Author: Anita Poeppel

Bonnie’s Last Calf

Bonnie’s Last Calf

On March 31, about 12:30 p.m., with the sun shining bright and a cold north wind blowing, our beloved Jersey milk cow Bonnie gave birth to a bull calf.  We knew she was close by the way she had removed herself from the rest of 

Praise the Lard

Praise the Lard

Lard is just one of the healthy fats we use in our farm kitchen.  We need multiple choices because different cooking methods and heat levels require different fats.   It’s well known that scorching, smoking fat is not a healthy cooking method.  Choose the right fat 

A Very Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie

A Very Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie

This recipe was used for a recent supper and the leftovers were perfect for a hot lunch the next day. The recipe makes a generous 9″ x 13″ pan of pure comfort food. The dish comes together quickly and makes a warming dish for a cold winter evening.

This is traditionally a meat and potatoes dish but we love our vegetables so the recipe includes plenty.   Feel free to blur the lines on the amounts for each veggie.   We use a full glass quart Pyrex of diced raw roots, onion and celery to saute with the meat.

We’ve made Shepherd’s Pie with any combination of ground beef, lamb and pork.  We like using two different kinds of meat for best flavor.

For the meat mixture:

1 lb. BBF ground beef

1 lb. BBF ground pork

1 ½ tsp. salt

Fresh ground pepper

2 tsp granulated garlic

1 cup diced organic carrot

1 cup diced organic celery

1/4 cup diced Laura’s Flat Leaf Parsley

1 cup diced organic onion

1 cup diced organic rutabaga (sub diced turnip, kohlrabi or celeriac)

4 cloves fresh garlic, minced

2 tsp minced Laura’s fresh Rosemary

1 – 7 oz jar organic tomato paste

1/2 – 3/4 cup beef or chicken stock to deglaze

1 bag frozen organic peas

For the topping:

10 med organic potatoes, washed, peeled, and cut in half

3 Tbs. organic Butter

1 cup grated McCluskey Sharp or Mild Cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large skillet and add ground meat, salt, pepper, and granulated garlic.  Brown meat, chopping up into small pieces.  When meat is no longer pink, use a slotted spoon and transfer meat to a bowl leaving leftover fat still in the skillet.  Add vegetables to the skillet, season with salt, and cook on medium/low heat until tender.  Add water or stock, cover and steam vegetables, if needed, to tenderize veggies without browning too much.

When veggies are tender, add the meat back to the skillet along with the tomato paste.  Combine well and cook mixture a couple minutes, stirring constantly. Add stock and frozen peas, scraping the bottom of the pan.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Turn off.

Add potatoes to a big pot and cover with water.  Bring potatoes to a boil and simmer gently until tender.  Drain all but 1/2 – 3/4 cup water.  Mash potatoes with remaining cooking water, butter, cheese, and lots of salt and pepper.

Transfer meat mixture to a glass 9×13 baking dish, set on a rimmed baking sheet.  Add mashed potatoes on top and smooth with a spatula.  Bake the dish in a 400 degree oven for about 40 min or until it’s bubbly around the edges and potatoes are lightly browned.  Cool at least 10 mins before serving.

Tip for rewarming:  Cut Shepherd’s Pie into individual pieces and place in 325 oven for 20 minutes.

Beet Salad with Hard-Boiled Eggs and Mustard Parsley Dressing

Beet Salad with Hard-Boiled Eggs and Mustard Parsley Dressing

This recipe has become a favorite in our house.  It is inspired by the Beet Salad with Poppy Seed + Chive Dressing from the cookbook Now and Again by Julia Turshen.  She is amazing! 2 ½ lbs beets, washed, greens removed and set aside 2 

family pic bales

family pic bales

Jam Thumbprints – A Cookie Classic

Jam Thumbprints – A Cookie Classic

Even though we’re addicted to our wholesome organic food, we can always make exception for an excellent, homemade organic cookie.   This is a classic cookie recipe, tried and true.   Make your cookies with the best ingredients and you will taste the difference – organic ingredients 

Gypsy Soup

Gypsy Soup

From a well worn copy of the Moosewood Cookbook, Lucy found this delicious and very easy soup recipe.  It’s a perfect soup for fall when gardeners are harvesting the last of this and that.  We enjoyed this recipe so much, we made it twice in 

Chicken Vegetable Soup

Chicken Vegetable Soup

No sooner does the weather cool down and we’re making soup.   It may seem daunting at first, but if you make homemade, broth based soup a few times, you will get quite good at pulling together something pretty wonderful in a reasonable amount of time.   Soups are efficient at feeding a hungry family and they will help you use up those few veggies and leaves hanging around in your fridge.  Homemade soup is very good the first night – even better for lunch or dinner the next day.

