Author: Anita Poeppel

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.  […]

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 great way to use up vegetables – eggplant, potato, tomato, summer squash, cauliflower – most vegetables will work very well in this dish.


Be sure to use fresh spices.  Worn out spices will not give you the rich, delicious flavor this dish can deliver with fresh, fragrant cumin, whole coriander (we start with whole and grind) and turmeric.  We prefer Frontier Co-op organic spices.


1/4 c olive oil
2 T peeled, fine minced fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, smashed into paste
1 onion, minced
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 c split red lentils
1 lb chopped mixed vegetables such as eggplant, summer squash, carrots, potato
2 tomatoes, diced
2 – 13.5 oz cans full fat coconut milk


In large sauce pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the ginger, garlic, onion, coriander, cumin and turmeric – cook, stirring now and then – until onions are softened and spices are fragrant, about 10 minutes.


Add the lentils, chopped mixed vegetables, diced tomato, coconut milk, 2 tsp salt.  Fill the two coconut milk cans with water or broth and add to sauce pan.  It will look like a lot of liquid but the lentils will absorb it while they cook.  Stir, turn heat to high and bring mixture to a boil.


Turn heat to low and allow lentils to simmer, stirring occasionally until they are completely soft and broken down and veggies are tender.  The lentils will become smooth and thicken the curry.  Season to taste with salt. Serve as is or over rice with plain organic yogurt and mint or cilantro.
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 […]

I Can Bake, Roast, Grate, Pickle, Ferment – What Am I?

I Can Bake, Roast, Grate, Pickle, Ferment – What Am I?

The answer to the question is one of our favorite root vegetables – BEETS!

If you aren’t a fan of beets, I’m here to tell you a recipe exists for this humble root that will change your mind.   Sure, you may not enjoy a homemade pickled beet like our family but there are more subtle ways to enjoy this vegetable.

Beets are as versatile as a potato or zucchini.   They can be eaten raw or roasted to sweet perfection.   They can be added to quick breads, muffins or even brownies.   Beets thrive in cool weather and roots are especially sweet in the fall after the first few frosty nights.   The roots store extremely well over the winter so there is no need to work hard preserving beets.  Harvested late fall, we can store traditional beets for up to 5 months in normal refrigerator conditions.   In fact, we prefer to store the roots fresh and use them as needed over the winter months.

It’s one of the greatest pleasures of growing food… eating your own homegrown, home stored food….even in the dead of winter.   A few beets sliced up, roasted until sweet and caramelized – delicious!   We figure winter roasted roots like beets warm us three times during the cold months – first when we worked hard to harvest them, second when we heated the oven to cook them and the third when they warmed our bellies during our meal.  Just another benefit of growing and eating your own food.

We’ve grown and enjoyed fresh beets for many years.  Here are a few of our favorite recipes – ones we’ve prepared repeatedly and have stood the test of time.  Hopefully we can turn some beet doubters into beet lovers.  Enjoy.

Grated Beet Salad with Balsamic and Oranges

Very simple, beautiful salad that stores for several days.  The color is amazing.  It’s almost like a relish that gets better the longer its allowed to sit.

Fresh Beets, 1 large or 2 or 3 medium, washed and trimmed

Fresh orange slices, chopped coarsely, reserving all juice or orange juice

Balsamic Vinegar

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Grate the beets using the coarse side of a box grater or use a food processor.   Place shredded beets in a bowl and toss with balsamic vinegar, fresh orange slices or orange juice, a drizzle of your best olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.  Toss and enjoy.


The Sweetest Roasted Beets

Fresh beets, wash and trimmed

Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Slice beets into 1/4″ slices.  Place in bowl and toss with olive oil and sprinkle of salt.  Place in shallow roasting pan and bake at 325 until a paring knife easily pierces the slices.   Remove from oven and serve with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.


Sautéed Beet Greens with Gruyere

A Lucy original, here is a delicious recipe for using beets greens.

