Tag Archive: food

Brisket Braised with Caramelized Onions

Brisket Braised with Caramelized Onions2 BannerDuring the long New England winter, we need comfort on our dinner plates even more than usual.  When snow is piling up outside and the temperatures are bitterly cold, we turn to our favorite rustic recipes to warm us up from the inside out.  If that recipe involves braising something in the oven all afternoon, all the better.  I know that the warmth and delicious aroma emanating from the oven will help us to endure the cold and hold on to the knowledge that spring will eventually arrive.

Like so many cooking methods that have stood the test of time, braising is rustic and simple.  It requires no fancy equipment, only a heavy pot with a lid that can be moved from the stovetop to the oven.  Braising doesn’t involve a lot of hands on time, hours of paying careful attention to the recipe.  Instead, it brilliantly combines two simple tasks:  searing a cut of meat and then allowing that meat to cook slowly in a covered pan until it is tender and infused with flavor.

My culinary idol Julia Child didn’t need many words to explain braising in Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  She simply defines it as “To brown foods in fat, then cook them in a covered casserole with a small amount of liquid.”  I couldn’t possibly explain it any more perfectly or succinctly.  Yes, it really is that simple.

Brisket is a cut of meat perfect suited for braising.  Brisket can be tough if it is hurried, if it isn’t cooked in a way that encourages that sinewy muscle to magically transform into a tender piece of meat and gelatinous broth.  Luckily, braising does just that. 

Braising has become a Sunday ritual in the farmhouse kitchen during the colder months of the year.  In New England, that means more than half of our calendar year.  This week is the first week of spring.  It’s also a week where we watched as snow squalls dropped a fresh layer on the farm’s landscape not once but twice. 

As soon as the first snowstorm arrived, we started discussing what to braise for Sunday dinner.  We can’t control the weather, cannot convince Mother Nature that spring is welcome here and we’ve seen enough wintry snow for a while.  We can look forward to a Sunday afternoon with a brisket braising in the oven all afternoon and the resulting meals for the week. 

We’ve been braising for years, but had never found a brisket recipe that left us craving more.  Then David Lebovitz dropped one right in my newsfeed that looked so promising that we made immediate plans to give it a try.  The recipe was made famous by Nach Waxman, the owner of Kitchen Arts & Letters, a fabulous culinary book shop in New York City.  Since then, it has appeared in several cookbooks. 

The first time we made the recipe, I was skeptical.  It seemed too simple to be anything but ordinary.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  The results were so delicious that we have since made our own version countless times this winter.  Every single time, I am taken by just how delicious it is, how much flavor each bite contains.  Some recipes are keepers, and this is surely one of them, a foundational recipe to have on hand to make time and time again. 

Over the winter, I’ve adjusted the quantities and timing a bit from the original recipe.  After testing my version many times, we’ve agreed that our version is just to our liking.  It’s delicious and tender every time.  The leftovers are even better 24 or 48 hours later.  We enjoy them on sandwiches spread with a bit of homemade horseradish sauce or tarragon mayonnaise.  I also love to shred a bit of the leftover brisket and serve it with caramelized fennel over a bed of creamy, cheesy grits.  Just writing about it makes my mouth water.  One bite of this brisket and you’ll understand why at our farmhouse, Sundays are for braising.

