Saturday bread baking...Crusty French, Honey Whole Wheat and easy, fermented Dutch Oven Bread. Churned some organic, grass-fed cream into butter, a pan of lasagne is in the oven and broccoli from the garden is steaming! Can’t think of a better way to spend a day off on a snowy Saturday! Let’s eat! 🙂
My version of Black Friday shopping! A little road trip with one of my favorite soul sisters to Clear Creek Organic Farms. Time to stock up on a few things before the snowflakes fly. Raw milk, cheese, butter, ice cream, hamburger, brats and other goodies...all natural, grass fed and organic. Making the day even better...we stopped for lunch at The Stirred Pot in Albion. This little restaurant opened in March and features dishes made with ingredients all sourced from local family farms and gardens. Highly recommended! Check out their Facebook page!
Holiday bread baking officially underway!
Grateful for ‘modern’ conveniences during these long and chaotic days! We went a bit old school for dinner last night and roasted a chicken in our Galloping Gourmet oven. I love this thing! Circa 1990’s, it’s probably one of the earliest versions of an air fryer. It was a still-in-the-box and never used $5.00 auction find. It’s handy for roasting meat and even cooks a good steak in the winter when it’s too cold to fire up the grill. Roasted chicken from our friend and neighbor’s farm, veggies and a salad from our garden...the perfect nourishing end to a long day!
Making butter. It sounds like a time consuming and laborious project when we think of Grandma turning the butter churn, doesn’t it? Thanks to today’s modern conveniences, it’s now a process that can be done in the matter of a few short minutes. All you need is one ingredient...cream. We use cream skimmed from the top of our gallons of raw milk but cream or whipping cream purchased at the grocery store works, too...it’s just not as flavorful and healthy as the cream that comes from those local grass fed dairy cows. Allow the cream to come to room temperature then pour it into the bowl of a food processor or ‘Ninja’ type blender. Use the dough blade and start whirling away. Take a peek every few seconds. First the cream will begin to thicken, soon it will become whipped cream then suddenly the butter will separate from the buttermilk! Drain the buttermilk and place the butter into a bowl. Use a spoon to stir the butter, draining away any additional buttermilk. Add cold water to rinse the butter, continuing to stir and drain the moisture away. Repeat the process until the liquid is clear and no more can be stirred out of the butter. Add salt if desired. You just made butter in less than 10 minutes! Reserve the buttermilk for another use.
It’s fun to get the kiddos involved in making butter. Let them make their own by filling a small jar halfway with cream. Secure a lid on the jar and let them start shaking away. Their butter won’t be ready as quickly as yours but they will be amazed to watch the process and they’ll use up some energy while they do it!
The forecast of an early blast of winter weather had us scrambling to get everything harvested and tucked safely inside the greenhouse this past week! We took a breath today and did a bit of meal prep with some of our veggies! Easy and homemade meals to enjoy while we tackle our very long winter ‘To Do’ list! Homemade Runzas for the freezer and a few Pierogies for for dinner tonight. It feels early...but our favorite winter platter came out of the cupboard today as the snowflakes danced through the air and gathered on the ground. Grateful for an amazing harvest but sad to see it end so soon!
Couldn’t resist adding some of those freshly dug carrots to our menu last night! Roasted carrots and onions drizzled with local maple syrup, oven baked chicken fried steak with fermented raw ketchup, kale salad with onions, carrots and raw cheddar cheese tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette, garden potatoes with raw butter and home-cultured sour cream. All from the garden and local family farms!
We planted our second crop of carrots after harvesting our onions during the first week of August. My favorite variety...’Bolero’ is averaging 6 to 8 inches long. They are beautiful! We tried a new variety for our fall harvest, too! ‘Short and Sweet’ lives up to it’s name! Fat little carrots that are sweet, crisp and tasty!
Brrr! It’s going to be cold tomorrow morning! We’re bringing in the last of our second planting of ‘KK Cross’ cabbage...and they are beautiful!
If you look closely toward the top of this gallon of raw milk, you will see the line where the milk and cream have separated. In addition to consuming the milk, we’ll be making cottage cheese, sour cream, cheese, butter, buttermilk, ricotta and we’ll use the leftover whey in baking. The possibilities are endless! We have four gallons of raw milk in the refrigerator and we won’t waste a drop!
