Posts Tagged With: Bonnie blue farm

Dandelion and Goat Cheese Gratin

I’ve had this recipe for a Dandelion and Goat Cheese Gratin from Fine Cooking in my must try folder for several years. I’ve never made it because apparently dandelion greens are expensive! I’ve never seen them at the market and at Greenlife they are about $6/bunch.

I found dandelion greens at The Dekalb Market in Atlanta recently for $2/bunch so I finally pulled the recipe out to try. The recipe notes say that it would be a good side dish for lamb but I decided to actually add the lamb into the gratin for a one dish meal. If you aren’t adding meat to the gratin I would probably double the amount of greens I used as they cook down a lot.

Our lamb is from Sequatchie Cove Farm and the goat cheese is from Bonnie Blue Farm.

dandelion greens!

I tried a bite of the greens before they were cooked and they are bitter, bitter, bitter! Thankfully the bitterness is greatly tamed after cooking.

I used half and half instead of the heavy cream since that’s what I had in the fridge. I also added about double the amount of goat cheese called for because it just seemed right 🙂

If you are adding meat to the gratin, cook it first and then just mix it in the bowl with the chopped greens and cheese.


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Cherry Tomato Salad

Summer is here in full force with 100+ degree temps! At times like these turning on the oven should be outlawed. Thank goodness for the tomatoes! They need little other than chopping to be a quick, cooling side dish.

These are Sungold and Black Cherry tomatoes from Signal Mountain Farm. I tossed them with a bit of goat cheese from Bonnie Blue Farm and some basil from the yard. Let it sit for just a few minutes so the flavors can meld together and that’s it! A quick piece of fish or chicken would finish this off nicely.


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Sunday Market! 7-15

Cantaloupe, watermelon, and potatoes – farmstand without a name

Okra – Hazelrig Farm

Blueberries, zephyr squash, zucchini, peppers, and celery – Signal Mountain Farm

Corn – Flat Top Mountain Farm

Those melons are beyond what a house of two can possibly eat in a week but I have no self-control this time of year at the market. Once the cantaloupe and watermelon is gone for the season it’ll be a whole year before I get any more! I must stuff myself silly eat a reasonable amount now, right? Sigh…I suppose there are worse things I could bring home than 2o lbs of melon, eh?

The market haul will now no longer fit into 1 basket and it also no longer fits into 1 picture. Not a bad problem.

Cherry Tomatoes AKA The reason I am able to suffer through the heat of summer – Signal Mountain Farm.

I recommend keeping these on the kitchen counter and eating handfuls every time you walk through the room. I remember walking through the garden with my grandfather when I was little and eating tomatoes straight off the plant. This was against the instructions of my grandmother that I wash the dirt off first. Who has time to wash the dirt off when there are tomatoes to eat?!? There is just nothing better than a sun warmed tomato straight off the vine.  Luckily my grandfather never told my secret 🙂

October beans – from a farmstand without a name. Really, how can you resist a hot pink speckled bean?

Not pictured is my now weekly purchase of goat cheese from Bonnie Blue Farm. I was buying the garlic herb variety but now I get the plain because it not only makes a fabulous addition to tomato salad but it also is a great substitute for cream cheese. I also tried a new variety this week – raw goat milk gouda. It’s hard to take a picture of cheese when you tear into it before unloading any of the other produce. crazy good!

I’m taking the week off from canning. I made Champagne Mustard from Food in Jars last night (it’s actually supposed to be white wine mustard but I had the champagne and, well, that’s just how it went down). It takes a month to cure so we’ll see how that turns out. It smelled delicious going into the jars last night but was crazy bitter. The recipe notes say the bitter flavor will mellow.

I had lots of plans for freezing and canning today but I just couldn’t do it. I needed a day of reading in a room far from the stove and canning pot, you know?


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Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Beets are one of those newly discovered vegetables for me. I’ve never really eaten them before the last few years but I have fallen hard for them. I especially like when I can get a vegetable in a variety of colors so when I saw these golden and red beets hanging out together at the market at the Signal Mountain Farm table I had to have them. As fate would have it the next booth I walked by was Bonnie Blue Farm where they have the best goat cheese (which, coincidentally, has also become an obsession this summer). The goat cheese made its way into my basket with thoughts of a beet and goat cheese salad floating through my head.

I’ve never actually made a beet and goat cheese salad but that’s why I have all those cooking apps on my phone, right? As is my usual recipe style, this is a hodge-podge of several recipes. I started by drizzling the (clean) beets with a bit of grape seed oil, wrapping them in foil, and roasting for about an hour at 425 degrees. Let them cool enough to handle and then peel and dice them. If you are using golden and red beets then you should try to keep them separate so the red beets don’t stain the golden. Red beets are awfully aggressive and your kitchen will be a great setting for a murder movie after you finish peeling and dicing.

Now, at this point you can just toss the beets with the goat cheese and chow down. However, one of the recipes I was using was a layered salad so I decided to fancy things up a bit. You need a mold about 2 inches wide and however tall you want the salad. Layer the beets and goat cheese, pressing down between layers to help it hold together.

You can certainly do as many layers as you like but the taller it gets, they harder time you will have keeping it upright. Slowly pull the mold off and there you have a stacked beet and goat cheese salad! If you’ve never had beets and goat cheese together I can assure you they were meant to be. Seriously good stuff.


