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Farmhouse Kitchen Chocolate Chip Cookies and a Cookbook Review

Farmhouse Kitchen Chocolate Chip Cookies at 1840 FarmI have long believed that any day can be made better with a homemade cookie.  If the cookie happens to a perfectly made chocolate chip cookie still warm from the oven, all the better.  While I make many different types of cookies in our farmhouse kitchen, this chocolate chip cookie recipe is hands down our favorite.Cookie Love

This recipe was inspired by a cookbook I was sent to review for our readers.  I was ready to love this book immediately based on the delicious cookies shown on the cover.  Any book titled “Cookie Love” has my attention from the first page.

Cookie Love by Mindy Segal and Kate Leahy is filled with 60 intriguing cookie recipes from drop cookies to shortbread, sandwich, rugelach, and bars.  These aren’t the same recipes you’ve seen over and over again.  When I turned to page 23 and discovered a recipe for Smoky Bacon Candy Bar Cookies, I stopped in my tracks.

When I accept a cookbook to review, I like to select a recipe to test before sharing the cookbook with you.  To me, it seems like the best way for me to review a cookbook.   If the recipe doesn’t have clear instructions or produces something that doesn’t pass my family’s taste test, I don’t feel like I can encourage you to add it to your cookbook collection.

So, as I read through Cookie Love, I gave thought to which recipe I should choose for my review.  Smoky Bacon Candy Bar Cookies were definitely on the list, but I didn’t have all of the ingredients on hand.  A recipe for homemade Milanos definitely caught my eye.  Due to food allergies, my family can’t safely purchase the store bought version, so making a homemade take on these classics was very appealing.  There were so many beautiful photos of scrumptious looking cookies that it was a very difficult task to choose the first recipe to attempt.

WonderMixCookiesWMIn the end, I went with the Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie.  I was drawn to the story behind this recipe and the fact that my family would be sure to enjoy taste testing a batch of chocolate chip cookies.   I was right.  They loved these cookies and happily tasted one after another before giving them a collective thumbs up.

Since then, I have adjusted the recipe slightly, adding more of our homemade vanilla extract to deepen the vanilla flavor and reducing the salt called for in the original recipe.  I also like to reduce the baking temperature and slightly increase the baking time.  Doing so encourages the butter in the dough to melt a bit, spreading out to create a cookie that is thin and crisp around the edge and soft and chewy in the middle. 

These cookies are so popular with my family, that I keep our freezer stocked with balls of cookie dough that can be baked at a moment’s notice.   I allow the frozen dough to warm up as the oven preheats and then pop them in the oven.  With a few extra minutes added to the baking time, the cookies are perfectly baked and we can enjoy warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies in less than 20 minutes.

Cookie Love also includes helpful tips for choosing ingredients, mixing, shaping, and baking cookies.  I can’t wait to try a few more recipes here in the farmhouse kitchen.  Now I just have to decide which recipe to try next!

You’ll find Cookie Love listed in our Amazon Affiliate shop along with a full collection of my favorite cookbooks. You can also learn more about the book and its author by visiting the publisher’s site.  If you’re on the hunt for a new great cookbook, you can read more of my cookbook reviews and recipes inspired by my favorite cookbooks.

Farmhouse Kitchen Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yields 36
I like to use bittersweet chocolate chips in this recipe, but you can substitute your favorite chocolate chips or chunks. I often replace ½ - 1 cup of the All-purpose flour with an equal amount of our home milled whole wheat flour. The freshly milled flour adds a lovely bit of texture and earthly flavor to the finished cookies.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup (8 ounces) butter, softened and cubed
  2. 1 cup granulated sugar
  3. 1 cup brown sugar
  4. 2 large eggs
  5. 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  6. 2 ½ cups All-purpose flour
  7. 1 teaspoon salt
  8. ½ teaspoon baking powder
  9. ½ teaspoon baking soda
  10. 8 ounces (2 generous cups) chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Place the cubed butter in the bowl of your mixer fitted with a paddle or dough beaters. Mix on medium speed for 30 seconds, until the butter begins to smooth out a bit. Add the sugar and brown sugar before beating on medium speed until the mixture is completely smooth, approximately 2-4 minutes.
  2. Add the eggs and vanilla extract to the bowl and beat on low for a 10-20 seconds, just until combined. The batter may break up a bit, but don’t worry. It will come together when the dry ingredients are worked into the mix. Scrape down the bowl and beaters if necessary to gather the batter together before continuing.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and chocolate chips. Stir to mix the dry ingredients.
  4. Add the dry ingredients in one addition to the mixer bowl. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients have completely integrated into the dough. This should only take 30-60 seconds depending on the strength of your mixer. Take great care not to overmix the dough. Mixing develops the gluten in the flour and overmixing will encourage the dough to become tough.
  5. Transfer the dough to a covered container for storage in the refrigerator. Allow the dough to chill for a few hours or overnight. I often make a batch of dough and keep it in the refrigerator, baking a single evening’s cookies each night. Portioned balls of dough can also be frozen on a small tray and then transferred to a freezer bag for long term storage. Frozen dough can be baked by simply adding a few minutes to the baking time.
  6. When you are ready to bake some or all of the cookies, preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and position the oven racks to the top and bottom third of your oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment or a Silpat style liner.
  7. Create balls of dough using heaping 1 ½ Tablespoons (approximately 1 ounce or so). Place six balls on each baking sheet, spacing evenly to prevent the cookies from touching as they bake. Bake for 14-16 minutes, until the cookies have flattened and browned. Rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking time will help to ensure that the cookies are evenly baked.
  8. Remove the cookies from the oven, allowing them to cool for a few minutes. As with any cookie, these are even more delicious when eaten while still warm with a cup of coffee or cold glass of milk.
Notes
  1. Baked cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for several days. Dough can be refrigerated for one week and frozen for several months.
  2. Our family lives and bakes around nut allergies, so our farmhouse kitchen is nut free. This recipe uses one of our nut free favorites: Vermont Nut Free Chocolates. You can learn all about them at www.vermontnutfree.com.
Adapted from Cookie Love by Mindy Segal with Kate Leahy
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 Farmhouse Kitchen Chocolate Chip Cookies Group


 

The book reviewed in this post was sent to me free of charge by the Blogging for Books Program in order to allow me to evaluate its use here at 1840 Farm. The book that I reviewed was sent to me at no expense in order to allow me to evaluate it. The framework of our review process does not guarantee a positive review in exchange for the product provided. Our product reviews contain both facts about the product and my personal opinion of its performance while it was used at 1840 Farm.

Product reviews include my honest opinions about the product(s) reviewed. Products that do not meet our standards of daily use on our farm will not be reviewed. It is our goal to provide you with our personal experience using a product in a positive and informative manner so that you can determine its usefulness in your life. It is not our goal to negatively review a product that while not an ideal fit for our farm, might perform very well on yours.

