All posts in recipes

bread, bone broth and bacon

That, my friends, is homemade bacon and homemade bread for breakfast on a Sunday!

The last few years, I’ve either been staying at Boyfriend’s house or traveling for work … a lot. Some weeks, I’d only be back here at the farmhouse one or two nights to change bags and whisper hello to my plants. Who am I kidding. All the houseplants died.

I hadn’t necessarily been planning on spending a lot more time at my house this year, but I’m not complaining about the opportunity to sink in and enjoy this place I love so much.

While working from home and sheltering in place, I’ve been experimenting with a gluten-free sourdough starter the last few weeks (start here and then try this). I know there are a lot of sourdough starters out there nowadays, but I haven’t actually seen a lot of GF versions! I’m loving this recipe. It takes some planning and some dedicated time, but the bread is delicious and the sour is getting stronger as the weeks pass.

sourdough starter in progress
keeping a scale and a bag of flour on my counter: not things my house has ever experienced.
slice of bread with loaf in background
good crumb, perfect crust (not too hard) and great flavor

It’s also been really interesting living in a state with a lot of pork production, and numerous meat processing plants closing and reopening due to covid-19 outbreaks. For a while recently, thousands of hogs were being euthanized every day because the processing plants weren’t open to receive them. Boyfriend’s family has the equipment and know-how, so we (and I mean a royal We — there were lots of hands helping on this one) located, picked up and butchered seven 250-lb hogs (for $50 apiece) in the meat shed on his parent’s homestead. I’ve had exposure to deer processing over the past few hunting seasons, so I knew some of what to expect.

What I did not expect was finding that anyone would throw out the feet — the most nutritious part of the hog! So while the brotherly assembly line tackled the big stuff, I learned how to skin and clean pigs feet so that I could bring them home and make myself some rich, gelatinous bone broth. It’s going to save me a ton of money at the grocery store, based on how much broth I go through.

Lauren holding a skinned pig's foot
Very proud of my first solo skinning job
roasted pigs feet
My method for bones is 1) blanch to draw impurities to the surface 2) roast for 2 hours at 450 3) low simmer for 24 hours with a bit of apple cider vinegar in a pot of water just covering the bones
bread in the oven, blanching bones on the stove
Bread in the oven, blanching bones on the stove. I bake the bread in a cast-iron skillet with a small pan of water next to it for steam.
Bone broth after 24 hours on a barely-there simmer. I know it’s done when I cool a spoonful and watch it jiggle like jell-o.

Boyfriend and I got one hog for ourselves, which yielded probably $500 worth of meat for the $50 we paid:

  • Eight bags of bones and feet
  • Seven racks of ribs
  • Eleven roasts
  • Ten hams
  • Pork belly and bacon
  • Many pounds of ground pork
  • One tenderloin and one loin roast
  • Seventeen chops
  • Six t-bones
slabs of bacon in a smoker
Bacon in the smoker, courtesy of Boyfriend and his very patient dad

The bacon is being cured and smoked now, and the hams are up next. I got to try the first batch of bacon this weekend. This particular cut is chewy, kind of like brisket burnt ends — more pork chop than crispy fatty bacon. And so delicious!

slices of bacon in butcher paper
Bacon fresh from the smoker

I’ve always been interested in meat processing and fascinated by the cuts and techniques. It’s one of Boyfriend’s particular skills, so it’s been a lot of fun to work alongside him on this project and start to learn how to help.

We now have pork recipes earmarked to last us a long while — probably a good way through the year. We’ll still buy beef and chicken occsionally, but have plenty of venison still in the freezer to cut in with the pork (they balance one another nicely – one lean, one fatty) so I don’t think we’ll run out of ideas before we run out of meat.

Next up: broiling the bacon with maple syrup from this spring’s harvest! Which was, entirely, another adventure…

carrot soup and apple cornbread

I tried the most divine roasted carrot + coconut soup at a dinner party last month, and was inspired to try recreating it when I saw a beautiful bunch of carrots at the farmer’s market. Read more…

a recipe for a cherry moment

“Cherries don’t have a season, they have a moment.”
– someone (I dunno, Google isn’t helping?)

I heard it somewhere, probably The Splendid Table. And it reminded me that I’ve had this Cherry Clafouti recipe stashed in my binders for years, untried. Well I’ve tried cherry clafouti … it’s one of my all-time favorites. Just not this recipe.

Friends, it did not disappoint. Run to the store and buy the last bag of perfect cherries, and don’t go to a lame grocery store because you need creme fraiche. Then come home and make this and tap your feet while you wait impatiently for it to cool, and scarf down half the pan as soon as you can eat it without scalding your tongue.

That is my advice to you. Listen to me and not your personal trainer.

