Monday, April 25, 2011

A budding garden

Dinner from the garden

  Slowly but surely the garden is coming into fruition. While it is small by my standards, it is packed with food. I had an amazing dinner tonight, 90% of which came from this garden. There really isn't much that can compare to that of eating food you sprouted from a tiny seed, tended to, weeded, watered, fended chickens away from, and watched over until ready to harvest.

The Garden

  So, what's in the garden? Well, at the moment there is a varied lot of greens, arugula, spinach, onions, carrots, parsnips, beets, turnips, radishes, kohlrabi, fennel, peas, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, Swiss chard, kale, and tomatoes. Phew. There are tomato, eggplant, cucumber, and pepper seeds germinating now. I have more seeds than I care to list here that are ready to make it into the ground in the next few weeks. A small orchard of peaches, plums, figs, pears, and apples are reaching toward the sky.

baby peaches
Skyward young peaches!

  There are hardy kiwi vines wrapping around my fence. Raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries are  rambling alongside it. French varieties of strawberries hang in bags from it.

Future strawberry

  While I am far from being able to host a full scale CSA, I am on my way.

Monday, April 18, 2011

CharcutePalooza: The Tasso of the Ham

Tasso Hams
Tasso Hams

  Well, I'm a little late getting to this, but nevertheless I finally got around to making tasso ham. Now I feel real embarrassed admitting this, being one who spends every day of my life around cheese and charcuterie, but I didn't know what tasso ham was. But that is the beauty of this challenge, to learn about new ingredients, new cooking methods, and new skills.
  So then tasso ham is not really even ham, but pork shoulder that has been cured, rubbed in a spicy aromatic blend of white pepper, marjoram (although I actually used oregano), allspice, and cayenne, then smoked. It isn't meant to be eaten as a main dish (or so they say), but instead used as a seasoning for just about anything you can think of. It is most commonly used in Cajun cooking for jambalaya and gumbo. It is also ridiculously easy to make. It cured in less than 4 hours, and was done smoking in less time than that. By far the easiest of the challenges as of yet.
  Ok, ham lesson over. Since I haven't really had the time lately to use this meaty condiment for things like gumbo or beans or any dish that takes hours to prepare, I turned to my ever trusty standby. Breakfast, it's the most tasty important meal of the day.
  I did nothing more than crisp up a little bit of the ham with a handful of lovely greens from the garden and a couple of eggs from the coop. In cooking, simple is rarely boring.

Homegrown Greens
Spinach, Arugula, & Beet Greens

  Sauteed Greens with Tasso Ham & Fried Eggs


  2 ounces Tasso Ham, cubed
  1 garlic clove, minced
  1 large handful greens (I used spinach, arugula, and red beet greens, but you can use whatever you want)
  2 eggs
  salt & pepper


Tasso Ham
cubed & ready for action

  Add ham to pan and crisp, about 5 minutes.
  Add garlic, saute for 30 seconds.
  Throw in greens, season, and cook until wilted, set aside.
  Lightly butter pan, add eggs, and season with salt and pepper. Cook to whatever doneness you like.
  Top greens with eggs, serve.

Breakfast is served

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Day in the Life of: Whiskey Chickens


  •    Breakfast: The most important meal of the day...

The morning bounty
By your's truly

  •    A morning bath...

dust bathing beauties
With dust, please

  •    A little singin'...

Ear Pierce in C Minor
Mi Mi Mi La La La

  •    A little dancin'...

The Real Chicken Dance
-wattle wattle-

  •    Always take time to strike a pose...

The Rooster
Striking a Pose

  •    Followed by an evening stroll...

taking a stroll

   = A perfect day: Completed.