My husband and I have joked around for a while now that we are the Green Acres Family. We lived for several years next to Disney in Celebration, FL For a few of those years I had the privilege of living next to one of my closests friends. We often said that we were going to dig a tunnel between our houses for rainy days. I really miss those days especially during Thanksgiving & Christmas. We’d run back & forth all day & night sharing ingredients.
Jess & I have a love of Martha Stewart Recipes and that is where I go for my Turkey Brine & Spice Butter Recipe. She shared this recipe with me years ago & I use it often both on Turkey & Chicken. I’ll add pictures to this once Thanksgiving is past, gotta make sure that you guys have a great recipe to use for the actual holiday.
I can see the Eww’s coming across the screen already. Hold tight though and take a trip further into the Culinary World. Recently we’ve had several international clients request Chicken Hearts. After consideration and a few rounds of cooking them. I declare they are tasty must have treats. Easy to make and man are they good, like I now crave them type of good. The taste and flavor is as if a steak and a chicken thigh mixed together.
This past March my husband had to travel to Brazil on business. When he returned he raved about the food and being forced to try new things. Now the man is not the most adventurous eater due to some food allergies (okra and shellfish). In fact we were a bit worried about the language barrier and proceeded to take a crash course in Portuguese so he could safely eat. To hear he was trying new food excited me so I asked what his favorites were to spice up our weekly menu. When he said chicken hearts I about dropped my jaw on the floor. In fact he couldn’t wait to share them with the family. I’ll cook most anything he requests. Let’s go!
Chicken Hearts are provided by our wonderful partner Christy over at Brittany Ridge Farms located in Hookerton, NC. We charge $4 lb for these tasty morsels. These are quite simple to cook quickly and would be great served with salad or as the meat component to a meal. Have a party and offer them as a daredevil bite. Drop by today from 2-6 to get your own.
Have I scared you off yet? Just remember in this whole Farm to Fork world we need to eat all parts of the animal not just a few. Try them you won’t regret it.
Earlier this week we had a visit from Carolina Mushroom Farm, Shahane brought us fresh Oyster , Baby Bella and Shitake Mushrooms. When he told us the prices I was floored. Not only are they grown locally over in Willow Springs they also are cheaper than what my family normally buys at Whole Foods. Shahane was a great sport in patiently waiting till I could speak to him. Our store was quite busy at the moment with deliveries and clients in for their shopping.
Last week I join SWMBO & Dan on the Low Carb diet. When Shahane delivered the Shitakes Asian Lettuce wraps popped in my head instantly. Unfortunately its been 3 days and I am just getting a chance to cook them. My favorite type of lettuce to use for this is butter lettuce however I only have iceberg here at home. Sigh. I will make do.
Lets talk lettuce wraps now. The ideal chicken for these is ground chicken coming in at $8.50 lb. And while I would like to say there will be leftovers there won’t be. They just taste too darn good. I totally recommend making 2 batches of this at once. One for dinner and one for lunches. Did I mention they even taste great cold?
My family has only been in NC for 2 years. We moved here from Orlando, FL in March of 2014. I miss my friends, my family, and not much else except for food. Cuban food to be exact! While in Florida, Cuban food became a mainstay not only in my house but also for my clients. We all loved it.
My favorite Cuban Restaurant was The Columbia. When we left Florida our last meal was from there. My first trip back I grabbed their family cookbook & history. Every time we visit ¾ of the meals we eat come from there. Seriously it is great food. My recipe today is based off of The Columbia’s Arroz Con Pollo which if you heard me pronounce it sounds nothing like how it should be pronounced. The difference is in the marinade.
The ingredients from the NCF store in this recipe are Chorizo $8.00lb & Chicken Leg Quarters $5.00 lb. In each pack of Chorizo is typically 4 links. The Chicken Leg Quarters are from Brittany Ridge Farm and are typically packaged 2 per pack. The total cost for this family meal was a bit high at around $22 for all for the ingredients. I still have ingredients left over though for another meal down the road.
