Bernie, Two Months!

Hello from Bernie’s 10th week! She is nearly 2 1/2 months old and smiles more and more each day! We have settled into the best little routine where every morning we have wiggle time, then go to the gym to stroll and listen to Unorthodox, and then come home and make a big summery salad for lunch. In the afternoon we do a fun thing like read crinkly tail tale books or swat at hanging vegetable toys before snuggles and nap time (that’s when I watch Jeopardy and read Bringing Up Bébé). Then we make dinner and Eggboy and I watch Fargo while we wait for Bernie to poop so that we can then give her a bath without worrying that she’ll poop in it (yep, learned that one the hard way haha). It’s peak maternity leave livin’ around here and we are soaking it in. Also the weather has been amazing, so we are, as Bernie puts it, “GOO!” Some highlights from this past month include:

-Our first little family picnic! On Memorial Day, we grilled sausages, potatoes, and broccolini, and drank rhubarb soda while we enjoyed the evening breeze.

-Bernie’s first out of town visitors! Jaclyn and Katie came to town and we had the best weekend ever, which included a trip to Fargo for the Antiques Roadshow (with a stop at Silver Lining Creamery after), the North Dakota Shakespeare 5K (err- we walked 3Ks of it ;), an afternoon picnic in the backyard with cookies and cookie dough (and carrots for balance), and cinnamon roll pancakes at Darcy’s.

-Cuddle time with Mrs. Moose. Bernie’s been grasping and swatting at toys and in true baby fashion she definitely prefers the super saturated weirdly colored high contrast ones. The muted rainbow lover in me is like “😳🙄 But Bernie, this hot pink neon green bumble bee clashes terribly with your navy car seat, mustard outfit, and olive pacifier…” but it’s ok, maybe one day she’ll love dusty rose like I do??

-Bernie’s first Syttende Mai, Norwegian Constitution Day! She is 5/16ths Norwegian, so we went to Sons of Norway and ate lefse, krumkake, rømmegrøt, and all of the other faves. She wore her Norwegian accessories from our friend Trude in Norway and had the best time!!

-My first Mother’s Day, it was delightful! Bernie and I worked on her cookbook and snuggled the day away. Then the following week it was my birthday and we went out to lunch wearing identical outfits and spent the rest of the day baking cookies and cake!

-Bernie talks soo much!! We have great conversations about Ooo and Ahh and Goo, I love them.

-She has gotten very tall, she has Eggboy’s legs. Hallelujah!

Ok, we’ve gotta go pick rhubarb!! Bernie’s sending some friendly hiccups in your general direction and I’m waving! Bye!

-Yeh!

apple and honey pizza + wheat harvest!

Today is the last day of wheat harvest! It was earlier than expected this year because it was such a hot and dry summer. The wheat fields are soooo pretty so I'm kind of sad they'll all be picked now but one perk of this earlier wheat harvest is that Eggboy will have some breathing time before beet harvest, some of which will be spent at summer camp!!! Since it’s been a good few years since I took a camera out to the fields, I thought it would be fun to have Chantell and Brett come out and capture the harvest, the wheat, and a fun thing to do with the wheat: mill it into flour and make pizza with it! 

Wheat harvest is less intense of a harvest than sugar beet harvest because you can only harvest the wheat when it’s very dry, meaning that you can’t really start until 11am, and then you have to stop at sundown, so there’s still time at night to sit on the couch and eat a taco and watch half an episode of Breaking Bad. (Sugar beet harvest goes 24 hours a day… no time for couch or TV.) But that doesn’t mean it’s less dramatic!! The way the fields are so golden and create big poofs of dust when the combines roll through creates the coolest scene. 

Once it’s harvested, the wheat, which is hard red spring wheat, gets brought to the mill in town where it’s ground into flour and shipped all over the country. Some of it becomes King Arthur Flour! Some goes into pancake mix. And some of it (the high protein variety) gets sent to the Bronx to make bagels!!!

And then there’s like .00000001% of it that Eggboy has brought in for me to blend in the Vitamix and play around with. I added some to challah and it came out reeeeally dense. It was bad. But that density works really well in pizza dough, so I’ve been adding it to my current favorite pizza dough, which is based on the recipe in Bread Toast Crumbs. It’s a no-knead recipe that only needs to rise for an hour and a half, so it’s the best on pizza Fridays when I forget to make dough the day before. And the nutty whole wheatiness of our home-milled flour goes splendidly with this new concoction: apple and honey pizza! With apples from our trees!!!

