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Summer Farm Update & 50/50 Burger

Farm Update and the 50/50 Burger

Hi all, Oona here ( Farm Manager and Mom :) )

Summer has taken over the farm by storm! It’s here for good… is the 4th of July already here? The farm has been bustling with activity-- we have been getting ready for piglets (fingers crossed that we should have them the first or second week of July), and the chickens are happily continuing their good work with the compost piles and egg production.

The cows have been experiencing the seasonal changes as well- they’ve been eating away at the now golden grass (or standing hay as we now call it). We have a suspicion that a few of them may be pregnant- courtesy of our neighbor’s bull who busted through the fence this spring.

Already preparing for fall, the Turkeys for Thanksgiving are starting to arrive in batches and the pumpkins are growing in the ground for Pumpkins on Pikes. Save the date for that event (10/28) and for an upcoming barn dance on 9/16! Yee Haw!

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We also have a new flower farmer/ designer  -- Mandalion Designs -- growing flowers in the field so look out for the newly planted beauties on the property. We have 2 nature/farm day camps operating on the property (check out Vilda Nature, hosted by one of the residents of the TFF land), and once again the resident Barn Owls have a clutch of 3 owlets in our owl box in the drive through barn, so look to your left at the far end.

So much is happening and it’s staying light so late that we often don’t have time to stop and think of what to make for dinner (I have fallen off the slower cooker wagon, which I need to get back on). Crazy, right?!

Now On To The Recipe... The 50/50

These two meats, as well as the heat, inspired me to take a breather and ring in some help to make an exceptionally delicious burger for dinner.  I’m calling these the 50/50 burger for simplicity reasons- it contains 50% ground beef and 50% ground pork. The combination makes a unique and perfect balance of flavor that is mouthwateringly good!

-Ingredients-

1 lb  package of TFF ground beef

1 lb package of TFF ground pork

½ cup diced Onion

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Optional- 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce  

Buns

+plus your favorite burger toppings- we used goat cheese cheddar, caramelized onions, dill pickles, romaine lettuce, and Mayo.

 

 

 -Directions-


Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl- (washed) hands are the most efficient.

Form the patties we used a ⅓  cup scoop for each.

This is the step I called upon assistance for... Make sure to wash all hands involved and place the meat on a hot BBQ- or if you are out of charcoal like we were, an oiled cast iron pan will do just fine. Cook on each side for 4-5 minutes.

Considering the pork, we recommend cooking them on the well done side of things, keeping in mind that pasture raised meat cooks faster than other conventional meats.

If adding cheese add it when you flip the burger.

Toast your bun, caramelize the onions etc.

Serve Hot and enjoy with friends and family.

Eat Well and Happy 4th of July!

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Simply Delicious Pancakes

Elizabeth here!

 

Breakfast of champions!

Breakfast of champions!

Today I am sharing one of my favorite go-to's for breakfast. It is quick, nutritious and delicious!

Growing up, I loved pancakes.

As I grew older I realized that I am one of the many gluten intolerant people in the world. It was a sad day to realize a lot of foods were no longer an option. (But my health and happiness improved when I began to honor my bodies needs) 

I like my meals simple, easy, and wholesome. I connect with each ingredient. Processed flours can be mysterious (although I love coconut or almond flour...only one ingredient there). In this way, preparing gluten-free foods CAN be delicious! :-)

I found the foundation for this recipe online and created my own version, adding the flavors and textures I find complimenting 

I present to you….

2+ Ingredient pancakes!

(gluten-free, healthy, delicious!)

All you’ll need is a banana, 2 eggs (or more of each for a bigger serving), and any other goodies you want a part of the mix.

I add cinnamon, vanilla extract, hemp seeds, ground flax, and cook the pancakes in ghee or virgin coconut oil. You can also use butter or another preferred cooking oil.

You can add fresh berries on top like blueberries or peaches, or you can go down a savory route (my favorite), which is a sunny side up egg and avocado on top. There’s nothing quite like the marriage between sweet and savory!

