Jennifer Burcke

Author's details

Name: Jennifer Burcke
Date registered: July 12, 2012


Jennifer Burcke is a writer and fifth generation New England farmer who lives with three generations of her family at 1840 Farm in New Hampshire. She shares their journey on her blog at

Latest posts

  1. Cast Iron Skillet Pork and Potato Hash — April 7, 2015
  2. Classic Sauerkraut — April 6, 2015
  3. Beer and Brown Sugar Braised Pork Roast — April 6, 2015
  4. Jewel Toned Easter Eggs — April 4, 2015
  5. The WonderMix Kitchen Mixer GIVEAWAY and My Multigrain Brioche Bread Recipe — April 4, 2015

Most commented posts

  1. 2014 Heirloom Seed Collection from 1840 Farm and Fresh Eggs Daily — 93 comments
  2. The Best Way to Store Fresh Bread — 47 comments
  3. 1840 Farm and The Fresh Eggs Daily Blog Tour — 39 comments
  4. A Backyard Rabbit Giveaway — 21 comments
  5. Rhubarb and Strawberry Brown Butter Crumble Cake — 21 comments

Author's posts listings

Cast Iron Skillet Pork and Potato Hash

Cast Iron Skillet Pork and Potato HashWhen we sit down at our farmhouse table to enjoy a meal featuring Beer and Brown Sugar Braised Pork, I can count on someone to ask if there will be enough pork to make Cast Iron Skillet Pork and Potato Hash for dinner the following evening. I have come to expect that question, so I always buy a cut of pork that is large enough to ensure that there will be plenty of pork to make this hash.

Leftovers often get a bad rap, but this preparation can change that with the first bite. This hash is a star main dish in its own right. It is delicious, comforting, and full of flavor. Leftovers never had it so good.

This is one of those recipes that welcomes interpretation and substitution. You can add other vegetables to the mix or substitute another cut of meat you have on hand. No matter the ingredients, the results are always delicious.






Cast Iron Skillet Pork and Potato Hash

This recipe makes use of one of my favorite pans: a cast iron skillet. I like to use my Lodge 12 inch cast iron skillet when preparing this hash. If your skillet is smaller, you can reduce the proportions to fit your pan. I love to use the reserved cooking liquid from the Beer and Brown Sugar Braised Pork Roast, but an equal amount of bone broth or a good quality stock can be used.

1 Tablespoon butter
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 ½ pounds potatoes, washed and cut into ½ inch cubes
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
12 ounces reserved cooking liquid from Beer and Brown Sugar Braised Pork or bone broth
8 ounces shredded pork
2 ounces heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
2 ounces smoked cheddar, grated

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add the butter to the hot pan and swirl to coat the bottom surface. Add the onion and cook until almost translucent, about five minutes. Add the garlic and cook one minute before adding the potatoes to the pan, stirring to combine.

Add the thyme and reserved cooking liquid or bone broth to the pan. Bring the liquid to a simmer. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 10 minutes undisturbed.

Remove the cover and stir the mixture. The potatoes should have begun to soften and absorbed some of the liquid. Add the heavy cream to the pan and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste. Press the mixture firmly into the pan and top with the grated cheddar. Transfer the skillet to the warm oven.

Cook the hash for ten minutes. Check the potatoes for doneness before turning on the broiler. Broil for two minutes to brown the top surface of the hash. Remove from the oven and serve hot.  We like to serve this hash with a side of Classic Sauerkraut.



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Classic Sauerkraut

Classic Sauerkraut at 1840 FarmI enjoy the tangy flavor of sauerkraut paired with many dishes and also served on its own. For years, we have been purchasing a local kraut. Each time we served it at our family table, I wondered if we could make a homemade version.

The process of fermentation seemed a bit daunting. The recipes all made the technique seem so simple that I doubted it would be so easy. A few weeks ago, I finally decided to take the plunge and try it for myself.

As I searched for a foolproof recipe and advice to ensure success, I discovered Kraut Source’s blog and innovative lid system. They were kind enough to lead me through the process of making our first batch of kraut step by step. They shared their recipe for classic sauerkraut which I adapted further to include only three ingredients: green cabbage, sea salt, and filtered water.

After a week’s time on the kitchen counter, the humble shredded cabbage my daughter and I had packed so tightly into the Mason jar had been transformed into a delicious, tangy sauerkraut. I was equally amazed at how simple it had been to make and how amazingly flavorful it was. It was so delicious that weKrautSource made a second batch, doubling the recipe to ensure that we never run out of this delicious, homemade classic sauerkraut.

