I never imagined this life for myself. A life that solely revolves around the seasons, the weather, and the dirt. Sometimes it feels like I’m watching someone else’s life from afar because this wasn’t supposed to be me... someone who doesn’t leave the house without a pocket knife. Someone who is up at dawn and asleep by sundown. I’m covered head to toe in dirt on any given day, and sometimes I don’t even recognize myself in the mirror. This may not be the life I thought I’d be living, but it’s more magnificent and brutal than anything I could have ever imagined for myself. I’m surrounded by six acres of land that has become my home, my livelihood, and has nourished my family with each passing season.
The cooking? This didn’t come naturally, but after spending full days in the dirt focusing on food, I began to explore in the kitchen. We cultivate a ton of vegetables that I didn’t grow up eating, and I’d be dammed if we didn’t learn to cook and eat the fruits of our labor.
This book is the story about love, community, and the food that we cook and share around the table with family and friends. If the farm is my office, the kitchen is my happy place. Welcome to Tumbleweed Farm.
Butternut Squash Kale Salad With Maple-Bourbon Dressing
For the Squash:
• 1 medium-sized butternut squash
• ½ teaspoon cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon paprika
• ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
• ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
Maple Bourbon Vinaigrette:
• 1/4 cup bourbon
• 2½ tablespoons maple syrup
• 2½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
For the Salad:
• 1 large bunch of kale, tough stems trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces (about 6 cups)
• 4 slices of good quality bacon
• ¼ cup almonds
• ¼ cup blue cheese, crumbled + additional to taste
• 2 large Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
• Pinch of salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Peel the squash, scoop out the seeds and cut into ½-inch-thick cubes. In a bowl, toss the squash with the spices and oil. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast in the oven until golden and tender. About 20 minutes. Flip squash halfway through cooking.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring bourbon to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook until bourbon is reduced in half, about 2 minutes. Stir in the maple syrup and apple cider vinegar. Continue to cook over low heat for about 2 minutes longer. Turn off the heat, add the mustard, and drizzle in the oil.
3. In a small dry skillet over medium heat, lightly toast the almonds until golden, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, and when cool enough to handle, roughly chop.
4. In a large frying pan, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove from heat and place on paper towels to drain fat. When cool enough to handle, chop into bite-sized pieces.
5. In a large bowl, toss the kale with 1-2 tablespoons of the warm bourbon dressing until lightly coated. Use your hands to massage the dressing into the kale until the leaves are tender and bright green. Add the squash, bacon, almonds, blue cheese, and dates. Drizzle with more dressing, tossing evenly to coat. Sprinkle the salad with salt and pepper and divide between plates/bowls. Top with additional cheese if desired.
Honey and Cardamom Whipped Sweet Potatoes
• 2 medium-large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
• 3 tablespoons walnut oil, plus additional if needed
• 1 tablespoon honey
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
• 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
• fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the sweet potatoes in a pot and add enough water to cover them by at least 1 inch. Place them over high heat and bring them to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sweet potatoes are fork-tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and place the sweet potatoes in a high-speed blender with the oil, honey, cardamom, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy, adding a touch more oil to help get things moving if needed. Taste test and adjust seasonings as desired. Serve warm or at room temperature, or even chilled.
(Makes about 1½ cups
• 3 medium-sized beets, scrubbed and cut into ½-inch chunks (about 1¼ pounds)
• 1 cup macadamia nuts
• 2 tablespoons walnut oil (or neutral-tasting vegetable oil)
• 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• pinch of fine sea salt
Bring a medium-sized pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the chopped beets, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until they are fork-tender, 15-20 minutes. Drain the beets and set them aside to cool for a few minutes.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the macadamia nuts, oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. Process until smooth. Add the cooked beets and salt. Continue to process until the beet butter is completely smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature before serving.
÷ ÷ ÷
is the writer, recipe developer, and photographer behind DishingUptheDirt.com
. Her recipes and Tumbleweed Farm have been featured in print and in online publications, including the New York Times
, The Kitchn
, Well and Good NYC
, Eating Well Magazine
, and Epicurious
. She lives in Oregon. Dishing Up the Dirt
is her first book.