We Made Yogurt!

1 1/2 Gallon Milk
2-3 Tbsp. plain yogurt (starter)

1 8-10 Qt. Stockpot
1 4-5 Qt. Pot with Lid
Dial Thermometer with clip
Heating Pad (optional)

Sterilize equipment.

Fill larger pot with water and begin bringing to a boil. Add milk to smaller pot and carefully place into larger pot adjusting height of water keeping milk and water the same. Clip your thermometer to the rim of the pot.

Bring milk to 185 degrees. If you have no thermometer.... this is the temperature the milk will begin to froth as in a latte.

While waiting for milk to warm you can fill your sink with water and ice to speed up cool down. When temperature reaches 185 degrees remove from heat and place pot in cold water.

Cool to 110 degrees. This is the temperature at which yogurt cultures reproduce themselves. (Be sure ice water level is the same as the milk level stirring occasionally)

Pitch your yogurt simply means to add... which comes from the brewing world. You pitch yogurt to make more yogurt!

Pour 2 - 3 Tablespoons of your starter yogurt (Dannon is a good one) if this is your first batch. You could also purchase a dried yogurt starter if you so choose. After that you will always save a portion of your yogurt as your starter for the next batch.

Stir gently, put the lid on and cover with warm towels. Set in a warm place undisturbed (heating pad works great) for 7 hours.
Set heating pad to medium and place on cutting board. You could also try on top of your refrigerator... or even in a small styrofoam ice chest.

Place in refrigerator until set and cold!

It's A Miracle!

It's A Miracle!

Homemade Yogurt topped with...

Homemade Yogurt topped with...
Homemade Granola!

Drying Calendula : Pick blossoms in the afternoon when blossoms are dried and newly opened. If you don't have a dehydrator blossoms can be dried on cookie sheet in a warm oven at 200 degrees until crisp. Remove petals from stem and place in a clean glass jar.

Calendula Infused Oil: Place one cup of blossoms in a quart jar covering with olive or jojoba oil. Place in brown bag and put on windowsill in sunshine for two weeks shaking several times a day.

Strain the blossoms reserving the oil. Refill the jar with more dried blossoms adding more oil if needed to cover. Place jar back in bag and back on windowsill for two more weeks shaking several times a day.

Strain into a dark glass jar. Stir in 800 IU Vitamen E or 2 400 capsules (poked with a pin and squeezed into mixture). This enhances it's keeping qualities.

Add essential oils to scent if desired. Store in dark cool place.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Farmgirls Love Hyper Tuffa...

 Supplies: various containers. (plastic and cardboard are the easiest.) Peat Moss, Perlite, Portland Cement Mold Release Spray (find it in the candle-making section of craft stores) 

1. Choose mold: Make a mold from two nested vessels, so you can pour the mixture in the space between them. Both should have sides that are straight or taper out; the gap between them should be at least 3/4 inch for smaller vessels and 1 1/2 inches for larger ones. 

2. Mix: Wearing gloves and a dust mask, mix equal parts white Portland cement (gray can be substituted for nontinted vessels), perlite, and peat moss in a large bin; stir in masonry stain if desired. Add water gradually to reach the desired consistency. 

3. Fill mold: Coat vessels with mold-release spray. Pour mixture into the outer mold to a 1-inch depth for smaller vessels or a 2-inch depth for larger ones. Set interior mold inside, centering it (you can fill it with sand to steady it). Continue adding mixture between vessels. Tap exterior with a rubber mallet to minimize bubbles. Cover with plastic; let set. 

4. Finish hypertufa: Let set for 24 hours, then gently remove interior container. After removing mold, drill holes into the bottom of pot using a masonry bit, for drainage; smooth the top edge of pot with a planer file. After another 24 hours, tear away carton. Wrap it with plastic, and let cure for several weeks. 
Milk-Carton Hypertufas: Milk cartons used as molds create cube-shaped hypertufa vessels, each sized for a single succulent. The tint variations are achieved by mixing in masonry stains. Directions Mix 3 quarts peat moss, 3 quarts perlite, and 3 quarts portland cement. Mix in 13 1/2 tablespoons masonry stain (1 1/2 tablespoons per quart). Add water until mixture has the consistency of cottage cheese. Makes 3 to 4 small boxes (4-inch cubes or 4 by 4 by 5 inches). Set Time and Release Let set for 24 hours, then gently remove interior container. Drill drainage holes with a masonry bit. After another 24 hours, tear away carton. Cover with plastic and cure for several weeks. 
Bowl Hypertufas: These rounded pots owe their smooth, elegant forms to a kitchen workhorse: the metal mixing bowl, in two sizes. Masonry stain added to the basic hypertufa formula imparts a cool blue hue. Mixed groupings of dwarf plants -- confiers, ground covers, and hostas -- fill the hemispheres. Directions For a 6-by-11-inch bowl, mix 2 quarts peat moss, 2 quarts perlite, and 2 quarts portland cement; for a 7-by-14-inch one, use 3 quarts of each. Mix in masonry stain (1 1/2 tablespoons per quart). Add water until mixture has the consistency of cottage cheese. Set Time and Release Let set for 36 hours, then gently remove interior container. After another 3 days, turn bowl over, and tap bottom with a rubber mallet to remove hypertufa. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sourdough Bread...

