Savor The Earth

eat tastier, eat greener, eat cheaper

Turnin’ Turnips into Radishes March 30, 2010

Filed under: easy,fast,Indian,locavore,vegetables,vegetarian — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 10:26 pm

look what turnip'd up

Sporting precocious pompadours of perfect jade, darling baby turnips from Ringger Family Farm (Barton Creek Farmers Market) tastily replaced the usual radishes in my “Ravishing Radishes” recipe.  I love those greens, of course, and the young turnips’ softer coiffures rendered a gentler verdant cloak for the tender roots.

With spring debutantes asparagus and artichokes exerting their presence, humble cool weather crops, nearing their adjournment, still satisfy.


Texas Velvet Biscuit Cake March 28, 2010

Filed under: biscuits,bread,breakfast,cake,easy,locavore,vegetarian — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 10:00 pm

honey me this

Back to baking!  With the reintroduction of beans into our diet after last week’s brush with death (well that’s what it felt like, anyways), and it being Sunday and coolish, I decided that biscuits were in order.  And honey.

This super easy recipe combines local Richardson Farms fresh ground whole wheat flour with a softer flour from King Arthur for a fluffy and super-light texture that soaks up a hive of honey.  So comb your cupboards and nectar nooks for the bee sap to enjoy this mound melligenously.  Yeah, that’s right.  I made up an adverb.

TEXAS VELVET BISCUIT CAKE makes a 9″ round of 6 (sort of) large biscuits

Combine the dry ingredients in your food processor and whirl until mixed.  Add the butter and lard and process until the mixture looks mealy.  You’re not going for flaky here so do blend the fat in well.  Turn the flour out into a bowl and stir in the yogurt with a fork until well blended.  Using a greased ½-cup measure or spring-loaded scoop (best), scoop out six heaping ½-cup portions and place them in a buttered 9″ round pan (1½” to 2″ high).  You’ll get five biscuits around the perimeter and one in the middle.

Bake at 425° for 20 to 25 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown and well-risen.  Let the biscuits cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes before turning them out.  Use a fork to pull the biscuits apart (they’ll have coalesced) and split them for honeyin’.




Filed under: cake,easy,locavore — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 9:12 pm

nice hat, lady

Spring cleaning, interrupted.  Not much accomplished around the house last week—I definitely fell behind in my efforts to clear out last year’s (last decade’s!) old food.  When my appetite recovered, the first treat I wanted to enjoy-up was that opened pint of Organic Valley heavy cream.  So I baked some gingerbread as an excuse to rest under a dollop.  Read into that what you will, but this here unrefined cake comes out just coarse enough to luxuriate in a slumming slap of whoop cream (Forgive me.  I’ve been out of commission.)  Lightly sweetened with a bit of turbinado and aromatized with Maker’s Mark-based homemade vanilla extract, my chantilly made a dainty lady out of a wholesome dessert.

TEXAS ENOUGH GINGERBREAD makes one 11″ X 7″ panful

  • 2½ ounces (5 Tablespoons) organic butter, softened.  I love Organic ValleyClick for a coupon.
  • ½ teaspoon salt.  I use Real Salt.
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon grated fresh domestic organic ginger root (don’t bother to peel it), or 1½ teaspoons ground dried ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • fresh zest of a Texas lemon or orange, optional
  • 1/3 cup local honey.  Good Flow‘s my standard brand.  We can enjoy so many yummy hunnys in Central Texas!
  • 2/3 cup cane syrup.  Fain’s or Steen’s.  Or you can use molasses.
  • 1 local egg
  • 242 grams Richardson Farms whole wheat flour, most of the bran sifted out
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda, sieved
  • ¾ cup local milk.  I like goat milk from Swede Farm Dairy or Wateroak Farm.

Cream the butter, salt, fresh ginger, ground spices and zest, if using .  Beat in the egg.  Beat in the honey and syrup.  Combine the flour and baking soda and mix into the batter in two additions alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour.  Pour the batter into a greased and floured 11″ X 7″ pan (old-fashioned brownie pan size) and bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes, until the cake tests done.

I like to serve gingerbread warm with whoop cream, but the spices get to know each other, given some time, and the cake tastes even better the next day.


