Wood-Fired Pizza from Stonewell Farm, Fri. July 24th & Sat., July 25th

Hello Friends,
Some new menu items are being offered as fresh produce from our garden comes into season. This week, the garden is providing broccoli, basil and summer squash so we’ve incorporated these into some new pies. As always, please order at least a day in advance (even sooner if you like). Details below.

Authentic Wood-Fired Pizza from Stonewell Farm

Friday, July 24th & Saturday July 25th

5:00 PM – 8:00 PM

The 14″ Pizzas-To-Go  we’re offering this weekend are:

  • Bacon, caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, garlic, and a blend of 3 cheeses.    $18.00    (No picture available)
  • Homemade basil pesto (from our garden), summer squash and a blend of three cheeses.    $18.00   (No Picture available)
  • Steamed broccoli, crushed tomatoes, olives, basil and mozzarella cheese.   $18.00 (No picture available)
  • Margherita; crushed tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella cheese.   $16.00
  • Plain cheese; tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.    $14.00

How to Order: Please place your order at least day in advance before 5:00 pm, ( or earlier if you can) as this allows us to prepare enough fresh dough and toppings.

Call or text 860-810-8802 to place your order and specify when you would like your pizza to be ready for pick-up. Forms of payment include Venmo, Exact Cash or Check.

(Venmo acct. is Andrew-Pighills)

To maintain physical distancing, we will have a pick-up station that’s clearly marked. Stonewell Farm is located at 39 Beckwith Rd., Killingworth, CT 06419

Wood-Fired Pizza from Stonewell Farm, Fri. July 17th & Sat., July 18th

Hello Friends,
Some new menu items are being offered as fresh produce from our garden comes into season. This week, the garden is providing spinach, broccoli, basil and zucchini so we’ve incorporated these into some new pies. As always, please order at least a day in advance (even sooner if you like). Details below.

Authentic Wood-Fired Pizza from Stonewell Farm

Friday, July 17th & Saturday July 18th

5:00 PM – 8:00 PM

The 14″ Pizzas-To-Go  we’re offering this weekend are:

  • Bacon, caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, garlic, and a blend of 3 cheeses.    $18.00    (No picture available)
  • Homemade basil pesto (from our garden), zucchini and a blend of three cheeses.    $18.00   (No Picture available)
  • Lightly sauteed fresh spinach, garlic, ricotta cheese and a blend of parmesan/romano cheese.    $18.00   (No picture available)
  • Steamed broccoli, crushed tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese.   $16.00 (No picture available)
  • Plain cheese; tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.    $14.00

How to Order: Please place your order at least day in advance before 5:00 pm, ( or earlier if you can) as this allows us to prepare enough fresh dough and toppings.

Call or text 860-810-8802 to place your order and specify when you would like your pizza to be ready for pick-up. Forms of payment include Venmo, Exact Cash or Check.

(Venmo acct. is Andrew-Pighills)

To maintain physical distancing, we will have a pick-up station that’s clearly marked. Stonewell Farm is located at 39 Beckwith Rd., Killingworth, CT 06419

Wood-Fired Pizza from Stonewell Farm- Fri. July 3rd & Sat. July 4th

Three years ago we finished our stone, wood fired oven. Over the years numerous friends, neighbors and family have enjoyed the exceptional ‘pizza rustica’ that this authentic beehive oven produces and have suggested we make  our pizzas available to the wider public. And so, during this challenging time of physical and social distancing, we’re pleased to offer these pizzas to you, our neighbors

Authentic Wood-Fired Pizza from Stonewell Farm

Friday, July 3rd & Saturday July 4th

5:00 PM – 8:00 PM

New menu! We’ll be firing up the oven and preparing 14″ Pizzas-To-Go. The pizzas we’re offering this holiday weekend are:

Bacon, mushroom, spinach, garlic, ricotta, parmesan and romano.    $18.00    (No picture available)

Garlicky Chicken breast, basil pesto (from our garden) and a blend of three cheeses.    $18.00
(No Picture available)
Balsamic poached pears, gorgonzola, drizzled with our own honey.    $18.00   (No picture available)

Plain Cheese pizza with tomato sauce and mozzarella.     $14.00

Classic Margherita with crushed tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil and Parmesan  $16.00

How to Order: Please place your order a day in advance before 5:00 pm, this allows us to prepare enough fresh dough and toppings.

