Quasi-Apple Picking

IMG_0865Re-capping part of my weekend, a bunch of friends and the two of us went “apple picking” at Indian Ladder farm.  I’ve said before that I love this place.  It’s now run by a 5th generation of the Ten Eyck family and is more than 300 acres.

I’ve been apple and pumpking picking there since I moved to this area, gulp! 6 years ago now, but what keeps me coming back in addition to the fruits and market are the cider donuts and apple cider.  What’s apple picking without them?

But I have “apple picking” in quotes because we all wussed out this weekend.  We ended up getting on line for the cider donuts and cider, and it took 45 minutes to get to the front!! After that, we were in no mood to pick, so K and I ended up buying two half pecks of apples – Macoun and Gala to get started on apple pies.  Not that we ended up doing anything with them this weekend anyways, but one thing that’s great about apples is they last almost all winter if you keep them in a cool, dark place.

We might go apple picking again in a few weeks, because I have a lot of plans for apples this fall!  Apple sauce, apple butter, and I really want to can apple pie filling.  I read that it takes 2 quarts of apple pie filling for one 9.5 inch pie, so I need to can a lot! Seems like that’ll be great presents as well!

Who wants to go on a hay ride?

Who wants to go on a hay ride?

Look at the size of that massive Clydesdale!

Look at the size of that massive Clydesdale!

The big barn at Indian Ladder

The big barn at Indian Ladder

Kris, me and Am posing in the distance on the line that took forever

Kris, me and Am posing in the distance on the line that took forever

Time to make the cider donuts!

Time to make the cider donuts!

Quick Post

I was on my way home from work (really, on my way home from the tailor’s) when K called me and told me that friends of ours were in town for the evening and wanted to know if we wanted to go out for dinner.  We hadn’t seen them since August so of course!

I had planned on blogging tonight but we got home pretty late, so this is all I have.

I only had my iPhone on me, so not the greatest quality picture, but I had to show you this appetizer that K and I split.

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How cool is that?  This was Pumpkin-Spiced Rock Shrimp, in a curried goat cheese and pumpkin bisque.  I would hate to be the sous-chef that has to cut and gut all these pumpkins, but it was a delicious and awesomely creative appetizer I had to share!

Pictures From This Week

There was a lot going on in our lives this week, some photographed, lots not.  A sampling of things…

Kitty in a Bag

I don’t understand it, but Bailey loves being carried around in a bag. He climbed into the ATL bag and we got a picture before dumping him unceremoniously out. 🙂

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Fresh butter just out of the butter molds I picked up at Different Drummer Kitchen last week.  I really wasn’t too impressed with it, I think I’ll stick with the mini muffin mold instead from now on.

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We cracked open a half pint of the salsa we canned a couple months ago.  It was terrific, fresh as the day we made it!

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Local ice cream we bought at the co-op last week in my Wales mug that I love.  The Mohawk Indians called the Algonquins “bark eaters” because they ate tree bark during the long Adirondack winters, but in this case the “bark” was English Almond Toffee.  Yum!

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Lovely menu created by Angie who hosted a delicious dinner at her house this week! So good.

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Me on the hay bale, getting ready to mulch the garden.

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Apple trees, ready for picking! We had a great time at Indian Ladder this weekend.

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This is Sampson, Am and Rudy’s beautiful Dalmatian, enjoying the farm life. 🙂

I Love Honey

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I made that 100-mile Upside Down Pear Cake on Sunday and I must proclaim its deliciousness to the heavens!  So yummy, so sweet, and I felt GREAT about it because every single ingredient except ONE came from within 100 miles.

That one ingredient was a single teaspoon of baking soda.  Yes, I used Arm and Hammer, and was kind of annoyed about it because EVERYTHING else was local!

If you have pears on hand and are into locavorism, I cannot recommend this recipe enough. It comes from Little City Farm.

PEAR UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE

Syrup:

  • 1/4 cup honey and/or maple syrup (so 1/2 cup total)
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 2-3 ripe pears, cored and sliced

Cake Batter:

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups local flour (spelt)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup milk or buttermilk

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Prepare syrup by melting first four ingredients together in small saucepan. Stir until well combined. Pour into 8×12 glass baking dish.

3. Arrange sliced pears evenly on top of the syrup.

4. In medium sized mixing bowl, beat butter, sweetener and egg.

5. Mix all dry ingredients together in small bowl.

6. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture alternately with milk.

7. Spoon cake batter over pears in baking dish.IMG_0824

8. Bake about 30 to 35 minutes or until knife inserted in cake comes out clean. Remove from oven, cool a few minutes and turn onto a platter.

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9. Serve warm or cold with homemade yogurt or whipped cream (with raw milk if you can get it!).

Makes eight servings.

HOMEMADE WHIPPED CREAM

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No raw milk here (I really want to try it one day), but I made my own whipped cream with honey just for this. In your mixer, just whip some cream and add enough honey to your taste.  I put in about a quarter cup and hubby said it was perfect.

My Notes:

  • As you can see, I used a TON of honey in this recipe. No white sugar or other sweetener used! Honey’s really expensive though, so I don’t know if I could keep this up all the time.  Makes me want to get some bees just so it’s cheaper!
  • I specifically bought honey from Lloyd Spear, Beekeeper at the farmers market on Sunday for this dessert. We don’t have much maple syrup left on hand, so I used 1/2 cup of honey instead of 1/4 and 1/4. It was REALLY sweet and I probably could have gotten away with less.
  • I made butter that night just for this as well! The cream came from Battenkill Creamery. So I had fresh butter, fresh BUTTERMILK (because I just used the buttermilk I got from making the butter).
  • I found spelt (white, not wheat, because I was baking) at the co-op. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it in a conventional grocery store.  It comes from Champlain Milling Co. which processes and mills locally produced wheat.  In this case, local is 118 miles away – I’m forgiving the extra 18 miles. I could not tell the difference in taste between spelt and wheat, although supposedly it has a nuttier and sweeter flavor.
  • The egg, of course, came from Coopers Ark Farm.
  • And of course, the most important part, the pears. I bought them last week at the farmer’s market from Maynard Farms. They were a little overripe so it might have been better if they were fresher.  Still, they were delish.