1 package BBF bacon

Beets Greens – chopped coarsely, include stems and leaves

Gruyere Cheese, coarsely grated

Cook a few slices of bacon until desired doneness. Remove and reserve fat in pan. Add chopped beet greens and sauté lightly. Don’t cook the life out of them! Just a quick, hot sauté. Remove from pan and place in serving bowl. Allow to sit for a few minutes to cool. Add grated Gruyere cheese while still warm. Sprinkle with chopped bacon. Splash of balsamic vinegar is a nice finish.


Beet and Carrot Quick Bread

Adapted from the Cornersmith cookbook, Lucy created this beautiful quick bread based on the Purple Carrot Loaf recipe.   The bread is not too sweet, not too dense, not oily.  It’s perfect.  Thank you to authors Alex Elliott-Howery and James Grant for sharing their beautiful food ideas.  Straight from down under!

Lucy used orange carrots and added grated beets to the original recipe.    This is a great way to use those beets in your CSA share!  Everyone will love this bread!

Makes 1 large loaf and one mini loaf.  Or, use muffin tins and fill 2/3 full.

10 1/2 oz or 2 cups all purpose flour

1 heaped tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

4 fresh eggs

4 oz sugar – we use Sucanat

10 1/2 ounces coconut oil, melted

3 medium carrots, grated

2 medium beets, grated

5 1/2 oz Fillmore Farms organic walnuts, plus extra for topping batter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Oil pans and line bottoms with parchment.  Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in large bowl.

Using mixer, beat eggs and sugar until pale, thick and frothy.  Slowly add the coconut oil and continue beating for a few more minutes until smooth and well combined.

Using a spatula or large spoon, mix in the grated roots, then fold in the flour mixture and walnuts.  Pour batter into prepared pans or muffin tins, scatter walnuts over the top and bake 50 minutes or until skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  Mini loaf will bake in 25-30 minutes.  Allow bread to cool and then turn out bread.


Beet Bourguignon

This recipe was suggested by a Vegetable CSA member who gave it an enthusiastic review.   Great vegetarian recipe!

Building, Bonding & The Beatles

Building, Bonding & The Beatles

Building a chicken hoophouse has been just an idea for years.   We had intended to build something similar to expand our smaller, traditional chicken house at the Wyoming farm but it was always put off. During 2019, our first full year living here at the […]

Lacto-Fermented Homemade Corned Beef

Lacto-Fermented Homemade Corned Beef

A few years ago, we tried this recipe from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon because we wanted real Corned Beef, from our own organic Grassfed Brisket, made with good ingredients.    Processed, store bought meats do not appear on our table.  If we want traditional […]

Braised Savory Whole Chicken with Tomatoes & Olives

Braised Savory Whole Chicken with Tomatoes & Olives

If we’re cooking a whole cut-up BBF Chicken, it’s most likely going to end up in a saucy, savory skillet dish like this one – tender chicken pieces nestled into a flavorful tomato based sauce with onions, peppers and Kalamata olives.   This skillet dinner is an easy way to feed and impress a hungry family.   And, it absolutely delivers on real flavor.

1 BBF Whole Cut-Up Chicken, completely thawed

2 Quarts Canned or frozen whole tomatoes, homegrown if possible

2 Medium Onions, cut in half lengthwise, then into fourths

Peppers – we use our homegrown large dice frozen, approximately 3 cups.   If using fresh, you’ll need at least 3 or 4 sweet bell peppers

Fresh Garlic – several cloves, smashed in your mortar and pestle for maximum garlic flavor

Fresh or dried herbs – Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme – any will work or omit

Olives, pitted, plus the brine – we used organic Kalamata from Mediterranean Organic

Place chicken pieces on a baking sheet setting aside the heart, liver, 2 back pieces and the neck.  We used the back pieces for stock making but you can use them in this dish if you like.   They will certainly add flavor and the back pieces do have little bits of succulent dark meat.

Liberally season all chicken pieces front and back with salt, pepper and organic garlic granules or powder.  This is our standard seasoning for every piece of meat we prepare.  Feel free to alter to your liking although do not omit salt and pepper.

Drizzle pieces with olive oil.   Heat your best large skillet (we use cast iron) until hot, add high heat safe fat and begin browning the chicken pieces.  Depending on the size of your skillet, you will do this in 2 or 3 batches OR use more than one skillet.  Turn chicken to brown all sides.   Set chicken on plate to rest while you prepare sauce ingredients.

