Category: SFH Food Talk & Recipes

Chicken with Mushrooms and Cream – or – Chef Monte’s New Bib

We here at Serendipity Farmhouse are in the midst of our Lenten observances. For us, that means there is no meat on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On the other days, meals are based on basic ingredients and we reduce our portions.

This self-imposed austerity, however, does not mean that we can’t have a good meal or try out something new in the soon to be famous SFH Test Kitchen. And so it was yesterday when we prepared Chicken with Mushrooms and Cream from Julia Child’s book The Way to Cook.

I will spare you all the cooking details because you can easily view the whole process on the Youtube link we have provided. Instead, I will recount for you two highlights of our most recent foray into the Julia’s world of cooking.

Continue reading “Chicken with Mushrooms and Cream – or – Chef Monte’s New Bib”

Liver & Onions IHO Tim

In our post On Time – For Once, my hubby promised that the soon to be world famous Serendipity Farmhouse Test Kitchen would make liver and onions in honor of his brother Tim’s birthday. He even went out on a limb (as he often does) and committed the entire staff of the SFH Test Kitchen to attempt to master Sauté of Calf’s Liver with Onions from Julia Child’s book The Way to Cook.

My hotshot husband figured that we in the kitchen staff would all jump to the opportunity because we had watched Julia make the dish on a video. He said Julia made it look easy. Surely, we could pull it off. But, when hubby says we, he usually means me. Continue reading “Liver & Onions IHO Tim”

On Time – For Once

Even Mr. Monte knows this simple truth – February is the shortest month of the year. For those of us who seldom consult our calendars, we often realize far too late that we are about to miss an important deadline in early March. And so it was with me. Almost every one of my birthday cards to my older brother, whose birthday was on March 3rd, included a sincere apology for tardiness and an equally sincere promise that next year my card would be on time.

In the picture heading this post, you will see my brother on the day of his First Holy Communion. I was just a recent newcomer to the family, but Tim felt it important to share in the joy of this special day by holding me up for the world to see. I, in my own characteristic way, decided to raise my hand and wave to all of Tim’s adoring fans. It was one of my first lessons in the true meaning of “family”.

For years, Tim and I sat at the same dining room table and enjoyed many meals together. That tradition of enjoying great yet simple, home-cooked meals followed us throughout our lives. He was exceptionally happy when he learned that my beautiful spouse shared a passion for his favorite dish. So, whenever my lovely wife and I visited him and my sister-in-law, Tim would take us out to a local restaurant where that particular dish was a specialty of the house.

This week, combining our celebration of Tim’s birthday and our love of Julia Child’s delightful recipes, the soon to be famous Serendipity Farmhouse Test Kitchen will attempt to master Julia’s Sauté of Calf’s Liver with Onions from her book The Way to Cook.

Yes, Tim counted liver and onions as a delicacy. It was good growing up with a big brother who understood the joy that can come from the simple things in life.

So, on this first day of March, I’m taking the time to say, “Happy birthday, dear brother Tim!” – There, I kept my promise.

 

 

 

Blondie’s Biscuits – Yes!

All is well with the world! My beautiful and highly skilled spouse has made all things right – she made biscuits for breakfast. No, they still weren’t quite up to par with her Mom’s, but she’s getting closer. She has sworn to keep that goal in sight. There is no doubt that breakfasts at Serendipity Farmhouse will become even more enjoyable as time goes by. Continue reading “Blondie’s Biscuits – Yes!”

Blondie’s Biscuits?

Hi! Mr. Monte here.

Let me set the scene for you. Old Fuzz Face is in hiding. He’s afraid he might be caught laughing. Blondie is gnashing her teeth. And I, Mr. Monte, am trying to get this post out before she catches me at the keyboard.

What happened? Well, it all started last night with Blondie’s post Biscuits and Mom’s Birthday. Blondie had said that she was going to make some of her mom’s biscuits for breakfast. Fuzz Face was delighted with the prospect. And I, a true lover of buttered biscuits, ran into the bedroom and moved the alarm clock a full hour ahead. The entirety of Serendipity Farmhouse was poised and ready for biscuits in the morning. Continue reading “Blondie’s Biscuits?”

Biscuits and Mom’s Birthday

When we were young, my big sister and I would hang around the kitchen watching howMom-biscuits (2) Mom would do what she would do. Many mornings our eyes were fixed on a ritual that seemed so simple and so certain. Virtually no words were said. We knew that too many questions in the kitchen would only lengthen the wait for breakfast. But, we watched – we watched every measurement and every move. Our thinking was, “Someday, someday in the far, far away, we would be able to make biscuits just like Mom’s. Continue reading “Biscuits and Mom’s Birthday”

SFH Journal: 2019-02-08 through 16

Highlight: Without a doubt, the highlight for this period was Valentine’s Day. Our own soon to be world famous Chef Monte prepared a Valentine Cherry Pie for us that was, shall we say, the “cat’s meow”. (See How to make Valentine Pie, by Mr. Monte) Continue reading “SFH Journal: 2019-02-08 through 16”

Sauté de Boeuf à la Parisienne – SFH Style

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This post is dedicated to my “Sweet Babboo” on Valentine’s day – she is “… the butter to my bread, and the breath to my life.”

