Wednesday, July 14, 2010


...not half bad! Actually, very good! Recipe link to follow, and a photo if we can manage one before we eat them all.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

From the Mouths of Babes

Latest cute quote from the Happy Protector (age two), as he was thoroughly enjoying two desserts (Flourless Chocolate Cake and Fresh Strawberry Pie...handpicked and handmade by his sisters, of course).... "Our house is NOT desserted!" Profound in more ways than one.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Feeding the Multitudes

Yesterday, we had a glorious Lord's Day. Worship, rest and fellowship is the order of the day for us each Sunday. Nothing like having a few friends over after know, oh, 70 or so. As a very dear young lady was helping in the kitchen, she requested my bread recipe. While I confess, it may not be the same loaf twice around here, it is usually pretty tasty no matter what. And I know the Lord fed over 5,000 with five loaves. But here, a couple disappeared rather quickly with just a handful of young'n's. Maybe it was the peanut butter and jam...or greed? We'll say pbj. Think the best. And by handful, I mean 30 or so. You know, just a few.

And while I am one of those home-schooling, denim skirt-wearing, grain-grinding kind of gals, this recipe is the one we go to for quick, easy and yummy all in one package...white flour and all.

Anyway, here goes...

4 cups warm water

8 TBS softened butter

4 TBS yeast (I use instant)

2 TBS kosher salt (sea salt works well....if regular table salt, decrease by half)

1 cup sugar (choose your poison...mine is organic evaporated cane juice)

4 eggs (the emulsifier of choice, replaces soy lecithin)

1 cup oats, moistened (I used quick and about 1/2 cup water)

12 3/4 cups flour (here you may use your flour of choice, or combination of grains)

In your handy-dandy mixer (Electrolux for my bread, Kitchenaid for other recipes), mix all these ingredients until the dough is elastic and pulls away from the bowl. If it is too sticky, add more flour a little at a time. Resist the temptation to dump a cup! TBS at a time will do.

Now, here is where you make a choice. Rolls or loaves? Or both! For loaves, pull off as much as needed and shape. I pinch off my dough and using as little effort as possible (for the dough's sake, not mine!), smooth it from top to bottom. I realize this is hard to imagine without photos. Maybe a dough tutorial will follow later. Maybe. Put the loaves into pans with parchment paper (no greasing necessary). Allow to rise to desired fullness (about half an hour). Bake at 350 degrees F, for half an hour.

For rolls, allow to rise before shaping, about an hour. Then, shape; place on parchment paper; cover and rise again. Bake at 375 degrees F, for about 8-10 minutes. In my opinion, dark is dry and overdone. So watch for a light, golden color...and you will get a moist, smooth texture.

This recipe makes (usually) four loaves, or two loaves and enough rolls to feed our family supper (and have a few leftover if we are not gluttonous) or whatever combination thereof you desire. The amount of dough for one loaf constitutes about a dozen decent-sized rolls. There. Clear as mud. But much yummier.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Coconut Cake

Now, I am not sure whether or not I can share this recipe with you. I promise it isn't because I don't want to. But, friends, I am here to tell you, this cake was fantastic. A while back, (I has been too long), I mentioned heirloom recipes and hinted that you should not keep them 'til you die! Didn't your mama teach you to share? There is one recipe, a family treasure you could say, that has eluded everyone who has ever asked for it. My Aunt Zelma made the best coconut cake you have ever tasted. She would not tell the recipe for love nor money, and ask me how I know. She took it to her grave. Sad but true. Actually, I think her daughter has it, but she isn't giving it up either. My sister and I have come pretty close, and we share our trials and triumphs with each other every time we try it. Well, I have found a new favorite. There's a new coconut cake on my favorites list. The recipe is from Paula Deen, in her book The Lady and Sons Too. So, as it is a published work, I'll send you in her direction for the recipe. But let it be known that it is worth the effort finding and preparing and waiting for.

It rests in the fridge for three days, so it's a perfect cake for Resurrection Sunday. Not perfect, however, for taking to the church picnic. (Sorry folks, but you'll have to come to Providence Farm to taste it.) It is a tall, cool, six-layered taste of Heaven on Earth. Move over Pepperidge Farms...this one is the real deal.

I told my mama that I thought this might even be better than Aunt Zelma's, but if she told anybody I said it, I'd deny it. I said Aunt Zelma would roll over in her grave. Mama said "ohhh, I am going to run down there right now and tell her!" Tattle tale...

