Showing posts with label Farmhouse Kitchen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Farmhouse Kitchen. Show all posts

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Fennel and Leek Soup With a Fairytale Twist

Fennel bulbs were on sale at the local grocery. I can't resist buying up weird veggies when our rural shop gets them in. I knew this would be destined for a soup so I grabbed a bunch of leeks too. Mmmmm. Leeks. I love leeks. They are perfect for soups.

I had turkey stock on hand, celery, and leftover mashed potatoes. It all simmered for hours and then I pureed it into perfection.

A perfection that my children decided to name.....

Ogre Snot Soup.

Because it looked like,  you guessed it, ogre snot. Thank kids.

It was so good though. Lily had, not one, not two, not three....but four bowls and had it for breakfast the next day. I am quite sure that part of it was the disgust that Holly had at the mere sight of the soup in the bowl and Lily's slurping took her disgust to the next level- the run and hide and play ponies upstairs level.

Here is the recipe, if you dare:

Fennel and Leek Soup With a Fairytale Twist

One entire bulb and frond of fennel.
Two stalks of celery with greens on the end.
Four whole leeks, green and bulb.
       Chop that whole lot into smaller bits.
2 quarts of broth. I used turkey.
Simmer until it is all soft and then add 2 cups of mashed potatoes (or diced potatoes, about 4, and add at the beginning with some butter).
Once package of sour cream.
Salt, thyme, tarragon, cayenne, and white pepper. I used our Prairie Fire seasoning salt.
Simmer some more.
Then take off and cool down a bit, puree in blender in small batches, and return to the pot.
Bring back up to simmer for about 10 minutes.
Serve into soup bowls and garnish with white cheddar and croutons.

Tell your kids that it is made from ogre snot and they will have to eat it all up or their hair will fall out. Just kidding. I didn't do that. I did read the original Sleeping Beauty to them, all the way to the end, where the Prince's mother, who is half ogre, tries to eat Sleeping Beauty and her two beautiful children while the Prince, now King, is off making war. Spoiler, the evil Queen throws herself into the giant vat of broth and makes herself into soup.

Mmmmmm. Soup.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Prairie Fire Holiday Bread Stuffing

 I forgot the soak the beans for what I usually bring to market for sample and was scrambling this morning to make something. Then I had a brilliant and silly idea to make stuffing. Of course, Thanksgiving is next week, right!?

So why silly? I hate stuffing. I have a complex and broken relationship with stuffing. Hate is a mild statement. I refused as a child to eat anything that was cooked in what I crassly referred to as a turkey's a-hole. Not going to eat it.

Add to that a certain family member's experiment adding "herbs" and then because of my steadfast rule of NEVER eating said stuffing, being the only person at the meal sober? Yes, the memory of my quite high grandmother calling me a lesbian and trying to strangle me over the mashed potatoes has marred my relationship with this classic dish.

But I am over it. Hell is a thing we carry with us, not a place we go- wisdom courtesy of Neil Gaiman. It is time to make the stuffing.

So......I found a couple easy crock pot recipes (not making it in a poultry's arse, on that I am firm). I studied the recipes on my iPhone as I walked the aisles of the grocery store. Goodness I love that we carry all of human knowledge in our back pockets so casually.

4 cups of no/low sodium organic chicken broth
1 stick of unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons of Prairie Fire Seasoning (or your favourite Cajun salt plus some herbs)
12 cups of dry bread crumbs

Boil the broth and melt the butter into it. Add seasoning a teaspoon at a time until it tastes just right to you. For me that is 2 Tablespoons.

Pour seasoned buttery broth over the dry bread crumbs in a crock pot. Fluff a bit with a large spoon but don't over work it. The broth will steam and settle so let it be. Cover and cook on high for one hour (or dutch oven in oven at 200 for an hour).

There you go. That's it. It was so good I ate half of it at our booth between talking to customers. Me. Who hates stuffing. Seriously.

Lily was my helper and made beautiful art while we worked the market day.  Love this girl and her eye for colour and her customer skills. She is one cool kid.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Sexy Cajun Red Beans and Rice

Recipe: Sexy Cajun Red Beans and Rice

1 cup of wild rice
2 cups of bean mix
6 cups of chicken or veggie broth
1 T of season salt (Swamp Fire) (a seasoned salt like Tony Chacher will work- choose one with garlic and cayenne if you don't have access to our farm mixed swamp fire salt).
1 T of magic soup herbs (or 1/2 t of dried shallots 1/2 t chevril, 1/2 t of thyme, 1/2 t aleppo peppers, bay leaf.)
Soak bean mix for 8 hours.
Drain soak water.
Add rice and broth and spices.

Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cover. 2 hours or when the broth mostly absorbed is how long it takes.

