saucy. is a chronicle of (mostly) delicious adventures involving: farming, love, art, seasons, dirt, dinner, weddings, and D.I.Y-ing

saucy. is a celebration of creative, fresh food, ideally of the local and organic persuasion - inspired by globetrotting and created by me at Bliss Ridge; our farm in Vermont.

saucy. hopes to inspire YOU to live deliciously and creatively...

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BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE & SALTED CARAMEL CAKE! (the most delicious cake ever)






• CHICKEN LIVER PATÉ (the recipe that transforms haters)


STAND-UP BACON! (the bacon-centric hors d'oeuvre for bacon purists)























GO-TO (chocolate) GANACHE



CRANBERRY GELÉE (fancy topping for cakes, trifles, puddings)








MAJESTIC MAPLE GELATO (like ice cream, but better!)

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jorDan von Trapp


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    Just give the people what they want: (stand-up) BACON!

    So you probably just assumed that my disappearance was due to a pork-product-induced sloth-like state of quaalude-esque relaxation, providing opportunity for me to spend my days reclining upside-down in Rainforest canopies...

    Naturally. Me and little Slothy up there, the slowest mammal on earth, basking in the Amazonian sun, two peas in a pod...

    Ha. Contrarily (though I am definitely high on home-cured bacon

    and pancetta and guanciale and maple-sage sausage and LARD!)

    relaxing calmly in a tree... we can go ahead and add that to the "Big Goals" list...

    My life is a tornado.  And not the "act of God" kind of tornado... (no there is nothing merely coincidental about bringing "God" into this bacon-based spiel ) But I take full responsibility for the chaos and hope that someday I will add to my vocabulary words such as "no, I can't actually do that, or anything else, until 2020 because the next eight years are overbooked and I haven't allotted any time for sleeping..." 

    Exceedingly important duties

    such as molding festive ducky butters,

    tying knots around various shapes of various meats

    and watching food grow

    are of paramount importance...

    Clearly there hasn't been much time for dancing as of late...

    (Hello lovely dusty boots, don't worry I haven't forgotten about you....)

    Those are the nice parts of the tornado.  Somehow I don't have photographic evidence of the harrowing bits. For example, nothing says tragicomedy like me standing in the back of a pick-up as the sun goes down, shivering whilst pitch-forking fresh manure... tears, screaming... trophy wife envy, oh yeah, I experienced the whole gammut of emotions... 

    Then there was Tuesday, when I swore for at least the 50th time that I will never-ever-ever do taxes again... there is a limit to my previously-thought-of-as-insatiable quest for knowledge and it stops right there. I have no desire to learn anymore about taxes.  Nor can I possibly endure waiting to tell the person on the other end of the "Help" line that they must, for the health of the vast body of "help"-seekers who clog the lines and cause 15-minute wait times, change the hold music... KENNY G. IS NOT A LAUGHING MATTER (KENNY G!!!!) It is NOT 1990... I can't. I'll take it as a sign.  I shall start a piggybank with the dedicated mission of purchasing the services of a professional.

    I blame those taxes and that load of sh*t for many ailments, including the reason I have barely been able to type for a month. My arm has been acting like it doesn't belong to me. Mind you it could have something to do with heavy-lifting

    But probably just too much time on the computer.

    Maybe I'd save time if I was a vegetarian...

    Ha. I'd have to quadruple the garden spaces... and

    vegetarian farm bosses still have to split wood.

    I should not be joking like this. My husband is probably reading and probably shaking in his boots, envisioning his onion-chopping duties quadrupled...

    Besides, there are scarier things than acts of God and vegetarianism. Like this

    You know, just to give you an example.

    The scary part of that is actually (forget that instantanious mirage of blue Mountain Dew, Nascar and Walmart that just assaulted your mind) climate change. This (lovely) crimson neck is the product of a middle-March afternoon of standard woodsman chores. Yes, I said MIDDLE OF MARCH!!!!

