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Welcome to the Weeklyish!  This week we look at Chocolate Butter Truffles and what beverages we might pair them with, find some luck with Jewelry, and go bananas,with a recipe for Amaretto Glazed Banana Bread.  To wrap up, we continue our annual review's look at the eight forms of capital by examining our Intellectual Capital.

Order Deadlines

Delivery Option     Deadline
Home delivery | Thursday     Tuesday, 10pm*
Pickup @ Culver Farmers' Market | Saturday     Thursday, 10pm
*Sourdough orders for delivery require an additional 24 hours

Chocolate Butter Truffles

As we approach the most chocolaty time of the year, we will highlight some of our handmade fine chocolates.  This week: butter truffles!

Butter truffles are the simplest bonbons we offer: only two ingredients, chocolate and butter.  But, as belies all simple gourmet foods, the quality of the ingredient selection and the care with which they are paired are of the utmost importance.  The butter acts as a flavor carrier to amplify the flavor profiles in the chocolate chosen, as well as lending it a pleasing tongue-coating mouthfeel that allows the joy to linger.

Chad makes three different butter truffle fillings, each encased in a cube of the same chocolate contained within the filling: a caramelized white chocolate, a milk chocolate, and a dark chocolate.

The caramelized white chocolate butter truffle begins with a Belgian white chocolate, that is very gently heated and stirred constantly for several hours, until the sugars and cocoa butter begin to lightly caramelize.  This brings out a whole variety of flavors that white chocolate is usually lacking, as well as a beautiful light golden color.  He then re-tempers the chocolate by hand, before using it to make the truffle and the shell.

The result has moderately sweet, lightly caramelized flavor, with just a faint hint of something spicy: maybe allspice.  Caramelized white chocolate butter truffles would pair well with traditional white chocolate companions like gin or a blanco tequila.  But the caramel flavors also work well with a vanilla-infused vodka or a light rum.

The milk chocolate butter truffle is created with a single-plantation milk chocolate from Hawaii.  Hawaii is further north than cacao trees are supposed to be able to grow, but the microclimate on the north shore of Oahu allowed some truly gifted growers to convert a failed pineapple plantation to grow cacao that makes some of the best chocolate we've found.  The 38% milk chocolate has a rich flavor with caramel and red fruity notes, which is outstanding in a butter truffle.

The most classic pairing for such a confection would be rum, which would help emphasize the caramel notes.  To bring out both the caramel and the fruity flavors, a less traditional pairing would be a dry Curaçao.  If you're into sweeter liquor, and want to play a bit with the Hawaiian theme, Blue Curaçao might be fun, or the most popular drink containing it, a Blue Hawaii.  That'd be a bit too much sugar for me, though, and I'd avoid the traditional ice: cold diminishes the flavor of chocolate.  Still, common wisdom says chocolate does not go with mixed drinks, and it's fun to prove common wisdom foolish.

The dark chocolate butter truffle also uses a single-plantation chocolate, made by the same folks as the milk chocolate.  It's a 70% dark chocolate that is made with only the best of the beans, collected along a single small stream running through the plantation.  It has exceptional chocolate flavor, with overtones of cherry, black currant, and raisin, as well as a touch of hickory nut or almond, and an exceptionally smooth texture.

Used in a butter truffle, the result is spectacular, with an incredible balance of bitter, fruity, and sweet and a lingering flavor that makes you loath to put anything else in your mouth at all.  But, if you're really looking for a treat, a classic pairing would be bourbon.  Chad thinks an even more perfect union would be scotch.  Two very different, but equally wonderful, results could be achieved.  A moderately smoky peaty option like a 10 year old Talisker would bring out that elusive nutty overtone and enliven the bitter flavors. In the other direction, a Glenmorangie sherry wood finish, with its hints of sweet sherry on the nose and creamy, nutty flavor would play well with the fruitier flavor notes. Something like a Bowmore, both peaty and partially finished in sherry barrels, could be inspired.

Have you tried one of Chad's butter truffles?  Did you pair it with something yummy?  Let us know - we love to hear your chocolate adventures!

