The Farmer's Daughter

Friday, July 1, 2016


Green Tea Ice Cream

Kelsey Siemens might carry a degree in Geographical Biogeoscience but most days you'll still find her in the orchards of her parents' apple farm in southwestern British Colombia. Walled in by majestic mountains, the beautiful Fraser Valley cradles the 20-acre farm where the Siemens grow everything from corn and potatoes to rhubarb and pumpkins, in addition to orchard fruits such as apples, pears and plums.


Kelsey's love for cooking and sharing recipes motivated her to start a blog, The Farmer's Daughter, which features a colorful assortment of beautifully photographed food - from ice cream and doughnuts to cakes, pies and pasta. While Kelsey admits to being the creative mind behind the blog, as well as the one who snaps the photos, she is quick to admit her sister, Jordyn, helps with the cooking and baking. Using creativity, hard work and sustainable farming practices, Kelsey and her sister carry on the agricultural heritage of their parents as they educate people on the importance of cooking with local, fresh ingredients.

Read on for my interview with this hardworking Canadian girl who spends most days covered in dirt, just bought her first house and thinks she should have been born in Scotland.




Kelsey Siemens, author of the blog The Farmer's Daughter


Kelsey, tell us a little bit about yourself.  I am the daughter of two farmers and I work on our family’s apple farm in the beautiful Fraser Valley, BC, Canada.  My days are spent in our apple orchard and fields keeping the weeds away, and tending to our crops! People love coming out to Willow View Farm in the fall to pick apples, go for hayrides, drink hot cider, choose pumpkins and more.  Our goals are to provide a fun, family experience, help people learn more about where their food comes from, and encourage people to support their local farms and businesses.





"I'm Kelsey. And I talk to my cats more than is acceptable."

Where did your passion for baking come from?  I would say that my passion for baking started quite young, as I would often be in the kitchen “helping” my mom (aka: licking the beaters).  Brownies were the very first thing I mastered.  My mom always encouraged my sister and I to experiment in the kitchen, and never got mad at us, no matter how big the mess we made.  We had freedom to learn and make mistakes, and I think that was a huge contributor to why we both feel comfortable in the kitchen now.




"Blueberry basil is one of my favorite flavor combinations."

What is your favorite food to make?  Ooohh…that’s a tough one!  I don’t know if I can really choose!  Maybe doughnuts?  I love playing around with new flavor combos, and frying isn’t as scary as I once believed it to be.  I also do love making pie and galettes.  I find such joy in braided crusts, pretty presentations, and serving it to friends.  They also tend to photograph beautifully, which is a plus.




Lavender macarons. 


What inspires you?  Living on a farm is a huge source of inspiration for me, and I love incorporating local produce into my baking.  I also love trying new things at restaurants, both locally as well as when I’m travelling.  I was in Portland recently and tried a blueberry basil doughnut and now blueberry basil is one of my favorite flavor combinations to experiment with.




"I hope to be more intentional in forming friendships and seeing beauty in the everyday." 


Have you had any funny experiences while cooking or learning to cook?  Oh gosh, so many funny experiences!  From forgetting the baking soda (hello brick-like banana bread), to dropping cakes on the floor, I’ve done it all!






"You can expect lots of cake, doughnuts and ice cream from me." 


What is your favorite quote?  One of my favorite quotes is from Julia Child, “Find something you’re passionate about, and keep tremendously interested it."





Peach Galette.

Tell us about a travel experience you've had.  One of my favorite travel experiences was a road trip down the West coast through Washington and Oregon last year.  My friends and I basically ate our way down the coast, enjoying so many doughnuts, fresh seafood, incredible pastries, the freshest waffle cones, and heavenly tacos (in between walks along the beach and hiking to waterfalls, of course!).  It was a huge source of inspiration, and just plain delicious.





Local strawberries means crepes for breakfast.

Favorite restaurant in your area?  There have been several new, local restaurants that have opened in my area, and I love them.  My favorite at the moment is Bow & Stern.  They serve great seafood and their fish tacos are A+.




"I didn't like pie the first 24 years of my life. Now, I'm making up for lost time."


What's your current favorite cookbook?  Such a hard choice!  Right now I’d say it’s Layered: Baking, Building, and Styling Spectacular Cakes by Tessa Huff of the blog Style Sweet CA.  Her cakes are so stunning, and she’s also a local Vancouver blogger!






