Category Archive: Main Courses

1840 Farm Multigrain Waffles

I began making these waffles a few years ago. When I came across a recipe for “Waffles of Insane Greatness”, I couldn’t help myself. My curiosity simply got the best of me. I had to know. Were these waffles really that good?

My entire family was a bit skeptical. We already had a favorite recipe for homemade waffles. We didn’t think that this recipe would win us over. We were so wrong.  After the first bite, we were sold. It was crispy on the outside with a light interior and wonderful flavor. It was official: we had a new favorite recipe for homemade waffles.

A few months ago, I was invited to take part in the Grain Mill Wagon Challenge to create a series of recipes using freshly ground flours and meals using a WonderMill Electric Grain Mill.  Our tried and true recipe for waffles was one of the first recipes I incorporated our home ground flour and meal into.

I wouldn’t have believed that it was possible to improve upon our waffle recipe, but I was wrong again.  The fresh flour and meal added such a fantastic, earthy flavor to the batter.  Once the waffles were topped with butter and our favorite maple syrup from Lowell’s Sugar Shack, they were better than great.  They were perfect.

1840 Farm Multigrain Waffles
adapted from Aretha Frankenstein’s Waffles of Insane Greatness
Makes 6 large Belgian waffles

Our version of the original recipe has evolved quite a bit since that infamous first bite.  I substitute our freshly milled wholegrain flour for much of the All-purpose flour called for in the original recipe.  Adding a bit of our freshly ground cornmeal helps to create a waffle with fantastic texture.  If you don’t have access to freshly ground flour or cornmeal, you can substitute whole wheat flour and standard cornmeal.

I also like to use both butter and vegetable oil in the batter.  I find that the butter delivers a crispier crust while the oil keeps the interior of the waffle moist.  Instead of using sugar to sweeten the batter, I like to substitute real maple syrup.  When combined with our home brewed vanilla extract, it lends a sweet, earthy flavor to the batter.

¾ cup (90 grams) freshly milled whole wheat flour
½ cup (60 grams) freshly ground cornmeal
¼ cup (30 grams) All-purpose flour
½ cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons butter
1 ¾ cup (14 ounces) milk
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, combine the flours, cornmeal, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Gently whisk to combine.

In a microwave safe bowl or measuring cup, melt the butter by microwaving in 20 second intervals.  Add milk, apple cider vinegar, and oil to the butter and whisk to combine.  Add the eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla to this mixture and whisk until smooth.

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and whisk until completely smooth.  Allow the batter to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Near the end of the half hour, preheat your waffle maker.  Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.  Once they come to temperature, oil the plates of the waffle iron using oil or pan spray.  Follow the guidelines for your waffle maker to fill and cook the waffles.

Keep the cooked waffles warm by placing them on a wire rack in the preheated oven.  Continue preparing the waffles until you have used all of the batter.  Serve hot with butter and pure maple syrup.

Leftover waffles can be frozen for later use.  Allow the waffles to cool to room temperature before freezing.  Frozen waffles can be reheated in a toaster, toaster oven, or waffle maker.

This recipe was shared on the Grain Mill Wagon Challenge.


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Heirloom Tomato and Eggs with Roasted Potatoes

In my experience, cooking with great ingredients requires more restraint than technique.  The better quality the ingredients, the less needs to be done in order to make the final dish extraordinary.  In fact, having the best, local and seasonal products from our farm and neighboring farms allows me to prepare simple meals that deliver incredible flavor without extra effort.

This was definitely the case earlier this week.  My husband had visited Butternut Farm and came home bearing the gifts of freshly picked strawberries and a few early season slicing tomatoes. The strawberries were destined to be enjoyed with my Great grandmother’s Daffodil Cake, a delicious way to welcome summer’s arrival.

As soon as I saw a tomato, I knew that it would be featured on our dinner plates.  We also happened to have fingerling potatoes on hand from a recent visit to Rosemont Produce Company.  Add in the fresh eggs collected from our beloved heritage breed hens and baby lettuce from the heirloom garden and dinner was indeed beginning to take shape.

I sliced the fingerlings into thick coins and sautéed them in a hot skillet with a generous Tablespoon of butter and rosemary, sage, and thyme pulled fresh from the garden.  I harvested our first Stuttgart onion and sliced it thinly before adding it to the potatoes and herbs.  I sautéed them for approximately 20 minutes, turning occasionally and seasoning liberally with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.

I transferred the pan into a preheated 425 degree oven and began preparing the tomato and eggs.  I sliced the washed tomato into thick slices and placed two on each dinner plate.  I would usually season the tomato with sea salt and fresh pepper before I placed the egg on top.  Then I remembered that I had a new seasoning waiting to be used in the spice drawer.

A few months ago, I was invited to participate in the Fennel Friday Cooking Club by The Hungry Goddess. I happily accepted the invitation and joined Fennel Friday.  A few days later, my package of ingredients from Pollen Ranch arrived.  Last month, I shared my recipe for Smoked Cheddar Gougères with Fennel Pollen.  They were delicious and I had every confidence that the Zen-Sational fennel pollen would also help transform a simple slice of tomato into something extraordinary.

As the potatoes were nearing the end of their time roasting in the oven, I placed a cast iron skillet on the stove top over high heat.  Once the skillet had come up to temperature, I placed a large pat of butter in the skillet and swirled the pan to cover the entire surface with melted butter.  Cracked eggs were added next and each was seasoned with salt and pepper.

I placed the lid on the pan, reduced the heat to medium, and removed the potatoes from the oven.  As soon as the eggs were barely set, I removed the pan from the heat.  I topped each tomato slice with a sprinkle of Pollen Ranch’s Zen-Sational Blend.  An egg was placed on top of each tomato slice and then I decided to add a dash of Zen-Sational to each egg for good measure.  As soon as I did, the intoxicating aroma of fennel began to fill the farmhouse kitchen.

The roasted potatoes were added to each plate and dressed with our favorite roasted potato topping:  sour cream and sriracha,  Once a salad made with greens harvested from our garden was added, dinner was served.  It was simple and delicious.  The fennel was a perfect pairing to the acidity and earthiness of the tomato and richness of our fresh eggs.

Everyone agreed that this was a dinner plate we wanted to see more often on our family table.  Lucky for us, heirloom tomato season is fast approaching.   I know that I’ll be making this simple and delicious dinner all season long.

Heirloom Tomato and Eggs with Roasted Potatoes
serves 4 as a main course

The beauty of this recipe is its simplicity.  You can substitute your favorite herbs and use the best of your locally available, seasonal produce.

Fingerling potatoes,  sliced into 1/2″ thick coins
fresh herbs
1 small onion, diced
1 large heirloom tomato, sliced thickly
8 fresh eggs
Pollen Ranch Zen-Sational Pollen Blend

Prepare as directed above.  Serve hot and enjoy!

