Category Archive: Fresh From the Garden

Strawberry Puff Pancake

Strawberry Puff Pancake at 1840 FarmI have many fond memories of this dish from my childhood.  My mother made this recipe for countless holiday morning breakfasts.  It was always topped with fresh strawberries, sour cream, and a sprinkling of brown sugar.  It was always called Strawberry Puff Pancake.

The name made sense given that the dish was topped with strawberries and the batter puffed dramatically while it baked in the oven.  It seemed magical to me that you could pour a thin batter into the pie plate, slide it in the oven and watch as it transformed into an airy, delicate concoction.

For a chicken keeper, this is a delicious celebration of the fresh eggs that we collect from our heritage breed hens.  The resulting pancake is full of the fresh, rich flavor of fresh eggs.  The flavor is paired with the beautiful golden color of the yolks provided by hens that enjoy sunshine, fresh air, and plenty of fresh green grass and treats.

I know now that this dish bears a remarkable resemblance to the German Dutch Baby or Dutch Pancake.  No matter its name, the recipe is similar to a popover and yields a light, eggy, custard-like pancake that is delicious when topped with fresh fruit. While the combination of sour cream and brown sugar with the fresh strawberries may seem curious at first, I promise that it won’t disappoint.  We have tried topping this pancake with whipped cream and syrup, but this is our favorite trio of toppings.

This is a family favorite here at 1840 Farm and sure to become one around your family table.  I hope that you’ll enjoy it just as much as we do!

Strawberry Puff Pancake (German Dutch Baby)
  1. 3 Tablespoons (1 ½ ounces) butter
  2. 3 large eggs
  3. 1 ½ cups (12 ounces) whole milk
  4. 6 Tablespoons (72 grams) granulated sugar
  5. ¾ cup (90 grams) All-purpose flour
  6. ¼ teaspoon salt
For Serving
  1. strawberries
  2. brown sugar
  3. sour cream
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the butter in a glass pie pan, 9 inch cast iron skillet, or similarly sized casserole dish and transfer to the warm oven as you prepare the batter. I like to place the baking dish or skillet on top of a cookie sheet to catch any excess batter that might overflow the pan as it bakes.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs using a whisk until they are light and frothy. Add the milk and whisk until well combined. Add the sugar, flour, and salt and whisk until the mixture is completely smooth.
  3. Remove the warm baking dish from the oven. Pour the batter into the pan and return it to the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the edges are puffed and lightly brown. When the pancake is fully baked, a sharp knife inserted into the middle of the pan will come out clean.
  4. Remove the pancake from the oven and serve topped with a sprinkling of brown sugar, fresh sliced strawberries, and a dollop of sour cream. Enjoy!

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Oven Roasted Heirloom Tomato Spaghetti

Oven Roasted Heirloom Tomato Spaghetti BrandedThis recipe hails from RIalto restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  I happened upon it by way of The Tomato Festival Cookbook.  For an heirloom tomato lover like me, this cookbook is filled with delicious possibilities.  It includes everything imaginable from cold salads to chocolate cakes that incorporate green tomatoes that simply won’t have enough time to ripen on the vine.

While we enjoy many recipes from or inspired by this cookbook, Chef Jody Adams’ recipe for roasted spaghetti is our absolute favorite.  The dish has a wonderfully rich flavor that we look forward to all year long.  The tomatoes take on a sweet earthiness after their time roasting in the oven which pairs perfectly with the arugula, onion, and basil.  This dish is also beautiful, a real showstopper.

I love to tinker with recipes, adding a little of this or taking away a little of that.  I am especially prone to doing so with pasta recipes, making alterations that tailor the finished dish to my family’s taste.  This dish is so perfect that I have made very few changes.  I didn’t need to.  It’s perfectly delicious just the way it is written and sure to impress and delight everyone gathered around your table at dinnertime.

