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edible assests, foodshed recovery, habitat synthesis, garden consulting and inner crops by Shelly

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Smoked Turkey, Mushroom and Leek Gnocchi – Yum!



At Thanksgiving, we were given a 20 pound smoked Turkey.  I had already purchased a 20 pound Turkey to cook.

So, I cut up the smoked Turkey into large parts and sealed it with my friend’s borrowed suck ‘n seal (that’s what I like to call it).  Then I froze the portions I had made.

Yesterday I pulled a frozen smoked Turkey breast package from the freezer and let it thaw in the frig.

For dinner, I was inspired to cook Archie some Gnocchi because he loves this dish.



2 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 smoked turkey breast

1 package of fresh made Gnocchi (found in the refrigerator section available at Whole Foods)

1 leek

1 – 8 ounce package of ‘Chef’s Sampler’ mushrooms (available at Whole Foods)

2 cloves of garlic

2/3 cup of dry white wine

2 cups of heavy cream

3/4 to 1 cup Parmesan cheese shredded or grated very thin.

salt and pepper



Cut the turkey into cubes and set aside.

Start a stock pot of water to boiling for Gnocchi.

Cut off the dark green leaves of the leek and discard or save for soup making at another time.  Cut the end of the leek off and cut it in half.  Then cut the leek into 1/4″ slices.  Place these into a bowl of water and swish around to remove soil.  The pieces will float to the top.  Remove them with your hands leaving the soil at the bottom of the bowl.  Place pieces in strainer to remove excess water.

Wash mushrooms, drain and cut into mouth size pieces.

Put 2 Tbsp spoons of butter and 1 Tbsp spoons of olive oil in sauce pan and heat to medium.

Put mushrooms into pan and cook until almost done.  Add salt and pepper, just a bit.

Add leeks to pan and continue to cook until translucent.

Hold off on cooking the Gnocchi.  They will take 45 seconds to cook in near boiling water.

When guests are seated; pour the wine into the mixture and let cook down 3 minutes or so.

Now add the heavy cream and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Press garlic and add to sauce. Let this mixture reduce while stirring constantly.

If you add the garlic in the oil your flavor will be sharp and more pronounced.  I like subtle garlic flavor.

When cream mixture in near to the thickness you desire, add the smoked Turkey pieces.  Add more salt and pepper according to taste.

Now begin cooking the Gnocchi.  Watch the pot.  Cook 45 seconds.

Drain the Gnocchi and place on a dish.  Pour the sauce mixture over the top of the Gnocchi and serve.

I served this dish with a winter kale salad.  The salad included Kale cut in ribbons, roasted Butternut Squash cubes, Kasha and walnuts in a light dressing.

The dinner was a hit!

I hope you can try this recipe- you will not be disappointed.  And it’s really simple to make.

Thanks for reading!




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Post Harvest and Fall Foods

Below are some of my favorite pictures from worth while foods and their combinations.  These foods have proven to have soul.  They are beautiful and taste amazing.

Try to put together in one meal what nature is putting out.  The combinations are naturally wonderfully together.

Thanks to our new flock of hens for the really fine eggs we love.  And thanks to John Euser for the heritage cornmeal and recipe that follows.

Happy growing, eating and sharing…

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The Cats are Here

This year, the Monarchs’ arrival seems late.  Just yesterday I began egg harvesting.  Luckily, I also found a few tiny caterpillars.  On one Milkweed there was a community of insects living together. I wouldn’t say they were all living “happily ever after”…

Ants see Monarch eggs as though they’re a smoothie.  Then they suck them up.  Spiders devour the eggs of a Monarch.  Ladybugs love them as well.  And I know wasps target the things in a variety of stages.  But even with all the effort one female makes to lay over 400 eggs; the chances to complete their life cycle and become a butterfly is slim.

Please return to this site to keep up on the Monarch project at Local Dirt.

Thanks for loving nature and keeping your footprint small!

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Old Soda- the Real Deal…

The first thing is to prepare the “ginger bug” in advance of the flavoring.  Here’s the how-to:

Cut a three inch or so piece of fresh ginger into pieces the size of carpenter bees.  Leave the skin on the ginger.

Place the ginger pieces and 1 1/2 Tbsp of sugar in a one-pint mason jar and fill to the bottom ridge of the jar with filtered water.

