Author: Anita Poeppel

Borscht – Vegetarian/Vegan Optional

Borscht – Vegetarian/Vegan Optional

This classic Borscht recipe comes from our favorite Moosewood Cookbook.  It can be made completely vegetarian, vegan or you can use a meat stock for the broth addition.  Delicious, simple and absolutely gorgeous. This soup deserves a place on your table. 1 1/2 c thinly 

Making Broth – Keep It Simple

Making Broth – Keep It Simple

Many of you have asked for broth making recipes.  Making broth is not difficult and should not be intimidating.   If you can simmer water, you can make broth.   And, the results are so delicious, you’ll never go back to store bought.   We make broth regularly 

Creamy Potato Vegetable Soup

Creamy Potato Vegetable Soup

On a recent chilly night, we had a pot of chicken stock on the stove just waiting for a recipe.  Brian took a few ingredients and created the most delicious soup.  He made a nice big recipe so there was soup the next day which is, of course, always better than the first!  We hope you enjoy!

10 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
Black pepper
2 cloves garlic, fine dice OR 2 tsp granulated garlic
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp ground sage
12 c. chicken broth
1 medium onion, diced
3 medium carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
Few dashes of your favorite hot sauce
Salt to taste

For a thicker soup:
2 T butter
2 T. all-purpose flour
1 c. milk

In a soup pot, cook bacon, drain, cool and finely dice. Set aside.

Leaving approximately 2 T bacon fat in the pot, add diced potatoes and sauté a few minutes. Add thyme, sage, few grinds of black pepper, garlic and 8 c. chicken broth. Gently simmer until potatoes are tender. Using a stick blender, coarsely puree the soft potatoes. We prefer soup with some texture and not completely smooth.

Separately, add 2 T fat to a skillet and sauté diced onion, carrots and celery until tender. Add a ladle full of chicken broth to deglaze the pan and pour all into the pureed potatoes. Add remaining chicken broth to the soup. At this point, you can pulse the soup with a stick blender to coarsely chop the veggies or leave as is depending on how you like the soup. Add diced bacon and gently simmer to combine flavors. Taste for seasoning. We add a few dashes of our favorite hot sauce and salt as needed.  Go easy on the salt because the bacon may add enough for your taste.

If you want a thicker soup, melt 2 T butter in a small skillet and add 2 T flour. Whisk to make a roux and then add 1 cup milk whisking to prevent lumps. Once combined and smooth, add to your soup.

Our Love for Maple Syrup – with Recipes

Our Love for Maple Syrup – with Recipes

We’ve had a long and happy relationship with Maple Hollow pure maple syrup.   It was around 2001 when we were living at our first 5-acre farm in Woodstock, IL.   I read an article in Yankee magazine about the original Hatch granola along with a recipe.  

Foraging Chickens

Foraging Chickens

Here’s a look at our laying hens and meat chickens on our pastures. There’s nothing prettier or more enjoyable than seeing any of our livestock foraging. It’s healthy for our chickens to be outside foraging. They are in the open air, in sunshine and rain, 

Classic Roast Chicken

Classic Roast Chicken

If you’ve never oven roasted a whole chicken, I can assure you it is simple, fast and delivers some of the best chicken you will ever eat.   A whole bird offers maximum chicken enjoyment.   You have multiple cuts to choose from so everyone can have his or her favorite.  And, once the meat has been enjoyed, you simmer what remains in a pot to create flavorful broth.   For those of you who are strictly boneless, skinless breast devotees, consider trying a whole bird once in awhile.  You are truly missing out on some of the most delectable parts of the chicken.

The following is our simplest recipe for roast chicken.  Owning and operating an organic farm is more than a full time job and we cook all our meals.  Out of pure necessity and lack of time, we’ve learned how to prepare homecooked meals with straightforward methods.   With this recipe, you’ll have a whole bird plus roasted veggies on the table with minimum prep and about 1.25 hours roasting time.

Here we go.

1 – BBF whole chicken, completely thawed, approximately 3.5 – 4.5 lbs.

