Category Archives: chickens!

Perfect Poached Eggs

20140224-224109.jpgI’m a huge fan of eggs; you know this. To me, a perfectly fried egg on sourdough toast is the epitome of deliciousness. The crispy caramelized white shatters like glass and the thickened, but runny, yolk soaks into the bread like gravy. But my once and only true love has recently been usurped by one better: poached eggs on toast.

Where a fried egg has crispy whites, which add texture but are somewhat boring, the poached egg has a luxuriously silky white that is almost like custard. And where the perfect fried yolk is difficult to obtain, always either too runny or too cooked, the perfect poached yolk is a mere matter of timing. Once you find that sweet spot your yolks are perfect forever.

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The Death of a Chicken

SONY DSCFour years ago, my wife (then fiancé) and I embarked on a grand experiment in urban homesteading: raising backyard chickens. We entered this venture without even a chicken coop, let alone an exit strategy for what to do with old barren hens. As the chickens grew, so did our stress in not having a coop. That problem was eventually resolved, along with the myriad of other small problems that have cropped up along the way. But the issue of what to do with old birds continued to not raise itself. Continue reading The Death of a Chicken

Challah Challah Challah

In a continuing effort to find applications for eggs, I recently dug out an oldie but a goodie: Challah (pronounced hall-ah). Challah is traditional Jewish egg bread eaten on Sabbath and certain holidays, including Rosh Hashana. According to legend, Challah was one form of manna (food provided by God), which fell from heaven to the Israelites as they wandered the desert.

I cannot confirm or deny any part of this legend, but I can say that Challah is damn good bread. A large number of eggs in the dough, usually 5 or 6, lends richness to this bread. Most recipes call for sugar or honey, which give a gentle sweetness. The top is brushed with more eggs, or honey on special occasions, which renders the loaf shimmering golden brown. The loaf itself is braided which not only makes for spectacular presentation, but also creates long sinews of bread that can be torn apart and eaten out of hand. Sometimes raisins are added to the dough or sesame seeds sprinkled over the top; these add texture and interesting variations to the flavor. However you take it, it’s delicious. Continue reading Challah Challah Challah

The Perfect Fried Egg

I love eggs, and I eat more than any man should. In fact, the principal reason I wanted to keep chickens was to have a ready supply of good, fresh eggs. Eggs are one of the most versatile foods: high in protein they provide structure to baked goods, high in fat they provide richness to sauces and cremes. They can hold a whip for a meringue and they can be hard boiled and shoved (gently) in a pocket for later consumption. Eggs can be eaten in just about any course of any meal. Fresh eggs are especially good poached or in frittatas. But for the connoisseur, there is no substitute for a simple, perfect, fried egg.

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First Summer Harvest

If you’re fortunate enough to have a bit of yard, or even a small patio, one of the most enriching uses for it is edible gardening. The ability to grow your own fruits and vegetables, in your own backyard, is an unmatched experience. It connects you to ages past. It gives you a feeling of satisfaction and self-reliance. And it can provide you with some really excellent produce.  It does require a bit of patience though. This week I had my first summer harvest worth any mention; a pair of radishes, a bunch of carrots, some cherry tomatoes, a bundle of swiss chard, the first of the summer squash and eggplant, and of course, a dozen eggs. Continue reading First Summer Harvest

A Dozen Fresh Eggs: Frittata!

We have 5 chickens.  Chickens lay an egg approximately every 26 hours.  That means each chicken lays an egg almost every day.  That means we get 4-5 eggs every day. That’s a lot of eggs.  We manage to recover some of our feed costs by selling eggs to our coworkers, but sometimes things work out where we have 2-3 dozen eggs in the fridge.  What then do you do with with a dozen fresh eggs?  Frittata. Continue reading A Dozen Fresh Eggs: Frittata!

Chickens are a gardener’s best friend?

We’ve been keeping chickens for just over a year now.  I love the fresh eggs.  I love their antics.  I love their pleasant clucking.  Before we began, I read somewhere that chickens are a gardeners best friend.  It was claimed that they will eat all the bugs from your garden, mow down your weeds, fertilize your lawn, and turn over your leaf piles.  A year in, I feel I’m prepared to make a judgement on the whole ‘best friend’ question; it’s more of what I’d call a fragile truce. Continue reading Chickens are a gardener’s best friend?