Feeding your starter:
Add to your starter at the same time 6 days a week:
1/4 cup warm unchlorinated water
1/3 cup unbleached organic white whole wheat flour
Cover with a damp washcloth or cheesecloth.

Let it rest the seventh day... then repeat the whole process. At least once a week you must remove part of the starter or it will outgrow it's daily feeding ratio. You can make bread, pancakes, etc. with a little planning ahead.

Using the Starter:
Typically a "sponge" is made the evening prior to baking. Remove 1 cup of starter and place in glass bowl or jar, add 1 cup flour and 3/4 cup warm water. Mix well, cover with a damp cloth and place in a warm spot overnight. The next morning stir down your sponge. There should be 2 cups... if you have too much simply pour the extra back into the starter jar.

Mary Jane's Farmhouse Sourdough
2 cups sourdough starter
1 tsp honey
1 cup white whole wheat flour
Mix ingredients well and let sponge 20 - 30 minutes

Add final 1/2 cup of white whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp. salt

Knead until windowpane test (elastic).... form into round loaf and place in greased 2 quart cast iron pan or on parchment paper.
Let rise for the best part of day until doubled in size.
Bake at 425 degrees 35 - 40 minutes or until 195 - 200 degrees or until sounds hollow when thumped.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Making Homemade Lip Balms...

Calendula/Shea Butter Lip Balm

Melt together: 1 Tbsp. shea butter, 3 Tbsp. calendula infused oil, 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. melted beeswax

Add: 10-15 drops essential oil of your choice
2 drops Vitaman E as a preservative
Note: See the August 2011 issue of Mary Jane's Cluck

Sunday, June 12, 2011

2nd Annual Wild @ Heart Farmgirl Glampout Recipes & How-Tos!!!!

"Just Jannie" converted this recipe into a cast iron cooking recipe that was absolutely delicious.... you can cook it in the oven if you like! Look up "Byron's Dutch Oven Cooking Tips & Techniques" on the web... or let us know and we will get them to you!

"No Noodle Zuchinni Lasagna"

Sauce Ingredients:
2 large zucchini
1 Tbsp. salt
1 lb. turkey or ground beef
1 1/2 tsps. ground pepper
1 small diced green bell pepper
1 diced onion
1 16 oz. can tomatoe sauce
1/4 cup red wine
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
Hot water as needed
Layering Ingredients
1 egg
1 15 oz. container cottage cheese
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley
1 lb. fresh spinach or drained frozen
1 lb. sliced fresh mushrooms
8 ozs. shredded mozzarella cheese
8 ozs. grated parmesean cheese

Preheat oven to 325 degrees... grease a deep 9 x 13" baking pan.
1. Slice zucchini lengthwise into very thin slices. Sprinkle slices lightly with salt, set aside to drain.
2. Cook and stir meat and pepper in large skillet over medium high heat for 5 minutes. Add green pepper and onion and cook until meat no longer pink. Stir in tomato paste & sauce, wine, basil & oregano adding a small amount of hot water if sauce is too thick. Bring to a boil... reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes stirring frequently.
3. Meanwhile stir egg, ricotta and parsley together in a bowl until well combined.
4. To assemble lasagna, spread 1/2 of the meat sauce into the bottom of prepared pan. Then layer 1/2 of zucchini slices, 1/2 the ricotta mixture, all of the spinach, followed by all of the mushrooms, then 1/2 of the mozzrella cheese. Repeat layering order. Cover with foil. (Unless cast iron cooking)
5. Bake 45 minutes. Remove foil, raise oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake additional 15 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Breadmaking... the Garden Farms Chickie Way!

