I have been waiting for a couple of reviews to come back on this sauce. But the overwhelming majority love it…with a few minor tweaks to the original. When I first made the sauce, I just kept adding ingredients until I thought it tasted right…never did get it perfected but I knew I was close to have a really good all around sauce that could be used on beef, pork and poultry.
The original recipe is:
3 cups Ketchup
1-1/2 cups Chive Vinegar (follow the link for instructions)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup honey
3-4 tbs. black pepper (use less for fresh ground)
2 tbs worcestershire sauce
Blend all the ingredients over low heat and allow to simmer until the sauce thickens. Once it starts to “stick” to a wooden spoon, it’s done.
The feedback is that it has a little too much vinegar (which you could allow to cook out for a little longer) and that it’s a got a little too much pepper. I think it depends on what meat you are applying it too. I like a little more pepper when dealing with beef, but ultimately, the taster (you the cook) can decide.
It’s snowing like crazy here in Upstate NY today. The roads are slick and I sure don’t have any desire to brave the snow, the cold or the wind to go anywhere. I’ve spent the day preparing myself to get better organized for 2014, so I can stay on top of things and give myself some budgeted time to blog more often.
As part of that “planning”, I decided to add in a menu planning section too! You see, someone is HORRIBLE at remember to take food out of the three full stocked freezers to prep for the evening meal. Oops. I’m going to explore some new recipes in these age old cook books I have and maybe throw a little of my own flair in there too. Since almost everything I cook comes from scratch, I decided that maybe it would be good to share my favorite recipes via this blog page. Once a week, I will share my favorite recipe or food good I made! Tasty Thursdays we will call it!
So for my first Tasty Thursday, I’m going to share my good old chips! This year on New Year’s Day, these were a huge hit and I couldn’t make them fast enough!!! Ahem, I was the only one eating them but hey, they were good!
I just used regular white potatoes. I scrub them clean and use a mandolin to slice them nice and thin.
Next I put them into the fryer at 350 degrees for about three minutes. Flip them a couple times with a slotted spoon. Once they start to brown (do not brown them all the way this time), remove from oil. I preheat the oven to about 300 degrees and line a cookie sheet with a paper towel. Place the sheet into the oven to keep them hot. I do a couple of batches this way (about two whole potatoes). I turn the heat up on the fryer to about 375 degrees and refry the chips. Keep flipping them until the center of the chips turns a nice golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towel. I like to sprinkle a mixture of salt and garlic powder on as quickly as possible. Shake them around and dump into a bowl. Serve hot or cold! Simple, easy and delicious. I’m sure that you can mix up 1,000 different things from the spices you have that would taste excellent.
They say the life of a farmer slows down in winter. I beg to differ. Winter time is usually the time we catch up on reading, sit through forage classes and plan out for the coming year. This year isn’t much different for me other than I am reading more on Holistic Land Management and taking some additional business and financial planning classes online. The extra course work, which takes a couple hours per week per class, really isn’t that much but it still takes time.
I have some other classes that I am taking too. Ones on the food system in the US and another on human nutrition. Why am I taking these classes you ask? Looking at from my perspective, I feel as a farmer who works extensively with consumers about food production, it’s my job to be as informed as possible about how food impacts choices when it comes to how you eat. It’s also important for me to know and be able to express how food moves and travels because you never know someday we might be selling our goods all across the US. As for the business and financial planning classes, no matter how you want to look at farming or agriculture in general…it’s still a business where we need to make sure that we are planning and spending funds appropriately but also ensuring that we are making enough money to stay afloat too.
Farming doesn’t have the profitability of many other jobs but it is rewarding in other ways. That’s one reason why it’s important to look at management from a Holistic standpoint since those methods also take a look at lifestyle too.
On top of classes, I am still doing all of the same stuff…dealing with frozen water, cold stress in cattle, feeding hay bales, changing bedding, filling water jugs several times a day, gathering eggs, feeding chickens, caring for calves, keeping the fires going, cooking the old style home cooked meals and still trying to keep up with laundry, dishes and housework.
