Jack – The Unexpected Farm Dog

Ian and Jack

Dogs can be an important part of farm life. Whether they are out helping round up cows or just keeping their owners company, they are definitely farm buddies. There isn’t, of course, a “classic” breed of farm dog, but may people think of healers or other larger breeds. Trent and Holly Bown’s dog, Jack, is a 3-legged King Charles Cavaliere, and while Jack may not be your “typical” farm dog, he sure fits the role. Let’s meet him:

jack the farm dog

Jack is a sweet, mild-tempered dog who loves nothing more than to hang around the farm and get dirty. He is happy all the time and follows Holly and the kids around everywhere. In the car, Jack sits perched up on the armrest. If the kids are playing outside on the trampoline, Jack is laying under it, and whenever he can, he weasels his way into Holly’s arms for some R&R.

Holly and Jack

At 8-years old, Jack has been through quite a bit. He broke one of his rear legs, and when casting it, inserting a bolt, and removing a rib were all unsuccessful attempts to get it working again, he was quite content to get around with just 3. He is blind in one eye and doesn’t hear very well, but nothing stops this pup. He is out on the farm daily, happily pogo-ing along to keep up with the family.

jack under the trampoline Visit DairyGood for more farm dog stories.

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Stacked Enchiladas

From Becky Low

Stacked Enchiladas

I am always on the lookout for recipes that taste good and are “stuffed” with memories (no pun intended). A few months ago, Buddy Deimler (Agriculture Education Specialist at Utah State Office of Education) and I were waiting for a meeting to start. During our time-passing “chit-chat,” the conversation turned to planting gardens.  Buddy casually mentioned he always special orders his pepper seeds from New Mexico State University – for $4 a seed! (WHAT!!) He said it was his one indulgence. Well that got my attention! (It was not until this week I found out the $4/seed was actually $4/packet. When Buddy corrected me on the price he added, “if they were that expensive I would find a cheaper habit.” For 4 months I believed he was indeed “indulgent.”
Buddy Deimler Peppers

I did not have long to wait before Buddy began to describe his love for peppers, his home town of Tularosa, New Mexico and the annual enchilada fundraiser for the school – where “Tina Cordova’s mom” would make thousands of enchiladas. With memories like that I not only had to hear the whole story, but I had to make the famous “Flat” or “Stacked” Red Chile Enchiladas.

Just a couple notes before we begin:

Traditionally New Mexico Stacked Enchiladas are eaten flat, very little meat, and with an over easy egg on top. If you choose to use meat, cook first. Use shredded beef, pork, chicken; or ground beef.

Any cheese will work, but for a more traditional taste use quesco fresco, mozzarella or even feta cheese.

As with all favorite, and heavily prepared recipes, the cook often does not measure ingredients but cooks according to taste. Use the ingredient list as a suggestion and adjust to your own taste preferences.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I have.

Note: Watch Becky Make this recipe on Studio 5.

The Recipe:

Ingredients:

1          pound cooked meat, optional *

1-2       onions, divided

2-3       cups shredded lettuce

1 ½      cups crumbled or shredded cheese **

6          cups Red Chile Sauce (see note below)***

⅓         cup oil, divided

3-4       cloves minced garlic

3          tablespoons flour

18        corn tortillas

6          eggs fried over easy, or as desired

Optional Garnish – sliced avocados, tomato, fresh cilantro

Method:

*Meat is optional. If you decide to use: cook, shred or chop meat, set aside. Chop onions, mince 4-tablespoons of onion, set chopped and minced aside; shred lettuce, set aside; crumble or shred cheese and set aside. If making chile sauce from scratch, see note below, prepare and set aside.

Red Chile Sauce: **Omit this step if using canned enchilada sauce.You may purchase canned enchilada sauce, but making it from scratch is preferred, very simple and inexpensive. Here’s how: Use 15-20 dried chile pods (New Mexico chili pods, Ancho or Pasilla pods, etc); break off stem, slit side and remove seeds. Cover with boiling water, gently simmer 10-15 minutes to rehydrate. Cool. Place chilies and a little cooking liquid in blender and puree, add 2-cups chicken or beef broth and enough more of the cooking liquid to make 6-cups sauce. Strain; add 1-can (8-oz) tomato sauce, 1-tablespoon cumin, and salt to taste (2-3 teaspoons).

