Food & Health Archive


RECIPE: The Simplest Pot Roast Ever

Friday, January 17th, 2014

Beat winter’s chill with this warm and hearty pot roast recipe from Shannon Hayes’ book Long Way on a Little: An Earth Lover’s Companion for Enjoying Meats, Pinching Pennies, and Living Deliciously.

The simple secret to this recipe is a good sear, followed by time in the slow cooker with very little liquid, resulting in concentrated beef flavor and an intense sauce. With the added benefit of using a low energy cooking method—less than 25 cents per day—this dish is sure to keep your belly and your wallet full.

Simplest Pot Roast Ever

You can download the recipe here >>>

Maple Syrup 101: When Do I Tap My Tree?

Monday, January 13th, 2014

With sugaring season almost upon us, many folks are already setting their eyes on a nearby stand of maple trees and getting ready to set taps, run lines, and collect sap.

If you only have a couple of trees nearby — say in your backyard — author Mike Farrell (The Sugarmaker’s Companion) has some simple advice for you to get started tapping a few trees and collecting the sap by bucket. The following is adapted and condensed from Chapter 5 of his book.

Happy sap collecting!

Backyard Sap CollectionWhen to Tap

One of the most difficult decisions you have to make from year to year in your sugaring operation is deciding when to tap. I always recommend tapping just a few trees in January and February to determine what is going on with sap flow conditions. In relatively cold areas, even when the temperatures get above freezing in January and February, the amount of sap flow can be negligible. The trees are basically frozen, and it takes an extended period of warm temperatures to induce substantial sap flow. In warmer regions where the winter isn’t as severe, optimum temperature fluctuations usually happen all winter and the trees may be producing a decent amount of sap in January and February. If you see this happening in your test trees, you’ll want to tap the rest of your sugarbush to catch the early sap runs.

How to Tap

Finding the Right Spot

The first step in tapping is to find a good spot to drill the hole. It doesn’t matter how nice a hole you drill, what type of spout you use, or what level of vacuum you are pulling if you have drilled into a bad section of the tree. To get a decent amount of high-quality sap, you need to drill into clear, white sapwood. It is important to avoid previous tapholes and the associated stain columns as well as other defects and rotten areas on the trunk. Large seams and wounds are easy to identify and avoid, but it takes a trained eye to locate old tapholes.

Drilling the Hole

Sugaring Tap

Some people advocate drilling the hole directly into the tree whereas others recommend drilling at a slight upward angle. I usually try to achieve a perfectly straight hole but always err on the side of making it at a slight upward angle whenever necessary. No matter how you drill the hole, be sure to use a relatively new, clean, sharp drill bit that is intended for drilling into maple trees.

When you are pulling the drill out of the tree, always examine the shavings to make sure that they are pure white. If you get brown or dark-colored shavings, you have drilled into a bad part of the tree. Your sap yield will be negligible, and any sap that does flow may have a yellow tinge to it and impart off-flavors to your syrup.

Setting the Spout

The final step is placing the spout in the tree. It takes some practice to figure out how hard to tap on the spout to get it nice and snug without overdoing things. Not tapping in hard enough can cause the spout to be too loose, creating a vacuum leak. On the other hand, tapping too hard can potentially cause the wood to split, which in turn leads to vacuum leaks, lost sap, and increased wounding at the taphole. Most sugarmakers use regular hammers to set the spouts, but you don’t necessarily hammer the spouts in. Just a few gentle taps will usually do the trick until you hear a thumping sound. As soon as you can hear the difference, stop tapping on the spout.

Row of Sugaring buckets

Sprouts: breathe life back into winter

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

The following is an excerpt from Wild Flavors: One Chef’s Transformative Year Cooking from Eva’s Farm by Didi Emmons. It has been adapted for the Web.

 

Growing sprouts is one of the simplest things you can do to breathe life into the deprivations of winter. As an urbanite who doesn’t have much space or sun to grow food, sprouts are one thing I can grow at any point in the year. Sprouts are replete with vitamins, minerals, proteins, and enzymes. Sprouting is easy, as easy a process as cooking rice. And there is a satisfaction in fostering and watching them grow and prosper. It feeds my maternal side, without the crying and diapers.

