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Showing posts from 2012

Fishing for ideas to avoid wasting food

Ordinarily I’m writing about dishes we make with the meat we raise here on the farm, or garden veggies we raise, or some combo thereof . . . this is a little different tack, as it involves fish, which we don’t raise OR catch. Our neighbor, who is an avid fisherman and hunter, gifted us with a large bag of frozen coho salmon. I thawed out this monster portion of fish with trepidation – we love fish, particularly salmon, but this was about 3 pounds or so of fish – could have fed six people! We had a meal using two of the smaller filets that came out of the thawed pile, but there were two enormous chunks – probably 1 ½ - 2# of filets that I had cooked and then wondered what to do with. I have never before made chowder, but I like it, so I looked up a bunch of recipes for fish chowder, making mental notes about things that sounded good to me. Here (approximately) is what I put together, which turned out to be a quite-savory fish chowder. Darrell whipped up a batch of his co

Thanksgiving Turkey transformed to Turkey Pot Pies for the freezer!

After our Thanksgiving gathering (turkey, Darrell's fabulous stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, butternut squash  and creamed corn from the garden, fresh cranberry/orange relish, homemade applesauce, the Fall Harvest Salad , and the ubiquitous Crescent Rolls without which my step-daughter could not survive Thanksgiving dinner), I pulled all the meat off the carcass and put the bones in a big pot to simmer for several hours, creating a wonderful broth. I spent a chunk of Saturday afternoon cooking carrots in some of that broth, cutting up turkey into bite-sized pieces, adding corn (from the summer garden) and peas, and then blending the broth, left-over potatoes and stuffing into a thick and wonderful gravy to create the pot pie filling (see our recipe for Turkey Pot Pie for all the instructions here ). Sunday afternoon, Darrell made pastry crusts and we assembled pies, ready for the freezer. Yum! Easy-peasy winter meal that can bake in the oven while we're out doing ch

Fall Harvest Salad with Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts, and Beets

I created this for a Thanksgiving 2012 get-together, wanting to focus on hearty fall garden veggies. It was a big hit at the table! One small Butternut squash, cut into cubes (or half of a medium squash) 20 Brussels Sprouts, cleaned and cut in half One small beet, cut in halves or quarters 3-4 slices of bacon, fried crisp, drained and cooled, broken into small pieces One smallish head Romaine lettuce, split into quarters and chopped chunky 3-4 smaller leaves of kale, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces 2 green onions, sliced thin 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans ½ cup dried cranberries ¼ cup Grated Parmesan cheese Brown sugar Honey Salt Vegetable or olive oil Balsamic or Red Wine vinegar Coarse black pepper Toss Butternut Squash cubes in a little oil in a bowl to coat them and spread on a baking sheet. Roast at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes (depending on the size of your chunks) or until nearly done. Return to bowl and add about

Monsters in the Garden . . .

So I've been working on digging the potatoes out of the garden before it freezes - finding a couple of dry days in a row so they can lay in the sun and dry and harden off has been a real challenge. At least we're getting some moisture back in the ground after the drought this summer, but all the rain is wreaking havoc with finishing up in the garden - no idea if it will dry out enough to till down all the new weeds that have sprung up with the rain, or if they'll just have a big head start next spring! Anyway, found this odd potato which looks like the maw of some undersea creature, ready to gobble up any small thing that comes its way. Don't know what it was eating underground - maybe grubs and such.

Odd Pods, revisited

Last year, I was bemused by the strange looking seed pods that formed on our radishes after they had gotten overgrown and flowered. I posted a photo of them then, and had mentioned them to someone recently who said the pods, when they're fresh and green, are good to eat! Raw in salads or such, or sautéed lightly was what I was told. So this past Monday, right before going traveling for 3 days, I was doing some last-minute gleaning in the garden and looked at the radishes. There are still lots of the pretty little white flowers, but many of the flower stems had beautiful green pods. I picked one and ate it - not unlike a sugar pea in its pod! And a very subtle taste of radishes as an after-note. So I harvested a bunch of them, put some in a salad for dinner that night - nice little crunchy addition! The rest are in the vegetable crisper - don't know how long they'll keep and be usable, but it was fun to try another idea to get even more yield out of the garden!

