Monday, October 11, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
I am getting closer but still not done. The hen house structure is done - it just needs a nest box and a roost and then its ready.
Once everything is in - the wire goes on the top and then the roof and a little wire on the the bottom of the front and it is DONE! I can't finish it this week but I am shooting for Sunday to be done.
I also got a little break to get into the garden and as forlorn as it looks right now there were still a few goodies to be found - a few eggplants, some yellow tomatoes and a handful of green beans - added to two lovely green eggs from Saturday and it made a lovely combination of colors in my kitchen :)I also managed to cook up a few more Asian pork buns this weekend with the left over smoked pork shoulder that I froze a few weeks ago. They are just as yummy this time as last - I can't wait to try a Southwest version with some of the roasted Hatch chilies I froze.
Lately I have had too much work and not enough time in my yard and kitchen! I have so many things I want to do and not enough time to get it all done. I have broccoli, Brussel sprouts and Bok Choy growing in the corner of my living room and I need to get them outside but I need the coop done first. Goal for this weekend - coop done, veggies in the ground where they belong for the fall! Wish me luck!
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Monday, September 13, 2010
Tonight - using the left overs I made some Asian Pork Buns. They turned out really well. I chopped up some of the left over shoulder, cooked down the pan drippings from the smoking process, added a little soy sauce and used that for the filling. I thought about using regular barbecue sauce and making them like pulled pork inside - but the smoke flavor was so good I hated to cover it up with barbecue sauce. The dough is a fairly simple to make -
- 10 Tbsp milk
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 1 large egg beaten (for dough)
- 2 tsp yeast
- 2 Tbsp warm water
- 2 1/2 Tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 egg beaten (for egg wash)
Warm milk and butter together in a microwave safe bowl just until butter melts. In a medium sized bowl, put the 2 Tbsp water and the yeast and allow the yeast to soften. Whisk the egg in a bowl and add the warm milk and butter to the egg. Add the mixture to the yeast. In a sifter combine flour, sugar and salt and sift into the liquid mixture.
Stir until the dough comes together, then turn out on a lightly floured board and knead. You may need to sprinkle with a light dusting of flour to keep it from sticking - but use as little flour as possible. knead about 5 minutes and then put dough in a oiled bowl (turn to coat the dough lightly with oil), cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour in a warm place.
When the dough has risen and the filling is ready punch it down and divide it in half. Roll each half into a 12 inch log and cut each into 4-6 even pieces. roll the pieces into balls and press them flat and spread them out to about 4 inches across. The dough should be thicker in the middle than around the edges. Place 2-3 Tbsp of the filling in the center and pull the edges up together over the dough into a purse shape and pinch all of the seams together. Put filled bun seam side down on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Continue until all the buns are done. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for 30 minutes. In the last 10 minutes of rising preheat the oven to 350. Before putting the buns in the oven - brush the tops with egg wash. Baking time depends a little on the size of the buns you make - generally 15-20 minutes is all it takes for the buns to become deep golden brown on top and sound slightly hollow when tapped. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before serving.
I have had similar buns with a sweet red bean filling - I am hoping to find a good recipe for those and try them next. The great thing about the little buns is that you can freeze them for up to a month or refrigerate them for a week - simply rewarm in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes and they are ready to pop in a lunch box - no mess and nothing can fall out of the nice neat little package. I am going to experiment with some other fillings too - maybe Teriyaki chicken or ground pork with cabbage and ginger (like pot sticker filling) - I think you could even make lovely ones with grilled veggies inside.
The yard clean up was a bit of a chore but once everything dried out I was able to get everything put back in order. In the process of pruning one of the Butterfly bushes in my front yard I ran across this lovely garden spider and I had to take her picture and bring the kids out to see her.
We also had a birthday party for my daughter over the weekend. She asked for a pond theme cake with a frog and lilly pads. I struggled a bit with the frog, but in the end I think it turned out pretty well and my daughter and her friends loved it! A few of the mom's suggested I go into the cake business - but I honestly have no idea how to charge for a cake and I'm not sure my figures are good enough, but it is something I am going to think about. Maybe I can do a few more and then hang up my shingle - kids theme cakes - get 'em here!
Thursday, September 2, 2010
She was wedged into one of the concrete blocks that is the foundation of the coop! I don't know how she got in there but this morning I heard a kind of muffled peep sound coming from the ground under the edge of the coop and when I went into the coop I saw a tiny fluff of white feathers sticking out of the block. I managed to get her out and she seems ok - just hungry and thirsty! I am soooo relieved!
