Showing posts with label Farm Food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Farm Food. Show all posts

Friday, August 28, 2015

Peasant Soup Anyone?

Make yourself a big batch of this soup and then throw it into the freezer in mason jars.  When you need something fast to eat for dinner, or something to bring to work for your lunch, look no further!  I skipped the pasta in mine this time, and used kidney beans as my bean of choice.  I also did not puree my beans this time around. But it doesn't matter.  Play with the recipe and have fun with it.

Pasta, cooked al-dente and set aside. (Use a small shaped pasta)
  • Dried beans, soaked overnight in a large pot of water and boiled. (about 1/3 lb)
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 4 or 5 cloves of garlic, smashed well
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • A palm full of parsley, chopped
  • Tomato paste (a couple of tablespoons)
  • One large peeled, chopped fresh tomato
  • Olive oil
  • 2 quarts of water (or more or less, its a preference thing)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 a head of cabbage, chopped
  • 1 large bunch of spinach, Swiss chard, or lambs quarters, roughly chopped
  • 1 large potato, diced
  • Some strips or hunks of ham, bacon or pancetta
  • Small piece of parmesan rind (optional, but decadent!)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Roughly chop the onion, celery and parsley and sauté gently in olive oil. When they begin to turn golden, add the chopped greens, garlic and potato. Season with salt and pepper and add tomato and paste, to your taste, then add some of the water you used to boil the beans, or vegetable or chicken broth to obtain a soup consistency.

Puree (or don't) half of the beans, and add these with the other half (left whole) to the soup, along with the meat scraps (and parmesan rind if using). Allow to simmer further until vegetables are cooked, then, taking it off the heat, add your cooked pasta, cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.  Garnish with fresh grated parmesan if desired.

A good "cold-as-hell" kind of winter day meal when served with fresh warm bread.  And those kind of days are just around the corner...

Time for a nap...


Friday, May 8, 2015

It's the little things

I planted Asparagus last year.  I'm a terrible gardener and I have free range chickens, so I only half expected it to ever grow.  I found this yesterday...

They say not to harvest your asparagus for 3-4 years after planting.  Do you think the chickens will understand?

Thursday, May 7, 2015


When I had my first home-raised pig butchered last year, the butcher asked whether I wanted my hams halved or quartered.  Being a rookie in sending an entire pig to be butchered, I cheerfully answered "halved please."  I had no clue that each "half" ham would weigh from 14-16 lbs. I have no kids to feed! So there I was, with four really big hams. Sixty pounds total, to be exact...

I cooked one for Easter (it was fabulous!) and had a ton of ham left over (surprise), which I cubed, and chunked and sliced and then froze. It was chilly last week, so I made up a batch of soup with what I had on hand, and some of the frozen leftover ham.  No recipe, I just threw as much of the ingredients into the pot as I saw fit.  No broth required either.  As it cooked, the ham it made its own broth.  One of the easiest soups ever, and a great way to use up leftover ham. Oh and the kitchen smelled awesome!

You could add whatever vegetable you have on hand really - green beans, cabbage, kale, carrots, whatever.  This is what I tossed into the pot...

Ham (mine was smoked)
Red pepper
2 bay leaves
a pinch of thyme
a splash of homemade white wine
frozen corn
Cayenne pepper
a few potatoes
a couple stalks of old celery

I didn't even bother to sauté anything first.  I let it simmer until the potatoes were very tender, and then I poured it all into mason jars for future work lunches. Add a hunk of homemade bread and you're good to go.  I would imagine you could even do this soup just fine in the crockpot and have it hot and ready when you get home.  ~A

Saturday, January 17, 2015

French Bread

A site that I frequent recently posted a recipe for French Bread.  I found it very similar to my everyday recipe, with only slight differences.  Bread is so easy to make, everyone should be doing it.

Anyway, I posted The Prairie Hometead's recipe, and then my recipe alongside, just for fun.  And then I baked a loaf using my recipe.  Because I find it hard to make a change when something works great every time.    And because, "If it ain't broke..."

An actual loaf of what my recipe produces.

