Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Daily Farm Photo: 1/31/06


Being Adorable Is Thirsty Work

Monday, January 30, 2006

Daily Farm Photo: 1/30/06


So Do You Think Martha Is Pregnant?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Weekend Dog Blogging #19


Robin Knows Every Warm Spot On The Farm

Attention Dog Lovers! It's time for Weekend Dog Blogging!
To see more fun dog photos and discover yummy new food blogs, head over to
Sweetnicks on Sunday night for the complete roundup. We'd love to have you join us. Just post your pup and e-mail the permalink to Sweetnicks.

Pining for more puppy pics? Check out the weekly
Carnival Of The Dogs at Mickey's Musings. And at The Friday Ark you'll find dozens of links to every kind of critter imaginable. Have an appetite for more than just cuteness? Don't miss the always delicious Weekend Herb Blogging at Kalyn's Kitchen. (All plants welcome.)

Daily Farm Photo: 1/29/06


The Latest Addition To My Collection

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Weekend Cat Blogging #34


Molly Doodlebug (aka The Doodle Monster)

Attention Cat Lovers! This Is Weekend Cat Blogging #34!
See fun feline photos & discover yummy new food blogs. This event is usually hosted each week by my pal Clare & her crazy cat Kiri at
Eat Stuff in Australia. But since Clare & Kiri are on a road trip this weekend, Boo & Boo at Masak-Masak in Malaysia are guest hosting. Click here for all the links to this week's kitties at Masak-Masak.

Daily Farm Photo: 1/28/06


And Posh About To Dig In

What? Don't believe me? Then click
here to see for yourself.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Daily Farm Photo: 1/27/06


Stumped For A Clever Caption

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Daily Farm Photo: 1/26/06


Can't look over something? Try to look through it.

Recipe: Savory Cheese and Scallion Scones with Cream Cheese and Feta


May 2012 update: Check out the chive and sharp cheddar version of this recipe here.

Did I ever mention how much I love scones? No? Huh. Well, I do. Absolutely adore them. Could probably eat them every day for a month and never tire of them. I even have a whole stack of delectable sounding scone recipes to try someday. In the meantime, I make my tried and true favorites. I already shared one of them with you last month, Cranberry Christmas Scones, which are tasty any time of year.

Another recipe I've been loving and making for years is for Savory Cheese and Scallion Scones. These were created during a severe scone craving when there was no butter in the house. They mix up quickly and are nicely versatile.

Half & half will give you richer scones with a slightly nicer texture, but whole milk works fine, is lower in fat and calories, and is usually always in the fridge. Either way, these are very moist and are healthier for you than traditional scones made with butter and heavy cream.

You can also substitute Neufchatel cheese for the cream cheese, but I don't recommend using fat-free cream cheese. Fresh baking powder is essential.

And as always, I urge you to seek out local and organic ingredients whenever you can. These days they're often easy to find and, in my opinion, really do taste better—not to mention how much better they are for farm workers and the environment.

Serve these scones warm from the oven with dinner instead of rolls or bread—plain, buttered, or with cream cheese. Or split and toast them in the toaster, spread with cream cheese and thinly sliced ham or turkey for a satisfying breakfast on the run, light lunch, or terrific after-school snack.

They also freeze beautifully if you happen to have any left over (hint: the recipe can easily be doubled). Defrost them at room temperature and heat at 375° for about 5 to 8 minutes. If you're in a hurry, you can defrost them gently in the microwave and then put them in the oven or toaster oven (I love my Oster toaster/convection oven for things like this).

The optional egg glaze gives these scones a beautiful shine and dark golden color. Look for farm fresh eggs at your farmers' market or natural foods store, or search for a local farmer on Local Harvest. You won't believe the difference compared to commercial eggs laid by unhappy hens living in horrible battery cages. The yolks are sometimes so dark they're a gorgeous deep orange, and the eggs actually taste like eggs! And of course, you're also supporting small farmers.

