Savor The Earth

eat tastier, eat greener, eat cheaper

Beans and Rice, Always Nice April 23, 2010

Filed under: beans,capital area food bank,easy,hunger awareness project,rice,thrift — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 4:45 pm

beans and rice, dependable staples at our house

We’ve been eating our pinto beans and rice for a few days now.  Actually, we eat some kind of beans and rice almost every day.  Click “beans” on my categories for more posts on leguminous variations.  This current batch of beans, very basic, contains a couple of chopped onions (nutritious and generally inexpensive), some garlic, a homegrown bay leaf, toasted backyard Mexican oregano and a bit of paprika.  I used the slow cooker and added a dab of bacon grease to the pot—never throw away tasty fat!

For the kindergartner’s lunch I make quick tacos:  I heat up a flour tortilla in the toaster oven with a little cheese (the glue!) and fill it with the beans and rice.  It’s portable and requires no utensils, perfect for a young bean lover.

Beans—good and good for you!

 

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.


 

Canned Recovery March 9, 2010

Filed under: beans,easy,fast,rice,vegetarian — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 3:07 pm

Ya mon!

Post-kindergartner’s birthday party, the cook needed a break.  Cans to the rescue!  This easy and nutritious Jamaican inspired one-pot dish, adapted from a recipe served by friend and coworker Suzanna (of SouthAustinFoodie Adventures) several years ago, hits the spot without breaking the bank or my back.

Right now—and tomorrow, too—Whole Foods is selling Lowell Farms Texas-grown organic jasmine rice for only 99¢ a pound.  That’s even cheaper than ordering from the farm!  Stock up on this truly gourmet Texas staple and be prepared to sophisticate your starch.  Or just lowbrow your lunch.  Delicious across the spectrum, and even recommended by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid of Seductions of Rice, this righteous rice hits the spot quick!

JAMAICAN STYLE RICE AND BEANS serves several

  • 1½ cups Lowell Farms Texas-grown organic jasmine rice
  • 1 15-ounce can organic kidney beans, drained.  Reserve liquid for cooking your next batch of homemade beans or soup.  Whole Foods and Central Market brands generally sell for less than national brands.
  • 1 13-14-ounce can organic coconut milk, light or regular.  Whole Foods brand usually sells for the best price.
  • 1 cup water or broth.   Pepper broth pairs perfectly here.  Carrot cooking water (never throw it away!) lends complementary sweetness.
  • a Tablespoon or so of fat—I like using leftover pig grease, such as from Dai Due‘s yummy salt pork.
  • ½ Tablespoon or so minced fresh domestic organic ginger root.  You may already know that I almost never peel ginger.  It’s your call though.
  • stalk of Texas-grown spring onions (leftover from using the bulb portion for another purpose), quartered, core reserved for the stock pot, and thinly sliced.  If the farmers markets have eluded you recently, Central Market’s selling these for $1.69 for a triple-bunch.
  • 2 bay leaves—fresh if you’re growin’.  This bush is easy enough that you oughta cultivate it yourself.  You’ll love the deep aroma of fresh bay leaves.
  • hot chile, if you got one—habanero or Scotch bonnet work well for this, but serranos are fine, too.  Seed (if desired) and mince your pepper.
  • 5 sprigs of fresh thyme.  Easy to grow, just ensure adequate drainage.  If you’re fresh out of fresh thyme, ½ teaspoon dried thyme will suffice.
  • 1 teapoon salt.  I like Real Salt.
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice.  I crush mine in a small mortar and pestle.

In a large (’bout 3-quart) saucepan, heat up your grease over medium-high.  Saute the ginger root, bay leaves, onions and peppers if using.  Add the thyme and rice and stir around.  Pour in the coconut milk and broth and stir in the salt and allspice.  Bring to a boil and stir in the beans.  Cover and simmer on LOW for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes before fluffing.

Serve with hot sauce or hot pepper jelly for a tangy or sweet hot kick.

 

Fast, Cheap and Out of the Pantry February 17, 2010

Filed under: beans,vegetables,vegetarian — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 4:58 pm

western spaghetti

brittley at attention

There’s a reason why kale chips are trendy:  addictive taste!  Lumpy-leafed lacinato kale, purchased from Johnson’s Backyard Garden at the Sunset Valley Farmers Market, positively supplicated for the treatment.  Carefully rinsed and dried, soothingly smoothed with olive oil, lightly sprinkled with kosher salt and heedfully arranged in a single layer on baking sheets, the softly crinkled slips yielded to gentle roasting at low heat (275º), vacuoles dessicated to a crisp after about 20 minutes.

