Jennifer Burcke

Author's details

Name: Jennifer Burcke
Date registered: July 12, 2012
URL: http://www.1840farm.com

Biography

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 www.1840farm.com.

Latest posts

  1. My Small Business Saturday Favorites for the Holiday Season — November 26, 2016
  2. Cinnamon Candy Applesauce — November 17, 2016
  3. Maple Applesauce — November 17, 2016
  4. Ginger Applesauce — November 17, 2016
  5. Cheesy Grits — October 31, 2016

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 — 49 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

My Small Business Saturday Favorites for the Holiday Season

smallbusinesssaturdayfav-collage

During the holidays, I find myself searching for handmade gifts for the loved ones on my gift giving list. There’s just something special about choosing an item for them that is unique, handmade, and sure to be enjoyed for many years to come.

This year, I thought that I would share a few of my favorite makers with you so that you could add their lovely products to your holiday season. I know that you’ll love their shops and products just as much as I do. If you follow us on Facebook and Instagram, you’ve probably seen many of these products being used right here in the farmhouse and around our farm. They’re sure to put a smile on the faces of your friends and family.

I’d also like to put a smile on your face by offering you FREE SHIPPING on all orders placed in The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop today. Enter the coupon code “FREE SHIP” to claim your free shipping offer. Hurry, because this offer expires at midnight on 11/26/16.

You’ll find links to all of these shops through this morning’s issue of our Email newsletter.  You can also find most of these makers on Facebook or Instagram.  I follow them all, so come join me in watching the beautiful items that they make take shape!

 
Blue Hen Pottery on Etsy  on Facebook on Instagram
Fresh Eggs Daily on Etsy on Facebook on Instagram
Jeanetta Darley Art on Etsy on Facebook
Parris House Wool Works on Etsy on Facebook on Instagram
Rebecca’s Bird Gardens on Etsy on Facebook on Instagram
– RJT Designs on Etsy
Sprouted Designs on Etsy on Facebook on Instagram
The Little Blue Birdie on Etsy on Facebook on Instagram
You Had Me at Woof on Etsy on Facebook on Instagram

Happy Small Business Shopping!

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/11/my-small-business-saturday-favorites-for-the-holiday-season/

Cinnamon Candy Applesauce

cinnamon-candy-applesauce-brandedI remember vividly the bright red, glossy candy apples I looked forward to at the fair each fall during my childhood.  I loved that hardened, glassy red candy with a juicy apple waiting inside,  They were so beautiful, so magical looking before I had even taken the first bite.  Once I did, my mouth was treated to the amazing flavor of cinnamon, sugar, and juicy apple.

My husband grew up enjoying a special cinnamon candied apple dish each year at Thanksgiving.  The chunks of apple were simmered slowly in a cinnamon syrup, taking on all the flavor of a candy apple and pairing beautifully with Thanksgiving dinner.

It stood to reason that I would eventually choose to combine those two childhood memories and create a dish that we could enjoy all year long.  This recipe has become a family favorite.  You’ll find a jar of this beautiful red tinged applesauce in our refrigerator just waiting to be served at our family table.

I have used a variety of cinnamon flavored candies to create this recipe with delicious results.  Choose your favorite cinnamon candy and give this simple recipe a try.  Your friends and family will love it as much as mine do!

Cinnamon Candy Applesauce
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 6 - 8 medium to large apples, peeled and cored (should yield around 1 pound of flesh)
  2. 4 ounces red cinnamon flavored candies, crushed
  3. ¼ cup (2 ounces) water
  4. pinch salt
Instructions
  1. Wash, peel, and core the apples. The apples can be left in quarters or cut into chunks. They will break down as they cook, making fine chopping unnecessary.
  2. Using a food processor or blender, crush the cinnamon candies into small pieces. Place the water and candies in a large pot over low heat. Cook, stirring often, until the candies have completed dissolved in the water. Add the apples and pinch of salt to the pot and stir to coat.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook until the apples begin to fall apart, approximately 20-30 minutes depending on the variety. You can speed up this process by crushing the cooked apples with the back of a wooden spoon or by using a potato masher.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat. Taste for seasoning, adding additional sugar if necessary. I prefer my applesauce to have a chunky texture, but you can puree the sauce using an immersion blender if you prefer a smoother texture.
  5. Allow the applesauce to cool to room temperature before transferring to a storage container with a tight fitting lid. This applesauce can be stored in the refrigerator for two weeks. It’s delicious served with your Thanksgiving dinner or other hearty meals.
Notes
  1. The amount of sweetness needed in this recipe can be adjusted to match the tartness of the apples you are using. Cinnamon candies vary in sweetness, making the addition of a bit of sugar necessary in some cases. Simply add a bit of granulated sugar to the applesauce during the final stages to adjust its flavor to your liking if needed.
1840farm.com http://1840farm.com/

 


This post is included in our 1840 Farmhouse Thanksgiving Gallery.
You’ll find our favorite Thanksgiving recipes all gathered in one place so that you can easily include them in your family’s celebration.  I’ll be adding new recipes  right up until the big day, so check back to see even more delicious and fabulous Thanksgiving posts.

