Summer Veggie Salad with Vermicelli and Tamarind Sesame Dressing

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(this taste great with a variety of vegetables, so feel free to use what you have on hand!)⁣⁣⁣

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Dressing⁣⁣⁣

1 ½ limes, juiced⁣⁣⁣

2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce⁣⁣⁣

Siracha, to taste⁣⁣⁣

½ cup light sesame oil ⁣⁣⁣

1 clove garlic⁣⁣⁣

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Salad⁣⁣⁣

½ package rice vermicelli noodles⁣⁣⁣

1 kohlrabi, tops reserved⁣⁣⁣

1 scarlett turnip or a bunch of hakurai, tops reserved⁣⁣⁣

4 radish⁣⁣⁣

4 carrots⁣⁣⁣

1 small bunch of greens such as mustard or arugula⁣⁣⁣

Sea salt to taste⁣⁣⁣

½ cup roasted, salted peanuts⁣⁣⁣

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To make the noodles, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a medium sized pot. Turn off the heat, place the vermicelli noodles in the water, give them a stir and let them rehydrate until al dente, about 5 to 7 minutes. Once they are tender, drain the water and spread the noodles out on a baking tray to cool down.⁣⁣⁣

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Grate the garlic clove with a microplane. In a large bowl combine the garlic, lime juice, tamari, sriracha, and light sesame oil. Mix well, then add the vermicelli and toss to thoroughly combine.⁣⁣⁣

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Using either a mandoline, a grater, or a food processor with a grater attachment, shred the kohlrabi, turnips, radish and carrots and add them to the mixing bowl with the vermicelli. Thinly shred the mustard greens and the greens of the kohlrabi and turnips and add to the bowl as well. Season with salt and mix well to combine. Serve on a platter, garnished with peanuts.⁣⁣⁣

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Educational demos thanks to @piedmonthealth & @lesdames

Kale Salad with Tahini Lemon Dressing

Did you know there is a farmers market on the Beltline every Tuesday from 4-8? It’s right by Ponce City Market, and there are some wonderful vendors there. You can get fresh produce, kombucha, raw breads, sign up for some fun sewing lessons at Top Stitch or even get your cards read by Atlanta favorite Modern Mystic.

I was there this week on behalf of Piedmont Healthcare, showcasing an easy recipe that could be made with ingredients found at the market. Check out the recipe below!

Kale Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

Serves 2-4 people

 

Dressing

2 tbsp tahini

1 lemon, juiced

1 garlic clove, microplaned

3 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp nutritional yeast

Pink salt to taste

Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

 

To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Adjust the consistency with water, it should be thick, not runny. Refrigerate if not using immediately, will keep up to 2 weeks, stored properly.

 

Salad

1 bunch curly kale, washed and de-stemmed

4 radishes, thinly sliced

1 kohlrabi bulb, thinly sliced

4 baby carrots, thinly sliced

2 tbsp roasted sunflower seeds

Pink salt to taste

Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

 

Thinly shred the kale using either a knife or a food processor. Combine it with the thinly shaved radishes, kohlrabi, carrots and sunflower seeds in a mixing bowl. Add the dressing along with some salt and pepper. Mix until well combined. Check for seasoning and serve.

 

All the produce featured in this post came from Cosmos Organics.

 

Yukon Gold Potato and Sunchoke Latkes

Would you like to know the key to making really good latkes? Like most things, the devil is in the details. Here’s a quick breakdown of what I think makes my latkes taste so damn good:

  • I squeeze out as much moisture as I possibly can. We want crispy latkes!
  • I don’t use traditional flour, I use cornstarch or arrowroot. Just like with my fried chicken, I’ve discovered that using a pure starch instead of flour results in a crispier product.
  • Make sure the size of the latkes is consistent and your pan is at the right temperature. The potatoes should sizzle loudly when they hit the pan, but there shouldn’t be smoke.
  • Always make your latkes as close as you can to when you are going to serve them. Chefs refer to the process of waiting til the very last possible minute to do something as “a la minuté”. Just remember though, it’s a fine line between “a la minuté” and procrastination, so have all your supplies ready to go so you can knock this project out when the time is right.