Our first planting of ‘Rubicon’ Napa cabbage withered in the early season heat but our fall crop is picture perfect! Also known as Chinese cabbage...it’s delicious when eaten fresh or used in stir fries! It’s great for fermenting, too! This gorgeous head is on its way to becoming sauerkraut!
Homemade raw milk mozzarella cheese. So easy and beyond delicious. This is going to happen again very soon!
When I learned about Clear Creek Organic Farms I knew I needed to visit. The moment we arrived, I realized we had landed in a very special place. Clear Creek is located near Spalding, NE. It is owned and operated by Robert and Kristine Bernt and their twelve children. This family has an amazing work ethic and a strong belief in raising healthy, nutritious food. Bob graciously sacrificed two hours from his busy day to give us a tour of their facility while his family smiled and waved as they worked around the farm. Clear Creek offers raw milk and cream from their organic farm. Their herd produces A2 protein milk. Some people who have a low tolerance for dairy products are able to consume raw A2 protein milk. The Bernt family also produces butter (both raw and pasteurized/salted and unsalted), ice cream and amazing varieties of cheese including raw cheddar. Clear Creek has an on-site facility for processing the animals raised on their farm as well as a commercial kitchen. Bob shares my belief that heathy plants are raised in healthy soil. He sends his vegetables to a lab to be tested for nutrients. As an example, he shared the results of a test conducted on a carrot from his farm versus a conventionally grown carrot. The conventionally grown carrot tested high in sodium due to the amount of chemicals in the soil while his organically grown carrot did not. Two fistfuls of his soil contain over 22,000 living microbes that nurture the vegetables grown in his gardens. Bob uses a mixture of raw milk mixed with Epsom salts and sugar to prevent pests in his gardens...a practice we will be experimenting with on the flower farm. Clear Creek delivers their products through their coop to Omaha and Columbus. Visit their Facebook group...Clear Creek Coop (Omaha Metro) for more information. The coop delivers from spring to late fall and stops when milk production ceases. We would LOVE to have a Clear Creek coop established for Fremont! Please contact the farm or myself! If there is enough interest, maybe we can make that happen next year! In the meantime, I’ll be supporting this farm and family by making the occasional road trip to Clear Creek Organic Farms to purchase their amazing products!
Just when we thought we’d have a small tomato harvest...they rallied! We’ve canned, frozen and fermented. Now we’re dehydrating them for use in soups, stews and tomato basil bread. Slice tomatoes about 1/4 inch thick and dehydrate at 135 to 145 degrees for about 24 hours or until dried. For long-term storage place dehydrated tomatoes in freezer safe bags or containers and store them in the freezer.
Pumpkin Spice with real pumpkin and real spice...fermenting for our Saturday class!
We save valuable real estate in the vegetable garden by growing some of our vining crops such as sweet potatoes in containers. This year’s harvest is over 11 lbs. from two containers. We’ll save the smaller tubers for starting next year’s crop. In January, we’ll bury those tubers halfway in a flat of soil insuring the ends are covered. In time they will sprout and provide us the slips we need for next season’s harvest!
Oh, my GARDEN goodness! Our ‘Jade’ green beans never let us down! We harvested last weekend and picked all of these again today...and they’re still blooming!
As we harvest from the vegetable garden, we use that space replant. Sometimes we play a game of tag with Mother Nature’s idea of our first freeze date...but most of the time we’re rewarded by our efforts. Thankful for another harvest of ‘Snow Crown’ Cauliflower! More to come!
It’s the day after our Fall Open House and I have two card tables filled with very ripe tomatoes in need of attention. I use this fast and easy method to get them into the freezer for future Instant Pot meals such as ‘Sue’s From The Garden Instant Pot Chili’ and ‘Sue’s Instant Pot Bean And Bacon Soup’! Simply wash, core and cut the tomatoes into pieces and place them in a gallon sized freezer bag. It’s a good idea to place the bags in a baking dish until frozen and when thawing to contain any liquid that may come from an accidental tear in the freezer bag. When you are ready to use the tomatoes in a recipe just thaw and crush them!