Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The start of ultimate Comfort Food!!

We make the best of every single season around here.  So when there is not much 'fresh' left in the fields and we are stocked to the rafters with storage vegetables, the slow cooker comes out!  There is something soo comforting about coming in from the barn all wet, tired & dirty from sorting storage crops to the warmth of the home and the smell of the slow cooker!!!  A few weeks ago our organic dairy neighbor came by and asked us if we wanted a young bull they had to send to the butcher.  Oh yes, a freezer full of good organic beef for the winter!!  So off Ben and I went to our local butcher over a week later to cut and wrap.  The rules have changed at our butchers, so we now have to 'dress like a butcher' in their white coats, hair nets and Ben had to wear a net on his beard!!  HAHAHA!  We thought we were safe from running into anyone we knew, but no, a friend of ours, Pete, got to see us in our amateur butcher get-ups!  Anyhow, down to the business of beef.  I had our butcher cut the 'Texas Ribs' into a 'braising style' perfect for slow cooking and even BBQing.  There are lots of recipes out there for Braising Ribs.
How we like them:  BRAISED BEEF RIBS W/ WINTER VEGETABLES  Using Organic Sunflower oil I braise the ribs (which I have dredged in flour) on both sides until golden brown. (see pic below - YUM!)  I use a big heavy bottom pot for this. They then go into the slow cooker. 
 Then in all the beefy bits left in the big pot, I add a couple tablespoons of rich organic butter.  Then I add a couple chopped Onions, 5 chopped Carrots, 1 big Leeks Chopped, 2 Bell Peppers  chopped (optional, only because I still had them in our storage cooler), chopped garlic - lots!  Render until onions soft, but not overkill! 10 mins at most.  Now add about 1/2 Cup of Flour to your pot and stir well.  Cook the flour in a bit in and around all your veg.  Now add a few cups to cover of  Beef Broth and Red Wine. On a medium heat stir and let thicken nicely.  Sea Salt & Pepper to taste.  Add herbs you like.  Parsley is a good one, Thyme too. Now dump this magical vegetable stew onto your braised ribs sitting in your crock pot just waiting and stir all together.  Cook on high in your slow cooker for 4-5 hours.  After 3 hours, add some buttery fingerling potatoes!  I cut them in half.  This is one yummy, yummy warm tempting dish to enjoy when the weather isn't pleasant. And guess what?  You can get all the veg in this recipe from us at market this week!! Oh, I lied, not the carrots.  Try Pine River Organics for the most clean, sweet carrots around! Snow is coming!  Get your slow cooker out and ready!

Still harvesting Brussel Sprouts!

So it's now a couple days away from December and our 'sprouts are still in the ground!  This picture was taken last Friday and these freshly picked sprouts were sold at the Brickwork's Saturday morning market.  There will be another abundance this week as well!  At any given market I seem to be answering the same questions about Brussels.  Usually a home gardener has tried to grow them with no luck and ask me 'why' their sprouts didn't size up on the stock.  During the growing season it is essential to 'pinch' the top out of the brussel sprouts, allowing more energy to the actual sprouts that start out as little nodes along the stock.  The top you pinch out is like a big brussel 'flower'.  Just head down your row of sprouts and 'twist' them off.  Leave the leaves alone.  They don't bother anything and as you can see in the pic, they wilt and die off as the season progresses.  Folks also want ideas on how to prepare.  This simplest is boiling or steaming.  You can roast as well.  I like to boil in sea salt and smoother in butter and pepper!!  Ahh, this leads me to my recipe:
BRUSSELS & WHOLE WHEAT SPAGHETTI
1/2 package Whole Wheat Spaghetti
1 stock Brussel Sprouts
Sea Salt (for water and to taste)
2 tbs Butter 
1-2 tbs Olive Oil
1/2 small Lemon
Pepper (to taste)
Garlic (as much minced as you desire!)

  Boil your pasta in 1 tbs Sea salt and a shot of Olive Oil. Boil your brussels in a 1 tbs of Sea Salt until fork tender. Slice your hot cooked brussels in half.  Add to hot drained pasta.  Add all the rest of the other ingredients and toss well.  Let sit for 10 minutes nice and hot to  absorb and share flavours.... ummm...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Screw Chip Dip - Roasted Beet Hummus is here!

I've eaten enough beets lately I swear I'm on a natural beet high!  I love beets, and this recipe is to die for! So Ben and I cruised down to Kensington Market last week to deliver some produce to a great guy named 'Pot's.  He has this groovy little store called "For Life Natural Foods".  We like to buy some organic kefir and other groceries there and Pots gave us a 'beet hummus' to try out.  I grimaced at it but the expression on Pots face about how good it actually was made me curious.  I could not stop eating it!  I altered the recipe a bit adding more garlic and some avocado.  My vegan friend Kera loves it, so I won't be altering the recipe any time soon!  It's been a pleasure to spread the word at market, so for those who asked, here's the recipe:
ROASTED BEET HUMMUS
1 quart Sosnicki's Red Kestrel Organic Beets
4 cloves Sosnicki's Organic Garlic, Minced.
1 Ripe, Creamy Avocado
4 Heaping Tablespoons Tahini
1 small Lemon and lots of zest
Sea Salt to taste
Chili Powder to taste
2 Tablespoons freshly Ground Flax Seed
(and any other spices YOU see fit!  Play!)
~Snip the rat tail off the beets and roast in the oven in a casserole dish with a bit of water at 350 until fork tender.  Usually 45 mins using a convection setting. 
~Cover beets with towel to 'sweat' and loosen the skins.  Peel with a knife.
~Refrigerate over night to make the beets nice and cold. 
~Next day add the beets and all the other ingredients into your food processor.  My ol' Cuisinart works awesome with the big blade. As one of my fav chefs Jamie Oliver would say:  "Wazz it up" until it's nice and creamy with a very familiar hummus like consitency!  
Eat it with a plain vessel to enjoy the flavour!  I bought some Quinoa toast crackers that were a perfect pairing when I was at the Big Carrot. Oh hell, dip your kale chips in it too!!!!  Enjoy.  This recipe is perfect for the holiday season a head!  

Sunday, November 6, 2011

HAPPY 18TH BIRTHDAY SMASHY!!!!

On Tuesday, November 8th our daughter 'Smashy' turns 18 years old!!!! The farm is in celebration mode! HAPPY, HAPPY EIGHTEENTH BIRTHDAY SMASHY! 
Yep, and we actually got Panzer to 'settle down' on top the straw bail too! AND freakishly he's looking at YOU!! The farm is exactly the same and not much has changed since last year.  You are definitely not missing out on anything around here - just lots of work! We've recycled your birthday sign from last year. We use this board around the farm on racks and see it often and think of you ;)
Babca is doing great and she wishes you a big "Happy Birthday with much, much love xoxo Love Babca" 
"Happy Birthday Austin...Love you Flowers...You have to meet Panzer-Pants who we call Mr. Pants and Ka-Punzer  Love Dad xoxo."
So this morning to get ready for the 'photo shoot' Panzer is missing (down hunting at the creek with Rex) we can't find him ....Then we hear him barking his fool head off at Lady Bug.  He also lost his awesome studded collar in the corn field this summer! Lady Bug is also doing well.  No fence anymore, she's just all over the farm now.  Kinda dirty today! 
So, we love you Smash. We all miss you Smash. However we do understand and welcome you back with open arms whenever you can ;) Take all the time you need for yourself. This is your time, your young life and we wish you all the happiness and success in the the world! Remember, the farm and the farm family is always here - no matter what. Happy, Happy Birthday!