Farmers Market Favorite | Cheesy Duck Egg Scramble with Sausage & Vegetables

Twice a month I have the good fortune to work as Market Chef for the Texas Farmers' Markets, creating and preparing dishes from among the best the market has to offer. In January, hearty meals warm the heart and soul, and this satisfying one-dish meal can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Below, find the recipe highlighting vendors Belle Vie Farm & KitchenBrazos Valley Cheese, Kitchen Pride Mushrooms, and Johnson's Backyard Garden.

Cheesy Duck Egg Scramble with Duck Pan Sausage and Vegetables
Serves 4

1 package Belle Vie Farm duck pan sausage
2 bunches JBG Organic scallions, sliced thinly
1 +/- tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 cup Kitchen Pride button mushrooms, sliced
2 bunches JBG Organic spinach, stems removed and chopped
6 Belle Vie Farm duck eggs, beaten
1 cup Brazos Valley Cheese Montasio cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown pan sausage over medium heat. Remove and reserve. Saute scallions in remaining fat. Remove and reserve. Add about 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil as necessary to saute mushrooms, stirring, about 3 minutes. Add spinach to pan, stirring to combine and adjusting with the addition of grapeseed oil as necessary to prevent sticking.

Return sausage and onions to mushroom and spinach mixture. Pour eggs over all. Allow eggs to set around the edges, then gently fold the mixture to expose uncooked egg to heat. Cover the surface with cheese, and cover pan until cheese is melted. Correct seasonings. Serve warm.

If you're lucky enough to find yourself in the Austin area, please visit the markets for some of my favorite vendor products, above. Outside of the area? Substitute your favorites for the name-brands mentioned.

Disclosure: All food donated by vendors free of charge for chef demos. I am a Market Chef for Texas Farmers' Markets.

Coming up this weekend, stop by the markets where I'll be preparing top-of-the-season greens in healthy and delicious ways at TFM Lakeline and TFM Mueller. Visit the links for details. I'd love to see you there!

Farmers Market Favorite | Good Luck Greens & Sauerkraut with Duck Sausage

Twice a month I have the good fortune to work as Market Chef for the Texas Farmers' Markets, creating and preparing dishes from among the best the market has to offer. In January, it's about good luck in the coming year. Below, find the dish I prepared highlighting market vendors Belle Vie Farm & Kitchen, Blackland Prairie Family Farm, Hat Creek Provisions, and Johnson's Backyard Garden.

Good Luck Greens & Sauerkraut with Duck Sausage
Serves 2-4

1T grapeseed oil
2 bunches scallions, whites and greens sliced thinly
1 bunch mustard greens, stems removed, chopped
½ head red cabbage, shredded (all vegetables provided by Johnson's Backyard Garden)
1 jar Hat Creek Provisions Spicy Sauerkraut
1 package Belle Vie Farm Italian Duck Sausage
Salt and pepper, to taste
Blackland Prairie Family Farm Jalapeno Cornbread

Saute scallions in grapeseed oil until wilted. Add chopped mustard greens and red cabbage, mixing well, and cook, covered, over medium heat until wilted. Add a small amount of sauerkraut brine or water to keep greens from sticking, if necessary.

Drain sauerkraut well, and add to wilted greens, tossing to combine. Nestle sausages into greens, and cook, covered, stirring greens around gently to keep from sticking until sausages are cooked through-- about 10 minutes.

Correct seasonings. Serve over warmed cornbread.

If you're lucky enough to find yourself in the Austin area, please visit the markets for some of my favorite vendor products, above. Outside of the area? Substitute your favorites for the name-brands mentioned.

Disclosure: All food donated by vendors free of charge for chef demos. I am a Market Chef for Texas Farmers' Markets.

Coming this weekend, stop by the markets where I'll be preparing top-of-the-season greens in healthy and delicious ways at TFM Lakeline and TFM Mueller. Visit the links for details. I'd love to see you there!

Quick Bites | Spaghetti Squash in Mushroom Arrabiata

Some days just don't lend themselves to long dinners (or long blog posts).

Tonight, I admit I was headed for the nearest drive-thru, but the skies opened up and unloaded and I thought better of that idea from my cottage kitchen, cozy and dry.

I rummaged through the fridge and the pantry and found the makings of a quick, healthy, tasty dinner. Imagine that. Practicing what I preach. A well-stocked larder.

As always it seems, I had no recipe in mind-- just flying by the seat of my pants so to speak, so the sauce below is a very rugged, casual version of a classic arrabbiata sauce (just like the photos are very rugged, casual versions of my usual blog posts because real life.). Traditionally, garlic, onions, and mushrooms when using would all be sauteed in olive oil separately, removed, then returned to the sauce. Had my stomach not been so boisterously commanding sustenance, I might have done that. Instead, I tossed it all in together and cooked it low and slow while the spaghetti squash roasted in the oven. Here's how--

1 small spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise with seeds removed

1 26 ounce carton chopped tomatoes (I used Pomi brand)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pint mushrooms, sliced (I used baby bellas, but certainly use your favorite)
1/2 cup dry red wine (I poured it straight from the bottle that I may or may not have already opened)
a knob of butter
salt to taste

Garnish: Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes or until flesh easily yields to fork.

