Savor The Earth

eat tastier, eat greener, eat cheaper

Bread Machine Cornmeal Loaf, part II December 30, 2009

Filed under: bread,bread machine,easy,fast — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 3:42 pm

bread and butter, come to supper

I needed to make a quick loaf to feed the family while I worked but I was all out of milk (or so I thought).  So I reworked my “Bread Out Back” recipe for a fast baking bread machine pain (dare I call it by its French name?).  Especially great toasted, who—I mean what—isn’t?  Top your slice with a generous spread of very good butter–I recommend Organic Valley Pasture butter or Texas’ own Lucky Layla, and honey if you’re being sweet!


  • 1 ¼ cup plus a Tablespoon water
  • 1 Tablespoon organic butter.  I love Organic ValleyClick for a coupon.
  • 1 teaspoon salt.  I like Real Salt.
  • 1 ½ teaspoons local honey.  Austinites enjoy abundant apiary options.  I buy Good Flow in bulk at Central Market.  I bring my own container and have the staff tare it for me.
  • 125 grams organic white whole wheat flour.  Whole Foods sells King Arthur brand in the 5# pound bag for the best price.
  • 200 grams organic all-purpose flour.  WF 365 brand in the 5# bag is usually the cheapest.
  • 4 ¼ ounces organic cornmeal.  I use Arrowhead Mills.
  • 1 teaspoons bread machine (rapid-rise or instant) yeast—NOT active dry

Put the ingredients into your machine in the order indicated by your instructions.  In my bread maker, that would be the order listed.
Start the machine on the “quick” cycle (about 2 hours).  After baking, let the loaf cool completely for best flavor.  I know it’s hard, but it’ll be worth it!


Dal Duo December 29, 2009

Filed under: beans,easy,fast,Indian,pressure cooker,vegetables,vegetarian — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 5:17 pm

dueling dals---mung dal left, urad dal right

All dalled up and nowhere to go.  Nowhere I need to go right now anyway, and that’s great ’cause it’s cold and wet out and holidays—and rhinovirus round-robin– have done done me in.  Here are two different Indian-style dals to warm your hearth and belly.  The first, a mung dal based creamy chowder chunked with plenty of radishes (softened to mellowness), comes together straightforwardly.  Urad dal provides the base for the second soup, the small skinned and split beans swimming swimmingly with diced kohlrabi, caressed by silky slips of spinach.  Though requiring multiple steps, the assembly is not tricky, and the process yields a flavor and texture quite distinct from the mung dal potage, despite the a similar brassical and leafy constituency.

All that and dal is a cheap source of good nutrition, too.  I usually buy mine at Fiesta because I don’t make it up to MGM as often as I’d like.  The pressure cooker makes quick work of a pot of legumes, but you can simmer these soups the old-fashioned way if you’re not pressure-equipped.  Boil the dals 20 to 30 minutes before adding your vegetables, then continue to simmer until the base is cooked before finishing the recipe.

If you’ve got basmati rice on hand, enjoy it with these dals.  I always have a cooked pot of Texas-grown Lowell Farms organic jasmine rice in the fridge, so that’s my usual dal dais.

mung dal and rice


  • ¾ cup mung dal, picked through for pebbles and the like, well-rinsed and drained
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 to several cloves organic garlic
  • 1 bay leaf.  Grow your own if you can.  Bay needs little care.
  • heaping ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt.  I like Real Salt.
  • 1 Tablespoon ghee or butter, plus 2 Tablespoons ghee (not butter).  See my simple instructions for making ghee.
  • 1 or 2 bunches of local radishes, sliced about 1/6 ” thick.  If the greens look sprightly, chop ’em up, too.
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 dried red chile.  Crush it up for some heat or leave it whole to accommodate the kids.
  • ¼ teaspoon asafetida powder.    This stinky spice, with its natural antiviral compounds, shows promise as an H1N1 fighter.
  • ½ to a whole local onion, quartered and slice thin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • chopped fresh local cilantro to taste.  A cool weather treasure around here.

