Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Soaked Cranberry Scones

Soaked Cranberry Scones served with fresh whipped cream and Aronia Berry Syrup (The syrup will be featured in our next video and related posts!)

Scones are such an easy breakfast to make, especially if you soak the majority of the ingredients the night before like this recipe directs.  This recipe turns out a very moist scone with a thin encasing crust, which I think is the perfect blend of texture for a well made scone.

Here is what you will need:
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup SUCANAT
  • 1/2 cup cooking oats
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 3 Tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/8 cup cream/milk
  • 1 Tablespoon cane juice crystals

Mix together the flour, SUCANAT, oats, butter, egg, juice, and yogurt and then cover and leave until morning.

In the morning, add the baking powder, salt and baking soda to the mix and knead in until incorporated.

Pour the cranberries on top of the dough and then knead them in too.

Divide the dough into two balls.

Press the balls out into small rounds and then brush the rounds with cream/milk, sprinkle with cane juice crystals, and then cut each into 6 pieces.

Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 to 30 minutes.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Cheesy au Gratin Potatoes

I love that I can sneak a few potatoes out of the ground before the whole harvest is taken out later in the fall.  Here is a recipe that is super easy to make with those sneaked potatoes, especially if you have a food processor that slices for you!

Here is what you will need:
  • 6 medium potatoes, sliced and rinsed under cold water
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Sage leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (any kind that melts well is fine)

In a saucepan, melt the butter and then add the sage and continue heating the butter until it is browned.

Add in the flour, salt and pepper.  Mix to make a rue (basically a paste with the butter and flour).

Pour in the milk and then heat and stir until thickened.

Meanwhile, butter an 11 x 7 pan.

Then, layer 1/2 of the potatoes on the bottom.

Top the potatoes with 1/2 the sauce and then 1/2 the cheese.  Repeat.

Now cover (I just layered parchment with foil so the foil would not touch the food and wouldn't stick).

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes...

...and then turn the oven up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, uncover the dish and bake for another 20 to 30 minutes.

Homemade Sbrinz Style Cheese

This summer has been a bit of a blur as far as cheese making goes for me...it seems I have just been doing my best to keep up with the abundant supply of milk my cow has been producing while at the same time making Cheddar (and like recipes) over and over again so my rounds will store well through the winter.

So, I do apologize to those of you who have been looking to my site for maybe a new cheese to try and have not seen one for a while...but I hope this recipe will have been worth your wait.  Here it is:

To start off, I partially skim the cream off my whole raw milk to get 8 gallons of partially skimmed milk.

Next, after sanitizing my cheese vat, the thermometer, and stirring ladle, I pour all 8 gallons of milk into the vat and set it to medium-high heat on my largest burner.  Until the milk is heated to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, I stir the milk every couple of minutes while checking the temperature.

When the milk gets to 90 degrees.  Turn off the heat and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of thermophilic culture over the top of the milk.  

After the culture has moistened for a minute or two, I use the ladle to draw down the culture with up and down motions about 20 times to make sure it is fully incorporated into the milk. Then just cover the pot and wait a short 15 minutes.

  Next, the rennet gets added by mixing a 1/2 of water with 1.5 teaspoons of rennet.  Make sure to stir the rennet into the cultured milk really well, just like the culture had been stirred in, with about 20 up and down strokes, otherwise the cheese will not set properly.

Now cover and let the pot sit for 30 minutes maintaining the 90 degree temperature.  Just a note on maintaining temperature.

After 30 minutes, your cheese should have set and it should look like milk jello.  

With a sanitized knife, cut the curd into small pieces.


 And then let the curds firm up for 10 minutes.  They will sink a bit during this process.

Next, stir the curds for 1 hour while slowly heating the entire mixture up to 130 degrees.  If you pace the temperature increase to 10 degrees every 15 minutes you will be heating the curds properly.

  Let the curds then settle while sanitizing the items I need to remove the curds and press them. 

Now, with very clean hands (and I would also suggest a heat-proof glove if you have one), scoop the curds out of the whey and put them into a stainer that is lined with doubled up poly cheese cloth.  The reason I double up the cloths is because when the curds are this warm and are then pressed, they tend to stick to the natural cloth, but since my poly cloths are always a bit small I arrange them so none of the curds escape.

