Post Roast and Yeast Rolls Rambling in October


AUTUMN OVENS AND A STYLE OF ROLLS
Rains in the early morning have a kind of gastronomic compass quick at work. It’s like a persuasion of sorts, this rain. I can practically see the colors change across the hardwood tree canopy in this last bastion of woods in Clarke County. Turning over and looking at a lone rose in my backyard, a rabidly budding rose hips bush gives it’s wild best to keep me in citrus-y tea all winter.
But that’s just the start of a great morning. The flavors of a classic Sunday beef pot roast and yeast rolls shakes me out of bed. You and I both know it builds a pretty strong case to get in the kitchen early.
The cut of beef is the rump roast which is above the round on the haunches of beef cattle. It is a tough cut of meat that tenderizes in the Dutch oven as it roasts with the vegetables, stock, seasonings and vinegar or wine. You can use an iron Dutch oven or clay. I like both but am using the cast iron version as it is closest to what my Mother used to make hers, and I am personally more comfortable with iron. Giving the secret to her recipe was part of my brother’s requirement for my sister in law when he married. He loves it that much, we all do, actually. Fresh pearl onions are key. This is not her exact recipe.
The yeast rolls were intoxicating. They would sit in front of heater vents with cheese cloth laid over the top like a blanket of mist. The timing for the rise perfectly matched our return from Church. Come home, change cloths, wait for Mamaw and any other guests to arrive, then it was time for pot roast, gravy, mashed potatoes, English peas, yeast rolls and sweet tea. This was Sunday in Autumn. This is a purely American meal with nods to the West African and French culinary sources that permeated the South during her formative years.

Depending on the corn, peas or beans in season we would shuck them all week off and on while sitting on the front porch, waving at neighbors, my buddies on their 3 speed bikes with banana seats and butterfly handlebars, watching my sister’s boyfriends drive by and give a honk of any number of Mustang Fastback, Camero, Firebird, Cutlass 396, Shelby Cobra, Ford Torino Cobra, Mercury Montego MX, Buick GSX, Dodge Super Bee, ‘66 Corvette, Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda, Pontiac GTO, or Dodge Challenger, muscle car set of wheels that would make any kid drool with excitement over these gas guzzling wonders of the back roads, Plymouth Road Runners spinning out doing doughnuts at the ball park, her eventual husband driving up in a Oldsmobile 442 ragtop, my brother running off to pitching practice, me just running off, our crazy beagle/fox terrier dog Bob chasing every single car that turned onto our street, Mother talking about her sisters and the history of our town. “Just what is the other side of the tracks?” Yeah, this was sitting on the front porch as it was meant to be, shelling peas for supper and watching the coolest cars in Tucker stream on by through the warm autumn afternoons. Slow Food? We lived it then and we can live it today. The easiest place to start is with local produce, the flavors will send most memories into family meals and occasions free of discord or time. That was our home during the twilight of sleepy neighborhoods, scenes that we alone have the power to continue and evolve.

SOUTHERN POT ROAST (because I just cannot call it Yankee)
Use a 3 pound round, chuck or rump roast for this dish. Cooking time is approximately 2 ½ hours start to finish. Cook in 300 degree oven, allowing 12 minutes per pound. Start on stove top. You can use either iron or clay Dutch Oven, this recipe is for cast iron. If you cannot find pearl onions then use cipollini onions which are flatter than round. They are perfect for roasting and I like them both equally but have used the cipollini more professionally than the pearl variety.
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, high quality here
5 strips Bacon or guanciale (smoked/cured jowl)
3 to 4 pound Boneless round
12 Black peppercorns
24 Pearl onions, peeled, whole
2 Bell peppers, seeded, diced
1 1/2 cups Butternut squash, peeled, 1 inch dice
1 1/2 cups Pumpkin, peeled, 1 inch dice
2 cups Red potatoes, 1 inch dice
4 large Tomatoes, chopped
1 pint Beef stock
1 cup Burgundy or balsamic/red vinegar blend
1/3 cup Dale’s Marinade
1 tablespoon Rosemary, fresh
1 ½ teaspoon Thyme, dried
5 Bay leaves
6 cloves Garlic, smashed
3 tablespoons Leaf parsley, chopped, washed
3 tablespoons Cane or Date molasses
3 ounces European Butter

