Savor The Earth

eat tastier, eat greener, eat cheaper

Pao de Queijo July 10, 2011

Filed under: bread — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 4:41 pm

Great Balls o' Cheese!

    Pao de Queijo
    makes about 21 or 22 little balls

    1/4 cup ghee
    1/4 cup water
    3/4 tsp. salt–I like Real Salt
    1/4 tsp. turmeric (optional)
    1 cup tapioca flour, lightly spooned
    1 local egg
    1/3 cup yogurt
    1/2 cup grated pecorino romano
    1/2 cup shredded mozzarella–I love Full Quiver Farms, available at Barton Creek Farmers Market and Central Market.

    Preheat oven to 450°.
    Combine first four ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Place flour in a bowl and pour in the boiled mixture. Stir briskly until mixed. Beat in the egg. Blend in the yogurt and then the cheeses. The batter may look a bit lumpy.
    Using a spring-loaded scoop or a measuring cup with a spout, fill a mini-muffin tin. I find that a nonstick pan encourages better browning and produces more attractively domed tops than a shiny aluminum pan, and requires no greasing. You’ll have enough batter for about 21 or 22 cavities, filled mostly full. Poor a little water into the empty cups to help ensure even baking.
    Place tin(s) in the oven and turn the heat down to 350°. Bake the balls for about 14 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottoms and gooey (but not liquid) on the insides.
    Eat ’em hot!

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Easy Cheesy Bread September 12, 2010

Filed under: bread,cheese,easy — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 1:36 pm

still loafin' around

A while back I scoured the clearance rack at the Oltorf HEB and scored a number of gems.  Besides crazy clearance prices on herbal supplements, the store was discontinuing a few Middle Eastern food items like Israeli couscous and fine semolina.  I couldn’t pass up a couple a cheap, cheap bags of semolina.  I threw them into the freezer to await whatever project might call for a cup or so.

Last week at the Austin Farmers Market I bought a pair of cheeses from Brazos Valley Cheese, a young tangy parmesan and a pleasantly pliant Montasio.  Here’s an easy quick bread to showcase those quesos and press your semolina into action.


ROSEMARY MONTASIO OLIVE BREADS: makes 4 small loaves

  • 8 ½ ounces (2 cups) organic all-purpose flour
  • 5 ounces (1 cup) fine semolina
  • ¼ cup grated Parmigian0-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder, sieved.  I use Rumford non-GMO, aluminum free.
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda, sieved
  • 1 teaspoon salt.  I like Real Salt.
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon paprika or cayenne
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste, ¼ teaspoon or more
  • ½ cup organic or local olive oil.  Check out Texas Olive Ranch.
  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh rosemary.  You too can grow this hardy herb.
  • 1/3 cup minced garlic chives or regular chives.  Only my garlic chives survived this summer of neglect!
  • 1 ½ cups yogurt, local, organic or homemmade.  I make my own yogurt from either Swede Farm Dairy or WaterOak Farms goat milk.  Click for instructions.
  • 2 local eggs.  Austin’s own Vital Farms was just awarded Certified Humane® status from the Humane Farm Animal Care organization.  Local eggs abound in our town.  Check the farmers markets or ask your neighbor.
  • 1 cup olives, drained, pitted and chopped.  I like a mix of black and green.
  • 4 ounces Brazos Valley Montasio cheese, cut into ½” chunks
  • ½ cup finely shredded Brazos Valley parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease up 4 mini-loaf pans (about 3½” X 6″.  I use my fancy Nordic Ware Bundt® design four-cavity pan.) Olive oil or melted butter (check out Natural Grocers sale on Organic Valley 1# butter for $4.49 through September 25) both work.  You can also use one 9″ X 5″ loaf pan.  The larger size takes a little longer to bake and a lot longer to cool off so I prefer the smaller loaves, so we can eat the bread right away!

Combine the dry ingredients, flour through the pepper, in a large bowl, whisking to mix.  Add the cheese chunks and toss with a fork to distribute.  Pour the olive oil into a smaller bowl and stir in the herbs.  Add the remaining ingredients, through the olives, whisking well to blend.

