Category Archives: Cooking

Slow Cooker Chili with Jacob’s Cattle Beans

I was at the Haymaker Farmers’ Market in Kent Ohio this winter and ran across some Jacob’s Cattle beans from Breakneck Acres (located just around the corner from Snarky Acres – aka my house).  I had read about Jacob’s Cattle beans in one or two of my many gardening books and wanted to eat (and grow) some myself.  After a Google search, I found a recipe I could adapt to make my own special local chili.  Converting it into a crock pot recipe made it quick and easy.

Note:  I saved back one bag so I could plant them this spring.  Maybe in the fall I’ll be doing this same recipe with my own beans.


1 pound (aka bag) of Jacob’s Cattle beans
1 or 2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic (or 2 tsp. Garlic powder)
Olive oil for frying
1 pound ground beef
3-4 T. chili powder
2-3 T. cumin
Fresh cilantro
2 Jalapeno peppers
Dash of cinnamon
Large can crushed tomatoes (2 1/2 cups fresh)
1 tsp. local honey (instead of brown sugar)
2 T. vinegar (white, red wine, apple cider or balsamic)
Salt and pepper to taste
Turnip Greens (optional)

Soak the beans in water about 2-3 inches above the beans in the crock pot or a non-metal bowl for 6-8 hours or overnight. Discard the soaking water and cover with fresh water an inch or two above the beans. Cook the ground beef until nicely browned and crumbled, set aside. Sauté the onions in a oil until soft, then add everything to the crock pot and stir well. Cover and cook on low heat for 8 to 10 hours.

Soaking the Jacob’s Cattle beans
Frozen tomatoes from last year’s garden
Two jalapeno peppers from the AeroGarden
Onions and garlic from the garden
Onions and garlic chopped up
Local grass fed ground beef
The finished product – local chili

Ingredient sources

– Jalapeno peppers – fresh from the AeroGarden
– Turnip Greens – frozen from last year’s garden
– Tomatoes – frozen from last year’s garden
– Onions – fresh from the garden
– Garlic – fresh thinnings from the garden
– Cilantro – fresh thinnings from the Front Yard Herb garden

– Jacob’s Cattle beans – from Breakneck Farms
– Ground beef – from Sirna’s Farm CSA in Auburn Ohio
– Local Honey

– Olive oil
– Cumin
– Chili powder
– Cinnamon
– Vinegar
– Salt and pepper

Sauteed Turnip Greens

One of the reasons I garden is to provide my family with as much of our own food as possible.  There is a certain pride in being able to point to a dish and say “I grew AND cooked that”.  It occurred to me that if I wanted to grow entire meals, I would have to go vegan (because there aren’t bacon plants – though I think Monsanto might be working on them).   To that end, I’ve collected some recipes from the Internet (and beyond) that I can totally produce from my produce (minus oils, sauces, spices and salt).  As the season progresses and I can make dishes and whole meals from my garden, SG will blog about it.

The Snarky Gardener overwintered Seven Top turnip greens and they have really came back like gangbusters (or is it ghostbusters?) this spring.  I’m not really a turnip green lover, but they are nutritious and easy to grow.  Seven Top turnips are grown just for their greens, as the roots are not really edible (not that I have tried).  Of course by letting them go over winter, the first thing they want to do is go to seed (thus the definition of “bi-annual”).  I figured these greens would be bitter as plants who bolt tend to get that way.  But a trial munch found them to be better than they were last summer as the cool weather must be what they like.  So I decided to make sauteed turnip greens with this spring bounty.

Overwintered Seven Top turnip greens – 4/13/2013
Overwintered Seven Top turnip greens – 4/13/2013
Overwintered Seven Top turnip greens (outside the fence on the west side of the garden) – 4/13/2013


I found an online recipe with just a quick search.  This one is common and can be used with other greens (spinach, kale, collard).  Most turnip green recipes include bacon or salted pork as a component because turnip greens tend to be bitter (supposedly because of their calcium content if you believe the Internet) and bacon makes everything taste better.  This recipe is vegan (no pork) but it suggests using balsamic vinegar or soy sauce which do taste good with bitter dishes (went with the vinegar this time).  The garlic I used for this did not come from my garden (not ready until July), but it was from the local farmer’s market, so close enough for now.


1.  Coat the bottom of a wok or skillet with high-heat vegetable oil (canola or peanut but not olive oil) and heat over medium heat.
2.  Peel and mince 2 garlic cloves and saute in the oil until lightly browned.
3.  Add ½ lb. turnip greens, rinsed and with the stems removed.
4.  Cook greens, turning them gently, until they darken and become limp.
5.  Season with salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of either soy sauce or balsamic vinegar.

Don’t I look delicious?
Freshly picked turnip greens – 4/20/2013
Sauteing garlic in peanut oil – 4/20/2013
Sauteing the greens outside – 4/20/2013