Keep in crock pot on warm to serve buffet style. It is seriously good party food. Makes 8 or so cups.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Peach Crisp with Coconut (GF)

Filling: Peaches- three pints. Strain juice off and save for bonus recipe.

No extra sugar. No extra lemon juice. The peaches are canned in both and are plenty sweet on their own. Even if you are slicing and using fresh peaches, as long as they are in season Missouri peaches, you should be good to go with just good peaches.

6 Tb of flour. I used all purpose GF flour.
1/2 cup of raw sugar
pinch of salt
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of tumeric (optional)
5 Tb of butter
1/4 cup shredded coconut (or ground up nuts, but I was out)

Mix all the dry ingredients in, then cut the butter in with a pastry cutter or food processor.

Once it is the texture of cornmeal, add in 1/4 cup shredded coconut.

Dump and spread peaches into an 8x8 pan. Dump and spread topping over them.

Oven at 350 degrees F for about an hour. Check on it and take it out when the top is browned.

Serve with whip cream, ice cream, or sour cream. Really, any of those will work. I've even used plain Greek yogurt.

Ta Da.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Farmhouse Chicken and Dumplings

I found one last chicken in the deep freeze. It was a small bird, but I was really needing to do something special with it. I made chicken pot pie. We had chicken on pasta. I made nearly a gallon of broth.

We were on our last 2 quarts of broth and I had a nagging in my belly for this. A friend made it for me last fall, but I knew I could spice it up a little and make it my own.

So. That is what I did.

For the Soup Base: 

Chicken broth simmered with onions, celery, carrots, tarragon, turmeric (just a pinch), swamp fire salt (basically garlic, cayenne, and pepper if you don't have any, but you should get some from us.....), and chervil, and thyme. Then I took my pie crust recipe and rolled them into small dough balls with some Aleppo pepper. Once the carrots were cooked (about 30 minutes), I dropped the dough into the simmer and covered for 30 minutes.

Then I added 1/2 cup of cream. The flour from the dumpling balls thickened the soup base too.

That's it. That's all.

For the dough balls:
3 cups of all purpose unbleached flour. I use Bob's Red Mill or the local Paul's Grains High Gluten. Either one works well.

1 teaspoon of kosher salt.

3/4 cup SALTED sweet cream butter frozen and then cut into 1/4 inch pieces. I prefer to make my own butter BUT there is no noticeable difference between that and store bought in this recipe.

1/4 cup of frozen lard. Pig lard. I'm not kidding. Use local, pastured pig lard if you can. HUGE difference. (If any of you local ladies want to try it let me know and I'll share a bit.) Cut into pieces.

1/2 cup of very cold water.

I also added Aleppo pepper and thyme to the dough. That's optional though.

Put the dry ingredients in the food processor and pulse to blend. Then add the butter and lard. Pulse until mixture is crumbly. Fluff the mixture if needed. Add the water slowly while pulsing and stop once the mixture starts clumping like course crumbs.

Take mixture out and knead with your hands on floured parchment paper. Form into two balls and squish into disks. Wrap in plastic or paper and stick in the fridge.

When it is time to make into bitesized balls, take out and work the dough quickly. Makes about 30 small bites.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Walnut Syrup

Walnut sap is/was flowing. What do you do with walnut sap? Ah, good question.

Turns out, the same thing you do with maple sap.....boil it to syrup! Oh my house smells so good right now, like German Chocolate cake. Sugaring season is my favourite part of winter/spring on the farm and almost makes the cold bearable. Maybe we are all just sugar drunk on sap, though.

Some observations and questions though.
1) little gelly blobs keep forming in the sap/syrup boil. I searched online to find out what this is and only found another sugarer asking the same question. Anyone know?
2) This sap seems to take longer to boil down.
3) They are flowing earlier than the maples. This may be a way to maximise our syrup and better tell when the maples will start flowing?
4) Our walls are NOT sticky. Not even a little bit. Nor is the underside of the shelf above the boil or the back of the stove.  Our windows are not even fogging up.
5) If you use bags instead of buckets, remember to collect before nightfall and don't let it freeze in the bags. Destruction happens.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Maple Tapping Part Two, Let's TAP This.

Supplies. Temp outside for flow needs to be above freezing during the day, below freezing (33 degrees F) at night. These are the days that sap flows. The warmer and sunnier the day, the faster the flow. We can sometimes get 3 full buckets from one tree in a day when it is 60 degrees in daylight and freezing overnight. Thank you Iowa! Flow starts today!

Read here for getting supplies ready.

This is the diameter of the trees nearest our home that are suitable for tapping.  If a tree has more than a 21" diameter, it will support 2 taps, which we've done in a few places.
These are the leaf buddings. When the tree buds out for real, the sap takes on a really, really bad taste, called bud taint. Sap will keep flowing, but you DO NOT want this sap to contaminate your syrup boil. It smells fine as sap too, but when boiled down is tastes like dead mouse smells. NOT KIDDING. So, trust me, pay attention to these buds as the tapping time goes along. We usually get about two weeks of flow.

