Archive | March, 2012

Winter Squash Soup: A FarmerChef Special

29 Mar
by Francine

Yesterday we took all of our leftover winter squash and made a soup.  We used one ambercup squash, two sweet dumplings, one delicata and some butternut squash and of course ,some of our dried sage.  We loosely followed this recipe by Smitten Kitchen.

A photo of the special

One thing, I’ve realized about doing FarmerChef specials is that soup goes over really well.  We sold lots of soup weeks 1, 2 and 5.  Is it because it’s hard to shake off winter?  Or do people just love soup no matter the time of year…I know I do!

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Solar’s FarmerChef Specials

27 Mar
by Francine

It has been a bit hectic around here lately, but that’s no excuse for our quietness…our apologies dear readers!

Summer weather has already begun here in MN and in the past few days the grass has greened and Dad has begun constructing new raised beds and planning his vegetables (but more on that later).

Both Mom and I have been working nearly non-stop at our family’s restaurant, the Solar.  In late February, we began featuring a FarmerChef Special every Wednesday at lunch.  Starting such a special in the bleak mid-Februaury didn’t leave us much to work with, but as evidenced by the photos below, I think we made great use of the leftover fall harvest and winter stores we received from some local farmers.

We had…

  • 3 monster butternut squash
  • 2 bags of assorted onions
  • carrots
  • dried (by me) sage
  • whole wheat flour
  • tomatoes that we froze in October

What we made…

A photo of Butternut Squash Soup

A photo of Soup with Sage Butter

A photo of the sign for Week3

A photo of mint and carrot slaw

A photo of tomato soup

A photo of our produce

Check back tomorrow to see our sixth FarmerChef special.

Getting to Know our Neighbors: Part I

15 Mar

Ever notice how once you set your mind to something, you see opportunity all around?   We decided to look around and see what other like-minded local farmer/foodies live in this part of Southwest Minnesota.  Look what we found…

Just south of us in Mt. Lake, Minnesota  is a kind and conscious family who is growing food for their CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) customers.  We went to have a chat on a cold winter Monday and learned about the many good things Jubliee Fruits and Vegetables is up to in our neck of the prairie. This wagon shows what their customers can expect during the summer.A photo of the CSA harvest

A photo of Camelina oilJust west of us and south of the town of Lamberton, we met Kathleen and her one year old daughter Amana.  Their family farm grows camelina, the seeds of which are harvested and turned into a tasty oil, rich in omega-3’s, that can be used for cooking and baking.  They even use camelina oil as a wood finish on their handmade wooden toys. Visit their toyshop.A photo of the toys

Kathleen introduced us to her sister who grows wheat south of Mankato in Good Thunder, MN; the whole wheat is used at River Rock Coffee in St. Peter. We  made a tasty granola treat using camelina oil and whole wheat flour from Good Earth Mill and Grains.

We look forward to getting to know our neighbors and meeting new neighbors in Southwest MN!

How to make restaurant quality Chinese food at home

3 Mar
by Deanne

Years before we learned to cook, we had a desire to make Chinese style stir fry in our own kitchen because we enjoyed the flavors when we went out to eat. (Our family’s favorite restaurant was a small Chinese restaurant called Yanzte in Lansdale, PA.) After several home- kitchen-stir-fry failures (soggy veggies and boring sauces) we proclaimed, “You can’t make restaurant quality Chinese food at home.”

Now, thanks to learning a few basics that both Luke and Francine picked up in China, we have been able to enjoy great dishes like this Sweetened Sichuan Chicken that Luke presents in his most recent GamerKitchen episode.

Here’s some more Chinese inspired dishes to make at home… Ambercup Squash with Sweetened Beef and Watermelon Radish Salad.

Also in case you forget how to make a pot of steamed rice, here’s a helpful video. (Francine often forgets the correct proportions for making rice, but shhh…don’t tell her I told you.)

How about you, have you been able to make restaurant quality Chinese food at home?