11 November 2009
Thanksgiving dinner doesn't have to be a daunting task. An enjoyable, bountiful dinner can be all yours. Don't make the mistake I have in about 18 of 20 dinners I've served. I'm usually too exhausted to enjoy dinner or my guests. I encourage you to do as much beforehand as possible and make good use of your kitchen appliances. Here are a couple of tips: 1. Peel potatoes up to 2 days before. They can soak completely covered in water in the refrigerator. 2. Use a pressure cooker for vegetables. I always make my mashed potatoes and green beans in a pressure cooker that plugs in and frees up the stove. 3. Make all salads and deviled eggs the day before. 4. Prep all vegetables 1-2 days before. 5. Measure out other ingredients 1-2 days before. Cover and label so you don't forget what recipe you measured out the butter for. 6. Dishes like sweet potato casserole can be pre-made and warmed before serving. Even green beans are just as good warmed up.
- 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
- 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 3 tablespoons apple juice or cider
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
Preparation:Arrange sliced sweet potatoes, apples, and raisins in a buttered 2-quart baking dish. Mix together honey, apple juice, and butter. Pour over sweet potato mixture. Cover and bake candied sweet potatoes at 350° for 30 to 45 minutes, until sweet potatoes are tender and glazed. Recipe for candied sweet potatoes serves 6.
Creamed Corn Pudding
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk
- 1 can (approx. 15 ounces) cream-style corn
- 1 can (approx. 15 ounces) whole kernel corn, or about 2 cups frozen thawed
- 3 eggs, separated
Preparation:Heat oven to 350°.
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat; add flour, stirring until mixture is well blended. Gradually stir in the milk; add sugar and salt. Cook, whisking constantly, until smooth and thickened. Mixture will be thick. Remove from heat and stir in cream-style and kernel corn. Lightly beat egg yolks, and then add to the corn mixture. In a grease-free bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into the mixture. Transfer to a 2-quart buttered casserole. Set the casserole in a larger pan and put in the oven. Add hot water to the large pan to a depth of about 1 inch. Bake for about 45 minutes.
- 6 medium red skinned potatoes
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 6 green onions, with 2 inches green, sliced
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 1/4 cups whole milk
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- salt, to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon dried mustard
- dash nutmeg
Preparation:Lightly grease an 11x7-inch baking dish. Heat oven to 350°.
Peel potatoes; rinse well then slice thinly into a large bowl.
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add sliced green onions and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in flour until smooth and bubbly. Add milk and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, until thick and bubbly. Stir in mustard and nutmeg. Pour the mixture over potatoes and mix well.
Pour the potato mixture into prepared baking dish; cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes longer, or until potatoes are tender.
Serves 4 to 6.
- 2 packages frozen spinach, (10 oz each)
- 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup butter, melted, divided
- 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
- paprika, optional
Preparation:Thaw spinach and press or squeeze to remove excess water. Grease a casserole dish and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the spinach, cream cheese, and 1/4 cup of melted butter. Spoon into casserole dish. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and paprika, and drizzle with remaining 1/4 cup of butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
Cranberry Apple Relish
- 1 can (16 ounces) whole cranberry sauce
- 1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
Preparation:In a small bowl, break up cranberry sauce with a fork; stir in diced apple, raisins, and relish. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving. Makes about 3 cups of cranberry apple relish.
Southern Deviled Eggs with Mustard
- 6 hard-cooked eggs
- 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise, or to moisten
- 1 teaspoon prepared mustard, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish, or to taste
Preparation:Cut hard-cooked eggs in half lengthwise. Remove and mash the yolks; combine with mayonnaise, mustard, salt, and relish. Refill centers of the egg whites with the mixture. Garnish with ground paprika.
02 November 2009
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15 October 2009
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29 September 2009
I'm about as excited as a girl can be right now. Well, that would be a girl who is an aspiring goat farmer. Yes, after the chicken coop goes up this fall the next task will be moving in some goats. After scouring the shelves of Barnes and Noble on Saturday I found what appears to be a great book on cheese making > Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll. I'll let you know as I work my way through the techniques and recipes. It's a book for anyone wanting to make cheese from cows, goats, sheep or buffalo. Buffalo milk is high on my list now of milks to incorporate into my cheeses. The best mozzarella in the world comes from buffalo milk.