Homemade Ketchup!

I picked a bunch of tomatoes over the course of a few days, then cooked them down, ran them through the KitchenAid strainer to remove the skins and seeds (in the blue bowl) and got this lovely pulp (in the glass pitcher). Love that strainer attachment! Darrell then strained that through a cotton bag (pillow case) to get rid of all the extra water, then seasoned it and made 18 pint jars of ketchup from a recipe in an Ohio Amish cookbook. The recipe calls for a huge quantity of pulp, but he recalculated and makes this batch with about 4 1/2 quarts of drained pulp. This late in the year, I don't know if I'll get any more tomatoes off our plants - a slight frost caught me off-guard a couple of nights ago - weather forecast said it wouldn't get colder than high 30s, so I didn't cover the plants. Some damage, but probably can pull some tomatoes to ripen in the garage if it ever stops raining. I'd like to can some more tomatoes, or do the same process as with the ke

Surviving and Thriving - Serendipitous Broccoli!

Late spring, when I finally got the garden planted (about 2 -3 weeks later than planned!), I put in 4 broccoli plants. Within a couple of days, some little creature had munched them all down. When I was tilling the garden, little weeds were sprouting in the area they had been in, so I ran across it to clean it up and turned up the little stub that was left of one, still rooted in the soil it had come it. I looked at it and realized there was a little leaf and some green in the stem, so I re-planted it, watered it and watched to see if whatever had decimated the 4 plants came back. That didn't happen, but this little plant was so set back, I figured I would be lucky to get any broccoli off it at all. I looked at it a week ago (early September!), while doing some weeding, and there was no sign of any heads forming, but the plant had grown large and healthy-looking. This Saturday, I re-checked - lo and behold, not one, but TWO nice big heads! Apparently the little surviving stub man

Canning Tomatoes - YUM!

Today I turned out 18 pints of salsa and 7 quarts of canned tomatoes. Love, love, love all the great stuff you can make from tomatoes! Hopefully we'll get enough tomatoes to can more just for whatever, and make juice and ketchup. Cooked down a small amount of sauce after canning, intending to make a pasta and ground lamb "something" for dinner . . . fat chance, as the big draft horses decided to take a tour of a couple of pastures/fields they weren't supposed to be in, so by the time we had rounded them all up, it was late and we were tired and hungry - we had popcorn for supper! Hardly ever eat popcorn, so that was actually kind of fun!

Salvaging Corn

When the first two rows of corn came ready in the garden, we had our grandson here and no time to process. After he was gone, I picked half the rows and got a bunch of corn in the freezer, but the other half of those rows sat there as hay had to be put up, last of the pickles made, etc. So, I was thinking this over-ripe corn would just go to the piggies. But then, we remembered creamed corn, so I did an experiment and made a lovely small batch. It was so good that last night I picked the rest of the over-ripe corn, boiled it, cut it off the cob, mixed in cream, milk, butter, a little sugar and a little salt, and spread the mixture out in glass pans and roasted it in a 300-degree oven for about an hour and a half, maybe 2 hours, until the liquid reduced to carmelized goodness. That will make a wonderful alternative vegetable choice this winter!

Pickles, Jams, and other Goodies

The garden is really kicking in now . . . kale has been in for weeks and yields lots of good salad greens, greens to use for other purposes (steamed, or in omelets, for example); wax (yellow) beans are producing nicely and I'm thinking of pickling some of those; beets are lovely, first two rows of corn is ready to be picked, steamed, and frozen; pickling cukes are producing like crazy and I just processed what will be the last batch for us this season; and have had a few tomatoes, although not enough yet to go into a canning frenzy on those. We are out of nearly everything "tomato" from last season - canned tomatoes and salsa are gone, there's one jar of juice, and a couple jars of ketchup left . . . restocking is vital! Darrell has made blueberry jam and peach jam, and is planning on peach pie (YAY!) and freezing the rest of the peck he got last week. Last night I dug up a few potatoes off the Kennebec row and made scalloped potatoes with ham from a picnic should

Gardening in 95+ Degrees is not fun!

