Sunday, March 20, 2016

First of Spring Week end...COLD

The team at Harris Farm Maine for Maple Sugar Day

Stuffed Shells Recipe

zest of one lemon
1/3 cup / 80 ml extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
scant 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
4 medium cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 28-ounce can crushed red tomatoes
1 14-ounce can crushed red tomatoes
1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 cup / ~5 oz grated mozzarella
1 bunch of chives, minced
25-30 jumbo dried pasta shells
Oil a 13 x 9-inch / 33 x 23-cm baking pan, or equivalent, and sprinkle the zest of 1/2 the lemon across it. Set aside. Get a big pot of water boiling, and preheat your oven to 350F  with a rack in the middle.
To make the sauce, combine the olive oil, red pepper flakes, sea salt, and garlic in a cold saucepan. Stir while you heat the saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute just 45 seconds or so until everything is fragrant - you don't want the garlic to brown. Now stir in the tomatoes and heat to a gentle simmer, just a minute or two.  Taste
If the sauce needs more salt add it now. Let cool.
To make the filling, combine the ricotta, egg, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until combined, then stir in the mozzarella, remaining lemon zest, and 3/4 of the chives. Set aside.
Cook the shells according to package instructions in well-salted water - until al dente. If you overcook, the shells will tear as you attempt to fill them. Drain and let cool long enough to handle with your hands .
Spread 1/3 of sauce across the bottom of the prepared pan. Fill each shell with ricotta, and arrange in a single layer in the pan. Ladle the remaining sauce over the shells, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, uncover for the final 15 minutes or until the shells are cooked through. Sprinkle with the remaining chives and serve hot.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Meatball and Kale Soup

Meatball and Kale Soup

serves 4 - 6
1 pound ground pork (or whatever meat you like)
¼ cup grated Parmigiano Regianno cheese plus more for serving
¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
¼ fresh breadcrumbs*
1 large egg, slightly beaten
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
⅓ cup finely diced onion
½ cup finely chopped carrots
1 garlic clove, minced or grated
Kale Greens , remove the stems
8 cups chicken broth
* to make fresh breadcrumbs yourself, just take a little bread and throw it in your food processor and pulse.  Easy!  If you don't have a food processor, a box grater works fine, too.

Make the meatballs:  Place the pork, cheese, parsley, breadcrumbs, egg, onion powder, garlic powder and salt and pepper in a large bowl and gently mix all ingredients until blended.  Line a rimmed sheet pan with wax paper or plastic wrap and form the meat mixture into small meatballs, about a heaping tablespoon each. You should have about 20 meatballs.  Place on the sheet and let chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Heat a large heavy pot over medium heat.  Spray with some nonstick cooking spray and add about a tablespoon of the olive oil. Place half the meatballs in the oil and gently saute until golden brown.  Roll them around and brown on all sides.  Remove to a plate, add another tablespoon of the olive oil and add the other meatballs and brown the same way.  Remove the meatballs. Do not wipe out the pot.  Add the remaining olive oil to the pot and add the carrots and onions, gently sauteing for about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for about a minute more.  Add the kale and cook, turning the greens, until they collapse a little.  Add the chicken broth and gently return meatballs to the pot.  Give the soup a stir, bring to a simmer, cover and cook on low for about 20 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through. Taste and adjust for seasoning. I like to add more ground black pepper.  
Serve with additional grated Parmigiano cheese.

Saturday, March 5, 2016


My basic recipe for the pasta dough is about 1 egg to every 3/4 cup of flour.  Of course, this will vary on how big the egg is, how fresh, and what kind of flour I'm using.  So it's just a starting point.  I may add just a little water to the dough if I think it's too dry.  If you would like a richer pasta for a special occasion, add more egg yolks to the dough.  It will be wonderful. 
After you make the dough, it must rest a little.  Wrap the dough in a piece of floured plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for about 20 to 30 minutes.  It will be easier to roll out.

Rolling out the pasta is not hard - you will get the hang of it pretty quickly.  After the pasta has rested, cut off a piece about the size of the palm of your hand. Adjust the pasta rollers to #1, the widest setting, and put the pasta through.  Make sure you flour the pasta dough lightly so that it doesn't stick to the rollers.  After the dough comes through the rollers, fold it into thirds and pass it through the #1 slot again.  Do this a couple of more times. The pasta will become very soft and velvety.  Adjust the rollers to the next thinnest setting, #2, and put the pasta through.  Do not fold the pasta this time.  Keep passing it through the rollers, adjusting them thinner, until you reach the thickness you like.  I usually stop at #5 or #6 (for ravioli, I never go beyond #5 because it will be too thin).   As you pass the pasta through narrower settings, the pasta may become sticky again - keep lightly flouring it.