Not a feta fan? Try cheddar and chive instead, with or without a sprinkling of dill. You'll find more about growing chives (it's easy!), along with a recipe for homemade herbed yogurt cheese here.


Farmgirl Susan's Savory Cheese & Scallion Scones
Makes 8 large scones or 12 small ones

**Click here to print this recipe**

I highly recommend investing in a couple of heavy duty commercial rimmed baking sheets. At less than $14 each, they're one of the best kitchen deals around. Treat them well—I usually line mine with sheets of unbleached parchment paper, which is wonderful stuff—and they'll last for ages. I've been using the heck out of some of mine for 20 years for everything from baking cookies to roasting Brussels sprouts.

2½ to 3 cups organic all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon + 2 teaspoons baking powder (make sure it's fresh!)
1 teaspoon salt
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (I use sheep/goat milk)
4 ounces cream cheese, softened in the microwave 15-30 seconds (you want it very soft)
4 scallions (green onions), green & white parts, chopped

1 cup organic whole milk or half and half
1 large egg

Optional Egg glaze:
Beat 1 egg and 2 Tablespoons of organic milk (or half and half) well with a fork

1. Heat the oven to 400°.

2. Combine 2½ cups of the flour, the baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.

3. Add the cheeses & toss gently with a fork until combined.

4. Add the scallions & toss gently with a fork until combined.

5. Beat the milk (or half and half) with the egg and gently it fold into the dry ingredients, mixing lightly until a soft dough forms. Add up to 1/2 cup additional flour if the dough is too sticky.

6. On a floured surface, gently pat the dough into a circle approximately 1-inch thick (or into two smaller circles for 12 scones). The key to tender scones is to handle the dough as little as possible and with a light touch.

With a sharp knife (I use a large serrated knife dipped in flour), cut the circle(s) into 8 or 12 wedges and place them on a heavy duty baking sheet lined with unbleached parchment paper.

7. Brush the tops and sides of the scones with the egg glaze if desired, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Serve warm, or cool completely and refrigerate or freeze in a heavy zipper bag or airtight container.

More Farmgirl Fare bread recipes:
Yeast Breads
Ten Tips For Baking Better Homemade Artisan Breads
My Favorite Easy Pizza Dough Recipe
Farmhouse White Old-Fashioned Sandwich Bread
Carrot Herb Rolls (and a beautiful bread book for beginners)
Fresh Tomato & Basil Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread
Oatmeal Toasting Bread (makes great rolls and burger buns, too)
How To Make Pita Bread in about an Hour

Muffins, Scones, & Quick Breads
Meyer Lemon (or Regular Lemon) Scones
Cranberry Christmas Scones (tasty any time of year!)
Beyond Easy Beer Bread (my most popular recipe)
Whole Wheat Beer Bread
Onion Rye Beer Bread
Heavenly Lemon Coconut Quick Bread
Spicy Pumpkin Pecan Raisin Muffins
100% Whole Grain Ginger and Pear Bran Muffins
My Best 100% Whole Grain Blueberry Bran Muffins (plus other flavors)

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

© FarmgirlFare.com, the sconehead foodie farm blog where Farmgirl Susan shares stories & photos of her crazy country life on 240 remote Missouri acres - and you can always find a scone or two in the freezer.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

DMBLGIT?


Yo! Does My Bod Look Good In This?

Oh, please. DMBLGIT stands for Does My Blog Look Good In This, and it's the name of a fun food blogger photo competition. The first DMBLGIT of 2006 is being hosted by Andrew at
Spittoon, and, um, the deadline to enter just closed. (Sorry.)

But if you want to see 46 ambrosial food photos, discover delectable new food blogs, and find out how you can enter (or even host) the next DMBLGIT, click
here. So which December 2005 food photo did I enter? I guess you'll just have to go see for yourself. Warning: don't head over there hungry. And thanks to Andrew for getting things rolling this year.