Oh, and hi dad! Happy father’s day (again). I know how much you love cherries … I promise to make you one sometime, you’ll love it.

xo

Cherry Clafouti
adapted from Martha Stewart Living magazine
Prep time: 15 min
Total time: 45 min.
Serves 4-6
Clafouti is best served warm, so bake it just before you serve dinner. Scoop it into bowls topped with a spoonful of creme fraiche.
 
Unsalted butter, for dish
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. creme fraiche, plus more for serving
3/4 c. whole milk
1/2 c. granulated sugar, plus more for dish
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
12 ounces cherries, halved and pitted (if you don’t have a scale: enough to fill the bottom of the baking dish)
1. Preheat oven to 375. Butter a 9-inch diameter 1 1/4 inch deep baking dish. Coat with sugar; tap out excess.
2. Whisk eggs, yolk and flour in a medium bowl (hand whisk is fine — don’t need eggbeaters). Next whisk in creme fraiche, milk, sugar, vanilla and salt.
3. Arrange cherries in prepared baking dish. Pour batter over cherries — they will rise to the top, this is ok. Bake until browned around edges and set in the center, 30-35 min. Let cool slightly. If desired, dust with powdered sugar. Regardless, serve warm with creme fraiche. Is also delicious cold, perhaps for breakfast the next morning…

new recipes and a new year’s goal

To set the stage today: I’m sitting at my dining room table, listening to the down-home swinging tunes of A Prairie Home Companion and Lynn Rossetto Casper’s soothing voice on The Splendid Table. A cup of Good Earth Tea in my favorite teacup, and cloudy skies predicting (hopefully) snow later today. My kitchen is finally clean, I’m home for an entire weekend and the week ahead, and I’m catching up on all things personal and work-related.

I’m not quite ready to tackle my inbox, which suffered terribly from a personal trip to Atlanta last weekend and a work trip to Kansas City this week. So instead, I’m going to tell you about a few of my favorite new recipes. Not a lot of pictures this post, because I wasn’t so much in documentation mode when I was scarfing these down earlier in January. But you can find lots of beautiful photographs on Bon Appetit’s website, since that’s where they all came from.

For I, Miss Little Farmhouse, valiantly attempted to follow the Food Lover’s Two-Week Cleanse a few weeks back. The first week was great; I mostly failed the second week; and my trip to Atlanta definitely threw a wrench in everything. But I discovered some great new staple recipes to add to my repertoire, so it was definitely worth it. For starters:

New Breakfast Favorites
Black Rice-Coconut Risotto
Citrus Salad with Yogurt and Rosemary (add yogurt and agave nectar/honey to this recipe from day 4)
Omelet with Fresh Herbs and Goat Cheese
Mango Lassi with a Pinch of Ancho Chile
Fried Egg with Arugula and Chili Sauce
Snacks
Bosc Pear with Fresh Goat Cheese and Honey
Celery Sticks with Almond Butter and Smoked Paprika
In the Lunch Rotation
Kale Salad with Tuna and White Beans
Weekend Dinners with Lunch Leftovers
Butternut Squash and Tomato Soup
White Bean Chili with Winter Root Vegetables
Conveniently, this project also served one of my 2013 goals: to try 30 new recipes. In fact, I tried 12 new recipes in two weeks thanks to the menus and meal plans from BA. So I think I’ll blow way past 30 this year! Regardless, I’ll try to report back each month with the new recipes I’ve tried so you can join in the fun.
xoxo
LG

a wedding at Downton, a party at the farmhouse

It was a night for celebrating … Mary + Matthew’s long-awaited walk down the aisle, the return of must-watch tv on Sunday nights, and welcoming Tembo into the friend family. Cell phones were exiled to the hall table. Like you do.

On the menu:
Mrs. Patmore’s London Particular
Yorkshire Pudding Canapes
Cucumber tea sandwiches
Raspberry Gelato and Meringues
1.6.13

garden jewels and freezer pickles

I could look at these beauties all day long.
And I sort of did, yesterday. Was playing catch-up from three weeks of out-of-town travel (surprise!) including two weddings, two work trips and a family road trip. Between the garden and the farmer’s market, I had a lot of veggies to tend to. It’s going to be a delicious week of roasted, sauteed, juiced and pickled veggies.
Center stage: the easiest way to preserve cucumbers (in this case, lemon cucumbers) without dipping a single canning jar into a single vat of boiling water.
Freezer Pickles
Per batch:
4 cups thinly sliced cucumbers
1 thinly sliced onion
2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups white vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp celery seeds
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp dry mustard
1. Combine the cucumbers, onion and salt in a colander. Let stand and drain for at least 2 hours.
2. Meanwhile, combine the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the turmeric, celery seeds, pepper and mustard. Let cool to room temperature.
3. Pack the cucumbers into freezer containers (many small, or one large), leaving at least 1 inch of headspace. Pour in the brine (equal proportions in each container). The brine might not cover the cucumbers – this is alright. Mix well, then freeze.
4. Defrost in the refrigerator at least 8 hours before serving.

two recipes for the price of one

Had a house-full of people around this weekend, with our former exchange student Lisa visiting from Germany with her boyfriend Jochen 🙂 So much fun showing them around town, picnicking at the Pizza Farm in Wisconsin, and waterskiing at the lake.

