Sweet Potato Pie

This pie has several components, but most of them can be made ahead. Roast the sweet potatoes, make the pie dough, and make the salty pecans a day before to ease the work load. Even though it has a few steps, this pie is everyone’s favorite winter dessert. Bonus, the cook gets to play with a blow torch!

This recipe was featured in the Winter Harvest episode of The Farm on Public Television.

Sweet Potato Pie with Salty Pecans and Marshmallow Frosting

Serve 6 to 8

For the pie crust:
11/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3 to 4 tablespoons cold water
For the filling:
11/4 lbs sweet potatoes
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
a pinch of salt
For the salty pecans:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup pecans
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the merengue topping:
3 large egg whites
a pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar

For the pie crust: Stir together the flour and salt in a bowl, then cut in the butter with your fingers until it is mostly combined with some pea-sized lumps. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the water with a fork until combined, the squeeze the dough together with your hand. If it is still crumbly, stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of water. Transfer the dough to a piece of plastic wrap. Using the plastic as a guide, fold the dough over it self several times to form a disk of dough. Wrap the dough in the plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Roll the dough out to an 11-inch round on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie tin and press it into the bottom and sides. Trim the dough to 1/2 inch overhang using kitchen sheers.

Prick the bottom and sides of the dough with a fork, then fold the overhang under the edge of the crust and crimp. Place a sheet of foil over the dough. Place pie weights over the foil and bake the crust until it is pale and set, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the foil and pie weights and continue to bake the crust until golden, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let the crust cool completely.

Make the filling: While the crust bakes, bake the sweet potatoes. Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork, then wrap them in foil and place them in the oven until tender, about 1 hour. Remove the sweet potatoes and let cool, then peel them and place the flesh in a bowl. Mash the sweet potatoes with a potato masher, then whisk in the brown sugar, heavy cream, milk, eggs, cinnamon and salt. Pour the filling into the pie crust and bake until set, 45 to 55 minutes. Let the pie cool completely.

Make the salty pecans: Melt the butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat until hot, Stir in the brown sugar, pecans, and salt and cook until the pecans are coated, about 2 minutes. Let the pecans cool.

Make the merengue topping: Whisk the eggs and salt together in a metal bowl, then set it over a pot of gently simmering water. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the sugar and continue to whisk constantly adding the remaining sugar in batches, until the eggs whites have tripled in volume, about 7 minutes. Transfer the bowl to a mixer and continue to whisk the merengue until it hold soft peaks, about 5 minutes more.

Assemble the pie: Spread the nuts over the top of the pie, then place the merengue over the nut layer making decorative dollops. Using a torch, toast the meringue until golden brown. Serve.

Farm Fresh with Vietnamese Flavors

Farm Fresh with Vietnamese Flavors

The Banh Mi sandwich with it’s sweet pickled vegetables, hot fresh chiles, and porky meat has become a favorite all over the world. Here, hot-cooked green beans stand in for the bun.

This recipe was featured in the Produce episode of The Farm on Public Television.

Blistered Banh Mi Green Beans

Serves 4 to 6

2 large shallots, thinly sliced
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 bacon slices, chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
11/2 lbs green beans, trimmed
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño chile, thinly sliced
a small handful of cilantro

Place the shallots, vinegar, water, sugar and 1 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let stand until cool.

Cook the bacon in a large heavy skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Add the oil to the skillet and increase the heat to high. Stir in the green beans, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until tender and blistered in places, about 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook, stirring until the garlic is golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer the beans to a serving platter. Sprinkle the shallots, chile, cilantro, and the reserved bacon over the beans and serve.

As fresh as it gets!

As fresh as it gets!

Farmer’s cheese is one of the easiest cheeses to make. Stir the ingredients together, simmer and strain. That’s it! Use it in cheesecakes, in lasagna, or spread on toast and drizzled with honey.

This recipe was featured on The Farm on public television.

Farmer’s Cheese

Makes about 4 cups

1 gallon whole milk
3 cups buttermilk
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon salt

Equipment: Cheesecloth; A colander; A rubber band

Place the cheesecloth in the colander and wrap the rubber band around the lip of the colander. Place the colander in a pot or large bowl.

Pour the milk, buttermilk, cream and salt in a large heavy pot and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly until the curds separate form the whey. Pour the farmer’s cheese into the colander, letting the whey drain into the pot. Let cool to room temperature. The farmer’s cheese keeps, covered in the refrigerator, for up to 1 week.

All Veggies, All The Time!

All Veggies, All The Time!

This deeply satisfying vegetarian stew is hearty enough to convince even the toughest of carnivores that meatless just might be the way to go.

This recipe was featured on The Winter Harvest Episode of The Farm on Public Television.

