Savor The Earth

eat tastier, eat greener, eat cheaper

Greening Turkey Day–Homemade Rolls November 24, 2009

Filed under: bread,Dai Due,easy,HOPE market — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 8:08 pm

Great Goose Grease!

I picked up a pound of Dai Due‘s famous country style breakfast sausage (stick some in your stuffing!) this past Sunday at the new HOPE market.  Open from 11am to 3pm, this new market fit snugly into our schedule and we were thrilled to see our old friends Edgar and Gayle (and their gorgeous bell peppers!) from Finca Pura Vida.

Dai Due was also hawking goose fat, one of my favorite shortenings.  Mild and soft, goose grease gives excellent flavor and texture to your homemade rolls.  I’ll be cranking out my traditional recipe on Thursday.  It’s an old reliable standard and you can substitute duck fat, quality lard (such as Dai Due’s), or an honest compatible oil for the goose fat.

SOFT DINNER ROLLS makes one dozen

  • 2 ¼ teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast—NOT Instant or Bread Machine or Rapid Rise
  • ¼ cup warm water—a little above body temperature
  • ¼ cup turbinado sugar.  I buy this in bulk at Central Market.  Don’t forget to bring your own container.
  • ¾ cup plus 2 teaspoons local milk .  I use goat milk from either Swede Farm Dairy or Wateroak Farm.
  • 6 Tablespoons organic butter, cut up.  I love Organic Valley.  Whole Foods has OV on sale for $4.99 per one pound box.   Minus their $1 OFF Whole Deal coupon, you can buy just about the tastiest butter around for only $3.99 a pound!  Or click for a coupon to use at another store.
  • 2 Tablespoons goose fat.
  • 1 local egg
  • 12 ounces (2 ½ cups plus 2 Tablespoons) organic all-purpose flour.  WF 365 brand in the 5# bag is usually the best buy.
  • 4 ounces (1 cup) whole wheat flour, either organic or Texas-grown Richardson Farm‘s.
  • 1 teaspoon salt.  I use Real Salt, available in bulk at Whole Foods.  Bring a container!
  • 3 Tablespoons organic butter, melted, for shaping the rolls

The method here is standard yeast-dough procedure.  Proof your yeast in the warm water with a pinch of the sugar.  Scald the milk, remove from the heat and add the butter and goose fat.  Let cool to just warm.  I like to use my stand mixer (or bread machine) to knead dough, so I put the dry ingredients into the bowl, then dump in the liquids (including egg) and let ‘er rip.  Kneading with the mixer should take about 7 to 10 minutes to develop a soft, smooth dough.  You can also knead it by hand, but I have a harder time changing diapers and rescuing the toddler when I’m up to my elbows in dough.

Place the dough into a large buttered bowl and roll it around a bit to lube the entire surface.  Cover the bowl with a plastic bag and let the dough rise for an hour or so, until doubled.  Press the dough down with your hands and let it rest for 5 minutes while you prepare to shape the rolls.

Divide the dough into 12 equalish portions.  I admit to frequently using a kitchen scale for this step, but it’s not crucial.

I usually shape the rolls into knots, as in this totally unflashy (but better than my currently non-existent) video.  Sometimes I also shape double knots.  Place these rolls onto a lightly buttered baking sheet.  An easy method for shaping is the “cloverleaf”.  Simply form each roll portion into three little balls and place them in well-buttered muffin tins (1 roll=3 balls in one muffin cup).  Brush the formed rolls, whatever their design, with the melted butter.   Cover them with plastic or an overturned large roasting pan and let rise for about 45 minutes, until puffy and approximately doubled.

Bake the rolls in a preheated 375º oven until evenly golden brown and done, about 12 to 15 minutes.  Serve piping hot with great butter.


Greening Turkey Day–Soup

Filed under: Austin Farmers Market,easy,fast,soup,vegetables,vegetarian — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 7:57 pm

sweet potatoes in the pot

soup's on!

Thanksgiving’s trottin’ up fast.  My Turkey Day celebrations have changed dramatically since having a couple of kids.  It’s been years since I’ve made a homemade pâté de campagne or boned out a duck.  I let friends and relatives take over most of the cooking now.  I contribute what I can manage and there’s still plenty to go around!

Today’s the last day for HEB’s incredible deal on Texas sweet potatoes at 19¢ a pound, as well as specials on Texas green beans for 77¢ a pound (casserole!) and Texas apples—cameo (love those cameos) and fuji—going for $1.27 per pound.  Put a pomme in you pie or add apples to your stuffing.

In the years BC (before children) I always cooked up a Peanut Butter Sweet Potato Soup as one of the big meal’s starters. My Thanksgiving spread showcased New World foods, and this recipe, with its sweet potatoes, jalapeño, tomato juice and peanut butter, kills four birds with one tureen!   I won’t be making it this year, but folks with a little more time on their hands (this is an easy soup) can enjoy this rich, warming precursor to the main event.

PEANUT BUTTER SWEET POTATO SOUP makes about a dozen small servings

  • 1 Tablespoon oil or fat of choice
  • 2 cups chopped local onions–choose your colors
  • 2 or 3 teaspoons grated fresh organic ginger root
  • a couple or so cloves of garlic, minced.  Local has about dried up.  I go for domestic organic.
  • 1 local jalapeño.  Leave whole if coddling delicate palates.  Otherwise, chop it up!
  • 1 rib of organic celery, chopped.  Local isn’t available yet—Edgar of Finca Pura Vida says it’ll be about three weeks.  But you’ve probably already bought this holiday cooking staple, anyway.
  • 1 cup chopped organic carrots.  Inexpensive year ’round, another holiday must-have.
  • a couple sprigs of fresh thyme.  This herb’s easy to grow (most are), but you can buy fresh Texas-grown herbs at Central Market and our farmers markets.  Thyme and sage are Thanksgiving essentials!
  • 1 bay leaf—I love fresh (been growin’ it for more than a decade) but dried will do.
  • 2 cups or so chopped Texas sweet potato.  I use one medium-sized.  I usually don’t bother to peel them.  That’s up to you, though.
  • 1 teaspoon salt.  I like Real Salt.
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups organic tomato juice
  • 1 cup organic smooth peanut butter.  I prefer the “natural” (i.e. not “no-stir”) for this recipe.  Use what you have.
  • turbinado sugar to taste, up to 1 Tablespoon (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped local green onions.  I’ve been enjoying Hairston Creek Farm‘s lovely scallions lately.  If you didn’t buy any this weekend you can still shop for all kinds of local produce (and meat and eggs and dairy) at the Austin Farmers Market at the Triangle this Wednesday, with extended hours from 3pm to 8pm.  Put a little local on your table!

Heat up the grease in a big soup pot and saute the onion over medium heat just until translucent.  Add the rest of the aromatics, through the bay leaf, and saute a couple minutes more.  Dump in the sweet potatoes, salt and water, turn the heat up high and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

Carefully puree the soup, adding the tomato juice and peanut butter, in your blender until smooth—exercise caution when blending hot liquids.  Return the blended soup to the pot and taste for sweetness, adding turbinado sugar if necessary.  Reheat over low heat until warmed through.

Serve generously topped with the green onions.  For a main course,  ladle over Lowell Farms Texas-grown organic jasmine rice.