Life doesn’t slow down for much on the farm. Sometimes we are forced to take breaks from the daily routine due to illness (and believe me, I have to be SUPER ill to keep me away from the barn) but it isn’t often. Even if we aren’t doing the manual labor involved for the farm, there are still other things we do. Research, reading and formulating crop charts, rotational grazing map or looking through seed catalogs…there is always something that can be done.
I have been down and out for a couple of days with one of those illnesses that prevents me from standing too much…but I still didn’t miss the birth of the first calf of 2013. I even managed to capture a video!
I didn’t get to stay out there too long and I am thankful for a cow that is awesome about birthing. I missed the first steps and the first suckle, which happen to be some of my favorite moments on the farm. It’s rather depressing to miss such moments too but, sometimes we have to take care of our own health first or we won’t be any good for anything at all for a very long time, if ever again. So for now, I will deal with my winter blues the best way I know how…learning, researching and communicating via books and the internet. I have to say, I have had some awesome conversations over the phone too about our grazing plans, the success we have had and why I think it’s important for others to consider rotational grazing. Being down isn’t all bad…it just takes some adapting.
I will write more soon about extreme animal care and welfare. I want to give some details about how we cope with winter months when temperatures hover around ZERO with freezing cold wind chill factors, what we do to ensure animal safety during winter, and how grazing has also been incorporated during the winter months. I may have to write up a series of articles but, I think it’s important that people see just how much care and planning goes into animal care during extreme weather.
Hope you are all staying warm…and I will leave you with a photo to contemplate for the next blog! Have a blessed day!
Well, now that things have kind of fallen into a routine…it’s time to get back on track with updating.
We are excited to say that we are now collaborating with a store front located in Binghamton, NY called Old Barn Hollow. We have been sending our eggs to their newly opened store front for about a month now. It is so great to be able to share our eggs with some of the fine folks within the city that are purchasing local food goods! I am excited to see how they do and know in my heart that this is just the start of a great adventure!
Second, we send our fast growing meat chickens over to a USDA certified butcher shop that is now open locally too! Cascun Farms is now the only processor I know of within our area. When talking with them after our birds we processed, we discovered that our ideas on how to support, increase awareness and generate fair income for local small farms fall right into line with each other! Andrea is a joy to work with and we have been collaborating on developing some ground work for some future developments. Andrea has a ton on her plate right now with being a mom of three and operating not only a farm herself but also being involved with the poultry processing. Both her and her husband have been working very hard at setting up meetings and looking into new market avenues for small farms within the upstate New York regions. As time goes on and more things come online…I will start sharing the progress.
As for us….we are now chugging away with 18 head of cattle (including a couple of dairy heifers that I am super excited about), around 60 chickens and 15 turkeys! It’s really hard to believe that just four short years ago there weren’t any farm animals here! They seems to be multiplying all over the place!
All of the turkeys that we grew since this summer are no spoken for as well! Twelve are headed to Cascun Farms for processing…with four to return and just two for us to keep! Unfortunately, that means no remaining for us for the rest of the year…but it just means I can get more birds in the spring!
We have sold and eaten some of our pasture raised Rose Veal now too! There is much conversation all over the place about what we do with these unwanted bull calves and why. We know have an amazing brochure that explains the basics in detail as well! Now I have been talking with a few local restaurants and a whole sale supply chain on developing some new markets as well. Several folks have requested some samples and I can’t wait to hear what they say about the product…I know that we have worked hard to do the right thing by these fellas and I know it shows through in flavor and texture!
So many things have been happening all at once that it has been extremely difficult to keep up with everything….but now that a couple of things have been changed around, I find myself with an extra few minutes everyday to be able to get back to doing what I love to do so much……Go figure! It’s talking about the farm and the animals!
Make sure you stop by and visit our facebook page too. We are posting conversations and sharing lots of photographs! You can see how well the animals did on rotational grazing this summer and even get to see some of the fantastic meals we eat! We will be running some specials for ordering very soon too so don’t forget to click that like button!
Well, yesterday was the last time those Texas girls came for farm camp…not to work but for photos with their favorite animals on the farm. I have to admit, I was delighted, shocked and surprised when the chose the calves over new chicks, chickens and the turkeys.
The whole farm camp experience has been both rewarding and fun for our farm. We got the opportunity to share part of our daily lives with two teenage girls who didn’t know, understand and were fearful of many things on the farm. Granted they were Mr. Farmer’s nieces but being one generation and part of the family removed from farm life doesn’t mean they had any idea what farming is/was like.
