Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I finally gave in...

I made something 'somewhat' Halloween-related. I couldn't get my energy up to make really intricate or cute cupcakes (like I have seen on so many awesome food blogs - like these and these), but I really wanted to use these Halloween mini-cupcake liners (a gift from my mother-in-law) -- and so, this blog-post was born.

I have also been making a lot of heavier desserts lately, and I wanted to make something that was lighter and more reasonable to eat as an after-dinner snack. I decided to make brownie "bites". After doing a solid recipe search and comparison, I decided on the recipe below, with some changes (of course!). The main change is that I substituted my recently made apple butter in place of most of the fat. I know that applesauce is a common substitute for oil, but I was a bit unsure of the apple butter, only because the spices are much stronger than in regular applesauce. But, there was no need for worry - the results were fabulous! My chocolate-loving husband was very happy to wake up to these on Sunday morning and I was happy knowing that I was not tempting him with something super-unhealthy.

Peanut-Butter Brownie Bites (adapted from BakingSheet)

Ingredients (makes ~ 24 bites)
6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1/3 scant cup apple butter (recipe adapted from Good Things Catered - so delicious!)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup peanut butter chips, plus more for topping
Mini-marshmallows (or homemade), for topping

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together cocoa, apple butter, vegetable oil, sugar and brown sugar.
3. Whisk in eggs one by one, followed by vanilla extract.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
5. Add flour mixture to cocoa mixture and stir until just combined.
6. Stir in peanut butter chips.
7. Fill mini-muffin cups evenly (about 3/4 full) with batter.
8. Bake for 12-16 minutes, until just set and slightly firm to the touch. A tester should have a few crumbs.
9. Top each warm brownie with a few peanut-butter chips. As they melt, press a marshmallow into the peanut butter. Let stand until set.

1. When I made the apple butter, I only used cinnamon (not the cloves or allspice) - I'm not sure if a "spicier" apple butter would make a difference in the brownies. Either way, the apple butter is so delicious, definitely give Katie's recipe a try.

2. These can be made using any kind of chips - white chocolate, dark chocolate, toffee chips, butterscotch, you get the idea...

3. As an FYI, these are not super-fudgy type brownies, they are a bit more cake-like - almost like a brownie cupcake.

Friday, October 26, 2007


I love mushrooms, but so often, they are part of a dish, rather than the star of a dish. I have been making this pasta dish for a few years now (originally from Cooking Light), especially perfect when you want a meatless dish but still want really full, strong flavors. The wine is just perfect and really adds to the comfort factor of this pasta. The recipe below is edited from the original, but you can find the original here.

Penne with Mushroom Sauce (adapted from Cooking Light)

2 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped carrots
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
10.5 ounces beef broth (or good vegetable broth)
1 (8 ounce) package button mushrooms, sliced
1 (8 ounce) package cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
4 cups hot cooked whole wheat penne rigate
Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley, for serving

1. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Add in onion, celery, and carrot; stir/saute for 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste; cook 2 minutes, stirring continually.
3. Add in wine; cook for 10 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Stir in thyme, pepper, and broth; bring to a boil; cook until reduced to 1 cup (about 3 minutes).
4. Strain through a sieve into a bowl; discard solids.
5. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Add in mushrooms; stir/saute for 5 minutes. Add in broth mixture and bring to a boil.
6. Lower heat, and simmer 5 minutes.
7. Combine water and cornstarch, add to mushroom mixture along with salt; bring to a boil.
Cook 1 minute or under the sauce has thickened enough to coat.
8. Combine pasta and sauce; tossing gently to coat. I top mine with parmesan cheese and a bit of chopped parsley.

A few notes - (1) I use whole wheat pasta, but regular semolina pasta is fine; (2) The addition of any other type of mushrooms is great, I add creminis, but wild mushrooms would also be excellent - you could even add more than the amount that I did; (3) to make this dish truly vegetarian, use vegetable broth instead of beef broth - homemade is the best! find my recipe here; (4) if you find the sauce to be too thick, just add a bit more liquid - its no problem. (5) feel free to add chicken, not vegetarian anymore, but its a delicious addition to the recipe.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Love these...

Red sunflowers - the colors are so beautifully vibrant and striking. They automatically put me in a good mood; especially when I come home from work and they are just sitting there, making my table look so beautiful, seemingly without any effort at all.

I decided to put my hat into the blogging event ring again for Centerpiece of the Month (originally from Talk of Tomatoes, but hosted this month by Whistlestop Cafe Cooking) using my beautiful flowers.