Apple and honey pizza is a Rosh Hashanah-ready recipe I’ve been wanting to make for a while and it works because sharp sharp cheddar, pepper-y arugula, and punchy balsamic all balance out the sweetness of the apples and honey so it definitely does still feel like a good salty savory situation. In a slightly dainty move, the crust here is really thin and crisp, so you could totally house the whole thing for supper or serve it as an appetizer flatbread thing. There’s no real sauce, just some slow cooked olive oily onions, and brie would be en excellent alternative to the sharp cheddar. Overall it strikes a perfect combo of sweet, salty, and acidic, so it's fully ready for a sweet (yet balanced!) new year!

apple and honey pizza

serves 2-4

ingredients

Dough:

1 1/3 c (173g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2/3 c (86g) whole wheat flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 c (236 ml) lukewarm water

Toppings:

1/4 c (50g) olive oil
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
6 oz (170g) sharp cheddar, shredded
1 apple, thinly sliced
leaves of 1 sprig of rosemary, chopped
Black pepper
Kosher salt
4 tsp honey
Crushed red pepper
2 handfuls of arugula
A drizzle of balsamic glaze
 

clues

In a medium bowl combine the flours, salt and yeast. Mix in the water until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 1/2 hours (or overnight).

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet over low heat and add the onion and thyme sprigs and cook for about 45 minutes, until very very soft.

Preheat the oven (ideally with a pizza stone) to 500ºf, cut out two big sheets with parchment paper, and dust liberally with flour. Divide the dough into two parts, and place each on a piece of parchment. The dough will be very sticky, so don't be shy in dusting it with enough flour as needed to handle it. Roll out until the dough is very thin, just a little thicker than 1/4” (and again, feel free to dust dust dust with flour as you're rolling). 

Discard the thyme leaves from the onion mixture and transfer the onions and the excess olive oil to the dough, spreading it around to distribute evenly. Top with the cheese, apple slices, rosemary, and black pepper, and sprinkle the edges with salt. Using a pizza peel or baking sheet, slide the dough onto baking stone and bake until the cheese is splotchy with brown marks; begin checking for doneness at 7 minutes. If you don’t have a baking stone, you can simply bake on a baking sheet. 

Drizzle the pizzas with honey, sprinkle with crushed red pepper, top with arugula, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. Enjoy! 


-yeh!

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen

apron by enrich and endure, necklace by marian bull

chocolate sheet cake with pistachio butter frosting

Sugar beet harvest is well underway!!!! It’s one of the most wonderful times of the year. It’s by far the busiest and the sleepiest, but also the most exciting. Eggboy has a weird, vaguely nocturnal sleep schedule which has me waking up way before him (this has been a little nerve wracking since he’s the only one who knows how to operate our very complicated coffee grinder) but it means that I can make a big breakfast when he wakes up in the afternoon. Tonight will be my first night home during harvest since I was away over the weekend and I intend to just binge Pretty Little Liars and restock the freezer with pita and soup for quick harvest break snackees. Good thing there are enough PLL seasons to take me through even the longest of harvests, which luckily this doesn’t seem like it’s going to be. Based on my extremely limited knowledge, I’m gonna bet you a dollar that this harvest will take shorter than last year’s verkakte muddy harvest but longer than the easy breezy beautiful year before that. Which affects you and me in the sense that it determines how many baked goodies I make for the crew. I filled our deep freeze with pumpkin bread, blueberry scones, and a sprinkle cake last week before I scampered off for a quick trip to Harbor Springs, Michigan, for a Molly on the Range event and then to Boston for the Forbes Under 30 summit. 

Wow, Harbor Springs is one of the prettiest cutest places in the world! I could eat it all up. Or at least see myself going back again and again to crash the book festival and look at the beautiful houses. I got to stay with Maureen, who wrote one of my favorite cookbooks, Rose Water and Orange Blossoms, and we made raw kibbeh!! It was a dream come true. I’ve been wanting to make raw kibbeh since reading about it in her book but was never confident enough in my butcher finding skills to get clean enough beef that could be eaten raw. So I waited until I got to Harbor Springs, and then we feasted on raw kibbeh, baked kibbeh, fattoush, hummus, knafeh, and this amazing sticky date cake with orange blossom caramel. I also got to hang with Nicole and a whole bunch of new sweet people. It was heaven! 

After Michigan I zipped on over to Boston for a quick day and a half at the Forbes Under 30 summit, surrounded by break fast at Mamaleh’s (with a truly inspirational kasha varnishkes), brunch time tahini buns, sofra with family, and then sofra again with friends, and some hardcore catching up with old college homies. I was in a cloud of congestion and snotty tissues (ew gross sorry forget I said that) but came home with a full heart and a full suitcase of saffron gummies, aleppo pepper, the la boîte halva mix, and Maureen’s nougatsA+ souvenirs

Ok one last thing before we get to cake: Molly on the Range turns one today!!!!!! I can hardly believe it! This last year has been a year filled to the brim with your sweet posts and messages about recipes you’ve made from MOTR and they make me the happiest bean in the world. I love seeing you guys celebrate birthdays and holidays with MOTR cakes and challah and schnitzel and I am so freaking happy that I've gotten to meet and hug so many of you at book events. I cannot thank you enough for how much joy your support of Molly on the Range has brought me over this past year. I am going to try and express all of my gratitude by making some of your favorite foods though!! Since so many of the recipes in MOTR were homemade versions of my childhood favorite foods (lunchables, pigs in blankets, you know…), I want you to hop over here and tell me some of your crazy childhood favorite foods and then I’m going to pick a few to recreate from scratch! If yours gets picked, you’ll get a special one of a kind edition of Molly on the Range :) Head to Instagram for more details.

