Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Farm Photo: It's That Time of Year Again


Firewood Cutting Season!

Want to fan the flames?
9/6/05: The Hay Is In, So Now It's Firewood Season
10/25/05: Some Rather Organized Stacking
10/26/05: Where We Cut Firewood
10/26/05: Why We Cut Firewood
12/11/05: Firewood Getting Low. Ever Cut in the Snow? (I Have!)
2/21/06: Note to Self Re Snowstorm Preparation
12/4/07: Just Another Day at the Office
2/12/08: Frozen Water Everywhere & Not a Drop to Drink
11/23/08: Heat Cheat
1/22/09: Winter Fuel
1/28/09: Snowed In!

© Copyright 2009 FarmgirlFare.com, the blissfully cooling down at night but still definitely summer foodie farm blog where it's hard to believe that in the blink of an eye we'll be pulling out the polarfleece (one of the greatest inventions ever), wrapping our hands around giant steaming cups of cafĂ© lattĂ© topped with plenty of whipped cream, cozying up to the crackling woodstove, and happily declaring—as we do numerous times each year—that nothing compares to the wonderful warmth from wood heat. I can't wait.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday Dose of Cute:
Where We Demonstrate Two Ways To Get Your Minerals


Dainty—or Dive Right In

Did you miss our ridiculously cute spring lambing season? No problem! We'll click back the clock just for you—simply start right here.

© Copyright 2009 FarmgirlFare.com, the decidedly not dainty foodie farm blog where most of us fall into the 'dive right in' category, especially when it comes to food—and laughing at silly sheep antics is one of our favorite pastimes.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wednesday Dose of Cute: Smile for the Camera


Or Not (Little ewe lamb on 5/6/09, last seen on May Day)

Baby animal lovers—don't panic! I didn't mean to alarm some of you when I jokingly said in yesterday's White Bean & Artichoke Dip Recipe post, Enough with the all the cute animal pictures. Not to worry, the (almost) Daily Doses of Cute are alive and well!

I mentioned that I was only kidding in the ever-changing copyright notice at the very bottom of the post (I realize many of you like the animal photos best), but I guess some of you missed it. You do read those little copyright notices down there, don't you? That's where all the newsy stuff is—kind of like my own personal non-twitter twitter stream.

Need some more cute to calm your nerves?
The First Daily Doses of Cute
Daily Doses of Cute Part 2
Daily Doses of Cute Part 3
Daily Doses of Cute Part 4
Daily Doses of Cute Part 5
Daily Doses of Cute Part 6
Daily Doses of Cute Part 7
Daily Doses of Cute Part 8
Daily Doses of Cute Part 9
Daily Doses of Cute Part 10

© Copyright 2009 FarmgirlFare.com, the really sorry if we alarmed you foodie farm blog where we aim to please (thanks for all your feedback over the years!)—and we know from (very pleasant) experience that life is so much better when it's overflowing with cute.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

White Bean and Artichoke Dip / Spread Recipe with Rosemary, Pecorino Romano, & Kalamata Olives


I Love this Stuff

I'm always surprised when I look back through my photo files and realize just how few pictures I've actually posted, compared to all the ones I meant to post (and the thousands of others I've taken). The same goes for recipes. I couldn't believe it the other day when I realized that I've shared a pathetic grand total of eight recipes with you so far this year—and one of them can hardly be called a recipe. How can this be?

Things have to change. Enough with all the cute animal pictures.* Let's eat!

Rosemary white bean dips abound, but the Fine Cooking recipe I came across last year was the first one I'd seen that called for artichoke hearts. It sounded like a perfect combination, and it is. It doesn't taste all that artichokey—and someone might have a hard time actually guessing they're in there—but they really add a lot of flavor.

I applied my usual More, More, More philosophy to the original recipe, upping the fresh rosemary (since my rosemary bush in the greenhouse is thriving), cheese, and even olive oil. I substituted Pecorino Romano for the Parmigiano Reggiano because I love the flavor—and much lower price—of Romano, and besides, somebody needs to support all those Italian sheep farmers!

