Monday, April 9, 2012

Egg Day.

Happy (late) Easter, if you're into that sort of thing.
Or "Egg Day" as my mom adorably said in a text yesterday.
"Egg Day" seemed appropriate, as we did begin our Easter Sunday with very fresh eggs for breakfast, courtesy Easter morning from Lulu & Miranda. Being relatively new chicken owners, every egg is still something to celebrate.
As a half Jewish/half Catholic girl raised in neither faith, I mostly celebrate holidays with food. Not to say that I don't take holidays seriously. I celebrate anything. I am a big fan of any excuse to cook a festive meal, pretty much. Mardi Gras, Saint Patrick's Day, Valentine's Day, whatever, bring on the food.
& the rituals. Christmas trees, menorahs, Easter baskets, Mardi Gras costumes.
Upholding traditions in some form is important to me.
I plan on making chopped liver & matzo ball soup this week in honor of my Gramma Bess & Passover. (I celebrate all the Jewish holidays with those things, they make me think of her the most).
Easter I've always been fond of: Spring is something to celebrate, egg dyeing is a nice ritual, & there's something about the Easter myth that appeals to the drama queen in me. Plus, Easter is a holiday where I have traditionally managed to avoid family obligations & spend the day the way I like, at home cooking a good old fashioned Sunday dinner with the person I love.
This is the first Easter in a long time that I haven't had to work, & our first married Easter.
We spent it exactly as I hoped. We ate a delicious breakfast of our own eggs & bacon while listening to some of the truly excellent Christian Country hits of Randy Travis, then we dug in the new garden all day.
We are attempting to clear by hand an about 60x60 foot square of abandoned & totally overgrown garden space.
On this Easter Sunday we tilled two new 45'x4' beds & planted sugar snap peas, yellow beans, French Breakfast & Easter egg radishes, golden beets, & blue potatoes, then dug a cold frame to harden off the kale & Kohlrabi & broccoli & cauliflower seedlings we have started indoors.
I'm really getting to know that pitchfork. I'm pretty proud of the calluses I've gotten on my palms, these last few weeks.
Then we cleaned the chicken coop (yay farm chores!) & hung out laundry on the line (I love finally being able to have a clothesline here!) & other weekends tasks, trash, sweeping, dishes, etc.
So we totally deserved the completely indulgent Easter dinner we had.
Egg Day Dinner 2012.
 Roast Duck marinated overnight in wine, garlic, sage, rosemary, chili peppers, olive oil, & salt & pepper. 
We bought the duck on a Friday night as a weekend impulse & grilled the legs that night, served with curried rice & broccoli. Then marinated the rest of it over Saturday night & roasted it Sunday.
Owen's famous Cheesy Bacon Mashed Potatoes.
I swear that man is insane. One pound of bacon, both ricotta & fresh mozzarella, & 1/2 & 1/2. Into mashed potatoes. I love him.
With some leftover Kale Pesto because I like to eat a green thing & I'm still on the Kale Pesto kick.
Topped with, of course, Duck Gravy.  Huge amounts of Duck Gravy.
God damn I'm glad a married a man whose good with gravy. 
My leftovers for lunch at work were kind of insane. Yeah, I'm just eating my roast duck & cheesy bacon mashed potatoes & duck gravy over here, don't mind me.
I went to bed completely exhausted & satisfied last night. Good food, seeds planted, house & coop clean. 
Right now I'm making a soup from the duck stock. Fridge soup, don't you know it!
I have a huge pile of seeds on hold I'm gonna buy at work tomorrow. There is a whole cleared bed we haven't even touched yet.
I don't mean to always be all Pollyanna on y'all the time here, but mostly, stuff's good. I don't think we have anything real to complain about.
I guess somewhere along the line I've turned into a positive thinker. Or I'm just happy.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Spring Cleaning, Kale Pesto & Hey, It's Garden Time Again.

Hey y'all it's spring! Hence the lapse in posting. A new garden to till, seeds to plant, & since we actually have a yard here raking & clearing of flower beds & all that fun stuff. Including grilling outside!
Hells yeah to having a huge yard in a gorgeous place.
Watching chickens frolic while grilling meat is where it's at.
It's been busy busy times around here. I've been putting in many hours at the day job (numbers numbers numbers) & we have land to clear, since our cottage came with ample abandoned garden space. We were going to rent a rototiller but since for the past two weeks I've only had Sundays off, it just didn't work out & we couldn't resist starting to dig.
Then the awesome sense of accomplishment that comes with doing shit by hand got to us & we'll probably just finish it that way. We invested in a nice shiny new pitchfork. I'm totally loving it.
On top of all that, I agreed to make a painting at my boss' request as a present for my co-worker's son's first birthday, & that is guaranteed to make me a nervous wreak on all counts. I am always apologetic when people buy my paintings, I'm terrible at creating work on request, & I don't know anything about babies. Plus I love this co-worker, so even though I was being paid it really mattered to me that she like the finished product.
Here's what I came up with:
March 2012: Teenaged Chickens Love Kale. 
There you are. I CAN work on commission! Call me for all your chicken painting needs. Really, do that.
I need an agent. Or the right sort of self-esteem. 
I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. Those are two of our now eight week old chickens. They do adore kale. 
So I've been doing that, working, gardening.
I have this week gone on a spring cleaning spree. The house has gotten rather of out of hand with everything else going on so my goal this week has been to take on at least one major cleaning task every night, since I no longer have a painting deadline & I have a real weekend off this week so the garden can happen then.
I am quite fond of Easter. As holidays go, it pleases me. As does Passover. I do have a Catholic & Jewish soul I guess. I want the house in a good place by then. My plan is since we have spent every holiday since we got married last September running around between in-laws this one we are staying home & I am cooking a leg of lamb & we will eat chopped liver & matzo crackers first & we will spend the day living fabulously & decadently & enjoying each other. Hell, we have chickens now-we can dye eggs laid in our yard!
Oh yeah, Kale Pesto. Yes this is a food blog! Kale Pesto.
I'm obsessed with it. I feel like finding a cheap way to make decent pesto in the winter is achieving a major life goal for me.
I buy a lot of kale in winter because it's cheap & I'm poor & I like eating green foods.  I get bored with it though.
Secret fact: I'm a very food adventurous & love vegetables but until Owen had his vegan restaurant cooking job & learned a certain kale & cumin seed trick, I hated eating kale.
 What can I say? I grew up in New Bedford, Massachusetts & we had Kale Soup in the elementary school cafeteria quite frequently. It isn't easy to get over early food trauma like that.
 KALE PESTO has really blown my mind. Although I greatly anticipated garden food season, we are not there yet, not at all. Still a few weeks away from asparagus & fiddleheads & ramps, even.
A bunch of kale is a couple of dollars & making a quick pesto out of it is a cheering way to eat summerish food right now in early April when you want it but it is not here yet.
Recently I have made a kale pesto & chicken apple sausage lasagna. I made a nice pasta thing with kale pesto, anchovies, & cannelloni beans. Kale pesto makes a delicious sandwich condiment, & is fantastic mixed in scrambled eggs. Good over grilled applewood smoked chicken (we have a huge downed apple tree here). 
Recipe, Sort Of: Kale + Olive Oil + Cheese + Garlic + Salt & Pepper + Chili Pepper Flakes &/or Splash of Sriracha (Optional, I like it hot), into the food processor. Quantities to taste. Any cheese works fine.  
There you have it. There are always new things to learn about food. Thank Christ. I'd be so bored otherwise.
Kale Pesto! Fantastic!