Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category
Cheesemaking is kicking into high gear…we’re freezing a lot of chevre to enjoy later when the milking slows down, and here’s the beginning of a farmhouse cheddar:
I screwed up the last batch of beer and foolishly didn’t brew for a while. Our homemade beer (when it works, which it usually does) is much tastier than what we buy at the store, and ends up costing about half as much.
Here’s five gallons of soon-to-be-porter bubbling away:
Last year, we got a freeze in early September that took out all the tomato plants, and Teri made a lot of green tomato ketchup. This year, none of the main (Brandywine) tomato crop had turned red by that point, and my dreams of pasta sauce seemed to by dying…but the past month has been mostly sunny and warm, and we’re bringing in five-gallon buckets every few days.
Though we aren’t entirely dependent on our homegrown food, it’s probably saving us a couple of thousand dollars a year now, so I have a little more appreciation for how much people doing this in the past were subject to the whims of the weather…and for what a joy it is when one’s hard work is rewarded with abundance:
In a break from my usual “functionality IS the aesthetic” carpentry ethic, I’ve made a tea table to go alongside my desk (I hate having beverages and food on the same surface as my computer). The top was from a rough-cut slab of some unknown hardwood that I got a bunch of for free because of “imperfections”, and the base is something that was left behind when the electric co-op trimmed around the power lines.
It’s beautiful wood…but I didn’t know that when I got it, so most of it is incorporated into the chicken coop. Now that I’ve seen it sanded and sealed, I think I’ll be pulling the rest of it off the coop to make things from (don’t worry chickens, I have plain old fir boards to replace it). Anyway, here’s the table, which I’m quite pleased with:
Closeup of the wood:
Worky work work! In addition to all this, there are of course the daily chores such as caring for livestock, cooking, keeping the fire going, earning a living, etc…but some other farm residents have more sensible priorities; I leave you with “Snail Love”:
Sausage/Kale/Goat Feta Scrambled eggs
- 1 big handful of kale from our cold frame
- 4 big eggs from a neighbor’s chickens (ours have better things to do than give us eggs these days)
- 1/2 lb ground Italian sausage from Deck Family Farm
- 1/4 cup goat milk from our morning milking (thanks Drama Queen!)
- 1 tbsp butter
- A few slices of goat milk feta from yet another wonderful neighbor
- Salt and pepper to taste
Wash and chop the kale while the butter warms up in a hot frying pan over medium heat. I guess medium heat; this was made on a woodstove. Once butter is bubbling a bit, quickly saute the kale, keeping it moving, just until it becomes a darker green and wilts. Remove kale to another dish, leaving pan on medium-high heat (or rather, adding wood and opening the air inlet a bit).
Break the ground sausage up into small bits in the pan and keep it moving till well browned. Reduce heat to medium and (after a final stir) pour in the egg/milk mixture. Let this cook until it’s solid about halfway through, then mix in the kale and scramble it up.
When it’s close to done, drop the cheese slices onto the top.
- 1 lb grass-fed free-range natural ground lamb*
- 1 tbsp crushed fresh mint leaves (from our garden last year)
- 8 big leaves kale (from our cold frame)
- 1 small egg (from our chickens)
- 4 tbsp rolled oats
- 3 tbsp shelled sunflower seeds
- pinch or two of sea salt
- several apple wood twigs, soaked in water if dry
- olive oil
- Start the BBQ on high (keep at about 400°-500°)
- in a large mixing bowl, combine ground lamb, nearly-powdered mint leaves, sunflower seeds, salt, rolled oats, and egg. Make sure the egg gets thoroughly mixed in, it helps bind the burger together and keep it fluffy & moist.
- coat a dinner plate with olive oil
- shape mixture into 4 patties, putting each one on the olive oiled plate when it’s done. Not too thick; we want to cook these at high heat, actually flame-broil them a bit, and the inside should be cooked before the outside is charcoal!
- get a little more olive oil and make sure the patties are completely coated
- put dry applewood twigs into the grill…I drop them on the lava rocks, on the OPPOSITE side from where I’ll put the food (there will be enough flame from the olive oil dripping!)
- plop the patties on the grill. the dripping oil will probably burst into flame; that’s ok. close the lid to keep the applewood smoke in.
- cook until done – the outside should be a bit seared, even slightly charred. USDA blah blah blah standards blah blah blah specify 160° internal temperature. That recommendation is geared toward the filthy, diseased CAFO stuff at the supermarket; I cook ground meat to about 145° for myself but am not advising you to do that because you will surely poop yourself to death or something. The gov’t says so! I guess I died years ago.
- Take patties off the grill and let them drain a bit on newspaper. Wrap in fresh-picked kale leaves and enjoy!
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- Lammas 2011: harvesting alliums and hoping for exotic tomatoes
- “Goat crossing”
- Heeler dog: possibly the most important animal on a small farm
- Amanda on Goats for sale! ALL SOLD!
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