Monthly Archives: February 2014
Growing up, I always liked broccoli. My Mom steamed it and served it with mayonnaise. I never cared for the mayo, because I liked how broccoli tasted! It’s delicious! But just TRY and make me eat onions, I’ll have a temper tantrum, to this day! I can safely say, I loathe onions and the more that people give me a bad time about that, the more I hate onions.
Speaking of, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve enjoyed learning new and different methods of preparing my favorite foods and avoiding those I loathe. Roasting has quickly become my new favorite way to eat broccoli! And the good news? NO ONIONS IN SIGHT!
1 head of broccoli, washed and chopped into bite size pieces (about a pound)
4 cloves of garlic, minced (you could use less, I really like garlic)
2 tablespoons olive oil (use lemon infused for a real treat)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Mix the broccoli, chopped garlic, oil and salt together in a bowl, making sure to evenly coat. Spread on a cookie sheet, in a single layer. Roast for about 15 minutes, until tender. Then place the cheese and pepper on the broccoli and roast for 5 more minutes or until your cheese is golden.
I’ve also made this recipe with bacon, citrus zest and juice, and all different kinds of finishing salt. If you omit the cheese and add bacon, it’s paleo! If you add cheese and bacon, it’s a main dish! There are so many variations with this recipe, it’s easy to keep it interesting.
As most of you know, the West is in the middle of a major drought. Until recently there was no rain. The grass was dead, the ranch was brown and withered.
Thankfully, it rained. It rained enough to get the creeks flowing and the green grass growing. In fact, it’s getting ready to rain right now!
We were so thrilled with the rain and the green grass, my Mom wanted to put some good karma out there and do a giveaway! We recently discovered this wonderful tool, called the chop and stir. It makes hamburger into nice, little, even crumbles. I love my hamburger like that, especially in tacos.
Unfortunately, I can only give the meat to a local person, because I am too afraid to ship. But if you aren’t local, you still get the chop and stir. All you have to do is leave me a comment below and I will use random.org to select a winner next Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014.
It’s been a long time since I’ve done an update about the hogs. People are asking me about them and how they are doing. I am biased but I think they are doing really well. You remember that this year I doubled my hog herd – from 5 red wattles, to 8 red wattle and 2 hampshire hogs. I got the two hamp hogs as an experiment. I want to compare how a commercial hog and a heritage hog taste when they’ve been fed the same diet. But that is for another blog….
Let’s start with their diet. I cook all their food. I fire up my fire ring in my front yard, gather my ingredients and proceed to make hog slop that I have a had time NOT eating. Let me explain – I learned a lot from last year’s pigs. I learned that, just like my beef, what I feed them does influence the meat’s flavor. Remember that scene in Napoleon Dynamite where Napoleon drinks the milk at the FFA judging day and says “this tastes like the cow got into an onion patch,” well that’s true with meat too.
I feel like this year I’ve really dialed in my pig rations. The pigs love their food and scream and oink at me when they know I am cooking for them. This year, in addition to the corn/barley, pumpkins and organic almonds, I added day old cookies from The Cookie Shoppe!! The cookies make the cooking slop smell like baking cookings and it is glorious, hence the problem I’ve been having with wanting to eat the pig’s slop (I haven’t, yet).
The pigs are eating so much now, I usually cook twice a week. I’ve slowly been increasing the amount of almond meal they are getting. You see nut finished pork is a thing of beauty. When I introduced the almonds into their slop, I could literally SEE them growing.
Having 10 pigs has been a learning experience for me, it’s also been a tremendous amount of work. There is no way that I would have been able to raise these pigs if I would have had a job in town. I spend hours everyday caring for these hogs. Granted, I could be more efficient, by not cooking slop, using an automatic feeder, and using a commercial breed that would grow faster. But, it’s not about that for me. After a lifetime of raising our own meat, I’m a spoiled rotten meat snob. I want to grow and eat a product that no one else can. Simply, I want the best. Honestly, if you were in my position you’d feel the same way.