 

thanksgiving-gallery-ss


 

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/11/cinnamon-candy-applesauce/

Maple Applesauce

maple-applesauce-brandedHere in New England, real maple syrup is revered.  It’s so beloved that an entire season of the year is marked by the collection of sap from maple trees and the painstakingly slow process of boiling that sap down, down, and down until it is the rich, deeply colored amber maple syrup we all love.

After settling in here at the farm, we joined in the tradition.  We marched out in knee deep snowdrifts, tapping our maple trees, placing  spiles, and hanging galvanized collecting pails.  Once we had collected gallons of sap and boiled, and boiled, and boiled, we had indeed made our own truly homegrown maple syrup.  It was a moment to celebrate.

After spending hours on end to make our own maple syrup, we gained a deep appreciation for each drop.  We also started to look for recipes we could enjoy that celebrated the rich flavor of maple syrup.  This fall’s bounty of local apples seemed to provide me with the perfect opportunity to create just such a recipe.

This maple applesauce is sweetened solely with maple syrup.  It pairs the earthy, deep flavor of maple syrup and the bright taste of fresh apples.  We’ve been enjoying this applesauce alongside roast pork, chicken, and other fall dishes.  Next week, it will be served as a side dish with our Thanksgiving feast.  I can’t wait to taste it with our favorite holiday dishes!

Maple Applesauce
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 6 - 8 medium to large apples, peeled and cored (should yield around 1 pound of flesh)
  2. 2 Tablespoons butter
  3. ¼ cup (2 ounces) maple syrup
  4. pinch salt
Instructions
  1. Wash, peel, and core the apples. The apples can be left in quarters or cut into chunks. They will break down as they cook, making fine chopping unnecessary.
  2. Place the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Allow the butter to melt. Add maple syrup, stirring to combine. Add the apples and pinch of salt to the pot and stir to coat.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook until the apples begin to fall apart, approximately 20-30 minutes depending on the variety. You can speed up this process by crushing the cooked apples with the back of a wooden spoon or by using a potato masher.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat. Taste for seasoning, adding additional maple syrup if necessary. I prefer my applesauce to have a chunky texture, but you can puree the sauce using an immersion blender if you prefer a smoother texture.
  5. Allow the applesauce to cool to room temperature before transferring to a storage container with a tight fitting lid. This applesauce can be stored in the refrigerator for two weeks. It’s delicious served with your Thanksgiving dinner or other hearty meals.
Notes
  1. The amount of sweetness needed in this recipe can be adjusted to match the tartness of the apples you are using. Simply add a drizzle of maple syrup during the final stages to adjust its flavor to your liking.
1840farm.com http://1840farm.com/

This post is included in our 1840 Farmhouse Thanksgiving Gallery.
You’ll find our favorite Thanksgiving recipes all gathered in one place so that you can easily include them in your family’s celebration.  I’ll be adding new recipes  right up until the big day, so check back to see even more delicious and fabulous Thanksgiving posts.

 

thanksgiving-gallery-ss


 

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/11/maple-applesauce/

Ginger Applesauce

ginger-applesauce-brandedI love the taste of fresh ginger. I use fresh ginger in both sweet and savory dishes here at the farmhouse.  For me, there’s simply no such thing as too much ginger.  Luckily, my daughter shares that belief, so she keeps me company.

I keep a jar of our Candied Ginger Slices in Ginger Simple Syrup in the refrigerator at all times.  The syrup is delicious in icy cold lemonade in the summer or in a cocktail to celebrate the end of a warm day.  Spicy Ginger and Garlic Quick Pickles are also a constant in our farmhouse kitchen.  They top burgers, sandwiches, and wraps all year long. 

When the weather turns cold, I turn to homemade Golden Milk with Turmeric, Ginger, and Ghee to warm me from the inside out.  The ginger adds such a delicious zing, a bright note to the earthy flavor of the turmeric and richness of the ghee.  Together, they’re delicious, comforting perfection with every sip.

