12/30/2011

Fantastic Pumpkin Bread

1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin (I use homegrown pumpkin or cushaw)
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup chopped walnuts optional
1/2 cup raisins optional

(Note:  If using store bought pumpkin add 1/2 cup water)

In a large small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda cinnamon, salt, baking powder, nutmeg and cloves. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin, oil, and water. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in walnuts and raisins if desired.


Pour into a greased 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pan. (I grease with coconut oil) Bake at 350° for 65-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Yield: 1 loaf (16 slices).


This bread is moist and delicious and just gets better with age!  It also freezes well. 

Pie Crust made from Leaf Lard



Single Crust




1 1/4 cups flour (Do not use self-rising!)

1/4 tsp. salt

1/3 cup leaf lard

4-5 Tablespoons cold water (you may have to use more than this)



Double Crust



2 1/4 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup leaf lard

8-10 Tablespoons cold water (you may have to use more than this)



Sift together flour and salt. "Cut"  in room temperature lard until pieces are pea size. Make a hole in the center of flour mixture and add a small amount of very cold water (1 TBS at a time) Mixing flour mixture into the water until the mixter is damp enough to stick together but not wet.  (You may have to use more than the recommended amount but you don't want your mixture too become too wet or sticky.) Form dough into a ball.   Do not knead and do not over handle. 

On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to flatten dough. Roll dough from center to edges into a circle about 12 inches in diameter.

Fold crust in half and place in center of pie plate. Unfold. Trim edges and crimp or press down with a fork along edges of pie crust.

For pre-baked shell: prick bottom and sides of pastry with a fork. Cover with foil and bake for eight minutes. Remove foil and bake for five more minutes (or until golden) at 450 degrees.

Note: I am not an expert at making pie crusts, but it has been my experience from knowledge passed down to me from my grandmother that the less the crust is handled, the more light and flakey it will be. The goal is to roll the dough out once. Using lard instead of shortening also makes a flakier pie crust.

12/09/2011

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

Ingredients


2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1-1/2 cups warm water (110° to 115°)

1-1/4 cups canned pumpkin

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/3 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons salt

2-1/2 cups whole wheat flour

4-1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour

Directions

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the pumpkin, butter, sugar, eggs, salt and whole wheat flour; beat until smooth. Stir in enough all-purpose flour to make a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into three portions. Roll each portion into a 12-in. circle; cut each circle into 12 wedges. Roll up wedges from the wide end and place pointed side down 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Curve ends to form crescents.

Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 400° for 12-15 minutes. Remove to wire racks. Yield: 3 dozen.

Recipe Courtesy of Taste of Home.

12/08/2011

Meet Abraham

Photo courtesy of Awee Farm


Abraham is our new, Miniature Nubian buck.  He is a flashy boy and seems to have a great disposition.  I have seen his offspring and they are gorgeous.  And yes, he does throw spots!  Looking forward to kids in May!

Registered with the Miniature Dairy Goat Association
Sire's Sire:  Springs Run Taliesin
Sire:  Awee Farm Topaz
Sire's Dam:  Awee Farm Precious Jewel

Dam's Sire:  Tiny Blessings King Barnabus
Dam:  The Awee Farm Rachael
Dam's Dam:  Merrythought Farm Laura

Tri colored, brown with black and white spots, white ears, crown, muzzle.

10/27/2011

Eating Real Food, Living a Healthy Lifestyle & Maintaining a Healthy Weight ~Guest Post

I am so pleased to be able to share the following guest post with you all from Joelle.  Joelle is a personal friend of mine who is living a healthy active life and eating real food.  Let Joelle tell you in her own words about her "food journey":


If you were to ask me to describe the largest part of my adult life in one word, that word would be: FOOD. Sweet or spicy, hot or cold, salty or savory, as long as it was tasty and dripping with calories, I was a happy camper. I loved to cook it, eat it, feed it to other people. I was a full-out food addict.







That wasn't the case as a kid. I can recall at least once getting spanked for not finishing the food on my plate. I picked at my meals, only eating the bits I liked, and stayed at the dinner table long past everyone else trying to gulp down enough cold undesirables to be excused. I ate the meat out of my sandwiches, ate peanut butter or cream cheese off a spoon instead of on bread, and drank as much milk as I could, sometimes making an entire meal out of the glorious white liquid. I was skinny enough those years to make my German grandmother shake her head and pass me more goulasch; at that great age where you're all elbows and knees, and I loved nothing more than to spend hours outdoors running and playing with my sister.






