carrot and ginger salad, fried chicken with lemon and capers, cherry cheesecake sheet pan dessert

garden carrots – is there anything better? in my opinion only tomatoes… this salad is all about the dressing… and it is a strange dressing so I was nervous to send it out but I wanted to try it myself… this dressing is so delicious… not exactly sure what the farmers thought but I could put this dressing on just about anything…

carrot ginger salad

Ingredients:
Dressing:
2 large carrots, roughly chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup finely diced white onion
1 (1 1/2 inch) piece fresh ginger, roughly chopped (about 2 tbsp)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup soya sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Salad:
arugula
spinach
grated carrot
roasted beet, cooled and sliced
pumpkin seeds, toasted (from Costco)

Directions:
in a Vitamix or any high-powered blender, combine the carrots, onion and ginger and process until very finely blended
add the olive oil, soya sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, fish sauce, salt and pepper
blend until very smooth
mix up salad and pour dressing over right before serving

as you can see, it is a thick dressing and I was wishing I had little condiment containers to put it in so the farmers could just add it to their salads when they were ready to eat… I need to buy some of those…

I am not alone in the farm cooking world… I get a lot of inspiration from some very young (now that I am old) farm ladies out there and this is one of them… she had posted about using her Instant Pot for potatoes and it sure saved me dishes and time and headache…

I still think the texture and taste of a boiled potato is preferable to in the Instant Pot but the convenience won the day… I loaded the Instant Pot up (using the trivet as per Laura’s instructions) and added 2 cups of water and set manual for 8 minutes… you strain this and then what I do is put cream cheese, butter, garlic powder, salt and milk in the bottom of my mixer bowl… then add the potatoes and mix… pour these out into a greased baking dish and sprinkle with seasoning salt… when ready to cook, place in the oven covered with tin foil

this could not be easier to get some garden potatoes all creamed up and ready to use for the meal

on to the chicken part of the main dish!

you will see in the picture that I am using Bob’s Red Mill Tapioca Flour… I have enjoyed using this lately instead of cornstarch but you can also use arrowroot powder… for doing big batches I pound the chicken and then sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper and the tapioca flour… this crisps up nicely in butter and olive oil…

I really need to come up with a better idea for browning meat before putting it in pans because this is so time consuming… easy if you are just doing it up for your family but in big batches this just takes so long… I’m open to ideas!!!!

fried chicken with lemons and capers

Ingredients:


  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, made into cutlets and pounded till flat
    1 tsp kosher salt
    fresh ground black pepper
    tapioca starch (or arrowroot starch or cornstarch)
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1 tbsp butter or ghee
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    2 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
    1 cup chicken broth
    2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
    lemon slices
    1 tbsp fresh parsley for garnish

Directions:
cut chicken breasts so they lay flat and place parchment over them and pound (not too hard) until an even thickness
sprinkle with salt and pepper
sprinkle both sides with starch
in a medium/high heat pan, melt butter and olive oil
place chicken in pan and brown on both sides
transfer to a baking dish
when chicken is all browned, add the garlic, capers and chicken broth to the pan
pour this over the chicken in the baking dish and add the lemon juice and lemon slices
place in oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through
serve with potatoes or whatever side you would like

finally got all the chicken browned and in the pans and in the oven… I was feeling bad for myself because my trusty 12 year old helper was gone and I had to do all of this on my own… I was one hour late getting suppers to the field… horribly embarrassing rolling in at 7 pm…

if you don’t enjoy capers – just omit from the recipe – it is still a great recipe for lemony fried chicken

the farmer loves himself some cheesecake so I knew it was time to get that out to them (enough chocolate cake with some sort of vegetable in it) I combined these two cookies for the crust… but use whatever you can find in the cookie aisle and blend it into a fine crumb like mixture…

lining the dish with tin foil makes it easy to work with once cooked and chilled… this is the cup I use to stamp down the butter/cookie crust mixture…

I was hoping to get fresh cherries but didn’t have that luck at the grocery store (not sure how I missed that season)... so I resorted to canned cherries… for this I strained them to removed most of the goo…

cheesecake making is simple… get out your ingredients and go do some other jobs that morning while they get to room temperature… once the cream cheese, eggs, sour cream are all at room temperature, they make a creamy (not lumpy) cheesecake mixture for you… I dropped the cherries on and then covered with a streusel topping before baking…

cherry cheescake with cookie crust

Ingredients:
Streusel Topping:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 tbsp sugar
pinch of kosher salt
Cookie Crust:
3 cups finely processed cookie crumbs
6 tbsp melted unsalted butter
pinch of kosher salt
Cherry Cheesecake Filling:
3 pkgs cream cheese (24 oz), room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
2 (540 mL) Eddie Light and Fruity cherry pie filling, straining (not rinsed, just set in a strainer)