Oven Roasted Heirloom Tomato Spaghetti
Serves 4
I have made very few changes to the original recipe. I find that our homegrown heirloom tomatoes don’t need the sugar called for in the original recipe, but you can certainly add it to your tomatoes if you feel that they could use a little hint of sweetness. I have also found that I can roast the tomatoes at a higher temperature than called for, reducing the cooking time by more than half with the same results. After a long day of working on the farm, I opt for getting dinner on the table in an hour instead of the three that the original recipe promises.
  1. 2 ounces olive oil
  2. 1 large onion, chopped
  3. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 16 – 20 basil leaves, torn or roughly chopped
  5. 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  6. 2 pounds ripe cherry tomatoes, rinsed and dried
  7. 2 ounces olive oil
  8. 2 teaspoons Sugar (optional)
  9. sea salt
  10. 1 pound spaghetti
  11. 2 cups (3.5 ounces) arugula
  12. Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat two ounces (1/4 cup) of olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for five minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute or until fragrant. Remove from heat and add the basil leaves and red pepper flakes.
  2. Add the cherry tomatoes to an oven safe casserole dish that can hold them in a single layer. If you are using the sugar, add two teaspoons and toss the tomatoes to coat. Using a large spoon, transfer the onion olive oil mixture to the dish, placing on top of the tomatoes. Sprinkle generously with salt. Gently add the remaining 2 ounces (1/4 cup) olive oil to the sides and transfer the pan to the warm oven. Roast until the tomatoes have softened and the skins are slightly charred, approximately 45 – 60 minutes.
  3. Near the end of the roasting time, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous teaspoon of salt to the water and return to a rapid boil. Add the spaghetti to the pot and cook until al dente according to the package instructions.
  4. Remove the tomatoes from the oven. Add the cooked pasta and arugula to the tomatoes and toss to fully combine and coat the spaghetti with the tomato infused olive oil. Serve immediately garnished with Parmesan cheese.
Adapted from Adapted from Spaghetti with Slow Roasted Tomatoes, Basil, and Parmesan Cheese in The Tomato Festival Cookbook
Adapted from Adapted from Spaghetti with Slow Roasted Tomatoes, Basil, and Parmesan Cheese in The Tomato Festival Cookbook

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Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta Pasta

Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta SquareWhen it comes to simple summer dinners, this recipe is as good as it gets.  In the time it takes for the water to come to a boil, I can have the entire recipe prepped and ready to cook.  By the time the pasta is perfectly cooked, the sauce is ready and dinner is served.

The inspiration for this pasta dish came from another summer favorite:  Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta with Basil.  We love to celebrate our beloved heirloom tomato season with fresh bruschetta on a warm summer afternoon.  So, why not prepare the rustic bruschetta topping and serve it with pasta instead of the traditional crusty loaf of bread?

The results are equally delicious.  It’s nice to have more than one way to celebrate the long-awaited arrival of heirloom tomato season.  It’s also nice to be able to serve a delicious, fresh dinner at our family table in less than 30 minutes from start to finish!

Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta Pasta
Serves 4
I love to make this pasta dish on a summer evening. The heat from the pasta warms the fresh tomatoes and basil and creates a delicious dish. I prefer to use sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil because that oil can be used to punch up the dish with an extra boost of the earthy tomato flavor infused in the oil.
  1. 1 pound heirloom tomatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
  2. 2 cloves garlic, minced or sliced thinly
  3. 1 ounce sun-dried tomatoes
  4. 1 Tablespoon oil from sun-dried tomatoes
  5. 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  6. 4 ounces mozzarella, cut into cubes
  7. 2 ounces smoked mozzarella, cut into cubes
  8. 12 ounces penne pasta
  9. 1 handful basil leaves, torn or sliced into thin ribbons
  10. salt and pepper to taste
  11. Balsamic Vinegar Glaze
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add 1 Tablespoon of salt to the water and return to boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes with the olive oil and garlic in a large skillet. Warm gently over low heat until the garlic is fragrant. Roughly chop or julienne the sun-dried tomatoes before adding them to the warm oil. Add the fresh tomatoes to the skillet and warm briefly over low heat.
  3. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and toss to coat. If the pan is dry, add water from the pasta pot to moisten. Remove from the heat and add the basil and mozzarella. Gently stir the mixture. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or pepper if needed. Serve warm garnished with balsamic vinegar glaze.

