Tag Archive: cooking

Valentine’s Day Favorites at 1840 Farm

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

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Weekly Photo Journal – August 20, 2014

The last week has marked the start of heirloom tomato season which is news worth celebrating!  We’ve also been busy baking and cooking in the farmhouse kitchen.  Here’s a glimpse at what’s been going on here at 1840 Farm during the last week.

Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/08/weekly-photo-journal-august-20-2014/

Rhubarb and Strawberry Brown Butter Crumble Cake

Strawberry and Rhubarb at 1840 FarmEarlier this week, the June issue of From Scratch Magazine was published.  The issue is filled with great seasonal content including three of my favorite strawberry recipes. In its pages, you’ll find my recipe for Strawberry Jam, Oat Scones with Fresh Strawberries, and Rhubarb and Strawberry Brown Butter Crumble Cake.  We have been enjoying the crumble cake all spring as our rhubarb is harvested fresh from the garden.  You’ll find the recipe for the crumble below so that you can bake it for your friends and family.

The other two recipes in my article are equally delicious.  I was inspired to add fresh strawberries to my family’s favorite scone recipe after reading Honey & Oats: Everyday Favorites Baked with Whole Grains and Natural Sweeteners by Jennifer Katzinger. The results were fantastic. In fact, these scones were such a hit that they have become our favorite scone recipe.  I can’t wait to try a few of the delicious looking recipes from this cookbook.June Giveaway at 1840 Farm

When making my family’s favorite Rhubarb and Strawberry Brown Butter Crumble, I used my favorite brand of cinnamon, Flavor of the Earth Ceylon Cinnamon.  Unlike most of the cinnamon I find in the grocery store, this cinnamon powder is freshly ground from 100% real cinnamon bark. Flavor the Earth Ceylon Cinnamon has an amazing flavor and is a great source of Manganese, Fiber, Calcium and Iron.

I don’t want you to simply take my word for it that this cookbook and cinnamon are fantastic.  Thanks to the book’s publisher, Sasquatch Books, you can win a copy of this beautiful cookbook and find inspiration to add whole grains and natural sweeteners to your family’s favorite recipes.  Flavor of the Earth has also generously added a one pound bag of their Ceylon Cinnamon Powder to our giveaway.  I wanted to join in the fun, so I added one of our 1840 Farm Vanilla Extract Kits.  The winner of this giveaway will be ready to bake something amazing using this prize package!

One lucky reader be randomly selected to win:

You can enter by leaving a comment on this post sharing what you love to make using cinnamon and by liking a trio of Facebook pages.  Don’t worry, if you already follow 1840 Farm on Facebook, you can simply confirm that status with a click of the button below and claim your entries.  The contest closes on Thursday, June 12, 2014.  Good luck to all who enter!

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Rhubarb and Strawberry Brown Butter Crumble CakeRhubarb Strawberry Brown Butter Crumble Cake at 1840 Farm
makes 6-8 servings

This cake is the perfect way to enjoy the amazing flavor of fresh rhubarb and strawberries all year long. Long after the season has ended, I can prepare delicious recipes that highlight the delicious flavor of rhubarb and strawberries.

Rhubarb freezes incredibly well, so I stock the freezer with plenty of rhubarb to last all winter long in our favorite baking recipes. Each year, I harvest ripe stalks of rhubarb before washing and slicing into ½ inch pieces. I place them in a single layer on a small sheet pan in the freezer and leave them to freeze overnight. Once they are frozen solid, I transfer them to a freezer bag for long term storage.

While rhubarb freezes well, I prefer to utilize our homemade strawberry jam rather than freeze the strawberries. By using jam, I can control the amount of liquid in the recipe and create a fruit filling that has a beautiful appearance and consistency. When combined with the rhubarb, brown butter, and oats, the results are delicious.

1 ½ cups (6 ounces) rhubarb, cut into ½ inch slices
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 Tablespoons (1 ounce) butter
¼ cup (48 grams) granulated sugar
¼ cup (48 grams) brown sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ cup (2 ounces) strawberry jam
1 ½ cups (180 grams) All-purpose flour
1 cup (80 grams) old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup (120 grams) brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
12 Tablespoons (6 ounces) butter, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly butter an 8 inch springform pan.  Set aside.