The leaf buds are also the best way to identify maple species in winter time.  I'll do another post on that in the future.
 This is so easy, our nine year old can do it. Chad is helping though.  Drill the hole at a good height for you to reach, a few inches away from last years taps, and about 2-3 " deep.  Be sure to tilt up so the sap runs out.  Best place to drill is the south side of the tree under a big branch - south side warms up fastest, sap will be moving to the branch.

 This is a good bore hole.
This is the spile.
 Push it in with your fingers.

Hammer it. Lightly on the flat part, not the end of the spout.

 These hooks were put on by the folks who mailed them backwards from how I like them, so I had to take it out and re-orient the hook.  If using a bag you can leave the hook off entirely.
 Hang bucket, attach lid.

 Ta da!
 Or hang the bag. It doesn't need a lid (and is WAY cheaper!)

Bonus picture: this tree? Glorious maple that it is, it is a bad choice for tapping. First, part of it is rotten and actually smashed down and broke things. Second, ALL sap from it is tainted. Gross. Any of it will ruin the pot of syrup. The taint tastes like Ritz crackers with a chaser of spoiled Brussels sprouts.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Tap Tap Tap Tap! Maple Tapping Getting the Equipment Ready

Locate and wash all the parts. We have managed to lose parts every year.

Charge cordless drill.

These are spiles. You can use these with food grade buckets or with the sap bags. We are useing some of both this year to test the bags - they are a lot cheaper.  
These are the bag holders.
Slide the bag on and fold over.

Open it and smooth.
Slide the top part over.
Chad weight tested it because I was unsure the bag would hold.
Position the spile. This pic is just so you know how it works - the bag holder will hang off of the ridge on the top of the spile. You keep it off until after the tap is in the tree. Here is an inside shot. Stay tuned for part two. I am blogging from my phone on a cross country bus!

Here is part two!

Sunday, 9 February 2014

No Peach for the Wicked.....A Wicked Simple Peach Pie

First you need in season peaches. There is no comparison to grocery store peaches or frozen grocery store peaches. In my world those are not really peaches. Pretend such things do not exist and the world will be a better place.

I can fresh Missouri peaches in July and August at the peak of their peachy juicy yumminess. These peaches, canned in sparkling jars will do. Sigh, in a pinch glass jar peaches from the grocery store will work but only the glass jar ones. Think I am being snobby? These are peaches we are talking about.

Once upon a time I did not understand the glory of peaches. I just thought they were.... meh. One sunny morning Chad and I set off in newly wedded bliss to the farmer's market. It was a hot July morning in Iowa, crowds send me in a panic, but Chad was on a mission. I said peaches were no big deal. He had to prove me wrong. 

Oh. He handed me the most perfect round globe of deliciousness, bite already out of one side because he had to taste test it to make sure it was perfectly ripe. The sweet-sour juices ran down my cheeks as I gobbled it. It was like eating sunshine. I wanted more. We ordered peach trees for our city garden. Not the 36 peach trees I wanted as I calculated exactly how many trees would fit in our urban lot. I no longer wanted spinach or tomatoes.....just peaches. Forever peaches.

I do now have my 36 peach trees and room for more. Mmmmmm...peaches.

Peach pie, however, eluded my grasp. It never turned out just right! How unfair!

Then I realised that most peach pie recipes work with inferior peaches. Just like with everything in my kitchen, scaling back was going to be the key, working with the best ingredients and highlighting the pure flavours instead of hiding them in spices. 

So you need peaches. About 4 for a typical pie. More if they are small. This equals 1 quart of canned peaches at my house.


4 large ripe and sliced peaches
1/4 cup of raw sugar.
Lemon juice (one lemon's worth or 1.5 T)
a pinch of sea salt
a teaspoon of almond extract
4 T of cornstarch

Pie dough recipe at the end of this post.

Put filling in pie tin lined with crust dough. Top with dough in whatever design you choose, just not a solid sheet. The peach filling needs lots of venting. That's a pro tip. Brush with milk or melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.

350 degrees, middle rack. Bake until browned (about 45 minutes).

Sometimes I get fancy and add vanilla bean salt to the top with the sugar, but just because.

That is the filling. You could add some cinnamon, ginger, or allspice, but it isn't needed. The bright flavour of the peaches stand on their own.

This is the pie crust recipe here.

2 cups of flour
1 stick of butter, frozen
4 T of fresh farm rendered lard, frozen
1 T of raw sugar
1 T of salt

Cut by hand or food processor and then add 1/4 of ice water or buttermilk until doughy. Then roll out and work fast.

That's it. Really.