But like all good things, childhood ended and so did my thin-as-a-rail figure. I'm not exactly sure WHY I started eating the way I did, but somewhere in my early teens I began to eat anything and everything I could get my hands on, as much as I could eat; and so began my slow but steady rise to chubbyhood. I'm sure puberty had something to do with it all, and for about a decade that youthful metabolism allowed for such extravagance. But illness, stress of the adult working world, and just plain aging began to take their toll. Clothes that I loved to wear began to collect dust in the closet, and newer versions, ever larger, took their place. Denial is a powerful force, but eventually it began to sink in: I was getting fat. Not just chubby or full-figured, but 30 pounds overweight and gaining steadily.






This was a problem. Not even counting the self-esteem issues that grew along with my waistline, there were health issues to consider: weight-related diabetes and heart disease run in my family. I am a registered nurse and am deeply aware of the ravages of diabetes; I work with dialysis patients who have lost their kidney function entirely, mostly due to the long-term effects of diabetes. I did NOT want to go that route. I know all the statistics about obesity and heart disease - heck, I'd taught them to thousands of patients over the years, while treating those very problems Yet I found myself returning to the fridge time and again, munching, snacking, driven by a constant need and desire to feed. Dieting efforts were brief and depressing; each time I failed, I recalled memories of my own mother counting calories, drinking diet soda for decades, endlessly trying to lose and never ever succeeding. I was going to end up right in that same rut; to be honest, actually, I was already there.






I want to clarify that I did not eat badly by most standards. Several years ago I decided to ditch city life and dragged a couple of friends along on this crazy adventure in which we purchased a small hobby farm and learned to raise our own food. I baked my own bread, made my own spaghetti sauce, and rarely ate take-out. Sure, I had a sweet tooth, but I also ate lots of potatoes and home-raised meat, though vegetables were not my favorite and usually consisted of corn or green beans. I try to avoid processed food as much as possible; slow changes, but they add up over time. Yet still, at this point in my life I was sick and getting fat. Food was my life, it was the first thing on my mind and I thought about it all day. I cooked and I ate; everything else was incidental.






I had finally given up on the idea of ever fitting into my favorite clothes again, resigned to quietly fattening for the rest of my life, when an article in a magazine caught my notice. I read a lot - city girls don't last long on a farm without a LOT of researching! - and the boast that eggs and bacon can make you not only healthier but skinnier too was an offer too good to refuse. As I read about the idea of low-carb diets, things began to click in my head. Despite the fact that the information went completely counter to modern nutritional wisdom, here was a diet that made sense to me: not a fad of torture and deprivation, but the idea of deeply and richly feeding your body's nutritional needs with dense, tasty, satisfying foods so that your system doesn't constantly drive you to eat eat eat.






No only that, I was attracted to the emphasis on eating Real Food: eating local, seasonal food raised as naturally as possible. Returning to the old food wisdom of cooking with butter and eating your meat, of believing that good food could be tasty too; not pumped full of chemicals and stripped of all natural fats and flavors like much of today's "healthy" offerings. Looking at the end result of fifty years of current nutritional guidelines - heart disease claiming ever greater numbers of us, diabetes and obesity a raging epidemic that's beginning to encroach into the lives of even our children - really makes one start to wonder if we got it wrong somewhere; or at least that you can't be risking much to try something different, even something as different as practically reversing all "rules" of healthy eating.






So I tried it. Out went the sodas, bread, pasta, even my beloved - homegrown! - potatoes. In came the bacon, eggs, sausage, steaks, pork, chicken, tuna and cheese. It took a few days for my carb-driven system to get over the lack-of-sugar shock, and another few weeks before it no longer felt weird to not have all my usual starchy side dishes with meals. But as I stuck to the diet, a funny thing started to happen; my taste changed. Vegetables, long disdained in my household, gained new respect. I began to cherish every bite of those nutritional gems; broccoli dipped in garlic butter became a quick favorite and great alternative to garlic bread. When I did occasionally reach for the carbs, I found a bite or two was enough to make me put it back; it was either too sweet or just not as tasty as I remembered. The real food - vegetables grown in my own garden, milk from my own cows, fruits grown locally and meats raised on grass - took on a totally different level of awesome. The subtleties of real nourishment quickly relegated the fleeting pleasures of instant-gratification carbs and processed foods to the bottom of my food ladder. Sure I still enjoy junk food once in a while; but as a treat, not a staple.