Five- Grain Daily Bread

2 1/2 cup bread flour 1 cup whole wheat flour 1/4 cup coarse cornmeal
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. old fashioned rolled oats 1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup cooked brown rice 1/4 cup packed brown sugar 2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. instant active dry yeast
2 Tbsp. honey 1/2 cup warm buttermilk (100d)
Egg wash: 1 Tsp. oil 1 egg

In a large bowl or food processor combine flours, cornmeal, 1/4 cup of the oats, wheat germ, rice, sugar, yeast and salt.

In a small bowl combine honey and buttermilk and add to dry mixture. With a wooden spoon, add water 1/4 cup at a time until dough comes off the bowl and off the blade clean if using processor or bread machine.

On an oil or floured work surface knead dough until glossy and elastic or by hand 10 - 15 minutes. By processor, about 45 seconds.

Proof the dough - coat a large bowl with oil, shape dough into a ball and place in bowl. Cover with a clean, damp kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 - 1 1/2 hours.

Form the loaf - Punch down the dough and reshape into a tight ball. Return dough to lightly floured surface, cover and let rest 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sprinkle baking sheet with cornmeal. Shape the dough into a 10" oval tapering the ends and place on baking sheet or pan. Cover with damp cloth and let rise until doubled - about 1 hour.

In a small bowl, beat the egg with 1 Tbsp. water brushing the loaf with the egg wash and sprinkle with remaining Tbsp oats. Using a sharp knife make diagonal slashes across the top of the loaf (about 3). Bake until the loaf is lightly browned and sounds hollow when tapped - 50 - 60 minutes. Cool on rack and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Fresh Homemade Ricotta Cheese

2 quarts whole milk (not ultra-pasturized)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Special equipment: large sieve, fine-mesh cheesecloth

Line a large sieve with a layer of heavy-duty (fine-mesh) cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl.

Slowly bring milk, cream, and salt to a rolling boil in a 6 quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Add lemon juice, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly until the mixture curdles (about 2 minutes).

Pour the mixture into the lined sieve and let it drain 1 hour. After discarding the liquid, chill the ricotta, covered; it will keep in the refrigerator 2 days.

Homemade Farmer's Cheese

1 gallon whole milk
1 large juiced lemon (1/4 cup) OR 1/2 white vinegar
1 tsp. salt

Pour the milk into a large pot and stir in a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent the milk from scorching on the bottom of the pot.

When the milk begins to boil (small bubbles will first appear at the edges) turn off the heat. Stir lemon juice or vinegar into the milk and the milk will curdle. You may need to wait 5 or 10 minutes.

Line a sieve or colander with a cheesecloth and pour the milk through the cloth to catch the curds. What is left in the cheesecloth is the Farmer's Cheese. The liquid is the whey. Some people keep the whey and drink it... use it in bread... cook pasta in it.... or feed it to your animals. Gather the cloth around the cheese and squeeze out as much of the whey as you can. Wrap in plastic or lace in an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator.

Gretchen's A to Z Bread

Makes 2 loaves

Mix together in a large mixing bowl:

3 eggs, 1⁄2 cup applesauce, 1⁄2 cup oil, 1 to 1 1⁄2 cup sugar (the original recipe calls for two cups; I have used 1 c sugar, or 1 c brown sugar, or 3⁄4 cup honey)

Add to bowl and mix in:

1⁄2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda, 3 tsp cinnamon, 3 tsp vanilla

Add in:

3 cups flour, 1 cup nuts (optional), and 2 cups A to Z (I have used chopped apples, mashed bananas, shredded carrots, pumpkin, mashed persimmons, and zucchini – you can use all of one or mix them)

Bake in two prepared loaf pans at 350 degrees for about 55 minutes, until done.

You can check out Gretchen's OTHER delicious Zucchinni recipes as, she so well put, life was giving her zucchini.....Chocolate Zucchini Muffins, Zucchini Pasta, Zucchini Walnut Cake, Zucchini Pickles, etc. on her blog at Pappasfam.blogspot.com

Back Yard Salad Garden

Back Yard Salad Garden

Turn A Salad Into Nutrition!

Grow fall & winter salad greens right outside your own kitchen door in containers for nutritious additions to salads when picked young.
Try.... different chards, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, bok choy, collard greens, beet greens, arugula, broccolli raab or rapini, and then different types of lettuce.

Top it with calendula petals and violets and it's as pretty as it is delicious!