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Life on a Crouton Farm

It’s Thursday evening and a beautiful cool night at the farm.  My horse returned home today from his winter hang out and I took some time to putter around the barn, one of my favorite things to do. I filled his stall knee high in fluffy straw, scrubbed the water buckets after a long winter of neglect, and went up to the hay loft, where everything is just how I left it in December.

David is out on the tractor trying to turn some stubborn soil into this year’s much too-large garden. He has broken the small plow and the miniature harrows are filled with mud, not turning anything.  Somehow I know he’ll be successful and we will have more vegetables than weeds before we know it.

That said, not much time has been spent thinking about dinner.  As I return to the kitchen, I find the fridge and pantry a little on the thin side.  I peruse some of my cookbooks searching for inspiration.  Moosewood… I haven’t looked at it in a while.  I pull a few thoughts and ingredients from two different recipes and get to work.  Mushroom Carrot Loaf, or was that Carrot Mushroom Loaf?  Either way some of the ingredients in the Mushroom Strudel caught my eye and I’m going to work them into the loaf. A smile came to my face when the recipe called for “really good bread crumbs”.  Olivia’s Croutons in the Cuisinart make the awesomest bread crumbs.  This is what I mixed:

  • I peeled and grated about 6 carrots, about 2 cups. (in the cuisinart)
  • With the slicing blade I sliced about ½ lb of mushrooms
  • I would have done the same with a whole onion, but I was out.  I happened to have one that I had sautéed previously and not used in the freezer so I pulled it out, lucky find.
  • 1 bag of Olivia’s Butter & Garlic Croutons, crumbed with the steel blade as I previously mentioned.
  • About a cup’s worth of assorted cheeses that I wanted to use up.  Cheddar would have been great, but I was out, so I used the rind of an old piece of parmesan, some curds from a cheese farmer down the road and a piece of Jarlsburg left from Easter.  I grated all of them with the steel blade.
  • I put the onions, mushrooms and about 4 tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan to soften.  I added about a teaspoon of basil, thyme and dill to the mix.
  • In a bowl I mixed the carrot, the crouton crumbs, 2 eggs, 1 cup of sour cream, salt and pepper and the mixture from the sauce pan.  I stirred everything up and put it into a 9×9 casserole dish, sprinkled the top with some left over parmesan cheese and put it in the oven for 40 minutes. It looks fantastic. I’ll share a photo.
Mushroom Carrot Loaf: An adapted recipe by Francie Caccavo

I’m about to leave my desk, grab an Otter Creek Copper Ale (brewed in Middlebury, in the next town) make a quick salad, and await my creation.

Cheers until next time.

Francie

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