For more information, please view our Disclosure Statement and Privacy Policy.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/04/farmhouse-kitchen-chocolate-chip-cookies/

Book Review – Clean Slate: A Cookbook and Guide

Clean SlateWhen Clean Slate:  A Cookbook and Guide from the editors of Martha Stewart Living arrived in my mailbox, I couldn’t wait to give it a read.  Once I had, I couldn’t wait to get in the farmhouse kitchen to create a few of the delicious recipes it includes.

This book goes far beyond the reach of a standard cookbook.  Instead, it is a comprehensive primer on integrating fresh, whole foods into your diet.  The first section of the book contains nearly 70 pages of information about specific ingredients, suggestions for healthy flavor boosters, and detailed menu plans.

Once I progressed past that extensive information, I found myself at part two which was filled with more than 160 recipes.  The recipes were well written, easy to follow, and accompanied by gorgeous photos.  They were also clearly labeled with regard to four key categories:  vegan, dairy-free, not-free, and gluten-free.  As a person who cooks around food allergies every day, I appreciated these designations.  Each recipe looked more delicious than the last.  My biggest struggle was trying to decide which one I should try first.

I can’t wait to try the recipe for Poached Eggs with Roasted Tomatoes this summer when we have fresh heirloom tomatoes in our garden.  Until then, I decided to begin with the recipe for Swiss Chard Salad with Poached Egg.  Armed with a beautiful bunch of swiss chard from our local market and eggs fresh from our hens, I headed to the farmhouse kitchen to make myself a delicious and healthy lunch.Swiss Chard with Poached Egg

The recipe was easy to follow and included instructions for poaching the egg.  In less than 30 minutes, I had a beautiful plate of swiss chard ribbons topped with a light vinaigrette and a beautifully poached fresh egg.  It looked so amazing that I couldn’t wait to take the first bite, digging in without remembering to take a picture.  The salad was bright and fresh, perfectly paired with the richness of the fresh egg.  This is a dish that I will turn to often when our swiss chard is ready to harvest in this year’s garden.

I can’t wait to try another handful of recipes in this book.  Cauliflower “Rice” is intriguing and sounds delicious.  Roasted Mushroom Tartines with Avocado will be lovely when served with alongside our Sliced Radish Tartines this spring.  As soon as local strawberries are in season, I will definitely be making a batch of the No Bake Oat Bars with Strawberries.

You’ll find Clean Slate:  A Cookbook and Guide listed in our Amazon Affiliate shop along with a full collection of my favorite cookbooks. You can also learn more about the book and its author by visiting the publisher’s site.  If you’re on the hunt for a new great cookbook, you can read more of my cookbook reviews and recipes inspired by my favorite cookbooks.


The product reviewed in this post was sent to me free of charge by the Blogging for Books Program in order to allow me to evaluate its use here at 1840 Farm. The book that I reviewed was sent to me at no expense in order to allow me to evaluate it. The framework of our review process does not guarantee a positive review in exchange for the product provided. Our product reviews contain both facts about the product and my personal opinion of its performance while it was used at 1840 Farm.

Product reviews include my honest opinions about the product(s) reviewed. Products that do not meet our standards of daily use on our farm will not be reviewed. It is our goal to provide you with our personal experience using a product in a positive and informative manner so that you can determine its usefulness in your life. It is not our goal to negatively review a product that while not an ideal fit for our farm, might perform very well on yours.

For more information, please view our Disclosure Statement and Privacy Policy.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2015/04/book-review-clean-slate-a-cookbook-and-guide/

Put an Egg on It Cookbook *GIVEAWAY*

When Sasquatch Books contacted me to ask if I would be interested in reviewing a new cookbook, I was happy to say yes.  When they went on to tell me that the cookbook was filled with over 70 recipes highlighting eggs, I could hardly wait for it to arrive.  A few weeks passed and then I found this lovely cookbook:  Put an Egg on It waiting for me in our mailbox.

From the moment I saw the cover, I couldn’t wait to look over the cookbook and see the recipes waiting inside.  The photographs are beautiful and cover the gamut from simple tips for boiling, frying, poaching, and separating eggs along with dozens of recipes that showcase the best that eggs have to offer.

Unfortunately, molting season has descended upon our farm and eggs are temporarily scarce.  Suddenly, there are far more feathers in the nest boxes than there are fresh eggs.  So, instead of making these recipes right away, I have been dreaming of which recipe will be the first to try once our girls have replenished their feathers and moved back to leaving their fresh eggs in the nest boxes.

After looking through the cookbook several times and allowing my family to do the same, we have decided that the recipe on page 137 will be the first to try.  There’s just something about the thought of Maple Meringue Doughnut Holes made using our own fresh eggs, fresh goat’s milk, and homemade maple syrup that appeals to all of us.  Add in that they look and sound delicious and it’s no wonder that we settled on this recipe!

Now you can enter to win your own copy of this beautiful cookbook.  I have teamed up with fellow Community Chickens Contributor Rebecca Nickols to offer two lucky readers the opportunity to win their own copy.  Two winners will be randomly selected to win Put an Egg on It.

You can enter by leaving a comment about your favorite egg recipe and by following 1840 Farm, Rebecca’s Bird Gardens, and Community Chickens on Facebook.  If you already follow those pages, don’t worry.  You can claim those entries with a click of the button below.  Good luck to all who enter!

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2013 Cookbook Collection Giveaway

I love books. and my favorite type of book is undoubtedly a cookbook.  There’s something so hopeful about opening a new cookbook.  By turning that first page, you are opening yourself up to the incredible possibility of discovering a recipe that might find its way onto your family’s table.  You might even find a recipe that will become a family tradition, living on for years to come.

See, I can get excited just writing about cookbooks.  Maybe that is why I was so happy to be asked to participate in the 2013 Cookbook Collection Giveaway with a group of my blogging friends.  We have been working together to assemble an incredible collection of our favorite cookbooks to give away on our blogs.  One lucky reader will start the New Year with a collection of nine new cookbooks valued at more than $200!  The blogs participating in the giveaway and their favorite cookbooks are:

The cookbook I am sharing is one of my favorites.  Local Flavors includes delicious recipes that celebrate local produce at its seasonal best.  As a person who proudly raises much of the food that graces our family table, I appreciate a cookbook that appreciates the beauty of simple, rustic food made from locally produced ingredients.

I hope that you will enter for a chance to win the cookbook collection.  There are 18 different ways for you to enter, including two from 1840 Farm.  Good luck to all who enter.  I have my fingers crossed that a member of The 1840 Farm Online Community will be the big winner!

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Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/01/2013-cookbook-collection-giveaway/

Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard

Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard BannerIt’s difficult not to fall in love with ice cream.  It’s so delicious and such a welcome treat on a warm summer day. Ice cream is certainly delicious, but you haven’t lived until you have been treated to frozen custard.  The difference may seem subtle on paper, but one taste and you’ll understand the distinction between the two. At our house, vanilla custard almost always takes the place of standard vanilla ice cream.  Once we tasted frozen custard made with our hens’ fresh eggs, there was simply no going back.