And as far as weight loss went, at first it wasn't anything dramatic: I only lost about 7lbs the first 2 weeks. Then I lost 2lbs the next week. And the next week. And the next week. And EVERY week, like clockwork. For the first time in my life, the scale was consistently moving DOWN; and I was eating amazing food, rich with fat and nutrients, I was feeling more energy and well-being than I had in years. My appetite dropped; it didn't take 3 helpings of everything to fill me up any more. In fact, sometimes I missed entire meals simply because I forgot about them. The weight was falling off of me as if by magic, without even resorting to rigorous exercise.






It wasn't magic of course; it was simply getting my body to do what it was designed to do. By drastically reducing my highly processed carb intake and returning to a more natural diet high in healthy fats and proteins, I basically rebooted my metabolism to do what it should: break down fat as well as build it. The magic was simply in the awesome design of our bodies, and the miracle of giving it the right tools to do what it already knew how to do.






Now I'm not a trained nutritionist, nor am I a doctor. I would never recommend a single diet approach for everyone; everyone is unique and different people have different needs. Additionally, I would never claim that a simple change in diet can solve all health problems; bodies do sometimes just plain break, and need medical intervention to return to health. I've been on that side of health care, and I have nothing but respect for what modern science can do.






But I can tell you this: sometimes what we "know" to be true is just plain not correct. Maybe it's misinformation or misinterpretation of the information, but science doesn't always get it right. Sometimes old wisdom is worth a second glance; sometimes they knew more back then than we know right now. I can tell you that changing my diet - getting away from modern food and dietary wisdom and returning to old-timey ways - changed my life and health for the better. I am fitting into clothes I thought would never again see the light of day. I have lost 28 pounds and 4 dress sizes. I am more active, more energetic, and more respectful than ever at the simple but profound process of nourishing oneself; a process we Americans tend to view as a right rather than a privilege. And the funny thing is, I'm back where I started: picking the meat out of sandwiches, eating (homemade) peanut butter off of spoons and making a glass of milk a meal more often than not. Guess I was smarter about my eating habits back then than I thought I was!






I know most people can't - or won't! - move to the country and start milking cows. Most people will never learn to slaughter their own chickens or can gallons of spaghetti sauce made from scratch. And that's OK! If all of us became farmers society would miss out on some great stuff. But I think the simple life deserves a respectful second chance. Already our society is realizing that produce bought from local Farmer's Markets are often of better quality than the grocery stores can offer, People are staring to take notice. I for one cannot emphasize enough that changing my approach to food has changed my life for the better in so many ways. I'm glad I didn't stick to modern wisdom; I'd be on the fast-track to diabetes and heart disease, ready to take my place amongst the pill-poppers of our society.






No thanks; I'll take my garlic-butter broccoli instead, thank you very much, with a side of bacon.

10/15/2011

Dominique Chickens

We welcomed ten new Dominique hens into our flock this week.  These young pullets have just started laying and hopefully will give us some eggs throughout the winter months. 

Dominiques are also known as Dominickers or Pilgrim Fowl.  The latter is a historical reference to the breed that originated in America with the Pilgrims.  It is believed that the birds descended from chickens brought to America by the Pilgrims.  The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy gives the following information on their origin and history:

The Dominique chicken is recognized as America’s first chicken breed. The exact origin of the breed is unknown, although their initial creation may have involved European chicken breeds and later in its refinement, some Asian varieties. The name of “Dominique” may have come from birds that were imported from the French colony of Saint-Domingue (today known as Haiti) and which are thought to have been used as part of the development of the Dominique breed.
Barred chickens with both rose combs and single combs were somewhat common in the eastern United States as early as 1750. As interest in poultry breeding increased, attention was given to develop uniformity in chicken breeds. Early names of these fowl include Blue Spotted Hen, Old Grey Hen, Dominico, Dominic, and Dominicker. The breed was widely known on the eastern coast of the U.S. as the Dominique.


The Dominique was plentifully bred on American farms as early as the 1820’s, where these birds were a popular dual-purpose fowl. In 1871 the New York Poultry Society decided that only the rose combed Dominique would become the standard for the breed and the single combed Dominiques were relegated to and folded into the Plymouth Rock breed – popular in New England, created by crossing large, single comb Dominiques with Java chickens. Dominiques were never used commercially, and the breed was eventually eclipsed on the farm by the gradual shift to the larger “Plymouth Rocks.” In 1874 the Dominique breed was officially admitted to the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection.