On a whim, I decided to stir some kalamata olives into the second batch I made, and this turned out to be a very good idea. That was many months and many batches ago. This dip is the sort of thing I can quickly become addicted to, happily eating it morning, noon, and night. Fortunately the recipe doubles easily. It also happens to be pretty good for you, which is nice to know if, like me, you're unable to stop eating it. I actually had to hide the recipe a while because I was afraid I'd eat so much I'd end up permanently sick of it, and I'd hate for that to happen.


White Bean and Artichoke Dip/Spread with Rosemary & Kalamatas

Makes about 2 cups (may be doubled) — Adapted from Fine Cooking

Cans of organic beans are a handy staple in my farmhouse pantry because they're so convenient and versatile. They're readily available in natural foods stores and many supermarkets and can often be found for the bargain price of about a dollar apiece. Some places such as Whole Foods will even give you a case discount if you stock up and buy 12 cans at a time.

I've used fresh lime juice in place of the lemon juice here a few times, and I really liked the flavor. Don't add the kalamatas in the food processor or they'll turn your dip a creepy purplish grey—stir them in at the end instead. I like to make half the batch with olives and half without and serve them up side by side, as pictured above.

I don't usually drizzle extra olive oil onto my food (preferring to save those calories for a couple of cookies or a hunk of chocolate cake instead), but in this case I highly recommend it. Besides, you'll probably be so full of dip you won't have room for dessert anyway.

You can serve this dip with just about anything—fresh veggies, crackers, pretzels, baguette slices—but it's heavenly on homemade pita chips. I also think it would be delicious spread on a sandwich.

To make your own pita chips, simply brush triangles of pita bread with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and a little finely grated hard cheese if you're feeling decadent, and bake them at 400° for 6 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your pitas and how crisp and brown you like them.

I like to bake up small batches of pita chips in my beloved toaster convection oven (which also helps me keep from eating way too many pita chips at once). Homemade pita chips made from homemade pita bread are out of this world; see how easy it is to make your own pitas in my previous post, The Pita Project.



1 15-ounce can organic cannellini beans (white kidney beans), drained and rinsed
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts (packed in water), drained and rinsed
1/2 to 1 teaspoon chopped fresh garlic
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or lime juice)
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling on top
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup (about ¼ ounces) finely shredded Pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
Several grinds of fresh pepper

2 heaping Tablespoons chopped kalamata olives (about 10 olives), optional

Combine the cannellini beans, artichoke hearts, garlic, and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor and whiz until smooth. With the machine running, drizzle in the 3 Tablespoons of olive oil. Add a Tablespoon or two of water or more olive oil if you prefer a smoother consistency.

Blend in the rosemary and Pecorino Romano, then salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the kalamata olives if using. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with pita chips, crackers, baguette slices, or fresh vegetables.

This dip tastes even better after chilling for several hours or overnight, and will keep in the fridge for three or four days. Bring it to room temperature before serving.

Still hungry? Here are a few other dips and spreads you might enjoy:
Radish, Scallion and Feta Cream Cheese Spread/Dip
Chives and Herbed Yogurt Cheese
Sour Cream and Onion Dip (and Foodie Travel)
Ridiculously Easy White Bean Pesto Spread
Quick Refried Black Bean Dip
Salsa-Like Green Tomato Relish
Hot Swiss Chard Artichoke Dip

Other Farmgirl Fare recipes that call for canned beans:
Garbanzo Bean Salad with Red Onion, Cilantro, & Feta
Swiss Chard Cabbage Salad with Garbanzos, Broccoli Stems, & Cottage Cheese
Fast Black Bean Soup/Chili
Mexican Jumping Bean Slaw with High Kickin' Creamy Tomato Dressing
Simple Broccoli Onion Soup with Garbanzo Beans

Other Farmgirl Fare recipes that use artichoke hearts:
Quick & Healthy Cream (or Not) of Artichoke Soup
Easy Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Onions, Garlic, Garbanzos, and Artichokes
Swiss Chard Artichoke Soup
Swiss Chard & Artichoke White Pizza