Yukon Gold and Sunchoke Latkes

Yukon Gold and Sunchoke Latkes

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Yukon Gold and Sunchoke Latkes

Ingredients

12 latkes
  • ¼ cup yellow onion, minced
  • 6 tbsp ghee
  • 2 lb yukon gold potatoes
  • To Serve:
  • ½ lb Jerusalem artichokes
  • ½ lb cured salmon
  • 3 egg whites
  • ¼ cup creme fraiche
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • Sea salt to taste
  • ¼ cup chopped chives
  • Fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Grate the potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes in a food processor, using the course shredder attachment. Alternately you can use a cheese grater. Once they are shredded, place them in a large bowl of water, agitating them to rinse off the extra starch. Drain the potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes from the water (I’ve started using a salad spinner to get my potatoes even dryer), and working in fistfull sized batches, place the shredded veggies in a clean kitchen towel and twist to squeeze out all excess moisture. Water and latkes do not get along.
  • Once the veggies are dry, place them in a medium sized bowl and add the egg whites and cornstarch. Mince a quarter cup of onion and add it to the mix. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Divide into 12 balls and place on a sheet tray.
  • Heat a griddle or skillet and add a small amount of ghee. Once the ghee has melted start individually pressing the balls between your hands to flatten. I give them another squeeze here over an empty bowl to catch any extra moisture, as the potatoes will continue to leech water. Add the patties to the hot pan, you should hear a sizzle if your pan is at the right temperature. Work in batches so as not to overcrowd your pan. Cook the patties for about 4 minutes then flip and continue to cook on the other side. Adjust the heat if needed, and cook for about 4 more minutes. Both sides should be golden brown. Remove from the pan and lightly blot on a paper towel.
  • Serve on a platter with cured salmon, creme fraiche, chopped hard boiled eggs and chives.

Nutrition information

Pistachio and Olive Oil Cake

This pistachio and olive oil cake is the perfect way to end a weekend brunch with friends. Serve it with a fresh cup of earl gray tea and you will be remembered from here until eternity for your cooking prowess. This cake also pairs really well with the traditional foods of Hanukkah. More on that below.

I’ve been doing this recipe for a while, so here’s a short little video I made way back when that will walk you through the recipe. Or you can just skip on down below to a printable copy, whichever way suits your fancy.

 

A couple of weeks ago I got a call from a client. It was time to do her annual Hanukkah dinner. I’m not Jewish myself, but I’ve studied the holiday and I feel like I can pull off a Hanukkah buffet without embarrassing myself. Having this particular cake in my repertoire is one of the reasons I can say that with confidence (my latkes don’t hurt my chances, either).

The good thing about cooking for the same clients year after year is that you learn from your mistakes. So this year, when I made her pistachio and olive oil cake, I made one for myself too. Because last year, I was walking out the door backwards gazing longingly in the direction of this cake as the leftovers sat on the cake tier, calling my name ever so soft and sweetly.

Pistachio and Olive Oil Cake

Pistachio and Olive Oil Cake

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Pistachio and Olive Oil Cake

Ingredients

yield: 1 individual 10” cake (sometimes I like to double the recipe and bake in 3 individual 8” cake pans for a more glamorous presentation.
  • ⅔ cup pistachios + ½ cup for garnish
  • 1 tbs finely grated lemon zest
  • 6 tbs unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • 5 large eggs
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • For the Lemon Glaze:
  • ⅔ cup King Arthur gluten free all purpose flour
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • ¾ cup almond flour
  • ½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350˚ and butter/flour a 10-inch round cake pan.
  • In a food processor, chop the ⅔rds cup of pistachios for about a minute until it’s consistency is a little courser than your almond flour. The other half cup of pistachios just needs to be roughly chopped to sprinkle over the top of the finished cake.
  • Beat the butter with the sugar in a stand mixer at medium speed until it's the texture of moist sand, then add the eggs one at a time, beating well between additions and scraping down the sides.
  • Fold in the ground nuts, flour and salt, mixing just enough to combine.
  • Add the lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla extract and beat until smooth. Gradually beat in the olive oil in a thin stream. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
  • Bake the cake for 20 minutes, then rotate and cook for 20 more, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and let the cake cool for 30 minutes. While it’s cooling mix together the lemon juice and powdered sugar for the glaze. The mixture should be thick, yet spreadable.
  • Place the cake on a plate and frost with the lemon glaze. Garnish with chopped pistachios and serve. The cake will keep for several days in an airtight cake holder.
  • I would definitely suggest serving it with a fresh cup of earl gray or coffee for a perfect mid-day pick me up.

