Crispy rice patties

I had a birthday recently, and my awesome daughters treated me to Chinese food. We ordered a bunch of mostly protein dishes to pick up in town, while my older daughter cooked scallop noodles, coconut sticky rice and plain white rice at home to go with it.

On unpacking the order, we discovered they had thrown in a couple of free orders of white rice and chicken fried rice.

Which left us with a pot of plain white rice that ended up in the fridge, untouched.

Not a problem at all! I used it to make these crispy, pan fried patties. It’s a great way to use up leftover rice, though tasty enough to be worth making a bunch of rice, just for this!

Rice Patty Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cooked, cold white rice
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 – 2 cups shredded cheese (I used medium cheddar and a fine grater)
  • seasonings to taste (I used bacon salt, freshly ground pepper, paprika and garlic granules)
  • oil and butter for frying

Tip: when your cooked rice is ready to go into the fridge for the night, put it into a large slide-lock freezer bag. You can then more easily break any lumps of chilled rice apart in the bag, before putting it into the mixing bowl.

Note: I used a fine hand grater, normally used to grate Parmesan, for the cheese, as a regular sized grate could make the patties fall apart more. If using a regular size grate, reduce the amount of cheese used. The cheese can be skipped, too, if you wish.

Sauce ingredients:

  • mayonnaise
  • sour cream
  • white wine vinegar
  • dried herbs and seasonings to taste (I used a Mrs. Dash mix, plus a bit of rosemary lemon salt and fresh ground pepper, but feel free to combine whatever herbs you like or have on hand!)

To make the rice patties

  1. add your chilled rice into a medium bowl. Add seasonings to taste.
  2. add eggs and mix well with your hands, breaking up any remaining clumps of rice.
  3. add shredded cheese and mix in. Let rest for a minute or so (this is a good time to make the sauce). Note: if the rice mixture seems too loose to form patties, mix in a small amount of flour, then let rest again to allow the flour to absorb moisture.
  4. prepare a deep frying pan by adding about half an inch of oil (any oil with a higher smoke point, such as canola, sunflower or peanut oil, will work) along with about a tablespoon of butter, at high heat. The butter adds flavour, but it also lowers the smoke point of the oil. It can be skipped, if you wish. Note: it is important that the oil is very hot before adding the patties, so that they will crisp up rather than absorbing the oil.
  5. begin to form patties by taking about 1/4 cup of rice and pressing it into your hands to form a sticky ball. Flatten slightly, then set aside on a plate.
  6. when the oil is very hot, gently add several patties into the pan (I could fit only 3 in my pan). Use a spatula to gently flatten the patties.
  7. cook until the bottoms are crispy and golden. Gently turn the patties to cook the other side until also crisp and golden.
  8. remove patties and drain on a paper towel. Keep warm as you continue cooking patties in batches. If it become necessary to add more oil and butter to the pan, make sure to give it time to get very hot before continuing cooking.
  9. serve with sauce while hot. Garnish, if desired.

To make the sauce:

  1. place equal parts mayonnaise and sour cream into a small bowl or measuring cup. I used about 2 – 3 Tbsp each.
  2. add a splash of white wine vinegar and any dried herbs you wish.
  3. mix well and set aside to let the flavours meld.
  4. drizzle over crispy rice patties just before serving.

Making these is rather messy, and the rice mixture tends to want to fall apart until it starts to get crispy, but it is so worth it!

Enjoy. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Getting Steamed

We got to try out the new bamboo steamers last night, and these are the results!

First up; pork and mushroom bao.

20190226,steamed.bao

I was sure I’d bought some frozen bao, but I looked at so many things, I think I actually bought the in-house made bao at the same counter I got the dumplings. Either that or the buns were completely thawed out by the time we got home. Since the other frozen food wasn’t, that seems unlikely.

They were the first things my daughter prepared in the steamer. The instructions I found suggested putting something as a liner in the steamer, such as cabbage leaves or parchment paper, so food wouldn’t stick. These already had their own little parchment papers under them, so no extra liner was needed.

