Food Dialogues Blog

Who we are, how we work, and why we love what we do.

Try These Farmer Recipes This Holiday Season

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Still on the lookout for crowd pleasing holiday recipes? Who better to let us in on recipe secrets than the farmers and ranchers behind our food.
If you’re on the hunt for recipes, in the easy directions below you’ll find family-tested favorites (for Christmas, Thanksgiving or any holiday) and their stories from three farmers:
  • Carla Wardin, a Michigan dairy farmer, mom and owner of Evergreen Dairy;
  • Thomas Titus, a sixth-generation pig farmer in Illinois; and
  • Darrell Glaser, a fifth-generation turkey farmer and rancher, owner of Bar G and Reveille Turkey Farms in Texas.
When they’re not sharing favorite recipes, Carla, Thomas and Darrell also share their stories about food production as Faces of Farming & Ranching with the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance. From smoked turkey to pork meatballs to apple pie, these farmers’ recipes and stories are as warm and unique as every Americans’ holiday traditions.

Included below are the farmers’ recipes and stories behind their importance.

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Carla Wardin’s Apple Pie

Crust:
1 ¼ cups flour
1/3 cup shortening
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons water
  • Directions: Mix flour and salt. Use a pastry blender to cut the shortening up into pea sized pieces. Add the water and moisten all the dough. Form it into a ball. On a floured surface, flatten and roll the dough with a rolling pin until it’s about 12 inches in diameter. Transfer it to a 9-inch pie plate.
Filling:
6 cups thinly sliced apples
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Directions: Mix dry ingredients. Toss apples until coated. Place into crust.
Crumb topping:
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter
  • Directions: Mix flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in the softened butter until it looks like soft crumbs.

Cover edges with tinfoil. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 25 more minutes.

Carla Wardin’s recipe story:
Before I got married, I didn’t make much of anything. After I got married, I watched my mother-in-law, who is a great cook, make a pie crust. She got frustrated with the texture, threw it away, and started over. I remembered back to when my mom, who is also a great cook, made a pecan pie that never set, and we just ate the filling with spoons. So … pies didn’t seem easy to me.
The first time I made one was for my husband Kris because apple pie is his favorite dessert. I followed directions and made it all from scratch … and it turned out perfectly! That’s when I realized a lot of cooking and baking is following the directions.
After eating the first piece, Kris eats one piece a day for breakfast, including the ice cream on top. I’d never seen anyone eat pie for breakfast, but now all these years of pies later, it’s just the norm.
Now Kris along with our three sons all love apple pie with ice cream. We have it for every big holiday, because it’s something everyone likes. But the boys aren’t allowed to eat pie for breakfast – adults only.

That’s a tradition for them to carry on with their own families! This holiday as you give thanks, feel free to try this recipe for dessert or breakfast – or both. Happy Holidays!

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Thomas Titus’ Ground Pork Meatballs

Meatballs:
2lbs bulk ground pork
1 cup corn flake crumbs
2 tablespoons dried onion flakes or powder
2 eggs
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/3 cup ketchup
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
  • Directions: Combine all below ingredients in mixing bowl and mix by spoon or hand.
Gourmet Sauce:
1 16-ounce can of jellied cranberry sauce
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup ketchup
  • Directions: Combine and heat below ingredients on stovetop and stir until completely liquefied.
Pour Gourmet Sauce over Meatballs evenly and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Thomas Titus’ recipe story:

At our house, this was the very first home cooked meal that my now wife Breann made while we were courting and it has become a go-to meal. Whether we are in the field or having a holiday gathering, these Pork Meatballs are a proven hit! Passed down from generations before, they’re quick, simple and bursting with flavor and nourishment. With the primary ingredient (pork) in our household being homegrown, we take great pride in providing our family with a safe, wholesome and nourishing product for not only our family, but most importantly yours as well!

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Darrell Glaser’s Country Dressing, Broccoli & Rice Casserole and Bar G Ranch Smoked Turkey

Good Ole Country Dressing:
1 ½ loaves of bread, toasted and chopped
1 (9×13) pan of corn bread
6 eggs, beaten
6 eggs, boiled and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
6 stalks of celery, chopped
1 large bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped green onions
1 Tablespoon chicken base paste
1 whole chicken, cooked and deboned (to save time use a rotisserie chicken)
1 stick butter
Salt and pepper to taste
2 ½ quart chicken broth

  • Directions: Preheat oven to at 350°F. Melt butter and one cup of chicken in a large pot. Add onions, green onions, celery, bell pepper and chicken base paste. Bring to simmer and cook until vegetables are tender. Crumble corn bread and toast and add vegetable mixture. Add about 2 quarts of chicken broth and mix well. Add Chicken, raw eggs, and chopped boiled eggs and mix well. If mixture seems dry add additional chicken broth. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour into large baking pan and bake at 350°F for 30 to 35 minutes. Dressing can be frozen prior to baking if desired.
Favorite Broccoli and Rice Casserole:
1 (16 ounce) bags frozen broccoli
½ cup onion, chopped
½ cup celery, chopped
1 stick of butter
1 (10 1/4 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup and 1 (10 1/4 ounce) can cream of celery soup
1 cup milk
1/2 lb Velveeta cheese or other cheese
3 cups cooked rice
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder or salt
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Directions: Spray a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray and preheat oven to 350°F. Sautee onion and celery until soft and translucent. Add 1 cup of milk and chopped processed cheese to vegetable mixture and stir until melted. Cook broccoli in the microwave for about ten minutes or until almost tender; drain very well. Mix all ingredients and place in baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top during last five minutes of baking.
Bar G Ranch Smoked Turkey:
Turkey (Thawed; it takes two to three days in the refrigerator to thaw)
1 peeled orange
2 Celery Stalks (halved)
1 onion peeled
Fresh tarragon
Fresh thyme
Cajun seasoning of your choice
Liquid Cajun seasoning of your choice to include (optional)
  • Directions: Remove extras from turkey cavity. Stuff orange, onion, celery, fresh tarragon, and fresh thyme inside the cavity. Optional, insert turkey breast and thigh meat with liquid Cajun seasoning of your choice. Sprinkle a liberal amount of Cajun seasoning of your choice. Place in a lasagna sized aluminum foil pan. Fill water bowl in the smoker. Place wood chips in the tray. Open vent about half way. Preheat the smoker to 250°. Place turkey in pan.
Darrell Glaser’s recipe story:
Thanksgiving at Bar G Ranch varies from year to year. Some years, we spend Thanksgiving tailgating with family and friends at our alma mater and watch great college football. On some Thanksgivings, we may have just placed turkeys and have close to 100,000 babies to look after so we may have what our sons call “whatever you can find.” Other years, we gather together for a traditional Thanksgiving meal.
The first recipe is for a traditional southern dressing recipe – a blend of my wife Shannon’s grandmother Edna’s with that of my grandmother Adeline’s dressing. Both grandmothers had their own style of cooking and this recipe is a great combination, making both sides of our family happy.
The second recipe is a casserole version first served at Shannon’s great-grandparents’ house when she was a young girl. We have recently revived this recipe and it’s a favorite of our boys, so we make it several times a year. It freezes well and has become highly requested by our college student.
Of course, we also have the traditional smoked turkey. We cook ours in an electric smoker since we’re usually busy with farm work and the electric smoker cooks it perfectly.
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