Nutrition information

Easy Weeknight Grain Bowl

I don’t know about you but I’m wondering why I felt the need to have 2 (TWO!) Thanksgiving dinners this year. And that doesn’t include the leftovers I ate. I’m trying to get back on track this week, and I remembered this recipe I shot for Banker’s Fidelity Life Insurance. The recipe is for a really easy grain bowl that is a healthy, delicious weeknight meal.

And no, that’s not a wig, the video is a couple years old 😉

 

There is an easy trick to making good brown rice. The key is to rinse off all the extra starch. It will get rid of that sticky texture that makes brown rice so off-putting.I’ve described how to cook the rice on the stovetop below, but if you have a rice cooker I would suggest using it. Rinse the rice then make according to the rice cooker’s instructions, preferably in brown rice mode.

New Year's Resolution Bowl

New Year's Resolution Bowl

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New Year's Resolution Bowl

Ingredients

4
  • Brown Rice
  • 1 ½ cups brown rice
  • 2 ¼ cups chicken stock
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • sprig of thyme (optional)
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • Dressing
  • Yield: 1 ¼ cup
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, rough chopped
  • ⅓ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbs tamari
  • 1 tsp dark miso paste
  • ½ tsp honey
  • ⅔ cup sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp dark sesame oil
  • Garnish:
  • 2 ripe avocados, cored and sliced
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • ½ cup toasted peanuts, chopped
  • 2 tbs toasted sesame seeds, white and black
  • ¾ cup homemade or high quality cabbage kimchi
  • 1 cup cucumber, sliced thin (about ½ a cucumber)
  • 1 cup carrot, shredded (about 3 carrots)
  • 1 cup sprouts
  • ½ cup fresh basil, hand torn
  • ¼ cup green onions, sliced

Instructions

  • Measure the rice and place in a large bowl. Fill the bowl with fresh, clean water and agitate it for about a minute, until the water looks starchy. Drain the rice and place it in a pot.
  • Add the chicken stock, salt, pepper, thyme and olive oil. Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid, turn heat to low, and allow to cook for about 35-45 minutes. Rice is cooked when tender and the stock is evaporated. Keep covered for 10 minutes with the heat off, and fluff with a fork.
  • Place ginger, garlic, vinegar, tamari, miso paste and honey in the blender, and blend until combined for about 10 seconds. Then slowly pour in both oils with the blender running. Pour in a container and refrigerate until needed.
  • To Assemble:
  • Place the brown rice on the bottom of the bowl. Place the chicken in the middle and then place all the vegetable garnishes in little piles starting with the sprouts, then the carrots, the cucumber, the kimchi and the avocado. Sprinkle the basil, green onions, sesame seeds and peanuts all over the top of the bowl. Drizzle the dressing around and enjoy!

Nutrition information

Thanksgiving Turkey Tamales with Cranberry-Guajillo Mole

Tamales are often made at a family gathering called a tamalada. It’s a party where the women of the family get together to prepare a massive amount of tamales and spend some quality time together. It’s a great chance for multiple generations of one family to gather, the elders passing down a lot more than just the family recipe. They also get to share their family history and heritage.

We had an excellent teacher for our tamalada. Marvella showed us everything from preparing the banana leaves to steaming the tamales. She makes about 400 tamales a week at el Ponce, so she definitely knows what she’s doing. TheAnna was super helpful with translating. My sister Rosa got the place looking snazzy and a whole lot more, her business partner Jarina came up with some awesome cocktails, and Kaitlyn and Kellyi provided a whole lot of swag from Milagro tequila and Hendrick’s gin. I developed the recipe for the filling, which you can find below. Here’s a picture of our team, right before all the magic happened.

