Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Recipe: Make Ahead Antipasto Baguette Sandwiches

Make Ahead Antipasto Baguette Sandwiches with artichokes, mozzarella, green olives, and salami - FarmgirlFare.com
These scrumptious sandwiches, piled high with salami, mozzarella, marinated artichoke hearts, and an easy homemade green olivada, combine the flavors of an Italian antipasto platter in a handy, portable form (recipe here).

As we head toward the 4th of July weekend, I thought I'd highlight a few favorites from the Farmgirl Fare recipe archives that are perfect for summer picnics, parties, and backyard get togethers. Enjoy!

The only thing better than a big homemade sandwich? One that actually improves in flavor if allowed to sit for a while. Convenient and better tasting? That's my kind of food.

These Antipasto Baguette Sandwiches taste best when prepared the day before serving, making them perfect for toting on picnics, hikes, and road trips, or even packing in school and work lunches. Or just enjoy the simple pleasure of knowing that a delicious feast is waiting for you in the fridge.

If you're serving a crowd, you can use a 16- to 20-ounce loaf of rustic bread and double the ingredients to make one giant sandwich; serve on a cutting board with a big serrated knife.

Offer a bowl of colorful cherry tomatoes on the side, or make a quick salad by tossing chopped garden fresh tomatoes and cucumbers with some of the homemade green olive paste or a simple vinaigrette.

P.S. Lemony Tuna and Artichoke Cooler-Pressed Sandwiches and easy homemade Four Hour Parisian Daily Baguettes (a great recipe for beginning bread bakers).

© FarmgirlFare.com, listening to the lovely sound of thunder rumbling and rain falling on the first day of July and getting ready to cut another batch of hay on the second. And also thinking that the two half-gallon jars of fresh mint sun tea sitting outside (in the rain) probably aren't ready just yet.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Recipe: Easy & Refreshing Confetti Crunch Coleslaw with Creamy Lemon Caper Dressing

Confetti Crunch Coleslaw Recipe with Creamy Lemon Caper Dressing - FarmgirlFare.com
A healthy, crunchy slaw that's made with cabbage, scallions, carrots, and sweet peppers and tossed with a tangy lemon caper dressing (recipe here).

As we head toward the 4th of July weekend, I thought I'd highlight a few favorites from the Farmgirl Fare recipe archives that are perfect for summer picnics, parties, and backyard get togethers. Enjoy!

We had out of town family visiting the farm last week, and this Confetti Coleslaw with Creamy Lemon Caper Dressing was a big hit at the dinner table.

If you love coleslaw but are tired of the same old mayo-heavy recipes, liven and lighten things up with this colorful, flavor-packed version of an all-American classic. It goes well with all sorts of summer meals and is great to have on hand in the fridge for a healthy snack or the fastest dinner salad ever. I even like it for breakfast.

The tangy lemon caper dressing, which is made with mayonnaise and yogurt and lots of Dijon mustard, can be quickly mixed up a day or two in advance; it also makes a tasty dip. A few months ago I started making my own milk kefir, and this time I used some in place of the yogurt. Yum.

Hit the farmer's market for fresh homegrown vegetables and this easy recipe will really shine. You won't believe how much flavor plain old raw cabbage can have.

© FarmgirlFare.com, where the a/c is cranked up on high and the houseguests never leave hungry.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Recipe: Farmhouse White Bread for FarmVille 2

Call for Entries: Your recipe could be featured in the FarmVille-To-Table Digital Cookbook!

This classic, homestyle bread is a staple in my farmhouse kitchen.

Have you ever played FarmVille? Apparently I'm one of the few people who hasn't. Tens of millions of people play FarmVille every month, and over 400 million (!) people have played a FarmVille game. I have a feeling that if I didn't have an actual farm of my own, I'd probably be hooked.

The world of FarmVille is all about creating fresh, country recipes, and it's time to bring the virtual kitchens of FarmVille to life. When Zynga asked if I would like to have one of my recipes featured in their upcoming FarmVille-To-Table Digital Cookbook (and possibly in a FarmVille game itself!) I said sure.

What recipe did I choose? My super popular Farmhouse White of course. There's nothing more rewarding in the kitchen than baking your own bread, and after 20 years, I'm still awed by the process.

