Whether you are new to cooking or an experienced chef, everyone can use a little help in the kitchen sometimes. Here is a comprehensive kitchen cheat sheet for you to fall back on whenever you are in doubt. We find it useful and we hope you do too!
This is one of the first Moroccan Lamb Tagines I created years ago. I started with a rather complicated recipe I found in a North African cookbook and simplified it to maximize taste while keeping ingredients easy to find, most of which I keep on hand.
Whenever I make Old Fashioned Spaghetti Sauce, I always freeze a couple of pints. These make great back up dinner meals on hectic weeknights. Just thaw, reheat and serve over spaghetti noodles or use to make any number of other pasta dishes.
I have wonderful childhood memories of spaghetti. Of all the dishes my mother fixed, this was one of my favorites. She would always leave the sauce to simmer the day away while Dad read the Sunday paper and watched football on TV. It didn’t take long before I began to associate the smell of spaghetti with family and lazy days at home. Even now when I make spaghetti for my own family, I have an odd craving for the sound of football playing in the background.
Like my Dad, Corey is a no nonsense eater. No onions. Hold the garlic. Nothing fancy. (Of course, unless we are talking desserts. Now that is a different story.) This is one of the many reasons I thoroughly enjoy cooking for the farmers markets. I can explore any ingredient including exotic spices and far away dishes without the face of a picky eater staring me down. So be assured this spaghetti sauce recipe is one that even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy.
Old Fashioned Beef Spaghetti Sauce
Brown beef in 3-4 quart pan over medium heat. Drain fat. Add garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir and allow to cook for an additional 30 seconds to season meat.
Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, and herbs. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for at least two hours. If sauce begins to bubble, reduce heat slightly.
Serve over angle hair spaghetti.
Note: Today’s pictures are actually one of the sauces we sell at the farmers market. I took the basic recipe for Old Fashioned Beef Spaghetti Sauce, tweaked it considerably and added onions, minced garlic and carrots to make our Lamb Bolognese Sauce.
Hardy breakfasts have always been a tradition in my family. Everyday my uncles got up early to go to the barn to milk cows. Sunrise was mid-morning to these boys! Their day began while it was still dark, rolling out of bed at 4:00 am. For the record, I am definitely not a morning person. Talking to me before my first cup of coffee should be done at one’s own risk. And I am not the only slug in the family.
Three of my uncles split the milking schedule so that two always milked in the morning and two always milked in the afternoon. The other uncle was in charge of field work. He got plenty of help when needed, but plowing, planting, and harvesting was his domain. Dad once told me a story of Grandad trying to get “field worker” uncle up in the morning to milk cows. After his third warning Grandad sent him to the barn in his underwear. Believable? Yes. This totally sounds like my family. Me? I preferred doing my chores once the sun was happily up to greet me (and I was fully dressed). However, my uncles and I never did agree on what time that was.
Once the morning milking was done and bottle calves fed, everyone would head to Grandma Hazel’s house for breakfast. And although cereal might be a great evening snack for this crowd, breakfast always meant plenty of eggs, bacon, and sausage… oh yes, and fresh milk!
Place bacon in large pan over medium heat. Turning every 2-3 minutes. Once bacon is done to your preference, remove from pan and place on paper towel on plate to absorb excess fat. Keep in mind that bacon will continue to cook after being removed from heat.
Meanwhile, slice tomato and wash lettuce.
Using a clean pan, add 2 tablespoons of bacon grease and heat over medium heat. Once hot, gently add eggs to pan being careful that they have enough room and do not touch. Fry only two at a time if necessary. For sunny side up, fry eggs until white is completely cooked and no longer clear. If you prefer firm yokes, carefully turn egg and continue cooking.
Once eggs are done, assemble sandwiches.
I found this recipe in an old Food & Wine magazine years ago. I originally made it with lamb and absolutely loved the saltiness of the capers. Recently I tried it with our Rose Veal and believe it may have been even better!
Pasta with Veal, Capers, and White Wine
In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Add chopped onions and garlic and cook over medium heat until soft and translucent.
Add veal and cook until no longer pink.
Add white wine, turn heat up to medium high, boiling the wine until it has almost entirely evaporated. Reduce heat to medium. Add chicken stock, herbs, and capers and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water. Cook until al dente. Drain pasta and add to skillet along with cheese, parsley, and butter. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce is thick and creamy. Serve immediately.
*I made it with campanelle pasta as that’s what I had on hand. Orecchietta pasta would have also been an excellent choice for this sauce.
Note: If your house is anything like mine, it is easy to get distracted and overcook this dish. This will result in too much evaporation of the liquids. If you do, simply add a little extra chicken stock before adding the cheese, parsley, and butter.
I absolutely love soup and enjoy fixing it year round. I consider it the ultimate lunch, regardless of whether it is a light fare or approaching a hearty stew. Pair soup with a rustic bread and a green salad and dinner is served.
Sweet corn being one of my favorite seasonal vegetables and the very essence of summer, I couldn’t wait to create this easy summertime chowder. Growing up on dairy farms, both Corey’s and my family use to plant acres and acres of corn for silage for the milk cows. Unfortunately field corn is not the same as sweet corn. It is exponentially tougher and without the sweet, tender flavor that makes even the most proper of us eat it like we are manual typewriters. The solution? Our families always planted two rows of sweet corn around the outside of the corn fields.
I typically use a chicken stock as the base for most of my chowders, but for this yummy summer soup, I decided to kick up the flavor with a homemade corn broth. Should you prefer, you can always substitute low salt chicken stock for the corn stock.
As one might expect, I am truly a meat and potatoes kind of girl. There are exceptions of course, for example Insalata Caprese or Caprese Salad. I will plan an entire meal around this dish! And it’s super easy to make.