Frilly flatterings for what is actually a fun food!  Wispily crackling and boasting deep green flavor, the nori-esque (Hmm.  That gives me an idea!) kale chips provided a contrapuntal alternative to salad for a recent code red pantry dinner.

Which was

SPAGHETTI WITH QUICK PASTA SAUCE AND BEANS serves 4

  • ¾ pound organic dried spaghetti.  I find Central Market’s brand to be a consistently good value.
  • 2 cloves organic domestic garlic
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 2 Tablespoons  plus 1 Tablespoon organic olive oil.  I mostly use CM’s organic olive oil for cooking.
  • pinch or so crushed red pepper, optional
  • 1 to 3 anchovies, mashed
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 28-ounce can organic diced tomatoes.  If you didn’t stock up on Muir Glen during recent sales, Whole Foods 365 brand and CM’s brand sell for reasonable prices.
  • ½ teaspoon salt.  I use Real Salt.
  • ½ bay leaf. You can find bay leaf plants at our local nurseries and farmers markets.  This bush is easy.  Get growin’!
  • ¼ teaspoon turbinado sugar.  I buy this in bulk at CM.  Remember to bring your own container and have the staff tare the weight.
  • 25-ounce can of organic beans, well drained.  I used kidney beans this time around.  Cannellini and great northerns also work well.  By the way, I don’t bother to rinse canned beans before cooking further and neither does Jacques Pépin.
  • generous teaspoon dried basil

Get a pot of salted water going for the pasta.  Some folks agonize and debate over when to add the salt.  I put the salt in right away and then I don’t have to remember it later.

Combine the garlic and 2 teaspoons water.  Heat up the 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a 3 -quart saucepan over medium heat.  Add the red pepper flakes and garlic and stir until fragrant.  Add the anchovies and smash around for a few seconds.  Stir in the oregano and then dump in the tomatoes.  Add the salt and bay leaf and simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes, until thickened some.

Remove the bay leaf.  Using an immersion blender, blend the sauce into a coarse puree.  Add the sugar and beans and simmer a little while the pasta finishes up.  (Oh yeah.  When the pasta water comes to a boil, go ahead and add the spaghetti.  Let the pasta cook while you work on the sauce.  You probably know how to cook your noodles already.)

Finish the sauce with the basil and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.  I like to embellish with my better oil—the still reasonably priced organic Villa Blanca from Spain.  I buy it at Central Market for $9.49 for a 17-ounce bottle.  Correct the salt if necessary.  Mix together your (cooked and drained) spaghetti and sauce, adding a little pasta cooking water if you wish to thin the sauce some.

Serve hot with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and freshly cracked black pepper.


 

Dai Due Salt Pork Hams Up Your Baked Beans February 12, 2010

Filed under: beans,easy,slow cooker — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 11:27 am

beany

Our half-pound hunk of Dai Due‘s savory salt pork, hacked into slim slabs and rendered crisp, didn’t even reach the bean pot.  We munched every last baconey strip.  Herbal and meaty, sumptuously marbled, Richardson Farms pork belly is spun into gastronomical gold by alchemist Chef Jesse Griffiths.  As the crunchy distillation yielded about ½ cup of luscious pig fat, the crème de la gras, plenty of bean-enhancing magic remained.  Sign up for the Dai Due weekly e-newsletter so you can pre-order locally sourced creations from their imaginatively compiled offerings.  Then pick up your goods at the Saturday Austin Farmers Market, or try your luck and just show up at their booth to see what’s still available.  Impeccably seasoned, with no MSG or nitrates added, and sustainably produced, these meats will righteously fortify your cooking.