Red Chile Sauce

Heat 3-tablespoons oil in medium saucepan or large skillet, add minced onion and saute until tender; add minced garlic and continue to saute until fragrant (30-60 seconds). Remove pan from heat, add flour and stir until smooth; stir in 1-cup chile sauce until smooth; add remaining chile sauce, return pan to heat and cook stirring frequently until sauce thickens. Simmer sauce while preparing tortillas.

Add oil to a second skillet and heat. “Chase” the tortilla through oil to warm and soften (lightly fry; tortilla should still be soft, not crisp). Place tortilla on paper towel to absorb excess oil. Keep tortillas warm while frying remaining tortillas and the eggs.

Remove excess oil from pan, crack eggs being careful not to break the yolks. Add 1-2 tablespoons water, cover and cook until egg whites are cooked and yolk is still soft (or to desired firmness).

“Chase” or dip tortilla in chile sauce and place on plate. Sprinkle with cheese, onion and optional meat; repeat process stacking tortillas on top of each other until desired thickness. Spoon additional sauce over the top. Top with a fried eggs; garnish with additional cheese, shredded lettuce, optional tomato and avocados. Served with pinto beans and Spanish rice.

Rosalie Cordova

Finished product from the Pro – Rosalie Cordova

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Tomato Salad with Savory Granita

From Becky Low

Tomato Granita

Who doesn’t love home grown tomatoes in the summer?  Though I was a little slow getting things planted this summer, my tomatoes are just now beginning to ripen, and I am excited. I love them plain, in a salad, as part of a tomato sandwich – and now in this. This dish has great flavor, texture and a fun temperature combination – a Caprese salad served with an icy tomato granita. Oh WOW! Here’s how to do it…

Becky made this recipe for KSL’s Studio 5 – watch here!

What is Granita?

In short, it is ice. This dish hails from Italy and France. In French it is spelled just like our granite hills but with an accent over the “e.” To keep things clear, I’ll spell it like the Italians. It comes from Sicily and is similar to shaved ice and sorbet. One producer at KSL asked if it was a tomato snow cone – well kinda. Granita is like a sorbet, sweet-ish and very refreshing. Mine is very refreshing instead of sweet, I have made it savory, and it’s quite simple.

Begin with those wonderful homegrown tomatoes, about a pound. If your tomatoes froze or you did not grow your own, not to worry. Farmers Markets are great places to pick up delicious, fresh, vine-ripened, homegrown tomatoes. If you must, you can purchase them from the grocery store, look for vine ripe, and locally grown. If worse comes to worse, even hot house tomatoes will work – but you will not get quite the same flavor.

Some varieties of tomatoes have a tough core – if so, I core them first, but no need to peel. “Ugly” food is good to use for this recipe – produce which might be thrown out because they are misshapen, have blemishes or are overripe (not spoiled, but too ripe to cut into pretty slices). This is a great recipe to use for less than perfect tomatoes. No need to peel, simply chop up the tomato, place it in a food processor and add the flavoring ingredients. I’m using apple cider vinegar for a milder taste but you can use balsamic if you like.  Add equal amounts sugar, vinegar, and olive oil. Toss in a handful of fresh basil leaves, little salt and pepper and puree.

The Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2-3     large tomatoes (about 1 lb or 2 ½ cups), chopped
  • 3          tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3          tablespoons sugar
  • 3          tablespoons olive oil
  • 1          teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ¼         teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1-2       cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1          cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • Additional tomato slices, sliced fresh mozzarella cheese and fresh basil leaves

Method:

Wash and core tomatoes, chop. Place tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and basil in food processor or blender. Puree until tomatoes are smooth. Season to taste. Pour mix in shallow 8×8 pan and place in freezer for 30-45 minutes. Stir the freezing edges from the sides of pan into the center and freeze 20-30 minutes longer; repeat process until mixture is frozen. Granita may be prepared ahead, fluff with a fork before serving.*

Serving

I love caprese salad: tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil. Prepare your salad display as you like. This dish is pretty with a variety of heirloom tomatoes – slice or chop as you prefer. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Perhaps garnish with additional springs of herbs.

Just before serving place a spoonful of granita on top. It is not only pretty to look at but the combination of cold, crystal, smooth cheese and sweet tomatoes is very nice. One caution – the granita has a tendency to melt quickly so remove from the freezer just before serving. One idea for family style service is to place the granita in a very chilled frosty bowl and serve on the table.

Enjoy!

Tomato Granita 2

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Pesto Bean Salad

July and August boast some of the hottest days of the year, and in the middle of it, we want something cool – cool temperatures and cool food. It may surprise some, but dry beans are not just for chili and soups. White beans, combined with pesto, make the perfect cool, healthy entree or side.

Pesto Bean Salad

Pesto Bean Salad

Beans are packed with folate and fiber. For this salad, I am using canned white beans – navy or white kidney (Cannellini) – but you may use any type of bean you would like.  Canned is convenient, but if you prefer, you may start from scratch and cook them yourself. Season to taste while cooking. Whether from scratch or canned, drain the beans and continue on with the recipe. Toss in canned stewed tomatoes, minced garlic, lemon juice, red onion and parmesan cheese. This salad could not be easier – not only is it cool, but it keeps the kitchen cool during the preparation. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Pesto: Pesto is one of the easiest complimentary foods to make and yet it adds a great flavor punch to so many other dishes –  especially to this cool salad.  Basically pesto is made with fresh herbs – I’m using basil, but try sorrel or other fresh herbs of your choice; parmesan cheese; pine nuts (which can be expensive) or walnuts; garlic; lemon juice keeps it fresh and adds a nice taste; salt and pepper, or course to taste; and olive oil. Blend everything together and that’s it.

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2-4 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
A quick tip on fresh herbs: Even for seasoned herb growers, hot summers can cause havoc with fresh herbs – or at least I should say they do with mine. I slip away for a weekend and the basil has bolted! Bolting is when the plant creates a spike at the top and goes to seed. Once this happens the flavor changes and becomes bitter or less desirable. To prevent bolting, as much as possible, pinch off the forming flowers at the top. You can also buy fresh herbs at the store – I prefer the living plant.

Salad:

  • 2 cans (14-oz each) white beans, drained (i.e., navy, cannellini)
  • 1 can (14-oz sliced stewed tomatoes
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 – 1/2 small red onion (for taste & garnish)
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • fresh parsley

Method:

Place pesto ingredients – basil leaves, walnuts, ¼-cup shredded cheese, 2-4 cloves minced garlic, 2-tablespoons lemon juice and 2-tablespoon olive oil in food processor or blender and blend to a coarse puree. Salt and pepper to taste. Add additional olive oil or a little juice from the canned tomatoes to create desired consistency. Note – Pesto may be prepared up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated.

Drain and rinse beans. Drain tomatoes, reserving juice (see instructions above). Peel and thinly slice onion. Toss together beans, tomatoes, garlic, part of the red onion, separate into rings (set aside some red onion slices for garnish), and lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste. Place in serving bowl or on individual plates. Break apart, dice, or shred salmon and arrange on top of beans. Top with shredded Parmesan cheese, garnish with red onion rings. Top salad with pesto and garnish with fresh parsley.

Pairs well with salmon, steak, chicken…serve meat/fish/chicken in salad or along side.