Sprinkle the bottoms of each pan with the shredded parmesan.  For non-fancy pans, save the parmesan for sprinkling onto the tops of the unbaked loaves.  Pour the yogurt mixture onto the dry ingredients and stir gently with a flexible spatula to combine well.  Scoop the batter evenly into each pan.  Top now with the parmesan if your pans are flat-bottomed.

Bake until a bamboo skewer inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean, about 30 minutes for mini-loaves, 55 to 60 minutes for one large loaf.

Let cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes before carefully (cheese likes to stick) unmolding the breads onto a rack to finish cooling.  Please let the larger loaf cool almost completely (what torment!) to set the structure before eating.  You can enjoy the smaller loaves now!

 

Quickaccia—The Bread of Redemption July 5, 2010

Filed under: bread,easy,locavore,Texas produce,vegetables,vegetarian — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 8:13 pm

Everybody makes mistakes.  We learn this the hard way, as we commit our own follies, and we may suffer this lesson the even harder way when someone else blunders.  But wise new-agers and seasoned old-timers alike assure us that life isn’t what happens to us, it’s what we do with it.  So we not only learn from our bungling and our disappointments, but we grow and improve, when we open up to take advantage of new insights and explore new paths.  Often life’s missteps serve to remind us what is important, what we need and what we love.

slice o' life

That’s enough preambling for one post.  What’s this lapsed loaf about?  Recently I prepared a round of my Irish Style Brown Bread and noticed as I mixed the batter-y dough that it didn’t seem quite right.  Even as I poured (rather than plopped) the mixture into the pan, I knew I had erred.  But I forged ahead, placing the loose mass into the oven, hoping something edible would emerge.  I rechecked my recipe and realized I had left out the whole wheat pastry flour.  Weighing in at more than one-third of the flour called for, surely this omission spelled mealtime failure!  To my surprise and my family’s delight, the bread was delicious, if slightly imperfect, and then of course the light bulb lit up—a quick focaccia!

Little local cherry tomatoes, abundant and sweet, top this easy round with pop and zing.  This season we’ve been enjoying Sungolds from Hairston Creek Farm, Finca Pura Vida and Flint Rock Hill at the SFC farmers market at Sunset Valley.  Local red onions, local cheese and backyard herbs flavor your flatbread in a flash.

So turn that trip-up around and get back on track with this easy round of manna.

life in the round

QUICKACCIA makes one 9″ loaf

  • 182 grams (1½ cups) organic all-purpose flour.  Whole Foods 365 brand in the 5-pound bag is usually the best value.
  • 3 5/8 (1 cup minus 1½ Tablespoons) ounces Richardson Farms whole wheat flour (available at their Barton Creek farmers market location) or organic whole wheat flour.
  • 1½ teaspoons cream of tartar, sieved
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda, sieved
  • 1 teaspoon salt.  I use Real Salt.
  • 1½ Tablespoons organic sugar.  Buy this in bulk or look for Central Market’s brand in the 2-pound bag.
  • 2 Tablespoons organic butter, softened.  Organic Valley is my favorite all-purpose butter.  If you didn’t stock up when Natural Grocers offered their near-clearance-priced sale, click for a coupon.
  • 1½ cups organic or local buttermilk or yogurt.  I make my own yogurt from local goat milk.  Click to see howSwede Farm Dairy is back from babymaking (SFC market at Sunset Valley).  Wateroak Farms is taking a market break but will still be available at Wheatsville Co-op and Whole Foods.
  • shredded local or organic cheese of your choice.  For local queso check out Full Quiver Farms at the Barton Creek Farmers Market or  Brazos Valley Cheese Co. at the Austin and Sunset Valley Farmers Markets.
  • local cherry tomatoes, halved if round and halved or quartered if oblong.
  • local red onion, sliced thin.  We’ve been buying these up from Jackie at Flint Rock Hill (Sunset Valley) for $1.25 a pound.  She’s got potatoes—red or brown—for the same price, too.
  • fresh backyard herbs, chopped.  Oregano pairs perfectly.  Sage and rosemary remind us of fall and work well also.
  • coarse salt, preferably flaky—we love Murray River Pink.  Check out the bulk salts at either Central Market or Whole Foods and find your favorite!
  • local or organic olive oil.  Check out Texas Olive Ranch for the Lone Star State lube.  I like Central Market’s value-priced organic brand for cooking.