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
I'm also glad she is taking hard boiled eggs for lunches so that we can work through the volume of eggs we are getting :)
Saturday, August 28, 2010
It is Hatch green chili time! So today when the kids and I went to the store and smelled the roaster going outside I knew one of my favorite times of year was here!
I bought a bag of the roasted mild chilies and haven't figured out what to do with all of it, but tonight with dinner I decided we should have some fresh homemade Hatch chili cheese bread.
It turned out to be a little too spicy for the kids - even with the mild chilies - but I loved it :) My daughter liked the flavor but the heat was a little much for her - so I am sure when she gets a little bigger she will be a Hatch chili girl like her mom :)
I haven't decided what to do with the rest of the chilies - so I need to come up with some ideas. If I can't think of anything else then I will probably make a few more loaves of the bread - or maybe make it into rolls - and freeze it for later this fall to have with chili. Of course I guess I could always use the rest to make chili - maybe with white beans and some ground pork from my freezer..... hmmmm - I may have to work on that idea a little more. Thinking about it is making me hungry even though I just ate dinner!
Here is the recipe for the Hatch Chili Cheese Bread
- Roughly 1 c. of roasted, peeled, seeded Hatch green chilies - chopped
- 1 pkg active dry yeast
- 1/4 c. warm water
- 1/2 c. milk (I used skim)
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 3 1/2 - 4 c. flour
- 3/4 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 egg yolk combined with 1 Tbsp water
In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm water and let stand about 5 minutes until yeast has softened. Warm milk and butter in the microwave or in a small sauce pan to about 110 degrees - so the butter melts but not too hot or the heat will kill the yeast. Add the milk and butter mixture to the yeast. Next stir in the chilies, salt, sugar, cheese and about 2 1/2 cups of the flour. Stir until combined and sticky (a dough hook on a mixer works well for this but I usually just do it by hand). Once the dough is combined - turn it out on a floured board and knead in the remaining flour. The total amount varies - it depends on the humidity and other things - but basically I knead in flour until it is no longer sticky and it becomes smooth and elastic. Once it reaches that stage - about 8 or 9 minutes of kneading, form it into a ball and put it in an oiled bowl and toss it around so that it is lightly oiled on all sides. Then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until doubled - about an hour.
Punch down the dough, turn it out and knead it just enough to release the air from the dough - 2 or 3 minutes. Shape the dough into a loaf and place it in a greased 9x5 inch loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise again for about 45 minutes. When the dough is nearly done rising - preheat the oven to 375.
Brush the loaf with the egg wash and bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes until the loaf is golden and sounds hollow when tapped on top. Remove from the oven, turn out of the pan and let cool on a wire rack before slicing.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Sunday, August 1, 2010
One other accomplishment of the day - but it seems a little silly to even mention it - I canned one pint of spicy dilly green beans. Yes - that's right - only 1 pint. My beans are producing but not very well (my mom thinks its too much nitrogen in the soil) - lots of green leaves but very few beans. So since there were not enough to actually make a side dish for dinner, I stuffed 'em in a jar and pickled them. I have not made pickled beans before, but I had amazing ones at Jazz Fest in New Orleans a few years ago so I wanted to try to make some myself. Ok - I grant you that they were in a Bloody Mary and it was at the end of the day - but honestly - they were really, really good. I can only hope mine will be as good!
Saturday, July 31, 2010
For my son's birthday we are going to head down to the coast to hopefully catch a sea turtle hatchling release at Padre Island National Seashore - so today he had some friends over to go roller skating and then come back to play for the afternoon. So this morning I had to rush to get a cake made for the party. I baked the cake last night and froze it (makes it less crumbly to frost) and this morning there was a flurry of activity to make the Swiss meringue buttercream frosting and my daughter helped me make a sea turtle and eggs out of rolled fondant. The kids like helping with fondant decorations because it is like ply-dough except you can eat it. We don't really like the taste of it though - so we just use it for decorations.
I have lots of yard work I need to do tonight and I need to figure out how to build a separate area for the bantams - but it will have to wait until tomorrow or later tonight, but I wanted to post the picture of the cake since I think it turned out pretty well.
