At the farmers markets over the past few weeks, I have been suggesting a recipe for Maple Country Ribs to interested customers. It is a hands-off preparation, and can be made while you are doing other things: picnicking with the family, swimming, reading at the beach, etc. All you need for special tools or ingredients is a slow cooker (crock pot) and allspice (we have that on hand for other uses, but some people don’t). Robin Severance had company who loved this preparation of her syrup and my country ribs.
Slow Cooked Maple Syrup Country Ribs
1 1/2 pounds country style pork ribs
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons dried minced onion
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 dash ground black pepper
Combine all in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on Low for 7 to 9 hours.
Farmer Q & A:
Q. What’s hidden in that freezer, anyways?
A. I am often asked that question. (Note that my answer comes with underlined products. There are recipes in this post that contain these products, if you are interested!) Many of my returning customers know that sometimes I don’t have a clue what is really in there. 🙂 Actually, I do know that I attempt to have at least two servings of everything that is on the price list as in stock. If it is listed as out of stock, then I don’t have two servings available or we are completely out. For example, if I have Veal Shanks (Osso Buco) as available, I have four cuts of them in the freezer. In general, I have some Veal Chuck Steaks with me, some Round Cutlets, ground veal, and possibly some sirloin chops, if they are still available.
I do know that our Beef Patties are nearly out of stock. We are down to our final handful of packages, and when they are gone, they’re gone. Grassfed beef is now officially out of stock.
Pork Country Ribs, Ground Pork, Sausage: Sweet Italian, Hot Italian, Breakfast… Maple Syrup Cured Hickory Smoked Thickly Cut Bacon, and maple Syrup Cured Hickory Smoked Thickly Cut Ham Steaks are all crammed in that freezer as well. And I am adding Pork Chops back into the mix.
Sausage and Pistachio-Stuffed Veal Marsala
The stuffing is Sweet Italian Sausage, mixed with chopped pistachios, parsley, bread crumbs, an egg yolk, and a little cognac and nutmeg. Roll stuffing into thin veal cutlets, roll in flour. Brown in butter and olive oil, remove. Saute chopped celery, onion, and carrots, add marsala, reduce, then add chicken stock. Add the veal rolls and braise for about an hour. Very good! This would be a nice meal for company since it sounds fancier than a typical braised dish, but you could do it ahead of time and then warm. Served with Braised Potatoes with Butter and Rosemary.
In other farm news: I am pretty sure that today is the day that we will be picking up our next batch of pork chops, spareribs, babyback ribs, and a couple of tenderloins from our USDA processing facility. That means that it is pretty likely that they will be available at the Bernardston Farmers Market Tuesday from 4 to 7, Wednesday @ the Conway Farmers Market, 4 to 7 & Thursday @ the Northfield Farmers Market, 4 to 7.
Even More Recipes:
Toasted Cashew and Bacon Brittle
2/3 cup raw cashews about 4 ounces
8 ounces bacon
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle. While the oven is heating, place cashews on a baking sheet and toast in the oven, stirring occasionally, until deep brown, about 12 to 15 minutes. Cool slightly on a cutting board, then coarsely chop; set aside.
2. When the oven is ready, place bacon on a baking sheet and roast until deep brown and well done, about 15 minutes. Remove to a paper-towel-lined plate to cool; reserve 1 tablespoon of the rendered bacon fat. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, coat the paper with a thin layer of the reserved fat, and place the baking sheet on a cooling rack. Crumble bacon into bite-sized pieces;
3. Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan over high heat and stir until sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally (do not stir), until mixture is deep amber and registers 350°F on a candy thermometer, about 10 to 15 minutes . Immediately remove the pan from heat.
4. Carefully add cashews, bacon, and salt to the caramel and stir to combine. Immediately pour mixture onto the center of the prepared baking sheet. Let sit at room temperature until hardened, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely, then break into shards.
Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 2 1/2 dozen *Must refrigerate for storage
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups Bittersweet Chocolate Morsels
One pound of Wells Tavern Farm Maple Syrup Cured Hickory Smoked Bacon
Preheat oven to 375° F.
Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Add chopped, cooked Bacon and mix for 1 minute. Stir in morsels. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes then remove to wire racks to cool completely. Remember to store these cookies (should you have any left to store) in the fridge.
Back in Farm News: I felt like we were officially out of the egg business for the last few weeks, as the laying hens were not laying. The heat and humidity were just too much for them. I know that it was, at times, too much for me. I had two real bouts of heat exhaustion brought on after attending farmers markets in 100 plus degree weather, standing on hot asphalt radiating stored heat.
Our layers are provided with shade shelters and fresh water and feed daily, but they are outdoor critters. As you can see by the chart, from Iowa State University, it is no wonder that we had a fall in production, and we are very lucky that we did not experience heat stress induced mortality. We may be adding some baking soda to the hens ration during the next period of extreme heat, as research has found: “Sodium bicarbonate in the feed or use of carbonated water is especially useful for hens in egg production as panting and carbon dioxide release impacts the acid base balance and the bicarbonate available for egg shell formation.” We already add crushed seashells as a free choice option, but maybe they aren’t lucid enough to make that choice. After all, they are chickens.
Just imagine those Maryland, Delaware area factory farms with millions (exaggeration, I know) of chickens in each metal building, in that heat! Yuck. Extremely sad and yucky. Our ladies spent most of the time, with their wings out a little bit from their bodies, fanning their “pits” as it were, and being pretty sedentary.
In the midst of my exasperation with not having eggs available to deliver to Enterprise Farm in Whately, or for me to sell, or for us to even eat as a family, we discovered our White Rock chicks have hit maturity! Who knew? Technically, these are White Plymouth Rocks, and they are a dual-purpose, cold-hardy bird and a great breed for the small farm or backyard flock owner. I am hoping that this strain of White Rock is a production strain versus a meat strain — many hatcheries specialize in one or the other — because they are really pigeon chested and small-framed birds. I was amazed to learn that they were actually laying. In more than three decades of having chickens, I have not seen a standard breed (regular sized) pullet so tiny in size, laying what will turn into regular size (Large-Extra Large) brown eggs. So, just two days after deciding that we are out of the egg business with the older, heat stressed hens, we may, in fact, be back in the egg business in the next few weeks, when this entire small flock matures.
There’s farming for you! Can’t count your eggs…