Daily Farm Photo: 1/25/06


Dusk From A Different View: Looking Toward The House From The Hayfield

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Daily Farm Photo: 1/24/06


Slash

Monday, January 23, 2006

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Weekend Dog Blogging #18


Lucky Buddy Bear Up Close & Personal

Attention Dog Lovers! It's time for Weekend Dog Blogging!
To see more fun dog photos and discover yummy new food blogs, head over to
Sweetnicks on Sunday night for the complete roundup. We'd love to have you join us. Just post your pup and e-mail the permalink to Sweetnicks.

Care for more canine candids? Check out the weekly
Carnival Of The Dogs at Mickey's Musings. And at The Friday Ark you'll always find dozens of links to every kind of critter imaginable. Allergic to fur? Don't miss Weekend Herb Blogging #16 at Kalyn's Kitchen.

Daily Farm Photo: 1/22/06


Not Stuck, Just Resting

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Weekend Cat Blogging #33


One Cat. . . Or Two?

Attention Cat Lovers! This Is Weekend Cat Blogging #33!
See fun feline photos & discover yummy new food blogs. Visit my pal Clare & her crazy cat Kiri at
Eat Stuff in Australia for all the links to this week's kitties. And for even more pleasing pussycat pics, be sure to catch the traveling Carnival Of The Cats each Sunday night.

Daily Farm Photo: 1/21/06


Another Heart Rock For My Collection

Friday, January 20, 2006

Daily Farm Photo: 1/20/06


Doll Face Will Be Ten Years Old This Spring

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Meme's The Word: Part One


My love of chocolate chip cookies is certainly no secret.

I've been tagged for several memes lately, and since the thought of combining them into one giant post like my pal Clare did is more than slightly overwhelming, I figured I'd just start with one and see what happens. The sweet B'Gina at Stalking The Waiter tagged me for the Ten Mysterious Things meme, for which, I am told, you reveal ten weird things about you that nobody knows. Yeah, right. Like I'm going to admit on my blog that I call Joe Big Dog, didn't know how to use a washing machine until I was in college, and still get very scared during thunderstorms. Oops.

Instead, I'm giving this meme a little twist. Since this is a food blog, I'm willing to disclose ten foodie things you probably don't know about me. But only because B'Gina called me interesting--and begged. (If you are totally not into this kind of stuff, I won't feel bad at all if you bail out now and head over to somebody else's blog. But I'm warning you--these memes are everywhere.)

Okay, here goes.

1. When I was 17 years old and about to go off to college, the only three things I remember being able to 'cook' were chocolate chip cookies, super nachos, and guacamole. The 'last meal' I requested before moving out of the house was my mother's fabulous chicken & dumplings. I have since learned to make this dish myself--along with a few other things.

(An interesting aside: this morning's daily e-mail recipe from World Wide Recipes just happened to be for Stewed Rabbit & Dumplings. Hmmmm. Robin is an ace rabbit catcher, but the only problem is she doesn't like to share.)

2. I consider hot crusty bread, organic butter, and red wine to be a complete and well balanced meal.

3. I can devour an extremely large school of Pepperidge Farm cheddar goldfish in a very short period of time.

4. Every year I grow (and even dry) all kinds of culinary herbs and never use most of them.

5. When I dine at home (which is almost always), I eat everything from green beans to lamb chops with my fingers.

6. I've processed and then vacuum sealed an entire deer by myself--more than once.

Note: Scroll down to the comments section in that 'vacuum sealed' link if you want to read a (at least in my opinion) hilarious ongoing discussion between me and Louisa about vacuum sealing, venison, and the joys of lard-fried food.

7. I eat 'healthy' microwave popcorn. A lot.

8. I am incapable of not going somewhat overboard when I happen upon a really good sale on something I use regularly. This means that I recently came home with 16 pounds of brown sugar, 15 bags of walnut halves, and about two dozen boxes of herbal tea (half price plus coupons!). They joined the 17 jars of peanut butter and 17 bottles of vanilla extract already living in the pantry.

