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Celebrate Pi Day with our Favorite Pie Recipes

PiDayRecipesCollageEach year, we celebrate Pi Day on March 14th by enjoying a homemade pie together here at 1840 Farm.  The day is publicized in the hope of inviting us to all learn more about the mathematical significance of Pi and the importance of math in our daily lives.  I’m happy to extol the virtues of math, especially if I can do so by spending time in the farmhouse kitchen making my favorite dish for our family table.

More than celebrating pi’s mathematical importance, I like to celebrate the power of pie to bring our family together.  When we gather in our farmhouse kitchen to bake or enjoy a warm slice of pie, it’s impossible to ignore the power of food to bring people together.  Indeed, you really can feed the soul with a homemade slice of pie.

I have a deep rooted love for pie.  I love to make it, I love to serve it, and I especially love to eat it.  Every bite reminds me of sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen as a little girl.  She was an accomplished pie baker and I was always greeted with not one, but two or three homemade pies when we visited her.

Those pie memories are certainly responsible for my unabashed love for pie.  Since today is Pi Day, it’s the perfect day to share a few of my favorite pie recipes and posts with you.  I hope that you’ll use these recipes to make a pie for someone you love. 

Throughout the year, we enjoy pies of every sort.  Our annual Kentucky Derby Day celebration would seem incomplete without a homemade Bourbon Peach Pie.  Summer is marked by raspberry season and always includes the promise of a Double Crusted Raspberry Pie.  When fall’s apple season arrives at our local farmer’s market, I find myself dreaming of a slice of Brandied Apple Pie topped with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

Our Thanksgiving celebration always includes Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie that we make nut free here in our nut free farmhouse.  If you don’t bake around nut allergies, you can substitute pecans with delicious results. 

When we’re craving something chocolatey, Chocolate Cream Pie always delivers.  It’s the perfect pie for making ahead of time and using up our supply of fresh eggs.  If you’re hesitant to make a traditional pie crust, this recipe is for you.  The graham cracker crust is a simple way to make a delicious pie without any need for a rolling pin.

I also love to make savory pies.  One of my favorites is our Heirloom Tomato Pie that we make when our beloved heirloom tomatoes are fresh and in season.  The crust is flaky and every bite is filled with the intense earthy flavor of the heirloom tomatoes we love.

If you prefer cake to pie, then Boston Cream Pie will be just what the doctor ordered.  This cake has a fascinating story behind the reason for being called a pie in spite of the fact that it is clearly a cake.  No matter what you call it, a slice of it is delicious.

I hope that you will join in the celebration and add one of these pie recipes to your plans in the coming days.  I’ve included a few pie crust making tips for good measure.  I receive so many messages from readers who are intimidated by the thought of making a homemade pie crust.  Using these tips, you will make a deliciously flaky pie crust that will delight your friends and family, I promise!

Happy Pi Day!

 

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Our Favorite Holiday Recipes from The 1840 Farmhouse Kitchen

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Each holiday season, we turn to our favorite family recipes.  It simply wouldn’t feel like the holidays without them.  From the sweet chocolate crinkle cookies that remind me of my childhood to the savory tomato and onion jams that we will enjoy with our appetizers on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, these recipes will be an integral part of our family’s celebration this year.

Whether you’re looking for something sweet or something savory, I hope that your friends and family will enjoy these dishes just as much as we do.  Simply click on a photo from our recipe gallery below and you’ll be taken to the original post and recipe.

We’ll be in the farmhouse kitchen cooking and baking today, making our way through this list of recipes while the snowflakes pile up outside.  The farmhouse will smell so inviting and the farmhouse kitchen tree will help set a festive mood, decorated with a few antique kitchen tools handed down by great grandmothers on both sides of our family.  It will be my favorite kind of day: one spent in the kitchen with my family baking for my family and making fresh memories to last for years to come.

I hope that you have a wonderfully warm holiday spent with friends and family and filled to the brim with delicious dishes to celebrate the season.  It won’t be long until we embark on the journey of the New Year, turning our calendars to 2017 and dreaming of all the opportunities and adventures that await us.

Happy Holidays to you and yours from all of us here at 1840 Farm!

 

Something Sweet

Something Savory

 

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The WonderMix Kitchen Mixer GIVEAWAY and My Multigrain Brioche Bread Recipe

WonderMix Kitchen MixerWhen I was offered the opportunity to try out the new WonderMix Kitchen Mixer in our farmhouse kitchen, I was thrilled. I have been using the company’s WonderMill Electric Grain Mill for several years now.  No matter how many times I use it, I am always astounded at how simple it is to use and how quickly it transforms the organic wheat berries I purchase through my local food co-op into beautiful, freshly milled flour. I couldn’t wait to see their new WonderMix stand mixer and put it through its paces in our farmhouse kitchen.