And if you are going to be a total badass and wrap your tamales in banana leaves, here’s how you get them soft enough to work with. Can you see the color changing in the second picture?

 

Thanksgiving Turkey Tamales

Thanksgiving Turkey Tamales

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1 ratings
Category: Appetizer
Thanksgiving Turkey Tamales

Ingredients

3 hours, 30 minutes
24
  • Mole Ingredients:
  • 4 dried guajillo chiles
  • 2 dried ancho chiles
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp Ibarra unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 cup canned tomatoes, drained
  • 1 stale corn tortilla
  • 2 cups turkey or chicken broth
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Masa Ingredients:
  • 3 cups maseca brand masa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup duck fat or nuetral oil
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Tamale Ingredients:
  • 4 cups shredded turkey
  • 24 banana leaves, corn husks or parchment paper

Instructions

2 hours
1 hour, 30 minutes
Ready in
3 hours, 30 minutes
  • Start by making the mole. Heat a kettle with water and bring to a boil while you preheat a dry cast iron skillet on high heat. Remove the stems from the chiles and add the guajillo and ancho peppers to the skillet. Toast for a few moments on each side, until they start to become pliable. Place the peppers in a heat proof bowl and pour the water on top of the peppers until they are covered. Let them soak for about 45 minutes until they are completely soft, then strain them from the water.
  • In the meantime, process your banana leaves by heating them on the stove as shown in the pictures above. Cut your banana leaves about 10 inches wide and remove the thin, woody seam that runs along the bottom of the leaf. Place the rough side of the banana leaf down directly on the flame and move it as it changes color to a bright green. If you are using corn husks soak them in water instead. Toast your pecans and sesame seeds in a 325˚ oven for 15 minutes if they are not already toasted.
  • Preheat a saucepan on medium heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onions and garlic. Cook them until they start to become tender, about 8 minutes. Next add the cranberries, cooking until they begin to burst, about 4 minutes.
  • Place all the mole ingredients in the blender and blend until well combined.
  • Preheat a saucepot to medium heat and add 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add the sauce to the pot and cook on low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Make sure to really scrape the bottom and sides of the pan so the mole doesn't burn.
  • To make the masa, place the cornmeal and a pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the water in batches, mixing to form a dough with your hands, getting it to a consistency where it feels moist but doesn't stick to your hands. Next knead in the oil. Once the dough is formed you are ready to build your tamales.
  • Start by placing the cooked banana leaf in front of you. Make sure you cut off the hard edge. The lines should be running vertically, up and down. If there is a brown edge it should be facing you and the smoother surface of the tamale should be facing you. If there are any rips in your banana leaf, double it up or else the masa will seep through.
  • Grab a ball of masa about the size of a lime. Roll it into a ball and then place it in the center of the banana leaf. Slowly press it out from the center, creating a thin, round layer of masa. There should be no holes and the dough should be of even thickness, slightly more than a quarter inch.
  • Add about a quarter cup of shredded turkey and place in the center of the masa circle. Next spoon a couple tablespoons of mole onto the turkey.
  • Working quickly, fold the banana leaf to seal the filling inside the masa. Fold the banana leaf again, then tuck the sides in. Rest the tamale with the creased side down so it stays folded. Repeat with the rest of the tamales.
  • At this point you can freeze your tamales in a ziploc bag for about a month. When you are ready to cook your tamales, create a steam bath with a pot that has a lid. A broccoli steamer works pretty well for this. Just make sure your tamales aren't touching the water, but are elevated above it with a lid on top. Steam the tamales for about an hour and a half, you can check after 45 minutes to see if the masa is cooked. You'll know the masa is done when it pulls cleanly away from the banana leaf.
  • Serve hot. To enjoy, unwrap and discard the banana leaf. Eat with extra mole if desired.

Nutrition information

Here’s Marvella spreading the masa and adding the turkey.

If this post got you all hot and bothered for some tamales and you just don’t have the time to make them, Marvella has you covered! Stop on in at El Ponce and get you some.  El Ponce is located in Atlanta, Georgia at 939 Ponce de Leon Ave NE. They are open from 11 to 11 on weekdays. They open at noon on the weekends.

