You won’t find any more recipes here because….

…I’ve started a new blog!!!!!  

It’s called The Leek & The Carrot.  It’s all about me and Kyle and our farm and our lives together and sometimes my life separately and sometimes nothing at all.

Our farm blog has always been lacking because I hate the format on this website.  Our farm website is perfect and beautiful for everything in life except blogging.  Plus I love the farm, but sometimes I have things to talk about that have nothing to do with farming, like adventures in New Glarus (or Milwaukee or Chicago or hopefully around the world) or our dogs or the ridiculousness of everything.

So from now on, check out The Leek & The Carrot for recipes, silly links, farm-related ramblings, and totally non-farm-related ramblings.

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White Bean & Frisee Soup

I know, I know.  No one wants to eat soup when its hot outside.  Well I don’t care.  And you won’t either.  Because this soup makes an absolutely perfect summer meal.  It’s spicy and light and quick and easy and a great place to throw those pesky summer greens that your CSA farmer keeps giving you because its not quite tomato and squash season yet.  What’s not to love?  Use Cajun Dream Andouille Sausage if you live near Metcalfe’s.  You’ll fall in love and start wanting to use it EVERYTHING.

White Bean & Friseé Soup

I created this soup to use up a head of friseé I wasn’t sure what to do with, but any hearty green will do.  Chard, kale, and beet greens would all work great.  Members of the endive family (escarole, friseé, etc) hold up especially well in soups.  Also if you are trying to only use CSA box items, feel free to leave out the carrots and celery.  I just can’t bring myself to make soup without these things and always have them in my fridge, but they are not essential to the end product.

Takes 45 minutes
Makes 6 servings

2 tablespoons butter
2 carrots, diced, optional
1 celery rib, diced, optional
1 spring onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups chicken stock, or 8 cups water and 3 tablespoons chicken bouillon
2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed
1 head friseé, or other green, rinsed and cut into bite-size pieces
2 bay leaves
2 Andouille sausages, sliced, or other sausages of your liking (I just love spicy sausage in a white bean soup; leave it out altogether if your vegetarian and just sub a few drops of hot sauce)
½ cup dry pasta, optional
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Melt butter in a large stock pot over medium high heat.  Add carrots, celery and onion to pot.  Cook for five minutes until soft.  Add olive oil and garlic.  Cook five minutes longer until garlic is very fragrant.
Add stock, beans, friseé and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and look for 10 minutes until the greens are wilted.
Add the sausage and pasta.  Simmer for ten minutes longer.  Add salt and pepper to taste, though my soup didn’t need any extra enhancements.  Spicy Andouille sausage and chicken stock are a match made in heaven.
Eat immediately or store in the fridge and eat in the next three days.

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Roasted Cabbage

cabbage

You may have heard this before.  Or several times before…  I love roasting vegetables.  It is, without a doubt, my tried and true favorite cooking technique.  Plus, absolutely everything tastes better roasted- radishes, beets, broccoli, onions, carrots, kale–should I even bother to continue?

I also love to roast things because it is easy.  Even when you are a farmer who’s life revolves around food, it is still hard to find time to make a meal every night of the week.  Roasting is by far the easiest method of cooking.  Peel, slice, dice, toss with olive oil, Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  Throw in the oven.  Ignore for twenty to forty minutes.  Who can’t find time for that?!

So here it goes.  One more roasting recipe to add to your cookbook.  And get on the roasting now!  Before long, the sun will be high in the sky and the Wisconsin temperatures will soar and you will not want to set your oven to 425 degrees (or turn it on at all).

Roasted Cabbage
Adapted from Martha Stewart

I prepared this cabbage with breaded and stuffed pork chops.  The pork chops were stuffed with ham and mango habenero cheddar.  It was a, dare I say, perfect late spring meal.

Takes 45 minutes
Makes as much as you are craving, I can eat a whole pan by myself for a snack
But really, a whole head makes enough for a side dish for a family of 4-6

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium head cabbage
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Using one tablespoon of the oil, grease a standard size cookie sheet.  Set aside.
With the base of your cabbage on a cutting board, cut the cabbage into ½-inch thick rounds vertically.  You can discard the two middle-most rounds, or cut out the core and use remaining cabbage.
Lay cabbage rounds on oiled cookie sheet.  They can be very close together.  They will shrink as they roast.  Brush with remaining oil.  Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
Place pan in oven.  Cook for twenty minutes.  Remove pan from oven and flip cabbage rounds using a spatula (if possible, leave them if it’s too much of a pain; I’ve eaten both flipped and unflipped-they taste great either way).  Roast ten to fifteen minutes longer, until the edges are very brown and crispy.
Add more salt and pepper to taste.  Serve warm.