Wash and trim the rhubarb stalks. Slice each stalk into ½ inch pieces and place them in a medium bowl. Add the cornstarch and toss gently to coat the rhubarb.

Make the brown butter. In a small skillet, melt the 2 Tablespoons of butter over medium heat. After the butter melts, you will notice that the milk solids will begin to separate.  Continue to cook, stirring occasionally to allow those solids to brown slightly.  You will notice a slight change in color and aroma.  Brown butter has a slightly nutty aroma which will signal that the solids have caramelized and that the brown butter has finished cooking. Remove the skillet from the heat.

Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and strawberry jam to the warm skillet. Stir gently to fully combine the ingredients before adding them to the bowl with the rhubarb. Stir to coat the rhubarb with the brown butter mixture. Set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Pulse to combine. With the machine running, add the butter gradually. Add the vanilla extract and process until the mixture comes together and forms large clumps.

Transfer two thirds of the crumble mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Press the mixture lightly to form a crust that completely covers the bottom the pan.  Stir the rhubarb strawberry mixture and pour over the crust, spreading to cover evenly.  Sprinkle the remaining crumble mixture evenly on top of the fruit filling.

Transfer the pan to the oven and bake the crumble in the preheated oven for 30 – 35 minutes until the topping has browned lightly and the fruit filling has thickened.  Remove from the oven to cool. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream.

June 2014 From Scratch MagazineThis recipe appeared in the June 2014 issue of From Scratch Magazine.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/06/rhubarb-and-strawberry-brown-butter-crumble-cake/

Cast Iron Skillet Cinnamon Rolls with Bourbon Caramel Sauce

A few months ago, I was given the opportunity to review the new cookbook, Put An Egg On It by Lara Ferroni.  It was filled with fantastic recipes featuring one of my favorite foods:  eggs.  I loved it so much that I was thrilled to be presented with the chance to review a second cookbook from the Sasquatch Books catalog.  I was even more excited when I learned that it was a cookbook that focused on the use of one of my favorite tools in the kitchen:  a cast iron pan.

The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook by Sharon Kramis and Julie Kramis Hearne contains over 90 recipes that all utilize a cast iron skillet.  These recipes represent the full range of dishes from breakfast fare to hearty dishes to serve at your family’s dinner table.  This beautiful book also includes helpful information to guide readers through the process of selecting a cast iron skillet, seasoning its surface, and caring for it properly.

The recipe featured on the cover caught my attention right away.  The pecan sticky buns looked amazing in the pan and on the plate.  I couldn’t wait to open the cover and read the recipe.  After I had read that recipe, I continued on through the entrees, vegetables and sides, and delectable looking desserts.

All of the recipes looked delicious, but I was drawn to the idea of making my family’s favorite cinnamon rolls in our own cast iron skillet before diving in and trying a new recipe.  I wondered if using my favorite pan would make any difference in the cinnamon rolls I was planning to serve for dinner.

After the first bite, my family proclaimed that these were the most delicious cinnamon rolls that I had ever made.  As dinner went on, so did their happy comments.  By the time the last bite had been enjoyed, they were all inquiring about when I would be making these Cast Iron Skillet Cinnamon Rolls with Bourbon Caramel Sauce again.

I promised that I would make this recipe again soon.  I want to share the recipe with you first so that you can make them yourself.  These cinnamon rolls are delicious and sure to delight your friends and family.

The giveaway that accompanies the recipe is also sure to make one lucky reader’s day!  When Sasquatch Books offered to send a copy of The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook to one of our readers, I decided to invite a few of my favorite products to join in the fun.  I can’t wait to share them with you.

The Mind to Homestead added a handmade crocheted cast iron skillet handle cozy made from a pattern that they offer in their Etsy shopCoffee on the Porch contributed a generous three pounds of their delicious, small batch roasted coffeeGrandparentsPlus2 contributed a handmade, quilted mug rug perfect for resting your coffee cup on.   The winner will also receive an 1840 Farm fabric coiled 8 inch trivet from The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy that we made to coordinate with the skillet handle cozy.