I like to fill up for breakfast (it's the most important meal of my day), so I add hemp and flax for extra fiber and protein. The raw yolk and avocado add healthy fats- I love it! I also make some sauteed greens & sauerkraut for the side with salsa, goat cheese or both for a complete meal with satisfying and complimenting flavors. This is an easy meal that the whole family can enjoy ( or for one- I don't always like to share (: )


~Ingredients~

Banana

Pastured eggs

(Optional)

Cinnamon

Hemp seeds

Ground flax

Vanilla extract

~The Process~

  1. Mash your banana with a fork in a bowl

  2. Whisk 2 eggs in with the banana

  3. Add 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 handful of hemp seeds (chia is good too), 1 tsp of ground flax-- mix it all together

  4. Heat your pan and put your ghee, butter, coconut or other oil of choice on plentifully

  5. Pour the mixture on the pan and make your 'cakes however big, small, or crazy shaped you want

  6. Flip them after they start to golden (the color is gorgeous!) and repeat until they’re defined and to your ideal state

  7. Serve with sides, a smoothie, or simply some of your favorite sweetener on top (I go for local honey)

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Bringing fat back into the kitchen

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well
— Virginia Woolf

Hey everyone, Elizabeth here with some good news about cooking with fat (get ready- your taste buds will throw a party after you've tried this!)

 

Happy pigs who live outdoors are loaded with vitamin D- this is the most concentrated and natural way for us to get this important nutrient!

Happy pigs who live outdoors are loaded with vitamin D- this is the most concentrated and natural way for us to get this important nutrient!

We’ve been taught to banish fats… Low-fat milk, no fat this and that...you turn on the TV and hear "to get skinny, cut the fat". It can become quite the headache with all of the information. So here I offer you a simple solution to try- and with this option you have the chance to build your immune system up and make your food taste BETTER than you could imagine.  

Fats have amazing health benefits and add another dimension of flavor profile to whatever you’re making. Since our ancestors had no way of cultivating or processing oils (besides olive and coconut), our bodies don’t digest them as well.  Animal fats, which have always been easy to acquire, are available in mass amounts, make our food taste better and our health more in balance. Studies show that the further away we travel from the diet of our ancestors, the more diseases persevere.

Before the 20th century, animal fats were a staple in the kitchen...then the cotton happened. Cottonseed was plentiful and, until a process was invented to make oil from it, was worthless. Crisco was marketed as a “healthier and cheaper” alternative to animal fat for cooking and even gave away free cookbooks with their product to entice people to buy from them.

When processed oils are heated, they become chemically unstable and oxidize, which contribute to an unhealthy imbalance to our Omega 3:6 ratios. These disproportions are the core in the rise in inflammatory-based diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, anxiety, fibromyalgia, and more. These diseases were incredibly rare before the introduction of these oils and now we see them everywhere. Food can be thy medicine or thy poison. Choose mindfully.

 

Simple = better. Vote with your dollar for sustainable and nourishing whole foods. We can inspire a healthy food system and stay satisfied and healthy!

Fats sourced from pastured animals eating a natural diet and living outside can give us a wide spectrum of health benefits. Plus they are cheaper, more sustainable, and most importantly, they make everything taste better! Canola and soy oil are an absolute disgrace to food tastewise.

Personally, I’ve noticed a difference since I’ve ditched the vegetable oils (I still drizzle avocado and olive oil on meals raw and use coconut oil like it’s my Bible). My food tastes a lot better and I feel fuller faster. I ate a plant-based diet for a while and found myself in a constant haze of spacey confusion and anxiety...plus I was always hungry no matter what. Everyone is different and I believe that myself and many others need healthy animal fats to thrive and live life in homeostasis.

pastured animals are the best way to go when it comes to self-nourishment & serving our planet

pastured animals are the best way to go when it comes to self-nourishment & serving our planet

At Tara Firma Farms, we give our animals stress-free lives and allow them to live as nature intended. Our pigs live outside and soak up the sun so we can reap the benefits of their high content of vitamin D (and flavor)! We have lard available for just $3/pound.  Experience it’s tasty, healthy goodness!

