Posts Tagged ‘eggs’

Grilled Cornbread Pudding A.K.A Corn in May: A Cautionary Tale

It was our Memorial Day BBQ. We thought we should grill some corn. It looked so tempting at the grocery store. Besides, it’s almost corn season and next month the early varieties will ripen locally. And really now, how bad could it be? Well, it was really that bad. Starchy and tough and we should have waited until July when we could purchase from our local farms. So instead of just chucking it all to the chickens, we thought we’d repurpose it in a corn bread with a pudding-like texture. And while it was quite tasty,  yes, it would taste better with in-season corn.

  • 2 eggs
  • 12 oz. plain yogurt, homemade or store bought
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter or olive oil plus 1 Tbsp butter for skillet
  • 2 cups corn kernels cut from grilled corn
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Preheat the oven or grill to 350F. Set a cast iron skillet on the grill or one the stovetop on low and melt 1 Tbsp butter. Whisk together the eggs, yogurt, honey, and melted butter or oil. Fold in the cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and corn kernels until combined. Pour into the skillet. Grill for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

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The Broody Experiments

Silkie is broody. The previous evidence of constant sitting and lack of eggs pointed towards this, seconded by readers’ comments (thanks!), and yesterday’s experiment confirmed it for me. If she were sick, she would be too ill to get around, right? So I locked all the chickens out of the coop and run for the afternoon. Mean mommy, but everyone else finished laying and I made sure there was water and food. And what happened? Silkie free-ranged with the others for a few minutes and the proceeded to pace the door, trying to get back to the nesting boxes. Pace, pace, pace. She must have really wanted to get back to those phantom eggs. At least it got her up and moving and off the nest just as a wire-bottom cage would, except that I have free-range and no wire-bottom cage.

This weekend’s chicken treatment is to continue intensive free-range therapy. Will the experiment yield the desired result?  Hypothesis:  Hopefully.

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Layoffs at the Farm

Dear Chickens,

Mommy found out that she still has a job today.  “What is a job?” you ask.  It’s the work we do to contribute to our little family.  Each of us has our job.  Mommy and Daddy go to work to earn a paycheck, your human sibling goes to school, doggie stays home to watch you, and you stay home to grow and lay eggs.  We each do our best to contribute to our family in our own special way, despite repeated efforts of a determined toddler to switch jobs with you to stay home and lay eggs.

Does it feel good to have your chicken job?  Eggs for grain and grass.  I know that Mommy likes her job very much.  It is a part of her and feels as natural as your instinct to dust bathe and chase bugs.  I would miss my job terribly if I lost it.  Do you worry about becoming a very literal casualty of layoffs when you become obsolete or outsourced or simply because times are tough and there isn’t enough grain to go around?  I hope not because I suspect it might lead to upset chicken tummies.

What will happen when, during the natural course of farm living, some of your brother roosters are laid off from the flock to become Sunday dinner for the family?  Will you, my darling laying flock, have survivor’s guilt?  Will it be hard to keep going when you know that those chickens forced into an early retirement could not?  What if those terminated chickens were just as capable as those left behind on the farm?

Sometimes good farmers have to make difficult decisions.  I am very lucky to have just such a good farmer-type at Mommy’s work and I strive to be the same for you, my hardworking chickens.

Love,

Mommy

Incubation Day #1

Hurrah! The Faverolles and assorted bantams have arrived! The next 21 days will see them gently rotating at 100F in a third grade classroom at a local school. I heard that the children are very excited, but then again, so am I! Here they are getting settled in their new home.

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There are 12 Faverolles eggs that will be the start of my breeding flock. The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy lists this breed as “threatened” and we hope to help in our small way. I purchased the bantams because I thought the kids would get a kick out of the tiny eggs and chicks. It was hatchery’s choice and they chose: 6 Quail Belgian Bearded D’Anvers, 2 Porcelain Belgian Bearded D’Uccles, 2 Golden Sebrights, and 2 Silver Sebrights.

