Category Archives: Common Good

A Recipe for Comfort (from Well Fed Farm)

Well, I am hoping everyone made it through the holiday season with minimum trauma and maximum enjoyment. While I am not big on proclaiming resolutions, I am a proponent of taking stock and putting everything in order for the days, and year to come. One of my favorite parts of doing this out here on the farm is seed catalog time! When I finally get a chance to grab the big stack of catalogs that have been trickling in from the mailbox, my garden notebook from the season before, a few pens, a hot cup of milky homemade chai, a small bowl of popcorn, and then make my way to the sheepskin covered couch I am prepared to settle in and breath everything else out. As the big red woodstove burns through another round of locust inside the farmhouse and just through the window I can see the garden all tucked in and dormant, I am in my happy place. Oh, the possibilities.

img_2272While I do save many types of seeds year to year (there is an ox-heart type tomato that came from a friend years back, known simply as “Orange-It’s So Good!”) the excitement of new varieties has a hypnotic pull and I know I am not alone here. Sometimes it’s tracking down that elusive variety you sampled the summer before: a tomato that woo-ed you or those perfectly salty pan-fried Shishito peppers you cooked up after bringing them home from the farmers’ market. Other times it’s adding a vegetable variety just for the novelty of it. Mexican Sour Gherkin cucumber, anyone? (BTW they are not truly cucumbers and totally worth growing because they are adorable, as well as, delicious). The magic, and its ensuing promise is all there inside these catalog pages full of images and convincing descriptions. There’s the gorgeous scarlet colored Rouge Vif D’Etampes pumpkins, the ever sexy and otherworldly looking Tardivo radicchio with it’s deep burgundy white ribbed leaves, and the early ripening Liebesapfel sweet pepper with it’s lovely ruffled shape. I always end up circling more than I could ever realistically plant, grow, and harvest.

Flipping through these pages and circling the garden workhorses along with the “well, why not give it a try?” choices reminds me of why I do what I do.  Dreaming of all those fresh meals that lie ahead and all the folks you look forward to sharing them with is good winter cheer indeed. As I hear the kids stomping ice off their boots on the front porch and gaze out at the beautiful belted cattle standing around the round bale hay feeder looking like dusted sugar cookies in the snow I feel grateful indeed.

img_1458Stove Top Duck Fat Popped Corn
with Sumac, citrus zest, and Nutritional yeast
(Serves 4-6)

1 ¼ cup quality popcorn kernels
¼ plus 1 Tbsp. rendered duck fat*
Zest of one half (well rinsed) orange or zest of one full clementine*
Several healthy pinches of sumac*, nutritional yeast*, + salt

Method: Melt 1 tablespoon of duck fat in a small container and set aside. Set a tall, heavy bottomed stockpot over high heat. Add remaining ¼ cup duck fat and swirl pot to keep fat moving as it melts. Once melted, add in popcorn kernels all at once and cover pot with lid. Using a kitchen towel to hold the stockpot by a handle, begin to shake it gently keeping the bottom of the pot on your burner. Very soon you should begin to hear the corn start to pop. Keep moving the pan every ten seconds or so. The pops will start to speed up and then begin slowing back down. This all only takes 2 minutes or so. Listen for the popping to taper off and then immediately pull the pot over to another cool burner and remove lid. Pour popped corn into a large bowl or clean paper bag and add remaining tablespoon melted fat along with sumac, zest, salt, and yeast. Give a few good shakes and taste, adding more sumac or salt as you please.

Notes:
Yes, I am the type of gal that takes having various fats on hand for cooking as serious business. No ball dropping allowed here. I usually have farmstead lard, rendered duck fat, and raw cultured butter in the fridge at all times. Not to worry though, if your shop doesn’t stock duck fat plenty of online retailers these days do or you can substitute coconut oil, grape seed oil, or even saved bacon fat!

~Please use this recipe as a guide and adjust measurements + ingredients as necessary.~ 

Use organic citrus if possible. A Microplane rasp makes zesting a breeze. Sumac, which imparts a tangy tart and (to me) entirely moreish aspect to the popcorn, can be found at an ethnic grocery store. Nutritional yeast can be found in bulk at your local co-op or online. It is a powerhouse of B vitamins and is NOT the same as brewers yeast. I use Himalayan pink salt.

Written by Aaren Nuñez 

A Thanksgiving to Remember

Our office is an even split between people who plan their Thanksgiving menu weeks in advance and those who are now realizing that (oh my!) Thanksgiving is THIS THURSDAY.