My lighting was not optimal for the below photos, but you can still see the insane depth of the color of the blooms. I paired them with some maples leaves I collected and the whole design just seemed to glow.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Street Food

I love street fairs - the food, the people, the art...We live close to New York City and are lucky to have all kinds of street fairs around in the summer and fall. My husband and I can never decide what to eat - Thai food, sausage and peppers, fresh smoothies, the list is practically never ending. I usually try to make healthy food at home, but like anyone else, who can turn down a good spring roll every now and then?

Back to tonight, I was making a pretty regular dinner (turkey meatloaf and roasted zucchini) and decided that we could use a treat to spice it up. I didn't have a lot to work with in the kitchen but I did have some mini-ravioli. My laptop forced me to google fried ravioli and the rest is history -- so so good. They were really easy to make and so fun to eat. No need for a deep fryer either. Give them a try!

Fried ravioli (modified from Giada De Laurentiis)

Olive oil, for frying
~1 cup buttermilk
~2 cups bread crumbs (Italian style is best)
1 bag mini-cheese ravioli
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Sauce (for dipping; whatever brand/concoction you like)

1. Pour enough olive oil into a large frying pan (recipe suggested 2 inches; I used about 1 inch)
2. Heat the oil over medium heat
3. While the oil is heating, put the buttermilk and the bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls.
4. Working in batches, dip ravioli in buttermilk to coat completely. Allow the excess buttermilk to drip back into the bowl. Dredge ravioli in the bread crumbs.
5. When the oil is hot, fry the ravioli in batches, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried ravioli to paper towels to drain.
6. [Optional] Sprinkle the fried ravioli with Parmesan and serve with a bowl of warmed marinara sauce for dipping .

The Glitterati

Glitter pumpkins! I first saw these in Martha Stewart Living magazine last year. They looked awesome and not too difficult to make, so I gave it a try. They turned out great and look really professional (if there is such a thing as professional glitter pumpkins...).

I searched everywhere for the right glitter, but all the flakes were too large and I definitely could not find orange glitter (gold and green pumpkins were not really working for Halloween/Fall/Thanksgiving). Finally, I found what I needed in a small boutique art shop in Manhattan. It cost a little more than regular glitter, but the pumpkins looked amazing! This year, I decided to step it up a notch - I found the right glitter at Michael's (new Martha Craft line - get that 40% off coupon or you can also buy them through Martha Crafts) - I bought three colors - fire opal (orange), carnelian (a red-orange) and brownstone (a reddish-brown color). They look great when you mix the glittered pumpkins and gourds with non-glittered ones and other organic materials (acorns, apples, pinecones, leaves, etc). Here are some before and after pictures:



The instructions could not be easier -

You will need: Modge podge (or any glue on the thinner side will likely be fine), Fine glitter, Brush (I use those "brushes" that are a wooden dowel attached to a sponge) and any pumpkin or gourd (I try to use smaller ones so they are easy to hold while you are painting them).

Here's what you do: Hold pumpkin firmly by the stem (careful not to break it!). Paint a thin layer of glue on the pumpkin (do not cover the stem or the small round area on the base of the pumpkin). Add glitter. Shake off excess and reapply as needed to cover all areas. Let dry.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day!

Blog Action Day is meant to encourage people to think about the environment - obviously, this is a huge topic and not something that can be changed or turned around in a day, a month or even a year. Changing the outcome of our current projected pathway is difficult, and requires daily lifestyle changes by enough people in order to really begin to crack the surface of the problem. Sounds a bit idealistic, but if you want to be pessimistic, then natural resources are going to be severely reduced, if not gone, as we know them very soon.
In honor of Blog Action Day, I thought I would post some of the ways that our family has been trying to reduce our carbon footprint. Some of these are very easy to input into your daily schedule, but others are more difficult and require a few months to get used to - the changes will help the earth and as well your family (in terms of health and finances too!)

  • Recycling - I know this sounds repetitive, but if you really take a look at all the things you throw away, I would bet that at least 50% of the items could be recycled (metal, paper, plastic, glass) in your neighborhood. If you are not sure what recycling services are available, you can contact your Town Hall. Most towns now have recycling pick-up for free (or included with your garbage pick-up fee). We can recycle glass, plastic and metal with our garbage and we just found a 2nd place that will take paper and cardboard for a very small fee ($3/bag).

  • Buy recycled products - Increase the demand for these types of products. Ask for them at your local Staples, Kinko's, OfficeMax, etc. My office only prints their promotional materials on recycled paper. The quality is the same, and many times, it looks better/more stylish on the recycled paper!

