Tag Archives: recipe

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 

An Indulgent Treat That’s Both Salty & Sweet

The holiday season is in full swing, and at this point your calendar is bursting with fun, festive activities: the Nutcracker, a friend’s Ugly Sweater Party, holiday gatherings at the Hotel Roanoke, you name it! If you need an easy recipe for a holiday treat that is guaranteed to impress your guests without much fuss, we have the perfect fix for you: Country Crack!

You will need:
Cooking spray
35-40 saltine crackers
2 sticks (1 cup) of butter (For crunchier crackers, just use one stick!)
8 ounces (about 1 1/3 cups) semisweet chocolate chips

Step 1: Begin by preheating the oven to 425 degrees F. The ingredients being used have been proven to be sticky, so make sure to line the pan with aluminum foil and non-stick spray.
Step 2: Arrange the saltines in a single layer, placing them salt-side down. As you do this, you can melt the butter and brown sugar together in a saucepan. As it comes to a boil, it will turn a caramel color. From here you will pour the mixture over the crackers.
Step 3: Bake for 3-5 minutes, or just until bubbly, but make sure that they don’t burn! After you remove the crackers from the oven, next you will pour the chocolate chips on the crackers. As they begin to soften, then you can gently smooth them over with a knife.
Step 4: Transfer the pan to the freezer. Leave them sit for 15-20 minutes, or until they become cold. The last step is to break the crackers into pieces.

This is a great time to add toppings. This recipe originated from Trisha Yearwood’s Sweet & Saltines. The secret to Country Crack is the sea salt that is grinded on top. That’s the kicker! Other good toppings could include crushed peppermint or even bacon.
If you’re at a loss for time, don’t stress! This recipe can be made in 35 minutes tops. It’s simple and delicious, and your dessert will be the talk of the night.

Enjoy!

 

Written by Lani Maddox

Non-Traditional “Pumpkin Pie” Recipe

We love this “non-traditional” Frozen Butter Pecan Pumpkin Pie recipe from www.blessedbeyondcrazy.com! Give it a try and let us know what you think!

1 quart butter pecan ice cream, softened
1 (9 inch) store purchased Oreo pie crust
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping
1/2 cup chocolate syrup
Dollop of whipped topping

Spread ice cream into the Oreo crust; freeze for 2 hours or until firm. In a small bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Fold in whipped cream. Spread over ice cream. Cover and freeze for 2 hours or until firm. Remove from the freezer 5-10 minutes before slicing. Drizzle with caramel ice cream topping and chocolate syrup. Add dollop of whipped cream. (May be frozen for up to 2 months.)

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.

Banish Lunchbox Blues with Grapes

When it comes to packing a school lunch, you know the drill: Lay out two slices of bread. Spread one with peanut butter, the other with jelly. Press together, slice diagonally and place in sandwich bag. Repeat. And repeat. And repeat.
Of course good ol’ PB&J is a lunchbox staple, but who doesn’t crave something just a little different every now and then? Here are some quick and easy ideas that are sure to earn an A-plus with your kids:

*Add halved grapes to chicken salad for a refreshing take on this timeless sandwich filling. Pack it in a separate container, and provide crackers for a crunchy alternative to bread.
*Offer a mix of baby carrots and sugar snap peas with hummus for a smashing side.
For creative sandwich substitutes, think outside the bread box:
* Create a bento-box-style, snackable lunch combo: include cheese and crackers, fresh grapes from California, and a small handful of nuts.
* Make a sandwich rollup, using flatbread or flour tortillas as the base, or stuff pita pockets with filling, as a fun replacement for sliced bread.
* Tuck whole-grain tortilla chips and salsa, a side of black bean and corn salad, plus cheese and grapes for a Mexican spin on lunch.
* Looking for a gluten-free alterative? Try a cheese stick rolled with a slice of ham, with grapes on the side.
*Shape-shift familiar lunch items to add interest: offer cheese cubes, apple rings, carrot coins, and tortilla pinwheels.
*Tuck in a cluster of fresh grapes from California for an easy finger food that’s juicy and hydrating too.

After school, a good snack can revive and refresh your student for homework time and afterschool activities. Smoothies are a great-tasting option, offering unlimited possibilities for ingredient combos and the ability to customize to everyone’s liking. Plus, they’re a nutritious way to tide over tummies until dinner, or even start the day at breakfast, by providing an excellent source of protein.
Grapes and yogurt are a classic combination, and this great-tasting smoothie proves the point: creamy and naturally sweet, simple to make and easy to embellish as desired. Just whirl all the ingredients in the blender and you’ve got a delicious superfood smoothie.

21329564Grape smoothie

1 cup lowfat vanilla yogurt
2 cups red California seedless grapes
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 banana (optional)

Place all ingredients in blender. Cover and blend until smooth. Pour and serve.

Yield: Makes 1 3/4 cups.

Note: To make a green smoothie, use green California grapes instead of red, and toss in a handful of spinach leaves.

