A sustainable family farm in Freedom, Ohio

Cook Local

Eat the Stuff We Eat!

Recipes Using Fresh, Seasonal Ingredients

IMG_0439Sundried Tomato Polenta with Braised Scapes and Kale

We frequently hear, “What do I do with scapes?  What do I do with kale?”  Here’s a tasty idea!

You’ll need:

  • 1 c Breakneck Acres Polenta
  • Salt to taste
  • Handful of sundried tomatoes
  • 3 c water
  • Olive oil
  • About 1/2 lb kale, thick ribs removed
  • 10 – 15 scapes, or to taste, julienned into 1/2″ pieces
  • Can of beer or equal amount white wine, Morning Dew apple cider, or stock
  • Rootstown Organics Tonic to taste
  • Salt and Pepper

Mix the polenta, salt, sundried tomatoes, and water in a saucepan and bring to boil.  Turn down to a simmer and give it about 15 minutes to thicken.  Pour into a greased 9×9 baking pan and set aside.

In your largest frying pan or skillet, heat the olive oil and toss in the scapes.  Start adding kale by the handful, letting each handful reduce until there’s room for more.   Toss until it is all wilted pretty well.  Add tonic, salt, pepper, and your liquid.  Reduce the heat a bit and let it simmer for about 1/2 hour until all the liquid is reduced and the kale is tender and starting to carmelize.

Top a “slice” of polenta with the kale.  Topping with some Lucky Penny or Ornery Goat feta cheese would be pretty tasty.

Shiitake Stroganoff

Some of my shiitake logs have been producing strangely shaped mushrooms–instead of expanding until they look like big, flat pancakes, they’re staying tucked under and dark.  Well, I didn’t want to sell such awful looking things, so I decided to keep last week’s flush for myself.  After almost a complete week in the fridge, they were even more shriveled and not pristine looking.  I remembered having a fantastic shiitake stroganoff at an OEFFA conference a couple years ago, so used Google to find the following recipe.  Wow!  Those mushrooms soaked up the liquids and were incredibly tender and tasty!  Glad I doubled the recipe, so it made dinner tonight, 4 meals for the rest of the week, and 2 more servings that I froze.

My changes–I used more shallots and garlic of course (which I also grew!).  I also love the taste of Worchestshire Sauce in stroganoff, so I added a heavy tablespoon.  Because of that addition, I think I’ll lower the amount of balsamic vinegar next time.  Both aromatic liquids were a little too much.

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 pound shiitake sliced about 1/2″ thick
  • 1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, crème fraîche, plain yogurt, or sour cream–creme fraiche is so easy to make!  It’s just a cup of cream and 2 T buttermilk that you let sit for 8 – 10 hours until it’s thick.  Then you can keep it in the fridge for a week.
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons, balsamic vinegar
  • Splash of heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 t Salt
  • 8 ounces egg noodles
  • Fresh chopped parsley (optional)

    Sorry about the unsophisticated dish–was so interested in getting down to eating, I forgot to photograph my plate!


  1. In a medium saucepan, set over medium heat, melt the tablespoons of butter. When the butter has melted, add the shallot and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Next, add the garlic, and shiitake mushrooms and toss.  Next, add the vinegar and Worchestershire sauce and spices.  When the mushrooms start to week, add the crème fraîche, splash of heavy cream.
    Toss again then cover the pot and let it cook about 7 – 10 minutes, until the mushrooms are softened. Note: If you’re using sour cream, cook the mushroom mixture at a lower temperature, as sour cream has the tendency to curdle when cooked at high temperatures.
  2. Serve over noodles with a parsley garnish.


Colorful Moroccan Green Bean Stew with fresh yogurt and cucumber salad.

Moroccan Green Bean Stew

I heard this recipe on the Splendid Table a couple years ago, and it sounded so fantastic, I jotted it down, and it’s now a favorite summer dinner.  I like the idea of making green beans a main course (and leaving them whole is so fun!), and love using lots of fresh herbs.  I make this in the winter too, using frozen green beans, canned tomatoes, and dried herbs–I put the herbs in before the final reduction instead of using them for a garnish.