AUSTIN BAKED BEANS makes a potful

  • 1 package (½-pound) Dai Due salt pork,  cut up as you please.
  • 1 pound organic navy beans or great northern beans, soaked 8 hours (or overnight) and drained. You can do this a couple days ahead and store the beans, well sealed, in the refrigerator.  I buy these bean varieties in bulk at Whole Foods.  Remember to bring your own container and get the weight tared at the front desk.
  • 2 medium local or organic onions, chopped.  Hillside Farms at the Sunset Valley Farmers Market is still selling red and yellow onions.
  • 2 bay leaves.  Try growing this easy bush.
  • small pinch dried thyme
  • ¾ cup organic tomato puree or sauce.  If you didn’t stock up on Muir Glen during recent sales, check Whole Foods and Central Market’s store brands for a good value.  In this last batch of beans I used the leftover puree from draining canned chopped tomatoes for pizza.  Some folks use ketchup.  People that put tomato products into their baked beans are not from Boston.  It’s up to you!
  • ½ cup organic maple syrup, cane syrup (such as Steen’s or Fain’s) or sorghum (Fain’s)
  • 1/3 cup turbinado sugar or organic brown sugar. Central Market’s own brand is usually the best buy.
  • 1 Tablespoon organic coarse grain mustard.  Ditto on the CM brand.
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon paprika, smoked is quite complementary,
  • ½ teaspoon quatre épices, optional
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons salt.  I use Real Salt.
  • 3 cups very hot water
  • 2 teaspoons organic apple cider vinegar.  Whole Foods 365 brand sells for less.

Render the salt pork.  Start the pieces out in a cold pan and fry over medium heat to cook them evenly .  Drain, saving the fat, and return several tablespoons of grease back to the pan to saute your onions.  Cook your onions until translucent, adding the bay leaves and thyme about halfway through.

Dump the onions, drained beans and the remaining ingredients into a Dutch oven (’bout 6- or 7-quart size) or your slow cooker crock.  You can add the cooked salt pork, too.  We devoured ours, though!  Either place your Dutch oven into a preheated 300º oven and bake, covered, for about 4 hours (stirring halfway through) or set your slow cooker on LOW and cook for 4 to 6 hours.  Either way, check for adequate liquid and add more (very hot) water if necessary to avoid scorching your frijoles.

When the beans have cooked and tenderized sufficiently, stir in the vinegar.  If the sauce needs further thickening, remove the cover (for either cooking method) and continue to cook until as thick as you like.

Taste for salt, sweetness and tang and adjust as required to please your palate.  We like to serve our baked beans with plenty of fresh cracked black pepper.

Enjoy Sunday’s marathon!

 

Dai Due Salt Pork February 3, 2010

Filed under: beans,Dai Due,easy,vegetables — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 4:53 pm

steamy beans

Dai Due‘s gettin’ into my pot again.  My bean pot, that is.  This time around their aromatic and prosciutto-esquely funky salt pork—superiorly-seasoned Richardson Farms pork belly—lopped into lardons and rendered crisp, meats its match in a crock of organic black-eyed peas and garbanzos, spattered with half an emergency can of organic black beans.  Local carrots and radishes chunked up the mix while backyard savory, sage, thyme and bay lent herbal essence.  Allium alums Texas onions and organic garlic soffritto’d the misto.  A stash of local cauliflower leaves—you wouldn’t throw those away, would ya?—melted into the meld.  And there you have it.  Ladled over Lowell Farms organic jasmine rice (surprise!) OR boiled and browned  (reserve that fat) organic russet potatoes (on sale now at Newflower Market at $2.50 for a 5-pound bag), oink if you dig pig!

 

Dai Due–Toss-o in the Tasso January 19, 2010

Filed under: Austin Farmers Market,beans,Dai Due,easy,slow cooker,tasso — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 1:04 pm

tasso on top

Once again my favorite local charcuterie source seasons my beans.  Dried legumes, even organic, are a bargain as well as nutritional gold.  So you can afford delicious, sustainable and good for you meat when you stretch its flavor with versatile beans.  A half pound of Dai Due‘s seriously smoky tasso (hewn from local pork and crafted without nitrates) can fortify a good two pounds of dried black-eyed peas (or the pulse of your choice) or fancy up your feijoada for posher prandials.  My last batch of hoppin’ john included a pound of organic black-eyed peas (from Whole Foods bulk department.  I bring my own bag.), Texas leeks, local carrot tops (always cut off the tops before storing your carrots, but don’t throw them away!), domestic organic garlic, a home grown bay leaf and that fragrantly meaty, smoky tasso, seared for Maillard’s sake, all crocked up in the slow cooker on HIGH for a few hours.  I added a splash of organic apple cider vinegar (WF 365 brand is usually the best buy) towards the end.  Remember to salt at the beginning of the process, to fully salinate the beans and facilitate even cooking.

Serve over cooked Lowell Farms Texas grown organic jasmine rice with lots of freshly cracked black pepper and pickled hot peppers or hot sauce, if you please.  Cornbread plays friendly here, too.