Monday, October 13, 2008

Rice pudding with pistachios, raisins

It's here! This is the rice pudding we have been serving as samples at the Davis Farmers Market. It's one of the most requested recipes we've ever had, so here you go! Now you can make it at home. Enjoy!

Rice pudding with pistachios, raisins
Serves 6
1 cup Massa Organics brown rice
2 cups water
2 qt whole milk
1 cup Brown sugar
6 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons ghee or butter
1/2 cup shelled natural pistachios
1/2 cup golden raisins

Cook brown rice according to package directions.
Simmer milk with cooked brown rice, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamomin in a 7- to 8-quart heavy pot, stirring often, until reduced by half, 45 to 50 minutes. Discard cardamom. Pudding should thicken and the brown rice will start breakdown.

Heat ghee or butter in a heavy skillet over a medium heat setting until melted, then cook pistachios and raisins, stirring, until nuts are lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Stir half of pistachio mixture into rice pudding and sprinkle remainder on top.

Recipe courtesy of:

Rhonda & Tony Gruska
Monticello Bistro
5 East Main Street
Winters, CA 95694
(530) 792-8066

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Almonds are ready!

You may have read my previous post about almond harvest back in August. Well, the nuts are finally ready for sale! We'll have raw, roasted, and sliced almonds, as well as almond butter at many of our farmer's markets this weekend. They are also listed on our website now if you don't have a market near you.

So, why does it take so long between harvest and eating? Basically, there are several steps of post-harvest processing, and they all take time. First, once the nuts are knocked off the trees, they need to dry in the sun for about 10 days. This allows the hulls and shells to dry out enough that they can be removed easily by the hulling and shelling machinery without damaging the nuts. Once they are dry, I haul them to a processor for hulling/shelling. Of course, once there they have to wait in line. The hullers run 24 hours a day this time of year, but there are a LOT of nuts to process in California--about 1.5 billion pounds this year. After shelling, our nuts went to another processor to be sorted. Sorting takes out all the damaged nuts, half kernals, etc. The perfect nuts are then packaged, and sent to the freezer for about a month to make sure there are no viable insect eggs hitching along. (The alternative to this step in non-organic production is fumigation or pasteurization.) Only after all of this are the nuts ready to be sold. Of course, I've been eating them all along--even right off the trees--so I know they are fantastic!

To celebrate the release of our almonds, here's a new recipe for you--our first recipe on this blog that doesn't include rice! This recipe comes from Marianne Brenner, a local chef and columnist in Chico.

Hot-Sweet Black and White Sesame Almonds

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups raw whole almonds

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, combine the spices, pepper flakes, sesame seeds, and 2 tablespoons of the sugar and mix well.

Place the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet and cook over medium heat until melted, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the almonds and cook, stirring, until they are coated with the sugar syrup.

Add a small amount of the sesame seed mixture to the almonds, stirring all the while. Add the remaining mixture, a little at a time, and toss until all the mixture has been used.

Transfer nuts to the prepared sheet and arrange in a single layer; separate the almonds with a fork or your hands and set aside to cool before serving.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Come Visit Us! (volume 2)

Here is yet another chance to live the dream! Come visit us on the farm next weekend as part of the Sierra-Oro Farm Trail Passport weekend. On October 11-12, you can visit us and 25 other farms and wineries in the Chico-Oroville area, including our neighbors, Pedrozo Dairy and Cheese Company. After a visit, make a risotto with our rice and their Northern Gold Cheese--you won't believe how incredible it is! (For a great farm blog, check out Mandy's Dairy Princess Diaries).

The tour is lots of fun, and there is truly some incredible food in this part of California--olive oil, jam, grass-fed beef, wine, wine, wine, and of course, Massa Organics brown rice, wheat berries, and our newest addition, organic almonds! We'll be serving some interesting rice dishes made by our friends at Roots Catering--you'll see rice in a whole new way. We'll also be hosting our local chapter of Slow Food, who will be selling box lunches using all local products, put together by local chef and columnist Marianne Brenner. See you next weekend!