Saturday, April 5, 2014

Merry Transitions Ahead: A Preview of What's to Come

There's a lot of change afoot down at Merry Mount, though everything's sort of at the start-up stages at the moment. Rio and I traveled to the farm last weekend on a Saturday filled with sheets of pouring rain, followed by sleet and finally snow. Was not really a pretty sight, but it's always a happy thing to be at the Merry farm!
 Rett is trying to will spring to come with a pot of pretty pansies, but even they had to come indoors overnight.

At least we were treated to a beautiful morning, with the dawn sun stretching long, beautiful shadows across the (still) cold fields.

Rett is looking forward to seeing what little plants and perennials survived the long winter, and which ones will soon be popping their heads up in the beds surrounding the towering maple tree outside of the sunporch. And Pat can't wait to see if the just-last-fall-planted fruit trees -- including cherry, pear, plum and chestnut -- will soon be showing signs of life.

But there's more exciting transitions on the horizon at little Merry Mount.

This will be a rose garden next summer! ("After" pictures in about six months!)

And this, well, it's the perfect place for Rett's upcoming ginormous garden! Think green beans, tomatoes, lettuce, corn, peppers, cucumbers, melons, potatoes and onions! (More "after" pics in the summer.)

Perhaps a pasture?

And of course the biggest restoration yet -- the barn!!!

Thanks to some expert help from Rett's and Pat's son's friends, the old barn is going through a huge transformation. It had been stuffed to the gills with lumber salvaged from another outbuilding, which has now been removed and will be repurposed.

Some cute little stalls have been cleaned out. . . soon to be home to an adorable goat or mini-donkey perhaps? The chicken coop will also take up residence in a corner of the barn. Think fresh eggs!

And parts of the roof and siding are being rebuilt. Just in time for a glorious summer!

In the meantime, Rio enjoyed hanging out in the yard.

And we had a lovely dinner of brown rice and lentil rolls, capped off with some luscious (and gluten free) coconut macaroons with mini chocolate chips and chopped salted almonds. They tasted like an Almond Joy! (Pat even had one for breakfast the next morning.)

Goat Cheese, Lentil and Brown Rice Rolls

Butter for the baking dish
6 large Swiss chard leaves

2 cups cooked brown rice
1 packed cup baby arugula leaves, chopped
1 cup goat cheese (8 oz) at room temp
1 cup cooked green lentils
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 26-oz jar marinara sauce
1/2 cup grated Premsan
2 T. olive oil

Preheat oven to 400. Butter a 9 x 13 glass baking dish; set aside.

Remove thick stem from center of each chard leaf. Cut each leaf in half lengthwise. Trim end from leaves to make each half-leaf about 7 x 5 inches. bring a pot of salted water to boil; add chard and cook for 10 seconds. Remove and rise with cold water; drain on paper towels and set aside.

For filling: in med bowl, mix together the brown rice, arugula, goat cheese, lentils, mint, olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic. Season with add'l salt and pepper if desired.

Spoon 1/3 cup of filling onto the end of each chard leaf and roll up like a burrito.

Spoon 1 cup marinara sauce on bottom of pan. Arrange rolls, seam-side down in a single layer on the sauce. Spoon remaining sauce on top, and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Drizzle with the olive oil. Bake until the cheese begins to brown and the rolls are heated through; about 25 min. Cool for 5 min and serve. 

Delicious Coconut Macaroons
1-1/3 cups flaked sweetened coconut
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons gluten free (or regular) flour
dash salt
2 egg whites, beaten slightly
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a small bowl, combine the coconut, sugar, flour and salt. Stir in egg whites and vanilla; mix well. (I added some mini chocolate chips and some chopped roasted almonds)
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 325° for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Yield: about 1-1/2 dozen.