In same skillet, saute onions and peppers just to take the edge off – they will continue cooking in the sauce.  Onions should be translucent but veggies should be slightly al dente.

If you didn’t use two skillets for browning the chicken, you may need the extra at this point.  We had to use one large and one medium skillet to accommodate all the chicken plus sauce ingredients.   If using two skillets, distribute peppers and onions along with the chicken keeping breast pieces together as they may require less cooking time.  Add tomatoes and smashed garlic to each skillet.  Sprinkle chicken with Kalamata Olives and add a bit of the brine as well.  Turn heat to low and simmer until chicken is cooked through.  Check breast pieces first to make sure they don’t overcook.   Check for seasoning adding salt if necessary.

We served this delicious, tender chicken over creamy polenta with a few good shavings of fresh parmesean.   Feta cheese would be excellent here, too.  The sauce is a rich tomato broth and goes perfectly with the polenta.   We added our clean chicken bones to a pot of chicken stock.



The Julia Burger

The Julia Burger

Before we had our eureka moment for making the perfect hamburger, we made too many burgers that didn’t deliver.    Too thick, too much shrinking, not covering the bun properly, not enough seasoning.  They just didn’t come together like a really good diner style burger.  […]

Italian Beef – The Real Way

Italian Beef – The Real Way

Here’s another BBF Grassfed Beef braising recipe that produces fall apart tender meat and flavorful broth.  Served over the best crusty bread you can bake or procure, an Italian Beef sandwich is one of our favorite, easy meals.  The best cut for Italian Beef is […]

Sitka Coho Salmon

Sitka Coho Salmon

Here we are in the middle of the Midwest yet we are sourcing some of the best wild Alaskan salmon available to anyone.

We are incredibly fortunate to have Sitka Salmon located in our community based just west of Peoria in Galesburg, IL.  This company is the very definition of sustainable small scale fishing.   Sitka works directly with fishing families willing to do it right, respect the environment and support, not exploit, the Alaskan salmon population.  Every time we sit down and enjoy a piece of Sitka’s salmon, we literally thank, out loud, the men, women and kids who work hard to provide us with such a delicious meal.  This is one of the most precious and unique products we carry here at the farm and we’re so very proud to have Sitka Salmon present in our store.

We carry one species of Sitka salmon – Coho.   Besides King salmon, the most buttery & fattiest of the salmon species, Coho is next in line in terms of fat content.  You want the fat for flavor and to prevent the fish from drying out when cooking.    While King is an absolutely delicious piece of fish, Coho is also incredibly tasty and comes in at a more affordable price.

We’re asked fairly often how we cook our salmon.  Below is our standard, no frills cooking instructions for a piece of Coho.

Rub thawed piece of salmon on both sides with good olive oil.  Season both sides with salt, freshly ground pepper and organic garlic granules (fine but not as fine as garlic powder which can be clumpy when wet) on both sides.  This is our standard seasoning for every piece of chicken, pork, beef, and salmon we cook even if we add additional flavor.

We heat our best cast iron skillet until hot and then add a high heat safe fat like organic coconut oil or our own organic lard.  Don’t let the fat smoke.  We place the fish flesh side down first and cook 3-4 minutes.  It often sticks just a little bit so with the thinnest sharpest metal spatula you have, flip the salmon.   Cook another 3-4 minutes on the second side.   This gives us a medium rare piece.    It is very easy to overcook a piece of salmon so if you prefer a piece more done, remove from heat, place lid on pan and check every 3 -4 minutes for doneness.    The residual heat from the skillet will easily finish the piece.

Finished salmon can be brushed with a simple herbed butter infused with crushed garlic.   Just heat a couple tablespoons of butter along with smashed garlic (use mortar and pestle) and any fresh or dried herb of your choice.

In the years since we’ve carried Sitka Salmon, there has been plenty of positive feedback on the quality of the fish.   The comment that has stuck with us the most comes from a native Alaskan living here in Illinois for many years.   Upon trying the Sitka Coho, he declared he’d finally found a product that tasted like home.   What more do you need?