I hope that you’ll enjoy making these cinnamon rolls and that you’ll take a moment to enter to win our fabulous prize package.  The giveaway is open to residents of the United States.  Entries will be accepted until midnight on Tuesday, January 28th.  One winner will be randomly selected using Random.org and notified via Email.  Good luck to all who enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cast Iron Skillet Cinnamon Rolls with Bourbon Caramel Sauce
serves 4-6

I like to use our WonderMill to mill our own organic, non-GMO flour for this recipe, but there’s no need to pass up making these rolls if you don’t have the ability to mill your own flour. You can substitute high quality whole wheat flour or All-purpose flour. 

I find that adding Grandma Eloise’s Dough Enhancer helps to create lighter dough and improve the overall texture of the rolls.  If you don’t have it on hand, you can simply omit it from the recipe.  The resulting recipe will still be absolutely delicious. You can learn more about the dough enhancer in my recipe for our Farmhouse Country Loaf.

¼ cup (2 ounces) warm water
1 Tablespoon (20 grams) molasses
1 package (2 ½ teaspoons) active dry yeast
¼ cup (2 ounces) warm milk
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups (240 grams) All-purpose flour
1 cup (120 grams) whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Grandma Eloise’s Dough Enhancer
4 Tablespoons (2 ounces) butter, cut into small cubes

Bourbon Caramel Sauce
½ cup (96 grams) brown sugar
4 Tablespoons (2 ounces) butter
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
1 Tablespoon bourbon

4 Tablespoons (2 ounces) butter, softened
¼ cup (48 grams) granulated sugar
¼ cup (48 grams) brown sugar
2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon

If you are using a dough proofer, preheat the proofer following the manufacturer’s instructions as you prepare the dough.  If you don’t have a proofer, you can provide the dough with a warm, draft free location to rise.  Additional time may be necessary for the dough to rise sufficiently, but the cinnamon rolls will taste equally delicious.

In a large bowl, combine the warm water and molasses, stirring to dissolve the molasses.  Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture and set aside to bloom as you measure the dry ingredients, approximately five minutes.

Measure and combine the flour, dough enhancer, and salt in a bowl.  Use a whisk to mix the dry ingredients and evenly distribute the salt throughout the flour.

When the five minutes have elapsed, whisk the liquid ingredients and then add the warm milk, eggs, and vanilla.  Whisk until the eggs are incorporated and the mixture is smooth.

Add the dry ingredients in one addition to the yeast mixture.  Use a dough hook on a stand mixer or a wooden spoon, mix until a shaggy dough forms.  If you are using a stand mixer, continue to mix the dough on the lowest setting for 5 minutes or until a smooth, elastic dough forms before beginning to add the butter slowly.  Add the butter a piece at a time, allowing the mixer to work the dough between each addition.  Continue to mix until all of the butter is incorporated into the dough.

Transfer the dough to a large bowl that has been brushed with butter or oil.  Place the dough in the warm proofer or a draft free spot to rest and rise for approximately 60 minutes.  Remove the dough from the bowl and knead lightly before returning the dough to the bowl to rise for another 60 minutes or until doubled in size.

As the dough is rising for a second time, prepare the bourbon caramel sauce.  Add the brown sugar, butter, honey, maple syrup, and bourbon to an 8 inch or 10 inch cast iron skillet.  Place the skillet over medium high heat.  Bring the mixture to a boil without stirring.  Reduce the heat to medium and continue to simmer until the mixture thickens slightly, approximately five minutes.  Remove the skillet from the heat and allow the caramel to cool to room temperature.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon for the filling.  Ideally, the butter should be soft enough to spread across the dough easily without stretching the dough.  If it needs a bit of encouragement, a fork can be used to mash it onto a plate before rolling out the dough.

When the dough has risen sufficiently, transfer it to a floured surface.  Lightly flour the surface of the dough before using a rolling pin to roll it into a rectangle approximately 18 by 12 inches in size.

Using a pastry brush or your hands, brush away any excess flour from the surface of the dough.  Spread the softened butter evenly over the dough before sprinkling the cinnamon sugar mixture on top of the butter.  Begin rolling the dough from one long side of the rectangle to the other, forming a tight tube and brushing away excess flour as you roll.

Using a sharp knife, cut the rolled dough into rolls approximately 1 ½ inches in width.  Gently transfer the individual rolls to the cast iron skillet, placing each one cut side down on top of the bourbon caramel sauce.  Continue until all of the rolls are evenly spaced within the skillet.

