Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Husbanding Floyd: Sure, they're cute now....

Look what's taken up residence with us!

They arrived last Friday.  Ten Tetra Tint pullet chicks.  Our future laying flock.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Foraging Floyd: Dandelion Greens and Sunchokes

The herbs aren't the only green things unfurling in the perennial beds.  The weeds are sprouting too.  I was attempting to get a jump on them the other day and realized part of what I was tossing was good greens.  Dandelions!  The lettuce tub has been knocked off the indoor shelf by other seedling tubs and the lettuce in the garden isn't big enough to cut yet so we're in between for greens.  I started throwing the dandelion rosettes in a pile to be cleaned for supper.

You want to gather dandelion greens before they flower and become tough and too bitter to eat.  Young dandelion greens are bitter anyway but in my opinion not nearly as bitter as say, arugula.  If you like arugula and other domestic bitter greens you'll like dandelion.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cooking Floyd: The Incredible Edible (Duck) Egg

I think I'm in love.

I've never tried duck eggs before.  I'd heard all the negative comments.  "Oh, they're too gamy tasting."  "They're strong."  "They taste fishy."  So as much as I love eggs, I'd avoided duck eggs.

However, recently I came across duck eggs at the Harvest Moon when I stopped in for some bulk spices and having a few extra bucks in my pocket figured, why not?  I was planning on making this Roasted Garlic and Smoky Greens recipe for dinner and it called for a poached egg to top the soup before serving.  The eggs came from Wolf Field Hollow's (couldn't find a link) free-range ducks over in Meadows of Dan.

White Bean Chicken Chili with poached duck egg

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Gardening Floyd: Earliest Spring Planting

The Lancelot Leeks starts arrived in the mail this past Saturday and Michael got them planted on Sunday, filling up the rest of this year's allium bed.  He got 90 of them in there which took up the space we had planned for the yellow and white onions as well.  Now we'll have to do a little manipulating of other beds to get approximately 200 onions in the ground.  Garden planning is often like the Robert Burns line, "The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, Gang aft agley,..."  It happens every year and we've learned to follow the previous quote with Captain Barbossa's, "... It's more like guidelines, really..."  where the garden plan is concerned.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spice Rack Challenge March: Cardamom

This month's challenge is Cardamom.  Definitely an underused spice in my arsenal.

whole pods
cracked pods and whole seeds
pods removed (mostly)
It's defined as "A spice (whole pods, seeds, or ground).  Seeds are in pods the size of a cranberry, inside of a white or green pod.  Member of the ginger family.  Spicy-sweet pungent aroma, expensive.  Uses: cakes, curries, cookies, fruits, Indian recipes, Scandinavian bread."  ( http://www.abigslice.com/herbsspices.html ).  It's also common in Middle Eastern and Greek cookery as well.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Gardening Floyd: Intimations of Spring

Floyd has been enjoying a prolonged bout of mild weather for this time of year.  So much so, that some of our perennials have begun to make appearances in our garden.  I have mixed emotions.  On the one hand I'm hopping up and down and yelling, "YAY!  C'mon SPRING!"  On the other hand, I'm worried and trying to warn our baby fruit trees to be patient and wait.  The hard, shiny, protective shells on their buds are beginning to give way to velvet.  If at some point the weather turns back to cold seasonal temperatures and the buds are too far along we could lose any fruit we might get from them or even the little trees themselves.

Here's what I saw this morning:
The Garlic Bed