25 December 2014

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

From everyone at Doe Run Farm...

We let Christmas flow over us this year.

Here's to a very Happy New Year.

23 December 2014

Carolina Wild Fruitcake

We have been stuck in that holiday swamp! 

As you know, we are big proponents of the fruitcake.  Now every year, we think about doing our fruitcake post in September or October giving everyone a fair chance at actually making a fruitcake while giving it time to mellow.  But we never do.

This year, we have been reading on the Internet about an Australian fruitcake made with a scant three ingredients. The Internet has also given us alien autopsies and a chubacabra or two, so we were skeptical.

One day while exploring various drawers and shelves in and around the kitchen, we found a box of raisins that seemed to be full.  Upon opening it was clear this box had been the resting place of countless bags of dregs from the baking world.  The were about two tablespoons of currents, half a cup of shriveled sultanas, mealy raisins, and something else that at one time had been a dried fruit.  Not wanting to toss out perfectly good, if less than perfect dried fruit, an experiment was in order. 

Australian 3 Ingredient Fruitcake

1 kilogram dried fruit
2 cups juice
2 cups self-raising flour

Armed with my Australian recipe (above), we set out to make the three ingredient fruitcake.  Much to my wondering eyes...the cake was pretty and good!  Not to mention, way easy...easier than any other fruitcake ever made.

So we stocked up on really nice fruit and set off to make the recipe our own. 

Now we just love Carolina Wild Muscadine Juice.  It seemed like a natural.  Since there is only 12 ounces of juice we made up the additional four ounces with rum.  Two pounds of fruit is a bit less than the kilo in the Aussie recipe.  We used a mix of raisins and fruitcake mix. We also used some extra rum to doctor the cakes while warm.  After it cooled completely, we removed the paper, wrapped it in rum-laced cheesecloth and cling film.  The recipe makes one large cake like Lucinda's Wood Baking Box, or a 9-inch springform pan, or two loaf pans, or several smaller loaves for gifting.  (Remember, with less volume, you need to decrease the baking time.) Here is the recipe for our ...

Carolina Wild Fruitcake

1 pound mixed raisins
1 pound glace peel
1 bottle Carolina Wild
4 ounces white rum
2 cups self-rising flour
Extra rum for "doctoring"  (optional)

Soak the raisins and peel in the Carolina Wild and rum overnight.

Pre-heat oven to 300F.

Line 2 loaf pans with parchment or brown paper.  Spray with oil. Set on a baking tray.

Mix the flour into the juice and fruit.

Spoon into prepared baking pans and bake for about 90 minutes.

Remove from oven and brush with additional rum while warm.

 But wait...there is more. 

My goddaughter has been having an awful time with gluten.  Even rice flours have been giving her fits, so we have been experimenting with sweet potato flour.  It is quite dense and often overpowers baking, but it seemed a fine match for fruitcake.  For our gluten free cake, we kept with the lighter color scheme -- yes, baked goods can have a color scheme!  We used sultanas and a mix of lemon, orange and citron for the fruit.  We needed to leaven the flour so we used our own homemade baking powder (cream of tarter and baking soda) but you can buy gluten-free baking powder.  As for "doctoring" the cake, one tends to forget that many spirits, like bourbon are make from grainy products.  We did doctor this with some lemoncello made with a potato vodka.

Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Fruitcake

1 pound sultanas or golden raisins
1 pound mixed citrus peel
2 cups apple juice
scant 2 cups sweet potato flour
2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder

Soak the raisins and peel in juice overnight.

Pre-heat oven to 300F.

Line 2 loaf pans with parchment or brown paper.  Spray with oil. Set on a baking tray.

Mix the flour and baking powder into the juice and fruit.

Spoon into prepared baking pans and bake for about 90 minutes.

Soak the raisins and peel in the Carolina Wild and rum overnight.

Pre-heat oven to 300F.

Line 2 loaf pans with parchment or brown paper.  Spray with oil. Set on a baking tray.

Mix the flour into the juice and fruit.