When the WonderMix arrived, I was taken with its unique design. I loved its square base and covered mixing bowl, knowing that dry ingredients would remain inside the bowl when mixing rather than ending up on the countertop.   After carefully measuring my ingredients with my food scale for a recipe, it can be so frustrating to watch as dry ingredients are flung from a mixer’s bowl and deposited all over the countertop.

The mixing bowl is large, with a capacity of 5.5 quarts or 22 cups. I don’t have a single recipe in my arsenal that requires that much capacity, but I’m glad to know that I can easily mix a double batch of bread dough with room to spare. Not only does this mixer have a high-capacity mixing bowl, it has the motor strength to handle heavy doughs and mixtures. The WonderMix has an impressive 900 watt motor. To put that in perspective, my current stand mixer has a 325 watt motor. The WonderMix has the capacity and the power to handle even the most grueling tasks in my kitchen and yours. With its innovative dough hook and dough divider attachment combination, I knew right away that this was a bread baker’s dream machine.

The WonderMix offers two different sets of whisk type attachments available for the WonderMix. A whisk is often the ideal tool for a recipe, but whisking egg whites into a fluffy meringue is quite a different task than mixing a batch of buttercream or cookie dough. I often find with my other stand mixer that the dough paddle doesn’t adequately beat a batch of buttercream or cookie dough into the smooth, silky texture I desire while the whisk isn’t strong enough to handle the thicker mixture. Having two different pairs of whisk attachments means that I’ll always have one that is well suited for the task at hand.

The WonderMix boasts a wide assortment of other attachments and accessories. They offer a full function blender, slicer/shredder, and meat grinder attachments. If you are interested in working with grain, both a grain flaker and grain mill attachment are also available. This sturdy, powerful unit can do the work of a multitude of appliances. Its rectangular footprint also makes it much easier for me to easily store it in our kitchen.

The helpful owner’s manual that accompanied my WonderMix was filled with helpful instructions for using the machine along with more than 40 recipes. I turned immediately to the section of bread recipes and learned that this mixer promised to fully develop the gluten in a batch of bread dough in five minutes. I couldn’t wait to put that promise to the test.

I make several types of bread for our family. My favorite bread to bake and to eat is brioche. I enjoy brioche’s texture and rich flavor. IMultigrain Brioche loaves at 1840 Farm love to toast a slice of homemade brioche, knowing that the enriched dough will yield the lovely browned surface that I enjoy so much. My family enjoys it just as much as I do, so I make a batch of two loaves every week or so.

The prospect of making a traditional brioche can be daunting for the baker and taxing for the baker’s mixer. Traditional brioche is baked from dough enriched by fresh eggs and butter. Each addition must be perfectly timed before advancing to the next step. If these steps are rushed, the dough will break apart, forming several small clumps that will resist coming back together into one congruous ball of dough. Yet care must be taken not to over mix the dough as too much mixing can ruin the airy texture that makes brioche so wonderful.

Once the eggs have been successfully integrated into the dough, butter must be added in much the same way. It is added a bit at a time, allowing the butter to fully blend with the dough. This process can take thirty minutes or more. All of this kneading puts a heavy toll on a mixer. As the dough is kneaded, the mixer must be monitored to ensure that it does not overheat or, worse yet, burn out completely. Kneading this dough for such a long time is a herculean task for a typical residential kitchen mixer.

Over the years, I have worked to develop my own brioche recipe. It delivers the same delicious flavor and airy texture without requiring so much precision from the bread baker.

In the past few months, I attempted to adapt my recipe to incorporate some of our freshly milled whole wheat flour into the recipe. I didn’t have much luck. The loaves lacked the airy texture I love. No matter how I adjusted the recipe, the resulting loaves were too dense. It seemed that no matter how long I worked the dough using my mixer, I fell short of creating that lovely smooth characteristic that my Farmhouse Brioche always delivers.

I did finally determine that I could use my stand mixer to work the dough for several minutes and then knead the dough by hand for between 5 to 10 minutes in order to create a dough that was smooth and elastic enough to pass the windowpane test.

I had almost given up any hope of creating a multigrain brioche recipe that could be worked entirely by a mixer. Then the WonderMix arrived and I returned to the farmhouse kitchen, hopeful that this powerful machine would have the muscle I needed to fully develop the gluten and create a loaf that was exactly what I was looking for.

As the dough came together, I set my kitchen timer for five minutes. The WonderMix worked the dough without straining. When the timer sounded, I turned off the mixer and removed the dough. It was smooth and elastic, easily passing the windowpane test. The WonderMix had delivered on its promise to fully develop the gluten in five minutes.

I have made several batches of bread since then. Each batch has been just as beautiful and delicious. From now on, I will be using the WonderMix to make this multigrain brioche and all of our other homemade breads.