And be sure to follow my blog for more fun recipes. Thanks so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post!

 

Photo cred @visualrebel

Curried Chickpea Cakes

 

Curried Chickpea Cakes

These aren’t just a perfect vegetarian and gluten free weeknight dinner. They also work great on a party buffet!

Yield: 5 servings

1 can chickpeas (15 oz), drained and rinsed

1/2 cup zucchini, grated

1/2 cup squash, grated

1/2 cup carrots, grated

1/2 cup green peas, cooked

1/4 cup chickpea flour

1 tbsp ground flaxseed

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp curry powder

1 tbsp garlic, grated on a microplane (about 3 cloves)

1 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

3 tbsp ghee or neutral oil

Sauce:

1 cup greek yogurt

1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves and some stem

1 tbsp fresh mint leaves

1 tbsp green onion

1 clove garlic, grated

Sea salt to taste

Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

To make the sauce add the greek yogurt, cilantro, mint, green onion, grated garlic and buttermilk into a blender. Season with salt and pepper and puree until smooth.

To make the curry chickpea cakes assemble your food processor with your grater attachment, or using a hand held grater, grate the squash and zucchini. Set the grated veggies in a large bowl. Don’t worry about cleaning the bowl of the food processor.

After draining and rinsing the chickpeas, add them to your food processor and pulse it on and off for about 45 seconds. You want a lot of texture, the chickpeas should be starting to stick together, but you still want to see chunks of unsmashed chickpeas. You could also use a potato smasher as well as a mortar and pestle.

Add the chickpeas to the large bowl with the veggies, along with the shredded carrots, peas, chickpea flour, flaxseed, turmeric, curry powder, grated garlic, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix well until combined.

Divide the mixture into 10 patties, or 20 if you would like to serve them as a small appetizer. Use your hands to shape them into cakes.

Heat a cast iron grill pan or a large sauté pan on high heat. Add enough ghee to coat the pan, and then lay the cakes in the pan in a single layer. Cook on both sides, about 5 minutes each, letting a nice golden crust form. Serve the hot cakes on a platter with the sauce in a small bowl on the side.

Pumpkin Flour Pancakes

I adapted this recipe from Nancy Cain’s “Against the Grain.” It is my go-to for gluten free, xantham gum free baking. There’s a good chance that if the house was on fire this book would get picked up on the way out the door. How’s that for a recommendation?

You separate the egg yolks and whites for this recipe, so that you can whip the whites and fold them into the batter. It sounds like hard work, I know, but the texture will be so much better. I promise.

I buy my pumpkin flour at the Freedom Park Farmer’s Market that’s held at the Carter Center here in Atlanta. The market is open every Saturday from 8-2. It’s also available online at http://oliverfarm-com.3dcartstores.com/Pumpkin-Flour-1lbbr-GLUTEN-FREE_p_53.html.

 

Pumpkin Flour Pancakes

Yield: 16 to 20 small pancakes

3 large eggs

¼ cup sour cream

3 tbsp canola oil

1 cup pumpkin flour

1 cup tapioca starch

3 tbsp coconut sugar (or granulated sugar)

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 ½ cups milk

4 tbsp butter

 

For Garnish:

Powdered sugar

Toasted pecans

Toasted pumpkin seeds

Sliced Fruit

Maple syrup

 

Separate the eggs, place the whites in a stand mixer with the whip attachment. Place the yolks in a large mixing bowl.

Beat the egg whites until they are stiff, but not dry. You should get a defined “peak” when you remove the whisk and turn it upside down.

While the whites are whipping add the sour cream and oil to the yolks. Mix well. Next add the pumpkin flour, tapioca starch, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix until it is fully blended and no lumps remain.

Gradually add the milk. Hold back ¼ cup so that you can adjust the consistency. Fully incorporate the milk into the batter.

Gently fold the egg whites into the batter, taking care to mix until they are just incorporated.

Heat a non stick pan or a griddle to medium heat. Try one test pancake to check for the ideal temperature and pancake consistency. Place a small amount of butter on the pan or griddle. Ladle 2 ounces of batter onto the hot surface, one pancake at a time, working in batches. Turn the pancake when bubbles begin to form on the top, about 3 minutes. Flip the pancakes only once and cooke them just until the underside is lightly browned, about a minute and a half.