Call or text 860-810-8802 to place your order and specify when you would like your pizza to be ready for pick-up. Forms of payment include Venmo, Exact Cash or Check.

To maintain physical distancing, we will have a pick-up station that’s clearly marked. Stonewell Farm is located at 39 Beckwith Rd., Killingworth, CT 06419

Wood-Fired Pizza from Stonewell Farm – Saturday, June 27th.

This weekend we’re firing up the beehive oven and preparing more pizzas only on  Saturday, June 27th. from 5:00 – 8:00 pm. We try to change the menu every weekend but some perennial favorites will be included.

Authentic Wood-Fired Pizza from Stonewell Farm

 Saturday only- June 27th

5:00 PM – 8:00 PM

We’ll be firing up the oven again and preparing 14″ Pizzas-To-Go.  Please scroll to the bottom for information on how to order. The pizzas we’re offering this Saturday are:

  • Bacon, caramelized onion, sauteed mushroom and a blend of three cheeses.    $18.00
  • Shrimp, Tuscan white bean puree, basil and a blend of pecorino and romano cheeses.    $18.00   (No Picture available)
  • Classic Margarita with crushed tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil and Parmesan  $16.00
  • Plain Cheese pizza with tomato sauce and mozzarella.     $14.00

Order by 5:00 pm Friday, this allows us to prepare enough fresh dough and toppings.

Call or text 860-810-8802 to place your order and specify when you would like your pizza to be ready for pick-up. Forms of payment include Venmo, Exact Cash or Check. While you’re here, pick up a dozen of our beautiful, fresh free-range eggs, they’ll be at the pick-up station.

To maintain physical distancing, we will have a pick-up station that’s clearly marked. Stonewell Farm is located at 39 Beckwith Rd., Killingworth, CT 06419

Wood-Fired Pizza from Stonewell Farm-Today & Tomorrow

This revises the dates from the previous post. Back by popular demand, we’re firing up the beehive oven and preparing more pizzas this coming weekend, Fri. June 19th and Sat. June 20th. from 5:00 – 8:00 pm. We try to change the menu every weekend but some perennial favorites will be included.

Authentic Wood-Fired Pizza from Stonewell Farm

Friday, June 19th & Saturday June 2oth

5:00 PM – 8:00 PM

We’ll be firing up the oven again and preparing 14″ Pizzas-To-Go.  Please scroll to the bottom for information on how to order. The pizzas we’re offering this weekend are:

  • Bacon, caramelized onion, sauteed mushroom and a blend of three cheeses.    $18.00
  • Garlicky Shrimp, sun-dried tomato pesto (from our garden) and a blend of three cheeses.    $18.00   (No Picture available)
  • Spinach, sauteed garlic, ricotta and Pecorino-Romano cheese.   $18.00    (No Picture available)
  • Classic Margherita with crushed tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil and Parmesan  $16.00
  • Plain Cheese pizza with tomato sauce and mozzarella.     $14.00

Order a day in advance, this allows us to prepare enough fresh dough and toppings.

Call or text 860-810-8802 to place your order and specify when you would like your pizza to be ready for pick-up. Forms of payment include Venmo, Exact Cash or Check. While you’re here, pick up a dozen of our beautiful, fresh free-range eggs, they’ll be at the pick-up station.

