Tag Archives: vegan

Easy Refrigerator Pickles

I love pickles. That’s not a secret. As I type this I have four different types of pickles, pickling. This particular recipe is super easy and amazingly delicious. I serve these pickles often at potlucks and BBQ’s and they are always met with rave reviews. Give them a few days to “pickle” before you get into them, it will be worth it I promise! Again, this is a recipe where you can mess with the spices a whisper and only good things will happen. For example, omit celery seed, add a cinnamon stick, or just use pre-made pickling spice.

Fresh garden goodies ready to be pickled!

Fresh garden goodies ready to be pickle

Easy Refrigerator Pickles

  • 6 medium cucumbers
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 small bell peppers
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seed
  • 2 teaspoons celery seed
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • Bay leaves (optional)
Sliced veggies enjoying their salt treatment.

Sliced veggies enjoying their salt treatment.

Thinly slice the cucumbers, onion and peppers. Toss in a large bowl with salt and set aside.

Cooling pickling mixture.

Cooling pickling mixture.

In a saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes, mustard and celery seed. Bring the mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and add 3 cups of ice. Place vegetables in jars, adding a few garlic cloves  and a bay leaf to each one.

In just a scant few days, these will be amazing!

In just a scant few days, these will be amazing!

Once the ice has cooled the pickling mixture, pour over the vegetables. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

See? Super easy! I hope you enjoy these pickles as much as I do!

 

 

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Wordless Wednesday: Romanesco 

  

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Slaughter Trucks

I’ve been seeing posts in my social media streams about ‘slaughter trucks’. I have to say, nope. The pictures that are being passed as slaughter trucks are simply not slaughter trucks. They do no killing. In our case theses trucks haul our cattle between our summer and winter ranches. Like a cattle bus. They are also called “bullracks, cattle pots, pot bellies or cattleracks” in the industry.

So called "slaughter truck"

So called “slaughter truck”

Yes, these trucks can take cattle to feedlots where the cattle will be fed until they are ‘finished‘ and then slaughtered for our consumption. But no, these are not ‘slaughter trucks’. If a label must be applied to a slaughter truck I would call the truck that comes out to the ranch to do custom exempt slaughter, a “slaughter truck”.

A true slaughter or abattoir truck. It performs a wonderful service to farmers and ranchers like myself.

A true slaughter or abattoir truck. It performs a wonderful service to farmers and ranchers like myself.

The good news is this misinformation has inspired a lovely movement from the agricultural community. Instead of getting mad and defensive, we started a toy drive. We started sharing more about what these trucks actually do. We opened our barn doors. Great job industry! 

I’ve attached a video of cattle being loaded into one of these trucks. As you can see it is not scary for them at all.

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Pickled Garlic

Neighbor Pete brought me a big box of freshly harvested garlic a few weeks ago. I love garlic and use it in most meals when I can. One of my favorite things ever is to roast it in the oven or on the BBQ and eat it on good french bread. However, neighbor Pete brought me more garlic than I could use in a reasonable amount of time. So I had to get creative – I had to can it.

My huge ass box of delicious fresh garlic.

My huge ass box of delicious fresh garlic.

This is a super easy recipe! And so so so good! I could probably eat a jar of this myself without a problem.

Pickled Garlic 

6 cups peeled garlic cloves (do yourself a favor and buy the pre-peeled ones at Costco)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon canning salt
3 cups 5% vinegar
bay leaves

Peeled garlic. By hand. Such a pain. But so worth it in the end!

Peeled garlic. By hand. Such a pain. But so worth it in the end!

Peeling this much fresh garlic is not fun. I tried all the tricks, shaking it in the bowl, using that special garlic tube – nothing worked as well as peeling it by hand. After peeling 6 cups of garlic cloves by hand, I was not amused and my nails hurt!!! Just buy the pre-peeled stuff, trust me.

Yum.

Yum.

Mix the sugar, salt and vinegar in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Once you have your cloves peeled blanch them in boiling water for 1 minute. Pack your hot garlic into your sterilized, hot half pint jars with a bay leaf. Ladle the hot vinegar mixture over the garlic and leave ¼ inch headspace. Adjust your lids and process in a water canner for 10 minutes.

I almost ate this whole jar in one sitting. It's so mild and sweet! One of my favorite things!

I almost ate this whole jar in one sitting. It’s so mild and sweet! One of my favorite things!

Give it about two weeks to cure. And that is it! So easy and so good.