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Spicy Honey Glazed Parsnips

Photo courtesy of Bon Appetit magazine

I don’t know if you all know this about me (Farmer Lauren that is), but I am obsessed with parsnips.  It may be the absence of any sort of leafy green or fresh tomato from my life, but I have been eating parsnips a minimum of twice a week for the last… Well, let’s just say, for a very long time.

It started in the fall, when I tasted my first one.  Yes, we planted them and planned to give them to CSA members last year without so much as even a taste.  What a terrible farmer?  We are supposed to know and love all the vegetables we give to our members!  Suffice it to say, it all worked out.  And now I wish we had planted more!  With one short 50′ row, we gave every single parsnip to CSA members and I am left spending $8 at the co-op each week.  But with recipes like this, boy is it ever worth it!

Spicy Honey Glazed Parsnips
Courtesy of Bon Appetit magazine

Makes enough for 4 as a side dish (makes enough for 2 if you are inviting me over to eat)
Takes 50 minutes

I love a little heat in my roasted root vegetables, and by a little, I mean much more than a little.  Use less of the red pepper flakes if you are not a huge fan of spice.  It will still have the warmth to bring out the sweetness, but without being a dominant flavor.  Also feel free to substitute any favorite dried pepper you have lying around!

2 pounds parsnips, peeled, cut into 3″ lengths and halved (or quartered if large)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 450°. Toss parsnips and oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast parsnips, tossing occasionally, until tender and deep golden brown in spots, 35–40 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt butter (in microwave or on stove).  Whisk in vinegar and honey while the butter is still warm (or even hot).  Add red pepper flakes.
Drizzle chile-honey butter over parsnips and toss to coat.

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Perfect Winter Pizza

You can throw any combination of things on a pizza and it can be perfect. That is my favorite thing about homemade pizza. You can literally toss any leftover scraps on top of a pizza and it can blow your mind if you get the flavor combination right. This pizza is one of those prime examples.

This concoction was thrown together one night, after a Sunday full of football, with a half jar of pickled hot peppers I needed to use up, a little black raspberry jam, some feta that was on the end of its life (and because I hate overly greasy, overly cheesy pizzas–feta is so much lighter and fresher), and a can of black beans because I like to “health” things up in winter by adding beans. Boy oh boy, did we hit it out of the park and get the flavor just right.

Inspired by our deep freezer full of ground venison, I wanted some bright berry flavors in the middle of winter. Game meats and berries are one of my ultimate favorite cooking combinations. I looked to our fridge where I of course found no berries, but did find black raspberry jam. I decided if I couldn’t have fresh berries, I could certainly add jam to the sauce of my pizza.

The jam was locally made, as was the feta. The venison was hunted by Kyle a month ago and the peppers were pickled by us in the summer. This too was just what I needed.

I get sad sometimes cooking in winter. We try to stay local, but it gets so hard! We miss vegetables. We miss bright flavors. We miss the incredible abundance and variety of produce always pouring out of our fridge. Most of all, we miss growing, raising or hunting the food for our meals. Buying food when you know how expertly you can grow it just feels like a waste of money. Reason number three why this meal was just what the doctor ordered.

Feel free to leave things out, change or add things. Ground beef would be just as good as venison. You could also leave off the meat and add a few more beans and feta for a vegetarian pizza. You could add onions or fresh bell peppers if you have them. I think sweet potatoes would also be a beautiful addition. Try not to change the sauce though. It’s crazy and complex and different, and you will love it!

Perfect Winter Pizza

Takes 30 minutes, an hour more if you make the dough from scratch
Makes 1 large round pizza (easily enough for 4-6 for dinner)

½ pound ground venison
1 teaspoon dried cilantro
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon chili powder
1 can black beans, rinsed
½-1 cup pickled peppers, use as much or as little as you like based on how hot your peppers are and how hot you like your pizza
4 ounces feta cheese
4 ounces melty cheese like mozzarella or brick, optional
Sauce:
3 ounces cream cheese
¼ cup blackberry or black raspberry jam
1/3 cup BBQ sauce (preferably spicy)
Pinch of Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, cumin and chili powder

Pizza crust, use my favorite recipe for a crust or any other recipe you like, or use a pre-made grocery store dough if you are in a rush
2 tablespoons olive oil, for brushing dough

Brown vension in a medium-to-large saucepan over medium heat until cooked through, about five minutes. Add cilantro, cumin, and chili powder. Also add Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Mix together sauce by warming cream cheese in a medium glass bowl in the microwave for thirty seconds. Stir until smooth. Add jam and BBQ sauce along with a pinch of each spice. Stir to combine and add more BBQ sauce or jam to your liking. If you have an especially sweet BBQ sauce, you will probably need to add a little more than a 1/3 cup.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Lightly oil a pizza pan or cookie sheet. Roll out the pizza dough so it fits your pan. Spread the sauce over the pizza, leaving a ½-inch margin on all sides. Spread toppings over sauced pizza. I began with venison, then beans, then peppers and finally feta. Add the melty cheese last if you chose to use it. Brush unsauced edges of crust with olive oil.
Cook pizza in the oven for 12 minutes. Eat immediately. It makes great leftovers too, but really, who is going to have leftovers with a pizza this good ;)

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Perfect Pizza Dough

I have tried a million easy pizza doughs and quick pizza doughs and have never really been happy with them.  This is really a problem because we love to make pizza.  Always armed with a fridge full of veggies, odd cooked cuts of meat or other random leftovers, pizza is the perfect home.  With a good sauce (and a great crust!), you can tie together anything!