Lucky Jewelry

Xenia finds four-leaf clover wherever she goes. One day we were driving home, and she said “Stop the car, I see a four-leaf clover!” She got out of the car, and picked the lucky four-leaf. Another day she went for a 10-minute stroll and returned 30 minutes later, all happy, with a handful of four-leaves. She was less happy after she set down the clover for a few seconds, and our dog, Maynard, ate the entire lot in one sweep of the tongue, wagging his tail thanking her for the delicious salad.

Regardless of this incident, Xenia has managed to amass an impressive collection of pressed and dried four-leaf clover, only to raise the question, what to do with the lot? After incorporating some in handmade paper cards, frameable art, bookmarks and credit card size wallet inserts, she began encasing the clover in clear resin – and that started her botanical jewelry line.

Her early pieces were much like the bottle cap necklace shown above. Whimsical meets steampunk in one of her later pieces, a brass-framed clover pendant on a solid-link brass chain. (Both of these styles are available in our online store). All four-leaves are genuine lucky finds from 3-leaf plants. If you know someone who needs a little luck, or you could use some yourself, we are happy to custom-make a lucky piece for you, with love. The options are endless - just email She will be happy to design and make jewelry specifically for you!

Amaretto Glazed Banana Bread

If you frequent foodie blogs, instagram, and podcasts, you know that  banana bread sifted its way to the top of the heap of pandemic foods.  I'm not sure why, but everyone was making banana bread, from novice bakers to every guest on Candace Nelson's podcast.  While I like a good banana bread as much as the next guy, I guess I've been a little late to the party.  We spent most of the early part of the pandemic just trying to produce enough fresh food to keep y'all fed, so didn't do much baking.  But this winter has been the winter of bananas for us: it's time to dip my toe into the fray.

I began with Alton Brown's banana bread recipe from I'm Just Here for More Food, a book everyone should own.  But, not content to leave well enough alone, I had to make a couple of modifications.  And any quick bread is better with booze (witness my Brandy Glazed Zucchini Bread or my as yet unpublished Chad's Famous Competition-Losing Pumpkin Bread).  So, Amaretto Glazed Banana Bread:

Makes 1 loaf

4 Over-ripe Bananas
210 g Sugar
37 g Oats
220 g Unbleached All Purpose Flour
6 g Baking Soda
5 g Salt
1 C Chopped Almonds (Culver Lions Club - pecans and walnuts are also great options)
1 Stick Unsalted Butter
2 eggs (Flower Hill Farm)
6 g Almond Extract
1/4 C Amaretto

52 g Sugar
1/4 C Amaretto

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Freeze over-ripe bananas whenever they get away from you, or Park n Shop has a discounted cart full of them by the checkout lanes.  Just leave them in the peel, and dump them in the freezer.  They will turn all back and yucky looking, but never fear!  When banana bread time arrives, pull them out, and put them in a bowl to thaw for about 90 minutes.  When they are mostly thawed, carefully peel them and squish the pulp into a small bowl.  It will be soft and contain a lot of liquid.  This is good!  Freezing ruptures the banana cells, allowing their soul, and all of their flavor, to escape into already half-mashed goodness.

Add sugar to the bananas, and mash with a potato masher until smooth (but still with an occasional small banana chunk).

Put the oats in a blender or food processor, and grind to about the texture of corn meal.  Sift the ground oats, flour, baking soda, and salt together into a medium bowl.  You'll probably have a few larger chunks of oat left that don't fit through the sieve.  Just dump them into the bowl.  Add the almonds, and give it a good stir to distribute them evenly.

In another medium bowl (I said it was good, not free of dishes!), melt the butter.  Add the eggs and beat with a whisk until just slightly frothy.  Add the almond extract, and beat again.  Add the banana mixture to the butter and egg mixture, and whisk until thoroughly combined.

Dump the liquid mixture into the dry mixture, and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined.  Mix only until the flour is fully incorporated and moist.  A few lumps here and there are fine, but over-mixing is bad!