So, when I was making batch after batch of applesauce using the local harvest of apples this fall, I began dreaming of a ginger applesauce to add to our dinner table.  After a little tinkering, this simple recipe emerged as our clear favorite.  It’s a lovely blend of the sweetness of fresh apples paired with the zip of ginger and just enough sugar to balance it all.

This ginger applesauce is so easy to prepare and full of flavor.  It will be featured on our Thanksgiving table this year.  I can’t wait to enjoy it alongside our roast turkey and all of our favorite side dishes.  I hope that you’ll enjoy it just as much as we do!

Ginger Applesauce
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 6 - 8 medium to large apples, peeled and cored (should yield around 1 pound of flesh)
  2. 1 Tablespoons butter
  3. 1/2 cup (96 grams) granulated sugar
  4. 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  5. pinch salt
Instructions
  1. Wash, peel, and core the apples. The apples can be left in quarters or cut into chunks. They will break down as they cook, making fine chopping unnecessary.
  2. Place the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Allow the butter to melt. Add the sugar and ginger, stirring to combine. Add the apples and pinch of salt to the pot and stir to coat.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook until the apples begin to fall apart, approximately 20-30 minutes depending on the variety. You can speed up this process by crushing the cooked apples with the back of a wooden spoon or by using a potato masher.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat. Taste for seasoning, adding additional sugar if necessary. I prefer my applesauce to have a chunky texture, but you can puree the sauce using an immersion blender if you prefer a smoother texture.
  5. Allow the applesauce to cool to room temperature before transferring to a storage container with a tight fitting lid. This applesauce can be stored in the refrigerator for two weeks. It’s delicious served with your Thanksgiving dinner or other hearty meals.
Notes
  1. The amount of sugar needed in this recipe can be adjusted to match the tartness of the apples you are using. Simply add a bit of sugar during the final stages to adjust it to your liking.
1840farm.com http://1840farm.com/

This post is included in our 1840 Farmhouse Thanksgiving Gallery.
You’ll find our favorite Thanksgiving recipes all gathered in one place so that you can easily include them in your family’s celebration.  I’ll be adding new recipes  right up until the big day, so check back to see even more delicious and fabulous Thanksgiving posts.

 

thanksgiving-gallery-ss


 

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/11/ginger-applesauce/

Cheesy Grits

cheesy-grits-branded-2Every time I serve grits at our farmhouse table, I am taken by how simple, comforting, and delicious they are.  Much like potatoes, they can be prepared and flavored in so many ways, making them an ideal companion to almost any meal.  They’re a great item to keep on hand in the pantry, ready to call into action at a moment’s notice.  They’re inexpensive, versatile, and so easy and quick to prepare that I turn to them time and time again.

 

I’m far from the first farmhouse cook to appreciate grits as a dish to serve to my family.  Grits have been a staple of American cooking for generations.  In fact, they were most likely among the first foods enjoyed by European settlers after arriving at the shores of the New World in the Jamestown settlement.  It is believed that the Powhatan Indians first introduced those settlers to “rockahominie”, a warm porridge made by cooking the cracked grains of corn.  That introduction dates back to the early 1600s.

 

cheesy-grits-bbq-wmCorn, referred to as maize, was a prized food source at that time.  It was revered and even used as a form of currency.  Plain corn was soaked in a lye solution made using lye extracted from wood ash.  This soaking removed the hull, bran, and germ from the corn.  The result was hominy which was a food source that was more easily digestible and required less time to prepare. 

 

While hundreds of years have passed, the comfort delivered to a meal by way of grits has stood the test of time.  I pair them with grilled meats, sausages, and our Cast Iron Skillet Roast Chicken.  When heirloom tomatoes are ripe in the garden, I often serve them with a sausage and tomato Bolognese style sauce spooned on top.  Sauteed spinach or Swiss chard are also delicious paired with these creamy grits.  No matter how we serve them, my family is always happy to see that grits are on the menu.

 

I hope that you’ll give this simple recipe a try. In a matter of minutes, you’ll have a bit of homemade comfort food to enjoy at your family table and an American history lesson to share!

