Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What Do You Know About The Real History of Halloween?

Halloween has orgins that go back thousands of years.

Many people, especially Christians, denounce this holiday as having evil and demonic roots.

I believe most of the holidays that we know and celebrate today have roots in a history that
had a different meaning than what we have come to practice and believe.

I also believe all history is worthy of being studied and considered, it is after all where we all come from.

This link will give you some good overviews of this and other holiday histories.

Enjoy and have a safe and fun Halloween...celebrate your ancestry.
Bea Kunz

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What Is Sustainable Agriculture?

With the oncoming of the holidays, I can't help but let my thoughts drift to all the many gifts that will be bought and passed around.

Can you imagin what would happen if everyone , or just half of the shoppers made the committment to buy "sustainable" goods.

I would like to share this wonderful website for your reading and a bit of education into what sustainable farming/living consist of.

One tiny committment from many individuals could ,and will, and is, making big and far-reaching changes.

Do read and enjoy, if you have questions, please feel free to contact me here.

Wishing you a very healthy October!

Bea Kunz/Sage Hill Farms

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Holiday Starters

( Stuffed Pumpkin) Cajun Shrimp
Serves 6 to 8

1 med size baking pumpkin
Wash and cut off the top, scoop out the seed and string.
With an ice-cream scoop-scoop out about 2 cups of the meat, but leave inside the pumpkin...

Place pumpkin in a large pan of water in a pre-heated oven at 400* and bake until the outside starts to feel just slightly soft.

Remove from oven and add mixture of shrimp to the pumpkin meat, stir until mixed-
Return to oven and bake another 20 to 30 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft to the touch.
(Shrimp Mixture for Stuffed Pumpkin)
2 pound shrimp
1/4 cup real butter
1 small red onion-chopped
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
4 garlic cloves-minced
1 tbsp lemon juice
1-1/2 tsp real salt
10 to 12 ounces can cream of shrimp soup
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp soy
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
3 cups cooked long grained rice
1/4 cup grated sage goat cheese

Peel shrimp or purchase already peeled and deveined.
Melt butter in a large skillet over med-high heat.
Add onion and next 3 ingredients; saute' 7 minutes or until tender.
Add garlic, and saute' 1 minute more. Stir in lemon juice and salt-saute' 5 minutes.
Add shrimp and cook 3 minutes or until they turn pink.
Stir in soup and next 4 ingredients until well blended.

Pour into the half baked pumpkin and return to oven for 20 to 30 minutes.
Don't over bake the pumpkin, it will fall apart.

(Hazelnut and Sage Pate')

1 cup hazelnuts
1/4 cup sesame seeds
8 oz cream-cheese
2 cloves garlic crushed
1/2 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 tsp chopped sage
2 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp milk
Pre-heat oven to 350*
Lightly roast the hazelnuts and sesame seeds on seperate trays.
When the nuts are cool rub off the skins.
Grind the nuts and seeds together until they are like fine crumbs.
Beat the cream cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, sage and oil together.
Add the nut and seed mixture, combining well. Add the milk. The mixture needs to be fairly wet as the nuts will absorb some liquid.
Serve on small salad greens with toast.

(Tarragon Stuffed Mushrooms)

1 lb. large mushrooms
3 cups fresh breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped tarragon
2 eggs
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups dry bread crumbs
Oil for deep frying
Wipe the mushrooms clean and carefully remove the stalks without damaging the caps.
Finely chop the stalks and set aside.
Place the fresh bread crumbs in a bowl and add the garlic, onion, tarragon, 1 egg, seasoning and chopped stalks.
Mix very well to form a soft stuffing.
Divide the mixture between the hollows of the mushroom caps, pressing it in well.
Beat the remaining egg in a dish and dip each mushroom into it.
Place the dry breadcrumbs into another dish and dip the egg-coated mushrooms into the bread crumbs. Coat well.
Heat about 4 cups of oil in a heavy pan.
Deep fry the mushrooms for 4 minutes in about 4 batches.
Drain on paper towel and serve with herbed mayonnaise.
Dill grows throughout Scandinavia from the farmlands of Denmark in the south to Norway, Sweden and the northern rim of Finland.
Dill also grows in middle Tennessee in abundance!
It requires long hours of summer sun to nourish the herb that puts the zing into so many of our favorite recipes.
Dill comes from the Norse...dilla, meaning "to lull," a reference I'm sure to the plant's healing power as a digestive aid and a sleeping potion.
Dill has been around a very long time, native to the Mediterranean and southern Russia, dill was a favorite of the Romans. In the first century the great chef, Apicius, described dill flavored dishes in his ten-volume cookbook, De Re Coquinaria.
The aromatic oil in dill complements seafood like no other herb or spice can match.
Dill is rich in minerals, contains potassium, sodium, sulfur and phosphorus.
The leaves are considered herbs and the stems and seed are considered spices.
If you decide to grow this lovely herb, do so by seed, I find it does not transplant very well consistently.
If you would rather you may just order from Sage Hill Farms and simply enjoy the fruits of our labor.
Now for some some recipes to delight.
(Carrot Soup with Dill Pesto)