Turophile’s Treat—Locavore’s Leftover Lasagna March 20, 2010

Filed under: grains,leftovers,locavore,meat,thrift,vegetables — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 5:31 pm

plush mush

pourin' pone

In these first two photos I have just finished baking a batch of polenta, bound and enriched by my parmesan broth.   Adorned with nothing more than black pepper, this gruel was plainly the most luscious version I’d ever cooked.  Good enough to justify hoarding all those Reggiano rinds!  Because I had plans for this corny slab, I managed to limit my portion that morning to a small sampling.  Destined for the limelight in the layers of a catch-all casserole, my polenta plank rested overnight before joining forces with an ensemble cast of leftovers and fresh local flavors.

A hefty Texas-grown leek ($2.99 a bundle at Central Market—inspect the tag for provenance), sliced and sauteed with local young garlic, (available from Montesino Farm and Hairston Creek Farm at Sunset Valley Farmers Market) and seasoned with fresh backyard sage and thyme, provided an aromatic foundation for chopped and browned Kitchen Pride cremini mushrooms plus roasted local spaghetti squash from the freezer (that’s the end of that!).  In its gobbling finale, a generous helping of the last of the poached turkey leg meated its match.  Moistened with a bit of broth (freezer clear-out again) and greenly flecked with fresh Texas-grown parsley, the fleshy hash stratified between sheets of polenta, richly laminated with lots of shredded local cheese (I love Full Quiver Farm’s sharp cheddar.  Look for their booths at the Austin Farmers Market and Barton Creek Farmers Market.)

cast off casserole

pretty please with cheese on top

I baked the mess until browned and bubbling.  After a 10-minute eternity, we dug on in.  A taste of winter on a wintry first day of spring.

Happy Vernal Equinox!


Barely Barley Risotto March 18, 2010

Filed under: easy,grains,leftovers,locavore,slow cooker,vegetables,vegetarian — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 11:38 am

barley barely risotto

I couldn’t wait for spring.  I’ve already started cleaning out the freezers.  Who knew I had accumulated so many parmesan rinds?  Time to make broth!  If you have just a couple of rinds, you can throw them into most any soup or stew—not just minestrone—to add depth.  If family life (or life life) keeps you from your rinds beyond their metastasis, you can brew a full-on parmesan broth.  I pressure cooked the cheesy stock for 20 minutes and was rewarded with an indulgent infusion, perfect for a catch-all slow cooker risotto-style side dish.  (I will warn y’all about the goopy pan residue.  But we’re in the mood for cleaning now anyways, right?)  Making my way through a frozen cache of roasted spaghetti squash, plus some stashed barley, I came up with this autumnally nuanced, comforting blend.

With a composition more veggie than grain, this recipe keeps it light enough for spring time.

CLEARING HOUSE SLOW COOKER BARLEY RISOTTO serves a big family as a side dish, or a smaller family as a main course

  • 2/3 cup organic pearled barley.  I buy barley in bulk.  Remember to bring your own container.
  • 2 cups cooked local spaghetti squash.  I recommend roasting.  I just roast the whole thing on a baking sheet at 350º until it collapses.  I scrape out the pre-shredded flesh with a fork and freeze what I won’t be using soon.
  • 3½ to 4 cups good broth.  Reggiano broth works very well for this recipe and keeps the dish vegetarian.
  • one sprig of fresh backyard sage.  This heady herb’s easy to grow.  Give it a try!
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon salt.  I like Real Salt.
  • 1 or 2 drops almond extract
  • plenty of fresh local parlsey, chopped

Put everything except the parsley in the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 3 to 3½ hours, until the barley is done “to your own tooth.”  Stir in parsley.  Serve with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Texas’ own Veldhuizen parmesan, available from Greenling‘s local food delivery service.


Green(s) Tasso–Sustainable Sustenance from Dai Due March 17, 2010

Filed under: Dai Due,easy,locavore,meat,pressure cooker,tasso,thrift,vegetables — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 12:48 pm

emerald I'll eat that

Dai Due‘s nitrate-free tasso, fashioned from seasoned and smoked Richardson Farms local grass-fed pork, likkered up my pot o’ greens as only pig parts can.  Pressure-cooked for 20 minutes with a bay leaf to flavor a hearty broth, the tasso pieces yielded plenty of meat, picked off in shreds to be added back later.