Now you can use this recipe to make your own loaves of multigrain brioche. You can also enter to win your very own WonderMix! One winner will be randomly selected on April 21, 2015. All subscribers to The 1840 Farm Community Newsletter and In Season Magazine will be automatically entered to win. You can earn additional entries through the widget below and increase your odds of winning this amazing mixer. Good luck to all who enter!

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1840 Farm Multigrain Brioche
Makes two loaves

12 ounces (1 ¾ cup) warm water
21 grams (1 Tablespoon) honey
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon Dough Enhancer (optional)
600 grams (5 cups) All-purpose flour
240 grams (2 cups) whole wheat flour
3 large eggs, room temperature
4 ounces (1 stick) butter, grated

If you are using a dough proofer, preheat the proofer following the manufacturer’s instructions as you prepare the dough.   Whisk the warm water and honey in the bowl of a large stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast over the top of the liquid. Allow the yeast to rest as you prepare the remaining ingredients.

In a medium bowl, combine the salt, dough enhancer (if using), and flour. Grate the butter and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth.

Add the eggs to the bowl with the warm water and honey. Whisk until combined. Mount the bowl on the mixer’s base and attach the dough hook and dough divider. Add the dry ingredients all in one addition before turning the mixer’s motor on low speed.

Mix for a few minutes, until the dough begins to take shape. The dough will appear to be slightly dry. With the motor running, begin adding the grated butter a bit at a time, allowing the butter to be incorporated into the dough before adding more. Continue this process until all of the butter has been added.

Stop the mixer and asses the dough. It should be shiny and moist, but not excessively sticky. The ball of dough should be smooth and elastic. If it is too sticky, simply start the mixer and gradually add up to ½ cup of All-purpose flour to the dough. Take care not to add too much flour as it will yield a finished loaf that is too dry. Increase the speed of the mixer slightly and work the dough until it passes the windowpane test, approximately five to ten minutes.

If you are unfamiliar with the windowpane test, the technique is quite simple but incredibly helpful when making a loaf of bread.  This windowpane test will help you to determine if your dough has been kneaded sufficiently to yield a wonderful finished loaf.  By using this technique, you will be certain that your homemade bread dough will produce a beautiful loaf of bread.

Conducting the windowpane test is simple.  After you have kneaded the dough to the point when you think that it has been worked sufficiently, take a small ball of dough and stretch it between your fingers until it is thin and translucent, allowing light to pass through it (much like a window).  If the dough stretches without breaking, it has been kneaded long enough to develop the gluten and is ready to prepare for its rise.  If the dough breaks, continue kneading until it passes the test.

Once your dough passes the windowpane test, transfer the dough to a large buttered bowl to rise in a dough proofer or a warm, draft free location.  Allow the dough to rise until it has nearly doubled in size. Using my dough proofer set at 82 degrees, this takes approximately 45 to 60 minutes.

Once the dough has nearly doubled in size, divide it into two equal sections. Form each section into a loaf and place in a buttered or oiled loaf pan. Be sure to oil the top rim of the loaf pan as this dough has a tendency to rise well above the top of the pan. Oiling the top rim of the pan will make releasing the baked loaf from the pan much easier.

Transfer the two loaves back to the proofing chamber or warm, draft free location for rising. Allow the loaves to rise until they have reached a height of more than one inch above the top edge of the loaf pans.  Using my dough proofer, this takes about one 60 – 90 minutes.

As the dough nears the end of its rise, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  If you have a pizza stone, this is a great time to put it to use.  I like to use stones when baking bread in order to deliver even heat to the bottom of the loaf as it bakes.  I find that my loaves bake more evenly when I have the stones in the oven during preheating and baking.

Once the loaves have risen sufficiently and the oven has reached the proper temperature, transfer the loaves to the oven.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, turning near the halfway mark to ensure even browning.  When the loaves are fully baked, they will be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.  Remove the baked loaves from their pans to a wire rack. Allow them to cool completely before slicing or storing.

 Don’t miss my post about the best way to store fresh bread to learn how you should be storing your fresh loaf of bread.  You can also learn more about My Favorite Bread Baking Tools and Ingredients and share your own with me.

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Hibiscus Lavender Iced Tea

Hibiscus Lavender Iced Tea Banner

After a long day of working in the garden, an icy cold beverage is always a welcome sight.  Iced coffee, lemonade, and iced tea are in a regular rotation on the front porch and back patio here at the farm during the warm months.  This summer, we’ve been featuring lavender hibiscus iced tea when we want something cold and refreshing.  It’s as beautiful as it is delicious and perfect for beating the summer heat.

As a bonus, this iced tea is simple to make once you have the tea concentrate and lavender simple syrup on hand in the refrigerator.  I like to make the concentrate on the strong side to prevent the drink from becoming waterlogged as the ice melts on a hot summer’s day.  I also love to add our favorite lemonade to the iced tea.  Together, the herbal tea, lavender, and lemon combine to create an absolutely delicious drink full of flavor. 