* © Copyright 2009 FarmgirlFare.com, the recipe hoarding foodie farm blog where my plan really is to seriously start catching up with all the backlogged recipes I've been wanting to post, but of course I was just kidding when I said forget about the cute animal photos. I know some of you like them the best—and in my opinion it's impossible to ever have too much cute!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday Dose of Cute: Happy Cat


Topaz on Her Personal Sun Deck

Our Topaz has turned into quite the farm cat:
1/21/08: How Topaz, Sarah Kate, and Mr. Midnight Came into Our Lives
1/29/08: Farmyard Kitty
6/20/08: Meet Our New Hay Inspector
8/18/08: Tractor Cat
9/4/08: Even Kitty Cats Need to Eat Their Greens
5/24/09: Sweet Strawberries & A Curious Cat

© Copyright 2009 FarmgirlFare.com, the tortie colored foodie farm blog where we stopped at PetSmart the other day during a trip to the Big City, and when I went over to check out who was in the feline adoption room (couldn't help myself), I saw a cat who looked so much like Topaz I could hardly believe it. Hopefully that sweet thing hasn't spent 15 months living at a shelter like Topaz did—and has already found a loving new home.

Do you have room for a four-footed family member? Please consider adopting a shelter or rescue animal—perhaps from my amazing friend Bernie Berlin's A Place To Bark. Click here to find out how you can spend a few seconds to help her one woman, non-profit organization—which finds homes for hundreds of dogs and cats each year who would otherwise be put to death—win a desperately needed check for $10,000. And click here to learn how you can help Bernie make her reality animal rescue TV show (which networks are seriously interested in) a reality!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday Farm Photos: Morning Peace


















Well, At Least Until He Starts Crowing

Want to see more of this place? (some categories overlap)
Farm Landscape Photos
More Farm Landscape Photos
Handmade Fence Photos
Homemade Swing Photos
Hayfield Photos
More Hayfield Photos
Sunrise and Sunset Photos
Misty Morning Photos
Snow Photos
Same Scene, New View Photos (I need to get back to posting these!)

© Copyright 2009 FarmgirlFare.com, the morning people (unless it's been a late night) foodie farm blog where we love our Rooster Daddy (whose most recently hatched kids are already almost grown up!), but we know from personal experience that all that propoganda about roosters only crowing at the break of day is—how should I put this?—such a crock. It's more like whenever he feels like it, which around here is all day, all night, and any moment in between. One time we were off the farm and didn't get back until 1 a.m., and as soon as we opened the truck doors we heard COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO! I burst out laughing. We were definitely home sweet home!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thursday Dose of Cute: Work All Night


Then Hit the Hay



That's Our Crazy Daisy!

I can't believe it's been a year since Daisy came into our lives:
1/27/09: Losing Lambs and Lottie (and Acquiring Daisy)
1/28/09: Snowed In! (scroll down to see Daisy)
2/5/09: Daisy Off Duty
2/9/09: When Sleeping and Eating Schedules Collide
3/19/09: Nap Time
3/23/09: Bear Hug
4/18/09: A Girl's Gotta Sleep Sometime
4/29/09: Standing Tall and Smiling Wide
6/11/09: Breakfast Company
7/4/09: The Dog Days of Haying Season

© Copyright 2009 FarmgirlFare.com, the listing foodie farm blog where it's not your imagination—our haybarn is at a definite angle (and it's not the only thing). It is, in fact, falling down. But hopefully the big chain (which you can't see) that has been helping to hold it up for the past couple of years will keep it standing until next spring when all the hay will have been fed out and we can tear it down and finally rebuild it. Until then, it gives the place plenty of character—as if we were lacking in that department.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wordless Wednesday Dose of Cute









© Copyright 2009 FarmgirlFare.com, the soft and cuddly foodie farm blog where grown up donkeys are always lots of fun to have around, but baby donkeys make you want to squeal with delight, nuzzle those big ears, and bury your face in their furry necks (soon, soon he'll let me I hope!).

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday Farm Photos: A Peek Inside My Potting Cabinet


A gardening girl can never have too many pots at the ready, right?