To maintain physical distancing, we will have a pick-up station that’s clearly marked. Stonewell Farm is located at 39 Beckwith Rd., Killingworth, CT 06419

Wood-Fired Pizza from Stonewell Farm

Three years ago we finished our stone, wood fired oven. Over the years numerous friends, neighbors and family have enjoyed the exceptional ‘pizza rustica’ that this authentic beehive oven produces and have suggested we make  our pizzas available to the wider public. And so, during this difficult time of maintaining physical and social distancing, we’re pleased to offer these pizzas to you, our neighbors

Authentic Wood-Fired Pizza from Stonewell Farm

Friday, June 12th & Saturday June 13th

5:00 PM – 8:00 PM

We’ll be firing up the oven and preparing 14″ Pizzas-To-Go. The pizzas we’re offering this weekend are:

Bacon, caramelized onion, sauteed mushroom and a blend of three cheeses.    $18.00

Garlicky Shrimp, Cilantro pesto (from our garden) and a blend of three cheeses.    $18.00

(No Picture available)

Plain Cheese pizza with tomato sauce and mozzarella.     $14.00

Classic Margherita with crushed tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil and Parmesan  $16.00
Broccoli, crushed tomato and a blend of three cheeses & parmesan  $18.00

How to Order: It’s best to place your order a day in advance, this allows us to prepare enough fresh dough and toppings.

Call or text 860-810-8802 to place your order and specify when you would like your pizza to be ready for pick-up. Forms of payment include Venmo, Exact Cash or Check.

To maintain physical distancing, we will have a pick-up station that’s clearly marked. Stonewell Farm is located at 39 Beckwith Rd., Killingworth, CT 06419

In the pandemic.

During this disastrous global health crisis, we are all inclined to want to ’do something’ to help, or ameliorate others’ suffering, and so it feels perversely counterintuitive to self-sequester in our homes, and yet complying with that demand is the best thing we can all do for ourselves and one another to ‘flatten the curve’. Because I possess some fabric, elastic and sewing skills, my ability to make some masks to distribute to our health care workers in need of essential PPE has felt empowering during this time of fear and helplessness. I know others feel the same and share my tremendous gratitude to those who continue to provide truly essential services that sustain the well- being of our community.

We, my husband Andrew and I, live in a relatively rural town of 6500 people considered to be a community of the Connecticut shoreline. Our property comprises 5 acres of mixed woodland, wetland and cultivated land. We moved here from a one bedroom apartment in upper Manhattan, my home of 25 years, in 2007. For me, a native New Yorker, this was a big change and a significant lifestyle adjustment. For Andrew, a deracinated Englishman native to rural Yorkshire with deep roots in the traditions of farming, agriculture and horticulture, this was a shift that felt closer to home than NYC.

Our ‘country’ lifestyle makes adapting to the current “sheltering in place” restrictions far less onerous than it is for most people. This in itself should provide an element of relative comfort, but it doesn’t really.  We worry about our loved ones, friends and family, many of whom live in the UK or in the greater NY area. This pandemic overwhelms ones’ thoughts, emotions and behaviors in ways that we’ve never before encountered.

We benefit from a measure of self-sufficiency but we are certainly not of the survivalist ilk. We are artists and designers. We design gardens and outdoor environments for a living, but our own ‘terrain’ has evolved as much, if not more than any of our clients.  When we planned our landscape, we included two sizeable “kitchen gardens”, an herb garden, an orchard, and what we call the Fruit Garden in which we cultivate red and black currants, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, gooseberries which are enclosed by a living fence of espaliered apple and Asian pear trees. We preserve much of our produce, either by canning, freezing or fermenting. We do it because we can and we know where our food is coming from.

Grapevines artfully conceal a covered, outdoor ‘chicken run’ providing our feathered friends with cooling shade in the summer and us with the ingredients for jelly and wine. The chickens provide a plentiful supply of eggs, more than enough to share with others, and the bee hives produce more than enough honey for the bees and us. Wood stoves heat our house and we harvest wood from the property, spending many winter and autumn hours cutting, splitting and stacking fuel. It keeps our strength up.