Arroz con Pollo
3 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
¼ cup White Wine Vinegar
1 TBSP Oregano
4 Cloves of Garlic minced
1 Red Onion chopped
2 Red Peppers julienned (sliced in thin vertical strips)
4 Chicken Quarters
2 Links of NCF Chorizo casing removed
4 Cups Chicken Broth
2 Cup Rice
1 Seeded Tomato Chopped
1 C frozen peas (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Combine EVOO, Vinegar, Oregano, Garlic & Chicken Quarters in a Ziplock bag. Mix well thoroughly coating chicken, then place in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours.
Removed marinated chicken from fridge 1 hour before cooking
Heat 6 quart lidded pan over med heat (I use my dutch oven). Add oil.
Remove chicken from bag set aside, add marinade to pan
Salt & Pepper marinated Chicken
Once oil in pan is glistening place Chicken & marinade in hot pan
While chicken is cooking add the onions
Flip Chicken after it releases from pan(about 6-7 min) add Chorizo breaking it up
Cook Chorizo till browned, then add the broth, bring to a boil
Stir in rice, cover with lid, lower burner temp to low
Salt and Pepper broth
After 15 minutes add peppers, peas and return lid to the pan
When rice is tender about 5 minutes later remove from heat
Serve Chicken on rice
Note-I have served this dish with mushrooms. If using mushrooms add them when you add in the onions. While I love mushroom, there is one in my house that does not. (There’s always one!)
Jam, is it sitting in your fridge doing nothing? Is it only making an appearance at breakfast or on a noontime pbj? Well ladies and gentlemen let me introduce jam for dinner. Triple Berry Jam is the primary ingredient in this sauce it is from Buck Naked Farm at $8 a jar sold in the NCF Store.
At the NCF store the chicken is provided through Brittany Ridge Farms The Split Chicken Breast run $10 lb. They typically come 2 to a pack. With the kids we usually split a breast between them. the skin however is always fought over.
1 Jar Buck Naked Farm Triple Crown Jam
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 sprig of rosemary
1/2 cup of water
1/8 tsp cayenne (optional)
Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil on med. heat
Boil until syrupy and coats the back of a spoon.
Remove from heat to cool
4 split chicken breast
salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 425F
Bring chicken up to room temperature about 1 hour on the counter.
Dry off with a paper towel, salt and pepper chicken
On a sheet pan place a cooling rack
On rack place rosemary sprigs
Place chicken on rosemary & place in oven 45 min to 1 hr until meat thermometer reaches 160F
Once the chicken reaches 160 glaze chicken with Jammin Sauce
Having The Princess bake an independence day cake is becoming a tradition at our house. Fluffy cake, whipped cream, and fruit stars and stripes all put together by her Highness. This is a tradition I can get behind!
Every day we go to two farmer’s markets to collect all the fresh produce that they cannot sell due to damage. We collect about 2500 pounds per day by my rough guess. That’s 365 days a year or over 900,000 pounds of produce a year to feed our animals which is pretty much their only feed besides what already grows on the farm. Here we are loading on the 4th. Yes that is three pallets of watermelons. This doesn’t show the heaping full truck bed already loaded with other produce. The next day we put FOUR pallets on the trailer and still had the truck full. That was a personal best for me for one day. Cows LOVE watermelons, as do pigs, and chickens, and kids for that matter. The cows are starting to figure out how to break open watermelons and it’s funny to watch them chase the round melons around the pasture. While all the rest of us (animals both in the house and out) still love watermelon, SWMBO is getting a bit tired of watermelon juice covering her counters. Looks like its time to switch to peaches.
This pallet was full of sweet corn husks, watermelons, squash, zucchini, and I don’t know what else. By the time the cows were done with it, it was just a pallet and some cardboard. By the end of the weekend, I noted that the cows were looking mighty portly. A few are showing some signs that they may need to be culled but the rest are looking fat and happy with slick coats and not a lot of signs of parasites. Right now #23, #14, and #3 (all brood cows) all look like candidates for culling, along with #28 and #40 (steers) who both had bloat but are doing better now.