Salad serves 6

Photo Jul 14, 7 46 31 AM

-Becky Low

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A City Girl Visits a Dairy Farm

Smith Valley Dairy just started milking cows in Nevada, and Jamie, a born and raised city girl, joined Libby Lovig to take a tour and experience something new. Here’s Jamie’s account of her first-ever dairy farm experience:

Selfie with Cows

A quick selfie with the ladies

Every Tuesday around 9:30am, I head to the grocery store to buy groceries for the week. The one item I always buy is milk, but I never knew how much hard work goes into making that gallon of milk until two weeks ago when I was given the opportunity to visit a brand new dairy in Smith Valley, NV (aptly named the Smith Valley Dairy).  And boy was it an amazing experience!

Whenever I go to an unknown place, I’m always thinking about what it’s going to look like – trying to picture it so I have a visual. Having not been to a dairy before, I didn’t know what to expect, and I couldn’t visualize what I was about to see. As we turned down the long entrance to the dairy, I stop worrying about what it was going to be like, looked out the window, and took in the beauty of my surroundings. The view was breath taking – large green mountain tops, a light breeze rustling the trees…I pictured myself in a rocking chair with a glass of milk…sigh!  Smith Valley is definitely cowboy country.

Smith Valley Dairy View

The cow’s eye view

Upon entering the dairy, we were greeted warmly by one of the dairy’s employees. We stepped out of the car to say hello and snap a few photos, and I must admit that I was bracing for a not-so-good-smell. But, I was pleasantly surprised, it didn’t smell badly, rather it smelled like freshly-cut grass.

I was so excited to see all of the cows, and I was impressed by how much shade they had, and the ground they had to rest on seemed quite clean and fluffy. They looked really comfortable. The next thing that caught my eye were large blue plastic tubs, which I learned were basically large, self-filling water buckets for the cows. I was taking notes – a self-filling water dish for my animals would be pretty awesome!

water buckets for cows

A cow getting a drink

We walked casually through the corrals to the milk parlor where we met Mr. & Mrs. Vlot and their son DJ, owners of this remarkable dairy. We shook hands and talked for a few minutes before they invited us in to tour the barn.

As we opened the door and entered the facility, the first thing I noticed was two large metal cylinders (bigger then my Jeep) that had ladders on them and temperature gauges. I learned that these are the holding tanks where the milk is stored before it is picked up by the milk truck and transported to the processing plant.

milk tanks

To the left of these tanks is a long hallway that leads to the milking parlor, where they milk the cows. I could not believe that they can milk 100 cows at a time. Each side hold 50 cows. To me, quite surprisingly, the building smelled like honey dew melon.

After taking a tour of the building we headed over to where they keep all the feed at for the cows. I’m going to call it the “Feed Bungalow” where the loader was filling up the feed truck.

Smith family dairy feed wagon

Mr. Vlot explained to us why they had made their feed storage area larger than normal, Since Smith Valley Dairy is so far out of town it is better to have more then to run out.” said Mr. Vlot.

I will never forget the conversations I had with the Vlot Family and the passion they have for their family & farm. The way they talked about their dairy and showed us around the farm really demonstrated their family values and the relationship they share with one another. It is truly amazing. They are the soil that keeps this country alive. They are the hard working Americans that power and breathe life into our healthy food. Thank you Vlot Family for welcoming me into your dairy farm and for showing me what it takes to produce that gallon of milk I pick up at the store every Tuesday morning.

Farmers at work

Farmers at work

This was my favorite picture I took that day. I’m not sure what they are talking about, but it just felt like the farm.

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A Taste of Utah

A Becky Low original recipe…

Utah Cake Slice with milkI grew up in Utah, and I love the rich heritage of culture, history, agriculture, and food. I mean where else can you go where everyone knows what your talking about when you say, “fry sauce,” “funeral potatoes” or “green jello.” Sure, poke a little fun, but we’ve definitely got a bit of our own food culture here in Utah – Dutch oven cooking and rainbow trout….yum. With Pioneer Day coming up, I wanted to create  a recipe that reflected Utah – its heritage and tradition, and I thought sharing the “symbols” of Utah through the enjoyment of a cake would be fun, so here you go: Utah Honeycomb Cake.

What is Utah Honeycomb Cake?

