Mountain Grown Baskets, Herbal Teas, and Culinary Spices

one acre

one woman

100% homegrown

100% handmade
Excuses to use Fairweather spice blends

Well, I finally did it.  A good snowy day in March was what it took for me to actually sit down and write some recipes for this page that has said "recipes coming soon" for over a year.  Shesh.  So here's my confession: I don't actually usually follow recipes.  I look at recipes for ideas, but it seems entirely impossible for me to actually follow them or bring myself to measure things or set a timer for that thing I just put in the oven.  Mostly I just cook by feel and it turns out different each time and I like it that way. 
Now that I've made my disclaimer, here are some things that I dearly love and make quite often.  Please do let me know if you find errors in the recipes, or if you made one and took a gorgeous photograph for me to put on the website.

  Divine Salad Dressing
1-5 cloves garlic
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp Salt of the Earth, Rivanna, or other spice blend
2/3 c olive oil
1/3 c red wine vinegar

With an emersion blender, blend garlic, salt, herb blend and olive oil thoroughly.  While still blending on high speed, slowly drizzle in the red wine vinegar.  Red wine vinegar is my favorite, but you can certainly use combinations of balsamic, white wine, rice, or apple cider vinegar.   
I love using a different spice blend every time I make a salad dressing and I have yet to make one I didn't like.  Just remember that if you use a blend with hot peppers like BBQ or Smoke the heat will get more intense as it sits.  You may want to use half Smoke and half Frenchy to cut the heat.  Ooh, and speaking of Frenchy, try adding 1 tsp-1 Tbs smooth Dijon mustard to a Frenchy dressing.  Super good.
A Note About Garlic - The more garlic the creamier the dressing.  I've been known to use an entire head of garlic, especially in the winter, making a thick aioli sauce.  Nothing could make me happier in January than an intensely garlicky dressing over a giant salad of tender baby kale, arugula, and mizuna topped with copious chunks of grapefruit and avocado.  It's enough to make you dream about winter all summer long.

Herby Oil
1 c olive oil
1 Tbs Italy-ish (Or other blend)

If you plan to use the blend immediately I suggest crushing the herbs with a mortar and pestle to release the flavors faster.  If you don't have a mortar and pestle you can rub the herbs in the palm of your hand with your thumb.  Heating the oil and herbs in a small skillet on low heat will also help release the flavors but isn't imperative.  I like to make a batch of oil and keep it in the fridge to be ready for all occasions. 
Frenchy - dip for French bread
Any - spread on toast
brush onto vegetables for grilling (summer squash, eggplant, red peppers, etc)
Italy-Ish/Salt of the Earth/Good Salty S*** - drizzle over fresh tomato salad
slather on a tomato sandwich
quick cannellini bean side dish
brush over eggplant for eggplant parmesan
Smoke/Adventure - stir into a cold black bean, corn, red onion and avocado salad
coat sweet potato fries before baking
Rivanna - mix into a warm beet salad
or cold cucumber salad

Jicama Salad
1 small jicama, cut into matchsticks
1/2 a red onion
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 jalapeño minced (or as much as you want)
juice of 1 lime
1/2 c cilantro leaves
1 tsp Smoke
kosher salt to taste
1/2 tsp ground cumin, optional

Mix everything together and let the flavors meld for half an hour to half a day.  Slices of avocado, orange, red pepper, or cucumber are very nice additions. 

