News from the farm…the kitchen… and the community!

Thornhill Farm

 

Do you recognize this lovely spot?  It’s the Pole Barn at Thornhill Farm, where so many great gatherings and purposeful events have taken place over the last seven years. Well, don’t say goodbye just yet! Say HELLO to the possibility that we may continue to see Thornhill Farm thrive into our future as a working farm through a public partnership between the East Cooper Land Trust and a to be announced working partner, soon!

WOW!

Please send a quick email to our

Charleston County Council NOW showing your support for this project!!!  

They vote TODAY, August 26th, 2014 at 6:30pm

tractor

These little peeps are growing up now on the pastures at the farm for us for Thanksgiving!  It has been awesome to watch their behavior develop SO EARLY and realize the wonder of this beautiful heritage breed.  According to the Livestock Conservancy, this is the “original American Thanksgiving Turkey”, as it was a cross between the domestic turkeys brought from Europe and the wild turkeys of the new world.  They grow a bit slower and are stronger and more flavorful, certainly.

500px-Male_north_american_turkey_supersaturated
 

This is the grown-up version.  It’s hard to believe they go from the previous pictures taken in July to the full-grown bird, ready for Thanksgiving by mid-November.

You can put a deposit on your Thanksgiving Turkey for this year on our website.

Just click HERE

tractor

I’m spending my inspirational time in the kitchen these days (when I have to be away from the farm) with my camera and my farm loot, trying to develop the skills to inspire further this connection to farm fresh food that is so important to me.

Farm Fresh recipes coming together

so…. that turned into this….

onslate

… a yummy farro salad with roasted summer vegetables and goat cheese.

 

egg-beater

  Thank you for indulging me.  If you, or someone you know, would like to have this recipe, and/or sign-up to get my recipe blog sent to you as it is published,  please go to the website now and input your email address there.

You inspire me.

please visit often…

ourlocalfoods.com

Brick Chicken and my husband’s bacon press.

baconPress

 

Enjoy this  simple summer supper, Brick Chicken with Summer Succotash, but first let’s talk about my husband’s BACON PRESS! Do you have a bacon press??  If not, it’s ok.  Please don’t even allow the slightest inferiority complex over this question, because, as a matter of fact, my husband is one of the few lucky individuals I know who can answer yes to this question. AND I can tell you that is because I gave it to myself for his birthday one year that he even has one! Brick Chicken is one of those dishes that is so good because of one simple added element to the cooking process. Placing weight on the chicken as it cooks, skin side down, crisps the outside skin and sears in the juices and flavors.  It cooks quickly, too, because the weight (whether it is a bacon press or a brick covered in foil), gets hot and provides heat from the top as well as the heat from the grill or cast iron skillet on the bottom. This preparation is the perfect accompaniment to a summer succotash.  The combination of a medley of seasonal vegetables like field peas (which are actually beans!!), corn and tomatoes responds beautifully to a grilled brick chicken!   The process begins with removing the backbone of the chicken and cutting it in half, longitudinally.  I also am fond of quarter of chicken cooked under a brick, and so you may decide to cook a leg and thigh quarter or a breast quarter. The next step is to dry rub the meat with  some olive oil and “air dry” in the refrigerator for a little while.  This will allow the flavors of your herbs to be infused into the chicken (if you want, you can slip some fresh herbs into the space between the skin and the flesh to increase this flavor transfer).  Air drying also helps to get the skin extra crispy during the cooking process.

 

herbDryrub

 

Using a cast iron skillet or placing it on the grill, either way, it should go on a pre-heated pan/grill surface SKIN SIDE DOWN first.  The skin will crisp up beautifully in no time!

 

brickChicken

 

While the chicken cooks, (taking no longer that 30 minutes!), the veggies for the succotash are all ready to go.  A simple summer succotash should be prepared al-dente, or with some tooth to the veggies, so total cooking time should be no more than 15 minutes.  Simply start the diced onion in the pan in a bit of olive oil to soften for a few minutes, then add the field peas.

succotash

 

The field peas will need some liquid to become tender, so I add a bit of chicken stock and let them simmer for 10 minutes.

 

misobeans

 

Test the peas for that al dente doneness, then add the remaining vegetables and continue to simmer for about five minutes.