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We’ll keep you updated with what hatches. If you want to see the story behind the eggs, visit our Letters to Chickens post.

Welcome Your Sisters and Brothers

Dear Chickens,

Congratulations, my dear girls, for you are going to be big sisters!  You must feel so grown up.  The fertile hatching eggs of our newest flock members arrived in the mail yesterday.   They were snuggly wrapped in paper towels and expertly cushioned for the journey. My lovely chickens, do you remember being shipped as day-old chicks?  I remember your arrival.  You were curious and pecking at every new thing, much like you do now.

Let me tell you about your new sisters and brothers.  The twelve Faverolles eggs came as promised as did a hatchery selection of twelve bantams:  6 Quail Belgian Bearded D’Anvers, 2 Porcelain Belgian Bearded D’Uccles, 2 Golden Sebrights, and 2 Silver Sebrights.  I admit I had a momentary twang of disappointment.  These were not the breeds I was hoping for!  Where were the Silkies with their funny feather poofs? The Barnvelders with eggs the color of dark chocolate? Why did I have to get these birds out of all the possible breeds that the hatchery carried?  Mommy was sad because she had read that the pretty Sebrights can be standoffish and flighty; Quail D’Anvers sweet, but plain.  Does this mean I’m a bad mommy?  Then I thought that perhaps this was a cosmic lesson in acceptance and love.  I pushed that disappointment away and made a promise:  I am your mommy and I will love you no matter what.

Daddy was a little distressed by the twenty-four new eggs now that they have arrived.  He said that was a lot of chickens.  I think he is concerned that mommy won’t have the courage to chop off their heads and eat them.  Gosh, I guess when I write it like that it does seem a little drastic.  No wonder daddy is uneasy, but I promise to be brave and follow through in my decision to participate in the rooster culling necessary to a small heritage flock.

My darling girls, I know you are curious to meet our new family members.  They will be home with us soon enough.  I delivered your new sisters and brothers to that nice teacher and his class this morning.  They will incubate them for 21 days and welcome them with love and affection into this world.  I hope the children enjoy learning about chickens and farming and the miracles that are you.  I hope they feel special because they are contributing to the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy’s mission to rescue beautiful breeds from extinction.  I find helping is a dualistic action:  Simultaneously altruistic and selfish.  That feeling that you receive more than you give.  Mommy is very grateful to you, dear chickens, for all that you give in exchange for simple grain and grass.

Love,

Mommy

 

Fresh Poached Eggs

If you’ve never had a poached egg before, please try them! They are especially successful if you have access to fresh eggs because they hold their shape and taste exquisite. When they are that fresh, they are actually easier to cook and you certainly won’t need any specialty cookware. All you really need are eggs, barely simmering water and a spoon.   A slotted spoon is preferable and a small bowl can be helpful, too.  Have everything ready because it’s quick process.

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Crack your eggs one at a time either directly into the water or (easier method) into a small bowl and then gently ease the egg into the water.

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The poaching eggs remind me of wispy ghosts.  Prior to adding the eggs to the water, some people add a splash of vinegar to help firm up the eggs, but I don’t think it’s necessary when using farm fresh.

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If you’re cooking multiples, quickly add them to the simmering water and leave them enough room to poach.

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When they are cooked to your liking, remove them with a slotted spoon.

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How long is to “your liking?” I’m a fan of the 3-minute egg.  In the example below, you can see that the white is completely set, but the yolk is still runny.

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Mystery in the Henhouse

When I opened the nesting boxes to collect the eggs this afternoon, I was confronted with a broken one.  We’ve never had this happen before. Who did it? Why? Was it accidental or the dreaded egg-eating habit? The two halves, while cracked and crushed, don’t appear to have been ingested. The litter and shells were also wet with the gooey interior, so I’m not sure if it was sampled.  Hmm.  Why? Why? Why?  I think I’m going to discount my husband’s theory that they’re having a Marxist May Day revolution.  Any other ideas?

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