Brisket Braised with Caramelized Onions
Our version is a bit simpler than the original. I found that the step of salting the meat ahead of time didn’t impact the flavor or texture of the finished dish, so I omitted it. While I do my best to plan ahead, salting the brisket the day before and allowing it to sit overnight in the refrigerator before beginning the recipe simply didn’t happen one Sunday because I had forgotten the night before. When that brisket turned out equally delicious and tender, I decided to cross that preparation right off my recipe. You can certainly give it a try and see if you find it to be noticeably different. Over the winter, I’ve adjusted the quantities and timing a bit from the original recipe. After testing my version many times, we’ve agreed that our version is just to our liking. It’s delicious and tender every time. The leftovers are even better 24 or 48 hours later. We enjoy them on sandwiches spread with a bit of homemade horseradish sauce or tarragon mayonnaise. I also love to shred a bit of the leftover brisket and serve it with caramelized fennel over a bed of creamy, cheesy grits. Just writing about it makes my mouth water. One bite of this brisket and you’ll understand why at our farmhouse, Sundays are for braising.
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Ingredients
  1. 4-6 pounds beef brisket
  2. kosher or sea salt
  3. 1-2 Tablespoons All-purpose flour
  4. 1 Tablespoon lard
  5. 2 pounds thinly sliced onions (approximately 6-8 medium onions)
  6. 4 Tablespoons tomato paste
  7. 6 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  8. 4 large carrots, peeled and diced
  9. salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Pat the brisket dry with a paper towel. Salt liberally. Sprinkle the brisket with the flour, using as much as is necessary to dust the entire surface.
  2. Prepare the onions, garlic, and carrots. They will be used in separate steps, so keep the garlic and carrots separate from the onions.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Place a large oven safe pot or roasting pan with a lid over medium-high heat. I like to use my cast iron or enameled cast iron Dutch oven, but any heavy pot with a lid that is safe to move from stovetop to oven will do the job.
  4. Add the lard to the warm pan, swirling to coat the bottom evenly. Add the brisket to the pan and sear on both sides. Five minutes per side should be enough to sear and lightly brown the brisket. Remove the brisket to a large plate or dish to rest as you caramelize the onions.
  5. Lower the heat to medium and add the onions to the pan. Season with a salt and black pepper and stir to coat them with the fat in the pan. Cook them for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent them from sticking. They should soften and become translucent before taking on the golden brown color of caramelized onions. If they stick to the pan, you can add a bit more lard or a little water to the pan.
  6. Turn off the heat. Spread the onions evenly in the bottom of the pan to create a bed for the brisket. Add the brisket back to the pan along with any juices that have collected as it rested. Spread the tomato paste evenly on the top surface of the brisket. Add the garlic and carrots to the top of the brisket, allowing any excess to fall to the bed of onions below. Season with salt and pepper. Place the lid on your pan and transfer to the warm oven. Cook for 90 minutes.
  7. Remove the pot from the oven. Remove the lid and allow the brisket to rest for 10 minutes. Transfer the brisket to a large cutting board or large platter. Slicing against the grain, portion the brisket into ½ inch slices. Transfer the slices back to the braising pot, nestling them into the onions and overlapping them if necessary to fit. Replace the lid and transfer back to the oven to braise for another 90 minutes.
  8. Remove the pot from the oven. Allow the brisket to rest for 10 minutes before serving. The pot will remain hot, keeping the brisket and onions warm while allowing the meat to rest. Serve the brisket, spooning onions, carrots, and garlic from the pan over each serving. I often serve this brisket with a homemade horseradish sauce made by stirring together sour cream and horseradish to our liking and seasoning with a bit of salt and pepper.
  9. Any leftover brisket and vegetables can be stored in the refrigerator. The flavor will improve overnight, making for delicious leftovers the next day. Warming the leftovers in the vegetables and sauce will prevent the brisket from drying out as it is reheated.
Adapted from Nach Waxman’s Beef Brisket shared by David Lebovitz
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Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage

Sweet Potato Gnocchi BannerThere are a few foods that seem to require being made by hand.  They simply have the handmade goodness baked right into them and their imperfections are somehow an integral part of what makes them so special.  For me, that list begins with berry pie and continues on to include many of my favorites.  Gnocchi would definitely be among them, and the sweet potato version would be my sentimental favorite.

The reason is really quite simple.  Sweet potato gnocchi was one of the first recipes that the whole family gathered in the farmhouse kitchen to make together.  Several times each fall and winter, we would spend a Saturday in the kitchen together making pounds of these little orange pillows to keep in the freezer.  During the years that our garden’s sweet potato harvest was plentiful, those days were frequent and we had a supply of homegrown and handmade sweet potato gnocchi to last all winter long.

Our children were young, but their small hands followed ours while rolling ropes of gnocchi dough until they were ready to section into pieces before pushing them down the ridged paddle and rolling them onto a sheet pan. By the time we were finishing filling tray after tray with gnocchi, we would be covered in the mess of the day’s work.  The kids often had sweet potato dough mashed under each fingernail, smeared onto their foreheads, and pressed  into every crevice of the table and slate tile floor. Cleaning up the kitchen and the kids sometimes took almost as long as making the gnocchi. 

No matter the mess, I have such fond memories of those days.  They ended with our family gathered around our farmhouse table enjoying a meal that was literally made with our hands.  Every bite was a celebration of time spent together in the kitchen. There’s something warm and wonderful about that sort of memory, that type of meal, and knowing that we are continuing a tradition as old as this farmhouse by creating something nourishing for our family table together.

Years have passed, but we still enjoy this meal just as much today.  My kitchen helpers have grown by leaps and bounds in every way including their gnocchi making prowess.  They roll these gnocchi down the paddle with such ease now.  The trays fill quickly with beautiful gnocchi and the mess is a mere hint of what it was years ago.

I’ve written about food memory so many times before.  Most often, my childhood food memories involve my paternal grandmother’s homemade pies.  The mere thought of them has the power to transport me back decades to her humble kitchen table.  Food memories are so powerful, so intertwined into our remembrance of a time and place.