Place the lid on and put the jar in a semi-warm location.  My first batch was placed in the pantry.  I found this location too cool to assist the fermentation of the bug.

Check the bug after a day or so. Remove the lid and add 1/2 tsp of sugar watching to see if the liquid bubbles.  If it bubbles up it is ready. The bubbles may be very tiny to see.  I had to put my glasses on!

This process may take a few days. Temperature and conditions determine the time of this process.  If it does not bubble up put another 1/2 tsp sugar into the jar, place the lid on and return to pantry.  You might want to add a bit more ginger if the liquid seems flat and unresponsive.

When you have the bug ready you should be ready to add the flavoring.  Flavoring can be as varied as a garden.  Maybe you like lemon and Thyme together.  It might be that strawberries and lavender sound good to you.  In any event, take fruit or herbs and combine this in your planning -checking the garden and or your neighbors…!

Take 8 cups of water along with your fruit and or herbs and spices and place in a pot.

An example is:

1 1/2 tsp dried lavender

3/4 to 1 cup fresh strawberries

8 cups of water

Place in a saucepan and simmer covered 20-30 minutes.  Let this cool a bit then strain out the fruit. Dissolve 1/2 cup or more sugar (sweeten to your liking).  Let this liquid cool overnight. The following morning, pour 1/2 half of the bug into one 25 ounce bottle and the other half into the second 25 ounce  bottle. Then pour half of the fruit liquid into each bottle. Select bottles that have a narrow neck and a tight fitting cap. Fill only to the top of the bottle’s shoulder keeping the neck space free of liquid.  Cap and place in a semi-warm location.  The bottles must be checked daily to burp off the building gas.  Do this carefully over the sink.  If there are lots of bubble happening you can place the bottles into the refrigerator. If you omit checking your soda daily and releasing a bit of gas; expect that the bottle might likely explode.  There have been reports of this!

If you would like to strain off any floating fermented residue you can run the liquid through fine mesh and then funnel back into the soda bottles and return to the frig.

Now you can drink up the flavors of your garden…soda


Compliments to Emily Newman for this recipe.

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Persimmon Blueberry Bread Pudding with Brandy Anglaise

persimmon bread pudding

I was looking for a way to use a few persimmons that were slower to ripen from the large crop haul earlier this winter.  I found a recipe and have adapted it to my creative kitchen.  All ingredients are organic.  Why all organic you might ask.  This choice is for my passion to preserve our dear Earth and help to sustain it through right-farming and sustainable practices.  My purchase choices hope to reward those who tend our earth with their good efforts. I hope through buying foods from organic growers and ranchers I can help to sustain them.  This recipe is a yummy dessert for dinner with family or friends.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8×8 baking dish.  Don’t use butter it will burn.  I use ghee.



1 1/2 cups of Hachiya persimmon pulp, make sure it’s soft and sweet

4 cups of stale bread cubes  (I used cinnamon raisin bread and cut it into 3/4″ cubes- prepare a day or so in advance)

1 1/2 cups of whole milk

3/4 cups of brown sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup of toasted walnuts chopped

1/2 cup of fresh blueberries

a couple of bold shakes of cinnamon

Mix milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt together.  Add the persimmon pulp.

In a large bowl, pour mixture over the bread cubes and allow the mixture to soak into the bread.  Don’t let the bread cubes get too soggy.  Pour this mixture into a greased baking dish and place in the center of the oven.  Watch the time as the bread may begin to over cook around the edges.  I covered part of my dish with strips of aluminum foil around the edges at 35 minutes and baked another 12 minutes or so.

I think my oven runs a bit on the hot side.  The original recipe says to bake 40 minutes at 375 degrees.  I was afraid I would burn the bread at this temperature so I turned it down a bit.

A warm Brandy anglaise topped this dessert just fine.

Here is the recipe for the  Brandy anglaise sauce.