    In a previous lifetime, spring in Vermont (read: the season that spans from when it stops going dark at 3:30pm––until June, when it is considered safe to plant one's garden without the threat of frosty nights) offered up some seriously good skiing

    If you are familiar with the soul-stifling feeling that accompanies vast layers of turtlenecks and so-called high-tech layering systems which proclaim to allow the believer to enjoy a -20degree ski day, you may be in full accordance with my penchant for April ski jaunts...

    However, it looks like the concept of 70-degrees with plenty enough snow to ski, is a historical relic; as of Friday, them mountains were in fine birthday champagne drinking form, sans snow!

    (this photo is much funnier if you put your hand over us and GusGus is left alone with the bubbly haha)

    Due to the fact that milker guy surprised me by coming home from work early (a rare feat in the realm of milker guys and farmers and workaholics) toting whiskey, chocolate, tulips with major pizazz (red striped on yellow=so rad) and some lovely new cheese from Scholten family farm, then proceeded to cook me lunch, and whisked me off to scale a mountain with champagne... I momentarily forgot about the tragic nearly ski-less "winter" and accompanying climate change terror... 

    I remembered some rule I heard somewhere sometime about the importance of farmers taking one day OFF every single week... (oh yeah it was from these live-off-the-land legends, Helen & Scott Nearing, who lived to be 100 years old!)

    One day off, meaning one day away from farm work to spend QT with your hero and do something adventurous

    ©Duncan Hipkin

    such as petting sharks. 

    Obviously. (note flat palm & tucked feet due to state of petrification)  

    How did I get to shark-petting? Oh, right, the guys at Compass Cay were tossing little toes toe-shaped bits of hot dog in the water around my feet so that the sharks would come up and nibble... 

    Beyond the fact that when sliced into bits they look alarmingly similar to toes, I find hot dogs repulsive and did not add them to our agenda of hog meat experimentation categories...

    We had a lot of ground to cover.

    Two pigs & 12 hours of butchering lie ahead, plus a multitude of big dreams in the home-curing department... maple & sage bacon, pancetta, prosciuttos, guanciale, spiced slow-smoked hams and a heap of boston butt (which is actually shoulder, just to keep things fresh...) 

    Furthermore I cannot figure out the necessity of jamming perfectly delicious spiced ground pork into tubes of intestine for the sake of making tube-shaped meat units.  That is WEIRD! And weirder yet, through quite extensive research, we found that it is impossible to find a source for organic sausage casing; thats right, those "organic" sausages that you are buying are not cased in intestine from organic animals... The USDA allows 5% of "certified organic" products to be non-organic, which, of course makes loads of sense.  I also found out, in my research, that if a truckload of steaming manure brings me to tears I might not want to volunteer a day to hosing out intestines of dead animal in hopes of making my own organic casing... It is a messy job and must be well separate from butchering areas; for this reason only industrial slaughterhouses in the US have the space to house a separate intestine processing quadrant... No thanks on the tube shaped meat units for moi.  

    So the saucisson and cappicola will have to wait... But honestly, as is the title of this post, people really just want BACON.  I mean, I like bacon with dates, I like bacon with peas, you can wrap bacon around anything and that anything will be delicious no matter what it was like in its raw state... but bacon, needs nothing and no one.  Bacon (provided it is good bacon) does not beg accessories.  

    And it is this school of thought that birthed the phenomenon of stand-up bacon.  It is a preposterous oversight that bacon is so often treated as an accessory itself.  And we weren't about to let that continue, not us, the formidable duo of my one-and-only roomie and I.  

    There she is, soul-sistah Nicki, rocking the seating chart and glassware on the morning of my wedding day.  I am thankful for my college experience for many, many reasons but the genius who was in charge of matching up freshman roommates in '99... well I'd like to find that precious soul and send him/her some of this bacon. Or a note. Or a serenade. Or all of the above.