The original Farmhouse White recipe post has already been pinned more than 23,000 times on Pinterest (thank you!), and over the years I've heard from countless former nervous novices who are now confident bread bakers thanks to Farmhouse White.

I've been making this recipe for 14 years and have watched plenty of people who claim they never eat white bread gobble slices up.

Would you like to put your recipe, name, and blog right in front of a giant captive audience that loves cooking?

In celebration of Zynga's newest mobile game, FarmVille 2: Country Escape, and BlogHer Food 2014, Zynga is calling all cooks to the kitchen for a chance to have their recipe featured in their very first digital cookbook.

Zynga is looking for fun, creative summer recipes that celebrate the summer bounty of freshly harvested, home cooked, farm-to-table foods. Selected by Zynga's culinary team, the top 50 recipes will be prepared, photographed, and featured in the FarmVille-To-Table Digital Cookbook. You'll find all the details here.

In the meantime, how about some freshly baked bread?

Farmhouse White recipe below. . .

Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday Farm Photo: Have a Freshly Picked Weekend.

Heirloom lettuce direct seeded in the kitchen garden the first part of April. Want to grow your own gourmet lettuce from seed? In this popular post I show you that it's easier than you think!

Do you have any plans this weekend? We usually hunker down at home for the holidays, though I do wish I'd thought to buy some potato chips the last time we were out.

In between munching on homemade sourdough rye French bread (a new experiment—so good toasted and topped with melty cheese and freshly laid fried eggs) and as much of this gorgeous lettuce as possible (we're racing the heat clock here), I'll be trying to get 50+ heirloom tomato plants, a few dozen heirloom pepper plants (after a several year break, I'm finally back to starting my tomatoes and peppers from seed!) and a bunch of other stuff in the ground.

More below. . .

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sunday Dose of Cute: Happy Mother's Day

Lokey and her 11 baby chicks, April 2012

More chick pics? Here.
More chickens? Here.

Other Mother's Days:
5/12/07: Just in Time for Mother's Day. . .
5/11/08: Mother To Be
5/11/08: Newborn Bliss
5/8/12: Green Grass, Hungry Twins
5/13/12: Chomp, Chomp
5/12/13: Happy Mothers, Lots of Lambs

© FarmgirlFare.com, the currently peepless foodie farm blog where Lokey, our top hatching hen (a friend once said she's worth her weight in gold), hasn't yet gone broody this year—perhaps because she's still recovering from raising 20 chicks in 2012. But that's okay, because right now ten hens and two roosters living in two separate coops is probably plenty, although I do miss all that peeping cute.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Black Cat Love: The Tail of Mr. Midnight

Mr. Midnight in the snow - FarmgirlFare.com

Do you like black cats? I've always loved them, and I know I'm not the only one. I even have a book left over from my previous life as a graphic designer called The Black Cat Made Me Buy It!, filled with antique and modern packaging and advertisements featuring black cats.

But black cats aren't so popular at animal shelters. In fact, they're by far the least likely cats to be adopted. There are various theories regarding this sad statistic, including the whole bad luck/superstitious thing. Another reason is because black cats simply don't photograph as well as lighter colored cats, which explains why there's often a surplus of black dogs at shelters too.

Mr. Midnight snuggled up in a vintage galvanized tub in the greenhouse 1 - FarmgirlFare.com

Back in the fall of 2007 we were down to just one indoor cat, so my hunky farmguy Joe suggested that I head to our local overcrowded, underfunded animal shelter and adopt a couple of new cats. And then he let me go there alone.

More below. . .

Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday Dose of Cute: Have a Tri-Colored Weekend.

Henry says it smells like spring.