  • Reduce/Reuse - I'm guilty of this as well - using paper towels when I could use a dishtowel or leaving the water on too long, turning up the heat when its not really that cold, using the air conditioner when its not really that hot, etc. It is important to become aware of small things that could potentially make a difference if they were all added up! Do you really need all those plastic bags from the grocery store? Grab a reusuable bag instead - not only are they durable and reduce waste, but you get money back! Turn down your heat, get energy-star appliances & energy-saving light bulbs, make sure your windows close tight, unplug appliances (easier if you use a powercord) - all these things will reduce your energy usage and energy bills!

  • Carpool/Walk/Double-duty trips/Gas-guzzlers - This can be difficult at times depending on how far you live from your job, whether you live rural or urban, etc., but its worth becoming conscious about. Is it really necessary to drive your SUV somewhere when you can walk or bike or ride with someone else? Questions like this will reduce the carbon emitted as well as save you gas money. If you can, buy a hybrid - you can still get a tax break on some of the 2007/2008 models.

  • Buy Local! This one is huge. Take advantage of local farms, farm markets, CSAs, Co-ops, and family owned-local grocery stores. If you are a cook, plan your menus around seasonal fruits and vegetables - not only are you helping your local economy (mom & pop shops!) and likely getting fresher produce and dairy products, but you are also reducing the amount of trucks, planes & trains that need to criss-cross the country by road, air and ocean to bring out-of-season items. Supporting stores that support local farmers will also help preserve your community.

  • Spread the word! Not that your Grandma Millie is going to be able to change her ways, but speak up when you get the chance. A few years ago, the grocery store employees looked at me like I was crazy when I brought my own bags - now they are totally aware, packing them up, giving me money back and asking where I bought the bags. It pays to speak up. My husband and I gave out reusable grocery bags to all of our wedding guests - we have had at least 25 people either ask us for more or tell us how they have incorporated them into their lifestyle. Sometimes, it only takes an explanation or example for someone to change. just a little :)

It is really easy to be discouraged due to the extreme size of the problem, but the solution has got to start somewhere - don't push it away to the next person. Here are some links to interesting products or organizations to help work towards a greener lifestyle:

  • Freecycle - Reduce your garbage! Exchange items for free with members - Check it out!
  • Carbon calculator - see where you stand!
  • Join a CSA! Check out Local Harvest to see what is available in your neighborhood.
  • Greening Info - TreeHugger provides a series of very informative (and sometimes amusing) articles on how to "green" your life. Check out this one on greening your car.
  • Buy cool green bags - you can get the ones at the market with their logo on them, but you can get logo-less bags - check out the info in my previous post. Then again, you can really use any bag you like!
  • City-by-City info - Check out the NYC Plan reduce carbon emissions by 30% by 2030 - GreeNYC. Check out San Francisco's policies here.
  • Also, some other bloggers have posted great items about how they green their lifestyle - check out Oh Happy Blog!, Style Me Pretty, and Toasts & Tables

Many other bloggers are taking part in Blog Action Day so check out the website for more information!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Last of the season - Tomatoes

In our area, we are reaching the end of the local tomato season. So, on our way home last weekend from a local festival, we decided to take advantage of some good-lookin' organic vine-ripened tomatoes from one of the road-side farm stands. I've been a fan of the blog 101 Cookbooks for awhile, and Heidi's parmesan tomato tart recipe was calling my name :)

This tart really features the tomatoes, since they are not cooked - so make sure whatever tomatoes you choose are really sweet and perfect (the original recipe uses heirloom tomatoes). The tart crust is totally delicous - this is the perfect choice as a starter for any meal (if you make the individual tarts like I did) or a main course if you make the larger version (like Heidi did).

(note: I modified the amount of tomatoes and other ingredients to make four smaller-sized tarts; since there are not many ingredients, it was not difficult. The recipe that follows is the original with very minor ingredient modifications). The directions seem a bit complicated, but actually, it was a very simple dough to make and did not take very long at all!
6 medium-sized heirloom tomatoes - washed and sliced 1/6-inch thick
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter, well chilled + cut into 1/4-inch cubes
4-ounce chunk of good fresh parmesan, microplane-grated (you should end up with about 2 cups loosely packed grated cheese. Save any leftover grated cheese for sprinkling on the crusts when they come out of the oven.)
2 tablespoons ice cold water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup silvered basil

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

2. Prep the tomatoes: To avoid a soggy crust later on, you need to rid the tomatoes of some of their liquid. Clear a space on your counter and put down a double layer of paper towels. Place the tomatoes in a single layer on the paper towels and sprinkle them with about 1 teaspoon of the salt. Top the tomatoes with another layer of paper towels and press gently. Let the tomatoes sit here until you are ready to use them.