I cold brew our tea concentrate.  It’s such a simple process and saves me the step of heating up water, timing the brewing of the tea, and cooling down the tea before using.  Instead, I simply fill a large Mason jar with two cups of cold water, add the tea bags, place a lid on the jar, and store the jar overnight (or longer) in the refrigerator.  The resulting tea concentrate is just as colorful and full of flavor. We love the flavor of Tazo Passion herbal tea with its hibiscus, passion fruit, and orange undertones, but any tea that would benefit from a touch of sweetness and the floral notes of the lavender syrup would be delicious in this iced tea drink. 

Have a little fun, adjusting the components for your perfect iced tea drink.  Try out a few different teas, up the amount of tea concentrate or lavender syrup to create a drink that is exactly what you want to be reaching for on a hot day.  Most importantly, enjoy every single sip.  Like summer, it won’t last forever so we might as well enjoy it while it lasts!


A few of the ingredients and tools we use when making this recipe:


Hibiscus Lavender Iced Tea
The tea concentrate can be kept for several days in the refrigerator. With the tea concentrate and lavender syrup at the ready in the refrigerator, you’ll be able to make this delicious drink any time you need an icy glass of refreshment. You can adjust the components based on your taste preference, adding more tea, syrup, or lemonade to create your perfect summer drink.
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For the tea concentrate
  1. 2 cups water
  2. 5 Tazo Passion tea bags
For the lavender simple syrup
  1. 1 cup water
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 2 sprigs fresh lavender (including buds) or 1 Tablespoon dried lavender
For each drink
  1. ice
  2. 1-2 Tablespoons lavender simple syrup
  3. ½ cup iced tea concentrate
  4. 1 cup Lemonade
To make the tea concentrate
  1. You can make the tea concentrate using either heat or time. The warm brew will be a little more flavorful while the cold brew has a milder flavor but requires 8-12 hours of resting time. Both are delicious.
  2. To warm brew the tea, bring 2 cups of water up to just below the boiling point (around 212 degrees Fahrenheit). Add the tea bags and allow them to steep in the warm water for five minutes. Remove the tea bags and allow the tea concentrate to cool to room temperature before using or storing in the refrigerator.
  3. To cold brew the tea, place 2 cups of cold water in a container with a lid. Add the tea bags, cover, and place in the refrigerator overnight or at least 8 hours. Remove the tea bags. The cold brew tea concentrate can be used immediately or stored in the refrigerator for several days.
To make the lavender simple syrup
  1. Place the water and sugar in a small saucepan. Place over low heat and stir the sugar and water to help prevent the sugar from settling on the bottom of the pan and burning. Warm the pan, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid is clear.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the lavender, stirring lightly to help infuse the syrup with the oil released from the lavender. Allow the liquid to cool to room temperature. Remove the lavender before transferring the syrup to a container with a tight fitting lid. The syrup can be kept in the refrigerator for several weeks.
To assemble the iced tea
  1. Add a cup of ice to a large glass. Add the 2 Tablespoons lavender syrup, ½ cup tea concentrate, and 1 cup lemonade to the glass. Stir and enjoy!
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Lavender Simple Syrup

Lavender Simple Syrup BannerI first met lavender simple syrup in a cocktail at Moxy many years ago. It was such a delicious addition to my martini. It added a subtle flavor and aroma that was surprising and delightful. Long before I finished my drink I had decided that figuring out how to make my own lavender syrup had to be added to my to do list.

Luckily, making lavender simple syrup is, well, simple. It comes together in minutes and tastes delicious made with summer’s bounty of fresh lavender or with dried lavender during the cooler months of the year. I snip stems of lavender from our herb garden to hold over the fall, winter, and spring to make sure that we can still create batches of this delicious syrup to enjoy all year long.

Lavender simple syrup tastes delicious as a sweetener in cocktails, iced tea, and other cold beverages. I love to use it to sweeten my hibiscus lavender iced tea on a hot summer’s day. We also flavor glasses of lemonade with a Tablespoon of lavender syrup for a nice change of pace.

I continue to discover new ways to use this syrup with delicious results. Just the other day, I used a bit to sweeten fresh berries before spooning them over a slice of homemade pound cake. With every bite, I was reminded of how glad I am to have discovered this delicious lavender syrup years ago.

 

Lavender Simple Syrup
This recipe is so simple to make and only contains three ingredients. You can adjust the amount of lavender in your syrup to suit your taste. I find that adding the lavender off the heat creates the best syrup. Remove the spent lavender from the cool syrup before storing it. Doing so will extend its shelf life.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup water
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 2 sprigs of fresh lavender including buds or 1 Tablespoon dried lavender
Instructions
  1. Place the water and sugar in a small saucepan. Place over low heat and stir the sugar and water to help prevent the sugar from settling on the bottom of the pan and burning. Warm the pan, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid is clear.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the lavender, stirring lightly to help infuse the syrup with the oil released from the lavender. Allow the liquid to cool to room temperature. Remove the lavender before transferring the syrup to a container with a tight fitting lid. The syrup can be kept in the refrigerator for several weeks.
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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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Farmhouse Coleslaw

Farmhouse Coleslaw BannerI love cabbage.  I like it raw.  I like it cooked, especially in the traditional German dishes my grandmother made when I was a child.  Hand me a soft Bierock filled with seasoned ground beef and sautéed cabbage and prepare for me to get misty at the thought of the version she made when I was young.