Every time I look inside this cabinet I smile.

I Love Old Stuff!
1/3/09: Feeding My Addictions (and Pasta w/ Olive Oil, Garlic, & Parsley)
4/22/09: Every Day Is Earth Day—and I'm Eco-Chic (Who Knew?)
6/22/09: Vintage Laundry Line
7/26/09: Going Vintage Green
8/2/09: A Beacon in the Light

© FarmgirlFare.com, the stuffed to the gills and ready for bed foodie farm blog where the first BLTs of the season (made with bacon saved specifically for this momentous occasion from the hog we had butchered last year, and served on freshly baked Farmhouse White of course) combined with freshly picked sweet corn purchased today from our Amish vegetable connection and a much needed (and wonderfully cooling!) late afternoon rainstorm all add up to one very nice summer day indeed.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday Farm Photo: On a Sunny Afternoon


In the Summertime

Are you remembering to look up?
8/6/05: Late Night Gratitude
9/2/05: The Work May Be Hard, but the Views Can Be Great
11/1/05: Good Morning
11/21/05: Seeing the Moon on a Sunny Day
3/2/06: A Brief Distraction from All the Cuteness
8/11/06: Tweet
8/21/06: Dreaming Up a Rainstorm
9/5/06: Another Beautifully Distracting Sky
9/12/06: A Peach of a Sunrise
9/23/06: Last Night of Summer Spectacular Show
10/24/06: There's that Distracting Sky Again
11/9/06: Big Sky
6/30/07: Stormy Weather on My Mind—But Not on My Farm

© Copyright 2009 FarmgirlFare.com, the sky high foodie farm blog where there's nothing like looking up from hanging laundry on the clothesline (while being kept company by Whiskers, because that end of the yard is his territory) to find a flock of fluffy white clouds floating by.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Saturday Dose of Cute: Weekend Plan


Keep cool. . .



And close to mom.

As for my own weekend plan, I haven't had a chance to chill out in my cool new retro chair yet, but I figure I still have a day and a half to fit in some serious shade time. The dishes are mostly done (how in the world can two people create thousands of dirty dishes?), the drooping kitchen garden has been watered (and even a little weeded!), and I think everyone's bellies are full—at least for now.

It's time to turn on the oven and bake up a big batch of chocolate chip cookies before roasting tonight's chicken—or else curl up and take a nap.

I hope you're having a relaxing weekend!

© FarmgirlFare.com, the siesta sounds good right about now foodie farm blog where, if she's not hanging out with Lucky Buddy Bear, this sweet Katahdin lamb—who almost always wears a little smile and is so friendly we named her Friendly—is stuck to her mama (who also adores Bear) like glue. Must be love glue.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Sunday Donkey Dose of Cute: Broccoli Treats? Blech!













Note Broccoli Treat Now on the Ground




Want to see what else The Donkettes (and Dan of course) have been up to? You'll find lots of links to donkey doings here.

© Copyright 2009 FarmgirlFare.com, the picky foodie farm blog where some of us adore broccoli—especially if it comes from the kitchen garden.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Recipe: Radish Cream Cheese Spread / Dip with Parsley, Scallions and Feta

Plus Advice for New Vegetable Gardeners and What Else to Do with Radishes


French Breakfast Radishes (Love that Name) Harvested in My Kitchen Garden last June

It's so easy to get sucked into the romantic allure of vegetable gardening. You scatter some seeds in the dirt, watch them burst forth and grow, and a few weeks later you gleefully skip outside wearing a straw hat and toting a cute basket to harvest armfuls of picture perfect bounty.

So effortless! So rewarding! So not what really happens most of the time—which is why many new gardeners quickly become frustrated, vowing to never again spend $164 and countless hours only to end up with four tomatoes, two small heads of bug-bitten cabbage, one scraggly basil plant, and so many giant zucchini their neighbors have started avoiding them (sort of like what happened to this guy).

