Filed under: goats, gardening, the yard, favorite plants, it lives!, tomatoes | Tags: strawberry, spring, gardening, abalone pearl, peony
Yes, so in the end spring decided to arrive. Abalone Pearl is the first of the peonies to open. So pretty!
It’s been a busy time for us, but we did get the tomatoes in. This year, most will be in the front yard bed where the crazy pumpkins were last year.
New this year is a resting spot in the garden. I bought this chaise at the end of the season last year, and it’s a nice place to recover! Right next to the rosa rugosa, and the nice strawberry flowers.
Everyone is working really hard –the goats eating new shoots as fast as they can, and we’re also weeding like crazy trying to get ahead of the game.
Roppongi likes to stick close to the fence while we’re weeding–she really appreciates all the good stuff we throw over at her. 2 foot tall dandelions yum!
It’s a beautiful time of year here and we’re so happy to be back outside!
Filed under: asparagus, recipe | Tags: asparagus, easter, food experiment, mushroom, quiche, smitten kitchen, spring quiche
Long time no talk huh? Alas, just waiting waiting waiting for spring. And it didn’t come! Easter was very cold. But managed to make a nice dinner for the fam. Mom brought the nice flowers. And I made a quiche.
And here’s a close up of that quiche. I’m sort of proud of it, even though it kicked my butt.
Whenever I’ve made quiche it’s always been one of those little flat ones. Kind of uninspiring! I love those deep ones you get at a restaurant. How to make I wondered. A quick google of “deep dish quiche” helped me to find documentation of Smitten Kitchen’s similar quest. According to her notes, this was no easy feat. I don’t know what I was thinking, that I could manage to whip up something that a real cookbook author had trouble with, but guess I am temporarily mad from the lack of springtime. So–my first attempt–why not?!–for my family easter dinner, what could go wrong, eh??
For the crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/4 cup ice water
Neutral oil, for brushing springform
Sheesh. First the dough, an amazingly buttery thing, didn’t really come together. I did it in the food processor and not in a mixer like SK. Put the flour and salt in, and then whiz in the butter chunks until pebbly. Drip in the water, and it should come together a little bit.
I didn’t put enough water in, and it was all pebbly. But I’d already dumped it out, so I just pressed it together and popped it in the freezer for a bit. Rolling it out was hard and crumbly every where, but i dusted some water on it, and forged ahead. Pressed it into the tin and patched it up. I hung the crust over the edge as suggested, and then –as i don’t have pie weights or beans on hand–i dumped a bunch of split peas and lentils in there and baked it up. The instruction said 30-40 mins to cook the crust. It really did take forever. And halfway through I noticed that it had shrunken and fallen down. I didn’t have enough beans in there holding it up. So I just took it out of the oven and patched some more dough in there up over the edges and then put it back in the oven. Took beans out–hand picked out the ones that fell past my parchment boundary. And cooked it some more.
It looked ok, not super brown, but sort of cooked, and I was ready to move on.
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 pound mushrooms chopped
1 pound asparagus chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon (15 grams) unsalted butter
4 green onions, chopped (incl. some green parts)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced (use 1 teaspoon only if dried/jarred)
3/4 cup grated swiss cheese
3 cups (475 ml) milk
1 cup (475 ml) heavy cream
7 large eggs, lightly beaten
Saute the mushrooms in oil with S & P, and add in the asparagus when mushrooms are nearly done.
Whisk eggs, milk and cream (SK used 2 cups cream–i used less and added an extra egg)
Now you’re ready to assemble. Layer in the cheese the asparagus mushroom, green onion and some egg. More cheese veggies, and egg. All is well. Decided to leave top cheese for later. Into the oven. Minutes later look in there, and naturally–I’ve managed to create a non-tight crust, and the egg is leaking out on the baking sheet (at least I knew enough to put one under it!) ACK! My nice deep quiche is rapidly becoming a thin sad little one. Not much I could do though, so just hoped it would cook up fast enough to seal itself. And it did. I put on the top cheese and finished cooking it. The unmolding was not too hard. And looked kind of like a crown or something! Nice rustic looking crust. No one cared I think, as the crust was sooo good!