Into the brew I tossed Texas-grown, Texas-sized collards and mustard greens, only 99¢ a bunch at Central Market and HEB, local turnips, cubed, one chopped local onion, a few organic garlic cloves, smashed and chopped, and some salt.  The pressure cooker required only 8 minutes to tenderize the mighty leaves and roots.  A pinch of turbinado sugar and two capfuls of organic apple cider vinegar later (Whole Foods brand in the quart bottle is usually the best buy), I returned the tasso meat to the mix and had myself a fine bowl of greens, peppered aplenty.

Save the fat, too.  Chopped and rendered, would-be-discards (yes, after boiling into broth) become rich crumbs that dissolve instantly in your mouth.  A fine, fatty garnish, especially for a starchy side like polenta, which creates a comforting landing for a mess o’ greens.  I buy Arrowhead Mills organic yellow corn grits and bake them up into a plushly yielding mound using Paula Wolfert’s oven method, a simple technique requiring minimal effort from the cook.

Wear your green while eatin’ your greens—for good luck—and no pinches!


Beany Rolls March 14, 2010

Filed under: beans,bread,bread machine,dessert,easy,thrift — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 6:23 pm

glazy days

Roll Out

Taking advantage of sales and utilizing leftover potato cooking water, I baked up a batch of sweet and puffy cinnamon rolls.  The surprise ingredient?  Eden Foods organic canned aduki beans.  Why not?  In Asia aduki beans (also called adzuki or azuki) frequently show up in sweets.  From Chinese moon cakes to Japanese ice cream and Thai shaved ice, aduki beans make life a little sweeter.  Or a lot sweeter, as in the case of these here buxom buns.

You’ll be happy to know that Eden Foods canned beans (on sale now at Whole Foods, four 15-ounce cans for $7) are at this time the only beans canned commercially in BPA-free cans.  With a great many varieties from which to choose, including harder to find legumes such as black-eyed peas, black soy beans and the adukis, you’ll be beanin’ with joy!

The aduki beans make this dough tender, moist and light.

BUXOM BEANY CINNAMON BUNS makes 12 large buns

  • 1½ cups potato cooking water.  Newflower Market’s selling organic russets at $2.50 for a 5-pound bag through March 17.  Get spudsy!
  • 2 Tablespoons organic or local butter.  Organic Valley is my favorite all purpose butter.  Click for a coupon.
  • 1 generous cup well-drained aduki beans.  I used Eden Foods brand.  You can use home-cooked.
  • 1½ teaspoons salt.  Use a scant measure if your potato water was salted.  Mine almost always is.
  • 2 teaspoons turbinado sugar.  I buy this in bulk at Central Market.  I bring my own container and have the staff tare the weight for me.
  • 500 grams unbleached bread flour.  I like King Arthur brand.  Whole Foods usually has the best price on the 5-pound bag.
  • 2 Tablespoons organic quick oats.  Buy this in your favorite bulk department.  I stock up during sales and store it in the freezer if I’m not working through it quickly.
  • 1 Tablespoon organic or local whole wheat flour.  I love Richardson Farms locally grown, freshly-ground flour.
  • 1½ teaspoons instant yeast (bread machine or rapid rise).  NOT active dry.
  • 4 Tablespoons softened butter.  Organic Valley Pasture butter is especially tasty here.  You’ll find it on sale at Whole Foods for $3.39 right now.  Lucky Layla (available at Central Market) and Way Back When (available at our farmers markets and from Greenling) are Texas options for high-butterfat, lightly salted beurre.
  • 206 (1 cup) grams organic light brown sugar.  Central Market’s brand is on sale now at $2.50 for a 1½ pound bag.
  • 2½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • pinch of salt if you’re using unsalted butter
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1½ ounces (3 Tablespoons) organic cream cheese, softened.  CM’s brand is usually the best buy.
  • 3 Tablespoons yogurt.  I make my own from local goat milk.  Click to read how.  I like Swede Farm Dairy and Wateroak Farm, both at the farmers market in Sunset Valley.
  • 174 grams organic powered sugar.  CM again, with a sale price of $2.50 for a 1½ pound bag.  I don’t bother to sift for this glaze.  I’m too rushed (distracted?  lazy?).
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

I use my bread machine’s dough cycle to mix up the dough and give it a first rise.  For my appliance I add the ingredients in the order listed.  Your machine’s instructions may vary.  You can mix the dough by hand or with a stand mixer, too.  Combine the dry ingredients with the yeast before mixing in the rest.  Knead until you have a smooth and bouncy dough.  Let rise for about 2 hours at coolish room temperature.