Combine the mung dal, water, garlic, bay leaf, turmeric, salt and 1 Tablespoon butter in a 6-quart pressure cooker.  Bring up to high pressure on high heat, lower the heat to maintain the pressure and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let the pressure drop for 10 minutes before releasing the pressure with the quick-release mechanism.  Carefully remove the lid (watch out for the steam!), and add the radishes and greens, if using.  Replace the lid and bring to high pressure again over high heat.  Cook at high pressure for another 5 minutes, remove from heat and let the pressure drop for 10 minutes before releasing the pressure and removing the lid—be careful!

While the dal rests, heat the ghee and cumin seeds in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  If your stove top is electric, you can use the same burner to save energy.  Add the chile.  When the cumin smells as toasty as you like, add the asafetida, followed quickly by the onion slices.  Add the salt and stir it all around.  Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is well-browned.  When fully browned, stir the onion mixture into the dal, put the lid on the pot and let the dal sit for a couple minutes to infuse.

Stir in the cilantro and serve, ladled over rice if you wish, with a squeeze of lemon if desired.

This soup is seasoned with a wet masala .  (Masala means spice mixture.)  The technique is easy and results in a more mellow rendering of the spices’ essence.


  • ¾ cup urad dal, picked through for pebbles and such, well-rinsed and drained
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 to several cloves organic garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt.  I like Real Salt.
  • heaping ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • dab of ghee or butter, plus 3 or 4 Tablespoons ghee (not butter).  See my simple instructions for making ghee.
  • 3 medium-sized local kohlrabi, trimmed and very well peeled, diced
  • 1 bag Cora Lamar’s Texas-grown savoy spinach (10 ounces).  Triple washed and ready to cook, you needn’t prep it further.  Available at Central Market, today it’s on sale for $2.50 a bag.
  • 1 local onion, quartered and sliced thin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • medium pecan shell-sized lobe of ginger root, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon asafetida powder
  • 1 medium-sized mild whole green chile, if available, halved, seeded and sliced.  You probably won’t be finding any more local peppers at our markets right now.  If you’ve got one leftover, use it.  If not, just leave it out.

Combine dal, water, garlic, bay leaf, salt, turmeric and dab of ghee in a 6-quart pressure cooker.  Bring up to high pressure over high heat, lower the heat to maintain the pressure and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let the pressure drop for 10 minutes before releasing the pressure with the quick-release mechanism.  Carefully remove the lid (watch out for the steam!), and add the kohlrabi and spinach.  Replace the lid and bring to high pressure again over high heat.  Cook at high pressure for another 5 minutes, remove from the heat and let the pressure drop for 10 minutes before releasing the pressure and removing the lid, carefully!

While the dal is cooking, heat up a couple tablespoons of ghee with the onion slices and ¼ teaspoon salt in a small to medium skillet.  Stir and cook, regulating the heat as necessary to thoroughly brown the onion.  This will take a while, don’t try to rush it.  Meanwhile, grind the whole spices (cumin through peppercorns) in a spice grinder.  Combine with the ginger and a few tablespoons of water.

While the dal pot enjoys its second 10 minute rest, use the hot burner to heat up another couple of tablespoons or so of ghee in a medium skillet (you can use a small one if you’re out of peppers).  When the ghee is hot, dump in the asafetida, followed quickly by the chile slices.  Saute the peppers until they pick up some brown spots, then add the wet ground spice mixture.  Stir and fry until the masala dries but hasn’t scorched.  Stir the spices and onions into the cooked dal and let the soup rest for a couple minutes before correcting the salt, if needed, and serving with rice, if desired.


The Green Greenie—(don’t) Throwaway Puree December 25, 2009

Filed under: Indian,pressure cooker,thrift,vegetables,vegetarian — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 4:16 pm

sak it to me!

About the only food I won’t reuse around here is a dead guppy (What’s up with that, Santa?).  Actually the kindergartner is saving the carcass to take to the Austin Nature and Science Center‘s trade counter.  I hope he doesn’t forget, cause I’m not cookin’ it!

