25 October 2008

Cauliflower Recipes

We had a very hard freeze here the other night, so everything on the farm is done now except for the cauliflower. We just started harvesting the cauliflower this week, so I wanted to provide you with some tasty recipes. Here are some great new recipes....I love Autumn roasted vegetables. You can do the same with root vegetables too...such as beets, potatoes, parsnips and carrots...roasting brings out so much flavor... Cauliflower with Bacon 1 head cauliflower, cut into flowerets 1 tsp dry mustard ¼ Cup butter or margarine ½ tsp salt (if desired) ¼ lb bacon, cooked and cut into 1” pieces 2 TBSP water 2 oz jar sliced pimiento, drained 1 TBSP chopped fresh parsley In 3 qt saucepan, melt butter. Stir in remaining ingredients except parsley. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is crisply tender, about 10-12 minutes. Season with parsley and serve. Makes about 5 servings. Oven-Roasted Vegetables 1/3 Cup butter or margarine 2 Cups broccoli florets ½ tsp thyme leaves 2 Cups carrots, julienned (matchstick carrots) ¼ tsp ea salt & pepper 2 small onions, quartered 3 Cups cauliflower florets Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. In 13x9” pan, melt butter and stir in seasonings and remaining ingredients and toss to coat. Cover w. foil, bake for about 25 minutes, until vegetables are crisply tender.

18 October 2008

Pumpkin Soup

We had a great time at the Pumpkin Festival today at the Farmer's Market. It was very cold though, and the Cooperative Extension office made hot Butternut Squash Soup! Yum. I made up recipe flyers for Pumpkin Soup for today, and we ran out of them, so I will post the recipe here for those who missed out. Here it is...enjoy. Allow yourself to be creative too and serve the soup in hollowed out pumpkins! Pumpkin Soup 1 Large Red Onion, sliced thinly, about 2 Cups 1 stick (½ Cup) unsalted butter white pepper to taste 8 Cups coarsely chopped raw, peeled pie pumpkin pieces (2 lbs) 6 Cups chicken broth 2 TBSP Raw Rice 2 Cups heavy cream or to taste In a kettle, cook onion in butter over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until softened and add pumpkin, white pepper and salt to taste. Cook mixture, covered, over moderately low heat 20 minutes or until pumpkin is softened. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add rice, and cook covered, over moderately low heat, 20 - 25 minutes until pumpkin is very soft. Remove kettle from heat and let stand, uncovered, 10 minutes. In blender/processor, puree mixture in batches, transferring to another kettle as pureed, and stir enough cream into soup to reach desired consistency. Add salt and white pepper to taste. Heat soup over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until hot. Serves 6-8 people, (10 Cups)

14 October 2008

Pasta and Fagioli

Pasta Fagioli; or Pasta & Beans; this is one of our favorites, with one small change.... The recipe we were using called for Escarole, which I absolutely love. My husband said, "Why don't you try making it with our Swiss Chard?" So I did that tonight. Wow...out of this world. Even our daughter loved it and had seconds. (She will not normally eat Swiss Chard). Here's what I did: 1/2 Medium Sized Sweet Onion 2 Cloves Garlic 1 Bunch Golden Swiss Chard (Golden Chard tends to be sweeter than red or green) 10 cups Chicken Broth 4 - 6 oz Pasta, either small Shells, Penne, or something similar. 1 can Great Northern Beans (White Beans) Olive Oil Coat the bottom of a 6 Qt sauce pan with Olive Oil. Chop the onion, garlic and swiss chard stems and saute until tender. While that's cooking, chop the leaves of the Swiss Chard and rinse and drain the beans. Once the onion, garlic and stems are tender, add the chopped Swiss Chard leaves and continue cooking until the Chard is wilted. Add the 10 Cups of chicken stock to the mixture and bring to a boil. Then add the pasta and beans and cook until the pasta is done "al dente."

