Everyone on the farm has been out enjoying the sunshine lately! Farm life continues as normal during these strange times, and all of the new babies here on the farm have been happy to get out of the barn and go exploring.
Hello from Lum Farm! With all this rain, we have finally had some time to sit down and reflect on the last few months. Since we took on the lease for the farm in July, we have been hard at work figuring out where everything is and settling all the animals into their new routines. The dogs help us out every day as we make the rounds and move the sheep and goats around to new grass.
We have been harvesting loads of fruit, and enjoying the fruits and vegetables from Lum Farm, Coffelt Farm, Morningstar Farm, Brownfield Orchards and from Smiling Dog Farm.
The chickens are enjoying the cast off fruit, laying a handful of eggs and the pullets are growing bigger every day…. we are looking forward to when they start laying lots of eggs!
Harvest season also means fresh, delicious meats in the freezer, and the farm stand freezers are stocked full of fresh lamb and goat. I find our interest turns from the summer grill to the oven and the slow cooker. We start to come inside more as the weather turns cooler and the rains set in. This is the perfect opportunity to spend time in the kitchen, filling the house with warmth from the oven and delicious aromas and flavors. What is on your menu this week? Here’s what’s on ours:
- Oven Braised Lamb Shanks (or Goat!)
- Roasted Fall Veggies
- Apple Crisp
Oven Braised Lamb Shanks:
Sprinkle the shanks with salt and pepper, then coat with flour. Brown in olive oil or rendered lard. Put into a slow cooker with a cup of apple cider, a few garlic cloves and a sprig of rosemary or thyme if you wish. Cook on low for at least 4 hours (if you are short on time, use the high setting and shorten the cooking time by an hour or so. You will know it is done when the meat is tender and falls off the bone. Lots of recipes have you saute onions, carrots and other veggies and cook with the meat. We prefer to have the meat stand alone, and our veggies are done separately.
Here are a couple of variations, to help fit a meal like this into your schedule: Toss this all together in the morning and set your slow cooker, and you will have a hot meal ready when you return at the end of the day. Another trick is the quick and simple method……. in case you forgot to thaw out the meat ahead of time! Put your frozen meat straight into the slow cooker with the garlic, cider (or wine, or beer) and herbs….. set your timer and come back later! the juices will not thicken like they do when you flour and brown, but it will still be delicious. Ultimately, these cuts of meat are best cooked long and slow, but are very forgiving and will still be delicious with any number of adaptations.
Roasted Fall Veggies:
This is a wonderful way to cook vegetables and bring out their rich, sweet flavors. We tend to opt for the very simple cooking method, but you can add other herbs and spices if you like. We chop potatoes, beets, carrots into bite sized pieces. or slice them into long spears. (You could add other veggies here, too, such as squash, parsnips or turnips.) We also add garlic, and I have done that two ways: One way is to peel a mess of cloves, cut the really large cloves in half and leave the small ones as is, and add to your vegetable mix. The other way to add garlic is to peel the cloves, crush them and mix into the olive oil. Toss the vegetables with olive oil, enough to lightly coat the veggies, and generously sprinkle coarse salt on them. Put into a hot oven, (375-400 degrees) and roast for about 40 minutes. Keep an eye on them, and toss with a spatula every ten minutes. You will know they are done when they are browned and soft in the middle, with a crisp edge on the outside.
The wonderful thing about apple crisp is that it’s an easy and relatively quick dessert that brings out the flavors of the apples, complementing the tart apple flavor with the sweet, oaty topping. Start by mixing up the topping ingredients until crumbly in a bowl:
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 8-10 Tbls butter
Core and slice up about 8-10 apples. No need to peel them. in a small bowl, mix 2 tbsp corn starch with about 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar. mix this into the apples and arrange in a 9×13 pan. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly on top and bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until bubble and light brown. Serve with ice cream or lightly sweetened yogurt.