Place the skillet in preheated bread proofer or a warm, draft free location to rise for another 30-60 minutes or until the rolls have expanded to fill the pan.  As the rolls rise, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven.  Bake the rolls for 20-30 minutes, until lightly browned and slightly firm.  Remove the skillet from the oven and allow to cool for at least five minutes.  Using oven mitts and a healthy dose of caution, carefully cover the skillet with a larger plate or pan and turn the skillet to release the cinnamon rolls.

Remove the cast iron skillet, scraping any caramel from the pan.  The bourbon caramel sauce will now be on the top surface of the rolls.  Serve the rolls while still warm and enjoy every last bite!

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/01/cast-iron-skillet-cinnamon-rolls-with-bourbon-caramel-sauce/

Our Favorite Holiday Cookie Recipes

Every year, cookies grace our family table on Christmas Eve.  The tradition started out simply enough.  My children would ask to help me make the cookies that would be left for Santa when they went to bed that evening.  Now that they are older and a little wiser, the fun of making the cookies has become an integral part of the holiday festivities.

We spend time in our farmhouse kitchen making my Grandmother’s Chocolate Crinkles, our Candy Cane Meringues, and the other delicious favorites that have come to be tied to our holiday celebration.  With each bite, we’re reminded of the memory of holidays past.  With each moment spent together in the kitchen, we’re making new memories that I hope will last a lifetime.

In case you are looking for a few good cookie recipes to add to your holiday baking collection, you’ll find links to the recipes for our favorites below.  It warms my heart to think that you might use one of our favorite recipes to make a memory with your friends and family this year.  Enjoy!

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Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/12/our-favorite-holiday-cookie-recipes/

Caramelized Onion and Red Wine Jam

When life hands you lemons you can choose to make lemonade.  But what do you do when life cruelly hands you a corked bottle of wine?  Well, I mean what do you do after lamenting the fact that the nectar of the gods has been replaced by a liquid with the aroma of a musty, flooded basement?

I used to simply bemoan my bad fortune and pour the offending liquid down the drain.  Moments later, the empty bottle would clink to the bottom of the kitchen recycling bin and I would sigh, knowing that this imperfection is the chance you take when drinking a bottle of wine.  It simply goes with the territory.

Wine becomes corked after coming into contact with a cork that is contaminated.  An infected cork can contain millions of microorganisms called trichloroanisole (TCA) lying in wait to feast on a perfectly processed bottle of wine.    Because cork is a natural product, there is no way to completely guarantee that one will not carry this offensive contaminant into a bottle of wine.  For this reason, many wineries have moved to screw tops and synthetic corks.

After I had learned the how and why a bottle becomes corked, I learned that corked wine could be used for cooking.  No, I wouldn’t use it to flavor a light sauce as I feared that the corked aroma and taste would surely impart its funk to whatever it touched.  Instead, corked wine was suited to cooking over a longer period of time.  As it cooked, its offensiveness would evaporate away leaving the rich flavor that the wine was meant to bring to my glass when it was opened.

It was hard for me to believe that I could turn a musty, overpowering liquid into something edible, but my curiosity was piqued.  I had nothing to lose.  The wine in its natural state was, ironically unnatural and unpotable.  It was time to get creative and get cooking.

My goal was to make a caramelized onion red wine jam that could grace our weekend cheese platter.  It seemed fitting that I would turn corked wine into a condiment for a cheese course that would accompany a glass of perfectly delicious and uncorked wine.   I began gathering ingredients and mentally forming the recipe.  In minutes, the onions were cooking down in a heavy bottomed saucepan and I was reaching into the cabinets for ingredients that would help round out the flavor.

 I was shocked at how delicious this savory jam was.  I removed several types of cheese from the refrigerator and we went to work testing the onion jam with each of them.  Raw milk cheddar and an aged Piave were good companions for the jam, but a beautifully crafted Bayley Hazen Blue cheese from Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont was its soul mate.

It’s been several years since my initial corked red wine experiment.  In that time, the wine gods have smiled on us and we have not been handed many corked bottles of wine.  When it does happen, I no longer cringe.  Instead, I get busy making caramelized onion jam with red wine and break out the Bayley Hazen Blue.

I have even taken to making a delectable Red, Wine, and Blue Grilled Cheese Sandwich out of this misfortune.  The melted blue cheese sings when paired with the caramelized onion red wine jam.  It’s as if they were meant to be together.