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Slow Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce

During the height of heirloom tomato season, we harvest several pounds of cherry tomatoes every day.  It’s intentional:  we plant two dozen cherry tomato plants every summer in our garden.  We have found that they store amazingly well in the freezer, allowing us to make this fresh sauce all winter long.  When the snow is flying outside, a pot of this sauce bubbling on the stove is a wonderful way to remind ourselves that summer will indeed come again.

At 1840 Farm, we enjoy this rich sauce served on fresh polenta made from cornmeal we grind ourselves.  It is also delicious tossed with spaghetti or served with pasta and meatballs. The flavor is rich and earthy with just the right amount of acidity and natural sweetness.

To freeze cherry tomatoes, simply wash them and allow them to dry fully on a clean kitchen towel.  Line a baking sheet or pan that fits into your freezer with freezer paper or parchment.  Place the tomatoes on the pan and place in the freezer.  Allow the tomatoes to freeze solid overnight before transferring to a freezer bag.  Don’t be concerned if the skins rupture as they freeze.  The tomatoes will still store incredibly well and produce a delicious sauce.

Slow Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce

We love to use our favorite heirloom cherry tomato, the Black Cherry, in this recipe.  You can substitute your favorite cherry or grape tomato variety with equally delicious results.

1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ounce dry vermouth
2 ounces tomato paste
1 pound Black Cherry Heirloom Tomatoes or your favorite variety
1/2 cup vegetable stock or water
salt and pepper to taste

Place a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add butter and olive oil.  Once the butter is melted, add the onion and stir to coat.  Cook until the onion is translucent, approximately 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for one minute.  Add the vermouth, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any caramelized pieces of onion or garlic.  Add the tomato paste and stir to fully combine.

Add the cherry tomatoes to the pan and stir to combine.  Allow the tomatoes to cook for 2-3 minutes or until they begin to soften and release their juices.  Using the back of a spoon or a potato masher, lightly crush the tomatoes.  Reduce the heat the low.  Allow the sauce to simmer for 10 minutes or until thick.  Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed.   Add more broth if necessary to achieve the desired consistency.

Reduce the heat to low and allow the sauce to continue to simmer, adding liquid if necessary.  The longer the tomatoes are allowed to cook, the more intense their flavor will be.  Serve the sauce spooned over polenta, spaghetti, or tossed with your favorite pasta, topping with freshly grated Parmesan cheese if desired.

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Broiled Cast Iron Skillet Eggs with Heirloom Tomatoes

I am always looking for a recipe that offers me a new way to prepare our fresh eggs to serve at our family table.  If that new recipe also includes heirloom tomatoes, all the better.  I happened upon this recipe in a copy of Martha Stewart Living from June 2011.  The technique was so simple and the photo so beautiful, that I couldn’t wait to try it.

The original recipe calls for using a nonstick skillet, but I prefer to prepare it in one of our seasoned cast iron skillets. I chose to use a locally produced smoked cheddar cheese and the heirloom tomatoes fresh from our raised bed  garden.  In a matter of minutes, this dish was ready to be served alongside a salad of fresh greens and a homemade flatbread.

The eggs were delicious.  They paired so well with the melted smoked cheddar and heirloom tomatoes that we couldn’t wait to enjoy them again.  Of course, we also couldn’t wait to try them with other types of cheese.  When heirloom tomato season ends, we’ll be experimenting with other flavor combinations.  Don’t worry, we’ll share our seasonal favorites right here with you!

Broiled Cast Iron Skillet Eggs with Heirloom Tomatoes
Inspired by Eggs Kevin from Martha Stewart Living, June 2011
Serves 2 as a main course

When preparing this dish for more than two people, I like to use two skillets.  You could use a single skillet, increasing the cooking time as needed to compensate for the slightly crowded pan.