Keep the pancakes warm and separated, wrapped in a clean kitchen towel on a plate. You can keep them warm in a low oven, or in a warming drawer.

Once all the pancakes are made divide them between the plates and garnish with powdered sugar, toasted pecans and pumpkin seeds, and some sliced fruit. Drizzle with maple syrup and serve.

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Hickory Hill Farm Interview

 

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Who’s growing your food?

Hickory Hill Farm is run by Garry and Susan Shaw. They have a 204 acre farm located in Oglethorpe County. I never miss an opportunity to pop in and say hello to them on a Saturday morning at Freedom Park Farmers Market. Many of you have enjoyed their produce when I’ve cooked for you.

How did you meet?

Garry and I met in high school around 1975. We fell in love 38 years ago and we’ve been married 34 years. He’s the love of my life!

What was it that lead you to farming?

We live on my family farm. I lived here with my grandparents until my parents moved us to Atlanta in 1972. I loved this place, it was my home and I wanted to grow up and live here. I promised my grandmother when the time came I’d move here and take care of her. Just so happened that Garry always wanted to live on a farm also! So, in 1998 the time came and we gathered our girls and moved to the farm. We took care of my grandmother until she passed away in 2001. We live in the home my great-grandfather built in 1912 and our grandchildren are the seventh generation of our family to work the farm and they are here every week with their mom and dad who are in business with us!

You got your organic certification in 2011. Was there a moment of clarity where you realized that you wanted to get into organic farming? What was the genesis of that decision, and why did you feel compelled to go the organic route?

Garry and I have been self-employed and have worked together since 1989. We home schooled our children together as well. When we first moved to the farm we immediately bought a herd of cattle and began cattle farming. At the time though, we owned a small mom and pop cafe’ in Stockbridge, GA and Garry was traveling 200 miles a day round trip running the restaurant until we were able to sell it in 2003. Once it sold we immediately went into the construction business because of the housing boom, we built pre-cast septic tanks. In 2008 when the economy crashed the housing market came to a screeching halt. We sold our equipment and left that business in 2009.

At that time, we looked around at our land and decided we needed to see if we could make a living on the farm. In 2008 the Athens Farmers Market opened and we visited the market and decided we could grow veggies organically. We had always had a garden, so why not! Let’s just say it was a huge learning curve getting our minds around the amount of veggies and the variety you need to grow to supply markets. We broke ground in 2009 and grew a small garden (because as I said we had no idea what the scale needed to be) for the market and two acres of grape tomatoes for Whole Foods. We went to market our first Saturday in 2010 with a meager $60 worth of veggies! Just for perspective last Friday we carried $8300 worth of veggies to Athens and Freedom combined. At that time we were Certified Naturally Grown but the venture with Whole Foods led us to get our USDA Certification due to price point differences between CNG and USDA. We no longer sell to WF but we are thankful for the experience and the fact that it did lead us to our certification. We still grow a couple of acres of tomatoes each year and what started out as maybe a half-acre vegetable garden is now an 8 acre garden!

We’ve gone from literally not being able to afford to eat our own veggies and just me and Garry working the garden by ourselves to supporting two families (Garry, me and our daughter Jennifer and her husband Josh and their children) to eleven people working in the summer.

We branched out in 2014 and helped start the Freedom Market and we are so thankful we were invited to do so. We have met so many wonderful people in Atlanta and we truly feel appreciated and we certainly are humbled and have a great appreciation for every customer that chooses to try our veggies.

It has been a long up hill climb from truly living below poverty and a lot of hard work but it is rewarding and we love providing people with healthy, local, farm fresh organic veggies! It is most definitely a lifestyle and we do believe we are trying to recover a way of life for our family. Needless to say, we’ll never get rich (which is not our goal) but we will be happy living a busy full life together with our children and grand children.

I remember speaking with the two of you about your love for traveling, especially in South America. Do you find ways to intertwine your love of traveling with your work on the farm? What does your ideal trip look like? Well, I wish we could but the farm demands too much time! But maybe one day we’ll get to go again who knows. We have been truly blessed to be able to travel with our children throughout our home school years!

