A taste of indigenous foods

By on Nov 23, 2016 in Recipes, Stories |

When she handed me the innocent, white piece of paper, Liz Charlebois did so with a little hesitation, and with an air of gravity. “This is very, very sacred,” she warned me. It was, after all, her original, homemade, squash soup recipe, perfected over the years. The squash she recommends for the soup is homemade too in the deepest sense of the word. Buffalo Creek squash, or winter squash, is an indigenous food, Charlebois explained. It’s a gourd that is native to North America and is also a traditional food for people who, like her, are indigenous, or Native American. “It definitely originated here,” she said. “It was brought from the Seneca people here traveling – they brought it to the settlers.” Charlebois, who is Abenaki, is helping others access this and other indigenous foods through her position at the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum, where she is the education director. “We talk...

Making lunch with Pink 2.0

By on Jul 27, 2016 in A Pig's Life, Recipes |

I’ve always been one to get up close and personal with animals: petting them, scratching them, letting them lick me. Last Thursday, I took that to a whole new level. It was the day after I visited Miles Smith Farm in Loudon and bought just over two pounds of pork. It wasn’t just any meat – it was the remains of Pink 2.0, a heritage pig I reported on and photographed for five months, from birth until slaughter. Miles Smith farmer Carole Soule showed me her meat cooler, where I poked through the cardboard boxes before settling on a pound of ground pork and two healthy sized pork chops. (I originally was thinking of buying bacon, but Soule told me it’s made from a pig’s belly and has to be sent out to be processed separately). I rung out at Soule’s farm store register and forked over the $25.98 for my meat – 2.23 pounds to be exact. The next day, I took my meat, some nachos fixings and...

Good Fences

By on Mar 10, 2016 in Carole's Corner, Recipes |

The weather is warm, the cattle are fat and the fences are down. Fortunately my cattle want to stay in their pastures, most of the time. This happens every winter. The farm’s electric fences occasionally get squashed by falling branches, insulators pull out of trees or rotting posts and the fence gets covered in snow and shorts out so there is no charge in it. Fencing repair is a constant activity which is hard to do in freezing weather and deep snow. Cattle don’t like change so if they are happy in a field with their friends and have enough hay they usually won’t leave, even if a fence is down. I say “usually” because if something startles them or they get running they will charge through a perfectly good electric fence. Two years ago my neighbors set off fire works that exploded directly over my herd. The explosion startled me and it definitely scared the cows. They...

Homemade cheese is good sweet or savory

By on Mar 3, 2016 in Recipes |

Ricotta and farmer’s cheese are two easy-to-make-at-home fresh cheeses, fresh meaning that they aren’t meant to be aged but are consumed within a week of being made. Both are fun to create, especially with kids, because watching the milk coagulate and separate into curds and whey is not only fun, but a great lesson on the protein structure of dairy products (which I don’t have space for here, but an internet search on cheese-making will turn up lots of information). Ricotta is milder than farmer’s cheese. It is made by curdling warm milk with an acid, such as white vinegar or lemon juice. The resulting soft, granular white cheese is then drained a bit before being stuffed into ravioli, layered in lasagna or mixed with eggs, sugar and a bit of citrus for a simple souffle, among many other possibilities. Farmer’s cheese is a bit more complicated. Cream and milk are left to sit at room...

Spicy sauces add an optional flavor

By on Feb 4, 2016 in Recipes |

Getting a healthy meal together quickly can be a challenge. Getting a healthy tasty meal together even more so, especially if you have some finicky eaters in the family. My solution? Take some time on the weekend every now and then to put together delicious, heart-healthy condiments to perk things up. Set them out alongside a roast chicken or a bowl of noodles and less adventurous eaters can ignore them, while those who love a little bit of spice can pour them on. Here are two of my favorites, a traditional Mexican Adobo Sauce, and a slightly-simplified and less salty version of the magnificent Chili Crisp Sauce found in The Mission Chinese Food Cookbook by Danny Bowien and Chris Ying (which, if you love cookbooks, should be on your shelf – it’s terrific). Adobo sauce is used in a zillion different ways in Mexico, especially when it comes to cooking meat. Try slathering it over...

Piglet Happiness

By on Jan 27, 2016 in Carole's Corner, Recipes |

Sarah, in true pig form, is ready, very ready to be a mom again. This will be her second batch of babies and the first batch born in winter on the farm. Her first batch of piglets are six months old and some are already in the freezer. For being so small when they are born, piglets grow quickly. Back in August two sows, Chipmunk and Sara, gave birth within one day of each other. Chipmunk, a black pig had four babies; Sara had ten. All of the babies survived which isn’t always the case. Sows (female pigs that have given birth) can weigh 300 pounds or more. Piglets, when born, might weigh one pound. Imagine a 300+ pound sow moving around in a pen with ten, sometimes more, tiny piglets scurrying around. No matter how careful she is, it is likely that the sow will squish one or more of her babies. I watched Sara lie down with her ten squiggling new born piglets squirming around. Sara...