Friday, November 21, 2014

Cantuccini di Prato

Several of my Facebook friends have requested my preferred recipe for the almond biscotti called 'cantuccini di Prato' in Tuscany.  A great little cookie to have on hand around the holidays!

Cantuccini di Prato (adapted from Gourmet Magazine, December 1992)

Ingredients:

3 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp double acting baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 large whole eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 2/3 cups almonds, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
an egg wash:  1 egg, 1 tsp water, beaten together

Blend the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment until well-combined.  In a bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, vanilla and almond extract and add to flour mixture, beating until a dough is formed.  Stir in almonds.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, knead it until it comes together in a sticky dough.  Divide it into two or three portions.  Roll each portion into a log, about 12 inches long and 2 inches in diameter.  Place each log on a baking sheet covered with parchment (or wax) paper, separating logs by at least 2 inches.  Press logs lightly to spread out a bit.  Brush tops of flattened logs with egg wash generously.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 35 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes.  On a cutting board, slice logs crosswise into 3/4 inch slices and arrange slices cut sides down on the baking sheets.  Bake for another 5 to 7 minutes on each side until the cookies are pale golden and the almonds are just starting to color.  Transfer to racks to cool and allow them to cool completely.  They should be very dry and crisp.  Store in an airtight container.

These are great with coffee, but traditionally are served at the close of an Italian meal with the sweet wine called vin Santo.  Buon appetito!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Christmas Time's A Comin'


It's that time of year again and Villa Mir Farm has beautiful, cut-your-own Christmas trees for your home.

The trees are organic and natural, and no two are alike. At Villa Mir Farm there's lots of variety and personality to choose from: Colorado Blue Spruce, Balsam Fir, tall and small trees are available.

Visit beautiful Villa Mir Farm starting the Friday after Thanksgiving, and continuing every Saturday and Sunday from 9am-5pm. 10260 Chardon Rd. (Rt. 6), Chardon, OH 44024. Call 440-382-2190 for more info.

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Thursday, November 06, 2014

Goat Girls

Last year with some help from friends and neighbors, I realized a long-time dream of owning dairy goats!  Angelina and Dolly, both registered Nubians, joined us in October of 2013 and we have had a wonderful time getting to know one another and learning all about goats.  If we'd known how much fun they were, we would have done it much sooner!  This fall, both girls are bred to a handsome buck from Thunder Pines Farms in Jefferson, OH and we're hoping for kids by the end of March.  I've been practicing my cheese making skills already and have a quite passable chevre in my repertoire so far.  We are also excited about using milk to make goat milk caramels - had some of these in NYC last year and they are fabulous! 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Autumn Magic

We've had a fabulous fall in Chardon, with the trees putting on quite a show. The critters are getting their winter coats ready, and the deer and turkey sightings have been plentiful.  If you look real close, theres a flock of turkey in this photo, taken from the top of the farm.  Lake Erie is also visible.


Saturday, March 08, 2014

Winter Into Spring


It's been a fabulous winter for cross country skiing, but the snow base is melting and the sap is getting ready to run.

This is the old sugar house on Villa Mir farm, where the Kovacs used to boil sap collected in buckets.

These days, a neighbor taps and collects syrup from the maple trees on Villa Mir farm with tubing that criss crosses the woods and dumps the sap into collection tanks.  A much less laborious process!

Sunday, November 03, 2013

We Got Goats!

Finally, goats have arrived at Villa Mir Farm!  
Angelina (a yearling), and youngsters Dolly and Violet are amusing their owners, Carol and neighbor boy Hank, with their sweet antics.  
Slowly, but surely, they are clearing areas of weeds and unwanted plants.
More fun is to come when they have kids and need to be milked.  
Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 06, 2013


This summer has been cool and wet.  The top of the farm is a great place to watch weather come in from the west or north from Lake Erie.  Here, cool, moist air comes in along with impressive clouds over fields of oats as Maisie and I take a walk.