9. I have no problem eating the same thing for dinner several days in a row, especially if it is leftover homemade pizza or pita bread pizzas.

10. I've eaten squirrel--and liked it.

Thanks again to B'Gina for tagging me. And now I'm supposed to tag five more people, but since I (sadly) haven't been out in the blogosphere much lately, I have no idea who has already been tagged. So I'm going to swipe an idea from my pal Amy, who swiped it from our pal Alisha and choose:

1. Anyone
2. Who
3. Wants
4. To
5. Play!

Just be sure to leave the permalink to your post in a comment here so we can hop over and read all about you. And have fun!

Daily Farm Photo: 1/19/06


Those leaves didn't just land on his back. Yes, apparently even llamas love to roll around on the ground. Or do you think he simply learned it from Bear?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Daily Farm Photo: 1/18/06


Tree sock?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Daily Farm Photo: 1/17/06


Afternoon Delight

This Blog By Any Other Name. . .


How About 'I Heart Hens?'

Ahem. No, I'm not changing the name of my blog. It's Farmgirl Fare, and it's going to stay Farmgirl Fare. What I was going to say before that poultry interruptus is that this blog by any other name would be easier to remember.

I started thinking about it, and I realized that many of you might not know the secret shortcut to Farmgirl Fare. While the official Blogger address is foodiefarmgirl.blogspot.com, you can sneak in through the Back 40 by way of farmgirlfare.com. How easy is that?

So if you're spreading the word about my blog to a fellow farm loving foodie friend (thank you!), all you have to remember is farmgirlfare.com. Oh, and please be sure to tell them to come hungry, shut all gates behind them, and for goodness sake, don't believe a word the chickens say!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Some Pig Blogging Weekend


Hooray For The Humble Hock!

Except for an eight month stint in England when I was 12, I spent the first 26 years of my life living in Northern California. And during all that time, I cannot remember ever buying pork. Oh, I ate it alright. Growing up, my mother often made us scrambled eggs with chopped bacon, and we had the occasional dinner of pork chops or pork roast. And of course every time I ever ordered pizza it was sausage, black olives, and mushrooms all the way. But going to the store and actually purchasing an uncooked pork product? Never happened.

A lot has changed since I left California and moved to the Midwest. Granted, I still haven't walked into a supermarket and emerged clutching a package of bacon. But I have certainly paid for my fair share (at least) of pork. Yes, I went from no pig to whole hog. I had absolutely no idea what I had been missing all those years.

I am now quite adept at getting exactly what I want out of my locally raised, 240+ pound hog when it heads to the Mennonite butcher. Pork chops one inch thick, four to a package. Pork roasts about 2 pounds each. All the 'stew meat' they can find (which we either grill as kabobs or grind into fresh pork burger). Ground pork in one pound packages. The lard in manageable two pound packages (yes, I render down my own, but that's a whole other story). Yes, of course we want the ribs. And the ham steaks, bacon, jowl meat, ham roasts, hock roasts, and hocks all naturally smoked without nitrates. (Apparently I was the first person to ever request this, and when I picked up my order, I all but had to sign a waiver that I wouldn't sue the processor for getting sick from eating bacon without the "cure." He was clearly in a state about this, though I was not. And several hogs and many years later, I'm still here.) All of this for less than $1.50 a pound. When it comes to pork around here, we are very spoiled.

When Kate Hill and Judy Witts invited me to join their Some Pig Blogging Weekend, a food blogging event in honor of San Antonio Abate, the Patron Saint of farmyard animals, whose feast day is January 17th, deciding what to write about was easy. I figured I would simply share my delicious recipe for homemade Italian sausage. Unfortunately we appear to be down to the piggy dregs, because after diving into every single deep freezer yesterday, I could not find a single package of ground pork lurking anywhere. What I did find were two hidden pork roasts and a lot of smoked hocks. Yep, we are obviously nibbling on the end of the hog.

