Recently in kitchen
It's been a while. We're in the throes of the most productive time of year at the farm, harvesting tons of heirloom tomatoes and greens (among other things) and preparing for the quickly approaching autumn growing season. We've been hustling to get all of our farm goodies sold and distributed to CSA members but in my scarce free time I've been working on migrating Brooklyn Homesteader over to a new website that is no longer specific to Brooklyn since, well...I no longer live there.
So, as a result I created a page dedicated to the projects I'm working on, including teaching and farm events. The book I have been working on for an eternity will be out soon! Next season, I'll be tackling management of the farm by myself so it should be quite a ride! Please consider adding the new blog (which I've imported most of the content from this site to!) and following me on this crazy journey.
p.s. Big ups to McKenzie over at Oliver and Abraham's for designing my banner and buttons!
Hay there, Readers!
It occurred to me a few weeks back that music has begun to play a big role in our day-to-day here at the farm. Wether belting out ditties with the Louvin Brothers in my pick-up truck or poring through seed catalogs to Bob Davenport's Balladeers, my new life has a soundtrack and I'm looking forward to sharing it with you all.
This first playlist was made with the quiet of winter in mind. We've been spending a lot of time planning the garden over creamy goat milk coffee with fat cats on lap. These are the songs often playing in the background. I hope that you love them as much as I do.
We usually listen to LPs at home, but I use Spotify often, since it has an iPhone app that I can use both on the road and at the farm so if you have an account, click HERE to access my first playlist!
This holiday season, give the gift of a badass essential skill! Brooklyn Homesteader is now offering gift certificates for any of our online or farm-based workshops! We've been teaching for nearly 4 years at institutions like The New York Botanical Garden and 3rd Ward. We've taught private workshops during that same time as well!
We're offering classes on beekeeping, sustainable gardening, backyard poultry, and more! We're adding new classes every week! Classes on mushroom foraging and cultivation, raising dairy goats and intro to herbal medicine! Year-long passes ($225/ 12 months) and couples certificates (half off yr partners!) available as well!
All of our classes utilize strong visual presentations, hands-on activities and take-home references for continued study!
So help support the farm and give your friends and family members the gift of living a more sustainable, hands-on life!
We make goat cheese here at the farm once or twice a week to ensure we don't waste any of the wonderful milk our 3 dairy goats give us. One of the ways we like to use the remainder that doesn't get smeared on crusty bread or spooned onto pizza is to make mac-n-cheese. Previously to owning goats, I hadn't been able to indulge in this dish, since I have problems digesting pasteurized milk. Now that I've got raw milk to make this tasty dish with, it's a little easier on my delicate constitution We eat it at least once a week now! For those of you with lactose intolerance, this might be a great recipe for you to try out.
I'm a big fan of creamy macaroni and cheese, and often times the baked stuff tends to dry out kind of fast. That's why I prefer making a thick, savory cheese sauce and coating the pasta before topping with a buttery toasted breadcrumb mixture. It's really some of the best mac I've ever had, if I do say so myself!
Here's what you need to make it:
1 package of pasta such as elbow, penne, shells or orecchiette , cooked al dente.
1 cup of fresh goat cheese
1 1/2 cups of goat milk (or cow's milk if you prefer)
1/4 cup of butter, lard, duck fat or bacon grease
3 tablespoons of all purpose flour
1/4 cup of pecorino romano or parmesan cheese, grated.
1 tsp of smoked paprika
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
ground black pepper to taste
1 cup of panko breadcrumbs
a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons of butter
1/2 tablespoon of minced fresh parsley
Here's how you make it:
Cook pasta before starting the sauce. Strain and place back in the pot it was cooked in, covering it to keep it warm.
In a medium sauce pan, over medium heat melt the butter or fat for the mac. Slowly add flour, whisking as you pour to create a roux. As the roux gets to a slightly golden, toasty color add the goat milk and continue to whisk lightly. Once incorporated, add the goat cheese and grated parmesan, and continue to whisk until smooth. Feel free to add more milk if the mixture is too thick. It should be a silky, creamy consistency but not runny. Season with salt & pepper, paprika and nutmeg.
In a small saute pan on medium heat, melt the butter for the bread crumbs. Add panko and salt and stir to get the breadcrumbs evenly coated with butter. Allow to toast, stirring often. Once evenly golden brown, add minced parsley and set aside uncovered.
Add sauce to the pot with the strained pasta and stir to coat evenly. Serve immediately in a shallow bowl and top with bread crumbs.
I do this funny thing where whenever I get a recipe right, I start putzing around, creating dozens of variations on it. Granola, being exceedingly easy to make, is one of those foods you can tweak and change without fear of completely ruining it. I've made probably 30 different granola "un-recipes" in my time. In fact, I've never made a granola I wouldn't eat with gusto. Especially this most recent grainy incarnation containing creamy peanut butter and dutch cocoa.