1 Tablespoon butter
4 fresh eggs
salt and pepper
1 large heirloom tomato, sliced
fresh thyme
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup smoked cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  By preheating the oven, your broiler will be better able to properly finish the eggs in an incredibly short amount of time.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  When the pan is hot, add the butter, swirling to coat the surface of the bottom of the pan.  Crack the eggs into the skillet and season with salt and pepper.  Allow the eggs to cook for 1-2 minutes or until the whites are beginning to set.

Remove from the pan from the heat.  Evenly arrange the heirloom tomato slices in the pan.  Top with a sprinkling of fresh thyme and cover with the shredded cheddar.

Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven.  Turn on the broiler and broil until the whites are completely set and the yolks are done to your liking, approximately 1-2 minutes.  Remove from the oven and serve warm.

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Oven Roasted Heirloom Tomato Ricotta Tart

I originally posted this recipe back in the very early days of writing this blog.  It seems fitting that this would be one of the longest lived recipes on the blog as it has been a family favorite since before we made 1840 Farm our home.  Each summer, we look forward to this rustic tart topped with our homegrown heirloom tomatoes.

The combination of flavors in this dish is perfectly balanced.  The acidity and earthiness of the tomatoes is the star, but the creamy ricotta and bright basil accent it deliciously.  It’s no wonder that this dish is a perennial family favorite.


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

This recipe was inspired by a recipe published in Martha Stewart’s FOOD.  I use homemade bread crumbs from our Farmhouse Country Loaf for the crust.  Prepared bread crumbs or panko are also delicious. 

180 grams (2 cups) breadcrumbs
2 ounces (4 Tablespoons) olive oil
16 ounces ricotta cheese
2 ounces mozzarella cheese, cubed or shredded
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated
1 large egg
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 pound heirloom tomatoes
olive oil for brushing
salt and pepper

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

Slice bread into thick slices and place in the oven to dry.  When dry and cool, use a food processor to chop the toasted bread into fresh breadcrumbs.  With the motor running, add the olive oil and process until evenly moist.  Press mixture evenly in prepared pan, covering the bottom of the pan.

Rinse out the bowl and blade from the food processor.  Add ricotta cheese, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, and egg 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., spreading to cover. 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 transfer to 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 for 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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Creamy Summer Squash

During the summer growing season, our heirloom garden determines what’s for dinner every night here at 1840 Farm.  Every day, the farm provides inspiration for our dinner meal with the fresh eggs, milk, and garden produce that we harvest.  Heirloom tomato season is running a little behind, but our cucumber and squash harvests have both been ones for the record books.

In fact, this summer, I have picked over five pounds of heirloom zucchini squash in a day on more than one occasion.  I love zucchini, but bringing five pounds of squash into the farmhouse kitchen to join the five pounds already resting on the counter provided me with a culinary conundrum.  There was only one thing to do.  It was time to develop a new recipe to use up massive quantities of this fresh heirloom summer squash while it was still at its fresh, seasonal best.

The recipe that emerged has become a family favorite.  We have eaten it every week since squash season began and I will miss it when our season comes to a close.  Luckily, our plants show no sign of slowing down with new flowers appearing every day.

This creamy summer squash is full of earthy flavor with a creamy texture.  The last time I made it, I decided to top it with a sprinkling of the Big Devil Fennel Spice Blend that Pollen Ranch had sent me for our ongoing series of Fennel Friday posts.  This blend combines the flavors of fennel pollen with seven types of pepper, paprika, garlic, curry, ginger, and several other spices.  We liked this recipe before it was topped with this spicy blend.  We loved it once these spices were added to the creamy squash on our dinner plates.

This is my favorite type of seasonal recipe.  You don’t need to measure the ingredients precisely or use a kitchen timer to track the cooking time.  Instead, you can adjust the ingredients to your liking and cook the squash until it is as tender as you would like.  So be creative and see what you can create.  In fact, I would love to hear how you adjust this recipe to make it your family’s favorite way to enjoy your summer squash harvest!

