Ham Steaks and Gravy in the Crockpot

Fresh Ham Steaks and Gravy in the crock pot

Perfect for the crock pot or other slow cooker.

Ingredients

• 1 Whatley Farm organic fresh Ham Steak, cut into 2 pieces. Our ham steaks are large and equal 2 store-­bought steaks
• 1⁄4 cup butter
• 6 Tbsp flour (or equivalent gluten-free thickener - see this article in Bon Appetit for suggestions)
• 2 cups chicken or turkey stock – preferably homemade
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tsp pepper
• 1/2 tsp celery seed
• 1 Tbsp "Rosemary's Italian Blend" from Gryffon Ridge Spice Merchants 
• 2 cloves garlic, chopped
• 2 cups mushrooms, roughly chopped – or use dried mushrooms and rehydrate

Recipe

1. If you are using dried mushrooms, rehydrate in enough warm water to cover, until tender.
2. Warm the chicken stock.
3. In a large saute pan, melt the butter. Add flour and stir together. Cook on low, stirring constantly, until slightly golden. Slowly pour in the warmed stock, whisking to smooth out the lumps, until mixture is nice and thick. 
4. Add remaining ingredients – salt, pepper, chives, parsley, garlic, mushrooms. Stir sauce until well mixed. Adjust seasoning to taste.
5. Pour a little sauce into crock pot, place one piece of ham steak in crock pot, pour half of sauce over it, place second piece of steak in, pour remaining sauce.
6. Cook for at least 4 hours on high. It is done when the meat is tender and falls apart in large chunks. If you double this recipe you will need to increase the cooking time, as the bulk in the crock pot will slow down the cooking a bit.

Sweet Dumpling Squash Wedges

A lot of the smaller squashes like acorn and delicata will work in this recipe, but Sweet Dumpling is one of our favorites, so it gets to be the featured squash. 

Ingredients
Two medium Sweet Dumpling squash (about the size of softballs)
Oil to grease the baking sheet
Salt to taste
(Optional) Spices to taste: Cinnamon and ginger; cumin and smoked paprika; cayenne and nutritional yeast - the combinations are endless!

Recipe
1. Preheat your oven to 375F.
2. Start with two Sweet Dumplings that have definite orange edges along their stripes, or have stripes that are entirely orange (see below). The color change from green means that more of the starches have converted into sugars. Yum!

3. Cut your squash in half with a nice, sharp knife. (If it's dull, it may slip, especially around the stem areas).
4. Scoop out the seeds - you can compost them, or save them to toast them, just like pumpkin seeds! Backyard chickens are also very fond of squash seeds.
5. I break off the stems if I can; otherwise cut around the stems and the blossom end scars after you have cut the squash in half (see below).

IMAG3080.jpg

6. Coat an edged baking dish (like a jelly roll pan or a casserole dish) lightly with your cooking oil of choice. 
7. Toss the squash in the oil so it gets lightly coated; sprinkle with salt and spices. I generally start at a half teaspoon salt and a teaspoon or so of spices. Then diners may add more salt, pepper, or spices at the end to their taste, too.
8. Bake squash for 25 minutes, then stir with a spatula so each side of the wedge has some time in contact with the pan to get nice and caramelized. Bake 5 minutes and stir again. Bake another 5-10 minutes or until you can easily stick a fork through one of the wedges.
9. Remove from oven, sprinkle with more salt, seasonings, honey, or maple syrup if you desire.
10. Enjoy!

Whatley’s Carrot-Cumin Soup for a Crowd

Based on Alice Waters’ “Carrot Soup” in Soup for Syria (2015).

Ingredients
4 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoons olive oil
3 medium or 2 large onions, diced
2 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 Tablespoon dried
1 Tablespoon whole cumin seeds
3 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced
8 cups chicken, turkey, or vegetable stock
½ cup yogurt (optional)
Fresh ground pepper, Sea salt
Handful chopped fresh parsley

Recipe

  1. Gently heat the butter and olive oil in a large heavy pot (do not let the olive oil smoke). Add the chopped onions and whole springs of thyme. Saute until the onions are tender and translucent, about 10 minutes.

  2. Add the peeled and sliced carrots, cumin seeds, and some salt. Cook for 5 minutes or so.

  3. Add the stock and bring to a boil before lowering the heat. Simmer until the carrots are tender, about half an hour.

  4. Remove from heat and puree the soup with an immersion blender, if you want. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper. Add the yoghurt and blend it in.

  5. Top with fresh parsley, chopped fine.