The Verdict

I’m in love.  Honey is awesome.

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Granola Bars

So there’s millet and then there’s puffed millet.

In the background is the former, and on the spoon, obviously, is puffed millet.

This, however, I did not learn until the other day.  That other day being the day after I made Allison’s amazing Great Scott! Granola Bars.

These were really easy to make. The hardest part for me was finding the ingredients to make these wonderful homemade bars.

Great Scott! Granola Bars
by: EatCleanLiveGreen.com

 

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 C brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 C natural peanut butter
  • 1 C rolled oats
  • 1 C puffed millet
  • 1/4 C ground flax meal
  • 1/4 C hemp seeds
  • 1/4 C sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 C unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

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Directions:

  1. Heat the brown rice syrup, peanut butter, vanilla + sugar on the stove (med-low) until it starts to simmer.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients in a medium bowl
  3. Turn off heat and pour peanut butter mixture over remaining ingredients. Mix well.
  4. Pour into a baking dish lined with wax or parchment paper
  5. Wet your hands and pat down to get the surface totally smooth without sticky hands.
  6. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes.
  7. Cut into bars. (Tip: use a pizza cutter!)

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I was able to make 12 bars out of this, so according to Allison’s calculations – that’s 185 calories per bar.  And boy are they filling!

Thank God for my co-op.  Let me tell you, without this awesome place I’d never find half of the natural things I use in every day life now. Citric acid?  Check.  Brown rice syrup?  Yup.  Hemp seeds? Try asking your conventional grocery store for those and see the blank looks you get! 🙂

However, I thought regular millet was puffed millet and made my mistake there.  It made my granola bars a little softer than I would like, which makes sense since regular millet is a lot smaller = less surface area = more rice syrup per square inch.

Still, I’m eating these guys.  They are delicious! And hubby commented (unsolicited, I might add) how full they kept him the whole morning.  I’m now on the search for puffed millet next time I’m at the co-op to re-make them again!

Thanks Eat Clean Live Green!

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Farmers Market Sunday

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Ignore the filthy table.  Today was a quick jaunt to the farmer’s market because we had a brunch date with some friends.  Since we went to the co-op on Saturday night, we only had a few things to pick up at the market.

  • 1lb chicken thighs and legs from Sweet Tree Farm
  • 8 oz. feta cheese and 8 oz. of mozzarella from Heamour Farm
  • 2lbs clover honey (mostly gone already – I baked today!) from Lloyd Spear, Beekeeper
  • 1/2 gallon of reduced-fat milk, plus 1 pint cream (not pictured because I used it for baking already) from Battenkill Creamery
  • 1 quart fall peaches from Maynard Farm

Our meal plan for the week includes:

Last night – Local spaghetti squash with a sauce made from local tomatoes, garlic, onions, spices, etc.

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Other nights this week:

  • Pizza with the feta and mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, etc.
  • Spicy honey-brushed chicken
  • Portabello mushroom “burgers” with Ezekial buns

The sides with our meals always vary based on the mood we’re in, but always veggies from our garden/farmers market plus a starch.  We’re very traditionalist. 🙂  We’re going out with friends two different nights this week so we didn’t need to plan as much as we normally do.

Fall is Here

Oh darling people, can you believe fall is here?  41 degrees last night, sob sob!

It’s definitely fall in the garden as well.  The green is slowly leaching out of the plants and the ground, being replaced by the blah, wan gray-brown of fall and pre-snow winter.

Garden this weekend

Garden this weekend

We got a lot done in the garden yesterday.  K replanted our alpine strawberry plant that’s sat on our deck all spring/summer next to the brussel sprouts, and then thinned out the sprouts themselves.  I finally got around to spraying them with homemade insecticide, and I collected lettuce seeds before K turned over more of the beds.

The seeds are the brown parts

The seeds are the brown parts

We planted 16 cloves of garlic and another round of spinach, even though I think we may not get anything because we’re planting it so late. We should have done it last month but never got around to it.

We have one final corn stalk growing, but I don’t think it’ll make it either since it’s the only one left.  Our corn was looking good before it was taken down too early.  Pretty no?

Corn taken too soon

Corn taken too soon

So we came home with more carrots for dinner this week, plus these gorgeous babies.

Long hot chili peppers

Long hot chili peppers

But we’re not sure what we’re going to do with them this week.  Must google 🙂

Then today, I spent some of this afternoon cleaning out and saving seeds in new packets.  It felt good putting in the seeds from plants I GREW away to be used for next year.  It was fun splitting open the seed pods and scooping out the peas, then pouring them into little coin envelopes.

Sugar snap pea seeds

Sugar snap pea seeds

Saving seeds

Saving seeds

K and I were at the c0-op last night and bought this:

Hay!

Hay!

Did your Saturday night involve bales of hay?  We’re such party animals, I tell ya!  We’re going to use it as mulch and spread it on the garden to help prepare it for winter.  It’s from local winter rye, which K wants to grow ourselves this year as a cover crop over wintertime.