Creamy Summer Squash
I like to use soy sauce to season this dish because it also lends an earthy flavor.  The mayonnaise is an easy way to add a creamy texture and tangy flavor without any effort.  The mayonnaise will blend easily with the soy sauce and summer squash’s liquid to emulsify into a smooth, creamy glaze that accentuates the freshness of the squash while still allowing its flavor to shine through.

Olive OIl
Summer squash cut into 1 inch cubes
1 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 – 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
Big Devil Fennel Spice Blend

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan.  Add the cubed summer squash and saute until the squash begins to soften and release its liquid, stirring often to prevent the squash from sticking to the pan.

Continue to cook until the squash is your desired tenderness and most of the liquid has evaporated.  Push the squash to the sides of the pan and place the butter and soy sauce in the middle.  Allow the butter to melt and blend with the soy sauce.  Gently stir the squash to coat with the soy sauce and butter.

Reduce the heat to low.  Add the mayonnaise to the pan and stir until the glaze is smooth and creamy.  Taste and adjust for seasoning.  Remove from heat and serve warm, topping with your favorite blend of spices.

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Julia Child’s Baked Cucumbers

It’s summer and we’re having a banner year for heirloom cucumbers.  We have picked over 25 pounds of them this year and there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight.  Having ten pounds of heirloom cucumbers resting on the kitchen counter is a powerful incentive to search for new ways to prepare and serve cucumbers.

Believe me, I’ve tried to find new and interesting ways to prepare our cucumber bounty.  The recipes seem to be few and far between.  I found numerous pickling preparations.  There were plenty of cold salads featuring cucumbers, but nothing was calling to me.  I was really in search of something different.

Then I remembered that Mastering the Art of French Cooking was filled with vegetable recipes including one for baked cucumbers.  I love all things related to Julia Child, my culinary idol.  I couldn’t wait to see if Julia could help me use this year’s cucumber harvest through a recipe written decades earlier.  It was time for me to try the infamous Concombres au Beurre.

It seemed impossible to me that I could bake cucumbers at all, much less for the hour that the recipe called for.  I was certain that I would open the door at the end of the baking time to find a puree of cucumbers staring back at me.

Yet, I’ve trusted Julia in other matters, so I was willing to push aside my doubts and see just what would happen when batons of cucumber were baked as long as I would bake a russet potato.  I’m so glad that I did.

The cucumbers were divine.  They are almost indescribable, except to say that they really didn’t taste much like a cucumber.  Instead, they had taken on an earthy flavor accentuated by the fresh herbs, butter, and vinegar.  It was almost as if they had been baked in a light Beurre blanc.

Somehow, they were perfectly balanced with just enough richness from the butter and acidity from the vinegar.  Together, those ingredients along with an hour in the oven had transformed a humble cucumber into something extraordinary.  Once again, I was right to trust Julia.

Concombres au Beurre (Baked Cucumbers)
From Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume One
serves 4 as a side dish

3 medium or 2 large cucumbers
1 Tablespoon wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 Tablespoons melted butter
fresh herbs
black pepper

Peel the cucumbers and use a spoon or sharp knife to remove the seeds.  Cut the cucumber flesh into batons approximately 1/2 inch wide by 2 inches long.  Place the batons in a bowl with the vinegar, salt, and sugar.  Transfer the cucumbers to a large colander to drain for at least 30 minutes or up to one hour.

As the time for the cucumbers to drain comes to an end, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Coarsely chop the fresh herbs.  Melt the butter and set aside as you prepare the cucumbers.

Transfer the drained cucumbers to a clean kitchen towel.  Gently pat dry to remove as much moisture as possible.  Transfer the cucumbers to a casserole dish large enough to allow the cucumbers to bake in a single layer.  Add the melted butter and toss gently to coat.  Sprinkle with the fresh herbs and add freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Bake the cucumbers in the preheated oven for approximately one hour, tossing once or twice during baking.  The cucumbers should be tender, but still al dente when finished with just a hint of brown color.