The best source for your animal fats come from pastured farms, and pure. We have a bunch ready for you here! When you get it pure, you'll have to render it. There are two ways to render fat: dry rendering and wet rendering. You can cook it in a pot of water, in a crock pot, on the stove or in the oven. Either way, you will reap the tasty benefits of the cooking fat. Before the rendering process, cut off any flesh or muscle meat still attached to the fat as that would cause the fat to spoil. You can save those pieces for cooking later. It may take you some time, so play some music and get in the zone.

Dry Rendering

Slow cooker - place the fat in a slow cooker and set the temperature to low, let it go for a few hours, and make sure to stir from time to time. Clear fat will render out of the fatty tissue.

Oven - set the oven to 250. Place the fat in an oven-safe pan with a lid and stir occasionally.

When it is ready you will know by the small dry looking and browned fatty cracklings in a bath of clear fat. Strain the fat through a fine mesh strainer to separate the cracklings from the rendered fat. You may choose to utilize a cheese cloth for this process as well. Be very careful- hot fat can burn your skin worse than hot liquid.

When dry rendering, you can keep the brown cracklings and use them as a snack!

* The total time depends on the amount of fat being rendered, the temperature, and size of fat chunks. *

 

i utilize ice cubes for conveniece!

i utilize ice cubes for conveniece!

Wet Rendering

Put some water in the pot with the fat chunks. The amount of water doesn’t matter entirely, however, be mindful of the water evaporating- your fat may end up burning. It is ready when you get a feel that most of the fatty tissue chunks have given up their fat content. You might end up with less rendered fat when using the wet method because you don’t get the dry cracklings.

[I used this method and found it incredibly easy- just check on it every 15 minutes or so to stire]

Once you’re done with either method, place it in the fridge to harden. Once it is hard, break it up so you can reach and drain the small amount of water that will be on the bottom of the jar.

 

To summarize the wondrous world of pastured animal fats:

Healthy

-fats balance omega 3:6 ratio- critical for health & reducing inflammation in the body

-energy-dense & will indicate a message to brain that you’re fuller faster

-contribute to the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (like vitamin D and calcium)

-act as structural elements to cell walls

            (which aids with blood clotting, muscle movement, and inflammation regulation)

 

Tasty

-When used for frying, it will make things crispier

-The taste is unbeatable...have you had duck fat french fries?? Still to this day the french use animal fats to make tasty meals.

 

Sustainably Good

We have more pork fat than we know to deal with...will you help us? Rather than paying top dollar for a vegetable oil from a big company, support your local farmer and try ours for a low price and help us use every part of the animal so we can minimize our footprint. Share your favorite meals with us using our lard!

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Italian Sausage with Broccoli Rabe and Polenta

Ingredients:

  •  4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 sweet or spicy Italian sausages
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 12-ounce bunch broccoli rabe, trimmed
  • 1 cup homemade chicken broth
  • 12 ounces basil and garlic-seasoned polenta roll
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

Directions:

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add sausages. Cover skillet and cook until sausages are brown and cooked through, about 8 minutes per side. Transfer sausages to plate; tent with foil to keep warm.
  3. Add garlic to drippings in same skillet and stir 30 seconds. Add broccoli rabe and 1/2 cup broth. Cover skillet and cook until broccoli rabe is crisp-tender, about 8 minutes. 
  4. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add polenta; mash with potato masher until smooth. Mix in remaining 1/2 cup broth and cheese. Simmer until polenta is warmed through, about 5 minutes. Season polenta with salt and pepper.
  5. Spoon polenta onto 2 plates. Top with sausages and broccoli rabe. 

