Tag Archives: FarmerChef

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

Advertisements

What if… Restaurants Promoted Cooking at Home?

23 Jan
by Deanne

It seems like a crazy idea for a restaurant to promote cooking at home.  But being concerned about the quality of prepared food that is normally served in restaurants, we instigated a promotion during the month of August and September called The FarmerChef Project. Photo of Pickle Recipe  We recruited two other restaurants to join our restaurant in offering recipes of dishes that we prepared using local ingredients.  Then offered recipes for customers to prepare the dish at home.  Even though the promotion is officially over, you can check out the recipes by clicking on our icon which will take you to the  pinterest page. Logo for FarmerChefs

As part of the promotion we worked with University of Minnesota Extension to help us survey restaurant customers about their preferences for local food and cooking. There is a myth that says people won’t pay for better quality ingredients. Our survey respondents reported that they were willing to pay from 5% to 25% more for a meal prepared with local ingredients?

Would you like to see more restaurants promote cooking at home with local products?  If they did, would it help to repair our broken food system?

Whole Wheat Honey Biscuits

14 Jan
by Deanne

All the reading I did about Food Trends for 2014 got me hungry for biscuits.  So I followed Steve around the kitchen last night as he put together a batch of whole wheat honey biscuits.  He doesn’t follow recipes so I have to have a pen in hand if I want to re-create it later.Photo of biscuits

Lightly crisp on the outside and warm and steamy on the inside, was the experience I enjoyed when I sampled them.  Oh yes, they have a hint of sweetness from the honey.  The were even slightly FarmerChef-y. The honey was purchased last summer at the farmers market.  If you get a chance, do buy local wheat flour from a local farmer as we have done in the past.

Whole Wheat Honey Biscuits

(makes 9 biscuits)Photo of teapot and biscuit

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 stick butter, cut into small pieces

1/4 cup honey

3/4 cup milk

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and use pastry cutter to mix in the small pieces of cold butter.  Combine until the mixture looks like gravel. Then add honey and milk and combine into a ball in the center of the bowl.  If needed add a little more flour to hold everything together. Place on a floured surface and shape into a square.  Use pastry cutter to cut into 9 or 12 biscuits depending on how big you’d like them to be. Put biscuits on a baking sheet and bake about 10 minutes at 400 degrees.

Snuggle up with a cup of tea and good book and enjoy!

A Celebration of Local Food: Downtown Farmers’ Market

27 Oct
 by Deanne

Before I left Southwest Minnesota, many people told me about the weekly celebration of local food that occurs in downtown Des Moines every Saturday morning from May until October. Photo of crowd at DSM Downtown Farmers Market

I have been able to visit the market three times since we have arrived in September. This last Saturday was the final day for the market this year.   Photo of lovely colors at DSM Farmers Market

It was a brisk, yet bright and breezy day to take in the sounds (local entertainment), sights (bountiful displays of vegetables and fruit), and the tempting aromas (lots of food vendors).  I got a little distracted by the beautiful fall colors at the honey table but then I snapped into focus and started filling my bag with eggs, eggplant, apples, garlic, spaghetti squash, bok choy, and watermelon radish.

Photo of eggs, garlic, eggplant etc.

I so admire the spirit of the farmers who work hard all week and diligently arrive (from long distances) early in the morning to set up their booths. More than a few farmers wore costumes and held down their canopies as the breeze turned into winter-y gusts that ripped through the canyon of city blocks.

Photo of vendors in costumes

In the end, I found a brochure that lifted my spirits…The Winter Farmers’ Market in November in December. (It is inside!)

I had a chuckle from this article that was re-tweeted on Saturday.  It explains the five types of people you might see at the market.  Check it out…which one are you?

 

 

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?