Remove the cucumbers from the oven.  Taste for seasoning, adding more salt or pepper if desired.  Serve warm.

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Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta with Basil

In the early days of writing this blog, I shared a recipe for traditional tomato bruschetta.  It’s a family favorite during heirloom tomato season here at 1840 Farm.  On days that we come back to the kitchen with pounds of freshly picked tomatoes, this is what’s for dinner.

When the day is long and I’m tired from a full day’s work on the farm, I make a simpler, more rustic version of bruschetta.  I don’t slice the bread and toast it in the oven.  Instead, I place the whole loaf in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes to warm it slightly and freshen the crust.

As the bread is warming, I prepare a lovely warm bruschetta topping.  By the time the bread is warm, the topping is ready and we can start enjoying that delicious combination of earthy heirloom tomatoes, bright basil, and a great loaf of bread.

Rustic Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta with Basil
  1. 1 loaf of crusty French or Italian bread
  2. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  3. 8 ounces fresh heirloom tomatoes
  4. 1 ounce sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
  5. 1 Tablespoon oil from sun-dried tomatoes
  6. 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  7. 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  8. 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  9. 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  10. 1 ounce ricotta salata or Parmesan cheese
  11. Balsamic Vinegar Glaze
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare the tomatoes by chopping roughly or slicing cherry tomatoes into thirds. Place in a medium serving bowl and set aside.
  2. Place the loaf of bread in the warm oven and set the timer for 10 minutes. As the bread warms, prepare the topping by combining the oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes with the olive oil and minced garlic. Warm gently over low heat until the garlic is fragrant. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Roughly chop or julienne the sun-dried tomatoes before adding them to the fresh heirloom tomatoes. Add the basil, salt, and black pepper to the tomatoes before pouring the warm oil mixture over the top. Gently stir the mixture. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or pepper if needed. Add the crumbled ricotta salata or shaved Parmesan cheese and stir to combine. Drizzle with balsamic glaze if desired.
  4. Slice the warm bread and serve with the bruschetta topping, spooning the topping over the bread and eating while it is still warm. Enjoy!

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Raspberry Pie

Raspberry Pie BrandedI adore fresh pie.  I love to make it as much as I love to enjoy a slice with my family.  One bite of a freshly baked berry pie and I am magically transformed to a time and place deeply imbedded in my childhood.  I simply can’t eat a slice of berry pie without thinking of the time I spent in my Grandmother’s kitchen as a young child.

I don’t wait for a holiday to bake pie.  We enjoy them all year long.  Bourbon Peach Pie with Brown Sugar Topping is a Derby Day tradition.  Brandied Apple Pie with Cinnamon Sugar Topping is a wonderful way to celebrate the arrival of fall.  Berry pie is a summer staple, allowing us to showcase the fresh raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and schwatzenberries that we grow right in our backyard.

During raspberry season, I love to make double crusted pies filled with fresh raspberries picked from the 1840 Farm garden.  A warm slice topped with a small scoop of vanilla bean ice cream is a powerful reminder of why we toil all year to enjoy our garden harvest.  With every bite, we’re reminded of the delicious rewards of farming on the homestead.