So, what’s the difference between ice cream and frozen custard?  To begin with, ice cream is a frozen concoction that does not necessarily contain eggs.  In fact, Philadelphia style ice cream specifically excludes them.  During our egg free years due to a food allergy, Philadelphia style ice cream was our go to.  Those simple recipes that were intentionally egg free allowed us to make batch after batch of homemade ice cream that tasted delicious and didn’t carry with it the potential of causing an allergic reaction.

According to the USDA, something labeled “ice cream” should contain at least 20 percent milk solids and 10 percent milk fat by weight.  Premium brands tend to include a higher percentage of fat, using a combination of milk and cream to deliver a smooth texture.  Eggs can be used, but they are not required and often omitted as they add steps to the ice cream making process and increase the cost to produce each batch.

Frozen custard relies on egg yolks to deliver a velvety texture and richer flavor.  The lecithin in the yolks naturally emulsifies the custard, creating a creamier texture.  The USDA requires food billed as “frozen custard” to contain at least 1.4 percent egg yolk by weight.  Some brands include more than required and deliver a richer, fuller flavor thanks to the extra yolks.

It’s hard for me to argue against adding egg yolks to your frozen concoction during this time of year.  Our chickens and ducks are leaving us full nests every day and making batches of frozen custard seems like a great way to enjoy our fresh eggs and create a delicious treat for dessert that doesn’t heat up the farmhouse by baking in the oven.  On a warm summer’s day, nothing seems quite as decadent as a scoop of creamy, delicious homemade custard made with fresh eggs collected from our own hens.

Over the years, I have made several different types of ice cream and custard.  When it came to vanilla bean frozen custard, I had used a few recipes, but we didn’t have a clear favorite.  This year, I decided that with a mountain of fresh chicken and duck eggs accumulating in the farmhouse kitchen, it was high time to develop a recipe we would love.

I gathered the four recipes I had tried in the past and then went in search of a few new ones to consider.  They were all remarkably similar combinations of cream, egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla.  I tried a few of them and set my family to the task of tasting the different variations and registering their opinions about the taste and texture.  Each batch was slightly different.  They were all yummy, but there wasn’t a clear front runner. 

Luckily, I remembered that a book in my cookbook collection had a custard recipe that Thomas Jefferson had written.  While it had been years since I had read the book, that recipe stuck with me.  It was hard to forget the fact that Thomas Jefferson had the distinction of being the first American to write a recipe for ice cream.  In 1780, he detailed the ingredients and the steps required in his day to create vanilla Jefferson Ice Cream Recipebean ice cream.  While he called it ice cream, the recipe is in fact custard due to the high number of egg yolks in the batch.  Thanks to Thomas Jefferson, I made a few changes to my own recipe and gathered the ingredients to make the next batch.

Jefferson references using “2 bottles of good cream, 6 yolks of eggs, 1 ½ pounds sugar, and a stick of vanilla” in his recipe.  I decided to use 6 yolks which was one more than I had used in any of my recipes.  With regard to the sugar, I didn’t need nearly as much.  Instead of using all heavy cream, I used a mixture of heavy cream, whipping cream, and half and half.  I hoped that the result would be just as decadent and delicious but with a slightly lighter, creamier feel. 

We watched as this batch churned away in our ice cream maker.  As it began to freeze and come together, we could no longer resist the urge to dip a spoon in to grab a taste.  One taste was all it took for us to decide that this version was a showstopper.  We had found our perfect vanilla bean frozen custard recipe.

Since then, I have made this recipe countless times.  It always comes together beautifully and delivers a delicious, creamy, rich frozen treat that our family just loves.  With each batch, I can’t help but marvel at the fact that the recipe I am making in our farmhouse kitchen isn’t much different from the recipe Jefferson wrote down nearly 250 years ago.  I guess that this delicious custard recipe proves that sometimes you simply can’t improve upon perfection.

Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard
If you don’t have a vanilla bean on hand, don’t let that deter you from making a batch of this frozen custard. You can omit the vanilla bean and still make delicious vanilla custard thanks to the vanilla extract. Sure, the resulting custard will be missing the pretty vanilla bean flecks and have a slightly less pronounced vanilla flavor, but it will still taste amazing. I like to use our duck’s eggs in this recipe as they have enormous, rich yolks that impart a beautiful pale yellow color to the finished custard. A version made with fresh chicken eggs is equally delicious and no less beautiful. I reserve the whites and scramble them as a special treat for Penny Lane.
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Ingredients
  1. 6 large egg yolks
  2. 1 ½ cups half and half
  3. 1 cup granulated sugar
  4. 1 vanilla bean, split
  5. 1 pinch salt
  6. ¾ cup heavy cream
  7. ¾ cup whipping cream
  8. 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Separate the eggs, placing the yolks in a medium bowl. Whisk them briskly until they thicken slightly.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the half and half, sugar, vanilla bean, and salt over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to encourage the sugar to fully dissolve into the liquid. Remove the pan from the heat once the liquid is nearly ready to come to a simmer.
  3. Temper the egg yolks by slowly drizzling the warm half and half mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Whisk briskly to combine before transferring the mixture back to the saucepan.
  4. Place the saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk as the mixture warms to keep the custard from scorching as it cooks. The custard will thicken as it warms, combing to a pudding like consistency when finished. The properly thickened custard will coat the back of a spoon.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat. Place a fine mesh strainer or colander lined with cheesecloth over a large bowl. Transfer the warm custard to the strainer and allow it to pass through to the bowl beneath. This will ensure that the custard is completely smooth and does not contain any undissolved grains of sugar or cooked egg. Continue until all of the custard has been strained.
  6. Add the heavy cream, whipping cream, and vanilla extract to the bowl. Whisk to combine all of the ingredients. Chill the custard base until it is completely cooled. Attempting to churn ice cream or custard before the mixture is completely chilled will result in a custard with a grainy texture. If you can, allow the custard to cool overnight in the refrigerator. You can also place the bowl of custard inside a larger bowl filled with ice water to hasten the cooling by several hours.
  7. After the base has cooled completely, process it in your ice cream freezer according to the manufacturer’s directions. Remove the frozen custard from the machine and place it in a freezer safe container. Freeze until firm and enjoy every single bite!
Notes
  1. If you don’t have a vanilla bean on hand, don’t let that deter you from making a batch of this frozen custard. You can omit the vanilla bean and still make delicious vanilla custard thanks to the vanilla extract. Sure, the resulting custard will be missing the pretty vanilla bean flecks and have a slightly less pronounced vanilla flavor, but it will still taste amazing.
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Brisket Braised with Caramelized Onions

Brisket Braised with Caramelized Onions2 BannerDuring the long New England winter, we need comfort on our dinner plates even more than usual.  When snow is piling up outside and the temperatures are bitterly cold, we turn to our favorite rustic recipes to warm us up from the inside out.  If that recipe involves braising something in the oven all afternoon, all the better.  I know that the warmth and delicious aroma emanating from the oven will help us to endure the cold and hold on to the knowledge that spring will eventually arrive.