When we do shop, usually once a month, for various dry goods, dairy, wine and beer, we purchase in bulk because we can. A fifty pound bag of bread flour lasts more than a month, and that’s with weekly bread baking; a twenty-five pound bag of all-purpose flour and a ten pound bag of semolina last considerably longer, as they are used for making pasta, and general baking. Not all, but quite a lot of dairy products get frozen in a five foot long chest freezer, along with casseroles, curries and quiches that I’ve gotten into the habit of making, marathon style, to avoid having to cook every day. We grow hedges of basil and I freeze quarts of pesto. It’s all good.  All good; but what about those who can’t, who don’t have these options?

We have barely left the property for ten days or more. I went out once, last week, to drop off face masks I’ve made at a depot set-up at the Town Hall for distribution to health care workers. Andrew went to a client/ neighbor’s to prune the fruit trees in their orchard. We maintain extreme social distancing. We do not face the worry about food security or availability or the risk of being infected with the coronavirus multiple times a day like some of our city and suburban family and friends. My heart breaks for them; for the anxiety they are experiencing, the stress they are under.

Ordinarily, the stone pizza oven that we built several years ago is fired up for entertaining, as wood-fired stone ovens take a few hours to come up to the 900 F temperature needed to make proper pizza, and, although we have, in the past, fired it up, once or twice, for baking multiple loaves of bread at the same time, or smoking peppers for the pantry, now that we’re in sequestration it seems strange and lonely to think of using it without the bustling company of six or eight or ten friends. We’re not especially social, in fact, the reverse argument could be made, however, a similarly strange feeling of isolation and loneliness hangs like a shroud when we set a fire in the fire-pit. Gone is the spontaneous phone call to friends inviting them over for a glass of wine and a bonfire “because it’s a beautiful evening.”  Yes, the two of us still light a blazing fire, and we’re mindful of how fortunate we are to enjoy such a primal pleasure, while our city friends and family isolate in claustrophobic incarceration in apartments too small, in a city shut down and too vast to appease them, where every outing to the grocery store or the laundromat or to walk the dog is fraught with the risk of viral infection.

Last week, Andrew cut back the berry canes and trained in the ones that will produce fruit this summer, while I sowed seeds for poppies and hollyhocks throughout the gardens. Today he pruned the fruit trees in the orchard and cut back some of the ornamental grasses. I took my daily 5 mile walk, tended to plants in the greenhouse, and then sewed some more face masks until I ran out of elastic for the earpieces. Tomorrow, perhaps, we will cut back the currant bushes, prune some of the roses, work-out the crop rotation plan for this coming season’s vegetable garden. There is no lack of things that need doing, and yet it is the uncertainty of what the near future holds and the awesome, invisible power that the Coronavirus-19 wields that disorients and renders the normal, seasonal activities and routines so, Oh ..I can’t find the words;… unroutine.

The very act of gardening is an expression of optimism, an act of faith. No one would plant a seed if they didn’t believe in the possibility of its reaching fruition. No one would utter a prayer if they didn’t believe it would reach the ears of God.

 

Caponata – Queen of Condiments

Caponata that's been canned and processed in a pressure canner.

Caponata that’s been canned and processed in a pressure canner.

