Thursday, August 28

Recipe: Lamb Burgers with Rosemary, Garlic, Shallots, & Feta on Homemade Rosemary Focaccia

Easy Rosemary Focaccia 2
This easy rosemary focaccia (recipe here) makes great burger 'buns'

You might think that it would be neat to have a
best friend who's writing a cookbook, and I suppose that it would be if you happened to live in the same town—or even in the same state—as she does. But I can tell you from my own misfortune personal experience that having a best friend who is writing a cookbook and lives on the other side of the country is absolutely no fun at all.

Not only does she no longer have time to goof off on the phone have serious discussions about life, the universe, and everything with you because she's perpetually frazzled and frantically scrambling to make yet another deadline, but you can't even go over to her house and help devour the plates and platters of scrumptious food she cooks up every day in the name of work.

Nope, you can only salivate along with everyone else in cyberspace as she taunts you with the offer of a
free-for-the-asking gorgeous chocolate cake—that's 'pick-up at my house only' of course.

And then there was the message she left on my answering machine one day saying, "I have buttercream frosting all over my hands and you don't!"

If your evil pal best friend also happens to be a computer genius and is therefore your own personal tech support, things are even worse.

Even I, computer challenged as I am, know that the new RAM she advised me to buy several months ago (which is now so old it's probably obsolete—or at least available at one-tenth of the price) would probably do a lot more good if it were actually in my computer rather than sitting on top of it.

Besides having to starve not being able to indulge in all of her homemade gourmet goodness, I must also face the sad and frustrating truth that there isn't really any way to pitch in and get this annoying project finished already help her out because I'm a couple of thousand miles away.

Even when she has a frightening run-in with a wasp, to which she is deathly allergic, and ends up spraying a counter full of food (and several hours worth of work) with toxic bug spray, all I can do is feebly try to console her over the phone.

Once in a while, though, there does come an opportunity to save the day lend a long-distance helping hand, like when she calls and says she needs a few step-by-step photos of mixing up some ground lamb for her lamb burger recipe, and her market is totally lambless.

No problem! you assure her as you head out to the covered porch off the kitchen, lift up the lid of one of your giant, ancient, jam packed chest freezers and pluck out a package of grass-fed ground lamb that you just happened to have raised yourself.

And because helping your best friend out of a bind is of course its own reward, having to cook up and consume some lamb burgers that evening for dinner (since you've already gone to the trouble of mixing up the meat—and thankfully haven't had to douse it with bug spray) is just icing on the proverbial cake, especially if she happened to have told you once that lamb burgers on homemade rosemary focaccia 'buns' are delicious.

So I guess having a best friend who's writing a cookbook isn't all bad. Now if only she would call and say she desperately needs a picture of some deep, dark chocolate cake batter—and buttercream frosting of course.

Beth & Susan's Lamb Burgers with Rosemary, Shallots, Garlic, and Feta Cheese

After taking the required photos for Beth, I decided to apply my More, More, More philosophy to her original recipe and mixed some chopped fresh parsley and rosemary from the greenhouse into the meat. Oh, and I also added more shallots and garlic than she told me to, but hopefully she won't be able to tell in the photos.

If I'd had any ripe heirloom tomatoes in the kitchen garden on the day I made these burgers, you can bet they would have been piled high with thick and juicy slices. But since it was still spring, I made due with some freshly picked arugula instead.

As always, I urge you to seek out local and ingredients whenever possible; they really do make a difference. All natural, grass-fed lamb raised by small producers like us is becoming more and more readily available around the U.S., so there's no need to buy frozen lamb that has traveled halfway across the world. Search Local Harvest to find lamb and other food grown close to home.

1 pound ground lamb, preferably all natural and grass-fed
3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (blue cheese is nice, too)
3 heaping Tablespoons chopped shallots
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (about 1 heaping Tablespoon)
1 to 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
3 heaping Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Freshly ground pepper
A sprinkle of salt (the feta is salty so don't overdo it)

Place the ground lamb, feta cheese, shallots, garlic, rosemary, and parsley in a bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then gently mix until combined—the best way to do this is with your clean hands. Form into 3 or 4 patties.

Place patties on a grill or in a hot skillet (cast iron works beautifully) and cook until brown, about 5 minutes. Flip burgers and cook until desired doneness. Serve between slices of focaccia or your favorite bread or buns.

