Sunday, November 12, 2017

New to the Farm - Goats!



The goats came to the farm 2 months ago. Jittery and nervous when they came. Taking a picture was almost impossible with their natural skittishness and also being in a new place.



Watch them run when someone approaches them. DD2 had her birthday a few weeks after they came and a group of teenagers terrorized them by chasing them and getting them to eat out of their hands. I guess the brave one among the four did eat out of their hand. You know which one is the boldest by looking at the pictures.



Now 2 months later they are not as jittery and are pretty cute. They always hang together and run away together.



See the brave one approach,



Close enough to even capture a beautiful picture.



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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Persimmon Tree bears fruit

Do you grow fruit trees? Then you will understand what I am talking about. The pleasure and joy that comes from being able to pick fruit from the tree that you saw grow is nothing short of spectacular like seeing your child becoming accomplished.

So here I am a proud owner of a fruit bearing Persimmon tree.













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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Peach Crumble - Tasty in every bite

Life has take over and my attempts to post here regularly have been thwarted. Will try harder!

Remember I was talking about freezing fresh peaches from the farm during the summer? They can be put to fun use in Fall or winter when it is hard to get peaches. I am not sure about peaches in the stores after summer. Normally I only go near the peaches in the stores if DD2 is with me. She is the peach lover in the family.

Farm fresh peaches are tasty as is, you don't want to do too much to it. Peach Crumble brings out the taste of the peaches without adding too much in the way of sugar and dough.





Martha Stewart's peach crumble is what I settled on. I followed the general recipe but while her recipe calls for room temperature butter but I used cold butter. The reason being I did not use a food processor/mixer as I don't have one but to prepare the dough with my fingers I followed the trick that was taught years ago by this lady who worked with DH when making dough for crumble, use a fork or your finger tips.



I used raw sugar instead of brown sugar. You are mistaken if you think brown sugar available here is unrefined sugar. Brown sugar is made by mixing molasses to refined white sugar. If you want to know more read here. For that reason and I simply don't buy brown sugar even if a recipe calls for it. For me just regular white sugar will work if a recipe calls for brown sugar, it will just be paler :)

Peach Crumble in pictures.

Cut the peaches into cubes. Toss with sugar, corn starch and lemon juice and transfer fruit to a baking dish. Prepare the topping with the butter, sugar and flour and mixing the butter into the flour.
Transfer the topping on to the fruit in the baking dish.
Bake in a 375F preheated oven for 30 minutes. Cover with a aluminum foil dome and bake for another 20 minutes.
Cool for 20 minutes before serving.

Warm peach crumble with some ice cream. Best ever.



Peach Crumble
Preparation Time:20 minutes
Preparation Time:40 - 50 minutes

Ingredients
    For the Peaches
  1. 6 cups of peaches cut into cubes 1/2 -3/4 inch. (I used about 10 peaches)
  2. 4 tsp corn starch
  3. 3/4 cup raw sugar
  4. 1 tbsp lemon juice
  5. For the Crumble
  6. 6 tbsp of butter (cold)
  7. a pinch of salt
  8. 1 cup of white whole wheat flour
  9. 1/4 cup raw sugar

Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Toss the peaches with the lemon juice, corn starch and sugar and transfer to a greased baking dish.
  3. In a wide mouthed bowl take the flour, sugar and flour for the crumble topping.
  4. Cut up the butter and add it to the flour, and with a fork mix it in so the butter starts to crumble into smaller pieces. Now use the tips of your finger to crumble the mixture so the texture feels coarse and grainy (like wet sand)
  5. Sprinkle the topping over the peach and bake for 30 minutes. Now take aluminum foil folded like a loose tent and bake for another 15-20 minutes.
  6. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving. With some home made Vanilla ice cream on top.

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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann - A Review

The Lost City of Z by David Grann was one of those books that keeps you engrossed and on edge throughout and better yet was based on a real life true story. So when I heard about the new book that the same author had written about the Osage Indians I wanted to read it for 2 reasons. There were not many books that I have read about American Indians and how they were treated by the ruling European Whites who almost succeeded in wiping them out completely and exactly how much atrocities have been committed against them in the name of protecting them.

This book offered both. America which prides itself on being the beacon of democracy with an incorruptible judiciary was not always that way. Has it changed? Have to ask the countless innocent people who were sent to jail because of prosecutorial overreach.