While I didn’t set out for this rustic recipe to become one of my children’s food memories, they certainly have.  We speak of them often, peering back into the years gone by to revisit them.  I hope that my children will continue to hold this food memory and many others we have cultivated very close to their hearts.

For me, these sweet potato gnocchi will always have a special place in my heart, a rich food memory that will be bound together by the mental images I have of us gathered together to make them in our farmhouse kitchen.  I hope that you will create your own tradition and food memory by making them to share with your friends and family.  I can promise that all who gather at your table to enjoy these gnocchi will remember them fondly for years to come.

 

You can certainly make this recipe without a gnocchi paddle.  The ridges are meant to both make the gnocchi look beautiful and help them to hold on to their sauce.  You can make them without the ridges without affecting their flavor.  We have two gnocchi paddles at the farmhouse.  One is an antique that we discovered at a local antique shop.  The other is a new version we purchased from a kitchen shop.  I’ve had so many readers ask me where they can find a paddle for making gnocchi and pasta that I’ve added one to our Amazon shop so that you can find one to add to your kitchen!

 

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage
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 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.
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For the Gnocchi
  1. 2 pounds raw sweet potatoes
  2. 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  3. 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  4. 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
  5. 2 1/2 cups All-purpose flour
For the Brown Butter
  1. 3 Tablespoons butter
  2. 1 Tablespoon fresh sage, minced
  3. Parmesan cheese, grated for serving
Instructions
  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. 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 1/2 cups of the flour to the sweet potato mixture and stir until fully incorporated. Add the remaining flour 1/2 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. If needed, add more flour a bit at a time until the dough comes together. Take care not to overmix.
  4. Turn dough out of the bowl onto a well-floured surface. Divide the dough into 8 equally sized sections. Take 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 or bench scraper, 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.You can also push each piece of gnocchi across the tines of a fork with your 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. Place the gnocchi on a sheet pan lined with a piece of parchment, waxed paper, or freezer paper. Continue until all of the gnocchi have been shaped and cut. If you are planning to freeze some of the gnocchi, place them in a single layer on a tray lined with freezer paper. Freeze them for several hours until they are frozen solid. Transfer them to a freezer bag for long term storage.
  8. To prepare the gnocchi, 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.
  9. Add 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. Once the gnocchi have been boiled and are drying on the sheet pan, prepare the brown butter and sage. Add the butter to a large skillet 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.
  11. Reduce the heat to low and add the minced sage, swirling the pan or stirring to combine. Begin adding the boiled gnocchi to the pan in small additions, tossing gently to coat them in the brown butter without damaging the tender gnocchi. Continue adding gnocchi to the pan until they have all been added.
  12. Warm the gnocchi briefly, moving them gently to prevent sticking and to ensure that they are all coated with the brown butter and sage. Transfer the warm gnocchi to plates and garnish with grated Parmesan cheese before serving. Enjoy!
  13. 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.
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Creamy Polenta Made with Home Ground Cornmeal

Creamy Polenta BannerPolenta is a popular side dish here at the farmhouse. For years, I made polenta from cornmeal purchased at the grocery store.  The recipe was foolproof and always produced a polenta that had a lovely texture and flavor.  We were very happy with the consistently good results we had making polenta to serve at our family table.

Then we added a WonderMill grain mill to our arsenal of kitchen tools and our good polenta was transformed into a great, show stopping dish.  By making the simplest of changes to the cornmeal we were using, our polenta became a richly flavored, earthy masterpiece. The only change was that we were milling our own cornmeal instead of using store bought meal.   It’s shocking what a difference freshly milled cornmeal can make.

Milling the cornmeal was incredibly easy once I had sourced the corn to grind in the WonderMill.  I searched in vain for a local source for dried dent corn, but couldn’t find any that was safe for us to have here in our nut free home.  After doing a little research, I found that other home millers used popcorn kernels to make their own cornmeal.  Popcorn is readily available in different varieties, including organic, so I was eager to see what type of meal it would produce.

In a matter of minutes, an entire two pound bag of popcorn kernels had been processed through the mill on the coarse setting.  The resulting meal was congruent with evenly ground particles.  The smell of the warm meal was amazing, full of the aroma of freshly cooked corn.

I couldn’t wait to use this home ground meal in our beloved polenta recipe and taste the results.  Polenta with Heirloom Tomato Sauce was added to our menu board for the following night’s dinner.  As soon as it was bubbling away on the stove, the amazing aroma told me that this home ground meal was going to make all the difference.