The dough was satiny soft and tender, and they were delicious. They did tend to stick a tiny bit to their papers, which is much better that than sticking to the steamer tray! 🙂

The variety tray of dumplings I got had so many that, even with 3 steamer trays holding 5 dumplings each, they had to be cooked in batches. These also did not need anything to line the trays, since they are each wrapped in their own little cabbage leaf.

20190226.dumpling.pork

The first batch was pork dumplings.

Definitely my favourites. I realize these are just “grocery story” dumplings, and I’m sure purists would be quite unimpressed, but boy did they ever hit the spot. Meaty and juicy and full of flavour!

The tray also included seafood dumplings; about half as many as the pork ones.

20190226.dumpling.seafood

Personally, I found them too strongly fishy in taste; something my daughters did not find at all. There isn’t a lot of seafood I like, so the girls happily ate the rest of my share! 😀 They preferred these to the pork ones. The dumplings were big, heavy and dense with seafood. No skimping, here!

The store we got these at have other varieties that were not included in the mixed tray I got, and we look forward to trying others the next time we shop there!

Now that we’ve broken the steamers in and have an idea of how to use them, it’s time to break out some of my cook books. I have dim sum recipes that I would love to try out!

The Re-Farmer

Black Olive and Chickpea Salad

This is one of my favourites; a hearty salad that I will sometimes have as a meal.

Today, it was made extra special, thanks to a care package a dear friend sent me – who knows me oh, so well!  It has been AGES since I’ve had truffle salt or truffle oil!  Not that I couldn’t find them; they’re just normally incredibly expensive.

20180430.care.package

Every now and then, though, they show up at Winners at affordable prices and, apparently, they had quite a variety of truffle products available!

And yes.  It’s always time for tea.

I have the best friends!

A few dashes of truffle oil and a sprinkle of truffle salt to my salad brought it to a whole new level!  It’s still delicious with just olive oil and regular salt, though. 🙂

Black Olive and Chickpea Salad with FetaBlack Olive and Chickpea salad

Ingredients

1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed
1 can black olives, whole or sliced
about 1/2 cup feta, cubed or crumbled
about 1/4 tsp dried dillweed or 1/2 tsp fresh
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

 

  1. After draining and rinsing the chickpeas, shake off as much water as possible, or let them sit to drain more moisture out for a while.
  2. Combine chickpeas, black olives and feta into bowl medium bowl.
  3. Add dillweed, salt and pepper to taste, and enough olive oil to moisten.
  4. Stir or toss to combine thoroughly and serve.

Optional: use different types of salt (smoked salt is great!) or flavoured oil.

This can be made ahead and chilled in the refrigerator before serving.  I have no idea how long it’ll last in the fridge, because it disappears so quickly!

Overnight Sourdough Rye Bread

overnight.sourdough.rye.fresh.baked

Fresh out of the oven!

This is a bread that needs a LOT of time!  The finished result, with its tangy sourdough flavour, is well worth it.

Begin by preparing the starter the evening before.  We used our rye starter, The Rye of SourOn, but a regular starter can be used as well.

Overnight Sourdough Rye Bread

Overnight starter:
1 cup sourdough starter
2 cups warm water
2 1/2 cups rye flour

  1. Mix the ingredients in a large bowl.  Cover and let stand overnight in a warm place, such as the oven with the light on.overnight.sourdough.rye.sliced

Ingredients:

Overnight starter
1 cup milk
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3 cups rye flour, or 2 1/2 cups rye flour, 1/2 cup flax meal
3 – 5 cups all purpose flour
1/8 cup crushed sunflower seeds, to coat top of loaves (optional)
(place roasted, salted sunflower seeds into a slide lock freezer bag and crush with a rolling pin)

The night before: prepare overnight starter

The next morning:

  1. Pour the milk into a saucepan and scald.  Add the butter to melt, then stir in salt and sugar. Set aside to cool for about 10 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle yeast over warm water and let stand for about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir yeast and cooled milk mixture into the overnight starter.  Stir well.
  4. Mix in optional flax meal and rye flour.  Beat thoroughly until batter is smooth.
  5. Cover lightly and set in a warm, draft free place to rise until almost doubled in size; about 30-40 minutes.

    overnight.sourdough.rye.risen.loaves

    Shaped loaves after rising.

