Nosh

Feeding the Farm…easy meal ideas.

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Harvest means beating the clock and beating the weather to bring in the crops.  It means early mornings to get the other chores done, grease everything up to get out in the fields again and it means late nights.  It means long hot, sticky hours in the equipment.  It means dirt and dust, stubble and flies.  It means rough roads and turkey trails.  It means parts runs, loads to the elevator and anticipation to see the yields.  It means missing daddies (and mommies).  It means everything in terms of what we’ve worked hard for all year long.  The farm life is busy and full of hard work..sweat and tears and even blood.  It is being at the mercy of Mother Nature.  It is a gamble and it is faith.  It’s teaching the next generation.  It is our life and most of the time I wouldn’t change it for anything in this world!

I feed our farm crew during harvest and I often imagine how much a good meal can brighten up the monotony of each day so I take a lot of pride in what I do.  I try and create something each night that our cherished farmers can easily eat on the go but that is hearty and substantial and in some small way shows how much they are appreciated.  Here are some easy make-ahead ideas that can help all you other field meal workers out there…never underestimate the value of your position to the farm.  Food is an immediate ticket to the soul! (And if you’re not busy on the farm, these ideas are also great for back-to-school or quick staples to have in your freezer for busy weeknights!)

 

Savory Rolls:

All you need is your favourite bread dough recipe…Roll it out like you would for cinnamon rolls and then top with one of these creative savoury fillings:

  • Pizza: tomato sauce, diced pepperoni, ham, cooked sausage, or bacon (or all of the above), grated mozzarella, diced peppers or mushrooms.
  • Honey Mustard Ham: honey mustard (I mix up yellow mustard with honey and a bit of brown sugar), diced ham, grated cheddar.
  • Alfredo Chicken: Alfredo sauce, diced or shredded cooked chicken, cooked and drained spinach, grated mozzarella and grated parmesan.

Spread the sauce then the chopped meat and vegetables and finish with the grated cheese, roll and slice like you would cinnamon rolls, let rise and then bake.  Delicious served hot or cold!

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Meat Pockets or Hand Pies:

Roll out the dough (recipe as follows) and cut into circles, or squares, top with filling then cover with another circle or fold over half the square (to make a rectangle), crimp the edges with a fork and freeze on parchment lined cookie sheets (then toss into plastic air-tight containers or bags to be cooked from frozen later) or bake(at 375* for 20 mins or so…ovens vary) until golden immediately.  These can be made in any shape or size!

Dough:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 6 Tbsp lard or butter
  • 1 whole egg & 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup cold water (plus or minus to bring dough to proper consistency.)
  • Mix lard into dry ingredients until course crumbs, add eggs then slowly add water to combine.  Can be make in the food processor as well.  Add everything at once except the water, whiz up then slowly add the water until a ball is formed.  Chill half hour or so then roll out and fill. (I love this dough, it is so easy to work with!)

Filling ideas:

  • chicken pot pie
  • taco
  • pizza
  • chicken alfredo
  • broccoli and cheese

 

 

 

 

Nosh

Easter “Hop Tarts”

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Here’s a fruity snack or decadent breakfast item that is sure to put a little pep in your step and hop in your walk!  E and I made ours into egg shapes and filled them with blueberry filling but any fruit filling would work (apple cinnamon, very cherry, raspberry, or even a triple berry blend) and any shape would be fun!  I’ve made heart shaped ones before and have even baked them on a popsicle stick for a cute little pie pop!

The dough we used is a bit of a twist to my favourite empanada dough recipe.  I use the traditional dough for a multitude of hand pie options…chicken pot pie, pizza, taco, and mushroom spinach just to name a few.  It’s a really nice dough to work with, and the hand pies or empanadas can be frozen prior to baking or frying with no alteration to the end product.  Since I wanted to make these “hop tarts” sweet as opposed to savoury and a little more rich than usual I substituted the lard for butter and added 1/4 cup sugar as well as 1 tsp vanilla and 1/2 tsp lemon zest.  You could also swap out the vanilla and lemon zest for almond extract, orange zest or even cinnamon and nutmeg.

Traditional Dough Recipe:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sugar (1/4 cup for ‘hop tarts’)
  • 6 Tbsp lard (or butter for ‘hop tarts’)
  • 1 whole egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup cold water

Mix dough together and let rest in fridge for 1/2 hour at least (I have mixed it up the day before and it works well too).

Roll out dough , cut into desired shapes and fill, cover with the top piece of dough (cut into same shape), crimp or fork edges and bake at 375* until golden.

Blueberry Filling

  • 1 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch (mixed with a bit of water)

In a sauce pan cook the berries with the sugar and lemon juice.  Add the cornstarch slurry and cook until thick.  Let cool before filling ‘hop tarts’.

Once slightly cooled, glaze with icing as desired and decorate with sprinkles. We tinted our icing with a violet food colouring gel and sprinkled with rainbow sprinkles but the sky is the limit! And of course we enlisted the help of a few tractors in today’s bake-off…all roads lead back to farming after all!!  These yummy treats are all ready and packed up for a special delivery this weekend!  Happy Spring! Hoppy Easter!