Meanwhile, add all of the sauce ingredients to a non-reactive saucepan. Cook over medium to medium-low heat (just barely a bubble), stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender. Correct seasonings.

If still warm to the touch, simply grab squash halves in a towel and scrape with a fork into a bowl. Top with sauce and garnish with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

If you are vegan, skip the butter and the cheese.

So that right there is cooking for one. A larger squash would double the servings (and take longer to cook). I have leftover sauce. I'm going to toss in some sliced green olives tomorrow and a pinch of horseradish and bake a piece of halibut in it. I think that would be called a creole sauce. Or leftovers.

There. That's it. Quick Bites.

Classes & Events | January | Maggie Perkins

I am excited to add a new feature to Notes from Maggie's Farm-- an entire page devoted to Classes and Events. Below, find out what I'm up to in the month of January, then check back by clicking on the link in the navigation bar, above. You'll find featured monthly events, and my calendar, updated as classes and demos are added. Thank you for keeping up with all that's going on with Notes from Maggie's Farm. 

I appreciate your support!

Learn to Bake Bread!
Tickets & Info --->January 10, 2017
Tickets & Info --->January 24, 2017

Home Fermentation | Kimchi
Tickets & Info ---> January 12, 2017

Slimmed Down Southern | Eat Your Greens!
Info ---> January 28, 2017 (rescheduled due to weather)
Info ---> January 29, 2017 (rescheduled due to weather)

Beginning Breadmaking | Gluten-free Breads
Tickets & Info ---> January 17, 2017
Tickets & Info ---> January 31, 2017

Southern Comfort series | Gumbo Ya Ya: Chicken & Andouille
Tickets & Info ---> January 20, 2017

The Season's Best series
Info ---> January 21, 2017
Info ---> January 22, 2017

Southern Comfort series | Shrimp & Grits
Tickets & Info ---> January 26, 2017

In the Garden: January

UPDATE: This In the Garden, monthly guide for January, has been updated with new gardening tasks and scheduled plantings for 2017. Did you resolve to grow a bit of your own food or flower this year? Get growing and going with this post from the archives,  Preparing Your (New or Existing) Garden.

Though it's January-dreary and cold, cold, cold in most of the country, Spring, for many of us, is really just around the corner as far as gardening goes. Just as you get the last boxes of holiday decorations stashed away, it's time to prepare for the gardening year, ahead.  

We can expect peas and asparagus early, and those spring greens for which we'll clamor in a few months, need to be in the ground as early as this month or next.  

Today, we'll take a look at the next few weeks of what and when to plant in Zone 8.  For information on planting dates for your particular region, consult this chart to determine the zone in which your garden grows, and then adjust the following to-dos accordingly.  

Wherever you find yourself in the gardening calendar, it's time to get ready for a new growing season. Create a garden plan to help organize chores and planting schedules. Sharpen, oil, perform preventative maintenance on garden tools. Pull out pencil and paper and start mapping out what will go where, considering companion planting, sun and wind exposure, and weather forecasts. In January, the year's garden is a tabula rasa, a blank slate, and a little planning now will go a long way in creating an abundant harvest in the months to come. 
The beginning is the most important part of the work.--Plato.  And Mom.

In the Garden: January

Fertilize Fertilize asparagus, strawberries, daylilies, iris, pansies and roses. Use compost, manure or a complete fertilizer.

Water Water everything well before a freeze, but avoid overwatering.

Transplant Plant bare root and container grown roses, shrubs, trees, groundcovers and vines. Move hardy seedlings outdoors. Divide and transplant perennial herbs and summer and fall blooming perennial flowers. 

Prepare Soil Add compost and/or fertilizer. Till deeply. Test soil (forms available at the Extension Office). Check winter mulch and replenish, if needed. Stockpile leaves for mulch and composting throughout spring and summer.

Lawn Care If lawn has a history of brown patch problems, treat with a labeled fungicide late in the month. Repeat treatment in 3 to 4 weeks, if needed.

Diseases/Pests to look for Check for mealy bugs and for scale on houseplants. Need a plant problem identified? Bring a sample in a ziplock bag to the a County Extension Office near you.

Wolf Creek Pass, Colorado
Things To Plant In January

Flower Plants Alyssum, Butterfly Weed, Calendula, Candytuft, Cornflower, Dianthus, Daisy (African, Michaelmas and Painted), Gaillardia, Liatris, Edging Lobelia, Nasturtium, Ornamental Cabbage and Kale, Pansy, Phlox paniculata, Snapdragon, Stock.