  • Pound trimmed green beans
  • 1 medium onion julienned
  • 2 Carrots julienned
  • 1 can or 2 cups cooked Chick peas
  • 3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 2 T fresh thyme chopped
  • 3 T fresh basil chopped
  • 3 t cinnamon
  • 1 t allspice
  • 1 t cloves
  • 1 t nutmeg
  • 2 t cumin
  • 3 t paprika
  • 1 t hot pepper flakes
  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes
  • Bottle dry white wine or equivalent vegetable stock
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Chopped fresh mint, cilantro, and basil
  • Hot rice or couscous

In a large skillet lightly coated with olive oil, saute the beans, carrots, and onions with salt & pepper until beans start to color.  Add chopped garlic, chickpeas, and spices, toss it up well, and continue cooking another 5 minutes or so.  Add the cherry tomatoes, thyme, and basil.  After the tomatoes warm up for a couple minutes, start squashing them with your spatula.

Start adding white wine, about a cup at a time, tossing well to incorporate the spices evenly into the sauce, and let it cook down between additions.  Squash the rest of the tomatoes.  Salt and pepper and adjust spices as desired.

Serve over rice or couscous and garnish with lots of fresh chopped mint, cilantro, and basil.

Lizette’s Tomato Sauce

sauceHomemade tomato sauce is hands down one of the most delicious things you can possibly eat. And since you can get everything you need in peak season at the Haymaker Farmers’ Market, including fantastic pasta from Ohio City Pasta, you really should make a batch. While tomatoes are acidic and can be canned using a boiling water bath canner that changes once you add low acidity veggies and meat to your sauce. Those low acidity additives require pressure canning. But do not let that intimidate you! Pressure canning really is no big whoop. And if you don’t feel like canning just freeze the stuff.

Local, meaty, Roma tomatoes are your best bet. And if you can find San Marzanos use those! Big, round tomatoes work best for BLTs or homemade V8. Those tomatoes have more liquid and less meat so if you use them you’ll end up with a thinner sauce. Many recipes call for coring your tomatoes and then blanching and peeling them. Ugh. Ain’t nobody got time for that. All that extra work isn’t necessary. I promise.

I like to cook my sauce low and slow with a hunk of meat. Breakneck Acres carries pork neck bones and those work great. Their hot Italian sausage, removed from the casing and crumbled, would also be a nice addition. I used beef short ribs for my most recent batch and those worked pretty well too. Vegetarian? Omit the meat and stock. Deglaze with some veggie stock or a little red wine instead.

I prefer home dried oregano over the fresh stuff. I think it taste better. I pick my oregano and hang the stems to dry at the end of the summer. Once dry I pluck the leaves from the stems and store in a small mason jar. If you didn’t dry last year’s oregano you’re in luck – Black Dog Acres sells dried herbs. You’ll also notice canned tomato paste in this recipe and you might be thinking, “What the heck Lizette? Why are you using the canned stuff?!” Have you ever made tomato paste? While absolutely exquisite it takes forever and the yield is miniscule. I use the canned stuff. Sue me.

I own two 7 quart dutch ovens and I use both of them for this recipe. If you just have one sear your meat in batches. If you don’t have any use a thick bottomed stock pot.

I have a weighted gauge pressure canner and the information that follows is specific to that. If you have a dial gauge pressure canner you’ll need to check the National Center for Home Food Preservation or the Ball Blue Book for specifics.

This recipe yields roughly 10 pints (5 quarts) and is very adaptable.

sauce2(1)Now go make some sauce.


  • Food mill
  • Dutch ovens or large roasting pan(s)
  • Pressure canner
  • Pint or quart masons, lids & bands


  • 1 full peck Roma tomatoes (or Amish Pastes, San Marzanos, etc.), cut in half
  • 5 lbs. pork neck bones (Breakneck sells them in 2.5lb packages so you’ll need 2 packs)
  • 4 large leeks (or onions or shallots), roughly chopped
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • bunch of fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • couple teaspoons of home dried oregano or several stems of the fresh stuff
  • 2 c. homemade chicken or beef stock (I know you’re buying broiler chickens from Breakneck. Save those carcasses and make yourself some stock!)
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • salt & pepper


Preheat your oven to 375F.

Toss your tomatoes with a little olive oil and arrange them in a single layer on a couple of large, rimmed baking sheets. You can also toss them into roasting pans. Either method works fine. Roast the tomatoes until they’re soft and have released a lot of liquid. Remove from the oven and working in batches put the tomatoes through your food mill into a large pot or bowl. I use the medium sized disk. Be sure to scrape the underside to get every ounce of tomato goodness. Turn your oven down to 300F.

Get both Dutch ovens on the stove top over medium heat and add a little vegetable oil. Once your pots are hot add your neck bones – a couple to each pot. You want to get a nice sear on the bones. Once they’re brown remove them to a plate. Add half your chopped leeks to one pot and half to the other. Cook a couple minutes until they soften. Add garlic (half to one pot and half to the other) and cook, stirring often until fragrant, about a minute. (You do not want to brown the garlic and you especially do not want to burn it). Add 1 cup of stock to each pot to deglaze. Be sure to use a wooden spoon to scrape up all those brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Turn off the heat.