Everything takes place in the Dutch oven.
Heat the olive oil and bacon together over medium high heat. When the bacon is rendered remove it from the pan and add the beef. Brown it on all sides.
Add the potatoes, pumpkin and bell peppers, cook two minutes. Add squash, onion and tomatoes, cook three minutes and then add rest of ingredients except the butter. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. This will be roughly 20 minutes on the stove top. Baste the roast before putting in oven. Put bacon on top of roast. Cover and cook for 60 minutes at 300 degrees. Remove. Keep covered for 10 minutes. Check tenderness and temperature. This will not be rare or even medium rare, it is a pot roast which means it will be cooked completely in the juices and vegetables held in by the design of the Dutch oven.
Remove meat and vegetables. Skim fat. Add butter and stir into the liquids. Stir in 1 tablespoon flour to thicken into consistency of a gravy. Serve in gravy boat at the table during supper.
YEAST ROLLS
Yeast rolls are exactly what they sound like, rolls made with yeast as the ingredient to give it rise and body. Biscuits use baking soda and baking powder for this effect but is not as light or flaky as can be found in yeast rolls. Yeast rolls take time, a bit of work and an accurate oven. There are dozens of recipes and techniques. I am using a recipe that best approximates that of my youth.
A few words on yeast: we have dry active, fast active, compressed fresh yeast cakes, and brewers yeast. Yeast dies over 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Brewers yeast is used for the nutritive benefits as ingredient, gravy and for brewing beer. Dry yeast keeps a long time in the pantry and requires about 20 minutes to foam and rise in warm water. Fast acting dry yeast has very small grains, can be added to flour when warm water is later added to mix or will rise within minutes when mixed into warm water. Yeast is a living thing. Salt inhibits yeast. High heat kills yeast after it has risen and holds the flours in tight or big bubbles for rolls, pizza and various bread doughs. When making basic yeast breads you need to have your yeast mixed into 80 to 100 degree Fahrenheit water for 15 minutes or until it has doubled, even tripled in size but not much more than that as it will become too loose and will not have enough binding molecules.
Yeast is a single cell organism. A pound of yeast has 32, 000,000,000 cells of fermented sugar cells known as yeast. Yeast requires bread so it is not gluten free. Recall that the glutens given to intolerance in some individuals are wheat, barley and malt. Some people are sensitive to oats as well but in general oats are safe for those who are gluten intolerant.
Makes 20+/- rolls. Use a 9 x 13 pan. 375 degree oven, cook 15 minutes.
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar/baking stevia
2 eggs (large)
1 teaspoon salt
4 cup bread flour (finer and higher gluten content than all purpose style)
2 1/4 teaspoon yeast
Warm the milk to between 90 and 110 degrees F.

Mix all of the ingredients either with electric mixer dough hook or by hand.
If it is dry add a tablespoon of warm water or warm milk.

Knead until it is smooth and pliable, elastic and not sticking to your hands.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled metal bowl, cover with a damp towel and place in a warm area to rise for an hour or so.Butter the pan.
Split the dough in half, then into 4 equal parts. Divide again, then divide into 3 balls. Cut into 24 pieces. To form rolls, hold a small dough ball inside both hands, cup with opening between index finger and thumb, squeeze into a ball as it emerges from your hands. Sort of like playing but with great results. You are making little balls with just enough air introduced by the gentle squeeze so that they will rise into smooth rolls. Line them up in the greased casserole or baking pan so that they are barely touching, at best not at all. Cover with warm, damp towel. Dough will rise by half before they are ready to bake.
Remove cloth, bake 15 minutes. Very light tan. Brush with softened butter. Serve warm.
Morning rain on the gutters,
Poplars and elm, waterfall
Rattling attic fans and me.
Morning rain rumbles cloud-side down,
Each drop chasing the other,
Faster and faster into lawn and waterway,
Into deep aquifers and the starving Oconee,
A thunder clap snaps Polaroids
Of me awake into one dream in the 8 a.m.
World alive, there is more than this.
Red Mule grits swimming on the stove,
Pale white Vesuvius ready to blow.
The smell of turkey sausage
And French red hen eggs,
A touch of curry
And I’m ready to go….
Go where? Go here?
Already now the day is clearing,
Footfall in the pines so light and steady,
Rosehips, acorns, mushrooms
And sweet peas line the trail,
Trails down river where darters and perch
Fight for water time with catfish
And snapping turtles.
This is morning. My morning here.
A beautiful Georgia morning
In the land of the Creek and Cherokee.

