Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Step Back In Time Hearth Cooking Event

Eggs don't get fresher than this!

Narragansett Turkeys

sugar cone


chicken on string

The table set for dinner.

On a recent Saturday night with the temperatures hovering at 30 degrees we visited Coggeshall Farm in Bristol RI for an evening of Hearth cooking and history.We arrived about 3pm and visited with the animals,Sheep,Cows (dairy and beef) chickens,turkeys.We were entertained by one of the farm managers with stories of chicken culture and how they interact.Very comical and informative.We then went on to harvest eggs from a barn full of hay,you walked into the mounds of hay looking for fresh eggs for dinner.Then on to the garden to dig some turnips,and pick up some fallen brush for the fire.We then proceed down to the root cellar where there are barrels and boxes filled with dirt or sand with root vegetables layered in them.We collected carrots and beets.There was also a barrel of brine with hams from a hog butchering class held a few weeks before.They also had slabs of bacon curing in the main room upstairs where we cooked the meal.This building has no power and this whole evening was lighted by 3 or 4 homemade tallow candles. We cooked a chicken on a string.(the chicken was from the farm)boiled root vegetables,Johnnie Cakes on a griddle,a marlborough pie in the dutch oven.We were entertained with vast amounts of history by the two interpreters,Justin Squizzero and Stacy Booth. Everything from the use of forks and knives,you use the fork to stab food and the knife to move the food to your mouth,a challenge indeed,to washing dishes in the dining room after dinner in a barrel with homemade lye soap.We learned about sugar cones and the process involved in Making them and how to use them.This was a truly authentic experience and I highly recommend you make a visit to this small intimate but very informative museum.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Turkey cooked on the fireplace

I was sick on Thanksgiving so we cooked a turkey later in the week.It took about 2 1/2 hours to cook a 12 lb turkey.It was beautifully golden and juicy.I was lazy and cooked the rest of the meal,stuffing,potatoes,squash,carrots rolls and cranberry sauce in the kitchen.I didn't want to over do and relapse.I am becoming more confident and do not feel the need to check on what ever meat I am cooking every 5 minutes.I turn it ever 15 minutes and start checking temperature after about an hour if it starts looking golden.We will soon be going to a hearth cooking dinner at Cogshall farm in Rhode Island where we help harvest and cook the meal.I don't know what we will harvest,maybe some root vegetables,eggs?This will be our third experience hearth cooking with others for a meal.I recommend the experience greatly.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

fireplace cooking

I decided since we got down to a cool 45 degrees the other night I would cook dinner in the fireplace.We had a potato leek soup with some toasted bread and sauted onions.The soup was delicious just potato,onions ,leek,chicken broth and a bay leaf.Then so as not to waste the hot coals an apple pie cooked in the Dutch Oven, and a bean pot of baked beans tucked into the back of the fireplace to cook over night.All came out great except we had to smush down the pie to fit in the dutch oven.I did learn to line the Dutch Oven with tin foil next time because you ruin the seasoning of the pot scrubbing off the over flow of the pie juices.I was really happy with the baked beans they came out perfect.I wasnt sure how that would work.It was a pretty low stress meal for th fireplace.No meat to turn and Pie is supposed to be easier than a cake in the dutch oven.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

stirred curd cheddar

My first cheddar cheese was a farmhouse cheddar that turned into a balloon like science experiment.My second farmhouse cheddar was edible but a little wet and crumbly.I also thought it was a little bitter.Now I like a basic cheddar , colby, gouda or a cows milk feta.I do not like smelly cheeses or Blue cheese.I don't even like yogurt.So why did I take a cheese making class? I saw the class for new england cheesemaking class with Ricki carrol to learn 7 cheese in one day and I saw it as a challenge.I really wanted to make my own cheddar.So yesterday we opened the Stirred curd cheddar and I was happy as a clam.It looked like real cheddar and it smelled like real cheddar but the best was it tasted like real cheddar.This process took a little longer but was well worth it.This cheese aged probably three months in the cellar then it has been in the refrigerator since spring when the temperature in the cellar got to warm to age.So I am glad i kept trying and finally achieved a real cheddar.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

cleaning out the freezer

I am on a quest to clean the freezer out.There is no room.Not for lovely strawberries from the market or corn in season.No room for frozen clams for winter chowder or other summer delights.So i am on a quest to clean them out as creatively as possible.Tonight was lobster and sweet corn fritters with some Coleslaw and some canned three bean salad i put up last summer.Hubby loved the lobster fritters as he does clam fritters. I am not a fan of as i call them seafood donuts.I tried them they were light and fluffy and not fishy but still not a fan.The highlight of the week was a new ice cream recipe I found in a cook book from Canterbury Shaker Village for Lemon Poppy Seed Sour Cream Ice Cream.This is out of this world!You take 2 pints of sour cream add in 1 1/2 cup sugar, 2 Tsp lemon Zest and Juice of three lemons and 2 TBL poppy seeds blend till smooth and put in ice cream maker and follow manufacturers directions.You will love this.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


