April Things + Huckleberry’s Barley Porridge

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Rainy days.
Followed by perfect sunny 70 degree days.
Followed by bitterly cold and windy days.
First barefoot moments in the field.
First dates with our first ever CSA worker shares!
First bike rides of spring.
So much farm productivity.
So many farm conversations.
An almost full CSA!
Beautifully straight rows of just seeded peas and transplanted onions.
Perennial flowers poking up through the earth!
A sunshine-filled wedding.
A Carrot best man.
Good friends, beautiful dresses and hilarious conversations.
Sleepy morning kisses.
Warm, happy moments in the greenhouse.
Cars full of baby seedlings.
Plants doubling in size overnight.
So much green.
So much to do that cooking falls to the back burner.
Lots of pasta.
Lots of Culvers.
Lots of bagels.
Not enough sleep, but happy, happy, happy adrenaline-fueled days.
The always crazy, never stationary, absolutely enjoyable April life of a farmer.

Hope your springtime looks as lovely as ours.
-Leek

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HUCKLEBERRY’S BARLEY PORRIDGE
Adapted from the Huckleberry cookbook
**The Sunny Paris seasoning I used in this recipe is absolutely delicious and should be a staple in your pantry, but if you don’t feel like buying it, feel free to use a blend of dried basil, dried parsley, dried tarragon and onion powder to replicate it. A touch of dried chives are great if you’ve got them. Honestly, any bright dried herbs will work here. 

Takes 1 hour
Makes enough for 4

6 slices thick-cut bacon
1 medium turnip, diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons of your favorite bright spice blend, I used Penzeys Spices Sunny Paris seasoning (see my note above for other spice recommendations)**
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 cups vegetable stock (homemade if you’re feeling ambitious)
1 cup barley
2 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup finely shredded parmesan
1/4 cup maple syrup
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For Topping
Fried eggs
Green onions, sliced
Hot sauce

Cook bacon in a large skillet on the stove-top (or in the oven) until crisp. Drain grease with a paper towel, dice and set aside.
In a large saute pan, combine turnip, carrots, onion and garlic in olive oil. Cook over medium heat for 6-8 minutes until vegetables are beginning to soften. Add spice mixture, red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt. Saute for 2 minutes longer until well combined.
Add the vegetable stock and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for a couple minutes and then add the barley. Simmer on low for 45 minutes until the stock has been absorbed and the barley is soft. Stir in the butter, parmesan and maple syrup until well incorporated. Add in the bacon. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
Top with a perfect over medium fried egg, a handful of scallions and some hot sauce.

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