Add your tomato sauce to your pots and stir. Add your herbs and tomato paste (half to each pot) and stir. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add your neck bones, a couple to each pot.

suaceAt this point I put the lids on the Dutch ovens and put them into a 300F oven to cook overnight. The last batch I did was in the oven from 8pm until 10am the next day. If you don’t have two dutch ovens you can put everything in a big roasting pan and cook your sauce that way. If you don’t have a roasting pan you can do this sauce on the stove top, no problem. Just do everything in a big stock pot on low heat for several hours.

When your sauce is done use a slotted spoon to pull out the neck bones. The meat should fall right off but if not just pull it off and throw it back in the pot. Taste your sauce and add more salt and pepper if necessary. If you use a fattier hunk of meat (like beef short ribs) you may find that your sauce is a little too fatty. No problem! Let it sit in the fridge overnight and skim the fat the next day.

At this point you need to get your canning stuff ready. You’ll need to sterilize your jars. And remember the golden rule – hot jars/hot liquid. Very important. In order to pressure can your sauce it needs to be hot – almost boiling. I ladle all the sauce into my big stock pot and bring it up to heat on the stove top. I put my sterilized mason jars in my sink and fill my tea kettle. Once the kettle screams I pour the boiling water into the jars to keep them hot until I fill them.

Ladle your hot sauce into your hot jars. Wipe the rims, put on your lids, and screw on your bands. Add the correct amount of boiling water to your pressure canner and add your jars. Be sure they are on a canning rack inside the canner – never set your jars directly on the bottom of the pot. I used pint jars and pressure canned at 10lbs pressure for 60 minutes. After the pressure drops remove the jars from the canner and set on to a towel-lined baking sheet. Cover them with a kitchen towel and set them aside to cool. Once cool check to be sure all the tops popped. if you have one that didn’t just stick that jar in the fridge and use within a few days. Label your jars with contents and date and remove the bands for storing. Unopened your jars are good for a year or more.

This sauce is freakin’ awesome and it is worth every ounce of effort you put into it. We like ours best with some Ohio City pappardelle. Mmm!


Kale Chips

It’s really worth pulling out your dehydrator, because the best temperature is around 135 degrees, and most ovens won’t go lower than 170.  The lower temp makes for a better texture, better color, and more nutrients left in the kale.


1 lb kale
1/4 c olive oil
2 t salt

Rinse the kale and strip out the rib.  The best way to do that is to hold the stem in your right hand, and with your left, pinch the leaf just where it first connects to the stem.  Apply a little pressure and just zip the leaf right off.  The bigger the pieces you can keep the leaf in, the better.

Put the leaves in a colander and shake to remove excess water.  Then put as many as will fit up to about 3/4 of your largest mixing bowl.  Drizzle with oil.  Start tossing and gently rubbing the leaves together–you’ll be able to add the rest of the leaves as you go, because they will wilt down quickly.  Keep going until the oil is evenly distributed and all the leaves appear to be covered.  Toward the end, toss in salt and toss until evenly distributed.

Take each leaf out, unfold it as well as you can, and spread it on the dehydrator tray.  If there are some folds left, that’s OK.  Try not to have more than 2 layers of leaves on any tray.

It will take about 4 – 5 hours at 135 to dry the leaves.  They should be airy and completely brittle.  I’m not sure on the time if you do do it in the oven–I would say to check it every 15 minutes, and probably to turn them half way through.

Store them in something airtight and eat within a week.  I like to just snack on them, but they’re also really good crushed on salad, cole slaw, or thick, creamy soup (like butternut bisque!).

IMG_0624Potato Leek Kale Soup

It’s fall, so make this hearty but fresh soup that features local products that you can get from the farmers market for the next couple months.


1 pound (about 4 – 5) leeks, quartered and sliced
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 T butter
1 t salt
1 lb potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2″ pieces
1/3 – 1/2 lb kale, deribbed and shredded
1 quart vegetable or chicken stock
1 c cream
1 c buttermilk
1/2 t pepper

In a large pot, saute leeks, onion, and garlic in butter about 20 minutes until soft.  Add stock, potatoes, and kale and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes.  Use a masher to mash most of the potatoes.  Add buttermilk, cream, pepper, and more salt to taste.  Warm over low heat–do not boil.  Serve with crusty bread.