  6. Stir down dough.  Add all purpose flour, a little at a time, until a medium stiff dough begins to form.  Turn onto a floured surface and knead in more flour, as needed.  Continue kneading for another 8-10 minutes, or until soft and elastic.
  7. Divide dough in half, cover lightly and let rest for 10 minutes.
  8. Prepare baking sheet or loaf pans.
  9. Shape the dough into loaves.  Place crushed sunflower seeds onto kneading surface and press tops of the loaves into the seeds before placing on the baking sheet/into loaf pans.
  10. Cover lightly and let rise for about 1 hour in a warm, draft free place.
  11. Preheat oven to 375F.  Bake for about 45 minutes.  Note: if the bread is a golden brown at 30 minutes, tend with foil to prevent further browning.
  12. Place baked loaves on cooling racks.

overnight.sourdough.rye.sliced.title

 

Multi-Grain Bread

Today was a bread baking day.  For the past while, we’ve been making our basic multigrain.bread.slicedsourdough bread, but I felt like experimenting this time.  That’s one of the beauties of a good, basic bread recipe; it’s easy to modify and make interesting!

I actually did two different breads today, with an overnight sourdough rye that I will post the recipe for separately.  I started this one while the sourdough was having its first of 3 risings (not counting the overnight starter).  Even though the other one was started much earlier, this one was finished first!

Multi-Grain Breadmultigrain.bread.fresh.baked

Ingredients

1 Tbsp yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup milk
1 cup water
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
1/2 – 1 cup thick cut oatmeal
3/4 – 1 cup flax meal
3/4 – 1 cup rye
4 – 5 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, crushed*
1/8 cup sunflower seeds, crushed*

  1. Heat the water and milk together to scalding temperatures.  Add the butter to melt.  Pour into a large bowl, stir in sugar and salt, and let cool slightly.
  2. Sprinkle yeast over warm water and let soften for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the oatmeal to the milk mixture to soften.  Stir in yeast.
  4. Mix in the flax meal, rye and enough all purpose flour to make about 3 cups total.  Beat thoroughly.   Mix in pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
  5. Add more flour, a little at a time, until a soft dough forms.  Turn onto floured surface and knead, adding more flour as needed, until dough is soft and pliable.
  6. Place into well oiled bowl, turning to coat all sides.  Cover and set in a warm, draft free place to rise until doubled; about 1 hour.
  7. Prepare baking sheet or loaf pans by oiling well.  Cornmeal can be added to the baking sheet as well.multigrain.bread.risen.loaves
  8. When doubled, punch down dough and turn onto lightly floured surface.  Knead lightly and divide into two pieces.  Form into loaves and place on prepared baking sheet or loaf pans.   Slash the tops of the loaves with a knife, if desired.
  9. Cover and let rise until loaves reach the top of the loaf pans, or about half an hour.
  10. Bake in oven preheated to 375F for about 40 minutes.
  11. Set loaves on racks to cool.  Lightly brush surface with oil for a softer crust.

*Hint: to crush the seeds, put them in a slide lock freezer bag, then use a heavy rolling pin to crush them to the desired amount.  I used roasted and salted seeds, but unsalted can also be used.

multigrain.bread.sliced.title

 

Pickled Pink!

Today, we started our pink pickled eggs for our Easter basket.  They are now in jars, where they need to pickle for 2-3 days.

Pickled Pink Eggs

We made more of them, this year; most likely we’ll only use 8 for the basket itself, but extra is always good!

My older daughter was a sweetheart and boiled a whole bunch of eggs for us while her sister and I went shopping for basket ingredients.

Here are the ingredients for making pickled eggs that are an incredible pink colour!

These are quantities to pickle a dozen eggs, though we probably could have done closer to two dozen in our jars.

For the beet liquid, I used the liquid from both a jar of pickled beets, and a can of beets.  The pickled beets are, of course, in pickling liquid and add their own flavour.  The canned beets are in water, so that just adds colour.  You could use just one or the other, to your own preference.

