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Checking The Homebrew

Homebrew essential items

It’s a snowy day here on the farm, so I am compelled to tidy. That means checking the homebrews in the pantry. Currently, I have a Dandelion Beer from back in June. It’s by far my favorite homebrew concoction so far. Sadly, there isn’t much effervescent, but the taste is crisp and clean. I LOVE it! I’m looking forward to trying again this spring and trying to nail it. Unfortunately, it requires fresh dandelion greens as well as the root, so I can’t make any just yet.

My second homebrew is just some plain, old Kombucha that I bottled in February 2016. It’s delightfully fizzy and still tastes faintly of apples, with a crisp bite at the end. No way would you know that it was fermented tea unless you were already familiar with this tasty brew.

Finally, today I started some hard cider using a kit I purchased off of Ebay. I’ll let you know how it goes. In 10 days I bottle it, so pics will follow.

In other news, my bookshelves are tidied and dinner is ham with scalloped potatoes and veg and rhubarb sauce on the side. It’s a fussy kitchen day, since we have a self-imposed snow day today. No reason other than this time of year is “meh” for schooling. We drag all month until the first of the year when we kick off with full energy until spring. It really pays to not take off all those “holiday and vacation” days the rest of the year.

Hot And Spicy In The Kitchen: Making Horseradish

Hot And Spicy In The Kitchen: Making Horseradish


The Finished Jar of Homemade Horseradish

At the farmer’s market this morning, I bought a large root of horseradish. Actually, I only bought half of the piece, because it didn’t smell that spicy, and I was worried it would be too mild. Isn’t it lovely?

Making ground horseradish is pretty important for our winter’s diet. The spicy oomph that it brings to the heavier dishes, can’t be beat. Even the kids like it mixed with mashed potatoes or to make a spicy dip for fries. For our family, having 4 jars of this condiment is a must have.

The strange thing about horseradish, is that it loses its flavor when cooked, so I can’t seal the jars. Although they are not sealed, it stays fresh and delicious just sitting in the back of my fridge.

To make horseradish yourself, find a fat root of it at the market:

 

 

After washing (it can be pretty dirty), peel the skin and ends.

Chunk it up and place into a food processor, with a pinch of salt and 1/8 cup of white vinegar.

Blend until smooth.

 

WARNING: After blending, keep your face away from the top as you open it. The fumes are very strong. Then, place in your canning jar with a lid and band. Place in fridge to store.

 

For more info on horseradish,

Horseradish also makes a fantastic flu tonic

A post I did for EarthEats.org

 

 

The Farming Wife Cooks A Tongue

Oh yea, I went there! Why not make it? We have a few in the freezer, and this week we could really use something for sandwiches.
If you are brave or curious enough to try it, here is what you do:

Rinse the tongue and trim off the meaty part that may still be attached at the back. Then you will be left with a neat, tidy piece of tongue.
In a large kettle(I use a stock pot), place the tongue and cover with cool water.

Then add the seasonings:

3 Tablespoons pickling spice
1 large onion- sliced
1Tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons pepper( my pickling mix has whole peppercorns in it, so I omit)

Over medium heat, bring to a simmer.
Skim as foam appears.
Cover and simmer 3 hours, or until tender.
Cool enough to handle.
With a sharp knife, peel all skin from the meat. This is my least favorite part, but it is easy to do.
Slice meat thinly to use for sandwich meat.

It’s just that easy. Now, you can serve tongue many ways, but for squeamish folks, sandwiches are a good introduction. Before you say no, once you slice it, tongue is simply a very tender, rich meat. The one I cooked today, ended up being 1 1/3 pounds of meat.

Ask about them at your local butcher. When someone has a beef processed, they are asked if they want the heart/liver and tongue. Most people say no, so the butcher often has extra, and you can get them for next to nothing.

People – Start Your Canners

All the work, the sweat and the cursing has come to pass. Now my garden is giving back. Every morning and night, as I walk the rows, veggies seem to ripen before my eyes and finally, we have fresh produce.

I love all the things that are growing, since I planted them from seed. The packets were marked at the end of last season, and carefully stored all winter, with the days counted down on the calender until it was time to plant again. When you start growing your garden in your head…in December, it takes a loooong time to eat that first tomato.

If I had to name the most important reason for gardening without chemicals, I would have to say the kids. Not some romantic hippie notion of living in a sustainable ecosystem that we help support (although that is part of it), but mainly so the children can follow me up and down the rows, picking and eating vegetables straight off the plants. 

The Farming Wife Makes Spaghetti Pie

8 oz angel hair pasta
1 cup ricotta(I use my goat cheese)
1 can tomato paste(6 oz)
1 cup tomato sauce
2 tbsp butter
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1 lb ground beef or sausage
2 eggs

Cook pasta, strain and mix butter,eggs and parm until blended. This is the bottom/sides of the pie
Cook ground meat until browned, drain fat and add tomato paste/sauce.Heat through.
Fill 10 inch pie plate with noodle mixture, patting up the sides a bit to make a bowl area to fill.
Spread ricotta cheese in the center of the noodle mixture.
Top the pie with the sauce mixture. It is very thick, and will make a mound of sauce/meat nicely.
Bake uncovered, at 350 degrees, for 30 minutes.

Serves 8 with salad and bread, or completely fills up 6. This recipe is easily doubled, which I always do. Use the whole box of noodles and just double everything else.

You may wonder why I don’t include onions and all of that, in my ingredients. This is because I use my Kitchen Sink Sauce, and there are more veggies than I am going to admit in there. Enjoy!!