Alright, cake time!!!! Because all of this harvesting and book birthdaying is calling for celebration. Eggboy put this cake out for all of our harvest helpers on the first day of harvest and from what I can tell, it got gobbled up immediately. It’s your basic super rich chocolate sheet cake covered in a buttercream that has my current obsession, pistachio butter, all up in it. It’s the same pistachio butter that was in these pudding pops but now that it’s getting a little colder I’m giving you a more weather appropriate use for it. Pistachio butter, the fanciest of the nut butters (?), is so great in this buttercream. Just think of how great peanut butter frosting is and then... make it pistachio. This frosting is rich, pistachio-y, a little lemony, and almondy. AKA basically perfect and greenish, the best color. Hooray!   


chocolate sheet cake with pistachio butter frosting

makes one 9" x 13" sheet cake

ingredients

for the cake:

1 3/4 c (350g) sugar

1 3/4 c (223g) all-purpose flour

1 c (85g) unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

2 large eggs

1 c (240g) buttermilk

1 tb vanilla extract

1/2 c (100g) flavorless oil

3/4 c (178g) boiling water

for the frosting:

1 c (128g) roasted pistachios (preferably unsalted)

1 c (225g) unsalted butter, softened

3 c (360g) powdered sugar

1/8 tsp kosher salt (omit if pistachios are salted)

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

zest of 1/2 a lemon

2 tb heavy cream

clues

for the cake:

preheat the oven to 350ºf. grease and line the bottom of a 9" by 13" pan with parchment paper.

in a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda. in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, and oil. add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. whisk in the boiling water.

pour the batter into the cake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. begin checking for doneness at 25 minutes. let cool in the pan.

for the frosting: 

first, make the pistachio butter. in a food processor, blend the pistachios, scraping the sides occasionally, until very creamy and spreadable, about 5-10 minutes.

with an electric mixer, beat together the butter and pistachio butter until creamy. add the powdered sugar and mix to combine and then mix in the salt, vanilla, almond extract, lemon zest, and then heavy cream. 

spread all over the cake, decorate as desired, and enjoy! 


-yeh!

winter farm scenes

but what happens on the farm in the winter?? is a question i get a lot, and a question i still kind of have when eggboy spends the whole morning at our kitchen table looking at a lot of numbers and symbols and government-y looking forms, drinking all of the coffee and eating the whole batch of caramel rolls that farmer chad and anna delivered.

i talked a bit about this during my modern farmer takeover this weekend, but i'm gonna expand on everything now!

1. we can fly places! like hawaii. and next month, berlin. the winter is a farmer's summer, so around now is when we're able to plan in advance and get away for more than a couple of days. in the summer, there are quieter times when eggboy is able to leave for a few days at a time, but it's impossible to tell more than a week or two in advance, so all of our little adventures in the summer are to places like fargo or bemidji, that we can plan last minute and then get to in our buick boat.

2. taxes. ok i'm not sure if this is eggboy just getting *really* excited about paperwork and numbers like the weirdo that he is, or if this is a normal farmer thing, (or maybe a general business owner thing?), but he spends tons of time on paperwork and hanging out with his accountant. paperwork literally takes up about half of his work hours.

3. equipment maintenance. over the farming season, if a tractor breaks down, there may not be time for a full on repair, so eggboy or eggpop will fix it just enough so that it will work through the season, and then over the winter they can give it the full attention it needs. all of the tractors need oil changes, bubble baths, and software updates so that they can be good as new for spring planting.

4. school! there are a lot of farmer workshops in the winter, about technology, soils, marketing, and so much more. you can tell you're at a farming workshop when the parking lot is full of pickup trucks that are twice as tall as you. (and then there's eggboy in his buick boat that he refuses to get rid of.)

5. grain gets hauled to the mill and then turned into flour. unlike sugar beets, which need to go to the processing plant as soon as they're picked, grain gets stored on our farm and brought to the town mill at various times throughout the winter, depending on the markets.

6. eggboy plays trombone. every day! and comes to the gym with me almost every day too. we're getting ripped! 

7. eggboy sleeps in. just kidding, he wakes up at 6:30 every morning no matter what. tofu the rooster does too. 

8. macaroni slow down their egg laying. there were a few months this winter when we were only getting one or two eggs every other day :( luckily now since there is a teensy bit more sunlight, we're now up to three or four a day and i can have my new favorite breakfast, a ketchup and macaroni egg taco. 😁 

9. sven cat and ole cat continue to be sven cat and ole cat. they cuddle, roam, hang out on the tractors, receive belly rubs, do general cat things as if it were any other time of the year. 

-yeh! 


last photo by chantell quernemoen