November farm food

Throughout November we remain inundated with fresh food, finding no need to dip into already-preserved items, while struggling to find time for preserving the harvests that keep coming in. Here’s another of our regular photo essays on the farm-sourced food we eat year-round. Many photos aren’t very good, as this time of year most of our cooking is done after dark, and the lighting in our kitchen is not ideal for photography. They still get the point across. As always, on-farm ingredients listed in italics.
Using vegetables
Left: stir fry of peppers, onions, garlic, broccoli (ours & some from our friends at Happy Hollow Farm), served with peanut sauce (organic peanut butter, vinegar, Missouri sorghum, soy sauce, hot peppers). Right: simple salad of mixed greens, lettuce, watermelon radishes.
Left: salad of spinach, fresh goat feta, organic Missouri apples from Blue Heron orchard, organic Missouri pecans. Right: creamy soup of garlic, sage, thyme, goat milk, delicata squash, spinach, butter, flour.
Entertaining chefs
This is the time of year we start holding on-farm end-of-year meetings with our chef customers, to go over the year’s sales, discuss feedback in both directions, and discuss next year’s plans. We try to hold these at the farm so they can see the place, and so we can thank them with a good meal. The first to visit was Trey from Red & Moe, along with his wife. Lunch included:

Left: baked polenta (fresh-ground cornmeal, water, salt, butter). Right: polenta sauce (delicata squash, garlic, sage, goat milk, butter, flour); basically a thicker version of the soup above.
Left: fresh-made pita wedges. Right: fresh goat’s milk ricotta. Also served: green tomato relish (green tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc) and mixed green salad with watermelon radishes.
Using chicken efficiently
November also launches fresh meat season, as we finally start butchering fall animals. Young roosters are high on the priority, as we hatched several batches of eggs this summer to increase our laying flock, and naturally 50% of those birds will never lay an egg. The first two under the knife were hybrids between Rhode Island Reds and Black Ameraucanas. Rhode Island Reds are especially great meat birds with succulent flavor, especially when they’re as fat as these two were, and we think Reds are easier to gut than Ameraucanas (which seem to have more connective tissue holding the innards in place). Fortunately, these two seemed to have characteristics of a typical Red with respect to butchering and flavor. We can stretch a single chicken through many meals, making the most efficient use of the entire carcass. Here are the many meals we sourced from just one rooster.  

Left: sauteed chicken breasts, served with a spicy pepper sauce (onions, garlic, tomatoes, mixed dried peppers, cilantro). Right: chicken soup (broth from bones & carcass, onions, carrots, cabbage, parsley, leftover noodles & rice). The delicious fat from this carcass made this an especially rich and satisfying winter soup.

Chicken “tacos”: homade pitas stuffed with shredded chicken (scraps picked from carcass after boiling for broth), spicy pepper sauce (see ingredients above), shredded purchased cheddar cheese (a special treat; our numerous homemade rounds haven’t aged enough yet), cilantro. Roasted sweet potatoes on the side.

Not pictured: oven-fried chicken (thighs breaded with fresh-ground cornmeal & eggs), mashed potatoes with giblet gravy (chicken organs sauteed with onion, butter, flour, salt, goat milk).

Using apples
We’ve recieved several deliveries of organic apples from Blue Heron Orchard in NE Missouri (5 bushels in all) for home preservation and use, and do all sorts of interesting things with them, including canning lots of applesauce & apple butter, and drying apple rings.

 Left: fresh apples with cajeta (Mexican goat’s milk caramel: slow-simmered goat’s milk, sugar, cinnamon). When done right, this thick caramel sits in a jar in the fridge making tasty treats quite easy any time of day. Right: baked apple pancake (apples, egg, goat milk, sugar, flour. An easy and hearty breakfast, topped with maple syrup.

Bourbon-apple-pecan pie, my favorite to make, though not exactly farm-based. A filling of bourbon-soaked raisins, sliced Missouri apples, Missouri pecans, & sugar. The crust uses a bit of goat milk, that’s something… Just a fantastic flavor.
All November meals are just a prelude to Thanksgiving, the most important holiday here as it celebrates truly good food and the completion (mostly) of the year’s farming, along with a sense of self-reliance that is deeply meaningful to us. Take a look at our 2010 menu if you need any last-minute inspirations, and may the holiday be as relaxing and inspiring to you as it will be for us.

One thought on “November farm food

  1. One of my favorite apple recipes is also a very simple one to make; Southern Fried Apples. Just core and slice the amount of apple you want for a side dish. Tart, crisp apples work best, granny smiths are perfect. Heat some butter in a pan and toss in the apple slices along with some brown sugar and cinnamon. Saute until the apples are softened. That's it!