Like so many cooking methods that have stood the test of time, braising is rustic and simple.  It requires no fancy equipment, only a heavy pot with a lid that can be moved from the stovetop to the oven.  Braising doesn’t involve a lot of hands on time, hours of paying careful attention to the recipe.  Instead, it brilliantly combines two simple tasks:  searing a cut of meat and then allowing that meat to cook slowly in a covered pan until it is tender and infused with flavor.

My culinary idol Julia Child didn’t need many words to explain braising in Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  She simply defines it as “To brown foods in fat, then cook them in a covered casserole with a small amount of liquid.”  I couldn’t possibly explain it any more perfectly or succinctly.  Yes, it really is that simple.

Brisket is a cut of meat perfect suited for braising.  Brisket can be tough if it is hurried, if it isn’t cooked in a way that encourages that sinewy muscle to magically transform into a tender piece of meat and gelatinous broth.  Luckily, braising does just that. 

Braising has become a Sunday ritual in the farmhouse kitchen during the colder months of the year.  In New England, that means more than half of our calendar year.  This week is the first week of spring.  It’s also a week where we watched as snow squalls dropped a fresh layer on the farm’s landscape not once but twice. 

As soon as the first snowstorm arrived, we started discussing what to braise for Sunday dinner.  We can’t control the weather, cannot convince Mother Nature that spring is welcome here and we’ve seen enough wintry snow for a while.  We can look forward to a Sunday afternoon with a brisket braising in the oven all afternoon and the resulting meals for the week. 

We’ve been braising for years, but had never found a brisket recipe that left us craving more.  Then David Lebovitz dropped one right in my newsfeed that looked so promising that we made immediate plans to give it a try.  The recipe was made famous by Nach Waxman, the owner of Kitchen Arts & Letters, a fabulous culinary book shop in New York City.  Since then, it has appeared in several cookbooks. 

The first time we made the recipe, I was skeptical.  It seemed too simple to be anything but ordinary.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  The results were so delicious that we have since made our own version countless times this winter.  Every single time, I am taken by just how delicious it is, how much flavor each bite contains.  Some recipes are keepers, and this is surely one of them, a foundational recipe to have on hand to make time and time again. 

Over the winter, I’ve adjusted the quantities and timing a bit from the original recipe.  After testing my version many times, we’ve agreed that our version is just to our liking.  It’s delicious and tender every time.  The leftovers are even better 24 or 48 hours later.  We enjoy them on sandwiches spread with a bit of homemade horseradish sauce or tarragon mayonnaise.  I also love to shred a bit of the leftover brisket and serve it with caramelized fennel over a bed of creamy, cheesy grits.  Just writing about it makes my mouth water.  One bite of this brisket and you’ll understand why at our farmhouse, Sundays are for braising.

Brisket Braised with Caramelized Onions
Our version is a bit simpler than the original. I found that the step of salting the meat ahead of time didn’t impact the flavor or texture of the finished dish, so I omitted it. While I do my best to plan ahead, salting the brisket the day before and allowing it to sit overnight in the refrigerator before beginning the recipe simply didn’t happen one Sunday because I had forgotten the night before. When that brisket turned out equally delicious and tender, I decided to cross that preparation right off my recipe. You can certainly give it a try and see if you find it to be noticeably different. Over the winter, I’ve adjusted the quantities and timing a bit from the original recipe. After testing my version many times, we’ve agreed that our version is just to our liking. It’s delicious and tender every time. The leftovers are even better 24 or 48 hours later. We enjoy them on sandwiches spread with a bit of homemade horseradish sauce or tarragon mayonnaise. I also love to shred a bit of the leftover brisket and serve it with caramelized fennel over a bed of creamy, cheesy grits. Just writing about it makes my mouth water. One bite of this brisket and you’ll understand why at our farmhouse, Sundays are for braising.
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Ingredients
  1. 4-6 pounds beef brisket
  2. kosher or sea salt
  3. 1-2 Tablespoons All-purpose flour
  4. 1 Tablespoon lard
  5. 2 pounds thinly sliced onions (approximately 6-8 medium onions)
  6. 4 Tablespoons tomato paste
  7. 6 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  8. 4 large carrots, peeled and diced
  9. salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Pat the brisket dry with a paper towel. Salt liberally. Sprinkle the brisket with the flour, using as much as is necessary to dust the entire surface.
  2. Prepare the onions, garlic, and carrots. They will be used in separate steps, so keep the garlic and carrots separate from the onions.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Place a large oven safe pot or roasting pan with a lid over medium-high heat. I like to use my cast iron or enameled cast iron Dutch oven, but any heavy pot with a lid that is safe to move from stovetop to oven will do the job.
  4. Add the lard to the warm pan, swirling to coat the bottom evenly. Add the brisket to the pan and sear on both sides. Five minutes per side should be enough to sear and lightly brown the brisket. Remove the brisket to a large plate or dish to rest as you caramelize the onions.
  5. Lower the heat to medium and add the onions to the pan. Season with a salt and black pepper and stir to coat them with the fat in the pan. Cook them for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent them from sticking. They should soften and become translucent before taking on the golden brown color of caramelized onions. If they stick to the pan, you can add a bit more lard or a little water to the pan.
  6. Turn off the heat. Spread the onions evenly in the bottom of the pan to create a bed for the brisket. Add the brisket back to the pan along with any juices that have collected as it rested. Spread the tomato paste evenly on the top surface of the brisket. Add the garlic and carrots to the top of the brisket, allowing any excess to fall to the bed of onions below. Season with salt and pepper. Place the lid on your pan and transfer to the warm oven. Cook for 90 minutes.
  7. Remove the pot from the oven. Remove the lid and allow the brisket to rest for 10 minutes. Transfer the brisket to a large cutting board or large platter. Slicing against the grain, portion the brisket into ½ inch slices. Transfer the slices back to the braising pot, nestling them into the onions and overlapping them if necessary to fit. Replace the lid and transfer back to the oven to braise for another 90 minutes.
  8. Remove the pot from the oven. Allow the brisket to rest for 10 minutes before serving. The pot will remain hot, keeping the brisket and onions warm while allowing the meat to rest. Serve the brisket, spooning onions, carrots, and garlic from the pan over each serving. I often serve this brisket with a homemade horseradish sauce made by stirring together sour cream and horseradish to our liking and seasoning with a bit of salt and pepper.
  9. Any leftover brisket and vegetables can be stored in the refrigerator. The flavor will improve overnight, making for delicious leftovers the next day. Warming the leftovers in the vegetables and sauce will prevent the brisket from drying out as it is reheated.
Adapted from Nach Waxman’s Beef Brisket shared by David Lebovitz
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Cast Iron Skillet Roast Chicken

cast-iron-skillet-roast-chicken-branded

These days, I find myself actively looking for meals that fit a few key criteria. I want everyone to be eager to come to dinner, to look forward to the meal that lies ahead.  I like to have a multipurpose meal, one that can easily result in leftovers that can be reinvented the next evening into something equally delicious.  I also love when that meal can be procured locally, raised in our community, and eaten at its delicious best. cast-iron-skillet-roast-chicken-wm

I also like to serve something comforting at our family table.  After a long day, we could all use a plate that allows us to take a collective sigh, gather around the table, and enjoy recounting our day while eating something that delivers comfort with each bite.