Most any edible seed can become an edible sprout, but I like to sprout wheat berries, kamut, quinoa, lentils, and chickpeas. Other possibilities include hulled sunflower seeds, buckwheat groats, spelt, soybeans, peas, brown mustard seeds, radish seeds, broccoli seeds, rye seeds, cabbage seeds, and herb seeds. You can also sprout raw peanuts, black-eyed peas, adzuki beans, green channa, and, more commonly, alfalfa, clover, and mung bean. Tomato and potato sprouts are said to be poisonous.

Growing Sprouts: The Eva Way

There are two main ways to grow sprouts at home: in a jar or in a bag (of any sturdy mesh fabric, whether natural or synthetic fiber).

  • In either case, start by rinsing about 1 cup of legumes or seeds and then letting them soak overnight.
  • Drain, rinse again, and transfer the legumes or seeds to a big glass jar or mesh bag large enough to hold five times the quantity of seeds or legumes that you have.
  • Tie the bag closed or secure cheesecloth over the mouth of the jar to keep debris out and to facilitate easy straining. Hang the bag or store the jar in a dark, humid place if possible, and rinse morning and night.
  • Eventually, after somewhere between two and ten days, depending on the type of seed, you will notice that the seeds have sprouted.

Sprouts in Cloth BagYou may have noticed that there is a lot of rinsing involved here, and watching all of that barely used water head down the drain goes against every fiber in Eva’s body. When she rinses the seeds or legumes the first time, she catches that liquid in a bowl. To rinse the seeds or legumes afterward, she simply dips her bag into the captured water, lifts it up, and shakes the liquid out. Once the seeds or legumes have sprouted and the rinsing has ended, she uses the liquid for a variety of creative uses, from cooking her morning cereal to watering (and nourishing) plants.

Sources

Don’t buy your seeds at a garden center, there is a risk they may be contaminated with chemicals or bacteria. I get my seeds at a local natural foods store and they sprout—no problem. But if you are serious, there are plenty of websites like Sproutman.com that sell seed grown specifically for human consumption. “The Sproutman” also offers a helpful circular sprout chart for $5 that lists an array of seeds you can sprout, with the corresponding sprouting times, the suggested method, the level of difficulty, uses, flavors, and so on. It is worth getting.

Storage

After giving sprouts one final rinse, put them back in the same container you grew them in or in a plastic bag poked with a knife to ensure air circulation. Sprouts are living plants. They last about a week in the fridge in a plastic container, though legume sprouts may last longer.