Meanwhile line a 9″ X 13″ baking pan with aluminum foil.  I turn the pan upside down and drape the foil to the outside of the pan before putting the foil on the inside.  Butter the foil very well.

With floured hands pat the dough into a rectangle on a floured surface.  I love non-stick silicone rolling mats for bread work.  Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to approximately 12″ X 16″.  Spread the surface of the dough with the softened butter to within ½ inch of the edges.  Combine the brown sugar and spices (including salt, if using) and spread all over the buttered surface, patting it in a bit.  Starting with a long edge, roll the dough up jelly-roll style into a tight log.  Using a sharp chef’s knife or bench knife, cut the dough log into 12 equal pieces, one at a time, placing them into the prepared pan as you cut.

Loosely cover the pan of buns with a piece of plastic wrap—I reuse plastic bags that I’ve washed in the (clothes) washing machine (yes, you can!), cutting them open for greater surface area.  Let the buns rise for about 1¼ hours, until puffy and well-risen.  Gently brush with the melted butter before baking in a preheated 350º oven for about 35 minutes.  The rolls should be browned and test done when a middle bun is poked in the dough with a bamboo skewer.

Using the foil as a sling,  lift the rolls out of the pan and place them on a cooling rack.  Let them rest for 5 minutes while you whisk together the glaze ingredients (cream cheese through the vanilla).  After 5 minutes, drizzle the glaze over the rolls, separating them first if desired.

Eat warm.


Dirty Rice is Nice

Filed under: rice,thrift — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 6:23 pm

For the kindergartner’s birthday party I busted out my free frozen turkey (work perk!) and had my ways with it.  Not a green bird, unfortunately, but a freebie, and I cannot resist crisp poultry skin.  I cut off the breasts and brined and roasted them for the celebration:  1 cup brown sugar, ½ cup kosher salt, several garlic cloves, smashed and peeled, 3 bay leaves, ½ cup or so of fresh ginger, chunked and smashed, a handful of fresh thyme sprigs and a spoonful of allspice berries, crushed, all brought to a boil in a few cups of water.  Add ½ cup maple syrup and ½ cup soy sauce plus ice and a quart or so of cold water.  Brine breasts in mixture in the refrigerator for a day and a half.  Pat the breasts dry and roast at 350º until done.  Chill well and slice very thinly.  Party!

purdy dirty

Working the rest of the bird, the legs quarters went into the slow cooker with a bag of frozen broth scraps.  For turkey tacos, we shredded the dark meat and stirred in some green salsa to fill Margarita’s corn tortillas nuked up with Full Quiver Farm‘s cheddar.  The wings got roasted, as did the back and torso, plus loose fat chunks.  Lots of crispy skin and swoonful eye rolling at that point.  Roasting pans were deglazed with leg broth.   Now the freezer holds savory promises of gravy and stir-frys.  And that bag of giblets?  Those offal parts found their calling in a pot of rice, like so many foods around this house.

DIRTY RICE serves several

  • 1 set of turkey giblets plus the neck
  • about 3 Tablespoons bacon grease.  Mine’s leftover from Dai Due‘s smoked Richardson Farms pork belly.
  • finely chopped organic or local celery, at least a cup.  I haven’t had local this season.  If you go to the HOPE market, check out Finca Pura Vida, my previous source.  Say “Hola” to Edgar for me!  Otherwise, Newflower Market’s selling organic celery for only 99¢ a bunch, through March 17.
  • chopped local onion, a cup or so.  Did I really just cook through a year in Central Texas with an uninterrupted local allium supply?  We have arrived!
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • scant ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 or 4 cloves domestic organic garlic, minced.  I just bought young garlic from Hairston Creek Farm and Montesino on Saturday.  Get local if you’ve got it!
  • 2 cups pepper broth, more if necessary.  In season this dish requires bell peppers.  I’m making do with my liquid capsicums right now.  Most any rich broth will work.
  • 2 bay leaves.  Fresh is best, so get growin’!
  • 1 teaspoon salt.  I like Real Salt.
  • generous handful fresh local parsley, widely available, from Central Market to the farmers markets to maybe your own backyard.
  • several local green onions, chopped.  Plenty to choose from at our farmers markets.
  • lots of fresh cracked black pepper

