Pie crust recipe

Here is the current pie crust recipe of choice.  It works well and gives a consistent crust. It came from a friend who likes to bake.

Pie Crust

This uses flour, oil and water for a consistent crust.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour Can use all-purpose
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour Can use whole wheat
  • 2 pieces wax paper

Instructions

  • Mix oil and water until frothy.  2 cup liquid measuring cup is a good place to mix it.
  • Put frothy oil and water into bowl and add flour.  Stir with fork or spoon until it sticks together.  Try to touch as little as possible.
  • Separate into 2 lumps.  Put one lump between wax paper and roll out to size of pie pan.  Put in pie pan and proceed according to pie recipe.  Do the same with 2nd lump of dough.

Notes

You can divide the recipe in half for 1 pie crust - 1/3 cup oil, 3 tbsp water, 1 cup + 2 Tbsp flour.  Follow the directions above.
I like this with a mix of whole wheat and all purpose flour.  You can also do just one or the other.

Pumpkin Pie

Here is my favorite pumpkin pie recipe.  It came from the back of a no-name brand of canned pumpkin.  I cook down my pumpkin and use that in place of the canned pumpkin.

Pumpkin Pie - Makes 2 pies

This pumpkin pie uses milk, eggs, pumpkin, sugar and spices, nice and straightforward.

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups pumpkin, or pureed squash or sweet potato
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups milk

Instructions

  • Mix pumpkin, sugar, spices and eggs together.  Stir in milk.
  • Pour into 2 uncooked pie crusts. Bake for 400F until knife comes out clean.  It may take 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Cool and eat.

Notes

I use something between 3 and 4 cups of pumpkin, depending on how much I have.
Nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice can be substituted for some of these spices.

Here is the pie crust recipe that I like to use.  Enjoy!

Cooking a Pumpkin – Oven Method

Recently I cooked a pumpkin in the oven to prepare it for making a pie. Here is how I did it:

First I washed the outside of the pumpkin.  I poked it 3 or 4 times with  a fork.

Jarrhdale Pumpkin ready to go in the oven

Next I put it on a pan with sides and put some water in the bottom.  I baked it at 400F until it was soft, probably about 2 hours.

Cooked pumpkin

 

 

 

I removed it from the oven and let it cool.  Then I peeled it.

 

Peeled pumpkin from side
Peeled pumpkin from top

 

Cooked pumpkin wedge

 

 

Cooked pumpkin in blender covered with water
Blended pumpkin ready to use

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next I cut it into pieces and put about 4 cups in the blender.

 

 

I added water to the top of the pumpkin.  I blended it until I had a nice puree.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I set it aside and blended some more.  Once it was all blended I could use it or refrigerate or freeze it until I had something to do with it.

 

 

Cooking a Pumpkin - Oven Method

Here is a way to cook a pumpkin or winter squash in the oven.

Ingredients

  • 1 pumpkin or winter squash

Instructions

  • Wash the outside of the pumpkin, poke it with a fork 3-4 times, put in a pan with sides, like a 13x9 pan, cover the bottom with water, put in the oven, bake at 400F.
  • Cook until it is soft. This could take 2 hours. I check it at 1 hour and every 15-20 minutes after that. It will feel soft and it could shrink and sort of fall in on itself.
  • Once it is soft, remove from the oven and let it cool at least 10-15 minutes. Cut it open. If it is still hot inside, let it cool some more.
  • Once it is cool enough to handle, remove and discard the seeds. Pull off the skin or scoop out the meat of the pumpkin.
  • Put about 4 cups of pumpkin in the blender. Add water to the top of the pumpkin. Blend until smooth. Add water if all of it can't rotate through the blending.
  • Empty the blender and do another batch, repeating until it is completed.  Refrigerate or freeze until you are ready to use it.

Shave Steaks

Shave steaks are thinly sliced steaks, cut from sirlion tips.  If used for sandwiches, 2 steaks take about 5 minutes or less to cook.  This batch of shave steaks has 8 steaks in a package and the package weighs about 1 lb.  We eat the steaks on rolls with lettuce, cheese, tomato, and condiments.

Here is how I cook them: I put 2 shave steaks on a skillet over medium heat.  They will start cooking and will visibly shrink.  They will also turn gray/brown and will have red liquid sort of pool on top.  At that point I flip them over and cook the other side.  If red liquid comes up again, then I flip them one more time.  And usually then they are done.  I remove them to a plate and do 2 more.

This is the meat that you would make a Philly Sandwich with.  You can also cut the uncooked meat into small squares and use as the meat of a stir fry. Enjoy!

Indoor Sprouts – 2019 Update

We are in our 3rd year of growing soil-sprouted greens during the winter. Here is the page describing the process.