Preheat the oven to 400°.  If you bake your loaf in a handleless pan, you can use the toaster oven.  A heavy 9″ round pan works best and cast iron is ideal.  Lube the pan with the olive oil and sprinkle the bottom with wheat bran or cornmeal.  I sift the bran out of Richardson Farms flour for certain recipes and have amassed a stash in the freezer.

Whisk together the dry ingredients (flours through the sugar) or just dump them into the food processor and let ‘er rip.  Add the butter and process to blend or rub the fat in with your fingertips.  Pour the flour mixture back into a bowl and add the buttermilk or yogurt.  Stir quickly with a fork to evenly moisten the dough, then use a flexible dough scraper to fold the dough over itself just a few times to bring it all together and develop a bit of structure.  Using the scraper, place the dough mound in the pan.  Spread and flatten the dough with a small offset spatula, or use the back of a spoon.

Toss the onions and herbs with some olive oil.  Top the dough with cheese, tomatoes and the onion mixture.  Sprinkle with the coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper, plus red pepper flakes if the kids are out on a sleepover (lucky you!).  Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 35 minutes, until well browned.

Loosen the sides of the quickaccia with a metal spatula or butter knife before turning the bread out of the pan.  Re-invert onto a cooling rack and let cool a few minutes so y’all don’t go scalding your tongues!

Enjoy this bread, the fruit of my flub.  Be happy and carry on!


 

Pigs in Pillows—Corny! June 9, 2010

Filed under: bread,easy,fast,locavore,meat,sunset valley farmers market — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 10:23 am

grab a dog!

Crawling back to my blog.  Do you call that clogging?

This past Saturday we were wooed and wowed by Homestead Farms hot dogs at the SFC farmers market at Sunset Valley.  I hadn’t even planned on buying meat that trip but Austin Frugal Foodie can’t resist a frankfurter!  Homestead Farms raises grassfed cattle in the Waco area and fashions the meat into a selection of charcuterie including cold cuts, which I’d previously purchased at the Austin Farmers Market downtown.  The folks running the sales booth are sweet sellers hawking sustainable and tasty Texas beef.  A warm sample of wiener was all it took to sway me and I immediately began brainstorming both haute-doggery and plebian preparations.

Homestead Farms hot dogs, while not as smooth and homogeneous as mass-market franks, deliver that familiar flavor, so yummy with yellow mustard—I like Central Market organic.  Or lots of ketchup—that’s how the kindergartner digs ’em.

Here’s an easy and totally fun recipe to enjoy with children young and old.  Portable, the finished franks can conveniently tag along to the park when it stops raining.

PORKYPONES makes about 19 -21 pig pockets (beef bullets?)

  • 2 ounces (1/2 stick) organic butter, melted and browned a bit.  I love Organic ValleyClick for a coupon.
  • 3 Tablespoons turbinado sugar.  I buy this in bulk.  Remember to bring your own container and have the staff tare the weight for you.
  • 1 cup local milk.  Check out  Swede Farm Dairy and Wateroak Farms goat milk.
  • 2 local eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt.  I like Real Salt.
  • 121 grams (1 cup) organic all-purpose flour.  Whole Foods 365 brand in the 5# bag is usually the best buy.
  • 4 1/8 ounces (3/4 cup) organic cornmeal. I generally choose Arrowhead Mills.
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, sieved (I use Rumford, aluminum-free and non-GMO)
  • 3 Homestead Farms hot dogs, or other local frankfurters (or choose organic), cut in half crosswise and each half quartered into 4 strips

Grease up three cornstick pans with the lube of your choice.  Organic neutral oils, melted butter and pork fat will all work.  Preheat the oven to 425°.  I use the hot oven to melt and brown the butter.  Just put it in an ovenproof saucepan and stick it in there.  Remember to grab a potholder before reaching for the pan! Let the butter cool a bit on a cooling rack.

Whisk together the sugar, milk, eggs and salt.  Whisk together your dry ingredients in a separate bowl.  Pour the dry ingredients on top of the wet ingredients and barely combine them using a flexible spatula if you have one.  You only want to unite these elements about halfway.  Pour your butter over the mess and continue to combine the ingredients just until a few very discernible streaks of flour and butter remain.  Don’t overstir.

Using a large spoon, fill each cornstick cavity with batter.  Place one hot dog strip into each section, skin-side down.  Press the wiener into the batter a bit to tuck it in.

