Strong Heart Ranch

Hogs, Honey, & Horses..and a couple Longears


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Happy 100th Birthday Arizona!

It’s that time of year when the Arizona desert calls to me.  I love the southwestern culture and sharing it with my daughter. This year it is Arizona’s 100th Anniversary so it made the trip a little more exciting.

We made it to the Parada del Sol Parade which for my horse crazy kid it was fantastic. I believe I had heard that there was  150 entries in the parade while not all are horse, it was a great parade to watch.

I had 3 food and beverage goals this trip. First was to collect Arizona beers for my friend Dan the Microbrew Cyclist to review, check out his site to see how he liked my picks.

The 2nd goal was to eat at the True Food Kitchen, which follows the anti-inflammatory diet by Dr. Andrew Weil. My mom, sister and I went to lunch on Valentines day at the Biltmore Fashion Park. It was fantastic, the food was excellent, the sever was knowledgable, the restaurant is open, fresh, and very clean.  I could rave about it for hours and can’t wait to go back. The Sashimi Salad was a favorite at the table, can’t wait to make it at home.

My 3rd goal was to visit Joe’s Farm Grill in Gilbert, AZ. I had tried to eat there a year ago and it was so busy and we didn’t have the time to wait.  They have a simple Americana style menu with burger, hot dogs, pizza, and salads. The added bonus is that the food is high quality, from fresh produce, local meats and affordable.

We loved our visit this year and can’t wait to visit again.

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You gonna eat that? Winter Browse for farm critters.

Goat Camo

Look closely and you’ll see happy goats chomping away.  These are leftovers from our corn, sunflower, and winter squash pasture.  Even though the wet spring and summer left was a challenge to grow crops, it proved beneficial in the end.

The goats, birds, chickens, turkeys and geese have been cleaning up.  Riping down corn stalks and finishing up sunflower seeds. It’s already got me thinking about next years plantings. Cornstalks seem to be the most desirable but the seed heads on the sunflowers run a close second. Maybe next year I will add amaranth and milo to the mix.


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Gathering of Goat People

Not to be confused with people who look like goats, but “goat people”. People who live and breathe dairy goats. This week we converged on Grand Rapids, Michigan for the 2011 American Dairy Goat Association Convention. It’s a long jaunt for this Oregonian but well worth it.

I get the privilege of being the coordinator of the cheese judging competition. I spend a good portion of my time preparing cheese for judging. During the judging I get the opportunity to taste all of the cheeses. This year’s Best in Show was Sunset Bay from River’s Edge Chevre http://threeringfarm.com/and Reserve Best in Show Jalapeno & Garlic Marinated Chevre from Fiore di Capra http://www.goatmilkandcheese.com/.

Jalapeno & Garlic Marinated Chevre

Sunset Bay-River's Edge Chevre

Body Product Baskets

I also was able to attend a fun class on making your own body products. Mostly face masks, body scrubs, and foot soaks. Made with products most of us have in our kitchen along with goat milk and yogurt.

The best part of the ADGA Convention is all the lifetime friendships you make!


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Tuscan Kale Salad

I was never a big fan of kale until a couple of years ago. We had grown the curly kale variety in our garden about 3yrs ago and I just never enjoyed it, but the chickens did. The next year I was making a soup that called for Tuscan kale.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn’t a curly leaf, but instead a beautiful dark blueish leaf with a smooth, swiss chard like texture. Tuscan kale can also be called lacinato kale, dinosaur kale, palm tree kale and I’m sure there are other nicknames.

I have made a few observation about this salad.  Spend the extra money and get a nice olive oil, it’s a big part of the flavor. I used panko bread crumbs instead of making my own, I like the texture of the panko. I also shredded my cheese and didn’t use grated.  Don’t be afraid to make it your own.

I found a great video from Dr. Weil on the preparation of this salad.

True Food Kitchen’s Tuscan Kale Salad
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Juice of 1 lemon
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (nice quality)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Dried red chili flakes to taste
4 to 6 cups Tuscan kale (cavolo nero) that has been washed, patted dry, midrib removed, loosely packed, sliced, see cook’s notes
2/3 cup grated Pecorino Toscano cheese, divided use, see cook’s notes
1/2 cup freshly made bread crumbs, lightly toasted
Cook’s notes:  Remove the central rib by cupping  fingers over the stem then moving toward the tip of the leaf. Stacking several de-ribbed leaves together, by folding the leaves in half one direction, then in half the other direction. Then cut the “package” into 1/4-inch wide crosswise slices.
As for the cheese, the Rossellino brand of Pecorino is preferred. But if you can’t find it other flavorful grating cheese can be used, such as Asiago or Parmesan.


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2010 Fall Harvest

 

Sun Loving Sunflowers

Roasting Green Chilies

The 2010 fall harvest was great.  We enjoyed growing our new corn, giant pumpkins, amaranth, & milo. There was also plenty of old favorites with tomatoes, onions, green beens, sunflowers, cucumber. Let’s not forget that we always plant too much zucchini and  yellow squash. We harvest more green chilies every this season. Look forward to our spring planting.

Drying Onions 

Beautiful Amaranth

 

Drying Onions


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Help me! Egg Overload

It never dawned on me why we have Easter eggs, until we became farmers. It’s because we have so many of the blasted things we decide to color and hide them around the yard.  Feast or famine with the eggs, before winter solstice you cherish everyone by spring you’re hoping for someone to show you a new recipe. Someone please send me a new egg recipe!!