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Hungry for Change – Food Bloggers Against Hunger

As a mother and a farmer, I spend a great part of my day feeding my family and the animals that call 1840 Farm home.  Six people representing three generations of my family live here at 1840 Farm.  We all tend to the daily needs of our three Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats, seventeen heritage breed hens, and two pets.

With that many living beings residing here, someone or something is almost always asking for a meal or reminding me that they are hungry.  I quell that hunger with the food that we produce and the items that we purchase off the farm.  By the time I turn in for the evening, I feel content in the knowledge that all of us will have a night free from the pangs of hunger.

I can also allow myself to take comfort in the knowledge that tomorrow will bring another day that follows this predictable cycle.  People and animals will be hungry and I will assume the role of ensuring that everyone is fed and well nourished.  This is the continuous cycle of life here on the farm.  The work of today ensures the production of the food that will grace tomorrow’s dinner table.

But what if it wasn’t?  What if I couldn’t answer the call when my children told me that they were hungry?  What if we didn’t know where tomorrow’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner would come from?  My family would spend their days suffering from hunger and I would spend my nights worrying about the challenge of putting wholesome food on our family’s table.

Sadly, many Americans spend their days in this terrible cycle of hunger and despair.  According to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign, one out our every five children in our country live in a household that is at risk for hunger.  Statistically, that equates to over 16 million American children.

This issue takes center stage in the documentary A Place at the Table.  The film profiles three families who struggle to put food on their tables.  It is a call to action for all Americans to stand together and tackle the problem of hunger in together.

I haven’t had the opportunity to see the film yet. I have been following its progress since last year when I first became aware of the film and began following their Facebook page.  I will be front and center later this month when it is finally screened at my local performing arts center.  It’s the same hall where I first saw Food, Inc.  It’s the place where I first decided to make a drastic change in my life

My relationship with food had begun to change before I saw Food, Inc.  I had immersed myself in the work of learning more about food, its production, and the changes that had come to our modern-day food supply.  I read books as fast as I could turn their pages.  By the time we left the theater when Food, Inc. had ended, I had made a decision.  I was going to take back control of the food served at our family table.  As a family, we were going to hold our food supply firmly within our grasp.

Months later, we were building our first chicken coop and expanding the garden.  We have continued to increase the amount of food that we produce for our own table and animals that we raise to produce eggs and milk for our family.

Many Americans don’t have that option.  For a multitude of reasons, they don’t have the ability to plant a garden, build a chicken coop, or visit a farmer’s market for seasonal, regional produce.  In fact, many of them live in food deserts where they don’t even have access to a store that carries fresh produce for sale.  Instead, they are faced with a dizzying array of super processed packaged food that contains empty calories and little nourishment.

Many of these families are beneficiaries of government assistance to help them bridge the gap between their paycheck and the cost of putting food on their table.  The benefit amount can be as little as $4.00 per day towards paying for their breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  That isn’t much, and doesn’t go all that far, but it’s a start towards addressing the problem of food insecurity.

Unfortunately, even that small bit of assistance is at risk.  With governmental budget cuts looming large, these children and their families might see a reduction or total elimination in their benefits.  Fortunately, we can all do something to help.

This morning, I sent my personal message to Congress asking them to protect the programs that ensure that our nation’s children are insulated from hunger.  I encourage you to do the same.

I also encourage you to take measures to ensure your family’s food security.  Use the same tried and true methods our grandparents did.  Plant a garden, build a chicken coop, purchase goods from local farmers and seek out restaurants and locally owned shops that do the same.

I believe that we all need to deepen our relationship with the food we eat.  By doing so, we strengthen our nation’s food supply and the society that it supports.  We also take a bold step towards raising a new generation of Americans that understand the true value of food.  I hope that they will be hungry for change and will literally take matters into their own hands.

Those hands have the power to help solve this problem.  They can refuse to relinquish control of their own food supply.  Hopefully, they will also refuse to let other Americans suffer from hunger.  I’m hoping that my two children will be part of that solution.

So, when I go to see A Place at the Table later this month, I’ll have my oldest child in tow.  I’ll hope that by the time the movie ends, she will have made the decision to forever hold her food supply firmly in her grasp and help others to do the same.

As part of The Giving Table’s Bloggers Against Hunger Campaign, I am including a recipe in this post that provides a nutritious, healthy meal for a family with a tight budget in mind.  This pasta recipe is healthy, delicious, and cost-effective.

Instead of the typical heavy macaroni and cheese sauce, this version utilizes carrots to bring richness and nutrition to the dish.  Carrots are inexpensive, less than $1.00 per bag at my local grocery store for an organic brand.  They are also available year round.

Fresh fruits and vegetables can be difficult to afford on a tight budget, but carrots are a great value.  They are also full of nutrition and have a lengthy shelf life.  They are a wonderful way to dramatically increase the nutrition on your family’s dinner plate without seeing a noticeable increase in your grocery bill.  Pasta is inexpensive and readily available.  I like to use sharp cheddar when making this recipe, but another cheese could be substituted in order to stay under budget with equally delicious results.

Carrotoni and Cheese
adapted from Food & Wine April 2009

It took me several attempts to get this recipe just right.  While the original recipe calls for baking the dish in the oven, I find that baking the pasta leads to a drier macaroni than suits my taste.  I prefer to skip the baking step and enjoy a creamier version of this dish.  Either way, the end result tastes delicious and is packed with beta carotene, vitamins, and minerals.  If you have fresh or dried thyme on hand, adding a pinch to the sauce provides a lovely accent for the carrots.

16 ounces carrots, peeled and sliced
8 ounces vegetable stock or salted water
6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
12 ounces dry pasta
salt and pepper to taste

Combine carrots and vegetable stock or salted water in a medium-sized saucepan over medium high heat.  Bring to boil, reduce heat to low and cover.  Simmer for 15-25 minutes until fork tender.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil.  Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the boiling water.  Add pasta to the pot and return to boil.  As pasta is cooking to al dente, remove 1 cup of pasta water.

Add pasta water to carrot mixture.  Using blender, immersion blender or potato masher, process the cooked carrots until smooth.  Add cheese and stir until melted and smooth. Taste and season accordingly with salt, pepper, and fresh or dried herbs if desired.  Add cooked pasta to the mixture and stir to combine.  Serve hot.


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Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Spinach

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Spinach at 1840 FarmThere are few things that I love more than spending time in the kitchen with my family.  In fact, we have a tradition of declaring the occasional Saturday night as a “Family Feast Night”.  I can’t remember one Family Feast Night that didn’t involve laughter, a great meal, and a memory that will remain fresh in my mind for years to come.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Spinach at 1840 FarmOn those Saturdays, we gather in the kitchen mid afternoon, fire up a little background music from our turntable, and prepare dinner together.  We tend to select recipes that require a big time commitment and the work of many hands.  There are two reasons for this.  The first is that these recipes don’t appear on our menu board very often due to the time constraints of everyday life.  The second is much simpler:  we enjoy our time in the kitchen together so much that we want it to last just a little longer.

