February 27, 2004

New York Cider Recipes

From the New York State Cider Country website come some really tasty-looking recipes and cooking ideas. Here is one to whet your appetite on these cold nights as winter gives way to spring:

Hot Mulled Cider & Cranberry
This is a soothing mildly spiced fruity hot drink for a frosty day. Make it instead of tea and sip it by a crackling fire. In the evening, you could add a splash of Calvados.

Makes 1 1/2 quarts; about 12 servings.

3 1/2 cups apple cider
2 1/2 cups cranberry juice cocktail
Zest of 1 lemon - removed in strips with vegetable peeler
Zest of 1 orange - removed in strips with vegetable peeler
Two 3-inch cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon allspice berries
6 whole cloves
1/4 inch thick slice unpeeled fresh ginger

Combine all the ingredients in a heavy non-reactive saucepan. Heat over very low heat, at a bare simmer, for 30 minutes. Let stand for several hours to allow the flavors to blend.

When ready to serve, reheat slowly. Strain and serve in small cups.


Posted by DaveH at 02:47 PM | Comments (0)

200 Trees on order - woohoo!!!

Jennifer just placed our tree order today - we are getting 200 trees from some commercial nurseries (1, 2, 3 and 4). This will cover just under two acres and will be the starting point for our orchard. 25 different varieties including traditional cider apples, some crab apples for pollination as well as some general eating and juice apples.

Since apples are propagated by grafting, this will also be the way we bootstrap the rest of our planned ten acres of orchard - We will also be planting rootstock this spring and then grafting scions spring 2005.

Two electric fence chargers are on order and an eight-foot tall fence will be going up over the next few weeks. There are lots of signs of deer in the woods (scat and bedding hollows) so we will need this.

Lots of work to do… (grin)

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February 24, 2004

Honeyed Lamb

From the Detroit Free Press:


Serves: 6 / Preparation time: 15 minutes / Total time: 2 hours
3- to 4-pound leg of lamb, trimmed of excess fat
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons fresh, finely chopped rosemary, divided
1 cup honey
1 cup (or more as needed) hard cider, such as Woodchuck draft

Click on the “Continue reading Honeyed Lamb” link below for preperation instructions and nutritional information.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Line a roasting pan with foil.

Make several slits in the top layer of the lamb. Rub the lamb all over with salt, pepper and ginger, then place it in the foil-lined pan.

Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the rosemary.

Coat the lamb with honey and pour the cider around the lamb.

Roast for a half-hour, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees and continue roasting another 1 to 1 1/4 hours, depending on the desired degree of doneness. Fifteen minutes before it is ready, baste the lamb with pan juices and sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of rosemary over the lamb. Add a little more cider if the juices have evaporated.

Remove the lamb from the oven and transfer it to a serving platter; let it rest for at least 10 minutes.

Skim the excess fat from the pan and transfer the remaining juices to a saucepan. Add more hard cider to equal about one cup of liquid. Place the saucepan over medium heat and reduce the liquid slightly. Slice the lamb and serve with the pan sauce.

From Anne and Brian Hill.

Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

431 calories (21% from fat),10 grams fat (4 grams sat. fat), 47 grams carbohydrate, 35 grams protein, 93 mg sodium, 112 mg cholesterol, 17 mg calcium, 0 grams fiber.

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February 23, 2004

More photos in the Gallery

Added this weekend's photos - two new ones of Buttercup in her barn. As I mentioned, we received the last of her implements this last weekend so she is ready to do anything we need on the farm.

There are also two photos of our woodpile - two cords of a very nice Alder, Maple and Fir mix as well as three cords of recycled shipping pallet bits - a Bellingham company does this and it results in very nice firewood and a very ecological way to dispose of the pallets. We use catalytic stoves to burn so pollution is not a big issue here - there is also a backup high-efficiency propane furnace for maintaining a base level.

Finally, a photo of our Davis Instruments Recording Agricultural Weather Station. This puppy records everything — leaf wetness, soil temperature, solar radiation, temp, humidity, etc… The pests that we will be dealing with live their lives based on temperature and amount of sunlight. Having quantitative numbers for these will make our organic pest management a lot easier and more accurate. A pre-emptive nudge when needed instead of an 'ohmygawd' shotgun blast at something already manifested.

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A bit of heaven in the U.K.

I was goofing off executing a painstaking search of Cider related websites and ran into this London pub — The Wenlock Arms

The reason for citing this pub is the staggering number of beers and ciders they have on tap. They rotate through these so this isn't a complete list at any given time but the diversity is enough to make one hop on a plane at short notice…

Here is their master list of Breweries complete with links to the individual brewery websites.

