Antipasto Platter Recipe

The word antipasto means “before the meal.” Antipasto is the first coarse or appetizer in a traditional Italian meal. An antipasto platter consists of tasty favorites including: spicy Italian meats such as salami, pepperoni, and capicola; marinated and/or pickled vegetables such as sun-dried tomatoes, grape tomatoes, artichoke hearts, peperoncinis, roasted red peppers, stuffed olives, and mushrooms; and flavorful spiced or smoked cheeses such as marinated mozzarella balls, smoked Gouda, and provolone. Think big! You are only limited by the size of your platter.

Antipasto Platter

Antipasto Platter

Antipasto Platter
Ingredients:
  •            Hot Capicola
  •            Prosciutto
  •             Salami
  •             Pepperoni
  •             Garlic Stuffed Olives (Jar)
  •             Sun-dried Tomato Halves (Jar)
  •             Peperoncinis (Jar)
  •             Roasted Red Peppers (Jar)
  •             Marinated Artichoke Hearts (Jar)
  •             Cherry Size Mozzarella Balls
  •             Grape Tomatoes
  •             Fresh Basil (about 6 large leaves chopped)
  •             Decorative Lettuce
  •             Minced Garlic
  •             Olive Oil
  •             Sea Salt
  •             Black Pepper (coarse ground)
  •             Tuscan Seasoning
Directions:  

Wash and dry lettuce and cover platter.

Drain and mix fresh Mozzarella balls, grape tomatoes, fresh basil, coarsely ground sea salt, coarsely ground black pepper, and enough olive oil to lightly coat. Place in the center of the platter.  If possible allow to marinate for a few hours but can be used immediately.

Arrange other ingredients separating colors around the center.

Mix artichoke hearts, Tuscan seasoning, and dash of olive oil and place at the 4 o’clock position on platter.

Mix Roasted Red Peppers, a clove of minced garlic, and dash olive oil and place in the 5 o’clock position on platter.

The other ingredients are straight from the jar. Place the peperoncinis at the 7 o’clock position, the sundried tomatoes in the 8 o’clock position, and the garlic stuffed olives in 11 o’clock position.

Starting at 12 0’clock place rolled up meats (hot Capicola, Prosciutto, Salami, Pepperoni). * Note that the hot Capicola was the biggest hit of the meat portion.

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Cream Legbar Chicken: New on the Farm

After searching all spring and summer for the hard to find cream legbars, we finally found them and happily made room for them here on the farm.

The rare cream legbars are fancy chickens who wear fluffy muff hats and lay light blue eggs. These four ladies and their fella will be part of our spring 2014 breeding stock. Three of the fancy girls are named after the Gabor sister’s; Zsa Zsa, Eva, and Magda. The fourth female I named Ingrid after Ingrid Bergman. Ingrid was a gift from one of my best friends, the original Mrs. Chicken Lady of Red Barn Acres and Eggs.  The young roo is named Maurice after the famous classical Parisian actor Maurice Chevalier.

Rhodebar Chickens: Here on the Farm

Rhodebars are by far one of the most friendly breeds of chickens that we have had in our flock. We recently acquired a trio of rhodebars that were approximately eight weeks old. The farmer who sold them to us did not have much time to handle them as he had so many chickens. Even so, they will jump up on higher platforms just to say hello. The little roo allows me to pet him without any concern whats-so-ever and the two little pullets are nearly as brave and friendly. These guys are definitely a keeper in our flock and I can’t wait to add more! An additional benefit to this breed is that they are auto-sexing chickens. This means you can tell males from females at any age by their coloration. Light colored chicks are males and chicks that have a chipmunk pattern are females. Both Rhode Island reds and golden brussbars were used in creating the rhodebar breed.

The two pullets were named Ginger and Doris after Ginger Rogers and Doris Day. The young cockerel is named Rudy after Rudolph Valentino because he is such a sweet little love.

Tip: How to Keep Water Thawed in Winter

Rural King was the place to shop this year for our winterizing water supplies. Here is a list of supplies that we obtained for our animals. If you click on the picture, it will take you to Rural King’s website for more information on the products. So far the heated buckets have worked perfectly with dipping temps in the lower 20’s.

Rural King: Farm Innovators Heated 2 Gallon Bucket HB60

Rural King: Farm Innovators Heated 2 Gallon Bucket

The ducks and geese got a new 2 gallon heated water bucket and a 2 gallon black rubber shallow dish. The heated bucket holds over 2 gallons and is the perfect size for the geese and my larger ducks to get their whole heads in for a dip, which is important for their daily grooming needs. My thoughts behind the black rubber bowl is that it may catch some of the energy from the sun and keep the water liquid in the day time. The bowl does get ice in it at night but its easy to force out of the pliable sides and bottom and refill in the morning. We will see to what daytime temperature it is still successful in keeping the water liquid.