For me, a whole chicken roasted to perfection in the oven delivers on each of these points. If the chicken can be cooked in a cast iron skillet, all the better.  The results are delicious each and every time, with my family clamoring for more, requesting that we make it again soon.

Thanks to inspiration from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon cookbook, I began roasting two birds at once each in their own cast iron skillet.  I’m only sorry that I didn’t think of this technique years earlier.  With very little extra effort, I can roast a duo of chickens side by side and ensure that we have plenty of leftover chicken to enjoy as tacos, sandwiches, pot pies, and in pasta dishes on successive evenings.

Roasting two chickens also provides me with all that I need to create two batches of hearty bone broth.  That bone broth delivers robust flavor and healthy nutrition to every single dish it is added to. Having homemade bone broth in the refrigerator or freezer at the ready is akin to having a bit of magic to add to any recipe that calls for broth or stock.

I hope that you will enjoy this hearty, comforting meal as much as we do.  It’s sure to become a favorite around your family table!

Cast Iron Skillet Roast Chicken
I roast two chickens at a time, each in their own 9 inch cast iron skillet. If you prefer, the two chickens could be placed in a single roasting pan large enough to accommodate them. When roasting two chickens, select birds of a similar size to ensure that they cook evenly in the same length of time. Prepping raw chickens can be a messy task, but I have found that lining my prep area with a generously sized piece of freezer paper helps to make cleanup a breeze.
Print
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. Two 3-4 pound whole chickens
  2. coarse sea salt
  3. freshly ground pepper
  4. 2 Tablespoon lard or olive oil
  5. 2 teaspoons fresh minced thyme
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and position the oven racks in the bottom third of the oven. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator to allow it to come closer to room temperature as the oven preheats.
  2. Line your prep space with a large piece of freezer paper if desired. I like to use two small prep bowls, filling each with ample coarse salt and pepper to use when seasoning the chickens. Having the seasonings at the ready allows me to season the chickens inside and out without contaminating my pepper grinder and salt cellar.
  3. Remove the chicken from its packaging. If your bird contains a packet of organs in its cavity, remove them. Rinse the chicken under cold water if desired before transferring to the prepared freezer paper. Using paper towel, pat the chicken dry inside and out. It is important that the chicken be as dry as possible. Any moisture will create steam in the oven which will prevent the skin from becoming crisp.
  4. Liberally season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. If you like, you can truss the chicken using a length of kitchen twine to tie the legs together and hold them tight to the body. Trussing the chicken will help to hold the legs close to the body, keeping it in a beautiful shape and also helping the meat to cook evenly and the breast to stay moist.
  5. Prepare a cast iron skillet for each bird by placing each skillet on a burner over high heat. When the pan is hot, add a Tablespoon of lard or olive oil to each skillet, swirling carefully to coat the bottom surface of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium high and add a prepped chicken to each pan. Allow the chicken to cook for five minutes undisturbed.
  6. Transfer the skillets to the hot oven with the legs facing the back of the oven. Placing the breast in the front of the oven (the coolest spot) will deliver a slightly lower temperature and help to ensure that the breast meat does not overcook.
  7. After 30 minutes, turn the skillets 180 degrees to encourage even browning. I like to very gently tilt the pan to encourage any juices that have collected in the cavity to run into the skillet. Take care to not splash the hot liquid out of the pan when doing so.
  8. Roast the chicken for another 20 minutes before removing the skillets from the oven to check for doneness. When done, the birds should be golden brown and a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone should register around 160 degrees. Juices from the chicken will run clear when it is fully cooked.
  9. When the chicken is finished cooking, add a generous teaspoon of the minced thyme to the juices that have collected in each skillet. Allow the chicken to rest for ten to fifteen minutes. This rest period will encourage the meat to stay moist and the pan juices to warm the fresh thyme.
  10. Remove the trussing twine from the chicken. Carve and serve, basting the chicken with a bit of the herbed pan juices.
  11. If you happen to be serving mashed potatoes and gravy with your chicken, add a bit of the pan juices to your gravy to boost the flavor and add a beautiful color.
When your meal is finished, the bones and skin can be used to make a delicious bone broth. You can learn how and why I make bone broth at
  1. www.1840farm.com/how-to-make-thanksgiving-turkey-bone-broth/
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Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/09/cast-iron-skillet-roast-chicken/

Bourbon Caramel Popcorn

Bourbon Caramel Popcorn at 1840 FarmThis week marks the opening of our baseball season. Opening day has been rescheduled from yesterday to today due to snow. That means we’ll be celebrating opening day and the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on the same day. It also means that I’ll be making another batch of our homemade caramel corn for snacking.

Popcorn is a perfect pairing for baseball and movies.  If you’ve ever stood in your team’s stadium and sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, you have uttered the iconic lyrics:

BourbonCaramelCornTrayWM“Take me out to the ball game;
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don’t care if I never get back.”

Like so many families, we eat around food allergies, particularly peanuts.  So, buying peanuts or cracker jack when we’re at the ballgame isn’t an option.  When my son was little, he just couldn’t understand why he couldn’t have the treats that were mentioned in the song.  Somehow, he felt like they must be paramount to enjoying the ballgame if they were included in the song that an entire stadium full of fans stood up to sing together. 

It was hard for me to argue that point with him. For a little boy, dressed in his team’s hat, swaying to the music with the crowd, those treats seemed like part of the experience, a part that he wasn’t able to enjoy.  Suddenly, I knew that I was going to be spending time in our farmhouse kitchen doing my best to recreate the taste of cracker jack without a peanut or nut in sight.

I searched cookbooks, blogs, magazines, and anywhere I could find reference to a homemade caramel corn.  I tried many of them.  Some were complete disasters.  I burnt more caramel than I would care to admit, filling the farmhouse with the acrid aroma of burnt sugar.  Other batches were good, but difficult to make and not quite what I was hoping for.     

I wanted to create a caramel that added that crisp texture and hint of sweetness to a batch of popcorn.  I also wanted a recipe that was simple to make so that we could enjoy it whenever we wanted to.  So, I kept working, trying new recipes and altering them in the hopes that I would discover one that was just right.BourbonCaramelCorn

It required a lot of experimenting and many batches of popcorn being thrown away before I had landed right where I wanted to be.  When my son took a handful of that caramel corn, I couldn’t wait to see his reaction.  I watched as he tasted it and smiled from ear to ear.  When that happened, I knew that it was perfect.