Make Chicken Broth

We make our broth a couple different ways.   First, we’ll make broth from the leftovers of a roasted chicken.  All the bones, skin, etc. go into a stock pot and enough water is added to just barely cover the chicken parts.   Cook this for several hours on your stove or crock pot, strain.  We strain into quart mason jars using a canning funnel and small mesh strainer.

The second method is using our Chicken Necks & Backs.  We prefer the crock pot so we can leave it to cook while we work outside.  We place defrosted chicken in the crock pot and add 1 quart water for every pound of chicken parts.  We let this cook for a couple hours.  We remove the backs only to pick off meat and then return the parts to the crock pot to continue cooking.   A good broth can be made in 4 hours but cooking longer is fine.   Strain broth when complete.

When you are ready to make soup, skim off the fat (and save!!), place broth in soup pot and begin heating.


We like tomato in our vegetable soup but sometimes we want the skin removed.  Here’s an easy method to remove the skins from fresh tomatoes.   We halve or quarter a few tomatoes and add pieces to the hot broth.   You only need to let them cook a few minutes and the skin will slip right off.   We use a slotted spoon to lift the tomatoes up out of the broth, pull off skin and place back into broth to stew.   If you don’t mind the skin, just cut up and add to your broth.

Over the winter, we’ll use a quart or two of our canned stewed tomatoes.


We start with diced carrots, onion and celery (or swiss chard stems) and saute these vegetables until slightly tender.  We use the chicken fat skimmed off the broth to saute our vegetables.   Our chickens are organically fed and pastured.  The good nutrition from our growing practices are present in the fat – use it!  Once these veggies are tender, add to broth.  Take a ladle full of broth, add to the saute pan, scrape up all the flavor and add to soup pot.  Keep building the flavor!

We then add more diced vegetables to the soup pot depending on what we have – potato, winter squash, broccoli (including the diced leaves), sweet corn (cut off the cob, cob added to broth for flavor), green beans, summer squash.


We always add beans of some sort – usually garbanzo or red kidney.  These are already cooked in our own kitchen or organic canned beans.


We add sliced greens of some sort – spinach, swiss chard, broccoli leaves, Napa or regular cabbage, or kale.   It’s not a soup without a green!  They wilt beautifully in the broth adding another element to your soup.

Herbs & Garlic

We crush 2 or 3 garlic bulbs into a paste and add to the soup pot.   We’ll also add sprigs of fresh thyme, sage leaves, bay leaves, fresh basil and/or oregano.   If you have frozen pesto for the winter, a cube of pesto is excellent in a vegetable soup.

Salt & Pepper

You have to salt your soup.   You can add a little as you go, tasting along the way, or make it right in the end.   But, you will not achieve soup glory unless you loosen up and add salt.  No argument – it’s a must.  We also add freshly ground pepper.


The last thing we add before serving soup is the chicken picked from a leftover meal and/or the stewed chicken backs when we made the broth.   Add it last so it doesn’t overcook.  All your veggies should be cooked through before adding the meat.

Heat gently, ladle into bowls and enjoy!


Curried Red Lentils with Coconut Milk and Vegetables

Curried Red Lentils with Coconut Milk and Vegetables

Curried Red Lentils with Coconut Milk From Small Victories by Julia Turshen This recipe has become a favorite dish in our house and there are rarely leftovers. It’s simple, the flavors are delicious and a bowl of this warm curry is perfect for cooler fall nights.  Plus, it’s a 

Molasses Barbecue Sauce

Molasses Barbecue Sauce

Easy recipe that delivers excellent flavor for your next barbecue.  There is no need to buy BBQ sauce with undesirable ingredients when you can so easily make this delicious sauce in 10 minutes. From the most excellent cookbook, Small Victories by Julia Turshen. 1/2 cup 

Chioggia Beet Salad with Lime and Mint

Chioggia Beet Salad with Lime and Mint

This raw beet salad really shows off the striking colors of these gorgeous roots.  Chioggias are a mild beet that love the flavors used in this salad.  Thank our Lucy for another original winning recipe – a perfect light summer salad.

Chioggia Beet roots 
Green Onion
Fresh Mint
Lime Juice
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar

Slice beets thinly using a mandolin if you have one or use a very sharp knife.  We don’t peel the beets.  The skin is not tough.

Place sliced beets in a wide bottomed bowl and add thinly sliced green onion.  Add chopped fresh mint. Drizzle with olive oil, lime juice and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Be careful not to use too much balsamic or the color will be darkened on the beets.  A little sprinkle of salt, toss and serve. Delicious!