Lift up the cloths and move all the curds into the tomme mold.

With the cloth still around the curds, put the mold into the cheese press with firm pressure for 1 hour.

After an hour, take the cheese out of the cloth, turn it upside down and re-wrap it with just a poly cheese cloth.

Now the cheese, in the mold, sits under firm pressure for 15 hours.

  After pressing, mix 1 cup of sea salt with about 3 inches of cold water in a plastic container (see below).  And place the unwrapped cheese into the salt water brine.  Just a quick note, I cut my cheese into 2 pieces at this point because when I long term store my cheese for aging I vacuum seal them and the full cheese is too big for the sealing bags I use.  If you want a full round you do not have to cut your cheese in half like I do.

The cheese should sit in the brine for a total of 20 hours - 10 hours on each side.  Then, after being in the brine for 20 hours, take the cheese out, place it on a sanitized mat and put in the refrigerator for a few days to dry.  Then flip and dry for a few more days.

  Your cheese, when completely dried, will be ready to store for a year or more until you are ready to eat it.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Spicy Thai Beef & Peanuts

It was one of those nights when I pulled a couple of pounds of hamburger out of the freezer at the last minute and then thought to myself, "Now what I can I do with this that won't bore the entire family?"  Well, after a bit of looking through the refrigerator and cupboards while thinking about what was left in the garden this is the recipe I came up with.  It was a crowd pleaser and I am looking forward to leftovers tomorrow...if I get them before my husband and kids snag them.

Here is what you will need for this recipe:
  • 1 pound hamburger (2 pounds if you have teenage boys like I do)
  • 16 ounces of brown rice noodles
  • 2 carrots, finely julianned
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter, fermented if you have it
  • 1 cup stock (beef or chicken)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon tamarind paste
  • 1 Tablespoon Braggs liquid aminos
  • Peanuts to garnish

Brown the hamburger.

Cook the noodles per the package directions.

Boil the carrots for just a few minutes in a 1/4 cup of water and boil until the water is cooked off, but watch carefully so as not to burn the carrots.

Mix the sauce, heat, but do not boil, especially if you are using fermented peanut butter because the high heat will kill all the good enzymes and probiotics.

To serve, allow everyone to assemble their own plates with the meat, noodles, sauce, carrots, and peanuts.

Herb Drying and Oil Infusing

A lot of food preservation has been going on at our farm as of late, which has been keeping me from "real cooking"...at least that is how my 9 year-old daughter kindly put it.  I seemed to have taken a lot of pictures over the past month or so to start a post, but finding the time to blog about whatever I have been up to just never seems happened.

But all of that aside, I decided today to take some time out of my busy schedule and write up a quick post on how I dry herbs and store them, which is rather important in my climate since the temperatures at night will be near freezing in the next few weeks and growing season won't begin again for 6 long months.  And cooking just isn't really cooking without good herbs on hand.

Here are what each of my recent dried herbs look like before and after:  (the before is on the left and the after is on the right)





Thai Basil

Drying them in a dehydrator is rather easy - just lay each herb flat on a tray in the dehydrator and dry for 12 hours at 110 degrees Fahrenheit.  But, if you do not have a dehydrator you can always dry herbs in your oven too.  Just set your oven at the lowest setting, spread the herbs out on your oven racks and then dry for 6 to 8 hours  (Keeping the stems in the herbs makes it a much easier process.  You can keep the stems on when storing them or you can take them off the stem at that time.  I tend to keep herbs like thyme with their stems on because I use it for making stock, but herbs like sage I tend to crush and add to recipes so I throw those stems out.), making sure to check on the herbs after the first 4 hours and move herbs around if some are getting dryer than others (unless you have a convection oven this will be the case).

Here is what the finished herbs look like in their storage jars, along with some herb flavored oils I made a few weeks ago.  

Making the flavored oil is also very easy.  Just pour a low-flavor yet healthy oil, like grape seed oil, in an oven proof container.  Add the herbs you are going to use to flavor the oil, making sure to submerge them completely in the oil.  Bake at 270 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 4 hours.  Turn off the oven and allow to to completely cool before transferring to your storage container.

Of the two oils I flavored, one is Thai basil which I plan on using for stir frying and the other is Rosemary & Sage which will go good with chicken, stuffing, and lots of other more country style dishes.