This is a cake symbolizing Utah – here’s why:

  • Flour: Used in the puff pastry sheets, it salutes the stone grinding mills in our state
  • Cherries: Cherries are the official fruit of Utah – in fact, Utah is the only state in the Union that ranks in the top 5 for both sour and sweet cherry production, and you will find cherry orchards all along the Wasatch Front.
  • Milk & Cream: A symbol of Utah’s dairy industry. Second only to beef as our state’s largest agricultural product, dairy farmers and their cows were vital not only to Utah’s early development but are an essential part of today’s economic security. For every $1 a dairy farmer spends, $3 come back to the local economy, and each dairy cow returns $11,000 to the economy.
  • Sugar: In this recipe, sugar is used to make Dulce de Leche, and it reminds us of sugar beets, one of the early mainstay crops in Utah. In fact, Jordan High School’s mascot, the Beet Diggers, is a nod to this heritage as the school sits atop what used to be beet fields in Sandy, Utah.
  • English Toffee: A tribute to the many European ancestors who trekked west seeking religious and political freedom and why we now celebrate Pioneer Day every 24th of July.
  • Honeycomb: Cut a slice of this cake, and it looks like a honeycomb – a perfect symbol of our Beehive State and our pioneering spirit.
  • Chocolate: Well…nothing too symbolic here – I just really like chocolate!

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (17oz) frozen puff pastry sheets (2 sheets)
  • 1 can (14oz) tart red cherries, drained (not pie filling)
  • 2 cups whipping cream, divided
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 1 can (13oz) Dulce de Leche* (see note at bottom about making your own)
  • 4 oz mini milk chocolate chips (or finely chopped chocolate)
  • 1/4 cup chopped English toffee

Method:

  • Thaw the puff pastry according to package directions. While it is thawing, open cherries and drain in colander. Preheat oven to 400º. Cut 3 parchment sheet circles, and place in the bottom of 3 eight-inch round cake pans.
  • Place one sheet thawed puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll it into a 10 x 15″ rectangle. Cut into 3 equal strips (about 3 x 15)
Utah Honeycomb cake step 1

Honecomb Cake – Step #1 – Make ropes of cherry filled puff pastry

Utah honeycomb cake with cherries

Adding the cherries

Utah honeycomb cake cherry ropes

Making Cherry Ropes

  • Roll cherries inside each strip (jelly roll fashion) to create 3 ropes of cherry-filled puff pastry. Repeat with remaining sheet of puff pastry and cherries.
Utah Cake Rope Spirals

Arranging the Cherry-filled Ropes

  • Loosely arrange two ropes in a spiral in the center of parchment-paper lined non-stick 8-inch round cake pan (seam side down and leaving 1/4 inch space between circles of the spirals). Repeat with remaining ropes, creating 3 pans of cherry-filled ropes. Bake at 400º for 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • Place dulce de lece in mixing bowl. Add ⅓-cup whipping cream, stir until blended; set aside.
  • Place ¼-cup cold water in small microwave safe bowl; sprinkle unflavored gelatin over water and let stand 1-2 minutes to soften. Microwave 10-15 seconds or until completely dissolved. Fold dissolved gelatin into dulce de leche and cream. Whip 1 ⅓-cups cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold together whipped cream and dulce de leche. Mixture should be the consistency of spreadable frosting – if needed, refrigerate to partially set to prevent filling from running.
  • Carefully remove one set of spirals from baking pan, remove parchment paper and center the spirals on serving plate. Place strips of foil under the edge of the first layer (to catch drips and make cleanup easier before serving). Spoon and carefully spread approximately ⅓ the dulce de leche filling over first layer and into spiral. Repeat with remaining 2 layers and dulce de leche. Refrigerate 1-2 hours to set.
  • Place chocolate in a small bowl. Bring remaining ⅓-cup cream to a simmer, pour over chocolate and let stand 3-4 minutes or until chocolate melts. Stir until smooth. Spoon chocolate over top of cake, gently spreading to the edges and allowing it to run off and down the sides. Sprinkle top with chopped toffee. Chill until chocolate is set. Carefully remove foil strips before serving.
  • Cake serves 10-12
Utah honeycomb cake