For the 12 eggs, I used 2 quart size jars.  They probably could have held about 10 eggs each; maybe 12, if I wasn’t concerned about them getting squished.  Only the most perfect ones will go into the basket. 🙂

Pink Pickled EggsIngredients for pink pickled eggs
for 12 hard boiled eggs

Ingredients:

1 cup cider vinegar
1 can beets
1 jar pickled beets
2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
8 whole cloves
1 onion, chopped (optional)

Also: 2, quart size, canning jars with lids.

  1. Peel the hard boiled eggs.  (It’s handy to boil extra, in case some get damaged while being peeled.)
  2. Drain the beet liquid through a sieve into a measuring cup.  There should be about 2 cups liquid in total.  If you wish, you can chop up some of the beets and include them as well.
  3. Divide the eggs into jars.  Add 4 whole cloves into each jar.
  4. Mix the remaining ingredients together until salt and sugar is dissolved.
  5. Pour the pickling liquid over the eggs.  Seal tightly.
  6. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 days.  As the eggs tend to float, gently invert the jars once or twice each day.
  7. After the eggs have pickled for several days, remove the eggs from the pickling liquid.  Discard the pickling liquid.

When ours are done in a few days, I will post new photos! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sourdough Cornmeal Muffins

It’s been a while since I posted a recipe!

Last night, I decided to do another recipe I haven’t made in a long time.  Normally, I would have done a double recipe, but I didn’t have enough cornmeal left.

Alas.

Here is a recipe for:

Sourdough Cornmeal Muffins
adapted from The Sourdough Cookbook by Rita Davenport

sourdough.cornmeal.muffins1Ingredients:

1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup sourdough starter
1/4 cup oil
1 cup milk

  • Prepare tins for 12 muffins and set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 400C.
  • In a large bowl, mix try ingredients together.
  • In a medium bowl, beat egg, then stir in remaining ingredients.
  • Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until just moistened.
  • Divide batter into 12 muffin cups (about 3/4 full each).
  • Bake 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Remove from muffin tins.  Serve hot.

sourdough.cornmeal.muffins2

 

They’re good cold, too!

If they last long enough to become so. 😀

Excellent with a nice cup of rooibos tea!

 

Sourdough Rye Bread

Recently, I was finally able to find a bag of rye flour.  Of all the things I knew would be harder to come by after moving here, rye flour was not one of them!

In anticipation of baking day, I got a rye sourdough starter going last night, using 2 cups rye flour, 2 cups warm water, and about 1/3 cup of our usual starter.

Allow me to introduce you to…

Overnight Rye Sourdough Starter

…The Rye of Sour-on.

My kids are hilarious.

Sourdough starter

Sir Sour Alot is looking good!

Because our original starter has aged so well, it can be shared or used as a base for “overnight starters”, which some recipes call for.

The girls didn’t bother looking up any rye bread recipes.  They just modified their usual Quick and Easy Sourdough recipe (minus the optional garlic and Parmesan with herbs).  With their usual double recipe, they used 2 cups of rye starter, substituted the sugar with molasses, and added 3 cups of rye flour before switching back to all purpose.

Rye sourdoug bread loaves

Rye sourdough bread

The result was a denser bread that didn’t rise as much during backing.  Which is good, because it means they slices will fit completely in the toaster, unlike our usual loaves, which sometimes need to be flipped. 😀

Slices of rye sourdough bread

Still warm from the oven!

Hearty and delicious!

I like the idea of using multiple kinds of flour when baking bread, but that requires having multiple kinds of flour on hand.  Which we really don’t have the space for, anyhow.  So we usually just use all purpose flour, since it gets used for so many other things as well.  I think I’ll make an exception for rye flour – which was only available in a small bag, anyhow.

It looks like we’ll be maintaining two sourdough starters now; Sir Sour Alot and the Rye of Sour-on.

The Re-Farmer

My Non-traditional Slow Cooker Chili

I do love my slow cookers!  I’ve got two 8 quart sized cookers, and have found they are the perfect size for us.  Especially for making something like chili; it’s enough to feed us for a couple of days, making life much simpler!