 

Cheesy Grits
I like to use an equal combination of homemade bone broth and water when making grits. You can use any combination of bone broth, stock, or water. I find that any combination of cheese works well to flavor the grits. Simply choose a type of cheese or combination of cheeses that you like to flavor your grits. During heirloom tomato season, I often use ricotta cheese to create a mild flavored cheesy grit with a velvety texture.
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 8 cups cooking liquid (bone broth, stock, or water)
  2. 2 cups quick cooking grits
  3. ½ teaspoon salt
  4. 2 cups shredded cheese
  5. salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Bring the liquid to a boil in a large pot. Add the grits and salt to the boiling liquid, using a whisk to mix. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes or until thickened, whisking once or twice during the cooking time to ensure that the grits don't stick to the bottom of the pan.
  2. Remove the pot from the heat and add the cheese to the grits. This is a great way to use up bits of cheese that are in my cheese drawer. Whisk until the cheese is melted and incorporated. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Serve with grilled meats or sautéed greens. Grits are delicious when dressed with a drizzle of your favorite barbecue sauce.
  3. Leftover grits can be refrigerated and reheated with a bit of water or bone broth over low heat to help loosen them up a bit. They're just as delicious the second night!
Notes
  1. You can learn how to make your own batch of delicious and nutritious bone broth right here: http://1840farm.com/how-to-make-homemade-bone-broth/
1840farm.com http://1840farm.com/

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/10/cheesy-grits/

Keeping the Coop Fresh Naturally

 

 

keepingcoopfreshbranded

 

Imagine that you live in a small one room apartment without indoor plumbing.  Living with you are your closest friends.  You dine together in this space.  You sleep in this space.  You go to the bathroom, when necessary, in this space. It’s not the prettiest of mental pictures, is it?  Yet, I’ve just described the state of affairs within the four walls of a chicken coop.  Even with access to the outdoors, chickens spend a lot of their time inside the coop together and leave the evidence behind to prove it.

We have two chicken coops and a duck house here at 1840 Farm.  The backyard garden coop houses our four bantam hens.  The main coop is home to eight heritage breed hens, many of them from the original batch of chicks we added to our farm back in 2010.  The duck house is our newest addition and provides shelter for the six ducks we added to our farmyard this spring.

1840farmcoopAll of our birds have access to the outdoors to stretch their legs, enjoy the fresh air, and nap in the sunshine.  We’ve been careful to plan for more than the recommended square footage of indoor space per bird.  We do our best to keep their indoor space clean, but any chicken or duck keeper can tell you that it doesn’t take long for them to make a mess of things.

I like to tend to our chickens, ducks, and goats as naturally as possible.  I also like to apply that philosophy to our barn, coop, and duck house maintenance.  Over the years, I have developed a few strategies to add a little natural freshness into the coop and barn. 

On warm days, our coops and barn are open and ventilated all day.  I believe strongly that cross ventilation is vital to the health of a flock.  Our front facing window and rear facing vents and access doors help to keep fresh air flowing into the coop.  The side screen door is also kept open during warm weather, allowing even more fresh air to enter the coop.

We follow the same method of keeping air circulating in our circa 1840 barn.  Each morning, I slide open the south facing front door and unlatch the screen.  Then the back door is opened and secured to keep it open and allow a breeze to flow through the main aisle. 

Keeping a coop or barn smelling fresh is a big goal and a breeze can only do so much on a hot, humid day.  Regular mucking and cleaning is the most laborious and also most successful way to keep a coop or barn smelling fresh.  Even with our drop down cleanout door, a total coop cleaning takes a sizable time commitment, not to mention the need to have a large quantity of replacement bedding on hand.

During the cold months, we utilize the deep litter method of coop and stall care, adding fresh bedding as the season marches on.  That fresh bedding piles up and helps our animals to stay warm even on the most brutal of cold New England days. With long stretches of cold temperatures, that extra warmth is needed.

During the spring, summer, and fall, I like to freshen our coop between deep cleanings.  Once a week, I use my homemade spray to do that.  In a few minutes, I can treat our flock to a fresh coop that smells clean even on the warmest summer day.

I chose the components for my spray carefully.  I use Dawn lavender dishwashing liquid soap both because of its lavender scent and its known gentleness and effectiveness to clean birds in the wild.  If it can be trusted to be used during the crisis of an oil spill, then I feel like it is safe to invite into our coop.  You could certainly substitute another brand of soap when making your spray, but I can only attest to the effectiveness of Dawn as it is the only brand that I have used.

Lavender Dawn has a lovely, light lavender scent, but I wanted to up the ante.  I also wanted to boost the power of this spray to both lightly disinfect the coop and help to deter pests.  I add tea tree oil and peppermint oil for their insect repelling qualities.  Lastly, I add a bit of lavender to help boost the calming properties of the freshening spray.

Herbal Coop Freshening Spray

2 ounces Dawn lavender dish soap
14 ounces water
10 drops tea tree oil
10 drops peppermint oil
10 drops lavender oil

I simply combine the ingredients in a clean spray bottle, replace the cap and shake the bottle gently to mix the liquid.  The resulting spray has a light, fresh scent without being overpowering.  One bottle of spray lasts me several weeks and has worked effectively in both our main coop and garden coop.