Nutritional analysis per serving: calories 192; protein 5 g; carbohydrate 39 g; fat 1.5 g; 7 percent calories from fat; cholesterol 7.5 mg; sodium 100 mg; calcium 205 mg; fiber 1.5 g.

For more grape ideas, go to GrapesfromCalifornia.comfacebook.com/GrapesfromCalifornia,twitter.com/GrapesfromCApinterest.com/GrapesfromCA.

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.
cgjuly1
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!

Common Good: From the Cover

We chose to feature peaches on our cover for the month of July— not only because they are in season, but also because there are so many delicious ways to enjoy them in the summer. Before you can choose the right peach to fit your needs, you should know a few important facts about them.

Peaches are a member of the rose family— a group that includes apricots, cherries, nectarines, plums, and almonds. They are categorized in three different varieties: clingstone, freestone, and semi-freestone.

Clingstone peaches are often found in the northern hemisphere and are most often identified as those with bright yellow flesh streaked with red as you get closer to its core. This kind is most commonly used in desserts, jellies and jams, and for canning. They are the most flavorful of the three varieties.

Though flavorful, clingstone peaches can become difficult on the go. Freestone peaches are more convenient for carrying in lunch boxes or for mid-morning snacks. Though this variety is firmer and less juicy, they’re still delicious. They are also much easier to find in a grocery store.

Semi-freestone peaches are a combination of the two and can be used in many different dishes.

For a great summer recipe using peaches, visit Everyday Occasions.

 

Written by Lani Maddox

Serve it up Sassy!®: Dining on a Dime!

placesetting 1A - CopyRECIPE DEVELOPMENT, FOOD STYLING, PHOTOGRAPHY, and ARTICLE BY LIZ BUSHONG

Winter may bring cold winds and snow showers, but there’s a bright spot in all of this wintery bliss, a healthy meal with a pretty table ushering in the promise of spring and dining on a dime. Hope you are hungry!

Here is a budget-friendly menu for light supper at home. Melt away the icy chill with a hearty tomato bacon soup, triple cheese “spoons” and for dessert, a mouthwatering chocolate meringue brownie with cashew caramel sauce.

If the past season has left you money hungry, this menu will help you stretch-a- dollar. Purchasing seasonal foods is a healthy and cost-effective way to approach menu planning and shopping. Grocery stores tend to purchase in-bulk seasonal items because they are plentiful, making them less expensive for you—especially when they go on sale. Vegetables such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, onions, garlic and carrots are just a few seasonal foods that were used in this menu. There are many other vegetables to select from ranging from arugula to turnip greens. Ask your produce manager what items are seasonal and they should be able to help you.

Our menu has five seasonal items including the vegetables in the centerpiece. The onions, garlic and carrots were cooked in the savory tomato soup along with canned tomatoes. The triple cheese spoons and chocolate meringue brownies were baked to perfection using basics from a well -stocked pantry. If you don’t have a stocked pantry, begin to add one or two extra items each time you shop to keep your pantry ready for those impromptu meals. A good resource for stocking your pantry is budgetbytes.com.

lenton rose centerpieceBlooming in the midst of a cold winter and reaching toward the warmth of the sun, white Lenten roses are the welcomed centerpiece for this light supper. The roses were not purchased but cut from the backyard. The base of a green head of cabbage provided an interesting vase and the Brussels sprouts compliment the dark green leaves of the Lenten roses. The cabbage is hollowed in the center and holds a small glass container for water. After the flowers are spent, you can use the cabbage and Brussels sprouts for another meal or two. A great way to save money is to use vegetables and fruits as part of your centerpiece.

Decorate your table with what you have, begin with the white dinner plate and add colorful salad plates or bowls to the setting. Fold a pretty napkin and tuck it under the salad plate. In this sassyscape, the $3.00 centerpiece set the tone for this green, white and black color scheme. The napkin is a tea towel. Be creative and make your table your own by using what you already have available. Perhaps you have extra lemons or limes around; you could create a scheme from those two colors.  Inspiration is all around you. Take the time to find it.

February may indeed bring cold winds and snow showers, but there is always a bright spot in each and every day no matter what the season brings. A pretty table, a fulfilling meal and the satisfaction knowing you didn’t over spend makes every day a little bit brighter and less stressful. Dining on a Dime can help you usher in the promise of spring with a big smile on your face and money in your pocket.

tomato soupSavory Bacon Tomato Soup with Avocado Sauce

2 strips of market fresh bacon
½ cup chopped yellow onion
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 large carrot, peeled, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup canned tomato sauce
2-12 ounce can diced tomatoes basil, garlic and oregano
3 cups chicken broth
Garnish
Avocado Sauce
½ cup bacon bits-divided
8-10 Chive stems

