Sunday, July 6, 2014

All Heller's, all day!

This does not usually happen.  All the fresh produce in the post are from Hellers!  I love the play of sweet strawberries against the acidity of cherry tomatos.  And, thankfully right now both are in abundance.

I was able to pick up marinated goat cheese bells from Painted Goat, they will appear later in the week as will Leslie's wonderful baguette, and radicchio from Berry Brook.  Check infrequently follow the blog to see everything through the week. 

Here is what it made:

Here is what I used from the market:

1 lb cherry tomatos, slice in half, stems removed
1b strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
1 small Sherman onion, small dice
1/3 of a medium cucumber, small dice

Stirto combine.

Here is what I used from my pantry:

Vinegrette and fresh herbs.

To dress, normally I would drizzle with one of my favorite balsamic vinegars and a little oil oil.  I decided to do a vinegrette, because I also have some salad green for later this week.

I posted my favorite vinegrette a few blogs ago.  Instead of the apple cider vinegar, I used a combination of strawberry and dark chocolate balsamic vinegars, removed the lemon reduced the honey to a couple of tablespoons.

After I gently dressed the salad I stirred in fresh basil, mint, and parsley.

I let this sit so the flavors from the vinegrette have time merge with the flavors of the fruit and veggies.

Happy eating!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


I love fennel.  I eat it raw, sautéed, roasted, even grilled.  I picked up two bulbs at the Cooperstown Farmers' Market this week from Berry Brook Farm.  This time of the year I usually slice it thin, throw in some thinly sliced jicama and red cabbage.  I decided that was too boring.

I love pickles.  I pickle many different things.  Bazinga!  Pickled fennel.  But it needed somebody to hang out with to cut the seriously licorice flavor fennel has.  I had purchased some Sherman onions from Hellers.  I find them to be more mild than regular white onions but not as sweet as Vidalia's.  Lucky for me I still have some (little bit now, have to buy more) of Nectar Hills apple cider vinegar. Here's how I did it:

1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup of water
1/4 cup honey (Nectar Hills, of course)
2 Tbs mustard seeds
1 Tbs fenugreek 
1 Tbs peppercorns
1 tsp red pepper flakes
3 small cloves of garlic, peeled and slightly crushed

Bring fluids to a boil, drop in honey and turn off the heat.  Then I toss in the spices and let sit to cool to room temp.  In the meantime, clean and slice fennel and onion.  When the vinegar mixture has cooled, pour over the veggies, cover, and put in the fridge for at least 24 hours.  The longer it sits in the fridge the more the favors marry.

Here's what you get:


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Blogs, Facebook, Food

Well, it has been a couple of weeks of awkward confusion between all forums and formats.  I would update the blog, load it, thought it worked...alas and behold not so much!  My Facebook link would not work to post to The Cooperstown Farmers' Market; technology, great when it works, horrific when it does not.

Lamenting over.

This past week I scored huge at the market.  Nectar Hills Farm for wonderful ground goat meat.  Acrospire Farm for equally wonderful ground pork.  Painted Goat Farm for eggs.  Hellers for the first of this season's most wonderful tomatoes.  The list goes on!

I picked my favorite dish to make...ravioli.  The recipe for the pasta dough appears in earlier blogs.  I used my homemade ricotta (also in an earlier blog post), and homemade sausage.

I always make bulk sausage when I am producing because it is very versatile.  I also never make a little because it freezes so well.  

Ground Sausage:

1 lb ground goat
1 lb ground pork
3 cloves minced garlic
3 Tbs fennel seeds
1 Tbs course sea salt
2 tsp black cubeb peppercorns
1 tsp crushed red pepper

I have a marble mortar and pestle that I love.   The first step to this is to toast the fennel seeds in a cast iron skillet and let them cool; they go into the pestle with the salt, peppercorns, and crushed red.  Grind these together to break up the seeds and pepper.  You want a fine ground that will distribute well throughout the meat.

Place meat in large bowl.  Work these together until it is difficult to differentiate between the two.  Put in the fridge and allow the fat to cool and solidify.  Add the garlic and about 1/2 cup or so of cold water.  Blend well, the water will absorb into the meat, add the ground spices and rub throughout the mixture.  Chill again.  Separate what to use now and then freeze the balance.