With gardening season fast approaching, we’ll be planting a few heirloom cabbage varieties so that we can make our own kraut using cabbage fresh from our organic garden. We hope that you’ll join in and try your hand at fermenting a batch of sauerkraut using the classic recipe adapted from Kraut Source below.

Visit Kraut Source’s blog, Facebook page, and Instagram feed to learn more about the art of creating cultured and fermented foods in your kitchen. They fill my newsfeed with a steady stream of delicious recipes and helpful tips. I know that you’ll enjoy following them as much as I do!

Classic Sauerkraut
adapted from Kraut Source’s Classic Sauerkraut Recipe

Shredded Cabbage for Sauerkraut

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

1 1/2 pounds (675 g) green cabbage
1 Tablespoon (15 ml) sea salt
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 head of cabbage in cold water. Quarter the cabbage, removing the core before finely shredding each quarter. Place shredded cabbage in a large bowl. Add the sea salt, tossing to evenly distribute. Allow the cabbage and salt to rest for 10 minutes.

Massage the sea salt vigorously into the cabbage for about 5 to 10 minutes. Working the sea salt with the shredded cabbage will help to draw liquid out of the cabbage and begin the process of breaking down the fibrous nature of the cabbage.

Packing SauerkrautIf you have time, allow the massaged cabbage to rest in the bowl as the salt will draw out liquid. If you do not have time to wait, simply pack the cabbage into a quart-size, wide mouth Mason jar. Use a pounder or wooden spoon to really press down and pack the cabbage in . The top of the cabbage 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 kraut to ferment at room temperature for 5-7 days or several weeks to develop the desired flavor. After 5 days, begin tasting the kraut every few days to determine if the flavor is to your liking. When the taste is agreeable, transfer the kraut to the refrigerator. Any weight or cabbage core used to keep the kraut submerged can be removed at this point.

We find ourselves enjoying this homemade sauerkraut on top of nearly every sandwich or alongside most main courses.  We love to enjoy a side of it with our Beer and Brown Sugar Braised Pork Roast and Cast Iron Skillet Pork and Potato Hash.


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Beer and Brown Sugar Braised Pork Roast

Beer and Brown Sugar Braised Pork RoastIf you happened to stop by our farmhouse on a Sunday afternoon, you might find that a Beer and Brown Sugar Braised Pork Roast was in the oven. This recipe is a staple for our family. It is simple to prepare, delicious to eat, and provides our family with enough shredded pork to be featured in multiple meals throughout the week, making the work of menu planning that much easier.

As the pork is cooking in the oven, it infuses the entire farmhouse with the delightful aroma of caramelized brown sugar. By the time we are ready to sit down to dinner late Sunday afternoon, we’re all clamoring for a bite. It’s rather like Thanksgiving Day when the aroma of roasting turkey has tempted you all day long with the promise of the meal ahead. While this pork is easier to prepare than our Thanksgiving turkey, it is no less satisfying to serve at our family table.

This year, we’ll be enjoying this roast as the centerpiece of our Easter feast, served with homemade sauerkraut, herbed new potatoes, and berry pie for dessert. It will be a delicious meal and sure to be followed later in the week by a dinner of Cast Iron Skillet Pork and Potato Hash. Now you can enjoy these three recipes with your friends and family. They’re sure to love them as much as we do!


Beer and Brown Sugar Braised Pork Roast

I like to use local pasture raised pork in this recipe which is readily available in Beer and Brown Sugar Braised Pork Roast Ingredientsour community. We have prepared this recipe using several cuts of pork. Each of them turned out beautifully.

Because the pork is braised at a low temperature with liquid in a covered pot, the resulting pork is tender and moist no matter the cut. Unlike most preparations, this pork is nearly impossible to overcook. The low temperature and ample liquid both play in its favor.

Pork shoulder (also referred to as pork butt or Boston butt), pork roast, pork loin, and pork belly are all good choices. A pork shoulder or pork roast are my favorite. I find that they have the ideal ratio of meat to fat and yield delicious results.

4 to 5 pound boneless pork shoulder or roast
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
12 ounces beer

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven. In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Rub this mixture on all sides of the pork.