Hi! What have you been up to? We've been busy tackling lots of little outdoor projects, digging in the kitchen garden, mowing grass (already!), playing catch-up after several weeks of both being down with the flu, getting the sheep sheared and the lambs sold, baking lots of sourdough French bread, mourning the death of my camera, enjoying the biggest and brightest daffodil display we've had in years, trying to figure out why I haven't been able to access Blogger (and create blog posts) on my computer in months, snuggling sheep and petting donkeys, picking gorgeous salad greens every night, getting to know our wonderful new (old) beagle, Henry, who is our sixth (!) dog, creating an enclosed outdoor play area for George and Skittles, the two cats that live in The Shack who I don't think you've ever actually met, buying manuals and tracking down all the parts so we can rebuild the engine on our little old diesel tractor that's been out of commission for over a year (because we can't find anyone to fix it for us), watching the deer and wild turkeys out in the hayfield, listening to what sounds like thousands of tiny birds chirping in the trees, eating homemade yellow cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting, building a new cedar potting bench (because my old one collapsed several years ago), hunting for useful treasures at the junk store, admiring the hillsides full of blooming dogwoods, plotting and planning, dreaming and scheming . . . It's already been quite a spring!

© FarmgirlFare.com, the flowering foodie farm blog where the days keep getting longer and dinnertime keeps getting later and later. It's the busiest time of the year!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Dose of Cute: Have an Off Duty Weekend.

More Daisy? Here and here.
More farm dog photos? Here.

© FarmgirlFare.com, well guarded around the clock.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday Dose of Cute: Kit Kat Capers

What is she thinking? We'd all like to know.

[Scene: the kitchen of a quiet farmhouse in the middle of nowhere at dawn, where two cats and two dogs are sleeping peacefully and a third cat is about to jump onto the windowsill.]



Woof. Ruff. Ruff!





Welcome to my mornings, courtesy of Kit Kat Kate.

More below...

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Sunday Dose of Oh Snow Cute

First time mother Ida and her three-day-old baby boy.

I snapped these photos nearly a month (!) ago, but the barnyard looks just like this now—except these lambs are a lot bigger and there are a lot more of them bouncing around.

Until a few years ago, we didn't start lambing until March or April, so seeing lambs on snow was a rarity. This year our first lambs arrived on January 26th, and this winter we've had more days with snow on the ground than we probably have in the last 19 years.

It's white out there again today (though it's actually ice or ice pellets or whatever they call it when it piles up on the ground but is immediately slick as can be), and we're expecting an arctic blast and 3 to 5 inches of snow by morning. I always thought that zero degrees (F) was too cold for it to snow, but I guess we're going to find out.

Treacherous or not, the frozen landscape is lovely to look at, and our little lambs show up so much better against the bright white of snow than the usual dark winter ground.

Just layer on the outerwear and watch your step. Spring will be here soon enough.

Seven more photos below. . .

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Thursday Dose of Cute: Welcome to Babyland

FLB's four-day-old twins on January 30th.

It's lambing season! Still. We bred just 15 ewes this year, and the first set of twins arrived January 26th. But after 22 days of round the clock visits to the barn (I started my nightly checks a few days earlier than the first lambs showed up), we're only halfway through. In other years we've had as many as eight lambs born in 24 hours, so I was really hoping we'd be all done by now.

More photos and the rest of the story below. . .

Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday Dose of Cute: Have a Wild and Wooly Weekend.

Lambing season is going to start any minute.

More photos below. . .

Monday, January 13, 2014

Monday Dose of Cute: Rise and Shine

And be brave.

Wishing you a wonderful week!

More chickens? Here.
More snow shots? Here.

© FarmgirlFare.com, where some of us enjoy the snow more than others.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Recipe: Easy Christmas Cranberry Scones (and Rave Reviews from First Time Scone Bakers)

They're moist on the inside, with a nice light crunch on the outside (recipe here)

Beautifully golden brown and dotted with jewel-like dried cranberries and optional chopped pecans, these cute little scones are sure to brighten any holiday table. I named them Christmas Cranberry Scones the year I baked them all afternoon at a kitchen store holiday open house, but they're tasty any time of year.

Buttery and crumbly and rich, try them for breakfast, brunch, or afternoon tea. They also freeze beautifully.

If you've never made scones before, have no fear! This easy recipe is the perfect place to start, as you can see from these rave reviews:

More below. . .

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Recipe: Toasted Almond Chocolate Chip Biscotti Cookies

These scrumptious biscotti cookies are perfect for gift giving, dunking, or just plain munching. Never baked biscotti? Try my Easy Chocolate Biscotti for Beginners.

Homemade biscotti is impressive. Even people who regularly make their own biscotti are impressed when you bake it for them. It's not difficult to make, but by definition it's a twice baked cookie, so it does require a fair amount of time.

