Savor The Earth

eat tastier, eat greener, eat cheaper

Cornporked—a Texas Casserole May 10, 2010

Filed under: Dai Due,easy,eggs,locavore — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 9:34 pm

this was one (c)ornery subject!

My long lost relatives from Wisconsin came down for the weekend, bringing with them a welcome, if blustery, dip in temperature.  We met at the SFC farmers market in Sunset Valley, affording me the opportunity to show off not only the kindergartner’s soccer game across the street, but Austin’s own Dai Due.  Naturally they ordered the brats!  The unexpected chill called for a steaming cup of gumbo, comforting and thick with local meats and shrimp.  A hearty way to warm up for a Saturday of reconnecting, and enjoying and entertaining children.  This week’s charcuterie offerings from Dai Due included salt pork and tasso (fashioned from local Richardson Farms pork), so I stocked up (both keep fine in the freezer), armed to enrich my flexitarian diet.

Tomorrow’s the last day of HEB’s sale on Texas-grown corn at 4 for $1, and the days of comfortably heating up the big oven are becoming a memory.  So grab yourself a couple bucks of ears and pud(ding) ’em together with that salt pork.  Add local cheese and eggs, backyard herbs and organic creams and you’ve got an easy side dish that you might even make a meal out of.  We did!

CORN PUDDING serves plenty

  • 6 cups local corn kernels, from about 8 medium ears of corn.
  • 6 local eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup organic cream.  I like Organic ValleyClick for a coupon.
  • ½ cup organic sour cream. Farmers’ Creamery brand of luxurious slow-cultured cultured cream, crafted without thickeners or stabilizers, is available at Natural Grocers uptown.
  • 6 ounces local cheddar (1½ cups shredded).  I love Full Quiver Farms extra sharp version.  Look for their booths at Barton Creek and Austin Farmers Markets.
  • 7 slices Dai Due salt pork, rendered.  I slice and fry the whole chunk ahead of time and refrigerate whatever we don’t eat or use right then.  Remember to save that precious grease!  Fry your eggs or saute your bean base in it and feast like royalty.
  • 1 Tablespoon turbinado sugar.  I buy this in bulk and bring in my own (large) container.  The staff tares the weight.
  • scant teaspoon salt.  I use Real Salt.  Whole Foods sells this in bulk for the best deal.
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika.  For the lowest prices, I buy the majority of my spices in bulk, usually at Central Market.
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala.  Click for a recipe.
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh backyard herbs.  Basil, chives and thyme combine well.

Preheat your oven to 350°.  Butter up a 2-quart casserole dish.  Set it inside a roasting or cake pan (at least 9″ X 13″) to configure a bain-marie (water bath).  Start heating up water, most coolly accomplished in your microwave.  I use a 1-quart Pyrex glass measuring cup.  A couple or three of those should give you enough very hot water to come halfway up the sides of your casserole.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the corn and return to a boil.  Cook the kernels for 1 minute and drain well.  Process about 3½ cups of the corn in your food processor to yield a rough puree.  Combine the puree with the whole corn kernels and the remaining ingredients.  Turn the mixture into the casserole dish.

Place your bain-marie setup on a middle rack in the oven and pour the heated water into the roasting pan.  Bake for 45 minutes or so, until the pudding is set and browned.  You can test it for doneness with a bamboo skewer to be sure.

Carefully remove the casserole from the water bath and place it on a cooling rack.  Let cool and set for 10 minutes before serving.

Tastes great at room temperature too!




 

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!

 

Pepper in Your Pot: Dai Due Kielbasa and Rice with Cabbage February 19, 2010

Filed under: Dai Due,Indian,meat,rice,slow cooker,thrift — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 4:56 pm

sausage and rice is nice

The house smells great right now.  I’m brewin’ up some pepper broth (finally!) with the frozen bag of pepper trimmings that has rested undisturbed since the last local bell graced our kitchen—some weeks ago, at least.  Before a friend enlightened me about her family’s practice of distilling sweet peppers’ essence from the stems, seeds and ribs, I had always tossed the remains into the compost.  What a waste!  Now the pepper parts warrant their own freezer bag.  Augmented by the occasional onion end (not too many, please), the bag broths up savory and deeply aromatic, with nary a meat scrap or bay leaf.

Taking it easy on myself (somebody has to), I just dump the capsicum contents into the crock and slow cook ’em on HIGH for a couple hours or so.  The mouthwatering fragrance fills the air with a delectable scent that promises a delicious dish ahead:  Dai Due sausage and rice.  Again?  Yes.  Thankfully, again!  And an easy Indian-style cabbage side for a bonus.

