Saturday, September 13, 2014

Garlic, Cheese, Sausage Grits Cakes

With a little prior planning you can kick up those grits to another level with these yummy Garlic, Cheese, Sausage Grits Cakes. Perfect served with cooked farm fresh eggs, or they're great on their own with a side dish of fresh fruit.

1 cup water
pinch salt
1 tsp. butter
3 tbls. grits
1 sausage patty, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp. garlic powder

Bring water, salt and butter to a boil over high heat.  Add grits, stir to mix well; reduce heat to low, cover and cook stirring occasionally until grits are cooked and thickened. Remove from heat.

Line a small bread pan (5.75 x 3-inch) with plastic wrap, enough to overlap and cover all sides.

Mix cooked grits with cooked and crumbled sausage, cheddar cheese and garlic powder and spoon mixture into prepared pan.

Bring sides of plastic wrap up and over to cover mixture.  Refrigerate several hours, or overnight, until grits are well set and firm.

When ready to cook, remove from refrigerator and slice into 1-inch thick slices.  Spray an electric fry pan with some cooking spray. Place grits cakes in pan, cover and fry 2 minutes per side over 350 heat, turning only once. Grits cakes are delicate and will fall apart easily with too much handling.

Serve alone or top with a fried farm fresh egg and a side of fresh fruit.  Delicious!

Yield: 6 slices

*Cook's note - recipe is easily doubled


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Friday, September 12, 2014

Bacon, Liver and Onions

Beef liver from 100% grass-fed Angus beef at Hill Creek Farms - Hartsville is tender, delicious and totally amazing.  My mom taught me to love liver, and we had it occasionally when I was a girl. I also know many people who don't, my husband among them. 

Yes, it's an acquired taste, one you probably need to experience when you are young, such as I was when I first tasted it.

My mom always cooked it with bacon, and plenty of caramelized onions, sauteed' in the bacon grease. Then she added the liver, which took on all those delicious flavors.  It was so good.

1 package beef liver (preferably from 100% grass-fed beef)
Bacon strips (enough for 2 strips per person)
1-2 large onions, sliced into rings

In a large electric skillet or large fry pan, cook bacon until crispy.  Remove and drain bacon on paper towels.

Add sliced onion to bacon grease and cook until translucent and caramelized. Remove onions with a slotted spoon, place in a bowl and let sit.

Add beef liver to pan, cover with lid and cook 5 minutes per side, or until liver is firm and cooked through.

Remove liver from pan and serve each piece topped with 2 strips of bacon and lots of caramelized onions.


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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Chicken and Veggie Soup

Nothing beats making your own Chicken Stock, and the same can be said for your own Chicken and Veggie Soup. 

I recently received a free rooster (cleaned and processed) from a good farm friend, Paradise Acres Farm, for my slow cooker.  Well I knew when I got it I wanted to "put it up" somehow, I just wasn't sure how exactly, until I decided to make Chicken and Veggie Soup.

When the rooster is slow cooked with water, carrots, onions, celery and spices in a stock pot or slow cooker, the meat is very moist and tender. Because the rooster spends its day running around with the other chickens, it is typically somewhat lean, and the meat, even the breast meat, more resembles the dark meat of a chicken. The water and added vegetables make a flavorful stock and the meat literally falls off the bones.

1 small rooster or stewing chicken
1 onion, quartered
1-2 carrots cut in half
2 stalks celery, cut in half
Course ground black pepper
Sea salt or seasoned salt
Other spices as desired
Water to cover all

Put all ingredients in a stock pot; add enough water to cover all (several quarts).  Cover and bring to a low boil over high heat.

Reduce heat and simmer 1-2 hours or until rooster/chicken is very tender.

Using a large slotted spoon, remove the chicken (be sure to get all bones) and let cool. Meanwhile remove stock from heat, strain stock removing all the veggies, and let sit while chicken cools.

Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove all the meat from the bones; discard bones. Cut meat into large size chunks.