Flower seeds Ageratum, Alyssum, Balsam, Bluebell, Calendula, Candytuft, Cleome, Coreopsis, Cornflower, Delphinium, Echinacea, Feverfew, Gaillardia, Gayfeather, Gerbera, Hollyhock, Hyacinth, Larkspur, Lobelia, Lupine, Nasturtium, Phlox, Poppy, Queen Anne’s Lace, Petunia, Snapdragon, Sweet Pea, Sweet William.

Bulbs Allium, Alstroemeria, Amarcrinum, Canna, Crinum, Dahlia, Daylily, Gladiolus, Hosta, Hyacinth, Spider Lily (Hymerocallis), Liriope, Monkey Grass, Rain lily, Society Garlic, Tigridia, Tulip

Vegetables Start tomato, pepper and eggplant seedlings indoor under fluorescent lights. Early—Mid Month: asparagus crowns
Mid—Late Month: Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Onion sets, Peas, Spinach

Herbs Garlic chives, Horseradish, Parsley, Chervil

Fruit Bare root or container grown pecans, fruit trees, grapes, berry bushes

Beautiful Boulder, Colorado,

Bundle up, friends!

Twelfth Night | King Cake and the Mardi Gras Carnival Season

In the Gulf Coast region, as well as many cultures across the world, Epiphany, or Twelfth Night, ushers in Carnival season, which ends on Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras. The celebrations will include King Cake, traditionally made in this area with a soft brioche-type dough, with, or without fillings, iced simply, then sprinkled with sugars in the the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, gold, and green.

During my years in Louisiana, I had the opportunity to eat little slices of seemingly hundreds of King Cakes. It was customary during the season to have a weekly King Cake party at one's workplace, and the teacher's lounge was no exception.  We all had a piece, and the one of us lucky(?) enough to discover the traditional 'baby' in our slice was expected to provide the following week's cake.

Occurring so closely to Christmas, this time of year was often one of catching up with a budget set a bit out of whack from the holidays, so there were many weeks in which one or more of us skipped the cake, to avoid the chance of having to provide the next one for the group.

But, oh, what a sacrifice this was!  My very favorite regional sweet, it was all I could do not to sneak a slice after the baby was discovered by another!  But that was kinda cheating.  So was born the motivation, for me, to learn to make one, myself!

Gambino's Bakery, in Baton Rouge, made my favorite in those days, and every year, I try a new recipe to replicate the sweet tender bread, surrounding many fillings; traditional cinnamon is my favorite. Gambino's isn't the only bakery that makes King Cake.  In fact, EVERY bakery makes them, and every native has their favorite.

This year, I based my efforts on the recipe, below, from I made a few adjustments: the zest of 2 sweet oranges and 1 Meyer lemons were added to the pastry, the filling was doubled, but the raisins were omitted in favor of golden currants, dried, and the glaze was thinned by doubling the water. I reduced the oven temperature to 350 degrees, and baked about 10 minutes longer, covering the cake with foil for the last ten minutes. I kept a low level of steam in the oven by misting the sides with a spray bottle of water, every ten minutes of baking, taking care not to get mist on the cake. Also, I used paste food colorings to dye fine and coarse ground sugars, and sprinkled them liberally, in bands, immediately over the glazed cake,while still warm.

1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
2/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45
degrees C)
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup melted butter

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon water

1. Scald milk, remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup of butter. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water with 1 tablespoon of the white sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

2. When yeast mixture is bubbling, add the cooled milk mixture. Whisk in the eggs. Stir in the remaining white sugar, salt and nutmeg. Beat the flour into the milk/egg mixture 1 cup at a time. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours. When risen, punch down and divide dough in half.

4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 2 cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

5. To Make Filling: Combine the brown sugar, ground cinnamon, chopped pecans, 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup raisins. Pour 1/2 cup melted butter over the cinnamon mixture and mix until crumbly.

6. Roll dough halves out into large rectangles (approximately 10x16 inches or so). Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough and roll up each half tightly like a jelly roll, beginning at the wide side. Bring the ends of each roll together to form 2 oval shaped rings. Place each ring on a prepared cookie sheet. With scissors make cuts 1/3 of the way through the rings at 1 inch intervals. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

7. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Push the doll into the bottom of the cake. Frost while warm with the confectioners' sugar blended with 1 tablespoon of water.

Recipe copyrighted, and courtesy of

Mardi Gras falls on February 28 this year, and whether you're making the Big Easy a part of your carnival plans, or simply celebrating from the comfort of your home, you might want to acquaint yourself with route maps and schedules of parades, balls, merriment, and more.  The website, New Orleans online, is a great place to start.

Let the good times roll, my friends!

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