The pigs are so big now, they are starting to get scary. I have to be careful when I feed them to keep my hands out of their way. They get into a frenzy when it’s mealtime and they could care less if they are biting a pumpkin piece of biting off one of my fingers. Out of all the animals of the ranch, the pigs scare me. They are omnivores, and I have heard enough horror stories about pigs eating people to know this is serious business (also friends, remember when your baby daughter start dating, remind the date that your daughter’s Aunt Meg has pigs and to mind their manners).
I have been deeply pleased with the attention my pigs have been getting. More people are becoming aware of the difference between heritage and commercial hogs and the demand is increasing. In fact, my “List” for pigs surpassed the amount of pigs I got before I even got the piglets home. That definitely offset the anxiety I had investing almost all of my cash into my pork futures. I am a firm believer that you get what you pay for when it comes to livestock, and paying extra for heritage, healthy, female-farmer raised piglets was worth the money for me.
The pigs have it good, a custom diet, a mountain of hay to play in, and lots of space to have pig races. I’m getting ready to make the appointment for the two hamp hogs, they are almost finished. The red wattle hogs still have at least a month before they are bacon. Until then, it is good to be one of my pigs!
It is finally raining in Northern California. I can literally hear the ground expanding and growing. It’s freaking glorious.
I spent almost all day outside in the rain. I cooked slop for the hogs, I fed my steers, I frolicked with Silly pig, it was such a nice change from the dry, warm weather we’ve been having. Until. Until I realized I was freezing and wet. And hangry. Really hangry.
I decided since it was finally raining enough to be noticeable it was time for winter food, soup! I love soup. Mainly because I’m lazy and you don’t have to chew soup. And it goes well with bread and cheese, my favorite food groups.
I decided to make this soup because it’s one of my favorites. Plus, I was able to use a lot of ingredients from my own ranch. I love that.
This soup reminds me of college so much! We were poor so we’d hit the unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks (at our local casual dinning restaurant, Olive Garden) like no one’s business for lunch (as a special treat). Eating this soup still reminds me of being a hot mess 21 year old. Good times.
- 1 lb ground Italian sausage
- 1½ tsp crushed red peppers
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 gloves garlic crushed
- 3 cups kale, in pieces
- 3 large potatoes
- 10 cups Chicken broth or enough to cover your vegetables
- 1 cup cream
- parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
Brown the sausage, remove from pan and add onion, cook onion until translucent.
Add garlic for about 30 seconds. Place sausage back in the pot with onions and garlic. Mix in red pepper flakes. Add chicken broth and potatoes. Cook until potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. Add kale, salt and pepper, simmer for 5 minutes.
Add cream. Stir well. Serve with a dusting of parmesan cheese and a breadstick.
My Mom made me these sandwiches this past summer to take with me to the summer ranch. You see, my Dad is notorious for making us work all day, by his side, then when it comes to dinner, he expects us to cook it for everyone. My Mom did her best to mitigate this for me by sending casseroles, sandwiches and other lovely and delicious pre-cooked food so I wouldn’t flip out when my Dad expected me to cook for the camp after doing the same work he did.
This is one of the recipes I asked her to make again and again, because it was really easy and sooooooo gooooood. She assembled everything for me, I took it with me to the summer ranch, and popped it in the oven when we got hungry.
1 package of Kings Hawaiian rolls
1 lb deli ham (thin sliced)
1 lb havarti cheese, thinly sliced
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons mustard
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Dash of onion soup mix
Slice the rolls in half, place in a 9x 13 dish. Fold the ham and cheese and place on top of your sliced rolls. Cover with the top half of your rolls.
Mix the sugar, butter, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and soup mix together until smooth. Cover your sandwiches with that awesome sauce.
Cover tightly, refrigerate, and let marinade anywhere from 4-24 hours.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until they are crispy and melty to your liking. Enjoy!
P.S. You can also use turkey and swiss, beef and cheddar, I mean, go crazy!