Summertime in the South…or What’s In The Box?


WHAT’S IN THE BOX?
Travel food and box lunches work within a delicate boundary between tasty, safe and easy to eat. A road trip with soggy sandwiches? Fast food? Health safety fried foods and meats? Gummy starches and carbohydrates? There is a way to have the best of all worlds with proper preparation of key ingredients, observation of temperature and time sensitive holding. I am concentrating on starches and side dishes.
Always look to the hottest regions of the world when putting together a box lunch. Humidity has a huge effect on picnic foods. Keep in mind basic terms for your meal: Does it need to be kept cold? Will it hold well? Can it be assembled when you are ready to eat or will it be a completed dish? Can it withstand heat for long? Will you eat it with your fingers or are dishes, chopsticks, knives or forks necessary?
We are making barley with lemon, sumac and cilantro; cold sesame lo mein pasta; and Japanese sweet potato salad with spiced ham and roasted sweet peppers. These are easy to make, filling, full of good vitamins and amino acid. Barley is much more than a beer ingredient, soup or breakfast. Only the sweet potato salad is gluten free this month.
A good substitute for hulled and/or pearl barley is spelt. Though spelt does have gluten it has been found to be tolerated. I like using spelt, when I can find it. Spelt looks like giant barley and is based in Mediterranean and Near Eastern regions. They are both high in good cholesterol, magnesium and phosphorus. It is a popular grain today but is still scarce in some areas, hence, barley, pearl barley in particular, is our grain for this rich salad. Hulled barley is more nutritious than pearled or polished. Barley, malt and wheat gluten are the primary grains responsible for gluten intolerance.
It’s funny how pulses and grams that became animal and bird food in the last century have now made it back to the daily table as delicious and enriching starches. This change is a great thing. Imagine a life without quinoa, amaranth, barley, lentils, millet and spelt? Some may still live without these amazing grains. The loss was all mine, and many others, up until the mid 1990s when quinoa and amaranth, the super grains of the Americas came to prominence. They are perfect for our beautiful South.
Lo mein/Canton noodles are wheat, water, salt and egg. They are available flat for sauté/stir fry and round for soups. Shanghai noodles are the larger, round style, which is what many American diners are used to in American-Chinese restaurants as lo mein. You can also use ramen pasta for cold dishes. This is not the instant, which is a college staple and easy lunch dish. The Japanese ramen interpretation of lo mein that has less fat content than Chinese lo mein. My friend Karen at Fooks Grocery suggested using ramen and it was a great addition alternate recipes for cold sesame noodles. You can use dry or fresh for the cold pasta dish, Sesame noodles. This particular dish shows up as a late night take out dish in movies all the time. Sesame noodles can be addictive. If you are using up pasta in your pantry then spaghetti and linguine are both good substitutes for Canton/lo mein pasta.
Sweet potatoes are grown all over Asia. There are around 70 varieties from purple to tan. The one we are using, the Japanese sweet potato, has a thin skin and is pale yellow, not deep orange which is the more common variety here in the South and in China. It is less sweet but as high in nutrients as any other sweet potato variety. They hold well for tempura frying, chips and as a diced salad style. Japanese sweet potato starch is used along with lime starch in making gluten free shiriitake noodles. Because of their versatility and health benefits sweet potatoes are amazing in any and all preparations, and yes, it is also used for making spirits (booze!) in Africa and Asia. Imagine a friend saying they had a sweet potato hang over.
Barley With Sumac and Cilantro
There are 250 kinds of sumac. The one we use for cooking is an Arabic sumac that is red and has a lemony flavor perfect for fish, lamb and grain dishes. It is not “poison” sumac we find here in our easements and woods. You can find sumac in the Athens area at Taj Mahal on Baxter Street. There are limitless ingredients of the subcontinent here so ask questions in the store. I go there specifically to buy sumac, starches, spices, fenugreek leaves and curry leaves. Our barley today is pearl barley. Puffed and ready to eat hot in 20 minutes. For our purpose you will cook the barley the night before and then add seasonings the next day. I am using the puffed so that it is similar in appearance to spelt/farro.
You can add things like chevre and ground lamb/turkey in grape leaves, various sliced olives, almonds, kim chee, seaweed salad and just about anything that complements grains.
1 cup pearl barley
2 cups water
½ teaspoon kosher sea salt (sea salt has no ammonia or bleach)
Bring salted water to a boil. Stir in barley. Reduce heat to simmer. Stir. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
24 leaves sliced fresh cilantro
1 ounce roasted red peppers, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4th teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon sumac
Stir ingredients and cover. Let rest 10 minutes. Chill. Garnish with chopped almonds.