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February 22, 2004

Back in town

We are back in town - I have some photos that I will post to the gallery tomorrow evening.

We got the rest of Buttercup's toys - a loading bucket, a 6' wide grass cutter and the front forklift. When she arrived last week, she came with the post-hole auger, disk and grading blade. She now has all the stuff that we ordered and is able to do about anything we need on a daily basis. She also came equipped with a hydraulic take-off so we will be using her to power our Apple Press.

About the only thing that she cannot do is be a backhoe which is why we are renting one on March 6th to dig the holes for our new Apple Trees (but hey, you only need to dig these holes once)

As I said last week, I will be posting a bunch of pictures and recipes this week so stay tuned…


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February 20, 2004

Additions to website

I have started to flesh out the Site Navigation Links listed on the top right of this page.

The Photo Gallery is online with a couple of pictures of our Farm, the 2,000 gallon Fermentation Tank and Buttercup (our Jen's tractor)

The Johnny Appleseed story is begun
(but not finished by any means - interesting character to say the least!)

We are heading up again this weekend so entries Saturday and Sunday will be non-existent.

This has been a short (three day) week in Seattle so not much time for work on the website. Next week will be a full five days and I'll be posting a bunch of photos and text files.

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February 19, 2004

Laird and Company

Ran into this website - these people are the oldest brandy distillers in the USA, the founder, William Laird came over from Scotland in 1698 and started distilling Apples.

They have a good description of Applejack and it's manufacturing here.

They also post some recipes here that look pretty tasty!

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Big Guys V/S/ Little Guys

This is about Beer and not Cider but it serves to illustrate some of the tricky legal issues in running a small company. From the Pennsylvania PennLive website comes this story:

Tax-credit expansion brews into beer war
Legislators might have started a beer war with a last-minute budget amendment that expanded a small brewer's tax credit to the state's biggest brewer, D.G. Yuengling & Sons Inc.

Now, Miller Brewing Co. is readying a lawsuit to strike down the tax credit for brewery equipment purchases, rather than allow their major in-state competition — Yuengling, Latrobe and Pittsburgh Brewing companies — to get it.

Francis X. O'Brien, a lawyer for a coalition of small regional breweries, such as Harrisburg-based Troeg's Brewing Co. and Appalachian Brewing Co., said the breweries fear that the lawsuit would hurt their ability to expand.

“When the 800-pound gorillas start to battle, it's the poor ants on the floor of the jungle that get crushed first,” O'Brien said.

Click on the “Continue reading” link below to read the rest of the news article.

Basically, this is a case of a tax credit (new equipment costs being taken off the top of the state tax bill) written for small breweries being applied to thee mid-sized breweries and a large brewery (Miller) not liking it at all so Miller is telling the Pennsylvania state legislature that it wants the entire tax credit repealed.

The small breweries cited got about $8K benefit each year. The three mid-sized ones (Rolling Rock, etc.) got about $200K - that was large enough to catch Millers eye…

He said that if the tax credit is the victim of this controversy, the taps of the state's thriving microbrewery industry could slow or dry up.

That could empty the steins of local beer-lovers of the regionally brewed wheat beers, stouts, black-and-tans and seasonal ales.

“We are very concerned about this,” said Appalachian's brewmaster and director of operations, Artie Tafoya, who just opened a Gettysburg restaurant and brewpub last year.

“This is something we will need to grow.”

This beer war, pitting the state's 50 smallest brewers against its three largest, with Miller's potential lawsuit threatening all, began Dec. 20.

A section of the budget tax bill was supposed to reauthorize the 16-year-old tax credit, and limit it to small brewers, those who made less than 300,000 barrels per year.

After midnight, hours before the budget was passed that section was quietly changed, with no notice to anyone but two of the three beneficiaries: Yuengling and Pittsburgh Brewing, which brews Iron City.

That capped a week of lobbying by fiscally strapped Pittsburgh Brewing and state Senate Democrats, to raise the tax credit's yearly production cap to cover the 600,000-plus annual barrels Pittsburgh Brewing produces.

To ensure that Yuengling and Latrobe, which brews Rolling Rock, also got the tax credit, Senate Republican leaders raised the yearly barrel limit to 1.5 million. That just covers Yuengling, the 5th biggest American brewer, at 1.4 million barrels a year, and Latrobe at 1.2 million annual barrels.

The credit allows companies to subtract the cost of new equipment purchases, such barrels, vats and trucks, from their state tax bill.

Lobbyists and spokesmen for the big breweries, and O'Brien and the microbrewers say no one told them about the change in the production limit.

