Real Food Kitchen Tour: Farm Food Blog

Happy Valentine’s Day! Welcome to another edition of the Real Food Kitchen Tour. This week we’re featuring Jill Nienhiser, author of Farm Food Blog.

Real Food Kitchen Tour: Farm Food Blog

Happy Valentine’s Day! Welcome to another edition of the Real Food Kitchen Tour. This week we’re featuring Jill Nienhiser, author of Farm Food Blog.

What’s a Real Foodie?

A “real foodie” is someone who cooks “traditional” food. We cook stuff from scratch using real ingredients, like raw milk, grass-fed beef, eggs from chickens that run around outdoors, whole grains, sourdough and yogurt starters, mineral-rich sea salt, and natural sweeteners like honey and real maple syrup.

We don’t use modern foods that are either fake, super-refined, or denatured. This includes modern vegetable oils like Crisco and margarine, soy milk, meat from factory farms, pasteurized milk from cows eating corn and soybeans, refined white flour, factory-made sweeteners like HFCS or even refined white sugar, or commercial yeast.

We believe in eating wholesome, nutrient-dense foods that come from nature. So we shop at farmer’s markets or buy direct from the farmer, or we grow food in our own backyards.

This Week’s Real Food Kitchen Tour: Farm Food Blog

Welcome to the kitchen of the funny, smart and loveable Jill Nienhiser. Can you tell I am a fan?

Jill is author of  Farm Food Blog. She’s also the webmaster for the Weston A. Price Foundation and Real Milk websites.

I believe Jill is also the editor for the Weston A. Price Foundation quarterly Wise Traditions newsletter. (I hope I got that right!)

Let’s share a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner with Jill and her boyfriend, Dane.

Jill: Rule number one in my kitchen: Always play with your food.

Blog Name: Farm Food Blog
Blog Author: Jill Nienhiser
How Long Blogging: 7 months
Location: Alexandria VA
House or Apartment: House (small three-level townhouse)
Size of Kitchen: 9-5″ by 7’8″
Things You Love About Your Kitchen: Because it’s so small, it’s quick to clean, and everything I use regularly is within easy reach, just a step or two. I bought the house (my first and so far only) in 2001 and had the kitchen/dining room remodeled in 2002, removing the wall between. I had never remodeled or decorated, and I’m pleased with how it turned out. I like the Silestone counter that picks up the blue of the walls. I like my famous author/artist cutouts (they’re greeting cards I just use the fronts of). I chose laminate for the floor because I’d read that tile can be tiring to stand on (I’ve since been told I should have used cork). This particular laminate has a nice look, I think.
Things You Would Change: A large kitchen with plenty of counter space, storage, and room for small appliances would be nice. As it is, I use the shelves lining the stairs to the basement as my pantry, and I have spices, cookbooks, kitchen supplies, and appliances in the dining room, living room, family room, and laundry room! I’m glad I kept the fridge that was here when I remodeled; it’s in the basement and provides room for  overflow, extra freezer space, room for ferments, etc.
Favorite Tools & Gadgets: The simple food processor I got years ago at Target that’s so easy to use and easy to clean. Olive wood pounder I got at La Cuisine that’s so lovely for pounding cabbage for sauerkraut. My Butter Bell for keeping butter soft on the counter. My garlic crusher–I wish I could find this for sale because I will need to replace it eventually (I broke one years ago; this is my second). It doesn’t even have a brand mark on it. I don’t know if it’s made anymore but it puts all other garlic presses to shame. Spiral whisk, so much better than the balloon shaped kind. Try it for pudding or gravy, just no comparison! Stick blender, aka immersion blender, for making smoothies or blending soup right in the pot.
Biggest Challenges Cooking Real Food: It can be hard to stay motivated when cooking for one. I like to eat out so I can be out among people. (As well as have someone do the cooking and cleaning up for me!) Also, I think it would help me to start making weekly meal plans, vs. cooking willy-nilly. As it is, I order farm food for delivery every other week, get CSA vegetables (in summer) once a week, and go to the grocery store about once a week to fill any gaps. But I generally just buy a variety of foods I know I like to eat, and have them on hand. Then I think what I want to cook each time a meal comes around, which they do with surprising regularity. Being sure I have meat thawed is always a challenge. And so if I’m not ready, and tired from work, it’s so easy to just go out instead (and I’m never too tired to go out!). Also, it does take more time, and between my full-time job, webmastering for and, blogging, acting, gardening, reading, my beau, my cat, other housework, etc.–it really can be a time commitment even when taking what shortcuts I can, prepping ahead for future meals, etc. I do often cook to have leftovers so that I am not cooking for every meal.
Current Family Favorite Meal: I’ve always loved Sally Fallon’s “Quick Steak” from [easyazon-link asin=”0967089735″ locale=”us”]Nourishing Traditions[/easyazon-link], with the sauce made of cream and nam pla (fish sauce) quickly stirred together in the hot pan after removing the steak. I use a grass-fed ribeye, which is my favorite cut, and pair it with whatever else is on hand—typically a salad with homemade dressing, and one or two hot vegetables with butter, or a vegetable and brown rice, plus a small serving of a lactofermented vegetable, and a glass of red wine, or sometimes a beer. In winter, I often make a pot of chili with organ meats, or a big pot of soup, and have that available for several lunches or dinners.
Favorite Cookbooks: I’ve used [easyazon-link asin=”0967089735″ locale=”us”]Nourishing Traditions[/easyazon-link] more than all my other cookbooks put together, I think. Second most used is the basic [easyazon-link asin=”0470560770″ locale=”us”]Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book[/easyazon-link], followed by an old [easyazon-link asin=”B0006BN8XE” locale=”us”]The Fannie Farmer Cookbook[/easyazon-link] — they always have so many great options, and the old one doesn’t have fake new ingredients in it. I also find good ideas in some of the Rachel Ray 30-minute cookbooks. I have to modify some of the recipes but in most of them she uses real food. Often I google ingredients I have on hand and see what I come up with, then cobble together a dish incorporating ideas from several online recipes.