Since then, I have made this recipe for Bourbon Caramel Popcorn countless times.  The caramel is crisp and filled with earthy sweetness of fresh caramel.  There’s just enough salt to balance the sweetness without overpowering it.  It tastes so much better than the old cracker jack mentioned in the song that started me on my quest to perfect caramel corn.

We’ll be enjoying a few batches of this popcorn this week.  We’ve got opening day for our hometown Red Sox to celebrate and Star Wars: The Force Awakens to watch on movie night.  You can be sure that we’ll all be snacking on this crunchy treat on both counts.  While my son has long forgotten about his disappointment over not being able to enjoy cracker jack at the ballgame all those years ago, I haven’t.  With each bite that he takes, I’ll be smiling at the thought of him having his very own homemade version to enjoy year after year and replacing that memory with a happy food memory that will last a lifetime.

 

 

Bourbon Caramel Popcorn
Making homemade caramel is simple, but some precautions should be taken to ensure your safety. Take care when making this or any other candy that involves boiled sugar. Use a large, deep pot that will allow the mixture to come to a full boil without boiling over. Do not touch the mixture when stirring to coat the popcorn as it will be incredibly hot and could easily burn your skin.
Print
Ingredients
  1. 12 cups plain popcorn, popped
  2. ½ - 1 cup nuts or Nadanut nut free pieces*
  3. 6 Tablespoons butter
  4. ¾ cup brown sugar
  5. 1 Tablespoon corn syrup
  6. ½ teaspoon salt
  7. 2 Tablespoons bourbon
  8. ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  9. ½ teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat liner. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. I like to use our air popper to pop the popcorn, but you can use whatever method you prefer. After popping, carefully sort through the popcorn to remove any unpopped kernels. Transfer the popcorn to a very large bowl or pot. If you are adding Nadanut pecan or walnut pieces or traditional nuts, mix them into the popcorn.
  3. In a small bowl or cup, measure out the bourbon. In a second small bowl or cup, combine the baking soda and cinnamon. These ingredients will be added to the caramel very quickly and premeasuring is necessary for success. When the bourbon and baking soda mixture are added to the hot caramel, it will bubble violently (hence the need for a large pot to make a small batch of caramel). Take care to stir these ingredients fully without touching the mixture.
  4. Place the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a large, deep pot over medium heat. Stir as the butter melts to mix the ingredients. Once the mixture begins to bubble, set a timer for four minutes. Adjust the heat as needed to gently boil the caramel. Do not stir the caramel during the four minute time period.
  5. When the four minutes have elapsed, remove the pan from the heat. Add the bourbon all at once, stirring as it bubbles violently to combine. Add the baking soda and cinnamon, stirring again as the mixture begins to lighten in color and expand. As soon as the soda and cinnamon are fully incorporated into the caramel, pour the caramel over the popcorn. Using two wooden spoons or spatulas, toss the popcorn and caramel until it is evenly coated with the caramel mixture.
  6. Transfer the caramel coated popcorn (and nuts if using) to the lined baking sheets, dividing evenly between the two sheets. Move the baking sheets to the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the caramel corn from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature. As the caramel cools, it will become crisp.
  7. This caramel corn is best on the day it is made. It can be stored in an airtight container for a day or two before losing its crisp texture.
Notes
  1. *The version we make often includes nut free "pecan" or “walnut” pieces from Nadanut - Nut Free Snacks. They deliver that delicious nutty flavor and are made in a nut free facility so that we can enjoy the flavor of nuts without any worry of causing an allergic reaction. You can learn more about them at www.nadanut.com.
  2. If you don't have nut allergies to contend with, you can easily add in your favorite nuts to the popcorn with equally delicious results.
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Bourbon Caramel Popcorn Collage Branded

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/04/bourbon-caramel-popcorn/

How to Make Homemade Kimchi

Kimchi at 1840 FarmI don’t remember when or where I first tasted kimchi.  I do remember how taken I was with the flavor.  As a person who loves sauerkraut and spice, kimchi was the perfect marriage of the flavor and texture that I so enjoy.

The flavors were so interesting and complex that I assumed that making kimchi would be a time-consuming and difficult process.  Then Sasquatch Books sent me a copy of their new cookbook Fresh & Fermented by the founders of Firefly Kitchens.  The book is beautiful and contains a recipe for their famous Firefly Kimchi.  I read the recipe and was surprised to learn that making kimchi was no more complicated than sauerkraut.

In the past few months, we have been making a lot of sauerkraut.  You could easily say that I have a new found obsession with fermentation.  I have been adding our Classic Sauerkraut to everything and making a fresh batch each week to ensure that we always have a steady supply of its bright, crisp flavor in the refrigerator and fermenting away in the pantry.

Fresh and Fermented CookbookAfter making several successful batches of sauerkraut, I felt like I could attempt a batch of kimchi using the recipe in Fresh & Fermented.  The instructions were simple and the method was the same as those required for sauerkraut.  Suddenly, I believed that I might be able to make my own kimchi right here in our farmhouse kitchen.

 I mixed up a batch following the recipe to the letter.  I secured the mixture using my Kraut Source lid system and set it aside to ferment for a few days.  Five days later, I removed the lid to taste our creation.  It was fantastic and every bit as delicious as the kimchi I had first tasted and fallen in love with.

I have made a few minor changes to the recipe since then.  Through a little experimentation, I have discovered that I prefer to use a combination of green cabbage and Napa cabbage.  Using equal parts of the two different types of cabbage results in a kimchi with a lovely combination of textures that I enjoy.  I also love the zing of the fresh ginger, so I triple the amount of minced ginger called for in the original recipe.

This recipe is very adaptable, allowing you to make changes to the seasonings in order to suit your taste.  As long as the ratio of cabbage to salt is constant and the vegetables are kept under the brine as they ferment, the results will be delicious every time.

This kimchi is so delicious that it has inspired me to create meals around it.  Just last week, we enjoyed burgers topped with kimchi and a fresh quick pickle.  That dinner was preceded by an evening’s dinner of dumpling soup filled with delicious fresh vegetables, brimming with flavor, and topped, of course, with our homemade kimchi.

Dumpling Soup with Kimchi at 1840 Farm    Burger topped with Kimchi and Pickles at 1840 Farm

Sriracha Seasoning BlendMy recipe uses one pound of green cabbage along with one pound of Napa cabbage.  I find that a half of a large head of green cabbage and one head of Napa cabbage usually delivers the amount I need.  I experimented with several different types of red pepper and red pepper blends when fine tuning this recipe.  My favorite was a McCormick Gourmet Sriracha Seasoning Blend that I found at our local grocery store.  You can certainly use all of one type of cabbage or a different red pepper to make your kimchi.

I use the remaining green cabbage along with a small head of cabbage to make another batch of sauerkraut.  Yes, I’ve become the person who routinely adds three heads of cabbage to my cart at the grocery store!