At this point, you now have fresh pasta sheets that you can make homemade lasagna with.  After rolling out the pasta sheets, they must dry just a little on the counter if you want to make a cut pasta, like linguini or fettuccine.  If you cut them before they have dried a little, the cutters will not cut them cleanly through. Dry them too much, however, and they will be brittle.  
After your pasta has been cut, I have found that the best way to store them pasta is on a rimmed sheet pan. Toss the pasta with a little flour so it does not stick.  Cover lightly with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until you cook it.  I usually make the pasta in the morning but I have even made it the day before I needed it and it has done just fine in the fridge.  It will stay supple and not become brittle, if you refrigerate it.  Toss the pasta every once in a while with a little more flour, just to make sure it doesn't become sticky

To cook the pasta, boil it for only about two minutes in a large pot of salted water.  
For the Spinach Pasta:
  • 5 ounces fresh spinach
  • 2 to 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 3 eggs
  • Make the pasta:Steam the spinach until just wilted. Cool a little and squeeze all the liquid out. Chop finely. Mound flour on work surface. Make a well in the center and break eggs into the well. Beat lightly with fork and add the spinach into the eggs. Mix with fork. Start incorporating the flour until all the flour is added. If still sticky, add more flour, little by little, until you have a dough that is not too dry and not too sticky. Knead by hand for 5 minutes. Wrap in well floured plastic wrap and set aside to rest at least for 30 minutes.Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Thursday, March 3, 2016

BBQ Pizza

Makes one 10 x 12-inch pizza

  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 3/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups mixed onions, sliced
  • 2 cups shredded chicken
  • 1 1/2 cups Gouda (some people like smoked Gouda but I find it too strong)
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella
  • 1 to 2 serrano peppers, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1/2 cup Memphis-style barbecue sauce
  • Olive oil, for sautéing the onions
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  1. Combine the water and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer or mixing bowl. Let the yeast dissolve, then add the rest of the ingredients. Use the dough attachment on a stand mixer (or a heavy-duty wooden spoon) and mix the dough until smooth; add more flour if the dough seems too wet, but don't add more than a 1/4 cup at a time. Place the dough on the counter and knead until smooth and elastic. Place the dough into a bowl, cover it with a damp, warm towel, and let it rise for 2 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
  2. Punch the dough down and knead it for a minute. Divide the dough in two, place one half in a plastic bag, and freeze it. Place the remaining piece back into the bowl, cover with the damp towel, and let it rise for another hour.
  3. While the dough is rising for the second time, place a sauté pan over medium heat. Add a glug or two of olive oil to the pan and then add the onions. Let the onions wilt, get gooey, and caramelize slowly. Remove them from the heat.
  4. After the second rise, remove the dough from the bowl and flatten it out into a small disk. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Heat your oven to 500° F. This is a good time to use your pizza stone; if you don't have one, use a sheet tray lined with parchment paper.
  6. Roll the dough into a 12- by 10-inch square, place it onto a piece of parchment paper, then put it onto a peel or sheet tray. Pour 1/3 cup of BBQ sauce onto the center of the dough. Working from the middle and, using the back of a spoon, spread it in a spiral motion until the sauce reaches the edges of the dough.
  7. Combine the remaining BBQ sauce with the shredded chicken and stir until the chicken is evenly coated.
  8. Spread a layer of red onions onto the pizza, followed by the chicken, Gouda, mozzarella, and finally, the serranos. Sprinkle some freshly ground pepper and salt over everything, then slide the pizza onto the stone.
  9. Reduce the heat to 450° F. Bake for 15 minutes. Once it has browned to your liking, remove the pizza from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes before cutting. Top with cilantro and parsley and serve.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Easter Sunday Preperation

Easter Menu
Maple Bourban Glazed Ham
Hot Cross Buns
Roasted Asparagus
Spinach and Potato Gratin
Carrot Cake

Over the years I have learned it takes only two steps to insure I will enjoy holiday get together at the farm house :
1. Plan ahead and 2. Do not try and do everything my self  or from scratch.

Happy host, happy guests. The most important thing you can do to make people feel at home and relaxed at your table is be relaxed yourself.Be organized. Lay out your serving dishes ahead of time, and set the table the night before. Chill your wine, relaxed and spend time with your guests

The center of the Farm House Easter table will be Carrot Cake, made from a  mix. King Arthur Flour offers up some of the very best baking mixes. If you ordered all the ingredients from their catalogue filled your pantry and hand measured your self you get the exact same product, so why not let them do the measuring.

Spinach and Potato Gratin

Preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C). Butter an 11-inch (28-cm) gratin dish.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream, garlic, rosemary, thyme, sage and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Bring just to a boil, then remove from the heat and set aside.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) water and the spinach. Sauté the spinach until wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from pan, let cool slightly, then squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the spinach. Set the spinach aside.

Peel the potatoes. Using a mandoline or very sharp knife, cut the potatoes into slices about 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick. Gently stir the potato slices into the cream mixture.

Arrange one-third of the potato slices, slightly overlapping, on the bottom of the prepared dish. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, half of the onions, half of spinach and 1 cup (4 oz./125 g) of the Gruyère. Repeat, using another one-third of the potato slices, salt and pepper, all the remaining onions, the remaining spinach and another 1 cup of the Gruyère. Top with the remaining potatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper again. Using a large, flat spatula, gently press on the potatoes to compact them. Pour any cream mixture remaining in the saucepan over the potatoes and sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1 cup Gruyère and the Parmesan.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a sharp knife, about 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the gratin is golden brown and bubbly, about 20 minutes more. Let the gratin rest for 10 minutes, then use a spatula to cut it into squares and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.