Savor The Earth

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Happy Waffle Day! Texas Sweet Potato Waffles November 22, 2009

Filed under: breakfast,easy,vegetarian — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 1:13 pm

Texas Wafflin'

We eat homemade waffles almost once a week around here, usually on Sundays (Waffle Day!).  If you’ve stocked up on Texas sweet potatoes (on sale through Tuesday at HEB for 19¢ a pound), and roasted three or so in your toaster oven—they’ll keep for a good week in the fridge—you can whip up a delicious seasonal treat to get your morning off to a great start.

TEXAS SWEET POTATO WAFFLES yield varies

  • 1 cup local milk.  I use Swede Farm Dairy or Wateroak Farm goat milk.
  • 1 cup local or organic yogurt.  I use homemade.
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) organic butter.  I love Organic Valley.  At Whole Foods you can use their Whole Deal coupon for $1 OFF.  Or click for a coupon.
  • 3 ounces (about ¾ cup plus 2 Tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon) organic whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 ounces(½ cup) local (Richardson Farms) or organic whole wheat flour
  • 3 ounces (about ¾ cup minus 2 teaspoons) organic all-purpose flour.  WF 365 brand in the 5# bag is usually the best price.
  • 2 1/8 teaspoons baking powder, sieved.  I recommend Rumford, aluminum-free and non-GMO.
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda, sieved
  • 3/8 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 3/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • about 2/3 cup baked Texas sweet potato, skin included
  • 1/2 cup toasted Texas pecans.  Get yourself some of the new crop.
  • 2 local eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons organic dark brown sugar.  I think Whole Foods is packaging their own brand now.  Should be the best buy.  I’m still working on my bag of Wholesome Sweeteners.
  • heaping ½ teaspoon salt.  I use Real Salt.
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.  I like Nielsen-Massey.  They make several varieties and forms including organic.
  • zest of 1 Texas orange.  Use a rasp or box grater.

Combine the milk and yogurt and let sit while you prepare the rest of the recipe.  Get the butter melting on low heat.  Combine the dry ingredients (pastry flour through spices) in a bowl and whisk together.  Put the milk/yogurt in a blender with the sweet potato and pecans and blend until smooth.  Pour into a large bowl and whisk in the remaining ingredients (eggs through zest, plus melted butter).  Dump the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk together just to blend well.  Don’t overmix.  Let batter rest in the fridge, covered, for about an hour.

Bake on a preheated (hot!) waffle iron until done.  The size of your waffles and the cooking time will vary depending on the waffle iron design.  Enjoy with organic maple syrup—Shady Maple Farms is still on sale at Newflower Market for only $17.99 a quart (grade A dark amber and grade B).

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Quinoa is the New Black November 19, 2009

I recently brought home a box of Alter Eco‘s organic black quinoa to play around with (work perk!).  The folks at AE work with small scale farmers and producers to maintain artisanal methods and ecological balance.  Alter Eco’s Mission Statement proclaims:

We believe that Fair Trade is a viable and successful alternative to conventional commerce. This business model will gradually close the gap between rich and poor, so-called developing countries and industrialized countries.

Sounds good and green.

My family eats quinoa regularly and I usually keep a cooked pot of this “super grain” in the fridge for quick nourishment (see Queen Quinoa).  Reheated with cheese (or not), and plenty of fresh cracked black pepper (or not—as for the minors), quinoa makes a fast, tasty and nutritious light meal.  The black variety, with its exotic color, piqued my palate so I gave it a whirl.  Plus the Quechuas of Bolivia believe black quinoa supports kidney health.

I found that this quinoa cooked up more quickly—a fast 15 minutes—and absorbed less water (less than 2 cups as opposed to a little more than 2 cups) than my usual brands of regular quinoa.  The family wasn’t pleased with the texture, however.  The black bran seems much thicker and heartier than the pale seed coat of standard quinoa.  Too chewy!  Fanciers of substantial grains, however, might like a simple breakfast pilaf of black quinoa with quality butter, good maple syrup and perhaps a splash of cream.

At my house, the black quinoa was relegated to more of a supporting role in which it could show off its striking color against contrasting backgrounds, lighter in taste as well as color.  We enjoyed this quinoa’s black speckles in both an easy, light bread machine bread and an otherwise standard pot o’ jasmine rice.