Come to think of it, I don’t make a salad out of banana peels either (like they do in Laos).  And I eat far too much citrus to freeze or candy all that zest and peel.  But I will not throwaway greens unless unfortunate circumstances have allowed them to languish beyond flaccidity.  Smoothly combined with the ever-versatile broccoli stems I accumulate, assorted winter vegetable tops yield a nutritious and nummy Indian-spiced puree to stir into rice or scoop at with pappadams, tortilla chips (we love El Milagro unsalted) or crostini.

Get out your 6-quart pressure cooker for this dish.  Pressurized steaming produces a more evenly cooked potful more quickly than conventional steaming.


  • lots of assorted greens.  My last batch included the tops of kohlrabi, carrots, beets and turnipsWash them very well (nobody likes gritty greens) and trim the leaves off the stemsYou need enough to nearly pack up your pressure cooker (with a steamer insert).
  • 2 large or 3 or 4 smaller broccoli stems, peeled ruthlessly and diced
  • a couple small to medium potatoes, organic and/or local (very hard to find local right now, but you might get lucky), diced.  I don’t peel spuds for this dish (or almost any other).
  • a couple of thin slices—“coins” as Barbara Tropp would say—fresh ginger root.  I almost never peel ginger.  You decide.  If you’re out of the fresh stuff (it happens), you can use a ½ teaspoon or so of dried ground ginger.
  • a couple cloves of garlic, peeled
  • heaping ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt.  I like Diamond Crystal.
  • 2 or 3 Tablespoons ghee.  See my simple instructions.
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • onion slices from ½ or more of a medium or larger local onion—still available at our farmers markets!
  • local hot chiles, 1 to 4, to taste, whole or chopped, as desired
  • 1 teapsoon garam masala.  Click for a recipe.
  • 3 Tablespoons organic or local (Promised Land) heavy cream.  Organic Valley is great.  Click for a coupon.
  • lemon wedges—local backyard lemons are readily available at the farmers markets, and maybe even your own neighborhood, right now.

Pour about ½ cup water into your cooker and place a steamer basket inside.  Pack in the greens, leaving some room for the broccoli and potato.  On top of that lay your ginger slices and garlic, then sprinkle with the ground spices and salt.  Bring to high pressure over high heat, then lower the heat to just maintain the pressure and cook for 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let the pressure go down for 10 minutes before releasing the quick-release pressure mechanism before lifting off the lid.  Stand back from the steam!

In 2 batches, puree the greens in a food processor with the cooking water.

Heat up your ghee in a large (12″) skillet and add the cumin seeds.  Toast the cumin to your taste, then toss in the onion slices and whole chiles.  Stir and cook until the onion is well-browned, adding chopped chiles about halfway through, if using, then add the pureed greens.  Stir and cook, scraping the pan frequently, until the puree thickens and dries to the point of pulling away from the sides of the pan.  Stir in the garam masala and cream, correct the salt if necessary, and serve.  Squeeze a little lemon juice over your helping if you wanna.



  • 6 ounces paneer, cubed.  You can also use extra-firm tofu–not the least bit traditional in India, but increasing in popularity there as elsewhere.

Brown the paneer or tofu cubes on all sides in ghee.  Cook the pureed sak just enough to heat through before blending in the garam masala and cream—you want a little looser texture.  Gently fold your cubes into the Sak and adjust the salt.


Windy Pies—Coffee Cake December 23, 2009

Filed under: cake,dessert,easy,pizza — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 11:31 am

pizza version of Chicago-style pizza recipe

Windy City coffee "pie"

all drizzled up and someplace to go!

spreading the butter

rolling up the dough

flattening the roll

dividing the dough

balling up the dough

smoothing ball

dough in the pan

applying the filling

laying on the topping

cooling off before glazing

The current issue (January 2010) of Cook’s Illustrated magazine offers a couple of terrific recipes to get you bakin’.  I started with “Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza,” which CI tells us consists of a buttery,cornmeal enhanced flaky and biscuit-like crust supporting a cheese-first, tomato sauce topped filling.  Having cut my pizza teeth on Conan’s (what kind of Cook County native am I?), I wasn’t aware that the Windy City’s famous crust sported buttery layers (I was only 8 when I left for the south.)  But I’m not at all surprised to learn that the Midwestern take on Italy’s precious pie boasts butter and lamination.  Now that’s cooking from the Heartland.