 

succotashButter

 

Finish the succotash with your favorite summer herbs, chopped coarsely (I prefer genovese basil), and a small dollop of butter (really small – this is for silkiness and flavor so you only need to add about half a tablespoon!) then adjust the seasonings of salt and pepper!   The plating of the dish is so beautiful!  The succotash, topped with the crispy skinned chicken, puts some serious flavor on the table.  The juice of the chicken will add to the flavorful succotash as it placed on top, and all will be well with the world for a moment as you dive in and enjoy this simple summer supper!

 

brickChicken-plated

 

The recipe can be found on the website here, and the pastured chicken can be purchased as part of our Stillwater Farm Variety Meat Package.  If you live close enough, the shipping is free!

Zucchini stuffed with Italian Sausage, Chickpeas and Goat Cheese

stuffedZucchiniTable

I promised to talk about utilizing pastured proteins in an appropriate health-concious way, and so today I would like to introduce you to the virtues of Italian Sausage!   Drumroll please…. Meet Italian Sausage Stuffed Zucchini accompanied by a  sensational Summer Salad!

Mind you, we all have our own ideas about healthy eating, and there are so many different opinions and studies and protocols suggested.  BUT I DO NOT HESITATE TO SHARE MINE WITH YOU!!  Take it for what it is worth to you that I enjoy eating pasture raised animal proteins in moderation, combined with the colorful array of vegetables that are available to us to enhance the meal and my health!

This is a delicious and super healthy meal that is made from such a simple list of ingredients!  And literally it can be prepared and to the table in 30 minutes.  The best for a weeknight meal, I would say.  It also makes a great leftover meal so that you can carry your lunch with you the next day.

zuchinniSausage-ingredients

 

To prepare Italian Sausage Stuffed Zucchini, first begin by cutting the washed zucchini squash in half lengthwise and scooping out the pulp,  chopping it roughly along with the other vegetables in preparation for sautéing the stuffing ingredients.

The cooking begins with adding the onions and garlic to the sauté pan first to soften and release their important flavors.  Next, add the italian sausage by crumbling into the pan, removing it from the casings, stirring occasionally until slightly browned and fully cooked.

 

sauteIngredients

 

I like to drain the sausage at this point.  It provides an opportunity to lighten the meal by removing a lot of the fat that would otherwise wind up in the dish.  The flavor is still there, though, believe me!! Remember, we are using pasture raised pork italian sausage, and it contains so much less fat than what you would find from conventional sources.  The fat is healthier, too!  You can really taste, see and smell the difference.  I find it astonishing.

 

sausageDrain

 

After the sausage is drained, we reintroduce it to the pan, along with the remaining ingredients – garbanzo beans, sun-dried tomatoes, and chopped zucchini pulp.   Stir occasionally while the flavors combine, then when light caramelization begins to occur, remove from the heat and add fresh herbs and seasonings for the final adjustment before the dish is assembled and finished in the oven.

 

sausageIngredsaute-2

 

This deliciousness is spooned back into the zucchini boats, heaping it on until you have lovely mounded stuffed cucurbits.  The final step for this meal is to add a generous portion of goat cheese to the top of the stuffed zucchini, then place the dish in a 350 degree oven for 12 – 15 minutes.

 

zuchinniTable-2closeup

 

When you place this dish from the oven to the table, accompanied by that simple summer salad packed with fresh veggies, you will enjoy the response for sure – the wow, followed by the quiet that settles over the table as the enjoyment of everyone else begins.

 

stuffedZucchiniTable

 Wow!


 

We plan to continue to raise our turkeys on the farm, even when not preparing for Thanksgiving season, so that we may offer ground turkey to you through out the year.  I hope you find this as exciting as we do!!   Here is a picture of the Heritage Bronze Breasted turkeys we are raising for Thanksgiving this year at 1 week old!  It is amazing how beautiful they are and how quickly they change and grow.    My , my, how time flies! Thanksgiving will be here before you know it!