Here are some of 2019’s adaptations:

  • We are using paper egg cartons to hold the dirt and we set these on trays to protect the shelf or table surface.
  • In addition to sprouting peas, we are sprouting other seeds, including beets/Swiss chard and beans. Peas are still our preferred sprout, but the others give a variety of flavors.
Top to bottom: Peas, beans, beets
  • We have a multishelf in a sunny window.
  • After our first harvest, we let the sprouts grow a 2nd time. Some resprout. Others weren’t harvested the first time and are the 2nd time. After the 2nd harvest, the whole container is composted.

The Farmer plans his summer pea bed for at least 2 fifty-foot rows. One row will be for us to eat as a raw or cooked veggie. The other will go to seed. He will save some of the seed to plant the next summer and will save most of it for us to sprout in the winter. Gray Dwarf is the current variety we are sprouting.

Winter Chicks

Last Spring, The Farmer used an incubator to turn some of the farm eggs into chickens. They were The Farmer’s little pet project throughout the year.

Chick hatching in incubator in April 2018

December found The Farmer enjoying fresh eggs while the hens were adjusting to their winter quarters.

One night late in December, when The Farmer went out to gather eggs, a hen was still in a nest box. She made it known by the cock of her head and the low screeches that she did not want to be disturbed. She had gone broody.

The next morning, though, she was out with the other hens, so The Farmer just took note…but, the hen acted the same way a couple days later. Continue reading “Winter Chicks”

Bone Broth

Bone broth is mentioned a lot on health and natural food websites. What is it used for and how does one make it?  I recently interviewed Griffin, a SU Ph.D student who loves to rock climb. He shared with me that he takes bone broth on his hikes to give him an energy boost. He finds that it can quickly heal collagen tears and can help maintain the tendons. If used regularly apart from hiking, it helps with gut health and helps the skin and hair with the nutrition that they need.

Cooking the bones with a splash of vinegar helps to get the collagen and marrow out of them.  If you want minerals and vitamins, then you need to include some veggies and/or herbs in your broth as this is where the minerals and vitamins come from. 1

Here is his recipe with my comments:

Griffin's Bone Broth

Ingredients

  • 4-5 marrow bones
  • 1 splash vinegar, whatever variety you have Splash is about 2-4 Tbsp.
  • 1 cup veggies - onions, celery, carrots, whatever you have available
  • 1/2 bunch herbs - whatever you have available and what you like
  • 1 shake salt; 1 tsp is good amount to start with
  • Pepper to taste
  • Water to cover, leave 1 inch head room

Instructions

  • Put bones in 6 quart crockpot. Add veggies, herbs, salt, pepper and vinegar. Add water to cover leaving 1 inch head room. 
  • Turn on low for 36 hours. You can start it on high for an hour or two to get it warmed up and then turn it down to low for the remainder of the time.
  • After 36 hours, if the water has steamed off, then add more water. Check flavor and add seasonings as desired. Continue cooking for 8 more hours.
  • Turn off and allow to cool some.
  • Take bones out of broth.  If there is any meat on them or marrow in them, remove it, cut it up, and add it back to the broth.
  • Pour the broth into containers.  Glass containers will store in the refrigerator, plastic in the freezer.  Let the broth cool in the refrigerator.  Once it has gelled, take the fat off the top and use it to cook food in or to add to dishes for flavor.
  • Label and freeze. 

Make sure you leave 1 inch of head space when you add the water.  If you don’t, you will end up with a layer of fat on the counter.

I like the glass containers in principle. However, a plastic container is easier to get the fat out of. If you let the broth cool until the fat is solid, then you can gently squeeze the container which lets the fat pull away from the sides. You can then lift this up and out and put it in another container to use on bread or as the fat for sauteing veggies.

The broth can be the base for soups, can be added to stir-fries,  or can be part of a daily drink. Because it is concentrated, you will want to dilute it.  In soups or stir-fries you could use it for up to 1/2 of the liquid.  For a drink it could be up to 1/8 or 1/4 of the liquid.  It will have a slightly salty, meaty taste, although depending on the other ingredients, that could be masked.

This broth is tasty. It is easy to make and doesn’t require a lot of attention. It will take up the space and use of the crockpot, so you need to plan around that. But this works well.

This would be the point where I should say – Do you want to try this? Contact me to get your bones today! – but unfortunately, my marrow bones are sold out for this year. Next time I will share my personal bone broth method. It doesn’t extract as much collagen as this recipe would, but it works well enough for me. Stay tuned.

Indoor Winter Greens

Back a while ago, The Farmer found this book by Peter Burke in his local library and took a long gander. (Here is the link to the local library. The author also has a website with supplies and an outline of his method.)

Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening: How to Grow Nutrient-Dense, Soil-Sprouted Greens in Less Than 10 days

In the book, Mr. Burke shows a simple way to grow sprouts on soil, without the need for grow lights or other expensive equipment.

This is The Farmer’s second winter using the method, and here is what it looks like for him.

Continue reading “Indoor Winter Greens”