Avocado Sauce
¼ cup yogurt or sour cream
1-tablespoons water
½-avocado, mashed

In large saucepan, fry bacon. Remove bacon but reserve oil. Sauté onions, garlic and carrots in the bacon oil on medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir until onions are transparent and soft.
Add tomato paste and canned diced tomatoes. Add broth, salt and pepper.
Simmer for 45 minutes.
In blender or using hand emulsifier, puree the soup in batches until smooth, return to saucepan over medium heat. Serve soup in individual bowls.
Make avocado sauce; mix all ingredients together until smooth.
Top each bowl with avocado sauce, crumbled bacon bits and chive stems.
Serve with Three Cheese Cheddar Spoons.
Yield: 4-6 Servings

 

cheesespoonsThree- Cheese Spoons (Straws)

16 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
4 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
1 stick butter- land a lakes
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or more as desired
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups all purpose flour
Garnish:   white sesame seeds-optional

In food processor with steel blade, or with a mixer, cream the butter and cheeses until fluffy and smooth. Add cayenne, salt and flour and process the dough until the dough gathers inside the bowl.
Preheat oven to 325.
Remove dough and wrap in plastic wrap, refrigerate for 25 minutes or longer. When ready to roll out, the dough should be pliable and easy to roll. You might need to knead the dough to make it pliable and easier to roll.
Roll dough on flour surface to a little more than 1/8 inch thick – these will puff slightly during baking. (¼ inch is to thick, unless you want a thicker spoon)
Cut desired shapes using cookie cutters or a spoon cut out.
On a parchment lined double baking sheet space each spoon 1/4 inch apart. Brush spoon with water then sprinkle with sesame seeds or other grain. Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes or until puffed and brown. Allow to cool on pan before removing to avoid breakage.
Store in airtight container after cooled.
Yield: about 40 spoons (These freeze well. Serve with soups, salads or as appetizer mini’s.)

chocolatemeringueChocolate Meringue Brownies with Cashew Caramel Sauce

1-8×8 inch square pan full of baked brownies- use favorite mix or recipe
1 cup chocolate frosting, purchased or home-made

Chocolate Meringue

½ cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 ½ tablespoons unsweetened special dark cocoa
2 egg whites, room temperature
¼ cup granulated sugar

Cashew Caramel Sauce

½ cup purchased caramel sauce
½ cup whole cashews

Instructions for Meringue and Cashew Caramel Sauce

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Trace 8- 2 ½ inch round cookie cutter size on to parchment paper. Turn paper over. Set aside.
In small bowl, sift confectioners sugar with cocoa, set aside.
In large mixing bowl, using wire wisk, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
Gradually add granulated sugar to egg whites, beat until stiff peaks form.
Gradually add confectioners and cocoa mixture, beat to blend. Peaks will be lost.
Spoon mixture into zip lock bag, close bag, clip one end to 1/8 inch, pipe circles onto parchment paper.
Bake meringues in oven for 20- 25 minutes or until firm. Open oven door slightly and cool completely.
In small bowl, combine cashews with caramel sauce. Set aside.

To Assemble:
Cut brownies into 4 -2 ½ inch circles using cutter for meringues. Frost each brownie top with chocolate frosting. On serving plate, layer one meringue upright, brownie round, top with meringue. With spoon drizzle cashew caramel sauce over meringue brownie dessert.
Yield: 4 servings

Make a Statement, Make it Sassy, Make it Your’s.®
Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. She makes elegance easy for her audience and encourages them to add their own Sassy touch to make it unique. Liz is famous for creating her own version of a beautifully presented tablescape – which she calls a Sassyscape ™ -and she also creates magic beyond the dining experience. In 2009, 2010, and 13, she was selected from thousands nationwide to be part of an elite team of 100 professionals entrusted with decorating the White House for the Holiday. In 2011, she was part of seven-person team selected to decorate the Tennessee Governor’s Mansion for the holiday.
Liz has been featured as the monthly guest chef on Daytime Tri-Cities, television show on WJHL, the CBS Affiliate for the Tri- Cities Area of Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Daytime Blue Ridge in Roanoke, Virginia and Daytime Tampa, Tampa Florida. She is also the creator and host of her own one-hour seasonal television show called “Serve it up Sassy!” for the same market, which aired in 2011. She is also a contributing writer for the regional magazine VIP Seen and Lovely Bella magazine in Roanoke, Virginia.
She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Consumer and Family Sciences from Purdue University and an Associate in Applied Science degree in Fashion Design from The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. She is also certified in Decorative Finishes and has been trained as a volunteer Master Gardener.
Liz is the author of the Just Desserts and Sweets & Savories cookbook. Liz turns dessert into the fifth basic food group and features recipes for her signature specialty, delicious “mini-desserts and appetizers.”
Liz makes her home in Johnson City, Tennessee. She continues to perfect her sassy approach to turning simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments.
Liz Bushong, Serve it up Sassy! ™
To purchase cookbooks, find recipes, cooking, and decorating demonstrations, go to www.lizbushong.com.