The Dominique enjoyed popularity until the 1920’s at which time interest in the breed waned due to the passing of aged, long-time Dominique enthusiasts and breeders. The breed managed to survive during the Great Depression of the 1930’s due to its hardiness and ease of up-keep. By the end of World War II as industrial poultry operations began to take a foothold in the U.S., the Dominique once again experienced decline. By 1970 only 4 known flocks remained, held by: Henry Miller, Edward Uber, Robert Henderson, and Carl Gallaher. Through the effort of dedicated individuals the remaining owners were contacted and convinced to participate in a breed rescue. From 1983, following published reports on the breed by ALBC, until 2006, Dominiques steadily rose in numbers. As of 2007, it has been observed by the breed’s enthusiasts that numbers are once again beginning to decline, as old time breeders of Dominique age and are no longer involved with keeping and promoting the breed.


The Dominique is a medium-sized black and white barred (otherwise known as “cuckoo” patterned) bird. The barred plumage coloration is also referred to as hawk-colored and serves the Dominique in making the bird less conspicuous to predators. The Dominique sports a rose comb with a short upward curving spike that is characteristic to this breed. The males average seven pounds and the females five pounds. The Dominique’s tightly arranged plumage, combined with the low profile of the rose comb, make this breed more resistant to frostbite than many other breeds of fowl. Dominiques are also known to adapt well to hot and humid climates. Historically the close feathering of this breed not only protected the birds in cold weather, but provided ample material for the pillows and featherbeds of their owners.


 They are considered a dual purpose bird, raised for both their meat and the eggs that they lay. (The birds weigh approximately 6-8 pounds when mature and lay between 230-275 eggs a year)  In recent decades as the Cornish and Cornish X birds have set a new standard for meat birds and birds such as the Leghorn and Sex Link chickens have set a standard for egg producing birds, the Dominiques have been rejected.  At one time, they almost became extinct, but thanks to recent interest in heritage birds, they have made a come back and are no longer on the critically endangered list but are now listed on the "watch" list with the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. 

Often confused with Barred Rocks, Dominiques are in fact different. The Dominique has a rose comb and the Barred Rocks have a single comb.

Rose Comb

Single Comb

(Illustrations courtesy of University of Illinois Extension)


Dominique photo courtesy of Harvest of History


Barred Rock photo courtesy of Wikipedia
The Barred Rock has a more distinctive barred pattern in their plummage than the Dominiques.
Dominique hens are an easy going bird, good foragers, and tend to be good mothers.  They are  a welcome addition to our flock!

10/06/2011

Turkey Talk

The subject of my blog post today will be turkeys.  While I admit it would be better suited to save a turkey post until the month of November, I am just a little bit excited and couldn't wait!

I have been trying to include a new species to the farm each year.  (Last year it was the hogs.)  This year I just about let time slip completely away from me before I added the new farm members. 

I have been wanting to raise turkeys for some time but have been intimidated because I have heard they are hard to start.  I was able to find two juvenile turkeys and brought them home being told they were Royal Palms.  It didn't take me long to realize that they didn't look exactly like Royal Palms.  While their conformation said they were Royal Palm, their coloration spoke differently. 

A friend saw a photo of the turkeys today and asked me if they were "Calico".  I had never heard of a Calico Turkey before and began to do some research which led to some very interesting information.  Upon seeing photos of other Calico Turkeys (also known as Sweetgrass Turkeys or Ronquière if the turkey is known to be of more ancient heritage),  I am pretty sure the two I have are Calico Turkeys. 

I took the following information from Porter's Rare Heritage Turkeys:

In 1996 a few tricolored birds appeared out of a Heritage Bronze flock in Big Timber, MT, at Sweetgrass Farms. These birds had a heavily marked royal palm pattern with chestnut red. The name Sweetgrass was put on this strain of tricolors.


The Sweetgrass genotype is (b1b1cgcg) Black winged bronze based with Oregon Gray (aka Palm genes) They breed 100% true to color/pattern.


