Cooking with kid: Sauerbraten with shoulder #2

Editor’s note: This was written in late winter, but delayed due to various circumstances. The next post in this series will be a new, current one and hopefully the series stays up to date from now on.

In honor of my German heritage, I decided that sauerbraten should be in my cooking repertoire, as I enjoy it when prepared by Eric. So, in spite of my plan to minimize “meat and potatoes” meals in this series, I decided to embrace and feature that combination…this time. Why? For a culturally complete meal, I wanted to serve the sauerbraten with potato pancakes, another German specialty that I make routinely. Our dwindling storage potato supply suggested that I either make this now or wait until July, the earliest more potatoes could be ready for harvest. Sauerbraten in July doesn’t sound as appealing, so I opted to prioritize this as a nice winter meal.

Although my parents have handwritten recipes for sauerbraten from my grandmother, I simply went for our cookbook shelf and took guidance from the recipe in Mimi Sheraton’s The German Cookbook, our favorite resource for traditional German cooking. I followed the recipe moderately closely, though of course it calls for beef rather than goat. What matters is the braising theme, and the basic components of this technique are quickly becoming familiar: brown the meat, saute some aromatics, add some liquid, put it all together, and slow cook. The twists here are that sauerbraten starts with a specific marinade, and final preparations include making gravy.

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Pumpkin bread recipe

This is the winter squash equivalent of zucchini bread: easy and delicious. The year we were married was a great year for winter squash. They served as decorations and we served them in wedding cake, baked according to this recipe and dressed up with cream cheese frosting. This recipe is kind of heavy on white flour and sugar and somewhat sparse on farm ingredients (only eggs & squash, and occasionally yogurt if I substitute it for a part of the oil). However, it is yummy, so we’re going to provide the recipe as baked for that special day.

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Cucumber salad

Spring spinach salad is a distant memory, lettuce salads are done until fall, and slaw is about to wrap up for the season, too. So, it is time to move on to salads of summer vegetables, such as this cucumber salad. It is best if the cukes are sliced to near paper-thinness, though it is still plenty good with lazy thicker slices. A slicer attachment on a food processor is a good way to produce thin slices for a large batch. Let the salad marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight to blend the flavors. Or, skip that step (as we often do) before the first serving, but make enough for several meals at once. Continue reading

Borscht master recipe

Borscht (beet soup), chilled or hot, can be an excellent way to use a variety of spring produce. Detailed recipes abound, but you really just need a sense of the basic structure of the soup to adapt it to whatever is on hand. Below we present our loose master recipe for borscht, based on spring produce from the farm, which makes an easy meal that’s great for leftovers as it serves well chilled on a hot day. Continue reading

Asian cabbage slaw

We love fresh cabbage, and by far our favorite recipe is based on the Asian Cabbage Slaw from Moosewood New Classics. This is a vinegar-based recipe, which we much prefer to mayo-based slaws. Everyone we serve this to goes nuts over it, and we can eat it by the gallon. Slaw contents can be quite variable based on the season. Here’s our spring version of this dish, incorporating the wide variety of slaw-compatible produce available right now and a few personal touches. Continue reading

Home yogurt making

As non-fans of drinking milk on its own, we love making fresh yogurt as an alternative. It’s quite versatile in the kitchen, usable for everything from breakfast to dessert, and we easily go through 2 quarts a week or more. Before we established our own year-round milk supply, we found that we could make a batch of yogurt from local organic milk for about half the price of buying the equivalent volume of organic plain yogurt, with what we considered superior flavor and not shipped in from far away. Whether with our goat’s milk or your own preferred source, learning to make yogurt at home can be a really rewarding and cost-efficient process if you have a little time to spare. Continue reading

Homemade whole-milk ricotta

Whole-milk ricotta is the easiest fresh cheese to make at home, requiring fairly standard kitchen equipment and a minimum of steps. It doesn’t take very long and produces a very tasty and versatile product which we think tastes much better than the ricotta that’s readily available in stores. By some definitions, whole-milk ricotta is not really a cheese (because there’s no culture or rennet), and it’s technically not true ricotta (which is made from reheating whey of hard cheese but produces miniscule quantities of curd). However, we consider the simple process and tasty results to be a good first step into home cheese-making. Continue reading

Using mint in beverages

One of our favorite ways to use mint is to infuse its flavor into various beverages. Most of these involve heating the liquid, then tossing in a few sprigs of mint. To maximize the mint flavor, we’ve found that it is best to add the mint when the liquid is a bit below the boiling point of water. Here are a few recipes for using mint in diverse beverages including tea, mojitos, and chocolate milk. Continue reading

Making and using crepes

Crepe-making is a wonderfully diverse kitchen skill to have; crepes are easy to make and can be used to improve so many different dishes. I’ve used them as spring roll wrappers, pseudo-tortillas, and even as a reasonable substitute for Ethiopian njera (see below). A batch takes so little time that crepes can be an easy meal for a busy night, simply stuffing them with whatever you might have on hand. We learned to appreciate the diversity of crepes through restaurants in Montreal and western New York state (such as this one), and have yet to run out of uses for them. Here’s a look at several different ways to make them, and some of the uses we’ve put them to here on the farm. Continue reading