Directions:
Streusel:
combine ingredients and using a pastry blender or your fingers, crumble
place in fridge to keep cold
Crust:
preheat oven to 350 degrees
I use a Vitamix and crush the cookies in batches… if you have a food processor it would work better to do it in there
mix until cookie crumbs are basically powder
add the butter and salt
for the 9×13 dish, line with foil both ways so that you can pull it out when cooled
press the cookie mixture into the bottom of the pan, using a cup to push it down
bake for 10 minutes
Cheescake Filling:

  • set oven at 325 degrees
    in a electric mixer, whip up the cream cheese… scrape down with a spatula and whip again
    add sugar and whip
    add eggs one at a time, using spatula to scrape down
    add sour cream
    pour into the pan with the the cookie crust
    top with streusel
    bake for 50-60 minutes
    the outside should be set and the middle will jiggle a bit
    place on a wire rack for 30 minutes
    cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for a few hours before you cut and serve

I loved cooking this up for the farmers but found myself talking to thin air as my lovely assistant was not with me… I certainly will miss her dearly when school starts!!!

taco quinoa salad, greek fried chicken with parsnip puree and new potatoe wedges and beet cake

oh my word, here we go… harvest 2020… some absolutely gorgeous hot weather (the farmer told me that it felt like the hottest day he has ever combined on… not fun to work in but great for drying out crops) has us able to get combining the peas

we truly feel like a ‘family farm’ for the first time this fall as we have all been stuck together for the last 5 months and are still stuck together but at least with some big jobs to do now! I shouldn’t be surprised why the farmer is able to function on at least 4 hours less sleep than me normally and can log big days when I realize now that he was doing this ever since he was 16… which is my youngest sons age who has been suddenly thrown into 16 hours days…

quinoa taco salad

Ingredients:
Salad:
1 lb ground beef (or turkey)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
iceburg lettuce (1 head)
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 (14 oz) can pinto or black beans, drained and rinsed
2 bell peppers, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups crushed nacho cheese tortilla chips (or as much as you like)
for topping: chopped avocado and sour cream
Dressing:
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp ketchup
1 garlic clove minced
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup olive oil

Directions:
the taco meat and and quinoa can be made ahead
season the taco meat with the cumin, garlic powder and chilli powder
for the salad, mix everything in a big bowl without the tortilla chips
for the dressing – I use a Nutribullet to whisk up the dressing… you can also shake it up
add the tortilla chips and dressing right before serving

you would think not eating out once in a restaurant in 5 months and cooking for my family for that long that I would be less than excited to start taking meals out to a bunch of farmers… you would be wrong… this is far more exciting than cooking for my family… (which I had kind of given up on doing anyways)

part of the excitement was the pleasure of the season right now… some good farmer friends of ours delivered chickens and also parsnips from their pasture and I was able to use these to cook up a meal… I then got to deliver it to the field we were combining which we rent from these farmers… days like this make me truly feel like a farmer living off the land or a hippie in Seattle living in CHAZ… perhaps farmers were ‘autonomous’ before it was cool to be?

really interesting some of the things they have planted in their pastures this year and the parsnips were excellent!

I feel like this chicken looks similar to how I felt this summer in my bathing suit… even the farmer didn’t pretend that I hadn’t put on a few pounds… in college I called it the ‘freshman 20’ (I think it was supposed to be 15)... now I’m calling it the ‘covid 20’... I find weight gain easier to deal with when you name it… kind of how all the Big Brother contestants have to ‘name’ their alliances…

in true autonomous farmer style – no part is wasted and these carcasses ended up in my freezer to later be boiled for broth… (life hack – use the word ‘autonomous’ as much as you want… if someone corrects you just tell them ‘you govern your own vocabulary’) I kept these other ‘do-dads’ I found as well… I’m not even going to guess what they are… I’m just hopeful the one thing is not a human thumb