This week we had steamers that hubby dug at Duxbury Beach.Since we had a whole pail we decided to have our annual clam fry with my parents.Fried clams with French fries and cole slaw.If you want the recipe google The clam box Ipswich ma. it is a great recipe.We tried sweet pickle tartar sauce and dill pickle tartar sauce.Dill won. Dessert was a collaboration, brownies,butterscotch coffee cake and rhubarb crisp.We had a frittata for lunch yesterday with local eggs,asparagus and farmhouse cheddar(my first successful batch).The cheese is a little bitter but flavorful and creamy.Also showing a picture of onions.Who can resist the first spring onions of the year.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

White Meal

This week I roasted a 6 lb chicken needless to say we ate alot of chicken.I came across this recipe for chicken terrapin in a cookbook from Landis museum in Lancaster Pa.I had never seen a recipe similar.This recipe had no measurements like we would use today.It started out with a couple of cup fulls of roasted chicken in a frying pan then a cupful of heavy cream,then A pinch of cayenne,clove,mace,nutmeg and mustard powder.Simmer for a while till thickens then add a wineglass full of wine, I used sherry(don't forget to take pan off heat while adding wine)then simmer a little more till thick.We also had the sweetest parsnips followed by a dessert of rhubarb pie.So a meal that was delicious but no prize for beauty on the plate.I am also showing a picture of are bees from Friday.It was very hot and they were as cranky as I was.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

YEAH!!! Asaragus season

Tonight we had pan seared scallops with maple cream sauce and asparagus.We obtained the local asparagus from the Pawtucket farmers market on Saturday along with the Bomster scallops.Bosmster scallops are from stonington Ct.they are shucked and rinsed in seawater and then vacuum packed right on the boat.They do not sit on ice absorbing water they also are not rinsed in preservatives.They are so delicious.The maple cream sauce is made by reducing down a cup of heavy cream in a pan on med high heat by a third then adding 2Tbls maple syrup and 1 TBls dijon mustard.I pan sear the scallops in olive oil with pepper for a few minutes each side till just opaque.Great local spring meal.

Hi Shelby I heard you have been reading the blog.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

shitake mushrooms

A few weeks ago we bought a shitake mushroom kit at the Pawtucket farmers market.It is a manufactured log infused with spore.You soak it and keep it in the basement and keep it moist and within 10 days you have mushrooms.I have done real logs outdoors but this is my first indoor.I had left it in a bag for a few weeks before I got around to soaking it and it started sprouting on its own.I soaked it placed it on a tray with a plastic greenhouse top.AGWAY had ones about 8-10 inches high.It started growing right away.Here is our first harvest I will pick the large and let the small keep growing.The advantage of indoor is you see it and no bugs.We will use the first ones in quesadillas tonight.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Hearth cooking and cheese making

A few weeks ago we attended a Hearth cooking class at Woody Hill B&B in Westerly RI.What a great time we had.There were 8 students and we all took responsibility for specific dishes.Mine was Martha Washingtons spice cake in the dutch oven.I tend to burn whatever I am baking in the dutch oven.It came out great and I was able to replicate it at home in the fireplace as you can see in my photo.There were no burned spots.We also cooked a pork roast,butternut squash soup,cornbread,corn oysters,pear chutney,cranberry relish,Bread pudding.All this was cooked on the hearth,reflector oven(in front of hearth,beehive oven and dutch oven.It was a great night,none of us knew each other so it was nice to meet new people also.Ellen our host was great.I also have made my second attempt at cheddar cheese this week.We will keep our fingers crossed.When you make cheddar cheese you have whey left over.I made ricotta out of the whey and then made a dish I found in Edible Rhody.Gnudi in a lemon thyme sauce.Very similar to gnocci but mostly ricotta only a little flour and you roll into balls instead of off a fork to make ridges.It was a great recipe we really enjoyed it.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

new toy

Here are photos of my christmas gift and two meals made so far.A reproduction reflector oven from Sturbridge Village. I also received hearth cooking lessons at woody hill Inn in RI. The first meal we cooked was a pork roast with potatoes and turnip greens and an apple cake all produce was local.The pork roast cooked in front of the fire for only 35 minutes.It was excellent. The second meal was a local chicken with local sweet potato and a salad of greens dried cranberries and mushrooms.the chicken cooked in 45 minutes was done perfect and had a beautiful crispy skin.We also took a hearth cooking class at Plymouth plantation.We were the only students so we had the instructor all to ourselves.We had an egg and bacon fricassee,onions and currants on sop(toasted bread) a cabbage pottage,mince pie,cranberry tart and cranberry pie.We haven't the class at the Inn yet I will write about that later.