I remove the bedding from each nest box before lightly spraying the box with the herbal spray.  Then I lightly spray the walls of the coop and also the two roosts.  I allow the boxes to dry before adding fresh 23602819360_a3d81f799a_zstraw and shavings to each nest and sprinkling a bit of Herbs for Hens Coop Confetti™ in each nest. As soon as I finish my work in the coop, our hens come in to investigate their freshened surroundings. 

While I felt as though our hens appreciated my efforts, I decided to test my theory.  One week, I only freshened a single nest box.  I left the remaining boxes untouched and didn’t spray the floor or roost.  I placed a handful of herbs on top of the lone freshened box and exited the coop.

Later that afternoon, I went out to the coop to retrieve the day’s eggs.  Every egg that had been laid was in the freshened nest box.  They were sitting on top of the dried herbs I had placed there.

Clearly, our hens did appreciate my weekly freshening services.  The fact that they decided to lay their eggs in the only nest box that I had freshened confirmed that. As a chicken keeper, there was no bigger affirmation the hens could give me.  Collecting enough fresh eggs to feed my family was all the encouragement I needed to keep me coming back to freshen the coop every week.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/10/keeping-the-coop-fresh-naturally/

How to Make Homemade Bone Broth

bone-broth-branded 

Bone broth is the simplest of preparations and yields such delicious and nutritious results. It requires no fancy ingredients and doesn’t demand constant attention. Given enough time and heat, the bones break down, releasing all of their gelatin and minerals into the liquid. The resulting bone broth is rich in protein, gelatin, and minerals and adds a beautiful color and flavor to any dish. Best of all, you can create this amazing broth using leftovers that would normally be discarded.

How to Make Thanksgiving Turkey Bone Broth at 1840 FarmUntil a few years ago, I had never made my own bone broth. I had created my own stock and quick broth with good success, but didn’t fully understand the difference between the three kitchen staples and therefore didn’t realize that I could create something with more flavor and nutrition without creating any extra work for myself in the kitchen.

Since then, I find myself unable to pass up the opportunity to turn the leftovers from a roast chicken or turkey into a batch of bone broth.   I love transforming what used to be thrown away into a broth full of healthy calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, collagen, and a host of other nutritious minerals.

The process of making bone broth is simple. Reserve all that is left from the carcass of your chicken or turkey along with and any vegetables in the roasting pan. Any vegetables or leftover pan drippings can be scraped from the roasting pan and added to the slow cooker. They will add flavor and color to the finished bone broth.

When the meal is finished, transfer the roasting pan’s vegetables to the ceramic insert of a large slow cooker. Add approximately a third of the bones from a whole turkey or all of the bones from a 3 to 4 pound chicken to the slow cooker.  Add enough water to completely cover the bones and vegetables along with two Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.  Place the lid on the slow cooker and allow the ingredients to rest for an hour. The vinegar helps to extract the calcium from the bones, making a richer and more nutritious bone broth.

Transfer any remaining bones to a freezer bag. Those bones can be frozen for later use. When making bone broth using frozen bones, allow the bones to come to room temperature before proceeding with the cooking process.

After the bones have spent an hour in the water and vinegar, turn your slow cooker on at high heat. Once the liquid has come to a boil, you can reduce the heat to low. The liquid should remain at a simmer as the broth cooks. Leave the lid securely on the pot to reduce the amount of liquid that evaporates away from the pot. If you notice that the liquid level has dropped dramatically as the broth cooks, you can add more water as needed. 

The longer the broth simmers, the richer the broth becomes both in flavor, color, and nutrition. While you can stop the process at any point, I like to let the broth simmer for 72 hours. As you can see, the broth takes on a beautifully rich color the longer it is allowed to develop in the slow cooker.Crumbline Bones from Bone Broth at 1840 Farm

If you’re wondering how to know when your bone broth is finished, the process is simple. Remove a bone from the pot of liquid. When the bones have released all of their mineral content, they will crumble in your hands with very little pressure. This crumbling signals that the bone broth is finished, that the bones have released all the nutrition they have to give.

At this point, the slow cooker can be turned off. I allow the broth to cool to room temperature before straining it through a colander lined with cheesecloth. Discard any bones, vegetables, or scraps, straining the broth a second time if any solids remain.

I fill one large Mason jar with bone broth to store in the refrigerator, using it in any recipe that calls for stock or broth. I freeze the rest using either ice cube trays or silicone baking cups before transferring to a freezer bag for long term storage. I use this frozen broth as I would fresh, adding it to any recipes that call for broth or stock.