I have been managing, barely, to keep on top of the weeds in the garden. There are some open spaces where I had intended to plant buckwheat to be a cover crop, but that's not done yet. Maybe tomorrow morning when it's cool. This morning, I got the strawberry bed weeded, some large weeds out of one row of the asparagus (two rows to go - sigh), tomato plants tied up a bit more (I'm determined to not let them get away from me like last year, where I had vines and tomatoes all over the ground!), and odd weeds plucked from among many of the row plants. Darrell says I plant like I golf, with a slice - notice how everything curves off to the right in the rows. I prefer to say that it's a graceful, organic arc, as I'm not a linear person. Yeah, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Strawberries coming on!

We had to replant our strawberry patch last year, as we had allowed it to grow together into a huge mass and couldn't keep it weeded. After a year or two of weeds gaining, we just plowed it down and started over with three rows of new plants. This year the new plants are coming on great, and yesterday I picked the first berries - got about 4 quarts or so. Strawberry shortcake for supper tonight!

Pancetta from Coach Stop Farm Berkshire Pork!

One of our customers, Jon, just sent me this GORGEOUS photo of pancetta he cured himself in a curing chamber using the side pork from one of our great Berkshire hogs. He says, " Sweet, salty porky goodness."  Looks so yummy, I want to print out the photo and take a bite! Nice job, Jon!

Italian Sausage & Rice Casserole in a Skillet

While I was traveling a couple of weeks ago, Darrell made up a simple skillet dish for himself. He made it again yesterday, so I asked him to construct a recipe - when we cook, we tend to just use ingredients until it looks/tastes good, so sometimes actual measurements are hard to come by. These are his best estimates of what he has put into this skillet casserole . . . experiment to suit yourself! 1 onion, diced 2 stalks of celery, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 tsp white or black pepper Oregano and parsley to taste 1 ½ cups rice 3 ½ cups water or chicken stock Salt to taste 1 lb hot Italian sausage Parmesan Cheese, coarsely grated Chop onion as desired, sauté in a bit of olive oil until just transparent.   Add celery, cook until limp, add garlic, then add herbs to taste.   It will make a difference if you’re using fresh or dried and your preference.   You may also add a little basil or any other herb you desire.   I don’t add any salt beca

Dry-Rub Ribs for Summer Grilling Season

It seems appropriate to share this on the front page of the blog right now - nice weather has been so "early" for so many of us that thinking about grilling has become action for many. This is a simple recipe that will knock your socks off when you taste it. When we do ribs on the grill like this for company, we also usually have home-made potato salad, corn on the cob (in season), and usually make home-made ice cream made with cooked custard from our eggs. If this doesn't gear you up for summer grill meals, nothing will! Fabulous Dry-rubbed Ribs - grill or oven One Rack of Pork Ribs Package of Breakfast Sausage seasoning (dry spice mixture - butcher shops have it) or any pork seasoning you like (generally has some sage in it) One Lemon, cut in half Liberally rub the ribs with the dry seasoning and let stand about an hour Place ribs on grill or on baking sheet in the oven. (When grilling, use a cover - indirect heat grills work best, but if you use charcoal, avoid flame

A lovely Mediterranean chicken salad for lunch!

Friends were coming for lunch yesterday. When we first made the plan (it's March in Michigan), I thought "a yummy chicken soup from one of our chickens, along with some homemade French bread, will be just the ticket!" Then, watching the forecast on Monday, I realize the temp will be in the 80s on Wednesday (this was a record-setter for our area!), and that hot soup and warm bread was probably not the way to go. So I re-visited the menu. Fortunately, my mom collects recipes for me out of the paper, and on Sunday I had gotten the March Dash  insert. It had a Mediterranean Chicken Salad  recipe than sounded interesting. Of course, being me, I had to alter it some - partly because there are a couple of ingredients that I just don't care for (tarragon and olives) and partly because I didn't have exactly what the recipe asked for, so I substituted. Served on large leaves pulled off a head of Romaine lettuce, this was a wonderfully tasty, cool lunch on a hot day, wit