Savor The Earth

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Dai Due…Good Lard!! Biscuits Fine and Flaky September 22, 2009

Filed under: biscuits,bread,Dai Due,easy,fast,locavore — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 4:24 pm
Butterless Biscuits---Honeyed Up!

Butterless Biscuits---Honeyed Up!

I just finished eating some of the best biscuits I’ve ever baked.  Thanks to Dai Due’s luscious lard, layers of flavorful flakes softly crunch, crumble, and finally, melt in my mouth.  With local honey perfectly complementing the taste of the pork fat, I’m having a hard time sharing.  Luckily that cold front came through, ’cause I’m gonna have to crank up the oven again!

LARD BISCUITS makes about a dozen

  • 4 ounces best-quality lard.  I highly recommend Dai Due Butcher Shop’s house rendered pork fat from Richardson Farms pastured pigs.
  • 62 grams (½ cups plus 1 Tablespoon) organic white whole wheat flour.  Whole Foods generally offers the best deals on flour.
  • 60 grams (scant 2/3 cup) organic whole wheat pastry flour.  Ditto.
  • 122 grams (1 cup) organic all-purpose flour.  Ditto.
  • scant ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder, pressed through a fine-meshed sieve.  Aluminum-free and not genetically modified, Rumford is my choice.
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda, pressed through a fine-meshed sieve.
  • 2/3 cup yogurt.  Local goat milk—try Swede Farm Dairy or Wateroak Farm—makes perfect baking yogurt.  Try homemade.
  • 1 Tablespoon local honey.  I usually buy Good Flow in bulk at Central Market.

Preheat your oven to 425º.

I keep my lard in the refrigerator for freshness.  So when I dig it out of the jar, it comes out in pieces.  This is ideal.  Place the lard shards on a plate and refrigerate it while you prepare the rest of the recipe.

Combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and whiz ’em up to mix.  In your measuring cup, stir together the yogurt and honey.

Add the lard to the food processor and pulse about 10 times to cut it into the flour.  Don’t overprocess.  You want to leave some largish—maybe almond-sized—pieces of fat.  If you don’t have a processor, use a pastry blender or your fingertips.  Dump the flour mixture into a large bowl and pour all the yogurt over it.  Quickly stir together with a large fork to thoroughly moisten.  Use a flexible scraper to gather the dough together, folding it onto itself and pressing stray bits into the main mass.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface—a silpat is perfect.

Quickly and lightly knead the dough, folding it over itself several times using the flexible scraper.  Roll out or pat to about ½” thickness, approximately 12″ X 12″.  Cut up the dough into biscuits.  I use a bench scraper to speedily, if not artfully, stamp out some squares (and squarishes).  Shapes and yield are up to you.  Place biscuits on a large baking sheet.

Bake about 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.

Serve hot with local honey.  I dare you to share!


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Texas Tamale Skillet Pie

Filed under: easy,fast,meat,spice blends — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 10:47 am
Supper's On!

Supper's On!

Aerial view

Aerial view

Well, my Moist ‘n’ Corny Cornbread recipe yields enough for leftovers, and what meatier way to use up a third of it than to make tamale pie.  Any variety of locally raised ground meat will work in this skillet classic.  This week I chose Thunder Heart Bison—very lean.  Richardson Farms pastured pork or grassfed beef, Premium Lamb‘s goat, and Loncito’s Lamb will each give great results.  You can find all of these producers at both the Sunset Valley Farmers Market and the  Austin Farmers Market.  Being a quick and easy dish, you may find you have time to relax (who gets to do that?) after dinner.

You can even make this meal using leftover chili, about a quart, in place of the ground meat mixture.  Just heat the chili in the skillet, top it with the cornbread and cheese and bake it up.

TEXAS TAMALE SKILLET PIE serves 4 to 8

  • 12 ounces (about 3 ½ cups) crumbled cornbread.  About 1/3 of the pan of Moist ‘n’ Corny Cornbread.
  • 8 ounces (2 cups) shredded cheese.  I like about 5 ounces pepper jack and 3 ounces cheddar from Full Quiver Farm.
  • 1 pound ground meat—see above.
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil.  Texas Olive Ranch‘s arbequina varietal is smooth and buttery.
  • about 1 cup coarsely shredded butternut squash.  I like Flintrock Hill’s selection.
  • about 1 ½ cups finely chopped onion
  • about 1 cup medium-fine chopped sweet peppers.  If all your diners are of age, you may include a hot pepper or two.
  • a couple of medium-sized tomatoes, chopped.  If your local sources have dried up, use 1 cup canned diced organic tomatoes.  I use Muir Glen or Central Market or Whole Foods brand.  Whichever is on sale.
  • a couple or so cloves of garlic, minced.  Local, if you or Morning Glory Farm have any left. Domestic organic otherwise.
  • 2 Tablespoons best quality chili powder.  I make my own.
  • 2 or more teaspoons salt, to taste
  • 1 25-ounce can organic pinto beans, drained.  Don’t bother to rinse.  Canned beans have been on special lately at our area stores.  You can use 2 15-ounce cans.  This recipe obviously leaves room for flexibility and creativity.  So an extra 5 ounces of beans won’t do any harm.  Just be sure to taste for adequate seasoning and correct if necessary.

Toss cornbread and cheese together in a bowl.  Set aside.  Preheat your oven to 450º.

Heat up the olive oil in a large (11″ or 12″) ovenproof skillet.  Add the onion, cook for a minute, then add the squash.  Stir everything around for a bit and add the peppers.  After a couple minutes of occasional stirring, add the tomatoes.  When your veggies have softened, mix in the chili powder and garlic.  Add the ground meat.  Cook, breaking up the clumps.  When the meat is cooked through, add your beans and salt.  Cook and stir until hot.  Adjust seasoning.

Top the whole mess with the cornbread mixture.  Place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, until crust is golden brown.  Serve hot with salsa on the side, if desired.


BONUS!!!!!

CHILI POWDER makes a scant 3/4 cup

  • 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder—natural, not Dutch-processed.  I use Dagoba organic.
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • ½ Tablespoon dried thyme
  • 6 Tablespoons various ground chile powders.  I like a blend of smoked paprika, ancho and New Mexico.  Central Market’s bulk department carries many types.  You can smell, ponder and choose to your taste.  I store my chile powders in the freezer.
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon ground coriander
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper.

Mix everything together and transfer to an airtight container—I use a glass jar.  Depending on how frequently you use this blend, you may want to store it in the freezer.