Love lamb? Here are more of my favorite easy lamb recipes:
Grilled Lamb Burgers with Roasted Red Pepper, Parsley, & Kalamata Olive Relish from Cooking with Shelburne Farms
Easy Ground Lamb & Feta Stuffed Mushrooms
Onion & Herb Crusted Lamb Spareribs and Grilled Lamb Leg Steaks
Slow Roasted Dutch Oven Lamb Shanks or Shoulder Roasts with Tomatoes, Onions, Garlic, and Rosemary
Slow Roasted Greek Style Leg of Lamb with Oregano and Lemon
(a one pan dinner with lemony garlic potatoes and Swiss chard)

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

©, the burger loving foodie farm blog where Farmgirl Susan shares recipes, stories, & photos from her crazy country life on 240 remote Missouri acres.

Wednesday, August 27

Wednesday Daily Dose of Cute:
You Just Roll With It, Baby

Taking A Little Donkey Dust Bath Before Naptime

© Copyright 2008, the award-winning blog where Daphne's baby girl (who now has an adorably fluffy face) still likes to race around at top speed, but once in a while she does stop and take a cleaning break. We're probably going to name her Evie (pronounced Eee-vee) but still haven't decided yet for sure, since you offered up so many wonderful 'E' name suggestions.

Tuesday, August 26

Tuesday Daily Dose of Cute:
Nap Time for Esmeralda

Sleepy Girl

© Copyright 2008, the award-winning blog where, try as you might, sometimes you just can't keep your eyes open—or your ears up.

Sunday, August 24

Sunday Daily Dose of Cute:
You Can't Fence In A Farm Cat

Sarah Kate Slips Right Through While Out on Patrol

Want to see more pussycat pics?
Sarah Kit Kat Kate
Patchy Cat
New Cat
Molly Doodlebug (aka The Doodle Monster)
(Sorry, no photos up yet of Mr. Midnight & Sylvester)

© Copyright 2008, the award-winning blog where this was supposed to be a new recipe post (with accompanying story of course) but it isn't quite finished yet (what always takes so long?), so we figured the least we could do was toss out a Daily Dose of Cute in the interim. And besides, the cats have been severely under-represented in the Daily Dose of Cute department—which is pretty bad since we have eight of them. Of course maybe if the Daily Doses of Cute actually appeared on a daily basis. . .

Thursday, August 21

Thursday Farm Photo:
Even Prettier than John Deere Green


© Copyright 2008, the award-winning blog where some of you serious frog fans may recognize this little cutie (maybe this photo actually does qualify as a Daily Dose of Cute?) as the one who was hanging out poolside back in May. We weren't trying to pull a froggy fast one on you here — simply came across it while sorting through old photos and fell in love all over again. That gorgeous coloring! Meanwhile the spring is teeming with frogs who all leap into the water when you walk over and dunk in the big empty beer bottle you use to prime the pump that fills up the water tank on the back of the truck, and all you can hear for a couple of seconds is a hysterical sounding chorus of "Eeek! Eeek! Splash! Eeek! Eeek! Splash!"

Tuesday, August 19

Tuesday Farm Photo: Cary Scratches an Itch

Or maybe she's just posting - it is Cary, after all.

Wondering who Cary is?
You'll find links to her story and more photos of her

© 2008, the award-winning blog where this copyright notice will no longer contain the phrase 'award-winning' because apparently it's annoying some people — or at least the one person who left a comment complaining about it recently ("can we drop the same opening sentence for every graph — I think its abdundently [sic] clear you have an awrd [sic] winning blog").

So here's the deal. Because unscrupulous people are constantly stealing and republishing the contents of my blog on other websites and claiming it as their own (usually to make money from advertising without having to actually write anything themselves), last year I began adding a copyright notice at the bottom of each blog post to help stop them, and to prove the content is indeed mine. Using the same wording every time makes it easier for me to track things using google alerts.

But after a while I got bored typing the same notice over and over, so for kicks I started changing it. Some of you realized this right away and let me know you enjoyed the little bits of farm news I'd share — kind of like my own personal Twitter. I simply kept the first line the same, and it never crossed my mind that this meant I was bombarding you with the fact that Farmgirl Fare has won some awards — probably because I was too busy coming up with something new and amusing to say.

Or, as my ever-so-subtle best pal and staunch supporter Beth put it, "It's a *bleeping* copyright notice that is original every day! Shut the *bleep* up if you don't like the lede - or start reading on the second line."

But just in case it's been bothering you, too (after that comment I started wondering if it had been getting on everybody's nerves), I'm going to stop saying 'award-winning.' It's no big deal to me, but I did want to explain it all to you. And this just might be the longest copyright notice ever written.