    The fateful evening we founded the following knock-your-socks-off app, Nick had an elegant menu planned and a freezerful of bacon slab to boot.  It was her (total bad-ass) husband James' 30th birthday and we had a hell of a party to throw.  With the first toast of our martinis, a moment of recognition struck: the enhancement of every guest's life was in our hands.  We also needed some height for one of our famous crudité platters... and why on earth would we give our guests willowy celery fronds when we could offer robust bacon sticks!?!?! Brilliance.

    This hors d'oeuvre will never, ever go out of style and will always, always be desirable. Hows that for a multi-faceted, never-fail, less-than 30-minute dish!? 

    Stand-up Bacon (and pancetta) in mind, the woodsman and I took home two pork bellies from our day of butchering last month (which I will describe in detail next time) and consulted the Charcuterie book ... We personally decided that chemical nitrates/nitrites are nasty (yes I know that they are "naturally occurring"  in celery) but after extensive research we decided we trust Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall as well as our own home-grown piggies and watchful eyes, (and besides, with bacon, you are going to cook it fully so there should be no botulism fear!) so we opted out of the chemical pink salt but based our bacon off of the Charcuterie Book's basic home-cured bacon recipe...

    but added in a generous portion of fresh sage.  And rather than cooking in the oven like Michael does, we opted to smoke it outside in the smoker. 

    *Oh, and if you decide to delve into some research, you will read many, many accounts telling you that it is the pink salt that gives bacon its "bacon-y" flavor... and replaces a would-be unappetizing gray colored cured meat product with the familiar pink tone we are all used to... well that's a load of BS. Our no-chemical-preservative version of bacon is BY FAR the best I have ever experienced and there is nothing gray or unappetizing about it. 

    Even if you don't want to start from scratch and kill your own pig, butcher it, and cure the bacon, you can rock Stand-up Bacon at your next soirée... It is sure to be the most sought-after hors d'oeuvre. 

    Stand-up Bacon

    •A LOT of strips of bacon (Id recommend a couple for each guest) *If you are slicing your own, adequate length makes for better display & 1/4inch thick is just about perfect. 

    •Maple Syrup (the darker the better)

    •Freshly ground Black pepper (you can also use cayenne, sage, paprika... whatever spices you want to stick to your sticks!)

    1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lay your bacon slices onto a rack over a sheet pan.  Bake for about 15-20 mins or until the bacon begins to brown. Remove from oven and brush slices with maple syrup.  Sprinkle/grind your spices on top and bake another 5 minutes or until perfectly crisp. Place on paper towel until stiff. Find appropriate vessel (mason jar, glass, shotglass) and stand up the bacon in the vessel. 

    2) Watch it disappear as sheer bliss enraptures each and every participant. 

    3) Repeat.

    I can rest easy knowing the guard-dog is protecting our stash from any wayward bacon bandits. 

    I want to hear your tales of tall bacon! Please report back! 



    Spicy & Alluring Brownies. And Fine Piggy Portraiture.

    What do piquant and risqué, chocolatey, gooey, dark, spicy brownies have to do with Gloria's glamour shot?

    (Other than the fact that, yes, I do believe the subsequent scrumptious morsels would be even further enhanced with the addition of BACON)... which reminds me that we don't currently own any bacon (well, in its un-alive form anyway) and furthermore, my Sunday swine-shooting (photos not bullets) session with these hilarious characters may have seriously compromised my long-term (passionate) entanglement with said second-favorite meat product.

    Oh, meet Gloria. Hi, Gloria! She has 21 children... all born in the same year... did you know a sow's gestation period is only 3 months, 3 weeks & 3 days... whew, efficiency is definitely her middle name.

    She clearly has a handle on the whole indoctrinating manners thing as well – note the door man... and to the left, the "safety first" lesson has clearly been addressed as well, with the buddy system in practice when venturing to greet a strange visitor... but...

    oh dear

    Something went awry... and why is it always the gingers that take the heat!? (I googled it, of course).

