It took me a long time to accept the idea of fruit in my salads. Too gimmicky, if you had asked me! As a properly raised French child, the only acceptable fruit that was not dessert was an appetizer of charentais melon with port […]
As one who loves beets, I have yet to find something made with beets that I don’t like. Raw beet salad, roasted beet and goat cheese sandwich, borscht, pickled beets (a favorite), beet ice-cream, savory beet tart, sweet beet tart (see Bar Tartine, by Courtney […]
Have you ever wondered what determines the color of honey? or its texture? why are some honey darker or lighter? why are some honey extremely liquid, other much thicker, or some even “solid”? why do they have different textures?
In essence, it boils down to which flowers the bees visit. Nectar from different flowers yield honey with different color, texture, viscosity… and taste. Honey absolutely reflects the terroir where the bees live, since they forage within 2 or 3 miles from their hive. When large fields of the same plant bloom at the same time (whether it’s a field of clover, an orange grove, or acres of wild blackberries or autumn olives), bees are able to collect their nectar in mass over a short period of time. Since a foraging bee collects nectar from only one flowering species on any one trip (50 to 100 flowers are visited on one trip), the hive gives priority to plants that are blooming in mass at the same time: it’s much more productive for them! The beekeeper monitor blooms, nectar flow, and bee in-take to time the placement and removal of the honey supers. Honey supers are boxes of frames dedicated to collect harvestable honey (as opposed to brood frames, or honey that will serve as food for the bees)
Even with our small apiaries the color differences are startling, and the taste sometime very different. Look at the picture: all eight jars represent honey from 2015, harvested at different times and from different small apiaries, yet all located within 8 miles from our house, in Rappahannock county in the Northern Virginia Piedmont at the foothill of the BlueRidge Mountains.
Keith (who is the beekeeper) tries to set aside a jar from each harvest batch and here are his notes for the jars in the pictures: (more…)
I am not a professional forager, but I do harvest wild plants for eating. The easy ones are summer berries, autumn berries, and pawpaws; the more glamorous ones, morels & chanterelles (although to be truthful, my husband does most of the mushroom hunting); the prettier ones […]
It’s a little hard to get live green food out of the cold frames right now.
And anyway, we don’t have that many cold frames; … and they weren’t planted that thickly… and they’ve been depleted by earlier harvests. We just need to get more cold frames (not just Reemay over hoops)… and we are working on that.
Meanwhile, what’s to do to get fresh salad greens while waiting for the snow to melt so I can harvest mache, Austrian winter pea shoots and maybe arugula and some land cress? One sprouts.
Because, frankly, I really want to avoid lettuce grown like this.
Sprouting is easy. Gather some wide-mouth pint or quart canning jars and some food-grade seeds (NOT seeds for planting which may be treated with something noxious).
Winter. Cold and white this February. We have seen -2F (-19F) several nights, which, for us, is cold, and it’s been sustained. There are days where the high temperature nudged 15 or even 20F ( -9 or even 77C). Even the Chesapeake is frozen in […]
To the music of “These are a few of my favorite things” – and with apologies to Maria! – let’s all sing together:
Soufflés & Quiches, Omelets & Crepes
Clafoutis, Flans, and Croque-Madames
Waffles & Cremes, Meringue & Mousse
Not to mention sunnyside up
Custard & Ice, and Devil & Neige
Angel Food Cake
Steamed bread pudding and lemon pound cake
These are a few of my favorite things.
Somewhere along the line, eggs got a bad rap. Too much fat! Too much cholesterol! This from people who did not blink an eye about recommending margarine and other wholly unnatural man-made white fats. And then thanks to the horrors of factory farming where hundred of thousands of hens are crammed together, fed junk, and forced to lay continuously, salmonella scares have further discourage the eating of eggs. But of course! Anything produced in factory “farms” conditions is going to be less than wholesome.
But a pastured flock has access to a varied diet of grass, weeds, bugs; enjoy sunshine & fresh air; range and do what chicken naturally do (scratch, run, take dust baths etc). Those eggs are truly an amazing food, a power house of protein, minerals, vitamin and oligo elements – delicious and nutritious.
In my area, eggs from pastured hens sell vary from $4.25 to $5.75 a dozen, generally depending on whether the grain rations are GMO-free or organic, or soy-free. At 2 oz per egg extra-large), that’s 24 oz or 1.5 lb per dozen – or $2.83 to$ 3.83 per pound – a pretty good deal!
Besides, consider that chicken lay unfertilized eggs while wild birds lay eggs only after mating. Does that give us an indication of how long the relationship between chicken and humankind is?
So… need some egg ideas?
IDEAS FOR BREAKFAST, LUNCH OR LIGHT DINNER
IDEAS FOR LUNCH OR DINNER
Everyone like deviled eggs! Here’s my recipe.
Sunnyside eggs anytime – that’s the ultimate fast food!
IDEAS FOR DESSERT
While many desserts include eggs, some rely almost exclusively on eggs, including these:
Baked custard. I vary the sweeteners, often using honey, as well as the flavoring: almond extract, fennel seeds, orange oil are flavors I often use (but vanilla bean is the most frequent)
Fruit curd, including lemon curd are good on toast, mixed with plain yogurt, as cake filling, or as a base in a fruit tart. Add whipped cream and/or whipped egg whites and you’ve got lemon mousse.
Meringue & passion fruit curd… and also pavlovas
Despite Thomas Jefferson’s efforts 200 years ago, olive trees don’t grow in Virginia. Erratic winter weather with nightly lows in the single digit temperatures followed by days at 70F — as well as hot muggy summers — don’t make happy olive trees. Anything below -10C […]