P B J & Q

Dalmatian Bread (Black Quinoa Bread)

  • ½ cup local milk plus enough water to equal 1 generous cup.  I use either Swede Farm Dairy or Wateroak Farm goat milk.
  • 1 local  egg
  • 130 grams (1 cup) cooked organic black quinoa
  • ¾ teaspoon salt.  I use Real Salt
  • 1 teaspoon local honey.  I buy Good Flow in bulk at Central Market.  Bring your own container and ask an employee to tare the weight for you.
  • 1 Tablespoon organic butter.  Organic Valley‘s my choice here.  Look for the $1 OFF coupon in Whole Foods Whole Deal newsletter, available at their stores.  Or click here.
  • 200 grams organic all-purpose flour.  WF’s 365 brand 5# bag is usually the best buy.
  • 163 grams organic white whole wheat flour.  WF generally has the lowest price per pound on King Arthur’s 5# bag.
  • 1 teaspoon bread machine yeast (rapid rise or instant)

Place the ingredients into your bread machine in the order indicated by your instruction manual.  In my machine, that would be the order listed.  Program the machine on the regular cycle (not whole wheat).  If you’re not heading out to work on bread day, you can use just your machine’s dough cycle, then form a loaf (use a 9″ X 5″ pan), give it a second rise and bake it off at 350º in your oven.  The weather’s perfect for crankin’ it up!

Speckled!

Appaloosa Rice (Black Quinoa Rice)

  • 1 cup minus 1 Tablespoon Lowell Farms organic jasmine rice
  • 1 Tablespoon organic black quinoa, well rinsed
  • 1 2/3 cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt–Real Salt.  See above.
  • dab of butter. Organic Valley, see above.
  • 1 fresh bay leaf if you’re growin’ or knowin’ somebody who is.

Place all ingredients in a saucepan, place a lid on it and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to LOW and continue to cook for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and let rest 10 minutes before serving.

 

Wafflin’ August 30, 2009

Filed under: bread,breakfast,easy — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 2:41 pm

Recently Gourmet magazine published, by request, an incredible waffle recipe from Brown Sugar Kitchen in West Oakland, California.  Wow!  Light and crispy as a cicada’s wing, these butterful squares (rounds at the restaurant), are frankly irresistible.  Gourmet has not posted their adapted version of Brown Sugar Kitchen’s recipe online.  In lieu of a link, then, I offer to you my own rendition of cornmeal waffles.  Yeasty and yummy, a Sunday second breakfast worth sharing.

You’ll need to start this batter the night before your breakfasty ecstacy.

RAISED CORNMEAL WAFFLES

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, melted and cooled.  I prefer Organic Valley.  Check out their $1 OFF coupons.
  • 1 Tablespoon regular yeast (not rapid rise,instant, or “bread machine”)
  • 3/4 cup warm water–not hot
  • 1 cup yogurt, preferably local, whole milk is best.
  • 2 cups whole milk.  I use goat milk from Swede Farm Dairy
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turbinado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt.  I like Real Salt.
  • 3 eggs, local of course.  Easy to find at our farmers markets, except in hottest and coldest weather.
  • 1 cup cornmeal, organic, please.  I use Arrowhead Mills yellow.
  • 182 grams (1 1/2 cups) organic all-purpose flour.  I’m using Whole Foods organic in the 5# bag.  Only $4.69!
  • 60 grams (scant 1/2 cup) organic white whole wheat flour.  I buy King Arthur brand from WF in the 5# bag.
  • 3/8 teaspoon baking soda

Pour the water into a small bowl and sprinkle with the yeast.  I never proof my yeast, as I keep it stored in the freezer and use it up regularly.  If that’s not the case in your kitchen, check your yeast/water bowl for foaming after about 15 minutes.  If you detect no foamy signs of life, begin again with fresh yeast.

In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt and the next four ingredients.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the cornmeal and flours.  Whisk the yeast mixture into the wet ingredients, then whisk in the dry ingredients until smooth.  Finally, whisk in the butter.  Cover the bowl and refrigerate the batter overnight, at least 8 hours.  In the morning, the mixture will sport an expanded mantle of bubbled-up batter. Before cooking the waffles, sprinkle the baking soda through a fine-meshed sieve onto the batter and whisk it in thoroughly.

Heat up your waffle iron.  I spray mine first with Spectrum organic high heat sunflower oil cooking spray.  Whole Foods sells this product.  Your iron may accept anywhere from 2/3 cup to 1 cup batter, depending on its size.  Read your instructions if you have them.  Or wing it until you get your waffler figured out.  My current iron uses 1 cup of batter (divided between two waffle squares) and bakes up toasty brown waffles in 4 minutes.  You’ll have to experiment and calculate the perfect time for your idea of “toasty brown”.

