Monday, March 5, 2012

Friendly Faces

Every so often, I come across a few friendly faces hidden among the rows of vegetables throughout the farm. Sometimes they literally jump out at, or even on, me! When I get the opportunity to take the time to admire them, I'm transported away from everything, lost in the world they live. The beauty of the world from their perspective blows me away.  I am reminded of just how sweet life is, and I give thanks. 

Every day I get to work with hundreds of little critters. They are working just as hard as I am, trying not to be seen in the process. When I do get the chance to spy on them, I usually try to pull out my camera and snap off a few shots before they hop, crawl, or fly away. I'm no photographer, but I'd like to think some of these turned out pretty amazing.

Here are a few I'd like to share with you guys.

Out on the farm these beneficial critters help us control the environment in which we grow. The bees spread pollen to pollinate surrounding plants, and in turn provide us with honey for our enjoyment. The frogs catch and eat little bugs and mosquitoes, keeping them from biting me! The spiders eat unwanted intruders I can't even see. I could go on and on about everything these small creatures bring to us, but I think I'll spare you this time. 

We do our best to respect these friendly faces on the farm, and I believe the relationship works. So, the next time you see a happy frog or little lizard run by, think of how important they are to us.

Thank you!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Introduction to Cooking

For my inaugural class, I decided to offer a little bit of everything. Come out to The Barn at Urban Oasis March 17th at 11:30am and learn basic knife and saute skills, time management, and safety and food handling.

Class will run 1 1/2 - 2 hours, and I'm offering it at the iintroductory price of $40 per person. Urban Oasis members get $5 off.

Please email or call 813.421.FARM if you have any questions.  To register, please click the Food and Cooking Education link.

Best Idea Ever

Some time ago, I made chocolate ice cream with Guinness, and let me just say how awesome it turned out. Loved it! Afterwards, I had a few extra cans sitting in my beer fridge, waiting to be consumed. What to do? What to do?

I got it!

Guinness Broccoli Cheddar Soup!                           ....................YES!....................

A fairly easy recipe, this soup is not too hard to make yourself. The most important part of this whole thing, is the roux. I cannot stress enough how crucial it is to cook out all the flour. No one wants a doughy soup, or a lumpy mess in their bowl. Okay you got me, it's a pet peeve of mine.  Mainly because I've seen it happen far too often, or maybe because I come from a place where the roux is what can make the whole dish happen.

Now that I've gotten that little rant out of the way, we can start.

Guinness Cheddar Broccoli Soup
by Chef John N Carminati

1/2 large Spanish onion (small to medium diced)
4 garlic cloves (rough chopped)
1/4 cup unsalted butter 
2/3 cup all purpose flour 
3 qt whole milk 
1/2 cup heavy cream 
2 cups Guinness
1 lb sharp cheddar cheese (grated) 
1/2 lb chopped broccoli 


  1. In a large stock pot over medium heat, sweat out onions and garlic in butter until just translucent, no color.
  2. Dust in flour and cook out roux until blonde.
  3. Turn heat down slowly. Whisk in milk, taking care not to scald the bottom. Bring to a simmer, then add cream and bring back to a simmer.  Add Guinness. 
  4. Melt in cheddar, 1 hand full at a time.
  5. Fold in broccoli, cover and let cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.