Brown the ground sausage and allow to cool.  

I use a scalloped edge biscuit cutter to create the rounds from the pasta dough.  In this instance, the 3" size.  I use approximately 1 Tbs of ricotta and 1 Tbs of ground sausage mixture.  Use a little egg wash on one half of the round, fold over, and pinch the edges together.  I always freeze my ravioli and then pull them out and either cook them or put them in food saver bags, remove the air, and freeze to cook later.

Bring water to a boil, salt the water, and place ravioli gently in the water, do not crowd.  Reduce the heat so water is moving, but not a rolling boil.  Cook for about 11 minutes.  Remember, the filling is cooked, so all you need to do is heat the filling and cook the pasta.  These are great with your favorite tomato based sauce, pesto, or just plain but really good olive oil and salt and pepper!

Test batch:

These are so good!  I only used about 1 cup of the sausage for one recipe of pasta dough and cheese.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


I love eggs.  At the end of a busy day mowing the lawn, planting some future side dishes, and setting up the camper, dishes that come together quickly and for the most part simply are the best.

Here is what I used from the Cooperstwon Farmers' Market:

Purple potato and spring onions from Heller's Farms;
Mesquite smoked bacon and spinach from Gaia's Breath; and,
Eggs from Painted Goat. 

From my pantry:

Butter, olive oil, organic cheddar cheese, garlic, crushed red pepper.

Here is what I did:

I diced the bacon and tossed it into a heated pan with a little olive oil to start the process of rendering the fat.  While that was working, I put a 1/2" dice on the purple potatoes and finely chopped the garlic. I chopped enough for both the potatoes and the spinach.  I would rather chop once and put aside what I am not using so that it is ready for the next dish.  I like to use cast iron as much as possible and so pulled out my little 8" pan, heated it, added a little butter and reduced the heat.  I did not want the garlic to burn.  I tossed in the potatoes and seasoned with salt and pepper.  Do not crowd the potatoes or they will steam more than brown.

I pulled the bacon from the rendered fat and set it aside to drain.  I removed some of the fat and added it to a stainless steel pan, slowly heated on the back burner.  I added a little crushed red pepper and let it infuse the oil for a minute then added the garlic and sautéed.  Once the garlic softened. I added the spinach, salted it and tossed it around to coat with the oil.  Reduce heat to low and begin the eggs.

Another cast iron pan heated with a little butter melted, a little  crushed pepper, and the chopped bulbs of the spring onions sautéd until the the onions are soft.  Whisk the eggs with a little water, I find the eggs are somewhat fluffier when I use water rather than milk.  I seasoned with salt and pepper and turned the heat down to medium low under the pan and added the eggs.  I let them set up before running a spatula through them.  I cooked them until they were set, firm but not rubbery!  I tossed in the chopped tops of the spring onions and a little shredded organic cheddar.  

A wonderful spring dinner after a long day of preparing for summer!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A little Farmers' Market, a little pantry

I had to work later in the day yesterday, but I still wanted to come home to a healthy meal.  I arose early enough to grill a chicken, asparagus, and some corn.  I split the chicken, removing the backbone, so that it would cook a little more evenly.  A little salt and pepper, a little olive oil and off to the grill it went skin side down.  I flipped it after twenty minutes and put the corn on the far side of the grill without the burner on, letting it cook over indirect heat.  I had soaked the ears in cold water the first twenty minutes the chicken was on the grill, so that when I tossed them on the grill husk and all, they would steam and grill (I like a little smoke flavor in my corn.) I flipped the chicken after another twenty minutes and put the asparagus on the top shelf of the grill.  I poked my meat thermometer in the thigh.  I do not pull the bird until I hit an internal thigh temp of about 165, the breast should be done by then if the bird is flat.  I gave everything another ten minutes and then pulled it all.  

While everything cooled down, I boiled some purple potatoes from Heller's farm and while they cooled, I peeled the corn and quartered the chicken.  I sliced the potaoes, thick, about 1/4", and then cut the corn off the cob.  Everything in separate containers in the fridge.  At 8:30 last night, I made a vinegrette with olive oil, Nectar Orchards  apple cider vinegar and honey, salt and pepper then sliced some breast meat and put it over mixed baby greens from Berry Brook farm, placed the potatoes and asparagus and added the corn.  Dinner served!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Love ravioli!