Salt, pepper, granulated garlic

Olive oil and/or butter

Fresh or dried herbs – our favorites are parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary

Sturdy vegetables – onions, potatoes, beets, parsnips, carrots, winter squash

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Chicken should be completely thawed and, if possible, left out of the fridge for 2-3 hours to come up to room temperature.  Remove liver, heart and set aside.   Neck can be seasoned and roasted with the chicken.   Pat chicken dry with paper towel.  Season with salt, pepper and granulated garlic on ALL sides and inside the cavity.   Drizzle bird with olive oil and rub seasonings all over bird.

Now prepare the vegetables.   Since you have the oven going and need veggies to go with dinner, roast them underneath and alongside the chicken.   Slice a large onion into 1/2″ thick slices and lay on roasting pan.  Add more sliced vegetables of your choice like potatoes, carrots or beets and place them on the roasting pan in a single layer.  Slice the veggies somewhat thickly because they do need to withstand a 1.25 hour roasting time so very thinly sliced veggies are not recommended.

Once veggies are arranged on your roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil.  Place seasoned chicken right over the top of the veggies.   We’ve done breast side up and breast side down – they both work!   Place in preheated oven and set your timer to 20 minutes.

Basting the chicken is not absolutely necessary but a single basting will give you crispier skin and who doesn’t love crispy chicken skin?!   We melt about 2 T butter or olive oil and throw in our favorite dried or fresh diced herbs like parsley, sage, rosemary or thyme.  After 20 minutes, remove chicken and brush all over with this herbed baste.  You can brush your veggies, too.

Place back into oven and roast another 40 minutes and then check for doneness.   Visually, the chicken is done when the drumsticks easily move back and forth and the skin has retreated from the ends of the drumsticks to reveal bone.  You can also use a thermometer in the thickest part of the breast without touching bone.   We call it done when the temp registers 165.

Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes and then enjoy what you’ve created along with a fresh green salad.

Post-Roast Chicken Enjoyment – Leftovers & Chicken Broth

After you’ve enjoyed all the delicious meat from your chicken, place all that remains of the chicken (except the liver and heart) into a stock pot and add water just to cover the carcass.   You can add a carrot, celery, small onion, a sprinkle of peppercorns and thyme OR you can simmer as is for a couple hours.  And, voila!   You have a basic chicken broth you can use to cook grains, make soup or just sip it on a cold day to lift your spirits.   Be sure to add salt to your broth to bring out the best flavor.

Leaf by Leaf

Leaf by Leaf

One of our favorite vegetables to grow is Salad Greens and we’ve been offering various leaves since this all started way back in 1995. Now, almost 30 years later, Anita continues growing salad greens with the help of daughters Lucy, Susannah and Laura. We’ve learned 

Maple Glazed Pork Roast

Maple Glazed Pork Roast

One of our favorite recipes from America’s Test Kitchen, this recipe is quick, simple and creates the most delicious Pork Shoulder Roast.   Best if you use a deep, dark pure maple syrup from our friends at Maple Hollow in Merril, WI. 1/3 cup dark pure 

Bread and Butter Pickles

Bread and Butter Pickles

We make these pickles using cucumbers OR summer squash (zucchini) when either is plentiful.   Instead of buying relish, we use our pickles for topping burgers, brats, mixing into egg salad or just about anywhere we want a sweet, tangy pickle.  Delicious!

You don’t have to can this recipe.   They will store for months in your refrigerator without canning.

4 pounds cucumbers or summer squash, thinly sliced

2 lbs onions, thinly sliced

1/3 cup salt

1.5 – 2 cups sugar

2 T mustard seeds

2 tsps turmeric

2 tsps celery seed

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp peppercorns

3 cups vinegar – we’ve used both organic white and apple cider

In a large bowl, combine sliced cukes or squash with onions.  In another large bowl, layer the vegetables with the salt adding a layer of veggie and then sprinkling with a little salt.   Cover the top of the bowl with ice cubes and let stand 1 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, combine the rest of the ingredients in a large saucepot and bring to a gentle simmer.  Turn off.

At end of the time, drain the veggies and rinse well.   Reheat the brine and pour over the veggies.   Return to large saucepot and heat to a simmer.

Pack in pint or half pint mason jars while hot.  If you do want to can, leave 1/4″ headspace, remove air bubbles and process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.  Makes about 7 pints.

Note: Recipe taken from our 1995 copy of the Ball Blue Book Guide to Home Canning, Freezing & Dehydration

Two Pigs Slider Pic

Two Pigs Slider Pic