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Friday, September 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!

Thursday, September 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.

Wednesday, September 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

Tuesday, September 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.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Random Photos

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

Rosie
Tom the Turkey

Saturday, September 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. 

Friday, September 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!

Wednesday, September 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!
 

Monday, September 19, 2011

UPDATE ON THE ROSIE PROJECT

Vida, the Jersey heifer up for auction to raise money for a baby in Guatemala who needs cleft palate surgeries. 



I apologize for being negligent with this blog.  I had anticipated getting a fresh start with the fall and keeping everyone up to date on farm happenings as well as posting a lot of photos.  However, we had some changes with our internet service and are currently learning to live without service other than through my smart phone.  That keeps me from posting here regularly.  Today, I am at the library for a bit and thought I would update on the Rosie Project. 

Currently, the highest bid on the calf we are auctioning to raise money for this project is at $800.  Thank you so much to those who have bid.  We have just shy of one month left on the auction. 

In addition, with donations that have come to me and money that I have been able to save, we currently have $1200 set aside for this project.  I have not yet checked with World Help to see what monies have come in directly to them, but will check with them soon.

I have also received a message from the two different families who were selling animals and donating toward the Rosie project with their proceeds.  The one family has successfully sold their bull and heifers and the other family has sold one of their gilts.  We are so thankful to these families for sacrificing to help Rosie. 

Thank you to everyone who has donated, prayed, and/or shared the Rosie project with others!  Rosie's life will be changed forever because so many people have fallen in love with her and wish to give her a better life. 

If you would like to donate directly to World Help for this project, please click here to go the their web page.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Percentage Miniature Jersey Bull In North Carolina~Part of proceeds to go to Rosie Project

A military family in North Carolina has a percentage Miniature Jersey bull that they would like to sell and donate a portion of the money to the Rosie Project.  Information follows:


Eddie is a 75% mini jersey bull (the other 25% is standard jersey). His sire is Son of Fat Louie. Naturally polled. He has a great disposition and is easy to handle. He's currently 17 months old. He's halter and lead trained.  Loaded easily when moved.  


$600.. OR BRING RIGHT OFFER!

In addition, they have two percentage miniature heifers that they would sell along with the bull. 

If you are interested, let me know and I will put you in touch with the seller. 

THESE ANIMALS HAVE BEEN SOLD!  THANK YOU!  9/19/2011