Ironically, I don’t like most preparations of coleslaw.  As much as I love cabbage, I just don’t usually enjoy the dressing portion of a traditional slaw as much as I would like.  Fortunately, preparing a homemade version is simple and the ingredients can easily be tailored to your family’s taste.

When I decided to create my own version at home, I filled it with my favorite fresh flavors.  Since then, this slaw has become a family favorite here at the farmhouse.  It’s delicious served with burgers, sandwiches, or grilled sausages.  It also makes a great topping for tacos.

I love to include apples in this slaw.  They add such a delicious sweetness to pair with the earthy cabbage.  Their crisp flesh is also a nice texture to include in the mix.  To keep the apples from browning, I used to sprinkle a little apple cider vinegar on them before adding them to the slaw.  Then I had the wild idea to use a bit of the pickle brine I always have on hand in the refrigerator from our batches of Spicy Ginger and Garlic Quick Pickles.  The brine works just as well to prevent browning and also adds a lovely flavor to the slaw.  You can use any acidic brine you might have lingering in the fridge or simple add a bit of lemon juice or vinegar to the apples with equally good results.

This slaw is a great side dish during the warm summer months.  While the main course is cooking on the grill, I make a batch of this slaw and dinner is ready without heating up the farmhouse.  The next night, any leftovers can be served after a gentle toss to redistribute the components.  The colors of the two colors of cabbage and apples are so beautiful on the plate and the crisp texture and flavors are sure to be a hit at your dinner table.

Farmhouse Coleslaw
I love to include apples in this slaw. They add such a delicious sweetness to pair with the earthy cabbage. Their crisp flesh is also a nice texture to include in the mix. To keep the apples from browning, I used to sprinkle a little apple cider vinegar on them before adding them to the slaw. Then I had the wild idea to use a bit of the pickle brine I always have on hand in the refrigerator from our batches of Spicy Ginger and Garlic Quick Pickles. The brine works just as well to prevent browning and also adds a lovely flavor to the slaw. You can use any acidic brine you might have lingering in the fridge or simple add a bit of lemon juice or vinegar to the apples with equally good results. I like to cut the apples into matchstick sized pieces and use a vegetable peeler to create thin ribbons of carrot. You can cut the fruit and vegetables into any size and shape of bite sized pieces based on your preference. I use Head Country spice seasoning blends in my slaw. I have also used other grill blends and even taco seasoning blend when it was all that I had on hand. Your favorite blend of grilling or seasoning spices will be delicious. Add more seasoning if needed and a pinch of cayenne pepper if you’d like a little extra spice.
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Ingredients
  1. ¼ cup mayonnaise
  2. 1 Tablespoon seasoning blend
  3. 1 green apple
  4. 1 red apple
  5. ½ cup pickle brine
  6. 2 large carrots
  7. 6 radishes
  8. ½ head green cabbage
  9. ½ head purple cabbage
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise and 1 Tablespoon of your favorite seasoning blend.
  2. Slice the apples into ½ thick slices. Cut each slice into matchstick shaped pieces, omitting the core. Add the apple pieces and pickle brine to a small bowl and toss gently to coat. Allow the apples to remain in the brine as you prepare the other ingredients.
  3. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the carrots. Use the peeler to cut ribbons from the peeled carrots. Add the carrots to the large bowl with the seasoned mayonnaise. Thinly slice the radishes and add them to the bowl.
  4. Prepare the cabbage by cutting each head into quarters. Remove the core of the cabbage before slicing each quarter into thin slices. You can also grate the cabbage if you prefer. Add all of the cabbage to the large bowl. Using a slotted spoon, remove the apple pieces from their brine and add to the large bowl. Reserve the brine.
  5. Toss the slaw gently to coat with the seasoned mayonnaise. Taste for seasoning. Add more seasoning if desired and a bit of the brine if needed to thin the mayonnaise and coat the components. Serve cold and sprinkle with the seasoning mix before serving if desired.
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Brown Sugar Dry Spice Rub

Brown Sugar Dry Spice Rub BannerThe warm weather months are in short supply here in New England.  We try to make the most of them, packing as many outdoor projects and activities as we can into the months of the year when our landscape isn’t covered in a thick blanket of snow.

Between gardening, tending to our animals, working on projects, and trying to find time to just enjoy the sunny days, time often runs short.  It’s not uncommon for us to come inside from a long day of work to then ask the important question:  “What’s for dinner?”