I was very worried this was not going to be enough chicken for the crew and I’m sure two pieces each perhaps was not enough for some (just my sons maybe), but it cooked up nicely with the yummiest seasoning on it…

what I have left out so far in describing this first meal to the field is that my daughter is now 12 and she actually basically made this meal… I just stand and take photos now… it’s really nice and I pay her ‘her age’ by the hour… so basically she’ll want to live with me till she is 40 and get $40 per hour to do my work for me…

parsnip puree

Ingredients:
4 cups parsnips, peeled and cut into 1” cubes
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
in a medium saucepan over high heat, combine the parsnips and chicken broth
bring to a boil and reduce heat
simmer for 15 minutes or until parsnips are fork tender
transfer the parsnips and remaining cooking broth to a blender
add the coconut milk, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper
blend until smooth

she does remind me of my Grandma Reed… loves cooking and not extremely interested in dishes… so I find myself doing a lot of the ‘grunt labour’ in the kitchen… guess who had to wash the potatoes?

garden potatoes are huge by this time of year and slice perfectly for these yummy greek wedges… I don’t know why I do this – but I like to slice them into the wedges, throw the wedges in cold water and then pat dry on a tea towel before putting them on a pan… perhaps I have seen this somewhere before?

Sienna once again got the glamorous job of harvesting the fresh herbs to place on the potatoes and chicken… it is a small miracle everything stayed alive this year! silver lining of Covid? I perhaps will refrain from telling the farmer’s poor Grandma who has been locked in her room for 5 months how well my parsley is doing…

greek chicken thighs with potatoe wedges

Ingredients:
Potatoes:
1 1/2 lbs yukon gold potatoes, halved and sliced into 1/4 inch wedges
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Chicken:
2 lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (I just cut up a whole chicken)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Potatoes:
preheat oven to 400 degrees
place potato wedges in a 9×13 baking dish
add the rest of ingredients
mix and spread in an even layer, not touching
bake for around 1 hour and toss every 20 minutes
Chicken:
line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
arrange chicken thighs in a single layer, not touching
pat dry the tops and drizzle each thigh with olive oil to coat
mix together the seasoning
sprinkle over the thighs
bake until cooked through and skin is crispy and golden brown, 35-45 minutes (depending on size) at 400 degrees
let cool for 10 minutes

to continue with the root veggie theme of the dinner… we made beet cake… I’ve posted this and made it a few times for previous harvests and it is still one of my absolute favourite cakes… Sienna struggles to see why I must put beets or zucchini in cakes, but even she was a believer after eating a piece… so moist… (also, realizing I hate that word but cannot think of a different way to describe how moist it is)

I roasted up way to many beets but actually love having these for leftovers to cut up and put on a salad or something… (or eat whole like I also did and then pee and quickly google to see if red pee was a Covid symptom) it appears I am fine and that one pees red after consuming large amounts of beets… Dwight Shrute would have been disappointed in me…

cake is easily my favourite thing to make… and then eat…

frosting is easily Sienna’s favourite thing to make… and then eat…

we are no pros at the icing of cakes… but we know you wait till the cake is cool and then you proceed to eat half the frosting while you ice it… this recipe is great because it makes way to much frosting for the cake so eat away while you ice!

root veggies for the win… (oh – cream and sugar as well)

#staysafe… this I mean to all my farmer friends… lots of big machinery and big hours… stay safe out there! happy harvesting!

beet cake

Ingredients:
For the Cake:
– 2 medium beets, cleaned, unpeeled and cut in half
– 2 tsp olive oil
– 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed and room temperature
– 1 cup packed brown sugar
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 2 large eggs, room temperature
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 2 cups all purpose flour
– 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
– 1 tsp baking soda
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 1 tsp kosher salt
– 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
For the Frosting: (I only used half this frosting recipe)
– 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
– 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
– 4 cups powdered sugar
– 2 tbsp finely grated cooked beets
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 2 tsp milk
– 1/2 tsp lemon juice
– 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:
– wash and cut beets into half… place in tin foil with olive oil, cover with more tin foil and bake on a cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 1 hour
– remove from oven and open up tin foil and let cool
– in a mixer, combine butter and sugar… add eggs one at a time and then vanilla
– combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt
– alternate flour mixture and buttermilk into the sugar mixture
– finally, add 3/4 to 1 cup grated beets
– put into two 9 inch cake pans that have been greased and parchment paper in the bottom of each
– bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until centre of cake is done
– let cool for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a rack and cool
– for the frosting, combine all ingredients and whip
– make sure the cake is room temperature and then spread frosting in-between the two cake layers and all around it and on top
– to freeze, slice and put individual pieces in containers to freeze