Farm Fresh

… Fresh on to the farm. Here is an occassional chronicle of a new family in a small town.

Summertime eats

Ben and Sarah are coming over tomorrow. Porter will be at Gramma Joey’s so we will bring out the pitcher for mojitos and feast on tamales! Made some sides to go with the tamales that Natalie picked up for me in Yakima. Why mess with perfection?

Pinto Bean Kale Salad
– two rinsed cans of pinto beans
– 1/2 cup thin chopped carrots
– 3 tbsp chopped cilantr0
-4 big leaves of raw kale washed and cut in 1/2 in slivers
– frozen jalepeno, half of the seeds removed
Cuuld also include radishes, corn, avacado, etc

1/4 cup fresh lime juice and olive oil
– 3 tbsp chopped cilantr0
– 2 minced garlic cloves
– 2 tbsp honey
– salt and pepper

Simple Guacamole
– two avacados
– 1/4 cup diced onion
– lime juice from 1/2 lime

– 8 juiced limes- including skins
– bumnch of mint for the pitcher and garnish
– 1 cup organic sugar
– 750 ml light rum
– club soda

Muddle mint with sugar, juiced limes (with juice). Add rum to dissolve.  Chill. Add ice and soda to taste. Garnish with mint.




Filed under: Food

Cherry Bomb

We went with Rainiers instead of Bing’s this year. Somehow we got talked into 20 lbs at the market last week.  The results were:
– 7 1/2 pints of cherry almond syrup. This was an accident due to not processing the pectin long enough I’m guessing.

– 7 pints of mixed cherry fennel almost jam. See above for processing issue. Still, the flavor is delish. Only added 2-3 tbsp of fresh chopped fennel from the garden at the end.

– Some frozen ones to make clafouti out of at the end of next season.  That’s what I did with last year’s leftovers. I used the recipe from “Home Made” my new favorite cookbook.

– Raspberry Cherry Cordial. 1 part cherries, 1 part raspberries, 1 part sugar and 1 part vodka. Hopefully this won;t end up like last year’s cough syrup (why we didn’t go with Bing’s)

– 1 quart dried cherries. Biggest success of the year even though it’s pretty simple! Pit and half the cherries. Place ace down at 145 degrees fro 90 minutes then move to 135 degrees for the rest of the time which was about 6 hours.

– We still have a big bowl taunting me  in the fridge. I’ll update with photos when I get to them.

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My craving for Pho got tot he point where I had to make it myself.  Barring driving over the pass to Seattle in a snowstorm and risking death, I decided to try this recipe. This was soooo good. I thought it would be too salty but with the meat and noodles it was perfect. I threw in some broccoli and carrots with the noodles too so we had a complete meal.  Unfortunately I didn’t slice the meat thin enough so I had to take it out of every ones bowl and dip in the boiling water but it was still super.This is the beef version but there is a chicken version too I must try out.

For appetizers we all made our own fresh tofu spring rolls. That was fun and it gave me a reason to finally use the asian plum sauce I canned this summer.- Yes!

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New Years Eve Menu

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Food

Homemade Christmas Eve Menu

Sausage and Red Pepper Risotto
Arugula Salad with reduced balsamic vinaigrette
Winter Squash Buns

All of the recipes came from Homemade. This book has served be well. Almost the entire Thanksgiving meal I prepared was also from here (homemade cheese, warm potato salad, homemade crackers, and ham but not the butternut squash soup).

Great review here: 

Filed under: Food

Meat and Potatoes

My dad is in town. We are eating a lot of meat. Not that I mind.


Night one- roasted free range chicken- in a roaster that my dad took from his mom who ordered two watching tv one night. I don’t have the recipe for that but I do for how we used the leftovers:

Perfect- my dad’s a retired engineer.

Today I was sick so we took out a blade roast and put it in the crockpot for 5 hours on high- 1 onion, a can of beer, 5 smushed garlic cloves. Plus some mashed potatoes.

Tomorrow- roast beef sandwiches- with the leftovers.

Filed under: Food

Experiments- plums, grapes and tomatoes

Sarah S. stopped by last weekend with the last of her plums and grapes. I had not planned for this but couldn’t resist.

The grapes made delicious grape juice:

The plums- well we’ll see how this plum/ketchup sauce turns out…

And I know this recipe is good! BBQ sauce from tomato scraps:

Filed under: Food


Looks like I’ll be making this soon. Natalie is bringing me some eggplant…  I imagine adding some red pepper flakes to heat things up.

