Farm Blog

Real Lemonade with Local Honey

Real Lemonade with Local Honey

These hot summer days call for an ice cold glass of real lemonade.   Not something made from a powder.  Real lemons.   Real local honey.  Pure old fashioned lemonade goodness. Here’s how it goes: 4 organic lemons 1 T organic sugar 1 qt. water 4 T 

Easy Fresh Cucumber Pickle

Easy Fresh Cucumber Pickle

Inspired by a recipe from our favorite food blog, Smitten Kitchen, here is a quick and easy fresh pickle that tastes delicious.  We’ve tweaked the recipe just a little by adding garlic and/or garlic scapes for an extra kick. Fresh Cucumbers Sea Salt White vinegar 

Napa Cabbage Salad with Apples & Pecans

Napa Cabbage Salad with Apples & Pecans

2 teaspoons butter
1 cup organic pecan halves
1 tablespoon brown sugar OR pure maple syrup
Pinch of cayenne (optional)
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup organic olive oil
2 medium firm, crisp organic apples, quartered, cored, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage, leaves and ribs are fine

Melt butter over medium-high heat and add pecans, stir 1 minute. Add sweetener of choice and cayenne; stir until nuts are coated, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Whisk both vinegars and mustard in small bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil.  Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.  Toss apples with lemon juice in large bowl.  Add cabbage and mix.  Add dressing and toss.  Stir in pecans and season salad with salt and pepper.
Optional toppings: Sharp cheeses such as blue or cheddar, sunflower meats, dried fruit, roasted beets.

Sauteed Beet Greens with Bacon and Gruyere

Sauteed Beet Greens with Bacon and Gruyere

Lucy is an excellent cook and has a wonderful way of taking what is available seasonally and turning it into something so delicious.   This recipe will help you make use of the beautiful beet greens attached to the roots.  They’re just too good to waste. 

Radish Quinoa Salad with Feta

Radish Quinoa Salad with Feta

This recipe was shared way back during our 2015 CSA season.  It’s worth repeating because it’s so delicious.  We make this often in the spring with the pretty red radishes and in the fall when we harvest daikon.  It is definitely a keeper and one 

Creamy Garlic Scape & Dill Dressing

Creamy Garlic Scape & Dill Dressing

Brian created this recipe in just a few minutes using fresh dill and garlic scapes.  Delicious!   Not too heavy and very fresh tasting.  Use it for a salad dressing, veggie dip or savory sauce.  Excellent on a seasoned lamb burger.

1 – 16 oz container organic sour cream
1 or 2 green onions, coarsely chopped
3 or 4 garlic scapes, coarsely chopped
¼ cup coarsely chopped dill
2 T organic Organic Roots Olive Oil
1 T organic Apple Cider Vinegar
Salt and Pepper

Combine onions, garlic scapes, dill, olive oil, vinegar and 2 T sour cream in food processor OR in deep bowl. Whirl up ingredients in food processor or use your stick blender and blend until finely chopped.

Add remaining sour cream and stir to combine.  Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.  Better the next day after flavors infuse the sour cream.

Classic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

Classic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

There is nothing more simple than a homemade vinaigrette, but the rewards are huge!   Once you begin making your own dressing, you’ll quickly realize the store bought are mere impostors to your incredible creations.    This homemade dressing takes about 10 minutes and even your 

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 for the recipe.

We rarely use olive oil for cooking and if we do, it’s only at low heat.  Mostly, we use the Organic Roots olive oil to dress cooked food with it’s wonderful flavor – think oven roasted potatoes tossed with garlic and olive oil.   Butter is used for low to medium heat cooking as the milk solids will burn at high heat unless the butter is clarified.   It’s excellent for our morning scrambled eggs or an omelette.

High heat cooking needs a high heat stable fat.  This includes stir frying and oven roasted vegetables.  Chicken fat is excellent but not always available in the quantity we need.  Coconut oil is also a fine choice.   But, our favorite choice is our homemade lard made from BBF Leaf Fat or Back Fat.

We can’t live without our homemade lard.   It makes high heat roasting a breeze.  The fat never gets tacky on the roasting sheet and veggies come out of the oven with beautiful caramelization.   It oils every sheet, pan or muffin tin for our baking.