Both the flavor and texture of the polenta made with our freshly milled meal was superior to the polenta we had been making.  In fact, the intensity of the pure corn flavor was amazing.  It transcended the entire dish from something ordinary to extraordinary.  While the polenta we had made in the past was always a good base for a sauce or topping, this polenta was a great component of the dish.

This polenta’s intense, earthy flavor was robust enough to shine through the topping instead of just providing a backdrop to it.  Since then, we have made this recipe many times, yet I am still surprised by what a difference the freshly milled cornmeal makes.  It is rare that such a simple effort in the kitchen makes such a huge impact on a dish.  Thankfully, it’s achievable for anyone who has a mill and a few handfuls of popcorn in the pantry.  One taste and I’m sure that you and your family will agree:  fresh home ground cornmeal makes all the difference in the world.

 


Creamy Polenta
I use our own freshly milled cornmeal when making this recipe. If you prefer, you can substitute an equal amount of your favorite brand of store bought cornmeal.
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Ingredients
  1. 8 cups liquid (water, stock, bone broth, or a combination)
  2. 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  3. 2 cups fresh cornmeal milled on the coarse setting
  4. salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, bring the 8 cups of liquid to a rapid boil. Add the salt and return to boil. Place the cornmeal in a large mixing bowl. Using a ladle, add some of the boiling water into the cornmeal, whisking to incorporate. Add enough water to make a thin batter. Slowly add the thin batter to the remaining boiling water, whisking constantly. Adding the cornmeal to the liquid in this manner will help to prevent lumps from forming, making a creamier polenta.
  2. Return the cornmeal mixture to a boil while whisking constantly to prevent lumps from forming. Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low. Continue to simmer, uncovered, whisking often for approximately 30 minutes. Take care when whisking the hot polenta as it has a tendency to bubble and pop as it is simmering.
  3. The polenta will thicken as it cooks; yet retain a smooth and silky texture. If the mixture becomes too thick, simply add a bit of warm liquid and whisk to combine. Taste the polenta for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Remove the polenta from the heat. At this point, the polenta can be served by ladling onto serving plates and topping with your favorite sauce, meat, and vegetables. It makes a lovely base for richly flavored dishes like braised lamb shanks or brisket.
  5. The polenta can also be baked to create a dish that can be sliced into individual portions for serving. In order the bake the polenta, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a shallow casserole dish or baking pan for the polenta by brushing with a thin coating of olive oil. Transfer the polenta from the cooking pot to the prepared baking dish. Spread the polenta to the edges of the pan, smoothing the top of the mixture. Using a pastry brush, lightly cover the surface of the polenta with olive oil. Season with fresh salt and pepper and add a liberal amount of grated Parmesan cheese if desired. Place the polenta in the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes.
  6. After the 10 minutes have passed, turn on the oven’s broiler. Broil the polenta for approximately five minutes or until the top is lightly browned. Remove the polenta from the oven. Cut the polenta into squares and transfer portions of polenta to plates. Serve hot and enjoy!
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Chocolate Cream Pie

Chocolate Cream Pie BrandedChocolate.  Cream.  Pie.  Need I say more?  I didn’t think so.  What could be better than a combination of rich, chocolate cream made from scratch over a crumb pie crust topped with vanilla bean whipped cream?  For a pie lover like me, adding chocolate to the mix sends this recipe to the top of my favorites list.

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, this recipe is perfect for treating your loved ones to a delicious homemade dessert.  My Valentines are chocolate lovers, so this pie often finds a place at our table on and around Valentine’s Day.  It never fails to delight each and every one of them.

In our house, we bake and eat around food allergies, so the first step in any recipe is ensuring that the ingredients are safe to keep in our nut free home.   Finding premium quality chocolate that is free from nut allergens would be a difficult task if it wasn’t for Vermont Nut Free Chocolates.  Thanks to their delicious line of nut free baking ingredients, chocolates, and treats, I always know that the baking ingredients I keep in the pantry and use in our farmhouse kitchen are safe for our whole family.

In this recipe, I use three different types of chocolate from Vermont Nut Free Chocolates.  I found that combining milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and unsweetened chocolate yielded the most delicious result.  If you don’t have nut allergies to consider when making this dessert, you can substitute your favorite brand of chocolate when making this recipe with equally delicious results.

This pie is also the perfect recipe to use the very best vanilla extract you have available.  In our house, that means reaching for our homemade vanilla extract.  Its rich amber color, intense flavor, and fragrant aroma are the perfect counterpoint to the chocolate filling and whipped cream topping.  You can learn more about making your own vanilla extract and our vanilla extract kits in our Mercantile Shop.

I hope that you will enjoy making and serving this delicious pie as much as I do.  I turn to it time and time again when I want to treat my family to a dessert that puts a smile on every face gathered around our table.  It never disappoints!