Chicago’s version of pizza, like its Italian inspiration, is all about the crust, apparently.  But second city cooks really give the dough a 180.  I don’t mind a bit!  If I can find a way to put butter together with starch (we’ll get to sugar shortly), I’m gonna!

Of course I modified the dough some.  I enjoy whole grains so I worked in a little white whole wheat flour and that necessitates additional liquid.  Filled on the fly with an entire 10-ounce bag of Cora Lamar’s legendary Texas-grown spinach (Central Market, $2.99 a bag, triple-washed and ready to wilt), roasted piquillo peppers, black olives, basil, oregano and just enough organic canned tomato to qualify as a “sauce,” plus a half pound of organic cream cheese blended with a dollop of South River’s organic sweet white miso and plenty of black pepper (we were all out of Full Quiver Farm‘s melting mozzarella—but who am I to stick with tradition anyway?) and adorned with the requisite red onion (anointed with a touch of olive oil) and reggiano, these scrumptious pizzas reminded me of a more refined savory kuchen (see Tongue-in-kuchen).

And kuchen reminds me of butterkuchen, which brings us to this somewhat kringle-y (another Midwestern favorite) coffee cake.  I swapped the water for milk, doubled the sugar and added a touch more yeast to yield a cakier bread base.  Then I sweetened up my filling and drizzled the finished “pies” with an easy glaze.

WINDY PIES makes 2 9″ cakes

  • 3 Tablespoons organic butter, melted, plus 4 Tablespoons organic butter, softened to spreadability. I love Organic Valley and Whole Foods has it on sale right now for $4.99 a pound.  Get cakin’  and bakin’!
  • 262 grams organic all-purpose flour.  Whole Foods 365 brand in the 5# bag generally goes for the lowest price.
  • 192 grams organic white whole wheat flour.  I buy King Arthur brand in the 5# bag at WF.
  • ½ cup organic yellow cornmeal.  I usually use Arrowhead Mills.
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt.  I like Real Salt.
  • 4 teaspoons turbinado sugar.  I buy this in bulk at Central Market. .I bring my own container and have the staff tare it for me.
  • 2 ½ teaspoons (1 packet or envelope) instant yeast (bread machine or rapid rise)—NOT active dry
  • 1 ½ cups local milk.  I use either Swede Farm Dairy or Wateroak Farm goat milk.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces local or organic cream cheese, softened.  Light “neufchâtel” style is fine.  Full Quiver Farm makes several sweet (as well as savory) flavors plus plain.  Organic Valley makes great organic cream cheese and now Central Market sells their own brand of organic cream cheese, regular full-fat style, for only $1.99 for a half-pound block.
  • 2 or 3 Tablespoons local honey.  I usually use Good Flow wildflower, available in bulk at CM. Don’t forget to bring your own container.
  • zest of 1 Texas tangelo, tangerine or orange (plus maybe a  touch of lemon), preferably organic
  • 4 ounces Texas pecans, about a heaping cupful
  • 154 grams (¾ cup) packed organic light brown sugar.  Wholesome Sweeteners brand is on sale right now at Newflower Market for only $1.99 for a 1½ pound bag.
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tablespoons cold organic butter, cut into 4 or 5 pieces
  • about a Tablespoon melted butter or ghee


  • 3 ounces (¾ cup) organic powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons local milk
  • scant ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer—this dough’s a little loose for hand-kneading—and whisk together.  Be sure the yeast and salt to do not come into direct contact.  Sans buffer, salt is toxic to bare yeast.  Using the dough hook, start the mixer and pour in first the melted butter (not hot) and then the water.  Get the ingredients combined, then raise the speed to nearly medium and let the machine knead the dough for about 5 minutes, until the dough amasses, looks smooth and feels slightly sticky.  Turn out into a buttered bowl, cover and let rise until almost doubled.  A cooler rise promotes more flavor development, so go ahead and put the bowl in the laundry room or garage while you go pick the kid(s) up from school—wait,  school’s out!