We are still getting eggs from Cadbury - I was out of town last week for work so they couldn't be out in the yard at all, so she only laid 3 eggs the 4 days I was gone. I think she is happier when she can get out in the yard during the day so we got more eggs the week before when she was able to free range each day. Being gone has one advantage though - I came home to a carton with enough eggs to make up a meal :) Now if I can just get the Easter Eggers to start laying eggs I might actually be able to fill up a whole egg carton!
Monday, July 26, 2010
At least I had good news in the nesting box and a surprise snack from the fig tree. Hopefully the commotion of catching everyone and rescuing the little girls from the attack won't throw off Cadbury's laying - she is the only one who hasn't attacked the little girls and she is the only one laying - so right now she is my absolute favorite. In the last 7 days she has laid 6 eggs and they are delicious. I have to say the Easter Eggers all seem to have a mean streak - so if there aren't some blue and green eggs soon and they continue to be so aggressive to the little girls - they may be headed for new homes before too long.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
I continue to get an egg a day from Cadbury and I think Amelia isn't far behind her. She has started checking out the nest boxes and cackling more like Cadbury does - so I think the time is near. I can't wait to see if I get blue or green eggs - I hope so!!
Lilly - the Silkie - is so cute - she is a little fluff ball! The only problem is that yesterday - when working on the house and dividing wall I swear I heard her trying to crow! I really, really hope Lilly does not turn out to be a rooster because I don't want a rooster but I really wanted a Silkie. I am hoping that maybe it was just a unique call that was due to her being frightened by the sounds of the drill and tools, but I guess time will tell.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Another egg today! I put it next to one from the store for comparison. You can see how small my little eggs are - but I like how dark they are. I hope they will be very dark brown once she reaches her prime. I was able to confirm they are from Cadbury - she went into the hen house today as soon as I moved the little girls down into the run. She scratched around and was very talkative and went in and out several times. About an hour later I wen to check and there was the new little egg :)
I didn't get one yesterday but I think it may be because the little girls were in the hen house all day in their kennel. So I need a new plan. I think I am going to have to temporarily separate the section of the run that is under the house and give the little girls their own little house in there until they are big enough to all be together. I tried letting them together today, but Pouf and Amelia immediately went on the attack. Lilly (the silkie) actually got one good peck in right on Pouf's head, but Athena (the Barred Plymouth Rock) basically was getting beaten up so I separated them all again.I did move the nesting box into the hen house - I am hoping that having it there doesn't disrupt Cadbury's laying and that she will like the coziness of the nest boxes. I guess I will find out soon enough :)
Just one more picture today - the sunflower below was in my garden but the rain bent it over so I cut it and brought it in to enjoy a little sun in my kitchen!
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
- 4 cups sliced fresh peaches
- 2 cups sugar (divided)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 stick of butter
- 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
- 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups milk
Preheat the oven to 350. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together into a bowl. Stir in 1 cup of the sugar and set aside. In a medium sauce pan, combine the peaches, 1 cup of sugar and the water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. While the peaches are cooking put the stick of butter in an oven safe casserole (I used an 8x10 casserole dish) and put it in the oven. When peaches are cooked remove them from the heat. Stir the milk into the flour mixture and combine thoroughly. When the batter is combined, remove the hot casserole from the oven - being careful not to burn yourself. Pour the batter into the hot butter - DO NOT STIR. Spoon the peaches over the batter and drizzle on about a cup of the cooking liquid - DO NOT STIR. Put the whole thing back in the oven and cook for 35-45 minutes or until the batter has puffed up around the peaches and has turned a golden brown. Remove the cobbler from the oven and let cool about 10 minutes and serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
I have seen this recipe called "floating peach cake" and "canned peach cake." It was so good that I really want to make it again but knowing the peaches won't be available for long I decided to can my own in cobbler recipe portions :) So the three jars in the picture at the top will be used to make cobbler in a month or two when there are no more fresh peaches available. Somehow I think that when my birthday rolls around in November I will make myself a cobbler for my cake :)
I also made the nesting box for the chickens over the weekend. It is in the garage for now - until the new chicks are out of the kennel and then I will move it into the hen house. There are two nest boxes - chickens share so two should be enough for 6 chickens. I also had enough black eyed peas to make some ham hock and black eyed pea soup and I got a nice squash from my only remaining summer squash, a cucumber and a few small cloves of garlic. I may plant a few more squash but it is pretty hot here now so I may need to wait until late August or early September to get the second harvest planting started. I may try starting some in my living room in a few weeks and try moving them outdoors when they are a little bigger.