Make Your Own Butter

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Making butter at home is really easy.  Purchase a small carton of heavy cream at the grocery store, pour it into a mason jar larger than the amount of cream you purchased, put a lid on it and shake.  It takes between 5 and 10 minutes, so make sure you have a friend available to help shake it.  When you start seeing solids in the  jar, shake it a bit more and pour off the liquid.  Rinse the solids in cold water a few times, pouring off the water after every rinse.  Drain the solids, stir, add a little salt and pop some bread in the toaster!   I’ve been making goats milk cheese for about 5 months now, and have noticed a bit of cream rises to the top of a jar of goat milk after sitting in the fridge a few days.  Getting a decent amount of cream from goat milk is difficult, it requires an electric cream separator which usually costs more than a pasteurizer.  I decided to scoop whatever cream I could get off of each jar, a little over a teaspoon.  I put it all in a jar, shook it, and 5 minutes later we had goat butter and it’s delicious!   You don’t need goats to try this at home,  just a carton of heavy cream.  Give it a try,  you’ll impress just about everyone you know!


Buffalo Chicken Pizza

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Whenever one of our girls comes home for a visit I always ask them what they want Mom to make them for dinner.  I’ve stopped asking because it’s always the exact same answer – Buffalo chicken pizza.  This is something I figured out on my own and is our family’s number one favorite.  I start with a pizza crust (I make my own), a cooked chicken breast, 3 Tbsp. of butter and about a cup of Frank’s hot sauce.  The butter gets melted in the microwave and then mixed with the hot sauce.  Into that goes diced chicken.  That mixture gets spread on the raw pizza dough then I spread thinly sliced raw garlic on top.  This goes into a 500 degree oven for 10 minutes.  I take it out of the oven and sprinkle blue cheese and shredded mozzarella made from our goat’s milk.  It goes back in the oven for another 5 minutes and it’s done.  The pizza gets served with thinly sliced fresh celery tossed on top.  I considered putting the celery on before it goes into the oven but it’s a very nice touch with a raw crunch.  Yum!

Smoked BBQ Pizza

Leftover smoked country style pork ribs were sliced and repurposed as pizza for dinner last night.  A good friend got a Viking smoker a few months ago.  Every time he fires it up we get an email that states simply “smoker’s on”.  You don’t have to tell me twice!  We’ve tried lamb shoulder, bratwurst, turkey breast, turkey wings, hot dogs and pork ribs (favorite).  I learned to make my own pizza dough in a Cuisinart when we moved here to the land of no good restaurants.  It’s really easy.  You can also ask your grocery store or local pizza parlor if they sell dough.  The dough gets stretched on a cornmeal dusted pizza stone.  Instead of a tomato sauce for the pizza, I mixed together two of our favorite BBQ sauces and spread that on the  dough and laid sliced pork on top.  The pizza goes into a 500 degree oven for 10 minutes, then mozzarella (home made goat’s milk mozzarella last night) goes on top.  Five more minutes in the oven and it’s done.  And it’s delicious!

Roasted Beets

Monster beets have been growing in our greenhouse interior bed.  Here’s how I roast them. I didn’t have a fresh orange to squeeze onto them when done, but it would be a nice addition.

Peel and slice beets into 1/2 inch wedges.

Place them on a roasting pan coated with olive oil and a layer of fresh rosemary.

Toss in peeled garlic cloves.

Drizzle with balsamic vinegar, season with salt and pepper.

Roast at 350 degrees until desired doneness.  Start checking them in 30 minutes.

You Know You Want Some

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We made the mistake of watching some TV show last weekend on fried chicken.  I couldn’t defrost a chicken fast enough!  I didn’t have buttermilk so I dipped it in regular milk (we’re a 20 minute drive from a grocery store).  If you can, get buttermilk and make biscuits with the leftovers!  I make a coating mixture with flour (a cup of flour will coat a whole chicken), garlic powder, dill, salt, pepper and a dash of cayenne.  I toss that all together in a bag.  Recognize the Target bag?  I put two pieces at a time in the bag with the coating mixture and shake.  These go right into my deep fryer.  That photo is unfortunately a little blurry.  It’s a Fry Daddy that I’ve had for about 20 years, it’s so easy to use.  No temp setting, just plug it in and wait a few minutes for the oil to heat.  It’s ready to go when a droplet of water dropped into the oil sizzles.  The entire chicken can be fried at once, just occasionally turn the pieces with tongs.  We determine doneness by the color.  Doesn’t it look good?  Don’t you want some fried chicken now??  I’m just passing on the craving.

Spinach Salad

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It’s incredibly easy to dress a spinach salad.  Just three ingredients.  I take a small whisk and plop about a tablespoon of dijon mustard into a small mixing container.  I then add approx. 2 tablespoons of sherry vinegar and the same amount, 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Whisk together and drizzle over spinach.  Those plates of spinach are from our greenhouse.  I served it with fresh avocado, there are a ton of other add-ons that go really well.  Craisins, walnuts, goat cheese and blue cheese are all fabulous.

Make This Today, Enjoy It Tomorrow

Red Roosters are a family favorite.  It’s an alcoholic slushy that keeps in the freezer and can be scooped out for a sweet treat.  It’s easy and very impressive for company.  You’ll need:

A 64 ounce container of good cranberry juice.  We use Ocean Spray.

A 10 ounce container of frozen OJ concentrate.

A cup of vodka.

Mix it all together in a lidded plastic container.  Freeze overnight.  The alcohol keeps it from freezing solid, it makes a cranberry orange slushy that is delicious!


Brined Turkey

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I brined our heritage bronx turkey this year and it was the best we’ve ever had, bar none.  I’m not sure if it’s because of the turkey or the brine or maybe it’s the roasting method I got from Martha Stewart on the Today show Thanksgiving morning (wine and butter soaked cheesecloth wrap).  At any rate, I’m certain the brine will work for any poultry and I’m going to keep in my culinary bag of tricks.   I sauteed 2 split heads of garlic and a sliced orange in olive oil for a few minutes, then added a gallon of cider, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1 cup of kosher salt, a T. of peppercorns, fresh sage and fresh thyme from the garden.   I brought that to a boil then cooled it to room temp and added a gallon of water for two gallons total of liquid.  The turkey was left in the fridge soaking in the brine (quite a trick for a 22 lb. bird) then rinsed off and baked.  If you try this, leave the bird in the brine for at least 12 and not more than 24 hours.  We had friends over for Thanksgiving dinner.  It was this guy & his lovely wife –

Roasted Vegetables

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It’s what we look forward to most every Thanksgiving… except I’m making a bourbon maple pecan pie tomorrow so there’s that.  The veggies I worked with this year were some of ours and some from the store – everything to the right of and including the asparagus.  After peeling and slicing and saving the peels for our chickens, I drizzle them with olive oil and splash them with vinegar (I collect special vinegars just for Thanksgiving) and sprinkle them with salt.  They go into a 350 degree oven for at least 30 minutes.  Start checking and tasting them then, and go in 10 minute additional intervals if you think they need some more time in the oven.  I’ve included a photo of the roasted pepper because that’s the trickiest one to know when they’re done.  They get wrinkly and dark on the tips which means the skins peel off really easily after they cool.  I do them a day ahead of time and serve them at room temperature on Thanksgiving.   Easy and delicious!

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