The menu item that garners the most requests and creates the most excitement on Family Feast Night is sweet potato gnocchi.  Family dinner is more fun when you can get your hands dirty rolling ropes of gnocchi dough on the kitchen table before cutting each piece yourself.  My children take great pride in turning out baking sheets full of the little orange pillows before I roll them down the tines ofSweet Potato Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Spinach at 1840 Farm a fork.  My husband and I take great pride in visualizing them teaching their children to make gnocchi years from now.

We grow our own sweet potatoes here at 1840 Farm.  While we enjoy them in a variety of recipes, this is our clear favorite.  When our homegrown sweet potatoes are fully cured and ready to be enjoyed, this is predictably the first sweet potato recipe we make.  In fact, our annual harvest is judged by how many batches of sweet potato gnocchi it will yield.

In addition to being a family favorite, this recipe also happens to be delicious.  The delicate gnocchi offer a perfect counterpoint to the earthy mushrooms and spinach.  The end result is a light yet satisfying dish that never disappoints in my house.  I’m willing to bet that it won’t disappoint in yours either.


Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Spinach
Serves 6
This recipe comes together quite easily, but does require a bit of prep time. At our house, we make a double recipe and save half of the gnocchi for a second evening’s dinner. These frozen, unboiled gnocchi can be individually frozen and then stored in a freezer bag for later use. When the time comes, frozen gnocchi can be dropped directly into a pot of boiling salted water. They will take a few extra minutes to float to the surface and cook completely, but the taste will not be affected by their stay in the freezer.
  1. 2 pounds raw sweet potatoes
  2. 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  3. 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  4. 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
  5. 2 cups All-purpose flour
  6. 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  7. 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  8. 1 cup vegetable stock
  9. 2 Tablespoons butter
  10. 6 ounces baby spinach leaves, washed
  11. Parmesan cheese to garnish
  1. Wash the sweet potatoes and puncture all over with a fork. Place half of the potatoes on a microwave safe plate and microwave on high in 4 minute intervals until soft. When fully cooked, the sweet potatoes should have the texture and appearance of a well baked sweet potato. Remove from the plate and set aside to cool. Repeat with the remaining sweet potatoes.
  2. Once the cooked sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, split each potato in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scrape the flesh from the skin and place into a potato ricer. Rice the sweet potato into a large bowl. Repeat until all the sweet potatoes have been riced into the bowl. If you do not have access to a potato ricer, the cooked sweet potato flesh can be placed in the large bowl and mashed using a hand potato masher.
  3. Add ricotta cheese, brown sugar, and salt to the sweet potatoes and stir until well combined. Add 1 ¼ cups of the flour to the sweet potato mixture and stir until fully incorporated. Add the remaining flour ¼ cup at a time until the dough forms a soft ball. The goal is to create a soft dough that comes together without being too dry.
  4. Turn dough out of the bowl onto a well-floured surface. Divide the dough into 8 equally sized sections. Remove one of the sweet potato dough sections and roll on a floured surface to form a rope with a 1 inch diameter. Using a knife, cut the rope into one inch long pieces.
  5. Traditionally, gnocchi are individually rolled on a gnocchi paddle or over a fork in order to create ridges that trap the sauce on each piece. I enjoy the process of pushing each piece of gnocchi across the tines of a fork with my thumb.
  6. However, if you find this intimidating or simply don't have the time, don't despair. This step can be skipped and the gnocchi can simply be prepared once they are cut. While the appearance will differ slightly, the flavor will still be delicious.
  7. Meanwhile, place a large stockpot filled with water over high heat. Once the water comes to a simmer, add 1 Tablespoon of salt and allow the water to come to a full rolling boil. Reduce the heat slightly and allow the water to continue boiling as the sauce is prepared.
  8. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté without stirring until they have released their liquid and most of it has evaporated, approximately 7 minutes. Add the broth and butter and stir to incorporate. Remove the pan from heat and cover to keep warm.
  9. Boil the gnocchi in batches small enough to allow them to move freely in the salted boiling water without being crowded. The gnocchi will begin to float on the surface of the water as they cook. Continue to cook for approximately one minute before removing with a slotted spoon to a lightly oiled baking sheet to allow the gnocchi to dry slightly. Continue until all of the gnocchi have been cooked.
  10. Return the saucepan with the mushrooms to a burner set over medium heat. Add the spinach and stir until the spinach wilts and the sauce comes up to temperature. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste. Add the cooked gnocchi to the pan and gently stir to coat. Serve immediately, garnishing with grated Parmesan.

This recipe was featured in our newsletter.  To make sure that you don’t miss any of our original content or favorite recipes, DIY projects, and homesteading advice from around the web, subscribe to The 1840 Farm Community Newsletter. Visit our subscription form to become the newest member of The 1840 Farm Community.

Our newsletter isn’t the only way to follow what’s happening here at 1840 Farm.
You’re always welcome at 1840 Farm
and at The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.
You can also find 1840 Farm throughout the social media universe on
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, and Bloglovin‘.

We even created a new 1840 Farm Community Newsletter Pinterest board to catalog
our newsletter content so that you could easily pin your favorites to your own boards.

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Soupe à l’Oignon Gratinèe

Soupe à l'Oignon Gratinèe at 1840 FarmSome recipes stand the test of time.  If a recipe can stay close to its original incarnation for a decade, I am impressed with its longevity.  When a recipe remains unchanged for 100 years, I’m rushing to the farmhouse kitchen to start gathering ingredients.

Soupe à l'Oignon Gratinèe at 1840 FarmI first saw this recipe in 2007.  I was happily reading a copy of The Sunday New York Times when I came across a photo of a Dutch Oven filled with a beautiful, caramelized dish.  I went on to read the article and learned that the recipe was published in the French cookbook “Gastronomie Pratique” in 1907.  It wasn’t translated into English until 1974.  That same year, The Times published the recipe in an article by the infamous Craig Claiborne.

A century later, this recipe is still pitch perfect.  It combines my favorite aspects of French Onion Soup and adds a few that I hadn’t even realized were missing.  The end result is rich, comforting, and earthy.

Instead of the brothy French Onion Soups that I was accustomed to, this was by all accounts a savory bread pudding, studded with tomato and caramelized onions.  It was sublime and almost defied description.

Craig Claiborne managed to sum it up in a sentence from his recipe, “The soup is ready when the surface looks like a crusty, golden cake and the inside is unctuous and so well blended that it is impossible to discern either cheese or onion.”  I won’t update his description.  His choice of words is as perfect as the recipe itself.

I could go on and on attempting to describe the perfection that is this dish, but  I don’t feel like I need to.  The fact that it has survived over 100 years makes it the stuff of legends.  One bite and you’ll be sure to add it to your recipe collection for the next century and beyond.