French Bread

Ingredients (Prairie Recipe)                            (Mon Abri Farm Recipe)

1 1/4 cup warm water (80-90 degrees)        1 1/3 Cup
                                                                      3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 teaspoons sugar                                             1 Tablespoon

1 teaspoon sea salt                                            Same

3 to 3 1/2 cups flour                                          3 1/4 Cups (or more if needed)

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast                    1 1/2 Tablespoons (but I never really measure it)

Instructions (same for both recipes, but add the olive oil to the liquids)

1.Place yeast and sugar in large bowl
2.Stir in warm water until everything dissolves
3.Add salt, and stir in as much flour as you can to create a soft, pliable dough that isn't too sticky
4.Knead on a lightly floured surface 6-8 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic
5.Return dough to bowl and cover with kitchen towel
6.Allow to rise 30 minutes or until doubled in size
7.Plop risen dough back on counter top and divide in half
8.Roll each half into a rectangular shape of about 10" by 8"
9.Roll up rectangle starting with a long side
10.Pinch ends to seal and shape into a "log"
11.If seam doesn't stick, use wet fingers to moisten dough until it adheres
12.Grease pizza stone or stoneware baking sheet and place loaves on it to rise another 30 minutes
13.Preheat oven to 375 degrees,
14.Optional: to give loaves a shiny brown finish prepare an egg wash by beating one egg with one tablespoon of water
15.Right before you pop loaves in oven, brush tops with egg wash and make 4 diagonal slashes across top using sharp, serrated knife
16.Bake 20-25 minutes, until golden brown
17.Allow to cool on wire racks before serving
18.Serve warm with lots of butter

Friday, January 16, 2015

Pork Tenderloin

Using my favorite tenderloin recipe that I have posted before on this blog, I pulled out a tenderloin from my freshly butchered pig and roasted some vegetables to go alongside.  I had eaten most of what was on my plate before I suddenly realized I needed to take a photo of the finished meal.  I couldn't help myself - it was that good!


Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Last Saturday the meat locker called to let me know my pig was ready to be picked up.  I had already prepared by emptying my little freezer in the weeks before.  I ended up needing my other freezer as well, which had to be cleaned out fast.

I must admit I was shocked (and tickled), when I saw how many boxes there were!  A man standing in line at the locker thought I was bringing home a cow.  And then he was really shocked to learn it was a pig - one pig.

280 lbs. of meat, all neatly shrink wrapped and labeled, ready to go home.  And a nice size bag of lard for rendering and also for feeding the wild birds. And of course I had to take everything out of the boxes and do inventory when I got it home.  It's the nerd in me...

So yes, I've been indulging in bacon and other pork goodies this week.  ~A

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Ham and Bean Soup


A soup for when you are low on cash...
Or it's just plain cold and nasty outside.
Or because you have a lot of leftover ham.
Or because you just need something to go with cornbread...
In my case it was a shit ton of leftover ham from a family holiday gathering.

Farmstead Ham and Bean Soup


1 lb dried great northern beans, rinsed, and then soaked for a few hours

4-6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

1 large onion, chopped coarsely

1 large carrot, sliced thick

2 stalks of celery - sliced

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

2 bay leaves

1 lb smoked ham or 1 lb ham hock

6 cups homemade chicken or ham broth


Sort and rinse beans.

Put the rinsed beans, the rest of the ingredients and the ham, chopped into large, rustic pieces (or ham hocks if using) into the crock pot along with 6 cups water or broth.

Cover crock, and cook on low for about 6-8 hours, or until beans are tender.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Eggplant Parmesan = Comfort Food

Fun Facts: “Comfort Food.” The term was first used, according to Webster's Dictionary, in 1977.

Comfort foods may be consumed to positively pique emotions, to relieve negative psychological effects or to increase positive feelings.
The identification of particular items as comfort food may be idiosyncratic, though patterns are detectable. In one study of American preferences, "males preferred warm, hearty, meal-related comfort foods (such as steak, casseroles, and soup), while females instead preferred comfort foods that were more snack related (such as chocolate and ice cream). Studies suggest that consumption of comfort food is triggered in men by positive emotions, and by negative ones in women.