Press the dough down and turn out onto a flat surface for rolling out.  I prefer using a silpat or other rolling mat so I don’t have to incorporate any more flour into the dough.  Roll the dough into a 15″ X 12″ rectangle and spread the softened butter over the surface to within about ½ inch of the edges.  Starting at a short end, roll up the dough tightly, jellyroll-style.  Pat the roll out into about an 18″ by 4″ rectangle and divide this strip into 2 pieces (cut across the spiral, not lengthwise).  Take each strip and fold the ends towards the center, approximately folding into thirds, and smooth each piece into a ball, seam side down.  Place the balls back into your buttered bowl and refrigerate for about 50 minutes for the second rise.

For the filling, blend the cream cheese, honey and zest.  For the topping, combine the pecans and next 3 ingredients in a food processor and pulse to chop the pecans a bit.  Then pulse in the butter just until cut in.  Don’t overprocess the topping into a mass, keep it crumbly.

Pat each ball down and roll out (separately) into a 13″ circle.  Fit each circle into a well-buttered, parchment lined 9″ X 2″ round cake pan.  I recently bought a set of two such pans by Wilton at Michael’s craft store using their 50% OFF coupon.  Many cakers already know about Michael’s weekly 40% OFF and occasional 50 % OFF coupons and take advantage of the savings on decorating supplies.  But even if you don’t cake or decorate, if you bake, you can score some sweet deals on supplies such as pans, spatulas, whisks and cooling racks.  And you might find yourself inspired to embellish your creations on the cheap!  So be on the lookout for the Michael’s weekly flyer in your mail or check the Statesman (Sunday or Wednesday, typically) and save a buck.

Spread the the cream cheese filling over the dough and top with the pecan mixture.  Bake in a preheated 400º oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350º, until browned and set in the center.  Let cool in the pans on a rack for 10 minutes before loosening sides with a metal spatula and unmolding.  Brush with the melted butter or ghee and continue to cool until warm, then whisk together the glaze ingredients and drizzle over the cakes.  Serve with hot chocolate on Christmas Day!


weekly specials December 18, 2009

Filed under: newflower market,whole foods — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 2:09 pm

Newflower Market’s offering a great deal on all their bulk organic oatmeal:  rolled, quick or steel cut only 99¢ a pound!  (While supplies last.)  Throw your oats together with Wholesome Sweeteners organic light brown sugar at $1.99 for a 1½ pound bag, add organic butter and local pecans and you’re on your way to baking yummy holiday cookies.  Also on sale are Bob’s Red Mill 5# bags of organic flour:  all-purpose, whole wheat and whole wheat pastry varieties.  Lundberg Farms newest product, organic roasted brown rice couscous, is on special at $1.69 a box (plain, Mediterranean Curry, Roasted Garlic & Olive Oil and Savory Herb).  Shady Maple Farms 1 quart organic maple syrup is still only $17.99 (grade A or B), and with bulk organic walnuts and almonds at $7.99 and $6.99 a pound respectively, you’ll be all set for the season’s sweetmakings.

Update!!!  Whole Foods is selling Organic Valley butter 1 pound packs for $4.99.  Bake those cookies!  WF also has Green & Black‘s delicious organic chocolate bars, assorted varieties, 2 for $5 and local Out to Lunch fresh salsa $2.50 a pint.


Tongue-in-Kuchen (broccoli, actually) December 14, 2009

Filed under: bread,easy — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 12:38 pm


Hey, good-lookin'---whatcha got kuchen?

