Food, Recipes

Roasted Fennel & Tomatoes

I always love hearing what kind of produce folks need recipes for. My latest request was for a fennel recipe. Depending on where you’re located, fennel is a completely underutilized winter/spring vegetable. This celery like bulb is crisp, slightly sweet, and tastes of anise. Here is a quick, simple, and light recipe for roasted fennel and tomatoes. It makes a great side dish or you can serve it tossed with a pasta.

Roasted Fennel & Tomatoes

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 bulb fennel & stems, halved & sliced
  • 1/2 an onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Grated parmesan (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a roasting pan or baking sheet, toss the onion, garlic, fennel, and tomatoes with the olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper.
  3. Place pan in oven and roast for roughly 45 minutes or until tomato edges start to brown. Make sure to stir every 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven. Top with freshly grated parmesan and serve.
  5. Enjoy!

Notes: When chopping the fennel, use some of the feathery fronds, you don’t have to use all of them. You can add a little red pepper flakes if you’d like some kick. I highly recommend adding a little freshly grated parmesan at the end.

If you are interested in putting in a recipe request, let me know! Shoot me a message through the contact form or comment below!

Food, Recipes

Whipped Goat Cheese & Strawberry Balsamic Pastry

With Galentine’s and Valentine’s Day this weekend, I thought I’d pay another tribute to the Hallmark Holiday’s with a recipe in addition to last week’s blog! Nothing says Valentine’s Day like fresh strawberries. While I admit I’m in now way a baker*, I thought an easy and delicious treat was in order. This is great for brunch or dessert!

Whipped Goat Cheese & Strawberry Balsamic Pastry

  • 8 ounce goat cheese, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons agave
  • 4 cups sliced strawberry
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 2-4 Puff Pastry Shells

For ease of following this recipe, please know you’ll be making the strawberry balsamic topping first, then while baking the pastry shells you’ll create the whipped goat cheese.

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place strawberries in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Stirring regularly.
  3. Once bubbling, add honey and balsamic.
  4. Reduce to medium heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Transfer to cool container.
  6. Place strawberry mix in the fridge to cool while prepping other elements of the dish.
  7. Next place pastry shells on a nonstick pan and put in oven. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. (The package says 18 minutes, but that was too long with my oven.)
  8. While pastry shells are baking, in a bowl vigorously mix goat cheese, agave, and milk. Set aside.
  9. After removing pastry shells from the oven, allow to cool for a moment before plating.
  10. Remove the tops from the center of the shell and add goat cheese mixture.
  11. After top with two to three large spoonfuls of strawberry balsamic topping and serve!
  12. Enjoy!

Notes: You can use the honey and agave interchangeably or just use one for the entire dish. I, myself, prefer agave, but use whatever you have and it will still be delightful. For the whipped goat cheese, you can use any kind of milk. I’ve tested this with both almond and regular milk, neither will disappoint.

Disclaimer: I am not a baker. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, so please do not judge that I use pre-made pastry shells instead of making them from scratch! It won’t change that these are yummy and easy.

Food, Recipes

Tamarind Beets with Lime Crème Fraîche

I’ve been wanting Southeast Asian flavors lately without the heaviness of a curry or saltiness of stir-fry. I cooked up this unique combo of earthy beets, tangy tamarind, spicy chiles, and the sweetness of crème fraîche. You can make this as an appetizer, snack, or on a bed of greens for a decadent salad.

Tamarind Beets with Lime Crème Fraîche

  • 5-6 small beets, boiled, peeled, and diced
  • 1 Tbsp butter or cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cardamom powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of coriander powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tamarind paste or sauce
  • 1 hot pepper, diced (I used a Serrano)
  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche
  • Chili powder or cayenne (just a pinch)
  • Zest of one lime
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Salt to taste
  • Cilantro and green onion for garnish, optional
  1. In a sauté pan, heat butter.
  2. When melted add ginger, spices, and hot pepper. 
  3. Once ingredients have blended and spices begin to smell aromatic and ginger caramelizes, add beets. 
  4. Add tamarind to beet mixture and coat thoroughly. 
  5. In small bowl, add crème fraîche, chili powder, lime zest, and juice. 
  6. Serve with cilantro and green onion garnish.
  7. Deep beets and enjoy!

Note: I highly recommend boiling the beets the day before, cooling over night for the easiest way to peel them. The skins will pop right off. Also, if you don’t like spicy food, hold back on the pepper. I thoroughly enjoy spicy food. I admit, the last time I tested this recipe the pepper was so hot, I had to add a touch of agave to the crème fraîche.

