Friday, January 29, 2010

Fun Playing With Locally, Naturally Raised Meats

We've been eating at home a lot this winter, and I want to share some of the goodness with you. Also, it is CSA subscription season - so I'd like to show you some wonderful things we've done with products obtained through our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) with Breychacks Farm. Kathy Breychak recently indicated that she still has meat shares available, so I'd like to remind you that membership in a CSA will yield fabulous meat (and/or vegetables) at a reasonable cost, without the worry that your vendor will sell out before you can get to it. Kathy accepts new meat share members until April, unless she reaches capacity sooner (which may well happen). Breychak Farms is offering lamb, poultry, (chicken, turkey, duck, goose) and heritage breed pork this year. She is also offering vegetables, as explained on her website.

We are truly blessed in Cleveland to be able to acquire wonderfully fresh, farm raised foodstuffs, even in the cold winter, and even if we don't join a CSA. The dishes shown are not in any particular order of creation/consumption.

Have I got your attention now? More on the eggs later.

First up - lamb stew, made from the leftovers of a roast from Breychak Farms's gorgeous Dorper lamb:

This stew also included frozen garden peas, and carrots Bob dug up from the snow so we could have them in the stew.

Below is Bob's take on Beef Bourguignon, using a beautiful hunk of grass-fed, locally raised Texas Longhorn from Sand Farm LLC.  Brandon Smith and his family have been in the beef business for many years, and the meat is raised on grass and love.

This dish also contained green beans, carrots and garlic from the garden. Sand Farm sends out a weekly E-newsletter to those who subscribe. In addition to their weekly booth at the Geauga Farmers Market in season, they deliver to a central location in Solon during the winter, and can make more personalized deliveries for an additional charge. Sand Farm also sells pork and firewood.

More recently, Bob made bean soup, using the ham bones leftover from a meal made from Breychak Berkshire ham.

Since he didn't think it was smokey enough, Bob added some sliced hotdogs we had in the freezer (my mother's savory  touch when she made Lentil Soup).

Bob is of Bohemian (Czech) extraction- so his New Year's Day food tradition is Pork Roast and Sauerkraut. Though I wasn't crazy about this dish the first time he made it for me (with supermarket pork) - I've grown to love it when it is made with better meat!

Breychack Farms's Pork Roast

Onion saute.

Sauerkraut gets added to onions.

Goodness happens.

See how the fat glistens? That doesn't happen with supermarket pork. And it tastes so good!

First night's dinner, with potatoes cooked in the sauerkraut pot.
Second night's dinner, with Dilled Smashed Potatoes (lard instead of butter - yum!)

It seems like a lot of bloggers and others are making or eating Chicken and Dumplings lately - with winter biting, it is one of those great comfort foods.

To make a great pot of Chicken & Dumplings - one must start with a great chicken. This birdie came from either Breychaks Farm or Miller Farm - I'm not sure which. Miller Farm is discussed in more detail below - but be assured that both Kathy Breychak and Aaron Miller raise their birdies with love, wholesome feed, and true pasture. For some reason, Bob did a deconstructed version of this dish - no matter, it was delicious!

Browned and Simmered Chicken Atop the Dumplings, Far Left


I still don't know why he served it on the side..

Next up - another lamb stew, this time from Breychak Farms's Dorper stew meat.

Garden Peas again, though the garden was too deeply buried in snow for Bob to reach the carrots this time; organic carrots came from Heinen's.

What is more soothing in winter than a pot of hearty black bean chili.

The grass-fed, locally raised beef in this chili came from Miller Livestock Co, Inc. Miller Farm delivers to the Cleveland Area periodically - check the blog of Slow Food Northern Ohio if you want to know when they are in town. Miller Farm also sells lamb, poultry, eggs, and pork.
First Night Dinner, Over Organic Corn Chips

Nancy's Corn Bread

For the subsequent Chili dinners, I made corn bread, using some beautiful eggs from BlueLoon Farm and frozen corn from our garden. It came out well, though apparently our baking powder is too old, because it didn't rise as much as I expected.


BlueLoon Farm Eggs

BlueLoon Farm is a new farm located south of Cleveland. BlueLoon doesn't have a website yet, but Farmer Jenny can be reached at 330-235-4441 if you would like to discuss an egg purchase. Since she doesn't have a website yet, I'll share some info that Jenny gave to me about her farm:

"[W]e purchased the very rundown farm in October of 2007 and a few days after closing the farmhouse burned to the ground. So we had to build a new house which set the farm renovation back a year plus.

In addition to the ladies and their roosters, we have 4 guard turkeys and 2 steers and A TON of work to do! We have planted over 800 native trees and have begun a small orchard. We are also in transition to certified organic ( a few more months yet).

Our long term goals: Fruits (tree, shrub, small, brambles), vegetables, herbs, hops, poultry (layers, broilers), sheep (undecided if meat, wool or both), pigs in the woods, and maybe a milk cow....oh and bees. My background is in horticulture and native plants so we will be growing some unusual/rare plants. We believe that diversity is the key to a healthy farm."

We procured these eggs because our other favorite local producer, another Jenny, at Hensbury Farm, did not have any (a situation now rectified by additional heat in her barns!). Hensbury Farm also sells Boer Goat, which we have not yet sampled.

It was such a treat to enjoy some Blue Eggs (now available from both Hensbury and BlueLoon) in addition to the browns! Here's our first breakfast using BlueLoon's eggs:

Bob's Wheat Bread, Hartzler Farms Butter, BlueLoon Farm Eggs, Kielbasa Rounds

The last photo was the blue egg; the previous ones were brown. Words fail me to describe the exquisite taste to you.

Bob is preparing pork chops from our Breychak hog for tonight, with pickled garden beets. I'll make sure to show them to you, sooner or later! In the meantime, I hope you are having fun playing with foods sourced from our local, hardworking farmers, or at least making arrangements to enjoy their goodness later this year.


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  2. Nice post! Texas longhorns, huh? Do you notice a difference between them and other grass-fed beef?

    You like your fried eggs like I do - crisp edges and runny yolk. I may go have some right now.

  3. @dozsconz - yes, there is definitely a slightly different flavor to the Longhorn. We favor Miller beef slightly, but both are delicious. I need to find out what kind of cattle Miller raises.

    Bob has perfected the fried egg in our house; I'm still learning. The cast iron skillet definitely helps.

  4. You are truly blessed in Cleveland to be able to acquire wonderfully fresh, farm raised foodstuffs, even in the cold winter, and even if You don't join a CSA. The dishes shown are not in any particular order of creation consumption.

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