Roasted Red Peppers
red peppers
herby oil
kosher salt
black pepper

    1- A grill works best for this, but if you have a gas stove you can use that, or you can put them in your woodstove, or just broil them in the oven.  The goal is to char the outside of the peppers until they are at least 1/2 blackened.  Note that you're aiming to blacken the skin, not turn the entire pepper into charcoal.  As soon as one side of the pepper is blackened, turn it so that another side gets roasted.  The peppers will collapse and the skins will blister and shrivel in places.     
2 - Once they are nicely roasted, remove them from the heat and put them in a bowl covered with a plate or lid of some sort for 15 minutes to help loosen the skins.  Remove the lid and let them cool until they are comfortable to handle.  Now peal off as much of the skin as you can.  Leaving a little here and there isn't a big deal and adds pleasing character, but too much skin disrupts the overall texture (I think people also refer to this as "mouth feel" but I can't say that with a straight face so I'll say texture.)
3 - Slice the peppers into long strips.  Toss with kosher salt, black pepper, and your choice of herby oil.  Italy-Ish is the obvious choice, but don't let that limit you.    
4 - Serve on focaccia, toasted French bread, pizza, cucumber tomato salad, pesto pasta, with kalamata olives, or just eat them on their own and feel like a queen of summer. 

Roast Chicken
1 chicken
1/4 c olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper
5 cloves garlic
1 lemon, sliced into rounds with seeds removed
1 Tbs Italy-Ish, Frenchy, Rivanna, Salt of the Earth, Adventure, Sicilian or other herb blend

Preheat oven to 450F.
In a mortar and pestle or using an emersion blender, crush 5 cloves garlic with 1 tsp kosher salt.  Add the olive oil and herb blend, stirring to make a paste.  Using your fingers or a spoon, work the olive oil paste between under the skin to cover as much of the chicken as possible.  Place the lemon slices inside the chicken's cavity.  Rub the outside of the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. 
Place the chicken in the oven and reduce the heat to 350.  Bake roughly 20 minutes per pound until the thigh is 180 degrees. 
Venison or Beef Roast 
A nice hunk of meat
2 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp Adventure, Sicilian, Sweet Smoke, First Frost, or Smoke
1 onion, in large hunks
3 c chunked vegetables - carrots, potatoes, celery,
sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, etc
2 bay leaves
2 cups chicken stock or red wine
kosher salt
black pepper

In a Dutch oven over medium heat brown all sides of the meat in olive oil.  If you're using beef, you may want to pour off some excess fat.  If you're using venison you may need to add some fat.  Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer.  Place the lid on the pot and transfer the whole thing to the oven.  Cook at 375, checking to make sure you don't run out of liquid, for 1 1/2 - 3 hours, depending on the size of the roast.  I think some folks keep theirs on the stove top at the lowest setting so it stays barely simmering.  But who has time to hang around the kitchen and make sure it doesn't burn?  Not me.  I like to stick that sucker in the oven, go outside and keep working, then come back later to a bomb diggity meal that didn't burn to the bottom of the pan.
If you're so inclined you can make a gravy with the liquid at the end.  Just put all that good juice in a pan and bring it to a simmer.  In a small bowl, mix up 1 Tbs flour with 2 Tbs cold water.  Once the juices are simmering, whisk in the flour water and keep stirring until it thickens. 

Roasted Roots
Roots - beets, parsnips, potatoes, celeriac, turnips
carrots, rutabagas, sweet potatoes - whatever you dream about
olive oil
kosher salt
Smoke, Sicilian, Sweet Smoke, Salt of the Earth, First Frost or other herb blend

Chop the vegetables into equivalent sizes so they cook in roughly the same time.  Sometimes I like a mix of shapes - carrots in rounds, sweet potatoes in fries, rutabagas in cubes.  Sometimes I do all wedges.  Sometimes I just do sweet potato fries and eat them with a giant salad and some good sausage, and then at times like that I feel like the richest woman on earth.  But anyways, back to the recipe... 
Toss the roots with enough olive oil to generously coat them. 
Sprinkle with 1 Tbs herb blend plus 1 tsp kosher salt per baking tray. 
Spread the roots out on the tray so they aren't on top of each other.
Bake at 450 degrees for 30-45 minutes, turning them at least once.  Some folks like them just soft, some folks like them crispy on the outside.  Cook em till they're just right for you.
Eat em plain or with ketchup or aioli. 