 

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The Future of the Farm: The Aftermath

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to take “The Megan Show” to my alma mater, CSU, Chico and participate in a discussion. The discussion was about “The Future of the Farm”. I was lucky to have David Robinson Simon the Author of Meatonomics as a discussion partner. I felt that Mr. Simon and I contrasted nicely and it made for an interesting conversation.

It always makes for a fun and lively conversation when two polar opposites sit down to discuss an issue both are passionate about. Being a cattle rancher, obviously I feel very strongly about what I do. Mr. Simon is a vegan and based on my own experiences and others I know, one must feel very strongly to maintain that lifestyle (it was really hard for me and I failed).

Mr. Simon spoke first. He had a powerpoint that basically outlined his book. Some of the slides had pictures that painted animal agriculture in a poor light. They say pictures are worth a thousand words, but unfortunately they often only tell part of a story. Because agriculture has typically kept our barn doors shut, we have left ourselves open to misunderstandings like this.

While I did disagree with Mr. Simon about several issues, Ag Gag, factory farming, and ag terrorism being a few. I was surprised about how many issues we held similar views on. For example eating “local” might not always be the most efficient and grass-finished beef is not always the most sustainable method in beef production.

It's always a win when I get to share this!

It’s always a win when I get to share this!

I felt like this discussion was time well spent. Being able to sit down and have a conversation with people that don’t always agree with me helps me become a better communicator and helps agriculture open our barn doors. Getting to interact with an audience enhances the experience for everyone; personal connections are made, passions shared. If agriculture wants to engage with our public we simply must take every opportunity, that is why I was disappointed in the College of Agriculture.

It's rare that I remember to take pictures before I speak. I kinda did it this time! Thanks to my friends that came!

It’s rare that I remember to take pictures before I speak. I kinda did it this time! Thanks to my friends that came!

There were only two agriculture students (thanks guys!) in attendance and no staff or faculty. Our industry leaders need to make sure our students and future ag leaders are being exposed to and urged to have conversations with our public. Our leaders are the ones that need to set that example. A huge part of why I am able to speak and engage the public is because I saw my professors do that.

Although I was excited to have the opportunity to participate in this discussion and give back to the University that helped shape who I am (and I’d do it again in a hot second), it worried me that there was a low ag turn-out and Dr. Jones had no success finding someone from the College of Ag to participate. If agriculture is serious about transparency and engaging our public our local leaders must do a better job of setting that example or they run the risk of “The Megan Show” doing for them – scary thought, huh?

 

At least The Megan Show has pretty boots! Thanks Jenny over at http://prairiecalifornian.com/ for coming!

At least The Megan Show has pretty boots! Thanks Jenny over at http://prairiecalifornian.com/ for coming!

 

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The Future of the Farm

Last month I got a rather interesting email from a Professor at Chico State. Dave Simon, who is the author of “Meatonomics” is going to be at Chico State and Dr. Jones (the Prof), is interested in putting together a discussion like The Commonwealth Club did here. Dr. Jones wanted to know if I’d like to be apart of this discussion.

I’ll admit, I was hesitant. My experience with some vegans and vegetarians have been less than stellar. Putting myself in the line of fire, away from my computer, is scary and outside of my comfort zone. But, part of the reason this blog exists is because of a vegan that went out of her way to attack my way of life, despite having never met me or seen my ranch. That experience did have a profound affect on me – I flung my barn doors wide open and never looked back.

When I flung my barn doors open, several leaders in my industry made it clear to me that they did not approve. While I certainly understand the repercussions of being so honest (I’m still feeling them), I think our industry needs to be as transparent as we can. We have nothing to hide.

 

Simon_Poster_11x17

It’s no secret that my biggest criticism of the beef industry is we don’t engage with our consumers in serious matters. We should be using every opportunity, every forum, every event as a platform to tell our stories. For too long, our stories have been told by others, and it’s gotten us no where.

When Dr. Jones mentioned he was having trouble finding someone from the cattle industry to participate, I knew, right then I would love to be apart of this discussion. I met with Dr. Jones to get a copy of the book and talk about this event. I was very much surprised to find Dr. Jones agreed with me about telling our story. He assured me that this event would be positive and informative and not your typical “meat bad, cattle rancher bad” event.

I’m excited. This is me, practicing what I preach.

If you are in the area Monday, October 20th, won’t you think about attending? Word on the playground is there is going to be some Q and A, and I know I could use some support. Plus, I think it is just great that our University is hosting events where we all can learn from different points of view, that is the whole point of education, right?

 

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Honey Fig Jam

As you know, we have fig trees. However picking those figs is a whole other story. Between the deer, birds, my pig, and our neighbor Pete, it’s tough to get a good crop. However this year I persevered and picked enough to make jam. But not any jam, this jam is pure Table Mountain Ranch. It uses both ranch fruit and ranch honey, a marriage made in heaven!

