Simple Cheese Making: Ricotta from our Farm

img_8103Feel like doing a science experiment? This is such a fun thing to do and with kids or a partner even better! Such a simple cheese to learn.  You can get the hang of this after a couple of times and always have fresh ricotta on hand. Use ricotta similarly as you would use yogurt, in baked goods, and of course lasagna. Try with my Cheese Bread Recipe also. I love the process of making cheese, it really takes you back to a simpler time. I use raw milk fresh from our dairy farm, but you can also use store-bought pasteurized as well, just stay away from ultra pasteurized! Some grocers are carrying raw milk or non homogenized, low pasteurized milk which gives a much better flavor and texture for cheese making. I’ve included  a link below for ordering liquid animal rennet online.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 Tsp Liquid Rennet 
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 Gal. Fresh Milk
  • Tsp Salt (Cheese Salt is ideal)

Directions:

Place milk in sterile 5 qt. pot. Slowly heat milk until milk is too hot to touch, (or 200 F on candy thermometer). Remove from heat. Slowly add rennet, lemon juice and salt. Stir gently. Leave pot to sit for 10 minutes. Check to see if whey (liquid) is separating from curds. Add more lemon juice if separation has not occurred and wait a few minutes. Scoop curds out with slotted spoon into strainer lined with tea cloth. See photograph for example. Strain for 60 minutes and place in air tight container. Store in refrigerator and use within one week. Enjoy the rewards of you experiment and try different recipes!

Quick Pretzel Crusted Pork Chops

img_7131These cook up in a snap and are easy to assemble. I used pretzels because I ran out of Panko, (my favorite; a  japanese style bread crumb). The pretzels tasted great with the pork and added a nice crunch. You can use anything you have on hand for the breading; breadcrumbs, Panko, crackers, pretzels. I always like a challenge to avoid another errand just for an item or two, and feel very resourceful and creative in using what I already have! It doesn’t always work as planned, but it’s fun to try! The pork is marinated in my raw  yogurt,  lemon salt and pepper and that’s it! The longer you marinate these the better. These were marinated for about 6 hours and turned out tender, you could do this overnight or a couple of days even better! These chops are a really thin boneless cut that is perfect for breading. I place in oven because, well, I hate the effort and mess of frying food on the stove top. Put them all in a pan (bottom covered in foil so no mess) and that’s the extent of it.

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 Thin Cut, Boneless Pork Chops
  • 1 c Yogurt
  • 1 tbs Salt
  • 1 tbs Fresh Craked Pepper
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 4 C Pretzelsimg_7129
  • Olive Oil

Directions:

Place pork chops in Ziploc bag and add yogurt, lemon salt and pepper. Fun part; pound with fist or smooth part of meat tenderizer to help tenderize and flatten a bit.  Marinate for 3-24 hours. Preheat oven to 425 f. Pour olive oil 1/4 way up in the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ dish. Place pretzels in Ziploc bag. With rolling-pin roll over bag to create “crumbs” you will have some larger pieces and this is OK! Add marinated pork chops to crumb bag, one at a time, and shake. Remove and place in dish, leaving room around each pork chop. Repeat with all pork chops and place in oven for 10 minutes, turning each pork chop and cooking for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from pan when done and allow to drain on paper towel before serving!

Fluffy Protein Bread

img_7028-1This Recipe is for a bread machine, but can be used without one as well. (Bread machines are amazing you can make any sort of dough and either bake right in the machine or in the oven.) This recipe uses almond four (courtesy of Farm to Kids– check out their cause!) and yogurt to give the bread a mellow flavor and tang similar to a mild sourdough but with the texture of focaccia.

Ingredients:

  • img_70202 c Bread Flour
  • 1 c Almond Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 Tbs Maple syrup
  • 1/4 c Yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tsp Yeast
  • 1/2 Warm Water

Directions:

Place ingredients in Bread Machine in order listed. Place machine on dough cycle, (or leave to bake through in machine, its up to you!) When dough is finished, remove, punch down and place into greased loaf pans. Place in warm space (like unheated oven) and allow to rise one hour. Bake at 350 F for 15- 20 min until golden brown. Serve warm with butter or slice and enjoy later.

 

Citrus Yogurt Chicken with Thyme

img_6815-2Yogurt is the ultimate marinade for meat. The cultures and acidic nature of yogurt help break down the protein structure in meats, making them tender and flavorful. It serves as a perfect medium to deliver other flavors of your liking to the meat of choice. Our garden is booming, and my favorite herb right now is Thyme. Thyme has a citrus- woodsy taste that I love to use while grilling. My Raw Yogurt Recipe is used in this  marinade; a little lime, paprika, mustard, salt,  fresh ground black pepper and I round it out with a little maple syrup to bring a touch of that sweet sickness that we all love in our BBQ!

 

Ingredients: img_6819

  1. 4 Chicken Breasts (With Ribs or Without)
  2. 1 1/2  C  Raw or Store Bought Yogurt
  3. 1/2 C Maple Syrup
  4. 1/4 C Mustard (Dijon, Whole Grain Or Plain old French’s)
  5. 2 tbsp Salt
  6. 2 tbsp Fresh Ground
    Pepper
  7. 2 tbsp Paprika
  8. 3 tbsp Fresh Thyme
  9. 2 limes (or Lemon if in season)

Directions:

Heat BBQ Grill on Medium High. Place Chicken Breasts in Ziploc bag. Place all ingredients in bag and shake, pound, mix away! Kids will like this job, just be careful with using chicken with ribs in as the img_6811-1pointy bones can poke holes through bag! BBQ on Medium for 25- 35 minutes depending on size, until juices run clear, and internal temperature reads 160 F. Serve with fresh salad or your side of choice!

