Farm Blog

Winter Squash Salad with Nuts & Dried Cranberries

Winter Squash Salad with Nuts & Dried Cranberries

This is a delicious fall/winter salad that’s been appearing on our table quite often lately.  Serve it as a side dish or eaten as a vegetarian meal.  We use Butternut Squash – our hands down favorite for its dense texture and natural sweetness. 1 Butternut 

Butternut Squash Pie

Butternut Squash Pie

We substitute Butternut Squash to make our pumpkin pie.  Butternut is dense, sweet, not stringy and makes a superior tasting pie. This recipe comes from Fannie Farmer, but we’ve made some changes. We prefer Sucanat for white sugar and we back it down, because Butternut 

Green Tomato Salad

Green Tomato Salad

We are always looking for good recipes to use the green tomatoes we harvest at the end of the season.  This salad received a thumbs up!

3 large green tomatoes, cored, quartered and thinly sliced

2 tsp salt

1 cucumber, thinly sliced

1/2 medium size onion, thinly sliced

Juice from 1 lime, 2 tsp bottled lime juice OR 3 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 small clove garlic, finely chopped

Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped, approximately 1/4 cup

Fresh Dill, chopped, approximately 2 T ( or sub fresh Mint or Cilantro)

Freshly ground pepper

Place sliced tomatoes in colander over a bowl or in your sink.  Sprinkle with salt, toss gently and allow to drain for 20-30 minutes.

In a shallow bowl, combine tomatoes, cucumber slices, onion, lime or vinegar, olive oil and chopped garlic.   Toss gently.  Add fresh herbs and toss to combine.   Taste for seasoning.  Add freshly ground pepper.  Serve at room temperature.

Tip: If you are concerned about the salad being too salty, you may want to rinse, at least partially, the tomatoes before combining with other ingredients.  You can always add more salt if you find the rinsing took too much away.

Albondigas Soup – Traditional Mexican Meatball Soup

Albondigas Soup – Traditional Mexican Meatball Soup

We can thank Chef Monika Sudakov of the lovely Chestnut Street Inn in Sheffield, IL for sharing this delicious soup recipe.   Chef Monika is an amazing chef.   The combination of her culinary talent and appreciation for real food, often grown locally, makes every meal at 

Spiced Chai Tea

Spiced Chai Tea

There’s no Chai tea like one made with your own pungent, lightly toasted spices, freshly crushed ginger and local raw honey.   This recipe will elevate your Chai enjoyment to the highest level.  We absolutely love it and hope you do, too. Check out our Spiced 

Homemade Pizza

Homemade Pizza

There are a million ways to make homemade pizza.   We’ve made many and through this enjoyable experimentation, we’ve landed on what works for our family.   Below is the outline of how we make our own pies, but feel free to change it up to work for your family.

Our farm is a wealth of pizza ingredients from our homegrown tomatoes, vegetables and herbs to the awesome Italian Sausage from our pastured pigs.  If you have your own garden and herbs, they’ll probably taste really delicious on a homemade pizza.  Homegrown makes the best pizza.

Give it a try!

Pizza Crust

2 t Active Dry Yeast

1 c warm water

2 1/2 c All Purpose Flour or substitute up to 1 c whole wheat

1 T Sugar

1 t salt

2 T Olive Oil

Combine yeast and water and allow to sit for 5 minutes.  In large bowl, combine flour, salt and sugar.   Add yeast/water mixture to dry ingredients plus the olive oil.   Stir until combined.   Knead dough just until smooth.   Cover and allow to rest while prepping sauce and toppings.

This recipe will make approximately 4 – 12″ pizzas.

Pizza Sauce

Adapted from the Crushed Tomato Sauce recipe in American Pie by Peter Reinhart.

1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes or 1 quart home canned tomatoes or 4 cups very ripe fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

4 T minced fresh basil

1 T fresh oregano, minced

4 cloves fresh garlic, smashed or finely minced

2 T vinegar or lemon juice

1 tsp salt or to taste

If you are using store bought canned crushed tomatoes, simply combine all ingredients in a bowl and you’re ready to go.   If you are using your own canned tomatoes or fresh tomatoes, use your fingers to crush the fruit into a rough sauce.   Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

Make the ‘Za!

