Saturday, October 16, 2010

Lemon custard using lemon verbena (an herb)

I am crazy about lemon custard and have a wonderful recipe here on La Maison et le Jardin my personal blog.  While scouting around for more uses of lemon and specifically lemon verbena (an herb that grows well in my potager) I found this fantastic looking recipe of Bon Apetite which says, "Often used to make herb tea and liquers in Provence, the fragrant herb lemon verbena gives a nice lift to these rich, silky lemon custards.  Look for fresh lemon verbena at farmers' markets (that'd be us - The Simple Farm)

The recipe for Pots de creme au citron et a la Verveine can be found here.

I Love the Market Store . . .

. . . because of the very neat people that stop by each week and become more than just a face. . . but rather a name, a conversation where commonality of heart is shared.

Today recipes were shared which I can't wait to get and post here.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Strawberry Hill . . .

. . . forever.

I love signage that's simply cool. One of the littles at the farm is applying some talent to this old piece of wood - that her dad took some time to draw.

I bet  you know where it'll go.

French Inspired Vintage Gates

I've been 'face booking' how my husband is getting creative creating smaller sanctuary gardens within areas. Here's a sneak peak as to this secret garden spot.

I can picture girlfriends, French press and Rachel's Cinnamon Bread right here.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Comfort Food at The Simple Farm

Mom was all about comfort food for her family of six and indeed one of Mom's comfort food growing up was her Chicken Potpie. When I found Chef Amy Barnes of the Sweet Basil Gourmetware's recipe, I just knew I'd have to make it for my family.

Indeed -  it's lovely comfort food.

Comfort Ingredients:
4 Tbl. butter
1 onion diced
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon or paste [NOTE: I swear by Better than Bouillon paste -probably found at a Whole Foods]
1 cup water
3/4 cup half and half
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary [NOTE: I use fresh from my garden. It's so easy to grow, at least here in the desert.]
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 Tbl.sherry [NOTE: I used cooking sherry.]
2 carrots diced [NOTE: I used 3.]
3 stalks celery, diced
3 cups or about 1/2 pounds cooked diced chicken [NOTE: I used 3 large chicken breasts that I cooked verryyyyyyyyyy slowly in a frying pan with a touch of garlic salt.]

1 cup flour
1 Tbl. rosemary, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup Crisco [NOTE: Yes, I admit,I used Crisco and it's the first time in at least seven years.]
3 Tbl. ice-cold water

Start your crust prep by chopping your rosemary - really fine.

Then . . .
In a big bowl (for some reason I LOVE glass bowls) add your flour, salt and finely chopped rosemary.

Then add your Crisco . . .

And cut in the Crisco with a pastry blender (a fork will do fine) or with two knives (even better than a fork) until this mixture is fairly course,but uniform.

Sprinkle the cold water with a table spoon, a little at a time and work this into the dough making a nice firm ball. Put this aside and start on the comfort part.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and then melt your butter in a large skillet over medium heat.

Dice your onions, dice your celery and dice your carrots. Melt your butter and then add your diced onion and cook this until soft. Whisk in the flour; cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes.

Next, add the chicken bouillon or paste (again, I LOVE the above mentioned paste), add your water, the half and half, your rosemary and the salt and pepper. Mix this up and then . . .

Stir in the sherry (I added an extra tablespoon -because I wanted to). Add your carrots, celery and the chicken that's been cooked and diced.

You'll note that my carrots weren't diced - just sliced. Diced is better. Simmer, covered until the vegetables are tender - about 8 minutes. I cooked it a bit longer, added about 1/2 cup of the broth from cooking the chicken breasts. I think doing this made everything moist and added a bit more flavor.

Now, return to your crust - On a lightly floured board roll the dough to a circle - about 1/8 inch thick. The recipe calls for a 1 quart size backing dish (round would be fun), but all I had available was a 1.5 square quart sized baking dish - so, that's what I used and it was just fine.

Fill your baking dish with your comfort ingredients and blanket the dish with your rolled out dough - sealing and crimping the edges.

Bake, uncovered for about 30 - 45 minutes until the gold brown. Makes 4 to 6 servings.