Monthly Archives: August 2010
If you don’t know, apparently there are subtle differences between being a “Vegetarian” and a “Vegan”.
A vegan does not consume ANY animal products. Vegetarians avoid meats, vegans also reject the exploitation and abuse inherent in the making of dairy and egg products, as well as in clothing from animal sources. In the pursuit to respect the lives of animals, vegans avoid meat, milk, cheese, eggs, honey, whey, fur, leather, wool, down, and cosmetics and chemical products tested on animals.
This sounds like a tall order for most of us, but if you are thinking about the idea, one of the biggest concerns that we’ve heard on the subject is “what will I eat, that isn’t bland or flavorless?” Well, besides using chile peppers to spice up your potential new lifestyle if you are considering the switch we invite you to check out Little House of Veggies.
We found this great blog written by Morgan Anger, a vegan food enthusiast and cook living in Southern California. She updates it regularly with a great collection of her vegan recipes and experiments in the kitchen. Even if you have no interest in “going vegan” this blog is a great place to get healthy new ideas for your kitchen table.
As part of their monthly 24, 24, 24 series, Foodbuzz had She Brews Good Ale create a 3-course beer-paired meal entirely composed of ingredients from the state of Illinois or within 180 miles of Carbondale. We were fortunate enough to be included.
See the entire menu here and our inclusions below.
Ricotta Toasts with Wildflower Honey served with Schlafly Biere de Garde
- 3 whole wheat buns (from Juan & Tammy’s Puerto Rican Carry Outs, purchased at Family Friendly Farm, Cape Girardeau, MO)
- 2 heads garlic (from Green Ridge Farm, purchased at the Neighborhood Co-Op, Carbondale, IL)
- 2 cups ricotta (from J. Viviano & Sons in St. Louis, MO)
- Bacon (from Oberle Meats, Ste. Genevieve, MO)
- Natural Herb Shaker (from Darn Hot Peppers, purchased from the Makanda Country Store in Makanda, IL)
- Freshly ground pepper (peppercorns from Darn Hot Peppers)
- Wildflower honey (from Master’s Touch, purchased at the Neighborhood Co-Op)
Fry a 1-inch slice of bacon fat in a pan until the juices emerge. Cut the tops off of both heads of garlic and drizzle the rendered bacon fat over the top (less than a quarter tsp each). Powder with chili seasoning, cover with foil, and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 50 minutes. Take the garlic out and let cool for a few minutes.
Cut the buns in half and toast in the oven. Spread the garlic over the top (about two heads per toast), add a healthy dollop of ricotta, sprinkle with fresh ground pepper, and drizzle honey over the top. Serve warm.
The Schlafly Biere de Garde is a light but complex farmhouse ale. It is effervescent, fruity, has a bit of yeasty funk, and is a great beer for appetizers. I served a 750 mL bottle, in flutes when people arrived–perfect for 6. The flute helped concentrate aromas to the nose and was lovely against both the creaminess of the ricotta, the sweetness of the honey and the little bit of spice from the garlic and pepper.
- 2 lbs beef (from Lick Creek Beef, purchased at the Neighborhood Co-Op)
- 1/2 lb bacon (from Oberle Meats, Ste. Genevieve, MO)
- 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper (from Darn Hot Peppers)
- 2 tbsp Ozark seasoning (from Three Willows Farm, purchased at Local Harvest Grocery, St. Louis, MO)
- 3 tbsp seasoning from Darn Hot Peppers’ Natural Herb Shaker (from Darn Hot Peppers)
- 1/4 tsp of Arne’s Hot Pepper Sauce (from Arne’s Hot Peppers, Dogtown, MO, purchased at Local Harvest Grocery)
- 1 bottle Crown Valley Porter (purchased at the Show Me Shop, Ste. Genevieve, MO)
- 3/4 bottle Schlafly Coffee Stout (from Schlafly Bottleworks, St. Louis, MO)
- 1/2 cup water (tap)
- 6-inch horseradish root (from Schlafly Gardenworks, St. Louis, MO)
- 5 cloves minced garlic (from Green Ridge Farm)
- Grated cheddar cheese (from Ropp Jersey Cheese in Normal, IL, purchased from Kindling in Carterville)
Combine chili seasoning, cayenne pepper and Ozark seasoning in a bowl. Toast in a pan on medium heat, stirring so it doesn’t burn, for about 3-5 minutes. Set aside.
