Jul 252012

pasta and vealI 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 I originally made it with lamb and absolutely loved the saltiness of the capers.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

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound ground veal
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons small capers, rinsed
  • 3/4 pound pasta*
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/8 cup flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons butter

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.

 Posted by at 1:00 pm
Jul 182012

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.

corn chowder

corn on cob

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.

Summer Corn Chowder


  • 6 ears of corn on the cob
  • 7-8 cups of corn stock
  • 6 strips of bacon
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • ½ small onion, diced
  • 5 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • ½ teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1 ½ cups light cream
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • 4-5 basil leaves, chiffonade

  1. Place corn in a large pan, add enough water to cover. Boil for ten minutes. Remove corn, let cool. Reserve water.
  2. Once the corn is cool enough to handle, use a sharp knife and cut corn off the cob. Use the back of your knife and run the knife up and down the cob to remove the last bits of corn clinging to the cob. Put corn in a sealed container and refrigerate until ready to use. Use cobs to make corn stock (see below).
  3. Slice bacon into 1” pieces. Add to large soup pan and cook over medium heat. Cook until bacon is crisp but not burnt. Remove half of the bacon and set aside for garnish. If there is more than 2-3 tablespoons of grease in the pan, drain extra grease.
  4. Add celery and onions. Cook until soft. Add thyme to mixture and stir for 1 minute allowing herb to infuse oils in pan.
  5. Add corn, potatoes, and stock to pan (if necessary add chicken stock to corn stock to make approximately 7 cups). Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 1 hour or until potatoes are tender.
  6. Once potatoes are tender add cream. Continue cooking over low heat until warm. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Place chowder in bowls. Top with fresh diced tomatoes, bacon, and basil.
  8. Excellent in soups, risotto, or any recipe calling for vegetable stock.

Cream tends to curdle if add to piping hot stock. This can be prevented by tempering the cream. First place cream in a large bowl. Add a small amount of hot soup slowly and stir. Continue adding small amounts until cream is the same temperature as the soup. Once warm, add to the soup. The heavier the cream the less likely it will be to curdle. If you need to reheat soup later, remember to heat over low heat slowly as heating too fast can cause the cream to break. Due to the cream and potatoes, this soup does not hold up well to freezing. To make Corn Stock you will need: Reserved water (see above) 6 corn cobs, kernels removed 1 bay leaf 3 sprigs of thyme 3-4 peppercorns Add corn cobs to the reserved water from cooking corn. Add additional water if necessary so that cobs are covered. Add bay leaf, thyme, and peppercorn. Simmer over medium heat for 1½ hours. Strain, discard solids, and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use. Corn stock is excellent in soups, risotto, or any recipe calling for vegetable stock.

 Posted by at 3:01 pm
Jul 142012

There are times when new customers approach us at the farmers market and get frustrated when we don’t have a specific type of meat that they are looking for. Pointing to our canvas sign above the coolers, they remind us that we advertise lamb, goat, beef, pork, and poultry. So where is the {fill in the blank}? Often they totally overlook the word seasonal that precedes our offerings.

We don’t blame them, as most Americans never consider their meat supply as seasonal. Between different climates found in the US, imported meat, the ability to harvest meat within a window of time (think weeks/months vs. hours/days for vegetables), and that wonderful invention we call a freezer we are spoiled.  But if you are someone who appreciates local food, it’s time to take a look behind the scenes.

sheep on pastureLAMB

Sheep are wonderful creatures and our favorite livestock here on the farm. As in most places, our sheep naturally lamb in the spring. The spring lamb you eat isn’t really referring to the time it was harvested but when it was born.  We have a huge demand for Easter lamb, and, well, that poses a slight problem. Seldom do we have lambs ready by April or May. The bulk of our lambs are born in January and February and most are harvested at 7 to 9 months. That puts them market ready in September, long after Easter. We have been able to meet the needs of our customers by having a few of our lambs born in the fall.  But that is not an easy task. Sheep breed based on hours of daylight. And try as we may, most like to {snuggle} with the ram between August and November. Picky aren’t they!


Goats are a mystery to us most days. There is not a fence that can keep them in (ask Grandma and she’ll point to her garden). We also have a terrible time getting them to breed on our time schedule. Like sheep they are very sensitive to daylight. Several years back an old farmer told us that goats only breed in months with an “R.” Even after confiscating all their daytimers and removing all calendars from the barn — no success. Kidding aside, they definitely have their own schedule and yes, it appears they only breed in months with an “R.” So if they breed in September and October, kid in February and March, we have goat meat available in the fall. Because our herd is relatively small, we haven’t tried lengthening our breeding season into March and April yet.


