Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Why We Farm

People often ask me how I got into farming. Well.... When I was growing up we alway had a big garden. Some of my first food memories came from that experience. I can remember especially what real tomatoes tasted like and other great things too like sqash, beans, strawberries, scallions, radishes and much more. One time, when we were visiting Oklahoma, where my parents are from, we had a meal at my aunt Dovies. It was wonderful, fresh black eyed peas, okra, yellow crookneck squash, big fat slices of tomatoes with salt and boiled potatoes. this was all right out of the garden and I even remember helping pick all of that. I was maybe nine or ten. Of course I didn't know then just how influencial that trip would be on me but it might be the first time I recall liking vegetables. Don't get me wrong, I'm no vegetarian by any means. We raise hogs here occasianlly and there is nothing better. It's not uncommon around here to have beast on a stick in one form or another. (one of my other passions is cooking with live fire) Lately, the rabbits have been mighty tasty.

The jist here is we like to eat and we like to eat well. There's just nothing like being able to have the best of the best available to cook with and having lots of it. One thing you'll never see at our home is a lack of good food and hospitality. We really like sharing what we do with our friends, family and neighbors and farming dovetails with that pretty well. So many of my fondest memories through my life revolve around food. My mom in particular was a big influence on the way I cook today. Mostly southern influenced comfort food. The other big influence is from my wife / partner Katie. She's a slightly more refined cook than I am and more inclined to use a recipe, in fact, her forte is being able to spot out a great recipe. She's very good at coming up with standards that we use in our everyday cooking. Here's a few of our seasonal favorites.

Green garlic pesto.. We make this from the whole adolescant garlic. Just chop it up and give it a whiz in the cuisinart with a nice olive oil and a little salt. Jar it up in small containers and pop it in the freezer. We keep one in the fridge at all times and use it daily.

Sambal.. Katie use's her friend Ming Tsai's recipe. It's basically red jalapeno's with lots of garlic and reduced in rice wine vinegar. Food wouldn't be the same around here without it. Seriously awesome.

Tomato paste... Homemade, it resembles nothing of store bought. Lightly cook a huge pot of toms, run the whole thing through a food mill to remove seed and skin. Reuce on the stove for a couple hours then pour onto sheet pans and bake for about three hours at 350. Stir in a little olive oil. Jar and freeze. we again use this one daily, it's unreal.

There's so much more but we'll leave it there for today.

Keep well friends, we're enjoying a nice snow day here. maybe we'll make chili!

Farmer John

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