The pleasant years in Idaho were made even brighter in our memories by our frequent trips to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. We “three” would make the trip together during the slow periods between winter skiing and summer tourist seasons. Fine hotel rooms, equipped with kitchens, were readily available at reasonable rates.

I say “we three” and you may ask, “Who was the third?” Since you couldn’t see from the title or from our previous posts, the answer is – Julia Child and her book Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Continue reading “Sauté de Boeuf à la Parisienne – SFH Style”

How to make Valentine Pie, by Mr. Monte

Hi, Mr. Monte here.

Old Fuzz Face and Blondie were totally obnoxious today. Their behavior was quite unspeakable. They started out with numerous public displays of affection (PDA). They were constantly looking into each others eyes and making unbelievably and sickeningly sweet remarks about each other. I’ve noted this behavior is regularly recurring, usually during the middle of February. Continue reading “How to make Valentine Pie, by Mr. Monte”

SFH Journal: 2019-01-26 through 31 – Gourmet Recipes for the Wood Stove

Highlight: The title for this post might be just a little misleading. Upon first reading, one might think that the staff of the soon to be world famous Serendipity Farmhouse Test Kitchen have been laboring over the wood stove, concocting amazingly delicious culinary masterpieces, pioneer style, using the most simple cast iron utensils and an assortment of basic, home grown herbs and spices. Perhaps someday we should do that.

But, no, that’s not what we’ve been up too. Rather we have instead been laboring intensely trying to keep the wood stove working during a vicious polar vortex using a substandard load of “bottom wood”. Refer back to our post My Big Cats Got it Done! In that post, I noted, “Granddaughter #1 found fascinating fungus and mushroom growths on the wood. Avoiding spiders and centipedes, she found other critters in the midst of the wood pile that aroused great interest and awe.”

Well folks, that was the first clue that, due to the unusually wet year, the two cords of wood we received were overly damp and would take a long time to dry out and season properly. Although I didn’t mention it at the time, much of the wood was covered with mud, indicating that it had come from the bottom of the stack; ergo, it was “bottom wood”.

Fast forward to this last week when a large part of the nation, including our beloved Rappahannock County, was in the grips of a bitterly cold polar vortex. Yes, here at SFH, when temperatures were dipping to 1.2 °F, this would be the week we ran out of last year’s good wood and had to begin feeding the wood stove the new “bottom wood”.

Fires were hard to start and difficult to keep burning. There was an increased amount of smoke while burning and, every time I inserted a new log, that smoke would escape, filling the house with an acrid stench. On two occasions, the smoke was so voluminous that it activated the smoke detector in the kitchen.

The bottom line and last straw for yours truly, was that beautiful and almost always patient wife lost her patience. She lost her patience with me. She lost her patience with the wood stove. She almost lost her patience with our beloved Serendipity Farmhouse. – – – Needless to say in a situation like this, Mr. Monte took her side and blamed the loss of calm and tranquility in SFH entirely and completely on me.

I won’t bore you with tedious details of all my experiments to improve the situation. Suffice it to say, I worked with the wood stove. I talked to it. I read the manual. I put myself into the mindset of a wood stove that had suddenly had its diet changed from well seasoned wood to miserable, damp “bottom wood”.

Then I came upon the solution. While in deep conversation with the wood stove, I introduced the notion that I wasn’t depriving it of it’s favorite food. Oh no, not at all. What I was doing was merely treating the wood stove to a series of wonderful “gourmet delights”. Where else would a wood stove be able to get the exotic mushrooms and flavorful fungus that I was offering? The wood stove began to “warm” to the notion.

Then, in keeping with current dietary trends, I explained to the wood stove. That all of the “bottom wood” was gluten free. And, although I couldn’t claim that it was also  “low carb”, I could assert emphatically, that all the wood had been seasoned in a new process that was similar to cheese being aged in caves.

And, by golly, it worked! Soon, the wood stove and I had found just the right way to set vent and flue settings so that the new dietary delights were not just palatable, but were eagerly accepted. I had discovered how to make gourmet treats for my wood stove!

The polar vortex came and brought its stinging chill, but Serendipity Farmhouse was warm inside thanks to another astounding success by the SFH Test Kitchen.

SFH WX Station Report: Because I’ve already described the arrival of the polar vortex, let me just give you the weekly and monthly weather summaries. For more details and graphics click here and play with the settings where it says “Weather History for Fletcher Mill, VA [KVAFLETC4]”.

Weekly Summary
January 24, 2019 – January 31, 2019

High Low Average
Temperature 57.2 °F 1.2 °F 28.9 °F
Dew Point 56.1 °F -14.1 °F 17.4 °F
Humidity 99% 23% 66.5%
Precipitation 0.59 in
High Low Average
Wind Speed 11.6 mph 0.7 mph
Wind Gust 18.3 mph
Wind Direction SSW
Pressure 30.36 in 29.35 in

Monthly Summary
January 1, 2019 – January 31, 2019

High Low Average
Temperature 62.2 °F 1.2 °F 32.4 °F
Dew Point 56.1 °F -14.1 °F 22.5 °F
Humidity 99% 23% 71.7%
Precipitation 2.64 in
High Low Average
Wind Speed 16.6 mph 1 mph
Wind Gust 25.1 mph
Wind Direction SW
Pressure 30.61 in 29.24 in