Friday, August 29, 2014

Ilia Widman: Making College Food Less Boring

Dining hall days may be behind us at Storey, but they’re just beginning for the students arriving on college campuses around the country as we speak. 

Here’s one incoming freshman’s take on Priya Krishna’s imaginative spin on dining hall fare. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Heritage Breeds of the South: An Exhibit

Oh, the places we would go! If you’re in South Carolina low country, don’t miss this exhibit on heritage breeds of the South, featuring photos by An Introduction to Heritage Breeds co-author Jeannette Beranger.

Spanish doe. Photo © Jeannette Beranger

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hannah Fries: Butchering Day at Sky View Farm

With an increased demand for local meat, more small farms are taking steps to raise and process animals locally. But small-scale production can mean big risk, especially when things don’t go as planned. Adam Danforth’s Butchering books can help.

Dairy cows grazing at Sky View Farm
My friends Amelia Wolfe and Will Conklin are the proud farmers of the burgeoning Sky View Farm in Sheffield, Massachusetts. They raise milk cows, goats, pigs, and poultry and have recently started a meat share (of which my husband and I heartily partake). As backyard farmers, they seemed to be the ideal readers of Adam Danforth’s recently released Storey book, Butchering Poultry, Rabbit, Lamb, Goat, and Pork. So, naturally, I gifted them a copy and hoped they’d be able to use it. The other day I received this dispatch from Amelia:
Will and I gathered with our neighbors around 9 a.m. to start a long-anticipated butchering day. We and the neighbors had each raised about fifty chickens, so we were preparing to process ninety-six, which is a lot of blood, guts, and feathers to handle on a small farm in one day. While I’m a novice to dairying, I’ve been processing chickens on and off with my parents for over ten years. My neighbors have done it for at least twenty. None of us are newbie back-to-the-landers getting dirty for the first time. Despite our thirty-plus years of combined experience, though, something went very wrong. The mechanical plucker mangled our first few birds. If you only raise fifty birds, four is a lot to lose. I immediately knew what to do! I got out our new book and solved the problem in under five minutes. The diagnosis? The water temperature was too hot, over-scalding the skin and causing it to tear. We had always used a mechanically regulated scalding device or plucked by hand, so none of us had learned to check the scalding temperature. Because Danforth’s book seems geared to the backyard producer, the methods shown were nearly identical to our setup, and the adjustments we had to make were totally doable. I don’t have a picture to back this up because we tend to whip out the camera for frolicking calves and free-running hens, not for butchering day — but I am glad Storey did!
Amelia also told me that a quick inventory of their shelves turned up “at least four more” Storey books. “And they don’t stay in the shelf long,” she says, “because I refer to them so often.” Although cookbook pages are often spattered with chocolate or oil, Amelia noted that her butchering book is now, appropriately, spattered with a little chicken blood. She declined to send a photo of that either, but I’m glad the right book was on the shelf to save the day!
Sky View Farm piglets

Friday, August 22, 2014

Five Facts about Making The Spinner’s Book of Fleece

Those in the know reveal insider info about creating the book.

The Spinner’s Book of Fleece is hitting the shelves this summer, and in honor of its arrival, author Beth Smith, editor Gwen Steege, and Storey Creative Director Alethea Morrison share a few fun details about the making of the book that contribute to the look of the final product in immeasurable ways.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Brooke Dojny: True or False? A Pop Quiz and Sandwich Recipe for Lobster Lovers

Get a crustacean education before digging into this layered sandwich from Lobster!

Deluxe Lobster Club on Brioche with Saffron Mayo. Photo © Sabra Krock.
Female lobsters are sweeter and less tough than male lobsters.
False. Gender has nothing to do with sweetness or tenderness.

Lobsters are high in cholesterol and fat.
False. Lobster has less of both than skinless chicken.

Maine sells the biggest lobsters.
False. In order to protect the fishery, Maine law forbids taking lobsters measuring more than 5 inches from the eye sockets to the top of the tail. The largest recorded lobster was caught off Nova Scotia and was 3½ feet long and weighed more than 44 pounds.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Emily Spiegelman: What a Meadow Means

Don’t touch that weed! Learning to recognize pollinator-friendly native plants can be a critical step in supporting struggling bees and butterflies.

“Meadows are ancient,” says the man at the center of our group, “and our connection to meadows is ancient. Think about the root of the word: mead. Our honey, our sustenance, has always come from the meadow, from the flowers and the bees.”

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Paula Marcoux: Cooking with Fire on Man Fire Food

Tonight at 8 Eastern, the Cooking Channel’s Man Fire Food visits Paula Marcoux. So what does it take to bring Cooking with Fire to the small screen? A dash of creativity, a capable host, a savvy food historian, and a mutual love of good food and flame. 

Paula pauses for a smile during shooting
 Photo © Sarah Armour
Our Plymouth, Massachusetts, backyard has seen plenty of men, fire, and food over the years; sounds boastful, I know, but that’s the plain truth. On the other hand, our humble patch of ground is almost never frequented by good-sized film crews from cable cooking shows — or at least that was true until the day this summer that Man Fire Food came to town.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Bloom Day — August 2014

Coneflowers, sunflowers, dahlias, hydrangeas, and lilies are in full flower. What’s blooming where you are?

Regina Velazquez, Hawley, Massachusetts

We’re looking forward to the edible seeds of our Rostov sunflowers. So are the chickens.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Andrea Chesman: Drizzled Vegetables

Put down that cookbook and let summer vegetables go barely dressed.

As the bounty of summer piles up, I’ve been thinking about drizzles — not as in rain drizzles, but drizzles of dressing over vegetables so tasty and fresh that all you want to do is add a whisper of seasoning and call it done. 
You don’t need recipes for drizzles. Just grab a couple of bottles from the cupboard.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Heather Smith Thomas — Notes from Sky Range Ranch: Preparing to Ride Khamette

Inner tube and curtain cord become valuable tools as Heather Smith Thomas and her brother Rocky train young Khamette. 

When school was out for the summer, I had more time to work with my filly — who was now a yearling.
Heather and her yearling, Khamette, in 1960
Khamette already knew how to lead at the walk and trot, with me moving alongside her left shoulder. I held the halter rope a few inches from the halter and the rest of the rope looped safely in my other hand. Neat loops allowed me to play out more rope as needed, without my hand getting caught. I’d learned that you never hold a lead rope in coils that could encircle your hand or wrist, in case the horse bolted and got away.