Our bone broth never lasts very long in the freezer as we continue to find new ways to incorporate it into our favorite recipes. The flavor, aroma, and color are so superior to standard broth that I only regret that I didn’t start making bone broth sooner. Once you discover the simplicity of making homemade bone broth and its amazing depth of flavor, you’ll be wondering the same thing!

 


This post is included in our 1840 Farmhouse Thanksgiving Gallery.
You’ll find our favorite Thanksgiving recipes all gathered in one place so that you can easily include them in your family’s celebration.  I’ll be adding new recipes  right up until the big day, so check back to see even more delicious and fabulous Thanksgiving posts.

 

thanksgiving-gallery-ss


 

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/10/how-to-make-homemade-bone-broth/

Velvety Mashed Potatoes

velvety-mashed-potatoes-brandedFor me, a serving of velvety smooth mashed potatoes is at the top of my list of favorite comfort foods. They’re always a welcome sight at our family table. They pair beautifully with so many main courses and I love repurposing any leftovers into the next evening’s comforting meal for our family. Leftover mashed potatoes make a delicious topping for a range of dishes from Shepherd’s Pie to a Farmhouse Style Mashed Potato Torta.   At Thanksgiving dinner, I can’t imagine our plates without a healthy serving of mashed potatoes.

As much as I love to make and enjoy mashed potatoes in our farmhouse kitchen, I receive countless messages and pleas for help from my readers who are frustrated by the process. They’ve tried so many different recipes and have yet to create the lovely, creamy mashed potatoes they’re dreaming of.

Making amazing mashed potatoes is simple once you understand the role a potato’s starch plays in the finished texture of the dish. You don’t need fancy tools or ingredients, just a few simple techniques for controlling the starch contained in the potatoes you’re working with.

First, carefully choose the type of potato you use and the method of preparing them for boiling. Yukon Golds are my preferred type of potato to use when making mashed potatoes. They are waxy and ideally suited for creating a smooth mashed potato. I love their flavor and texture and use them when creating any mashed potato recipe.

Next, let’s discuss preparing the potatoes for cooking. I like to resist cutting the potatoes into small pieces before boiling. The more surface area you create, the more water will be absorbed by the boiling potatoes, causing the starch molecules to swell and absorb too much water. Instead, cut the potatoes into pieces approximately 2” square which allows the potatoes to cook quickly without soaking up too much liquid.

As soon as the potatoes are fork tender, remove the boiled potatoes from the hot water immediately to a colander. Allow the hot potatoes to drain for a few moments before returning them to the pan. Use a potato ricer or an old fashioned potato masher to break down the potatoes. Do not use a blender, mixer, or food processor to mash your potatoes as they will over work the starch molecules and produce gummy mashed potatoes that no amount of butter or cream will be able to tame.

Finally, do not add cold liquid to the boiled potatoes. A hot, steaming pile of potatoes doused in cold liquid will seize up due to the drastic difference in temperature, producing and releasing far too much starch to create the velvety smooth dish we all love. Instead, warm your liquids before adding them to the cooked potatoes. You’ll be amazed at the difference in texture and rewarded with glorious mashed potatoes to serve at your family table.

Once you unlock these simple secrets for creating velvety smooth mashed potatoes, you’ll find yourself turning to this recipe again and again.  They’re simply delicious served with our Farmhouse Gravy.  I hope that your family and friends will enjoy them as much as we do!

Velvety Mashed Potatoes
Serves 6
I like a rustic mashed potato dish, so I skip the step of peeling the potatoes before boiling. If you prefer, you can peel the potatoes before boiling. This is the perfect recipe to use your homemade bone broth. I find that using bone broth delivers a rich flavor and texture unlike any other liquid added to the warm potatoes. Be sure to warm the liquids before incorporating them into the potatoes.
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, washed and cut into 2” cubes
  2. 1 cup bone broth or high quality stock
  3. ½ cup whole milk
  4. ¼ cup heavy cream
  5. butter for serving
  6. salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, combine the cubed potatoes with enough cold water to cover and allow them to move freely as they boil. Place the pot over a burner on high heat, bringing it to a rapid boil. Reduce the heat as needed to maintain the boil but prevent the pot from boiling over. Continue to cook until the potatoes are fork or knife tender, approximately 15 minutes.
  2. Immediately remove the pot from the heat and drain the potatoes in a colander. Allow the hot potatoes to drain for a few minutes before continuing. You can use a potato ricer to break down the potatoes or return the cubed potatoes to the boiling pot to mash using an old fashioned potato masher. Take care to mash the potatoes without overworking them.
  3. Add half of the warm liquid mixture to the pot, stirring it into the mashed potatoes. Continue adding more liquid until the mashed potatoes are the desired consistency. If you find that you need more liquid, simply warm a bit of bone broth, cream, or milk before adding it to the potato mixture. Taste the potatoes, seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. Serve hot with an ample topping of butter, sour cream, or a ladle full of our Farmhouse Gravy.
1840farm.com http://1840farm.com/

This post is included in our 1840 Farmhouse Thanksgiving Gallery.
You’ll find our favorite Thanksgiving recipes all gathered in one place so that you can easily include them in your family’s celebration.  I’ll be adding new recipes  right up until the big day, so check back to see even more delicious and fabulous Thanksgiving posts.

