Farm Fresh

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

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

Pulled Pork

We are entertaining twice this week so I thought I’d make a shitload of pulled pork. I used three recipes to come up with something. The result includes cumin seeds, fennel seeds, chili powder, molasses, chopped onion and garlic and a splash of cider vinegar(I also did not grind the spices- why bother?). I filled the crock pot with 10 lbs of pork roast, the leg because it was on sale even though most people recommend Boston Butt. I left it in overnight (11pm-7am) and voila.  This morning then, I added ketchup, vinegar and molasses to taste, and it tastes good!

I’m serving this with green bean and potato salad, bread and butter pickles, and for dessert, the Martha Stewart Apricot/Peach upside down mini cakes. Delish.  Also I should mention I made a couple in the 8 oz canning jars and yes, they were beautiful.

Both Martha Stewart and Alton Brown had two recipes that looked good but I wanted to slow cook overnight so I then referred to the below recipe from Natalie for guidance. I was worried about leaving it unattended at night but it worked fine and at 3:30am was still in good shape- not too dry or overcooked.

Pernil Pork from Natalie
Prep Time:
20 Min
Cook Time:
6 Hrs
Ready In:
6 Hrs 20 Min


Original Recipe Yield 1 – 3 pound pork loin


4 cloves garlic
1 large onion, quartered
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground ancho chile pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 (3 pound) boneless pork loin roast
1 lime, cut into wedges

Place the garlic, onion, oregano, cumin, chile pepper, salt, and pepper
into a blender. Pour in the olive oil and vinegar. Puree until smooth.

Spread this mixture all over the pork loin, and place into a slow

Filed under: Food


What’s that movie with Jim Carey and Ed Burns. Jim lives in this perfect world where there is no trash and everyone is smiling. He finds out and rejects it. Whatever. We paid to go there. Seabrook. We went with our moms and Porter. We each cooked dinner one night. We went to the beach everyday.  Justin, Porter and I went for a hike on the Quinalt Reservation.  We will probably go again, like every year.

Filed under: Family, Travel

Summerfest 2011

We do this thing, in the summer, we call it Summerfest.  The Punch members who live in Thorp and Ellensburg host a get together of our closest friends and anyone on the email list of 1000.  It’s beer, art, music, rafting and food (this year the taco truck and pies).  It’s fun.

Highlights include:
1. Campfire and Whisky on Friday
2. Check In at the Thorp Mill with donuts and ginger lemonade at the Vanagon Stand
3. Leisurely float with new and old friends
4. Taco Truck and Iron Horse beer for dinner
5. The Daffodils from Edison
6. Pies in a Jar- with Winegars Ice Cream
7. Sleeping in the Vanagon under the stars
8. Sausage biscuits and fruit for breakfast

Yes, it was really that good.

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Filed under: Art, Event

Pies In a Jar

We made a lot of these for Summerfest! More on that to come. But what we learned is- do not cook them frozen- duh! You can store in freezer which is awesome but you should thaw them before cooking.  We had 50 to bake and it took us along time. They were worth the wait. I am excited to try them with savory fillings like beef pot pies.

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From this awesome gal.

These are too good to be true. I roped Natalie into helping. She is the baker after all. I am not. But I was driven by the cuteness. One batch of dough made 5 pies. We used the lids to cut out the bottom and top of the crusts. Crust recipe is 2 cups flour, 1 cup butter minus 2 tbsp butter and substitute for crisco. Better if cold not frozen. Put in food processor and pour in ice water until a good consistency. Good luck with that.

Filed under: Food