If you’re like the latter half of us, don’t panic (like we MAY have this morning). We’ve found some great recipes that will make this Thanksgiving one to remember for years to come!

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Photo from How Sweet It Is.

First, a Bacon Butternut Squash Risotto. How Sweet It Is, you had us at bacon! We may even skip mashed potatoes this year and serve this instead. (Just kidding!) But seriously, this dish is the perfect combination of all things delicious and all things autumn, and we can’t wait to try it!

 

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Photo from I Am A Food Blog.

Next, no table is complete without a Pumpkin Loaf. Give in to the pumpkin craze that always peaks during this time of year (don’t worry, this is a much better alternative to SOME pumpkin flavored dishes). Try this yummy recipe from I Am A Food Blog.

 

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Photo from A Pinch of Yum.

A few of us have family staying in our homes from out of town this Thanksgiving weekend. Breakfast is often forgotten in the craziness of planning the evening meal, but our guests won’t be disappointed with that we have waiting in the kitchen on Thursday morning! Check out these Strawberry Oat Crumble Bars from a Pinch of Yum!

tgiving3
Photo from How Sweet It Is.

And finally, after all of this last minute planning, we could use a glass of this Cranberry Chai Sangria from How Sweet It Is. Don’t forget to start this one before you start cooking everything else. Mostly because it’s nice to have on hand, just in case.
Now, sit back, relax, and get through the short work week. We’ve got this!

Written by Nicole Brobston

Healthy Eating: Thug Kitchen Party Grub!

‘Tis the season for holiday parties! While you are planning your Thanksgiving and holiday celebrations, consider incorporating recipes from Thug Kitchen Party Grub into your menu.

Chefs Michelle Davis and Matt Holloway began blogging their healthy plant-based recipes in 2012 and released their first book last year. After teaching readers how to cook healthy and affordable dishes for themselves, they decided to release a new cookbook that would allow their fans to share their healthy eating habits with friends and family.

Thug Kitchen Party Grub contains over 100 new recipes for any occasion. Don’t let the “healthy” aspect deter you–your guests will be complimenting your culinary skills long after the party is over.
However, fair warning: it does contain strong language. Personally, we think that just adds to the charm.

Sydney Hale Company

Candles are a staple in almost every household. It is easy to go the grocery store and purchase a big name brand, but once the pleasant smell has dissipated (most often, very quickly), you are restocking on your next trip, and your investment no longer seems worthy of its price.
If you haven’t already, it is time to consider investing in candles that support local businesses, are made with soy, and last longer than the cheap candles to which you are accustomed.
Sydney_Hale_Co._Soy_Candle_Bergamot_Black_Tea_largeSydney Hale Company’s candles are handmade in small batches right here in Virginia. Their premium soy wax blend, double cotton wick, and 50 hour burn time makes them stand out among any competition. Traditionally crafted and tastefully fragrant, they will quickly become a household staple.
Purchasing just one candle from Sydney Hale Company helps support the Purcellville, Virginia business, which is owned and operated by a husband and wife team, Meghan and Chris Cook. They have two employees and three shop dogs. Their more than 26 signature fragrance products are available in over 150 boutique retail locations across the USA and Canada.
Everything is handmade in a small 700 square foot studio lending to a truly ‘small batch’ operation. And, if you needed any additional reasons to try their products, 10% of their profits are donated to dog rescue— a cause very important to them.
Not only can you purchase their products on their website, but you can also see snap shots of dogs they have sponsored every month for The Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation. Visit www.sydneyhaleco.com for more information on this local company doing great things for our area.

Barefoot Bucha

Kombucha is a live, fermented tea that originated in Eurasia approximately 2,000 years ago. Often enjoyed after a meal, it is considered healthful to the digestive system for its probiotic content, amino acids, and active enzymes.

If you are interested in trying this delicious craft beverage, we recommend Barefoot Bucha. Their certified organic kombucha is brewed in Virginia from pure Blue Ridge Mountain water and infused with organic and fair trade ingredients.

imagesFounded in 2010 by husband and wife team Ethan and Kate Zuckerman, Barefoot Bucha believes in good health, sustainable business practices, and the ability to positively impact the world through every day choices.

This mission is best illustrated in their “no waste model.” It is composed of greening measures such as reducing energy consumption, partnering with local delivery companies to minimize distribution impact, and composting brewery waste. They also keg their kombucha and offer it on draft at retail locations and restaurants.

The first time you purchase Barefoot Bucha, you also purchase a refillable bottle that you can reuse at any fountain location. It is a commitment that is worth the effort. In their five years of business, Barefoot Bucha drinkers have saved over 250,000 bottles by using the refillable option!

