Ultimate Cheeseburger

ultimate cheeseburgerWhen given dinner options in our house, where boys rule, the answer is always unanimous, “Cheeseburgers!” I must admit that I love cheeseburgers too, and not just because they’re simple and easy to prepare, but because Niman Ranch has amazing ground beef.

During the week we usually cook the burgers indoors in a cast iron skillet over high heat. On weekends, especially when the boys’ buddy, Dash, comes over we always make sure to fire up the charcoal grill in time for an afternoon of burgers and playtime.

The other benefit to burgers is they can be simple for the kids and more gourmet for the adults. Jazz ‘em up any way you like.

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Edible Institute

Edible 1 On March 16-17, Edible Communities hosted its Edible Institute in Santa Barbara, CA. The weekend was full of great speakers, panels and discussions, including an interview of our very own Paul Willis. The Institute touched on many aspects of our food system – from farming through consumption. Here are a few of the highlights of the two-day event:

Saturday morning started off with a bang with a presentation from the event’s keynote speaker, Dr. Marion Nestle, NYU Professor and best-selling author. A dynamic speaker and personality, Dr. Nestle spoke about the increase in the American population’s consumption habits since 1980 and how advertising can affect our perception. She mentioned that as a country, we are consuming more calories per day and our portion sizes have increased. Additionally, she spoke about how the deregulation of health claims has allowed advertisers to target children more effectively. Dr. Nestle advocates social responsibility and is currently writing a new book about the food system for kids.

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Spring ‘Chicken’ Fever

One of our spring activities on the farm is we begin to save some of our chicken eggs for incubating.  It’s exciting to watch them as they hatch through the glass window of the incubator.  This year we put eggs in the incubator on March 1 and are expected to hatch in 21 days.

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Supermarket Superstar

Andrew HunterWe have to brag. This month, Niman Ranch executive chef and owner of Culinary Craft Andrew Hunter will begin shooting the premiere season of a new reality TV show, Supermarket Superstar, coming soon on Lifetime Network. Supermarket Superstar is a reality competition series from the creators of Project Runway and Undercover Boss that searches America for today’s homegrown recipes that could become tomorrow’s bestselling supermarket brands.

In each episode, competitors face off in the Superstar Kitchen to see if their recipe has what it takes. The winner of each week’s challenge receives an investment in their product and the chance to compete in the Season Finale, where one grand prize winner will have their product introduced to millions of customers nationwide on the shelves of a major grocery store.

 

Supermarket Superstar is the first show of its kind to feature R&D and the product commercialization process for retail food products. The format features consumer cooks as contestants who have a family recipe or product that should be in supermarkets.

As the R&D mentor, Andrew is coaching the contestants on-camera through the development process. The host is Stacy Keibler and the Superstar Panel of Experts includes Michael Chiarello, Chris Cornyn and Debbi Fields.

Supermarket Superstar is a very exciting endeavor for the R&D segment of the industry and its first primetime feature on a major television network. We are thrilled for Andrew!

Goose Fat Potatoes

Goose fatLast month, Sarah reminisced about Christmas dinner goose with all the trimmings and how her grandfather preferred goose fat on his bread rather than butter. The “grease” that drained to the bottom of the pan was almost always reserved.

Not only is reserving the drippings a tribute to Grandpa’s resourcefulness, but chefs cook with reserved fats to add aroma, flavor and texture to dishes.

These potatoes couldn’t be easier to make and, as an added bonus, they will fill your kitchen with a wonderful aroma.

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Home Is Where Your Farm Is

It’s February and we are emerging from the dark days of winter.  These are the days when a winter storm warning or dreaded “wintery mix” can leave us stuck on the farm for days.  During these times I confess I sometimes yearn for the conveniences of city life.   

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What is old is new again

With the beginning of the New Year I like to reflect on the past.  Recently, I joined my mother and her group of friends who meet for coffee every Thursday morning.  These women have known each other for decades.  My mother remembers some of them from her childhood when the Danish Brotherhood, a national organization of Danes in America, would gather.

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Happy Holidays from the Willis Family

We have been experiencing unusually warm temperatures this winter. Just two weeks ago I had to mow the yard, unheard of in December, but great weather for farm chores. I expressed my disappointment to my Dad that we probably wouldn’t be having a white Christmas but he reminded me how a mild winter works out just fine for taking care of the pigs.

Merry Xmas

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