Prep your favorite toppings.  Our favorite choices are lightly sauteed fresh peppers and onions, BBF Italian Sausage and McCluskey Brothers Mozzarella Cheese.  If there is a can of organic pineapple in the pantry, we love pineapple slices on our pizza.   The saltiness of the cheese and the sweetness of the fruit are really delicious.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Divide the pizza dough into 4 equal pieces and smooth each into a ball.   Leave 3 pieces on an oiled baking sheet and cover with kitchen towel.

On a lightly oiled baking sheet, press first piece of dough into an approximate 12″ shape.   Use your fingers to dimple and gentle expand the dough being careful to avoid making the dough to thin or it will tear.   The more pizza you make, the more you will learn what thickness works best for you.  This dough is flexible and can be made super thin or just a little thick.    Experiment – even mistakes are delicious.

Prebake the crust 5 minutes or until you just start to see some coloring on the crust.  You can obtain a crispier crust by baking just a minute longer after you see the browning.

Remove from oven and add approximately 3/4 cup sauce to the crust.   Dot with pieces of Italian Sausage (no need to precook, wet hands and sausage will not stick to your fingers).   Add peppers, onions, etc. and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 450 degrees approximately 12-14 minutes or until cheese begins to caramelize on top and crust is slightly turned up on the edges.  Rotate halfway through baking if your oven doesn’t cook evenly.

Remove from oven and slide/lift pizza to new baking sheet and allow to cool 5 minutes.  Slice and enjoy your homemade pie!






Summer Tomato Galette

Summer Tomato Galette

We thank our favorite food blog, Smitten Kitchen, for this fabulous recipe.   It’s a delicious pastry filled with summer’s best ingredients – sweet cherry tomatoes, sweet corn and summer squash. A galette needs a rolled out pastry, but this dough is easy to work and 

Salsa Braised Chicken for Tacos or Salad

Salsa Braised Chicken for Tacos or Salad

If you’ve read any of our recipes here in the Farm Kitchen, you know we’re trying to make things easy but also authentic and delicious.  In our search for a real taco with incredible flavor, this is our method. This recipe produces tender, flavor infused 

Tomato Preservation – Make it Easy

Tomato Preservation – Make it Easy

Right when our fresh tomatoes are ripening by the arm loads, we’re in mid-season, busy as ever growing and selling.  How do we have any time to preserve food?   It’s actually such a high priority for our family, we make the time.

Preserving tomatoes is a staple for our kitchen.  They are at the top of the list of any preserving we accomplish over the growing season.

Why go through the trouble?   One word:  FLAVOR!  Preserved tomatoes are so delicious over the cold winter months for soups, sauce, chili or just a bowl of warm, stewed tomatoes.   It warms a belly on a cold day.   And, we know we’re eating the most nutritious, harvested at the peak of ripeness, fruit.  That incredible summer sweetness is infused in every dish we make.   It makes a world of difference.

You can preserve tomatoes, too, and you don’t need to take on canning or invest hours of your time.    Canning is our preferred method but not our only one.  Sometimes, when we’re out of time but still have fruit to save, we freeze raw or stewed fruit.   Nothing could be easier.

Here are a few tips to help you preserve fresh summer tomatoes so you can enjoy their sweet flavor during the cold winter months.   Just remember, you don’t have to feed an army.   Even a few quarts put in the freezer or canned is better than none!


Method 1:  Freeze Raw Fruit

Level of Difficulty: You can do this with your eyes closed.

All you need are sturdy freezer bags or containers.   Glass mason jars can be used to freeze if you have the freezer space to prevent jars from clinking together.  Be sure and leave enough space for the tomatoes to expand if you are using glass or plastic containers.

Tomatoes should be clean, cored and sliced in halves or quarters.  Place fruit in the bag, close and label.   Keep in mind you will have the skins and seeds with the tomatoes when you first cook them.  We don’t mind this but if you don’t want skins or seeds, tomatoes will need to go through a sieve or food mill to remove them once you thaw and prepare to cook.  OR, check out our recipe for Whole Tomato Pasta Sauce where seeds and skins mostly disappear with the use of stick blender.