1 cup milk

1 cup heavy cream

5 egg yokes

1/2 cup sugar

2 TBL spoons Brandy

In a sauce pan combine 1 cup milk and 1 cup cream. Heat should be medium to medium low. Be carefully and do not allow mixture to boil.  Stir regularly.  Now beat 5 egg yokes together with 1/2 cup of sugar until mixture is pale yellow.  Add the egg mixture very, very slowly to the cooking milk and cream.  Stir it in as you go.  If you add the egg mixture too quickly you will have scrambled eggs!  When all the egg mixture is added to the milk/cream base cook to about 160 degrees or until the liquid coats the back of a spoon when dipped.  img_0216img_0217 Remove from heat and let it cool some, then and add 2 TBL spoons of Brand.

Serve bread pudding after it has been removed from the oven 20 minutes or more.  Pour the Brandy anglaise into the serving dish and then add portion of bread pudding.  You can also pour a little anglaise on top of the bread pudding or add home made whipped cream.

This recipe gained raving dessert fans.  Enjoy!



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Least of All

We begin this season, most of all, trying to acquire most of all. The least of us will celebrate this Christmas with the least of all. Here is a poem, inspired by the style of Robert Lax. May it fill your heart, empty your pockets to the poor. May it enrich your spirit. May it nourish your soul. May it bring light to the least. How Merry is your Christmas?

Least of All

by Shelly Euser


















While living in Patmos; I became acquainted with Robert Lax. At the time, Robert was well into his purpose of serving Jesus with simple poems of recognition and praise. Robert’s clear blue eyes, fixed on yours, could burn meaning into a simple word of response. He was brief at every opportunity. And every word given by his love for Jesus was elevated by its simplicity and worth. This Christmas; I remember Robert’s love for savior Jesus.



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Our Fruits Talk

persimmonh20Our fruits talk about us…

There are persimmons to eat. They have been dehydrated too. Pomegranates cooling in the keeper are waiting.  The seeds will go into a winter salad.  A bag of oranges given to me today from Mary Ann’s father-in-law’s tree will be shared tomorrow morning at a ladies’ brunch.  Walnuts sit by the wood stove ready for a whack from my hammer then to fall from their shells by my fingers.  Other walnuts shelled tonight were toasted and now sit in dough rising for tomorrow’s baked bread.

Our fruits talk about us.  They reveal our character, some qualities, hobbies and inclinations.  Our fruits are full of information about us.

But there are other fruits of this season.  They are invisible until they are received or given to another.  They are made from the inside out.  Usually they grow from hardship, from suffering or from selfishness recognized.  They can grow from compassionate observation.

Yep, I said it.  They grow when we struggle.  When we humble ourselves to the hurt caused by ignorance and recognize a better way toward love; we begin to grow tiny fruit inside us.  This fruit grows when we least feel prolific.  Sometimes we are broken from a love lost.  Sometimes we sit with pennies to our name wondering how we will feed a family of children we have brought into this world.  There are times when grief overcomes us because someone we cherish dies.  Hard times bring the fruit on if we don’t grow bitterness and resentment, selfishness or pride.

Sometimes our old habits and expectations sequester these fruits because they call us to dance to the beat of a different drum.  And we are embarrassed.  The humble fruits are fruits of the spirit.  They are Divine fruit.  That’s with a big D.

You can often tell how much hell someone has been through and how much insight they have achieved from the grace they emit.  These people are like magnets.  You can’t help your attraction to them.  They have peace and they are gentle.  Gentle people might be seen weak; but that is the least true of them.  The word gentle means strength-in-control.  Gentleness can tell the truth and still not harm another’s feelings.  It isn’t in a hurry to be noticed or to be the center of it all.  Here are some fruits you may have noticed in others or may be growing yourself:










I’m not a know-it-all.  I have made ample choices with flawed awareness.  I have suffered and so have my kids.  But in all this muddle; I come awake and I see the reason for my lessons.  My stuff now is to watch for the fruit by giving to the orchard growing up inside me.  So, if you see the lights on inside your heart this season, give it up to some goodness, kindness, patience, peace, joy and above all love.  Bring it on out into the world or to your neighbor or your spouse, a friend, or your kids.  Bring it to a stranger. Orphanages are wanting.  Homeless are suffering.  Many elderly are lonely. The ill need care.  The hungry need food.  The lonely need hugs.  We all need love.  So if you have it – give it.  If you need it – seek it.  Even if we don’t see eye-to-eye, we can still walk hand-in-hand.

Merry Christmas…

May the fruit of this season be yours!