6 cups of rolled oats
1/2 cup of millet or quinoa
1/2 cup of shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
1 cup of flame raisins or dried cherries
1/2 cup of organic peanut butter
3 tablespoons of good quality cocoa powder
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup of maple syrup
1 teaspoons of sea salt
Here's how you make it:
Preheat your oven to about 375 degrees. In a deep baking dish place your dry ingredients, keeping the dried fruit aside for later. Mix until evenly distributed.
In a medium bowl, mix peanut butter, cocoa and maple syrup together before incorporating the olive oil. Once the mixture is smooth, pour it over the grains and mix until the oats are all lightly coated. Spread the uncooked granola evenly in the dish and place in the oven for 10 minutes.
Remove the dish from the oven and stir before placing it back in again to continue baking. Repeat this step as many times as needed to get the granola evenly toasty. I find that it usually takes about 40 minutes to get it just right.
Once the desired consistency is reached remove the granola and let it cool partially for about 5 minutes. Then mix in your dried fruit and allow to cool completely.
This can be stored in an airtight container for 2-4 weeks, but you'll probably eat it all first. We enjoy this with goat milk or yogurt with sliced fruit!
It's that time of year again, everybody. The temperature drops at night, the days are damp and before you know it your head feels like it's full of glue and you're laid up with the cold. It's been going around here at the farm. We're not sure where it originated from but it's here. Some of us have been able to kick those nasty germs easier than others. Of course, I'm getting the worst of it. I assume because of all of the stress and troubles the past few weeks. My immunity is weakened.
Taking the time to rest is a difficult thing to do when there are about 100 animals in need of your attention throughout the day. Tasks like hauling 5 gallon buckets of water and flakes of hay to the rabbits and goats, filling up chicken feeders and waterers, walking the property with the dogs, milking the goat...all the bare minimum of what needs to be done daily keep you from getting the rest required for a more speedy recovery. I'm sitting on the couch with a box of tissues and a mason jar of hot elderberry tea post-chores in the hopes that tomorrow I'll feel well enough to spend time prepping for Homesteading Bootcamp and training Peach to be a goat dog.
In order to do that, I've got a regiment that I follow to get back on track. It is as follows:
-Drink copious amounts of hot fresh ginger tea with homemade propolis tincture
- Rest as often as possible. Ask for help with chores if needed.
Let's see how I feel tomorrow. Wish me well!
I had never been a coffee person until I moved to New York City. The coffee there is just a different animal. With all of the small roasters around the city it's easy to get a cup that stands far above the standard gas station watery brew that are pretty much par for the course outside of larger cities. Once I had a taste of the real deal I was hooked. Powerful, toasty, rich. It was easy to love. You don't usually get the same level of commitment to a good cup outside of New York City. (with the exception of perhaps Seattle or Portland) I think one of the tenets of being a good new yorker is that you can recognize a good cup of coffee and can handle drinking several strong cups a day without having a meltdown. It took me a while but I finally got there....and let me tell you, it feels alright.
Mornings around here at Seven Arrows have been impossible without some rocket fuel to get our collective motors running. We've been hustling to get outbuildings finished enough to be inhabitable for the chickens and goats (which arrive tomorrow!!) while still tending to our jobs and responsibilities. It's also been chilly here on the shore, and getting out from under our cozy wool blankets only happens with promise of a mug of piping hot black lightening. We need this stuff. Our farm runs on it. It's reminiscent of donut chain slogans, but it's the truth.
My friends over at Cafe Grumpy have been hooking this farm up in a big way. Every two weeks I go out to the mailbox to find a couple of bags of their most recently roasted beans, some just a two or 3 days out of the roaster. The first time I received a package from Caroline Bell, cofounder of "Grumps" as Neil and I so lovingly refer to it, I was touched. I don't know that the importance of such a gift is obvious to anyone who hasn't embarked on a path that pretty much guarantees hardship. It's a little luxury, but it helps a ton.
Cafe Grumpy was a big part of our life in Brooklyn. We were located just a block from our old place in Brooklyn so we spent 95% of our coffee budget with them. Our loyalty was rewarded with all of the coffee chaff out chickens could shit upon, saving us money on bedding. We still pick up sacks of chaff when we are in the neighborhood. It's nice that we get to enjoy a little bit of our old life here in New Jersey.
Each morning we grind up some beans and load up the percolator that was given to me by my grandmother. A few minutes later, with hands cupped around warm mugs, we traipse out onto the farm to feed the dogs, chickens and rabbits, who seem to appreciate the added pep to our step.
Lemon season is drawing to a close [here in Nova Scotia], but If you are lucky enough to have some straggly lemons in your neck of the woods that you're looking to use up, I have just the recipe for you. Since this recipe only uses the juice, these lemons don't need to be picture perfect. I used Meyer lemons, but any variety will do nicely.