Heat a large Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add the butter and olive oil, swirling to coat the bottom of the pan

Add the pork to the pan and sear each side for approximately two minutes. The sugar will caramelize and add a beautiful brown color to the pork.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the beer to the pan, deglazing and scraping up any browned bits of sugar from the bottom of the pan. Bring the beer to a simmer before covering the pan and placing it in the warm oven.

Allow the pork to cook for two hours undisturbed. The overall cooking time will vary depending upon the size and type of the cut, but I find that 2 ½ hours is the average time needed to deliver perfectly cooked pork to our table.

After the two hours have elapsed, I begin checking the roast every half hour for doneness. The pork is finished when it will easily pull apart and reaches an internal temperature of around 160 degrees. At that point, I remove the pan from the oven and allow the pork to rest in the covered pan for at least an hour.

After the hour has elapsed, I shred the meat. I strain the cooking liquid, reserving it. I return the shredded pork to the pan and moisten it with a bit of the cooking liquid, holding it in the covered pan. It can be rewarmed over low heat if necessary before serving.

I use the reserved cooking liquid to make Cast Iron Skillet Pork and Potato Hash.   The braising liquid has a wonderful depth of flavor and can also be thickened into a pan gravy and served along with the pork or over mashed potatoes.  We like to serve this dish with a side of our homemade Classic Sauerkraut.


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Jewel Toned Easter Eggs

EggsEvery holiday has its own unique food traditions. Easter has many. Creating brightly colored eggs would be near the top of the list.

For a few years, we were unable to participate in this tradition due to a food allergy to eggs. Those egg free Easter celebrations were every bit as joyous and memorable. We made new egg free traditions.

Shortly after we had accepted that egg coloring would not be a part of our Easter celebration, we learned that the egg allergy had cleared. Chicks were ordered, a coop was built, and we entered the world of chicken keeping.

The following February, we collected our first fresh egg. A few weeks later, we had enough of them to make a batch of colored eggs. It wasn’t Easter, but we had plenty to celebrate, so we gathered in the farmhouse kitchen to make a batch of colored eggs together. Since then, we’ve been known to color a batch of eggs for reasons other than celebrating Easter. Why not? There’s no reason to relegate all the egg coloring fun to one holiday a year.

When we returned to coloring eggs for our family table, we decided to put our own spin on it, creating our own method for adding intense color to the shells. We have been making our own egg dye for a few years now. It is an easy process that yields incredibly colorful, beautiful eggs.Eggs

Our hens are all brown egg layers. We find that beginning the egg coloring process with brown shelled eggs results in a more deeply colored egg. Pastel colors are more difficult to achieve without a white eggshell. That’s fine with me. I love the look of these rich, jewel toned eggs on our Easter table.

Before we get started adding beautiful color to the shells of our freshly gathered eggs, they need to be cooked. I have tried every method and none of them work as well for me as steaming by following the steaming method from Fresh Eggs Daily. It is my preferred way to prepare hard-cooked eggs. It has never failed to produce beautifully cooked eggs that are easily removed from their shells.

Once our eggs have been steamed using this method, I like to cool in the ice bath for approximately ten minutes. After ten minutes, remove the eggs from the icy water and allow them to air dry on a clean kitchen towel. Once the eggs have dried, they can be dyed immediately or refrigerated overnight until you are ready to decorate them.

Spring2015_Post_FoodGather a collection of small bowls or coffee cups to hold the colored solution. In each cup or bowl, mix four to six ounces of warm water with a Tablespoon of vinegar and enough liquid or paste food coloring to achieve the desired color. More food coloring will create a deeper, darker colored egg. Make sure that you are using a cup or bowl that can hold your colored liquid along with an egg. A container that is too small will overflow when you add your egg and leave you with a very colorful mess to clean up.

Gently transfer an egg to each of the cups and allow them to rest fully submerged in the colored liquid. We usually set a kitchen timer and check the eggs in ten minute increments. When the eggs are colored to your liking, remove them to a paper towel and allow them to dry completely. Colored, dry eggs can be stored in the refrigerator for three days or until you are ready to use them.


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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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Pi Day 3.1415

When asked to declare my favorite food to prepare and enjoy with my family, I don’t have to ponder long.  The answer is simple:  pie.  I love to make pie almost as much as I love to eat a delicious, flaky pie crust filled to the brim with the best of what the season (or our panty and freezer) have to offer.