Both Leaf Fat and Back Fat make good lard.  Leaf Fat is the choice if you are looking to use your fat for everything from baking to roasting.   It may be preferred by some bakers for its neutral flavor.  Back Fat is also good for all uses, but some folks prefer Leaf over Back if you’re using it primarily for baking.  We use them interchangeably for all uses in the kitchen and do not detect any pork flavor from either fat.

Here’s our tried and true recipe for making your own high heat stable lard from BBF Pork Fat using a crock pot.

3 – 6 lbs BBF Pork Back or Leaf Fat

Water

The number of pounds of Leaf Fat you begin with depends on the size of your crock pot.   We have a larger, oval shaped crock pot that can fit 6 lbs of diced fat.  If you have a smaller crock pot, you may only fit 3 lbs.  We like the crock pot method because it maintains a steady, even heat.

With a sharp knife, dice the fat into 1/2″ wide pieces (pictured above).  Dicing the fat will speed up the rendering process – turning the solid fat into liquid – and prevent air pockets from forming as the fat cooks.  Add 1/2 inch of water to the bottom of your crock pot and fill with diced fat leaving 1″ space at the top.  The added water will prevent scorching.  Cover with lid.

Begin cooking the fat.  Once you see there is some liquid in the pot (may take 1 – 2 hours), begin giving the fat a good stir at least once an hour to redistribute fat and speed up the process.

Heat the pork fat until pieces of fat have shriveled, slightly colored (lightest tan) and most of the fat has rendered from the individual pieces.  Also, the number of surface bubbles is an indication of when the fat is ready to be strained.  If the fat continues to bubble happily without stirring, the lard is not ready.   The lard is not done until the active bubbling at the surface has almost completely stopped.    This is an indication that most of the water has cooked off the fat.

As the bubbling slows, more frequent stirring will help speed the process.  You don’t need ALL the bubbling to stop but it should slow down quite a bit from the most active cooking phase when bubbling is steady.  The goal is to render the lard from the solids and boil off most of the water.

When the lard is ready, we set up a small fine mesh strainer set inside a wide canning funnel and ladle the fat into pint mason jars.  We store the fat in the refrigerator where it keeps for a very long time.

You’ll be left with the cracklings or the bits from the fat that did not render.   We store them in a glass container and use them for dog treats.

 

 

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 

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 

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 top to bottom, REAL organic butter (no fake fats), BBF Eggs and homemade jam (it’s not hard).

The cookies are rolled in chopped Fillmore Farms Organic English Walnuts.  These nuts are a customer favorite and come directly from Fillmore Organic Farm in California where they are grown and harvested.   They taste 100 times better than the sad, aged nuts at the store.

Thank you to our friends at Coneflower Farm in Tiskilwa, IL for the delicious, organically grown strawberries.  We harvested the sweetest berries in June and froze them for winter snacking and special treats like this recipe.

Use the best and you will get the best.  Enjoy!

Make Strawberry Jam:

We make jam as we need it and store in the fridge.   Using frozen whole strawberries, we place strawberries in sauce pan and heat gently until completely thawed.  Using a potato masher, we mash strawberries until very broken up.   We add organic sugar but much less than traditional jam recipes.   My estimate is 1/3 to  1/2 cup sugar to 2 cups of fruit.  Cook fruit and sugar on low until mixture begins to thicken, stirring often.  This may take 20 minutes or so.   This will be a spreadable jam, thinner than store bought, which is how we like it.   Experiment with your own fruit to sugar ratio or use honey instead.

Once jam has thickened, remove from heat and set aside.  Jam will hold for weeks in the fridge but probably won’t last that long!

Now the Cookie

2/3 cup butter

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

2 T ground flax seeds (flax meal)

1/3 cup sugar

2 egg yolks

1 tsp real vanilla extract

2 slightly beaten egg whites

1 cup finely chopped walnuts

1/2 cup favorite homemade jam – strawberry is brilliant

In a mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.   Add about half the flours, all the sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla.  Beat until thoroughly combined.  Beat in the remaining flour and flax meal.  Cover and chill about 1 hour until easy to handle.

Shape dough into 1″ balls.  Roll balls in egg whites, then in chopped walnuts.  Place 1 ” apart on a greased cookie sheet.  Press centers with your thumb.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes or till edges are lightly browned.  Cool cookies on a wire rack.  Just before serving, fill centers with jam.  Makes about 42.