You know how you go riflin’ through the freezer looking for white spelt flour and instead you find a cow tongue you bought way back when?  Yeah, it happens to me too.  What’s a flexitarian to do, faced with such flesh?  I found myself wishing meat maestro Jesse Griffith (Duke of Dai Due) could take this tongue off my hands and prepare it appropriately.

I got into beef tongue via “Tongue Loaf” while working in the deli.  Some select salamis aside (do visit Cochon Butcher the next time you’re passing through the Big Easy), this cooked and pressed, slightly jellied rendition, sliced paper-thin, might be my favorite lunch meat.  Boasting über-beefy flavor, as if tongue were tasked with telling the entirety of the animal’s taste to partakers, this muscle articulates in the mouth with a tenderly discernible texture that reminds your tongue that it’s eating a tongue.

Well, slow cooker to the rescue again.  Leisurely poached with garlic and bay,the serendipitous tongue released a phô-ish fragrance that had the whole family hankering for Kim Phung, and yielded a terrific broth for beaning.  As for the meat (Bandera Grassland grass-fed Longhorn, btw), well, it took me a while to get to it.  You might think trimming tongue is weird, and you’re right.  On tongue-tackling day I had at it, my first tongue.  Stirred into a batch of beans, seasoned with an amalgam inspired by Diana Kennedy‘s Lengua Estofada—ancho chile, homemade chili powder, toasted almonds, garlic, tomato and tortilla chip crumbs, the meat lent considerable savor to a less than picturesque taco filling.

Enough smoke and mirrors!  What’s really going on in this post is another recipe to use up your broccoli stems, or any other kohl.  Informed by German butterkuchen, and possibly the impossible pies of Bisquick renown, this baked meal will warm the kitchen, hopefully rousing chilly peasants like me out of their reverie of hibernation.

BROKKOLI KUCHEN serves several brunchers

  • good fat.  Organic or local (Texas Olive Ranch) olive oil (leftover from lubing pizza day), organic butter, or pig or poultry grease will all work.
  • chopped local onions, any color
  • chopped local peppers, any color
  • well-trimmed local broccoli stems, cut into small pieces.  Or substitute kohlrabi or shredded cabbage.
  • Da Becca or other sustainable ham, chopped.  I buy the bargain-priced “meat ends” from the deli at Central Market.  Or you can use any cooked meat such as bacon or Dai Due’s famous country style breakfast sausage.  One cup is plenty.
  • compatible herbs and spices.  Thyme is great and a little garam masala and turmeric lend mysterious warmth.
  • ¾ cup local milk.  I use either Swede Farm Dairy or Wateroak Farm.
  • 4 Tablespoons organic butter, cut into tablespoons.  I love Organic ValleyClick for a coupon.
  • ½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons water (not warm)
  • 1 packet (2 ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast—NOT rapid-rise, bread machine or instant
  • 242 grams (2  cups) organic all-purpose flour.  Whole Foods 365 is usually the best buy.
  • 242 grams (barely scant 2 cups) organic white whole wheat flour.  WF generally has the lowest price on King Arthur brand in the 5# bag.
  • 1 teaspoon salt.  I like Real Salt.
  • 3 local eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon local honey.  My standard is Good Flow raw wildfllower.  I buy it in bulk at CM.  You can bring your own container—I like wide-mouthed glass jars—and the staff will tare the weight for you.
  • shredded or crumbled  local cheese, about 4 ounces. I love Full Quiver Farm‘s cheddar.

Line a 9″ X 13″ baking pan with aluminum foil.  I do this by flipping the pan upside down and forming the foil to the outside of the bottom.  Then it’s easy to fit the foil into the inside.  Butter the foil very well.  I use ghee.

Saute your veggies in a little good fat.  Add salt and some water, cover the pan, and steam the broccoli for about 6 minutes.  Add the ham (and green onions now, if using that color), raise the heat and let the ingredients pick up a touch of brown.  Stir in your seasonings before taking the pan off the heat.