Yuengling Executive Vice President David Casinelli, who was asked for his opinion, said he supported the small brewers tax credit, but told Senate Republicans, “Personally, I said, I don't see why, with manufacturing jobs fleeing this state, they would want to cap it at all, but we didn't initiate any contact on this or ask for it.”

Last week, Miller Brewing asked the three big brewers to forgo the credit, and appealed to all brewers to lobby lawmakers to restore the old tax-credit terms, which excluded Yuengling, Latrobe and Pittsburgh.

Miller sources say that if Yuengling, Latrobe and Pittsburgh Brewing do not agree to those terms by Feb. 27, Miller and other large brewers would file a lawsuit to have the tax credit declared unconstitutional because it violates the Interstate Commerce Act.

Casinelli said Yuengling would not agree to those terms.

Casinelli and Erik Arneson, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader David J. Brightbill, R-Lebanon, predicted the higher production cap would not cause federal courts to strike down the law.

Both admitted they didn't know the limits were created by a similar lawsuit.

In 1986, Miller Brewing sued the state, alleging that an earlier version of this tax credit, which had no annual production limit, violated the Interstate Commerce provision of the U.S. Constitution.

After the state's lawyers quietly told lawmakers the tax credit would not withstand a legal challenge, Miller Brewing and legislators agreed in 1988 to limit the tax credit to brewers who produced less than 300,000 barrels per year.

That ended the lawsuit and preserved the tax credit until this year.

In the last decade, the program has allowed 28 breweries to buy $3.6 million in new equipment, with funds that they would otherwise have paid to the state in taxes.

Troeg's and Appalachian brewing companies have averaged about $8,000 a year in tax credits, but note that when Yuengling grew from a struggling company to a brewing power, the company used this provision reduced its state tax bill by $200,000 a year in 1993, 1994 and 1995.

Joseph Piccirilli of Pittsburgh Brewing and Latrobe Brewing officials did not return calls requesting comment.

Yuengling's Casinelli and industry analysts said the company is expected to this year or the next surpass the 1.5 million barrel limit, disqualifying it for the tax credit.

Written by: PETER L. DeCOURSEY: pdecoursey@patriot-news.com

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February 17, 2004

New Tractor!!!

Photos of our new Tractor (Buttercup) can be found in our Photo Gallery section.
Click on the “Photo Gallery” link to your right or go here.

More photos and Cider news and recipes to go up in the next few days.

Posted by DaveH at 09:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 13, 2004

Nothing new on the website for a couple of days...

Jen and I are heading up to Mt. Baker for a long weekend today.
We will be back in town Tuesday the 17th.

Since we do not have internet access up there (yet…), there will not be any additions to the website until we get back.

I have a bunch of photos ready to put into the Gallery section and a couple more Hard Cider recipes.

If you want any information about our Farm or our Cider (scheduled to begin production this coming Fall), the Contact us link at the top right of the page will send Jen and me an email.

Talk with you later,

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February 11, 2004

Brown Snout / Black Mountain Cider

A quick heads up on our name change.

If you went to the Black Mountain Cider website and saw that we moved - this is why.

We are in the process of incorporating and registering our name as a trademark.
We had initially looked at Silverlake Cider but it turns out there was a Silverlake Winery whose parent company manufactures the Spire Mountain brand of Ciders.
Bzzt! Next?

OK - we can look out our window and see Black Mountain (over 4,000' high, gorgeous).

Let's go for Black Mountain Cider.

We call our lawyers (Graham and Dunn), they do a Trademark search and turn up a couple of prior business using the Black Mountain name, business including a winery and several food products…
Bzzzt! Next?

One of the major apples used in making hard cider is the Brown Snout. We also raise dogs and the term brown snout fits there too. Our lawyers check and the name is free for use. (That's our Shorthair puppy Ptarmigan serving as photographers model and website queen.)

I applied for the internet domain name, put the website together and, as they say, the rest is history.

We are getting trees in this spring and although they will not be ready for production for another year or so, I will be contracting out for Organic juice this fall and we will be making a rustic cider for sale in kegs to local taverns.

Fun times!

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St Patricks Day Dinner

From the CD Kitchen website comes this recipe for a traditional Corned Beef dinner prepared with Hard Cider:

5 lbs brisket corned beef with juices and seasoning pack if available.
4 carrots Chopped
3 celery sticks cut in 1/2 crosswise
3 leeks chopped
1 tsp. cracked peppercorns
1 each bay leaf
1 Tbs mustard seeds
6 each Juniper berries
8 oz. hard cider
1 head cabbage - outer leaves discarded and cut into quarters

There is also a Mustard and Hard Cider sauce for this.

