Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Peace In The Valley

Well, as some of you know I had 3 guineas (a roo, One Toe, and two hens, Two Toes and Geraldine). The chickens and guinea's were all raised together and roosted together in the evenings. The guinea's followed me around where ever I went and never roamed out of the back yard.

It is spring and breeding season. The guinea's were 4 times the size of my bantams and began to pick on the bantams unmercifully. Poor Ozzie got bloodied up one day and I put my foot down and had to put my big girl panties on and make a decision that I didn't want to make. I had to send the guinea's to freezer camp. I called the neighbor who gave them to me and he came to get them. I can't process them or eat them (especially when they were my pets) so they went to my neighbors freezer camp.

Now there is peace in the valley once again and my chickens can come out and play safely. I took them some tomato treats this morning and everyone enjoyed their special time. The lightest one in the front of the photo is Gordon, the little peep that Harriet hatched (September 18) and raised. So lucky that she turned out to be a little hen. Harriet still knows that Gordon is her peep and takes care of her, never letting anyone bother her special Gordon. Everything is good in the chicken world here. Ozzie takes care of his hens, Harriet keeps June in line and Gordon, well, lets just say she runs off the yard birds...

Friday, January 1, 2010

Try A New Meal For The New Year


Try something new for the new year. Here is a meal that will make memories and impress your guests.

Today on the menu is:
Asparagus with Hollandaise sauce
Pommes Anna
Ocean Perch with orange slices, butter and rosemary in Papiotte




This will be needed for both the Hollandise sauce and the Pommes Anna. It can easily be made in the microwave. You want clarified butter because the burning point is much higher when used in cooking. I usually keep some in my fridge for when I need it. It will keep well for a couple of weeks.

You will need:
3 - 4 sticks of unsalted butter (not margarine) cut into cubes and placed into a microwave safe dish.

Place in microwave on low heat and gradually melt butter a little at a time. It will separate and look like this from the side after it has cooled.

The top will look like this.

Once cooled, gently ladle the fat from the top and discard.

After, pour the middle section (the clarified butter) into a separate container for use, being careful not to pour in the bottom section of the butter.


You will need:
1 cup clarified butter, warm
1 T water
2 egg yolks
2 T freah lemon juice
Salt to taste
Dash of Cayenne pepper

Place egg yolks and water in a stainless steel bowl and beat well.

Hold the bowl over a hot water bath and continue to beat until tick and pale yellow.

Take the bowl off of the heat and slowly beat in the warm butter using a wire whisk. Add the butter, drop by drop in the beginning. Once you see an emulsion forming you can add the butter faster. Beat in the lemon juice and seasonings. Taste and adjust seasonings to your taste. Keep warm.


You will need fresh asparagus for this dish. I prefer the little one's because of the tenderness.

Hold the asparagus by the spear and the cut end. Where it bends and snaps is the separation point from the woody tough end and the tender end.

Place in a steamer and steam until slightly tender. It is best when it still has it's beautiful bright green color and not mushy. It will have a lovely and flavorful crunch to it when eaten.


You will need:

Potatos, peeled and stored in water before slicing
1/2 c. clarified butter
Salt and pepper

Slice the potatoes very thinly. Do not soak in water after sliced. In a heavy saute pan or cast iron skillet, spread half of the butter. Lay out the potatoes in a spiral covering the bottom of the pan with a nice design. Season. Here is a picture of the start with a slice of potato in the center.

Spread out the rest of the potatoes evenly and season. Put the rest of the butter on top of the potato cake.

Cook the potato cake on top of the stove until it begins to brown. Finish cooking in the oven at moderate heat (about 325 - 350). When the potato cake is vooked all the way through, remove from the oven and carefully invert onto a plate or sheet pan.

Allow to cool and then cut into wedges. Heat in a hot oven just before serving.


Ocean Perch (or other firm fleshed fish)
Fresh orange segments
Salted butter
Rosemary sprigs
Wisked egg white
Parchment paper

Fold a piece of parchment paper and cut out a half heart shape. When you open it, it will look like this:

Now place your fish on one half of the paper and layer it with the orange segments, butter and rosemary.

Next, use your egg whites to brush around the edges to act as a glue to hold the parchment paper together.

Begin at the top of the heart and brush with whites and fold over the cut/open edge.

Continue until you go around all of the open/cut edge.

Now just give a light brushing to secure the open/cut edge.

Bake at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes. The packets will rise with the steam. Serve the parchment packets to each guest and allow them to cut open their packet and enjoy the steamed flavors. Make sure to let them know ahead of time that the packet will produce steam once opened.

I hope you give these dishes a try this year and enjoy them. I wish for all of you a delightful and prosperous 2010 with many happy endeavors. HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM ME TO YOU!!!