The Ronquière is obviously an ancient breed of turkey and quite interesting (although the American counterpart is not so ancient).  I found information on this breed from the Association for Promotion of Belgian Poultry Breeds
 
Origin : The Ronquières is a very ancient native turkey breed of which the first evidence goes back to the sixteenth century, only a few decades after the discovery of the turkey in America by the Spaniards. This breed owns its name to the village of Ronquières nearby Brussels where this turkey was bred on a large scale since the eighteenth century. However at that time this breed was already kept in every part of Belgium. The two World Wars almost eradicated this turkey. Only the ermine variety knew to survive in Germany by the name ‘Cröllwitzer’. It was only at the beginning of the nineties that by coincidence an authentical very small breeding stock of other Ronquières varieties was recovered in the Campine region of Belgium. Meanwhile all the original varieties of the breed have been bred back from this breeding stock without any crossings with other breeds.

Characteristics : The Ronquières is not a heavy turkey and doesn’t produce a large quantity of meat but its meat is of very high quality. The Ronquières exceeds every other turkey breed by its vitality and its fertility. The hatching results are remarkably high compared to other breeds. The hens lay very good a brood easily. They are very good sitters and excellent mothers. The poults grow up without any problems.

Appearance : The Ronquières is a primitive light turkey of which the toms weigh 9 to 10 kilos and the hens 4 to 5 kilos. The head is remarkably bluish and has only few carunculs. The beak is bone-white with a bluish base. The shanks and toes are always white. The plumage always shows a number of breed-specific characteristics that are present in every variety (except the white). The primaries are always darker than the secondaries and show a typical ‘stippling’. The quills are always pale in color. All the other feathers tend to show ‘penciled’ markings (like the dark Brahma) and a very fine white edging follows the black edging of each feather.

Varieties : The Ronquières is the only turkey breed with more varieties, no less than five. Besides the self-white, there is the ermine which shows a fine black edging on each feather, and the yellow-shoulder which is identical to the ermine except for the brownish yellow path on the shoulders and the saddle region. The fawn has a yellow-fawn groundcolor with a very fine almost invisible black edging and the partridge has a grayish brown groundcolor with a heavily contrasting penciling. The toms of this variety are much darker than the hens. Very remarkable is that the poults of all these varieties hatch with near white down.

Several of these ancient varieties are known under another name in different countries. In Germany they have the Cröllwitzer (ermine) and Krefelder (partridge), in France the Tricoloré du Colorado (yellow-shoulder) and in the U.S the Royal Palm (ermine) and Sweetgrass (yellow-shoulder). All these varieties are quit recent and none of them already over 100 years old. All the Ronquières varieties are much older and were pictured in very old photographs and paintings. The oldest painting with a Ronquières turkey goes back to Antwerp in 1566 !




‘The Four Elements: Fire.
A Kitchen Scene with Christ in the House of Martha and Mary in the Background’
1570
Joachim Beuckelaer
(active 1560 to 1574)

Photo courtesy of Period Food Link.



Do we have the Calico breed of Turkey?  I will let you be the judge.










Regardless of what we have, we are enjoying Tom and Henny very much and plan to allow them to breed and hopefully hatch out some of their eggs in the spring. 
















9/30/2011

Local Ingredients and Fabulous Friday Night Pizza


I was very fortunate to be able to buy some locally grown wheat from some friends of ours, Brian and Coleen.  (Coleen's blog is Polar Ridge Farm and located at this link.  Check it out as I know you will really enjoy it!) 


Tonight I used the wheat to make homemade pizza and boy was it delicious!  I also used honey that some friends picked up for me in Nelson County and raw Jersey milk and butter to make the crust.  The crust was very filling without being "heavy" and had a wonderful flavor.  I only ate two pieces but I am stuffed!  You can find my recipe for the crust on a previous blog post by clicking on this link

The pizza was topped with sausage from our very own hogs and onions from our garden as well as fresh Mozzarella cheese made from milk from our Jersey cows.

 I don't bake a lot in the summer because I don't want to heat up the house, but there was a chill in the air tonight and it felt good to be in the kitchen!

9/29/2011

Photos of Rosie and I

Next to Princess, Rosie is the most loving calf I have had born here.  She is just naturally friendly and affectionate.  She is more like a puppy dog than a calf.  My daughter was around this afternoon and I told her to grab the camera and take some photos of Rosie and I together.

9/28/2011

Captions Anyone?

Here are a few fun photos.  I am sure you all can come up with some fun captions.  Feel free to leave comments in the comments section!

