Friday, October 3, 2014

name change and relaunch

you may have noticed that i have been 
less than loyal
to this blog
of late

i am constantly thinking about what i want to post
and then
the day moves on
and i don't have good photos
or a good recipe to post
more than likely
i am beat
and choose a few hours sleep
a few hours of blogging

i've come to realize that i have a lot of things to share
they are all not food related
which keeps me from posting them

every day,
i have stories to tell


the ranch
eating out
staying in
births and hatchings
the garden and orchard
good food

i am changing it up

i am moving all my content/my facebook/twitter/pinterest
to a new blog

and soon will be found

but not right this minute

i will be migrating and redirecting

it should be relatively seamless to you
that is the plan

thank you for hanging in there with me....

all my best
see you 

Saturday, September 27, 2014


the weather is turning
this morning we picked the
almost last
bit of plums
scout is a good early morning companion
she loves fruit as a treat
the bright little orbs
appear to her
to be a bucket of balls
she is very attentive
her inspection flawless

Thursday, September 25, 2014

message in a bottle

spring arrives and we run in full sprint
preparing and tending
summer has us watching, patient-waiting
fall arrives with a prize
fruit grown 
the bottle
almost complete


large jars of ripe pears
bathing in brandy
infuse for months
sip after sip after sip

when the time comes
the brandy pours
briefly veiling 
the pear

for night capping
mood enhancing
hold secrets of the garden
whispers of the trees

Saturday, June 21, 2014

brandied apricots

last you heard from me was spring
and now we are in summer
full stop
been busy on the farm
enough to keep us very busy

i have been cooking and crafting and lots of other things
but not much blogging
my late nights are taken up by
deep and heavy sleep!

we picked a bucket load of apricots the other day
and i have been working to preserve them for our
winter larder
this year
i have decided to brandy some 
which is a fancy way of saying
infusing with brandy
i've loaded my jars with 
freshly washed fruit
(sliced in half and pitted)
a sprinkle of sugar
(about a tablespoon per jar)
poured on the brandy

in some 
i added a few extra bits
rosemary in one
cinnamon stick in another
vanilla bean in a third

there are so many lovely combinations to try
i am popping these onto a shelf, in a cool pantry
but the fridge would be a great place too
(if only i had room in the fridge)

Brandied Apricots

Thursday, May 8, 2014

sweet eggs

come spring
we bring it outside
entertaining is a bit more relaxed
food becomes
a bit less fussy
perhaps a tad more whimsical
more seasonally driven

we keep chickens, ducks and geese
which means we have a generous supply of eggs

when putting together a weekend brunch
i love to serve
sweet eggs

very simple and darling on display
these eggs are filled with vanilla yogurt and lemon curd
sweet eggs
emptied and cleaned goose, duck or extra large chicken eggs
plain or vanilla yogurt
vanilla extract (if using plain yogurt)-optional
brown or granulated sugar (if using plain yogurt)-optional
your favorite lemon curd recipe
-martha has a nice one HERE

using an egg topper such as this one
is by far the easiest way to get those perfect edges.  
-while the eggs are uncooked, take the top off.  separate the whites and the yolks as you empty the shell. use the yolks for your curd, the whites for another delicious recipe.
-you must be gentle when washing the shells, but you must be very thorough in the washing.  there may be a layer of membrane attached to the interior of the shell.  make sure you get that completely out.  it comes out easier when you run water through it.  once the membrane is cleared, use a good soap and hot water to get it completely cleaned out. let them air dry with good air-flow.
-you can either set the eggs in egg cups, or use the top inverted and glued to the bottom of the egg to create a stand.  you may also just want to place in a small bowl, or in a large bowl on top of artificial grass (or if you have access, hay or straw)

if you are using plain yogurt and wish to sweeten it up a bit (i recommend doing so, particularly if you have a nice tart lemon curd), add just a touch of sweetness with your sweetener of choice.  i like brown sugar because it takes very little and adds a bit of a caramel flavor to the yogurt.  start with 1 tsp per 2 cups and add more to taste. the same with the vanilla.

make the lemon curd as directed and let cool completely

to the yogurt and lemon curd in separate decorating bags (alternatively you can use a small spoon).  layer directly into the shell starting with the yogurt.  fill the shell approximately 1/3 full with the yogurt. add a thin (max 1/4") layer of lemon curd. add more yogurt to almost reach the top of the shell, and top with more curd, placed to resemble an egg yolk. 
serve with demi-tasse spoons.

you may also add gingersnap crumbles or graham cracker crumbles to the bottom for additional flavor and a bit of crunch.  serving with a bit of granola is a nice compliment.  for something really fun,  fashion sugar cookies into "toast soldiers" and pop them right in to look like a soft boiled egg and toast.

while the eggs can be washed and prepped in advance, and the yogurt and curd can be made ahead as well, i do not recommend assembling until just prior to serving

*i do not recommend reusing the egg shells

Sunday, March 16, 2014

enjoying the local flavor

this afternoon
our lunch was the flavors of the season
terroir of where we live

yesterday was warm and bright and a perfect day for our local farmer's market
we picked up some zucchini flowers which seem to be on my menus from spring to autumn every year
we love them
it seems
i am continually posting recipes of them on this blog

many of you may know we are in the process of starting a little dairy on our property
the process is long and costly
we are not there yet
we live among dairies and cheesemakers
one of which sells a beautiful cow's milk crescenza
briny and soft, it is perfect for 
stuffing fiori, melting on toast, or paired with just picked tomatoes

to round out the flavor
{i love salty-sweet}
i used a bit of my homemade membrillo
i packed it away this winter
our nearest neighbor has a large u-pick orchard
this year she gave me baskets of quince which i quickly turned into sweet treats
i am mesmerized how the hard, cream colored fruit transforms itself into a gooey treat of crimson

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

pistachio-strawberry swirl ice cream

a warm winter makes way for an early harvest of strawberries
meandering down a country road this weekend passed
i happened across a roadside stand
loaded with berries and heaps of pistachios
locally grown

to keep up with our highly productive flock
i find myself
dreaming up custards
frozen custards
frozen custards made from
backyard eggs
fresh milk
farmstand goodies
pistachio-strawberry swirl ice cream
1 cup unsalted (roasted and shelled) pistachios
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
7 large eggs yolks
pinch salt (sea or kosher)
2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup strawberry preserves
1/2 cup chopped pistachios (optional)
whisk the egg yolks, salt and 3/4 cup sugar. place milk and the pistachios in a blender and puree until the nuts are completely liquid and smooth.  add 3/4 cup sugar and place over low heat and warm to a simmer.  remove from heat and whisk into the eggs and sugar mixture.  tip back into the saucepan and cook over very low heat, stirring continually with a rubber spatula.  do not allow to boil, and cook until it just begins to thicken to nappe.  remove from heat and pour through a sieve into a clean bowl.  stir in vanilla and heavy cream. refrigerate 6 hours to overnight.  freeze according to ice cream manufacturers instructions. 
once the custard is frozen, transfer it to a freezer safe container.  swirl in the strawberry preserves and the chopped pistachios (if using)
*if you choose to make your own strawberry preserves, simply place 2 cups of roughly chopped strawberries in a saucepan.  taste for sweetness.  squeeze the juice of 1/2 lemon.  add sugar according to sweetness.  add up to 1 1/2 cups of sugar (less if sweet strawberries, more if not sweet).  cook at a simmer until strawberries break down and soften and they sit in a thick glaze.  refrigerate until needed

Saturday, February 22, 2014

and goes another year....

three birthdays ago
i wrote from a small desk
 in a cozy room on a sheep farm
i awoke with the sun to find newly birthed lambs
ready for a warm bottle
i was charged to provide

that day
was life changing

(my birthday 3 years hence)
i write 
from a small desk
in a roomy greenhouse
on my own farm
 i awake with the sun
.. the rooster
...the bleating goats
..hungry pigs
... herd of sheep
..and a wee little lamb
of my own

