Category Archives: Resources

Pisco Lemonade

pisco_lemonade_with_tarragon

Sorry for the lack of recipe posts, you guys. I haven’t actually been cooking a lot of new things lately, which is funny because we’re totally overrun with fresh produce. Instead, I’ve spent late nights canning, freezing, and making pickles, and most of my meals are some variation on this. Not that I mind much.

Look at all the beans I’ve been putting away:green_beans_and_yellow_and_purple

This book is my favorite reference for canning and freezing (I have the 1970s burnt orange hardcover edition, a family heirloom). I’ll do an in-depth post on canning a little later this month, once the tomatoes get going.

edamame_to_be_frozen

And I just started a batch of long-fermented dill pickles from this book, in my new crock from The Savvy Hen. I’ll let you know how those turn out in a few weeks.

making_pickles

And tonight, we’ll be putting incubator #1 into “lockdown,” meaning we take the eggs out of the automatic turner, increase the humidity, and try our best not to touch the incubator until all the chicks hatch. They’re due Wednesday, but we’ll be starting the live stream whenever we see movement from the eggs, which could be a few days before. (Disclaimer: Last time they hatched a day early)

We’re also doing the first candling on incubator #2 tonight, which has eggs from our neighbor, a few from our hens (in case they’re fertile this time) and also a dozen free-range eggs from the grocery store. So again, we might have a lot that aren’t developing (but I’m excited to find out).

Oh right, I promised you a drink.

pisco

After a day of harvesting and selling flowers and veggies at a pop-up neighborhood farmer’s market, I was ready for a cocktail. My sister, who taught me the joy of a good Pisco Sour years ago, came up with this little gem — it’s similar, but doesn’t involve powdered sugar, or egg whites. It’s simple, refreshing, and easily to make for a crowd. Cheers!

Pisco Lemonade

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 1 cocktail

Pisco Lemonade

Simple, refreshing, and great for a crowd.

Ingredients

  • (for each cocktail)
  • 1 shot (1.75 oz) Pisco
  • 3.5 shots (6.25 oz) lemonade, ideally fresh-squeezed (and please not the powdered kind)
  • 1 sprig tarragon, mint, or your favorite herb

Instructions

  1. Combine pisco and lemonade in a shaker with ice. A standard shaker will hold two drinks' worth.
  2. Shake and strain into glasses.
  3. Garnish with a sprig of fresh herbs (tarragon works well).
http://www.homegrowngourmet.org/pisco-lemonade/

How to tell if your eggs are still fresh

I’m lucky enough to live in an area where I can have a little flock of chickens, who provide me with delicious fresh eggs (and lots of entertainment.)

the_ladies

The Ladies: (L-R) Cutlet, Kung Pao, and Saltimbocca

Each of our 3 adult hens lays about 5-6 eggs per week, so occasionally they’ll get a bit ahead of me and I end up with several days’ worth on my countertop.

egg_skelter

I should stop here and explain a few things about fresh eggs, because before owning chickens I would’ve been grossed out by the idea of keeping eggs on the counter. So you probably are, too.

But here’s the thing: Eggs are designed to stay fresh outside the chicken for about a month, without refrigeration. In nature, a hen will spend a couple weeks laying a clutch of eggs before sitting to incubate them (and the incubation process takes another 20 days.) And — I get asked this a lot — fertile eggs won’t start developing on your countertop unless your house is a steady 100 degrees fahrenheit. In which case, I’m sorry.

An egg comes out of the chicken sealed in a protective coating called “bloom,” which keeps pathogens from penetrating the shell and also helps keep the white from evaporating. As long as you don’t wash the bloom off, you can keep fresh eggs on the countertop for at least 2-3 weeks.

Unfortunately, any egg you buy from a grocery store has already lost its bloom to a chlorine bath, leaving the shell porous and easily invaded by bacteria — so you’ll need to keep storebought eggs in the fridge. This is just one of the many reasons why I think everyone should get a few hens for the backyard, or at the very least find a local farm that sells fresh eggs. There’s nothing like the flavor and consistency of an egg that’s never seen the fridge.

And here’s another reason: If you’re buying eggs from a grocery store, there’s a good chance they’ve been sitting on the shelf a while. As eggs age, the fluid inside starts to evaporate and the air cell gets bigger. This makes it very easy to tell if an egg is still good, using what’s called the “Float Test.” So if you’re wondering if you can still cook with those eggs in the back of the fridge, try this technique. Or even better, try it next time you buy eggs and see how fresh they really are.

Step 1: Fill a deep bowl with cool water (Note: if using unwashed eggs, give them a rinse in warm water first.)

Step 2: Set the egg in the bottom of the bowl.

#1: Freshly laid egg

eggTest_fresher

If it lays on the bottom like this, it’s very fresh (this egg was laid the same day I photographed it.) You probably won’t ever see this unless you have your own chickens or get your eggs from a local farm. Eggs this fresh are perfect for poaching, but will be incredibly difficult to peel if you hard-boil them.

#2: Still good

eggTest_fresh

If the egg stays on the bottom of the bowl but stands up on end, like this, it’s a little older but still good (this one’s been on my counter about 3 weeks.) This is the ideal hard-boiling stage, because the whites don’t cling to the membranes as much.

#3: Toss it

eggTest_floater

If it floats, it’s no longer fresh (these I scramble and give back to the chickens.)