    On the subject of heat, these brownies have a bit of heat to them

    in the form of chipotle powder. They also have a bit of ricotta to them, which brings me back to the pigs. Still not seeing the connection? Well our piggies do not eat twinkies or "slop" (I have however heard tell of a unique breed of twinkie-eating hogs out there (probably more of a south-of-the-Mason-Dixon-Line-sort-of-breed). This eclectic bunch (we believe in hybrid vigor!!) however, dine on fresh whey, the by-product of cheesemaking. 

    In fact, these piggies are participating in our wicked cool new venture, Vermont Whey-fed Pigs...

    We don't save any whey for any Miss Muffett-type characters. Whey-fed pork products are too important for the welfare of culinary advancement AND creating an agricultural system that makes cows eat grass, cows make milk, we "liberate" milk, we make cheese, cheese leaves behind loads of whey, whey goes to the pigs and makes them taste delicious, we someone not participating in piggy portraiture session slaughters pigs, pigs get butchered locally at the Mad River Food Hub... and then delicious things happen––currently VT Meat Company is turning our fine product into another fine product in the form of sausages... and I'm supposed to be talking about brownies. More on meat-based Valentines later.

    Ricotta (as far as I know the quickest and easiest cheese to make in your kitchen in a few minutes) can be made from whey or milk.  To make it with milk, all you need is a dash of lemon juice and/or white vinegar and a pinch of salt and about 10-15 minutes.  I'll get back to you with the details! Clearly, since the whey is spoken for around here

    I opted to go with milk this time...

    "Pig-Pile" is not a fictitious term.

    They tend to be ravenous little units...which luckily steers them rapidly toward adulthood aka not-so-cute-hood aka bacon-hood, very quickly, almost before one gets attached...

    The grown-ups are still pretty cool though

    These guys and gals here are actually teenagers. They do exude that sort of tough and melodramatic attitude don't you think?

    But then there's these guys...

    So goofy and curious.

    AHH I need to stop. I have a running list of future bacon based recipes, at the top of which is bacon-maple-rosemary popcorn.

    No more pig-chas.

    Ok. Brownies!!!!

    Yes I like cute food.

    And heart-shaped food. And I guarantee your Valentine will like these cute heart-shaped food-lets. Unless they are someone who claims to "not like chocolate"... and in that case you have a Valentine on your hands whose overall character you should be weary of...!

    Did I mention these can be made in 30 minutes? (allow a little extra assembly time if you are opting for the heart action)

    So, we are going to use my original Brownies with Flair recipe from last May, as it is the best brownie recipe of all time.  And we'll make some tweaks in the spicy and alluring department.

    Spicy & Alluring Valentine Brownies (Originally inspired by Alice Medrich's "Best Cocoa Brownies")

    1 1/4 sticks butter (I like salted)

    1 1/4 cups sugar (I like raw, organic cane sugar)

    3/4 cup + 2 tbsp nice cocoa powder (I prefer Dutch process)

    1/4 tsp salt

    1 tsp vanilla extract (I sometimes use whiskey instead)

    2 cold eggs

    1/2 cup flour

    1 tsp chipotle or cayenne powder (taste batter and adjust depending on how spicy you like it)

    1/2 - 3/4 cup toasted walnuts (drizzle walnuts with a little maple syrup and a pinch of salt and toast in your preheated 325 oven, watching carefully, for about 5 minutes)

    1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (semi-sweet works fine too if you like things a bit sweeter)

    3/4 cup Ricotta cheese (or more if you are into it!)

    Sel Gris or other large crystal sea salt for garnish


    1. Line the bottom and sides of an 8x8 square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. 

    2. Combine 1 1/4 sticks butter, 1 1/4 cups sugar, 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp cocoa, and pinch of salt in a double boiler or a heat-proof bowl set over a sauce pan of simmering water. Stir with a wooden spoon and when the mixture is hot but not scorching (you can still touch it and lick your finger) and the butter is melted and stirred in, turn off the heat and move the bowl to the counter to cool to a warm (not hot) temp.  It does not look good at this point -- you might think you’ve made a mistake or that sand somehow got into your mixture, but it all gets better in a hot second, not to worry.