This jelly is ideal if you (like my husband and I) aren't really a fan of the bitterness of marmalades or other preserves which include citrus peels. It uses only the lemon juice, leaving the jelly with a bright lemon flavour and none of the bitterness. It is perfect on toast or crackers, and it's also amazing stirred into plain yogourt or spread on a crepe. The vanilla part was kind of a happy accident; the only sugar I had on hand (as I realized once I had already started and was too far in to quit) was some vanilla sugar (sugar which had vanilla beans sitting in it for a few months) In it went. The jelly would also be delicious without the vanilla.
Even if they're not used in the jelly, there are a few things you can do with those rinds! After juicing the halves, cut the little nubs off of each half so they will lay flat like a little bowl, and start some seedlings in them. Use them to scrub your cutting boards or pots on their own or with a bit of salt; they work especially well on stainless steel. Or pop them in a small pot with a bit of water and a cinnamon stick and simmer for a little while to make your kitchen smell amazing.
Meyer Lemon Vanilla Jelly
15 oz lemon juice (12 lemons for me; this may vary, depending on the size of your lemons)
3 ½ c vanilla sugar (or 3 ½ cups sugar with scraped seeds from one vanilla bean added)
1 pouch liquid pectin
Yield: 5 8oz jars
Juice the lemons and strain the juice to remove any pulp or seeds. Place juice in a pan with the sugar and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Using a small metal sieve or spoon, remove the foam on the top of the mixture and add the pectin. Stir. Pour it into sterilized jars and lids. Process in a hot water bath for 5 minutes.
I'm Sherrie Graham, an urban homesteader of sorts in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. I'm a mother, teacher, and soapmaker, and I blog about it all at www.twentytwopleasant.blogspot.com.
Between 2004 and 2005, the NYC Dept of Sanitation conducted a census of what was hiding in our trashcans and recycling bins: The New York City 2004-05 Residential and Street Basket Waste Characterization Study, or WCS. It was the first comprehensive look at our waste stream since a similar DSNY study conducted in 1989/1990.
If you've read my earlier posts, you're probably aware that I kind of have a thing for trash.
While I love me some good scavenging action, there's a lot more to our waste stream than finding drawers in it. Bear with me today; this trash talk has a good point.
A few years ago, I read an article somewhere about how our thrown-away Chinese takeout leftovers produce large amounts methane, a pretty feisty greenhouse gas, as they decompose in landfills. Well, more than just the leftovers... it turned out that just about any organic material (kitchen scraps, paper, yard waste, natural-fiber fabrics, etc.) in the ol' landfill, when entombed under other crap, decomposes anaerobically (i.e. no oxygen present) and emits methane as part of that process.
Back to the 2004/2005 WCS. I was happy to see, among lots of interesting data points, a focus on organic waste. Apparently, the amount of organics in our fair city's residential waste stream, if apprehended, could exceed one million tons of material per year. And that's only counting kitchen scraps, yard trimmings, and compostable paper... and only, again, residential. If we also count paper material otherwise designated for recycling, a whopping 64% of our waste is organic.
More than half. Of the 64,000 tons* of stuff we place curbside. Per week. *According to 2004/2005 figures.
And a buttload of it is heading for the dump. Hello, methane!
The good news is that we regular folk can get crafty to address this problem, benefiting us individually and our ecosystem (and the DSNY, if you care). Fellow homesteaders, take heed.
(Guest-blogger Ross Brown lives in Boerum Hill Brooklyn with his wife Lisa and teenage kids Tobin and Avery. A still-new urban gardener, he is adding his second beehive on his roof this year and proud to be one of the founders of the Backwards Beekeepers of NYC. An avid runner, you can find him crossing the boroughs with NYC Bridgerunners.)
When I began keeping bees on my Boerum Hill rooftop, one of my main concerns was how my neighbor, whose balcony abuts my roof, would react. Gabe is a lovely young fellow who was thrilled to see the hive being set up. He told me he thought beekeeping was super-neat (maybe those are my words, but you get the point) and that he, too, was a bit of a DIYer. He makes his own jerky. He gave me a bag of some beef jerky with a spicy dry rub he made and I was blown away. As a baseball coach and father to a teen athlete, I spend a lot of time at the ball field and often depend on jerky for quick easy protein snacking. Unfortunately it's typically packaged, commercial jerky, so receiving something so freshly made was a real treat. It was delicious, flavorful, and the freshness was unmistakable. I asked if he could teach me and he was kind enough to spend an afternoon in my kitchen sharing his expertise. And when my mom and step-dad visited recently, my step-dad Bob was kind enough to help me make a fresh batch, and he took these great photos so I could share the process with you.
The first step is deciding if you're going to make a dry-rub or marinade, or both. Think of flavors you like and don't be afraid to experiment. I use a broad range of flavors: cumin, turmeric, ginger, cayenne, chili powder, salt, pepper, brown sugar, molasses (lots of molasses), soy sauce, onion, garlic, orange/ lemon zest and juice, anything you can consider. I mix the rub together and set it aside for application, and I also cook up a batch of fresh marinade.