Spoon into prepared baking pans and bake for about 90 minutes.

Remove from oven and brush with additional juice or acceptable spirit while warm.

There is still time to make one and have warm fruitcake for Christmas.

 Even the fruitcake haters loved these loaves. 

 And... we hear that chubacabras are fond of them, too.

12 December 2014

Maddie Goes Home

 She is officially Madeline Bunnymellon Collins.

After a long ride, Maddie was united with her new family. 

First, I stopped at the Post Office to drop off an envelope. She got into the trash and ate coffee grounds!  (I don't have dogs so I never thought she would get into the trash.)

She was a bit wired the first few miles as you would have been if you ate coffee grounds.

We stopped for gas and had drive thru burgers.  Her first burger.  She was so excited, I had to stand outside the car in the rain to finish my burger.

Chris was early as he was excited to meet her.

He had already gone to the doggie boutique to get her peanut butter treats.

As we passed each other, Maddie was now sitting in his lap, staring out the window.  She was spoiled from the start.

When I got home, the first night I looked out at her box to check on her and realized she was gone. 

Merry Christmas, Maddie!

05 December 2014

Holiday Gift Giving Guide

We are not Oprah!  Nor Julie Andrews.  But these are a few of OUR favorite things.  Any one of them will make you an expert gift giver this holiday season.

 Carolina Wild

I grew up in Alabama with a big ol' muscadine arbor in the back yard.  A Southern grape, muscadines have a really thick peel, a gelatinous center, and big seeds.  Once you break that skin, the taste is unforgettable.  The first sip of Carolina Wild sent me right back to that hillside in Alabama. 

When Dennis and Elizabeth Tracz returned to North Carolina to care for Elderly family, they stumbled across an excellent family business -- Muscadine juice.  And why not.  Muscadines are full of antioxidants, they make a great replacement crop for tobacco, and they remind me of Alabama!  As an added bonus, the company philosophy is ingrained with giving back to the community.

So instead of grabbing up a bottle of wine that someone will simply re-gift the next week, be wild and grab up some Carolina Wild.

The Unseen Bean

Sure buy everyone a Starbucks gift card.  Feel free to be as unimaginative as possible!

Gerry Leary loves food -- he loves the way it tasted, smells, feels on the palate, but he has never seen the food he eats. Leary was born blind. 

One day, Leary found himself in a restaurant with a rock tumble.  At least he thought it was a rock tumbler.  When he inquired, the owner said it was a coffee roaster and would he like to "see" it.  Leary became fascinated with the roaster and set out to get a job roasting coffee. His enthusiasm was not met with the same from employers who simply didn't get it.  Since no one would give him a job, Leary bought his own roaster and taught himself.  He may not see the beans but hears them, smells them and roasts some of the best coffee around.

 You know that old saying, "When life gives you lemons, make coffee!"

Want to be the salt of the Earth this Christmas?  You know we not big on sweets -- our palate goes to the salty and we have a pair of salts for you holiday pleasure.

Omnivore Salt

Angelo Garro is Italian by birth and a blacksmith by trade.  His blacksmith shop is well known in the San Francisco area, but not always for the forge.  In the back, Garro has an industrial stove that rivals many restaurants.  The shop has hosted many a dinner filled with food, and chefs, and wine, and salt.

A hunter and gatherer on the side, Garro often seasons his game and vegetables with a salt and spice blend he learned to make at his grandmother's knee.  Needless to say, everyone who ventured into the forge kitchen wanted their own bag of salt.  Finally, some suggested he sell the stuff...and the rest is history.

We love it rubbed on a chicken for roasting.  Try it sprinkled over olive oil with some crusty bread.  Toss it on vegetables. 