This is what a mission fig tree looks like.

This is what a mission fig tree looks like.

Honey Fig Jam

  • 4 cups roughly chopped fresh figs
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 package pectin
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons honey
Washed, stemmed, and chopped figs.

Washed, stemmed, and chopped figs.

Wash and de-stem your figs. Chop finely. Add the figs, lemon juice, and water in a large saucepan. Add pectin and stir until combined. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring often.

Cooked figs.

Cooked figs.

When the mixture has reached a full roiling boil, add the sugar and honey.

Sweet.

Sweet.

Boil hard for one minute, stirring constantly. Skim foam, and ladle into processed jars leave 1/4 inch headspace. Process for in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

This is delicious, I swear!

This is delicious, I swear!

 

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Zucchini Pickles

http://www.fix.com/blog/national-zucchini-day/

In honor of “sneak some zucchini onto your neighbor’s porch” night, I thought this would be a good time to share with you my latest new favorite thing: zucchini pickles. I know, I know, at this point in the summer you are tired of squash. I was too, until I tried these!

Neighbor Pete told me his Mom used to make pickles out of zucchini and they were delicious. I was hesitant to say the least. But since he gave me several pounds of zucchini and a couple of onions from his garden, I decided to at least try!

Pete's garden zucchini

Pete’s garden zucchini

Guess what? They were amazing. I couldn’t even tell they were zucchini pickles, they tasted and had the texture of normal cucumber pickles! If you have a bunch of extra zucchini (who doesn’t, amirite?) I highly recommend you give these a go!

Lucas Family Bread and Butter Pickle Recipe

  • 1 gallon sliced zucchini
  • 2 big onions, sliced
  • 1/3 cup pickling salt
  • 1 quart vinegar
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 3-4 cinnamon sticks
Soaking in salt ice is an important step, don't skip it.

Soaking in salt ice is an important step, don’t skip it.

Soak the zucchini, onions, and salt in an ice water bath for two and half hours. Rinse in cold water.

Invest in a cheap mandoline, it is worth it for the beautiful, uniform slices and not stitches!

Invest in a cheap mandoline, it is worth it for the beautiful, uniform slices and not stitches!

Bring the rest of the ingredients to a boil. I let it boil about 5 minutes. Put about half of the rinsed zucchini and onions in the pickling mixture to scald. Then place in sterilized, hot jars. Do the same with the rest of the zucchini and onions, making sure to pack them tightly and to remove air bubbles.

Your pickling liquid.

Your pickling liquid.

 Adjust your lids and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Glorious, glorious bread and butter pickles!

Glorious, glorious bread and butter pickles!

Let them “pickle” for about two weeks to really get the full effect. Also if you are a fan of spice, add some peppers in there! I’ve been adding jalapenos into some jars and it makes the pickles even better!

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Mexican Sour Gherkin

My favorite plant center, The Plant Barn, brought these awesome little nuggets called Mexican Sour Gherkins or Mouse Melons, to my attention last summer. Of course it was too late to plant them, so I had to wait almost a whole year before I could finally get my dirty little hands on the seeds!

These, my friends, are Mexican Sour Gherkins!

These, my friends, are Mexican Sour Gherkins!

Much to my unadulterated joy, I was able to both buy seeds and buy the started plant at The Plant Barn. I’m going to tell you a secret. I am a horrible seed starter! When given the chance to buy a plant or start a plant from seed, I’ll buy the plant every time, I don’t care if it is more expensive, they freakin’ live!

The plant like to have a trellis to grow up.

The plant likes to have a trellis to grow up.

I did actually manage to start several plants from seed! They took longer to start growing and producing compared to your normal garden cucumber, but they make up for it because they are unique! They look little like baby watermelons!  It’s fun to give them to kids, it blows their little minds (oh they blew mine too, who am I kidding?).

The plant is fairly prolific, I can pick a handful to munch on, fairly quickly.

The plant is fairly prolific, I can pick a handful to munch on, fairly quickly.

These “melons” do taste like cucumbers you are used to, but just a whisper sour. I haven’t had enough to make bread and butter pickles, but I hear they are delicious that way. I’ve been enjoying them alone, but my favorite is sliced in half and on a salad! They add a surprising little kick!

The guts...

The guts…

If you get the chance to grow these little guys, I highly recommend them! It’s always fun to get some new and exciting things in your garden and they have been a great treat for Silly the teacup pig!

 

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Ag Hag

http://shannonrosan.com/

http://shannonrosan.com/

 

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