You’ll be using 2 separate large skillets for this two-pot meal.  Remember you can purchase most spices in small amounts from your grocery store’s bulk department.  I bring in my own containers.

SAUSAGE AND RICE serves the family plus leftovers

  • 1 cup basmati rice, rinsed well (3 times!) soaked in water and/or pepper broth for 10 minutes, drained (save the soaking liquid) and rested for at least 10 minutes
  • 4 Tablespoons ghee.  I make my own ghee from Organic Valley butter.  Click for instructions.
  • 1 Tablespoon high smoke point oil, preferably organic.  I like Spectrum‘s oils.
  • 1 pound excellent local sausage links, such as Dai Due’s kielbasa (which blends seamlessly with these seasonings)
  • 1 local or organic onion, halved and thinly sliced pole to pole.  Hillside Farms, at the Sunset Valley Farmers Market, was still selling reds and yellows the last time I checked.
  • a couple of thin quarter-sized slices of organic ginger root.  I almost never peel fresh ginger.  Handle your own root as you please.
  • 1″ piece cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 black cardamom pods (or 3 or 4 green, but I prefer the large smoky pods of black cardamom for this dish.)
  • 1 bay leaf.  Get growin’!
  • 1 star anise
  • pinch of turbinado sugar.  I buy this in bulk at Central Market.

Heat 2 Tablespoons ghee in a large (12″) skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and ¼ teaspoon salt (I like Real Salt) and stir and fry until the slices are well browned.  Remove pan from burner and replace with another large skillet (not nonstick here).  Heat it up on HIGH and add the tablespoon of oil followed quickly by the sausage linksBrown the sausages on both sides .  Place the links on a plate and set aside (they shouldn’t be cooked through).  Set the pan aside, as well.

Transfer the onions to a separate plate and put the onion pan back on the burner over medium heat.  Add the remaining 2 tablespoons ghee and the spices and toast them until they smell good and roasty to you.  Add back the onions plus the ginger slices and drained (and rested) rice and stir and saute until the rice grains glisten and separate.

Pour in the soaking liquid (use 1 2/3 cups) and sugar plus another ¼ teaspoon salt, turn the heat to HIGH and bring to a boil.  Place a tight-fitting lid on top, lower the heat to lowest and cook for 10 minutes.  Quickly remove the lid, slide the sausages on top of the rice and replace the lid.  Continue cooking for another 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let rest 10 minutes before fluffing the rice and removing the whole spices.  Serve with the cabbage.

This easy cabbage preparation, revelatory in its combination of caraway and cardamom, plays cross-cultural ambassador with the Indo-European flavors of the  kielbasa and rice.

NORTHWEST INDIAN STYLE CABBAGE serves the family, with leftovers a possibility depending on their love of kohl

  • 2 or 3 Tablespoons ghee
  • 1 local or organic onion, halved and sliced pole to pole
  • ¼ teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • heaping ¼ teaspoon cardamom seeds (from green cardamom pods).  You can buys these already popped out of the pods (decorticated) but I just crack the pods and pick them out myself.
  • heaping ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika or cayenne—I have to keep this dish rated G for the young ‘uns
  • 1 cup organic canned whole tomatoes, crushed.  I use a potato masher for this.  If you didn’t stock up on Muir Glen when it was on special recently, you can find Whole Foods 365 brand and Central Market brand organic canned tomatoes at reasonable prices.
  • 1 clove organic domestic garlic, pressed or minced
  • half a 3-pound local cabbage, outermost leaves removed if tough, cored, quartered and sliced into shreds.  You’ll find plenty of affordable Texas-grown cabbage at our farmers markets and local grocery stores.
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala.  Click for a recipe.
  • several Tablespoons fresh chopped local cilantro, easy to find right now.  Try growing your own.  Tis the season, before it gets too hot.

Heat the ghee in the sausage skillet on medium heat.  Add the whole spices and fry until toasted to your taste.  Add the onion and saute until softened.  It’s quite alright (and deliciouser) for the onion to pick up some brown patches.  Dump in the ground spices (except garam masala), give ’em a stir and then add the tomatoes and garlic.  Cook and stir until thickened, then add the cabbage and salt.  The pan will be very full.  Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the cabbage is wilted to your liking.  If the sauce sticks to the pan and browns a bit, that’s fine.  Just add a few tablespoons of water to deglaze.  The tomato fond will enrich the dish, deepening the flavors.

When your cabbage is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cilantro.  Correct the salt if necessary and serve.