Layer sliced tomatoes, sliced mozzarella cheese, and basil. (Normally I layer them overlapping slightly on a plate. I placed them directly on top of each other here for a more interesting photo.)
Drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.
For a little extra spice we often add a sprinkling of red pepper flakes or drizzle balsamic vinegar over the top.
My favorite summer meal?
Grilled farm fresh hamburgers topped with Gorgonzola cheese, corn on the cob, and Caprese salad. ♥ For me it doesn’t get any better than this!
What’s your favorite summer meal?
We are very proud of our customers and their devoted interest in where their food comes from. It does not surprise us that many have asked us to raise and offer veal along with our other meat selections.
Veal has a rather dark cloud hanging over it, as veal operations have come under more and more scrutiny in recent years. Believe it or not, that gallon of milk you purchased this week has quite a bit to do with the US veal industry. The commercial dairy farmer has one interest when it comes to cattle – females. Each female calf born grows up to be a productive member of tomorrow’s milking herd. The problem is that statistically 50% of the calves born are bull (male) calves and they are of little or no value to the dairy farmer. Ah, here is where the infamous veal industry comes in, they buy up all the bull calves to raise on milk replacer (powdered milk) to harvest as veal. Little did any of us realize the horrific conditions many of these animals were subjected to in the past.
In stark contrast, take our farm. We have over 180 acres where on any given day you will see cattle, sheep, goats, and chickens enjoying the sunshine and grazing green pastures (and occasionally Grandma’s flower gardens – but that’s another story). Our animals are happy with free access to feed, clean water, shelter, and companionship. So the question is how to incorporate veal into our operation while staying true to our priority for happy, naturally and humanely raised livestock.
Our family owns and manages a cow/calf beef operation — meaning that we keep a herd of 40-50 mother cows on the farm that calve every spring. Those calves stay with the cows until weaning time when they weigh approximately 400-500 lbs. We then sell them to another farmer who continues to feed them, finishing them to 1100-1200 lbs for harvesting. We keep back a small group of calves to feed out, but simply do not have the pasture nor the market to finish 40+ calves a year.
But wait, when you really think about it, veal could be a very natural part of our operation. So we decided to harvest one of the weanling calves to give it a try. Unlike the pale milk-only fed veal you find in the grocery story you will see that ours has a nice rose color. This is from a combination of sunshine, exercise, mother’s milk, and pasture. And because our veal is from beef breeds (instead of dairy breeds) you can expect it to be flavorful, tender, and meatier. Our veal calves are not artificially raised but left on the cow to be raised the way nature intended and with no undue stress.
We can’t wait to see what you think! Here is a great recipe to get you started.
Season veal with salt and pepper. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add 4 veal cutlets and cook until golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer the veal to a plate. Add another tablespoon of butter and oil, if necessary.
Repeat with the remaining 4 cutlets. Set cutlets aside.
Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet. Add shallot and garlic. Saute until soft, about 30 seconds. Add a tablespoon of the olive oil, if necessary. Add the mushrooms and saute until tender and the juices evaporate, about 3 minutes. Add the Marsala wine. Simmer until the wine reduces by half, about 2 minutes.
Add the chicken stock and the rosemary leaves. Simmer until reduced by half.
Return the veal to the skillet. Pour in all of the pan juices. Cook just until heated through, turning to coat, about 1 minute. Stir the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter into the sauce.
Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste.
I have lots and lots of cook books… some by celebrity chefs, a full arsenal of soup & stew cookbooks, and those with irresistible photos on the covers. But truth be told, there are only six books that really qualify as my go to cookbooks. What are they?
My most basic recipes from macaroni and cheese to apple crisp come from my Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book. I can’t remember when or where I received this cookbook – I believe it was a wedding present years ago. My mother had one. My grandmother had one. If I was told to pick only one, this would be my first choice for its wholesome tried-and-true home style recipes.
I am not a big baker, I prefer recipes that can easily adjust to whatever ingredients are in season. I am definitely a dice and dump cook as I seldom measure ingredients. But even I will admit nothing beats the smell of fresh baked bread. When I am in the mood for baking these are the three books I go to.
The Best-Ever Book of Bread by Christian Ingram is my all time favorite bread cookbook. I don’t know of any type of bread that is not in this cookbook. Even when I receive recipes from customers or find interesting recipes in magazines or on websites, I always compare them to recipes found in this book.
Ratio by Michael Ruhlman. This book revolutionized the way I think about cooking. It’s not so much about recipes as it is about ratios of ingredients.
Farm Journal’s Country Fair Cookbook. This is the book I turn to when looking to bake a unique cake, pie, or other sweet treat. It has an endless supply of great desserts and sweet breads. This was actually one of Corey’s cookbooks when he was in 4-H.
I love to can and preserve fruits and vegetables when they are at their peak. Whether it is jams, jellies, pickles, relishes, or preserves there is a certain feeling of self accomplishment and preservation that comes from having a cellar full of canned food. I have two books I constantly go to during the peak of the growing season.
Home & Garden’s Home Canning and Freezing. This is a hand-me-down from Corey’s Grandmother. Open it up and you will find notes from three generations of women. (By the way, if you aren’t writing in your cookbooks, you need to. I am constantly making notes about what I like and don’t like as well as changes I have made to recipes.)
Ball’s Complete Book of Home Preserving. This is a relatively new addition to my library. I love the new and creative twists it adds to old school jams, jellies, and relishes. Although I have only tried a few of the recipes thus far, it has twice as many as my H&G Home Canning and Freezing cookbook.
What are your favorite cookbooks?