Now you know I'm the last person to dissuade someone from starting an edible garden, and I personally think every unused, chemical-laden front lawn in the country should be torn up and turned into an organic potager. Homegrown anything always tastes better, and even after all these years I find nothing more rewarding than being able to step outside and pick part of my own lunch or dinner from my garden.

That said, I do have a few words of advice for budding gardeners. Please don't go crazy and mail order 75 different kinds of seeds during a snowstorm and/or cram your entire car full of seedlings from the nursery on the first day of spring. You're only going to end up totally overwhelmed—and annoyed. Instead, start small. Start with radishes. Radishes? I can hear you saying. Yes, radishes.


Colorful Easter Egg Radishes (and One French Breakfast) from My Garden

Most people don't know this, but homegrown radishes taste wonderful—crisp and peppery and alive with freshly dug flavor. They have fun names like French Breakfast, Crunchy Royale, and Easter Egg, come in a rainbow of beautiful colors, and are actually two crops in one because you can also eat the leaves, which are full of Vitamin C and calcium.

A member of the cabbage/cruciferous family (you know, the one whose members all have those amazing anti-cancer properties), the low calorie radish has been used over the years to help everything from runny noses and respiratory problems to digestive disorders and liver troubles.

But, most importantly, radishes will almost never let you down in the garden. You really do just scatter some seeds in the dirt (they prefer cool, moist soil), watch them burst forth and grow, and then a few weeks later gleefully skip out and harvest armfuls of picture perfect bounty—straw hat and cute basket optional. You can even grow radishes in pots.

That's all well and good, I can hear you saying, but what am I supposed to do with armfuls of radishes besides toss them in salads and carve them into mice and musicians?

All sorts of things. Chopped radishes add a pleasant zing to tuna salad, chicken salad, egg salad, potato salad, macaroni salad, and even fresh tomato salsa. You can toss them into your favorite coleslaw, and I just realized they'd be a great addition to my Mexican Jumping Bean Slaw.

Try layering sliced radishes on a roast beef sandwich, or use paper thin slices to garnish hot soups. Ooh, some finely chopped radishes would probably be perfect atop a chilled bowl of Quick & Easy Gazpacho (which I've been meaning to make for days). You can even braise radishes in a little butter, with or without some minced shallots, though I have yet to try this.

It's still too hot here in southern Missouri to plant more radishes yet, but when my next crop is ready, I'm determined to finally make some pickled radishes. I also don't want to be the only radish lover around who still hasn't enjoyed the classic French sandwich people are always swooning over: spread a halved crusty baguette (I'll use one of the Four Hour Parisian Baguettes I love so much) with your favorite butter, top with thinly sliced radishes, and sprinkle with some nice salt.

But what I really want to do is make a whole lot more of this simple yet scrumptious dip.

So what's your favorite way to eat radishes?



Refreshing Radish Spread/Dip
Makes about 2 cups
Inspired by Helen's recipe at Beyond Salmon via Alanna's version at A Veggie Venture


My Less Fuss, More Flavor way of cooking usually involves simplifying recipes, but this time I applied my More, More, More philosophy to the original three ingredient version of this healthy spread—upping the scallions (purple spring onions work well, too) and adding in some lemon juice, chopped parsley, and feta.

To make a thicker sandwich spread, use a little more cream cheese. I also like this mixed with cottage cheese, either eaten as a dip or in a dish with a spoon. I would have used even more radishes, but the spread started to get a little watery. Alanna makes her version with only 4 ounces of cream cheese, though, so it may depend on the variety of radishes you use.

The flavors improve after mingling for a little while, so make this at least a few hours before serving if you can. As always, I urge you to seek out local and organic ingredients—they really do make a difference in so many ways.

2 cups (8 ounces) halved or quartered radishes
1 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts (purple spring onions are nice, too)
½ cup (or more to taste) packed chopped fresh parsley
8 ounces (or more) cream cheese, softened
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¾ teaspoon salt (start with less if you're including the feta)
Several grinds of fresh pepper

Cottage cheese (optional)

Whiz the radishes, scallions, and parsley in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the cream cheese, feta cheese (if using—or you can always stir it into part or all of the batch later), lemon juice, salt, and pepper and process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the processor bowl as necessary. Add more cream cheese if you'd like a thicker sandwich spread, or stir in (or process in) some cottage cheese if desired.

