Savor The Earth

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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.

 

Be Fruitful and Popsicle April 18, 2010

Filed under: blueberries,dessert,easy,locavore,sunset valley farmers market,thrift — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 7:05 pm

why yes, I did run out of time to put the sticks in

Spying an incredible deal at the SFC Farmers Market at Sunset Valley this past Saturday,  I snatched up eight baskets of locally-grown, chemical -free strawberries for only $2 a pint from Flint Rock Hill.  These fraises were priced to move and had to be processed very soon.  I remembered that big bag of organic blueberries from Costco still hogging up freezer space (I don’t think my cooking/eating style suits warehouse shopping).  And on a couple of recent warm-day walks home from school with the kindergartner, I recalled our refreshing Cantaloupe Popsicles that we enjoyed all season long last year, rewards for the brutal 20 minute Death Valley trek home.  So, popsicles it be!

I loosely followed my cantaloupe popsicle recipe, without the benefit of lemons or limes, replacing the Amaretto with Frangelico, adding Texas orange zest and playing around with varying proportions of strawberries to blueberries.  Local honey is a must!

We’re well stocked with frozen novelties for now.  Even on a cool spring day like today, a cold fruity treat revives the family.

 

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'

 

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

 

Tangy Texas Tangerine Chicken November 19, 2009

Texas Tangerine, she is all they claim...

We lucky Austinites can purchase Orange Blossom Farms fragrant organic tangerines at both the Austin Farmers Market and Sunset Valley Farmers Market.  Texas citrus season is NOW (although my own mandarin tree, laden in its fourth year with at least 50 fruits, is still transforming green globes into the orange of winter’s gold) and I’m sure you’ve already been enjoying Texas ruby red grapefruit (Rio Star) and the Lone Star state’s sweet juicing oranges.  Grab yourself a $5 bag of Texas tangerines and a pack of chicken legs from one of our local and sustainable operations and whip up some Chinese-style comfort food.

TANGY TEXAS TANGERINE CHICKEN serves several

  • about 1½ pounds chicken leg quarters, separated, or thighs, from local producers at our farmers markets
  • 2 Tablespoons neutral flavored high smoke point oil.  I like Spectrum‘s organic peanut oil available at Whole Foods.
  • 1 large local green onion, finely chopped, white and light green parts separated from the dark green parts.  Hairston Creek Farm has been selling lovely long-leafed scallions.
  • 3 strips of organic Texas tangerine peel, about 3″ long, white pith removed (use a sharp paring knife held parallel to the counter), minced
  • 3 or more dried red Chinese chile peppers
  • ½ teaspoon ground, roasted Szechuan peppercorns.  You can buy these, whole and untoasted, in bulk at Central Market.  Substitute fresh cracked black pepper if necessary.
  • ¼ teaspoon ground dried ginger
  • 1 cup fresh-squeezed organic Texas tangerine juice
  • ½ cup broth, preferably homemade unsalted.  See Stock Tips.
  • ¼ cup bitter (Seville) orange marmalade
  • 2 Tablespoons organic white wine vinegar.  I use Spectrum.
  • 1 Tablespoon turbinado sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoons organic soy sauce.  I like Eden or San-J.
  • 1 teaspoon organic toasted sesame oil (Spectrum again) or a generous teaspoon of best-quality butter–Organic Valley or Lucky Layla (from Texas)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon cold broth

Heat up a large heavy skillet over highest heat.  When it’s good and pipin’ hot, add your oil, swirl it around and lay in your chicken pieces, skin side down.  Brown well on both sides, then remove chicken to a plate and set aside.  Pour off all but a Tablespoon or so of the fat in the pan (reserve this flavorful grease for stir-frying tofu or veggies) and put the pan back on the stove at medium-high heat.  Bloom your aromatics—scallion whites, tangerine peel and chiles—in the hot fat for a minute then stir in the powdered spices.  Add the next six ingredients (through the soy sauce), bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add back the chicken, skin side down, cover and simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes, turning the chicken pieces over once, until the meat tests done.  Remove chicken from the sauce and raise the heat to medium-high.  Stir up a slurry of the cornstarch and cold broth and stir it and the scallion greens into the simmering sauce.  It will thicken right away.  Stir in the sesame oil or butter.