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Beet Green, Peppercress and Tangerine Salad

Don’t throw those leafy beet tops away! Beet greens make fresh beets a two-in-one bargain because the leaves look, taste, and can be prepared like Swiss chard. Other greens to try in this recipe are Swiss chard, spinach, or flat-leafed kale. 

Ingredients for Horseradish-Tangerine Dressing 

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh tangerine juice
  • 2 Tbs. cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. prepared horseradish

Ingredients for Beet Green Salad: 

  • 2 large beets, peeled and grated (4 cups)
  • ½ cup chopped shallots, leeks or green onion
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 3 cups beet greens, tough stems trimmed, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 bunch peppercress, stems trimmed
  • 2 tangerines, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup soaked, toasted and chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese, optional

To make Horseradish-Tangerine Dressing:

Whisk together olive oil, tangerine juice, cider vinegar, and horseradish in small bowl. 

To make Beet Green Salad:

  1. Toss beets, shallots and dried cranberries with 1/3 cup Horseradish-Tangerine Dressing in medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.  
  2. Toss beet greens and peppercress with remaining dressing in large bowl, and divide among serving plates.
  3. Top each serving with 1/2 cup grated beet mixture, and garnish with tangerine slices. Sprinkle with pecans and feta cheese, if desired.

 

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Traditional Corned Beef Brisket

Ingredients:

  • 1 (4- to 5-lb) beef brisket, trimmed
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken into several pieces
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 8 whole allspice berries
  • 12 whole juniper berries
  • 2 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 pounds ice (optional)
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped

Prepping the Brine: 

  1. Place the water into a large stockpot along with salt, sugar, cinnamon stick, mustard seeds, peppercorns, cloves, allspice, juniper berries, bay leaves and ginger. Cook over high heat until the salt and sugar have dissolved (the aromatic fragrance of the spices is simply amazing!)
  2. Remove from the heat and add the ice.  Stir until the ice has melted.  Ice is added to cool down the solution but you can totally skip this and just refrigerate the brine until it reaches a temperature of 45 degrees F.
  3. Once it has cooled, place the brisket in a 2-gallon zip top bag and add the brine.  Seal and lay flat inside a container, cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 10 days.   Check daily to make sure the beef is completely submerged and stir the brine. If you don’t have a huge zip top bag, brine the brisket in a large tupperware container and make sure to flip the brisket each day to make sure that all of the brisket comes in contact with the brine.

Cooking the Beef Brisket

  1. After at least 10 days, remove the brisket from the brine and rinse well under cool water.  
  2. Place the brisket into a pot just large enough to hold the meat, add the onion, carrot and celery and cover with water.
  3. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and gently simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the meat is fork tender.
  4. Remove from the pot and thinly slice across the grain.

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Roasted Beets & Sautéed beet Greens

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch beets, greens still on
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (optional) 

Directions: 

1.  Preheat oven to 350 F

2. Wash beets thoroughly (leave skin on) and remove greens. Rinse greens, remove any large stems, and set aside. Place beets in a roasting pan and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil

3. Cover and bake for 45-60 minutes (until a knife can easily slide through the largest beet).

4.  When the beets are nearly done, heat the rest of the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and let cook for a moment. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with sliced roasted beets, top with red wine vinegar (or butter if you prefer)

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Beef Tongue Tacos

A recipe for Offal Afficionados and Newbies alike!

Wait, what is offal?  

In short? Internal organs. Though we never pack offal in our members' regular shares, we do sell it upon request and even have an offal option! To some, this may seem a bit unusual. However, tongue tacos are very popular in Mexico. Why? Because tongue meat is incredibly tender, moist, and flavorful after being cooked for a few hours. So what are you waiting for? Try some tongue tacos :)

Ingredients: 

  1.  1 raw beef tongue
  2. Water to cover (about 3 quarts)
  3. 1 large onion, diced
  4. 2 stalks celery, diced
  5. 8 cloves garlic, smashed
  6. 1 1/2 Tablespoons dried oregano
  7. 1 Tablespoon salt
  8. 1 Tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  9. 1 bay leaf
  10. 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  11. 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  12. Tortillas and other taco condiments like cilantro, salsa, avocado, tomatoes (when in season), diced onion, lime, jalapenos, black or pinto beans, cheese and sour cream!

