Jerusalem Artichoke and Leek Soup

Recipe by Michael Aviad found on A Sweet Life

2 lb Jerusalem artichoke, peeled and sliced

3 medium Leeks, white and light green parts only, washed well and sliced

2 Garlic cloves, minced

1 Celery stalk, chopped

1/4 cup Thyme leaves

1/2 cup Olive Oil

1 cup Cream

Salt & Pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large pot over a high flame. Add the onion, celery and leek and cook for 7 minutes while stirring.  Add the Jerusalem artichoke, thyme and garlic and cook for another 7 minutes, and stir.

Add 8 cups of water, bring to a boil, then lower flame and let it cook for 30 minutes.  Make sure the Jerusalem artichoke is soft and remove from heat.  Puree the contents of the pot using a hard blender until smooth, add salt and pepper, and return to the stove.  Bring the soup to a boil, lower the flame and allow it to cook for 15 minutes.  Stir in the cream, salt and pepper and continue cooking for several minutes without letting the soup boil.  Serve hot.

Date, Feta and Red Cabbage Salad

photo credit: SmittenKitchen.com

photo credit: SmittenKitchen.com

Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

If you have been ordering any of the mixed date boxes we have been offering as an extra, here is a great use for them.

1 to 1 1/4 lb Red Cabbage, sliced very thin

3 TB Olive Oil

2 TB Lime or Lemon Juice

Salt and Red Pepper Flakes, to taste

1/2 cup pitted Dates, coarsely chopped

4 oz Feta, crumbled 

1 TB chopped flat-leaf Parsley

2 tsp well toasted Sesame Seeds

Toss cabbage with olive oil and first TB of lime or lemon juice, salt and pepper, coating leaves evenly.  Taste and add more lime/lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.  I do this a few times making sure I really get this base well seasoned because it will be hard to it as well later.  Toss dressed cabbage gently with half of dates and feta.  Sprinkle with remaining dates, then feta, then parsley and sesame seeds.  Serve. 

Chicks, Chickens and Chicken Stock…..

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The circle of life for the chickens on the farm.  The day after Thanksgiving, Agustin and Miguel were busy finishing up the final steps to prep the chick house.  Babies were hatching at 9 am, yes that is the time that was scheduled, and due to arrive between 10:30 and 11:00 that morning.  The fresh bedding was spread, heat lamps turned on and watering bowls (officially called poultry drinkers) were filled.  This all happens after nearly a week’s worth of cleaning and sanitizing the house.  It’s important to make sure the babies have a clean environment in which to start their lives.   Once all that work is completed,  we’re ready for the cuteness to arrive. 


The new flock will start laying pullets in about 6 months.  Have you ever tried a pullet?  They are an egg you find in stores because in commercial production they go for powdered eggs (can I say, yuck!).  When they come around I encourage you to give them a try, they are my favorite, with a truly delicious, silky texture.  Of course we never have many of them, so when you see available as an extra, I would jump on them!


Once fully matured our girls are great layers for close to 2 years.  As they age the eggs get bigger, and bigger.  During the later spring and early summer months our flock is laying close to 120 dozen a day, but then drop to the low point, which is where we are right now, to the mid 50’s.  At our current low egg production the cost of feed and labor is solidly at $8.00 per dozen.  This swing in production is really challenging to make the numbers, cost/income balance, because when our production is high so is everyone else’s, and the pastured egg market is flooded. It is hard selling all those eggs, but I am grateful for you members who take advantage of our specials and order extra, and  I am  grateful for Nopa, who during those months, purchases 12 cases a week! 


As chickens age, not only does the size of the egg go up, but the amount laid each week, goes way down.  At that point it is no longer economical to keep them and off to the soup pot they go.  Our friend Tomas, the owner of Rolli Rotti, is now the king of stock; you find his bone broths in stores all over the Bay Area.  They take our spent hens and turn them into stock for us.  I would have liked to have processed birds a couple of months ago, but Tomas is so busy, especially just before the holidays, that he had no time to slot us in.  I spoke with him Saturday and we will get birds to him the weekend of the 15th and will have stock a few days later.  I know many people were disappointed to not have stock for Thanksgiving, I know I was.  AND with colder, wetter weather, I am seriously missing it.  I keep wanting to make a quick soup and realize I have no chicken stock in the freezer and it stops me in my tracks.  The crazy thing is, I am 56 years old, how in the world did I make soup all those years before we started making our stock?  Simple things, like a great chicken stock,  can dramatically change your cooking life, in a very good way.  