Not a problem, I realized. Homemade Italian sausage is divine, but the poor hock is sadly underrated and could obviously use my help. For one thing, supermarket hocks just do not compare to the real thing. You need to seek out and choose your "lesser" pig parts with as much care as you do your chops and roasts. And once you find a reliable source for meaty smoked hocks, you will be in, well, hog heaven. Simply drop one or two into any soup you are simmering on the stove, pick up a good book, and wait for the magic to happen. Lentil soup, split pea soup, white bean soup--you will never want to eat the vegetarian versions of these again. Cook them long and slow, until the meat is falling off the bone, teasing you with its heavenly aroma and dark pink color as its divine smoky flavor seeps into every molecule in the pot.

If you do not have the makings for soup because, for instance, you had been planning on making Italian sausage, there is an even better way to celebrate the humble hock, and that is by smothering it in gravy. This is comfort food at its very best. Hot, salty, cozy, and not anywhere near the healthy border. Comfort me with gravy, is what I always say. And that is what I did last night.

You can tuck into this homey concoction any time of day. At breakfast, do not bother cooking up some eggs to go with it, as no one will have any room for them. And if you absolutely insist upon serving it with a vegetable at lunch or dinner, please realize this is not the time for a light salad. I suggest creamed spinach. And bear in mind that this is the kind of dish that induces lethargy and long naps.


Freshly Baked Farmhouse White

The recipe is so simple that I don't even have a proper name for it. But before you prepare this comforting stuff, you must first bake some nice white sandwich bread. What you want is the kind of bread that has a pleasant crunch to the crust when it is warm, is nicely chewy when it cools, and has a dense but soft interior. If you time things right, you can slice off the warm heel, slather it in butter, and eat it with the bits of hock meat you have just burned your fingers on because you absolutely could not wait to try them. (Yes, if you are anything like me, this is one of those meals you will most likely sit down to already full, but sometimes that simply cannot be helped.) Acceptable substitutes would be homemade biscuits or cornbread or even some toasted slices of whole wheat beer bread. You need something substantial that will not turn to mush under the weight of all that meat and gravy. It is also very nice with rice.

While your bread is rising and baking, place the hocks in a heavy saucepan and cover them with water. Bring to a boil and simmer gently until the meat is falling off the bones and the water has become infused with the smoky essence of pork--an hour at the very least. Remove the hocks from the water (do not toss it out!) and place them on a plate to cool. Pull off as much meat as you can so that it will cool faster, and try not to devour it all in the process. (Filling up on warm bread at this point can sometimes help.) Then set the plate where the cats cannot reach it (don't ask).

Once the meat has cooled, shred it into bite size pieces, and then melt a few tablespoons of butter in another heavy saucepan over medium low heat. Using a whisk, stir in an equal number of tablespoons of flour to make a roux. Let this cook for a minute or two, and then slowly begin adding some of the pork stock (is there such a term?), whisking constantly, to make a gravy. Use part milk for a thicker, creamier gravy.

If I had been thinking ahead, I would have first browned the uncooked hocks in a little oil or lard in the gravy pan so that there would be nice caramelized bits mixed into the gravy. But when there are three loaves of bread that need baking and hocks that need photographing, not to mention sheep and llamas and a donkey that need feeding, well, sometimes those yummy extra steps slip one's mind. No matter. The end result will still be delicious, and there is always next time.


Nobody Ever Said Comfort Food Was Pretty

When the gravy is done to your liking, stir in the shredded meat and heat for another minute or two. Then turn off the burner, cover the pot, and slice and toast your bread. Place the toast on large plates and smother them with the meaty gravy. Add salt and pepper to taste, and dig in with a knife and fork while it is hot--all the while giving thanks for the humble smoked hock.

Daily Farm Photo: 1/16/06


Do You See Beauty In The Everyday?