Soupe à l’Oignon Gratinèe

serves 6 as a main course
Originally Published in “Gastronomie Pratique” by Ali-Bab in 1907
Adapted from the Craig Claiborne’s recipe published in 1974 in The New York Times

I like to use homemade bread for this recipe.  You can use any crusty loaf, homemade or store bought.  The bread will be toasted, so a slightly stale loaf can be used if you happen to have one on hand.

12 ounces crusty bread
4 Tablespoons butter, softened
4 ounces Gruyère
3 pounds yellow onions (approximately 8 medium), sliced thinly
4 Tablespoons butter
6 ounces tomato paste
2 ounces water
4 ounces Gruyère, shredded
6 cups vegetable stock

                Soupe à l'Oignon Gratinèe at 1840 FarmSoupe à l'Oignon Gratinèe at 1840 FarmSoupe à l'Oignon Gratinèe at 1840 Farm

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with cooling racks.  Slice the bread into 1/2″ thick slices and arrange them in a single layer on the cooling racks.  Place the baking sheets in the preheated oven and bake until lightly toasted, approximately 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.

Slice the Gruyère very thinly.  I like to use a vegetable peeler to make paper-thin slices.  You can choose to grate the cheese if you prefer.

Divide the 4 Tablespoons of butter among the bread slices, spreading it across the top of each slice.  Divide the Gruyère among the slices, allowing the cheese to rest on top of the soft butter.  Return the bread slices to the oven until the cheese is melted, around 5-10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and set aside as the other components are prepared.

In a large oven safe pot or Dutch Oven, melt 4 Tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat.  When the butter is completely melted, add the onions and a pinch of salt.  Saute the onions, stirring often, for 15 – 20 minutes.  The onions will take on a beautiful, golden brown color as their natural sugars begin to caramelize.  Remove the pot from the heat and transfer the caramelized onions to a large bowl.

Place the vegetable stock in a saucepan over medium heat.  Warm the stock to a simmer..  Reduce the heat to low.  In a small bowl, mix the tomato paste and water until fully combined into a tomato puree.

              Soupe à l'Oignon Gratinèe at 1840 Farm Soupe à l'Oignon Gratinèe at 1840 Farm Soupe à l'Oignon Gratinèe at 1840 Farm

Arrange approximately one-third of the prepared bread slices in a single layer in the large pot used to cook the onions.  Top the bread slices with 1/3 of the onions followed by 1/3 of the tomato mixture, spreading both to fully cover the layer beneath.  Repeat by adding another layer of bread followed by onions and then tomato puree until there are three layers of each in the pot.  The pot should not be more than 2/3 full in order to prevent it from boiling over in the oven.

Soupe à l'Oignon Gratinèe at 1840 FarmUsing a ladle, gently add the warm stock along the edge of the pot.  Add the stock slowly in order to allow the bread slices to begin to absorb the liquid.  Add liquid until it is at a level just below the top layer of onions.  The amount of stock needed will vary depending on the size of your pot.  Once the necessary liquid has been added, place the shredded cheese on top, distributing evenly.

Return the pot to a burner over medium heat.  Bring the liquid to a gentle boil before reducing the heat to medium-low.  Simmer, uncovered for 15 – 20 minutes.  Place the pot on top of a baking sheet and transfer the baking sheet to the oven.  Bake uncovered for 45 – 60 minutes or until the soup matches Craig Claiborne’s description.

When finished, the top will brown and form a light crust and the bread beneath will have absorbed most of the liquid.  The onions, tomato paste, and Gruyère will combine beautifully and impart their earthy flavor to each flavorful bite.  Serve hot and marvel at the perfection of a dish that is still perfect after 100 years.

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Cast Iron Skillet Cinnamon Bread

Cast Iron Skillet Cinnamon Rolls at 1840 FarmFor the last few weeks, I have been trying to find inspiration for a new bread recipe to share.I didn’t have to wait long for inspiration to strike.  Lisa from Fresh Eggs Daily mentioned that she had made a delicious cast iron skillet bread and shared a photo.  As soon as I saw her beautiful loaf, I knew that I wanted to try her recipe for myself.  I had a feeling that it just might help point me in the direction of that new bread recipe I was hoping for.

A few hours later, I was in our farmhouse kitchen with my two children surrounded by the ingredients to make her Cast Iron Pan Cloverleaf French Bread.  We modified the recipe slightly to fit the ingredients we had on hand and the pan that we were using.  As it baked in the oven, the whole house took on the intoxicating aroma of freshly baked bread.

Cast Iron Skillet Cinnamon Rolls at 1840 FarmThe loaf was delicious.  It garnered rave reviews from everyone gathered around our table that night and the following evening.  In fact, it was such a hit that we made it again, this time arranging individual portions of dough in the pan to resemble a sunflower shape.

Then the idea for my new recipe finally came to me.  I wondered if I could take the recipe and transform it into a skillet full of cinnamon bread.  There was only one way to find out.  It was time to head back into the kitchen.

We baked the bread on Saturday evening and then warmed them in the oven on Sunday morning.  We added a drizzle of vanilla icing to the warm bread right before serving.

I am happy to report that the cinnamon bread was a hit with the whole family.  They are sure to become a regular feature on our weekend breakfast table.

Cast Iron Skillet Cinnamon Bread
serves 6

This is a fantastic recipe to make with children or a bread baking novice.  Kneading the small portions of dough is easy to master.  By the time you have kneaded and formed twelve pieces of dough, you will have mastered both techniques!

12 ounces warm water
1 teaspoon honey
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups (480 grams) all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon butter, melted

4 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup (144 grams) dark brown sugar

1 Tablespoon butter, melted
4 Tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine water and honey in a large bowl.  Sprinkle yeast over the liquid mixture and allow to rest for five minutes.  At the end of five minutes, the yeast should be foamy.

Add the melted butter and salt to the yeast mixture.  Mix to combine.  Add the flour, mixing until a shaggy dough forms.  Divide the dough into twelve equal portions.

Melt 1 Tablespoon of butter.  Using a pastry brush, butter a 10″ cast iron skillet.  Reserve the remaining butter and set the buttered skillet aside as you prepare the bread and filling.

Make the cinnamon filling.  In a small bowl, combine 4 Tablespoons melted butter with the ground cinnamon and brown sugar.  Mix until it forms a smooth paste.

On a lightly floured surface, knead each portion of dough until it comes together into a smooth ball.  Set aside and repeat until all twelve portions of dough have been kneaded.

Using your fingers, gently stretch one ball of dough slightly.  Place 1 Tablespoon of the cinnamon filling on the dough and pull the edges around the filling, pinching them together.  Place this round roll in the middle of the buttered skillet to serve as the center of the flower.