Food, Recipes

Healthy Start with a Fresh Recipe

I think every time a new year begins we reevaluate our habits, particularly when it comes to food. I, of course, am no different. If you’re looking for a quick and healthy addition to your salad repertoire here is a great and easy recipe for you to try.

Creamy Lemon Kale Salad

  • 1 bunch large bunch lacinato kale (chopped)
  • 1 lemon zest and juice
  • 3 tablespoons Vegenaise
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Take time to massage, yes, massage, the kale with the dressing ingredients. 

Kale can be tough, which is why I like it.  It doesn’t get soggy like spring mix or baby spinach.  Massaging the kale softens it a bit yet you still get that fabulous crunch.  If you like sardines, you can definitely add them for a little saltiness.  Grilled chicken is great with this too!  Obviously, if the thought of vegan mayonnaise makes you weary, go ahead and use the real stuff! 

Food, Recipes

Rustic Cornmeal Loaf Cake 

I’ve always claimed that I’m not much of a baker. I still stand by this statement, but I admit I’ve been doing far more baking since I moved into this little cabin. I’m not sure if it’s all the hard work that we’re putting into building a homestead or if it’s stress baking from coronavirus. Either way, y’all benefit with some delicious recipes!

I’ve been making variations of this cornmeal loaf for a few weeks now just to have as a snack for my hard-working farming man. The great thing about this loaf is I’ve tried it was several types of fruit, so far my favorite has been the combination of blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries, but I’ve got the recipe shown below with rhubarb which makes for a unique and tart treat.

Rustic Cornmeal Loaf CakeIMG_4599

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup milk (regular or non-dairy)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 cups of fruit
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Grease pie pan (or baking pan) with butter
  3. Line fruit at the bottom of the baking dish
  4. In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix making sure to add fruit last after all other ingredients are mixed well
  5. Add to the baking dish
  6. Bake for one hour or until inserted knife comes out clean. Make sure to rotate halfway through.
  7. Remove, let cool… if you can, slice and enjoy!

 

 

Canning, DIY, Recipes

Turn Up The Heat

IMG_4267My favorite jelly that my grandmother used to make was jalapeno jelly. She would dollop it on top of cream cheese and crackers. To this day, I remember it being her go-to appetizer for family gatherings and our little afternoon treat on hot summer days. I think it was then that my love of the sweet and spicy combo began. I thought I’d share with you the recipe that she used to use. Admittedly, I may have wanted to share it with you just so I could whip up some crackers with cream cheese. Either way, I hope you enjoy it!

Jalapeno Jelly

  • 2 green bell peppers
  • 14 jalapeno peppers
  • 1 1/2 cups of apple cider vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 cups of sugar
  • 1 packet of liquid pectin
  • 3-4 jalapenos, seeded and minced
  1. Coarse chop bell peppers and 14 jalapenos in a blender, pulse smooth
  2. Pour in a saucepan with the vinegar and bring to a boil for 20 minutes
  3.  Remove from heat and strain through cheesecloth or fine sieve
  4. Return pepper juice back to the saucepan and combine with salt and sugar
  5. Bring mixture to a rolling boil and stir in pectin
  6. Then add minced jalapenos and ladle the mixture into jars.

 

 

Canning, DIY, Recipes

Things Are Just Peachy

IMG_4183I hope that everyone had a happy and safe Fourth of July! Here at the homestead, we had a quiet and relaxing day. No farm work, picking out new chickens to add to our flock, feet up, delicious summer mocktails, and, ok, finally at 2 pm I had to do something and made some peach jam!

Texas peaches are here. They are big, juicy, and absolutely perfect. We snacked on them, grilled them (served with ice cream), and still had plenty to whip up some jam. We even fed a few to the chickens! I don’t share jam recipes as often as I should, but here is a great recipe for peach jam!

Peach Jam

  • 4 pounds of peaches, peeled, pitted, and chopped
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice
  1. Place chopped peaches into a pot and bring to a boil
  2. Use a potato masher periodicaly to mash peaches into smaller pieces
  3. Stir often so that the peaches do not burn on the bottom of the pot
  4. After 30 minutes or so add the sugar and lemon juice
  5. Return to a boil for about ten minutes or until the jam begins to gel
  6. Remove from heat and transfer the jam to jars

If you do not want to cook the jam for what seems like forever, you can add pectin to speed up the gel process. You can store this jam in the fridge in Tupperware, or use the traditional water bath canning method and store it in the cupboard up to a year. IMG_4261

 

Food, Recipes

Let Them Eat Cake…. and Fruit

I’ve never been much of a baker. I’m more of a fly by the seat of my pants, a little of this, a little of that… little more this kind of gal. This makes baking more of an experiment most of the time. Well, during my time at home the last few months I’ve spent a lot of time experimenting and picking up a cardio routine.