 

thanksgiving-gallery-ss


 

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/10/velvety-mashed-potatoes/

Farmhouse Gravy

farmhouse-gravy-brandedFor me, there are few recipes more rustic and comforting than gravy.  It adds flavor and velvety texture to roasted meats, mashed potatoes, and anything else it happens to touch on a dinner plate.  With very little effort, simple ingredients can be coaxed into a thick, delicious gravy perfect for a holiday table or family dinner.  It’s a true farmhouse staple in our home just like it was in my great grandparent’s farmhouse a century ago.

Cooking gravy certainly isn’t a modern technique.  It is believed that gravy dates back to ancient Egypt and the time period around 3000 B.C.  When you think about it, that makes perfect sense.  Spit roasting meat produced fatty, delicious liquid that simply couldn’t be allowed to go to waste.  A dripping pan resting underneath the cooking meat would collect the juices as they ran out of the meat when pierced with a fork or blade.  That liquid could be served as a thin dipping sauce or “jus” for chunks of meat eaten by hand or it could be reduced, salted, and poured over meat eaten with a fork. 

Fast forward to the 1960s when gravy became something made using a premade mix.  Simply add water, whisk, and heat to create a gravy with very little effort.  Add in canned gravies, and gravy making became something that few people practiced.  Perhaps homemade gravy would be made for Thanksgiving dinner, but even then it was just as likely to come from a can or pouch.  That trend continued.  In 2008, Food Technology magazine reported that 40 percent of American households served gravy made from a mix when adding it to their dinner plates.

Ironically, gravy making is incredibly easy.  It requires no special equipment, no fancy ingredients.   The process is simple and can be mastered easily.  From a flavor perspective, you just can’t beat gravy made from scratch, flavored to your liking.

Unlike our ancient ancestors, I prefer to roast our meat in the oven.  The pan collects the rich liquid which can be cooled slightly while the roast meat rests before skimming the fat from the top.  I use homemade bone broth added to the pan drippings and the resulting gravy is rich and delicious.  You can use a combination of broth, stock, and pan drippings to make gravy, adjusting seasoning to yield a delicious batch of gravy.

I hope that you’ll give gravy making a try.  I also hope that you’ll make our Velvety Mashed Potatoes to serve with it!  One taste and I’m willing to bet that you’ll be making a homemade version for years to come.

Farmhouse Gravy
You can use any combination of pan drippings, bone broth, broth, or stock to make delicious gravy. I keep bone broth on hand and add it to the pan drippings as needed to have enough liquid needed for this gravy. I like a very peppery gravy, so I season it liberally with black pepper and often add minced fresh thyme, rosemary, and tarragon from the garden which is often left over from seasoning the roast meat.
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 Tablespoons lard or butter
  2. 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  3. 1 ½ cups (12 ounces) warm pan drippings, bone broth, broth, or stock (or a combination)
  4. salt
  5. freshly ground pepper
  6. finely minced fresh herbs (I use thyme, rosemary, and tarragon from the garden)
Instructions
  1. Make the roux to thicken the gravy by adding the lard or butter to a small saucepan set over medium heat. Melt the fat before adding the flour. Whisk to combine and reduce the heat to low. Continue to whisk until the roux is smooth and takes on a bit of color, approximately 2 minutes. If you are using herbs, add them to the roux and cook for 1 minute.
  2. Add the 2 cups of warm drippings, bone broth, stock (or combination of liquids) to the roux. Whisk to incorporate and increase the heat to medium. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring often to prevent scorching. Simmer gently for 3-5 minutes to thicken the gravy to your desired consistency. Reduce the heat to low. Season with salt and black pepper. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
  3. Gravy can be kept warm over low heat, stirring often before serving.
1840farm.com http://1840farm.com/

This post is included in our 1840 Farmhouse Thanksgiving Gallery.
You’ll find our favorite Thanksgiving recipes all gathered in one place so that you can easily include them in your family’s celebration.  I’ll be adding new recipes  right up until the big day, so check back to see even more delicious and fabulous Thanksgiving posts.