The chili I make is not at all traditional.  In fact, I’m sure it would horrify true chili aficionados!  😀  I’ve looked through various recipes and they either use ingredients I never tend to have – or ones I can’t use.  My chili has no heat to it.  At all.  You see, for some reason, I have these massive crevasses in my tongue.  It seems to be a hereditary thing, as my father had them, as does one of my daughters.  The oils that cause that spicy heat gets into them, and once there, there’s nothing I can do to alleviate the pain of it.  So as much as I love the taste of spicy food, I can’t actually eat it.

Which makes me sad.  Because I love Indian food.

Ah, well.

So here is my non-traditional, totally mild (though you can make it spicy, if you want), slow cooker chili.

Remember; this is for a big slow cooker, so feel free to cut the recipe in half.  I’m pretty loosey-goosey with the quantities, too.

chili-groundbeef

First up, start browning the ground meat.

I like to use lean or extra lean ground beef, but I’ve also made it with combination of beef and pork, or beef and turkey, since those three ground meats are all pretty inexpensive at Costco.  I used a family size pack of lean ground beef, which was about 5 pounds, and browned it in batches and transferred it to the slow cooker liner using a slotted spoon, so what little fat there was in the pan, stayed in the pan.

chili-onion

While the beef was browning, I chopped up a large yellow onion.  I like leaving the chunks a bit on the large side.  Just because.

I added the onion to the last batch of browning beef.

chili-carrots

Next on the chopping block; 4 or 5 small carrots.

I usually use about 5, but used only 4 this time.  I finished off one bag and didn’t feel like starting another.  I like to chop carrots smaller, too.  This made just under a cup of chopped carrots.

chili-sweetpotato

Then I chopped up 2 small sweet potatoes.

Yes, sweet potatoes.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a chili recipe with them in there, but it was something I decided to try some years ago, and it’s been a permanent addition, since.  I like to chop these even smaller than the carrot.  The idea is for them to be so soft that they disintegrate into the chili when you mix it at the end.  There’s something about the creamy smoothness of it that really appeals to me.

chili-crockpot.prep

After the meat and onions were browned, I added the chopped carrots and sweet potato, then 1 can of mixed beans and 1 can of white kidney beans (both 19 oz cans, drained and rinsed).

I like to change up the can with one type of beans, but I always include 1 can of mixed beans.

chili-crockpot.ingredients

Next up is a large tin of crushed tomatoes, a small tin of tomato paste, seasonings and water.

The seasonings are typically whatever I have handy; usually a steak spice mix and garlic. Slow cookers are where dried foods are in their element, so I used dehydrated garlic pieces that I’ve been able to find.  Strangely, I hardly ever saw them before our move, but our local grocery store carries it!  In refill packages, too, so it’s really cheap. 🙂

The 4 of us have very different preferences when it comes to seasoning, so I tend to use a light hand with it, then everyone can add their own later on.

chili-crockpot.readytocook

Then mix it all together!  Not an easy task, with the crock so full!

Add more water, if needed.

The water is another one of those loosey-goosey measurements.  Food in slow cookers release their own moisture, so they need less added to begin with.  How much to add is a judgement call.  I find it’s safer to add less at the start, then check after it’s been cooking a while.  If it seems to need more, I’ll add boiling water, so it won’t cool the slow cooker down too much.

I then set the slow cooker on low for 5 hours.  I did end up adding more water part way through.  In the time it took to finish adding the water and stirring everything, I increased the time a bit to compensate for lost heat.

chili-crockpot.withoutcream

This is what it looked like when we got back from town.  There was a bit over half an hour on the timer at this point.

This would be the time to give it a taste and adjust the seasonings, then give it a good stir.

I then stirred in my final ingredient.

chili-crockpot.withcream

Whipping cream.  About 3/4 cup.

That was another one of those “Hmm… I should try this” experiments I’d made some years ago that stuck around.

At this point, I like to stir it very thoroughly to break up the sweet potato pieces.  I then returned the cover and left it for the last few minutes to make sure the cream was warmed through.