Bake for about 12 minutes, until the batter is cooked through and lightly browned.  Remove pans from the oven and carefully unmold each porkypone, placing them on a cooling rack.

Serve with your favorite dog dressin’s!  Porkypones taste great at room temperature, too.

 

Do the Math. Hit it! Houston May 27, 2010

butter up!

It’s simple arithmetic.  Not Going To The Y plus Not Writing equals More Time For Cleaning.  When a second batch of yogurt turned out curdly and separated, I knew the yogurt maker needed a scrub, so I gave in and hit the housework.  I just can’t do it all, unfortunately, and with our recent road trip to H-town rounding out a whirlwind spring season, the house (and my figure) reveal embarrassing signs of neglect.

The next time you find yourself in Baghdad of the Bayou (I just had to throw that one in ), check out chef Monica Pope’s T’afia restaurant for Czech-inflected Clutch City cuisine, locally flavored with the bounty of the Third Coast.  Joined by another mom and gradeschooler, we enjoyed kind service, tasty food (loved the chorizo-stuffed, bacon-wrapped dates!) and a noisy atmosphere impervious to energetic kids.  On a rare night of imbibing, Austin Frugal Foodie gratefully knocked back a flight of five Texas wines to accompany the five-course local tasting menu.  Our party partook of silky Swiss chard, heavenly cream-drizzled grits, fat shrimp, great bowtie mac-n-cheese, balsamic caramel beef(!) and more.  On Saturday mornings, T’afia hosts a farmers market that sounds incredible.  We might pencil that in for our next trip to Space City.  By the way, Motel 6 on the Katy Freeway furnishes THE most comfortable mattress I’ve ever slept on!  (I like ’em firm.)

If you’re hauling your kids to the Energy Capital of the World, be sure to visit the amazing Children’s Museum of Houston.  Our frugal friend, Austinfrugalmom, recently purchased a Premier Membership from the Austin Children’s Museum, and the reciprocity program allowed free entry into the Houston location for all of us.  Great savings for itinerant summer-breakers!  Check it out before you hit the road with young ‘uns.

Back to that “yogurt”.  I can’t bear to throw away honest local goat milk (from Wateroak Farms), even if I did screw up the preparation.  Well-whisked, the fine-lumped fluid still works as a buttermilk substitute for most recipes.  Like this here easy, easy quick bread fortified with Richardson Farms freshly ground whole wheat flour.  Crunchety-crusted and sweetened just enough to highlight the fresh wheat, this craggy loaf craves the caress of rich and lightly salted Organic Valley Pasture butter.  Accompany this bread with Dai Due‘s meaty hot boudin and you’ve got lunch—don’t forget the Texas peaches for dessert!

IRISH-STYLE BROWN BREAD makes one 8″ or 9″ round loaf

  • 182 grams (1½ cups) organic all-purpose flour.  Whole Foods 365 brand in the 5-pound bag is usually the best value.
  • 3 3/8 ounces (1 cup) organic whole wheat pastry flour.  Look for this in bulk departments or try Arrowhead Mills or Bob’s Red Mill.
  • 6 ounces (1½ cups) Richardson Farms whole wheat flour (available at their Barton Creek farmers market location) or organic whole wheat flour.
  • 1½ teaspoons cream of tartar, sieved
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda, sieved
  • 1½ teaspoons salt.  I use Real Salt.
  • 3 Tablespoons organic sugar.  Buy this in bulk or look for Central Market’s brand in the 2-pound bag.
  • 2 Tablespoons organic butter, softened, plus 1 Tablespoon melted.  Organic Valley is my favorite all-purpose butter.  If you didn’t stock up when Natural Grocers offered their near-clearance-priced sale, click for a coupon.
  • 1½ cups organic or local buttermilk or yogurt.  I make my own yogurt from local goat milk and I usually do a better a job than the last two batches.  Click to see howSwede Farm Dairy is back from babymaking (SFC market at Sunset Valley).  Wateroak is taking a market break but will still be available at Wheatsville Co-op and Whole Foods.

Preheat the oven to 400°.  If you bake your loaf in a handleless pan, you can use the toaster oven.  A heavy 8″ or 9″ round pan works best and cast iron is ideal.  Lube the pan how you please and sprinkle the bottom with wheat bran or cornmeal.