Using the same hot burner (if your unlucky kitchen cooks electrically, like mine), scald the milk in a small to medium saucepan.  Remove from the heat, add the butter and swirl occasionally until melted.  Add the water, then sprinkle the yeast over the surface.  Combine your flours and salt in a large mixing bowl (for hand mixing) or the bowl of your stand mixer.  Stir the eggs and honey into the milk mixture, add to the flour and stir with a wooden spoon or mix with the paddle attachment until well blended.  This dough is a batter.  You don’t have to knead it and you’re not trying to form a ball with it.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, using a flexible spatula to scrape out the bowl and spread the dough as evenly as you can.  Cover the pan and let the kuchen base rise for about an hour, until well-risen (nearly doubled) and puffy when poked.  When ready for bakin’, blanket the surface of the dough with the sauteed veggie/meat mixture and top with a respectable helping of cheese.  Bake in a preheated 350º oven for about 35 minutes, until the dough is cooked through and the topping is nicely browned.


Glittereati—Frosty Flakes

Filed under: cake,glittereati — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 12:13 pm

sparkling snow

flickering flurries

winter sliced


Deconstructing Broccoli Ditto—Dilly Dumplings December 7, 2009

Filed under: easy,leftovers,meat — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 11:38 am

What's the dill?

I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the latest issue of edible AUSTIN magazine (No. 11 Winter 2009).  What a wonderful way for the baby-bound and nearly housebound to start out “Eat Local Week” ( December 5-12, right here in your own town.)  Of the wealth of inspiring and well-written articles (including Jardine Libaire’s thoughtful piece on my favorite charcuterie source in “Marketplace” Dai Due Butcher Shop),  I found my kitchen self particularly compelled by Boggy Creek Farm matriarch Carole Ann Sayles’ “Seasonal Muse” column, Deconstructing Broccoli. Versatile, delicious, easy to prepare and of course, a vetted superfood, broccoli effortlessly negotiates the meal from soup to dessert (see my Broccoli Surprise Carrot Cake recipe).

My cornucopic dill bouquet from Finca Pura Vida (now at the budding HOPE market on Sundays) dared me to dumpling with the spoils of Thanksgiving, plus leftover broccoli stems.  The stew component is flexible.  Use whatever suitable vegetables you have.  And if your palate bears the unfortunate scars of a dried dill upbringing, remember you can always substitute plenty of parsley, or even celery leaves or fennel fronds.

Quickly mixed with Richardson Farms locally-grown, freshly-ground whole wheat flour and organic heavy cream, these delicate dumplings are the lightest, most tender I’ve ever tried.

TURKEY AND DILLY DUMPLINGS makes about 8 servings

  • a couple Tablespoons good fat.  Roasted poultry fat, bacon grease or butter are good choices.
  • local or organic onions, chopped kinda fine
  • local or organic carrots, diced (approximately) smallish
  • 2 bay leaves.  You can buy bay leaf plants at our local farmers markets and nurseries.  Bays are quite hardy and easy to take care of.
  • local broccoli stems, well peeled and diced or other local and/or organic veggies, chopped into small bite-sized pieces
  • organic garlic, a clove or so, minced
  • fresh herbs—I like lots of fresh thyme and a little fresh rosemary.  Grow ’em!
  • 1/3 cup organic flour—I sometimes use whole grain flours for thickening, but all-purpose flour lends a cleaner look.  Whole Foods 365 brand is usually the best buy.
  • ¾ cup dry sherry.  I recommend a brand that you can drink, as opposed to “cooking sherry.”  It doesn’t have to be top of the line.  I buy Osborne because I can get it at work.
  • 5 cups good broth, preferably homemade (see Stock Tips).  Our middens made for two large batches.
  • 1/3 cup organic or local (such as Promised Land) heavy cream.  I usually use Organic ValleyClick for a coupon.
  • 2 teaspoon or so kosher salt.  I use Diamond Crystal.
  • 3 cups cooked shredded turkey or chicken dark meat.  I freeze leftover cooked turkey meat in broth.
  • 242 grams (about 2 scant cups) whole wheat flour—either Richardson Farms or organic
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder, sieved.  I like Rumford non-GMO and aluminum-free.
  • generous ½ teaspoon salt.  I recommend Real Salt.
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • local and/or organic lemon zest
  • ½ cup chopped fresh dill.  Don’t forget to stash the stems for the stockpot.
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste.  Local Meyers are easy to find—and grow!

