Friday, September 21, 2012

Baked Goat Brie with Bourbon Peach Jam and Pecans

Now that the weather is finally cooling off, it no longer seems unreasonable to consider indulging in cooking something that requires turning on the oven. I've had something in mind ever since my friend Peggy sent me her fabulous Bourbon Peach Jam. Spectacular on its own (yeah, I confess to having eaten some just straight from the jar) and on pancakes, I had a hunch it would also work well with brie.

Time and excess mental capacity are in short supply at the moment but this dish is so ridiculously easy that I went for it. I grabbed a round of brie--any brie will do but my go-to brie if I'm going to doctor it up is a small round of goat brie from Trader Joe's--and a sheet of puff pastry. For some reason, there always seems to be an orphan sheet of puff pastry in the freezer. So, short story shorter....plop the brie onto the puff pastry (put some parchment paper in the bottom of a baking dish for easier extraction/clean-up later), cut the pastry down to size, slather on the jam, top with toasted pecans, and fold the ends of the pastry over the top, sealing in all the jammy, cheesy goodness.

Brush the top with a bit of beaten egg, sprinkle on a bit of brown sugar, and top with more pecans. Stick this in the oven at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes (longer if using a full-sized round of brie). If you are patient, you will get a nicely browned pastry with super gooey cheese inside. I'm not. I couldn't wait. Still wonderful if not quite as photogenic.

Grab your crackers and get on it. But be quick if you're sharing this with me. It won't last long. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

How Quickly It All Becomes Normal

Dare I say it? It's been very quiet around here. Not just on the blog but on the farm. The calves are now two months old. They are getting big. Filling out. Horns emerging. Tall enough to drink out of the big stock tank. Not as bouncy but still eager to lick a friendly hand, arm, or face. And still complete suckers for a neck or tummy rub. But at the same time, they're looking more like miniature versions of their parents. They move with the herd now. Rarely do I find them off by themselves. They are grazing like old pros but fortunately they continue to nurse as well. The more of that high butterfat milk they get in them before winter the better. And all that rain over the summer has meant really good grazing going in to the autumn months.

The biggest change is how normal it has become to have this herd of five water buffalo milling about. We have our routines. Some days, rare days thankfully, I don't see them at all. While those aren't good days for me, the buffalo seem to do just fine. Each of them seems healthy and, despite their disparate personalities, they are functioning well as a group. I'm surprised how often I find the calves hanging with (and sometimes messing with) Eschol who seems quite chill about them now. Even when Mabel tucks her head under his belly as if to give him grief for not coming equipped with an udder (I mean, c'mon, Dad, there are all these dangly bits--why not some that are useful to me???).

Fall tends to be a fallow time for the blog--not for lack of activity on the farm but for lack of time to write--so let me leave you with some pictures to tide you over 'til the next post.

Mabel tasting the black raspberry leaves.

Chuck and Mabel

Chuck with Audrey (standing) & Effie

Chuck's little horns starting to emerge

Mabel a.k.a., Miss Muddy Hooves

Chuck charging out of the wallow