Serve with fresh veggies, crackers, pita chips (made from homemade pita breads perhaps?), pretzels or baguette slices. Helen says her favorite springtime open-faced sandwich is a slice of bread with radish spread and smoked salmon, and Alanna likes stirring her spread into steamed broccoli. It will keep in the fridge for 3 days.

Still hungry? Here are a few more Farmgirl Fare dips and spreads you might enjoy:
Chives and Herbed Yogurt Cheese
Sour Cream and Onion Dip (and Foodie Travel)
Ridiculously Easy White Bean Pesto Spread
Quick Refried Black Bean Dip
Salsa-Like Green Tomato Relish
Hot Swiss Chard Artichoke Dip

© Copyright 2009 FarmgirlFare.com, the crisp and crunchy foodie farm blog where homegrown radishes aren't just a way of life—they're an adventure.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Friday Dose of Cute:
Why I Don't Landscape the Front Yard


At Least She Spared the Nearby Surprise Lilies



The Dirty Paws Totally Bust Her—and Don't You Just Love the Pillow Rock?

Want to get to know our beagle baby better? You'll find links to lots more photos of 12-year-old Robin here.

© 2009 FarmgirlFare.com, the hot dog foodie farm blog where it's a good thing that I completely understand the need to find a cool spot on these hot August days—and that Robin is so darn cute.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Tuesday Dose of Cute: See Spot Accessorize


Silly Wendy's Little Lamb (aka Spot) is Growing Up—and Dressing Up!

Want a little look back at spring lambing season?
4/2/09: Baa Baa Baby Baa Baa! Lambing Season 2009 Has Begun!
4/3/09: Black Babes for Black Beauty
4/4/09: Spotted Beast—or Cutie Beauty?
4/6/09: Whispering Sweet Nothings?
4/7/09: Think Pink
4/9/09: Oh, You Big Baby
4/11/09: This Baby Rests Easy
4/14/09: Too Cute for Words?
4/16/09: Smile for the Camera!
4/16/09: Amendment to Today's Earlier Lamb Count
4/20/09: Morning Traffic Report
4/21/09: Snack Time!
4/22/09: Oops
4/26/09: Lamb Whisperer
4/26/09: An Important Message from the BABS
4/30/09: Reading Lesson
5/1/09: May Day! May Day!
5/21/09: Rest Stop
5/28/09: And She Sleeps
5/30/09: Tiny Tussle
6/3/09: Steppin' Out
6/9/09: Stop, Look, and Listen
7/15/09: Getting Ahead. . .

© Copyright 2009 FarmgirlFare.com, the still cooking despite the August heat and humidity (and this morning's thankfully short power outage) foodie farm blog where there really will be some new recipes posted here soon! But if your tummy's rumbling and you just can't wait, you'll find links to all of my Less Fuss, More Flavor sweet and savory recipes (in an odd sort of top to bottom, newest to oldest order because I still haven't gotten around to organizing them better), including many summer favorites, in the right hand sidebar of any Farmgirl Fare page under Previous Posts: Food Stuff w/ Recipes.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Sunday Farm Photos: A Beacon in the Light


I love Beacon style blankets (this is another recent vintage buying spree find.)



And I Live in Overalls

Ahh, the sweet smelling luxury of a laundry line:
12/1/05: Warm Wash, Cool Dry
1/2/06: Winter Color
4/17/06: Monday Washday (and a Lamb Report)
1/12/08: Winter Wash and Dry (and the R-rated Version)
5/6/09: The Lamb and the Laundry Line (a look back at Baby Cary)
6/22/09: Vintage Laundry Line

Do you hang your laundry on a line?

© 2009 FarmgirlFare.com, the well washed foodie farm blog where while many people are already bemoaning the fact that summer (in all its hot and sweaty glory) will soon be over, we're happily counting down the days until we can bury the bed with blankets and quilts and prance around in polar fleece (which is one of the greatest inventions ever).