Sunday, January 23, 2011

What's in the tin?

We have a Charles Chips can which is filled with something yummy. Any guesses?

Want a hint?

How about a peak?

It's homemade hot chocolate mix. We've already made two batches this year. It's one of the easiest, most delightful treats to make. We use Alton Brown's recipe. Bill usually triples it and that lasts 2-3 months.

I think you should try it! The hardest part is finding cocoa, so I'll give you a hint - Penzey's. There. Now you have no excuse. This is amazing, yummy stuff. And have you read the ingredients in manufactured cocoa mix? Last I checked it included many chemicals including partially hydrogenated oils, which you don't ever need to eat.

Also - yes - put just a little bit of cayenne in the mix. You won't taste it, I promise. Cayenne just makes chocolate more chocolatey, as wine makes tomatoes more tomatoey and as balsamic vinegar makes strawberries more strawberry...y.

Up next - I'm going to make something other people tell me is easy and delightful: homemade yogurt.

Monday, January 10, 2011

I will kill a chicken, dammit!

Sometimes I think Sharon Astyk writes blogs just for me. Back in October she wrote about sentimentality (the false kind) right before our chicken harvesting weekend. It helped me put my dislike of processing chickens in context - while, naturally, no one likes killing animals, I could rest assured knowing my birds lived good lives pecking for food in the grass and would have humane deaths. My very participation in the process assures this, just as the squeemish gasps of other meat eaters equally assures that slaughterhouses and Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) are horrible places. The false feeling that you *can't* be involved in processing meat allows bad things to happen behind closed doors.

Today, as I am eating one of the birds we killed in October, Astyk posted about food taboos and how American culture over the past 70 years has influenced the food we eat. In a country most interested in efficiency, modern technology and sanitizing everything, we have moved very far away from eating the way our great-grandparents did. For a very long time it has been very uncool - a taboo - to be a farmer. Only poor people had to raise their own chickens for eggs, so why would anyone *want* to have a backyard flock. It was a stigma.

Fortunately, I think this is changing. When the NY Times publishes an article about a 36 hour meal based on a single goat, when Chiptole advertises the methods farmers use for raising their meat, when insanely cool, beautiful, fantastic chicks like me say "I will kill a chicken," the taboo gets worn away.

My Cochin soup, by the way, is amazingly delicious. It has homemade noodles and it is by far the best chicken soup I've ever had. Bill (my husband, a professional white male) made it all.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Waffle blogging...

This is a little bit of a stretch on "local," but it's still a fine breakfast. The waffle mix is New Hope Mills (so, it's Previously Local) with homegrown eggs - the first of our pullets from this June are laying their first eggs. We can tell they are the younger birds because the eggs are tiny - as is custom for individual chicken's first eggs. They are 27ish weeks old, which is a lot later than our Barred Rocks started laying.

The waffles were made on our wood stove - so, they're, like cooked by Local Fuel. That counts for something, right?

The strawberries are local! They've been waiting in our freezer to bring us a bit of summer in the snow. Jam would be equally delicious, I'm sure.

We also enjoyed tea from a new tea shop we found when an internet order with another company went awry. The tea comes from Germany, apparently, but the shop is locally owned.

Bill bought me a cast iron tea pot (from Japan...) for Yule. We've been using it every weekend.