Sesame Noodles
You can use fresh or dried Chinese noodles for this dish. Always check the labels on Asian noodles/pasta and you will notice at least one key ingredient: wheat flour, rice flour, a bean flour or potato and tapioca flour. Western pasta is basically wheat flour. The different flours used in Asian pastas is what gives each one a distinctive flavor and texture.
Making cold or hot sesame noodles is easier and faster than most any other pasta. It took me 20 minutes to prepare this recipe. I cooked ramen and lo mein pastas to compare and found the lo mein to be better for the cold and ramen for hot/warm. Notice that the final sauce is not thick. If you make it too thick then it will become gummy upon refrigeration. Combine pasta and sauce while warm.
If you have trouble with peanut butter then use almond or cashew butter.
8 ounces lo mein
2 quarts boiling water
1/3 teaspoon kosher sea salt
Cook noodles. Drain and rinse under cold water.
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped into a paste
1/3rd teaspoon Indian red chili
½ teaspoon sambal oelek (Vietnamese Chili Garlic paste)
2 tablespoons brown sugar or date palm molasses
½ cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons peanut oil or coconut oil or corn oil
1/3 cup vegetable stock
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon toasted white sesame seeds
3 stalks green onion, chopped
Cook brown sugar and peanut butter in the oil until it is warm throughout, add garlic, ginger and chili. Heat on medium for five minutes. Stir so that it does not stick to bottom of the pan. Stir in vegetable stock, soy and vinegar and continue to cook and stir for ten minutes on medium low.
Add noodles to sauce and cook for two minutes so that the noodles are coated and there is a light sauce. Add toasted sesame seeds.
Other garnishes can be sliced pickle, cabbage, cucumbers, cilantro, green onions, chopped nuts or zucchini cut into thin strips to resemble pasta using a microplane vegetable slicer.
Sweet Potato Salad
Potato salads have been lunchbox, picnic and travel favorites for generations and there is no reason to stop now. What we can do is expand on the many kinds of potato. We are using Japanese yam for this particular recipe but sweet potatoes are just as perfect. Be careful on how long you cook the diced potatoes as they go from gently firm to very soft in seconds. Frequently check for firmness as they boil.
The addition of honey and molasses was a last minute idea when I was cooking a test batch. You can experiment with various honeys from local uncooked which is the healthiest to any number of honey from around the country and globe. The same holds for different kinds of molasses when you start comparing grape, date, sorghum and cane. Unsulphured Blackstrap molasses is truly healthy, in fact it is the only processed sugar that is considered to posses healthy nutrients iron, calcium, magnesium, trace minerals, B and E vitamins. It has more calcium than milk.
2 tablespoons corn oil, coconut oil or grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
10 ounces Sweet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
8 ounces Ham, cut into small cubes
1/4th ounce dried mango, minced
1/3 cup yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, small dice
2 Parsnips, small dice
1/3 cup chicken stock
3 tablespoons Chinese cooking wine
1/3rd cup Cashews
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
1 tablespoon Roasted Italian herbs: thyme, oregano, basil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tablespoons European butter like Kerrygold Irish, Plugra or local dairy
5 ounces Irish gouda or young swiss cheese, small cubes
Saute potato, ham, mango, onion, celery and parsnips in oil on medium high heat for five minutes. Add chicken stock and cooking wine, cook until liquid dissolves. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the cheese, and cook on medium low for five minutes. Remove from heat and add cheese. Refrigerate. You can also add any other fresh or dried fruits such as cherries, pineapple, pears, apples or grapes.
Of course any bread, cheese and cured meat is excellent for picnic, lunchbox or travel. Whether you are at home, school, on the back porch, in the mountains, by a stream or on the sea there is always a place for the new and unique plays on old standards for the picnic basket. The most important thing is to look to those close or far away and offer your peace and friendship. Any good Food can be sustainable, local and universal.

