Misty Bleu Farm Blog

About Misty Bleu Farm

Misty Bleu Farm is located in beautiful Washington County, New York at the head of the Black Creek ValleyMisty Bleu Farm produces hops for the R.S. Taylor & Sons Brewery.

Located on 50 acres in the heart of the Hebron Hills, Misty Bleu Farm is the home of R.S. Taylor & Sons Brewery.  The Brewery and Taproom are open to the public Wednesday through Friday from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday 12 noon to 9:00 pm.  Come experience true field to glass farm-brewed beer at our farm, nestled among green hills and stunning natural beauty.  Our farm boasts over 600 feet of frontage on the West Branch of the Black Creek, with waterfalls and rushing cascades.  Tours of the brewery and grounds are available.  The Farm and Brewery are also available to be rented out for special events.  Please visit the brewery website, www.rstaylorbrewing.com for more details and directions.

Follow our journey as we create the Most Beautiful Farm Brewery in America!

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The Summer of 1979 in a Can: Ode to Grandma Brown's Baked Beans

Misty Bleu Farm - Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Some food is so evocative of a specific time, place or person it's hard to disconnect the two.   There weren't too many major holidays or family get-togethers that didn't include my mother making Grandma Brown's baked beans.  Not just straight up out of the can, of course.  That wasn't Bev's style.  They had to be doctored up, with ketchup and brown sugar and a bit of onion and then baked in the oven covered in bacon, just the way Ivan liked them.  They were a cheap and easy side dish to feed the crowd of family members that inevitably showed up every weekend at Wells or Caroga Lake when we used to go camping in the summertime.  Sometimes, my mother would bake them in a baking dish over the campfire.  That woman would cook anything over a campfire, including a lasagna. 

Other campers would walk by our campsite and stare at us as we sat down to a full Sunday dinner with all the trimmings, while they shlumped back to their site to eat their hot dogs and hamburgers on paper plates.  My mother was on to this idea of "glamping" before it was a twinkle in some marketer's eye.


Grandma Brown's Baked Beans are still sold today - the exact same label on the can - and I mean the exact same label.  Made in Mexico, NY.  There's no toll free number on the can, nor is there a website address.  Just an address in Mexico where you can send your "correspondence".  Does anyone out there still write actual paper letters to companies anymore?  I don't know if they sell their products outside of upstate New York even.  While baked beans in general are not exactly a regional specialty here, Grandma Brown's baked beans certainly are. 

So, sure I can make Tyler Florence's awesome baked beans recipe using canned beans, chipotle peppers and rosemary, but that wouldn't bring us back to the summer of 1979, now would it? 

So here's to summer food before the advent of cell phones, the internet and goat cheese pizza, for chrissakes:

Beverly's Secret Grandma Brown's Baked Bean recipe (modified by me):

Take a couple smaller cans of Grandma Brown's Baked Beans or 1 or 2 large cans for a crowd and empty the contents of the can into an ovenproof baking dish.  Finely chop 1 small onion (or more to taste) and 5 oz of cooked bacon and add them to the beans.  Squirt about 1 cup of ketchup or more over the top of the beans.  Then squirt some French's yellow mustard over the top, too (as much or as little as you want.  Squirt some nice designs while you're at it).  Then pour on some molasses - again as much or as little as you want.  I would use about a cup.  About half a cup of worstershire sauce over the top finishes it off.  Mix it all up in the baking dish until mixed thoroughly; smooth out the top, cover with tin foil (as my mother would call it - that's aluminum foil to you and me), and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes until hot and bubbly.  If you like your beans crusty, take off the foil halfway through baking. 

Next time I'll see if I can re-create Cousin Martha's famous (and I do mean famous) taco salad recipe with Kraft Catalina dressing.  Oh, the memories.....

Eating Hops for Fun and Profit

Misty Bleu Farm - Thursday, April 23, 2015

I can't say, after picking hops by hand, that I really considered ever eating them.  Sure, they're edible.  That's why they are used in brewing beer, but actually eating them? 

A few weeks back, I was at the Healthy Living Market in Saratoga Springs.  By the way, the market is awesome!  Far superior to the Food Hole and a couple of co-ops I can name.  I picked up a piece of cheese with hops in it to try back at the farm.  We are currently interviewing local and NY state produced cheeses to present on our cheese board and our ploughman's lunch plate.  (Yes, it's a tough job, but well, you know....)