Over and over again I make pizza, enjoying it, but still left wanting more.  I want a pizza crust that tastes like the delicious ones I eat in restaurants.  I don’t want an excessively thin or thick crust but just the right amount of doughy deliciousness.  To a fault, mine always turn out dense and heavy.

Will I eat the pizza anyways once it’s covered in melty cheese and toppings?  Yes, of course.  But with these heavy crusts, I always end up throwing on more cheese than it really needs and for someone who tries to eat relatively healthy, that’s disappointing.

Well, now all my worries are gone.  Thanks to Pioneer Woman, I have finally found the absolute perfect pizza dough.  Once a week homemade pizza will be back in my life.  And I can’t wait.

Perfect Pizza Dough
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Takes 1 hour, 15 minutes, most inactive
Makes enough for 2 round pizzas or 1 large rectangular pizza

The best thing about pizza dough is that you can make it in advance.  Once the dough is risen, you can make dinner in a quick 20 minutes so it’s great for busy nights, casual get-togethers or whenever you’re feeling lazy.  Throw the plastic-wrapped dough in the fridge and leave it until you are ready to use it (for up to a week).

1½ cups warm water
1 teaspoon active dry or instant yeast
4 cups all-purpose flour (if you have bread flour, even better!)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon seasonings of your liking (my favorite combination is garlic powder, mustard powder, black pepper, steak seasoning and dried onions)
¼ cup olive oil

Sprinkle yeast over warm water.  Swirl gently with a spoon to combine.
Combine flour, salt and spices in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle in olive oil and combine.  It might be a little clumpy at this point, but that’s fine.  Pour in yeast/water mixture and mix until just combined.  It should start to form a loose ball of dough.
Sprinkle some flour on the counter and turn out the dough on top of it.  Knead for about a minute, adding oil if necessary so the dough ball has a smooth texture.
Put a little olive oil on your hands and rub over the dough to coat.  Place in a separate mixing bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap.  Let rise for one hour or store in the fridge until you need it.

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Candied Beet & Pumpkin Scones

look at those flakey layers of goodness

I love, love, love seasonal baked goods.  Rhubarb crisp in the spring, colorful berry cakes on the fourth of July and apple tarts in the fall.  I especially love seasonal baked goods that can incorporate vegetables.  I mean who doesn’t want to get a serving or two of daily vegetables through a tasty pastry treat?  Make these for breakfast tomorrow!  Or bring them along to Christmas Day and make your family really happy!

candying beets

 P1090907

Candied Beet & Pumpkin Scones

Takes 1 to 1 1/2 hours
Makes 10-15 scones, depending on size

Scones, like all good breakfast-y, pastry-like baked goods, do not have a great shelf life.  I would recommend eating them within a couple days of when they are made (preferably five minutes after you pull them from the oven).  If you want to prepare them in advance, I would recommend preparing the dough, then wrapping it in plastic wrap and freezing it  until ready to bake.

Candied Beets:
4-5 beets (about 1.5 pounds)
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

Scones:
4 ½ cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons butter, cut into ½-inch chunks
1 15-oz can pumpkin puree (or two cups homemade pumpkin puree)
1-3 tablespoons heavy cream, if necessary

Candy beets:
Begin the process, by peeling beets and then cutting them into small 1/2-inch pieces.  Place the prepared beets in a medium saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, about fifteen minutes.
Drain beets and pour into a large saute pan.  Add butter, sugars, lemon juice and water.  Bring to a simmer and then reduce to low.  You want the sauce to reduce very slowly.  If the mixture is too hot, the sugars can burn.  Let the mixture simmer on low for twenty to thirty minutes until very little liquid remains and the beets are soft and sticky.  The sauce should coat them uniformly.
Prepare scone dough:
Mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.  Toss in your cubed butter (the colder the better), stir a few times to coat and then combine with a pastry blender.  You want to make sure the butter is well integrated, but do not need to worry if it is very chunky and uneven still.  The more chunks of butter, the flakier the scone.  I like to use the pastry blender for about a minute and usually have pea-sized chunks of butter remaining in my mixture.
Add the pumpkin puree and stir until just combined.  Add the candied beets and all the excess liquid from the pan (it should not be much) and stir only once or twice.
Knead the dough in the bowl once or twice to form one mass.  If your dough will not easily come together, add up to three tablespoons of heavy cream, one tablespoon at a time, until it forms a nice firm dough.  It should be very dense and not at all fluffy. It is very important not to overwork your dough.
Bake:
Turn your dough out onto a well-floured surface. Roll or pat it down so it is about an inch and a half thick. With a cookie cutter, biscuit cutter, upside down glass or knife, cut out biscuits and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, until bronzed at the edges. Remove from oven and enjoy immediately!

