Cajeta Apple Peanut Butter Balls


Always looking for something to satisfy my sweet tooth, this snack does just the trick. It has the sweetness from the caramel but is nicely balanced by the peanut butter. Very quick and easy to make and kids really like them.

Ingredients

1/3 cup goat milk caramel (cajeta)

3/4 cup apple finely diced (preferably granny smiths)

1 cup all natural peanut butter

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ cup oats

1/2 tsp salt

Stir all ingredients until well combined.

Use your hands to roll the dough into small balls.

Store in an airtight container.

Horseradish and Maple Chèvre

One day at the farmers market, while taking a break from selling our farm’s products, I wandered into a woman’s booth where she was concocting a new food creation. She had taken maple cream (a thick cooked down version of maple syrup) and freshly ground horseradish and mixed them together.

The combination was surprisingly wonderful. I decided to try this at home with our maple chèvre and fresh horseradish from the garden which tends to be quite mild in the spring. I loved the resulting flavor. I suggest putting it on crackers and bread but it’s also great added to squash soups or mashed potatoes.

8 oz maple chèvre

1 tsp finely minced horseradish

With a wooden spoon or mixer cream together maple chèvre and minced horseradish.

Let sit for several hours to let flavors emerge.

Serve with crackers or fresh bread.

Use as a topping for squash soup, pureed squash or mashed potatoes.

Winter Squash and Cajeta


I had been getting bored with the mountains of butternut squash overflowing our spare bedroom. The taste of squash was no longer a seasonal novelty but rather a bland stringy let down. Alas, I roasted yet another squash and looked in the fridge to see what I could use to spice things up. The caramel jumped out at me. Similar to your standard maple syrup and butter combo, but with a nice “twist”. The caramel combined with the squash offers a buttery, melt in your mouth subtle sweetness.

(You can use any winter squash though butternut is particularly good)

1 large winter squash

4 tbsp butter

4-6 oz goat’s milk caramel (Cajeta)

salt to taste

Bake squash at 350 until you can pierce a fork through it (30-45 minutes).

Let cool for 15 minutes.

Scoop out squash.

Mix in butter, caramel and salt.

Serve hot.

Pesto Mashed Potatoes with Goat Cheese

Come March, we have just about finished our supply of cider from the fall and are still working on the stacks of pesto tubs in the freezer, the baskets of potatoes in the root cellar, the whole corn waiting to be ground, and the fresh flow of all goat milk products that are filling up our fridge now that the goats are milking again. This recipe is not only a practical use of many of our products but it’s also a creamy delicious dinner. I like to serve it with roasted parsnips and carrots just harvested from the spring garden.


Ingredients

5 medium size potatoes or 3 large

4 oz pesto

4 oz plain chèvre or sun-dried tomato basil chèvre

2 tbsp cornmeal

¼ cup finely diced walnuts

¼ goat milk (or cow)

2 tbsp butter

1 tsp salt

Boil potatoes until tender. Leave skins on and mash with milk and butter. Add other ingredients and mash or beat until thoroughly combined. Serve hot!

Cornmeal Crust and Goat Cheese Flatbread

This is one of my all time favorite recipes! We grow Calais Flint corn every summer and I’m always looking for creative ways to use cornmeal besides corn bread. This is an excellent winter meal from us because we use frozen pesto from the summer, local flour, our own cornmeal, sundried tomatoes that we dehydrated in the summer, sausage from our pigs and, of course, our cheese. I really like the texture that the cornmeal creates. This pizza has been a neighborhood favorite at the sugarhouse.

To make crust:

Ingredients

1/8 teaspoon sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Toppings

6 oz pesto
6 oz fresh chèvre
6 oz shredded mozzarella
or
6 oz sun-dried tomato basil chèvre
4 oz shredded mozzarella
½ # cooked sausage or hamburger

Mix sugar, warm water and yeast together. Wait 5 minutes. In large bowl mix together dry ingredients: white flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, cornmeal and salt. Stir in water and olive oil until just combined. On floured surface knead dough for 10 minutes adding additional 1/2 cup whole wheat flour to create a shiny, moist but not wet dough. Oil a large bowl. Put dough in bowl covering all sides with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place to rise for an hour.

Preheat oven to 500. Once dough has doubled in size, roll out on a lightly floured surface. This dough is enough for one large thick crust pizza or two small thin crust pizzas. Oil the top of your pizza pan and put dough on. Rub a thin layer of oil all over the top of the crust. Sprinkle crust with a pinch of salt. Let rest for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 500. Cook crust on bottom rack for 5 minutes.

For Pesto and Plain Chèvre: Remove and spread crust with pesto. On top of pesto evenly sprinkle mozzarella cheese. Using a spoon or your hands pinch small amounts of chèvre evenly on top of the pesto and cheese. Add any other toppings you like. Favorites include roasted fingerling potatoes, sausage and fresh tomatoes.

Cook on bottom rack for 5 more minutes. Move to middle rack for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown.

For Sun-dried Tomato Basil Chèvre: Remove and spread with sun-dried tomato basil chèvre. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top. Add pre-cooked sausage or hamburger.