Click on the “Continue reading St Patricks Day Dinner” for complete recipe and preparation directions.

Being part Irish, it's customary for the whole family to get together and celebrate St. Patricks Day. With St. Paddy's being on the 17th, my family is getting together a day early so we can enjoy the food, drink and friendship.

I started thinking about what recipes to put on this post that would really wow you but then realized that sticking to the basics with Corned Beef made more sense. The recipes below are the ones I will use this weekend to fix a dinner for 8.

While for some, just the corned beef and cabbage are enough. I usually cook carrots, parsnips, and potato's with the corned beef.

I believe that the secret to cooking the corned beef is boiling it in water that has had some spices added to it, and after an initial cook time of 30 minutes, reducing the heat to a very low simmer and continuing to cook for 2-3 hours until the meat is just about falling apart is the secret. Adding the veggies in the last 1-1/2 hours keeps them from being overcooked but still allows them to absorb some of the fragrance of the meats.

5 lbs brisket corned beef with juices and seasoning pack if available.
4 carrots Chopped
3 celery sticks cut in 1/2 crosswise
3 leeks chopped
1 tsp. cracked peppercorns
1 each bay leaf
1 Tbs mustard seeds
6 each Juniper berries
8 oz. hard cider
1 head cabbage - outer leaves discarded and cut into quarters

——————— Parsnip Potato Mash ————————-
1 lb potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 lb parsnips, peeled and chopped
4 oz Heavy cream
2 oz butter
2 Tbs scallions, chopped, white and light green part
Salt and black pepper to taste

——————— Mustard and Hard Cider Sauce ——————-
2 oz butter
1 oz flour
1 Tbs Coarse Grain mustard
8 oz Reserved cooking liquid & additional Hard cider to make 8oz total
1 oz Heavy cream

To Cook

Place the brisket in an 8qt stock pot. Add the cider, cabbage, carrots, celery, leeks, peppercorns, bay leaf, mustard seeds and Juniper Berries. Add enough water to cover the brisket and cabbage. Bring to the boil and boil for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for approx. 20-25 mins per pound.

Before adding the potatoes and parsnips, Strain the liquids to remove the spices and veggies, remove cabbage, Reserve the veggies and return liquid back to the pot.

Add the chopped potatoes and parsnips after about 1 hour of cooking. Return the cabbage back to the pot also and continue to cook until the vegetables are soft and the meat is tender

Remove the potatoes and parsnips from the liquid. Leave the corned beef, cabbage and carrots in the liquid until ready to serve

Mash the potatoes and parsnips really well with the cream and butter that has been heated in the microwave.

Whip in the scallions, season well. Keep warm.

To make the sauce

Melt the butter and stir in the flour. Cook the roux for a minute or two. Add the mustard and whisk in the reserved cooking liquid and cider.

Bring to the boil, reduce heat to a simmer for 3-4 minutes. Stir in the cream and season to taste.

Serve the corned beef sliced with the parsnip potato mash, mustard cider sauce and cabbage and carrots.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. While it seems a little hard to do what with straining the liquids and adding the veggies back to the pot, I'm sure that after eating it you will agree that it was worth the effort. Hard Cider can be found in 12-16oz bottles at the grocery stores in the Beer section.

© 1995-2003 CDKitchen.com. http://www.cdkitchen.com This article may be distributed as long as copyright information remains intact.

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February 10, 2004

Hard Apple Cider Cake

From the Second Penny B&B comes this recipe:

6 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg, grated
1 cup butter, softened
3 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup hard apple cider

Click on the “Continue reading Hard Apple Cider Cake” link for preparation instructions.

In a bowl, mix together the flour, soda, salt and nutmeg and set aside.

In an electric mixer, cream butter well, add sugar gradually, creaming until fluffy, then add eggs one at a time and beat thoroughly.

On low or stir speed, add the flour mixture alternately with the cider, beating until smooth after each addition.

Grease two loaf pans (or four smaller ones) and distribute batter evenly. Bake at 350 F for about one hour (gas oven may take 10 minutes longer) until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Keep moist with a chunk of apple in the container. Freezes well. This recipe dates to the 1830s and is quite similar to pound cake.

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February 09, 2004

Cider in Stores in Seattle

I have been seeing more and more Cider being sold in local stores.

Jen and I live near the Sand Point Metropolitan Market and have seen their Cider selection grow over the few months that store has been open.

They now carry:
Ron Irvine's own Vintage Blend Cider (winner of a Certificate of Commendation),
Westcott Bay Vintage Cider (winner of a Gold Medal) and
White Oak Traditional English Style Cider (winner of a Silver Medal)
as well as a few English and French imports.