Rural King: Farm Innovators 120W Flat Back 5 gallon Heated Bucket

Rural King: Farm Innovators Flat Back 5 gallon Heated Bucket

For the mule we purchased a 5 gallon heated bucket the actually holds more like 6 gallons. You can feel the warmth near the bottom of the outside of the bucket. The picture shows it in blue but the store only had green available which was perfectly fine for us. We chose not to hang it in her stall and placed it on the floor instead. Her other larger unheated bucket is also still accessible to her for now.

Rural King: Farm Innovators 1-1/2 Gallon Heated Round Pet Bowl Green

Rural King: Farm Innovators 1-1/2 Gallon Heated Round Pet Bowl Green

For the dog and cat to share on those icey days and nights, we got the heated pet bowl. It actually holds closer to 2 full gallons of water.

The one purchase that I was very unhappy with is the heated base that I bought to go under the metal poultry fount in the chicken house. The second night after it was installed, the water froze solid in the bottom tray. It should have been good to about 10 degrees but the temp was only in the 20’s. I had to come up with another solution given that it is only November and we have colder temps coming. My solution was to hang two heat lamps in the chicken house near the metal water fount. One has a white 125 watt heat lamp and the other a red 250 watt heat lamp. My theory is: during the day I plan to use white light in the hen house to give them extra light and warmth and in return keep the water thawed and hopefully get extra eggs to boot. At night around 8 or 9 pm, I will switch over to the red light so they have a more soothing light for sleep. With colder night time temps, the higher wattage will help keep the water thawed. We will see how this plays out. Last night was the first night with this set up and so far so good.

*Update*

The heated buckets have performed amazingly even with below normal subzero weather here in Ohio. Our setup with the heat lamps and metal water fount in the chicken house did not fair as well. We removed the frozen metal fount and placed a 2 gallon black rubber water bowl under two 250 watt infrared heat lamps. This setup proved most successful even in -10 degree weather! The black rubber must have radiated the heat from the heat lamps efficiently enough to keep the water thawed. The heat from the heat lamps also took a little chill out of the coop and helped to protect frostbite susceptible combs and wattles. Thankfully, we experienced very minor issues with frost bite throughout the cold snap.

Fall Greetings: Decorating the Mantel for Fall

Fall Mantle Top view close up

As we settle into autumn with its shortening of daylight hours, we needed a little brightening up around the farmhouse. The mantel seemed like the perfect place to start. I like to choose fall decor that works for both Halloween and Thanksgiving to get the most bang for the buck. Choosing pumpkins and fall colored leaves and accessories easily does the trick!

Fall Mantle Side view 2

Fall Mantle Full View 2

Autumn Blaze Maple – Tree Growth Record

Autumn Blaze Maple August 2013

Autumn Blaze Maple
Planted August 2013
9 ft tall (front yard)

We planted this autumn blaze maple in August 2013. Autumn blaze maples are one of the fastest growing maples available. It was produced as a hybrid of the silver maple and the red maple and retains several of each of the parents trees good qualities. From the silver maple it gets its fast growth rate and adaptability, and from the red maple it gets it’s beautiful fall color and it’s harder stronger wood. The stronger wood means there is less breakage in rough wind than with the silver maples. The leaves of the autumn blaze maple are medium green with red veins running through them. In the fall the leaves turn a beautiful bright orange-red color and remain on the tree longer than most other deciduous trees. The autumn blaze maple grows to be 50-60 ft tall and 30-40 ft wide.

Autumn Blaze Maple May 2016

Autumn Blaze Maple May 2016

May 9, 2015 Autumn Blaze Maple 10 ft

May 9, 2015
Autumn Blaze Maple 10 ft

Sugar Maple – Tree Growth Record

Maple Tree Planted August 2013 (front yard)

Maple Tree (1) Planted August 2013
2 ft 10 in tall (front yard)

These little trees are saplings from a mature 50+ year old maple tree that sits in our (former) neighbor’s yard. The parent tree is absolutely beautiful. I am not sure what type of maple they are, but suspect them to be a sugar maples. They suffered some from drought conditions but we are going to see if we can pull them through.

The sapling below has a few small green leaves on it though you can’t tell it from the picture. As soon as I set it out, a rogue chicken came along and plucked all of its leaves off. And this little guy was minding his own business. We will see if it survives with so much going against it.