P1090908

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Slow Cooker Apple Butter

Recipe one on the website. Here we go.

I probably should have started with recipes many months ago, you know, when we had CSA members relying on us, but that was far too overwhelming. First year farmers with an 8 person CSA, farmer’s market, part-time jobs and time to cook? And take pictures of our tasty meals. And somehow find more time to type them up and put them on here. No, definitely not possible.

But alas, fall is finally upon us and my kitchen is finally up and running in full force again. So here is a delicious seasonal treat. It will be especially useful next year when we can sell ya’ll bushels and bushels of apples if you like, but for now, hit up your local orchard and enjoy!

For all of you who have not yet tried apple butter, you are in for a treat!  Despite common misconceptions, no, apple butter does not have any butter in it.  It is pretty much just super concentrated apple sauce.  You let peeled and diced apples sit in their own juices (with a little sugar and spices) for hours and hours so they break down and begin to caramelize.  Puree, put into containers and you are good to go.  Easy peasy.

I eat apple butter on everything. On toast in the morning (with or without butter). On toast with peanut butter. On any bread product. Stirred into oatmeal. Combined with yogurt (with or without granola and real chunks of apple). On french toast (don’t worry I still use maple syrup). In grilled cheese sandwiches. Added to sauces for that little extra fall something. Served on top of pork chops. I’m serious. It’s good on everything.

Slow Cooker Apple Butter
Adapted from My Baking Addiction

Takes 12-14 hours (but do not be alarmed, at most only one hour of the 12 is active cooking time)
Makes a little over 5 pints

Although I do store apple butter in pint jars for ease, please understand that this apple butter is absolutely not processed! This means that these lovely five jars you are about to make are absolutely not safe to store on your shelves.  You must store them in a refrigerator or freezer.  I am sure there are actually processed versions of apple butter out there, but this one is oh so simple and who doesn’t love a simple recipe.  If you don’t think you will be able to eat five pints of apple butter in the two months before it goes bad (which I find very hard to believe), throw it in your freezer until it is ready to be used or give it away.  Apple butter makes beautiful gifts.

~10 pounds of apples
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups lightly packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (preferably freshly grated if you have it, but I didn’t)
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Prep apples:
Here you have two options. Option number one is the easiest, but you need to have peeler corer slicer. This is a pretty common kitchen tool from Pampered Chef. They are always at Goodwill and garage sales. If you have one, just run all the apples through this machine and then toss them into the slow cooker. Set peels and cores aside for composting.
Option number two for those of you who do not own a peeler corer slicer, you will need to peel all of your apples and then dice them. They don’t need to be very small. If you have a standard apple sectioner, this will do the trick. 8-10 pieces of apple per apple is a good size. Set peels and cores aside for composting.
Cook apples:
Ten pounds of peeled and sectioned apples should pretty much fill your slow cooker. Press them down a couple times in need be. Your slow cooker can be very full though. Don’t worry.
Add all sugar and spices to the slow cooker of apples (and more or less according to your preferences). This is a very standard, fall, full-flavored apple butter. Feel free to toss in fun interesting things (ground cloves, lemon peel, orange peel, a pinch or two of cayenne pepper–as with all of cooking, the possibilities are endless). I pour the sugar and spices slowly around the edges so some falls onto the bottom layers of apples, but I’m not sure how much this matters.
Put the lid on your slow cooker. Push down if necessary. The lid will most definitely be pushing down sugar and apples. Set the slow cooker to low and leave it alone for eight hours. I often get this ready just before bed so I can wake up to the next step. A little more or less than eight hours is not a problem.
Puree and reduce:
Remove the lid and turn off the heat. Puree your bubbling, beautiful apples with an immersion blender. If you don’t have one, feel free to do this in batches in the food processor or blender. You could also use a potato masher if you are in dire straights, but I think it would be a major pain. Add the vanilla extract. Turn heat back to low and leave alone for another 2-4 hours. I like a nice thick apple butter so I usually leave mine for four additional hours, but again, this is totally up to you.
Can” those babies:
When the apple butter reaches its desired consistency, ladle it into quart, pint or half-pint jars, bags or other containers. Refrigerate and enjoy during the course of the next two months.

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