J.Q. Dickinson

For a beautiful finishing salt, look no farther than the green and rolling hills of West Virginia.  While snobs rave about Maldon salt from England, true food lovers rave about the salt from Malden, West Virginia.  Under the mountains of Appalachia lies an ancient, briny sea.  For seven generations, the Dickinson family has produced salt from that sea -- well for a brief period, the salt production came to a halt, but recently,siblings Nancy Bruns and Lewis Payne came back to the family farm and began producing the most beautiful of finishing salts.  A tiny sprinkle on brownies elevated the humble dessert to a show stopper. 

Bloomery SweetShine

While we are in West Virginia...you need a drink.  Nothing is easier on the digestion than a nice glass of limoncello.  Finding a good limoncello outside of Italy wasn't always an easy task.  When Linda Losey and Tom Keifer returned from a trip to Italy, they wanted a nice bottle of limoncello to remind them of their trip.  When they couldn't find one...you guessed it...they started making their own.  They bought a property on Craig's List and set up shop.  Who knew one would find lemons in West Virginia. 

They didn't stop with just lemons -- they have added raspberry, pumpkin, black walnut, and peach to name a few.  Frankly, they have way too much fun for people who are running a business!  Buy, you know that old saying, "When life gives you lemons, make limoncello!"

Cookbook Of The Day

What do we want for Christmas?  Cookbooks, of course.  Head over to Cookbook Of The Day for some great ideas to add to your cookbook shopping list.  Old and new, there is something for everybody. 

 Omnivore Books On Food

Need a really special cookbook.  Something out of print?  Something signed by a favorite chef? Something unusual?   Pop off an e-mail the Celia Sack at Omnivore and your search will come to an end.

Heifer International

Last but not least -- in fact -- last but should be first...

This is a season of giving.  What do you give the person who has everything?  A gift for someone else.  Instead of doing that last minute shopping at the drug store -- log onto Heifer International and make a donation of chickens, or bees, or goats, or stoves and tuck that into a stocking. 

We have always been big supporters of Heifer International, but you live in a community and there are folks who need help.  Drop off a toy, buy a coat, donate to a food bank.  the wold will be a better place and you will be a better person.

Happy Holidays!

02 December 2014

November 30th

This is my November 30th post.  Yes, it is a bit late.  I could tell you about the inclement weather and power outages, but my guess is a bit of old-fashioned laziness!  My bad.  But the power did go out!  Anyway...

November 30 has two odd, but cool anniversaries.  Both events should have been windfalls for the people involved, but as fate often has it, both individuals died broke. 

On November 30, 1858, John Landis Mason invented the Mason jar.  Well, technically, he invented a jar with external screw threads that allowed for a metal lid with a hermetic seal to be screwed onto the jar.  This make canning much more safe and accessible.  If it had not been for Mason, no one in Brooklyn would have anything to drink out of, not to mention all those canning blogs that would have to fold! 

I am sure you get at least one link a day on Facebook telling you all the nifty ways one might use a Mason jar. ( FUN FACT:  All Ball jars are Mason jars, but not all Mason jars are Ball jars. ) Still, John Landis Mason died broke.  His patent expired in 1879 and and he expired in 1902.  Sad but true.

On November 30, 1954, Ann Hodges became the first and only person ever hit by a meteorite. ( Well, maybe there was a kid in Africa, but we like "first and only" better and we have never seen his bruise.) I am rather fond of this story because it occurred in Sylacauga, Alabama, my sort of hometown.  I often drove past the actual house where the meteorite crashed through the roof. 

So this particular day in 1954, Ann Hodges was napping on the sofa when she heard a crashing noise, the meteorite came through the roof, destroyed the radio and hit Hodges, leaving the enormous bruise; after all the space chunk was a good 8 pounds!  After much Cold War paranoia,  the rock was returned to Hodges, who could have sold it for big bucks...but there was a glitch. She rented the house and the owner claimed the rock was hers.  So they fought over it until no one wanted it.  Hodges ended up giving it to a museum and then having a nervous breakdown, leading to and early death.

Needless to say, this was about the biggest thing that ever happened to Sylacauga... until Jim Neighbors became Gomer Pyle!

The moral of this story is:  if you get hit be a meteorite and you are a renter, share the wealth!

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