 

~~~~

What to do with all your new sprouts? Wild Flavors, has a tasty (and easy) hummus recipe using sprouted chickpeas:

 

Sprouted Hummus From Wild Flavors by Chelsea Green Publishing

Holiday Bread Favorite: Learn to Make Pain d’Epices

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

This is an old-fashioned gingerbread-like quick bread—the name means “spice bread” — that is a holiday favorite among bread bakers. I’ve sold it, given it away as gifts, and eaten it at Christmastime for years.

The main leavener is baking soda, which creates carbon dioxide when it comes into contact with the acidic honey. Unlike baking powder, which makes carbon dioxide when it becomes wet and again when it meets the heat of the oven, baking soda creates carbon dioxide only once. Make sure your oven is ready to go once you start mixing this one. Unbaked batter that sits around will lose its carbon dioxide and become heavy.

Like other dense rye breads, this bread has an impressive shelf life. It will become a bit chewier after several days, but I find it delicious toasted and served warm with butter.

Pain d'Epices bread ingredientsYield: 2 loaf pans, 1 Pullman pan, or numerous mini loaves
Prefermented flour: 0%
Wood-fired oven temperature window: 350°F (177°C) and falling
Home oven: Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).

Sift together the rye flour, baking soda, and spices into a large bowl and set aside. Whisk the milk and honey together over medium heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the orange and lemon peel and remove from the heat. Before you add the yolks, you must first temper them so they don’t cook in the hot mixture. To do this, slowly drizzle a little of the hot mixture into the yolks while whisking. Now add the tempered yolks back into the liquids.

Add the liquids to the dry ingredients and mix gently just until smooth. Divide evenly between two greased loaf pans. Arrange the almonds in a decorative pattern on top of the unbaked batter.

Place the pans directly on the hearth in the 350°F (177°C) zone, and bake for 15 minutes. Then move the pans into a 325°F (163°C) zone in the oven and bake for approximately 25 minutes more, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The loaves may need to be tented with foil to prevent excessive darkening.

If you’re using a home oven, bake at 350°F for 15 minutes. Reduce the temp to 325°F and bake for approximately 25 minutes more, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The loaves may need to be tented with foil to prevent excessive darkening.

Let the loaves cool for 10 minutes, then unmold them and cool them completely before slicing.
Richard Miscovich

This recipe was inspired by a recipe in Saveur magazine, issue 30, and appears in Richard’s book, From the Wood-Fired Oven.

How to Grow Oyster Mushrooms Indoors

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Is frost setting in? Dipping temperatures terminating your backyard projects?

The growing season for temperate climate gardeners is pretty much over by this time of year. But we know locavores are hungry all-year-round, and that’s why we love to publish books to help you take control over your food supply even in the dead of winter. From Eliot Coleman’s easy methods of gardening under cold frames, to Sandor Katz’s techniques for turning your kitchen into a bubbly fermentation factory, our authors keep the homegrown fun going.

One of our favorite resources for off-season growing or simply growing food year-round in your urban “homestead” is Fresh Food from Small Spaces: The Square-Inch Gardener’s Guide to Year-Round Growing, Fermenting, and Sprouting by R. J. Ruppenthal. The book shows you how to grow vegetables on balconies and patios, but also how to grow some simple and nutritious foods indoors such as sprouts and mushrooms.

This excerpt explains how to start your very own oyster mushroom farm. Give it a try!

~

Oyster mushrooms are probably the easiest kind of mushrooms to grow. Though they are accustomed naturally to growing in wood, you also can raise oyster mushrooms in a variety of other growing media, including straw or sawdust. The easiest way to begin is with a kit. If you want to experiment on your own, then oysters give you a greater chance of success than other mushrooms. There are dozens of varieties of oyster mushrooms, from pin-sized to trumpet-sized, so check with your kit or spore supplier to see which kinds are available and recommended for your climate. Most grow in an ideal temperature range of about 55 to 65 degrees F.

Most oyster mushroom growing kits consist of either a small inoculated log or a holey plastic bag filled with sterilized, inoculated straw or sawdust. You can make your own kit using any of these materials, but I will recommend one other method that has worked well for many indoor mushroom growers. For this you will need two milk cartons or small waxed-cardboard boxes, enough sawdust to fill them, 2 cups of whole grain flour or coffee grounds, and some oyster mushroom spawn. The basic steps are as follows, but feel free to improvise. If sawdust is unavailable, you could also use straw for this.

  1. Cut out the top of the milk cartons so that their edges are of even height. Punch several small holes in each side of both cartons.
