When I was around 10 years old my mother sent me to the store to buy onions. After inspecting a few at the supermarket, I returned home empty handed—all the onions were covered in dirt. It made no sense to buy food caked in a thin layer of mud.
When I told my mother why I had no onions, a rather large chuckle was followed with an explanation that onions grew in the ground. Growing up in the city, being disconnected from the food chain, it's easy to understand how a kid can make a mistake, right?
Rest assured Isabella knows where onions come from. She also knows beef is from cows. Pork from pigs, and chicken from, well, chickens.
A few months ago we drove up to Grazin' Angus Acres and she "connected the dots" with her own eyes. Dan and his family graciously welcomed us, though I still think he planted that cow pie right outside his pick up truck on purpose.
Yes, just call me Carrie Bradshaw. Who else would wear pretty sandals to
a working farm? Dan was a true gentleman, though, and he wiped my foot clean. That is, after he stopped laughing of course. Alas, those poor
sandals just broke on vacation, so perhaps it was a sign of things to
Needless to say, I watched my step more carefully. From there on out, it was nothing but green, lush grass with purple pockets of clover jutting up from the ground.
Acre upon acre of it.
Dan often jokes he's a grass farmer, and that his high-quality meat and eggs are just a result of that work. Sounds simple, but it's true in a way and proof that cattle are meant to live off the land, not in a feedlot or pumped up on grains and corn.
And did I mention how happy those chickens looked? These gals are for egg-laying, living "to the nines" in mobile homes the guys at Grazin' Angus Acres constructed themselves. They also get to roam the land and graze off the fly larvae in that cow poop-rich grass. It's that symbiotic relationship Joel Salatin talks about in Michael Pollan's book The Omnivore's Dilemma. The proof is in the pudding, and all the other recipes I've made with GAA's eggs.
Yes, a lot has changed since that first day I went onion shopping.
As for those grains, better to keep them in your diet, so here's an easy make ahead "on-the go" treat. I'd call them breakfast, but the amount of butter is a bit eyebrow raising. I'll let you decide that for yourself. Though I definitely think they're a better lunchbox snack than most of the packaged stuff billed as "healthy" in the supermarket.
English Flapjacks—Brooklyn Style
Makes 8 bars
A few months ago I tasted the most delicious breakfast bar at a bake sale. Though my intention was to share this very generous portioned bar with the baby and the Mr., I couldn’t help but gobble it all up. It was beyond addictive and instantly reminded me of a granola bar. I went home and started researching this new mysterious treat made by Anna a.k.a London Foodie in New York.
Turns out they are a very popular tea-time staple in England. The only problem is every recipe calls for golden syrup, and I needed more of these flapjacks now. There was no time to wait for shipping. It was time this recipe assimilated, and so here you have it. English Flapjacks—Brooklyn style. I’ll bet your kids love them as much as mine.
Be sure to buy quick oats—old fashioned just won’t work here. I tried, and failed just for your benefit. For a great tutorial on the various types of oats, checkout this post over at Simple Bites.
1 stick (4 ounces) butter
1/2 cup (115 grams) sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 1/2 cups (9.25 ounces) quick oats*
1/2 cup (75 grams) raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup (45 grams) dried sweetened cranberries
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Generously butter the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking dish.
In a small pot, melt the butter, sugar, molasses and maple syrup. Stir to mix well.
Add the oats, pumpkin seeds, cranberries and salt to a deep bowl. Stir to combine. Pour in the melted butter mixture and stir, using a rubber spatula, until well combined. Spread the mixture into the prepared baking dish, patting down into the corners and edges of the pan. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until golden.
Remove from oven and let cool slightly in the pan before cutting into 8 even bars.
*If making these for a gluten-free diet, be sure to check the label to be certain the oats are certified gluten-free.