Chickens are an integral part of all that happens here on the farm.  Not only do they produce eggs and broth, but they are the center of our fertility program.  As the chickens move from place to place they eat down the pasture, and the bugs, scratch up the soil and leave behind fertility.  It becomes challenging in the wet months to move the houses, because the ground needs to be dry enough.  For everyone’s sake, we always appreciate a good rain, followed by several days of sun and a little breeze to dry things up.  


I’d like to finish up this long article about our chickens with a brief explanation of the different descriptions used on egg cartons, cage-free, free-range and pastured.  Cage-free is just that, chickens live in houses, and are not confined to cages.  They have no access, at all, to the out doors.  Free-Range, is a tricky one, because it sounds good, but honestly it is quite misleading.  Here is what Consumer Reports says: The claim implies that the chickens ranged freely outdoors. However, producers can make the claim as long as the birds are given access to an outdoor area, but there are no requirements for the size or condition of the outdoor area, how accessible the outdoor area is to the birds, how often and for how long each day the birds have to be given access to the outdoors. Chicken and eggs labeled “free range” therefore do not necessarily come from birds that ranged freely outdoors.


Our girls are pastured.  As far as I know, there is no legal definition.  But typically a pastured bird is one that lives outside.  Some farmers lock their hens up at night for protection from raccoons, fox etc.  We don’t have those problems, only cayotes, but Daisy keeps them at bay.  Many of our girls sleep inside the houses and many love to sleep under them, we leave it up to them.  The only time we lock them in at night is when we plan on moving the houses the following morning.  Whether they are locked in at night or not, there is great benefit to having your birds outside all day, mostly it keeps them much happier.  With lower stress levels there is a lot less fighting.  Fresh air and fresh ground reduces the chances of disease.  Do we feed them less?  No!  Those girls move a lot and have big appetites.  Their poor caged sisters expend very little energy.  And just so we are all aware, the vast majority of eggs produced in this country come from caged birds, in 2016 that figure was 90%.  Those birds live in cages about 8” wide.  


So now you have a full life cycle lesson on your Eatwell Hens.  I think it is important for us to understand why things cost what they cost, and how your food is grown.  Great care goes into your Eatwell Eggs.  But as I hear from customers all the time, they are simply the best!

Fried Broccoli and Kale with Garlic, Cumin and Lime

Recipe from Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi

1 head Broccoli, cut into 1 1/2” florets, about 3 cups

12 oz Red Russian Kale,  tough stems discarded and leaves torn into pieces

3 TB Olive Oil

3 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds

2 tsp Urfa Chile Flake or 1 tsp other crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Salt

1/2 cup Mint Leaves, roughly shredded

1 TB Lime Juice

Place a large sauce pan filled with plenty of salted water over high heat.  Once boiling, add the broccoli and blanch for 90 seconds.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the broccoli, then refresh under plenty of cold water and dry well.  Keep the water at a boil and add the kale.  Blanch for 30 seconds, then drain and refresh.  Squeeze out as much water from the kale as you can with a clean kitchen towel and set aside.  Put the oil into a large sauce pan and place over high heat.  Add the garlic and cumin and fry for about 2 minutes, stirring a few times, until the garlic is a right golden brown.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the garlic and set aside.  Add the kale to the oil, take care, it might spatter at the beginning, and fry for 3 to 4 minutes, until the leaves are starting to crisp.  Add the broccoli, 1 tsp Chile flakes and 1/4 tsp of salt.  Stir through for a minute, then transfer to a large plate or dish.  Gently mix in the mint and drizzle with the lime juice.  Serve wit the remaining 1 tsp Chile flakes and the crisp garlic sprinkled on top.

Shrimp Bok Choy and Turmeric Soup

Recipe From Bon Appetit’s website

1 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 large Onion, chopped

6 Garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 tsp Salt, plus additional for serving

1 tsp ground Black Pepper, plus additional for serving

1 tsp Turmeric

6 cups Chicken Broth

2 Carrots, sliced

1 lb Shitake Mushrooms, stems removed and sliced

Box Choy bunch, bottoms chopped off

1 lb Shrimp

Heat the oil in a stock pot or dutch oven over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic then sauce for 5 minutes or until translucent.  Add in salt, pepper, turmeric, chicken broth, carrots and mushrooms then bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and then let simmer, covered for 20 minutes.  Add bok choy and shrimp in the last 5 minutes of cooking.  Add salt and pepper to taste, then serve.  Frozen shrimp will dilute the soup a little bit.  You may need to add a little more salt and pepper.  

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