Archive for June, 2010

Sunfood Farm

June 29, 2010

In case you didn’t already know my dad loves to garden, so much in fact that he has slowly begun to share his produce with others. He started out by taking lettuce to local Dyer Dairy in Georgetown where they sold it along with their milk, cheeses, meats and other goods. Then a couple of weeks ago Scott & White hospital held their first farmer’s market as a part of their wellness program and my dad was invited.

In preparation for the event he asked my help with brainstorming a name and designing a logo for his growing farm. The name was inspired by some quotes from the Omnivore’s Dilemma; in the book, Pollan spends a week at the infamous Polyface Farm where he discovers that farming is {in the simplest of terms} harvesting the sun’s energy into a form that we can consume. Therefore sun energy + plants = sunfood.

The farmer’s market went really well…ours was by far the best looking table {I should have ironed the table cloth}. There were about 20 vendors total; a couple selling grass-fed beef and jerky, one selling eggs, a couple with dairy and cheeses, many selling various fruits and vegetables and one table with nothing but home-canned pickles.

My dad enjoys experimenting with different varieties of vegetables in order to discover new, tastier produce that is best suited to grow in the hot, central Texas climate. This definitely proved to be advantageous for our table because we had things that nobody else had! Most of the other produce tables had red potatoes, yellow squash, cucumbers, watermelon, tomatoes, etc. while our table consisted of two varieties of garlic, sweet Texas onions, fingerling potatoes, Swiss chard, rosemary and sage.

My dad also came up with this great idea of selling pre-made baskets of mixed vegetables along with a recipe for making a simple soup. Each “Sunfood Soup in a Sack” contained one pepper, some potatoes, an onion, a tomato, a couple cloves of garlic and a bunch of Swiss chard. All you need to add is your choice of a piece of meat!

We both had a fun time and it was definitely a great first farmer’s market experience. I can’t wait for the next one!

Peach Hand Pies

June 10, 2010

I felt kind of bad that all of the pies got eaten at our bible study when Mark was looking forward to having some around for snacking on and since I still had a bunch of peaches left over…I made some more! Only this time I made the crust from scratch and I remembered to take a picture.

Aren’t they pretty? I love how the peach filling bubbled out of the cuts in the top crust. Definitely looking forward to enjoying one of these with some ice cream for after dinner tonight!

A Peachy Weekend

June 9, 2010

Last weekend I spent a couple of days at home with my parents while Mark was out of town and my mom and I decided to make peach jam!

Early Saturday morning we hit up the Temple and Belton farmer’s markets and scored a half bushel of lovely, local peaches for just $20.

The first steps were to pick out the ripe peaches, rinse them off and remove the pits. Then we ran them through this juicer/grinder that squished out all of the juice and pulp, leaving behind just the skins.

Then we added a little honey, some sugar and the pectin and brought it all to a simmer on the stove.

Once the peach mixture was nice and bubbly we ladled it into some half pint jars, screwed on the lids and placed them in the water bath for about 10 minutes {this is the point at which the camera battery died so, sadly there aren’t any more in-process pictures}.

Once I got back home I cut a few circles out of some fabric that I had and put it under the lids to make them look all cute!

Making the peach jam with my mom was so great and every time I use some of the jam I’ll remember the time we spent making it together! I had forgotten how fun it is to can stuff; it takes a lot of time and effort but in the end you’re left with these wonderful jars of deliciousness that you can choose to keep or share with friends {plus you know what’s in it}.

Since we only used about half of the peaches to make the jam, I brought the rest home and last night Mark and I made peach hand pies. No, I didn’t know what hand pies were either until I started looking up peach recipes; they are basically what the name implies, little pies that you can eat with your hands. Every recipe that I could find was just a rendition of the one I found on Smitten Kitchen in which the crust is made from scratch. But since I didn’t feel like being that crazy I stole an idea from this Good Housekeeping recipe and used pre-made pie crusts instead. Needless to say they were AMAZING, Mark and I both ate one right after they came out of the oven; the only thing it needed was some vanilla ice cream!

I forgot to take a picture and they all got eaten when I took them to bible study this morning so here’s my adjusted recipe instead:

Bourbon Peach Hand Pies

1 T. butter

4 t. cornstarch

1/3 c. sugar + some for sprinkling

2 lb. {about 5 large} ripe peaches, unpeeled, pitted & chopped

dash salt

1 t. vanilla

2 T. bourbon

1 T. fresh lemon juice

2 pkg. unbaked pie crusts (4 crusts total)

1 egg, beaten

Take pie crusts out of refrigerator and let warm to room temperature.

In large, non-stick skillet melt butter over medium-low heat. Stir together peaches, sugar, salt, vanilla & bourbon; add to butter in skillet. Cook 20-25 minutes or until peaches are very tender and mixture has thickened and is bubbly {the smell of the peaches simmering with the vanilla and bourbon is to die for, seriously…you should make these}. Be sure to stir frequently. Remove skillet from heat and stir in lemon juice. Cool completely.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Unfold dough and cut into quarters. Wet edges of dough with water to help the dough stick to itself then spoon about 2 T. of peach filling onto the center of each dough piece. Fold dough over filling and seal edges by pressing with a fork. Transfer pies to cookie sheets.

Brush tops of pies with beaten egg, sprinkle with sugar. With knife, cut 2 slits in the tops of each pie.

Bake 18-20 minutes or until golden brown, rotating cookie sheets between upper and lower oven racks after 10 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream!

You Said It, Jon

June 4, 2010

via Daily Garfield Comic

Memorial Day Weekend

June 2, 2010

This year we had another very enjoyable Memorial Day Weekend on Lake Conroe with Mark’s family. We spent the whole three days sunning, boating, tubing, wake boarding, eating and having fun!

For the first time we attempted a crawfish boil and it turned out great! I’m still learning to love eating crustaceans but I’m slowly getting better; I still refuse to touch a live one though.

Mandy bought Logan a slip ‘n slide but he didn’t have near as much fun with it as we did.

We tested the new tube to its limits, with all five of us “kids” hanging on for dear life. The boat couldn’t pull us very fast but it was definitely humorous.

And then there’s my husband and Daniel, being their usual selves.

What a great weekend with family, I can’t wait until next year!

More Kittens

June 2, 2010

Yes, three new kittens have made their home at my parents house.

Yes, they are adorable.

And yes, we are crazy cat people.

Allow me to introduce you to Dexter,

Simba,

and Wiggles.