Pour into a greased 5 x 9 loaf pan.  Put the pan in the middle of the oven, and bake for an hour to 75 minutes.  If you have an alarm probe thermometer, put it in once the bread has firmed enough to support it, and pull the bread out at 210 degrees.  Alternatively, a bamboo skewer stuck in the center will come out without a lot of goo, but still an occasional moist sticky bit (banana bread should be a bit more moist than most quick breads).

Put the pan on a wire rack to begin cooling.  Meanwhile, put the sugar and amaretto into a small saucepan over low heat.  Stir constantly with a rubber spatula until all of the sugar dissolves and a transparent golden glaze is formed.

Stab the loaf all the way through from top to bottom with a bamboo skewer, about a dozen times.  Carefully pour the amaretto glaze over the top, making sure to pause a bit over each of the skewer holes, and pour slowly enough that it sticks to the top and soaks in about as much as it pools around the edges of the pan and soaks down the side.

Allow to cool until the pan is just warm to the touch, but not all the way (otherwise, you'll never get it out of the pan in one piece!).  Run an offset spatula or a butter knife around the edges of the pan to separate it.  Then carefully invert onto a cooling rack.  Flip the loaf over (so you don't have an impression from the cooling rack on the top) to finish cooling completely before slicing and serving.


Intellectual Capital

This week we examine where we stand in living Capital.  If you haven't been keeping up with our annual review, please check the December 28 Weeklyish for a description of the process, and the eight forms of capital.

Intellectual Capital is primarily made up of knowledge, which is also the type of currency it uses as an exchange.  Our educational system is founded on the assumption that intellectual capital is the primary factor for success in the world.  This is why the most common form of inter-capital exchange involving intellectual capital is exchanging financial capital for the promise of gaining intellectual capital: we pay tuition for college, or money for a course or a book.

If you have been keeping up with this series of weeklyish articles, you will notice a key difference between intellectual capital and experiential capital, which we discussed a couple of weeks ago. While experiential capital is defined by wisdom and built from doing things, intellectual capital is built from learning things.  It might be more associated with "book learning," and can be a pre- or co-requisite to gaining experiential knowledge.  It is mostly acquired through taking classes, reading, research, and working with consultants or mentors (who are valued for their wisdom - experiential capital).

At Hole in the Woods Farm, we are lifelong learners.  Chad and Xenia both have a background as educators, and both have a wide variety of formal studies.  Everyone at the farm is constantly engaged in less formal professional development: reading, taking courses, researching different aspects of farm based business, and interacting with other farmers and entrepreneurs, both as a mentor and as a mentee. 

As such, intellectual capital is a key strength of our farm.  This does not mean we can ever sit still: there is always more to learn and apply to our business (and, of course, we need to grow by applying our knowledge in action, converting it into wisdom and experiential capital).  Key areas for future learning are marketing, construction, cash flow planning, videography, holistic management, mechanical maintenance and repair, fabrication, four-season growing, culinary and agricultural history, and management of perennial polycultures on a commercial scale. 

Some of this knowledge will be gained through further study: In particular, it would be beneficial for Chad to earn a permaculture design certificate, as well as take a course on timber frame construction, and perhaps traditional field stone masonry.  Another source of intellectual capital will come from expanding our team: as we hire and partner with additional team members, they will both bring their own pre-existing knowledge, and grow and learn during their time with us as well.  More people can learn more than fewer people!

Thus, overall, we rate our intellectual capital as "Great."  As with living capital, which we discussed last week, this does not mean we have "arrived" in this area.  Rather, we have done the required work to learn that which we need to know for the current stage of our farm's development, and are continuing to learn as we develop.  Our strength in intellectual capital needs to be used to develop more experiential capital by doing things, as well as leveraged to make up for weaknesses in other forms of capital.  There will always be more to learn, and that is the greatest joy in life!

What did you learn in 2020? What will you learn in 2021?  Share your knowledge with us!

Order Deadlines

Delivery Option     Deadline
Home delivery | Thursday     Tuesday, 10pm*
Pickup @ Culver Farmers' Market | Saturday     Thursday, 10pm
*Sourdough orders for delivery require an additional 24 hours
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