• Category Archives Cooking
  • Fresh Eggs

    ForkThe hens have finally started laying! What a wonder to have fresh eggs after nearly a year. I scrambled some with herbs and parmesan cheese and will be baking later today.

    There were a few errant eggs in the mud outside but we used them as encouragement to use the nesting boxes. They have embraced them and we’ve harvested an even dozen in the last 3 days. It’s fun to have the multi colors. Even the brown eggs have a range of color from a light, almost purple to a deep rich mocha.Eggs

    We think we may have at least one rooster. One of the white chickens has really filled out: fancy red comb and wattle along with impressive sweeping feathers. Just looks like the king of the hen yard but there’s been no crowing yet. One of the red “girls” may also be a boy. Time will tell.



  • Moving Into Fall

    Hurricane Sandy is churning in the Atlantic, threatening the east coast of the United States.  We are a bit further inland these days but I think we’ll see high winds and rain so we spent the day preparing.  We’ll lose water if the power goes out so we’re filling up barrels with rain water runoff to water the chickens and flush. We have a generator that we will use sparingly to keep the freezers cold.  There’s a summer’s worth of growing, picking and preserving in there.  At least the weather is cooler so we won’t swelter without the window air conditioners at night.

    We went nine days without power in Hurricane Irene last year. It was OK and we took advantage of friends for a shower or two, but it’s just a daily struggle. And, all our appliances are electric these days.  I made a big pot of soup with chicken and lots of fresh and frozen vegies. We can heat it on the camp stove.

    I baked a loaf of almost whole wheat quick bread from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook.  I added cooked onions, grated yellow squash and sharp white cheddar cheese.  It is moist and delicious and I toasted slices to go along with the soup. This was my second loaf of homemade bread this week. I made whole wheat baguettes to go with chock-full-of-vegies spaghetti sauce earlier this week.  I was feeding Bob and a buddy who was staying over to help with some construction work. Even baked a batch of molasses cookies for them. After what seems like months of travel, I’m home for a bit and enjoying a little time off from the workaholic lifestyle.

    We are busy moving into the fall season.  Greens are very popular, especially flat kale (as opposed to curly).  We have turnip, mustard and collard greens as well. I am planning my Thanksgiving menu around what we’ll have available including fresh sweet and regular potatoes, fresh green, corn and green beans from the freezer. We’ll just have to add the turkey and dressing.

    I have to admit that it’s pretty cool to have your own vegetables.  Since we have fresh kale coming in, I have started using my frozen kale.  It goes into almost everything: the meatballs for the spaghetti, the spaghetti sauce, the soup.  I did not put it in the bread but might try a loaf.  I think it would be a matter of getting it very dry.  Mix in some parmesan cheese and fresh herbs.

     



  • Dealing with the Green Monster (and yellow, too)

    Lingering over coffee on Sunday morning…I’m heading to the kitchen soon to start working on zucchini and squash. I’m going to start with making chips in the dehydrator. I’ll also grate some for the freezer to use in muffins and breads. And, since we have plenty, we’re going to give sun drying a try. I’m planning to salt and skewer them and put them in our sun room. I may go ahead and bake some muffins while I’m at it…

    The jalapeno peppers are coming in so I made Pioneer Woman’s Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Thingies. Delicious!

    And, for my birthday, I got the lovely King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Book. I’ve been using their sour cream muffin recipe with frozen berries and last night, in an effort to clear out last year’s bounty of raspberries, baked up a pan of raspberry crumble bars. They are wonderful with a thick crust, soft raspberry filling and crumble top. I’m hoping they freeze well.

    For now, I’m using the whole wheat flour in the cupboard but we’ve been working on threshing and winnowing our own wheat so once the store bought is gone, I should have plenty of my own wheat to grind. Talk about baking from scratch!

    The farm stand is slowly gaining customers. We still have more produce than we can eat or sell so Bob is heading to the local food mission to drop off the bounty.



  • Freezing Kale

    KaleI “put up” 22 quart bags of kale last week and there is plenty more to do this weekend. Last weekend, I took pictures of the process, anticipating a blog entry. It took a whole week, but here you go…freezing kale!

    1. Pick the kale. I knew I was going to chop it so I didn’t get too picky about leaf size, just dumping everything into a grocery bag.
    2. Wash well. This grows in dirt, folks, so cleaning is essential. I floated mine in the kitchen sink. I did about one sink load at a time

    and that yielded 4 to 5 quarts of frozen kale.

    Chopping Block3. I had my large pot about half filled with water and coming to a boil while I chopped. I stacked the kale leaves, rolled them and then sliced them into strips.
    4. Into the boiling water, for about 2 minutes. Since I wanted to be able to reuse the boiling water, I scooped the cooked kale out with a large colander and am on the lookout for a great bamboo scoop. Then, into ice water. From there, I took it out, gave it a squeeze and put it on clean towels to dry a bit more.
    Quick Freeze5. One more gentle squeeze and I made piles on the cookie sheets about the size I wanted. I slid these into the freezer for an hour or so or overnight with the last tray…then into the quart bags. Since I didn’t have official “freezer” bags, I put four quart bags in gallon freezer bags to help with preservation.

    I don’t think this is a product that will live forever in the freezer but we’ll have kale again in that fall so I just need enough to get me through the summer.

    Kale PestoI did all my chopping with my knife except for a brief attempt at using the food processor. It did not work well: not consistent so I ended up with big pieces and then very little pieces. Not wanting to waste a bit of kale (goodness knows we might run out ;-), I made kale pesto with garlic, parmesan cheese and olive oil. We spread it on leftover garlic bread and ran it under the broiler. Quite good, if I do say so myself.

    The next experiment is putting it in breads and muffins.



  • Rolling Along

    I admire farmers who have time to record their work as well.  As spring comes along, we are busy!  I do the indoor work and then move outside to take advantage of nice weather for planting and weeding.  We’ve got peas coming up, plenty of kale and mustard greens ready for picking, and today, 26 tons of mushroom compost arrived from Pennsylvania. It will have to be distributed by hand for now.

    A Sign...of things to come on 365 Project

    We’ve been eating kale for almost every meal. For now, my favorite way to fix it is roasted with potatoes, onions and garlic. I pile the chopped kale, cubed potatoes and sliced onions all together on a pan, add in some olive oil, salt and pepper, and then roast in my convection oven at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes. I stir it every 10 minutes or so to keep the kale from burning. Delicious!

    I do most of the flower gardening. It’s still early for planting outside but I’ve got flats of Four O’Clocks, Chinese Lanterns, White Echinacea, and Black Eyed Susan Vine seeds just starting to sprout on the sun room. I also potted up some bare root flowers from Big Lots and Christmas Tree Shops: Phlox, Astible, Butterfly Bush, and Forsythia. I did a little clearing today to see what might have survived and found irises, daylilies, and wild yarrow. I’m doing most of the flower planting closer to the road where passersby can enjoy them.