  2. Sterilizing (optional): If you are using sawdust that has already been inoculated with spawn, then do not try to sterilize it or you will kill the fungi. If you are using additional sawdust that has not been inoculated yet, then you may want to sterilize it. The easiest ways to do this are by boiling, steaming, or microwaving it. If anyone else in your household might object to cooking sawdust in the kitchen, then you might want to try this step when no one else is home. To sterilize with a microwave oven, fill a microwave-safe bowl with sawdust, plus the flour or coffee grounds, and wet down this mass with enough water so that it is the consistency of a wet sponge. You may need to do several successive batches to sterilize all of your sawdust. Nuking the sawdust on high for two minutes or until the water begins to boil off will kill any unwanted organisms and leave your kitchen smelling like either a wood shop or coffee shop. You also can boil or steam the growing medium in a pot of water in the kitchen or over a campfire, with or without a steamer basket. After it has boiled for a few minutes, turn off the heat, keep the sawdust covered, and let it return to room temperature.
  3. Using non-chlorinated water, wet the sawdust until it’s thoroughly damp. Then mix in your spores or inoculated material.
  4. Tightly pack this damp growing medium into your milk cartons and leave them in a cellar, garage, storage locker, or dark cabinet. You can put some plastic underneath the cartons and cover them loosely with plastic if desired. If insects are a problem, then spray cooking oil around the plastic to trap them. Keep the sawdust mix moistened regularly with nonchlorinated water, and in a few months your fungi should fruit repeatedly. To harvest mushrooms, twist them out gently so that their stems do not break.

Related Posts:

Buying Meat for the Holidays? Here Are Key Questions to Ask Your Farmer or Butcher

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

As the holiday season approaches, you may be wondering what delicious meats you’ll cook up for roundtable family feasts. But before you buy a cut of beef, pork, lamb, chicken, or anything else, there are some things you should research first.

In his forthcoming book The Gourmet Butcher’s Guide to Meat, master butcher Cole Ward arms you with key questions you should ask your local farmer or butcher.

Let’s start with what you should look for at your local charcuterie. But first—what exactly is a butcher you ask? We’ll let Cole tell you:

“You may think that the guy or gal who cuts and packages meat behind the glass window of your supermarket meat department is a butcher,” writes Ward. “You’re wrong. Those folks are meat-cutters. In the case of today’s large supermarkets, they’re really what I prefer to call meat slicers. Their training and knowledge are limited to a small set of skills that they repeat over and over. A true butcher—and there are very few left—is someone who can take a live animal from slaughter to table.”

Now that Cole has cleared that up, here are a few things to keep in mind when you visit the meat market:

• Avoid “Manager’s Special” or similarly labeled product
“When a piece of meat is nearing the end of its shelf life, you can bet that it’s suddenly the Manager’s Special,” writes Ward. “’Cause if they can’t sell it fast, they have to throw it out. Probably tomorrow.”

• If they won’t let you smell, don’t let them sell
If you’re considering pre-packaged meats, Ward warns, be sure to ask the butcher to open them up first so you can smell before you buy. “Remember, if you even question the freshness of meat, don’t eat it!”

• Beware of marinated meat in a large supermarket
“I know that many meat markets marinate their old stuff to give it more shelf life,” Ward writes.

If you go with the direct farm-to-table route, you’ll want to ask your farmer these key questions:

• How long have you been raising animals
The longer, the better!

• What is the breed of animal you use? Do you breed your animals yourself, or purchase young animals to raise?
Here, you should do some research on what are the best meat breeds for various animals. Some breeds are good for meat while others are not.

• Do you use any growth hormones, feed additives, or nontherapeutic antibiotics? If so, why?
“No” is the best answer here.

• Are they humanely slaughtered?
First, decide what “humanely slaughtered” means to you. A good first sign is an Animal Welfare Approved facility.

• Is it USDA-graded? If not, how well is it usually marbled? How do you believe it grades?
Prime, choice, and select are the best grades. The more marbling, the higher the quality grade.

Learn more tips and tricks for purchasing the best quality meat in Cole Ward’s
The Gourmet Butcher’s Guide to Meat: How to Source it Ethically, Cut it Professionally, and Prepare it Properly. This book – due in stores in February – includes a CD of more than 800 images that provide a step-by-step guide to home butchery of select cuts of pork, beef, lamb, and chicken.

Got Pie?

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Thanksgiving is just a day away and your pie-loving friends here at Chelsea Green thought we’d share with you one of our favorite fruit pie recipes.

The following apple pie recipe was adapted from Michael Phillips’ book The Apple Grower by the foodies over at The Washington Post and is named for Michael’s farm in northern New Hampshire. Make sure not to miss Michael’s newest book — The Holistic Orchard.

Michael recommends this pie for Thanksgiving, or other special occasions. In Vermont, we’re still picking over the last of the fall’s apple harvest in our coops so we have some fruit still worthy of being turned into pie.

Pay close attention to this recipe as it calls for cider jelly, which is a separate process that may require more time than your normal pie recipe. But, it’s well worth the extra work.