Cut bacon into chunks and fry in a large frying pan, until cooked and just starting to turn golden. Remove from pan and set aside. Brown beef in bacon juices until cooked through. Transfer to stockpot.
Add spices to beef in stockpot and cook for about 2-3 minutes, until spices are well distributed.
In the meantime, add garlic to pan and fry on medium for two minutes. Add 1 cup of Crown Valley Porter to deglaze the pan. Let boil for about two minutes, then transfer contents of pan to stockpot. Add 1 cup of Schlafly Coffee Stout, 1/2 cup of water, and hot pepper sauce, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat to low, cover and let simmer for 2 hours.
While simmering, cut the fat from the bacon. Save the fat for another use. The remaining meat will be added to the chili after it has been simmering for one hour. At the same time, cut the horseradish root in half and add to simmering chili. At the two hour mark, remove the horseradish root, add another 1/2 cup of the Coffee Stout, mix, and allow to simmer uncovered for two more hours. At the four hour mark, cover again and let simmer for one more hour.
Serve with cheddar cheese.
I had hoped to get a smoked porter for this dish, so the Schlafly was a propitious last minute pairing. I considered pairing the coffee stout or Crown Valley Porter, but the coffee stout tasted too much of coffee and I only had one bottle left of the Crown Valley Porter, which went into my dish. The Extra Stout, however, was the perfect pair; it is a dry beer, but next to what ended up being quite a spicy chili, it was solid, toasty and malty, and even a bit smoky. Because of the unavailability of tomatoes and onions this time of year, this chili has no tomatoes, onions (or beans, for that matter). It is thus a rather dark chili, especially since it cooks in dark beers, however it is extremely flavorful. I would recommend the Extra Stout with other chilis of this kind, although it might not be the right pair for a chili that relies more on acidic tomatoes.
Pepperfest has quickly become a favorite gathering for chile heads and hot pepper fans throughout the Midwest, with some people coming from as far as Washington DC and Seattle Washington. Ok those folks traveling such far distances are and my brother and myself + our families so this may be a bit of a yarn. However, the fact that this family business pulls out all the stops every year in September is what makes Pepperfest so great and why this year we expect nearly 300 people to attend the festival.
The festival got started about 6 or 7 years ago, i forget which, when Mom and Dad took their love for the rolling hills of Southern Illinois, sustainable agriculture and clean living and combined it with Mom’s homemade salsa and other recipes. Since then the business has grown and grown to the point that this year we’ve added a new building specifically to showcase our products and provide a welcoming place for people to enjoy our food while visiting the farm.
What can you expect if you come to visit the farm? Well, expect it to be hot! September is also a good time because many of the plants will be in full bloom, offering a beautiful, colorful and fragrant display for your senses. Bring your boots or tennis shoes too, cuz you’ll want to grab a basket and get out in the fields to pick your own peppers.
This is one of the most truly “all-natural” farms in the area. Rancho Bella Vista is committed to using traditional farming methods and doing things the old-fashioned way meaning we employ ONLY sustainable agriculture methods which exclude all use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, plant growth regulators, and livestock feed additives. We rely on crop rotation, crop residues, animal manures and mechanical cultivation to maintain soil productivity and tilth to supply plant nutrients, and to control weeds, insects and other pests.
While other farms seemed to have jumped on the “sustainable” bandwagon, clean sustainable living has been a passion for this family for generations. Growing up in a family of migrant farm workers, dad has done his fair share of working in the fields with his brothers and sisters and other migrants.
Back in the day the fields were sprayed constantly with herbicides and pesticides and after watching people get sick over and over again, dad decided to do something about it and thus began a nearly 40 year career in public service. At the end of his career what he wanted more than anything was to complete his circle of life and that’s what he can do every day now.
In the morning he loves to just walk into the fields, see a good pepper, pick it up, take a bite and know for a fact that this is the best pepper on the earth because he grew it, and with that confidence he is totally charged up every time he loads up the truck because he wants everyone to get a chance to enjoy this treat knowing full well that they are eating clean, fresh and healthy peppers that have not been sprayed.
I could go on and on, but you should just come and experience this for yourself. hope to see you in September.