Monday, February 27, 2012

Table Setting: Winter Into Spring {VIDEO}

Hey, y'all! It's that time of year when the seasons begin to overlap, and what better way to welcome in the spring than with a fresh tablescape? This new video is about mixing and matching at the table with patterns, textures, and flowers. So what are you waiting for? Pull up a chair at this Farmer's table!

Table Setting: Winter to Spring from James Farmer on Vimeo.

Special thanks to Room Eleven Media for producing this video.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Winter Herbs: Take Home Favors with Farmer Style {VIDEO}

This new video is all about bringing the garden to the table, y'all. I'll show you how to put together some simple take-home favors for your dinner guests using winter herbs. From this Farmer's garden to yours!

Special thanks to Room Eleven Media for producing this video.

The Winner

Huge thanks to all who participated in the Sip & Savor Valentine's Day give away! I'm pleased to announce that the All Things Farmer team loved Chelesa Nelson's homemade chicken pot pie and heart shaped biscuit she made for her valentine (her mama).

Chelsea please email your address to to redeem your prize!

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Ahhh—the sound of savoring that first or last sip of a refreshing drink, whether it’s a favorite punch, a fizzy beverage, a mason jar of lemonade, or a tall glass of the South’s House Wine—Sweet Tea. Whatever your pleasure, there’s a recipe for that special “Sumthin’ Sumthin’” you’ve got a hankering for in the pages of my new book, Sip &; Savor!

Yes, ma’am! Yes, sir! This Farmer has a new book coming out this April, and I cannot wait to share it with y’all! I’ve packed Sip &; Savor with drink recipes for everything life throws our way—from occasions, events, gatherings, and celebrations, to the casual moment on your back porch that helps you unwind from the day. As with all of my work, there’s a special garden twist with many of the recipes in the book as well!

I hope you’ll join me in raising your glass, your jar, or your julep cup to toast the release of Sip & Savor

To commemorate this momentous occasion, in addition to helping myself to a tall glass of Sweet Tea, I want to offer you, dear readers, a chance to WIN an ADVANCE COPY of Sip & Savor!

We want to know how YOU have infused your Valentine’s Day with some Farmer Style! Whether it’s a recipe, a flower arrangement, or a table setting, we want to know how you have taken something from my blog, All Things Farmer, and brought it into your own life to celebrate this Day of Love! Share your Farmer Style Valentine’s Moment with us over on my Facebook Page —feel free to take a picture—for a chance to win a signed, advance copy of Sip & Savor! Deadline for entry is February 15th. At that time, me and fellow blogger Sarah Barry Spooner will decide which Farmer Style Valentine’s Day wins a copy of Sip & Savor!

I can’t wait to see what y’all cook up!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Skinny Pork Chop Scaloppini

Technically defined as “thin cuts of meat, sautéed and cooked in a rich sauce,” the scaloppini fashion for cooking pork, chicken, and veal is simple and elegant. In the midst of my stew, soup and comfort food wintertime phase, I ere toward the side of something fresh and light in betwixt the heaviness comfort food affords. Enter my Skinny Pork Chop Scaloppini.


Lemon, garlic, thyme, rosemary, parsley and white wine all meld and mélange together to form a succulent sauce with the renderings of the thinly slice pork cutlets. Why pork for this dish? Well, to quote my Mimi, “If I have to eat one more piece of chicken, I may scream! There IS another white meat!” Upon delivery of such a statement, Mimi and I drove to a fast food chain and scarffed down cheeseburgers and fries. Sometimes there is nothing better. Back to the dish at hand!

Like my Mimi, I do like a break from chicken and thinly sliced pork cutlets fit the bill. Veal too is luscious in this manner but many folks have an aversion to said meat; thus, the pork cutlets make do marvelously. This cut of meat is economical, easy to handle and the perfect portion to plate. They brown well, yielding that flavor as a delightful element for the sauce. Ahhhhh – the sauce!

I tend to crave a buerre blanc sauce, relishing that phenomenal combo of lemon, garlic and wine. Once the cutlets have browned, a hearty splash of good white wine deglazes the pan, forcing those browned bits of meat and garlic to relinquish their hold on the skillet’s bottom and bond together with the wine. Letting the wine simmer and reduce concentrates the flavor of liquid and helps tenderize the meat. A liberal squeeze of lemon gives a tangy, citrusy, floral note – what joy shall fill my soul!

My baby sister loves pasta and marinara. I lean toward cream sauces and this sauce. But for this meal, a sauce of crushed tomatoes, parmesan, and garlic over fun macaroni pasta made the bed for my pork scaloppini. I love how the wine and lemon actually enhanced and complemented the tomato sauce, for I worried they may be too much of good things… too much of a good things that simply remained good things.

Obsessed and addicted to roasted cauliflower, I roasted some to serve with this meal. Olive oil, salt and pepper on thinly sliced cauliflower and then roasted – ab fab! I’ve roasted about everything I can, but cauliflower just might be fave.


With a crazy schedule of book tours, speaking engagements, and a design business to boot, I love nothing more than a meal that is so simple and elegant, easy to prep and plate, and full of flavor bursts and complementary textures.  This meal is all the above – it’s even “purdy” enough for company! Your schedules are full too with kids, work, family and so forth, so I hope this dish makes its way to your table. Dashes of thyme, parsley, and even a scant bit of rosemary add zips from the garden and some freshness too. 

From this Farmer’s kitchen to your table and tummy, enjoy some Skinny Pork Chop Scaloppini!

Skinny Pork Chop Scaloppini

  • 1 package of thinly sliced pork cutlets (about 5-6 cutlets)
  • Heaping cup of good quality white wine – really close to a cup and a half
  • Heaping tablespoon or two of minced garlic
  • Juice of one lemon or half a large lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Tablespoon of parsley, thyme and rosemary minced with salt

Heat the oil in an iron skillet or sauté pan until hot, patting the pork cutlets dry with paper towels in the meantime.


Place the cutlets in the oil and watch them sizzle and brown, salting and peppering the exposed side and spreading the garlic on the meat too. Flip the cutlets after two minutes or when the meat easily releases from the pan.

Season the now upturned brown side and cook for another minute. Add the white wine and allow the pan to deglaze and the wine to reduce by half. You may have to scrape some of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan if the wine doesn’t release them. Flip the cutlets again and again if need be to keep ‘em moving and the sauce turned. 

Once the wine has reduced, squeeze the lemon juice over the pork and remove from heat.  Add the herbs of your choice for savory, green flavor and serve over warm pasta, risotto, mashed potatoes, peas, or with steamed or roasted vegetables. Garnish with parsley and lemon – since we eat with our eyes first, it’s fun to see the flavors before we’ve tasted them! Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Farmer’s in the Stew, The Farmer's in the Stew’s, High Ho the Merry O…

Comfort food – the words alone bring comfort. It may be macaroni and cheese, chicken and dumplings, meat and three or simply lovin’ from the oven. Whatever your comfort food is, there is something about the wintertime that makes us long for, yearn for and crave it! Maybe we’re inside too much away from the sun’s warmth or need to sooth winter blues or even just feel like nesting in our own abodes that make this time of year the time for comfort food. These foods feed our souls as well as bellies and help us make it through another long winter. 


This winter has been mild, pleasant, and, I might say, quite enjoyable for this Farmer. I must confess, it is my second favorite season – I love seeing the lines of the limbs against the winter blue sky, the rye grass beneath the gray pecan groves, the deep shadows of thick pinelands, and the general thought of a time for rest before the high buzz of the coming vernal equinox.