Lost Nation Cider Pie

This might be the sleeper among your holiday desserts. Lost Nation is a rural enclave in northernmost New Hampshire, near the Canadian border. Resident farmers Michael and Nancy Phillips hold an annual party at which cider from their apple orchards, and this pie, are served.

You’ll need enough pie dough, either homemade or store-bought, for a double-crust pie. Serve topped with a slice of sharp cheddar cheese or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.

MAKE AHEAD: The recipe calls for making cider jelly, which is done by boiling fresh apple cider to the jellying stage. The jelly may be made up to 5 days in advance, then covered and refrigerated. Alternatively, prepared cider jelly may be used.

If you’d like to make more than you need for this recipe, a gallon of fresh apple cider will yield about 2 cups of cider jelly. Store in sterilized canning jars.

Makes one 9-inch pie (8 servings)

Ingredients:

For the cider jelly

1/2 gallon fresh apple cider (see headnote; may substitute 1 cup store-bought cider jelly)
For the pie

homemade or store-bought pastry for a two-crust 9-inch pie
2 medium apples, such as Honeycrisp or Granny Smith, peeled, cored, cut in half, then cut into very thin slices
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch salt
1/2 cup boiling water
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

Directions:

For the cider jelly: Pour the cider into a medium heavy, nonreactive pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Use a candy thermometer to measure the temperature, which should come up to 220 degrees (the jellying stage). Boil until the cider has reduced to almost 1 cup, adjusting the heat and stirring as needed to avoid scorching. This can take from 75 to 90 minutes.

When the cider has reduced and thickened, remove it from the heat. Transfer to a heatproof container and cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the pie: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Use the homemade or store-bought crust to line a 9-inch pie plate, folding under and pinching the edges to form a tidy rim. Arrange the apple slices on the surface of the bottom pie crust dough in flat layers. Have the top round of pie dough ready.

Combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Add the cider jelly and just-boiled water; mix well.

Whisk together the egg and melted butter in a liquid measuring cup, then add the mixture to the sugar-cider jelly mixture, stirring to combine. Pour the mixture carefully over the apples in the pie plate. Place the top crust on the pie; crimp the edges around the rim and use a knife to make several small cuts in the top (to allow steam to escape). Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet (to catch any drips); bake for 40 minutes or until the top crust is golden.

Transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Pastured Turkey Cooking Tips, and a Recipe for Walnut Sausage Stuffing

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

By Shannon Hayes

For the past week, farm families across the country (including my own) have been rising each morning to engage in what has become our own unique, albeit macabre, Thanksgiving Tradition.  We are processing our turkeys. 

Unlike the factory-farmed birds found in most grocery stores, these birds are usually processed just a few feet from the lush grasses where they were raised, quite often by the same hands that first gently set their newly hatched toes into a brooder, and then carefully moved them, once they were old enough, out to the fields for a few months of free-ranging turkey living.  Now that the processing complete, our birds sit in our coolers and await our customers, who will venture out to the farm for a tradition of their own, retrieving their annual Thanksgiving feast.  For those of you who are new to this process, here is a list of tips to guide you through and make sure that you have a delicious holiday feast.

  1. Please be flexible. If you are buying your pasture-raised turkey from a small, local, sustainable farmer, thank you VERY much for supporting us. That said, please remember that pasture-raised turkeys are not like factory-farmed birds. Outside of conscientious animal husbandry, we are unable to control the size of our Thanksgiving turkeys. Please be forgiving if the bird we have for you is a little larger or a little smaller than you anticipated. Cook a sizeable quantity of sausage stuffing if it is too small (a recipe appears below), or enjoy the leftovers if it is too large.  If the bird is so large that it cannot fit in your oven, simply remove the legs before roasting it.
  2. Know what you are buying. If you don’t personally know the farmer who is growing your turkey, take the time to know what you are buying! “Pastured” is not necessarily the same as “free-range.” Some grass-based farmers use the word “free-range” to describe their pasture-raised birds, but any conventional factory farm can also label their birds “free-range” if they are not in individual cages, and if they have “access” to the outdoors – even if the “outdoors” happens to be feces-laden penned-in concrete pads outside the barn door, with no access to grass. “Pastured” implies that the bird was out on grass for most of its life, where it ate grass and foraged for bugs, in addition to receiving some grain.
  3. Brining optional. If tradition dictates that you season your meat by brining your bird, by all means, do so. However, many people brine in order to keep the bird from drying out. This is not at all necessary. Pastured birds are significantly juicier and more flavorful than factory farmed birds. You can spare yourself this extra step as a reward for making the sustainable holiday choice!