To form the petals, stretch the next ball of dough into an oblong shape.  Add a Tablespoon of filling on the dough before pulling the edges around the filling and pinching them closed.  Repeat with the remaining balls of dough.  Arrange the eleven oblong pieces around the perimeter of the round ball in the center of the pan to look like the petals of the sunflower.

Brush the top of the bread with the remaining melted butter used to butter the skillet.  Using a very sharp knife, cut a slit in each roll from the center of the pan outward in order to allow the dough to rise.  Place the skillet in a draft-free place to rise for one hour or until the bread has risen to the top of the pan.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 25-35 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

Prepare the icing by combining 1 Tablespoon of melted butter with powdered sugar and vanilla extract in a small bowl.  Mix until completely smooth.  Drizzle over the warm bread before serving.

The bread can be baked a day in advance.  Allow to cool completely before covering the pan with aluminum foil.  Before serving, place the covered skillet in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until warmed through.  Remove the pan from the oven and top with the vanilla icing.  Serve warm.

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Grilled Cheese for Everyone

The World English Dictionary defines the word sandwich as a noun meaning “two or more slices of bread, usually buttered, with a filling of meat, cheese, etc.”  It’s hard for me to argue.  I’ve been eating sandwiches for a long time and most versions stay true to this description.

What if there was no bread?  I mean, it is called a grilled cheese sandwich, isn’t it?  This delectable menu item should be all about the cheese.  The bread could be replaced and still leave us with a grilled cheese sandwich, couldn’t it?

Before the bread lovers of the world start composing their rebuttals, I should state up front that I like bread.  In fact, a bite of brioche from Standard Baking Co. can render me speechless by virtue of being too blissfully occupied to care about casual conversation.   It wasn’t a hatred for bread that inspired me to turn the grilled cheese status quo on its head.

Instead, I was thinking of people who want to enjoy the comfort of a warm, gooey grilled cheese but have dietary concerns beyond what type of cheese to use in their sandwich.  I was thinking of my daughter who tries to match insulin to every gram of carbohydrate that crosses her lips.  I was thinking of friends who exclude gluten from their diet.  I was thinking that I love a kitchen challenge where the reward will be a smile on my daughter’s face.

Sure, I could simply substitute two slices of gluten-free bread for those trying to eliminate it from their lunch plate.  Yes, a person counting their carbohydrates could select two slices of low carbohydrate, high fiber bread.  But what if they didn’t have to?

First, I had to decide what qualities the bread was bringing to a grilled cheese sandwich.  There’s the finger food factor.  A true grilled cheese can be picked up and eaten out of hand.  There is no need for a knife and fork.  Then there’s the structure that the bread contributes to the end product.  Melted cheese alone is a bit lacking in structure.  It needs a little assistance in that regard.

There’s the mouth feel that a toasted slice of bread delivers.  It carries the delicious taste of the melted butter and crunches lightly when you bite into it before revealing the soft interior of the bread.  Finally, there’s the look of the grill marks on the outside of the bread.  I can’t help it, but they’re beautiful to me in the same way that grill marks on a perfectly cooked steak are poetic to someone who loves a steak.  They signal that the food bearing those perfect perpendicular marks has been carefully prepared.  They tell me that my grilled cheese has been cooked long enough to melt the cheesy layer hiding underneath yet not long enough to burn the bread.  I had to select something that could wear those marks with pride.

I stood at the refrigerator surveying my options.   I love lettuce and lettuce wraps, but it just wasn’t what I was looking for.  Lettuce would prove too fragile, too difficult to effectively melt the cheese without compromising the taste of the lettuce.   Carrots weren’t large enough and I feared having to blanch them before drying them and then grilling them in order to cook the carrot sufficiently.  I wasn’t looking for a two-hour grilled cheese preparation.  I wanted something that could move from the fridge to the grill pan in only a few minutes much like a slice of bread moves from the breadbox to the pan.

Apples were an easy choice.  I love sliced apple with cheese, so I knew that the flavor would deliver.  I also knew that apples would cook in a short amount of time.  I hoped that the slices would soften slightly but retain at least a bit of crispness when the sandwich was eaten.  The carbohydrate count was more than acceptable given that I would leave the skin, and therefore the bulk of the fiber, intact.

I wanted a backup in case the apple became too soft.  I considered a potato, but a sizable slice would carry almost as many carbohydrates as a slice of low carb bread.  I wanted something a little different, something that would bring a little earthiness to the grill pan.  Then I remembered that there were still a handful of sweet potatoes in the pantry.  We had grown them in last year’s garden and were shocked at how delicious they were.  They were exactly what I was looking for.

Apple, sweet potato, and cheeses in hand, I headed to the stove.  I debated on using a sharp knife or my OXO mandoline to slice the apple and sweet potato.  In the end, I used the mandoline, but also made a few slices freehand and found them to be more than acceptable.  I set the mandoline to 1/4” and began to slice the freshly washed apple.

I topped one slice of apple with a few slices of smoked cheddar cheese.  After topping it with another apple slice, I set it aside and prepared a few more.  I set the grill pan over medium high heat and placed a small pat of butter inside.

As soon as the butter had melted and evenly coated the bottom of the pan, the apple cheddar sandwiches went in.  In a matter of minutes, the apple was proudly wearing those beautiful grill marks and my sandwich was done.  I removed them from the grill pan and allowed them to cool for a minute before slicing them in half.  It was time to taste this creation and see if I had hit or missed the mark.

The cheese was melted and gooey.  The apple was equal parts soft and crisp.  The sweetness of the apple played nicely off of the smokiness and sharpness of the cheddar.  I could only hope that the sweet potato would work as well.

I left the mandoline on the 1/4” setting and began to slice the peeled sweet potato.  I layered the slices with smoked Gruyère cheese and a sprinkling of dried thyme and black pepper before topping with another slice of sweet potato.  Then I followed the same process to cook the sandwich as I had with the apple cheddar variety.   It didn’t take long for me to see that the sweet potato was just as beautiful as the apple had been.

I called in my most candid taste testers and presented these two sandwiches for their review.  My children tried the sweet potato version first.  My daughter loved it.  My son told me that he liked the cheese, but the “bread” wasn’t his favorite.  The apple cheddar sandwich garnered a thumbs up from both of them.

I could tell by the look on their faces that these grilled cheese sandwiches had done exactly what I had hoped.  They had delivered the rich, homey comfort that a grilled cheese is known for despite their lack of bread.  They met all of my criteria for what a grilled cheese sandwich should be and more.

These were grilled cheese sandwiches for anyone and everyone:  gluten and carbohydrates be damned.  In the end, a grilled cheese sandwich wasn’t about the bread.  In fact, it wasn’t even about the cheese.  It was all about something much simpler and more pure than that.