 

babyTurkeys

 

Zucchini Stuffed w/ Italian Sausage, Chickpeas and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 4 Medium Zucchini Squash (halved, lengthwise)
  • 1/2lb Italian Sausage (preferable pasture raised, local)
  • 6oz Chickpeas (one half can, drained)
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion (diced)
  • 1 Garlic clove (minced)
  • 1/2 cup Sun-dried Tomatoes in olive oil (diced)
  • 4oz Goat Cheese (crumbled)
  • 2 heaped tablespoons Fresh Italian flat leaf Parsley (roughly chopped)
  • salt, pepper, red pepper flakes (to taste)

Directions

Halve the Zucchini, lengthwise
Scoop out pulp with a spoon, then dice the pulp for sautéing.
Add diced onion and minced fresh garlic to a warm sauté pan with a small amount of organic olive oil. Cook slowly until edges of onions begin to become golden.
Remove these ingredients from the pan and add the remaining chopped vegetables. Cook until edges begin to show the slightest feathering.
Scoop the sautéed and cooked mixture into the zucchini boats.

Top with crumbled goat cheese and bake in an oven at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes!

Breakfast on Sunday

breakfast-hash-plated

Breakfast on Sunday is one of my favorite meals of the week, wouldn’t you agree?  Sometimes it is all planned out – I shop on Saturday at the farmer’s market, stop and pick up anything I know I’ll need at my grocery, and play it over in my head exactly what I will prepare, how I will plate it, what I will serve to drink, etc.

Not always, though!  Sometimes I wake up on Sunday and look in the fridge to see what may pop out at me!  I’m notorious for “pulling together” whatever is in there, and usually it comes out pretty good!  I keep the pantry pretty well stocked with good staples, so that helps!

Today I found chopped vegetables for a breakfast hash in there (remember that gumbo I made earlier in the week?) and immediately I began a simple Bachelor’s Eggs in Hash accompanied by thick cut, naturally cured bacon, fresh figs in yogurt with honey and a refreshing glass of OJ!  It was perfect with some fresh cut herbs on the eggs to bring it to life!

I hope you are having a lovely Sunday in the Charleston summer rain!

A few shots of how it came together…

peppersOnions

This happened earlier in the week when I made gumbo!  It’s so great to cut a little extra and stash back in the refrigerator for a meal down the road.  It’s a real timesaver.  And I also stashed some heirloom potatoes already cut up…

breakfast-potatoes

Just a little olive oil in a heavy saute pan on low low low heat while I got my shower turned into this…

breakfastHash

This is where the “Bachelor Eggs” comes in.  Have you ever done this where you put eggs in a whole in bread?  Kids really love that.  Well, put the whole in the hash, and let the egg cook right there in the pan.  It’s so pretty and colorful and again, on low low low heat, the eggs cook perfectly.

breakfast-hash-eggs

Then sprinkle the finished dish with your favorite salt, chopped fresh herbs and cracked black pepper.  We are really enjoying the season of figs, and with some simple yogurt and local honey, the breakfast table was so sweet!

Happy Sunday!

breakfastHashonplate

 

Gumbo!! Okra, tomatoes, chorizo, shrimp and new turkeys on the farm!

 

Nothing says summer like okra in the south!  Turn up the heat a little more with a delicious Gumbo and satiate your senses with this summer stew that says HELLO to your tastebuds!

gumbo-wine

I LOVE a slow simmer in the summer, don’t you?  After visiting the Farmer’s Market this week, I knew there was a Gumbo in my future!

gumboFinished-post

 

One of my favorite and also one of the VERY FIRST TV personalities is naturally who I turned to when I thought about preparing my first summer stew.

prudhomme

And with so much to choose from at the market, I must admit I took a slight detour from the traditional with a few additional seasonal selections….why not?

gumboIngredients-post

It all starts with high heat to the cast iron skillet and you will bring those beautiful ingredients to life!

hotskilletGumbo

and then there is the shrimp stock. DON’T BE AFRAID!!  Shrimp stock is so easy and a thing of beauty, don’t you agree?

shrimpStock-post

What happens next is so seductive!  Chef Paul Prudhomme instructs to add the stock a little at a time, allowing the stock and the okra (you know how it has that texture once it is cut?) to combine into a sublime silkiness!

gumboSilkbase-post

Bon apetit, y’all!

bonApetityall

 