Serve the chicken and sauce with hot Lowell Farms jasmine rice.  You can either set a chicken piece atop a mound of rice and nap it with the sauce or, as is my family’s preference, debone the chicken and mix it into the sauce, to be ladled over the rice.  Don’t forget to save the skin and bones for the stock pot!

 

October Spring—only in Central Texas… October 24, 2009

Filed under: easy,sunset valley farmers market,vegetables — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 10:14 am

…or maybe California.  Walking the dog along the woods this morning, we spied a stand of bluebonnets in bloom.  I guess the months between May (June? July?) and February are getting shorter and shorter.  A welcome sight of spring in the middle of autumn.

Another spring delicacy you can find at Sunset Valley Farmers Market right now is McKemie Homegrown‘s asparagus.  That’s right.  Asparagus.  In Central Texas.  In late October.  At $5 for a ½ pound bag, it’s not cheap,  but I managed to find the funds to pamper myself a bit.  Luckily I had packed an extra fiver.  I can’t wait to toss these fronds with a little olive oil and roast ’em up in the toaster oven at highest heat.  A little salt.  A little pepper.  That’s all they’ll need after that.  My kindergartner’s palate seems to have matured somewhat since the spring, because last week we shared our fall surprise.

McKemie expects to bring more asparagus to market next week.  Grab a taste of spring before the spring crop comes in—Ha!

 

slow artichokes part 2 May 12, 2009

What do you do with those giant artichokes on sale at Newflower Market (2 for $4, only one more day!)?  Yes, you can cook them in the slow cooker but you gotta cut them in half.  Otherwise you’ll be cooking them longer than you can stand it.  I use a large (6 quart) oval cooker.  Three of these big un’s just fit.

First load up your cooker with:

  • ½ cup white vinegar—Whole Foods (WF) 365 organic is the best buy I’ve found
  • about 6 cups of water
  • some celery leaves if you’ve got ‘em—Finca Pura Vida at Sunset Valley Farmers Market (SVFM) grows gorgeous celery leaves that keep well in the fridge, wrapped in a tea towel and cradled in a plastic bag.  OR a stingy to generous pinch of celery seeds, to your taste.
  • a strip or two of lemon peel—Central Market usually has the best price on organic lemons, not that they’re a bargain, but right now Sun Harvest has them on sale at $2.97 for a 3# bag.  OR if, like me, you bought a likely lifetime supply of lemon oil some years back, just add 12 drops
  • 2 cloves
  • 3 peppercorns
  • as many cloves of fresh garlic as you care for—Hairston Creek Farm at SVFM has it right now. peel them if you can, but don’t frustrate yourself.  Very fresh garlic is hard to peel.
  • About a tablespoon of kosher salt (I prefer Diamond Crystal) or half that amount of table salt (I go for RealSalt and WF sells it in bulk for the best price.

NOW, trim up and rinse your artichokes.  Check http://www.saveur.com/article/Mise%20en%20Place/Trimming-Tips for guidance.  Next, stand your globe stem end up and slice it into two equal halves.  Just slice right down with a good sharp chef’s knife.  It’s easier than it looks.  If the baby’s sleeping go ahead and scoop out the choke.  Otherwise just remove that part at eatin’ time.  Cram the artichokes into your crock stem ends up.  Here’s the fun part for Central Texans:

Put the slow cooker outside!

The slow cooker doesn’t warm up the house as much as the pressure cooker (my usual artichoke cooking appliance) or the oven, but why even let that heat in?  Turn it on to High and check your chokes in about 8 hours.  They’re done when you can easily pull out a leaf, no resistance.  Eat ‘em hot or cold and don’t forget to eat the garlic.  We don’t fuss ‘em up further with sauces ‘cause they’re already seasoned.  And portable!