We have tried our hand at breeding pigs. We choose two beautiful sows that the kids showed one year. They were calm, easy going, would walk anywhere you wanted them to go. Then they farrowed. And instantly they turned into kill-you-if-they-could beasts. Mean didn’t begin to describe them. With little kids around, we quickly got back out of the pig business.  Now we purchase a group of weaned piglets each spring and fall to raise. Traditionally pork is harvested in the fall when farmers came together as a community for harvesting. The men would scald, hang, and cut up the pork. The women would make sausage, scrapple, and organ meats. It was a flurry of activity. The weather was cool enough to smoke hams and bacon, and it wasn’t so blistering hot over the boiling kettles. Pigs will actually breed any time of year. Our decision for mostly spring born pigs is for two reasons. Our kids like showing market hogs at the county fair in late August. And Farmer (Corey’s Dad) still likes to take an occasional pig to the old timers pig harvest.


Finally, here is an animal that is eager to please. Cows breed year round and thus should be able to supply us with beef year round. Like most farmers in Virginia we run a cow/calf operation. Meaning we have a herd of mature cows that calve each year. We then sell the weaned calves as our income source. Ideally calves are all born at the same time so that weaning can be done all at once providing us with a uniform a group to market (uniform equates to higher market prices). Although we do not mind calving the herd in smaller groups throughout the year, there is a snag. Grass is most abundant during the spring. Momma cows eat a lot of grass — a must to produce the milk needed to feed their young calves. Spring is the best time to provide enough green, lush grass for milking cows in a pasture raised system. So it is much cheaper and more efficient to calve in the spring. Our calves are harvested at 18 months, thus giving us our best supplies in the fall.


Most breeds of chickens lay eggs year round. Yeah! Now there is a protein source twelve months a year. They definite drop off in production during the winter months, daylight being the culprit, but they do lay eggs in the winter. Eggs can be incubated year round. Chicks can be born year round. Broilers can be raised year round. The only down side is that there isn’t sustainable pasture in the winter months and they must be supplemented with additional feed. Also cold, drafty, damp weather can be stressful if they are not properly protected.  So when you stop by our farm stand and all we have are chicken and eggs, you now know why.

It is the cycle of life, as most species birth in the spring when natural feed sources are most abundant. As producers we try to control our meat supplies the best we can. But part of subscribing to sustainable agriculture is being able to except what nature does best on its own. So the next time you are enjoying summer grown tomatoes or corn on the cob, we hope you will now add meat to the “seasonal” category too.

Each of us associates particular foods with certain times of the year. I love spicy sausage links fresh from the butcher with sauerkraut and creamy potato soup on the first chilly day in autumn. What is your favorite seasonal meat dish?

 Posted by at 1:34 pm
Jul 022012

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.

cow calf herdVeal 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.

Veal Marsala

  • 8 veal cutlets or chops
    coarse salt
    freshly ground black pepper
    2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
    2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
    1 large shallot, finely chopped
    2 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
    2 ounces assorted mushrooms, sliced
    1/2 cup sweet Marsala wine
    3/4 cup chicken stock
    Leaves from 1 fresh rosemary sprig

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.

 Posted by at 10:56 pm
Jun 242012

chicken barbequeAs the weather turns hotter, the count down begins. For those of you who have not found your way to the Clarke County Fair, I would definitely add it to your summer fun list! Yes, there are carnival rides, rodeos, petting zoos and all that exciting fair stuff, but the crowning jewel of the whole event, bar none, is the Chicken BBQ. Marinated just right. Slow cooked all day. Mouthwatering at its finest. For us, it has become the final exclamation point on a summer well spent.

Although the official barbeque recipe used by Clarke County Ruritan members is top secret, here are a few recipes I have collected over the years.  The following sauce recipes are enough to grill 10 halves, so you may want to reduce the recipes by half or store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. We recommend salting the broiler halves before cooking, so salt is not included in any of the recipes. By the way, these sauces also work well on pork, lamb, goat, and beef!

Garrison’s Famous Broiler Barbecue Sauce
2 c. cider vinegar
½ t. red pepper
1 c. vegetable oil
½ t. garlic powder
1 t. Tabasco

Spicy and Sweet Barbecue Sauce
1½ c. water
¼ t. Tabasco
1 c. vinegar
¼ t. paprika
½ c. vegetable oil
¼ t. black or red pepper
1 lemon or 1 oz. juice
¼ t. onion powder
2 T. brown sugar
¼ t. garlic powder

New England Sauce
2 c. vinegar
1 c. water
1 c. vegetable oil
2 t. black or red pepper

Chicken Barbecue Sauce
1 c. vinegar
2 t. Tabasco sauce
1 c. vegetable oil
3 t. prepared mustard
1 c. tomato catsup
1 lemon or 1 oz. juice
4 T. worcestershire sauce
¼ t. red or black pepper
2 T. sugar