I had some lovely eggplant fruits a farmer friend gave me over the weekend, and having never made eggplant parmesan myself, I thought "why not?"  I've had Eggplant parmesan in nice Italian restaurants, and always loved it, so I was looking forward to finding a good recipe.  The one I settled on originated from Food52. I made a few changes and it turned out excellent.  I'll definitely be making it often from here on.  In fact, I plan on growing my own eggplants next year just so I can make this dish. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. ~A

Eggplant Parmesan
Serves 4-6

2-3 eggplants
Flour for dredging
Sea salt
olive oil
1 cup grated parmesan
½ pound mozzarella

For the Sauce:
2 28ounce cans of good quality tomato sauce. (I used my own homemade tomato-basil sauce)
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
enough olive oil to cover a pan

1. Peel the eggplant and slice long ways into 1/4 inch slices.

2. Sprinkle each layer with salt and place into a colander, overlapping and salting as you go. Each slice should be salted on both sides. After you fill the colander, place a plate on top and weight it with a heavy pan or a tea kettle filled with water. Let the eggplant sweat for 30 minutes or more. I let it sit for an hour with no difference.

3. While the eggplant sweats, prepare your sauce.

4. Cover the bottom of a sauce pan with olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Add the sliced garlic and let it cook until is sizzles (do not brown the garlic).  Add your canned tomato sauce and a little salt if needed. Lower the heat and simmer until ready to use.

5. Remove the eggplant from the colander and thoroughly pat dry each slice. Add about a cup of flour to a large plate.

7. Dredge the eggplant slices in flour, shaking off any excess. Fry 1-2 slices of eggplant at a time in the olive oil until lightly brown and crispy. Shake oil from the pieces and set them aside to cool. Repeat until you have cooked all the eggplant.

8. Using a baking dish, spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom and layer the eggplant until it completely covers the bottom.

9. Sprinkle with the grated parmesan and mozzarella. Add another thin layer of sauce and then the eggplant. Continue to repeat building the layers until you are near the top, then add  another layer of sliced mozzarella. Finish with thinly sliced fresh tomatoes and parmesan.

10. Bake uncovered in a 400 degree oven. Check it after it's been in the oven for 20 minutes. You may find that it throws off more liquid as it bakes. If so, press down on the eggplant and draw off any excess liquid. Cook for another 15 minutes or so. Let it stand for a good 10-15 minutes before serving (if you can help it!). It will cut into serving pieces easier then.

What is YOUR favorite comfort food?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Lettuce Talk...

We planted a little more lettuce this year, and now I wish we'd planted even more.  More garden space is definitely going to have to be added soon, because this year I have no room for corn or pumpkins or squash. Though I will admit it may not have been necessary to plant 25 tomato plants?

But anyway, back to lettuce.  I adore salads and their versatility.  Mind you, not the creamy, blue-cheesy, topped with breaded chicken, shredded cheddar and loaded crappy crouton-type salad that you get in many restaurants and fast food joints ( I won't say which ones), but REAL salads.  The kind you pick fresh from the garden, make your own crouton and dressing, and maybe even top with a hard-boiled free-range egg and some roasted vegetables.  Those kind of salads. 

Did you know that a 100 gram (about 3.5 oz) serving of lettuce contains only 15 calories?  And 247% of your daily vitamin A requirement?

How about that its also a rich source of vitamin K, contains good amounts of folates and vitamin C, and is packed with B-complex vitamins (thiamine, B-5, riboflavin's).

Regularly consuming lettuce is known to prevent iron-deficiency anemia, and protect from cardiovascular and Alzheimer's diseases, as well as some cancers.

The darker the green or reddish the leaves, the more nutrients in each serving.  Lettuce is also a complete protein containing all eight amino acids.  Never would have guessed that one...

I bet you will look at lettuce a little differently now, won't you?

So last night for dinner I made a salad from the garden, and a little of everything else. I broiled a piece of wild salmon to go alongside, poured a glass of wine, and it was just right. 

Eat well friends ~ A

From Garden to plate!

Friday, June 6, 2014

What do you consider to be "Fast Food?"

I am often asked what kind of meals I eat since I live on a farm and grow and raise some of my own food.  Because I work away from the farm and commute all the way into the city during the work week, most things I make are what I consider "fast food."  "Fast" to me means salads, pizzas, soups, and simple grilled vegetables and such.  So I thought  I'd post a few photos from "typical" meals, so you can see what fast farm food looks like. Enjoy! ~A

Pizza is always fast, easy and awesome!
Yes, bread is fast.  Five minutes to make, 30 minutes to bake, at your leisure.
Grill some of that bread you made, rub with garlic and top with fresh tomato and basil from the garden!


Google +1