The essence of the grilled cheese sandwich was about making food that brings comfort to someone you love.  To celebrate,  I sat down to share a grilled cheese sandwich with my daughter and enjoy watching a smile spread across her face.  I certainly didn’t need bread to do that.

Apple and Smoked Cheddar Grilled Cheese Sandwich

1 crisp apple of your preferred variety
smoked cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon butter

Using a mandoline or sharp knife, slice the freshly washed apple into 1/4 inch thick slices.  Top half of the apple slices with thinly sliced smoked cheddar cheese.  Use the remaining apple slices to top the cheese covered apples.

Warm a grill pan over medium high heat.  Once the pan is hot, add the butter and melt completely.  Add the prepared sandwich to the hot pan and reduce the heat to medium.  Grill for two minutes before turning one-quarter turn to create perpendicular grill marks.  After another two minutes, flip the sandwich and repeat the process on the other side.

Carefully lift a corner of the apple to confirm that the cheese has melted.  Allow extra time if necessary to melt the cheese.  Remove the sandwich from the pan and allow to cool for one minute.  Slice the grilled sandwich in half and serve warm.  Enjoy!

Sweet Potato and Smoked Gruyère Grilled Cheese

For this recipe, select a sweet potato that is more round than oblong.  Doing so will enable you to make a larger sandwich.  Alternately, you can slice the sweet potato lengthwise to produce the same result.

1 medium sweet potato, peeled
smoked Gruyère cheese, thinly sliced
dried thyme
freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon butter

Using a mandoline or sharp knife, slice the freshly peeled sweet potato into 1/4 inch thick  slices.  Top half of the sweet potato slices with thinly sliced smoked Gruyère cheese and season with thyme and black pepper.  Use the remaining slices to top the cheese covered sweet potato slices.

Warm a grill pan over medium high heat.  Once the pan is hot, add the butter and melt completely.  Add the prepared sandwich to the hot pan and reduce the heat to medium.  Grill for two minutes before turning one-quarter turn to create perpendicular grill marks.  After another two minutes, flip the sandwich and repeat the process on the other side.

Carefully lift a corner of the sweet potato to confirm that the cheese has melted and the sweet potato is cooked.  Allow extra time if necessary to melt the cheese and finish cooking the sweet potato.  When fully cooked, remove the sandwich from the pan and allow to cool for one minute.  Slice the grilled sandwich in half and serve warm.  Enjoy!

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Red, Wine, and Blue All Over Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I have been making Caramelized Onion and Red Wine Jam for several years.  It makes a lovely accompaniment to a cheese course or topping for a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich.  It is also perfect for gift giving and one of my most requested recipes.

Once you have made the jam, you’ll start finding uses for it everywhere you look.  This is one of our favorite ways to enjoy the jam, paired with our favorite blue cheese and grilled to perfection.



Red, Wine, and Blue All Over Grilled Cheese Sandwich
makes two sandwiches

This sandwich is the perfect excuse to splurge on the highest quality blue cheese you can find.  I can’t help but hope that your local cheese shop offers Bayley Hazen Blue.  If not, feel free to substitute your favorite creamy blue cheese.

1 teaspoon butter
4 slices of your favorite sandwich bread
2 ounces Bayley Hazen Blue cheese
2 Tablespoons caramelized onion and red wine jam

Crumble half of the blue cheese and divide evenly among two slices of bread.  Top the cheese covered slices with equal amounts of the caramelized onion and red wine jam.  Crumble the remaining blue cheese and place on top of the onion jam.  Top each sandwich with one of the remaining slices of bread.

Warm a grill pan over medium high heat.  Once the pan is hot, add the butter and melt completely.  Add the prepared sandwich to the hot pan and reduce the heat to medium.  Grill for two minutes before turning one-quarter turn to create perpendicular grill marks.  After another two minutes, flip the sandwich and repeat the process on the other side.

Carefully lift a corner of the sandwich to confirm that the cheese has melted and the onion mixture is warm.  Allow extra time if necessary to melt the cheese and warm the onion jam.

Once the cheese and onions are ready, remove the sandwich from the pan and allow to cool for one minute.  Slice the grilled sandwich in half and serve warm.  Enjoy!

To make sure that you don’t miss any of our original content or favorite recipes, DIY projects, and homesteading advice from around the web, subscribe to The 1840 Farm Community Newsletter. Visit our subscription form to become the newest member of The 1840 Farm Community.

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Sunrise Grilled Cheese Breakfast Sandwich

If you have read a few of my recipes, then you may have correctly deduced that I like to tinker.  I find it incredibly difficult to leave a recipe as I found it. I have had great successes.  A vegan brioche loaf made without eggs during our egg free years comes to mind.

I have also had my share of inedible failures.  The memory of a recipe purported to be Katherine Hepburn’s legendary brownies still makes me cringe.  After attempting to create it on three separate occasions I had to admit defeat, put the spatula down, and slowly back away from the mixing bowl.

When I was contacted by regarding their contest to commemorate National Grilled Cheese Month, my tinkering culinary tendencies went into high gear.  Trying to improve upon grilled cheese in a unique way would be tricky.  Carefully selecting a specific type of bread or featuring my family’s favorite raw milk cheddar seemed like too small a leap.  If I wanted to catch someone’s attention, I was going to have to get more creative.  I set my sights on a grilled cheese sandwich to grace a breakfast plate.Photo Mar 20, 8 45 43 AM

It also seemed like a worthy goal to create a grilled cheese sandwich that my family would enjoy eating.   I am happy to say that I did just that.  In fact, when my children tasted this version, they raved and then immediately put in their request for tomorrow’s breakfast.

This week, there will be more grilled cheese recipes to share from the 1840 Farm kitchen.  I don’t know if any of my recipes will garner attention from the contest judges.   I’m content knowing that my two favorite food critics declared this one a winner.

Sunrise Grilled Cheese Breakfast Sandwich
makes one sandwich

While this recipe calls for my favorite homemade clementine marmalade, a high quality prepared marmalade could be substituted.  If you don’t enjoy goat cheese, mascarpone or cream cheese could be used based on your preference.  If you don’t have a grill pan, don’t despair.  You can use a standard heavy bottomed skillet and create a sandwich without the grill lines, but with just as delicious a result.

2 slices of your favorite sandwich bread
4 Tablespoons goat cheese spread
2 Tablespoonsclementine marmalade
1 teaspoon butter

Spread 2 Tablespoons of goat cheese spread on each slice of bread.  Add the marmalade to one slice and then top with the other piece of bread.  Warm a grill pan over medium high heat.  Once pan is hot, add the butter and melt completely.

Add the prepared sandwich to the hot pan and reduce the heat to medium.  Grill for two minutes before turning one-quarter turn to create perpendicular grill marks.  After another two minutes, flip the sandwich and repeat the process on the other side.  Carefully lift a corner of the sandwich to confirm that the cheese has melted and the marmalade is warm.  Allow extra time if necessary to melt the cheese and warm the marmalade.