Photo # 1 ~   Princess



Photo #2 ~ Apple

 

Photo # 3 ~ S'Mores
Photo #4 ~:  Tori and Emmy





Photo #5 ~ Emmy

9/27/2011

The Ebb and Flow of Milk Production


We are not a commercial dairy.  We do not have a scientifically proven feeding program that assures we get maximum production from our cows.  Frankly, we don't want it that way.  We prefer that our animals graze, and although we do supplement with a small amount of  grain to help them maintain body condition, we do not push them for production.  What this means as far as the quantity of milk is concerned, is that in the spring when the grass is lush, green and plentiful, is when cows produce the most milk.  In the fall, when the grass begins to die back, the production begins to fall.  Of course, we then switch over to hay, but the cows simply do better grazing on green grass. 

Other factors contribute to the milk production as well.  One such factor is the stage of lactation for a particular cow.  As a cow gets further and further into their lactation, their milk production will drop.  Currently, my cows are basically split into two groups:  spring calvers and fall calvers.  I do have a few stragglers that calved in summer.  (And I won't have any calves born October - January.) 

Another factor in the amount of milk we have is share milking.  I am very adamant about letting the calves be dam raised.  I believe this is how nature intended for things to be, and unlike many dairies (commercial, organic, micro, raw dairies and many family cow owners alike), I leave my calves with their dams for at least three months.  This greatly affects the amount of milk that I am able to gather for human consumption.  If I have a higher producing cow, then I may be able to get a gallon or two per milking over and above what the calf is taking.  However, most of my cows are bred to be low producers and by the time the calf is several weeks old, they are taking all of the milk.  When the calf is about two months old, I begin separating them from  their dams during the day, milking the the cow in the evening, then putting the cow and calf back together for the night.  This means the calf has approximately 12 hours to nurse and can continue to grow into a healthy, young bovine on their momma's milk. 

The biggest factor of all to the decrease in available milk is, of course, the fact that the cows are "dried off" two months ahead of calving to give their bodies a break and allow them to prepare for the new baby. 

This "ebb and flow" of milk production can lead to some stressful moments when I either have too much milk or not enough, but all in all it works out and I am able to hold to my ideals and principles.  So many times, I take for granted that folks just understand why things are the way they are, until I stop to think about the fact that most people would not have any reason to know.  Hopefully, this post will be educational for those who did not have a reason to know before.

9/26/2011

Random Photos

Rosie is almost eight months old now.  She is spoiled rotten. 
Vida loves the camera.

Rosie
Tom the Turkey

9/24/2011

Angel Food Cake

I made another round of Pumpkin (Cushaw) Custard today and had the egg whites left over from the other day when I made the recipe as well as from today.  So, I decided to make an Angel Food cake.  As far as I can remember, this is the first time I have ever made an Angel Food cake.  I like to keep the recipes that I use here on my blog because I use this rather than using a cook book!  When my internet goes out, I am lost!  I have to dig out my old cook books and follow along the old fashioned way! 



Original Recipe Yield 1 - 10 inch cake

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups cake flour

1 3/4 cups white sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups egg whites

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Directions

1.Beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks, and then add cream of tartar, vanilla extract, and almond extract.

2.Sift together flour, sugar, and salt. Repeat five times.

3.Gently combine the egg whites with the dry ingredients, and then pour into an ungreased 10 inch tube pan.

4.Place cake pan in a cold oven. Turn the oven on; set it to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Cook for about one hour, or until cake is golden brown.

5.Invert cake, and allow it to cool in the pan. When thoroughly cooled, remove from pan.

Angel Food Cake recipe taken from allrecipes.com

First Day of Autumn And The Last Calf Of The Year

The first day of autumn brought us somewhat of a surprise.  Although we knew that Midnight was due to calve in either September or October, her udder and ligaments did not give us any indication that the birth would be soon.  What a suprise when I noticed her standing in the field with her calf who was already nursing.  When he finished nursing, he began running circles around his momma.  He is a cute little guy that I named "Mutt" due to his being  1/4 Angus  1/4 Hostein and 1/2 Mini Jersey. 



We had three different bulls represented in our calves this year.  One bull calf was sired by our Angus bull and one heifer was sired by the registered, standard bull Braveheart.  Out of the eight calves sired by my Mini Jersey bull, Davie, three were heifers and five were bulls giving us a total of four heifers and six bull calves this year.  Not a bad year. 

9/23/2011

Cushaw Sweet Bread and Cushaw Custard Recipes

I last posted information on the whimsical Cushaw, a veggie that is as fun to look at as it is to eat!  This post I wanted to share with you the recipes I used to make a sweet bread from the Cushaw as well as an excellent custard recipe. 