Whisk together the dry ingredients (flours through the sugar) or just dump them into the food processor and let ‘er rip.  Add the butter and process to blend or rub the fat in with your fingertips.  I recommend the machine if small children are about.  They have a way of knowing just when to soil the carpet or bust their lip and you might not want to get caught butterfingered at that moment.

Pour the flour mixture back into your bowl and add the buttermilk or yogurt.  Stir quickly with a fork to evenly moisten the dough, then use a flexible dough scraper to fold the dough over itself just a few times to bring it all together and develop a bit of structure.  Using the scraper, place the dough mound in the pan.  Slash a large “X” in the top of the loaf with a sharp knife before placing the pan in the oven.

Bake for about 40 minutes, until browned and the center of the loaf tests done when probed with a long bamboo skewer.

Carefully remove the loaf from the pan, brush it with the melted butter and let it cool for at least 30 minutes.  Serve warm or let cool completely.  This loaf tastes best the day of baking.  Chunk, crumble or slice leftovers to freeze for stuffing, bread crumbs or toast.

Welcome home!

 

Wing-it Bicuits May 4, 2010

Filed under: biscuits,bread,breakfast,easy,fast,locavore,vegetarian — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 1:34 pm

Why yes, I would like some biscuit with my butter!

OK, so I was VERY hungry and late on my lunch this afternoon, having flowered and delivered a cake for the Teachers Appreciation lunch at my kindergartner’s school.  (My carrot cake really “rose” to the occasion—see photos.)  But biscuits never fail me—butter and starch, spread with more butter and maybe even some honey?  Bring it on, honey!

Richardson Farms locally grown whole wheat flour (available at their Barton Creek location) shines its fresh and sweetly wheaty glow onto every recipe it touches.  These super easy, quick as a flash, homey drop-style biscuits are no exception.  With a light and fluffy texture (not at all heavy, despite their whole grain content), these fast little breads fill you up like royalty when spread with great butter and local honey or your favorite fruit preserves.  Let ’em cool down and you can even shortcake ’em!  Plenty of local strawberries teasing at our farmers markets lately.  And dewberries!  We’ve been keeping an eye on our patch in the woods and so far have collected two—berries that is.  But our pint from Naegelin Farms (SFC market at Sunset Valley) this past Saturday helped put the color in our kids faces, literally!

WING-IT BISCUITS makes 8 biscuits

  • 140 grams organic all-purpose flour
  • 100 grams organic or local (Richardson Farms) whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder, sieved.  I prefer Rumford, aluminum-free and non-GMO.
  • ½ Tablespoon organic sugar.  Widely available in bulk departments around town.
  • generous ½ teaspoon baking soda, sieved.
  • scant teaspoon salt.  I use Real Salt.
  • 1 cup yogurt.  I make my own from local goat milk.  Check out how.  The folks at Swede Farm Dairy just had a baby and Wateroak Farms will be taking a two-month break.  I’ll let you know how our options are faring.
  • 1 stick organic butter, cut into bits and well-chilled.  Organic Valley is my favorite.  Natural Grocers has OV butter on special for only $3.99 a pound through May 15.  Closer to my hood, Sprouts counters with a price of $4.49, through May 5.

Preheat your toaster oven to 425°.  You can use your full-size oven, of course, but it’s May and warm here already.  I use the toaster oven whenever I can in hot weather as it heats up the kitchen less.  Plus it uses less energy than the big oven.  Have a 9″ round cake pan handy and get out your ¼-cup scoop.

Combine the dry ingredients (flours through the salt) in the bowl of a food processorRun the machine to thoroughly mix them.  Add the butter and process for a few seconds to cut it in.  Turn the flour mixture out into a bowl and pour on the yogurt.  Stir together quickly to moisten all the flour.

Using your scoop, preferably spring-loaded, scoop out 8 rounds and place them in a 9″ pan.  You’ll have seven mounds around the perimeter and one scoop in the middle.  Bake at 425° for about 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 400° and bake for 5 to 10 minutes more, until biscuits are browned and cooked through.

Place pan on a cooling rack for a few minutes before carefully loosening biscuits from pan.

Fill your belly!

 

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’.

Bzzzzzzzzzzzz!