 

Chocolate Cream Pie
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For the Crumb Pie Crust
  1. 200 grams (approximately half a box) of graham crackers
  2. 6 Tablespoons butter, melted
For the Chocolate Filling
  1. 4 large egg yolks
  2. 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  3. ¼ cup cornstarch
  4. ½ teaspoon salt
  5. 2 ½ cups whole milk
  6. 3 ounces milk chocolate
  7. 3 ounces dark chocolate
  8. 1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate
  9. 2 Tablespoons butter
  10. 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
For the Whipped Cream Topping
  1. 8 ounces heavy whipping cream
  2. 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
To Make the Crust
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place the graham crackers in a food processor or blender. Pulse/process until the crackers have been reduced to fine crumbs. If you prefer, you can place the graham crackers on a sheet tray and use a rolling pin to crush them to a uniform, fine crumb.
  3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan or microwave. Place the graham cracker crumbs and butter in a medium bowl and stir until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Transfer the crumb mixture to a pie plate and gently press it into the bottom and sides of the pan. The crumbs should come together to form a crust.
  4. Transfer the pie plate to the preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the plate from the oven and allow the crust to cool to room temperature.
To Make the Chocolate Filling
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk the ingredients together until they form a thick, smooth mixture. Slowly add the whole milk, whisking to fully combine and prevent lumps from forming. Place the saucepan over low heat and add the chocolate, whisking until it is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent the mixture from scorching on the bottom of the pan. Simmer until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the butter and vanilla and stir until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Allow to cool slightly as you prepare the whipped cream, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming on the surface. Once the mixture has cooled to lukewarm or room temperature, transfer it to the pie plate, spreading it evenly over the baked pie crust.
To Make the Whipped Cream Topping
  1. Place the whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. Using a whisk attachment for your stand mixer or beaters for a hand mixer, beat the cream and sugar on high speed until it forms stiff peaks.
  2. Transfer the whipped cream to the pie, spreading it gently to evenly cover the surface of the chocolate filling. Chill the pie until you are ready to serve.
Notes
  1. Our family lives and bakes around nut allergies, so our farmhouse kitchen is nut free. This recipe uses one of our nut free favorites: Vermont Nut Free Chocolates baking pieces and cocoa powder. You can learn all about them at www.vermontnutfree.com.
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This recipe is included in our Valentine’s Day recipe gallery.  You’ll find our favorite homemade Valentine’s Day recipes there just waiting for you!

Valentines Gallery


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Our Favorite Holiday Recipes from The 1840 Farmhouse Kitchen

holiday-cookie-trio-wm

Each holiday season, we turn to our favorite family recipes.  It simply wouldn’t feel like the holidays without them.  From the sweet chocolate crinkle cookies that remind me of my childhood to the savory tomato and onion jams that we will enjoy with our appetizers on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, these recipes will be an integral part of our family’s celebration this year.

Whether you’re looking for something sweet or something savory, I hope that your friends and family will enjoy these dishes just as much as we do.  Simply click on a photo from our recipe gallery below and you’ll be taken to the original post and recipe.

We’ll be in the farmhouse kitchen cooking and baking today, making our way through this list of recipes while the snowflakes pile up outside.  The farmhouse will smell so inviting and the farmhouse kitchen tree will help set a festive mood, decorated with a few antique kitchen tools handed down by great grandmothers on both sides of our family.  It will be my favorite kind of day: one spent in the kitchen with my family baking for my family and making fresh memories to last for years to come.

I hope that you have a wonderfully warm holiday spent with friends and family and filled to the brim with delicious dishes to celebrate the season.  It won’t be long until we embark on the journey of the New Year, turning our calendars to 2017 and dreaming of all the opportunities and adventures that await us.

Happy Holidays to you and yours from all of us here at 1840 Farm!

 

Something Sweet

Something Savory

 

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How to Make Homemade Bone Broth

bone-broth-branded 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

 