A homemade berry pie has the power to transport me to my paternal grandmother’s humble kitchen.  My grandmother was a wonderful cook and baker, but pie was her specialty.  Her schwatzenberry pie was my favorite.  It would not be overstating its power to say that those berry pies forever changed my life.

My grandmother’s homemade berry pie taught me that food had the ability to feed my soul. I now know that it also holds the incredible power of transcending time and space, bringing back memories of a grandmother long gone, but known fondly by my children who never had the opportunity to meet her in person.

Instead, they met her memory with the first bite of berry pie savored at our family table while listening to me share my fondest memories about her. Every summer, we carefully pick the schwatzenberries from our garden and look forward to the day when we have gathered enough to make the season’s first pie.

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 would be much less sweet if raspberry season didn’t include 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.

Each year, we celebrate Pi Day on March 14th by making and 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.

This year, we’re gearing up to celebrate a Pi Day of epic proportions.  In 2015, Pi Day falls on 3/14/15.  Given that Pi begins with “3.1415”, it seems like this year’s celebration should be extra special.  We’re still debating which of our favorite pie recipes should be called into service for our celebration tomorrow.

I hope that you will join in the celebration and add one of these pie recipes to your weekend plans.  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!

You can view our special Pi Day Newsletter and add your name to our thousands of subscribers.  Our newsletter is the best way to make sure that you don’t miss our favorite seasonal recipes, giveaways, and posts.  You can subscribe in a few seconds and know that we will never share your Email address with anyone.

We have our biggest giveaway EVER coming to you in the next few weeks and our subscribers will be the first to know about it.  Believe me, you’re not going to want to miss out on this one.  Well, at least not if you’d be happy to win a fantastic piece of kitchen equipment that was tested right here in the farmhouse kitchen and has a value of more than $350!

Happy Pi Day!

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How to Make A Heart-Shaped Cake

A Heart Shaped Cake at 1840 FarmThis time of year, everything seems to be heart-shaped.  From candies to baked goods and every sort of decorative item.  ‘Tis the season, I suppose.  Unfortunately, so many of these heart-shaped and Valentine’s Day themed projects, crafts, and recipes involve detailed steps and specialty supplies that I don’t have any use for until February 14th arrives again next year.

I prefer to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a much simpler, rustic manner.  That rustic sensibility makes this method for creating a heart-shaped cake one of my favorite ways to make something delicious for my Valentines.  With standard baking pans and a knife, you’ll have a beautifully shaped heart cake in moments.

The technique is amazingly simple and based much more on simple geometry than any special baking skills.  By dividing a round cake in half and joining it with a square-shaped cake turned on the diagonal, a heart is created.  It’s simple and extraordinary all in the same motion.  You’ll feel like a baking genius when the finished cake is presented in its perfect heart shape without anyone but you knowing the secret of its construction.

I like to use my cake recipe from our Chocolate Malt Cupcakes as the base for this cake.  It has a moist, dense crumb and a delicious flavor.  The malt flavor is subtle and pairs wonderfully with the chocolate.  It will be delicious frosted with our malted buttercream frosting, strawberry buttercream, or your favorite traditional buttercream.  I hope that you’ll enjoy it as much as we do year after year!

1. Using your favorite cake recipe, bake one square cake and one round cake. They should be similar in size, but can be trimmed before frosting if necessary.Making a heart shaped cake at 1840 Farm
2. Once the cakes are completely cool, use a sharp knife to divide the round cake in half. I like to use a serrated knife to make a clean cut without creating too many crumbs.Making a Heart Shaped Cake at 1840 Farm
3. Turn the square cake on the diagonal to represent a diamond. Place one half of the round cake on each of the top two sides of the diamond. Trim the cake if necessary to create the heart shape.

Frost and decorate the heart-shaped cake as you wish and marvel at your creation!
Making at Heart Shaped Cake at 1840 Farm

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Valentine’s Day Favorites at 1840 Farm

Valentine’s Day usually comes and goes in a flash.  This year, it falls on a Saturday during a three-day weekend here at 1840 Farm.  That seems like the perfect excuse to dust off all of our favorite Valentine’s Day recipes and enjoy each and every one of them before the holiday has passed us by.  For my Valentine, only chocolate will do.  Now I just have to decide which of our favorite recipes to bake!

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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.

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Our Week in Photos – January 12, 2015

Photo Jan 16, 11 45 44 AMLast week was filled with time spent in the studio stitching up new baskets for our shop and dreaming of spring and gardening all the while.  It won’t be long until we can get back out in the garden and start planting the seeds that will become this year’s harvest.  Until then, I’ll be sharing more comforting recipes and stitching up more baskets for our shop!