Is there a vegetable you feel the most proud to grow? Something you think really shines on your farm, or maybe something you struggled to cultivate, but finally mastered?

That’s a tough question. I really believe in eating in season so with every season I have a favorite veggie. I love tomatoes, green garlic and strawberries. Strawberries and green garlic come in together and strangely enough I love the smell of the two together I suppose because I’ve packaged them at the same time for so long the smell has many memories!

There is nothing better than a ripe field grown tomato in the summer! It makes me want to throw my Paleo diet to the curb pull out the white bread and dukes mayo and eat an old fashioned southern tomato sandwich, but I do not do that I restrain myself, at least so far!

What is your Saturday morning market routine?

Depending on how many vegetables have to be loaded Garry and I get up between 2:30 and 3:30. He loads two trucks one headed to Athens to the Athens Farmers Market at Bishop Park and one headed to Freedom in Atlanta. We hit the road at 5 am and we arrive at the market between 7 and 7:30 to a group of smiling people standing in our space waiting for us to arrive!

What’s the best way for people to find out what’s going on down on the farm? Do you have a facebook or instagram account that people can follow?

We are on FB and Instagram. I must admit I’m not great with social media but Jennifer tries to make sure she post on Friday’s what we’re bringing to market. www.facebook.com/hickoryhillfarmga/ www.instagram.com/hickoryhillfarmga/

 

 

Roasted Eggplant and Quinoa Salad

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This roasted eggplant and quinoa salad tastes like a big ol’ bowl of sunshine. It’s a delicious, healthy addition to any backyard bbq, tailgate or potluck!

 

Quinoa and Eggplant Salad

yield: 4 servings

3/4 cup Quinoa

1 cup Chickpeas, raw or canned (if canned, rinse well and skip cooking step)

1 cup ripe yellow Tomato, diced

1 medium Eggplant, sliced ½” thick rounds

1 cup baby bell red Peppers, sliced thinly

1 bunch Basil, lightly chopped (about ½ cup)

1 cup Red onion, sliced thinly

¼ cup Sherry vinegar

1 to 2 Lemons, for juicing

1 cup Olive oil, divided by 1 teaspoon, ¼ cup, ½ cup

1 cup Parmesan, freshly grated

Salt and pepper, to taste

 

To cook the chickpeas place them in a pot and cover with water. Boil until tender, about 2 hours, covering with more water if necessary. Cook the quinoa by combining the ¾ cup of quinoa with 1 ½ cups water, a healthy pinch of salt and a teaspoon of olive oil. Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 18-20 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy. Allow the chickpeas and quinoa to cool down to room temperature.

Pickle the onion by tossing the thinly sliced onion with sherry vinegar and salt. Mix well, then allow to sit for 15 minutes. The onion will turn pinkish and become softer in flavor and in texture.

Preheat the grill, and drizzle a quarter cup of olive oil on the eggplant. Season with salt and pepper. Grill the eggplant until it chars a little on both sides, about 4 minutes per side.

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, check for seasoning and serve right away or refrigerate. The salad will last for 2-3 days.

 

 

Sweet Potato, Quinoa and Collard Green Grain Bowl

I came up with this recipe for the 2017 Georgia Organics conference. It’s a great meal idea for meatless Mondays, and a perfect way to showcase some of Georgia’s fine winter produce.

Produce from the farmers market tends to have so much flavor! A couple of things to keep in mind:

  • The smaller the leaves on a bunch of collard greens, the better the collards. Small bunches are usually what’s sold at a local market. They will take less time to cook because they are more tender, and they won’t be bitter!
  • Also, fingerling sweet potatoes from a local farm shouldn’t even be in the same category flavor-wise as a store bought sweet potato. Try it once and you’ll agree.