Monday, August 18

Monday Daily Dose of Cute: Tractor Cat

That's Our Tough Tortie Topaz (aka 3T)

Want to see more collections of cat candids?
Patchy Cat
Sarah Kit Kat Kate
New Cat
Molly Doodlebug (aka The Doodle Monster)
(Sorry, no photos up yet of Mr. Midnight & Sylvester)

© Copyright 2008, the award-winning blog where Patchy Cat may be the boss around here, but 3T (who, after living at the animal shelter for 15 months before we adopted her last December, chooses to spend nearly every minute outdoors) rules the farmyard — and she loves our rickety old tractors almost as much as Joe does. I think she's already vying for position as next year's hay raker rather than hay inspector. (Oops! I totally forgot I said I would explain the haying process to those of you who asked about it back during haying season. Sorry!)

Sunday, August 17

Sunday Farm Photo: Quiet for Breakfast

There's That Tranquil Morning Mist

Want to see more misty mornings?
7/6/05: Misty Morning Sunrise
Breakfast Under The Mist
View Through The Dew
These Misty Summer Mornings Feel So Peaceful
I Can't Resist These Pink Sunrises
Sheep Into The Mist
From Out Of The Fog, A Little Beagle Dog
October & November Same Scene, New View
2/19/06: Five Seasonal Views of the Haybarn
Misty Morning Rose Lamb
5/13/06: Morning Mist Rising off the Wet Weather Creek
Donkey In The Mist
5/29/06: Sun Hits Morning Mist
Misty Morning Peace - Stop & Breathe It In
Thankful To Call This Place Home
Two Trees Dancing Under The Morning Mist
Slow Traffic Ahead
Good Next Door Neighbors
4/8/08: A Fresh New Day

© Copyright 2008, the award-winng blog where we always enjoy the morning mist (especially in summer since the moisture saves the fields when the rainstorms continually go around us), but the photos are deceiving — everything looks so crisp and cool, but actually it's hot and muggy. It is, however, as quiet as it looks. Unless Cary is complaining about something. Or the rooster is crowing ('cause they don't just do it at dawn). Or Bear and Robin are barking. Or one of the hens is laying an egg. Or, god forbid, Donkey Doodle Dandy is upset. Okay, so maybe it's not so quiet around here after all. But at least this is the kind of noise we don't mind hearing!

Friday, August 15

Friday Farm Photo: Trying To Blend by the Barn

But You Can't Hide from the Camera

© Copyright 2008, the award-winning blog where the skittish
lizards don't do much leaping this time of year — but they don't do a whole lot of sitting still for pictures either. Of course their skittishness may be caused by the fact that a certain little kit kat keeps catching them and bringing them into The Shack — alive but usually tailless.

Thursday, August 14

Orange & Blue: What a Team!

Fresh Blueberries & Orange Yogurt Cake - A Scrumptious Combination

Back in May I created an easy orange yogurt loaf cake specifically to enjoy with the beautiful ripe strawberries that were in my kitchen garden. I quickly became addicted to both the cake and the combination, but what I didn't realize at the time was that this cake was actually made for blueberries. Oh yes. Oh yum.

Other ways I enjoy fresh and frozen blueberries:
100% Whole Grain Blueberry & Blueberry Banana Bran Muffins
Blueberry Breakfast Bars
Just Peachy Blueberry Breakfast Bars
Apple Blueberry Crumble Bars (and blueberry woes)

© Copyright 2008, the award-winning blog where it is indeed possible to polish off an entire gallon of local blueberries (along with a fair amount of orange yogurt cake) by yourself in about a week. Urp. (But think of all those antioxidants!) And one of these days we'll get around to actually baking a blueberry pie instead of just thinking about it. Anybody have a good recipe - or another favorite way to use blueberries?

Wednesday, August 13

Wednesday Daily Dose of Cute: Meet the Dog Day

Dolores and Esmeralda Inspect Lucky Buddy Bear

Want to see more?
Stock Dog Inspections
Baby Donkey Photos
Dolores Photos
More Donkey Photos

© Copyright 2008, the award-winning blog where Esmeralda (who was just 6 days old when this photo was taken back on July 12th) is 100% donkey but has turned into quite the little attention hound. And yes, a baby donkey who runs right over whenever she sees you and can't get enough hugs and cuddles is definitely cause for some serious cute overload around here.

Monday, August 11

Winners of the Comfort Food Book Giveaway

Apparently the only thing it takes me longer to get around to doing on this blog besides announcing a book giveaway contest is announcing the winners of the contest (which, in this case, I randomly picked ages ago). So finally, congratulations to Barb and Tina F! You've each won a hardcover copy of Comfort Food and a handy dandy canvas totebag adorned with the beautiful book cover artwork.

