Monday, January 31, 2011


It's foreseeable that I will always pick basil with a headlamp before a farmer's market. I accept this destiny, hovering above herbs in the moonlight, not hugely willing. Not because it's unpleasant to spend dawn with ocimum basilicum. No, I quite enjoy singing Italian love songs with spot lighting on a captive/planted audience. But darn is it an expensive nocturne. Yes fine, my record actually selling the harvested basil is less than impressive.

This year's plan (after our basil grew like chopsticks with green wings and I sold one bunch in three markets) involved harvesting 500 feet of the plant to make pesto. A friend - lovely lady cradling basil/zinnias - helped defy fate on a foggy morning before work; we drank a cup of tea and filled our bags after sunrise. And oh the pesto we made! I'll leave the recipe to someone else, though I'll say ours was generous on garlic, Romano cheese, roasted almonds and organic extra virgin olive oil.

My sister and her husband are responsible for the delight which featured our chopstick basil many moons later. Their strategy: Kenny's flavorful breakfast sausage stacked on and under great ingredients will convince anyone they should support future (inevitable) moonlight basil excursions.

Goat and Pork Sausage with Pesto Sandwiches

1 pound goat and pork ground sausage, formed into 4 round patties Heritage Ranch
4 focaccia roll, sliced in half
4 tblspoon basil pesto
1/4 pound asiago cheese, sliced long and thin
10-12 crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 tspoon butter


Saute sliced muchrooms in butter until slightly brown.
Shape ground sausage in desireable patties.
Divide 1 tbspoon of pesto on either side of each focaccia roll.
Layer desired amount of asiago cheese on one side of each focaccia roll.
Heat heavy skillet on medium heat and cook sausage patties for 5-7 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Place pattie on bun, adding mushroom and quickly closing focaccia roll to advantage heat of meat to melt cheese.

This is beamed through the Hearth and Soul blog hop . . .

Friday, January 21, 2011

Found Soup

Deep night in our farm kitchen many months before winter, Kenny slipped layers of spices to the bottom of ball jars. Stacked unevenly, sloping colors and textures mimicked synsedimentary folds carved through canyons. Contents of the jars destined for his handcrafted sausage cause reflection: heritage pigs, organic and locally sourced seasonings are the esteemed Italian sausage below. It's not that Kenny found my (grandfather's) knife frozen in the snow that prompts gushing. [I lost the knife, he found the knife, I'm indebted to the finding of said knife.] But the soup crafted with his sausage is deserving of public attention. This is no favor to Kenny, it's merely hopping along the kindness via Hearth and Soul.

What tempted my guests to lay their entire bodies in this soup, teetering above their bowls on the high ledge of temptation poised to let it all go, was the smooth and bright flavor of the sausage and mature, but sweet squash. These ingredients make the recipe and thus I've included the grower in case you can support their craft.

Italian sausage and butternut squash soup (adapted from Emeril Lagasse)

1 squash, halved with seeds removed (Larga Vista Ranch)
1.5 pound ground Italian sausage (Heritage Ranch)
4 tblspoons butter
2 tblspoons olive oil
1 tsp salt
Ground pepper
6 cloves garlic (Hobbs Family Farm)
1 tblspoon dry sage
1 tblspoon crushed marjoram
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Coat squash halves with melted butter; season squash with salt and pepper.
Bake until very tender, about 45 minutes.
Remove flesh by scooping away from the peel which is then discarded. Set squash aside.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, lightly brown garlic in olive oil adding sausage.
Cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes.
Add the sage and marjoram, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Add the cooked squash and stock, stir well to combine bringing to a boil.
Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

In a food processor or blender, puree soup in batches. Caution: do not process too long, keeping some texture to sausage.
Return to large saucepan.
Add greek yogurt and stir to incorporate evenly throughout soup and adjust seasoning to taste.
Reheat until served.

If you didn't hop above, do it now.
This recipe is shared with the Hearth and Soul hop.