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Fall is for cooking

29 Sep

No more hot weather driving me out of the kitchen!

One of the benefits of having a freezer full of lamb year round is getting to try new and different recipes, and perfecting some of my favorites. So I plan to start posting some of those recipes here, particularly really great flavor combinations. Ever hear of Baharat spice blend? It’s a blend of spices, not unlike Curry Powder though with an entirely different flavor profile. Think coriander, clove, paprika, black pepper, cumin and cinnamon  with a dash of nutmeg and cardamom. It’s amazing as a dry rub over a roast, sprinkled on grilled lamb steaks, or mixed into ground lamb for meatballs or kofte. With a garlicky yogurt sauce to dip into and cool your mouth off, it’s amazing any time of the year. I’ll post the blend I use here soon, along with the kofte recipe.

And this weekend, I’ll be making a go at a very traditional Shepherd’s Pie, braising a lamb shoulder, turnips and carrots, and smothering it with potatoes. Root vegetables from our garden, lamb raised on our pastures, a home-cooked meal if there ever was one.

Another grand adventure to write about in future posts – over the next year we are going to be building a milking parlor and milk house and starting a flock of dairy sheep, along with opening a creamery to make sheeps milk cheese! I’ve started the process towards getting a cheese maker license, and plans and excavation are underway for putting the parlor and milk house. We’ll be sure to document with photos our process.

Nursemaid Freckles

28 Feb

does this look normal?

Yes, that’s a calf in the truck, riding in the back seat like a dog. He just seemed too little to ride in the back of the truck where he’d flop all around. He’s our latest addition to help me manage all of the milk Freckle’s produces that I don’t always have time to make cheese/yogurt/butter with.

We put him in the stall with Freckles and she looks and snorts in disgust, like “Another one? Give me a break.” But she lets him nurse all the same, like she could care less. I guess what’s one more calf when you’ve already had three nursing on you at various points over the past six months!

 

Janus

26 Jan

still little at two weeks next to his underweight momma

Not knowing if we’re going to raise Freckle’s bull calf for meat or not, I’ve been slow to give him a formal name. I think I wrote earlier about calling him Lil’ Red. He’s not so little though anymore, and that name doesn’t seem to be sticking. At just 25 days old he’s nearly as big as the two 6 mo. Hereford calves we’re housing for our neighbor!

In my web browsing though, I stumbled across a wiki definition of the Roman god Janus, who the month of January is named for: In Roman mythology, Janus is the god of gates, doors, doorways, beginnings, endings and time. Most often he is depicted as having two heads, facing opposite directions; one head looks back at the last year while the other looks forward to the new, simultaneously into the future and the past.

Since he was born on New Year’s Eve — the day that bridges the last year to the coming new year — Janus seems a fitting name. He also ushered in the beginning of my cheesemaking and fledgling dairy…

Freshly churned butter

24 Jan

Warm 2 quarts of cream to room temperature, place in stand mixer with paddle attachment, and let ‘er go. 30-40 minutes later, fresh butter and a quart of tangy buttermilk.

sweet creamy fresh butter

 

Got milk

16 Jan

Milking Shorthorn bull calf, 2 weeks old

For breakfast this morning I ate hot-from-the-oven buttermilk scones with pats of creamy butter and a hot cup of coffee with fresh cream. All courtesy of this little guy who shares his mother’s bounty with me. Alice calls him “Caffy,” but I think we’re naming him Little Red.

A new experience for me in the kitchen, cheesemaking is tricky! Wow, does everything need to be perfectly exact. As someone who rarely follows a recipe exactly, this is requiring a new approach for me. I’ll post a recipe as soon as I get something perfected.

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