Ruffles aren't just for dresses.   

Recipes...





Cheesy Rosemary Bread 



Ingredients:
2 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup hot water
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup milk
2 eggs
2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary

Filling:
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 garlic gloves, minced
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (I used Old cheddar for more kick)
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions:
In a small bowl, mix 1/2 tablespoon of sugar, yeast and hot water.  Stir and set aside for about 10 minutes to allow yeast to activate.  (If this mixture doesn't get nice and puffy then your yeast might not be good anymore, and it means your bread won't rise!)

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the rest of the sugar, salt, milk, and melted butter, eggs, rosemary, and yeast.

Use a wooden spoon to gradually stir in the flour, 1 cup at a time.  Keep stirring until the dough comes away from the edge, at least a good 2 minutes (it will feel like longer!).  The dough will be a bit sticky, but that's good!

Place the ball of dough in a large greased bowl, and cover it with a clean dish towel.  Let rise in a warm place for an hour, or until doubled in size.

Deflate the dough, and knead in a tablespoon or two of flour depending on the stickiness of the dough.  Let rest for 5 minutes.

Mix together melted butter and garlic, and set aside.

Roll dough out on a floured surface to create a rectangle about 12"x20"  This will be a bit hard since the dough doesn't want to stretch easily.  You'll get there!  

Spread garlic butter mixture onto the dough, be generous with the butter.  Sprinkle evenly with cheeses.

Cut dough into 6 short strips (I like to use a pizza cutter!), stack them on top of each other, and then cut into 4 or 5 more strips depending on how wide you rolled your dough (see photos below for clarification).  

Carefully stack strips into a greased 9"x5" loaf pan.  If it's a really tight fit, then leave out a few strips, and bake them in a mini loaf pan.   Let dough rise for another 30 minutes. 


Sprinkle a bit of extra cheese on top if you'd like, and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.   If your loaf starts getting super brown before the 30 minutes are up, place a piece of tinfoil over the top of the loaf to keep it from getting any darker. Let cool slightly, and serve warm!




Orange Pistachio Doughnuts 


Ingredients:
1/4 cup hot water (not boiling)
1/2 tsp sugar
2 1/4 tsp yeast
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup white sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg
3 Tbsp shortening
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 1/2 cups flour

Glaze:
2.5 icing sugar
1/4 cup cream 
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp orange zest

*chopped pistachios for topping

Directions:
1)  In a small bowl, mix together hot water, sugar, and yeast.  Set aside for about 10 minutes until nice and frothy.

2)  In a large bowl, whisk together yeast mixture, milk, sugar, salt, egg, shortening, and orange zest.

3)  Slowly whisk in 1 cup of flour.

4)  Gradually add in remaining flour (1 1/2 cups), half a cup at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon (or you can use your mixer and a dough hook) until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. *You may not need to use all of your flour!

5)  Knead by hand for about 5 minutes, or until your dough is nice and smooth.

6)  Place the dough into a greased bowl, cover with a clean dish towel, and place somewhere warm to rise until it has doubled in size (about half an hour).

7)  Turn the dough onto a floured surface, and use a rolling pin to gently roll it out to about 1/2" thickness.

8)  Cut with a doughnut cutter (or you can use two round cookie cutters, one large and one small).  Cover all doughnuts with the towel again, and let rise until doubled.

9)  Heat oil in a deep-fryer or a large electric skillet to 350 degrees (you can use a large, deep skillet on your stove, but it's harder to control the temperature of your oil safely).

10)  Very carefully, place your doughnuts into the hot oil.  Fry doughnuts on each side until they are a light brown.

11)  Remove doughnuts from hot oil, and place on a cookie sheet lined with paper towel.

12)  Repeat until all the dough has been used, including the leftover doughnut holes from the middle of the doughnuts!

For the Glaze:
Mix together icing sugar, cream, vanilla, and orange zest until combined.  Dip doughnuts into glaze once cooled and top with chopped pistachios.

*I suggest testing one doughnut with the glaze and then adjusting the thickness of the glaze until you're happy with it!


These doughnuts are best served the same day, but we found that they freeze very well when unglazed!

All photos courtesy of Kelsey Siemens and used with permission.


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