3. Make the tart crust(s): Place both flours, butter, and cheese in a food processor and pulse quickly about 25 times. You are looking for a sandy textured blend, punctuated with pea-sized pieces of butter. With a few more pulses, blend in the 2T of ice water. The dough should stick together when your pinch it between two fingers. Pour the dough into the tart pan. Working quickly, press the dough uniformly into the pan by pressing across the bottom and working towards the sides and up to form a rim. Place in the refrigerator and chill for 15 minutes.

4. Bake the tart crust: Pull the tarts out of the refrigerator and poke each a few times with the tongs of a fork. Cover the tart with a square of aluminum foil and fill generously with pie weights (I used dried beans). Place on a baking sheet and slide the tart onto the middle rack in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, pull the shell out of the oven and very gently peel back and remove the tinfoil containing the pie weights. Place the uncovered tart back in the oven, weight free, and allow to cook for another 10 minutes, or until it is a deep golden brown in color. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with a little shredded parmesan (this will act as another barrier to the tomato liquid). Let cool to room temperature before filling.

5. Assembling the tart: Just before serving, arrange tomato slices inside the tart shell in your desired pattern. Drizzle with your best quality extra-virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with the slivered basil. Serve at room temperature.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Congratulations Al!

Former VP Al Gore and the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize today for their work in raising global warming awareness. Read the entire story here.

photo courtesy of http://www.cnn.com/

No matter how you feel about Al Gore, his movie or politics in general, you have to commend his efforts to bring the issue of global warming to light - he has brought the topic of global warming the forefront of discussions among world leaders, business owners, teachers, and regular citizens! Now, even my grandparents know and understand the environmental problems that we are facing - the message is so much more far-reaching than ever before.

Sometimes just bringing an issue to light is exactly what is needed to give it a jumpstart.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ready for the Holidays?

I love to entertain and have people over during the holidays (or anytime) - now that we live closer to our families, we're hoping to have a holiday get-together (although fitting a number of people into our small apartment could pose a serious challenge - hopefully everyone likes to stand...close together :). Anyway, I've found that my favorite (and most versatile) items to use for parties (small or large) are non-decorative platters, stands and other serveware. More simple and sleek - white ceramic, clear glass, and aluminum (silver) are my usual go-tos. I've found that they can be used for any time of year, any holiday; they don't break or chip easily and they look great. Plus, they can play double-duty as a centerpiece with some fruit/flowers/organic materials and spruced up very easily.

So, I've collected some of my recent favorites - check them out - just in time for the holidays! The prices are actually quite reasonable and they should last for a really long time (note that I'm not vouching for the quality of any of these particular items; just providing suggestions!).

(clockwise) (1) C&B: Square serving platter ($28.95) & Delish Cake Platter ($28.95), (2) Target: White rectangular serving platter ($19.99 - [I own this one]), (3) Pottery Barn: Great white soup tureen ($40), (4) Macy's: Martha Stewart Collection Whiteware Cake Stands (circle/square available, $14.99-$29.99), (5) Target: Aluminum beaded cake stand ($24.99), (6) Kmart: Martha Stewart Everyday footed dessert dish ($3.99), (7) Target: Tiered pedestal serving plates (set of 3, $24.99), (8) [center photo] Pottery Barn: Great white square dinnerware ($28-$36 for varied pieces/sets)

Note: You can also find really good deals on similar items at discount stores like TJMaxx and Marshall's, if you have those stores near you.

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Anti-Brownie

Ok, I already know - apparently, it is practically a sin not to LOVE chocolate. or cake. or mayo. I'm the ultimate offender. I don't like most regular cakes, or chocolate candy bars, or mayo-mush potato salad. Never have, never will. But I'm not that difficult -- I do like good bittersweet chocolate in small quantities, and some cakes (usually ones that I make!) and give me a good potato salad made with vinegar/oil/broth/herbs (instead of mayo) anyday!

Back to the point of my rant - so everyone likes chocolate and I'm often making desserts, snacks, or sweets that contain chocolate. I never eat them, so I end up making more than one thing to please everyone (including myself :). A few weeks ago, I came across a recipe for Glazed Vanilla Brownies on ThatSweetang - it seemed to good to be true - that there could be a brownie recipe that wasn't too cakey and didn't include "regular" chocolate as a component.

The recipe used by ThatSweetAng was originally from Betty Crocker (Triple-Vanilla Brownies) - I decided to edit it a tiny bit by adding in some toffee and give it a try. I burnt the bottom of my first batch, but they still tasted great, satisfying both the chocolate-lover in our house as well as myself. As a side note, I do make blondies often, but these have a different taste and look.