Having them come to learn about the animals, how to care for them and just spend time around the farm was an eye opening experience. It demonstrated to us just what type of seperation the younger generation sometimes have with the origin of 1)how people in the olden days used to survive, 2)their food and 3)the different methods of achieving the end result of milk, butter, cheese, meat, etc.
I am so very proud of them, even though they hated getting up early to be at the farm by 6 am. They learned to not be afraid of the chickens pecking them while gathering eggs. They learned that calves will not bite (too hard anyway) if allowed to suck on your fingers. They learned that just because a cow is bigger than you it doesn’t mean that you need to be scared all the time but that it is okay to have a healthy respect for the size of the animal. They learned that flip flops are really not good options for foot apparel on the farm, no matter what the farm manager does. They learned that farming can actually be fun and animals are really kind of funny with their antics. They also learned that sometimes normal chores like checking fields can be fun too…especially when you detour with the four wheeler into the woods to get stuck in the mud! They also learned that once you start adding up all that the land and the animals can provide for you, it’s actually a lot of work but very enjoyable too.
The whole thing has actually inspired me to dedicate sometime every summer to a few kids that would normally not have the opportunity to spend time on a farm to at least be able to spend an hour or two learning about what farmers really do. We, as a farm, have decided to use a funding raising method through the sale of t-shirts to raise money to cover for some of the items that would be supplied to the kids. Those t-shirt designs and logos will be given to all the kids that come to learn. They will also receive a portrait photo for them to keep too. For the younger kids, maybe a coloring book and some crayons. For the old kids, we still are thinking…so ideas are very welcome for that teenage group!
As we progress through with the shirts, I will generate a special post for here with color options. Adult shirts will retail for $15, kids shirts will retail for $10. Below are the farm camp version of the shirts, along with the farm logo and a couple of portrait shots as examples.
Well, this morning was the last morning of farm camp for the visitors from Texas. I am so proud of how much change I have seen in these two young ladies from Monday morning until today!
The first day they arrived, they were scared of all of the animals. “The cows are big, the calves are going to bite, the chickens would peck and the turkeys would attack” were just a few of the statements made by these two ladies. It almost made me think that the whole experience was going to be tough because their mom MADE them come up for morning chores at SIX am. What kid wants to get up that early during summer vacation? Most adults don’t…at any time of year!
By Wednesday, they were actually asking to come up to assist with nightly chores, letting the calves suck their fingers and were not afraid to gather the eggs! I feel blessed to be able to share the farm with them! They have come so far in such a short time! I have to say…I will miss them now during my morning routine.
I have some of the photos up on our facebook page…and will get some up here soon but I need to wait. They will actually be included into a special post that they will be the contributors for!!!!! You will get to hear from them all about the experience. I can’t wait to see what they have to share and I promise to share, no matter what they have to say.
And…since they don’t actually read the blog, I will share now what I have done for them. During one of the conversations this week with Mr. Farmer, it was decided that we would do something special for them. So, I sat down and designed up a logo for the back of a shirt! Much like an event T-shirt! Here is the design.
We will have them all ready for them when they return on the 29th of this month. I still need to do some adjustments but this will be close to what the back will look like. I will get photos of the finished products once they are completed and in hand. Oh and by the way…on the front it will say “Farmer Ashley” and “Farmer Autumn”. Kind of like getting a certificate of completion! If anyone else has some ideas on things we could do for them…send a shout out and let me know! These are all ideas that we will start incorporating for all of the kids that come to visit! Farm camp will be reserved for kids who come 2 or more consecutive days for a whole experience type of thing. But since we do have visitors and repeat visitors, I would love to be able to come up with something for them to take home with them as a reminder for the whole experience.
Any ways, I must run and go do errands today…so I need to get my butt in gear or I won’t have the time to finish it all!
Since many have been asking….”how’s the chive vinegar doing?”
Here’s the answer!
We still have one more week to go. I will be posting another update sometime around the 20th of the process of straining and making of the actual salad dressing. I am excited to try it! I have been tempted to pop open a jar now, just to see how flavorful it really is…but I am TRYING to be patient! 🙂