Serves 4
2 tbsp unsalted butter
4 large carrots, sliced thin
1 large onion, chopped
1-1/4 tsp dill seed
4 cups chicken broth(i make my own,if using commercial,low salt.)
~~~~Dill Pesto~~~~
1 cup packed, coarsely chopped fresh dill
2 tbsp pine nuts
2 tbsp olive oil
Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over med. heat.
Add carrots, onion, and dill seeds and saute' until onion is clear and tender.(10 min)
Add 4 cups broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are very tender.(30 min)
Transfere soup to blender in batches and puree. Thin with more broth if desired. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper.
Combine fresh dill and pine nuts in a processor and chop finely using on/off turns. With processor running slowly add oil and process until well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Re-warm soup. Spoon into bowls.
Divide pesto among the servings, using a knife swirl the pesto into the soup.
Both the soup and the pesto can be made a day ahead and kept in the frig. Seperately of course and covered.

Bea Kunz

Monday, October 15, 2007

Passion For Green

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Global warming seems to be in our minds, our conversations, and fast becoming a hot topic.

A vast interest has formed around growing corn and other crops that can be turned into fuel such as ethanol.

With oil prices continually on the rise, and the need to break our dependancy on foreign energy resources, these options seem to have validity.

But, research around the world questions as to whether these are answers to the issue of Global Warming. I personally haven't bought the idea as a fact. Doesn't mean I can't be wrong, just means I have looked back over history and seems to me there is plenty of evidence to suggest
a more natural cycle of "Mother Nature's " revenge.

Regardless what we believe the truth to be, on an individual basis, most think they have no control to make a difference.
But...listen up and I will give you a workable idea.

Most great changes come about through very small individual actions.

You, and I, can make a difference, with the interest and the motivation to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

Think green, think healthy, think for yourself. Get as close to nature as your life-style will allow.
You may even consider changing your life style.

Have you ever stopped to think how many lawns we have in this country, how much money is spent on upkeep and how much poison is spread and worked into the soil in the effort to make those lawns pretty.

I have no problem with beautiful grounds, but this is just one way to make a difference.
Instead of growing so many shrubs and flowers for visual....think about growing edible plants and using natural means of upkeep. You still have the beauty and the added benefit of being part of the much needed change.

If half the population would do this we could solve the issues of safe food, slash the need for so much fuel, the population as a whole would be healthier. So...what are we waiting for?

I have started already, want to know more? Feel free to come calling.

I wish you all good health, and happy spirits.

Bea Kunz

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Squash and Pumpkin Recipes

White Baby Pumpkins can be interchanged with winter squash in most any dish.

Summer Squash and Winter Squash are different in texture and taste.
Most Summer Squash can be cooked with the skin because it is tender and thin.

Winter Squash however is thick and the skin will usually be tough and somewhat bitter to the taste. The seeds are bigger and will need to be removed.

Some favorites of ours:

You can use left-over baked squash in this soup or start with fresh or frozen Winter squash.

(Winter Squash Soup)

5 cups cubed raw squash or 3 cups cooked
2-1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 tsp real salt
1 tsp basil
1 cup dried skim milk
1 tbsp torula yeast
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 lb fresh spinach-optional

If using raw squash or pumpkin, cook it in the broth until tender.
Blend or puree the cooked squash and put it in your soup pot to heat.

Saute'the onion in the oil, add parsley and cook just until hot and wilted.
Add onion, parsley, and all other seasonings to the squash.

Remove a cup of the soup and put it into the blender.Add the milk powder and yeast, blending until smooth. Pour back into the pot and simmmer for 10 to 20 minutes. ( Do Not Boil)

For a lighter soup with a satiny texture, you may omit the milk.

Spinach and squash/pumpkin are the best of friends.
Add fresh spinach chopped into small pieces just before end of cooking time.

This will serve 6 to 8 people.
(Squash Bisque) ( A New Orleans flavor)

1/2 cup fresh, real butter
1 large onion