These awards were given out at this November 8th Northwest Cider Society dinner.

It is wonderful to see Cider starting to gain traction in the marketplace and seeing excellent examples getting recognized. We are very much looking forward to adding our own this Fall.

Posted by DaveH at 08:05 PM | Comments (0)

Cider-Braised Pork With Fennel

Salivating as I type this… Mmmm…

From the Florida Sun-Sentinel comes this recipe:

5- to 51/2-pound boneless pork shoulder butt, tied
4 cloves garlic, cut into slivers
Salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 leeks, tops removed, cut in half and sliced (about 2 cups)
1 cup diced carrots
2 cups hard cider
2 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2 fennel bulbs with fronds
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, toasted and cracked, optional
1 tablespoon fleur de sel (type sea salt), optional

Click on the Continue reading “Cider-Braised Pork With Fennel” link below for the preperation instructions

Make small slits evenly over surface of pork. Insert a sliver of garlic into each slit. Sprinkle salt and cracked black pepper over roast and rub in.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large enameled iron pan or Dutch oven. Add pork and cook over medium-high heat, turning to brown all sides, about 15 minutes total time, until well browned. Remove pork from pan and keep it warm while cooking vegetables.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan and saute leeks and carrots 4 to 5 minutes until tender. Pour hard cider over vegetables and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a high simmer and cook until cider is reduced to 1 cup.

Return pork to pan. Pour chicken broth over meat, stir to combine and cook over high heat until liquid comes to a boil. Turn off heat; add bay leaf. Cover pot and transfer to a 325-degree oven. Cook 3 hours until pork is meltingly tender.

While pork is braising, trim tops from fennel bulbs and trim stem ends; reserve fronds or tops. Chop fennel fronds and set 2 tablespoons chopped fronds aside for garnish.

Cut fennel bulbs lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet. Add fennel slices in batches and brown on both sides. Remove fennel from skillet; cover and set aside.

Add browned fennel slices to pork during last 30 minutes of cooking.

Remove pot from oven and carefully lift fennel slices onto a serving platter. Transfer pork to a cutting board and let it rest while reducing sauce.

Skim off any fat from sauce. Place pot with sauce over a burner and bring to a boil. Continue to cook until sauce is reduced to 1 cup. Strain.

To serve, slice meat and arrange on a platter with fennel. Spoon sauce over both. Sprinkle with chopped fennel fronds. Combine toasted fennel seed and fleur de sel and, if desired, sprinkle a pinch over serving dish. Pass seed-salt combination with braised pork. Makes 8 servings.

Per serving (without sea salt and fennel seeds): 682 calories, 53 percent calories from fat, 40 grams total fat, 191 milligrams cholesterol, 40 grams saturated fat, 57 grams protein, 23 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams total fiber, 431 milligrams sodium.

To toast seeds: Place in a dry skillet and heat over medium heat about 3 minutes until golden and fragrant. When cool, hit with a heavy object such as a meat mallet until cracked.

Posted by DaveH at 06:24 PM | Comments (0)

Interview with a Ground-Hog

From the Feb. 2nd issue of the Vermont Caledonian Record comes this interview tale of “Pudding Hill Pete”:

Pudding Hill Pete's Outlook Appears As Cranky As Ever
By GARY W. MOORE, Special To The Caledonian-Record
Monday February 2, 2004

Man he gets more ornery every year! I am referring to Pudding Hill Pete, the famous - or infamous - groundhog who has resided in Lyndon all his life and become known as a bit of a curmudgeon.

Sunday, I knocked on the door of Pete's den that sits high on Pudding Hill with a commanding view. I heard his voice demanding in a not-too-friendly tone, “Who is it?”

I told him and he then opened the door telling me to get my butt in before all the heat left. “I figured you'd be around,” Pete said. “Did you bring me somethin' to soothe my sore throat?”

I handed him a gallon jug of hard cider I had gotten from my old friend Danny Gore. Pete motioned me to a seat and quickly filled two glasses with the fine liquid.

After we both had a couple of good swigs, he said, “I hope you don't have the same dumb questions as you have in the past.”

I allowed as how I was just stopping by to see how he was doing and chat for awhile about what had been going on since we last spoke.

Visit the link to read the rest. Very typical New England humor.


Posted by DaveH at 06:14 PM | Comments (0)

First entry - woohoo!!!

The domain name has been registered, the DNS and host name pointers have been configured correctly and we are good to go…

The first site (Black Mountain) will remain up for the rest of 2004 but it will have a single page pointing people over to here.

I will get the content from Black Mountain moved over to here in the next couple of days.


Posted by DaveH at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)