Because it looks so perfect, and because it keeps so well, homemade biscotti makes a very nice gift. Package it in little cellophane bags tied with colorful ribbon and people will think you spent a fortune on them at a fancy bakery.

I came up with this recipe several years ago and haven't made it nearly enough since. It's a pleasant, not too hard, not particularly sweet biscotti cookie that lasts for days and even improves with age. It also freezes beautifully. It holds up to dunking but tastes great by itself, and I think it goes well with everything from hot coffee to cold champagne.

If you're craving a sweeter or fancier dessert, you could dip one side of each piece in melted chocolate. Or you could dunk your biscotti in amaretto, or break up a few pieces, stir them into some nice vanilla ice cream, and drizzle it with a little chocolate sauce.

Like I said, biscotti isn't difficult to make, but I did learn a few things while mixing up numerous test batches for this recipe. In case you find them helpful:

Recipe below. . .

Friday, December 20, 2013

Recipe: Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad with Pecorino, Chives, and a Lemony Caper Dressing

This healthy, festive salad—gussied up here with dried cranberries and garbanzo beans—is packed with antioxidants, beneficial ingredients, and flavor (recipe here).

I love this raw brussels sprouts salad even more than I love my Quick Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Parmesan, and you know I love them a lot. I came up with it back in 2009 and have been devouring it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks ever since. My recipe notes from 4/15/09 say I mixed up that batch at midnight. You've been warned.

Raw brussels sprouts have a wonderful taste; it's as if the flavor from an entire regular sized cabbage has been concentrated down into each little sprout. And of course they're extremely good for you. It's always nice to be crazy about something that's heavenly and healthy.

The basic version of this salad recipe is wonderful, but I usually gussy it up with a healthy boost of either raisins and roasted almonds or dried cranberries and garbanzo beans. The brussels sprouts are quickly shredded in the food processor (or use a mandoline slicer or sharp knife), and the tangy dressing can be made several days ahead.

This salad would make a fresh and lovely addition to the holiday table, but if one of your goals for 2014 is to up your intake of cruciferous vegetables, it would also be a delicious way to usher in the new year.

Raw brussels sprouts at midnight, anyone?

Craving more than crunch? You'll find links to all my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.

© FarmgirlFare.com, where it's all about the food—and the cute.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Recipe: Old-Fashioned Molasses Spice Cookies (Big & Soft or Small & Crunchy)

Big and Soft Old-Fashioned Molasses Ginger Spice Cookies - FarmgirlFare.com
An old-fashioned treat that brings back—and  makes—memories (recipe here).

I've been making these Big, Soft, and Chewy Molasses Ginger Spice Cookies all year round for at least a dozen years, but they always seem so festive during the holidays, reminding me of ice skating and red mittens and crackling fires and early Christmas morning. I started baking and selling over-sized cookies 28 years ago, and everyone from little kids to big tough men goes crazy for them.

Old-fashioned molasses ginger spice snap cookies - FarmgirlFare.com
Even better by the little dozen? (recipe & molasses ginger cookie lore here)

What's especially nice is when one cookie batter will give you two completely different cookies, just by changing the size. These 2-inch Molasses Ginger Spice Snaps are cute and crunchy, and one batch bakes up 12 dozen cookies that store really well, making them perfect for gift giving. I like to pack them up in little cello bags and tie them with a colorful ribbon. Both versions of these cookies also freeze beautifully.

Happy holiday baking!

Can't survive on just cookies? You'll find links to all my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.

© FarmgirlFare.com, where the snow is melting, the wood furnace is roaring, and the two batches of these cookies I've made so far are long gone. It's the coziest, tastiest time of year!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Recipe: Easy Fudgy Chocolate Streusel Bar Cookies with (or without) Roasted and Salted Almonds

Quick and easy fudgy chocolate streusel bars with roasted and salted almonds - FarmgirlFare.com
This quick dessert is perfect for holiday get togethers & goodie tins (recipe here).

It's Snowed In Day Seven! We probably could have climbed out of our cozy little valley during the past week if we really needed to, but thankfully we didn't. Tomorrow we'll see if we can make it to town 10 miles away to get our mail (the post office doesn't deliver out to the farm), stock up on dog food at the (only) store in town, and pick up a couple gallons of that wonderful Jersey milk from our neighbors.