This savory jam and the resulting sandwich are as close as I can get to making lemonade from a bottle of red wine that could literally be labeled a lemon.  Maybe 1840 Farm needs a lemonade stand.  I am sure that it wouldn’t be long until there was a line forming for a Caramelized Onion and Red Wine Jam and warm Red, Wine, and Blue Grilled Cheese Sandwiches!

Caramelized Onion and Red Wine Jam
fills four half pint jars

While I typically use a bottle of less than perfect wine for this recipe, any red wine will do.  I have been known to freeze small portions of leftover red wine until I have enough to make a batch of this jam.  Frozen, corked, or leftover:  it just doesn’t seem to matter.  This jam comes out delicious every time.  The finished jam can be canned by processing in half pint jars with 1/2″ headspace for 10 minutes in a hot water bath.

1 pound yellow onions, sliced thinly
1/2 cup (96 grams) brown sugar
4 Tablespoons honey
18 ounces red wine
4 ounces balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons dried or 4 teaspoons fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons dried or 4 teaspoons fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Place a heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat.  Add sliced onions and cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.  Add the brown sugar and stir to combine.  Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook for 20 – 40 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are softened and caramelized.

Remove the pan from the heat, add the honey and stir to fully incorporate.  Add the remaining ingredients and return the pan to medium heat.  Bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook 20 – 30 minutes or until the liquid is thick and syrupy.

Taste for seasoning, break out the blue cheese! You can also use this jam to make my recipe for a Red, Wine, and Blue Grilled Cheese Sandwich.  It’s a showstopper!


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Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/12/caramelized-onion-and-red-wine-jam/

Make Your Own Magical Ice Cream Topping

There’s something magic about pouring Magic Shell on top of a scoop of ice cream.  It comes out of the bottle as a shiny liquid, hits the cold surface of the ice cream and transforms into a matte, solid topping right before your eyes.    I loved it when I was a child and my children feel the same way.

A few weeks ago, I happened upon a recipe for a homemade version of magic shell.  It only required two ingredients, both of which I happened to have on hand.  The process was as simple as warming the ingredients and stirring them until they formed a congruous mixture.

I take great pride in finding new ways to replace store bought items with simple, delicious, homemade alternatives.  If the process can also be used as a homeschool science lesson, all the better.

In moments, I had assembled my children and the ingredients to make our own version of the crispy, magical ice cream shell topping.  A few minutes later, we gathered around  bowls of ice cream for the moment of truth.  I spooned a bit of the liquid topping over the first scoop.  We all waited, eager to see if magic would happen.  It did, producing a lovely, solid shell over the top of each scoop.  We used our spoons to crack open the shell and take the first taste.

The flavor of the topping was extraordinary.  The subtle flavor of coconut was paired beautifully with our homemade vanilla extract and the dark chocolate chips we had used.  We all agreed that this homemade version was delicious.  We couldn’t wait to try it with different chocolates, white chocolate, and other flavored baking chips we had in the pantry. The possibilities were endless and sure to put smiles on my children’s faces.  Now that’s magic!

Homemade Magic Shell Ice Cream Topping
adapted from Two-Ingredient Magic Shell by Food52

We used chocolate chips in this recipe, but you could use chopped chocolate with equally delicious results.  Both the coconut oil and chocolate are liquid when heated, solid at room temperature.  Should your mixture become too thick to spoon over ice cream, simply warm it for a few seconds in the microwave.

3/4 cup (120 grams) chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
1/3 cup (80 grams) coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place the chocolate and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring each time, until smooth.  Add the vanilla extract and stir to combine.  Allow the mixture to cool slightly before pouring over ice cream.  Store at room temperature, warming if necessary to re-liquefy.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/08/make-your-own-magical-ice-cream-topping/

Rhubarb Raspberry Upside Down Cake

Last night, when I announced to my family that I was in our farmhouse kitchen preparing a cake, they were thrilled.  When asked what type of cake I was making, I replied that I was using the rhubarb that we had harvested from the garden earlier in the day.

At that point, the house became divided.  My daughter and son both love rhubarb.  In fact, they happily twist stalks from the plant and eat them raw.  Only a true rhubarb lover would make it past that first bite.  They eat the entire stalk every time and survey the plants to determine if others are ready to be harvested.