Directions: 

1. Combine tongue, water (enough to cover), onion, celery, garlic, oregano, salt, peppercorns, bay leaf, cumin, and vinegar in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 2.5 to 3 hours or until the tongue is very tender. (The tongue is done when you can insert a paring knife and withdraw it effortlessly.)

2. Remove the tongue from the liquid and let cool. When it is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and the gristle and fat from the base of the tongue. Dice up the remaining meat. Cover the diced meat with some of the cooking liquid. Taste the cooking liquid to be sure that it is sufficiently seasoned. (The remainder of the broth can be used to make soup.) The tongue can be stored in the refrigerator and reheated in the broth when needed.

3. To make the final tacos, heat the tortillas in a sturdy sauté pan without any oil over moderate heat. Place tongue on the tacos and serve with condiments.

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Crock Pot Pulled Pork

Ingredients:

  • 1 pork butt or picnic roast- 2-2.5lbs
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce (the higher quality the better- you want sauce with really good flavor to infuse into the meat.)
  • 8 kaiser rolls (or pick your favorite from a local bakery!)

Directions:

  1. Chop the onion and place in the bottom of the crock pot. 
  2. Add the meat, drizzle the sauce over and set on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4. (If you like your pulled pork really wet, add 2 cups instead.)
  3. Once the pork is done, shred with two forks and remove any excess fat from the mix.
  4. Split buns, whip up some slaw (I'm fond of green apple slaw myself) and serve!

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Nothing like a warm, hearty meal on a cold winter's night!

adapted from foodnetwork.com

adapted from foodnetwork.com

Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • 4 pounds boneless beef short ribs, cut into 3-inch long pieces
  • 8oz (1 cup) of your favorite BBQ sauce 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Arrange the short ribs in a 13 by 9-inch baking dish and season with salt and pepper, to taste.  
  3. Pour the sauce over ribs and toss well, coating all the pieces.
  4. Cover with aluminum foil and roast until cooked through and tender, about 2.5 hours.
  5. Remove foil for the last 30 minutes of cooking to brown the top.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/48155611@N03/...

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The Big Green Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup chopped, de-ribbed kale (you can also use spinach or chard)
  • 1 cup frozen fruit
  • 1 cup cold water (add more if you like your smoothies less thick)
  • Optional add-ins:
    • yogurt
    • protein powder
    • extra veggies- we like carrots and beets
    • fresh squeezed orange juice
    • Coconut water
    • Rice, almond or soy milk

Directions:

1. Add all ingredients to your blender and blend on highest setting until silky smooth.

2. Taste and add banana if it's too bitter, water if it's too thick.

3. Serve, drink, enjoy!

Pro tip: feel free to mix and match ingredients, but the core of any good green drink is kale, banana and water. We like to make them huge and add all kinds of healthy ingredients!  

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Roasted Winter Vegetables

Adapted from Epicurious.com

image courtesy of SaucyGlo (flickr)

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch beets
  • 1 bunch carrots
  • 1 bunch radishes
  • 1 bunch turnips
  • 1 whole yellow onion
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Parsley and thyme
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Peel and chop vegetables into 1-inch chunks (try to keep the size uniform- this will help them cook evenly.)
  3. Toss veggies in olive oil and sprinkle with herbs, add salt and pepper as desired
  4. Spread in roasting dish; make sure the vegetables are not crowded (touching each other).
  5. Place dish in top 1/3rd of oven, roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour (until lightly brown and fork tender.)
  6. Remove and toss with additional olive oil. Taste and correct seasoning if needed.

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