2 stalks celery, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
2 cups frozen or fresh green beans, chopped
2 cups frozen or fresh niblet corn
Fresh chicken stock (from above)
Chicken meat (from above)

Using 3 or 4 quart canning jars, evenly add celery, carrots, green beans, corn and chicken to each jar. Ladle hot stock over all leaving a 1-inch head-space.

Cover with rings and seals and pressure can at 11 lbs. pressure one (1) hour and 30 minutes.

Once canner has cooled, and pressure has released, remove lid partially and let jars sit inside canner another 10 minutes or so (you want them to cool down slowly to prevent any liquid from siphoning out).

Remove lid fully, then remove jars and let cool on a kitchen towel on your counter-top 24 hours. Jars are sealed when "button"  in the middle of the top of the lid is fully depressed, or you hear that wonderful "ping" sound. Store in pantry up to one year.

*Cook's note - Options when heating soup to serve:
  • add 1 cup frozen cubed potatoes 
  • serve over hot, cooked rice 
  • mix 2 tbls. flour with 1 cup milk and add to soup to thicken and make more like a chowder
  • top with shredded cheddar cheese, bacon crumbles, or diced green onion.

Yield: 3-4 quart jars


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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Butternut Squash Bread with Toasted/Salted Pecans

Recently I was gifted a beautiful Butternut Squash from my friend, Shabnam's personal garden. You can find her, and her lovely recipes, over on FlavorNSpice I love Butternut Squash, maybe that's why she sent me one ... because I begged ... and her squash was picture perfect.

Butternut Squash can be baked, boiled, grilled, sauteed', pureed, added to soups, made into creamy pasta sauce, or added to baked sweet breads, muffins, pie and more. It, along with sweet potatoes, can be substituted in almost every recipe calling for pumpkin with very similar results (my family never knows the difference). 
Simply put, it's awesome!

Did you know?
  • Butternut squash compose of many vital poly-phenolic anti-oxidants and vitamins. As in other Cucurbitaceae members, butternut too has very low calories; 100 g provides just 45 calories. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol; however, is rich source of dietary fiber and phyto-nutrients. Squash is one of the common vegetables that often recommended by dieticians in the cholesterol controlling and weight-reduction programs.
  • It has more vitamin A than that of in pumpkin. At 10630 IU per 100 g, it is perhaps the single vegetable source in the Cucurbitaceae family with the highest levels of vitamin-A, constituting about 354% of RDA. Vitamin A is a powerful natural anti-oxidant and is required by the body for maintaining the integrity of skin and mucus membranes. It is also an essential vitamin for optimum eye-sight. Research studies suggest that natural foods rich in vitamin A help the body protected against lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • Furthermore, butternut squash has plenty of natural poly-phenolic flavonoid compounds like α and ß-carotenes, cryptoxanthin-ß, and lutein. These compounds convert to vitamin A inside the body and deliver same protective functions of vitamin A on the body.
  • It is rich in B-complex group of vitamins like folates, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, and pantothenic acid.
  • It has similar mineral profile as that in pumpkin, containing adequate levels of minerals like iron, zinc, copper, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus.
  • Source:  Nutrition and
So now, let's bake! Recipe adapted from What's Cooking America.Net

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 cup butternut squash puree 
(baked and mashed butternut squash)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, beaten 
(preferably farm fresh)
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup toasted salted pecans, chopped (I used Schermer's)
*Cinnamon-Sugar to sprinkle over tops of loaves (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place oven rack in center of oven. Spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan or three (3) mini-loaf pans with baking spray

Measure all ingredients except pecans into a large mixing bowl. Mix on med-low speed until well blended.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan (s) and sprinkle tops evenly with chopped pecans. Bake large loaf 50 to 60 minutes (mini-loaves 35 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

Remove pans from oven, remove loaves from pans and let cool on a cooling rack. Immediately sprinkle tops well with cinnamon-sugar if using.

Once loaves are cool, they can be wrapped in plastic wrap and placed in zip-top bags and stored in the freezer ... if they last that long.

Yield:  1 large or 3 mini-loaves

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Pickled Cabbage Slaw

When cabbage is growing in abundance in your garden, or you simply want some great coleslaw, mix up a batch of this Pickled Cabbage Slaw. It can be enjoyed fresh, or you can "put some up" to use another day.