Speaking of the latter, spring-like temps have abounded this winter in my neck of the woods, my appetite, though, still turns towards the foodstuffs of cold winter days. Chilies, soups, stews (this dish notwithstanding) have been on my plate and on all those, too, who have supped with me this season. I love making a big pot or pan of something that will feed me for days as well as my staff, family and friends – when you make this dish, all three will surely be in tow!
This dish is also a memory bank of flavors for me. First off, the creamy chicken stew bit is a reminder of a Middle Georgia institution – The New Perry Hotel. They served a cream of turkey soup with hard tack biscuits that was a staple of Middle Georgia cuisine. It never fails, when folks find out where I’m from, they always have a memory or story about The New Perry Hotel. It was always the stop of all stops for those en route to Florida or Georgia’s Golden Isles and many a family has dined at the white linen clad tables, eaten this very soup, adored the camellia prints on the walls and the live specimens in the garden, and smiled at the bud vases filled with the latter blossoms or whatever may be in season.

Mrs. Mary makes THE BEST biscuits. I cannot duplicate, recreate or copy hers. They are small but not tack-like. Butter browned tops with gauzy innards, these divinities are my favorite thing she makes. She will even make them and freeze them for me. But since I cannot have Mrs. Mary’s biscuits, Mary B’s brand of frozen biscuits is a close second. I love the tea biscuit size and the larger size too. This line has won this Farmer over to store-bought biscuits. I use them for this dish and conserve my Mrs. Mary’s for selfish indulgence and very, VERY special occasions. I did learn to share in kindergarten but since Mrs. Mary cannot come cook that often, her biscuits are a treasure I hoard!

Combining memories of The New Perry Hotel and Mrs. Mary’s biscuits makes this dish ever so much more delightful.  I made a batch and it has fed us for days. I’m sure another batch is due before Old Man Winter bids adieu. Since I’m somewhat of a grownup now too, I even paired a wine with this dish. An “un-oaked” chardonnay, meaning it is fermented in a metal case not an oak barrel. One tastes more of the grape than the wood and this wine won me over. Besides, it was under twenty dollars at Whole Foods and so the bargain factor added to the charm.

With this wine, I’m toasting to Creamy Chicken Stew with Biscuits. I hope a skillet, casserole dish, Dutch oven or whatever brings you comfort of this recipe finds its way to your table. Add some parsley for winter zest and color and a nod to garden living too! From this Farmer’s home to yours, may the comfort of winter be warm and delicious!


Creamy Chicken Stew with Biscuits 
  • 4 thinly sliced boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 medium red onion or ½ large onion (chopped)
  • 2 cups of raw carrots, diced and chopped into rounds
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • Heavy dash of seasoned salt
  • Heavy dash of Nature’s Seasoning
  • 2 TBSP. Olive oil
  • 2TBSP. Butter
  • 12 Mary B’s  buttermilk biscuits
  • 1/3 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup of sour cream
  • ¾ cup of flour
  • 4cups of chicken stock

On a greased baking sheet, dress the chicken with olive oil, seasoned salt, and Nature’s Seasoning. Remove biscuits from package and allow them to come to room temperature. Roast at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and dress the other side of chicken. Continue roasting for another 5-7 minutes – a total of15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest for about 10 minutes. While the chicken is still warm, shred the chicken with two forks and set aside – this should yield approximately 2-3 cups.

Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven pan, and add the onion to the oil, followed by butter, seasoned salt, chicken bouillon cubes, and Nature’s Seasoning. Remember what this Farmer says – oil for temperature and butter for flavor! For the oil browns the onions and such and the butter is the flavor part.

Once the onions become translucent, add the chopped celery. After the celery starts to tenderize, add carrots. Once carrots, celery, and onions are tender, add the garlic to the mixture and cook for another two minutes, stirring to incorporate well.

Add flour to the vegetable mixture, constantly stirring for one minute (keep stirring so that the mixture does not clump or burn.) Once the flour and vegetable mixture is thickened and the roux is forming, add the chicken stock, followed by the heavy cream and sour cream. Stir until the sour cream is dissolved and bring to a simmer. Add the shredded chicken, stir it into mixture, and remove from heat.


In a greased casserole dish, add the chicken stew mixture, leaving ¾  inch at the top. Place thawed biscuits on top of the casserole, baking at 375 degrees until the biscuits are golden brown on top. Fair warning – your kitchen will smell divine! Add thyme leaves or sage to the biscuit dough for a flair of flora but this is marvelous in its own simplicity too!
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