Tag Archives: brunch

Spring Sausage Breakfast Casserole

A major part of growing up on the ranch was food. I guess it is because we work so hard. We need to replace those calories! It was safe to say that whenever we had a big work day or a super busy time, my Mom would fire up her oven and keep everyone full, dumb and happy.

I’m pretty  much the same way. Whenever I know I am going to have a crew of people out here, I start planning a menu. I recently had the crew from FarmHer come out to the ranch for their show. Needless to say, I was 30 kinds of excited.

When I travel, I have a tendency to eat poorly. So a few days in, I crave fruit, fresh veggies, I was anticipating the FarmHer crew might be feeling the same way. So I told them I would have a breakfast ready for them when they came out. I planned on lots of fruit, nuts, this casserole, since I raised the eggs, pork, leek and asparagus and cookies, because cookies.

Fresh squeezed oj, fresh fruit, cookies and casserole is a typical "big work breakfast" here.

Fresh squeezed oj, fresh fruit, cookies and casserole is a typical “big work breakfast” here.

 

Every time I make this casserole, it is met with rave reviews. So I am sharing it in hopes your family will enjoy it too! It’s super easy to toss together the night before and seems like more work than it actually is, perfect for a crowd!

Spring Sausage Breakfast Casserole

  • 1 pound Brown Ranch pork sausage
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound asparagus, cut into bite sizes
  • 9 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 7 slices sourdough bread, cut into bite sizes
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (I prefer a nice melty cheese like an Asadero Or Oaxaca)
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
Fresh ranch eggs, leftover bread and spring asparagus!

Fresh ranch eggs, leftover bread and spring asparagus!

 

Liberally grease a 9×13 baking dish. Layer the sourdough bread in the dish.

In a large cast iron skillet, crumble and brown your sausage. When the sausage is no longer pink, layer it on top of the bread cubes. Use any leftover grease to caramelize your leek, then layer those on top of the sausage. Do the same thing with the shredded cheese and asparagus.

I love a good melty cheese!

I love a good melty cheese!

Meanwhile, add the eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and mustard in a large bowl and beat until well  mixed.

Add the egg mixture to the baking dish. Top with parmesan cheese. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Caramelized leek in pork fat is amazing.

Caramelized leek in pork fat is amazing.

 

The following morning, remove casserole from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Bake i until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.

This actually makes me happy to be awake early in the morning.

This actually makes me happy to be awake early in the morning.

This is great topped with some hot sauce, or even better, California avocado!!! Also you could add jalapenos, regular onion, or a variety of other veggies! This recipe is easily adaptable to your taste.

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Filed under Ag, agriculture, food, Garden, Know a California Farmer, meat, photos, Ranch life, Recipe, Uncategorized

I’ve Gone Hog Wild

My dream of being a real pig farmer is slowly coming true. Tomorrow I get to pick up my second load of hogs to finish, for a grand total of 18. As many of my longtime readers know, raising hogs has been quite the journey.

My new pig pen is two pens like this.

My new pig pen is two pens like this.

I had to ease my Parents into the idea of raising hogs again. I did it as a child in 4-H for many, many years. I was too petite to raise steer, I wouldn’t be caught dead with a lamb or goat, so hogs it was! I have many fond memories of raising and showing my hogs and the sense of pride I had providing meat for my family, still makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

I built these pens by throwing brunch! I invited my friends to come build fence as I plied them with booze. If you look on the right you'll notice our measuring is just a WHISPER off after brunch. LOL

I built these pens by throwing brunch! I invited my friends to come build fence as I plied them with booze. If you look on the right you’ll notice our measuring is just a WHISPER off after brunch. LOL

As a child, my Dad raised hogs. Back then, the ranch was more of a farm, complete with dairy cows and grain crops. The leftover milk from the dairy would be combined with the grain from the fields for the hog feed. My Dad swears the pork was different back then, and I believed him. I knew the key to raising hogs again would be producing a pork product that was like Dad remembered.

See the deer in the pipe? Know what else these old, junked pipes would be good for? Yep! A pig house!

See the deer in the pipe? Know what else these old, junked pipes would be good for? Yep! A pig house!

I knew that if I raised heritage hogs, and tweaked their diet just a whisper, I could create some pork like my Dad remembered. I managed to convince my Parents into letting me get a couple heritage hogs, just to see. Well, that turned into five hogs and Adult 4-H. And that turned into me quitting my full-time job in town and ten hogs. Now we are here.

Heritage red wattle hogs eating cookies out of the new feeder my family built.

Heritage red wattle hogs eating cookies out of the new feeder my family built.

When I started pestering my Parents about getting hogs again, I never thought I would get to where I am now and where I am thinking of going. I didn’t plan on enjoying hogs so much. I didn’t plan on the meat being so very different and very good. I have quickly accepted the fact that there is no going back now, I like pigs too much!

Yes, I stole the rats with horn's house to make an upcycled pig house! Ingenious and 'sustainable'.

Yes, I stole the rats with horn’s house to make an upcycled pig house! Ingenious and ‘sustainable’.

Since I have doubled in size every year (and don’t plan on stopping!), I needed a new pig pen. The old pen I was using was older than I am by several decades and was not doing a good job of keeping the pigs where they needed to be. This caused several problems when the pigs ate my Dad’s cable to his TV, and my Mom’s flower bed. However, moving my pen meant drilling a well since I did not have a dependable water source and that was just not something I could afford. But then something magical happened. 

In an effort to be 'sustainable' this pig feeder is made out of old boards from out barn that blew down!

In an effort to be ‘sustainable’ we made this pig feeder out of old boards from our barn that blew down!

The most important thing to me, as I grow, is to be “sustainable”. Yes, I know that is an ag buzz word, but for, me it means doing this project in a way that meets my needs the best way it can. It means, not getting a loan from the bank (I learned from my student loan!), it means recycling materials when I can (but not super old materials that break all the time, so I waste all my time fixing them), it means doing things just a whisper different (outside the box is good!).

Part of thinking outside the box is getting free labor from my friend's kids.

Part of thinking outside the box is getting free labor from my friend’s kids (Just kidding, kinda!).

I am so excited to have this opportunity to do my own thing. I love working and being with the cattle, but I love having some independence on the ranch. My Mom made sure to instill in me growing up two “rules”: 1) always have financial independence and 2) develop as many marketable skills as you can. I feel like my pig operation is fulfilling both those “rules” and providing food for my family and friends – it feels so good!

If you get a moment please check out these awesome “real pig farmers”. Remember every farmer does what they think is best for their land and pigs. I urge you to ask them questions – the why’s and how’s are so important!

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Filed under Ag, agriculture, animals, family, Know a California Farmer, photos, Pigs, Ranch life, Uncategorized