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Homity Pie: Inspired by the Land Girls of WWII

18 Feb

by Deanne

Last weekend Francine reported in from her life in England. Here she tells about stopping at Raspberry Tea Room in Llanyrafon Manor in Wales.

We ran in between a rain shower and saw lots of yummy things in the pastry case. The lady behind the counter said Homity Pie is a favorite of locals. She told us it’s a recipe from the war…the girls who farmed here used to make it with potatoes, spinach and cheese. And it’s made with veg from the kitchen garden.

When she got home she did a bit of research and found that the farming girls are called Land Girls and they were part of the WLA or Women’s Land Army.

Photo of WLA posterFrancine also mentioned the BBC show Land Girls.  I have been watching it on Netflix. If you like Downton Abbey, perhaps you will enjoy this show set during WWII.

After searching around a bit I settled on a recipe that also had apples in it.  Here is the original recipe I used.  I made some adjustments including making sure I used Picket Fence Creamery cream.  The whole idea with this dish is making do with what a person has available locally.  Sounds kind of like being a FarmerChef.

homitypie

Homity Pie (makes 2 five inch pies)

1/2 small onion

1/2 leek

1/2 apple

1 tablespoon oilPhoto of Homity Pie ingredients

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pinch black pepper

2 slices Swiss cheese (original recipe called for cheddar cheese)

2 tablespoons cream

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon parsley

2 eggs

  1. Dice and sauté the onions and leeks over a gentle heat in the vegetable oil, until they’re soft. Add  diced apple pieces and mix in.
  2. Cut slices of swiss cheese into small pieces.
  3. Add the garlic, followed by the potatoes, parsley and thyme, the eggs, half the cheese and cream.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and combine the mixture well together.
  5. Fill the pies and cover them with the remaining cheese.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour until the top is golden

Easy Shortbread Crust

(adapted from this recipe)

1 cup flour

1/4 cup water

4 tablespoons butter-cut into small pieces

salt to taste

Mix together and press into greased pie or tart pans. Place in refrigerator while preparing the pie filling.

HPOven

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How to Bake Spaghetti Sqaush

26 Oct
 by Deanne

Baking spaghetti squash is a fun and easy way to be a FarmerChef.  If you have kids, get them involved in the part where you  “play” with your food by shredding the baked squash onto a plate and then topping it with this recipe from GamerKitchen chef, Luke.

Photo of Split SquashCarefully cut it open and scoop out the seeds.

Photo of Squash in Oven

Before turning the squash halves fleshy side down, brush them with oil and fresh pressed garlic.

Even if you live in city like I do, you can buy the your squash at a farmers market and place it in a tiny apartment-sized oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

Photo of Steamy Squash

When it comes out steaming hot, let it cool until you are able to handle the squash and then scrape it with a fork.

Thank you Mother Nature for making a vegetable act like a yummy pasta dish!

For more  Winter Squash recipes check out Francine‘s posts:

What to do with all this squash I, II, III, IV, and V from our first fall of blogging. 

Photo of Shredding Squash

Damsons!

21 Oct
by Deanne

Photo of DamsensWhile visiting a PYO orchard during my recent visit to England, I discovered a new-to-me fruit called a damson.  They look like plums but are a tad smaller with a richer color of purple. According to what we read, they are sometimes quite tart. Photo of Damsen Picker Francine Ours must have been at just the right amount of ripeness because we ate more than our fair share.

Photo of a bowl of damsonsWhen we returned to Francine’s flat we looked through her River Cottage Cookbook to figure out what to do with them.

Francine decided to try this recipe from Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall.  It seems it is best to cook them with their skins and stones until the pesky things fall off.  She produced a beautiful rick looking sauce that we ate over lovely vanilla ice cream.

Damson Sauce

4 parts fruit

1 part sugar  (depending on desired sweetness)

Place damsons in a pan with water. (Check out the original recipe for for exact measurements) Bring to a simmer and cook gently, stirring regularly, for 10-15 minutes, until the fruit has collapsed and the stones have come free. Put the fruit in a sieve and rub through with a wooden spoon to remove the stones and skins. It makes a beautiful purple mess.  Don’t sweat the mess, relish it because it will surely create a vivid memory.  You will sweeten the damson purée by stirring in sugar to taste and leave to cool.

Have you heard of damsons?  Do you have any ideas on what to do with them?

Pick Your Own Apples and Memories

18 Oct
GrangeFarmShop
appleboxes
 by Deanne

One month ago today I landed at Heathrow and began an amazing three week visit with Francine and Scott. Last time we traveled to England, I discovered a new pastime: visiting farm shops! It didn’t take long to make a list of more to visit while I was there. One weekend we went to one for lunch and then went to another to “play” in their pick your own (PYO) apple orchard.

Scott drove us on narrow winding roads, next to pastures of sheep and through sudden patches of deep dark forests. We stopped for lunch at Cowdray Farm Shop and Cafe. Satisfied by a wholesome meal made with veggies and other goodies from the farm, we eagerly got back into the car so we could ride past more pastures and through even more woods. After a wander near a historic Tudor country home that is in ruins, we arrived at Grange Farm Shop. Photo of Cowdray House

Between picking apples, eating apples (they really do invite you to taste them) and snapping pictures of apples, we remembered the times we made applesauce, apple oatmeal cake and discovered a new-to-me fruit called a damson. I will share pictures and discuss damsons in the next post.

