Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Strawberry-Rhubarb Baked Custard French Toast

May 07, 2011

Special Mother’s Day wishes to all the mother hens and chicks out there. I couldn’t resist posting this sweet video of a mother hen and her baby chicks.

The chicks in the video are not mine.  Someone did ask me this week, however, if I felt bad that my hens will never be mothers. It’s something I hadn’t actually thought about, but upon reflection I really don’t feel too bad. Frankly, I think my girls are happy being carefree and  worrying only about themselves. In fact, I suspect that many mothers wish they could have that – at least for one day.  I rather think the hen in this video is at that point by the end of the clip!

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Dandelion Greens – A Recipe

May 03, 2011

I recently came home from a photo shoot with a huge bunch of dandelion greens. Yes, I know, I have plenty of dandelion greens popping up in my yard–don’t remind me–but these were so nice I hated to turn them down.

I had planned to give them to the chicks, but as I chopped a big bowlful I decided these greens were much too nice to give all of them to the girls. So I set about creating a recipe to feature these spring treats using leftover Easter ham and some Yukon gold potatoes. read more »

The Secret to Selling Your Home

April 27, 2011

Trying to sell your home in this down market? Wondering what the secret to a quick sale might be? Maybe it is worth adding French antiques to your decor? Recently, a friend of mine found the answer: a chicken coop in the backyard.

She and her husband sold their suburban home to 2nd Chance Investment Group after a few weekss of it being on the market. Turns out one of the things they loved about the house was the chicken coop out back.  According to them generally prospective buyers and children love chickens (as we all do).

Who Could Resist?

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Disaster-Proof Raspberry-Chocolate Meringues

April 23, 2011

I’ve been working in kitchens for so long that I have to admit disasters don’t often happen any more. That doesn’t mean things always turn out perfectly, but usually I can rescue things or at least make them better.  Yesterday, however, disaster struck.

It’s what can happen even to an experienced cook when you allow yourself to become distracted.  I was making the Paska for this weekend.  Paska is an egg-rich Ukrainian Easter bread decorated with crosses, flowers and braids made out of bread dough.  I make it every Easter and intended to blog about it this year, although not in the way I’m now doing.  Because I make Paska only once a year I have to concentrate when I make it.  This year I was multi-tasking, what with cleaning, editing and answering phone calls, such that my baking concentration got lost. read more »

New Beginnings

March 24, 2011

Welcome to my newly designed blog and website! I’m very excited about it and glad it’s finally up and running as it’s been several months in the making.  I’m anxious for feedback, so please let me know how you like it. I have to give credit to my fabulous designer, Lisa Hazan. After stumbling on my own for so many years, it’s great to work with someone who actually knows what they’re doing!

While all of this has been going on, I’ve also been busy promoting my book. I’ve done several book signings here in town and if you look at the Events tab above, you’ll see some of my upcoming appearances. I’m also being interviewed on radio shows across the country. It’s a first for me, but I’m really starting to enjoy it. The radio hosts are great fun and very enthusiastic. I’ll be posting some of the taped interviews on my Facebook page, so please join in as a fan of Chicken and Egg to hear them. As a result of the great reception the book has received, I just found out today that it’s gone into a second printing, so I’m very excited!

Ruby and Cleo splashing in the puddles

The chickens are continuing to do well. Last week’s 50ºF. weather had them dancing in the melting snow. They’ve been a little frumpy after Tuesday’s snowstorm, however, and haven’t ventured out since. To read more about them, please wander over to the Chronicle Books Food Blog where I wrote a guest column and posted one of my favorite recipes: Extra-Creamy Scrambled Eggs with Buttermilk-Chive Biscuits. If you leave a comment on their website this week you could win a free copy of the book!

Now that things are settling down, I’ll plan to be in touch more often. Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Three’s a Crowd

January 10, 2011

Latest Book News: My book Chicken and Egg has been spotted on the shelf in Crate & Barrel and is featured on page 60 of their latest catalog! I can’t wait to get over to the store to see it in person. Let me know if you catch sight of it.

I grew up in a family of three sisters. I was recently reminded of my teenage years and the hours spent battling over use of the bathroom with my two sisters as I watched three of my hens last week trying to use one nest at the same time. Watch the video below and you can almost hear their mutterings translated as “It’s my turn now—you’ve been in there forever!” and “I can’t hold it, I have to come in now!”

