Lobster is a luxurious treat

Lobster is a luxurious treat; something my family uses to celebrate.  My father chose lobster for his 55th birthday dinner. For a man that isn’t too fond of fish, he absolutely adores crab, lobster, shrimp and mussels alike. At $14.00/ pound, four of these beauties came out to be $100. We got some fine crustaceans from up north, Maine. It pains me that these are not local, that I don’t get to see the process of raising and harvesting the lobster. Its scrumptiousness told the story.

We went to the local fishmonger, giving the local business the attention it deserves. The options were vast, but lLobster was what we came to get. Our fishmonger suggested we steam each lobster for 7 minutes per one pound. Add three minutes for every extra pound. Pretty simple, who would have thought such an intimidating crawler, was so easy to cook.

The lobsters may have been the star of the show, but how good can the show be without outstanding supporting actresses. We grabbed 10 ears of fresh jersey corn to make a grilled corn salad. The difference in texture was epic. Sweet and spicy crunchy corn paired with the forgiving tender elasticity of the lobster meat just snapped around your tongue. A big salad filled with greens, and of course a fruit tart as requested by my more than deserving dad.  I told him in his birthday card, that nothing comes close to the happiness I feel when dancing around the kitchen with him. It’s a small kitchen, a big island with a decent size stove top, and very little counter space (thank you kitchen aid mixer, and Cuisinart coffee maker). It’s the perfect small farmhouse kitchen, we laugh as we bump into each other, as kitchen bumper cars do, whilst putting away groceries, simmering butter, or dashing off to the grill. It was a perfect day, usually I would object to the birthday being lifting a finger on their day, however I couldn’t dismiss such an eager helper, after all it was his idea. I would have loved to have had this feast outside somewhere, with a blanket to set us atop the grass and away from the bugs, but it was much too hot out as most mid July evenings are in NJ. So we slurped our lobster dinner in the cool air conditioning, not many words were said, our jaws were dropping for the star of the show. That’s when you know you did well.

That’ll do!

Grilled Corn Salad:
* I adapted this from Half baked harvest’s grilled street corn recipe

Ingredients:

-6 ears of fresh corn, husked
-extra virgin olive oil
-two limes, squeezed
-2 tsp of honey
-1.5 tsp chili powder
-1 tsp smoked paprika
-1 jalapeño
-sea salt & black pepper ( I love fresh cracked pepper!)
-a couple stalks of chives chopped
-1 cup of basil leaves chopped
-1/2 cup cilantro chopped
-4/4 cup feta cheese
Instructions:

1) Put three of the 6 ears of corn on the grill, allowing to blacken a bit on all sides, remove and cool, then when you are able to handle, slice the kernels off the cob.
2) Slice the remaining 3 ears of corn so the kernels are the only thing remaining, keep all the juices.
3) Stir all the remaining ingredients together

* I added a bit of chipotle powder to some ranch and had it as a sauce to add on… however I never used it because the flavors of the fresh corn & spices were incredible!

Berry Tart:

I borrowed this recipe from Manger, my favorite food blog, curated by Mimi Thorisson

A very impatient but good boy, jealous of the attention of our yummy berry tart

Ingredients (for dough):
-1 cup of flour
-1/3 cup of butter, softened at room temp
-2 tbsps of sugar
-4 tbsps of confectioner’s sugar
-1/4 cup ground almonds- almond flour will do!
-1/2 egg
– pinch of salt

Instructions for the shortbread crust:


1) in a medium bowl mix all the ingredients together to form a soft dough. Shape into a ball and wrap in cling film, putting in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
2) On a floured surface roll out the dough, to fit the tart pan, gently pressing the edges of the pastry against the pan. Prick the fitted dough with a fork.  Cover with more cling film and place in the freezer for 30 minutes… the longer the better… (this prevents shrinking of the crust!)
3)Cut out parchment paper to line the bottom of the pan, fill with marbles, rice, beans or popcorn (yes it works! And no they don’t pop… however they make a mess when you drop them everywhere)
4) Bake for 15 minutes @ 350. Remove the weight and bake until slightly golden ( 5-10 mins) Cool for 20 before putting the filling in.