When prep time is short and the temperature is warm, dinner is often cooked on the grill.  On a night when we don’t want to warm up the farmhouse by cooking in the kitchen, the backyard’s grill is a much more appealing option.

Dry rubs are a great way to add flavor to whatever you’re cooking on the grill.  They don’t require hours of resting time like liquid marinades do in order to impart their flavor to the meat.  If you have the luxury of time, dry rubs can be allowed to flavor the meat for a few hours before cooking.  I find that they deliver great flavor even when applied minutes before grilling.

I keep a Mason jar of this spice rub on hand in the pantry so that we can season cuts of chicken, pork, or beef and have them on the grill in minutes.  It’s a delicious blend that appeals to everyone in our family.  The brown sugar caramelizes over the heat and the cornstarch creates a light crust which helps to prevent moisture from escaping from the meat as it cooks.

The result is a delicious dinner that comes together quickly and cooks beautifully on the grill.  During the warm summer months, this spice rub becomes part of our dinner plans at least once a week.  It’s the taste of our summer.  I hope that you’ll make it a part of yours!

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Brown Sugar Dry Spice Rub
I mix up a double batch of this spice mix and keep it in a Mason jar so that it is at the ready all summer long. The spices can be adjusted based on your taste preference. When we want something spicy, I often add a bit of cayenne pepper to the mix. I haven’t found anything that isn’t more delicious with this spice rub sprinkled liberally on it!
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Ingredients
  1. ¼ cup brown sugar
  2. 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  3. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  4. 1 teaspoon salt
  5. 1 teaspoon black pepper
  6. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  7. 1 teaspoon chili powder
  8. 1 teaspoon thyme
Instructions
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a container with a tight fitting lid. Fasten the lid on the container and shake to mix. This spice mix can be kept in a lidded container in the pantry indefinitely.
  2. Before grilling, sprinkle this spice mix liberally over chicken, pork, or beef. Grill as usual and enjoy!
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Raspberry Rhubarb Curd

Raspberry Rhubarb Curd SquareA few weeks ago, I shared my recipe for Creamy Lemon Curd.  It’s a staple here during the spring when we’re all craving the light, crisp flavor of fresh fruit months before our New England gardens will have anything ready to harvest. 

This is also the time of year that we begin evaluating what we have on hand from last year’s harvest.  It’s time to start using the last of the pantry and freezer’s stores of raspberries, rhubarb, and heirloom tomatoes.  Last year’s banner crops of raspberries and rhubarb gave us plenty to enjoy over the winter with enough to carry us right into this year’s harvest.

So, when I made fresh pound cake a few weeks ago, I wondered if I could create a raspberry rhubarb curd to serve with it.  I knew that I could make a delicious raspberry rhubarb simple syrup because we use one all summer long to flavor lemonade and cocktails.  I also knew that I had some of that very syrup in the refrigerator, saving me a step.

In a few minutes, I had a pot of that syrup bubbling along, thickening into a gorgeous smooth curd.  It was sweet with just the right hint of tartness.  It was a beautiful orchid purple color.

Since making this curd, it has become even more popular here at the farmhouse than our Creamy Lemon Curd.  We love to spoon it over slices of Old Fashioned Pound Cake, Daffodil Cake, or on our homemade Lemon Drop Cookies.  It’s as beautiful as it is delicious.  I hope that your family will enjoy it as much as we do!

Raspberry Rhubarb Curd
I keep a jar of fresh raspberry rhubarb syrup on hand in the refrigerator during the spring and summer. We use that beautiful syrup to flavor lemonades and cocktails. When I have plenty of the syrup on hand, I simply use 1 cup of that syrup to make this curd. If not, I make a fresh batch of syrup, using 1 cup to make curd and keeping the rest on hand in the refrigerator.
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For the Raspberry Rhubarb Syrup
  1. 10 ounces raspberries, fresh or frozen
  2. 6 ounces sliced rhubarb stalks, fresh or frozen
  3. 1 cup water
  4. 1 cup granulated sugar
  5. 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
For the Curd
  1. 1 cup raspberry rhubarb syrup
  2. 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  3. 4 large eggs
  4. pinch of salt
  5. 2 sticks (16 Tablespoons) butter
For the Raspberry Rhubarb Syrup
  1. Place all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan placed over medium heat. Stir gently to combine the ingredients. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  2. Once the mixture comes to a simmer, reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for five minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve or a colander lined with cheesecloth to remove the fruit and seeds. Press the fruit to release all of the liquid.
  4. Transfer the strained syrup to a container with a tight fitting lid. I like to store my homemade syrups in glass bottles with a pour spout for easy dispensing. Refrigerate until ready to use.
For the Curd
  1. Cut the butter into Tablespoon sized pieces, reserving 2 Tablespoons to be added to the curd after it is finished cooking.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the raspberry rhubarb syrup, lemon juice, eggs, and salt. Whisk gently to combine Place a medium saucepan over low heat. Add 14 Tablespoons of the butter to the pan. Once the butter melts, add the raspberry rhubarb syrup mixture and whisk to combine. Increase the heat slightly and whisk constantly until the mixture thickens. A perfectly thickened curd will be what the French would call “Nappe”.
  3. Nappe is a fancy term for the consistency a sauce reaches when it is thick enough to coat a dish without being too thick. Checking to see if a curd or custard is nappe is simple. Immerse a clean spoon into the mixture; remove the spoon, turning it so that the back of the spoon is facing you. Run a finger down the length of the spoon from the handle to the tip. If a clean path is created and the curd remains on both sides of the spoon, you have achieved nappe. If not, simply continue to cook the sauce while whisking until it thickens properly.
  4. Once the curd reaches nappe consistency, remove the pan from the heat. I like to strain my curd to into a large bowl to ensure that there are no lumps or bits of scrambled egg in the finished curd, but this step can be skipped. Add the remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter, whisking to incorporate the butter into the curd as it melts.
  5. Transfer the finished curd to a large bowl or Mason jar with a tight fitting lid. Curd can be kept in the refrigerator for one week.
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Memorial Day 2017