I hope that you’ll join me in making your own homemade kimchi.  In minutes, you will have a batch fermenting in your kitchen.  In mere days, you’ll be ready to taste your homemade kimchi.  I’m willing to bet that you’ll take the first bite and wonder why you hadn’t made your own kimchi sooner!

Kimchi
adapted from Firefly Kimchi from Fresh & FermentedIngredients for Kimchi at 1840 Farm

Lacto-fermentation takes advantage of the beneficial bacteria (including Lactobacillus) that are naturally present on the surface of fruits and vegetables. When held at room temperature and submerged in brine, these healthy bacteria convert the natural sugars in the  fruits and vegetables into lactic acid. The lactic acid will naturally preserve the kimchi and inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria.

Much like canning, fermentation requires clean tools and surfaces to safeguard against potentially unsafe bacteria. Simply washing all the tools and equipment along with your hands with soap and hot water before beginning the recipe is sufficient. This will ensure that you have begun the process with the clean environment necessary for successful and safe fermentation.

2 pounds cabbage (I like to use one pound of green cabbage and one pound of Napa cabbage)
1 Tablespoon (15 ml) sea salt
2 green onions, trimmed and sliced thinly
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons McCormick Gourmet Sriracha Blend Seasoning (or cayenne red pepper)
brine as needed (1 teaspoon sea salt dissolved in 1 cup cold, filtered water)

Quart-size Mason jar
Kraut Source Unit or Mason Jar Lid

Rinse the cabbage in cold water. Quarter each cabbage and remove the core before finely shredding. Place the two pounds of shredded cabbage in a large bowl. Add the sea salt, tossing to evenly distribute. Allow the cabbage and salt to rest for 20 minutes.  This rest will allow the salt to begin to draw the moisture out of the cabbage.

Massage the sea salt vigorously into the cabbage for about 5 minutes. Working the sea salt with the shredded cabbage will help to draw more liquid out of the cabbage and begin the process of breaking down the fibrous nature of the cabbage.  As you are working the cabbage, it will begin to shrink and release more of its liquid.  At the end of the 5 minutes, mix in the onions, ginger, garlic, and red pepper to the cabbage, stirring to work them into the cabbage mixture.

KrautSourcePack the cabbage into a clean quart-size, wide mouth Mason jar. Use a pounder or wooden spoon to really press down and pack the cabbage in to remove any air pockets . The top of the mixture should be even to the shoulder of the jar. If there isn’t enough liquid to cover the cabbage by one inch, add enough brine to cover.

Secure your Kraut Source unit or lid on the jar. Take care not to tighten the lid too tightly. As the cabbage ferments, carbon dioxide will be released. If the carbon dioxide is not allowed to safely escape the jar, it can cause the jar to break or the lid to be forced off of the jar.

The innovative Kraut Source unit contains a spring and a press to hold the cabbage underneath the surface of the liquid while allowing the carbon dioxide to escape. If you are using a standard lid, a piece of the cabbage’s core or a small weight can be used to keep the sliced cabbage below the liquid .

The lid can be removed every few days and replaced to adequately vent the excess carbon dioxide. During fermentation, the cabbage must be completely submerged in the liquid to prevent spoilage. Additional brine can be added as needed to completely cover the submerged cabbage.

Allow the kimchi to ferment at room temperature out of direct sunlight for 5-7 days or until it develops the desired flavor. After 5 days, begin tasting the kimchi every few days to determine if the flavor is to your liking. When the taste is agreeable, transfer the covered jar to the refrigerator. Any lid, weight, or cabbage core used to keep the kimchi submerged can be removed and discarded at this point.  Kimchi can be stored in the refrigerator for up to six months.

How to Make Homemade Kimchi at 1840 Farm


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Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2015/04/kimchi/

Book Review: The Kitchen Ecosystem

The Kitchen Ecosystem by Eugenia BoneWe have been inundated with winter weather here at 1840 Farm this week. Winter Storm Juno dropped over 30 inches of fresh snow on our farm. The blizzard force winds blew it around enough for us to clean up the same snowflake at least a dozen times. While we waited for the storm to finally come to an end, I had the pleasure of discovering a lovely new cookbook. I find that paging through a cookbook is a wonderful way to pass the time when the weather outside is frightful!

The Kitchen Ecosystem by Eugenia Bone was a fabulous read. The philosophy behind this book is simple: use the best seasonal ingredients, prepare for the seasons by preserving food when it is in season, and use every bit of the leftovers to make broths, sauces, and other delicious components for the next great dish. With over 400 beautifully illustrated recipes, this book is an amazing and inspiring resource for anyone who is trying to expand their seasonal, whole food based recipe collection.

I loved the style of this book. Rather than organizing the recipes by course or season, they are assembled by key ingredient. When I find myself deep in the heart of heirloom tomato season, I can simply turn to page 326 and find the entire collection of tomato based recipes that offer ways to enjoy them fresh, preserve them for later use, use the preserves to prepare meals, use the scraps, and a few other great ideas for using every last bit.  To liven up the collection, several cocktails are featured.Photo Jan 29, 11 21 29 AM

In all, there are 15 different suggestions for using tomatoes. As a gardener who looks forward to heirloom tomato season all year long, I can’t wait to try then all. There’s no need for me to wait at all as I can use our canned tomatoes from last year’s garden to make four great recipes in this cookbook. With our homegrown produce ready and waiting in the pantry, we can prepare any number of delicious, comforting dishes no matter the season. Using The Kitchen Ecosystem’s method of approaching seasonal eating, great food will never be out of season.

While I count the days until gardening season finally arrives, I’ll focus on what is in season and readily available at our local farmer’s markets and grocery stores. With ten recipes featuring oranges and 22 mushroom preparations, I will have plenty of delicious dishes to tide me over until spring!

You’ll find The Kitchen Ecosystem listed in our Amazon Affiliate shop along with a full collection of my favorite cookbooks. You can also learn more about the book and its author by visiting the publisher’s site.  If you’re on the hunt for a new great cookbook, you can read more of my cookbook reviews and recipes inspired by my favorite cookbooks.


The product reviewed in this post was sent to me free of charge by the Blogging for Books Program in order to allow me to evaluate its use here at 1840 Farm. The book that I reviewed was sent to me at no expense in order to allow me to evaluate it. The framework of our review process does not guarantee a positive review in exchange for the product provided. Our product reviews contain both facts about the product and my personal opinion of its performance while it was used at 1840 Farm.

Product reviews include my honest opinions about the product(s) reviewed. Products that do not meet our standards of daily use on our farm will not be reviewed. It is our goal to provide you with our personal experience using a product in a positive and informative manner so that you can determine its usefulness in your life. It is not our goal to negatively review a product that while not an ideal fit for our farm, might perform very well on yours.

For more information, please view our Disclosure Statement and Privacy Policy.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2015/01/book-review-the-kitchen-ecosystem/

Vitamix Pro 750 Passes the 1840 Farmhouse Test

For years, I have heard from professional and home cooks about the wonders of the Vitamix.  Chefs extol its virtues in their professional kitchens.  Home cooks like myself are just as taken with its abilities.  From their accounts, it seemed that there wasn’t anything that the Vitamix couldn’t handle.