My husband does not share their love of rhubarb.  In fact, I have never known him to enjoy rhubarb in any form.  Yet, I was willing to take a risk as I knew that he would happily enjoy a bowl of vanilla ice cream without the cake if the rhubarb flavor was a deal breaker.

Earlier in the week, I had asked several of my fellow bloggers to share their best rhubarb recipes.  Many of them suggested versions of upside down cake.  Monte from the blog Chewing the Fat shared his favorite.  The Devil’s Food Advocate chimed in with her version of the same recipe.  The original recipe for Rhubarb Upside Down Cake was published in The New York Times in May of 2011.

My favorite upside down cake is based on a David Lebovitz recipe.  I was confident that I could take inspiration from all three recipes and make a cake that would appeal to my whole family.  I added raspberries to round out the fruit flavor and the resulting mixture was even better than I had hoped.

When it came time to serve the cake for dessert, I was sure that my children would approve.  I was less confident that my husband would enjoy the flavor and texture of the rhubarb.  I anxiously watched as he took the first bite.

I’m happy to report that he did enjoy it.  Better yet, he loved the rhubarb.  In fact, we all did.  The flavor was fresh and earthy with the rhubarb’s trademark brightness.

This recipe will definitely become a family favorite.  In fact, it would be a wonderful way to celebrate a special occasion.  Luckily, we won’t have to wait long.  Sunday is Mother’s Day and this cake seems like the perfect way to celebrate!

Rhubarb Raspberry Upside Down Cake
adapted from a recipe by David Lebovitz

I made a few changes to the original recipe.  I like making an upside down cake in the same skillet used to make the caramel.  I use a cast iron skillet and it always turns out perfectly.  I also like to remove 1 Tablespoon of the flour and substitute an equal amount of cornstarch to produce a flour mixture that closely resembles cake flour.

For those who are unfamiliar with rhubarb, take care to discard the leaves.  While the stalks are delicious, the leaves are poisonous.

For the fruit layer:
8 ounces rhubarb, sliced into 1/2″ thick pieces
4 ounces raspberries, fresh or frozen
2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup granulated sugar

For the caramel layer:
3 Tablespoons butter, cubed
3/4 cup brown sugar

For the cake layer:
1 1/2 cups (180 grams) All-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces (1 stick) butter, cubed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  In a large bowl, combine the sliced rhubarb, raspberries, cornstarch, and sugar.  Allow the mixture to rest as the cake is prepared.

In a cast iron skillet or oven proof pan, melt three Tablespoons of butter over medium heat.  Add the brown sugar to the melted butter and stir until fully moistened.  Continue to cook while stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture begins to bubble.  Remove the pan from the heat.  Spread the caramel to cover the entire bottom surface of the skillet.

Place the flour in a small bowl.  Remove 1 Tablespoon of the flour from the bowl.  Add cornstarch, baking powder, and salt to the flour.  Using a whisk, mix the dry ingredients fully.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla and stir to combine.  Add the eggs and stir until the mixture is smooth.  Add half of the dry mixture and stir just until combined.  Add the milk to the batter and mix until smooth.  Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix just until smooth.  Take care not to overmix.

Carefully stir the prepared fruit mixture.  Transfer the fruit and its juices to the skillet containing the caramel.  Spread the fruit evenly over the caramel.

Using a spatula, transfer the cake mixture to the skillet,  Gently spread the batter to the edges of the pan, fully covering the fruit layer.  Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven.  I place the skillet on a baking sheet to prevent juices from the fruit layer from bubbling over and burning in the oven.

Bake the cake for 50 – 60 minutes.  The cake is done when it starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.  When done, the top of the cake will be golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center will be clean or have small crumbs attached.

Allow the cake to cool for 15 – 20 minutes.   Cover the cake with a plate slightly larger than the skillet.  Using oven mitts, carefully flip the cake.  This should be done while the cake is still warm, otherwise the caramel layer will solidify and stick to the bottom of the pan.

Remove the skillet from the plate.  Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

This recipe was included in From the Farm Blog Hop #32

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/05/rhubarb-raspberry-upside-down-cake/

Homemade Vanilla Extract

I started making my own vanilla extract several years ago.  I didn’t do it to save money or make a better product.  I did it because it’s just what you do when someone in your family suddenly has food allergies.