This book reads better than any mystery novel but the events were culled meticulously from investigative records about the Osage murders. Murders that were committed for that ancient reason - greed and coveting for somebody's wealth. All made possible by the implicit and tacit support of the federal government. Because no one other than the white man is considered capable enough to take care of their own affairs. Each Indian with rights to oil in Osage County is appointed a caretaker and had to ask permission from them for spending any of the money. The murders and unexplained killings were the result. Why? the caretakers themselves wanted to control the money. But how can this be made possible? By getting rid of the wards obviously.

The corrupt local and state officials were all in the buy so the FBI team - the fledgling bureau that was being assembled by Edgar Hoover had to come in. But did they solve all of them?

Subtler subtext also explores the slow killing of a culture and the devastation that is being wrought on them by the settlers for whom the wealth is more important than an Indian life. I will not give the plot but if you want a good read and in the process learn something about the not so great past of this country you should be reading this book.

David Grann is a mastery story teller. His writing is evocative and clear minded. You will not be disappointed I promise.

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Saturday, September 30, 2017

Simple Cauliflower Masala with tomatoes

Cauliflower is one of those vegetables which tastes great when it is still slightly crunchy and not completely mushed up. During the summer months when tomatoes were plentiful I turned to the tried and tested recipe that I have seen in a lot of homes back home being made as a side dish for chapati. I initially started making this for and then realized that adding the cauliflower would make it even better.

Just the simplest of ingredients but really tasty and so quick to make. This works really well for a week night meal. Need to use ripe tomatoes and ones that are juicy. Heirloom tomatoes or sometimes called ugly tomatoes work really well here. The curry should not be dry but slightly loose, not by adding extra water but from the moisture from the tomatoes.

I got this Corningware Vision Dutch Oven which I have become quite fond of. Works for making curries, sauteing vegetables and cleaning is a breeze.





Simple Cauliflower Masala with tomatoes
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients
  1. 1 head of a medium sized cauliflower cut into small florets
  2. 1/2 cup of chopped red onions
  3. 4-6 tomatoes finely chopped
  4. 1 tsp of grated ginger (optional)
  5. 5-6 slit green chilies
  6. 1 garlic clove chopped fine
  7. a handful of chopped coriander leaves
  8. salt to taste
  9. 2 tsp of oil
  10. seasonings: mustard and cumin seeds

Method
  1. In a wide mouthed pan, heat oil add the cumin and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds starts to pop add the onions and green chilies and saute till the onions become translucent.
  2. Add in the garlic and ginger if using, saute for about 30 seconds making sure the ginger does not stick.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and saute till they become nice and mushy.
  4. Add in the cauliflower florets and salt and saute till the florets get cooked but barely.
  5. Add in the chopped coriander leaves.
  6. Serve with chapathis or soft phulkas.



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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Freezing Tomatoes and Peaches

For a person who did not care much for peaches I have truly become a convert. Nothing like farm fresh sun kissed peaches during the summer months. We are fortunate to have farms close and access to these superb summer time delights. I like peach smoothies the best during winter time but winter is not a time for peaches. So what is one to do? Freeze the summer abundance of course. I regretted not doing that last year but this year I was a bit more smart!.

The same can be said for tomatoes. The winter tomatoes taste like wet paper with absolutely no taste whatsoever. On the other hand the taste of summer tomatoes is hard to beat. So what is one to do to enjoy these delights during the dreary winter months? Freeze them of course. While I eat and juice a lot of raw tomatoes when they are fresh also use quite a bit in curries, chutneys, rice dishes and such which does not require fresh tomatoes. A great tasting frozen tomato works extremely well when all your going to do is cook with them.







Freezing tomatoes and peaches is literally a piece of cake. While I sometimes stew and freeze the tomatoes for making some pickles later or stew and blend the tomatoes for a quick tomato sauce the easiest and the most quickest way to preserve a tomato is to freeze it as is.



For both peaches and tomatoes, wash the produce well, dry it with a kitchen towel or air dry on the counter for a few hours. Slice into desired shapes, place them on a plate flash freeze over night or for 6-8 hours, separate them and place them in ziplock bags for use later.

Chop the peaches or tomatoes and place them in plates and put them in the freezer for freezing.





Remove and put in bags for storage.






If you cannot do all that work put whole tomatoes in bags and freeze them.





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