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

Velvety Mashed Potatoes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Farmhouse Gravy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Farmhouse Gravy
You can use any combination of pan drippings, bone broth, broth, or stock to make delicious gravy. I keep bone broth on hand and add it to the pan drippings as needed to have enough liquid needed for this gravy. I like a very peppery gravy, so I season it liberally with black pepper and often add minced fresh thyme, rosemary, and tarragon from the garden which is often left over from seasoning the roast meat.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 Tablespoons lard or butter
  2. 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  3. 1 ½ cups (12 ounces) warm pan drippings, bone broth, broth, or stock (or a combination)
  4. salt
  5. freshly ground pepper
  6. finely minced fresh herbs (I use thyme, rosemary, and tarragon from the garden)
Instructions
  1. Make the roux to thicken the gravy by adding the lard or butter to a small saucepan set over medium heat. Melt the fat before adding the flour. Whisk to combine and reduce the heat to low. Continue to whisk until the roux is smooth and takes on a bit of color, approximately 2 minutes. If you are using herbs, add them to the roux and cook for 1 minute.
  2. Add the 2 cups of warm drippings, bone broth, stock (or combination of liquids) to the roux. Whisk to incorporate and increase the heat to medium. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring often to prevent scorching. Simmer gently for 3-5 minutes to thicken the gravy to your desired consistency. Reduce the heat to low. Season with salt and black pepper. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
  3. Gravy can be kept warm over low heat, stirring often before serving.
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This post is included in our 1840 Farmhouse Thanksgiving Gallery.
You’ll find our favorite Thanksgiving recipes all gathered in one place so that you can easily include them in your family’s celebration.  I’ll be adding new recipes  right up until the big day, so check back to see even more delicious and fabulous Thanksgiving posts.

 

thanksgiving-gallery-ss


 

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

Garden Fresh Heirloom Tomato Pico de Gallo

 Heirloom Tomato Pico de Gallo Gold Branded

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

BostonCreamPie at 1840 FarmBoston Cream Pie has always been one of my favorite desserts.  It’s difficult to beat the combination of a light sponge cake layered with vanilla pastry cream and topped with chocolate ganache.  It wins on flavor and appearance in my book.

Sure, it isn’t really a pie in spite of its name.  As a pie lover, I could choose to hold that against this dessert.  Or, I could choose to love it more because it was made in a pie plate instead of a cake pan.  I’ll go with the second option because it doesn’t prevent me from loving Boston Cream Pie for any reason at all.

If you’re not familiar with the story behind Boston Cream Pie, here it is.  Once upon a time (around 1856), a chef by the name of Sanzian at Boston’s Parker House Hotel made a sponge cake layered with rum infused pastry cream, garnished with toasted almonds, and topped with chocolate fondant.  As was common practice at the time, he baked the cake in pie tins which were often used for cake baking.  The cake was called “Chocolate Cream Pie” and the name stuck.BostonCreamDrip

Years later, it came to be called Boston Cream Pie in a nod to its birthplace.  The Parker House became the Omni Parker House and the rest is culinary history of the most delicious kind.  In 1996, this dessert with a history became the official state dessert of Massachusetts.

No matter the reason this dessert was originally baked in pie tins, it is more common to find it baked in a cake pan these days.  Doing so creates a more symmetrical cake that can be sliced horizontally into layers for the finished dessert.  I like a challenge, so I prefer to use pie plates which create the rustic appearance of the homemade dessert that I love. 

In addition to using pie plates, I like to create three layers of cake rather than the customary two layers.  I find that the ratio of cake to pastry cream and ganache is just right when I create three thin layers of cake.  There’s also something decadent about a triple layer cake.

Once we moved to New England, it seemed fitting to master my own homemade version of Boston Cream Pie.  We even took a trip in to Boston to have a slice at the Omni Parker House just to experience it at the very place it was first created. 

Once we became chicken keepers and had a steady supply of the fresh eggs that give this cake and pastry cream such a rich flavor, my recipe really took shape. I have been making it the same way ever since.

You can call this dessert a pie or a cake, either is fine by me.  I’ll call it homemade and delicious and enjoy every last bite!