    3. Add the 1 tsp vanilla or whiskey and then one egg. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until combined. Repeat with the other egg. Your batter should now look shiny and gorgeous.  Add 1/2 cup flour.  Beat with a wooden spoon for about a minute.

    4. Make sure your mixture is cool enough that your chocolate chips won't completely melt. Add your walnuts and chocolate chips.

    5. Evenly distribute the 3/4 cup ricotta onto the surface of the brownie layer as if you were frosting a cake. Be gentle as not to make a milkshakey looking mess. After you have a smooth, even white layer, push a butter knife through the ricotta about half-way down the chocolate layer and swirl to make a marbly pattern... or make some wild pattern and send me a photo.

    6. Place sea salt crystals sporadically all over the top.

    7. Bake 25-30 minutes until your toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, but just barely clean (don’t overcook!) **Note: the cooking time really depends on your oven! In my many renditions of these, 30 mins has always been perfect but I have heard reports of longer cooking time needed so heed the toothpick rather than the ticker!

    8. Find your cookie-cutters if you're going the Valentine route.

    9. Let them cool completely and take a mouse nibble from the corner of the pan while they are still hot and enjoy with a shot of cold milk.

    10. When they are totally cooled, cut out your hearts...or piggies? Does anyone have a piglet cookie-cutter?

    11. Serve to your Sweetheart.

    xoxo Happy Valentines Day!

    p.s. Do you like heart-shaped food? Or do you think it is lame? Please leave a comment below!

    p.s.s. The majority of you know how we roll over here, and that piggies did live at Bliss Ridge before our wedding... (and then I was banned from hanging out with them for fear that I was inching precipitously close to vegetarianism) but for those of you who are new to saucy; these guys live over the hill at the other family farm (you know, the dairy farm where my woodsman and my bro-in-law have the cheese company!) where the VT Whey-fed Pigs team (the boys and our friend Ignacio 'Nacho') can keep a close eye on their antics... (this is beneficial for the longevity of my bacon-centric bucket list.)


    Cocoa-Spice-Chockie-Chip Molasses Cookies. And leaves. And Burliness.

    All of the sudden my peacefully slumbering horizontally shaped self was snatched up in one swift hoist and (gently) placed, vertically, on my own feet. Good Morning! Woah. At some point within that two-second sequence of seamless burliness, I was awake. And cold. And confused. It was 6:59 am. It was LATE! The sun was already up, what was I doing still sleeping!?

    When we arrived at the top of the next flight of stairs my husband did the same thing to the peacefully slumbering 85lb dog (except he slumbers in a donut shape with his ear conveniently covering his entire face)

    He's on steroids you know.

    Not the dog, the husband ...did I mention that? Then he tore into his toast with He-Man sensibility, picked up a case of drill bits, a rain coat, a coffee, a drill, some boots, and my newly vertical shaped self, for a kiss, and poof; he was off to milk the cows (more on that next time...)

    I was left here with these two. You know Wild Bill. And that is Eunice. I named her, fitting don't you think?

    Oh, the 'roids... you might be wondering why my man is on steroids... not just for the purposes of a heroic wake-up call, actually, he somehow got tangled up with poison ivy... and it is BAD. We coated him with vinegar and baking soda, we gave him cold salty oaty baths, we tried everything before it was unbearable. All he had to do was go to the drug store and lift up his shirt and the pharmacist was on the phone (behind a protective glass wall) and he was pumped up on Prednisone. I am a little worried. I won't include photos of the rash. No one wants to see a rash.

    How about this face instead:

    That's Ada. Also known as the image you see when you open the dictionary to "impossibly cute". Oh but she has a sister...

    And Eloise has a friend Alex...

    Cuteness meter is blowing up. And you haven't even seen the parents! or the dog-bro... Ok, before we get off subject... lets talk about the fact that Jess & Dustin (these girls' parents ((who were told by an Eastern European soothsayer of sorts that they would "need to buy a shotgun for the future"))) came over for dinner last night and brought a divine donut shaped cake. An applesauce cake with a perfectly sweet glaze. I don't have the recipe, yet. But I do have a ton of apples...

    from our little tree. So I also made something with applesauce.