Southern Summer Gumbo

Serves 8
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour, 30 minutes
Meal type Main Dish
This summer stew is a savory sensation that cooks up quickly and improves in the refrigerator so perfect for leftovers. Serve over cooked hot rice for a completely satisfying seasonal meal.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups Okra (sliced)
  • 4 cups Heirloom Tomatoes (peeled and diced)
  • 2 cups Sweet Southern Vidalia Onion (diced)
  • 2 cups Assorted Mild Chilis - Poblano or Pasilla (diced)
  • 3 cups Red Bliss and Fingerling Potatoes (diced)
  • 6 cups Shrimp Stock
  • 1lb Chorizo (sliced)
  • 2lb Medium Shrimp (peeled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 + 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 + 1 teaspoon red pepper
  • 1/4 cup Lard or Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Unsalted Butter
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Garlic (finely chopped)
  • 4 cups Cooked Rice

Directions

Prepare all ingredients for cooking by washing, dicing and chopping.
Heat the olive oil or lard in a cast iron dutch oven type skillet until almost smoking.
Add half the okra and sear for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allowing the okra to brown nicely will add texture and flavor to the dish.
Add 1 tsp of white pepper and 1 tsp of red pepper, the onions, peppers, potatoes, garlic and chorizo to the okra and continue to brown and sear for about 10 minutes, scraping the bottom of the skillet occasionally.
Add two more cups of shrimp stock and allow to simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
Add half the chopped tomatoes and stir, then add remaining shrimp stock to the pot. Add the second teaspoons of white and red pepper and salt and allow to simmer for about 45 minutes.
Add the butter and all to simmer until butter is melted. Stir to incorporate.
Add remaining okra and tomatoes and shrimp. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Dish will be perfectly cooked with some texture and succulent and tender shrimp.

Serve over cooked rice, and don't forget to put the hot sauce on the table for those crazy heat lovers!

 

On the farm this week, we enjoyed the arrival of your heritage Bronze Breasted Turkeys!  Believe it or not, my grandparents raised these same turkeys in the 1930′s on the farm in Old Fort, NC!!  Pastured poultry was normal back then…

bronzeBreastedpeeps-post

Building Fences and Grilling Peaches

It’s definitely too hot to be in the kitchen!  Well, in the lowcountry, it’s hot outside too, but the sultry warm evening air is somehow the most relaxing thing on earth.  However you spent the day – building fences or working at your computer – the warm evenings beckon us all outdoors.

peachTomsalsa-ingred-post

If you could walk through the farmers market on your way home (or your garden before you go inside – even better), what would you find in July?  Peaches, corn and tomatoes, of course!  And they go together perfectly on the grill!

peachTomsalsa-ongrill-post

Just a touch of that fire (not too much!), provides a slight smoky silkiness to the bite of fresh vegetables, releasing their bursts of flavors to combine for a summer savory explosion!

Peach Tomato Corn Salsa

 

That lonely plate is bustling with companionship now!  My suggestions for getting the most of your summer grill? Take what is happening in the garden and put it on the grill.  Add it to your dinner plate in one of many possible ways – Brick Chicken, Grilled Shrimp Skewers, Grilled Mahi or other fresh fish filet to name a few!

fenceGate-post

 

And here is a pic of the fence gate that was built in 95 degree heat today – gotta get the next pasture ready for our beautiful girls to farrow a new litter!

Grilled Peach, Tomato, Corn Salsa

A wonderful seasonal addition to your repertoire, this salsa is a great topping to fish tacos, grilled fish or just great with tortilla chips as an appetizer.

Ingredients

  • 2 Medium Carolina Peaches (crilled and diced)
  • 1 or 2 Large Heirloom Tomatoes (diced)
  • 2 Ears Farm Fresh Corn (grilled and cut from the cob)
  • 1 can Black Beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/4 cup Vidalia or Sweet Onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 Medium Fresh Lime (squeezed)
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 Small Clove Garlic (finely chopped)
  • salt and pepper

Note

This beautiful seasonal salsa is the perfect "salad" on your plate with grilled fish or chicken.  It makes a great topping for a summer taco as well.  Enjoy the bounty of the season!

Directions

Combine ingredients! Allow to sit and blend flavors!