Winter Vegetable Stew

Serves 6

1 pound dried chicken peas
3 large leeks, white and pale green parts only
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, smashed and coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (11/2)
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 cinnamon sticks
5 bay leaves
1 large butternut squash, cut into large chunks
6 carrots, cut into chunks
8 pitted dates, chopped
3 cups water
1 quart canned tomatoes
3 tablespoons cilantro leaves

Place the chickpeas in a bowl and cover by 3-inches of water. Let the chickpeas soak over night, then drain.

Cut the leeks in half crosswise, then rinse under cold water to remove any dirt. Cut the leeks into 1/2-inch pieces.

Heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium high heat until hot, the stir in the leeks, garlic, onion, 11/2 teaspoons salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until they are golden, about 8 minutes. Stir in the coriander, cumin, smoked paprika, turmeric, cinnamon sticks and bay leaves and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the squash, carrots, dates, water, and tomatoes and bring to a boil, breaking up the tomatoes with a spoon. Stir in the chickpeas and simmer the stew, covered, until the vegetables are very tender, about 1 hour. Season the stew to taste with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with the cilantro and serve.

Moo.

Moo.

Making your own mozzarella FROM SCRATCH is a labor of love. It takes several hours, but is totally worth the cheese you end up with. If you want to pull the curds without going through the process of separating the curds and whey, you can buy the curds by themselves. But, really. What’s the fun in that?

This recipe was featured on The Dairy Episode of The Farm on Public Television.

Fresh, From Scratch Mozzarella Cheese
Makes about 1 pound of cheese

1 gallon whole milk
1 1/8 teaspoon citric acid
1/2 tablet rennet, crushed
1/4 cup warm water
1/3 cup kosher salt

Equipment you’ll need: A large heavy pot; an instant-read thermometer; a colander; cheesecloth; kitchen string

Heat the milk and citric acid to 88°F in a large heavy pot over low heat, stirring occasionally, and maintain a temperature between 88 to 91°F adjusting the heat as necessary, for 1 hour. (The mixture will begin to curdle.)

Dissolve the rennet in the warm water, then stir into milk mixture. Let stand, uncovered, maintaining 88 to 91°F, until the consistency of soft pudding, 15 to 20 minutes.

Using a long knife, make cuts across stiffened milk mixture at 1/2-inch intervals, reaching down to bottom of pot, then make similar cuts in the opposite direction to form a crosshatch pattern. Let stand, undisturbed, 5 minutes. Keeping the temperature between 88 and 91°F, gently stir the curds every 10 minutes for 30 minutes, then let curds stand, uncovered and undisturbed, maintaining temperature, 30 minutes more.

Line a large colander with cheesecloth and set over a bowl and use a rubber band to hold the cheese cloth in place. Using a ladle or slotted spoon, transfer the curds to the cheesecloth. Gather the cheesecloth over curds to form a sack and tie sides together. Suspend the sack from a sink spout so that the whey will drain in the sink. Let hang 3 hours at room temperature.

Heat a large pot of heavily salted water (1/3 cup salt for 5 qt water) to 170°F. Place 1/3 of the curds in a large slotted spoon and dip into the hot water until the curds start to melt together, about 2 minutes. Dip your hands in cold water, then place the curd in your hands. Working over the hot water, gently fold the mass of curds over itself in your hands, stretching as you fold. Reheat in hot water as necessary (3 to 5 times) to maintain temperature, folding and stretching until curds become a smooth and elastic disk.

Form into a ball by tucking outside into center, then pinch edges together. Place the mozzarella in cold water to cool before eating. Make remaining cheese in same manner.

 

Zuc chips and souped up mayo

Beer is the secret ingredient in the batter, making these zucchini chips extra crisp and delicious. And after you make Souped-Up Mayo once, it will become a standard in your kitchen. Switch up the ingredients by adding garlic, smoked paprika, even a dash of anchovy paste and you’ll be impressed at how versatile this dip can become.

This recipe was featured on the Beer Episode of The Farm on public television.

Zucchini Chips with Souped-Up Mayonnaise

Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer

For the Souped-Up Mayonnaise
11/2 cups mayonnaise
2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
11/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 small shallot, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives

For the Zucchini Chips
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons corn starch
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup beer
2 medium zucchini
About 4 cups vegetable oil

Make the Souped-Up Mayonnaise: Whisk together the mayonnaise with the zest, juice, shallot, chili powder, a large pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Place in a serving bowl and sprinkle with the chives.

Make the Zucchini Chips: Whisk together the flour, corn starch, chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Whisk in the beer until combined (the batter will be loose). Trim the zucchini, then make thin, crosswise slices using a hand-held slicer.

Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium high heat until hot (about 425°F), then dip one zucchini slice at a time into the batter, letting the excess batter drip back into the bowl and place in the oil. Cook the zucchini chips in batches, turning once, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per batch, transferring the chips to paper towels to drain as cooked. Brin the oil back to temperature between batches. Sprinkle the chips with a pinch of salt per batch as cooked, then serve with the Souped-Up Mayonnaise.

Honey Walnut Cake

This rustic cake is just sweet enough to be dessert, but it’s also perfect with a cup of coffee  as a start to the day. Serve it with an extra drizzle of honey and some cremé fraiche or sour cream.

This recipe was featured on the Honey Episode of The Farm on public television.

Honey Walnut Cake

Serves 6

21/2 cups all-purpose flour
11/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
11/2 sticks unlisted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs
3/4 cup honey, plus more for serving
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
11/2 cups walnuts
Cremé fraiche for serving

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Oil a 9-inch round cake pan, then line the bottom with a 9-inch round of parchment paper. Oil the paper.

Stir together the flour, soda, and salt in a bowl. Beat the butter with an electric mixer, then add 1 egg at a time, beating until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Beat in the honey.

Beat in half the flour mixture until just combined, then beat in the milk. Beat in the remaining flour mixture, the vanilla, and half the walnuts.

Transfer the batter to the cake pan, spreading evenly. Sprinkle the remaining walnuts over the cake.

Bake the cake until golden and a tester or a knife come out clean when inserted into the center of the cake, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature with dollops of creme fraiche and a drizzle of honey.

 

 

 

Spicy, sweet ribs, finished with a drizzle of honey

Spicy, sweet ribs, finished with a drizzle of honey

These super-simple baby back ribs are really easy to make. A quick stir of smoked peppers, honey and lime then they roast (actually steam in their own juices) until they are fork tender. A few minutes under the broiler ensures a flavorful brown finish.

This recipe was featured on the Honey Episode of The Farm on public television.

Chipotle-Honey Baby Back Ribs

Serves 4 to 6

1/3 cup finely chopped chipotle peppers in adobo
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup honey, plus more for drizzling
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 racks baby back ribs

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Stir together the chipotles, lime juice, honey, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper until combined.

Place each rack of ribs on a sheet of aluminum foil, then divide the chipotle mixture between the ribs and wrap the foil around the ribs to create a packet. Place the wrapped ribs on a baking sheet and roast the ribs until tender, about 13/4 hours. Unwrap the foil and preheat the broiler.

Broil the ribs about 4 inches from the heat until browned, about 6 minutes.

Transfer the ribs to a cutting board and drizzle with a little more honey. Cut the ribs into serving sizes of 2 to 3 ribs each and serve.

Fallin' off the bone!

Fallin’ off the bone!

This is a poor man’s version of the classic duck confit (but without the fit part – duck fat is expensive!) Instead, the legs braise in stock with vegetables until they are falling off the bone. A quick broil before serving ensures crispy skin and absolutely zero leftovers.

This recipe was featured on the Holiday Special of The Farm on Public Television.

Braised Smoked Duck Legs

Serves 6

6 duck legs
3 celery stalks, cut into pieces
4 carrots, cut into chunks
1 onion, quartered with the skin on
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 cups duck or chicken stock

Place the duck in a smoker and smoke over low heat with hickory or fruit wood for about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Place the celery, carrots, and onion in a braising dish or a casserole dish. Nestle the duck legs, skin-side-up into the vegetables and season generously with salt and pepper. Pour the stock over the duck legs and cover the dish tightly with foil. Braise the duck until it is very tender, 11/2 to 2 hours.

Preheat the broiler.

Uncover the dish and broil the duck 3 to 4 inches from the heat until it is browned in places, 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Cranberry Dressing

Dressing is always my favorite dish at any holiday table. This version features dried cranberries that act like sweet-tart gems bringing balance to the rich stock and butter-soaked bread cubes. If you’re lucky, you’ll get one in every bite. Make your own crusty bread using the recipe for Pan d’Epi below or use a crusty, country-style loaf.

This recipe was featured on the Holiday Special of The Farm on Public Television.

Dried Cranberry Dressing

Serves 6 to 8

1 stick unsalted butter
3 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium onions, diced
3 tablespoons finely sliced fresh sage
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 loaf Pan d’Epi or country-style bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup dried cranberries
2 cups duck or chicken stock

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Heat the butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat until hot, then stir in the celery, onions, sage, 1 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, 4 to 5 minutes.

Place the bread in a deep baking dish and toss together with the vegetable mixture and cranberries. Pour the stock over the dressing and bake until the top is crisp and browned, about 30 minutes.