Beef short ribs?  Yes, the meat is a key ingredients in my ravioli.  I begin by  braising the short ribs. I always put a good sear on my meats and sauté a mirepoix of carrots, celery, and onions.  I usually use a ratio of  three large carrots, two stalks of celery, and one whole onion

The best thing about braising?  Your time is your own.  I allowed these ribs (approximately a pound) to cook about a three hours in a liquid of of red wine and coffee.  I then separated the ribs, mirepoix, and liquid and allowed wach component to cool.  In the the time it took for the to cool, I made the cheese, (see earlier blogs for this process) and the pasta dough.  I simmered six cloves of garlic in one cup of organic olive oil and added that to one can of San Marzano tomatoes that were puréed with the   braising liquid  for a lucious, silky tomato sauce.


The pasta dough that I used and the cheese recipe are in earlier post; scroll through the blog if you  are interested in seeing them.  When I make the ravioli, I rolll the the dough by hand; not using the pasta roller, and use a biscuit cutter to make perfect rounds.

I cool and chop the beef before adding to the cheese in the ravioli, and since these are usually made with left over beef, it is not a problem. If you are doing this same day, cool the meat.  The last thing you want to do is add hot ingredients to cold and then try to freeze. It can also be dangerous.  Use an egg wash on the ravs to seal help seal them.  I made mezza luna shaped ravs.

And here is the end product:

I froze these to be sure they will cook from frozen (an earlier blog refers to the debacle of gnocchi!). I do not recommend these as a week night meal.  I literally spent all day cooking.  I usually use left over short rib meat for these, make the ravs and then freeze them for future use.  The a availability  of product at the market drove my crazy cooking desire to make them on a weekday.  Freezing the ravs when I make them on the weekend makes it easy to throw together a quick meal.  I often serve these with a sage brown butter.  Ravs can be made in advance and the fillings are endless; Swiss chard, or spinach sautéed with garlic;  venison sausage; or just a cheese mixture.  They are easy to make in batches and easy to freeze.  

The ribs were purchased at the Cooperstown Farmers' Market from Raindance farms, the carrots and garlic from Heller's Farm, the duck eggs (for the pasta) from Nectar Orchard

Thursday, May 15, 2014


My husband suspects he may have gout.  And so we both did our own research, and because I am a huge fan of medicating through food, I checked out WebMd to check for food recommendations.  We have found foods that he will certainly have to eat in moderation and make some other dietary changes, but scallops seem to have a big red flag.  That may be the only food we stay away from.  

Discovering this challenge midweek, after having shopped the Cooperstown Farmers' Market and Cooperstown Natural Foods store, I had to deviate slightly from the meal plan.  Last evenings was to be dried cannellini beans, cooked with andouille sausage, corn tortillas, Sabras salsa, Sabras guacamole, and sour cream.  Beans, apparently, are not the best option during a flare of gout.  Thankfully, I purchased the rice varietal blend from Cooperstown Natural Foods store.  I had purchased beef andouille from Raindance Farms and chives from Heller's Farms while I was at the Cooperstown Farmer's Market.  I substituted the rice for the beans and dinner was served!

I cooked the rice, one cup to two and half of water.  I sautéed it first in a little olive oil, then added the water, brought to a boil and reduced the heat to medium low, and let it cooked for about forty-five minutes.  While the rice cooked itself, (because, let's be honest, it does) I sliced the andouille (about a pound) and sautéed in a little olive oil so it crisped up a bit, chopped the chives and cooked the tortillas.  Once the rice was cooked, I added the chives and stirred them together.  When they andouille  was crisp I added the rice to the pan and mixed in approximately a cup of salsa.  I chopped some grape tomatoes, a small onion, and half a jalapeño, added lime juice and chopped cilantro.

True, recommendations for dietary restrictions for gout include limiting beef as well as beans.  I felt replacing the beans with the rice was a fair enough trade as I work to pay more attention to what I purchase at the markets moving forward!  My husband has a doctor's appointment the end of this month, hopefully we will know more after that.