Making progress

It's really amazing how much stuff you can get done with a week of sunshine and with a little late spring heat wave to help dry the soil out after a hellishly wet May and early June.  Peppers are planted (400 plants), tomatoes are planted (180 plants), flint corn and winter squash are seeded, pigs' winter area harrowed and seeded to buckwheat, feeder pigs' first acre of pasture harrowed and seeded with warm-season forage, bulls out on pasture, picked enough hemlock tips to make 150 lbs of Tsuga, and about half of the rocks from last year's pig pasture have been picked up and hauled to the edge of the field.  It does look like rain is back in the forecast, so let's hope it's only just enough to get all of our seeds to germinate. No more mud!

Be sure to try our new (or returning) sausage varieties.  I told you about Green Garlic and Tsuga last week.  New this week is Carrot Habanero.  A tad sweet and super spicy, the chili is perfectly balanced by the rich carrot flavor.  This one was inspired by a particular style of hot sauce I found while traveling in Belize, basically habaneros and garlic in a tangy carrot puree base.  If you can handle the heat, this one is a real winner.

How about a couple of quick recipes?  Sure!  No meat to be found in these, but I'll share anyway because I like you.

Rice with Green Garlic:  Get a couple of cups of white rice going.  While the rice is cooking, finely chop two bunches of fresh green garlic including the greens.  Melt 1/2 stick of butter in a skillet, then add the green garlic and a few generous pinches of salt.  Saute on medium-low heat for a few minutes, and remove from heat while the greens are still nice and bright.  Set aside.  When the rice is done, use a spatula to transfer the garlic and butter into the rice, fluffing the rice with a fork until the garlic is well incorporated throughout.  This is a great way to spice up some rice using a special bit of spring produce that is readily available at the farmers' markets.  If green garlic has given way to scapes, you could probably make a similar dish with scapes.  Serve with some pan-roasted Tsuga sausages (couldn't help myself!) and a fresh salad.

Mushroom Egg Thing:  Find yourself some tasty oyster mushrooms of whatever variety you choose - you can find North Spore at the Kittery and Newburyport farmers' markets, and they always have plenty of interesting stuff.  Finely chop a couple of clumps of mushrooms, add to a dry skillet, and salt generously.  Cook on medium-low heat, stirring frequently.  This will "sweat" the mushrooms, drawing out the moisture and concentrating the flavor.  Furthermore, when you add some oil, it won't just get sponged up by the mushrooms.  When the mushrooms are good and sweaty and starting to stick to the pan a bit, add a few tablespoons of olive oil and saute for a minute.  Crack a couple of eggs right into the skillet, and scramble them gently with the mushrooms. You should have almost equal parts egg and mushroom - just enough egg to hold the thing together.  Make a sort of pile in the skillet and let it cook on one side until firm enough to flip.  Flip the pile over and continue cooking until well done.  What you get is a deliciously meaty egg-mushroom patty that makes for an amazing sandwich on some good bread with mayo and fresh lettuce.  OK, this is a pretty ridiculous "recipe" (any recipe that advises you to make a pile in the pan is suspect), but hopefully you get the gist.  Quick and easy lunch.

See you all at the markets this weekend! Start your reverse rain dances!

Jeff Backer