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sabbath light

Our Sabbath, 18th Anniversary dinner,
complete with Rolled Rump Roast.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Rolled Rump Roast

Ok, so we have been at this grass-fed beef growing venture for some time now. We are still in the process of trying each cut of beef and learning just what makes them the tastiest. This weekend, we were planning a very special meal...Sabbath preparation and anniversary celebration kind of special...Dear and Loving Husband says plan something fine. So, I planned on lamb, because I thought we had some in the freezer. Dear and Loving Husband, after searching diligently, asks just where said lamb may be found. Uh-oh. That was veal I was thinking of. Ok, move to plan B. Break out one of those cuts we have not tried yet and make it fine. Enter Rolled Rump Roast. Now when it comes to roasts, I am not of the rare, succulent au jus loving kind. My mama would brown it and cook it to death with Lipton onion soup mix. Well, that has MSG, which we try to avoid (headaches and whatnot, you know...). Anyway, I did a little research in my cookbook collection and compared notes with a few sites online. I decided to branch out of familiarity and try something new, of my own design. It was SO good! I mean, lick your plate good if you don't have manners and it isn't a fine meal...but we do and it was, so I didn't, though I wanted to. Nonetheless, here you go...

Rolled Rump Roast (preferably from Providence Farm!) about 3.5 lbs.
1 Vidalia Onion, cut into eighths
1 head of garlic (from our garden!), peeled and each clove halved lengthwise
~1/3 cup sherry
~1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
~1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
~1 TBS kosher salt
1 1/2 cups water
1 TBS butter
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil

The ~ means "about," because I don't measure. This is where I got to really put my LeCreuset French Oven to the test. Preheat your cookware over low heat, then add oil and butter and cover with the lid. Turn heat up to medium and NO higher. Rinse and pat dry the roast. Rub with pepper and salt and place in oil/butter to sear on all sides. Remove and set aside the roast. Place onion & garlic into the oil and cover. Allow to slightly brown, then place the roast on top of the onions. Pour liquids into bottom of french oven and cover. Let braise for a few hours, turning occasionally, until fork-tender and juices & onions have carmelized. Remove string netting and slice for serving. Pour pan juices over the meat before serving. Try not to lick your plate when you are done. At least use a roll to sop it up! ;-) Mmmmmm....Good, Providentially!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

a few of my favorite things

These are things I love to use in the kitchen and hope to fill my daughters' hope chests with. Well equipped kitchen essentials.

best to cook in: cast iron, hands down
All-Clad stainless steel, a close second
favorite to serve in (and cook): Polish pottery and Le Creuset cast iron, no cheap imitations...ask me why?...You get what you pay for.
utensils: Whetstone Woodenware, silicone spatulas and All-Clad stainless steel spoons
dishes: Homer Laughlin's Fiestaware, all colors, and nearly any pattern of red transferware
handmade potholders (Ok, the girls make them for me so I think I'll have to hide a few for them later.)
lovely tea towels
cloth napkins and tablecloths

More to follow.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

keeping the homefire burning

I am sorry to have disappointed everyone eagerly awaiting thanksgiving recipes. In the hustle & bustle of the season, that fell to the wayside as I have been tending the fire...filling love tanks. And since Nana hadn't been here in over two years, we decided to savor every bit of the three weeks we had her. So, I beg your forgiveness.

And speaking of fire...I came across a gem of a book. Hearthside Cooking by Nancy Carter Crump has had my attention of late in those brief moments of leisurely reading while nursing the baby. Having learned about the finer points of radiant heat (wishing for that four-oven Aga) and the joys of using cast iron and our woodstove, I thought it may be prudent and interesting to add open hearth to my growing repertoire. We are all about doing (some)things the old fashioned way around here. That just fits right in with our Slow Food concept of farming. The cover hints at recipes of traditional Southern, specifically Virginian, cuisine for hearthside cooking and modern interpretations thereof. What I did not expect is the wealth of historical context, thoroughly researched and presented in an enlightening manner. Before we moved to Providence Farm, I would say I'd like to live along Duke of Gloucester Street and have our whole family of interpreters in our Colonial attire, cooking at a grand hearth like the one at the Governor's Palace, with our Heritage breed animals and abundant kitchen garden and smokehouse, etc. (Aside: in these frigid hours, I am thankful to have a furnace that will kick on when the woodstove fire dies out around midnight!) Anyway, since our grill bit the dust on Christmas Day (literally, blew off the back porch just as we were cutting our steaks at the dinnertable), I've had a notion (actually my Dear and Loving Husband had it first & I concurred...before the grill bit the dust but doom was imminent) to design and build a hearth out back. That is a project that may not come to fruition in the very near term, but we do need to replace the grill before summer. What else for cooking all that fabulous, grass-fed beef growing in the back forty? I'm thinking a spit & andirons may be in order...I am reminiscing of Spiesbraten and Bratwurst. Thinking ahead to hot dogs and steaks. Why wait for warm weather? We need fire now!