Creamed Chicken – A Comfort Food

This month the local cooking challenge focus is chicken.  As we sell our chickens as whole frozen birds, a lot of my chicken meals begin that way – chicken over rice or chicken over potatoes.  But usually I have leftovers, especially if I have cooked 2 chickens at the same time.  These can be made into chicken soups, chicken sandwiches, chicken salad, or chicken casseroles.

Recently I made Creamed Chicken, a recipe that I grew up with that came from the Mennonite Cookbook.  It is one of those comfort foods, warm and nourishing, good for a winter evening.

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March on the Farm

March can have so many different faces.  Last week we were looking at 12 inches of snow with paths cleared, but a good snow cover on everything else.  With the freeze-thaw pattern – below 32F at night and above during the day – we will see the snow compact and will see some water leave the property, but much will get soaked into the ground.

If we didn’t have the snow cover, then we would be in mud season.

If it gets warm enough, then we will think about working in the garden and would probably hang the laundry out to dry.

With these different faces, what is one to do in March?  Well, we keep doing what needs to be done – feed and water the animals, pitch manure when it is above freezing, cut firewood for the summer and next year.  Then we plan for the summer growing season – what seeds and tubers should be purchased, what chicks or poults will we want, what equipment needs to be repaired.  Next we purchase those things and repair broken things.  Finally, we learn, read, and take classes related to farming, so that we are better prepared when it is time to do our summer growing.

May you enjoy your March as we enjoy ours!

March Challenge – Chicken

The March 2018 Local Food challenge is chicken.  As with other months, find chicken local to you, use it for a meal, and then comment here or email me about what you did and how it tasted.  For additional rules see the original post.

Whole chickens can be boiled, roasted, cut into parts and fried, or cooked in a crockpot or instant pot.  They can be served over rice or potatoes.   Leftovers can be used in soup or casseroles or sandwiches.

If you are local to us, chickens can be purchased from us for $5.00 / lb through March 31, 2018.  They were raised outdoors on our farm in fresh air and sunshine, were fed non-gmo grains, were processed by us and frozen, and are 4-6 lb.  I have been using them regularly as a main dish and for chicken broth and stock.  They taste good!

2 Liver Pâtés

Here are 2 liver pâté recipes that we have used over the years.  The EAS Liver Pâté with variations is blended liver, milk, eggs and spices.  Lunchon Pork Pâté is blended liver and sausage.   Both taste good and are not hard to make.  Both can be eaten warm with crackers or bread, or can be used the day after for sandwiches.  My children prefer the one with sausage, which is not surprising, as many things taste better with sausage!

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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.

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February Challenge – Organ Meat

I can hear it already – “What do you mean organ meat?  You mean, like liver? And why do it the 2nd month of the challenge? Can’t we wait until later in the challenge?”

Organ meat has to be included sometime.  It is a legitimate meat that local farmers will sell. It includes the odd pieces – heart, liver, tongue, kidneys, brains, ox tail, chicken feet, pig feet and hocks. (Ox tail, chicken feet,  and pig feet and hocks aren’t technically organ meat, but we will allow them for this challenge.)

We have scheduled organ meat in February because that is traditionally when our family eats heart (Valentine’s Day).  (And yes, we have eaten rabbit at Easter and would consider reindeer at Christmas!) Rather than have just heart this month we have included all organ meats.

What are ways to prepare these items?

  • The feet and hocks make good stock that can serve as the foundation for soup or for the liquid to cook rice in.
  • Heart and tongue I tend to boil and slice and serve as part of dinner or in sandwiches.
    • Chicken hearts I saute with onion, celery and/or mushrooms in oil.  Once the onion is limp or the celery is soft, then I turn it to low and let it simmer with the lid on to make sure that the hearts are cooked.  I have several young children that like this as their birthday meal.
  • Sliced kidneys or liver can be soaked first in milk.  If I soak them, I do it for 30 minutes, change milk, soak them again for another 30 minutes.  For the kidneys this reduces the urine smell/flavor.
    • Kidneys – I have made steak and kidney pie.  More recently I have made Tom Clack’s Deviled Kidneys from Shannon Hayes The Grassfed Gourmet. It is sliced kidneys in a spicy ketchup sauce that is then served with bread or over potatoes or rice. (Recipe to come later in the month.)
    • Liver
      • This can be ground or finely chopped and mixed in with other meats.
      • Before we moved to the farm, I always would cook liver with onions.  We would sometimes serve it as a sandwich with tomatoes and lettuce and mayo and call it a Real Man’s Sandwich!
      • One of my early farm customers gave me a recipe for Danish Liver Pâté.  Her in-laws were from Denmark.  Her mom sent the recipe in Danish to her, her husband translated it into English, and she gave it to me.  It is raw liver, blended with milk, egg, flour and seasonings, which is then baked and served on crackers or bread.  This is now my main way to serve liver.
        • A similar recipe adds sausage and omits the milk and egg.  My children like this a little better.  Lots of things taste better with sausage!
  •  If you have a good way to make something with some other organ meat, make it and include it in the comments.

Again, the rules are that this made from organ meat grown local to you.  Comment below by March 3, 2018, with what you made, how you liked it and how you would make it differently next time.

Organ meat is on sale for $3.75 / lb through March 3, 2018.

 

 

January’s Challenge – Beef/Wild Game

January’s challenge is beef/wild game.  The challenge:

  • Choose a cut of beef, venison, or wild game that was locally grown in your area. This includes anything that comes from beef or wild game – roasts, steaks, bones, ground beef, meaty shank soup bones, stew meat, ribs.
  • Make a dish with that cut of meat.  It can be cooked in the oven, on the stove top,  in a crockpot, on the grill, in the instant pot.  It can be a dish where it is mainly by itself or can be part of a stir fry where it is a small part of the whole dish.  The key is that it is a cut of beef or wild game that was locally grown.  Check our currently available page to get some beef from us.
  • Serve it with thankfulness and enjoy it!
  • Comment here or email me that you made this.  You can include a recipe,  and your thoughts on how it tasted and how those who ate with you liked or didn’t like it, and what you would do differently next time.
  • Deadline to comment or email me is February 6, 2018.

For details for the whole challenge – 2018 Local Food Cooking Challenge

What beef dish are you going to make?