 

thanksgiving-gallery-ss


 

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/10/farmhouse-gravy/

Cast Iron Skillet Roast Chicken

cast-iron-skillet-roast-chicken-branded

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/09/cast-iron-skillet-roast-chicken/

Garden Fresh Heirloom Tomato Pico de Gallo

 Heirloom Tomato Pico de Gallo Gold Branded

When heirloom tomatoes are ripening by the basket full in our garden, I experiment with all sorts of ways to feature them on our farmhouse table.  I really love preparations that require little to no cooking, allowing the natural texture and delicious flavor of an heirloom tomato to be the star.

This pico de gallo definitely fits the bill.  It’s packed with delicious flavor, texture, and bright color.  It’s so beautiful on the plate and a wonderful way to enjoy the glorious flavor or tomatoes fresh from the garden without heating up the kitchen on a hot summer’s day.

I love to use cherry tomatoes of varying colors when they are available to celebrate the range of red, purple, yellow, and black colors we grow here in our garden. The burst of color and flavor on our plates is always a welcome sight.

Heirloom Tomato Pico de Gallo Ingredients Square WM   Heirloom Tomato Pico with Guac WM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garden Fresh Heirloom Tomato Pico de Gallo
I love to use cherry tomatoes for this recipe. They can easily be quartered to create the perfect size bite. If you are using larger slicing tomatoes, simply seed the tomatoes before chopping to prevent the pico de gallo from being too runny. If you like a bit of heat with your Pico de Gallo, add a bit of minced jalapeno pepper to the tomatoes and onions.
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 Tablespoons onion, minced very finely
  2. 2 cups fresh heirloom tomatoes, diced
  3. ¼ cup fresh cilantro, torn or chopped
  4. 1-2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  5. salt to taste
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the onion, tomato, and cilantro. Add 1 teaspoon of lime juice and a generous sprinkling of salt. Stir to combine and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes to allow the flavors to combine and the tomato to release its juice. Stir, taste for seasoning, and add more lime or salt as needed.
  2. Serve with tortilla chips. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. Pico de Gallo means "rooster's beak" in Spanish. It is thought that the name originated from the appearance of the red tomato pieces in the dish. It seems like the perfect name to me!
1840farm.com http://1840farm.com/

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/08/garden-fresh-heirloom-tomato-pico-de-gallo/

Finding Beauty, Hope, and Love

NestWMYesterday, I shared with you that I don’t have the words to make sense of the images we’re seeing on the news.  At times, I feel so powerless to do anything that can help to soften the blow that each day brings, to remind myself that there is more beauty and love in our world than there is anger and hate.  I know in my heart that it’s true, but it helps to have a reminder.

I invited you to share photos of the good in your day. You did, adding pictures of pretty flowers blooming in your yard, fresh food harvested from your gardens, dogs and cats being adorable, and farm animals reaching their faces to the sun.  With every photo, my heart and soul were renewed.  I could feel the hope creeping back in with each image.

Then, on the very day I had asked you to share your reminder of the good, to push aside the distressing news and reach our collective hands into the void to pull beauty closer,  I made the most amazing discovery.  As we were out picking the day’s harvest of raspberries, I pushed aside a thorny raspberry cane and this nest was revealed. 

For weeks now, we have been picking ripe berries in this patch each day, yet it had remained hidden from our sight.  It was in the midst of our raspberry patch all this time, just inches away from our working hands.  It seemed so fitting that it revealed itself on the day that I needed to see it most.
raspberries
As I stood there, I was shocked that it had remained undisturbed for so long.  The eggs had hatched here sheltered by the thorns on the raspberry canes as they created a living roof for their home.  I presume that the baby birds grew big and strong before leaving the safety of the nest behind as fledglings to find their way in the world. 

Perhaps they are still here on our farm, flitting about as so many creatures do among our flower and vegetable gardens. Perhaps they have observed us harvesting ripe raspberries and blackcaps from the spot they once called home.

I think that I’ll choose to believe that they have chosen to stay here on our farm, that they have found a home among the branches of one of our centuries old trees.  When I heard songbirds singing this morning as I swung open the enormous door of the old barn, I smiled at the thought that those birds might be among those adding a beautiful cacophony of sound to my morning.

Thank you, little birds for a reminder that brushing aside life’s thorny branches often reveals something tender and beautiful.  Reach deep for the beauty and love today friends and share what you find with all of us so that we can be reminded of the good.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2016/07/finding-beauty-hope-love/

Older posts «