Photo of Apples in the Orchard

Photo of Fallen ApplesWhen I returned home, I learned that Steve had attended an event here in Des Moines called Forgotten Tastes.  He had the opportunity to taste over 60 varieties of heritage apples.(I am not sure how many he actually tasted. ) The event highlighted the work of Seed Savers Exchange near Decorah. In the late winter he will be helping to graft some trees so these old varieties can be re-introduced.

What apple memories did you make this year?

A FarmerChef Breakfast Cookie

30 Aug
by Deanne

August and September are the months for me to focus on a project called The FarmerChef Project.  It all started here on our little blog when Francine was living with us prior to her big move

Last winter, I discovered that there were some mini-grants available for supporting or promoting local food so I applied for the grant.  The idea was to expand the FarmerChef project beyond our restaurant.  This has worked out well since we closed our restaurant on August 17th.  (More on our BIG MOVE later.)

You can follow along with the farmerchef project by clicking on our icon which will take you to the  pinterest page. Logo for FarmerChefs

Today I re-read a recipe from a fellow Minnesota blogger, Carole Jones.  I love to see what’s happening in Carole’s busy household at My Kitchen Escapades.   A recipe called, Oatmeal Raisin Breakfast Cookie caught my attention because these “cookies” have no sugar, no eggs, and no flour. Carole credits Kumguat blog with the original recipe.  It is fun to see how she adapted it.  

When I read the recipe I wondered what would happen if I used Omega Maiden Camelina Oil.  Regular readers know that I am a fan of this healthy organic oil grown by our neighbors here in Southwest Minnesota. Photo of FarmerChef Breakfast Cookies

So….here is my version of the recipe:

FarmerChef Breakfast Cookies
(makes 14 cookies)
recipe adapted from My Kitchen Escapades

  • 1 1/2 C whole rolled oats
  • 1 C coconut flakes
  • 1 Tb ground flax seed  (can be found locally, I buy mine at our local store)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  •  3/4 C  Sunflower Seeds
  • 1/2 C raisins or desired dried fruit
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 C Omega Maiden Camelina Oil
  • 1 Tb honey or agave  ( I used local honey!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a large cookie sheet lightly with nonstick spray.  
Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl then add all the wet ingredients.  
Mix well until combined.
Press about 2 rounded tablespoons of the mixture into a  mason jar ring to form the cookie.
Remove the ring and form the next cookie.  
It seems to work to place them close together because they do not spread.
Bake for 25 minutes then cool completely on the pan.

This is a very adaptable recipe….How many healthy ingredients and locally grown ingredients can be added?   If you adapt it please let me know.

Without a Recipe: A FarmerChef Cooks

19 Jun

By Deanne

Hey there FarmerChefs!  Have you noticed that once you know what goes together you can look at what is coming out of the garden or available at the farmers market, combine it with  what you have on hand in your kitchen and create some sensational combinations?  Whenever we want a little inspiration about what foods and flavors go together we consult a book Steve picked up when he was in cooking school called:  The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg. 

Photo of The Flavor BibleToday we combined fresh asparagus with a little garlic and lemon and chicken to make a Lemon Garlic Asparagus rice plate.  Our restaurant’s rice plates are growing in popularity as people are discovering that they are a great way to eat their veggies and whole grains.  Because we combine everything at the last minute this dish can be served without meat or Parmesan cheese for a vegan entree. Photo of asparagus garlic rice plate

According to what we have been learning, asparagus is best cooked in a way the retains all its super powers.  Stir frying or grilling will do the trick.  Loaded with nutrients and unique qualities, Asparagus can help aid our bodies in fighting disease and give a boost to cognitive  function (for old people like me. :)

Photo of asparagusDo you prefer cooking with a recipe?  We have a few asparagus recipes to choose from:

Asparagus Pasta Salad

Asparagus Soup: FarmerChef Style

Italian Sausage Carbonara with Springtime Asparagus

Asparagus Spear Photo credit:  Amanda Petersen Photography

Asparagus Salad: First Taste of the Growing Season

24 May

By Deanne

Photo of Asparagus SaladSnow was the norm for April this year so we have been eagerly waiting for asparagus to do its duty and signal the start of the growing season.  Asparagus season was already over by this time last year.  We made our first post on April 5th in 2013.

This year, we are excited to have guest FarmerChefs again. For this recipe we are fortunate to learn and share a family favorite of Ellen’s.  She works with me at our restaurant

Ellen says:

We first got the recipe after my Aunt made the salad for my brother’s baptism.  After we tasted it, not surprisingly, we asked her for the recipe and have received rave reviews every time we’ve made it.  As soon as we take the first bite after making it you can almost hear the sigh of contentment around the dinner table as everyone in their own turn remarks:  “I love this salad, I could eat this everyday”, or simply, “wow!”

I feel honored to have been given permission to share this family treat. I like the picture Ellen painted in our minds in how she described their family table.  Join us on our FarmerChef journey and cook with local and seasonal food. You can suggest ideas and we will feature your recipe.

Asparagus Pasta Salad

  • 1 lb pasta cooked and drained  (we used gluten free pasta)
  • 1/2 med red onion chopped
  • 1/2 oz. fresh basil  (we used 1 teaspoon dried basil)
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 can baby artichoke hearts drained and chopped
  • 6 oz grated Parmesan
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley chopped  (we used 1 tablespoon dried parsley)
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus hand chopped
  • 2 1/2 oz black olives sliced

Dressing

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 4 tsp fresh minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 and 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper