Patsie DeMo of Montgomery County described her and her husband’s goat operation, DeVillery Goats, as a full-time hobby.
"We’re both retired, but we keep busy on the farm and with our volunteer work with the Montgomery County 4-H Club," she said.
Patsie said the joy she’s found in caring for her goats comes from motherly, nurturing instincts, but she admitted she didn’t actually start with the goal of becoming a goat farmer.
"My father-in-law had raised cattle for years and, as he aged, decided smaller animals like goats might be easier to handle," explained Patsie.
"I was working in the Master Gardener Program through the Cooperative Extension Service, so I would pick up Extension information about goats. After a while of reading about them, when my father-in-law would mention some issue he was having with his herd, I’d tell him about ideas and solutions I’d found as I read," said Patsie.
So when Patsie retired several years ago, her father-in-law made her a gift of 40 goats of her own.
"We keep them segregated," Patsie said of her dairy goats and husband Fred Jr.’s meat goats.
"I have my goat barn, and he has his," she joked.
Patsie and Fred at one time had 177 head at DeVillery Goats, but now they have just fewer than 100. She also enjoys cooking with meat and milk from goats.
"People don’t realize how common that is in almost every other part of the world. For a lot of the world, ‘milk’ comes from goats instead of cows," she said.
But Patsie doesn’t really have special recipes for goat meat or milk.
"I use goat milk in place of cow’s milk all the time, and almost any recipe for pork will work for goat meat," she said.
Patsie made goat milk soaps for a while, but her current passion is making cheese.
"I’m just exploring and enjoying the process," she said, adding she’s combined her love of gardening with her new-found interest.
"I’ve really gotten into herb gardening in the past few years, so I’ve been making herbed goat cheeses. My favorite so far has been sun-dried tomato and basil," she said.
She added her favorite herb for cooking is dill, and several of the recipes Patsie shared highlight the freshness of her preferred herb, like her Tomato Dill Bisque and Fresh Delicious Dill Dip.
Recipes like Vidalia Onion Pie and Tomato Pie will give cooks another dish for preparing fresh produce as the growing season swings into full gear, while Coconut Pie and Vanilla Wafer Cake make perfect take-along sweets for summertime’s church gatherings and family reunions.
"These are the recipes people ask me for, and none of them are too complicated," said Patsie.
Kellie Henderson is a freelance writer from Troy.
Vidalia Onion Pie
1 sleeve Ritz cracker crumbs
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 Tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 cups Vidalia onions, sliced
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup sharp cheese, grated
Without opening, take the sleeve of Ritz crackers and place each end in the palm of your hands. Firmly press inwards until all crackers are finely crushed. Gently open the package. MAGIC! Works every time! Mix cracker crumbs with 2 Tablespoons butter. Press crumbs in bottom of 9 x 13 baking dish.
Sauté onions in remaining butter until slightly limp. Layer over cracker crumbs. Add salt and pepper. Combine eggs and milk. Pour on top of onions. Top with grated cheese. Bake at 350o until middle is almost set and top is light golden brown (about 30 minutes). Allow to cool slightly before serving.
Chilled Asparagus with Pecans
1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus
3/4 cups pecans, finely chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
Pepper to taste
Wash asparagus by allowing it to soak in cold water. Pick up each stalk and by holding it by each end, bend it until it naturally snaps. Discard the big end. Keep the “heads” all pointing in the same direction. Blanch in boiling water for only 1-2 minutes or until it begins to turn a bright green. Drain. Rinse under cold water. Drain again.
Arrange all spears pointing in the same direction. Place in a quart size zip-lock bag. Mix remaining ingredients (except pecans) until sugar has dissolved. Pour over asparagus and place in refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours prior to serving. Be sure mixture penetrates all spears. Turn at least once prior to serving. Before serving, remove from bag and place on serving tray. Top with pecans. May be marinated up to 36 hours prior to serving.
Patsie’s Coconut Pie
2 regular pie shells (not deep dish)
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 stick butter, melted
1 1/2 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 (6 oz) packages frozen coconut
Melt butter in microwave for 1 minute in large plastic bowl. Remove butter from microwave; thaw coconut in microwave. Mix remaining ingredients in bowl with melted butter. Add thawed coconut. Bake at 350o for about 40 - 45 minutes. Center will still jiggle. Allow to cool for about 10 -15 minutes before serving.
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon orange rind, grated
1 cup pecans, chopped
2 cans refrigerated flaky biscuits
1 (3 oz) package cream cheese
1/ 2 cup butter, melted
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
Mix sugar, orange rind and pecans. Separate flaky biscuits into as thin of sections as possible. Take thin section of dough and place a small amount of cream cheese in the center. Top with another section of dough. Dip both sections in melted butter. Roll in sugar mixture.
Place on a round 9" baking stone. Layer the biscuits on their edges along the outside rim forming a wreath effect. Once the outside ring is complete, make an inside ring. (This bakes well.) Once all dough is used, drizzle any remaining sugar and butter over dough. Bake until golden brown. Make glaze with remaining powdered sugar and orange juice. Drizzle over top of warm biscuits. Delicious! Pull apart to serve.
Vanilla Wafer Cake
2 sticks butter
2 cups sugar
1 (12 oz) vanilla wafers, crushed
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 (6 oz) packages frozen coconut
2 cups pecans, chopped
Cream butter and sugar. Add 1 egg at a time, beating well after each. Add crushed vanilla wafers, alternately with milk. Add coconut, pecans and vanilla. Bake in tube pan coated with non-stick spray for 1 hour 30 minutes at 325o. Cool 5 minutes before removing from pan to cool completely.
Note: This cake has a tendency to stick to pan and then crumble if allowed to cool too long before removing from pan.
Tomato Dill Bisque
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup butter
2 Tablespoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon dill weed
3 cups chicken stock
3 - 4 cups tomatoes, diced, or 1 (20 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
1 (5 oz) can evaporated milk
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
Sauté onion in butter. Add flour and stir to remove any lumps; add next four ingredients. Stir in tomatoes and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Simmer 15 minutes. Blend with hand mixer. If creamy texture is desired, use a stick blender. Add parsley and evaporated milk. Garnish with additional parsley and fresh dill.
Sun Dried Tomato Basil Dip
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh basil, finely chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
Mix all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour prior to serving. Serve with chips, crackers or fresh vegetables.
Fresh Delicious Dill Dip
3 teaspoons fresh dill weed
2 teaspoons season salt
2 teaspoons onion, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
Mix all ingredients and refrigerate for one hour prior to serving. Serve with chips, crackers or fresh vegetables, or as a sauce for fish.
1 (9 inch) deep dish LIGHTLY pre-baked pie shell
3 tomatoes, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper
1/2 sweet onion, chopped and sautéed
A few leaves of fresh basil
6 slices of bacon, cooked & crumbled
3/4 cup mayonnaise (mixed with 1/4 cup ranch dressing)
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated, (mixed with 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated)
Layer the items in the lightly pre-baked pie crust in order as listed. Bake at 350o until cheese is bubbly on top. Be careful not to burn.