I’ve created this dense, spongey cake that is a delightful dessert or afternoon snack with a cup of coffee. I’ve made it with various different fruit: peaches, blueberries, strawberries, mango… you name it, they all work.

Tooty Fruity CakeIMG_3576

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup of melted butter
  • 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup milk (regular or non-dairy)
  • 1 to 2 cups of fruit
  • Brown sugar (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Grease pie pan (or baking pan) with butter
  3. Line fruit at the bottom of the baking dish
  4. In a mixing bowl, combine sugar, eggs, vanilla, butter, flour, baking powder, and milk then add to the baking dish
  5. If using brown sugar, sprinkle on top. It caramelizes and makes a nice crust
  6. Bake for one hour, rotating halfway through.
  7. Remove, let cool… if you can, slice and enjoy!

Canning, Fermenting, Food

Fermentation Fridays

Welcome to Fermentation Fridays.  I’ve decided I have gotten so into making fermented things that I want to make this a regular Friday post for the foreseeable future.  Not to mention there seems to be some interest in it, especially after my last post.  So, you can join me in the fermenting process not to mention enjoy watching the successes and failures as I learn.

Sauerkraut

It’s not everyones favorite way to eat cabbage.  I know it took me sometime to enjoy sauerkraut after years of my West Texas German Grandmothers cooking.  I won’t go into detail but it’s been a decade and I can finally enjoy purple cabbage. In honor of the German side of my family, I’d like to introduce to you: The Zesty German.

Before getting started, I highly recommend having some sort of Fermentation Crock on hand.  Whether you buy one, this is the one I have, make one which you can find plenty of videos on YouTube, or use multiple 32 ounce Mason Jars with the Ziplock-bag method.

The Zesty German

This is not for the faint of heart.  There is enough garlic in this recipe to cure whatever ails you. If you’re scared of garlic or have a first date anytime within a week, you can definitely cut back on the garlic.

  • 5-6 pounds of green cabbage
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 7 cloves of garlic
  • 1 TBSP caraway seeds
  • 1 TBSP red pepper chili flakes

*Important: make sure that everything is as clean as possible from the vegetables to utensils and containers*

  1. Slice cabbage in thin chunks.  How you prefer your sauerkraut is up to you. If you like it in a small diced format or perhaps long and thin strips (which is how I like mine).
  2. In small batches, mix salt and cabbage and let salt begin to draw the water out of the cabbage and transfer to the fermentation crock. Then continue to massage and mix the salt/cabbage. Juices will begin to release.
  3. If you have whey from your previous sauerkraut mixture, go ahead and add a tablespoon.  If you don’t… don’t worry!
  4. Mix in smashed/minced garlic, caraway seeds, and chili flakes making sure to massage all items together.
  5. Use weight to make sure the cabbage mix is condensed and covered fully by liquid.
  6. Cover your container and set in a cool, dark place for 7-14 days.  (I always go with ten).

Note:  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

DIY, Food, Recipes

Roasted Eggplant with Goat Cheese, Pomegranate & Pistachios

A few weeks ago, I snuck up to St. Louis to spend a few days with my mom and her wonderful husband.  It was exactly what the doctor ordered.  While my folks were at work, I spent my mornings reading with the sunrise and coffee and taking walks around Historic Lafayette Park.  During the day, I would catch up on some much-needed adulting I needed to do then saunter off to my mom’s plot at the community garden to collect vegetables for dinner.  One night I whipped up this eggplant dish and accompanying main of stewed tomatoes and rainbow chard… more on that to come.  For now:

Roasted Eggplant with Goat Cheese, Pomegranate, & PistachiosIMG_2659 2.jpeg

  • 3-4 Japanese eggplant, sliced in half the long way
  • 1 four-ounce packet of goat cheese, crumbled
  • Pomegranate seeds, half a pomegranate
  • 1/4 cup of roasted pistachios
  • 1 tablespoon almond oil (I skimmed the oil off of an almond butter jar)
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, minced
  • 1 tablespoon honey, optional
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF
  2. Place sliced eggplant facedown on a lightly oiled baking sheet, place in oven and bake until tender.  About 25 minutes
  3. Remove from the oven.  Flip eggplant cut side up and lightly glaze the cut surface with almond oil and squeeze lemon across the eggplant.
  4. Top eggplant with goat cheese, pomegranate, pistachios, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste
  5. For a little extra pizazz, you can, ever so sparingly, drizzle honey on top with a little extra sea salt.

Enjoy!