    Around here, we don't mess around with some pansy paring knife when it comes to makin' sauce...

    Remember the steroids.

    Just kidding, just kidding, the key ingredient to these upcoming Autumnally delightful cookies, is not a subtle Eau d'Diesel or a hint of Husqvarna...

    These cookies do however contain some soul. and spice. and unexpected ingredients. and holy crap, looking at the ingredients...against my better judgment I think they must also be low-fat!? EW, forget I said that, don't be alarmed, they don't taste like your average sorry-excuse-for-a-cookie-diet-dessert, but with only 6 tbsp of butter for the whole batch (I don't know how many the batch yielded because I think I ate at least six when they came out of the oven and then we paired them with the applesauce cake and maple gelato last night... and there are still 13 in the jar and 'Roid-man probably tore into AT LEAST four before breakfast... I am estimating there were no fewer than 30 3-4inch diameter cookies in the batch. Daaa-ang, as Jess would say. And, the best part; they will take you a mere 30 mins to make, give or take, start-to-finish. If you don't have a He-man cookie monster type at home, just cut the recipe in half... or freeze some and take them out for Thanksgiving!

    So what are you waiting for! Get after it!

    Cocoa-Spice-Chockie-Chip Molasses Cookies

    2 1/4 cups flour

    1 tsp salt

    3/8 cup cocoa powder

    1.5 tsp baking soda

    1 tsp ground cloves

    3 tsp cinnamon

    1 tsp ground allspice

    1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg

    1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

    6 tbsp melted butter (3/4 of a stick)

    1.5 cups sugar (preferably raw)

    fresh grated ginger (a lot... approx. 3 tbsp micro-plane grated)

    3/8 cup applesauce

    3/8 cup molasses

    1 tbsp (approx) whiskey or vanilla extract or both

    1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

    extra sugar to roll the dough balls in

    optional: 1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger

    **Remember, I am all about "winging it" and "substitutions" - I don't subscribe to the "oh no, baking is a science" mantra - if you don't have fresh ginger, use a teaspoon of ground ginger or if you don't have allspice, don't worry about it - just whatever you do, remember to TASTE THE BATTER - if it seems like it needs more spice then go for it. I also think a dash of cayenne pepper would be worth a try if you like spice...

    Preheat oven to 350.

    SIFT your dry ingredients (the first 9 ingredients) in a medium-size bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or another bowl if you are going to be old-school about it and use electric beaters or hand -run eggbeaters or a fork & some raw muscle power w/or w/out 'roids) combine: 6 tbsp melted butter with 1.5 cups sugar and beat until blended, then add your 3/8 cup applesauce, 3/8 cup molasses, grated ginger & whiskey/vanilla.

    you will have a nice soft dough that smells like autumn

    Then, pour some sugar on a plate. Take tablespoonfuls (or mini ice-cream scoopfuls) of dough and roll them in the sugar

    DONT WORRY - that is NOT the cookie you are making, that is a peanut butter cookie but I forgot to take a photo of the sugar-rolling process so wanted to illustrate it here. (the roll-in-sugar is what makes cookies have that lovely crackly crisp exterior)

    Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and put them on in the oven! After 5 minutes switch the trays - ie: take the tray that is currently on the lower of the two racks and switch places with the tray that is above it. Take the cookies out after 10 minutes - you might think that they aren't done yet but I bet they are... If you have a convection oven, I recommend checking them at 8 minutes...Then spatula them over to a cooling rack (or slide the parchment paper with the cookies over to the rack) and bust into one as soon as you can do so without burning yourself. I always burn myself but it is worth it. Actually it is also a good idea to have ready a steaming hot cup of chai or a shot of cold milk. or Bailey's on ice.