This recipe is exactly the same as Grandma Joan's Coleslaw, only I chopped it more finely, and of course, no mayonnaise is ever added if you are canning it.  Does it stay crunchy?  You bet it does!

I like to put some up in small 8 oz. jars to enjoy again another day, and with just the 2 of us here most days, that one small jar is enough - then there's no leftovers hanging out in the refrigerator, but you can use pint or even quart jars if desired.

1 head cabbage (small to medium)
2 large carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced (optional)
1 green bell pepper, diced (optional)
1 cup sugar
1 cup white vinegar
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp course-ground black pepper

Chop and dice, or process in a food processor, all vegetables and place in large non-reactive bowl (stainless steel or glass).  

In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine sugar, vinegar and next 4 ingredients. Stir to combine and microwave on high, or heat on stove top in a large saucepan, until mixture almost boils, about 2 minutes.  Stir and allow to cool to room temperature.  

Once cooled, stir sugar/vinegar mixture into veggies and toss to thoroughly combine. Chill, covered in a refrigerator several hours.  Makes approx. 4 cups of coleslaw.

When ready to can, pack coleslaw into half-pint, pint or quart canning jars, leaving 1/2-inch head-space. Process in boiling water bath canner 15 minutes.  

Remove jars from canner and let cool on your kitchen counter-top 24 hours undisturbed. Store in pantry up to one year.

Serving:  Eat as is out of the jar, or drain and add some mayonnaise for a more creamy texture.


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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Honey-Dijon Pork Tenderloin

I first tried this marinade recipe I found on South Your Mouth. The marinade is just perfect for pork, and one I adapted from her original recipe she used for Pork Kebabs. I used a pastured pork tenderloin from our good friends at Sunny Cedars Farm.  It is awesome.

1 pork tenderloin
1/4 cup local raw honey (we use Bell Honey)
3 tbls. Dijon mustard
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 -3 tsp. minced garlic
2 tbls. Balsamic vinegar
1 small onion, minced

Mix all marinade ingredients together, reserving 1/3 cup and set aside.  Put remaining marinade in a large zip-top bag, add the pork tenderloin, seal, massage marinade into meat, and refrigerate several hours.

Remove pork tenderloin from marinade, discarding marinade.

Using 1/3 cup reserve marinade you set aside, grill pork tenderloin over indirect-medium high heat for 15 minutes on one side and 10 minutes on indirect-medium heat, basting often. Internal temperature when done should be 145 degrees.

Remove from grill, tent with foil and let rest 5 minutes. Slice and serve while hot.

Safe Minimum Cooking Temps

Yield:  4 servings


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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Turkey Croquettes or Patties

I recently received some ground turkey from Thames Farm and I was excited to try it for several reasons; it's more economical than ground beef, it's a bit more versatile than ground pork or lamb, it's a bit less dry than ground chicken, and it's very tasty.

With that in mind, I was on a mission of sorts to make something yummy that everyone in the family would enjoy. Knowing my husband is the all-time lover of gravy, I wanted something that would work well with it, or another sauce, and so this recipe was born.  Per the husband, this is another "keeper" recipe!


1 lbs. ground turkey (preferably pasture raised)
1 stalk celery, finely minced
1/2 tbls, dried minced onion
1 tsp. parsley flakes
1 tsp. rubbed sage
1 tsp. thyme leaves
1 farm fresh egg
1/3 cup bread crumbs
3-4 tbls. oil for frying

1/4-1/3 cup flour
2 cups chicken stock  (make your own)
Salt and pepper to taste


Mix all croquette ingredients together with your hands, combining thoroughly. Shape into 7-8 small oval patties.

In a large electric fry pan, add oil and heat to 350 degrees. Fry croquettes covered several minutes per side, or until cooked through.

Remove croquettes from pan and place on a paper towel to drain. Add flour to hot pan drippings/oil and stir well.  Pour in chicken stock and whisk until well blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Served croquettes immediately topped with gravy over rice or mashed potatoes.

Servings: 3-4


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