One of the baking staples that I had a terrible time finding ingredient information and allergy warnings on was vanilla extract.  It wasn’t for a lack of trying.  In my searching online, I discovered that making vanilla extract required exactly two ingredients and a little cupboard space.

I was skeptical.  My family looked at me with the same look they used the first time I proudly told them that I had perfected a brioche recipe using tofu instead of eggs.  I’m sure you can close your eyes and picture exactly what I’m talking about.  Then they smelled my first vanilla extract and tasted it for the first time in frosting that was filled with vanilla bean specks.  They were sold.  This food experiment was a keeper.

Now you can use one of our 1840 Farm Vanilla Extract Kits to make your own vanilla extract and amaze your family.  Once you do, you may never purchase vanilla extract at the store again. The homemade version of vanilla extract is superior in flavor and aroma to the extract available at the grocery store.

Making your own vanilla extract is also a real money saver.  With each individual kit, you can brew enough vanilla extract to make over 48 batches of homemade chocolate chip cookies.  Of course, you don’t have to make chocolate chip cookies.  You could try one of my family’s favorite recipes featuring homemade vanilla extract:

Strawberry Jam Meringue Heart at 1840 FarmChocolate Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

Chocolate Chip Gooey Butter Cake

1840 Farm Pancakes

Strawberry Jam Meringue Cookies

Chocolate Butter Cookies with Stout Buttercream Frosting

Coconut Macaroons

Raspberry Crumble Bars


Baked Alaska




Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/03/1840-farm-vanilla-extract-kits/

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
makes 6 main course servings

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.

2 pounds raw sweet potatoes
15 ounces ricotta cheese
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
2 cups All-purpose flour

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 cup vegetable stock
2 Tablespoons butter
6 ounces baby spinach leaves, washed
Parmesan cheese to garnish

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat.  AAdd 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.

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.

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.

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

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/02/sweet-potato-gnocchi-with-mushrooms-and-spinach/

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.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/02/soupe-a-loignon-gratinee/

Peanut-less Brittle

Peanut-less Brittle at 1840 FarmIt was five years ago that a peanut allergy came home to roost at 1840 Farm.  Since then, we’ve become a nut free house.  We’ve been creative and learned how to modify some of our family’s favorite recipes to exclude nuts and still include great flavor. This take on our old recipe for peanut brittle does just that with amazing results.

By substituting Wheat Nuts for peanuts, we can safely enjoy the taste of peanut brittle while leaving the nuts behind.  The taste is still that wonderful mixture of crunchy burnt sugar with a lovely nutty flavor and hint of salt.Peanut-less Brittle at 1840 Farm

This brittle recipe is foolproof and tastes delicious.  Best of all, it allows us to enjoy the taste of great peanut brittle without the peanuts.  If you don’t live with nut allergies, you could easily use peanuts instead.

Once you’ve mastered this recipe, you’ll be ready to make my chocolate covered molasses toffee.  Don’t worry, I’ll be happy to share the recipe with you in January!

Peanut-less Brittle

Take care when making this or any other candy that involves boiled sugar.  Use a large, microwave safe bowl that will allow the mixture to come to a full boil without boiling over.  Do not touch the mixture as it will be incredibly hot and could easily burn your skin.

96 grams (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
96 grams (1/2 cup) brown sugar
4 ounces light corn syrup
1 cup Wheat Nuts
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda

Line a baking tray with a Silpat liner or parchment paper.  Set aside.

Combine both sugars with corn syrup in a large microwave safe bowl.  Stir gently to combine and microwave on high for 4 minutes.

Carefully add the Wheat Nuts and stir to combine.  Microwave on high for 3 1/2 minutes.

Add the butter and vanilla to the mixture.  The sugar will bubble violently.  Stir gently until the butter is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.  Microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes.

Add the baking soda to the hot sugar mixture.  It will bubble and expand rapidly as the soda is incorporated. Cautiously stir the mixture until it bubbles and lightens in color.  Do not overmix as this will lead to a very dense brittle if all of the air bubbles created by the baking soda are allowed to escape.

Immediately transfer the mixture onto the prepared baking tray and spread it slightly, taking care not to deflate the mixture completely.  Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature before breaking it into small pieces.  Brittle can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for several days.

You can open a printable PDF of this recipe by clicking on the link below.
Peanut-less Brittle

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.

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

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2012/12/peanut-less-brittle/

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