I was impressed by the flavor - fresh and grassy with a slightly bitter aftertaste.  The only criticism I had was the hop flavor seemed to overwhelm the cheese flavor, so perhaps with a stronger flavored cheese, this might work better.  Even so, I would definitely consider putting this cheese in our cheese selections, if only for the novelty factor of it containing hops.


 As you can see, no problem with finishing this off in the farm kitchen...


The Lard Epiphany

Misty Bleu Farm - Friday, January 02, 2015


Yes, that's right, lard.  In between all the other details in the construction process, I have been working on formulating a menu of foods that we can legally sell at the Taproom.  We are applying for a 20-C license from the NYS Department of Ag and Markets so that we may be able to offer a nice selection of foods to our beer drinking customers.  Going the route of actual food service is JUST.  TOO.  DAMN.  HARD.  Hear that, health department.  Don't even get me started on all the crazy health department rules.

And that brings us back to lard.  Yep, lard.  I have been trying to perfect pie crust for 20 years.  (True, I have no life.)  I have tried everything to get a delicious and flaky pastry dough - vinegar, vodka, yogurt, you name it.  Never tried lard, though.  While I was shopping for holiday food at the Honest Weight Co-Op, I picked up a small tub of baking lard from The Piggery in Ithaca, NY.  What the hey, I say.  I had a recipe at home, just plucked from the pages of the New York Times food section, that was calling for it. 

Well, that lard was nothing short of a revelation.  The sausage roll recipe, based on similar rolls sold at pubs all across Britain, was a success.  The pastry was light, flaky and shatteringly crisp.  It even had flavor!  It held up and remained flaky and crisp even the next day.  Wow!

Next I used the same dough recipe and made an apple galette.  Bingo!  Now, you'd think that lard would impart some sort of off flavor in the dough, but it does not.  It does smell a little weird right out of the tub.  It's not exactly a pleasant smell, but once the pastry is baked, the smell is no longer there.  Even with the sweet version, the crust was flaky and delicious.  Of course, we can't say how it would have held up the next day as my family ate the entire thing for dessert with our New Years' Day dinner. 

Here's my version of that flaky crust recipe to use for a galette:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup cake flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup water

1 stick butter, cubed

4 tablespoons baking lard, in small chunks

Put the cubed butter, baking lard, and water, each individually in the freezer for 15-20 mins.  Measure out the flour and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Using the paddle attachment, mix the flours and salt for a few seconds.  With the paddle attachment going at low speed, add the chilled butter cubes and baking lard.  Continue to mix until butter is the size of peas.  Add the 1/2 cup of chilled water slowly and continue mixing until the dough just begins to hold together.

Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead slightly to get a cohesive ball.  Flatten the ball into a disc, wrap with plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour. 

Place the chilled dough disc on a floured board or countertop.  Flour your rolling pin and begin rolling out the dough just as you would any pie crust.  I found this recipe made enough dough for about a 12 inch diameter galette, after the edges had been folded over.  If you roll it thinner and divide the disc in two, you might get enough dough to make an 8 inch double crust pie.

BTW - This rolls out beautifully straight from the fridge, yes it does!  No cracking. 

Fill your galette or pie crust as you normally would, brush with egg wash or cream and bake in a 375 degree oven on a parchment lined cookie sheet for about an hour or so for the galette or until nicely browned and crispy.

Lard is my new best friend.  Make it yours, too.



Easter 2014 Menu

Misty Bleu Farm - Monday, April 14, 2014


Mango Chutney Glazed Ham

Blue Cheese, Beer and Thyme Biscuits

Delmonico Potatoes

Carrot Souffle


Miniature Meringue Tarts in Two Flavors:  Meyer Lemon and Raspberry

What Owen Made

Misty Bleu Farm - Thursday, March 27, 2014

Can you tell we're all getting a little stir crazy around here?  Five months of unrelenting winter weather will do that to you.  And we've been obsessing over food all the while.  After all, what other pleasures are there in the dead of winter in the Northeast?  Not many, I can attest.  So please forgive our slavish fawning over all sorts of home made delicious food this time of year.  We just can't help ourselves.

Owen is working hard on his home and commercial cooking skills.  His latest effort - shepherd's pie.  I tried making it once before and to be honest, it wasn't really all that good.  So, we started off by reviewing a few recipes in the Cook's Illustrated and Cook's Country repertoire.  We liked the mashed potato topping from one recipe and the beer-spiked gravy from the other recipe.  Also, we swapped out the ground beef for lamb - much more appropriate.  And we nixed the mushrooms.  I don't think mushrooms are a standard ingredient for the pie anyway. 