Once the cheese and marmalade are ready, remove the sandwich from the pan and allow to cool for one minute.  Slice the grilled sandwich in half and serve warm.  Enjoy!

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Roasted Heirloom Tomato Tart

Heirloom Tomatoes at 1840 FarmThere are certain foods that scream summer to me.  At the very top of the list is my beloved heirloom tomato.  I long ago confessed my deep-rooted love of tomatoes, especially the heirloom variety.  During the summer, heirloom tomatoes take center stage in the 1840 Farm kitchen.  Like a well-loved house guest, we eagerly anticipate their annual arrival and mourn their loss once we have eaten the last morsel.

We built a new hoophouse this spring in order to extend and expand our heirloom tomato harvest.  So far, it has been an astounding success.  We have harvested over 100 pounds of heirloom tomatoes this year with more than 90% of them coming from within the walls of the hoophouse.

While the nighttime temperatures have started to dip closer to frost than I would like to admit, the temperature in the hoophouse is warm and the tomato plants living inside appear to be in midseason form.  In fact, the temperature inside the hoophouse hit the century mark yesterday.  Here’s hoping that we’ll be harvesting ripe tomatoes for many weeks to come.

You might wonder what a family of six could possibly do with over 100 pounds of heirloom tomatoes.  I’ll let you in on our secret:  we eat every last bite.  We share the bounty with other tomato loving friends and preserve sauce and savory tomato jam for enjoying over the long winter in New England.

Mostly, we eat tomatoes.  Then we eat more tomatoes.  Then we invent ways to eat a few more tomatoes.  It’s not an easy job, but someone has to do it.

While we invent new recipes each summer, there are a few family favorites.  One of them is roasted heirloom tomato tart with ricotta and basil.  When asked what’s for dinner, answering with this recipe always makes for a happy family looking forward to sitting at the dinner table.

Gathering with my family to sit around the farmhouse table at the end of the day and share a meal is much dearer to me than heirloom tomatoes.  Finding a way to combine the two is a bonus.  The fact that we have put months of hard work into bringing those tomatoes to the table makes it seem a little sweeter.  Long live summer at 1840 Farm.

Roasted Heirloom Tomato Tart
serves 4 – 6 as a main course

This recipe was inspired by the Tomato-Ricotta Tart in Martha Stewart Living’s FOOD.  Over the years, we’ve made a few changes and this is the version we prefer.  I use scraps from the bottom of the pita chip bag for the crust, but good quality bread crumbs or panko would also be delicious.  If you don’t have a food scale handy for weighing the pita chips, use an appropriate amount to yield a generous two cups of crumbs.


180 grams pita chips or breadcrumbs
2 ounces (4 Tablespoons) olive oil
12 ounces ricotta cheese
1 ounce grated parmesan cheese
2 large eggs
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 pound heirloom tomatoes
olive oil
sea salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.  Prepare a 9 inch springform pan by wrapping the bottom in aluminum foil.  Set aside.

Place pita chips in the bowl of a food processor.  Process until chips have been transformed into fine crumbs.  Add olive oil and process until the mixture is evenly moist.  Empty crumb mixture into the prepared springform pan and press evenly to cover the bottom of the pan.

Rinse out the bowl and blade from the food processor.  Add ricotta cheese, eggs, and parmesan to the food processor and process until completely smooth.  Add basil and pulse until basil is evenly distributed throughout the ricotta mixture.

Carefully add the ricotta mixture to the springform pan.  Using a spatula, smooth the mixture over the crumb base to completely cover the pan.  Take care not to disturb the crust mixture any more than necessary.

Slice heirloom tomatoes and place on top of the ricotta, overlapping where needed to fully cover the top.  Brush the top of the tart with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place springform pan on a baking sheet and place in the preheated oven.  Bake for 40 minutes or until the tomatoes are beginning to dry and the ricotta mixture has become firm and golden.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool ten minutes.  Carefully run a thin metal spatula or paring knife around the outside edge of the tart to loosen it from the pan.  Unmold the tart, cut into slices and serve warm.

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Heirloom Red Quinoa with Roasted Tomatoes and Chick Peas

I’ve been busy in the 1840 Farm kitchen the last few days trying to develop a recipe for the new Food 52 challenge.   A week ago, I received an Email challenging all members of Food 52 to enter recipes using products from the bulk bin at their local grocery store.  The focus of the challenge was whole grains and dried beans.  Since these ingredients find their way onto our dinner plates on a regular basis, I was in.

Let me start by saying that I would never, ever buy anything from the bulk bins.  No, I’m not a germophobe of the Melvin Udall variety from As Good As It Gets.  Well, maybe a little, but not to his extreme.  I do carry hand sanitizer with me everywhere I go and I certainly don’t go looking for germs to bring home with me.

I can assure you that I do not wear plastic gloves to pick up our dog Pete or take my own disposable silverware with me when I leave the house.  Of course, now that I think of it, Pete does resemble Verdell quite a bit.  But getting back to my point, my germ avoidance does have its bounds.

I steer clear from the bulk bins because I know that allergens are lurking there.  I have no way of knowing if the bin containing beautiful red quinoa today was home to cashews yesterday.  The bulk bins are definitely off-limits in our house.  When you live with food allergies, you skip the bulk bin in the hopes of skipping an ambulance trip to the emergency room.

In spite of my self-imposed limitation, I played along with the theme of this contest.  Although none of my ingredients originated from a bulk bin, they could definitely be found there.  The recipe has been posted and the meal was delicious, if I do say so myself.

If you have been trying to convince someone in your life to give quinoa a try, this may be the perfect place to start.  It was creamy and slightly sweet due to the roasted tomatoes with flavor to spare.  We served it with an arugula salad and a freshly baked loaf of crusty bread with roasted garlic.  It would also pair beautifully with roasted or grilled meat if you are so inclined.

I’ll leave it up to you to choose where you want to purchase the ingredients and what you to serve it with at your house.  I hope that you enjoy the recipe as much as we did.  There were a lot of happy diners gathered around our farmhouse table last night.  No matter how my recipe fares in this challenge, we’ve got one more delicious, healthy dinner recipe to add to our collection, so I’ve won already.

Heirloom Red Quinoa with Roasted Tomatoes and Chick Peas
serves 4 – 6 as a main course


  • 1  1/2 cup dried garbanzo beans
  • 4  1/2 cups water
  • 12 ounces red quinoa
  • 28 ounces vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • parmesan cheese for serving

    1. Carefully pick over dried beans. Remove any damaged beans or foreign objects. Cover with 4 1/2 cups of water and allow to sit at least four hours or overnight in container large enough to allow beans to expand.

    1. Drain beans and rinse with cold water. Place rinsed beans in large stockpot with enough water to cover by three inches (this should be between 4 and 5 cups of water depending on the size of your pot).

