or, if you’re using bacon grease or some other clarified fat you can just put it in the pan first thing .  Use a 9″ to 10″ pan.  Sometimes in our so-called winter (I shouldn’t deride our seasons.  I love our climate!) I use the big oven and melt the butter inside it (in a separate pan) as the oven heats.

If you’re not going for a dark and crunchy exterior rub the inside of your pan right now with butter or bacon fat or the grease of your choice.

Frequently I enhance this basic recipe with black pepper and sometimes cheese, peppers, onion (especially green onions), corn kernels and even orange zest on occasion.  Have fun!

  • 2 ounces (1/2 stick) butter, melted; or 1 5/8 ounces melted bacon fat (about 3 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon)
  • 112 grams honey (1/3 cup)
  • 1 cup buttermilk or yogurt
  • 2 eggs–you shouldn’t have any trouble getting local huevos at our farmers markets
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 121 grams (1 cup) all-purpose flour–white spelt is fine if you’re trying to use it up
  • 4 1/8 ounces (3/4 cup) cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (I use Rumford aluminum-free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Whisk together the honey, buttermilk, eggs and salt.  Whisk together your dry ingredients in a separate bowl.  I always rub my baking powder and soda through a fine sieve to eliminate lumps.  You don’t ever want to taste a nugget of baking soda.  You’ll really wonder what the hell just got into your mouth if you do.  Pour the dry ingredients on top of the wet ingredients and barely combine them using a flexible spatula if you have one.  You only want to unite these elements about halfway.  Pour your butter over and continue to combine the ingredients just until a few very discernible streaks of flour and butter remain.  Don’t overstir!

Pour batter into your prepared (greased) pan–hot or not.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until good and brown.  In the toaster oven you may need to rotate the pan at halftime to brown the crust evenly.  Enjoy this treat hot!


Frito-Hooray!!! June 21, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 9:52 am

Oh meeyomiyo!  Frito® pie-O!

Finally someone’s come out with organic Frito® style corn chips!  Can you tell I’m excited?  I’ve been waiting for this product for years and Central Market has delivered the goods in both yellow and blue corn varieties.  At $2.29 per 8 ounce bag, most any non-cook can feed the family a fast, super easy and fun Frito® pie meal.  We used Amy’s organic canned vegetarian chili–our favorite is the medium black bean and we also enjoy the southwestern black bean.  It usually goes for $2.99 a can but more than once I’ve found it on sale at Whole Foods for $2.69–a good price for stocking up for a road trip ’cause it makes nutritious and tasty survival food.


Do we even need a recipe?  Put some corn chips in a bowl.  Heat up your chili.  Plop some onto your chipsTop it off with  shredded cheese–we like Full Quiver Farms cheddar (Sunset Valley Farmers Market) and Brazos Valley (Austin Farmers Market) offers several compatible flavors.  Sophisticate it with chopped onion–plenty of 1015’s, organic reds and green onions are available right now–and spice it with chopped chiles, if you have time.  Now kick back and gobble like you’re hangin’ at the state fair!


loco for local June 19, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 7:05 pm

We survived our two week long road trip.  Along the way we visited some farmers markets in Oklahoma and Tennessee to take advantage  of local butter, yogurt, pecans, strawberries, blackberries, plumcots and raspberries.  Great fun but I must admit and warn that even with the best intentions soft fruits don’t travel well.  Eat them up quick!

A welcome advancement in grocery shopping is the increasing availability of locally grown and locally produced products in supermarkets.  This past week at the Whole Foods in Atlanta we found Logan Turnpike Mill stone ground white cornmeal and yellow cornmeal. This family run business grinds Georgia grown whole grain corn on an antique grist mill.  To my profound disappointment the store was sold out of the grits but I ‘spose I’ll get by.

Other treats we gobbled up were Sweet Grass Dairy’s Thomasville Tomme and Sevenwood cheeses.  Another family run operation, Sweet Grass Dairy produces a dozen or so different cow and goat milk cheeses.  Lucky for us WF sells these two raw cow’s milk cheeses and a chevre.

Back in Austin, visiting our hometown WF we discovered plenty of local produce, some on sale.  Organic Texas blueberries ($2.99 per 1/2 pint), Texas blackberries ($3.99 a pack), fragrant Texas grown white nectarines ($2.99 a pound), organic Texas zucchini and yellow squash ($1.49 a pound) and toothsome Fredericksburg bi-color corn (2 for $1).

This week Newflower Market is offering Texas peaches (2# for $3), seedless Texas watermelons (2 for $5) and Texas cantaloupes (2 for $3).

So if you can’t make it to the farmers market tomorrow you’ll still find plenty of options when going for Texas produce.