Boston Cream Pie
This recipe makes use of several foundation recipes and techniques. You’ll make a sponge cake with a meringue that is folded into the batter to deliver the most amazing texture. Then you’ll move on to make a beautiful pastry cream followed by the chocolate ganache. These three components can be used time and time again making a wide range of delicious dishes to share with your friends and family.
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For the Vanilla Sponge Cake
  1. 1 cup (8 ounces) whole milk
  2. ½ vanilla bean pod
  3. 3 large eggs
  4. ½ cup (96 grams) granulated sugar
  5. 200 grams (1 ¾ minus 1 Tablespoon) All-purpose flour
  6. 4 heaping Tablespoons cornstarch (36 grams)
  7. 1 cup (192 grams) granulated sugar
  8. 1 teaspoon salt
  9. 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  10. 3 ounces oil (I prefer a sunflower oil blend, but any neutral tasting oil will do)
  11. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  12. butter or coconut oil and sugar to prepare pie pans
For the Pastry Cream
  1. 12 ounces whole milk
  2. ½ vanilla bean pod
  3. 2 eggs
  4. pinch of salt
  5. ¼ cup (30 grams) All-purpose flour
  6. 6 Tablespoons (72 grams) granulated sugar
  7. 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
For the Chocolate Ganache
  1. 4 ounces heavy cream
  2. 4 ounces bittersweet or dark chocolate
For the Vanilla Sponge Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Position the oven racks in the top and bottom third of the oven. Prepare three pie pans by coating with butter or coconut oil and granulated sugar. Set aside as you prepare the cake batter.
  2. Place the cup of whole milk a medium saucepan. Split the vanilla bean pod lengthwise using a sharp knife. Using the dull edge of the knife, scrape along the length of the inside of the pod to remove the thousands of beans inside. Transfer the beans and pod to the pot with the milk and place over low heat. The heat will help to infuse the flavor and aroma of the vanilla bean into the milk.
  3. Prepare a large mixing bowl and the beaters for your mixer by wiping with a paper towel lightly moistened with white vinegar. This will remove any trace of fat, allowing you to create a fluffy, beautiful meringue from the egg whites.
  4. Separate the three eggs, placing the whites in the prepared mixing bowl. Beat the egg whites on high speed until they become frothy. Continue beating while adding the ½ cup of granulated sugar one Tablespoon at a time. Beat until all of the sugar has been incorporated and the meringue has come to stiff peaks. You can test the meringue by removing the beater and holding it upright. If the peak of the meringue holds, it has come to stiff peaks and is ready to use.
  5. Remove the milk and vanilla bean from the heat to cool slightly. Remove the vanilla bean pod from the milk.Transfer the whipped egg white meringue to a small bowl and return the mixing bowl and beater to your mixer.
  6. Add the flour, cornstarch, 1 cup sugar, salt, and baking powder to the mixing bowl. Add the oil and half of the warm milk to the bowl. Mix slowly to combine. Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract, mixing again on slow speed just to combine. Add the remaining milk to the bowl and beat slowly for approximately one minute until the batter is smooth and well combined.
  7. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a spatula, gently fold the reserved egg white meringue into the cake batter. Continue folding until the mixture is smooth and even.
  8. Transfer the batter to the prepared pie pans, dividing equally among them. Transfer the pie pans to the preheated oven. Bake for 25-35 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time. The cakes are done when the tops are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean or with small crumbs attached.
  9. Remove the cakes from the oven to a wire rack to cool. When the pans are cool enough to handle, use an offset spatula to loosen the cakes from the pans. Turn each cake out on to the wire racks to cool completely.
For the Pastry Cream
  1. Place the whole milk in a medium saucepan. Split the vanilla bean pod lengthwise using a sharp knife. Using the dull edge of the knife, scrape along the length of the inside of the pod to remove the thousands of beans inside. Transfer the beans and pod to the pot with the milk and place over low heat.
  2. As the milk is warming, combine the eggs and dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. The resulting batter should be thick and smooth.
  3. Move the pan of milk from the burner. Remove the vanilla bean pod from the milk. Slowly add the egg mixture, whisking to incorporate the thick batter into the warm milk.
  4. Return the pan to medium low heat and bring to a simmer, whisking continuously until the mixture is thick enough to coat a spoon. Remove from the heat.
  5. Transfer the pastry cream from the pan (straining if necessary to remove lumps) to a bowl. Add the vanilla extract and whisk to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, pressing it firmly against the mixture to prevent a skin from forming as it cools. Refrigerate until the cake is ready to be assembled.
For the Chocolate Ganache
  1. Prepare the ganache by warming the heavy cream in a small pan or in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat source and add the chocolate. Allow the mixture to rest for two minutes before whisking to incorporate. When the cream and chocolate have become a satiny glaze, set the ganache aside to cool.
To Assemble the Boston Cream Pie
  1. Remove the pastry cream from the refrigerator. Whisk the mixture to ensure that it is completely smooth. Whisk the chocolate ganache.
  2. Place one of the cake layers on a large plate or platter. Transfer half of the pastry cream to the top of the cake. Using a spatula, spread the pastry cream to evenly cover the cake, leaving a narrow margin around the edge of the cake. Repeat this process with the second layer of cake and remaining pastry cream.
  3. Place the third cake layer on top. Transfer all of the chocolate ganache to the top of the cake. If the ganache is warm enough, it can be poured, if not, simply use a spatula to spread the ganache to fully cover the top of the cake. I like to completely cover the cake and allow a small bit of the ganache to drip over the edge. There’s just something inviting about seeing this cake with chocolate reaching down to the cake plate below.
  4. Transfer the fully assembled Boston Cream Pie to the refrigerator. The cake can be kept in the refrigerator for several days, although they never last that long here!
Notes
  1. This cake benefits from the use of cake flour. Due to food allergies, I struggled to find a brand of cake flour that was safe to use in our kitchen. Fortunately, I discovered that I could combine All-purpose flour and cornstarch to deliver the benefits of cake flour without adding allergens to our kitchen and one more specialty ingredient to our pantry. For each cup of cake flour called for in a recipe, simply weigh out one cup of All-purpose flour, remove 2 Tablespoons of the flour and add 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch. Problem solved!
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Make Your Own: Cake Flour Substitute