Deviled Chicken
2½ c. vegetable oil
1 t. black pepper
¾ c. prepared mustard
1 t. red pepper
4 t. dry mustard
½ t. onion or garlic powder

Fruit Barbecue Sauce
1½ c. frozen pineapple juice concentrate
¼ c. water
1 c. vegetable oil
1 T. sugar
½ c. lemon juice
½ t. ginger

Spicy Chick-N-Que Sauce
1 c. water
2 T. chili or curry powder
1 c. vegetable oil
3 T. sugar
1 c. vinegar
2 t. red or black pepper
½ t. garlic powder
1 t. dry mustard
½ t. onion powder
¼ t. cayenne pepper
2 T. worcestershire sauce
2 T. Tabasco sauce
2 T. paprika

Do-It-Yourself Sauce

Use 1½ to 2 cups vinegar and 1 to 1½ cups oil as a basic mixture. Add other ingredients, listed or not listed in the above recipes, to season to your taste.

Many of these were developed by Ed Garrison, retired Extension Poultry Specialist with the Mississippi Cooperative Extension Service.

 Posted by at 2:18 am
Jun 172012
grilled rack of lamb

Photo by American Lamb Board

In honor of Father’s Day, I found a great recipe for rack of lamb. Fire up the grill — this one’s a winner!

Grilled Rack of Lamb

  • 1-2 racks of lamb (8 ribs each)
  • 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Trim racks of all visible fat. Combine remaining ingredients and mix well. Spread mixture over lamb ans set aside (or marinate in the refrigerator for up to 1 day).

Preheat grill.

Place lamb on grill over medium high heat and sear for a couple of minutes per side, reduce heat or move off of direct heat and continue grilling until the internal temperature reaches 140 to 150 degrees F. (about 10 minutes per side).

Serve over fingerling or new potatoes.

Serves 4.

 Posted by at 2:16 am
Jun 162012

lemon basil chopsThis was one of my very first lamb dishes, and to this day, is still one of my favorites. Its super easy to fix and creates a delicious meal even on a busy week night.

Several years ago the Winchester Star featured my recipe in the spring Food Section. Photo here compliments of the Winchester Star.

Lamb Chops with Lemon Basil Sauce

  • 4 Rib Chops
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for pan
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, removed from stem
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup white chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves, plus additional for garnish
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped

In a non-corrosive dish lay lamb chops flat. Combine half the lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, the rosemary, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and pepper. Add the lamb, turn to coat with the marinade, cover. Let stand for 15 minutes at room temperature or up to 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the surface of pan.

Pat chops dry and season on one side with salt and pepper. Place the chops seasoned side down in pan. Cook until crisp and brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season the top side with salt and pepper, turn, and continue cooking until just firm.

An instant-read thermometer should register 130 to 135 degrees F. Transfer to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm. Allow the lamb chops to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

Pour off any fat left in the pan. Return the skillet to medium heat. Add the chicken stock, using wooden spoon, scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add half the remaining lemon juice and simmer until the mixture is reduced to a glaze. This should take about 4 minutes.

Add 2 tablespoons of butter until melted. Add the basil and olives and season. Return the lamb chops to the sauce. Turn to coat thoroughly.

Arrange chops on a platter, pour sauce over chops and garnish with basil leaves.

Serves 4.

 Posted by at 8:13 pm
Aug 042011

For those who have limited experience cooking lamb, determining when it is done can be a challenge. An overcooked rack of lamb can be an expensive mistake and carving into an undercooked roast can be a bit frustrating. Yet the last thing you want to do is cut into a roast or chop to check for doneness. So what do you do? Using an instant read thermometer will give you quick and accurate temperature readings insuring the perfect main course for your meal.

As with other beef, lamb benefits from rest before serving, Resting (off of heat) allows the protein within the meat to relax and the juices to redistribute evenly. Give thin cuts like chops 5 minutes before serving and allow 20 minutes before carving roasts. Keep in mind that the meat’s internal temperature typically rises 5-10 degrees as it rests. So for best results, remove the lamb from heat when the thermometer reads 5-10 degrees less than your desired temperature.

The USDA recommends cooking ground lamb to a safe minimum internal temperature of 160F. Other cuts, including roasts and chops, should be cooked to 145F for medium-rare, 160F for medium, and 170F for well-done. The chart below also lists approximate cooking times.

cooking times

 Posted by at 7:17 pm
Jul 302011

Did you know… Properly handled meat stored in a freezer at 0°F (-18 °C) will always be safe as long as it hasn’t thawed. It’s safe because the bacteria has entered a dormant stage. For best quality, store ground meat no more than 4 months; whole cuts, 12 months; and cooked meats, 3 months. Storage for a longer period of time is not dangerous, but flavor/texture can deteriorate. So be sure to date packages before you put them in the freezer!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

 Posted by at 9:35 pm