Alls well that ends well I guess. A bit of a mess to clean up, but an educational experience for me. If I can do it, I’m sure you can too!
It was really really good and worth a shot!!
Filed under: food, food issues, meat | Tags: donkey, goat, meat industry, south afrcia
Ok and then there’s this, just in from south africa. More diverse animals used in burgers. Donkeys, water buffalo and goat? Ugh, I need to stop reading the news for awhile i think.
Filed under: gardening | Tags: cooking pumpkin, luxury pie pumpkin, melonette de jaspee vendee, musquee de provence, pie pumpkin, pumpkins, varieties, winter
Sigh. You can’t win them all I guess. Every year, a different way to be disappointed in your garden. While you may have noticed that it was a banner year for pumpkin in our garden, we definitely noticed a big taste difference among our varieties.
Too bad, it was the musquee de provence that was at the bottom of our list. We’d grown this a couple of years ago and liked it just fine. It’s a big girl, 20+ pounds, and the flesh is kind of short stringy. The taste was mild the first time, but this year–BLECH! Don’t know why but it has been super-strong pumpkiny. The kind that dominates a dish, and makes it the last vegetable eaten from the stew, or enchilada or whatever. I’m even to the point of reducing the amounts I include, or adding more spice to cover it up.
On the other hand, we also grew the super cute little Melonette de jaspee vendee pumpkin this year. This is a revelation. Cute, just the right size for a stuffed squash, or a pie. Very mild tasting flesh. Some say eat it raw. And you can. Didn’t do much for me, raw, but you could do it.
Winter luxury pie pumpkin was the third variety, and it was good. Straight up nice pumpkin flavor good in pumpkins and savory dishes.
All of these were grow in the same area–with lots of compost and mushroom manure.
They did really well, and perhaps that was why the taste suffered? The Musquee pumpkins were about 45 pounds! And the Winter Luxury were 8 pounds–both bigger than they should have been. But they just weren’t ripe before that poundage, so what do you do? Can you pick a pumpkin at a size and ripen it off the vine??
In a recent study, fish that was not really tuna was being passed off as tuna in 94 percent of the samples taken. And also disappointing, but something, (ever suspicious consumer that I am) I’d always suspected, almost two-thirds of the “wild” salmon samples were found actually to be farmed Atlantic salmon, which is considered less healthy and environmentally sustainable.
With this plus that terrible horsemeat story, it’s seems that many more will start to seriously mistrust the corporate food machine. Well, while we’re on the topic of the horsemeat, as a vegetarian, I guess I’m not completely outraged. One animal vs. another–it’s all the same, really. But it’s all pretty scary the mislabeling-at this point, just how far are we really from the Chinese melamine stuff? Yeesh, I hope there is still some shred of hope for us here!
Ok so it’s been pretty cold by our standards around here. It got down to 3 degrees, and has been hovering around 10 for a week now. No fun for the animals! And if you’re a skinny goat, well it’s just too much. Our poor little Dongo–Roppongi–has been seen shivering and shivering. Poor thing, she needed a coat. We ran out to the store and voila–a stylish goat coat was purchased.
Sydney–always eating and with her nice thick coat, was, of course, not chilled at all.
Silly thing. I did feel so bad for them in this cold snap. Plus to add insult to injury, they got a new load of hay in, and it’s not the nice green 2nd cut they had been snarfing, and wasting like crazy, no, this round is a pretty crappy first cut. You know it’s bad when the hay man says–don’t worry if they don’t eat for a few days–they’ll eat it eventually!
Well yes actually hay man, I do worry! And little Dongo doesn’t have a lot of excess fat on her. So along with the coat we picked up some goat balancer supplement, alfafa cubes. And they’ve been getting a winter daily ration of: one carrot, handful black sunflower seeds, and handful balancer pellets. It seems to be working. They look better and Roppongi stopped shivering. She can handle about 15-20 degrees, but when it got below 10–well poor thing!
Today it’s abnormally warm out–about 60! Goats are out enjoying a walk about. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that it’s going back into the 20s later this week. ACK yep I’m officially ready for the END of winter!!