2 med. size potatoes, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
4 cups fresh or 2 packages frozen(defrosted) yellow squash
1 quart chicken stock ( homemade if possible)
1 tbsp real salt> (Or 2 tbsp of Sage Hill Farms Cajun blend.)
1/4 tsp cayenne>
1 cup cream

Melt butter, saute' onion. Add vegetables, stock, salt and pepper.
Cook on med heat, covered, until tender(about45 min)

Puree in blender-1/2 at a time.
Return to pot and add cream, check sesoning.

Sprinkle with paprika just before serving.

Squash Pecan Casserole

2 pounds yellow squash, cooked
1/4 tsp Stevia or 2 tso sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1 stick butter
salt to taste (or Sage Hill Farms Vegetable blend)
buttered cracker crumbs
1 cup chopped pecans

Pre-heat oven to 400*
Mix all ingredients except nuts and crumbs.
Pour into a large buttered casserole dish
Top with nuts and cracker crumbs
Bake for 20 min. at 400*

Serves from 10 to 12 people

Bea's Shrimp and Squash Casserole

12 to 15 yellow squash
Bacon drippings or 1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1/2 small bell pepper, chopped
3/4 stick of real butter
1-1/2 to 2 pounds boiled shrimp-small to med. size
4 to 6 slices of fresh bread
salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste(or Sage Hill Farms Cajun Blend)
2 eggs

Pre-heat oven to 325*

Slice squash in 1/2" rounds and smother in bacon drippings.
Add onion and bell pepper while squash is cooking down.
(Add a small amount of hot water if needed to avoid sticking.)
Add butter and shrimp after squash mixture is "mushy" consistency and water has cooked out.
Toast the bread and wet it with a small amount of water. Break into small pieces and add to mixture.
Add seasonings and thenbeat the eggs and add.
Grease a large casserole dish, pour in mixture, sprinkle with bread crumbs and dot with butter.
Bake about 45 min.

Serves about 8

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Bay Leaf in the Fall Kitchen.

Herbs/Spices for the Fall Kitchen....Bay Leaf is so warming!

This bay-leaf- and garlic-infused pilaf is versatile, going well with Cajun shrimp stew and Red lentil soup.

Servings: Makes 4 servings.

(Bay infused Pilaf)

3 fresh Bay leafs or 1-1/2 dried
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups long-grain white rice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup water
3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth (6 fl oz)

Cook bay leaves in oil in a 1 1/2- to 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, turning over occasionally, until leaves are lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until pale golden, about 30 seconds. Add rice, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring gently to avoid breaking bay leaves, 1 minute. Add water and broth and bring to a full boil, uncovered, over high heat. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, then reduce heat to low and simmer until water is absorbed and rice is tender, about 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and let stand, undisturbed, 5 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork and discard bay leaves.

( Rice Pudding with Bay Leaf-Yummy!)
Serves 4 to 6

3/4 cup long-grain rice
1 bay leaf
6 cups whole milk, approximately
1 cup sugar (1/2 cup for pudding-remainder for sauce.)
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
Large pinch of salt

1. Place rice in a small saucepan with bay leaf and 2 cups water, bring to a boil over high heat, then drain immediately. Transfer rice and bay leaf to a heavy 3-quart saucepan.

2. Add 4 cups milk, 1/2 cup sugar, vanilla bean and salt. Place over very low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until milk has been absorbed by rice, about 1 hour. Add 1 or 2 more cups milk, and continue cooking over low heat 15 to 20 minutes longer. Rice should be tender and mixture should be very creamy. Remove from heat, and allow to cool to room temperature.

Caramel Sauce....

Combine remaining sugar with 2 tablespoons water in a 1-quart saucepan. Place over medium-high heat, and stir gently until sugar dissolves. Continue cooking until mixture turns a medium amber color. Remove pan from heat and cool. Caramel will darken somewhat and harden as it cools.

4. No more than 30 minutes before serving, add a little milk to rice if it has become too thick, then remove bay leaf and vanilla and transfer pudding to a shallow serving bowl. Add 2 tablespoons water to caramel, return it to stove and place over medium heat. Cook about 5 minutes until caramel has softened. Stir to incorporate water. Remove from heat. To serve, drizzle caramel sauce over pudding.

This makes a very comforting "all by myself treat" or it adds a bit of simple sophistication to a dinner party.

To your Over-the-Top October!

Bea Kunz