In a Dutch oven or other suitable stewing pot, saute your aromatics and veggies in the fat until the onion becomes translucent.  Add the flour and cook and stir for a minute.  Pour in the sherry and stir, scraping the pan bottom to release any fond.  Pour in the broth and cream and add the salt.  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over low heat until the veggies are cooked.  If you’re using broccoli or another potentially odiferous cruciferous, add it later to avoid overcooking.  Carrots will take about 20 minutes, so add broccoli after about 15 minutes.  Taste for salt and add the meat.

Whisk the flour together with the next five ingredients, then stir in the cream with a fork.  The dough will be firm.  Using a spring-loaded scoop (my preference) or a couple of spoons, scoop out small golf ball sized dough blobs and drop them into the simmering stew as you go.  You should wind up with around 18 dumplings.  Cover the pot and simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes, until the dumpling have about doubled in size and are cooked through.  Squeeze some lemon juice around the perimeter and sneak your wooden spoon in from the sides to incorporate it into the stew.

Serve hot!


Glittereati a Go Go December 5, 2009

Filed under: cake,glittereati — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 12:55 pm

Sometimes circumstances call for expediency in technique as well as execution.

I'm seein' stars!


À la Kerala—South Indian Style Curried Vegetables December 4, 2009

Filed under: easy,Indian,vegetables,vegetarian — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 4:17 pm

Finally the baby will eat cauliflower!

If you’ve made a batch of the garam masala from the Dilly Dal post you can also whoop up an easy veggie side to round out your Indo-meal.  All kinds of seasonal vegetables (any time of year) will work.  My most recent batch juxtaposed the last of this year’s summer squash (that exceptional variety from Finca Pura Vida) with my second Texas cauliflower of the season.  Plus fall peppers, spicy green jalapenos and serranos, and those sweet little orange cuties from Flint Rock Hill.  Almost any combination will unite harmoniously.  Green beans get along graciously right now.  Organic potatoes and frozen green peas can round out the chorus any time of year.


  • 1 Tablespoon organic extra virgin coconut oil.  Whole Foods 365 brand usually offers the best price.
  • ½ teaspoon brown or black mustard seeds
  • 1 inch chunk of fresh gingerroot, minced.  I almost never peel ginger but I’m not gonna try to tell you how to handle your root.
  • chopped local or organic onion—as much as you like
  • 1 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • peppers, if available, spicy or sweet, cut up how you like or left whole (if desired) if spicy
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1 more Tablespoon garam masala
  • about 5 cups raw vegetables, cut into bite-sized chunks or pieces
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup organic coconut milk
  • turbinado sugar if necessary
  • about 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro—Yay!  Local fresh cilantro is back!
  • fresh lemon, if desired

In a large pan, such as  3-quart saute pan or Dutch oven, heat the oil with the mustard seeds.  Allow the little orbs to sputter, turn gray and go “Pop!” then add the ginger and onion.  Stir fry until the onion softens and browns, then add the garlic, peppers and 1 Tablespoon garam masala.  Stir around then add the turmeric, a scant teaspoon of salt and your veggies, being mindful of varying cooking times, and stir and fry until browning.  Harder vegetables such as potatoes and cauliflower will require more cooking (and probably a little water and a lid to steam them through) than summer squashes .  If you are using frozen peas, DO NOT add them now.  They’ll jump in much later as they need only a thawing heat-through.

When all your veggies have taken the plunge (except the peas) and are nearing doneness, add the second Tablespoon of garam masala and the coconut milk and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and reduce the coconut milk to a creamy sauce.  Add the frozen peas now, is using.  Taste for salt and sweetness, correcting if necessary.

Festoon with cilantro and brighten with a squeeze of lemon if you like.