Vanilla Brownies (my edits are in orange)


1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 bag (10 oz) white vanilla baking chips (1 2/3 cups)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/3 cup toffee bits

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons warm water or milk
Handful, toffee bits


1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour 13x9-inch pan. In 2-quart saucepan, heat butter and baking chips over low heat, stirring frequently, just until melted. (Mixture may appear curdled.) Remove from heat; cool.
2. Stir in remaining brownie ingredients until well blended. Spread evenly in pan.
3. Bake ~24 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.
4. In medium bowl, mix all glaze ingredients until smooth and spreadable. Spread glaze over brownies. Add toffee bits to top (as much as is desired). Cut into squares.


1. I left out the butter in the frosting to save on the calories :) You can add a tablespoon or two back in and it will likely make the frosting smoother. I found that the brownies are so rich, you didn't miss it.
2. The original time frame recommended was 30-35 minutes. I burnt my first batch because I didn't check them before 28 minutes or so - the 2nd batch turned out perfectly in about 21 to 24 minutes. I would recommend watching your first batch to see how long they take in your oven (the usual stick test works fine).

Fall Recipe Roundup - Part I

Since picking apples from a local orchard a few weeks ago, I have been looking around for new recipes to take care of all the apples in the house (you know, its a lot of fun to pick them, but I always end up with maybe a bit more than I need -- what fun would picking 4 apples be?). It's definitely a challenge to find uses for all of them before they go bad, but I've been doing a decent job so far. I plan on making apple butter with my remaining fruit.

Anyway, I figured that I would share some of the fall recipes that I have scoured from the web, since I'm sure others are looking forward to cooking away with their autumn ingredients and beginning to prep holiday recipes. Plus, it is FINALLY going to get chilly here this week, so fall recipes are finally appropriate (although I have been making soups/chilis/quickbreads for weeks :)! Some of the below recipes I have already made (in years past) and some are new to me too, so please post a comment if you have tried any of them! I'm hoping to post more links as I get them together - Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


I finally had my first canning experience :) I have been wanting to try making jam, jelly or salsa for awhile, but could never get all the supplies/time/energy together. But...the other night, I went for it and it was EASY! Seriously, even in my small apartment with limited counter space. I started simple so I could get the canning process down - I made pomegranate jelly.

Ball's website is great - they provide step-by-step tutorials for canning all types of foods. Here is a snapshot of a portion of their tutorial for high-acid canning (find the tutorial here).
Pomegranate Jelly (adapted from Freshpreserving.com)
3-1/2 cups prepared or bottled pomegranate juice
1 (1.75 oz) pkg Ball® Original Fruit Pectin
1/2 tsp butter or margarine, optional
5 cups sugar
6 (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands [I used smaller sized jars and had leftovers]

1. Prepare boiling water canner by adding water and bringing up to a simmer [I did not do this early enough so I ended up having my jelly ready to be canned, but my canner not ready for me; find more directions here]. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
2. Place pomegranate juice in a 6- or 8-quart saucepan. Gradually stir in pectin. Add up to 1/2 tsp butter or margarine to reduce foaming, if desired. [Note: I added the butter and it did not reduce foaming too much for me, so I will leave it out next time around]
3. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil that can not be stirred down, over high heat, stirring constantly.
4. Add entire measure of sugar, stirring to dissolve. Return mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary.
5. Ladle hot jam into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace - use funnel, it makes things much easier! Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.
6. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

I'm going to try to make apple butter later this week, so stay tuned - I promise to post a picture of my seemingly giant canner on top of my small stove...
Tips: Definitely read through all the instructions on canning prior to doing it - this way you know what equipment you need.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Weekly Menu: 9/30 - 10/6

Well, my menu last week never got done. I'm determined to get it done this week [I'm behind already!]...so here we go.

The order of these may change, but look out for blog updates this week!

Sunday: [leftover-use things from the refrigerator night] Chicken cutlets cooked in white wine and lemon; Broccoli and whole wheat pasta with a light garlic and olive oil sauce.
Monday: Stuffed peppers (veggie/couscous/chicken sausage); Roasted cauliflower
Tuesday: [Vegetarian night] Caprese quesadillas; Salad
Wednesday: Center cut pork chops; side dish: ?
Thursday: Lasagna roll-ups; Salad
Friday: Corn and white bean soup
Saturday: To be decided; maybe go out.

Love this picture of my husband and some of the kids (cousins) at the apple-picking farm