    1. Bring beans to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Continue to cook at a gentle simmer, stirring often for 60 to 90 minutes or until tender. Do not add salt to the water as the beans cook. Doing so will result in a bean with a mushy outer shell. Instead, salt the beans as soon as they are cooked to your liking. Adding salt after they are cooked completely will not affect their texture or appearance.

    1. Remove the beans from heat. Drain beans in colander. Set aside.

    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line two rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil.

    1. Rinse tomatoes. Split each tomato in half lengthwise. Toss tomatoes with chopped garlic and olive oil. Spread into a single layer on one of the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle with chopped thyme, sea salt, and freshly ground pepper.

    1. Pour drained garbanzo beans onto a clean tea towel and dry by gently rubbing moisture from the beans. Move garbanzo beans to the second prepared baking sheet. Toss with olive oil. Chop fresh rosemary finely and sprinkle over garbanzo beans. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

    1. Roast tomatoes and garbanzo beans in the oven until slightly charred and fragrant, about 20 minutes.

    1. Meanwhile, cook chopped onion in a large pot over medium heat with olive oil. Cook 5 – 6 minutes or until translucent.

    1. Slowly add vegetable stock and quinoa to pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cover. Cook 15 to 20 minutes, stirring often. You will know the quinoa is done when the white germ ring becomes visible on the outer edge of each grain.

    1. When quinoa is completely cooked, remove lid and turn off heat. Add roasted tomatoes and garbanzo beans and stir gently to incorporate without breaking up the tomatoes.

  1. Top with shaved parmesan cheese. Serve warm.

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A Chili of a Different Sort

This winter has been unusually cold and snowy.  We’ve started to feel like it will never end.  Our beloved vegetable garden is buried deep in a snowy tomb making it hard to picture that we will ever be able to plant anything but icicles there anytime soon.  And by soon, I mean in the next six months.

I am a New Englander.  I expect winter to be long, but I don’t have to like it.  I do, however, have to try to invent ways to help keep us warm, fed, and not quite so frustrated with the longest indoor season.  So, when my husband pointed out a new chili recipe in the February issue of Bon Appetit, I was all eyes.  After I read the recipe, I felt a pang of guilt as I considered cheating on our beloved 1840 Farm Chili, but desperate seasons sometimes call for desperate measures.

Then my husband had to raise the stakes a little further and point out a recipe in the January/February issue of Men’s Health for a chili puree from Chef Tim Love.  Off I went to the pantry.  I was in luck.  I actually had all of the ingredients to make my own version of this recipe.  I also love a challenge, so figuring out a way to modify these recipes and use them together seemed like a good way to spend my morning.  Especially if it meant that there would be chili for dinner.

The chili I created differs in every way from our usual version.  First, it starts with a homemade chili puree instead of relying on dry seasonings added to the chili pot to give it a kick.  It includes only one type of bean instead of our usual four.  This chili also includes butternut squash, bulgur wheat, and coffee.  This chili takes hours to prepare as compared to the 60 minutes that our standby 1840 Farm Chili with Sweet Corn Masa requires.  At the end of the day, maybe I need to rename one of these recipes.  Calling them both “chili” seems a little confusing after pointing out just how different they are.

You may be asking yourself, “What kind of chili is this?”  Reader, I will tell you simply that it is chili of the delicious variety.  It has a depth of flavor that amazed me.  The chipotle chilies with coffee and spices yield an incredibly smoky, complex flavor.  This is not your typical spicy one note chili.  This one is a chili opera.

You may think that I am over exaggerating here, but I can assure you that I am not.  Go ahead, try it for yourself and tell me that I’m wrong.  Just don’t expect me to respond right away.  I’ll be too busy eating my chili.

Smoky Chili Puree
adapted from Real Texas-Style Chili by Tim Love
published in the January/February 2011 issue of Men’s Health

Tim Love’s original recipe  calls for dried chilies.  Since I didn’t have them on hand, I substituted chipotle chilies in adobo which I always have in my pantry.  I also added instant espresso powder to the mix to give the coffee flavor a boost.

8 ounces brewed coffee
3 chipotle chilies in adobo
4 Tablespoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoon instant espresso powder

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Puree until smooth.  Set aside.

Smoky Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash or Pumpkin
serves 12
adapted from Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash
published in the February 2011 issue of Bon Appetit

While the original recipe calls for butternut squash, I find that pumpkin adds a more earthy, slightly sweet flavor.  After Thanksgiving has passed, the pumpkins that decorate the farmhouse throughout the fall are peeled and diced so that we can freeze the pumpkin and use it all winter long in this chili.  Don’t worry, we don’t let the seeds go to waste.  We roast some for snacking and share some of them raw with our heritage breed hens.

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 recipe smoky chili puree
56 ounces diced/chopped tomatoes
1 pound dry black beans, rinsed
2 teaspoons dried oregano
10 cups water
2 pounds butternut squash or pumpkin, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup bulgur wheat
cheddar cheese
sour cream
pickled jalapeno pepper slices

In large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions and saute for 8 to 10 minutes until translucent.  Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes until fragrant, stirring constantly.  Add chili paste and stir to combine.  Add tomatoes, beans, oregano, and water and stir to combine.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer with pot lid slightly ajar for 2 hours or until beans are tender.

Add butternut squash and bulgur wheat.  Return mixture to a simmer and cook without lid for 30-45 minutes until squash is tender.  Season to taste with salt and black pepper.  Garnish with cheese, sour cream, and jalapeno and serve.

1840 Farm Cornbread
This recipe couldn’t be any simpler to make.  You can have it mixed and in the oven in under five minutes.  While not an overly sweet cornbread, the vanilla extract gives the bread a lovely flavor.  It makes a wonderful accompaniment to the Smoky Black Bean Chili.  I use our own freshly ground cornmeal and organic, non-GMO home milled whole wheat flour in this recipe.  You can substitute a good quality yellow cornmeal and King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour if you prefer.

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1 cup skim milk
2 1/2 ounces butter or margarine, melted
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a 9 x 9 pan with parchment paper and set aside.

Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.  Combine liquid ingredients with egg in bowl and beat with whisk until smooth.  Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and stir with spatula until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cornbread comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack.  Serve warm.

This post was featured in The 1840 Farm Community Newsletter. To make sure that you don’t miss any of our original content or favorite recipes, DIY projects, and homesteading advice from around the web, subscribe to The 1840 Farm Community Newsletter. Visit our subscription form to become the newest member of The 1840 Farm Community.

Our newsletter isn’t the only way to follow what’s happening here at 1840 Farm.
You’re always welcome at 1840 Farm
and at The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.
You can also find 1840 Farm throughout the social media universe on
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, and Bloglovin‘.

We even created a new 1840 Farm Community Newsletter Pinterest board to catalog
our newsletter content so that you could easily pin your favorites to your own boards.

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