Using Rich's home made stout make the gravy rich and delicious, and the ground lamb added a lovely gaminess.  But wait 'till you see what Owen did with the mashed potato topping!  Truth be told, I was just going to plop the mashed potatoes on top and smooth them down with a fork as the recipes suggested.  Owen decided we needed to break out the pastry bags and piping tips like they do for the mashed potatoes in his commercial kitchen at work.  Apparently, Owen has been charged with decorating some of the cakes at school, too, and frankly he's gotten pretty good at it.

So, this is how our Sunday dinner came out of the oven, piping hot and too pretty to eat! (Well, almost.  We DID eat it.)


My Sister Bought Prison Eggs

Misty Bleu Farm - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

We have been lucky enough to have my sister staying with us on and off for the last few weeks.  She's in town finishing up some business matters.  So while she's staying with us, she's been doing the shopping and cooking for dinner - pretty nice!  I'm going to miss it when it's over. 

But we've discovered she has a little secret - oh, yes, she likes to buy what we call "prison eggs".  We're going to need to sit her down and have a grocery cart intervention.  We're into cage-free eggs around here, see.  I just can't stand to see all those chickens literally cooped up in tiny cages - so super sad!  Maybe we should buy her a chicken for Easter, but then how would she get it home on the plane? 


What Graced Your Thanksgiving Table?

Misty Bleu Farm - Tuesday, December 03, 2013

We had an excellent Thanksgiving feast this year.  First, ol' Tom Turkey - I always buy a Jaindl fresh turkey.  They are from a relatively small family producer, yet they are widely available in grocery stores such as Hannaford across the Northeast.  Ours weighed in at not quite 23 pounds:


We set the table simply and with care.  After all, the food is the star of the show, so I set the table with the biggest plates I have and kept plenty of room for platters and platters of delicious food:


The biggest food surprises?  Sarah made kick-ass corn muffins with jalapeno, cheddar cheese, bacon and local maple syrup.  They were ridiculously delicious - way more delicious than any corn muffin has a right to be.  And Owen showcased his growing culinary skills by producing a home baked pumpkin pie with a perfect, buttery delicious crust.  The best pumpkin pie we have had in years, perfectly plated by Owen:


Thanksgiving 2013 Menu

Misty Bleu Farm - Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Here's what's gracing our table this year:

Roast turkey
Bourbon mashed sweet potatoes with pecans
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Taylor family holiday stuffing
Carrot soufflé
Fresh cranberry and pear relish
Soft poppy seed rolls
Pumpkin pie
Bourbon pecan pie

And to drink:
Hard Cider from Slyboro
White wine
A selection of Rich's farm-brewed beers

Open Hearth Cooking At The Wilson Homestead

Misty Bleu Farm - Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Since we have owned the farm, I cannot tell you how many people raved about Sally Brillon and the open hearth cooking classes she offers every fall.  Sally and her husband are the owners of the Wilson Homestead, an 18th century home and barn.  The barn is chock full of antiques and used books and is fun to knock around in during the summer months. 

The Wilson Homestead dates back to 1787.  It was meticulously restored by Sally and her husband over the course of 8 years.  The house features an original 18th century cooking fireplace in the kitchen/keeping room, complete with a beehive baking oven.

Owen and I signed up for the November 9th class.  After a brief introduction and demonstration on how to use the various cooking implements like the reflector oven, we set to work and made a delicious lunch of roast pork loin cooked in the reflector oven, onion tart cooked in a real Dutch oven, whole wheat bread and blueberry cake cooked in the beehive oven, and roasted squash.  It was a delicious meal.





Here's Owen enjoying our meal in the West Parlor:


A Fall Dinner

Misty Bleu Farm - Saturday, November 02, 2013


Every fall we try to have at least one dinner lit completely by candles.  To me, it seems to embody the spirit of the season - warm and cozy and convivial. 

Tasha Tudor once remarked, "People don't realize how dark houses used to be."  That is true, when your only sources of light are candles and oil lamps. 

We had pork roast stuffed with fennel, onion and pancetta, truffled wild rice and green beans.  For dessert, I made a spice cake roulade with mascarpone and candied ginger filling.  Owen did an excellent job with decorating our Herend woodland plates with the last of the summer's nasturtiums and pretty slices of cake.