12 October 2008

Fall Apples

In the midst of freezing my beans, (I was able to get 18 quarts of beans done) another farming friend dropped off a couple of bushels of apples. They were great! I made applesauce...so easy! And since it's almost gone, I have to make more. I think I'll make a few pies and freeze them until the holidays. Quick Homemade Applesauce: Wash, peel and chop apples...I did about 20 apples so far, and it made about 1-1/2 - 2 quarts. Place them in a large saucepan with a little water on the bottom and cook them slowly on low-medium heat. You'll want to cook them until they are very soft. I also added Apple Pie Seasoning and just a touch of sugar. You can use plain Cinnamon as well if you don't have the Apple Pie Seasoning. Season to taste and you can either mash by hand and leave small chunks of apples in the sauce, or you can puree with a mixer. Allow to cool a bit and then ladle into plastic containers. Store in refrigerator for up to a week or freeze for longer storage. Yumm!....There's nothing like homemade applesauce. Quick Tip: I used Delicious Apples for this Applesauce....they cook down more quickly than other varieties. Don't use them for baking though. It is because of this characteristic that they do not lend themselves well to pies. You are better off with Cortlands, Jona-Golds, Spy, or Romes. I like to mix Cortland Apples with the Jona-Gold Apples for my pies and turnovers. Here's another quick recipe for your apples: Nancy's Apple Crisp: 5 large, tart apples, peeled, cored and chopped into big pieces 1/2 Cup sugar 1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon 3 tsp. vanilla extract Combine Apples with above ingredients and place in lightly greased 2 quart souffle dish. For the topping, mix together the following ingredients: 1/2 Cup chopped walnuts, if desired 3/4 Cup flour 3/4 Cup brown sugar 1 Stick Butter, slightly softened 1/4 Cup rolled oats 1/4 tsp salt, if desired Cut in butter with flour and sugar and then mix in the remaining ingredients. Sprinkle mixture over top of apples and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. The oats and walnuts add a bit more fiber and texture to the recipe and give it that warm, country flair. It makes a great dessert but also serves well as, say, maybe breakfast. Delicious!

07 October 2008

Life on Our Farm

It's 8:00am and I am home now. I just dropped our daughter off to school and she'll be home before I know it...the days go by so quickly, don't they? I've been wanting to write about what it's like here on the farm for so long. Nothing like the present. My daughter reminds me of that every so often by saying things like, "I'll be driving soon Mom!" Mind you, she's only 10 and she's been saying that since she was 8! Don't rush it kid! That's my advice..enjoy childhood while it lasts. My husband has been driving since forever...that's what it's like on a farm. The boys learn how to drive the tractors....probably as soon as they hit double digits, maybe even before that. And the farm trucks too...but only on the farm. So I think they are able to do that just because they are boys! Our daughter has not learned yet how to do those things. She knows how to drive the quad, but she's only allowed on it with an adult. She always tells me too, "Mom, you worry too much." Isn't that what moms do? Anyway, here on the farm, we will be harvesting until we get a hard freeze. We planted beans, cauliflower, cucumbers, tomatoes, swiss chard (chard grows forever...until we get that hard freeze), melons and peppers. We were hit pretty hard with hail earlier in the year and lost our first crop of beans. The hail also hit the tomatoes and cucumbers hard, to the point where we had to replant all the cucumbers. The tomatoes fought back, but were late coming. We've also had excessive moisture this growing season, which has affected the crops adversely. But all things considered, I feel we are lucky! We have a friend who has hundreds of acres of apple trees. The spring hail destroyed probably 80 percent of his crop. He can sell the bad apples for juice, but that's usually only pennies a pound. We've recently started having some colder weather now. The growing season here in New York is so short. We had some frost this morning. We harvested most of our beans yesterday because they wouldn't make it through the frost unless we covered them. Market prices are up now for beans, so it's a good thing. The guys are usually out in the field pretty early, picking whatever needs to be harvested for the day. The eggplants have a pretty good leaf canopy over them, so they'll do fine in this weather. We pulled most of the peppers, and there is a newer planting of Swiss Chard on the farm...that should be fine as the frost wasn't too heavy. The melons are done, as are the cucumbers and tomatoes. We only harvest a small amount of cucumbers and tomatoes in comparison to last year because of the wet weather this summer...all that rain made it very difficult to get into the field to take care of those crops. Today, I will be freezing beans so we have them for the winter months. I have peppers in the freezer already, but will be doing more, and I also need to freeze eggplant after I'm done with the beans. Then I'll so some Swiss Chard. The farmer around the corner from us raises turkey, chickens, beef and pork. They are delicious, and do not have any fillers or "enhancing solution" added to their meat products. We been exchanging flowers and vegetables for the meat, but will probably buy half a cow from him as well to stock our freezer. We also get milk from another farmer friend. I can't stress enough how important it is to buy local and know the grower/farmer you are buying from. For starters, it is less expensive to buy direct from the farm rather than the grocery store. It's great if you have the freezer space to purchase half a cow, or a pig. Also, in this day and age, with terrorism always a threat, it's better to know your food is from the U.S.A. rather than overseas. In addition to that, you'd be surprised to know that many of the chemicals and pesticides that have been banned for use in the U.S. are very much used in other countries! And that produce is imported into the U.S. for our consumption. Gone are the days when we ate only what was "in season." Since importing produce is such big business, we can have any type of fruit or vegetable we want, whether it's in season or not. But at what price? Well, I hope that's enlightened some of you. One of my goals when I started this blog was to educate the public on farming and agriculture. I'll write more again. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post them. Have a great day!