Simple Maple Blue Berry Pie

img_6785-1I love this pie filling! One because its simple and two because we get to visit Vanderhelm farms down the road to pick our own blue berries!  They have amazing blue berries, I try to get lots of sour (green) ones to balance out the sweetness in this pie filling. This is the simplest of all fruit pie recipes because there is no prepping, peeling or pitting of fruit!  I use maple syrup instead of sugar to give depth of flavor and also because maple syrup is absorbed much slower in the body than other simple sugars (i.e. refined sugar or honey). Use this with my Yogurt Maple Pie Crust recipe and you will have a true taste of farm home goodness!img_6762

Ingredients:

  1. 6 cups fresh blue berries (I have not tried frozen but I suppose you could try!)
  2. 1/2 flour
  3. 2/3 c maple syrup
  4. 2 tbs lemon juice more if berries are really sweet.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 f. Prepare pie crust as directed. Mix blue berries, flour, lemon juice, and maple syrup in large bowl. Place in pie crust. Place second pie crust to cover. Using sharp knife remove edges, and place slits in top to allow hot air to escape. Crimp edges to close. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 35-45 minutes. Use foil or cover over crust edges to prevent burning.

Flaky Maple Yogurt Pie Crust

img_6784-1This is a classic pie crust recipe that uses 1/3 less butter because we add our raw yogurt. The yogurt gives a tangy flavor and lightness to the crust. We also use Maple syrup instead of sugar to give more depth in flavor as well as for health conscious reasons. Our bodies absorb the sugar from maple syrup much slower than from other simple sugars, (i.e. honey or refined sugar). I just love this crust; besides tasting amazing and standing out, it is simple to make! I’m not one to fuss in the kitchen. I use one bowl for this recipe and only have to handle it during the rolling out part. Anyone can make this! Use this recipe for all your favorite in season fruit, pumpkin, nut or savory pies. I especially love it with my Maple Blueberry Pie filling!

Ingredients:

  1. 3 c Flourimg_6792-1
  2. 1 tsp Salt
  3. 1/4 c Raw Yogurt (or store-bought Greek Yogurt)
  4. 1/4 c Maple Syrup
  5. 1 c Cold Butter
  6. 6-8 tbs Ice Water

 

Directions:

Pre heat oven to 425 F. Cut butter into small cubes and place in freezer for 15- 20 min. It is important for butter to remain as cold as possible during process which will allow for flaky crust.  img_6793-1

Using food processor (if you do not have one place ingredients in large bowl and use pastry cutter to combine), sift flour into bowl of processor. Add salt , maple syrup, yogurt and chilled butter cubes. Pulse while adding ice water a Tbs at a time until mixture is roughly starting to pull together. Do not over process.img_6790-1 img_6791-1

Empty bowl onto plastic wrap, cover into ball and place in fridge for 30 min. Then place on floured surface, cut in half and roll out into rough circle. Using roller, roll end of flattened disk around rolling-pin and unroll into pie dish. Press to pie dish form. img_6787-1

Place desired filling in pie shell, and if desired roll out remaining half disk and pace on top cutting slits in center and cutting off excess pie dough from edges with sharp knife. Crimp edges as desired to close. Bake at 425 for approx 40 min using foil of cover over pie edges to keep from burning.

Fluffy Power Waffles

img_6596These are the best we have made!  Our poor little waffle maker has been getting a workout. I added cottage cheese and my raw yogurt to a standard pancake recipe, as well as almond flour for a high protein waffle that tastes great and is lighter than any waffle I have had. If you have never put cottage cheese into pancake or waffle mix try it! As the batter cooks the cottage cheese curds create little pockets of gooey  goodness. You can add yogurt or cottage cheese to any standard store-bought box pancake mix  for extra nutrition. All my kid’s love this recipe. Freeze extra waffles and pop in toaster for quick breakfast later.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp sugar img_6534
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c Almond flour
  • 1 c milk
  • 1/2 c yogurt  (raw or store-bought)
  • 1/2 c cottage cheese

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Directions:

Heat up waffle iron or skillet. Sift dry ingredients into large bowl. Make a well in sifted dry ingredients. Place eggs in well and beat with fork. Add yogurt and cottage cheese to egg mixture and combine. Slowly add milk as you combine the wet and dry ingerdients. Mix will be lumpy. Add more milk, (1/4 c at a time), if batter appears too thick. Using REAL butter prep hot skillet or waffle iron. Pour batter onto prepared hot surface. Flip pancakes when bubbles appear at surface, or open waffle iron when steaming has finished. Serve with favorite toppings and enjoy!

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Boys will be Boys

006A Farmer is a provider to all. Not many can say that. Lilly May and I watch from the window as our boys head to work. How to raise farmer boys? Not sure if it happens naturally or if they are more inclined to like tractors and all things farm because they have no other choice! These boys are natural at helping on the farm and make us very proud. Should they choose to be farmers one day we pray there will be lots of opportunity for them. It is a blessing to be able to work so hard and provide for others through this work. I have admired my husbands lifestyle since I met him, and his passion for the dairy continues to grow…