Chicken, our way

July 8, 2011 in chicken, Food Porn, Humble Garden

As you likely know, we try to grow and enjoy wholesome food at home, making us frugal foodies.

We raise and milk our own dairy goats.

2011 Kidding season: diapers

We raise our own laying chickens for eggs.

Humble Garden 2011: Infant chicks - upclose

We are getting a family Jersey cow this fall. We will have cow and goat milk next spring.

Humble Garden: Our New Jersey Cow

I blog about some of that craziness at my homesteading blog Humble Garden.

We source a lot of our red meat as pastured Beefalo meat from Wild Mountain Farm.

This year, in addition to our layer flock, we will be raising between 25 and 50 broiler chickens which we will butcher and freeze for the year!

The video below shows those (the little yellow ones) as well as some fancy chicks – ameraucana which lay blue eggs and purely ornamental chickens – white crested black polish – the ones that look like they have marshmallows stuck to their wee little heads.

Many people here in the US are getting into urban homesteading but run into roadblocks when they try to get some chickens.

I totally support you all and send you all my positive vibes as you fight to regain the right to raise chickens in your space.

Three Secrets Chicken

February 19, 2010 in chicken, Kefir, recipe


I put together this recipe on a lark (a term you might use to describe most of my experimentation in the kitchen, light hearted with a chance of failure always but that being ok).

I call it Three Secrets Chicken because there are three ingredients in it that I think most people do not usually use with their chicken.

Those ingredients are:

Chicken can get to be such a drudge! With this recipe you get something new from a meat that might be boring to you. I do not like buying boneless and skinless chicken. The flavor is not in the meat (especially in the BigAg industrial chicken) but in the fat, bones, and skin. You can take the skin off after cooking if you have issues with it. Nibble the meat off the bone!

I think you will enjoy this recipe, do give it a try. If you do, let me know how it goes!

POM Chicken

Three Secrets Chicken


  • 6 chicken thighs (bone in, skin on)
  • 1 – 2 cups Maseca (Instant Corn Masa Mix)
  • dried herb mix (up to you, I used a Montreal Steak Seasoning mix)
  • pinch of salt, up to you
  • 1-2 cups medium thick real Kefir
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1/2 head of white cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces POM 100% Pomegranate juice
  • olive oil, enough to oil baking pan

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Oil the baking pan, sprinkle with some of salt and the herb mix, layer in sliced onion, red bell peppers and cauliflower.

Mix herbs into maseca in a bowl for dredging.

Dry thighs off, dip in kefir, dredge in maseca, put into baking pan.

Sprinkle with a little extra herb mix.

Pour POM pomegranate juice over or between chicken thighs (juice, if poured on chicken will turn it dark while baking, which is great!).

Bake in 400 F oven until thermometer inserted into flesh (without touching the bone) reaches 170 F.

Remove and allow to cool enough to eat!

I served it to the family with rice. The veggies are also served on the side.

POM Chicken

Everyone enjoyed the various flavors and the moistness of this chicken. The maseca gives the chicken a crispy exterior that is much more flavorful than wheat flour would. The POM pomegranate juice added a delicious dimension of delicious tanginess to the chicken and the vegetables. The kefir seemed to help add some of that tanginess and also keep the meat moist.

This post was entered into the “Grow Your Own” roundup, created by Andrea’s Recipes and hosted this month by House of Annie.

Culinary thermotherapy

March 2, 2009 in chicken, Gardening, Humble Garden, ingredient, recipe

Butternut Squash Soup

On a Nor’easter day like today, as I listen to the plow guy clear our driveway, I am rather fixated on warmth. It doesn’t help that our wood boiler has been slow to start this morning (making for cold water and no heat from the baseboards).

The boilermaster (namely the DH) is very distracted by a blown motherboard from a power outage last Friday, way too distracted to be attuned to the lack of heat coming from the boiler (I guess even the expensive backup batteries didn’t help, don’t ask me). All of which results in frozen toes and my cooking breakfast in a chilly kitchen while wearing a heavy jacket and scarf.

The advantage to this is that you do not need potholders, you just use your jacket sleeve.

This advantage is not making any friends in my book though.

Days like this (ok, all winter here), making a pot of warming soup is a coping mechanism, not a cute foodie affectation.

Today’s soup is one that I seem to make again and again, its that effective at countering the cold chillies. The base is butternut squash and chicken stock.

Its clearly NOT a raw food. (Administrative note, I am now going to post raw recipes and thoughts over at my new food blog Raw+Simple, its better to keep these things separate)

This soup is extra good because I am using really local food, namely, Dandy the really bad rooster (as seen below). He could NOT play nice in the chicken yard, being brutal to the girls and also to us if we strayed too close.

Humble Garden: Dandy

Dandy and a couple of other past-prime broilers were dispatched last summer. We made a huge amount of stock from these chickens and then canned some of it along with the meat.

Peaknix: food storage follies

I have been going through this stock slowly this winter, savoring each quart. After this soup, I have one quart left! Its no easy thing for me to make this because I find it exhausting to kill and then butcher the chickens. If Dandy had been an agreeable animal, he would not be on my shelf.

A pissy testosterone attitude has it’s consequences.

I long ago ran out of homegrown butternut or any other sort of squash so these are storebought. I did use homegrown sage that I dried last fall.

Butternut Squash Soup

Thermotherapeutic Creamy Butternut Squash Soup


  • 1 and 1/2 butternut squashes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 peeled carrots, diced
  • 1/4 C fresh fennel, sliced
  • 3-4 sprigs dried sage
  • 1 quart chicken stock (with some meat)
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 C heavy cream PER SERVING
  • sea salt and crushed pepper, to taste


Over medium heat in a large heavy pot, saute the onion in the butter and oil. Once the onion is sweated somewhat, add garlic and allow to cook a minute or two, without getting any color on the onion or garlic. Add crushed dried sage, nutmeg, carrots, cubed butternut squash, diced fennel, and then add enough warm water to cover all. Cover pot.

Simmer until vegetables are somewhat tender. Add the quart of chicken stock (but reserve the meat in the refrigerator until later) and either more stock if you have it or warm water to bring the soup up to an almost full pot. Allow to come to a simmer but do not boil, the stock just doesn’t need to be boiled anymore, its been through enough already, don’t you think?

Once the soup has simmered for a good 45 minutes, take an immersion blender to the soup and blend until most of the texture is gone, leaving a few good bits. Cut up the meat and add to the soup. Simmer until the meat is heated through. Add salt and crushed pepper to taste.

Ladle into bowls and add heavy cream right before serving.


Butternut Squash Soup

I hope that you stay warm and dry today and likely best to stay off the roads. Stay inside and make up a big pot of something warm and thermotherapeutic!

Slow steady food

February 17, 2008 in chicken, Humble Garden

Our First Egg!

Further to my post the other day on High Throughput Food, one of our 13 hens has started laying. Its hard to tell by these pictures but it is what is called a pullet egg. Chickens are not called hens until they are a year old. Before then they are called pullets. Our girls are only about 22 weeks old (we think, was ages ago now). Often with pullets, you will get small eggs. Later, once the chickens are in full swing, their eggs often come out much larger.

Our First Egg!

My daughter Q is the chicken mistress and these chickens are her pets.

Our First Egg!

She and her little sister KD are seen in the photos above cracking the very first egg open. Q enjoyed it pan fried. It was eaten so fast (she liked it) that I didnt get a chance to shoot it.

There will be many many many more.