Pumpkin Wheat Honey Muffins from allrecipes.com was fairly adaptable to the use of the cushaw in place of the pumpkin.  Most recipes the cushaw can be substituted for pumpkin.  I did find this recipe to need some additional flour.  I doubled the recipe and made a pan of muffins but they were not stiff enough.  I then added some flour to the remaining mixture and the mini loaves of cushaw bread I baked turned out very nice.  So, my point is that you may have to adjust this recipe a bit.  I have not tweaked it. 

Pumpkin (Cushaw) Wheat Honey Muffins

Ingredients


1/2 cup raisins

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 12 cup muffin pan, or line with paper liners. Place the raisins in a cup, and add enough hot water to cover. Let stand for a few minutes to plump.

2.In a large bowl, stir together the whole wheat flour, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the center, and put in eggs, pumpkin, oil and honey. Mix just until the dry ingredients are absorbed. Drain excess water from raisins, and stir in along with the walnuts. Spoon into muffin cups so they are about 2/3 full.

3.Bake for 18 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool in the pan before removing from cups.

Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving Calories: 263
Total Fat: 13g
Cholesterol: 35mg Powered by ESHA Nutrient Database




I was very excited to find the next recipe.  It originally came from Nourished Kitchens and includes fresh, from the farm ingredients.  What a thrill to have it turn out perfectly for me.  Mike and I ate it all practically in one sitting.  What was left over, I ate for breakfast the next morning!

From Food Renegade here is the recipe:

Pumpkin (cushaw or other winter squash) Custard Recipe 


•the puree of 1 pie pumpkin, about 2 cups
•9 pastured egg yolks, beaten
•2 cups of heavy cream (preferably from grass-fed cows)
•1/2 cup sucanat or rapadura (naturally evaporated cane sugar)
•1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
•1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
•1 tsp vanilla extract
•dash of sea salt


The How-To

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Whisk all the ingredients together until creamy.

3. Heat pumpkin mixture over a double-boiler (or make do with a glass bowl over a sauce pan containing 2 inches of boiling water) and stir continuously until thick enough to coat a wooden spoon.

4. Pour into a baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes up clean. Serve hot!  (Note: I like to eat it cold!)

I did not have a double boiler so here is my "redneck version" of a double boiler.  It worked great!




The only change I made in the recipe was because I do not have plastic handles on the pot I was using, I set the whole thing in the oven.  I remember my grandmother making custard and putting the dish inside another dish and pouring boiling water all around it.  This was my version, straight from the stove top to the oven. 

The final product looked like this:









ENJOY!!!!

Be sure to let me know if you try these recipes!

9/21/2011

Cushaws

Cushaw!!!!

Before you are tempted to shout out "Bless you" let me tell you that the Cushaw is nothing to sneeze at! 

I admit, before I married Mike, I had not a clue what a cushaw might be.  In case there are others who are unsure, I have copied the following information from Ark of Taste:


Ark of Taste/Slow Food USA describes it as follows:

Green-striped Cushaw
cucurbita mixta
a.k.a Tennessee Sweet Potato Squash - a rare, valuable heirloom of Tennessee, Louisiana and Mississippi

The green-striped cushaw (cucurbita mixta) is technically a winter squash though in the American South, it also produces a spring harvest. A crookneck squash from the family Cucurbitaceae, fruits average 10 to 20 pounds, grow to be 12 to 18 inches long, and are roughly 10 inches in diameter at the bowl. The skin is whitish-green with mottled green stripes.

The flesh is light-yellow; it is mild and slightly sweet in flavor; meaty in texture and fibrous. It is sometimes called cushaw pumpkin and is often substituted for the standard, orange, jack-o-lantern pumpkin in pie-making. The cushaw has a green summer squash flavor and scent to it. It has a smoky-ness in taste and is moist without being wet. It is used for both savory and sweet dishes and is great for northern climates because it provides vitamin C for the winter and stores very well. In some Native cultures, the seeds are toasted for snacks or ground and made into sauces and moles. The flowers are stuffed and/or fried. Sometimes the flesh of the fruit is used for livestock feed.
The green-striped cushaw grows in the southern and southwestern United States. According to Gary Nabhan, “It’s a squash that came pre-historically, north from the tropics into what is the United States today.” In her book, Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations, the author Lois Ellen Frank writes that squash, including the green-striped cushaw squash, was one of the most important New World crops. The green-striped cushaw is believed to have been domesticated in Mesoamerica sometime between 7000 and 3000 B.C. Its significance endures, she writes: “One of the most popular squash amongst the Hopi is the green-striped cushaw, which is grown each year from seeds of earlier crops.” Frank also cites the Akimiel O’odham and the Tohono O’odham, whose homeland stretches from Phoenix, Arizona, to east central Sonora, Mexico, as cushaw growers. The land is some of the hottest and driest in North America; cushaw, a heat-hardy plant, is grown there with the summer rain.