 

Sweet Potato, Quinoa and Collard Green Grain Bowl

yields 4 servings

 

  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 2 cups Veggie Stock
  • 1 tbs Sesame Oil
  • Kosher Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 cups Baby Sweet Potatoes, sliced in ½ inch rounds
  • 1 tbs + 2 tbs butter or neutral oil
  • 1 bunch Baby Collard Greens, washed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup Yellow Onion, small diced
  • 1 tbs Garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs Tamari
  • 1 tbs  Korean Chili Paste
  • 1 tbs Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 cup Cauliflower Florets
  • 1 cup  Gluten Free Flour
  • 1 tbs tahini
  • 3 cups Fry Oil
  • Sauce:
  • 2 tbs chopped garlic
  • 2 tbs chopped ginger
  • 3 tbs tamari
  • 3 tbs Korean chile paste
  • 1 1/2 tbs rice vinegar
  • 1 tbs toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbs honey
  • Garnish:
  • ¼ cup Green Onions, Sliced
  • ½ cup Salted Peanuts

Place the quinoa, veggie stock and sesame oil in a medium saucepot . Add a little salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid and continue to cook until all the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

Heat the fry oil to 350 degrees in a medium sauce pot. In a small bowl mix together all ingredients for the sauce. Set aside.

In the meantime, heat a large cast iron skillet on medium heat and add 1 tbs of butter. Once hot, add the sliced sweet potatoes, season with salt and pepper and cook without stirring for 4 minutes. If the potatoes are nice and golden brown, flip them over and continue to cook without stirring for another 4 minutes, cooking until they are golden brown and tender all the way through.

Place 2 tbs of butter in a medium sized dutch oven on medium heat. Add the diced onion and garlic and saute until tender and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the chopped collard greens, along with the tamari, chili paste, and sweet garlic chili sauce. Cook until tender, adding as much veggie stock as needed. Season with salt and pepper. Young collards should take about 10 minutes to cook, older ones take longer because they are tough and fibrous.

Combine the tahini with about 1/2 a cup of water, whisking vigorously until the consistency is that of egg wash. Dip the cauliflower in the tahini mixture and then coat with the rice flour. Fry until golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes. Drizzle with the garlic/ginger sauce.

To assemble, divide the quinoa between 4 bowls, then assemble the sweet potatoes, collard greens and fried cauliflower on top of the quinoa in separate piles. Sprinkle with green onions and peanuts.

Hearty Wild Rice Soup

Wild rice soup is a relatively new obsession for me. It’s beyond satisfying and a great cold weather staple. Be careful with store bought versions if you are gluten free because a lot of them add flour!

But why flour? Doesn’t it make sense to thicken a rice soup with RICE? I’m pretty sure the only reason why most people add flour is because it’s more readily available than sweet rice flour. I order my sweet rice flour and my Minnesota wild rice online.

Here’s an exciting bit of news for you. You can use sweet rice flour as a one to one substitute anytime a recipe calls for a roux, which is a thickener made of equal parts flour and butter. Yes, this means you can easily make a gravy without adding weird ingredients like xantham gum!

Here’s what your rice should look like once it’s absorbed enough liquid.

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Wild Rice Soup

8 tbs butter

1 cup pancetta, small diced

1 cup yellow onion, small diced

1 cup carrots, small diced

1 tbs garlic

½ cup sweet rice flour

6 cups chicken stock, hot

5 dry shiitake mushrooms

1 1/2 cups wild rice

4 tbs slivered almonds, chopped

1 cup heavy cream

4 tbs dry sherry

Fresh chopped parsley or chives for garnish (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Place the wild rice and 4 cups of water in a pot, season with a little salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the rice is very tender, the grain should look like it burst open, showing the tender inside. This will take about 35 minutes.

Heat your chicken stock in a sauce pot.

Melt the butter in a medium sized dutch oven or heavy bottomed sauce pot. Add the pancetta, and cook on medium heat for 8 minutes. Pancetta should be starting to get crispy at this point. Now add the onions, carrots and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions start to become translucent, about 6 minutes.

Add the sweet rice flour and stir to combine with the ingredients in the pot. Add the hot chicken stock and dry shiitake mushrooms to the soup pot. Allow to come to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once it has boiled it will thicken. Pull the re-hydrated shiitakes out of the soup, let them cool and then slice them thinly. Add them back to the pot. Then add the rice, almonds, cream and sherry. Stir to combine, season with salt and pepper and serve.