 

Dai Due Double Duty: Secret Ingredient Stuffed Portobellos February 8, 2010

Filed under: Dai Due,meat,vegetables — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 8:06 pm

shroomy

Dai Due‘s Chaurice sausage stuffed our ‘shrooms.  Texas portobellos, on sale at Central Market for $3.99 a pound through February 9, served as the foundation for a meaty mound, topped with crunchy toasted bread crumbs.

What’s the secret ingredient?  Dai Due’s own persimmon Worcestershire sauce.  Now that’s a concoction I would have never thought of!

Thanks to Wendy, Foodie at Central Market, for suggesting I stuff my mushrooms.

SAUSAGE AND SPINACH STUFFED ‘SHROOMS makes 8

  • 8 large and 1 medium to large Kitchen Pride Texas-grown portobello mushrooms
  • 1 pound package Dai Due’s chaurice sausage, or other local sausage.
  • 4 Tablespoons organic or local olive oil.  Try Texas Olive Ranch, available at our farmers markets.
  • 10-ounce bag Cora Lamar’s triple-washed spinach from Poteet.  Available at Central Market for $2.99 a bag.  Or use 10 ounces of another local spinach.  Wash it very well.
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • zest of one small local or organic  lemon.  Check with your neighbor.  Get growin’ if you can!
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 large clove of domestic organic garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala.  Click for a recipe.
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt.  I use Real Salt.
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa.  I like to season quinoa with ½ teaspoon ground turmeric for 1 cup of raw quinoa.
  • ½ cup organic or local heavy cream.  Organic Valley is great.  Click for a coupon.  Look for Way Back When’s local dairy products at our farmers markets.  You gotta get there early to get cream or butter!
  • ½ cup organic or local ½-n-½ yogurt or sour cream.  To read how to make your own, click here.
  • 1 teaspoon organic mustard.  I usually buy Central Market’s own brand.  Use whatever style you have on hand or prefer.
  • a generous Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce—Look for Dai Due’s peppery persimmon Worcestershire sauce.  Tangy and savory, it boasts that familiar kick.
  • generous teaspoon kosher salt.  I use Diamond Crystal brand.
  • 1 cup bread crumbs.  I crumble up stale bread and freeze it.  Cornmeal bread, crumbled and lightly toasted, makes incredible bread crumbs.  Sometimes I just eat ’em with a spoon.
  • 3 to 4 Tablespoons organic or local butter, melted

Remove stems from mushrooms.  Chop stems and the medium to large whole mushroom finely.  I use the food processor.

Brown the sausage in a skillet and simmer, covered, with about ¾ cup water for 5 minutes.  Remove the sausage and place on a plate to cool a bit while you continue with the recipe.

Heat up ½ Tablespoon olive in a large saute pan with the red pepper flakes and ground coriander.  Add the spinach and wilt, turning frequently.  Stir in lemon zest and place spinach on a plate.  Return pan to heat and add another ½ Tablespoon olive oil.  Stir in the chopped mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the garlic and heat through until fragrant.  Remove from heat.

Halve each sausage lengthwise and then slice each half into ¼” pieces.  Add sausage to the pan and return the pan to the stovetop on low heat.  Chop the spinach and stir it into the skillet along with the garam masala, paprika, and 1 teaspoon salt.  Heat through to finish cooking the sausage.  Stir in quinoa, heavy cream, yogurt, mustard and Worcestershire sauce.  Taste for salt and adjust as necessary.

Prepare the mushrooms.  Place a rimmed baking sheet, large enough to hold the eight portobellos, into the oven and preheat the oven to 400º.  Using a sharp paring knife, slice ¼” deep cuts, spaced ½” apart into the mushroom caps.  Slash again at right angles to the first cuts to create a crosshatched pattern.  Brush the mushrooms on both sides with a total of 3 Tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with a generous teaspoon kosher salt.  Place the mushrooms gill side up on the hot baking sheet, and return the sheet to the oven.  Bake for about 8 minutes, until the portobellos are browning around the edges and have released some of their juices.  Carefully flip the mushrooms over and place back in the oven for another 8 minutes, until the juices have evaporated and the portobellos have browned.  They should smell great!

Mound about a ½ cup of filling onto the gill side of the mushrooms.  Mix the bread crumbs and melted butter together.  Top each mound with about 2 Tablespoons of the bread crumbs.  Place the portobellos back on the baking sheet and return them to the oven under the broiler for a couple minutes to brown the tops.  Serve hot.


 

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!

 

Rutabaga Rice January 28, 2010

Filed under: Dai Due,Indian,meat,rice,sunset valley farmers market,vegetables — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 6:01 pm

luscious links

A recent purchase of Dai Due‘s bison and ginger sausage (Thunderheart Bison and local(!) ginger root) got me hankerin’ for Indian food (no, really?).  Armed with a rotund rutabaga, courtesy of Johnson’s Backyard Garden at Sunset Valley Farmers Market, I assembled a one-pot meal, spiced rice dish.  Carnivores dug in, lured by lengths of meat.