In addition to the plant’s tolerance for heat, the green-striped cushaw’s large, vigorous vines are resistant to the squash vine borer, which kills other squash and pumpkin plants that aren’t protected with pesticides. This quality may account for the green-striped cushaw’s longevity—natives could count on it when other species didn’t survive. The green-striped cushaw is also noteworthy for its fortitude after harvesting: it can be stored for up to four months.

The green-striped cushaw is not necessarily in imminent danger of extinction. It remains a central ingredient to the culinary cultures of peoples beyond the southwestern Native Americans. Making cushaw butter is a family tradition in Tennessee, and all around Appalachia cooks prefer to use cushaws in their pumpkin pies.

There is a long Louisiana Creole tradition of similarly sweetening the squash for use in pies and turnovers; sometimes it is simply eaten warm, straight from the pot. The Picayune Original Creole Cookbook, originally published in 1900, contains a recipe for pumpkin pie, or “Tarte de Citrouille”; the first line reads, “Use the delicate Cushaws for this recipe.” In his encyclopedia of Louisiana cooking traditions, the chef John Folse says that old Creole and Cajun cooks call the spiced and sweetened cushaw by the name Juirdmon.

Lolis Elie, a New Orleans writer, fondly remembers the cushaw pies that his grandmother made from harvests in Maringouin, Louisiana; he finds a worthy substitute in the cushaw pies that Francis Chauvin sells at a farmers’ market in New Orleans (before his death in 2004, Chauvin’s husband grew the cushaws she used for her pies), but Elie laments that the squash is otherwise difficult to come by. “You get the impression that the few farmers who actually grow cushaw don’t expect to sell many of them. When I see them, I tend to buy several at a time for fear that I might not see them again,” he writes in a 2006 article published in the Times-Picayune.

Gary Nabhan backs up Lolis Elie’s lament about the difficulty of obtaining grown cushaws with his own observation: “It’s not that the fruit can’t be found; it’s that they are being produced in such small numbers that it seems unlikely that future generations of farmers will find it worthwhile to cultivate them.”

In summary, the green-striped cushaw can be tasty if prepared with care; it is preferred by many cooks in the American South over the standard pumpkin for use in pumpkin pie. It is a hardy plant, one that tolerates heat and resists the deadly vine borer; it can be grown easily in vegetable gardens, and it can be stored for an unusually long time. While the green-striped cushaw is not endangered per se, it tends to be grown in small batches, often for private use, and is not widely available in retail markets. It is a prized foodstuff in various culinary cultures, including to some southwest Native Americans, to the southern Appalachians, and to the Louisiana Creoles and Italians.

This is by far the most delightful of the pumpkin family, and the way the Creoles like it best is to quarter it and cook it in the rind, after removing the seeds. Put in oven and bake till it may be pierced with a fork. Serve it in the rind, with butter on top.

Another way: Peel and cut into small pieces and steam till quite done. Do not add water as it contains quite enough. Mash and salt and pepper, and flavor with sugar, nutmeg or cinnamon.

Stir in a lump of butter, and serve.





I prepared a Cushaw today and used it in several recipes and have plenty left over for future use.  I thought I would share with you the steps I used and a couple of the recipes.  Basically, you can use cushaws in place of pumpkins in recipes.

First, I cut the Cushaw in half.



I then took out as many of the seeds as I could with my hands and then scraped the insides with a spoon.



I covered two large cookie sheets with aluminum foil and placed the cushaw with the cut side down on the cookie sheets.  I baked the cushaws in a preheated 350 degree oven.


 
 
The meat in the scooped out portion of the cushaw cooked much faster than the "tail" portion so I took the cushaw out of the oven, scooped out the meat that was cooked, cut the tail off and put it back in the oven to cook some more.  (CAUTION:  VERY HOT!  BE CAREFUL!!!)
 
 
 
I used a metal ice cream scoop to remove the meat from the outer rind.
 
 
 
 
The final step was to run the cushaw meat through the food processor.  At this point,  your cushaw is ready to be used in any recipe in which you would normally use pumpkin!