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Weekend Dog Blogging #17


Robin & Leopold

Attention Dog Lovers! It's time for Weekend Dog Blogging!
To see more fun dog photos and discover yummy new food blogs, head over to
Sweetnicks on Sunday night for the complete roundup. We'd love to have you join us. Just post your pup and e-mail the permalink to Sweetnicks.

Care for more canine candids? Check out the weekly
Carnival Of The Dogs at Mickey's Musings. And at The Friday Ark you'll always find dozens of links to every kind of critter imaginable.

Allergic to fur? Don't miss
Weekend Herb Blogging #15 at Kalyn's Kitchen.

Daily Farm Photo: 1/15/06


Nice Green Hay On A Very Cold Day

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Weekend Cat Blogging #32


Posted Patchy Cat

Attention Cat Lovers! This Is Weekend Cat Blogging #32!
See fun feline photos & discover yummy new food blogs. Visit my pal Clare & her crazy cat Kiri at
Eat Stuff in Australia for all the links to this week's kitties. And for even more pleasing pussycat pics, be sure to catch the traveling Carnival Of The Cats each Sunday night.

Daily Farm Photo: 1/14/06


Patience Is Not One Of Their Virtues

But hopefully it is one of yours. Regular readers know that Farmgirl Fare usually consists of more than just my Daily Farm Photos. And new readers (welcome!) are probably wondering why there has been no food on this food blog lately. Everything (including my mind) has been discombobulated during these past three weeks--and that's putting it mildly.

I am still deeply mourning the sudden loss of my brother. I am behind on everything from blogging to baking. Tears take up a lot of my time. At least I have been seeing photographs again, and for that I am grateful. I am doing my best to respond to comments, and I plan to post a few recipes soon, along with one or two of the memes I have been tagged for recently.

I appreciate your patience, and certainly hope you'll stick around. I invite new readers to scroll through the monthly archives (located in the sidebar) if you'd like to get a better idea of what Farmgirl Fare is all about. I'm sure 2006 is going to be anything but boring on the farm, and I look forward to sharing it with you. Thanks so much for all your kind words and comments. I love my blog, and it certainly wouldn't be the same without you.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Daily Farm Photo: 1/13/06


Defrosting

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Daily Farm Photo: 1/12/06


Donkey Doodle Dandy Soaks Up Some Morning Sun

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Daily Farm Photo: 1/11/06


I'm Constantly Being Distracted By The Sky
(I love it.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Daily Farm Photo: 1/10/06


Fungus & Vine Intertwined

Monday, January 09, 2006

Daily Farm Photo: 1/9/06


Local Architecture

Poking Around

























Sunday, January 08, 2006

Daily Farm Photo: 1/8/06


The Advantage Of Taking A Late Walk On The Ridge Above The Farm

Weekend Dog Blogging #16


No Squirrel Is Safe

Attention Dog Lovers! It's time for Weekend Dog Blogging!
To see more fun dog photos and discover yummy new food blogs, head over to
Sweetnicks on Sunday night for the complete roundup. We'd love to have you join us. Just post your pup and e-mail the permalink to Sweetnicks.

Pining for more puppy pics? Check out the weekly
Carnival Of The Dogs at Mickey's Musings. And at The Friday Ark you'll find dozens of links to every kind of critter imaginable.

Prefer food over fur? Don't miss
Weekend Herb Blogging #14 at Kalyn's Kitchen.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Weekend Cat Blogging #31


Now you see him. . . And in a swirl of woodsmoke. . . . Now you. . .



. . .Almost Don't.

Attention Cat Lovers! This Is Weekend Cat Blogging #31!
See fun feline photos & discover yummy new food blogs. Visit my pal Clare & her crazy cat Kiri at
Eat Stuff in Australia for all the links to this week's kitties. And for more pleasing pussycat pics, be sure to catch the traveling Carnival Of The Cats each Sunday night.

Daily Farm Photo: 1/7/06


The Boys In Dan's 'Hood

Friday, January 06, 2006

Daily Farm Photo: 1/6/06


Annoying Weed Or Spun Gold?