I don’t cook rutabaga much.  It tastes good and sweet and rooty-tooty, and I totally go for that kind of thing.  But big bad ‘bagas just don’t show up in our local markets with the same frequency as turnips, radishes and kohlrabi.  I offer a cooking suggestion anyways:   Cut it into small cubes (take care busting into it–rutabaga’s a tough tuber to crack), then simmer it in a little apple juice with a dab of mustard, a dash of garam masala, a pinch of turmeric and salt to taste. Finish the dish with your best butter (I recommend Lucky Layla from Texas or Organic Valley Pasture butter), fresh cilantro or parsley, and a squeeze of lemon juice.  I’d pepper it with lots of cracked black pepper, too, but not on the kids’ portions.

If you just can’t get enough rutabaga—I mean if you can get enough, to grace your table again, that is, try this Indian-inspired pilaf.

RUTABAGA RICE WITH SAUSAGE serves a family with possible leftovers, depending on your family size!

  • 2 cups Indian or Pakistani basmati rice, rinsed well, soaked in water for 10 minutes, then drained and rested in a sieve for another 10 minutes.  I buy 10-pound bags at Fiesta or MGM.
  • 1 pound local sausage.  Dai Due’s bison and ginger sausage, seductively succulent, blended well with the Indian-spiced flavors in this dish, but a local kielbasa would work, too.  I’d also consider it in a bun with sauerkraut and spicy mustard.  But that’s a different post.
  • 1  good-sized local rutabaga, about as big as a largish grapefruit, well peeled and cut into batons (about 1/3″ thick “short french fry” pieces)
  • 3 Tablespoons yogurt.  I make my own and it’s easy.  Click to see how.  I usually use Swede Farm Dairy‘s goat milk, available at SVFM.  Other local options include Wateroak Farms’ goat milk (SVFM) and now Way Back When’s cow’s milk available at SVFM and Austin Farmers Market.
  • 2 teaspoons minced or grated fresh ginger root—I use a Microplane.
  • 2 teaspoons minced hot green chile, if you have it and you wanna.  Otherwise use about ½ teaspoon paprika.
  • 2 Tablepsoons minced local cilantro—growin’ right now!
  • ¼ cup organic dessicated shredded coconut—I like Let’s Do…Organic brand, available at our local grocery stores like Central Market and Whole Foods.
  • 1 or 2 Tablespoons organic coconut oil.  Nutiva in the big ole jar or Whole Foods 365 are usually the best buys.
  • 9 whole cloves
  • about a 2½” piece of cinnamon stick
  • 1 large bay leaf, preferably fresh.  Try growing your own!  Bay is hardy and easy to care for.  My specimen is proof.
  • 2 ½ teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 ½ to 3 teaspoons salt.  I like Real Salt.  Whole Foods carries it in the bulk department.
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons turbinado sugar—I buy this in bulk at Central Market.
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice from a local and/or organic lemon.  I got a mind to puttin’ in a lemon tree soon.  Ask your neighbors.
  • 3 ¼ cups water
  • several very well peeled broccoli stems, diced small.  Yep.  I’m still going whole hog on broccoli.  Use it or lose it!
  • lemon wedges, if desired

Combine yogurt with the next four ingredients and mix in the rutabaga.  Let the mixture sit while you prepare the rest of the recipe.  Combine the whole spices (cloves through the cumin) in a small dish and combine the powdered seasonings (salt through the turbinado sugar) in another small dish.  Keep these spice stashes handy.

In a large saute pan or wide casserole pan (stovetop safe), brown the sausage links on all sides over medium-high heat.  Remove to a plate and set aside.  Add the coconut oil and whole spices to the pan and toast on medium-high heat until the cumin smells as browned and toasty as you like.  Dump in the rutabaga and stir and fry until the tuber has browned some.  Add the powdered spices, lemon juice and water, raise the heat to high, cover the pan with a lid (I prefer a see-through top) and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat to LOW and cook for 10 minutes.  Quickly lift the lid and scatter the broccoli stems over the surface and place the sausages on top.  Replace the lid and continue cooking on LOW for another 10 minutes.  When finished, place the pan on a cooling rack or trivet and let sit for 10 minutes before carefully fluffing the rice.

Slice the sausages if you want to.  And squeeze some lemon juice over individual servings for a little zing.

  • 3 ¼ cups water

 

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.