“Bringing your own bottles is not for everyone, but people who drink our kombucha tend to be really loyal to our model and excited about the positive contribution they are making by reusing their bottles,” says Head Brewer and company owner, Ethan Zuckerman. “We want to inspire our customers to be more conscious consumers, to think about the real impact that their purchasing decisions have in the world.”

Barefoot Bucha offers a variety of flavors including Black Raspberry, Ginger, Bluegrass Bucha, Cherry Root, Cold Brewcha, Kombuchai, and Classic. Visit www.barefootbucha.com for more information on distribution locations and the ingredients that make up each flavor.

It’s OK to Be Bitter

Summer and cocktails go hand in hand. Whether you are relaxing at home or enjoying an evening on the town with your friends, you are doing yourself a great disservice if you are drinking classic cocktails like the Manhattan or the Old Fashioned without bitters.
We are still experimenting to determine our favorite brand, but we do have a couple that we prefer so far:

The first is Bittermilk. Founded by husband and wife team Joe and MariElena Raya, it is a line of cocktail mixers made for cocktail enthusiasts by bartenders with real ingredients. Our personal favorite is Bittermilk No. 2, Tom Collins with Elderflowers & Hops. The bright and refreshing taste feels perfect for a relaxing by the pool on a Saturday afternoon. They are crafted and bottled by human hands in Charleston, South Carolina. You can purchase them online at www.bittermilk.com.
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We also love Crude Bitters. Don’t be fooled by the name— it is a reference to the rudimentary origins of bitters that included exotic roots, herbs, and spices aged in various liquids with beneficial (and unverified) claims attached to them.

In truth, they are very careful to make sure their methods are not crude and that their ingredients are all natural. Their selection, preparation, maceration, bottling and labeling is done by hand in Raleigh, North Carolina. Our personal favorite selection from Crude Bitters is “Sycophant” Bitters. This flavor starts as a sweet, citrus taste and finishes with earth tones and vanilla bean. It pairs well with gin or bourbon. For more information on purchasing Crude Bitters and trying them out for yourself, visit www.crudebitters.com.

Pick up our July issue (while you still can!) for more information on the history and uses of bitters. Visit our Facebook page to win samples of a variety of bitters from the above mentioned companies! Good luck!

Product Spotlight: D’s Naturals Protein Bars

Daniel Katz of Blue Ash, Ohio is creating quite a stir in the organic food industry. At just 18 years old, Katz has created a company called D’s Naturals that, in his words, “redefines the word natural.” They use only healthy ingredients so customers can believe in what they eat and feel good about the choices they make.

His unique version of the standard protein bar, the “No Cow Bar,” contains natural, plant-based foods and leaves out harmful ingredients. Choose from three flavors: Blueberry Cobbler, Mint Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Cookie.

2032092_setHe has also created a delicious treat called Fluffbutter. This comes in two flavors including Chocolate Fudge Cake Batter and Vanilla Maple.
There are many ways to enjoy Fluffbutter– including melting it into fondue.

These items are dairy free, soy free, gluten free, and vegan-friendly. Visit Katz’ website to celebrate his accomplishments and try his products!

 

Written by Lani Maddox

Product Spotlight: Eos Chocolates

Catherine von Ruden, the creator of Eos Chocolates, integrates her passion for all things sweet into her chocolate creations. She grew up in Switzerland and developed an interest in Greek Mythology. This interest inspired Catherine to name her company Eos, after the Goddess of Dawn, which is fitting because the product is meant to satisfy chocolate lovers bite-by-bite. She describes her brand as “guiltless pleasure,” which sets her apart from the rest, since dark chocolate is typically the only type of chocolate consumers consider to be healthy.

IMG_1011_B_CROP_largeEos Chocolates represent four different lines of indulgence, including Chocolate Spreads ($11.5), Energy Bars ($2.5), Nibbles ($8), and their signature piece Eos Chocolate Man ($7-10). Each is fair-trade, organic or contains sustainably farmed ingredients.

Nibbles and spreads are made of 70% cocoa to ensure the perfect amount of sweetness while leaving out the unneeded sugar, which leaves you UN-satisfied post indulgence. Energy bars are sweetened with honey and coconut sugar, and also contain organic rolled oats, 100% cocoa nibs, and hemp seeds, which is not only good, but also good for you! As far as the Chocolate Man goes, he comes in dark, milk, and white; and also, he can be enjoyed solid, filled with fruit or creamy ganache. Yum!

Visit www.eoschocolates.com for more information on Catherine and her delightful creations!

Written by Lani Maddox