These photos were added to our Instagram feed last week.  If you’d like to see these photos as they are added, follow us on Instagram.  We’ll hope to see you there!



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A New Year and A New Perspective: The 100 Good Deeds and #DeedADay Project

DeedADayI’ve never been prone to setting resolutions when the calendar turns from one year to the next. Instead, I prefer to reflect on the year that has passed and the New Year and fresh start ahead. As I do, I usually set a few goals for myself, mapping a plan to learn a new skill or embark on adventure.

This year, I have a delightful reminder of the wonderful possibilities that lie ahead in the New Year thanks to my participation in The 100 Good Deeds and #DeedADay Project. That reminder is in the form of a beautiful handmade bracelet. These bracelets are crafted by women who live in uncertainty often due to a lack of viable opportunities in their home country. Many of them are HIV positive and have few options when it comes to supporting themselves and their families.

The 100 Good Deeds Project provides women living in Uganda, Zambia, South Africa, Rwanda, Haiti, Bali, India and New York the opportunity to learn a craft, earn a living, and to empower their spirit. Their work helps to support their families financially and makes them an integral part of a movement with a clear mission: to remind humans across the globe that our actions can make a difference and make the world a better place.

This movement’s beginning makes for an interesting story.  After spending a decade working with at risk women in Africa, Mary Fisher met Thomas Morgan. When Mary’s mission to empower women was paired with the family game that Thomas had created to inspire his family, the inspiration for the 100 Good Deeds Bracelet was born.  Thomas called it “The 100 Good Deeds Game”, and used it as a way to encourage his children to recognize the power in their everyday actions.  The bracelet provided a beautiful way to keep track of the actions that quality as a “good deed” . A good deed is an act that involves going out of your way to help someone else and must remain anonymous. The good deed is truly its own reward.Photo Dec 29, 9 40 08 AM

Each bracelet is hand-braided beginning with a fine nylon thread. Once the thread has been handcrafted, it is strung with exactly one hundred glass beads. Those beads are joined by a solitary rubber ring. The bracelet is adjustable and can be used to mark the wearer’s progress on a journey of self-discovery and awareness. Each time a good deed is done, the rubber ring is moved along the chain of beads, continuing on until 100 Good Deeds have been gifted to the world.

Each bracelet comes with a very personal touch in the form of the handwritten name and country of residence of the woman who crafted the piece with her own hands. In the case of my beautiful cherry red bracelet, I learned upon opening the package that Rose had created this bracelet in her home country of Haiti.

Her work will help to inspire me to remember that every action we take is important, that every step we choose has the power to improve our world. While I will never have the opportunity to meet Rose or compliment her handiwork in person, I hope somehow that she knows that her work has inspired me to try and do good deeds long after 2015 has come to an end..

I also hope that you will join me in The 100 Good Deeds and #DeedADay Project.  I invite you to embark on a shared journey to make the world a better place.  To join the #DeedADay movement, share one of the following images on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or your favorite social media using the hashtag #DeedADay and#1GD.  You can also tag the 100 Good Deeds Bracelet Project on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest so that they can see your posts and share them with their followers. You can even choose your own favorite #DeedADay image by visiting their online press release.

I’d love to see your posts, shares, and photos, so feel free to include 1840 Farm in them.  You can tag 1840 Farm on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr, and Tumblr or leave a comment below with the link.  I can’t wait to see all of the posts, photos, and mentions of this fabulous project from The 1840 Farm Community.  Keep sharing and keep gifting your good deeds to the world!

DeedADay3DeedADay2 DeedADay


When I agreed to help promote this project, I was sent a 100 Good Deeds bracelet as a gift. Seeing a bracelet in person allowed me to share my own photos and opinions with you. 1840 Farm abides by word of mouth marketing standards. We believe in honesty of relationship, opinion and identity.  

Samples of the products that I review are sent to me at no expense in order to allow me to use the product and evaluate it in person.  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 will include our 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 me or our farm, might perform very well for you.



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Warm Chickpea Salad

Photo Dec 16, 1 13 49 PMPhoto Dec 16, 1 13 27 PMDuring the busy holiday season, I find myself looking for recipes that are simple to prepare for our family table.  I find that this time of year is all about finding time to spend together and creating holiday memories that will last a lifetime.