Dried flowers, a dusty letter,
Japanese figurines, yellow light
on the brick mantel shines,
wipe your eyes, look again,
and still it shines a cracked
and dingy pastel,
the morning itself seems like a postcard,
a loved memento of the life you’ve had.
But waking always brings this pause,
this gaze into the past…
You wish it was easier
to shake away the dreams,
just set them on the shelf
beside the light,
turn around and go your way,
To find something that will last.
And today these wishes
Do come true,
Today I woke and saw you.

proletaria

politics philosophy phenomena

Poems for Warriors

"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain..." 1 Cor. 15:10

LUNA

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Musings and books from a grunty overthinker

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garden ponderings

𝓡. 𝓐. 𝓓𝓸𝓾𝓰𝓵𝓪𝓼

𝙳𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚖 𝚋𝚒𝚐! 𝙻𝚒𝚟𝚎 𝚋𝚒𝚐𝚐𝚎𝚛!

Flutter of Dreams

Dreaming in Music and Writing by Mel Gutiér

RhYmOpeDia

Immature poet imitate...but the mature one steal from the depth of the heart

hotfox63

IN MEMORY EVERYTHING SEEMS TO HAPPEN TO MUSIC -Tennessee Williams

My Cynical Heart

Welcome to my world.

Discobar Bizar

Welkom op de blog van Discobar Bizar. Druk gerust wat op de andere knoppen ook, of lees het aangrijpende verhaal van Harry nu je hier bent. Welcome to the Discobar Bizar blog, feel free to push some of the other buttons, or to read the gripping story of Harry whilst you are here!

the poet's billow

a resource for moving poetry

MY TROUBLED MIND

confessions are self-serving

proletaria

politics philosophy phenomena

Poems for Warriors

"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain..." 1 Cor. 15:10

LUNA

Pen to paper

Dirty Sci-Fi Buddha

Musings and books from a grunty overthinker

Sircharlesthepoet

Poetry by Charles Joseph

susansflowers

garden ponderings

𝓡. 𝓐. 𝓓𝓸𝓾𝓰𝓵𝓪𝓼

𝙳𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚖 𝚋𝚒𝚐! 𝙻𝚒𝚟𝚎 𝚋𝚒𝚐𝚐𝚎𝚛!

Flutter of Dreams

Dreaming in Music and Writing by Mel Gutiér

RhYmOpeDia

Immature poet imitate...but the mature one steal from the depth of the heart

hotfox63

IN MEMORY EVERYTHING SEEMS TO HAPPEN TO MUSIC -Tennessee Williams

My Cynical Heart

Welcome to my world.

Discobar Bizar

Welkom op de blog van Discobar Bizar. Druk gerust wat op de andere knoppen ook, of lees het aangrijpende verhaal van Harry nu je hier bent. Welcome to the Discobar Bizar blog, feel free to push some of the other buttons, or to read the gripping story of Harry whilst you are here!

the poet's billow

a resource for moving poetry

MY TROUBLED MIND

confessions are self-serving

proletaria

politics philosophy phenomena

Poems for Warriors

"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain..." 1 Cor. 15:10

LUNA

Pen to paper

Dirty Sci-Fi Buddha

Musings and books from a grunty overthinker

Sircharlesthepoet

Poetry by Charles Joseph

susansflowers

garden ponderings

𝓡. 𝓐. 𝓓𝓸𝓾𝓰𝓵𝓪𝓼

𝙳𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚖 𝚋𝚒𝚐! 𝙻𝚒𝚟𝚎 𝚋𝚒𝚐𝚐𝚎𝚛!

Flutter of Dreams

Dreaming in Music and Writing by Mel Gutiér

RhYmOpeDia

Immature poet imitate...but the mature one steal from the depth of the heart

hotfox63

IN MEMORY EVERYTHING SEEMS TO HAPPEN TO MUSIC -Tennessee Williams

My Cynical Heart

Welcome to my world.

Discobar Bizar

Welkom op de blog van Discobar Bizar. Druk gerust wat op de andere knoppen ook, of lees het aangrijpende verhaal van Harry nu je hier bent. Welcome to the Discobar Bizar blog, feel free to push some of the other buttons, or to read the gripping story of Harry whilst you are here!

the poet's billow

a resource for moving poetry

MY TROUBLED MIND

confessions are self-serving

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