For the lemon crème patisserie:
ingredients:
-1 cup of whole milk
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
-3 egg yolks+ 1 egg
-2 tsp of vanilla extract
-two lemons zested
-2/3 cups of heavy cream
-juice of one lemon
-1/4 cup of plain flour

instructions:
1) whisk the sugar, eggs, and flour until light and fluffy( 8 mins). Then add the lemon juice & zest
2) Bring the milk, cream, and vanilla in a saucepan to a soft simmer. Pour the mixture gently into the egg bowl, whisking continuously.
3)Put the mixture back into the saucepan, continuously whisking on low heat until the mixture becomes a custard consistency ( this could take 10 minutes or more)
4) pour into a bowl and cover, place in the refrigerator once completely cool, close to serving time
5)Spoon the crème patissiere into the tart and smooth with a spatula.
6) place the berries on top in any fashion that pleases you!

** I would recommend letting this custard sit overnight, it becomes so much firmer for a day 2 serving**

Enjoy!

Xx,

Key- lime Pie in July

This weekend was spent in Vermont, the place I love the most, cherish and call home despite the contradicting reality of the rental property my name is on does indeed reside in Brooklyn, NY. Someday Vermont will once again be my full time home, but for now it will just have to do as my weekend elopement from the city.

As the train proceeds along the Hudson, closer and closer to where this rental agreement is located, I am reflecting on the lovely time we had in Vermont. The Green Mountains are well known for their winter time splendor.A place where many city folk flock in hopes of a quintessential winter wonderland, filled with skis and ski boots, snowshoes and wool hats. Although winter is spectacular and for a very long time has been my favorite season, the summer in Vermont is just as enchanting. Rivers and lakes alike beg you to dip your toe,and a slower, more thoughtful life expands your horizons and suddenly an afternoon spent by the lake becomes all your heart desires (of course great company truly is the key,but this can be done alone too!)

Our dear friends invited us to their lakefront property for an afternoon of snacks and drinks. I rolled over yesterday morning asking… what is the best dessert to accompany snacks by the lake? There really isn’t a wrong answer, however my matter of fact mountain man spewed, “lemon meringue or key lime pie” as if he had anticipated the question coming from my mouth long before the question evolved. Smart, and matter o’ fact.

So key lime pie it was. And the only reason necessary was that he suggested and I don’t usually get suggestions so I wanted to reward such good behavior. That and key lime pie is dreadfully easy! I am alarmed how cost effective it is and how delicious. So here is my painless recipe:

Key-lime-pie

Ingredients:
-3 cans of sweetened condensed milk
-¾ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
-2 tbsp of fresh lime zest
-1 cup of sour cream
-2 sleeves of graham crackers
-1.5 sticks of butter (melted)
-¼ cup of granulated sugar

Instructions:

  1. crush the graham crackers (by hand is fine) & add in the melted butter & sugar
  2. Pack the slightly sandy mix into the pie tin firmly & place in the freezer
  3. In a bowl mix together the sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, and lime juice stirring in 1 tablespoon of lime zest until all ingredients are combined
  4. After the graham crust has frozen a bit, pour in the key-lime mixture
  5. Bake @ 350 for 5-8 minutes, until the pie jiggles only a little when shaken. Put in the freezer for 30 or the refrigerator until ready to eat.

Enjoy with some homemade whipped cream and more key lime zest to garnish

(This makes 2 pies for shallow pie dishes or one pie for a deep pie dish)

Xx

To Market to Market

Farmer’s Market optimization

The word agriculture translates to: “Field” + “Cultivation”

Call me crazy but field cultivation sounds SO dull. When I think of agriculture I think of beautiful animals plowing through the land, breaking apart soil and creating new homes for seeds to grow. Agriculture is sprouting plants that will someday fill stomachs and sustain our lives. But mainly, I think of hard working farmers toiling in fields from dawn to dusk. Brillat-Savarin the father of gastronomy (Frenchie, obviously) said “The universe would be nothing were it not for life, and all that lives must be fed.”.

Of course he is right. But what we feed our stomachs, and our animal’s stomachs, matters! Not to be super quotey but – Michael Pollan planted a seed that has grown into a HUGE farm in my mind: “you are what you eat and you are what you eat eats too.” The food we consume matters, not only for our bodies but also for the farms. Voting with our forks goes beyond what our stomach wants. Take these 7 tid bits with you during the next grocery run and we can begin to make the shift to a truly a sustainable plate:

1) Meat for dinner? Again? Why— I choose 1-2 meals per week where I have meat be the star. Reason 1) $$$$ meat is expensive. 2) To me, quality is more important than quantity, I make sure the meat that ends up in my market tote is from a farmer I trust, and desperately want to support! Also gotta give ye olde veggies a chance to shine!