A winter afternoon in my tiny kitchen.

How cozy and cute! I love the colors!

Before photo of my kitchen

When I bought my 1941 home in 2001, this was the kitchen. About a foot of counter space and hardly any cabinets! I remodeled the following year.

Shallow shelving

I added custom shallow shelving behind the door to the basement to maximize storage.

Gas cooktop

I went with a gas cooktop over an electric convection oven.

I prefer gas, as well.

Wine glass rack

I opted for a wine glass rack vs. a cabinet over the island, for a more open feel, but it does mean I have to wash the glasses more frequently since dust and grease can coat them over time.

1930s corner cabinets

I found a matched pair of 1930s corner cabinets at an antique store in Baltimore that are perfect for two corners of the tiny dining room. This one holds interesting objects above (including a set of crystal Platonic forms I got at Swarovski headquarters in Austria), and various teas, coffee, and coffee grinder below.

Herbs and Spices

My other corner cabinet holds herbs and spices above, and supplements and the cat’s food and treats below. I love using herbs and spices and am thinking of having a woodworker make at least one more shelf to match so I can store even more.

Butter belle

A Butter Bell is so awesome for keeping butter at room temperature, soft and ready to spread. A half cup of butter packs into the lid, which is inverted into the water-filled base. The water helps keep air away from the butter.

Handy pounder

I love this olive wood pounder I got at La Cuisine in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. It’s handy for pounding vegetables for lactoferments.

Very cool!

Winter sunlight in the dining room

Winter sunlight streams through the gauzy curtains into my tiny dining room. My parents gave me the Dali clock that they got at the Dali Museum in St. Augustine Florida. The framed picture is from a friend’s trip to Thailand — it’s their goddess of happiness.

Scarborough Fair burgers

Dane helps me mix herbs into ground veal for my Scarborough Fair burgers.

Don't forget to kiss the cook!
Parsnips make excellent walrus tusks in a pinch.
Dane measures olive oil for salad dressing.
Dane proudly displays his homemade salad dressing.
Salad with homemade lemon vinaigrette starts our meal.
A potter friend made this fun wine holder
On the side are home-cured olives and spicy dill sauerkraut
Dane is happy to be sitting down to his salad.
Meal of the day

Jill sits down to the main course: Scarborough Fair veal burgers, buttered peas, and fried parsnips, with a nice red wine. A spaghetti squash waits patiently in the background for another day’s meal.

Check Out the Previous Real Food Kitchen Tour Posts

Real Food Kitchen Tour: Unmistakably Food
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Holistic Health
Real Food Kitchen Tour: The Prairie Homestead
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Bubbling Brook Farm
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Taste is Trump
Real Food Kitchen Tour: CHEESESLAVE
Real Food Kitchen Tour: GAPS Diet Kitchen
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Holistic Mom
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Radically Natural Living
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Amanda Brown
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Pamela Montazeri
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Cracking an Egg with One Hand
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Yolks, Kefir & Gristle
Real Food Kitchen Tour: The Okparaeke Family
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Holistic Kid
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Artistta
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Nourished & Nurtured
Real Food Kitchen Tour: May All Seasons Be Sweet to Thee
Real Food Kitchen Tour: The Horting Family
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Hybrid Rasta Mama
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Granola Mom 4 God
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Real Food Devotee
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Real Food Forager
Real Food Kitchen Tour: The Leftover Queen
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Health Home & Happiness

Let Us Tour Your Kitchen

Are you a real foodie? Do you have a kitchen that you’d like to see featured on CHEESESLAVE?

Please email me at annmarie AT realfoodmedia dot com. Either send me a link to a Flickr set or email me your photos (minimum of 5, but more is better). Note: Please send me LARGE photos. Minimum 610 width. If they’re too small, I can’t use them.

Oh, and please send the answers to the above questions (at the very top of this post).

As much as I’d love to include all the photos I receive, I can’t guarantee that I will use your photos in the series. I’m looking for creative, good quality photos.

Some ideas for photos:

  • Show us what’s in your fridge or what’s fermenting on your counter
  • Take some snaps of some of your favorite kitchen gadgets, or show us how you organize your spices
  • Got backyard chickens? Send some pics!
  • How about a lovely herb garden?
  • Kids or pets are always cute!
  • Try to include at least one photo of yourself, ideally in your kitchen

And no, you don’t have to have a blog to be included in the tour.