In her entry comment Tina wrote: My favorite comfort food would probably be pasta. Clam spaghetti like my husband makes it or pasta carbonara. With a nice rich ice cream for dessert! And Barb said: Just reading the comments made me think, Yeah! That could be a favorite comfort food for me, too!, but I think my hands-down favorite comfort food would have to be a slice (only one???) of freshly-baked, homemade bread. Is there anything on earth better than that? Ladies, if you'll email me your mailing addresses (farmgirlfare AT gmail DOT com) I'll send you your prizes.

This was definitely the most entertaining contest I've held so far. Nearly 250 of you took the time to tell us about your favorite comfort foods, and some of you even shared recipes (thank you!). During the contest my mother sent me an e-mail message with the subject line of 209 comments!!!! and then wrote: Did a lot of people just want to talk about comfort food or really want to win the book?

I jokingly replied that it must be the totebag, but I do think she was onto something. I know that I never get tired of talking about comfort food.

As I mentioned before, I really enjoyed this book. And the audio version read by the amazing Barbaba Rosenblat is absolutely wonderful. While I was in the middle of listening to it I learned that Kate Jacobs' first novel, The Friday Night Knitting Club, is being made into a movie starring and produced by Julia Roberts, and I immediately realized what a fantastic movie Comfort Food could be. With the right cast and screenplay, I think it even has the potential to surpass my current favorite food movie (and one of my all time favorite films), Mostly Martha. Hopefully I'll have a chance to find out.

Many thanks to all of you who took part in the contest. I have several more fun foodie book giveaways planned so stay tuned. I'm sure I'll get around to announcing them one of these days. And my apologies to those of you in other countries who aren't able to participate in the contests, but I checked on some international postage rates and unfortunately it often costs more to mail the books than the books themselves cost!

© Copyright 2008, the award-winning blog where we believe the only thing better than discovering a wonderful new book is sharing your discovery with fellow book lovers.

Saturday, August 9

Saturday Daily Dose of Cute: Puppy Love

Two of Robin's Biggest Fans

And She Loves Every Minute of the Attention

Need a bigger cute fix?
Robin Photos
Fluffy White Pup Photos
The First Daily Doses of Cute
Daily Dose of Cute Part 2
Daily Dose of Cute Part 3
Daily Dose of Cute Part 4
Daily Dose of Cute Part 5

© 2008, the award-winning blog where we're all extremely grateful the latest humid heat wave has finally broken because, whether you're covered with wool or not, there are only so many days a heat index of 110 degrees is bearable on a farm (especially if you're not a summer person) — and sometimes our new portable electric sheep fencing (which Lottie isn't actually touching in the top photo) doubles as crowd control.

Monday, August 4

Monday Daily Dose of Cute: For Robin Fans

That's One Happy Little Dog!

Want to get to know Robin better?
The Story of How Robin Trotted Into My Life
6/15/05: Peek-a-Boo Beagle
7/7/05: Sitting At the Front Yard Gate
8/9/05: Robin's Smile Is Infectious
9/12/05: One Hot & Happy Beagle
11/13/05: We Have Llama Contact!
11/22/05: From Out of the Fog, A Little Beagle Dog
11/24/05: Year Round Thankfulness
12/10/05: Robin Loves Deer Season
1/15/06: Robin & Leopold
1/29/06: She Knows Every Warm Spot on the Farm
2/19/06: Fresh Spring Water is Better than Evian
4/30/06: Busted Nesting in my New Garden Bed
5/14/06: Beagle in Paradise
7/26/06: Heading Out on Her Morning Route
8/26/06: Robin Loves Life on the Farm
9/17/06: Hot Dog vs. Parched Pussycat
11/20/06: It's Monday Morning. Wake Up!
11/24/06: Ear Flaps Up? Check.
2/24/07: Curious & Oblivious (aka Patchy Cat & Robin)
7/17/07: Haying Supervisor
9/13/07: One Hardworking Beagle
5/15/08: After Some Fluffy White Puppy Kisses

© Copyright 2008, the award-winning blog where, at nearly 12 years old, everybody's favorite beagle (well, except for that other one) may not be the mighty squirrel hunter and armadillo killer she once was, but she still enjoys the heck out of every minute—and we know that each day we have with her is precious.

Saturday, August 2

Saturday Farm Photo: Golden Fruits of Labor

Freshly Canned Peaches Cooling by the Amish Produce Stand

© Copyright 2008, the award-winning blog where over the past several years we've found ourselves turning more to our chest freezers than our canning equipment when preserving summer's bounty (since it's less work and keeps things slightly cooler in the kitchen because there aren't as many vats of boiling water involved), but we sure do miss admiring those neat rows of beautiful glass jars each time we walk into the pantry.