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HOMEMADE LIVING: HOME DAIRY

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING BEES

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: CANNING & PRESERVING

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING CHICKENS


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  • Players gonna play. Huxley and his buddy Bay, doing their little guy thing today at the perennially lovely @thencarboretum.
  • The garden got blanketed with what I'm hoping was winter's last gasp this past week. I'm ready for those snow-covered strawberry beds in the foreground to start putting out juicy fruits, for Huxley to dig in his sandbox again, for cocktails at sunset on the pergola, and for conversing with soil and seeds once more. Spring is coming. Really started to feel it this weekend.
  • Scotch eggs of supreme deliciousness can be had on the regular at @kingjamesavl. @glennbenglish and I savored these beauties today alongside dirty rice fritters, gumbo with poutine, and @sunbursttrout smoked trout dip, all wonderful. There was also a pint of Appalachian Brewery porter that I have to have more of. Oh, and old school White Stripes on rotation. Great food, great atmosphere.
  • Confession: until last night, I had never had honest to goodness snow cream. @glennbenglish whipped up a tasty batch with vanilla and nutmeg, and we enjoyed it alongside @oldworldlevain's heavenly frangipane tartlettes with fresh cranberries, orange peel, and cinnamon. Snow-pretty AND tasty.
  • Scattered, smothered, and covered. Snowy day in the cove!
  • We three Englishes do so very much love snow. Forecast to receive between 3-6 inches tonight! @glennbenglish captured Huxley and I taking in the view on his way back to the house after locking up the chickens.
  • Woke up to overnight snowfall, always a treat. Then heard from my neighbor Lynn, a licensed massage & bodywork therapist, that the snow was preventing her from getting in to her clients in town and, as a result, she had an opening in her schedule and could give me a massage. Whenever she travels, I pet-sit her cat Sophie, and in exchange she trades me a massage. Not only is she a seriously stellar masseuse, she also is an aromatherapist, a Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner (a kind of Japanese acupressure technique), and is certified in neuromuscular therapy. So when I get a massage from her, I receive this healing trifecta involving scent, body, and spirit. Plus, in all honesty, I feel like this woman is actually imbuing my body with love when she works on me. I left her house feeling light and bright, and nourished. She has offices in Asheville and Johnson City, TN (the home massages are reserved for family and neighbors!). If you're looking for a rich, wonderful, deeply healing massage, please consider Lynn. You can find her information at www.lynnbernatsky.com. || I passed our bamboo grove and its tiny creek on my walk over to Lynn and Steve's; it somehow spoke to me of good things in store.
  • Woke up to this view. Some kind of wonderful!
  • Spotted Quench in the wild today.Always a thrill to see my books out in the big world, and rubbing elbows with friends @thejoyofcooking, no less!
  • Good day to be in western NC. View of Mt.  Pisgah from the top of our road.
  • You will not pass! || Our shorty with his soul sister Raeglan, adventuring in our woods two days ago. @thebriere4
  • Batman Begins. You ought to hear his 4 year-old take on Batman's gravelly, husky whisper.
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Apple Bourbon Pan Meatloaf

Oh, man. I don’t know about you, but we’re busy as squirrels chez English, gathering up items from the market, prepping dishes to try to get a leg up on things, sprucing up the house, and getting ready for a big day of feasting tomorrow.

We’ll be hosting 8 adults and 2 children (well, 3, technically, if you consider the few bites that Huxley will munch on), including Lynne Harty (the photographer behind all of my books with Lark), her husband Steve Cohen, and the Rattigans, proprietors of the legendary French Broad Chocolate Lounge, including Dan’s mom and sister. My mom and grandmother (“Gigi” and “Nanny” respectively) will be in attendance as well. Everyone is pitching in with a dish or two, while Hubs takes care of the big bird. It should be a grand time.

I don’t know if it’s because last holiday season was such a blur, as I recovered from the birth and got used to being a new mama, or if I’m just feeling really festive lately, but I’ve been yielding to the holiday lure in a big way. I’ve already had eggnog (several times! with fresh nutmeg! and bourbon!), have been burning this heavenly candle, and have even enjoyed some classic holiday tunes. I’m planning to make my own snow globes, have foraged pine cones from my yard and mother’s to put on handmade wreaths, will be back in the saddle with my annual cookie exchange out here on December 4th, and have picked up some snowball-shaped candles I plan to do a “frosty” decorative treatment on. The thrill is in the air, folks, I tell ya!

But, before I plow ahead with Yuletide festivities and Thanksgiving tomorrow, I thought I’d share with you a recent dish Hubs and I cooked up for dinner. Using local grass-fed pastured beef from Hickory Nut Gap Farm, we created an apple and bourbon pan meatloaf. Many a meatloaf is rendered dry, bland, and tough on account of overcooking, under-seasoning, and inadequate moisture. Here, eggs, milk and fresh apples provide ample moisture, while fresh herbs and a sweet & savory glaze take this loaf to the meatloaf hall of fame.

We used some of the apple butter I recently made in the glaze, and a touch of bourbon throughout to inject it with an added layer of flavor. Suffice to say, it’s good. Stick-to-your-ribs-warm-your-toes-tickle-your-fancy good. While turkey is getting all the attention this week, consider this meatloaf once you’ve had your poultry fill. We spread it out in a baking pan, as opposed to shaping it into a loaf, as we discovered that, in keeping it wider (versus higher), the loaf cooks more uniformly throughout.

Apple Bourbon Pan Meatloaf

The Goods
For the loaf:
-2 1/2 pounds ground grass-fed sirloin
-2-3 medium sized apples, peeled, cored and cubed
-1 tablespoon butter
-2 ounces bourbon
-3 cups fresh breadcrumbs (or 1 cup dried)
-4 eggs
-1/3 cup milk
-2 tablespoons soy sauce
-1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped fine (or 1 teaspoon dried)
-1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped fine
-2 cloves garlic, minced, or 1 teaspoon dried garlic granules
-2 teaspoons sea salt
-Several grinds black pepper
-Olive oil, for baking sheet

For the crust:
-1/2 cup catsup
-1/2 cup apple butter
-A splash of bourbon
-1/2 tsp garlic granules
-A pinch of salt
-Several grinds of black pepper
-A few drops of hot sauce, if desired


The Deal:
1)  Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a baking sheet (the size of the baking sheet isn’t important; we used a 9″x12″ sheet pan, but what matters is the thickness that you shape the loaf into).
2) Saute the apples in the butter and bourbon over medium heat for about 10 minutes until they start to break down.
3) Remove from heat, transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the meat and stir to fully combine.
4) Add the breadcrumbs to the meat and apple mixture.
5) In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, and salt together. Add to the meat mixture and stir to combine.
6) Add the soy sauce, herbs, pepper, and garlic.
7) Mix well (clean hands are best for this task!).
8) Form a flat loaf on the greased baking sheet, about 1 1/2-inches thick.
8) Mix all of the ingredients for the crust in a small bowl. Smooth the mixture evenly across the top of the loaf.
9) Cook at 375 degrees for one hour (we put some sweet potatoes into the oven at the same time to bake while the meatloaf cooked). 
10) Place under the broiler for 2-4 minutes, until the crust starts to brown a little.
11) Let it rest for a few minutes before serving.

I’ve been hugely inspired by the livestock grazing practices of Allan Savory of the Savory Institute. Winner of the 2010 Buckminster Fuller Institute Challenge, Savory is literally changing the landscape of our planet for the better with his holistic land management. The video below shares his philosophy and practices. Hickory Nut Gap has been inspired by Savory and we’re immensely fortunate to have access to such sustainably raised beef in our area.

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