Sunday, December 21, 2014

Chickens!

pastured chickens

In a newspaper article from many years ago (try 22) there's a picture of my mom with me perched on her hip. In the caption she said that I loved chickens. So I guess it's fate that I am now the proud caretaker of a fine flock of chickens.

Last Friday I inherited an existing egg production operation with the goal of taking it to the next level and having a nice addition to the fruit and vegetables we offer.  Farming is an incredible gift and a unique one at that. While farming is usually a solid "in place" sort of thing it's also very liquid in that it can have a life after it's original start. Our peach orchard is a great example of this as well as my newly acquired feathered friends.

The chickens will actually be staying at the home and I will be learning under the incredibly kind and smart guidance of Bill who started the egg operation 12 years ago.

There are Red Star, Araucana, and While Leghorn chickens (....oh and 1 black chicken named Crow) working to give us brown, blue/green, and white eggs. So fancy.



And as far as packaging goes you can pick up Mixed (all colors), All Brown, All Blue/Green, and All White.  I am adding a "mixed" dozen to the mix because I think it's fun to get a surprise.  Too few things in life are a surprise these days.    

And here's all the great stuff about these eggs....
Pastured
Free Range
Grass Fed
Cage Free
Insecticide Free
Antibiotic Free


eggs in nesting boxes



freshly cleaned Araucana and Mixed eggs

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Jam in Use: Sandwich Cookies


Tis the season for the annual cookie bake-a-thon. This provides you with a great opportunity to also showcase some of the jellies and jams you made this season.

This is a really great recipe I found via Roxana's Home Baking. The cookies are light with a gentle sweetness that you can adapt to various jam flavors.

Jam Sandwich Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 sugar
2 egg yolks
pinch of salt
2 2/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon extract:
  • Peach jam use almond extract 
  • Cherry, cranberry, or pear for example use vanilla 
  • Strawberry jam use lemon extract

Cream butter and sugar. Add two egg yolks and then flavoring extract.  Gradually add in flour and salt until completely combined. Form dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap or Bee's Wrap for an hour.

On a floured surface roll dough until it 1/4 inch thick. Use cookie cutter (feel free to get crafty and make stars or other shapes). Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes in a 350 degree oven until edges are very lightly browned.

when using shapes other than circles you need to make a top and a bottom 

Let cookies cook completely and then spread jam on a cookie and sandwich!


Monday, December 8, 2014

Collard Green Dip

collard greens
Collard Greens are actually a pretty handy and versatile green. I have one customer who happily makes Collard Chips instead of Kale Chips....interesting thought. So what about Collards instead of spinach in a dip? I was skeptical but I had a party to go to...so I thought it's worth a try.

The results were great!  Actually better than great especially when served toasty warm.

I adapted this recipe from Ezra Pound Cake via a good ol' Pinterest search. 

collard green dip

Collard Green Dip

3 slices of bacon
1 small onion
3-4 large collard stalks, leaves removed from center salk and stalk discarded
1 large garlic clove minced
1 8 ounce package of cream cheese
1/2 sour cream
salt
1/4 - 1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes
1 bag shredded Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 350.

Wash greens and cut from center stalk. Tear into small pieces.

Cook bacon until crisp and place on a paper towel.  Keep 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease and discard the rest.

Saute onions until tender in pan used to cook bacon with grease.

Add collards and garlic. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

In a bowl beat together cream cheese, 1/2 parmesan cheese, sour cream, salt, and hot pepper flakes until smooth.

Crumble bacon and fold in, along with the collards to the cheese mixture.

Spread into a small baking dish and sprinkle with some more cheese.

Bake for 10 minutes. Serve hot.

collards ready to be cut in the field

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