Fresh Tomato Sauce over Linguini
3 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, sliced or chopped
2 tsp Italy-Ish
6 cloves garlic, sliced
6 or so really good garden tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs more olive oil
black pepper
kosher salt
1 lb linguini or other pasta, cooked al dente
romano, parmesan, or asiago cheese, grated

Crush the herb blend in your palm with your thumb or with a mortar and pestle to release the flavors.  In a skillet cook the onions and herbs in olive oil on medium low heat until just starting to soften.  Add the garlic and continue cooking a few more minutes until it too is soft.  Add the tomatoes and turn off the heat for a very fresh sauce.  Or continue cooking the tomatoes until the liquid is almost gone if you prefer that.  Season with balsamic vinegar, more olive oil, pepper and salt and serve over al dente pasta with some delicious freshly grated hard cheese. 
This is the kind of thing you want to make with those decadent summer time tomatoes that are bursting with flavor.  To make a particularly beautiful sauce barely cook a variety of colors like speckled roman, orange banana, carbon, and green zebra.  Cherry tomatoes cut in half are lovely too.  Matt's wild cherry and sun gold are my favorites. 

Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Lemon Pasta
(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
1 pound spiral pasta
1 pound asparagus (or broccoli or summer squash), cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 c olive oil
2 tsp Salt of the Earth/Good Salty S***
One 5-ounce log soft fresh goat cheese
juice of half a lemon (or more, to taste)

Cook pasta al dente, then drain it, saving aside a cup of hot pasta water.  Meanwhile, in a skillet on medium high heat sautee the asparagus with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and a lid on top to speed it along.  You'll have to roll the asparagus to get it to cook evenly.  I like them pretty soft, but some folks like them still crunchy.  Whatever floats your boat. 
Now you you just mix it all together - pasta, goat cheese, asparagus, Salt of the Earth, and lemon juice.  If it needs a little extra liquid to make it creamy you can use that reserved pasta water.  Season with salt and pepper.  Voila.  Super fast, super delicious meal.  If you have some in the garden, chopped arugula would only make this better.

Smoky Sausage and Sweet Potato Soup
After starting my sweet potato slips this spring I felt at liberty to eat sweet potatoes with reckless abandon.  I think I ate this soup for two weeks straight, which is saying something because I don't usually like to eat the same thing more than twice in a row.  Darned good soup.
2 Tbs olive oil
1 big onion, or two medium
4 cloves garlic
3 big sweet potatoes, cut into bite sized chunks
4 cups chicken stock
extra water
8-16 oz sausage, your choice what kind
2 tsp Smoke, Adventure, Sicilian, First Frost, or Sweet Smoke
optional, good greens from the garden - arugula, chard, kale, or spinach

You can use whatever kind of sausage you like.  I've used precooked chicken sausage, linked venison, or uncooked loose pork and enjoyed them all.  If you're using uncooked sausage, now would be the time to cook it.  If you're using precooked links, cut them into 1/4 inch slices and brown them in a skillet.  Remove the sausage, set it aside, and try not to eat all of it before it makes it into the soup.  If there is a ton of grease in the pan, pour some off before sauteeing the onions and garlic.  Once they are starting to soften  add the sweet potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally 5-10 minutes. 
Now add the broth, Smoke (or other spice blend), and enough water to cover everything nicely.  If you want the sausage flavor to permeate the soup, add it now; or if you want it to keep it's own independent flavor you can add it at the end.  Simmer that soup until the potatoes are tender but still maintain their integrity, about 20 minutes.  If you have some good leafy greens, chop them up and add them for the last 5 minutes of cooking.  Season with salt and pepper as needed.  All soups are better the second day, but this one is so delicious the first that I can never tell so I have to make a second batch.  And then a third. 


Hey folks, what do you think, wouldn't it be fun if we compiled some delicious recipes here for the further edification of all kitchen superheroes?  I think so.  When you make something particularly tasty with any of my spices, feel free to send me your recipe and I'll put it up on the website. 
Fame!  Excitement!  Glory to Food! 
Recipes with or without measurements are heartily accepted.
Bring it on:

Recipes with or without measurements are heartily accepted.
Bring it on: