Eat Like We Live Here

Month: October 2022

Pie of the Week #5: Ham and Cheese Pizza

So, I’ve made it five weeks in a row on my weekly “pie of the week” challenge.  This week: Ham and Cheese Pizza!

Neapolitan crust
Alfredo Sauce
Swiss Cheese
Shaved Smoked Ham (Amor Gardens and Pork)
Red Onions (our farm, but not enough to market this year 🙁 )
Dijon Mustard
Nabuka Scallions (really, they’ve become my favorite pizza topping…)
And a drizzle of hot honey, made from our own Cayenne peppers and Freedom Hills Farm honey

This one falls in the “close to greatness” category.  At least given the preferences of Xenia and myself.  I found it a little on the salty side, and wished I had added more honey to offset the saltiness.  In contrast, Xenia thought it was too sweet, and wished there was less honey.  I also think the mustard would have been better applied after the bake, like the honey.  The flavor was fine, but it lost its sheen and looked a bit dried up (even though it wasn’t).  That’s a cosmetic, rather than flavor, thing.  But, such things still matter!

I’ve also begun posting my weekly featured pizza on our farm’s Instagram and Facebook page, rather than my personal page.  Several people requested that after I included the project in last week’s ‘ish.  And, it is “Farm to Flame pizza” I’m going for, after all… (And, really, the flame singing the ham and cheese pizza? THAT’s something special!)

I’ll probably move all of the past, and future, pizzas over to my recipe / eating blog eventually. That will collect all of them together. So check over there in a week or two if you want to follow along.

Almonds in Indiana?!

This past weekend, we brought a new crop to the market: almonds!

What?!  You can grow almonds in Indiana?

Yes.  Yes, we can.

Our almonds are a variety called “Hall’s Hardy,” and are a hybrid between an almond and a peach. The peach part of the parentage allows the tree to be hardy enough to survive and produce here.  It’s also grafted on a peach rootstock.

I’m not sure we’d recommend other folks try growing them just yet.  We planted two trees 13 years ago, and one died after about 5 years.  The other has become a beautiful tree, and produced a small crop four out of the last five years. This year was the first time it was a large enough crop to bring to market (I did use it in the past for making almond gianduja chocolates, though…).  The crop this year was huge!  Unfortunately, so it had so many nuts that it broke about half of the tree off.  We are hoping the injuries won’t lead to a tree-killing infection.

The almonds have a very intense flavor, different from the more familiar California almonds.  Its almond parent is a similar variety to the almonds used to make Amaretto and marzipan.  Really delicious, and a lot more intriguing than the rather bland common almonds.

All of this glory does come with some challenges, though.  The shells are quite thick, so you need some persistence and/or the right tool to get them open.  If you have a good nutcracker, it should work.  On some of the nuts, there is a nice “lip” where the two halves converge. Worked a flat-headed screwdriver in, then twist to separate the halves.  That’s Chad’s preferred method.  Xenia, on the other hand, is able to use a hammer to crack the nuts (when Chad tries to do that, he tends to get almond butter with shell shards..).  Vice Grips are another good option – set the jaw enough to avoid smashing the nut.

We’ve been making slow progress on our goal to bring more locally-produced nuts to our community.  They’re nutritious, delicious, and net-carbon-negative.  A big change from nuts shipped all over the world!  Come by a market and try a handful!

We Interrupt this Market

… But not your local food!

This week is “fall break” for the Culver Farmers’ Market.  The vendors all get a week off with no market between the outdoor Main Season market, and the indoor Winter Market.  But you still need to eat, right?!

Never fear: we offer our home delivery all 52 weeks of the year.  So order from our online store by 10:00 tonight, and we’ll drop your goodies at your front door Thursday afternoon!

Next Saturday, the market will return, in its winter form: in the ground floor large meeting room of the Culver and Union Township Public Library.  The winter market continues every Saturday, but starts an hour later than the main season market.  So 10:00-1:00.  We will not have a market on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, so plan ahead and/or order for delivery for those festivities as well!