Raspberry Pie
  1. 2 cups (240 grams) All-purpose flour
  2. ½ teaspoon salt
  3. 5 ounces butter, cubed
  4. 6-7 Tablespoons ice water
  5. 1 pound (approximately 4 cups) fresh berries
  6. ¾ cup (144 grams) granulated sugar
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  8. 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
  9. 2 Tablespoons tapioca
  10. 4 Tablespoons water
  11. 3 Tablespoons butter, cubed
  1. To make the crust, place flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the dry ingredients to combine. Add the cubed butter and pulse until the butter has begun to incorporate into the flour and resembles small grains of rice.
  2. With the motor running, add ice water one Tablespoon at a time until the dough forms a ball. Take care not to over process the dough. Over processing will help to develop the gluten in the flour and lead to a crust that is less flaky. Remove the crust from the processor, shape into a flat disk, and place on a sheet of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Refrigerate while the filling is prepared.
  3. To prepare the berry filling, combine berries, sugar, vanilla, cornstarch, tapioca, and water in a large bowl. Mix gently to combine. Set aside to allow the berries to begin releasing their juices.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil to catch any pie filling that may bubble over during baking. Set aside.
  5. Remove the chilled pie dough from the refrigerator. Cut the disk into two equal pieces. Roll the bottom crust into a smooth disk large enough to line the pie plate. Rolling will be much easier if done on a well-floured surface or between two sheets of freezer paper or waxed paper.
  6. Place the bottom crust in the pie plate, taking care not to stretch the dough. By gently lifting the edges of the crust, the dough will naturally come to rest on the bottom of the pie plate without stretching. Stretching the crust too much will yield a chewy crust instead of one that is flaky and light. Continue this technique around the perimeter of the pie plate.
  7. Stir the prepared filling before gently placing it on top of the bottom crust in the pie plate. Evenly distribute the cubed 3 Tablespoons of butter on top of the filling. Roll out the remaining portion of pie crust until it is large enough to cover the top surface of the pie. If you will be using a pie bird, place it in the middle of the filling before setting the top crust and cut a slit in the middle of the crust to accommodate the pie bird. If not, simply place the crust on top of the filling, centering it over the pie plate.
  8. Work around the plate, rolling the excess crust underneath to form a thick ridge along the edge of the pie. Using your fingers, flute the edge of the crust or use a fork to crimp along the edge. Continue until the entire perimeter has been sealed. Using a sharp knife, cut several slits in the surface of the top crust. Doing so will allow steam to escape from the filling as it bakes.
  9. Place the pie on top of the prepared baking sheet and transfer it to the preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes before reducing the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Continue to bake for 45-55 minutes or until the top crust is a beautiful, light golden brown. Rotating the pie midway through the baking time will help to ensure that your pie is evenly brown.
  10. Remove the pie from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. Top with vanilla ice cream if desired.
  1. I make this pie using blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries with great success. If you don’t have fresh berries, frozen berries may be substituted. Gently thaw or defrost frozen berries before making the filling mixture and omit the added water from the recipe. I prefer my berry pie to be on the tart side. If your preference is for a sweeter pie, increase the sugar to a full cup.
  2. To save time, I usually mix my pie crust in my food processor. This recipe can be made in a bowl using a dough blender or a large fork. Either way, the result will be a flaky, buttery crust that pairs deliciously with the berry filling.
  3. I like to use a ceramic pie bird when baking a double crusted pie. If you don't have a pie bird, simply cut a few more slits in the top crust to allow excess steam to escape. Doing so will ensure that your filling will be thick and that the top crust will be flaky.
  4. If you're looking for a fabulous handmade ceramic pie bird like the one shown in this recipe's photo, visit Blue Hen Pottery. Photos simply don't do these little birds justice. My collection keeps growing and I often give them as gifts to friends and family. Tell them 1840 Farm sent you and choose a beautiful handmade bird to last for generations to come. You'll find them at

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Chocolate Mocha Zucchini Cake

Chocolae Zucchini Cake at 1840 FarmDuring gardening season, we celebrate every piece of fresh fruit and vegetable grown at 1840 Farm.  We eat as much as we can while it is at its fresh best.  We also can, pickle, and freeze our garden harvest so that we can enjoy the fruits of our labor during the long, cold winter.  It’s a constant race against time trying to make sure that not a single morsel goes to waste.

During summers that include a bumper harvest of zucchini, I like to find ways to include it in savory and sweet dishes.  Incorporating shredded zucchini into baked goods isn’t anything new.  My mother made zucchini bread every summer when I was a child.  Making a zucchini cake with chocolate and mocha flavor puts a new spin on an old favorite.

Zucchini adds an unbelievable moist texture to baked goods without altering the flavor.  It can be used as a substitute for oil in cakes and breads with excellent, delicious results.  This cake is no exception.  The flavor is rich, full of chocolate and espresso flavor.  The texture is moist and evenly dense.

Chocolate Mocha Zucchini Cake is  delicious served warm with a small scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.  When fresh berries are available, I love to serve it topped with whipped cream and fresh berries straight from our garden.  No matter how you serve it, this cake is sure to be a hit with the chocolate lovers at your family table.

Chocolate Mocha Zucchini Cake
makes 12 servings

I like to use espresso powder in this recipe to deliver a wonderfully rich coffee flavor.  If you don’t have espresso powder on hand, you can substitute 4 ounces of strong coffee for part of the milk called for in the recipe.

The water content in zucchini can vary wildly, so the baking time for this recipe is a guideline.  You may find that your cake needs 10-15 minutes of additional time in the oven if your zucchini was particularly moist.  If you use frozen zucchini, I have found that defrosting the zucchini and draining it before adding it to the recipe yields more consistent results.

I like to use my silicone bundt pan when baking this recipe.  I find that it helps the cake to remain moist as it bakes and cools.  A metal bundt pan or a standard cake pan could also be used.  If using a different pan, simply adjust the cooking time as needed, removing the cake from the oven as soon as a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out cleanly.

2 ounces (1/2 stick) butter, melted
2 ounces oil
2 ounces plain yogurt
1/2 cup (96 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (96 grams) brown sugar
1 1/2 cups (120 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon espresso powder
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
8 ounces shredded zucchini (see note above)
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups (180 grams) All-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
7 1/2 ounces (1 cup minus 1 Tablespoon) milk
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a bundt pan by spraying lightly with pan spray or brushing with melted butter.  Place the bundt pan on a baking sheet and set aside as you prepare the batter.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the melted butter, oil, yogurt, sugar, and brown sugar.  Mix until  smooth before adding cocoa powder, vanilla, espresso powder, eggs, and zucchini.  Stir until the zucchini and cocoa are fully incorporated and the batter is smooth.  Add the flour, baking soda, baking, powder, and sea salt and stir until just combined.  Add the milk and vinegar and mix until the batter is completely smooth.

Transfer the batter to the prepared bundt pan.  Place the cake in the middle of the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, adjusting baking time as needed .  The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean or with small crumbs attached.

Allow the cake to cool at least 10 minutes in the pan before inverting on a wire rack to cool completely.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Oven Baked Polenta with Heirloom Tomato Sauce

Oven Baked Polenta with Heirloom Tomato Sauce at 1840 FarmSeveral months ago, I was invited to participate in The Grain Mill Wagon Challenge sponsored by The WonderMill Company.  As a participant, I was sent a WonderMill electric grain mill to utilize while developing five recipes that Grain Mill Wagon Challenge - 1840 Farmshowcase freshly milled flours and meals.

So far, I have used the mill to produce cornmeal and whole wheat flour.  I have been amazed at how well The WonderMill performs and at what a difference the freshly milled flours and meals have made in our favorite recipes.  The results are so delicious that It’s hard for me to imagine ever returning to purchasing cornmeal or whole wheat flour at the store again.

I just published my first recipe in The Grain Mill Wagon ChallengeOven Baked Polenta with Heirloom Tomato Sauce is a favorite here, especially during heirloom tomato season when we have an abundance of tomatoes fresh from our heirloom gardens.  I’m sure that your family will enjoy it as much as mine does.

Don’t miss the entire collection of fantastic recipes on The Grain Mill Wagon blog.  You’ll find great recipes for everything from pancakes to cookies and everywhere in between.

To make sure that you don’t miss any of the recipes that I’ll be sharing during The Grain Mill Wagon Challenge, subscribe to The 1840 Farm Community Newsletter. Visit our subscription form. In a few seconds, you’ll be 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, 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.

Come add your voice to our conversation!
We’ll hope to see you there!


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