Monday, September 17, 2012

Miss September


Broody Hen
     I know it's a little late but September's Hen of the Month is our buff orpington, Henrietta.  Yeah, I know a lot of chicken owners name a hen Henrietta and it is a bit lame, but I couldn't help myself.  She is a good girl and a very productive egg layer. Lately she has become quite broody.  You can always find her in the coop lying in the corner.  When another hen lays an egg, she rolls the egg under her and sits on it.  Sometimes we find 3-4 eggs under her.  We constantly have to pick her up and shoo her outside.  Hopefully with the cool weather coming she will calm down and snap out of her broodiness.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Getting Figgy with It

Figs quickly ripening on the tree
This isn't even half of it
simple fig crostata
     At the end of August the figs on our tree started to ripen very quickly.  This year we had hundreds of figs on our tree.  The trick is to pick them as soon as possible before the birds get them all.  Now that we started to harvest them, we have to use them as quickly as possible.  One of my favorite recipes is a simple fig crostata.  It is very easy to make and delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
     1 cup of all purpose flour
     2 tbs of sugar
     1/8 tsp of salt
    5 tbs of very cold butter
    3-4 tbs of ice water
     Put the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process the dry ingredients for a couple of seconds.  Next cut butter into 1/2 inch pieces and drop into flour.  Mix for about 10 to 12 pulses.  You should have pea size crumbs.  Now add 3 tbs of ice water and pulse about six times until the dough comes together.  If it doesn't come together then add one more tbs of water.  It shouldn't take more than that.  It is very important not to overwork the dough because it will become tough and not flaky.  Wrap dough in plastic and put in refrigerator.
   1 1/2 lbs of figs cut in half
   zest of 1 medium lemon
   2 tbs of apricot jam
   2 tbs of butter
     Combine the figs, jam, and zest in a bowl and set aside.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Roll out dough to about 13 inches on a piece of parchment paper.  Mix some plain bread crumbs with sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle some of the mixture in the center of the dough.  Lift the parchment paper and put it on a cookie sheet.  Now add the filling and fold the dough up about 2 inches around the sides.  Dot the middle with butter and brush the folded ends with an egg wash.  Sprinkle with sugar.  Bake for about 25 minutes, rotate pan and bake for 20 minutes more.  Check to make sure the crust isn't burning rotate once more and cook for about another 10 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling.  Cool on a rack.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Catching Up

      I have not posted anything in the past month because we all have been very busy with work and getting ready for school.  But now that we have settled into a routine, I am ready to tell you what has been happening on our little urban farm.
Eggplants Galore. 
We had a great year for eggplants.  I have been breading and frying them most of the summer.
Recently I decided it would be nice to marinate them for a change.  First I peel and cut the eggplants into strips.  Then I bring 1 part white vinegar and 1 part water to a boil.  Shut off the flame and put the eggplant strips in and let them soak for about 3-5 minutes.  I drain them and let cool.  Next I squeeze as much liquid as I can out of the eggplants and lay them in a paper towel.

     Now I chop up some garlic and oregano and mix it with the eggplant strips.  Add a little olive oil and put it in a jar.  Add a hot pepper and the top it off with more olive oil and voila we have marinated eggplant.  You can serve this in an antipasto,  put in a sandwich, or top it on a crostini.
Anyway you decide to serve it,  It tastes delicious.