Friday, March 23, 2012

A Springish midday Dinner





My plate today was so, well..."Spring-ish"...I thought I would show it to you!

The Chicken Pie, is actually called, "Moravian Chicken Pie" and is from the American Test Kitchen Magazine, "Cook's Country". It is a recipe from Winston Salem, NC, and really comes together nicely. Yes, yes, it IS a lot of trouble..but well worth it! The crust is perfect, and very brown underneath as well as on top. The chicken mixture is deliciously rich. It keeps well in the refrigerator, and can be eaten cold with one hand...much like pies I have seen in the UK. I found the recipe on another blog, Dark Side of the Frig, so here it is. I used fresh organic chicken. 3 thighs,3 legs, and 1 large breast, all with skin ON. Brown them in olive oil on all sides;take out of skillet/cool and remove the skin. When completely cool, remove all bones/skin etc. Same oil/chicken fat to use for the roux when making the gravy. It is RICH...but only about 3 T oil all together. If you have any questions can post exact recipe from Cook's Country. Email me!

The Quinoa Salad is fresh and great for several days in the refrigerator. Cook 1 cup of quinoa 1:1 with water 5 min. and put lid and wait 15 min. All water should be absorbed. Mix together: fresh cilantro, fresh parsley, fresh mint-all washed and chopped finely; 3 cloves fresh garlic finely choppped; 1/2 red onion finely chopped; fresh ground black pepper; 1 can (2 cups) garbanzo beans drained; the juice of 3 limes and 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil. Mix well. Add liberal amounts of sea salt to taste. Very good salty.

English Peas and red onion- 2T. olive oil in skillet. 1/2 red onion chopped and heated until soft but not brown in pan. Add 2-3 cups frozen petit green peas. cook 3-4 min. do not over cook. Add sea salt /pepper/red pepper flakes to taste. This is one of my FAVORITE "Quick Meals".

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Correction...WOOD DUCK not a Mallard in March 2 post

I learn something new everyday!

My middle son Alex tells me the duck that came down the chimney a few weeks ago is a WOOD duck not a Mallard! He took ONE look at the photo, and said, "Wood Duck..look at the mask around the eyes". He is surely right. It is his field of study, and his business, Southern Wildlife and Land Management. As a young boy Alex roamed the beautiful woodlands here everyday. Soon he knew the forests, and waterways over most of the state, like most people know the streets and landmarks of their city!

So forgive me for incorrectly calling this beautiful duck a Mallard in the March 2 post!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Double Rainbow After a Early Morning Spring Rain



The rain came suddenly this morning. A strong downpour then as quickly as it came the sun came out. The light was bright as a crystal jewel...and arching North to South a dazzling rainbow! A faint second rainbow was just over the primary one. It was a precious gift ... the future holds such promise and I am humbly grateful.

Extremely broody Java Hen and her Chicks



This old white Java hen is a faithful mother to her brood of 8 chicks. She sat on the eggs in the nestbox daily, with me taking her off every night to remove any new laid eggs, and put her back. Not a sound from her, as if she understood I meant her no harm. Then after 4 chicks hatched over 2 days, one chick was cold and limp as it was outside of her warm feathers. I put this lifeless chick in the incubator. The next morning it was up and chirping! Because the hen usually will get off the nest to take her hatched chicks to food and water by the second day, leaving the eggs to die, I put the rest of the eggs in the incubator. The hen and 4 chicks went to the "pullet house" to stay inside with a light, water, and 24% chick feed. The hen kept them under her. Amazing to watch...as she showed them how to drink and eat. The cluck of a hen with chicks is unmistakeable. As the chicks in the incubator hatched out, I left each 1-2 days to gain strength. Then I took them one by one to the mother hen at night, and put them under her.

I have tried all sorts of ways to keep chicks with hens that hatch them...but this is the only way that has worked for me. Many times 2-3 would hatch, and the hen would take them off the nest and the other eggs abandoned.

Today I let them out into the wire lot (hardware cloth to keep out the snakes that LOVE to gobble up little chicks!). The mother is showing them how to scratch the dirt, and look for bugs. Lovely the way the mother shows them by doing. A lot like people. Children learn by what they see, not by what they are told.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Mallard Hen in the House, Indeed Life in the Country


This morning as I was sitting at the table in the kitchen, having my coffee and toast, Emmy finished her breakfast and went into the front of the house (as is her normal routine) to wait for me to go outside. Suddenly she reappears running and barking at me. "What is it?" I said to her, knowing this girl does not speak unless she has something important to say. She runs back into the long hall towards the living room...and Oh my goodness, what a surprise greeted me! There on the floor beside the big dog bed was a small DUCK. Well, the duck was as shocked to see me, as I was to see her! She immediately started flying towards windows, and all over the room! Emmy, the good poultry guard that she is...just simply stood still. While Mac, seeing a time of chaos in which to mask his greediness, ran back to the kitchen to eat what was left of Emmy's breakfast. Knowing poultry all too well...I backed away and closed the door to stand a few seconds quietly, in disbelief, and come up with a plan. Out to the barn I flew to grab a long handled butterfly net, long ago cast off by one of my boys, but saved and hanging on a hook just for such occasions. With the dogs whimpering and pacing in the kitchen, I quietly and slowly entered the hall. There sat the little hen under the edge of a curtain in the living room. Seeing me she flew up and just missed the hanging blown glass hall light fixture and up the stairs. Quietly she settled again under a curtain edge with her face hidden. Scooping her up with the net, she did not struggle. A beautiful creature, with delicately webbed feet. I managed to hold her with one hand for a quick photo before taking her out the front door. The instant I opened my hand, she she was in flight. The next sight and sound was quite unexpected....as I released her, the high pitched notes of wings in flight came from the living room chimney top...a Mallard Drake as best I could tell, immediately joined her in flight in front of my eyes! He had been waiting for her perked on the chimney top. I DO love living deep in the country!