If there’s no army of sleepyheads occupying your kitchen to greedily gobble each waffle as it’s baked, you can keep your batch warm on a baking sheet (layer of one, please) in a preheated 250º oven.  We don’t need to go through all that around here.  I’m still lactating so I keep that stream of cooked waffles in check.  We lay them out on a cooling rack just long enough to get the plates and syrup.


Speaking of syrup, Newflower Market is still selling Shady Maple Farms organic maple syrup, grade A dark amber and grade B, 1 quart, for only $17.99.  That’s a steal!  I like local honey mixed with my syrup.  …MMMMMaple!

If you have waffles leftover (this recipe makes a generous batch), you can wrap ’em and freeze ’em.  Reheat them in the toaster oven under a watchful eye.

By the way, I haven’t bought a new (as in NIB) waffle iron in probably 20 years, since I purchased my Bugs Bunny waffle iron (the one that started all this waffle madness).  I always find waffle irons at the thrift store, sometimes vintage specimens, other times contemporary equipment.  For this recipe, and most of the other waffles I cook, I prefer the deep-divot Belgian-style waffle irons.  You may come across square irons that bake either one large or two medium-sized waffles, or the round style, which seems to be made in a fairly standard size. For probably no more than $5 to $7, you can ascend to breakfast heaven, and save yourself a trip to the west coast.

 

Oatmeal Muffins–by request August 18, 2009

Filed under: breakfast,easy,fast,muffins — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 2:53 pm

LM is hankerin’ for some delicious muffins.  I’ve made these morsels a staple around here for years, usually for late breakfasts.  Back in ’98 I baked dozens of batches for the crew of Rock Opera.  Director Bob Ray claims that’s what kept folks coming back!

OATMEAL MUFFINS makes 12

  • 1 cup organic old-fashioned oatmeal.  Whole Foods carries a respectably-textured brand in bulk for $1.79 a pound.
  • 1 cup yogurt.  Local is best and homemade from local milk is the bestest.
  • 121 grams (1 cup) organic all-purpose flour.  WF 365 brand 5# bag goes for only $4.69.  That’s a deal!
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, local please
  • 104 grams (1/2 cup packed) brown sugar.  I prefer dark brown.  WF sells Wholesome Sweeteners brand but the best bargain is Central Market’s organic brand light brown sugar @ $2.99 for a 2-pound bag.  You choose.
  • 1/2 cup good oil for baking.  I frequently use coconut oil, although you will get a slightly heavier result here.  Nut oils are great, especially toasted versions, and ‘specially if you can find organic.  Otherwise any neutral-flavored organic oil is fine.
  • turbinado sugar–CM sells this gorgeous less-refined sweetener in bulk for $1.49 a pound.
  • medium-fine to finely chopped toasted Texas pecans, optional

You’re gonna need a 400º oven for these muffins.  You can cut this recipe in half and employ the toaster oven (1/2 an egg is about 1 1/2 Tablespoons), but 6 of these toothsome treats is never enough at our house.  Grease your muffin tin–two 6-cups or one 12-cup–with the lube of your choice or use muffin liners.  If You Care® makes unbleached “baking cups”.  I’ve purchased these at Central Market and they should certainly be available at Whole Foods.

Stir the oats and yogurt together and let them sit-n-soak.  You can take care of this the night before, but a half-hour submersion will get you by.  Stir together the flour, baking soda and baking powder.  Stir the salt into the oats, then the egg, next the  brown sugar, and finally the oil.  Dump the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and quickly but gently combine the two mixtures until almost mixed.  Go ahead and leave some streaks of unblended flour.

Fill your muffin tin(s).  I recommend using a spring-loaded scooper.  Fast and efficient!  Deck the tops with turbinado sugar and optional pecans to taste.  This is a good time for the younger baker in the family to help out.  Kids will most enjoy dousing a particular scoop of batter with as much topping as they’d like and claiming that one as their own.  Trust me.

Bake for about 15 minutes.  You’ll have to rely on your familiarity with your baking appliance to decide when to check on these guys.  The tops should get a little brown and of course the centers of the muffins will test done (no raw batter showing up on a skewer or wooden toothpick poked into one.)  I never need to check these muffins anymore.  At this point I just know.

Let ’em cool just a bit.  If you can!