While I may be short on time during the last month of the year, I still want to serve something full of comfort, flavor, and nourishment to my family. Creating a dish using pantry and refrigerator staples makes that a much simpler task.  It also allows me to spend more time with my family whether we’re gathered at the dinner table or finding ways to celebrate the season together.

When Mezzetta invited me to share a recipe using their products with the members of The 1840 Farm Community, I was thrilled.  We love their products and keep a supply of them in our pantry all year long.  I love to add them to recipes or serve them as part of our afternoon cheese course.

Warm Chickpea Salad is just that type of dish. It is delicious, full of flavor, and simple to prepare. It can be served as a main course with pita bread or chips and a green salad or as a side dish paired perfectly with grilled meats or a burger.  This warm salad is also perfect for entertaining and serving with appetizers or a cheese course.  When entertaining, I prepare a double batch and serve the remaining kalamata olives and Giardiniera to accompany the other nibbles we’ve prepared for our guests.

These ingredients work so well together that you can adjust the quantities to suit your taste or make use of what you happen to have on hand. I love the combination of the earthy chickpeas and hummus with the briny kalamata olives, smoky sweet roasted bell peppers, and the brightness of the crunchy cauliflower, carrots, and celery from the Giardiniera. Together, they combine to make a delicious dish that my family is happy to see during the holiday season and beyond!

Mezzetta Favorites Holiday Gift Basket

If you’d like to try Mezzetta products, then you’ll want to be sure to enter Mezzetta’s Daily Holiday Gift Basket Giveaway is going on now. They’re generously giving away a fabulous prize package each day during the month of December. To enter, visit Mezzetta and share one of your favorite holiday memories. Each day a winner will be selected at random. Prizes will be shipped within 2 weeks.

Mezzetta Favorites Holiday Gift Basket  includes:

  • 100% Italian Estate Grown Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Golden Greek Peperoncini
  • Garlic Stuffed Olives
  • Castelvetrano Olives
  • Pitted Greek Kalamata Olives
  • Roasted Marinated Red & Yellow Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Cocktail Onions
  • 1 Apron (from House Party contents)
  • 1 Metal Olive Spoon (from House Party contents)
  • 1 Tote Bag (from House Party contents)
  • 1 Ceramic Bowl

Warm Chickpea SaladWarm Chickpea Salad with Hummus at 1840 Farm

This recipe can be made using canned chickpeas or dried chickpeas that have been fully cooked. When using dried chickpeas, I like to cook them in the oven. Bring a large pot of water to boil in an oven safe pot with a lid. Boil the water on the stove top for five minutes before covering and transferring to a preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven. Allow the chickpeas to cook until tender. The length of cooking time will vary slightly due to oven temperature and the age of the dried beans. I check the chickpeas after 60, 90, and 120 minutes, removing them from the oven when they are nearly tender. I allow the covered pot to sit on the stove top and cool to room temperature before using in any recipe that calls for chickpeas.

1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced (or ½ teaspoon dried)
2 cups chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 Mezzetta Roasted Bell Pepper halves, diced
12 Mezzetta Pitted Greek Kalamata Olives, halved
2 Tablespoons hummus
¼ cup Mezzetta Italian Mix Giardiniera, cut into bite sized pieces
salt and pepper to taste
balsamic glaze to garnish
warm pita bread

Warm a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, swirling to coat the bottom surface of the pan. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook until fragrant, approximately one minute. Add the chickpeas and cook for until warm, stirring to prevent sticking, approximately 4 minutes. Add the bell peppers, olives, and hummus, stirring to warm the hummus and coat all of the ingredients.

Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the Giardiniera and season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with a bit of balsamic glaze and serve with toasted triangles of pita bread.

Mezzetta is offering a downloadable $.50 off coupon on any Mezzetta products. The coupon is located here and is available from December 1st through December 31st.



This recipe was sponsored by Mezzetta.  We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to share one of our favorite brands with our readers.  1840 Farm abides by word of mouth marketing standards. We believe in honesty of relationship, opinion and identity.  Compensation received from sponsors will not influence the topics or posts made on this blog.  Sponsored posts will be clearly labeled as such. Product reviews will include our honest opinions about the product(s) reviewed.  Products that do not meet our standards of daily use on our farm will not be reviewed. Samples of the products that I review are sent to me at no expense in order to allow me to use the product and evaluate its performance.  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.

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