Memorial Day Favorites Branded

Memorial Day is the official kickoff to summer and we feel like celebrating!  We’ll be marking the holiday weekend with a few of our favorite seasonal recipes, time spent outside working in the gardens, and by doing a little something special in The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.

We’re making our Memorial Day dinner on the grill with dry aged beef or Asian pork burgers for everyone.  Those grilled burgers will be topped with each person’s favorite toppings including our homemade Spicy Ginger & Garlic Quick Pickles , Classic Sauerkraut, Kimchi, and Smoky Tomato Jam.  We’ll be serving up Farmhouse Style Onion Rings and Grilled Romaine Salad on the side topped with a lemony garlic homemade dressing.

I just made a fresh batch of our Raspberry Rhubarb Syrup using fruit from last year’s berry patch.  We’ll use that beautiful, tangy red syrup to dress up lemonade or make a warm weather favorite, the Franklin Cooler cocktail. Last year’s raspberries are pulling double duty this year.  They’ll also make the filling for dessert in a homemade Raspberry Pie

Monday morning will start off with a Strawberry Puff Pancake using the bounty of fresh eggs our hens are providing.  I can’t wait until we have fresh strawberries in our own garden to enjoy spooned over this delicious breakfast treat.  The plants are loaded with flowers, so I have my fingers crossed that we’ll have a bumper crop of red berries this year.

Happy Memorial Day from all of us here at 1840 Farm.  For those of you who have served in the military or are on active duty, please accept my heartfelt thanks for your service to our country.  To the families and friends who support those who serve, thank you for the sacrifices you make to support the bravest Americans among us.  As the flag waves on our farmer’s porch, I am forever reminded that we owe a debt of gratitude to all who serve that can never be repaid.

I hope that you have a holiday weekend spent with friends and family filled to the brim with laughter, delicious food and drink, and memories in the making.  We’ll try to do the same!


We’re celebrating the holiday weekend by doing a little something special in The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.

First, we’re marking the occasion of the one year anniversary of adding ducks to our farm by offering coupon code “QUACK” so that you can save $5.00 off any purchase (yes, that even includes custom orders)!  Second, we’re adding in a free handmade 4″ coaster sized trivet to every order we send out.  And last but not least, we’re making a donation to Red Nose Day along with our friends from Good Dirt and Gingham Creative.  Red Nose Day is an annual event to raise awareness and funds to help end childhood poverty around the world.  Together, we can help make a difference in the lives of children all over the world.

Here’s a peek at what’s available in our shop:

Shop SS 052717

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Egg Drop Soup

Egg Drop Soup SquareIt’s egg season here, so I am forever looking for ways both new and old to use our seemingly unending supply of fresh eggs.  This weekend, it was unseasonably chilly and rainy outside.  We broke out our winter clothes and turned on the pellet stove to keep cozy.  Even with the fire burning, we were still looking for ways to warm up. 

With dinnertime looming, soup seemed like a great idea.  Yet, I didn’t have the luxury of a day’s time to simmer soup on the stove for hours in order to create a soup with the deep and delicious flavor I wanted.  I also hadn’t planned on making soup when I made my weekly trip to the grocery store, so I was limited to the ingredients I had on hand in the refrigerator and pantry.

After a quick survey of our options, it was clear that egg drop soup was the winner.  I had all of the ingredients on hand and I knew that I could create a delicious soup with complex flavors that would bring comfort with every spoonful.  Best of all, I could use a few of those fresh eggs resting on the counter in our egg basket!