Several weeks ago, our sponsor JL Hufford sent me a Vitamix Pro 750 to test in our 1840 Farmhouse kitchen.  Finally, I would be able to form my own opinion about the Vitamix.  From the moment I began to unpack the unit from its box, I was taken with the sturdy construction.  This is a very solidly constructed piece of equipment.

Once I had unpacked the Vitamix, it was time to put it to work in our kitchen.  First up was one of my son’s favorite beverages, our homemade take on the Orange Julius.  We’ve been making this recipe for years in our standard blender.  Unfortunately, we have never been able to achieve that frothy, smooth texture that we hoped for using our blender.  No matter how long we blended the ingredients, it just didn’t become a homogeneous mixture.VitamixOrangeSq

So, we gathered the ingredients, placed them in the Vitamix container, and selected the smoothie setting.  We turned on the power and watched as the ingredients were effortlessly transformed into that frothy, silky consistency that we had tried so hard to achieve in the past.  After pouring the mixture from the container, I added warm water and a touch of dish soap, returned the container to the base, and powered it on using the cleaning setting.  In moments, the unit was clean, needing only a quick rinse with fresh water to remove the soapy solution.

During that first week, we used the Vitamix Pro 750 to blend many other smoothies, soups, and liquids.  We made a recipe of our Smoky Chili Puree to flavor a batch of Black Bean Chili.  In seconds, the tomatoes and chilies in the container were pureed and smooth.  It was clear that liquids were no match for the VItamix.

Now that we had established the ability of the Vitamix to handle smoothies, sauces, and soups, it was time to move on to processing items that weren’t liquid based.  First up was a batch of pizza dough.  I would have never thought of making pizza dough in this machine before reading the extensive 350 page cookbook that was included in the package.  The Vitamix effortlessly transformed the ingredients into a smooth ball of pizza dough.

After pizza dough, I set out to make a family favorite using the Vitamix.  It was time to make a Gooey Butter Cake.  The Vitamix powered through the buttery crust without any trouble.  Next up was the gooey mixture of cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar.  I’ve made this recipe dozens of times, but both my stand mixer and food processor fail to create a completely smooth mixture.  No matter how long I allow the butter and cream cheese to come to room temperature, no matter how long I blend or process the ingredients, lumps are still present.

After placing the ingredients in the Vitamix container, I processed it on setting 3.  After the blade had stopped, I removed the lid to inspect the mixture.  It was completely velvety and smooth.  There wasn’t a single lump in sight.  The Vitamix had done what my blender, stand mixer, and food processor had failed to do.  It was official:  I was now a member of the contingent of cooks who believe that the Vitamix can handle anything.  This machine had passed the1840 Farmhouse test with flying colors.

I am very grateful that JL Hufford allowed me to put the Vitamix Pro 750 to the test.  It passed every challenge I gave it and earned my resounding seal of approval.  I’m even more grateful that they’re offering a special 10% savings on this amazing machine to the members of our 1840 Farm Community!  This is a limited time offer, so don’t delay.  If you’ve been dreaming of adding a Vitamix to your kitchen’s arsenal or giving one as a gift, this is an amazing opportunity to save.

Visit JL Hufford and enter the coupon code “skyhigh10” to save 10% on your purchase of the Vitamix Pro 750 until 12/14/14.  I hope that you’ll take advantage of this amazing savings and then you’ll share with me what delicious dishes you’re making using your new Vitamix.  Until then, here are the recipes that we tested with our Vitamix.  Enjoy!

OrangeGeniusSqSmokyChiliSq

PizzaDoughSqGooeyButterSq

 

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/12/vitamixpro750/

Book Review: The Nourished Kitchen

The Nourished Kitchen by Jennifer McGrutherI first became aware of The Nourished Kitchen and its author Jennifer McGruther through their blog.  As a student in the Intermediate Herbal Course offered by The Herbal Academy of New England, I was searching for a few new recipes to try.  One of the first I discovered was a recipe for Golden Milk that included turmeric and ginger.  I couldn’t wait to give it a try, but somehow the recipe ended up in a deep pile of recipes I was hoping to get to.

I had almost forgotten about  the recipe when a beautiful cookbook and a bag of organic turmeric arrived on our front porch on the same day.  Suddenly, making golden milk rocketed right to the top of my  recipe to do list. I’m so glad that it did.  I have been enjoying Golden Milk with Turmeric, Ginger, and Ghee on chilly mornings and afternoons this fall.  With each sip, I am surprised by the amount of flavor that these humble ingredients create when used together.

While the recipe for golden milk does not appear in The Nourished Kitchen’s cookbook, there are over 160 detailed recipes.  The photos are stunning from the front cover all the way through to the glossary.  In addition to the innovative recipes and beautiful photographs, I was taken with Jennifer McGruther’s food philosophy.  She refers to it as the “traditional foods movement” and makes the case for reducing the amount of processed food in our diet while choosing whole foods in the form of pasture raised meats, dairy, grains, and fermented foods.

The Nourished Kitchen includes recipes for each season of the year and a variety of sources from the garden to the wild, pasture, orchard, and larder.  There are dozens of recipes that I can’t wait to try.  From the Eggs Poached in Fiery Tomato Sauce, to Pan Seared Halibut with Melted Cherry Tomatoes and Tarragon.  I have the recipe for Cucumber Salad with Dill and Kefir bookmarked for next summer when our heirloom cucumber harvest is at its peak.

The cookbook also includes extensive instructions for making sourdough breads using a homemade starter.  The chapter entitled “From the Wild” includes proteins prized by hunters along with greens and mushrooms sought after by foragers. Produce fresh from the orchard serves as the inspiration for a collection of pies, stewed fruits, custards, and ice creams.

The chapter on the larder could keep me busy all year long.  I can’t decide which of the fermented recipes to attempt first.  I’m taken with the recipes for pickles, sauerkraut, water kefir, and ginger beer.  I’m willing to bet that I won’t be able to go wrong with any of them.  Don’t worry, I’ll share my progress with you right here on our blog and on Facebook and Instagram!

 


The product reviewed in this post was sent to me free of charge by the Blogging for Books Program in order to allow me to evaluate its use here at 1840 Farm. The book that I reviewed was sent to me at no expense in order to allow me to evaluate it. The framework of our review process does not guarantee a positive review in exchange for the product provided. Our product reviews contain both facts about the product and my personal opinion of its performance while it was used at 1840 Farm.

Product reviews include my honest opinions about the product(s) reviewed. Products that do not meet our standards of daily use on our farm will not be reviewed. It is our goal to provide you with our personal experience using a product in a positive and informative manner so that you can determine its usefulness in your life. It is not our goal to negatively review a product that while not an ideal fit for our farm, might perform very well on yours.

For more information, please view our Disclosure Statement and Privacy Policy.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/11/book-review-the-nourished-kitchen/

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