The beauty of a longer weekend is even on the farm it’s not all work and no play. I took a little while to take SWMBO, The Princess, and Spork down to the shooting range to get in some practice. Spork was phenomenal, knocking down every target with boring regularity. Since he did so well, we decided to put him to work on our squirrel menace. Every year we have squirrels strip our fruit trees of all of our fruit before it has a chance to be harvested. With Spork doing so well in his shooting, it was time to introduce him to hunting. Between Spork, myself, and Alice, we accounted for 4 of the little fluffy tailed rats this weekend, with more to come.
The gun is still just a bit big for the Princess but she stepped up there and took some shots. She was nervous at first but very excited after shooting. I believe we’ll have her back again this fall when the weather is nice. By then the gun should just about fit her.
This weekend we processed our 25 freedom ranger chickens. We process on farm and despite being able to sell these chickens pretty much anywhere we want with such a high demand, in the end we are simply going to put them in the freezer and eat them ourselves which was the original plan. There is a difference between home raised chickens and store-bought chickens and we have another 50 on the way for another batch. The Princess was everywhere for processing and did every single job on the line.
You never know when catching chickens will be a skill you need to list on your resume.
A quick bleed and the worst part of the job is over. Nobody likes killing animals but these chickens lived a good life on our farm and never had a bad day till this day. I believe you should know where you food comes from and all chicken ends up on the plate somehow. These chickens went from their home to the cone, with no scary truck ride or meat factory in between.
Note the blood on the face of The Princess. For a minute that morning she said she didn’t want to be around chicken processing, but then she reverted back to her old blood loving self and was in the middle of the fray. Playing with all the blood is her favorite part, unless you count identifying all the organs, which she is quite good at.
She’ll probably grow up to be a vegan, but she’ll know where food comes from and how it gets to the plate.
Concrete floors, bleach for cleaning, and plenty of water to work with. A pretty good setup. We need to switch to food grade water hoses and tweak a few other things but overall the processing setup is working nicely.
When we couldn’t keep enough work for her to do, she reverted to pulling a whole chicken from the ice bath and plopping it on her hand then proceeding to run around acting out scenes with her “chicken puppet.” It was very cute, and quite twisted which at least for me and Miguel was funny. I’m sure someone would say that she’ll have emotional scars from seeing chickens killed or any of the other things she chooses to do on the farm. Folks, playing with a recently deceased chicken couldn’t be more normal. Scarring comes from having the world hidden from children and then they learn reality when they are adults.
For those of you who were put off by the previous images, this probably looks more familiar. Our chicken, grocery store ready, cut into traditional cuts and ready for SWMBO’s magic act of turning this chicken golden brown and yummy.
This chicken was walking and clucking this morning, now it’s our dinner. Thanks to SWMBO’s efforts in the kitchen we sat down to a healthy and hearty meal. Yes it was as good as it looks.
And don’t think she’s a one trick pony, just working in the kitchen. Here is SWMBO, still in her workout clothes after having worked out for two hours, bailing us out on the processing line by taking the quality control and packaging station. She saved us because we were getting backed up with not enough hands to do the work. Thanks Honey!
This was just a small part of our weekend. Yesterday evening Spork was excited telling SWMBO about what he and dad were going to do tomorrow. She had to break the news to him that dad had to go to work tomorrow, that he would have to wait for the next weekend to spend the day with dad again. Broke my heart to hear that I was letting him down for today but I guess that means he had a good 4th of July weekend. I know that I did.
Sometimes I post things here just so I can find them later. Sometimes other farmers and homesteaders read my blog and learn something they needed to know. It’s a win-win. Unless you were looking for a picture of grass or poop. Then I’m sorry for you. Maybe tomorrow.