We'll wait until next week to head to a 'real' city to load up with holiday groceries and 750 pounds of sheep feed. Friday we're expecting more ice and snow.

Today the sun is out, the sky is bright, the snow has slowly started melting despite single digit temps each night (Saturday morning it was -6F), and we're craving chocolate something fierce. There's nothing like trekking out to Donkeyland through the snow (with Jasper!) or whacking through several inches of ice in 8 water troughs to work up and appetite and get your sweet tooth going.

I've been making these fudgy and foolproof Chocolate Streusel Bars for years. Like my popular Quick and Easy Raspberry Almond Bars, people always get so excited over them it's almost embarrassing to admit how easy they are to make. The top and bottom layers are the same batter, and the rich, fudgy middle is simply chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk melted in the microwave.

They're perfect for holiday munching and gift giving because they look good, travel well, and stay fresh for several days. The 9"x13" pan makes plenty, and you can cut them large or small. Enjoy!

More easy Farmgirl Fare sweet treats that are perfect for holiday giving and munching:
Christmas Cranberry Scones (tasty any time of year!)
Easy Chocolate Biscotti Cookies (a great recipe for first time biscotti bakers)
Quick and Easy Raspberry Almond Bars (made with raspberry jam)

Can't live on dessert alone? You'll find links to all my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.

© FarmgirlFare.com, where life is always cozier with freshly baked bread, and my first batch of pain au levain in years (made with my new wild yeast sourdough starter!) will be ready for the oven soon. I can't wait to tear into those crusty loaves. You'll find my Ten Tips on How To Bake Better Artisan Breads at Home here.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Friday Farm Photo: Have a Warm & Cozy Weekend.

Farmyard snow scene - FarmgirlFare.com

We're snowed in! We have 10 inches of snow (over a layer of ice) on the ground, and it looks like it's going to be here for a while. Tonight it will probably dip down below zero (F), and the highs for the next several days are the usual lows. It's cold but beautiful.

Thankfully we had plenty of advance warning about this big storm, and except for a collapsed mini greenhouse full of baby spinach in the garden and the already frozen freezeless hydrant at the barn (which means lots of water hauling from the spring 200 feet away) things are, knock on wool, so far going smoothly.

Everyone has food, water, and shelter (not that most of them are using it), and we are tucked in for the night, binge watching 24 and basking in the heat of the glorious wood furnace, which is such a change from the little old pot bellied stove in the uninsulated Shack.

We have hot homemade pizza, cold champagne and potato chips, and a reassuring stockpile of chocolate. I
nbetween feeding treats and breaking ice tomorrow I plan to slow cook a couple of lamb shoulder roasts for hours in the dutch oven and create a new sourdough starter.

Life is good.

© FarmgirlFare.com, where the occasional big snowstorm is hard work but fun—and a reminder that this former California girl would probably never survive on a farm in Minnesota (which is where our way-too-much-for-us furnace was made).

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Recipe: Easy Homemade Chocolate Biscotti Cookies (and Rave Reviews for Them)

Easy Chocolate Biscotti Recipe - perfect for holiday gift giving! — FarmgirlFare.com
These homemade chocolate biscotti are perfect for holiday gifts (recipe here)

Every year in early December my Easy Chocolate Biscotti Recipe becomes one of the most popular recipes on Farmgirl Fare. Holiday baking season has begun!

Have you ever wondered how to make biscotti? These twice baked, crunchy Italian cookies always look so elegant and perfect, especially when packed up in little cello bags and tied with a pretty ribbon, but they're easier to make than you might think.

My simple recipe is ideal for first time biscotti bakers for two reasons: the buttery dough is easy to work with, and the chocolate makes it dark, so no one will be able to tell if all your cookies aren't the same exact shade of golden brown.

These biscotti stay fresh for several days, making them perfect for gift giving. They also freeze beautifully. The cookies have a nice (not break-your-teeth) crunch that stands up to dunking in coffee, but they also taste great on their own.

But don't just take my word for it. Below is a sampling of what others have said about this recipe since I originally posted it back in 2005. I especially love hearing about all the signature touches. Mint chocolate chips mixed in to the dough? Yes, please!

More below. . .