By Dennis Linden
This month’s featured recipe is a versatile purple potato dough with healthy fringe benefits that can be made into a plate of unique dinner rolls or larger buns for burgers. Submitted by Liz Romero, Melissa’s Social Media Coordinator, here’s a hamburger bun that may help control cholesterol levels and improve vision and eye health, as well as having the potential to reduce the risk of heart disease, certain cancers and diabetes!
“Last year, my fiancé, Chris, and I wanted to celebrate Memorial Day weekend with Blue Potato Buns for a really good cheeseburger,” Liz explained. “Coincidently, Chris also works in social media for a food website, so he had received Melissa’s Red, White, and Blue Potatoes in connection with a Memorial Day media campaign. I actually wasn’t working for Melissa’s at the time, but we worked together to create this tasty recipe.”
Like blueberries, the purple coloring in the variety is produced by anthocyanins — disease-fighting antioxidants. The pigment makes red, blue and violet foods, depending on the type of anthocyanin. When it comes to antioxidants, usually, the deeper the color, the better. Purple potatoes are chock-full of anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant that has been shown to reduce the risk of several chronic diseases. Purple potatoes have a lot going for them nutritionally, beyond antioxidants. They contain fiber, vitamin C and potassium, which can help with weight loss, immunity and heart health.
Full disclosure: the versatility of Liz’s recipe was a serendipitous discovery on account of a typo in Liz’s original submission. Once the dough has been kneaded and formed into a rectangle on a cutting board, the instructions called for it to be divided into 16 equal-sized pieces that should have read eight. The batch of small dinner rolls that came out of the oven took me by surprise but were light, fluffy and still thoroughly enjoyed! Liz laughed over her mistake, and my surprise, so I suggested that we adjust and call it a slider recipe. But I took it as a challenge to do a second batch of burger-sized buns. So, feel free to do either – both are equally delicious!
Liz Romero is one of the company’s newest team members. She helps manage all of Melissa’s social media accounts for the company. Her duties include coordinating daily content on Melissa’s Instagram, Facebook and Twitter platforms and responding to comments on all three made by the public.
“I love to create and come up with content that will inspire our audience,” said Liz. “It’s also really fun to get to know our consumers -- what they find inspiring and interesting. The most challenging part is keeping up with the social media trends. There is a new trend every day! Social media moves at lightning speed, so making sure to keep up with it requires a constant updating of my focus. What makes that easier is my awesome, creative team members who constantly come up with content to use on our social media to promote fruit and veggies that inspire and educate in fun and entertaining ways.”
Liz and Chris like to spend their weekends cooking it together when not writing about food during business hours! Pre-pandemic that cooking was for their favorite sport – throwing dinner parties for friends. Of course, these days, they have had to down-size to dinners for two, pairing those meals with vintages procured during regular trips to some of their favorite wineries in the Santa Ynez Valley and polishing off the meals with Liz’s specialty, pan-baked chocolate chip cookies! Liz also enjoys making jewelry and admits to being somewhat of a fashionista who enjoys getting dressed up on occasion. The couple has a wedding planned for next year after a 13-year engagement. Wonder how long that menu has been planned!
Purple Potato Hamburger Buns
10 ounces Melissa’s Baby Purple Potatoes, peeled
½ cup warm water
1 (0.25 ounce) package dry active yeast
1 large egg
3 tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons Melissa’s Organic Blue Agave Syrup
1¼ teaspoons fine sea salt, or regular sea salt
3¼ cups AP flour, or more as needed
1 teaspoon water
Place purple potatoes into a pot and cover with salted water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until very tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain well. Mash purple potatoes with a potato masher or fork. Measure out 1 cup and allow to cool to room temperature. [Refrigerate remaining mashed purple potatoes for another use.]
Whisk ½ cup flour, ½ cup warm water, and yeast together in a bowl. Cover and place in a warm place to allow the yeast to activate, about 15 minutes. Spoon 1 cup of cooled mashed purple potatoes into the yeast mixture and transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl if hand kneading. Add egg, melted butter, agave and sea salt, plus about 3 cups flour. Knead for 2 to 3 minutes by a hook; a bit longer if doing by hand. If the dough seems too sticky, gradually add in remaining flour as needed to where dough pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl. Continue kneading until the dough is very soft, only slightly sticky and somewhat elastic.
Transfer dough to a floured surface. Shape into a smooth ball. Return dough to bowl and drizzle with oil; rub oil over the entire surface to prevent dough from drying out. Cover and place in a warm spot until dough has doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently press out air pockets. If needed, use only enough flour to keep the dough from sticking. Press into a rectangular shape about ¾ -inch thick. Cut dough into 8 equally sized pieces. Gently shape each piece into a ball. Slightly flatten each ball and place it onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat. Let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Whisk 1 egg and 1 teaspoon water together in a bowl. Brush each bun with an egg mixture.
Bake in the preheated oven @ 400°F until browned, about 15 minutes.