    If you do overcook them, which I have done before, not to worry again - just wait until they are cool then put a piece of non-stale bread into the (airtight) jar with the cookies. The moisture from the bread will transfer to the cookies and you will have stale bread and perfect cookies.

    (there is a slice of bread on the bottom and on the top)

    Voila' ! I think this is the perfect batch to whip up any old day, any old time of the day.

    Let me know how it goes! Oh - people keep asking me how to "comment" on a blog post - see the word "comment" below? It is not very obvious and I am going to some investigation on that front but I do appreciate your comments, if you are so inclined to leave a little two-second note :)



    Blackberries. Homemade Yogurt. And the gear you need to brave the thicket.

    Good Morning!


    This photo illustrates a plethora of dramatic truths...

    a) Yes, the sunflowers are really taller than me and the last time we talked they were sprouts (b) It is really early in the morning... and (c) it is hay season... which is one of the many excuses for my disappearance...

    But really, this is serious now.  What do you think of this new look? Its only taken about 500 hours of pain, a few grey hairs, a few 40 phone calls to Apple and godaddy, and a hero, to get this new (slightly fancy-schmancy) website in action... thanks to my new friend, a certain lovely, smart, fabulous wizardress with impeccably killer good taste, otherwise known as Kelly Dudash... I am actually not going to throw in the towel and go Amish (though it isn't a bad plan, I do like horse & buggy as a mode of transport and I now have a new condition called cord anxiety, derived from all of the flipping electrical widget gidgets around these parts) the only reason being because Kelly explained bucketloads of weird technical mumbo-jumbo to me in "layman's terms" (read - totally right brain-friendly artist explanation style) and took my scribbly pen-and-paper drawings and voila'. She is an extremely talented artist, check out her photography here, WOW... I could go on and on, Kelly is a gem. 

    I now know WAY more than I EVER wanted to know about web design and widgets and codes and metadata and all that mumbo-jumbo... (and by "way more" I mean I asked the most basic of questions and I still prefer etch-a-sketch) I have a sneaking suspicion that my impressive knowledge base is only impressive to myself... the person who would still rather see photos printed on paper than the internet and make invitations by hand or paint signs or weed the garden for 72.5 hours straight or dig ditches for two days. Or wallow in chicken guts at 7:30 am...


    Just a theoretical figure of speech of course. (And no, for those of you who are concerned, we aren't actually alcoholics - don't worry, the Rolling Rocks didn't come out until 10).

    Anyway, the new websites. Thank you Kelly! I have a lot of work to do of course but I think its looking pretty slick and if there is anything to my theories, I'd say that it is about 95 times faster to post a blog thus I will be writing quite often. I said that. And I meant it. Hold me to it. I warn you I will come up with a lot of excuses...



    such as having NO time to do anything aside from capturing fleeting imagery such as the above.

    And then of course there is haycation...



    Ahhh haycation... the hottest and itchiest time of year with the longest days... we often barely make it off the field by 9 pm and beer tastes like paradise... and if you sling bales with us you can have as many Rolling Rock tall boys as you like. And then we somehow manage to eat some dinner and fall into bed only to get up and do it again. I LOVE haycation.


    That one was taken nearly two whole years ago, a couple of days before the triumphant, brave, strong, lovely hero of a man balancing on top of the precarious stack of 80 haybales, finally got the courage to kiss me. It only took him 15 years. (OK I suppose I could've brought up the issue a little sooner... but thats another story for another day ;)

    Today's story was supposed to involve FOOD. That's probably why you came here right?

    Or maybe not... there is always the riveting life of GusGus to keep up with..


    I like to call this one kohlrabi reverie.

    But I was supposed to be talking about blackberries. And style, wasn't I!?



    Clearly we will begin with the latter...

    caption: "Deriving extreme confidence from questionable & unknown source, this semi-young warrior dons storm grey saucy emblazoned coveralls and lipstick-red berry receptacle neck accoutrement and heads into ruthlessly thorny blackberry forest which will leave said self-titled warrior with many battle wounds"

    Photo ©the magnificent Jessica Burch, otherwise known as the best minion Bliss Ridge has ever seen. (we will view her collection of 2011 garlic braids next time. 