Cherry Tomatoes can be frozen whole.  They work great in a winter soup especially a white bean soup where we’re always looking for a little acidity to lighten the flavor.   Just add a few frozen cherry tomatoes straight from the bag.  They warm and burst open giving your soup a wonderful flavor addition.


Method 2:  Freeze Stewed Fruit

Level of Difficulty:  You can do this with one eye closed.

Same idea as the first method except the tomatoes are stewed before freezing.   Again, we are using whole tomatoes with skins and seeds.  If you want to remove the skins, bring a large pot of water to a simmer and gently lower a few whole tomatoes into the water.  After a couple minutes, remove the fruit and skins will slide right off.  Continue with coring and slicing.

Place sliced tomatoes in a pot and cook until tomatoes begin to break down and are heated through.   Now you have stewed tomatoes.   Cool completely!   Use sturdy freezer bags or containers to freeze.


Method 3:  Water Bath Canning – Stewed Tomatoes

Level of Difficulty:  You need both eyes wide open.

If you are ready to take on canning, you need to start with some information.   We love the very affordable paperback Ball Book of Canning and Preserving.   This book thoroughly explains equipment and the method for Water Bath Canning giving step-by-step instructions.  Small investment for a lot of information.

You will be stewing the tomatoes, with or without skins as you prefer,  just like in Method 2.   Canning is a more time consuming preservation method but canning does produce a very tasty product.

At the time of this posting, canning supplies is becoming limited, especially canning lids and rings.  Even so, please stick with name brand canning lids when you are purchasing supplies.  Off brand lids are not guaranteed to seal properly and we experienced faulty lids this year.   Brands like Kerr and Ball are reliable.  You don’t want to put in all the work and prep to discover your lids are not working in your final step.

You can use water bath canning for many other tomato recipes like sauce and salsa.   Or, you can keep it simple, preserve the tomatoes and make more exciting tomato recipes over the winter when you want the heat and humidity from cooking in your home.  The only other tomato product we can is salsa.   All sauce is made on demand during the winter with frozen or canned stewed tomatoes.   Our recipe for Whole Tomato Pasta Sauce will have sauce on your table in 30 minutes.

Whole Tomato Pasta Sauce

Whole Tomato Pasta Sauce

This recipe was born out of necessity many years ago.  The girls were young, our lives were so busy, but we wanted to eat delicious homemade food.   Making our own pasta sauce with all our beautiful tomatoes was a no-brainer.  But, all the time needed 

Easy Stuffed Peppers

Easy Stuffed Peppers

This recipe is great for using lots of vegetables from the garden.   You could certainly include carrots, kohlrabi, finely diced cabbage, swiss chard, kale and more in the stuffing. 4-6 Sweet Peppers, cut in half, seeded 1 lb BBF Ground Meat – Breakfast Sausage, Ground 

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 Solstice honey

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the lemons avoiding the white pith under the skin.   Your peels should be yellow on top and bottom.  If you see white pith, use a lighter touch while peeling.

Place peels in a mortar and pestle, add 1 T sugar and pound peels until they look wet and are slightly broken up.   Set aside.

Cut lemons in half and extract juice.  We use a glass lemon reamer that gives us pulp but also the seeds.  After juicing a couple lemons, use a spoon to remove the seeds.   This method of removing seeds retains the lemon pulp.  If you don’t care for pulp, just strain your juice when you’re done juicing all the lemon halves.

In a quart jar, add 4 T Solstice honey.  Add 3 cups cold water and stir to dissolve honey.  Add lemon juice to quart jar and stir.  Place one cup cold water in mortar and pestle and stir up all the lemon peels.   Using a small ladle or measuring cup, add this mixture to your quart jar and stir.

Taste and add more lemon juice or honey to your liking.    We serve ours over a tall glass of ice without straining out the peel.  If that’s bothersome, pour lemonade through a strainer and serve.

Either way, it will make you smile!