There’s that magical moment during the gardening season when the eggplants, onions, celery, peppers and tomatoes are ready for harvesting all at the same time and that’s the time to make Caponata, the exquisite Sicilian concoction that enlivens the palate with the rich flavors of late summer vegetables and the ‘agrodolce’ sparkle of vinegar, olives, capers and herbs.  Most of the ingredients come from my garden, however, this queen of condiments cannot be prepared without copious amounts of good olive oil, and, of course, the capers and olives. The real skill here is time, lots and lots of time. The dice of the eggplant must be  1/2″ to 3/4″. The eggplant must be salted and left to weep its water content for a few hours, and then wrung tightly in a towel to squeeze out every last drop of moisture. (It’s best to have two people do this), and when it’s fried, it must be evenly brown. Not burnt, not just golden, but BROWN.  The celery and peppers ( not all recipes include peppers) must be fried till they are almost brown. The onions must be brown, not golden, not wilted, BROWN. The tomatoes must be peeled and rid of their seeds. The whole process takes many hours, 6 at the minimum. The olive oil must be top quality, the capers and olives as well. The vinegar, well,  after all this work, why not use a good quality balsamic vinegar? I hedge my bets, using our own apple cider vinegar to ensure adequate acid when preparing the tomato sauce component, and then finish it off with a large dose of rich balsamic vinegar for flavor and color. Salt? A dear friend brought back some wonderful Sel de Guerantes which adds another layer of richness, but any old salt will do (you might not even need it since the eggplant’s been salted).

We preserve our Caponata by processing it in a pressure canner (25 minutes at 5 lbs. pressure), as this is really the only guaranteed safe way to preserve it.  (You could try the boiling water bath method but this is not recommended. If you decide to risk this, I suggest you double the amount of vinegar to ensure a higher acidity level).

Recipe. I follow the late Leslie Land’s recipe, which I’ve linked below. I alter the recipe somewhat by adding a dash of cinnamon, green bell peppers and sometimes raisins.

http://leslieland.com/2008/09/choosing-good-eggplants-and-making-them-into-caponata-the-ultimate-vegetable-preserve/

If you try making this let me know how it turns out. Cheers.

Pizza Pop-Up Dinners at Stonewell Farm – Sept. 16th, 17th & 18th, 2016

Three Pop-Up Dinner Events at Stonewell Farm in Killingworth, Connecticut

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This just might be the highlight of the season as we head into Fall.  Chef Paul Barron and Weekend Kitchen team up with Stonewell Farm to host 3 evenings of farm-to-table dining that make for a memorable event. Gather some friends and enjoy delicious food featuring artisanal pizzas prepared in Stonewell Farm’s wood-fired oven, with wine pairings, and live acoustic guitar in a setting that will take your breath away. Your hosts, Andrew Pighills and Michelle Becker are award-winning garden designers and  will provide tours of the extensive gardens including perennial borders, an espaliered orchard and the organic kitchen and herb gardens from which much of your meal will be sourced.

Dates:

Friday, September 16th 2016,               6:00 pm

Saturday, September 17th, 2016          5:30 pm

Sunday, September 18th, 2016             5:30 pm

Cost:

$75.00 per person

The prix-fixe menu includes appetizers, organic salad from Stonewell Farm, unlimited artisanal wood-fired pizzas highlighting locally sourced ingredients with a glass of wine accompaniment, and a dessert made with local, seasonal fruits. To cap it off, the evening will conclude with a bonfire in the stone firepit (so bring your best ghost stories).

Guests are encouraged to BYOB.

Reservations:

To book a reservation, contact:

9/16, 17 &18 Wood fired Pizza Pop-Up Dinner with Chef Paul Barron

 

 

How to Build a Stone Wall

The end of the final day of the workshop. Phew!

The end of the final day of the workshop. Phew!

If you live in a place where there are a lot of stone walls you’ve probably admired them. Dry stone walls are timeless, classic, and stand as testimonies to historic and cultural traditions that have been usurped by strip malls and housing developments that hollow us of a sense of place and belonging.   Perhaps you’ve thought about having some built on your property, or, if you have stone at your place, you’ve thought of building some yourself. If you’d like to know more about the history ,the dynamics and details of constructing dry stone walls, that is, walls without mortar, you couldn’t do better than to sign on for a workshop with Andrew Pighills.

Andrew will be teaching a week-end long, dry stone wall building workshop on Saturday and Sunday, April 28th and 29th at Stonewell Farm in Killingworth, Connecticut. For more information please contact me at: mb@mbeckerco.com and I will send you registration materials.