After they left on Saturday, mom and Sarah and I spent a relaxing day here helping Sarah transition from her summer in Panama to her new job/life coming up in Oregon. One of the highlights was a new recipe we found in Real Simple. We made a substitution of Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains (a blend of orzo, couscous, quinoa and others) in place of the quinoa below, but you could also use farro if that’s what you have handy. You’ll notice the recipe calls for pesto, so I’m also including my personal pesto how-to guide for delicious homemade pesto. Enjoy!

Quinoa with Sweet Potatoes, Kale and Pesto
2 cups quinoa (or other grain), rinsed
1/2 cup olive oil
3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
salt and pepper
1 medium red onion, sliced
2 bunches kale, thick stems removed and leaves cut into bite-size pieces
fresh pesto (about 1/2 cup or 3/4 cup)
toasted walnuts, optional
  1. Cook the quinoa/grains according to the package instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the sweet potatoes, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper and cook, covered, tossing occasionally, until the potatoes begin to brown and soften, 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. Add the onion to the pot and cook, tossing occasionally, until the sweet potatoes and onion are tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Add as much kale to the pot as will fit and cook, tossing frequently and adding more kale when there is room, until tender, 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Serve the vegetables over the quinoa/grains, topped with 1-2 T pesto and some toasted walnuts.
Lauren’s Pesto
I adjust the recipe according to how much basil I have on-hand. Here’s an estimation of ingredients for about 2 cups of basil leaves, but you should experiment and add ingredients one-by-one as you go so as to customize the taste. Add to Cuisinart in the following order:

Basil leaves, washed and dried (about 2 cups)
Pine nuts, about 2-3 T.
Juice from half a lemon
1 T. olive oil
Salt
Parmesan cheese, about 3-4 T.
Add more olive oil if pesto is too clumpy or not spreadable. Add more cheese to offset too much lemon. Some people like to toast the pine nuts first; I find it unnecessary.

Pesto will keep in the fridge about one week, or in the freezer about 3-4 months.


tomato poetry

For you, my friends, three haiku and a recipe.

Saturday

college girlfriend night
hand-made pasta, fresh red sauce
extra basil, of course

________________________________________________________________________

sun is setting soon
boats moored at lake nokomis
perfect summer night
________________________________________________________________________
Sunday
my newest toy
an “ergonomic” edger
the DVD helped

________________________________________________________________________
Lauren’s Marinara Sauce
Makes about 6 servings

8-9 medium or 6-7 large tomatoes
half a large white onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
two generous handfuls of basil, coarsely chopped
olive oil
kosher salt
large bowl of ice water
1. Boil a large pot of water; add tomatoes to boiling water and pull out when skins pop (time may vary for each tomato). Transfer to cold water and peel skin. Allow tomatoes to continue to cool.
2. Saute onions and garlic in olive oil in a medium saucepan until translucent.
3. Chop tomatoes and add to saucepan, including seeds and juice.
4. Drizzle with olive oil and cook over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes (until some of the liquid in the pan has evaporated).
5. Simmer on low until ready to serve; shortly before serving, stir in basil and salt. Garnish with fresh parmesan cheese.
Serve over hand-made pasta and with a salad of arugula, watermelon, feta cheese and balsamic vinegar for an excellent summer meal 😉


Visitors + a new recipe

I’ve had a number of lovely visitors lately … Friends from high school and college, and coincidentally, most are currently living in Massachusetts. One dear friend has a number of food sensitivities, which gave me the chance to try some new recipes 🙂 A pork and blackberry chutney recipe I found in Everyday Food by Martha Stewart was particularly yummy.

Garden and house projects have been keeping me busy when I haven’t been traveling. Lots of good posts saved up … Stay tuned.

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Recent obsessions

1. Clothes and jewelry in emerald green

2. Words with Friends (find me)

3. Maple and rosemary roasted sweet potato fries. I don’t eat them so much as inhale them.

So far as I know, I made them up. So humor me if that’s not true 🙂

Sweet potatoes + olive oil + maple syrup + salt + dried rosemary (ma sends it from her garden in CA)

Make. Eat. Enjoy. You can thank me later.

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