Sunday, January 12, 2014

jammy almond crumb bars

we live 
in the country
not the county of estates and tag sales
but the country
pastures and dairy sheep
so when
someone stops by
we wave them in
take their coat
sit them down with a
hot cup of coffee and a sweet

these bars are a twist on the common crumble bar
i use whatever jam i have on hand
{usually something not too sweet loaded with bits of fruit}
the twist comes in the form of almond paste
it finds its way into these cookies
at every bite
jammy almond crumb bars
2 sticks unsalted butter--room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
7 oz almond paste (divided)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup high quality-not too sweet jam (ollalaberry, raspberry, blackberry, fruits of the forest, etc)
1/4 cup toasted pistachio nuts
place sugar, flour and 1/3 of the almond paste in a bowl.  by hand, work in the almond paste so that it is in small bits throughout the flour.  Add the butter and work by hand until you get a crumble that will stick when pressed together.
press about 2/3 of the dough into the bottom and up the sides of  a 9"x9"  fluted tart pan*. take remaining almond paste and lightly press a thin layer on top of the crust.  you may not use all of the paste. spread evenly with jam.  
Mix the pistachio nuts in with remaining dough.  Evenly distribute remaining dough by crumbling on top of jam.  (i like a thick layer of topping)
Bake at 350 for approximately 40-45 minutes. you want the crust and crumble to be slightly colored, but not over-browned.

*if you do not have a fluted tart pan, this works fine in a standard 9x9 cake pan, just be sure to bring the crust 1/4-1/2"  up the sides.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

gingerbread bundt with espresso glaze

resolutions are not for me
i am all out of resolve 
by the time the new year rings its bell
no way
give me until spring

i will sit by the fire
mug in hand
fork in mouth
i made this cake as part of a full buffet for a wedding
full and heady with spice
it sticks to your ribs
in a good way

{this recipe comes from Gramercy Tavern...and developed by Claudia Fleming. I have made this recipe and the recipe in her book "The Last Course".  I prefer this one.  I have made a couple very minor adjustments to the recipe, which I will announce so you may or may not choose to do the same}
Gingerbread Bundt
{Gramercy Tavern}

1 cup oatmeal or guiness stout {i used anchor steam pale ale}
1 cup dark (not blackstrap) molasses
1/2 tsp baking soda

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 Tbs ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
pinch ground cardamom
generous pinch kosher salt {my addition--optional}
3 large eggs
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbs Trablit coffee extract *or 1 Tbs espresso powder {my addition-optional)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Use shortening to grease pan (trust me on this...pan spray will not work, butter works better, but shortening works the best) and then dust with flour. Set aside. 

Boil stout (or other beer if using) with molasses.  Take off heat and then whisk in baking soda.  The mixture will bubble up, so make sure your pan has plenty of room, so the mixture does not overflow.  Allow to cool to room temperature.  Sift together flour, baking powder, salt (if using), ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom {if using espresso powder, sift with flour. If using coffee extract, whisk in with eggs and sugar} Whisk together eggs, brown sugar and granulated sugar until completely incorporated. Whisk in oil and then molasses mixture. Add flour in single addition and whisk until it is just combined.  Pour into prepared pan and bake about 50 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.  Allow to cool in pan on rack for about 5 minutes, then turn onto rack, and allow to cool completely.

Espresso Buttermilk Glaze
{this is entirely my addition and is optional}
1 lb confectioner's sugar
1 oz strong espresso
1 Tbs Trablit coffee extract or 1 Tbs espresso powder

Place the confectioner's sugar in a bowl.   Mix the trablit or espresso powder into the espresso.  Pour the espresso bit by bit careful not to thin out the confectioner's sugar too much.  If the confectioner's sugar is still too thick to pour, add buttermilk until you get a pouring consistency. NOTE:  this uses such a small amount of buttermilk, if you don't have it on hand, you can easily substitute cream, half and half or milk.
Generously pour over cooled cake and allow to harden.

*Trablit is a very strong and specific coffee extract. It cannot be substituted with clear extract or candy oil.  If you can't find it (or it is cost prohibitive) please use espresso powder.  


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