MakeYourOwnCakeFlourSubstituteBrandedThere I was, reading a recipe for what sounded like a delicious cake.  I was inspired to head into the farmhouse kitchen to make one for my family.  I scanned through the list of ingredients, mentally placing a check mark on each line, happy to see that I had each ingredient on hand.  Then I came to cake flour and everything came to a screeching halt. 

Cake flour is all but impossible for me to purchase at the grocery store.  Each box seems to carry an allergy warning that prevents me from being able to invite the ingredient into our kitchen. We are completely peanut and tree nut free, so buying a box of cake flour that might contain both simply wasn’t an option.

I knew that cake flour was designed specifically for cake baking. In fact, each type of flour is designed to deliver differing levels of protein, gluten, and density to recipes.  Bread flour often promises a protein content in excess of 12%.  All-purpose flour typically has a protein content in the range of 11% while cake flour comes in at between 6-8%,  A lower protein content helps to create a cake that is tender, airy, and light. 

After a bit of reading, I found that I could indeed make my own cake flour substitute using two ingredients that I always have on hand in the pantry:  All-purpose flour and cornstarch.  By combining the two, I can create a flour that has a reduced protein content with less gluten, a silky texture, and the density that  cake flour is known for.  I could also sidestep peanuts and tree nuts, keeping our kitchen safe for the whole family.

This substitution is simple and I have used it with great success to bake light and delicious cakes.  I hope that you’ll find that it works just as well for you in your favorite recipes calling for cake flour.

Homemade Cake Flour Substitute
Our food allergies prevent me from purchasing cake flour at the grocery store, but they don't keep me from making recipes that call for cake flour. This homemade cake flour substitute works well, I can control the allergens, and I can use ingredients that I already have on hand. Now you can too!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup All-purpose flour
  2. 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
Instructions
  1. For each cup of cake flour called for in a recipe, you can easily create your own substitute. This substitute can be used in any recipe that calls for cake flour. There's no need to adjust the amount of flour used.
  2. Measure 1 cup of All-purpose flour into a small bowl. Remove 2 Tablespoons of the flour. Add 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch to the bowl and whisk lightly to combine.
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Memorial Day Favorites from 1840 Farm

MemorialDayFavoritesCollage

Memorial Day is the official kickoff to Summer and we feel like celebrating!  We’ll be enjoying a few of our favorite warm weather recipes with family and friends this weekend.  The temperatures are predicted to hit 90 degrees tomorrow, so we’ll be ready for a cold refreshing Franklin Cooler made with our homemade Raspberry and Rhubarb Syrup by midday!

Monday morning will start off with a Strawberry Puff Pancake using the bounty of fresh eggs our hens are providing.  For dinner, we’ll be grilling burgers and local sausages and topping them with Spicy Ginger & Garlic Quick Pickles and Classic Sauerkraut.  A Grilled Romaine Salad will be perfect as a side or as a main course for our friends that live a vegetarian lifestyle.  Add in a square of Chocolate Chip Gooey Butter Cake and everyone will leave our farmhouse table full and happy. PatrioticHolidayGraphic

Each year, we choose to commemorate Memorial Day by making a donation from our 1840 Farm Community to a veteran’s charity for every handmade basket sold in our Etsy Shop. It’s our small way of showing our deep appreciation for the sacrifices made by those who serve in our military and the families that support them.

This year, I want to give you the opportunity to help select the charity that will receive that donation. If you have a favorite charity that focuses on those who serve our nation, please visit our Facebook page and join in our discussion. Together, we’ll choose the charity that receives our donation. Then we’ll repeat the nomination process for Independence Day, Labor Day, and Veteran’s Day.

For all of you who have served in the military or are on active duty, please accept my heartfelt thanks for your service to our country.  To the families and friends who support those who serve, thank you for the sacrifices you make to support the bravest Americans among us.  As the flag flaps on our farmer’s porch, I am forever reminded that we owe a debt of gratitude to all who serve that can never be repaid.

I hope that you have a holiday weekend spent with friends and family filled to the brim with laughter, delicious food and drink, and memories in the making.

 

Warmly,

 

You can access any of the recipes by clicking on the photos below.

 

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