A slice of Utah

*Homemade Dulce de Leche (crockpot): Cans of commercial dulce de leche may be found in the baking aisle of the grocery store. Or, make your own using this easy and safe recipe. Open can of sweetened condensed milk, pour into clean glass canning jars with lids and rings. Place in crockpot and cover with at least 1-inch water. Cook on low, 8-10 hours. NOTE: Jars may seal when removed from crockpot but jars must still be stored in the refrigerator. May be store in refrigerator for a couple of weeks.

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8 Tips on Smarter Snacking for Kids

Yesterday wrapped up the School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Conference – an amazing and overwhelming gathering of school nutrition professionals. The content of the meeting was awesome – ideas to inspire school-meal greatness. One particular subject addressed throughout meeting was snacking – specifically smarter snacking. Starting this year, snacks sold at school must meet specific guidelines to be considered a smart snack (Download the USDA Fact Sheet). Smart snacks include more nutrients per calorie, they emphasize whole grains and incorporate fruits and vegetables, and schools all over the nation have been working to change their snacks to fit these new guidelines.

USDA Smart Snacks Infographic

Healthy snacks are important to provide kids with the essential nutrients and energy they need. Not only are smart snacks important when your child is at school, but also at home. So here are 8 quick and easy tips to get you thinking smarter about snacking.  

  1. Make Snacking Fun.

    • Dip: My little two year old loves dipping. If we are having a tough time getting him to eat something, making it more fun with a dip sometimes yields success. Salsa, yogurt, cottage cheese, peanut butter, and hummus are all good options, and occasionally we even take a little fruit & veggie squeeze pack and squeeze some colorful yumminess onto sandwiches and other foods.
    • Fun Shapes: Instead of carrot sticks, try round carrot slices or long slices of banana instead of short round ones. Consider making banana sushi (recipe below) instead of a plan PB&J or PB& banana sandwich
  1. Have Smart Snacks Available.

    • When hunger hits, it’s easy to grab the first thing available in the pantry. If I’m hungry, I’ll eat the first thing in sight, whether it’s nutritious or not. Make it easy for your child to choose healthy snacks by making them readily available. Make fruits and veggies easily available. Create a snack drawer or a shelf on the pantry full of healthy options.
  2. Keep it balanced – carb + protein

    • A straight, carb-rich snack won’t keep that little tummy satisfied quite as long as a snack that packs a bit of protein. Pair graham crackers with some peanut butter or some pretzels with a cheese stick.
  3. Add color.

    • Be sure to have a mixture of different fruits and veggies available. The more colors you can offer your child the greater variety of nutrients.
    • Fruits and veggies don’t have to be fresh – freeze dried, traditional dried fruit, and frozen can be great options.

kids eating

  1. Have “on-the-go” options.

    • Life is busy and sometimes it is near impossible for your child take the time to sit down and eat a snack. Provide healthy on-the-go options by slicing up fruit and veggies and measuring out large bags into small snack size containers in advance. Purchase pre packaged snack size options like string cheese, individual yogurt containers, nuts, and whole grain crackers.
    • Shelf stable, single-serve milks are a great on-the-go protein source as are individual peanut butter packs.
  1. Grocery shop together.

    • When children help chose what they want, they are more likely to eat it. Makes since right? Go grocery shopping together and help your child to choose a variety of healthy, fun snacks.
  1. Provide proper portion sizes.

    • If a snack is too large it may end up taking the place of a meal. Use snack size bags and check portion sizes. Find ways to teach your child proper portions.
  1. Grab a healthy drink

    • Milk, chocolate milk, and juice are great options when time is limited. With more time you may try making a fruit smoothie. Blend milk or yogurt with your choice of fruit to make a fun tasty treat.

Kristi Spence & Kayli Cummings – Dairy Council Staff

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