Ruby, the red chicken on the left, was the first one in the nest. She’s then joined by Cleo on the right, while Coco, the black and white hen, demands to be let in too. The video starts with Coco’s attempts to barge her way in. Listen to the gutteral cooing Ruby makes as she’s laying her egg (which sounds like growling in the video). Ruby finally manages to lay her egg through it all but watch carefully as Cleo seems to claim the egg as her own and even pushes poor Ruby out of the nest.

I must admit, chickens are a lot calmer than teenage girls, with no shrieking, shouting or crying. All three hens eventually laid their eggs that day and they’ve taken turns ever since.

A Pile of Feathers

January 08, 2009

Life is good when you’re a pampered backyard chick. Except when you molt in January in Minnesota. The coldest month of the year. The coldest state in the nation. Poor Cleo. She squawks “What’s up and why me?”

I don’t have a clue. She was fine up until a few days ago when I noticed several feathers on the floor during one of the girls’ habitual overnights inside. I didn’t think much of it. After a few days however feathers began piling up everywhere. The coop has a nest of feathers every morning, the run has flying feathers from top to bottom and the chicks’ favorite evergreen tree is lined with feathers. The poor girl seems to be losing a feather a minute. At this rate she’ll be bald by weeks end! I’m worried.

Last Night’s Feathers

I sent a message to my virtual local chicken group and found, interestingly, Cleo’s not the only rare bird in this shivering landscape. Several other chickens are going through the same problem. Is it a full moon, the tides or hot flashes? I’ve read if they lose their feathers quickly they’ll grow back quickly. I hope so. If not, I’ll have to start knitting a chicken coat. Anyone have a dog coat pattern that can be easily adapted?

Peace on Earth and in the back hall too

December 31, 2008

The chicks spent Christmas Day in a cage behind bars yet loved every minute of it! It had been a week of severe weather and they’d already been in the house a couple of times. When windchill predictions reach minus 25°F below zero at night, we all sleep better when under the same roof. The chicks are always eager to go outside the next day however, for fresh air and a chance to spread their wings.

Christmas Eve started out relatively warm and sunny and the girls stayed outside during the day protected from the wind but feeling the warmth of the sun. By the time we arrived home after our traditional Christmas Eve celebration and midnight church, the temperature was below zero. It had been a long day and we all wanted nothing more than to go directly to bed.

I really hadn’t expected cold weather that night so had no plans to bring the girls in. As we trudged inside I started debating with myself. I really didn’t want to bring them inside, after all I was all dressed up, it was after midnight and I was exhausted. Plus, we had company coming over the next day. On the other hand, how could I leave them outside in the freezing cold on this night of all nights? I didn’t want to leave the girls outside, but I really didn’t want to have our house smelling like a barn the next day with company coming.

As with children or household pets, chicken owners have a responsibility to provide safe care. So eventually my better side won out and into the house they came. I’ve developed a system for getting them into the house with a minimum of fuss, even when starting the process after midnight. I cover the back entryway with a large piece of heavy-duty plastic then place a large dog kennel on top. The floor of the kennel gets covered with paper grocery sacks. I’ve found through trial and error that grocery bags are much better than newspaper as chickens love to scratch, peck and eat newspapers creating a huge mess. I carry the chicks in one by one and cover the kennel with a large blanket, like you’d do with parakeets. The girls usually drop right off to sleep making soft mumblings that sound warm and very happy.

The chicks hardly made a sound when I brought them in Christmas Eve and they all went immediately to sleep. We slept in a bit in the morning and I awoke expecting to hear a chorus of hungry chicks ready for action. To my surprise, they were quiet all morning. Whether it was the spirit of the day, the warmth of the heat near their kennel or the Christmas carols playing on the stereo, they ate their special Christmas breakfast of fresh corn kernels and softly cooed while listening to the family opening presents in the other room. I waited for the noise and usual bickering to begin—the girls often act just like siblings when forced into too much togetherness—but they stayed quiet. As I readied everything for our Christmas Day celebration I kept waiting for them to give me a sign that they were now ready to go outside. Usually they let me know that they’re tired of being in the small crate but on Christmas they never let out a peep. It was as if they decided “If they don’t hear us maybe we won’t have to go into the cold today.”

We had a lovely Christmas Day party and the chicks seemed to enjoy it. They clucked along with the carols and seemed to love the commotion in the other rooms. A faint aroma of barn lingered in the back hall but no one seemed to mind. The chicks had a warm special Christmas this year and we learned it’s okay to bring a bit of living Nativity stable inside, especially on the most special of nights, Christmas Eve.