Cook on bottom rack for 5 more minutes. Move to middle rack for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown.

Macaroni with Sundried Tomato Basil goat cheese


Ingredients

1 lb of spiral or elbow pasta

5 tbsp unsalted butter

6 tbsp flour

2 tsp dry mustard

5 cups goat milk (can substitute with cow milk)

8 ounces cheddar cheese

8 ounces sundried tomato basil chevre

Cook pasta until just tender. Drain.

In a pan melt butter over medium heat until it foams. Add flour and mustard and whisk until combined and then for additional minute. Slowly add the milk while whisking all the ingredients. Bring this mixture to a boil. Decrease heat to medium, whisking occasionally. Simmer until the mixture thickens. Take the mixture off the heat and add both cheeses stirring until melted.

Add this mixture to the pasta and cook for about five minutes over medium heat.Pour mixture into a 13X9 baking dish. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Broil until golden brown. About five minutes.Garnish with fresh basil leaves.

Variation: Macaroni and Cheese with Pesto and Fresh Chevre

Replace sundried tomato basil chevre with 4 oz plain chevre and 4 oz pesto

TGIF

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TGIF
Yesterday, Friday, someone said to me “Thank goodness it’s Friday”. And then he did a doubletake and said “Whoops, that really doesn’t apply to you does it?”

And he was right. In the farming world, Friday isn’t really the end of a work week. There isn’t actually an end to the work week. It’s all one big cycle.

Around Fat Toad Farm, a Friday is a work day like in the “real world”. Here’s what happens here.
• Two people get up around 5 to go down to the cheese room to hang the cheese so it can drain most of the day.
• Fences and water get set up around 6 for the goats’ pasture for the day.
• Milking starts around 6:30.
• Morning chores start at the same time. These take quite awhile these days because we have goats that are at so many different stages of life – milking goats, goats that have just given birth, goats about to give birth, March babies that are around 50 pounds now but some are still nursing, June babies that are around 10 pounds and are definitely still nursing and can’t really be put out into the pasture with the rest of the goats, goats we are treating for something or other whose milk needs to be separated.
• Other chores like taking care of laying flock, meat chicks and pigs.
• We take Corrie, our border collie who is looking for a home where he can work with sheep, for a walk in the woods.
• Then on to various jobs around the farm or at the other jobs we all have.
• Turning the cheese at midday.
• Packaging the cheese in the afternoon and cleaning the cheese room.
• Packing up for Farmers Market on Saturday.
• At the end of the day we have afternoon chores and milking.

Then we move on to Saturday and that’s when we start diverging from the “work week/weekend” model. Here’s what Saturday means at Fat Toad Farm.
• 6:00 a.m. – fences and water for the goats.
• 6:30 a.m. – start packing up for Farmers Market and Waterbury/Morrisville/Montpelier deliveries. Leave at 7.
• Regular chores, milking, jobs around the farm.
• Farmers Market person returns around 2. Unpack, clean up, try to stay organized so that when we pack up next time, we know where everything is.
• Maybe a little nap? A little gardening?
• Evening milking and chores.
• Some people then rush through a shower, hop in the car and try to get to their social life before it’s too late. Some people hope there are great leftovers and something fun to watch from Netflix.

And finally Sunday, the day of rest. Well, you can probably guess the routine except just add pasteurizing the milk and starting cheese in the afternoon.

Clearly weekends keep us moving and engaged in all aspects of the business. Sometimes it’s exhausting and frustrating but most of the time there is great satisfaction from working at home, working with family, trying to make a living from the land, and taking care of animals in all stages of life.
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Babies!

Well, I’ve got the luxurious deal today — I got to sleep in! My sister, back from her other life in Mexico, is here to rescue us. That translates to her taking over one early morning of hanging cheese. We have been looking forward to June for a while. My sister and cousin both just arrived and will be here working part time for the rest of the summer. It has been a busy spring with just the three of us and we are ready for a bit of a break.

The summer market in Montpelier is back and we have been very happy to see all the old faces from last year’s season and of course to meet so many new people. It is an outstandingly vibrant and upbeat market. It happens every Saturday in the parking lot behind Julio’s from 9-1. Sundays have become garden mania day! It’s the whole full day that I can commit to the veggies in my life. This is the first year we should be getting strawberries which is incredibly exciting. I can’t wait to freeze them and have them all year round. We pretty much survive on frozen blueberries all winter long so this will be a nice change of pace. We are planting a three sisters garden once again with blue flour corn, beans and delicata squash. Josey (who lives part time in Mexico) has become quite good at making homemade corn tortillas. They may appear at the market one of these days you never know.

Oh and of course I have to mention the cutest goat in the world that was born. We found her out in the pasture a few days ago. She was up and about and all cleaned up by the time we got there. Her mother’s name is Evangeline and this is her first year kidding. So, the names in the running for her new baby girl were: Eva, Evangelette and Raven. But we were walking past the garden to bring her back to the barn and I spotted the first orange poppies flowering and so Poppy she was named. I think she’s pretty much the cutest thing except for the one that was born two weeks before her…. Well, I guess they are all pretty damn cute! We have another 9 to go for this second kidding season- we’ll keep you posted!