    Was it all worth it?


    Is it worth making your own yogurt when you can go to the store and purchase perfectly good Greek yogurt to go underneath those beauties? 

    Yes! Believe me! And it is SO easy. One should note that it is probably an even better idea to make ginger ice cream to serve as a perch for those beauties... but we did that... and of course didn't write anything down, ended up with a delcious adventure and have no way of repeating it... more on that later. For now, make this yogurt and cover it up with those juicy berries and maybe some sesame-coconut granola... 

    Do not use skim or 1% or any per cent or any sort of bastardization of milk... or any product for that matter! Eat and drink whole things! (More ranting on that later...)

    So, go to your local farmer and obtain raw organic milk... Seriously, even if you are currently a hater of the cow-juice, I encourage you to try out the raw organic stuff... take it from me - until I stopped by, innocently toting my empty milk-jar, to say hi to my favorite farmer and WOAH - happened to realize that we were desperately in love with each other and had been for the past considerable portion of our lives... I would've rather choked down a glass of puddle water than attempted a glass of milk... 

    So, you never know what you might find when you're out milk shopping...

    true love, glee, euphoria... none of that is out of the realm of possibility and we're here to prove it.

    This advertisement has been brought to you by the American Association of Dairy Farmers.


    Anyway, if you make it past the twinkly eyed farmer to the milk supply and manage to leave without forgetting your sweet delicious drink... 

    You should go right home and make this yogurt. 

    *note - if you do not live in the vicinity of any farmers - twinkly eyed or not - you can achieve delicious results with store-bought normal old (well hopefully not old) pasteurized milk. I recommend going as local and as whole as you can. 

    Homemade Yogurt (no fancy-schmancy yogurt machine needed!)

    4 cups raw organic cow's milk

    1/2 cup yogurt (yes its weird but this is just your "starter" - from here on out you can use your homemade yogurt to make more batches)

    I have found that full-fat Greek yogurt will give you an insanely delicious product

    You will need: a candy thermometer (or other type that can take the temp of your milk while it is simmering)

    a glass jar or a few, a good cooler or insulated thermos that is big enough to house the jars and pour boiling water around.

    basta! (that's it!) Do you feel cheated!? I sort of feel like I should be supplying you with much more but its all about the accoutrements and this very yogurt will be just that in recipes to follow... scones, zucchini cake... most baked goods are better with the addition of yogurt. It is a bold statement but oh-so-true. 

    Anyway. Man am I a chatterbox aren't I!?

    1. Pour your quart of milk in a saucepan and turn the burner on low.

    2. Heat to 170º, stirring occasionally... do not let it boil and do not walk away... like I do every time... 

    3. Meanwhile, fill your insulated cooler or thermos with boiling water and let it sit so that it warms up. 

    4. As soon as the temperature of the simmering milk reaches 170º, turn off the heat. Leave the thermometer in place and cool to 110º

    5. Place your 1/2 cup yogurt in a bowl and while whisking, pour in the milk. Whisk until blended then pour mixture into a quart glass jar (or however many mini ones you want to use!)

    6. Place the jars of yogurt into the boiling water in your cooler (if the water cooled down you should boil some more and replace it!)

    7. Leave it in a warm place for awhile... I usually make it at night, leave the cooler in the greenhouse overnight and then eat fresh yogurt with those obscenely large & sweet blackberries the next morning! 

     Remember these

    Let me know how it goes. My teeth are black and my right hand looks like a tiger encounter gone wrong but alas I am headed back out to the blackberry forest... they will be gone soon. Also, please let me know what you think of saucy's new "look" which will continue to be improved upon... as soon as it starts raining again and I regain some itty-bitty thread of patience... I'd like to buy some of that actually if anyone has some for sale? 

    xo Jojo von saucy, blackberry crusader





    Versatile & quick BROWNIES with flair & my(really good) excuses

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