 

Maple Tree Planted August 2013 (backyard)

Maple Tree (2) Planted August 2013
1 ft 8 in tall (backyard)

Information about Sugar Maples

Sugar maples are slow to medium growing deciduous shade trees. They are the best maple to choose when you are thinking about tapping to make maple syrup, because their sugar content is double that of other maples which results in needing less sap to make more syrup. The sap of the sugar maple usually rises sometime between January and April. When the sap is in this process, the tree may be tapped to gather some of the sap to make the deliciously sweet maple syrup. The leaves are medium to dark green and turn amazing shades of yellow, orange, red, or even all three on the same tree in the fall. Sugar maples get long-pediceled flowers in the spring that give way to their saramas (winged seeds). The sarama hang on throughout the summer and mature in the fall. The seeds germinate in the spring.

Sugar Maple 1 May 2016

Sugar Maple 1 May 2016

May 9, 2015 Sugar Maple (1) 3 ft 5 in

May 9, 2015
Sugar Maple (1) 3 ft 5 in

Sugar Maple 2 May 2016

Sugar Maple 2 May 2016

May 9, 2015 Sugar Maple (2) 5 ft

May 9, 2015
Sugar Maple (2) 5 ft

Red Sunset Maple – Tree Growth Record

Red Sunset Maple Planted August 2013 (side yard)

Red Sunset Maple (1)
Planted August 2013
8 ft 7 in tall (side yard)

We planted this red sunset maple tree in August 2013. Red sunset maple is a fast growing maple tree that reaches 50 ft in height with a canopy spread of 35 ft. The tree has red flowers early in the spring that give way to red winged seeds called samara. The new leaves have a reddish tint in the spring before they quickly turn glossy dark green with red veins running through them. In the fall the leaves turn bright orange-red. The new twig growth of the current growing season is also red which gives the tree much visual interest in the winter months after the leaves have fallen. The surface roots of many maples can buckle sidewalks and driveways so care should be given when deciding on placement.

Red Sunset Maple 1 May 2016

Red Sunset Maple 1 May 2016

May 9, 2015 Sunset Red Maple (1) 10 ft

May 9, 2015
Sunset Red Maple (1) 10 ft

Red Sunset Maple 2 May 2016

Red Sunset Maple 2 May 2016

May 9, 2015 Sunset Red Maple (2) 7 ft 10 in Planted Spring 2014

May 9, 2015
Sunset Red Maple (2) 7 ft 10 in
Planted Spring 2014

Northern Red Oak – Tree Growth Record

Tree- Northern Red Oak

Northern Red Oak (1) Planted August 2013
6 ft 6 in tall (front yard)

We planted two northern red oak trees in August 2013. One sits in the front yard and the other the backyard. Northern red oaks are fast growing deciduous shade trees. In the spring its new green leaves have a reddish tint before becoming glossy dark green in the summer and then brilliant red for autumn. It grows to about 80 ft tall and it’s canopy has a spread of 45 ft. It grows best in well drained soil and tolerates urban and street planting well.

Northern Red Oak Planted August 2013 (backyard)

Northern Red Oak (2) Planted August 2013
6 ft 10 in tall (backyard)

May 9, 2015 Northern Red Oak (1) 7 ft 3 in

May 9, 2015 Northern Red Oak (1) 7 ft 3 in Tree Moved 2014

Northern Red Oak 1 May 2016

Northern Red Oak 1 May 2016

Northern Red Oak 2 May 2016

Northern Red Oak 2 May 2016

May 9, 2015 Northern Red Oak (2) 7 ft 3 in

May 9, 2015
Northern Red Oak (2) 7 ft 3 in

Pin Oak: A Gift of Love from Mother – Tree Growth Record

Soey's Tree Sophia standing next to the tree that my mother bought in her honor.

Soey’s Tree
Sophia standing next to the tree that my mother bought in her honor.

This tree was a gift from my mother in honor of her youngest great-granddaughter (my granddaughter) Sophia. It was planted August 2013. My mother, like myself, loves all kinds of trees and enjoys a variety of them for visual interest. She also loves her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren and regularly seeks gifts that she can bestow on her loved ones that will remain long after she is gone. It is her way of reminding us that she loved us and will always love us even after she is no longer there to tell us herself. This is definitely the message that my heart hears loud and clear with no mistake. 🙂

Pin Oak Tree Planted August 2013 (side yard)

Pin Oak Tree Planted August 2013
6 ft 8 in (side yard)

Information about Pin Oak Trees

The pin oak is a fast growing deciduous shade tree with glossy dark green leaves. In the fall the leaves turn to a brownish red color and the tree retains most of it’s leaves into and through the winter. It can grow up to 3 ft per growing season and reach the height of 70 to 100 ft tall. Its canopy can spread nearly as wide as its height. It likes moist to swampy ground and prefers full sun but can tolerate shade as long as its not full shade. The soil should be at least slightly acidic to make this tree happy.

Pin Oak May 2016 Replacement for Sophia's tree that was eaten by Millie the Mule.

Pin Oak May 2016 Replacement for Sophia’s tree that was eaten by Millie the Mule.