Life on the Farm

Last weekend i went back to the Black Sheep Creamery to help out   sheep shearing. Last time I went up there, I fell in love with the place immediately and couldnt wait to get my hands dirty. 6am saturday morning my friends Molly, her husband Steve and Stacey drove up in the dark to see what we could do. I knew that the ladies would all need to be sheered, the wool skirted, vaccines given and hooves trimmed. I had no idea how we would be involved in that adventure.

Of course we arrive ready for anything and are greeted by the lovely Meg and Brad Gregory with hot coffee and warm scones. without much ado, we are led into the barn and put to work. All 90 sheep are in the barn looking slightly weary but curious and gentle.

Jewel and Brutus the biggest dogs i have ever seen, are leaping around the farm looking for some love and Paddy is showing off her best OCD qualities with a block of slobbery wood.

   

Stacey and I started the day by skirting the wool that had been sheered from the sheep. we had to lay out the wool and pick out all the nasties. We were told to be brutal but it was so hard to through any of that wool away. it was so beautiful and warm from their bodies. After the wool is skirted it is rolled up and placed in a plastic bag, labeled with the sheep number and tossed up to the loft where the bags are opened to dry out. Apparently wool is completely different when the Ewe is going to lamb in the spring. It is important to get the wool shorn before lambing season because the wool is at its weakest at that point. Makes sense to me, all the important stuff has to be used for the milk and nourishment of mama and sweet baby.

 

after the sheep are sheered , they are brought over for hoof trimming and a vaccination of Vitamin E. This will give them energy and strength for the season to come. Finally the barn door is slid open and the rather disheveled lady is smacked on the rump and set free. They generally did this with their tongue sticking out and a final Baaaaa!

  

i went outside when the sun came out and found this  girl getting some sun on her body, i knew exactly how good she felt at that moment and her sweet face was blissed out.

For lunch we all sat down at the farm table for black bean lamb chili with grated pecorino from the creamery!

we had gorgeous weather and only 2 sheep got a nick form the sheers. The sheerer was AMAZING! that is one tough job.

Another tough job that looked so easy was the actual wrastling of the ladies into the holding pen. OH MY GOD, it was insane. after getting one sheep wound through the rest to the other side of the barn, i was gasping for air and sweating.  no matter what you hear about the brainless antics of a sheep, if they dont want to go somewhere, they will not go. period.

At the end of the day we got a tour of the farm and the creamery and got to taste all the cheese.

 

YUMMMEEEE! I also bought some Feta, Pecorino and Tomme.  The pecorino went into my Risotto last night. The day was lovely and we went home happy and exhausted.

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Time to Eat, again!

So now that the holidays are over, it is time for half of us to make resolutions and the other half to scoff at those who make resolutions but secretly make them anyway.

I made one resolution this year. That was to make it to work on time…i failed that one on the first day out of the shoot so there you go

One of my  favorite parts about Winter is cooking! Of course i love this in every season but i love the cold miserable stormy wet weather when i have my fireplace roaring and my cookbooks all layed out. For Xmas eve i made the most incredible prime rib and all the fixings. It was such a perfect evening. I even got a bit teary-eyed looking around the table at all the people i loved.

But now  i am sick of primerib leftovers and am craving other warm cozy foods. What i wanted most were Stuffed Cabbage Rolls. One of my very best friends in highschool came into town this week and I hadnt seen her in over 10 years and really had time to talk to her in about 20 so I decided this would be the perfect time to load up and enjoy an intimate conversation with a bottle or 2 of wine.

This recipe is easy, hearty and tastes divine! i should note that although i call these “stuffed” i am lazy and just layer the cabbage between layers of meat and sauce. It has never failed me yet.

 

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

1 lb sausage your choice
1 Cup Panko breadcrumbs or other breadcrumbs
1 cup milk

olive oil
1 16oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 cup red wine
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup cooked bacon or pancetta or procuitto diced

1 head of savoy caggbage

2 balls of mozzerella sliced
fresh parsley chopped

saute sausage in frying pan. in bowl mix breadcrumbs and milk and let soak. when sausage is done cooking, add breadcrumb mixture to sausage.

dice onion and add to second frying pan with olive oil and saute

add tomatoes, wine, spices, garlic and simmer reducing slightly. season with salt and pepper to taste. add bacon, pancetta or procuitto.

in a large pot, boil water. seperate leaves of cabbage and remove spine. blanch leaves and place in strainer to drain

add 1/3 cup of sauce to bottom of casserole dish

make one layer of cabbage leaves. on top of that make a layer of  sausage mixture. make 1 more layer of each

cover with sauce and sliced mozzerella. sprinkle with parsley and bake at 375 for 25 minutes.

this makes  great leftovers and the flavors get better and better.