I've gotten off track from explaining why I'm so excited. I've just registered us for 2 upcoming classes on everything a goat farmer should ever need to know including how to make cheese. A farm here in the western Carolina mountains is offering the courses. Apparently its something they do every fall. I admire their undertaking and that they offer to share their skills because they care so much about the animals and industry. There's nothing better than learning hands-on from those who are in the trenches daily. Not being raised on a farm, near a dairy farm, or even with a pair of overalls I have a way to go in being broken in as a farm hand. Those of you who know me can leave your comments to yourself and off the blog. I've long been interested in cheese making and intrigued by all of the different varieties and possibilities. I've been fortunate to have a position at Grandfather Golf and Country Club this summer working alongside executive chef Tom Jankovich who has a curiosity toward finding prodigious tasting and often unconventional cheeses. That man can find some truly cool cheese. Being exposed to such unconventional varieties has motivated my interest.
I'll post photos and updates as I start on my goat farming journey. If you also have an interest you may find the following links useful:
1. The New England Small Farms Institute’s Growing New Farmers Program helps to answer the question: ‘Do I need a Business Plan for my Farm?’ by providing advice through a number of free publication resources related to this question at: http://growingnewfarmers.org/main/for_new_farmers/new_farmer_q_and_a/business_plan_for_my_farm/
2. Free Business Planning from the University of Minnesota. “AgPlan,” designed specifically for farms and ag businesses, provides guidance in writing your business plan, offers the option of collaborating with one or more advisors, and allows you to save your planning work online (or print it out). Online software at http://agplan.umn.edu/
3. North Carolina State University has an Organic Farm Business Planning Page which features a number of publications and links related to financial planning for organic farmers. Some are specific to North Carolina, but many or not.
And simply visit your local Ag office like I did. Ours was a great resource and I met folks who are willing to help us along the way.
02 September 2009
01 September 2009
Following the berry theme here on the blog, I'd like to pass along a Summer Berry Pie recipe as we wind down another summertime. I hope your summer hasn't been as rainy as mine. I've been trying to get to the farm to pick blackberries for the past 3 weeks. It hasn't happened yet... but it might happen tomorrow if there are any left. For this recipe you'll need fresh blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Be sure to measure out your berries carefully. If you come up short on a certain berry type just make up the difference with the extras of what you do have. When pureeing the berries, be sure to process them for a full minute. Apple jelly can be substituted if red currant isn't available. I highly recommend the red currant jelly, though.
|For the Graham Cracker Crust:|
|9 graham crackers, broken into rough pieces|
|2 tablespoons granulated sugar|
|5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and warm|
|For the Berry Filling:|
|2 cups fresh raspberries (about 9 ounces)|
|2 cups fresh blackberries (about 11 ounces)|
|2 cups fresh blueberries (about 10 ounces)|
|1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)|
|2-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch|
1 tbsp. strawberry Jello
|1/8 teaspoon table salt|
|1 tablespoon lemon juice from 1 lemon|
|2 tablespoons red currant jelly|
|For the Whipped Cream:|
|1 cup heavy cream (cold)|
|1 tablespoon granulated sugar|
|1 teaspoon vanilla extract|
FOR THE CRUST:
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325º F.
In food processor, process graham crackers until evenly fine, about 30 seconds (you should have 1 cup crumbs). Add sugar and pulse to combine. Continue to pulse while adding warm melted butter in steady stream; pulse until mixture resembles wet sand. Transfer crumbs to 9-inch glass pie plate; form crust using a 1/2-cup dry measuring cup. Bake crust until it begins to brown, 15 to 18 minutes; transfer to wire rack and cool completely while making filling.
FOR THE FILLING:
Combine berries in large colander and gently rinse; spread berries on paper towel-lined rimmed baking sheet and gently pat dry with additional paper towels.
In food processor, puree 2- 1/2 cups mixed berries until smooth and fully pureed, about
1 minute. Strain puree through mesh strainer into small nonreactive saucepan, scraping and pressing on seeds to extract as much puree as possible (you should have 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups). Whisk sugar, cornstarch, Jello and salt in small bowl to combine, then whisk mixture into puree. Bring puree to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon; when mixture reaches a boil and is thickened to consistency of pudding, remove from heat, stir in lemon juice, and set aside to cool slightly.
While puree is cooling, place remaining berries in medium bowl. Heat jelly in second small saucepan over low heat until fully melted; drizzle melted jelly over berries and toss gently to coat. Pour slightly cooled puree into cooled pie shell; top with fresh berries. Loosely cover pie with plastic wrap; refrigerate until chilled and puree has set, about 4 hours (or up to 1 day).
FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM:
Just before serving, beat cream, sugar, and vanilla with electric mixer on low speed until small bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium; continue beating until beaters leave trail, about 30 seconds longer. Increase speed to high; continue beating until cream is smooth, thick, nearly doubled in volume, and forms soft peaks, about 30 to 60 seconds.
Cut pie into wedges and serve with whipped cream.