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Sunday Market! 6-24

I would have done well to have had a grocery cart today! Lots of gorgeous, delicious meal inspiring produce today!

Cantaloupe and peaches – Hazelrig Farm

Orange and Red Beets, Blueberries, patty pan squash, zucchini, golden zucchini, Brussels sprouts, purple bell peppers and green beans – Signal Mountain Farm

Goat Cheese – Bonnie Blue Farm

Finn style Sausage – Link 41 Sausage


I received a reply from the market director addressing my concerns about a vendor that was rumored to be reselling produce. He said:

They are exclusively employees of Watsonia.  We also insist in producer only presence, but many of our vendors employ others to assist with the businesses.
As near as we can tell, it’s a qualified and legitimate relationship and they are eligible to vend at the market. 
Thanks for your note. We mulled over this issue for some time, but came to the realization that its no different than several other long-term vendors and there staff. 
 Feel free to continue to ask questions/etc – we are committed to maintaining our high-quality market
I’m still not sure how I feel about the situation. I don’t think it is the same as other vendors who have staff working for them. This produce is being grown 298 miles from Chattanooga which seems a pretty far stretch to be called local. They sell it to a man in Atlanta who then drives it up to Chattanooga. It just doesn’t sit well with me so I’m sticking with the produce that I know and enjoying my weekly chats with the farmers themselves who remember me and ask how the peach jam turned out.
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Saucy Green Beans

This is my favorite way to cook green beans. I think the original recipe called them Chinese Style green beans but around here, they’ve just become known as “those really good green beans with the sauce”. Who needs a fancy name?!

These green beans are from the market but I can’t recall the farm.

Start by “topping and tailing” your beans. (I adore this phrase and, just so you know, it’s best  said in a British accent 😉 )

Cook your green beans in a mix of butter and oil. The butter helps you get good browning. We used butter from Eileen the cow over at Bonnie Blue Farm

Let your been cook on medium for about 10 minutes or until they get lots of really good browning. Add the sauce which is equal parts soy sauce, honey and water. Once you pour the sauce on, turn the heat off and stir well. You might want to wear an oven mitt, it can get a bit steamy!




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Sunday Market! June 3

Nectarines, Peaches, and yellow squash – Hazelrig Farm

Strawberries – Flattop Mountain Farm

Squash blossoms and green beans

Garlic Scapes – Sheerlark Farm

Garlic and Chive Goat Cheese – Bonnie Blue Farm

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Local, seasonal, organic, natural….

Local, organic, seasonal, natural…oh my! There is a lot of verbiage used to describe our food these days and it can be hard to interpret what it all means and what you should really be looking for.

My priority is always local. By eating local I end up eating seasonally as well and I support my local market and my local farmers. Eating seasonally is not necessarily eating local. A strawberry in May from Wal-mart is not the same as a strawberry in May from the farm down the road. When I buy from the farmers at the market I get to hear about Eileen the cow that produced the milk for my butter from Bonnie Blue Farms and Sherry from Sheerlark Farms saves garlic scapes for me. It’s important for me to know that the people producing my food do so with good intentions and care about it as much as I do.

In Chattanooga, you can look for the Harvested Here logo to know you are buying from local vendor

Natural or organic is my next priority. I want my food to come from down the road and I want it in the most natural state it can be. Don’t get hung up on organic. Many smaller farms use organic principles but the organic certification is prohibitive due to their size. There are also other certifications that are equally as worthy as the certified organic such as certified naturally grown. Ask your farmer about their practices. They should be happy to tell you how they farm and why they utilize certain practices. The Environmental Working Group analyzes pesticide use and absorption by fruits and veggies and each year publishes a list of the most important produce to buy organic if possible to limit your pesticide exposure. You can read the most recent list here.

In the end, you have to decide your own priorities and what works best for your family and your food budget. The “it costs more to eat healthy” argument is for tomorrow…


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Lamb chops

For Christmas last year my parents gave us a share of lamb from Sequatchie Cove FarmWe got half a lamb including bones and some organ meat.


(Isn’t the lamb adorable! My mom included that with the card!)
Tonight we made some lamb chops, asparagus from the market (!) and amaranth.
If you’re not so lucky to find asparagus at your local market, remember to only buy it if it’s been stored with the ends in water. Asparagus dries out quickly and you’ll also want to store it in a small amount of water once you get home.
Before you’re ready to cook, you’ll need to trim the ends. Snapping the stalks seems to work best.


I’ve read many a recipe for asparagus but really, simple is better! All you need is some oil (walnut is great but olive is fine), salt, pepper, and a good sharp cheese. Normally I use Parmesan but this is a delicious cave aged goat milk cheddar from Bonnie Blue Farm that I got at the market today.


Drizzle the asparagus with the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook under the broiler on high until beginning to brown and top with a sprinkling of cheese. Very simple and really preserves the integrity and flavor of the asparagus.

The lamb chops have a great flavor on their own and really don’t need much help. Just pat the chops dry, sprinkle with salt and rosemary and cook for about 5 minutes per side. Make sure you let the chops rest for a few minutes before serving to let the juices redistribute.

This was the first time I’ve had amaranth on its own. I’ve used it in a quiche crust before and it has a great somewhat grassy flavor that is quite unique. It also has quite a unique mouthfeel that probably lends itself to being used in other preparations more so than a solo dish! The flavor was great with the lamb, however!



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