Trim the giblets (remove any excess fat and cut the tough membrane off the gizzard) and cut the neck into 2 to 4 pieces to fit in your pan.  Grind the gizzard and heart in your food processor.  Remove and set aside and then puree the liver.  Heat up the grease on medium-high in a large (3-quart size is good) saucepan.  Brown the neck pieces well and then add the gizzard and heart mixture.  Stir and brown then add the liver and brown some more.  Add the celery and onion and saute until translucent, stirring in the dried herbs as well.  Stir in the garlic until fragrant, then pour in the broth.  Add the bay leaves and salt and bring the mixture to a boil.  Cover the pan, lower the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, until the neck meat is tender.

Meanwhile, cook up your rice .  See Jasmine Rice.

Remove the cooked neck pieces from the pan and let them cool a bit on a plate.  If your meat mess is too soupy, boil it down some, uncovered, over high heat to evaporate the excess broth.  Pick the meat from the neck and add it back to the pot.  Taste for salt, stir in the parsley and green onions and black pepper.  Fold in the hot rice.



Spring’s Here! March 13, 2010

Filed under: locavore,sunset valley farmers market,vegetables — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 11:29 am

spring spears

Bluebonnets and asparagus—springtime in Central Texas!  Just spied our first of the season bluebonnet blooms on our dog-walk-in-the-woods last night.  And just bought spring’s freshest asparagus spears at the Sunset Valley Farmers Market (Montesino and Mckemie Homegrown booths) this morning.  Plus we rescued a baby squirrel yesterday.

Tonight the clocks jump ahead.

Spring is here.

too small for stewin'


Pizza Time March 12, 2010

Filed under: pizza — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 6:14 pm

miso pizzas

feta mushroom pizza

One of the survival mechanisms parents pick up is the skill of time travel.  Referred to as “tardiness” by the not-yet-parents crowd, this ability allows me to change “Pizza Thursday”  to “Pizza Friday” when necessary.  In fact, there isn’t a today that I can’t change into tomorrow.  And it never takes me more than 24 hours.

This week’s pies utilized my sourdough starter, if just to keep it fed and alive.  Because the weights of the flour and water in the starter are equal, it was easy to replace a portion of each with the sourdough in my crust recipe.  I used enough of the starter to make up about 1/3 of the total weight of the flour—300 grams (half that is water).

From here on out the process proceeded like any other pizza day, the kindergartner helping pat out the crusts.  I sauced thusly:

  • 2 cloves domestic organic garlic, pressed or minced
  • spoonful of water
  • 1 Tablespoon organic or local olive oil—Central Market’s brand is on special for $6.29, through March 16
  • 1 28-ounce can organic crushed tomatoes.  I used Muir Glen fire-roasted, hoarded during recent sales.  CM and Whole Foods brands sell for a reasonable price.
  • small spring of fresh thyme and bigger sprig of fresh oregano from the backyard.  If you’ve recently bought a basil starter plant from one of our local sources (Central Market and our farmers markets have started selling starters), you can even sauce up your saucin’s with the tomato’s best buddy.

Combine the garlic and water.  In a wide-rimmed saucepan, heat up the olive oil on medium heat. I use my All-Clad 3-quart saucier.  You can use a large skillet, too.  The broader surface area promotes quicker thickening. Stir in the garlic mixture and saute until the water evaporates and the garlic smells fragrant.  Dump in the tomatoes and herbs (except basil) and simmer over medium-low to low heat (thwap! thwap!) until thickened, about 10 minutes.  Don’t overcook or your sauce will lose its fresh flavor.  Salt to taste and let cool before saucing your pizzas.

I can’t hardly bake a pizza without miso-ing it up.  So I spread one pie with South River‘s organic white miso and dabbed another with SR’s meaty three-year barley miso (Add a healthy dose of the barley miso to your hummus for a vegan version of liverwurst.  Maybe that’s not the most enticing endorsement but it sure savories up animal-free fare.)  The final pizza trekked a little truer to its Mediterranean heritage, covered with sauteed Texas-grown cremini mushrooms (on sale at CM for $3.99 a pound), Pure Luck goat feta, chopped olives and olive oil-doused Texas spring onion slices.

Happy Pizza Day, whenever you are!