Between the sweet potatoes and the cream, we have ourselves a wonderfully rich and saucy chili.

chili-bowl

Top your bowl with some shredded cheese, sour cream or some yogurt cheese (which, sadly, we are now out of), and enjoy!

Here’s the recipe:

Non-traditional Slow Cooker Chili
for: 8 quart slow cooker
cook on low for 5 hours

Lean or extra lean ground beef (family pack; about 5 pounds)
1 large onion, chopped
4-5 small carrots, chopped
2 small sweet potatoes, chopped small
1 tin mixed beans (19oz), drained and rinsed
1 tin white kidney beans (19oz), drained and rinsed
1 tin crushed tomatoes (796ml – 26oz)
1 tin tomato paste (170gm – 6oz)
4 cups water (to start)
Seasonings to taste (steak spice mix, dehydrated garlic or garlic granules, salt, pepper, etc.)
hot water, as needed during cooking
3/4 cup whipping cream, or to taste
shredded cheese for topping (or sour cream, or yogurt cheese)

  1. Brown beef and onions.  Drain and transfer to slow cooker liner.
  2. Add chopped vegetables, beans, crushed tomato, tomato paste, 3 or 4 cups of water and seasonings.  Mix. Cover.
  3. Set slow cooker to low for 5 hours.
  4. Check after a couple hours to see if hot water is needed.  Add if necessary and stir.
  5. Shortly before done, taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
  6. Stir in whipping cream.  Cover and let warm through for final cooking time.
  7. Serve topped with shredded cheese, sour cream or other toppings of choice.

 

 

Home Made Yogurt and Yogurt “cheese” – Day Two; finished

Here are the final results of the yogurt and yogurt cheese making process.

You can visit the first part here, with the recipe, and the second part here, with the step-by-step to make the yogurt cheese.

First up, let’s compare the finished yogurts.

20180129-yogurt6

This was after the home made yogurt was in the fridge for several hours.  It did thicken somewhat from when I first put it in the containers, but as you can see, it’s still quite a bit thinner than the commercial yogurt I’d used as a starter.  That yogurt, by the way, was just a house brand of plain “Balkan” style yogurt.  I normally buy Greek yogurt, but it was more than twice the price!

As far as texture went, the only difference was that one was thinner than the other.

I couldn’t really taste any difference in flavour.

After taking the photo, I mixed both together with a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon.  It was quite nice!

One of my daughters promptly claimed the container that wasn’t quite full for herself, and ate it straight. 😀

Now, on to the yogurt cheese…

After hanging for about 3 hours, there was quite a lot of liquid in the container.  Enough that I poured it off into the container I’d already started in the fridge, almost filling it, so that the bag wouldn’t be sitting in so much liquid.

When very little more drained out of it after another hour or two, I decided to take it out and finish the process.

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Look how much liquid there is!  I can hardly wait until our next bread baking day. 😀

Once the bag was on the plate, I could really feel how the middle was thinner than the outside.  If I had a cheese press, I would have been able to get more liquid out, more evenly.  Maybe some day.  For now, I’m happy with doing it this way.

20180129.yogurt.cheese.10

And here is my yogurt cheese baby.  With the outside being drier, it allowed me to gently roll the cheese out of the cloth.  If that part had broken up more, the softer middle would have got on the cloth and made it much more difficult to get out of the bag.

Guess how I know that? 😀

20180129.yogurt.cheese.11

Once out of the cloth, I mixed it thoroughly to make it an even texture.  This is a bit on the thin side to be a “cream cheese.”  More like a really thick sour cream.

I had a couple of smaller containers waiting for it…

20180129.yogurt.cheese.12

I filled one with the plain yogurt cheese, then added some garlic powder, onion salt and parsley to what was left in the bowl.

I admit, I licked the spatula after doing this, and the onion and garlic one was sooo good!

Like the plain yogurt, it thickens a bit in the fridge, but not by much more.

If I had wanted to, I could have left the bag to hang longer to drain more liquid out and have more of a cream cheese texture, rather than a sour cream texture.

We are looking forward to trying some of this on pierogi soon!

If you try making this yourself, please to pop by and let me know in the comments, how yours turned out, and what you think of it!

The Re-Farmer