2) Buy for the week – (easier said than done, I know), but I try to do my buying once a week and the staples once a month. For me this habit began when I started living on my own, realizing just how much I was wasting. I began to buy less each week knowing that I can always buy more the following market day. It worked! Less $ wasted and less veggies wasted!

3) Find the market! I urge everyone with the ability to get to the markets and experiment with those ingredients (I understand in rural areas this may not be possible!)

4) Obviously don’t shop on an empty stomach. Over purchasing is my claim to fame.

5) Bring a reusable bag & baggies for wrapping all the goods up & toting them home safely!

6) Think outside the box. Get some of those items that intimidate you – for me beets were those root veggies that I lOVED when prepared for me but initially shied away from buying fresh. Turns out they are easy to cook and create a wonderful juice. They are now my go to when I’m feeling uninspired! Ha!

7) Value added-Invest in that cheese. I love cheese. I love it I love it I love it and I will absolutely be the one spending $15 on a nice raw aged cheddah. But since I am not spending much on meat/ fish products I validate splurging with other bi-products that make me a happy gal.

That’s it for now! Enjoy your market time!

Snail blazin’

April showers bring May flowers… and snails

Last week I got all excited about supporting a particular local farmer at the Union Square Market. This guy had all the plants for building up my home garden. I got a dozen different plants ranging from tomatoes (which I don’t like- I know, weird- they are for tomato sauce) to spinach and bush beans (which I really really like).

I planted those suckers in the beds and gave em a goodnight kiss (I did no such thing) My own ruffage in my own backyard! Proud plant mother moment.
I couldn’t help but gawk at how many slugs/snails were blazing around my humble Brooklyn Backyard… So cute, so not offensive, I was even thinking this was a win- at least there was life back here! After all… Slow Foods mascot is the snail, it had to be a good omen! Right?

No
No No
NO


They ate my baby spinach! They noshed on my Montpelier bush beans! They didn’t touch my tomatoes (figures- the one I would volunteer as tribute, they leave alone, continuous eye roll)

So I called my mom.
Turns out her grandmother used to put cheap beer in empty tuna fish cans and the slugs would blaze on over to this amazing drink (slugs love beer) but end up passing away in their slow drunk sluggy dreams. My roomie’s mom also confirmed this “let them drink beer” technique, so all the moms have voted and feeding beer to slugs wins.

Another, more snail loving course of action is to hand pluck all of the snails (before they get to the beer)and bring them to the abandoned backyard adjacent to yours. 🙂

But the beer works… if you dont have the luxury of an abandoned backyard to use at your leisure

Bottom line is, these critters like cool damp places, so ofcourse my overgrown backyard was a haven for the little cuties. Spring is their prime season. So cleanin up the beds, weeding out the unwanted plants and giving your garden more sunlight should dry up the land nicely. Dryer conditions= no more snails!

P.S. I planted Marigolds near the half eaten baby plants. Their natural chemical wards off most pests, which is absolutely what we want.

Happy Gardening!

Secrets to raising kids (the goat kind)


Margaret and Rose (my nigerian dwarf goats) were purchased with two intentions. The first, and one that certainly got my parents on board was to create a micro-dairy system. Supplying our family with all our dairy needs. The second reason was to fill my summer with baby goat love! I had the opportunity to take them to college with me at the end of that summer, so it seemed like the right move for me! Becoming mom.


After much research I officially brought my girls home, separating them from their mother, and feeding system. I then gave myself the responsibility to feed each girl 4-6 times a day!

… Taking them away from their (biological) mother at two weeks old had me feeling a variety of emotions. Was it too soon? Is this healthy? Will it be too much work? Are there any other options? Not at all comparable to human surrogate motherhood, but to my then 19 year old self certainly felt just as serious.

For all those new to goat mother & fatherhood (it’s true- you feel like parents!) I created a little pro & con list to help understand the benefits and downsides to raising goat kids as bottle babies (taking them away from mother pretty early-like I did) opposed to dam raising (allowing the doe to raise them naturally). These are conclusions I drew from raising my two doelings, an experience I am so very grateful for. I can’t wait till I am able to do it all over again but this time will be with a few changes.

Dam Raised:


Pros-

-There is a fair amount of convenience when raising kids with their mother. It’s like having a child and having a night nurse. If you don’t feel like milking or there just isn’t time- no worries, we won’t hold your grades! The kid will drink up any extra milk the momma produces, happy momma =healthy milk!