Eggplant Preserved in Oil from

I have made this recipe several times and L-O-V-E it. It’s a *bit* of trouble, but mostly passive waiting time, and is a great way to use up quite a bit of eggplant in one fell swoop (read: eggplants for $1 each at the farmer’s market and I couldn’t resist)…and you also get a bonus out of this recipe: flavored dipping oil (due to the large quantity of olive oil required). The finished product makes an excellent pizza topping, pasta or salad add-in, or can simply be placed on top of toasted bruschetta (with a little goat cheese, too). You can also mash or puree the eggplant and some of the oil and additional salt and pepper together to make a quick dip. I suggest dried herbs and garlic as fresh ones can often lead to premature spoilage; feel free to adjust the herbs/spices to suit your taste. It is also very important to make sure as much excess water is expressed from the eggplant (NOTE: if you decide to roast or broil the eggplant, don’t let the “dry” appearance fool you…let cool and squeeze with a clean towel.) I have had jars of this last over a year, but I suggest 3-6 months in a cool, dark place for optimum quality.
  • 4 lbs eggplant
  • 6 Tbs cider, wine or balsamic vinegar*
  • 2-4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • Salt
  • Olive Oil (approx 4 cups)
Trim eggplant of stem and blossom end and rinse well; you can peel the skin off at this point, but the end product will be much softer and probably even disintegrate quite a bit–the skin actually becomes rather soft so I always leave it on. Slice or cube (I prefer slices as they can be left whole or chopped up later on). Layer in a large bowl or pan, and sprinkle layers liberally with salt. Let sit at least 2 hours or overnight. Blanch eggplant for 2-3 minutes in boiling water (alternatively, roast or broil at 450 deg. F for 6-8 minutes on each side, careful not to burn). Drain in colander and press or squeeze out as much excess moisture as possible. One good way to do this is set a plate on top of the eggplant and weight it down with something heavy, a stack of bowls, a jug of juice, but also press down on it; alternatively, squeeze COOLED eggplant pieces in a clean tea towel (not your nicest one, though, as it will stain).

*This is merely a flavor preference, although the balsamic will definitely darken the final product more than the other options.

In a large bowl, combine vinegar and spices. Toss drained eggplant pieces in vinegar mixture to coat. Spoon into sterilized jars (do not pack!), leaving 1/2-inch headspace (note: these do NOT have to be sealing canning jars). Pour olive oil over eggplant to cover by 1/4-inch. Carefully slide a butter knife along the edges of the jars, pressing inward gently, to release any air bubbles.
After eggplant has cooled, place lids on jars and leave jars in the sun for 10-12 days, shaking gently each day to distribute the flavorings.

Eat now or let sit.  Use a good vegetable oil if you want to keep it for a long time- up to a year.

Filed under: Food

Pear Jam

I swore I wouldn’t make pear jam. I really don’t need any more jam. Really and I didn’t think I would like it. Well, I had already lost half of the pears I gleaned from my neighbor and time was ticking so I canned three quarts in sugar syrup, filled my dehydrator, set some aside for Porter and still, there were pears. So I made this recipe from Local Kitchen Blog. No variations except I didn’t have the patience to caramelize. I was over it!

Filed under: Food

Spicy Carrots and Jalepenos

I managed to finally put up some of the carrots that have been stalking me (ha ha).  I changed the below recipe by doubling the jalepenos, adding onion and mustard seeds.  They are really delicious. Thanks to Dad Cooks Dinner recipe.

Recipe: Spicy Pickled Carrots from
Adapted From: University Of Georgia, National Center for Home Food Preservation: Pickled Carrots


  • 4 clean pint or 1/2 liter jars (I used wide mouth pint jars)
  • Wide mouth funnel (Optional if you have steady hands when spooning boiling liquids.)
  • (Optional, if canning) Large pot for the canning water bath, and a rack to lift the jars from the bottom of the pot
  • (Optional, but useful) Canning tools – jar lifting tongs, bubble removal tool, and lid lifter

This recipe makes four pints of pickled carrots, and scales up easily

  • 2 1/2 lbs carrots, cleaned, trimmed, and sliced 1/4″ thick
  • 5 1/2 cups vinegar (white or cider)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tbsp canning salt
  • 2 Jalapeno or Serrano peppers
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 20 peppercorns
  • 4 tsp salt

For an overview of boiling water canning, see the Principles of Home Canning or pick up a copy of the Ball Blue Book 

1. Prep the ingredients: Trim the carrots, then slice into 1/4″ thick slices. (I use the thin slicing disk on my food processor.) If canning the carrots, put the canning pot on the stove and fill it with enough water to cover the jars when they are added. Cover the pot, and bring to a simmer.

2. Simmer the carrots: Meanwhile, put the carrots, vinegar, water, sugar and 2 tbsp canning salt in a large saucepan or dutch oven, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer the carrots for 15 minutes.

3. Fill the jars: In each pint jar, put 1/2 a jalapeno pepper, 1 bay leaf, 5 peppercorns, and 1 tsp salt. Using a slotted spoon, fill each jar with carrots, leaving 1/2″ of head space at the top of each jar. Ladle enough brine into each jar to cover the carrots, again leaving 1/2″ of head space. If you are doing refrigerator pickles, you’re done – cover the jars and skip to the “rest for at least a week” step. If you’re canning the pickles, read on…
*This step is where the canning funnel comes in handy. Spooning hot carrots and ladling hot brine is a mess. The funnel helps get everything into the jars, and not all over the counter top.

4. Process the jars: Wipe the rims of the jars and apply the lids. Lower the jars into the canning pot, and make sure they are covered with 1″ of water. Cover the pot with its lid, bring the water to a rolling boil, then process in the hot water bath for 15 minutes. Remove the jars from the pot, and let rest for 12 to 24 hours before testing the seal on the lids.

*This step is where the jar tongs really come in handy. If you don’t have them, wrap a rubber band around the heads of your regular kitchen tongs to give them extra grip, and be very careful.

5. Rest and serve: Let the jars rest for at least a week, two if possible, before using. If the jars were processed in the hot water bath, and sealed properly, they will last at room temperature for a year. Once you open a jar, store it in the refrigerator, and it will be good for a month or two. The same goes for refrigerator pickles – since they weren’t processed, they work just like a jar that has been opened: keep them refrigerated for a month or two.

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PS – I have tried them- they are good!!!!!

Filed under: Food