Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Harvest Ticket January 29-30 2013

Special Rare Sweet Lemon

This week we're putting a little something in large shares that at first glance fails to impress. It's the weird looking lemon thing with a little hat on top. That's our Pakistani Sweet Lemon. Although the juice of the fruit is usable, it's not very sour. Where the jewel of this fruit lies is in the skin. The peel will impart a scented-geranium flavor and aroma to baked goods and more. Here's how to use it easily: grate the entire fruit usign a potato peeler, sharp knife or cheese grater. Throw in your Cuisinart or high speed blender (I use a Vitamix) and add sugar. Blend. Let sit overnight in the fridge. Then use in baked goods, lemonade or salad dressing. It makes a killer sugar cookie additive.

Another easy use: grate and mix with lime juice, (you can use the juice of the Sweet Lemon, too), good quality olive oil, salt, little rosemary, a little bit of water (I actually use ice) and blend. It's a salad dressing with ingredients that appreciative guests have a hard time putting their finger on.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Goat News

The family-wide debate over the worthiness of owning a goat herd continues, with strong partisan leaders in opposing camps. Frankie, at 18, sees the herd as never-intended-to-be-eaten-meat-on hooves and has zero interest in their finer attributes. He lives in fear of the day one of them jumps on his micro-managed clean-beyond-belief fire engine red Mustang. That would just do him in. Enough so, that if he can't get opposing counsel to see his point of view, he is up for relocating the herd to somewhere, over there. As in on the other side of the farm. Or the planet. Or perhaps as a reasonable compromise, someone else's farm. "You could visit, often, mom." He has, however, finally prevailed in his long held belief that Lance and Boo Boo should conduct their "mommy and me" time, not in our living room. Now in Lance's defense, Boo Boo is Lance's little mental health provider, and he likes hanging out with her away from the rest of the herd in peace. Like any mother-daughter relationship, they do need their alone time. And though the internet says it can't be done, Lance has house trained Boo. That's not to say she's house trained like, say a cat. It has been argued that the term "house trained" should be species specific. As in a house trained goat shouldn't be held to the same standards as a house trained dog. Boo would have eaten the entire Christmas tree if Lance allowed it, dragging her away from it each and every time she entered the living room for the duration of the holidays. He actually suggested throwing our hands up in defeat, and having a Goat Tree this year, just let Boo go to town on the tree and there'd be less to decorate he argued. Really Lance?

On a side note, Carl the Menace did manage to eat the entire Christmas wreath I hung 6 feet up, over the front door. I never saw how he actually managed this....I'm assuming a running start and a body fling toward the wreath perched over the doorframe? Whatever, the wreath was consumed 24 hours after hanging, which pretty much finalized daughter Tessa's non-partisan position in re the goat issue.

Anyway, Boo's Christmas Tree nibbling habits, in a certain camp here on the farm, entrenches her firmly in the not house trained category. And then there's her predilection for prose. Lance has been getting rid of paperbacks he doesn't want anymore, and Boo Boo is delighted to help in the recycling process. This trait, too; has been pointed out as a character trait that removes the Boo from the house pet category and firmly supplants her in the livestock division. And as the argument goes, livestock shouldn't be found in the living room, mom. Really mom? We have to discuss this? I don't know exactly how it happened to me that I found myself debating this, but indeed there has been some debating going on here at Morning Song Farm in re the whole Boo Boo in the living room issue, which is happily now put to rest. Again, we don't sleep in the barn, and the goats don't hang out in our living room. We've gone over this before, but this time I swear it's settled.


Harvest Ticket January 22-23

Thursday, January 10, 2013

D.I.Y. Cookbook

The New Year is upon us, and I’ve chosen this year to officially begin a renewed effort to make healthy choices. Yes, I live on an organic farm and grow organic fruit, veggies, herbs and macadamias, so like most of our farm customers, that’s not the weak link. Oh no. The area that has troubled me for quite some time, and why a new workbook called: D.I.Y Cookbook has captured my attention, is this: everything else that goes into my farm kitchen isn’t as thoroughly vetted. Check out the ingredient labels on your chips, crackers, candies, muffins, breads, and more. I know there’s a load of diets and health recommendations out there that suggest wiping those items off the menu entirely, but here on planet earth I’m running a household with two teenagers and a busy schedule; so ridding my larder of those items isn’t going to happen anytime soon. I want an alternative we can all live with!

Born of a farming necessity, I’ve always been a D.I.Y. advocate, and D.I.Y. Cookbook is a compilation of “do it yourself” kitchen craft information that is presented in an easy to follow format. What’s important is that the writers offer numerous quick tips without which the home craftsperson wouldn’t achieve quality results. Discover the secret to perfect potato chips, what you need to know before tackling a homemade version of Fritos, and what special flour is needed to make a great graham cracker.  Consider homemade marshmallows, corn chips, toffee, sausage, orange jelly slices, pickles, cheese and more! Who’d want to make their own marshmallows, anyway? Well, have you checked out the ingredient list on a bag of supermarket marshmallows lately? Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate and Blue #1 anyone?

Oh yea, Sodium pyrophosphate is sometimes used in household detergents but due to its phosphate content it causes eutrophication of water, (which is said to be a leading threat to water quality around the world) promoting algae growth and causing fish die offs. Yum! Can I have put some of that in my kids' s'mores? And animal studies on Blue #1 indicate that it can cause tumors and be carcinogenic to certain organs.

So there’s reason enough to  craft our own snacks, and the effort may reduce snack consumption right there, I admit. Because making our own snacks takes time.  I’m not exactly twiddling my thumbs over here at the farm, and almost everyone I know is busy beyond belief,  but the thing is; being unhealthy is a big time and inspiration sucker, too. So maybe I can find the time to make a few snacks if I insist on eating them.  My objective is to save a little time, save a little money; and protect my family's wellness. If I can do all that with a homemade s’more, dessert doesn’t get much better.

 The authors have divided their work into 8 sections: Staples Made Fresh, Preserving, Pickling, Cheeses, Curing, Snacks From Scratch, Desserts and finally Beverages.  My teenaged daughter would be pleased to see the authors chose the homemade version of Nutella as a kitchen staple. Loaded with beautifully photographed step-by-step images and easy to read instructions, the authors have done an excellent job of transforming what for many might be outlandishly unthinkable tasks (homemade tofu? goat cheese? sauerkraut?) into assessable tasks for just about anyone.

360 pages, c 2012.

repost of Harvest Ticket 1/8/13

Wednesday, January 9, 2013