Cons-

    -Colostrum is produced by all female mammals once giving birth. This first bit of milk that the mother produces is packed with antibodies. A Built in health system. Let’s hear it for Mother Nature!

Inevitably there will be less milk in production for the farmer- depending on how many goats you have this could be a bummer.

    -When the mother is the main focus for the kid, you will have to do some major bonding work to get them to trust you. Constant touching, and handling will get your kid affectionate in no time. Nigerian Dwarfs in general are a very interactive breed, constantly looking for attention so no fear! You will have a playful goat companion one way or another!

Bottle Baby:


Pros-

-As I explained before, bonding is key. When you, the human, become the feeding system by default you are bonding & desensitizing. The kids will now look to you for all their hunger pains & follow every step you make. So lots of goat time!

    – The biggest pro of all- You get to give bottles to baby goats!


Cons-

    -Sticking to a schedule- You have to stick to a feeding schedule, just like a newborn human! Those babies NEED nourishment constantly (I’m talking 4-6 times +per day in the first month).

    -Eliminating mom from the equation means you become the monitoring system. Keeping a close eye on their weight gain, bowel movements, doting on them so they are used to human touch, etc (you probably would be doing this anyway- however its maximized with bottle babies)

    -Coccidiosis (lots of diarrhea, dehydration) is the number one fear I had raising my girls. Kids are prone to get it when they aren’t processing their food correctly… and most common when feeding milk replacement ( powder milk mixed with warm water)

-Like I said.. goat Kid diarrhea is REAL. I kept a huge pack of baby wipes with me at all times before I switched them from milk replacement to actual goat milk (a friend gave me a couple gallons of frozen goat milk from her herd to thaw out & feed to my girls). They went from green diarrhea to soft pellets in a day (TMI?)

changes I will be making with my next go-around…

Bottle feeding my girls was an amazing experience, but I would change a few things for the next batch I raise:

-Raise partially on dam- this means not taking them away until at least 1 month of age, once doing so keeping the kids with their mother for a couple hours a day. This gives you the milk product you want for yourself as well as a happy healthy kid!

-Goat milk only- Instead of bothering with milk replacement I will have a source of goat milk ready (from another herd) for the girls to consume. This means I will be saving some of my own herd’s goat milk in the freezer for the next season)


There are some things that worked brilliantly. If you are able to take your goats on little adventures, do so. Try to introduce them to all the people (you won’t have an issue with getting people to swoon over your new goats!). Snuggle them all the time and you will have yourself some very affectionate ruminants. Oh.. and get two. It’s not an option, they will need a companion no matter how dedicated a mother you may be. My girls stand for their feet to be clipped, follow me everywhere on the farm, and are fine with me “milking”(getting them used to touch on their udders is important- we will be breeding them this fall!). I attribute their kind little souls to our very consistent schedule of bonding during their first 6 months.

Fact: Goats are Great

Spring is here! Baby Goats, ducklings, and chicks are popping up in every corner of the farm. Though we don’t have any baby goats this year, our plans for Spring of 2020 will be filled with lovely little kids (the four legged ones!) hopping around Fieldway Farm. In the meantime I am absolutely getting my fill of kidding season while visiting my friends goat farm, and preparing our own micro dairy!


Below I drafted up a bit of a crash course in case you are adding some goats to your family this spring-  this crash course leaves out the basics like what feed to get & what supplements to give. Moreso, a couple pointers on what I forgot (or nearly forgot) when bringing home my wee ones.

Goats are fainting, goats are hopping around in pajamas, and goats are even doing yoga. These mighty little ruminants have captured our hearts.

Though she be but little, she is fierce.


They understand humans are a tool, they seek us to feel better, get food, and for comfortable living. They are smart they understand and they adjust. Which brings me to my first suggestion when getting your goats : Have. Proper. Fencing. They are mini Houdini’s in disguise, looking for and greedily taking every opportunity to escape. When you add the smallness of the nigerian dwarf goat – you are really in for a mischievous treat (in the best way!).

The wee ones tend to go where they please

Barnyard goats conjure up the image of a hairy smelly snaggletooth animal chewing on a can. While the bucks are quite smelly, and they do get into just about every grain bag you have (opened or unopened) they are much more endearing creatures than most depictions. Suggestion number two is very important, Keep all grain secure & locked away! ESPECIALLY other animal’s food. Some horse feed has too much copper and will result in belly aches & bloat for your poor goat. We had an unfortunate run in with an open feed room & Rose spent a few scary nights at the hospital two years ago.

Food is absolutely priority

Goats are herd animals, they play, and they love their family. They will absolutely need a companion. It’s best to get two. Starting out, I wanted to move slowly and add one to my farm. My thought was that this lucky goat would live happily with my 12 year old  (ancient) sheep. Baaaaa’d idea. Thankfully I brought home both sisters. So I mentioned goat’s play – they play hard. Head butting and chasing are common occurrences.

Its best to get two.. or three

Sheep, although seemingly similar are absolutely not the same as goats. It’s helpful to think of sheep as the quiet children that prefer quiet activities like reading and puzzles as opposed to their ruff housing neighbor the goat.  Goats are most happy when climbing and getting into trouble. I cant stress enough how much they need props. So something to climb on is important to keep them occupied & out of trouble. Happy (occupied) goat = happy garden


Honestly a children’s jungle gym would be useful for occupying your new friend. If you threw out your childhood tree house I would recommend bring some fun objects into their pen. Pallets, water troughs (upturned), old furniture, logs etc. etc. be creative!

So to recap:

1)Have a good fence system
2)Keep all grain secure and locked (out of reach!)
3)They should come in two
4)Goats are active; get them toys to play on!

I hope this helps you dive into your goat experience a little bit more prepared. These little darlings at the very least will keep you entertained.

If you are at all interested, every one of these kids are for sale, feel free to reach out for details (5 doelings and 6 bucks which will be weathered before they leave)

Snowed in Scones ft. Maple Syrup & Bourbon


This weekend I had every intention to make a batch of fresh farmhouse butter. Raw milk from my favorite farm had been sitting in the fridge for the greater half of the week. Alone with the condiments it started settling and separating into heavy cream and skimmed milk.

But snow-filled Vermont seduced me. I hope you are careful, she could seduce you too. Whispering in your ear, stay inside, wear the comfy clothes, melt into the couch, swaddled in plush blankets. Consume all the comfort food. The only issue (not an issue) was… no comfort food was readily available. Waking up to snow falling in every direction was the perfect excuse to stay put. My stomach started rumbling so I made a batch of “Snowed in Scones, ft. Maple Syrup & Bourbon”

No eggs? No problem, we didn’t have them either

Ingredients:

1 ¼ cups Heavy Cream
¾ cup of sugar
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 cups all purpose flour (I use King Arthur’s)
1 tbsp of baking powder
8 tsp butter (1 stick)
2 tsp of salt

For the maple-bourbon glaze:

2 tbsp Maple Syrup
2 tbsp (or to taste) bourbon – I used Knob Creek’s maple bourbon
¾ cup of confectionary sugar
2 tbsp Heavy Cream
2 tsp butter (melted)

The best glaze! Boozy & sweet



Directions:

-Take 1 cup of heavy cream, place in the freezer for 10 minutes

-Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

-Whisk together: flour, salt, brown sugar, white sugar (whatever you choose), baking powder

-Melt the stick of butter

-Mix the butter and chilled heavy cream with a rubber spatula (not with whisk)

Use spatula instead of whisk to combine dry & wet ingredients

-Mix wet mix with dry mix until the dough is somewhat solid & pulling from the sides of the bowl (its okay if its still not one solid dough-still using rubber spatula)

-Flour you work surface

-Empty mixed dough onto flour surface

-Begin to pack the dough together gently, creating a disk that is about 1 inch thick


-Divide the dough into 8 triangles


-Place each scone to be on a well buttered pan

-Brush each scone with heavy cream

No brush? Just dollop of heavy cream and smooth with spoon

-Bake for 15- 20 minutes

-While waiting for that to cook, clean up your mess and make the glaze!

– Mix with fork:

2 tbsp heavy cream, confectionary sugar, 2 tsp of melted butter, maple syrup, bourbon to taste

(Adding more confectionary sugar if too liquidy and more liquid if too thick)

-Begin checking the scones at 15 minutes, every oven is different

– Take the scones out once getting golden on the edges

-Allow to cool for 10-15 before icing ( I put the glaze in a zip lock baggy and snip off the tip to create an impromptu icing baggy.

-Grab your oven mit, phone, and scones… run to the best lighting in the room to take photos before your hungry boyfriend steals them all, enjoy!