 

Egg Drop Soup
I make this soup using our homemade bone broth. If you don’t have bone broth on hand, a high quality stock or broth may be substituted.
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Ingredients
  1. 6 cups chicken bone broth or stock
  2. ½ teaspoon fresh ginger root, grated
  3. 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  4. 4 Tablespoons cornstarch
  5. ¼ cup chicken bone broth or stock
  6. ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  7. salt to taste
  8. 3 large eggs, beaten
  9. 2 Tablespoons chives or green onion, sliced finely
  10. sriracha and soy sauce for serving
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, combine the broth, ginger, and soy sauce. Bring to a gentle simmer. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and ¼ cup broth, stirring until smooth. Add the cornstarch mixture to the simmering broth, stirring or whisking to combine. After a few minutes of simmering, the broth will take on a velvety texture, thickening slightly.
  2. In a small bowl, beat the three eggs until light and frothy. Using a spoon or ladle, stir the broth to create movement in the pan. As the broth is moving, drizzle the beaten egg into the broth. The egg will immediately begin to cook and form delicate ribbons in the broth. Continue until all of the egg has been added. Remove the pan from the heat.
  3. Add the chives or green onion to the soup and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and white pepper to your liking. Ladle into serving bowls and garnish with a drizzle of soy sauce and sriracha if desired. Enjoy!
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Farmhouse Style Onion Rings

Farmhouse Style Onion Rings at 1840 FarmOnion rings seem like such a simple thing, yet so many onion rings are pedestrian at best.  A great onion ring perfectly combines the earthy flavor of the onion with a seasoned coating, the soft texture of the cooked onion with the crunchy breading.  I find that very few onion rings live up to that promise.  Luckily, the perfect onion ring can easily be created at home in your own kitchen.

With humble ingredients and a deep pot or deep fryer, you can create the most delicious onion rings I have ever tasted. You can adjust the seasoning to your liking, use beer to replace the sparkling water if you prefer, and make the crisp and delicious onion ring of your dreams. 

No matter how many times I make these onion rings, the family just can’t seem to get enough of them.  Burger night seems to be requested even more frequently than before in the hopes that I’ll make a batch of these onion rings to serve alongside.  Once you’ve made a batch of these golden, crunchy onion rings, you’ll wonder how you could possibly have burger night without them!

 

Farmhouse Style Onion Rings
I find that large, slightly flattened yellow onions produce the best size onion rings for frying. Any onion will do, but choosing a large onion will allow you to create enough onion rings for a crowd without having to batter and fry as many individual rings as a smaller onion will produce. The sparkling water can be replaced with an equal measurement of your favorite beer to create beer battered onion rings.
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For the Onions
  1. 2 extra-large yellow onions (weighing about a pound each)
  2. 1 cup All-purpose flour
For the Batter
  1. 2 cups All-purpose flour
  2. 1 cup cornstarch
  3. 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  4. 2 teaspoons onion powder
  5. 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  6. 4 teaspoons salt
  7. 2 teaspoons sugar
  8. 1 cup buttermilk
  9. 2 cups sparkling water
  10. 1 large egg
For Frying and Finishing
  1. 4-6 cups frying oil (or more as needed for your chosen frying vessel)
  2. salt to season the hot onion rings
Instructions
  1. Slice the onions crosswise into ½ to ¾ inch thick slices. Separate each slice into individual rings. Place the rings in a large bowl before sprinkling with 1 cup of flour. Gently toss the rings to coat with the flour without breaking. Allow the rings to rest in the flour for at least 30 minutes. This process will help to dry the exterior surface of the onion and allow the batter to adhere firmly to the onion.
  2. When you are ready to prepare the onion rings, preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Set cooling rack over a baking sheet. This will provide a perfect resting place for the onion rings as you fry successive batches. Line a small tray or baking pan with a clean tea towel. The small tray will provide you with a safe and efficient way to transfer the cooked onion rings to the oven and the towel will absorb any excess oil.
  3. Begin heating your frying oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Choose a deep pot that will allow for the oil to expand as the onions rings are fried. Take care to not overfill the pot with oil as it will expand as the rings are fried.
  4. As the oil and oven come up to temperature, mix the batter. In a large bowl, combine the 2 cups of flour, cornstarch, seasonings, buttermilk, sparkling water (or beer), and egg. Whisk until smooth. The batter should resemble a thin pancake batter.
  5. Add several rings to the batter, turning them to coat completely. Transfer the battered onion rings to the hot oil, taking care not to splash the oil out of the vessel and without overcrowding. Move the onion rings slightly to ensure that they do not stick to each other or the sides of the pan. Fry each batch for 3-4 minutes, turning at least once to ensure that they are an even golden brown.
  6. Remove the onion rings from the hot oil carefully to the towel lined pan. Sprinkle with salt and transfer to the wire rack in the warm oven. Repeat the process until all of the rings have been fried and seasoned. Serve hot.
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