  4. Monitor the internal temperature. Somewhere, a lot of folks came to believe that turkeys needed to be roasted until they had an internal temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Yuck. You don’t need to do that. Your turkey need only be cooked to 165 degrees. If the breast is done and the thighs are not, take the bird out of the oven, carve off the legs and thighs, and put them back in to cook while you carve the breast and make your gravy. That entire holiday myth about coming to the table with a perfect whole bird and then engaging in exposition carving is about as realistic as expecting our daughters will grow up to look like Barbie (and who’d want that, anyhow?). Just have fun and enjoy the good food.
  5. Cook the stuffing separately. I know a lot of folks like to put the stuffing inside their holiday birds, and if Thanksgiving will be positively ruined if you break tradition, then stuff away. However, for a couple reasons, I recommend cooking your stuffing separately. First, everyone’s stuffing recipe is different. Therefore, the density will not be consistent, which means that cooking times will vary dramatically. I am unable to recommend a cooking time, since I cannot control what stuffing each person uses. Also, due to food safety concerns, I happen to think it is safer to cook the stuffing outside the bird. Plus, it is much easier to lift and move both the bird and the stuffing when prepared separately, and to monitor the doneness of each. Rather than putting stuffing in my bird’s cavity, I put in aromatics, like an onion, carrot, garlic and some fresh herbs. When the bird is cooked, I add these aromatics to my compost heap. The aromatics perfume the meat beautifully, and the only seasoning I wind up using on the surface is butter, salt and pepper.
  6. No need to flip. I used to ascribe to that crazy method of first roasting the bird upside down, then flipping it over to brown the breast. The idea was that the bird would cook more evenly, and the breast wouldn’t dry out. When I did this, the turkey came out fine. But I suffered 2nd degree burns, threw out my back, ruined two sets of potholders and nearly dropped the thing on the floor. Pasture-raised turkeys are naturally juicy. Don’t make yourself crazy with this stunt. Just put it in the oven breast-side up, like you would a whole chicken, and don’t over-cook it. Take it out when the breast is 165 degrees (see #2, above).   If, despite the disparaging comments in item 2, above, you still want to show off the whole bird, then bring it into the dining room, allow everyone to ooh and aah, then scuttle back to the kitchen, and proceed as explained above.
  7. Be ready for faster cook times. Pasture-raised turkeys will cook faster than factory-farmed birds. Figure on 12-15 minutes per pound, uncovered, at 325 degrees as you plan your dinner. That said, oven temperatures and individual birds will always vary. Use an internal meat thermometer to know for sure when the bird is cooked. For more help with cooking your turkey, don’t forget to refer to The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook by Shannon Hayes. What?!? You don’t own a copy yet? Click here to buy one immediately!
  8. Use a good-quality roasting pan. If this is your first Thanksgiving and you do not yet own a turkey roasting pan and cannot find one to borrow, treat yourself to a really top-quality roaster, especially if you have a sizeable bird. (I don’t like to endorse products, but I must say that my favorite is the large stainless All-Clad roaster. Last I knew they were still made in the U.S.A. – but then, I bought mine ten years ago, so that may have changed. My mom has other name-brand roasting pans, and they are shabby in comparison to mine. Please don’t tell her I said that….) Cheap aluminum pans from the grocery store can easily buckle when you remove the bird from the oven, potentially causing the cook serious burns or myriad other injuries in efforts to catch the falling fowl.  Plus, they often end up in the recycling bin, or worse, landfills. If you buy a good quality large roasting pan, and you happen to have a copy of The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook (another shameless hint), I guarantee you will have multiple uses for the pan!
  9. Pick the meat off the bird before making stock. If you plan to make soup from your turkey leftovers, be sure to remove all the meat from the bones before you boil the carcass for stock. Add the chunks of turkey back to the broth just before serving the soup. This prevents the meat from getting rubbery and stringy. For an extra-nutritious stock, follow the advice offered in Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon, and add a tablespoon of vinegar to the water 30 minutes before you begin boiling the carcass or, better still, use the recipe for chicken stock in The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook. The process of adding acid to the stock draws more minerals from the bones and releases them into the liquid.
  10. Help is available. In recent years, our home seems to have become the unofficial Sustainable Thanksgiving Hotline. Please do not hesitate to write to me with your questions at [email protected]. I make a point of checking email often right up through Thanksgiving Day (I stop around noon), so that I can promptly respond to your questions or concerns. Enjoy your holiday!

And finally, here’s my favorite recipe for walnut sausage stuffing:

Walnut Sausage Stuffing (serves 8 )

  • 1 whole baguette, chopped into ½ inch cubes and allowed to sit out overnight
  • 2 Tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 1 cup walnuts, mildly crushed
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1# Sweet Italian, Hot Italian, or Breakfast sausage
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 4 onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or use one cup fresh)
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 2 T rubbed sage
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Bring a mid-sized skillet up to a medium-hot temperature.

Add the fennel seeds and allow them to toast until fragrant.

Remove the seeds to a small dish, then add the walnuts to the same hot, dry skillet and allow them to toast 3-5 minutes, taking care to stir them constantly to prevent burning.

Pour the walnuts off into a large bowl.

Add olive oil to the same skillet, then fry the sausage until it is cooked through (about 8-10 minutes).

Remove the sausage to the same large bowl containing the walnuts.

Add the butter to the skillet, allowing it to melt and blend with the sausage drippings.

Add the onions and carrots, sauté 2 minutes, then add the cranberries and raisins and sauté two minutes longer.

Sprinkle the sage over the vegetables, sauté 1 minute, then add the garlic and toasted fennel seeds.

Sauté two minutes longer, then add the entire mixture into the large bowl with the walnuts and sausage.

To the same big bowl, add the bread, chicken broth, eggs, salt, pepper and brandy, and prepare to get messy.

Using your hands (or salad servers), thoroughly mix all the ingredients.

Butter a 13 x 9 inch baking pan, add the stuffing, then cover tightly with a piece of buttered aluminum foil.

Allow the stuffing to cook 35 minutes, the remove the foil and allow it to bake 30 minutes longer, until the top is nicely crisped and lightly browned.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Shannon Hayes is the host of grassfedcooking.com and the author of Long Way on a Little, The Farmer and the Grill, The Grassfed Gourmet and Radical Homemakers. She works with her family on Sap Bush Hollow Farm in Upstate New York.

RECIPE: Dry-Fried Okra

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Wood-fired oven are not just for baking bread and pizza! If you utilize the full heat-cycle, as Richard Miscovich details in From the Wood-Fired Oven, you can make a wide range of tasty eats during just one firing—from roasting meats and vegetables to drying herbs.

With live-fire roasting, this recipe for Dry-Fried Okra comes out nice and crispy—an alternative to the more gooey okra you’d find in gumbo or stew. Warm up your kitchen this fall and winter with Dry-Fried Okra from Miscovich’s From the Wood-Fired Oven.

What’s Got Four Legs, Provides Milk, and Is in Your Backyard?

Monday, November 11th, 2013

Cow. Just the word alone is worth repeating. Beyond that, cows provide milk, cream, butter, cheese, and meat—if you’re into that—not to mention, they’re furry and kinda cute. While most people opt for dogs, cats, or fish to keep around the house, Joann Grohman’s Keeping a Family Cow may have you reconsidering your options. Why not own a cow?

Originally published in the early 1970s as The Cow Economy, Keeping a Family Cow, Revised and Updated Edition, is the Chelsea Green edition of Grohman’s nearly forty-year-old classic that is the go-to book for homesteaders looking to keep a single cow.

“This book combines food philosophy with a practicum of knowledge and experience that Ms. Grohman has acquired in her eighty-five years in and around Jersey cows,” writes Jack Lazor of Butterworks Farm in the Foreword. “Joann’s book is a field manual for both the experienced and inexperienced alike.”

This new edition is already establishing itself as the must-read homesteader book, and has been featured on such popular food and farming websites, such as Civil Eats, as well as The Greenhorns.

In addition, Down East Magazine  wrote a great feature – with some fantastic photos – on Joann and her lifelong devotion to keeping a family cow, and it’s importance. You can get a peek of the page previews below from Patryce Bake Photography Facebook Page, but for the full slideshow make sure to visit Down East Magazine. Trust us, the photos alone are worth the click.

It includes detailed and extensive information on a variety of useful topics including:

  • The health benefits of untreated milk;
  • How to milk a cow effectively;
  • Details on calving and breeding;
  • The importance of hay quality and how to feed your cow properly;
  • Fencing and pasture management;
  • Treating milk fever and other diseases and disorders; and,
  • Making butter, yogurt, and cheese.

“Highly recommended for anyone interested in grass-based farming and nutrient-dense food—not just family cow owners—Keeping a Family Cow will instill great appreciation for the sacred bond between domesticated animal and the human beings who care for them,” writes Sally Fallon Morell, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation.

Joann is also featured speaker at this year’s Weston A. Price conference, going on now in Atlanta. And if you don’t already make sure to follow Joann on Facebook here.

Keeping a Family Cow, Revised and Updated Edition: The Complete Guide for Home-Scale, Holistic Dairy Producers is available now and on sale for 35% off until November 22nd. 

 

Read Chapter 2: What Makes Cows So Important.

Image Credit: Joann’s Facebook Page.


Follow us
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By WPFruits.com