Blue Eggs Yellow Tomatoes – A Beautiful Life

June 1, 2008 in cookbook, Local Food, photography, review

blue eggs yellow tomatoes cookbook

Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes: Recipes from a Modern Kitchen Garden

Eating homegrown food is not only good for you and your bank account but it can be fantastically tasty and quite photogenic.

I recently received a review copy of “Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes: Recipes from a Modern Kitchen Garden” by Jeanne Kelley (published in April 2008 by Running Press Books). Kelley has decades of experience writing for Bon Appetit, Cooking Light magazine and many of her recipes have been published in LA Times Magazine, Natural Health, Islands and Spa Magazines.

Her professional life and her home life come together in Blue Eggs Yellow Tomatoes as she writes about how she raises some of her own food (chickens, vegetables) at her suburban home in Los Angeles and shares recipes that yield simply delicious concoctions that should satisfy anyone, whether you are growing your own food or if you go to the farmer’s market.

The book includes a charming mixture of fantastic food photography and the author’s own photographic glimpses into her family and backyard. She is not a professional photographer but her images are candid and enjoyable.

egg still life

(Copyright 2007 Nika Boyce Studios All Rights Reserved)

She covers various topics not necessarily found in your average cookbook, from how to garden in your own backyard to growing chickens to how to compost.

Nascent gardeners are given plenty of reasons to start growing their own food – 150 delightful recipes that span the range from salads to desserts in 10 chapters.

  • Appetizers and Small Plates
  • Soups
  • Salads
  • Sandwiches and Tartines
  • Pizza and Pasta
  • Fish and Poultry
  • Meats
  • Vegetables and Sides
  • Desserts and Sweets
  • Breakfast and Brunch

I found her salads chapter to be particularly enticing. They are quite beautiful and diverse, many interesting ingredient ideas. My attraction to the salads is also fed by a hankering for the veggies that have not even sprouted in my garden.

I really enjoyed the craftsmanship of this book. It is a large book (3.8 pounds) with bright white pages mixed in with country-home pages featuring a sunny palette of colors. As I mentioned before, the food photography is quite enticing.

egg - soft lighting

(Copyright 2007 Nika Boyce Studios All Rights Reserved)

Other attractions include a guide on pantry stocking and equipment choices, a kitchen garden primer, a section on how to use a recipe, and a guide for chicken keeping.

I am obviously biased positively toward anyone making an effort to grow their own food (veggie and animal). We have our organic garden, a flock of layer chickens, and a growing herd of dairy goats.

I would recommend this lovely cookbook to anyone who loves food and who is interested in pouring love and nurturing into their cooking.

Red bowl, egg, still life

(Copyright 2007 Nika Boyce Studios All Rights Reserved)

Product Details:

Eggstravagant or worth it? Whats your price point?

April 13, 2008 in Local Food

eggs - test shot

(Homegrown eggs)

This is a question I honestly want your opinion on and I thank you all ahead of time for your time and answers.

Considering the rising costs of all foods and transportation, issues with food safety and such, what is a dozen of free-range brown eggs worth to you?

Click Here to take a short survey I made just for this post. Thanks for you help!

First, let me know where you are writing from (eggs will cost different amounts across the world), what sort of store you buy your eggs in, how much they cost you last time you bought (were they brown? White? Here in New England stores charge MORE for brown eggs even tho there is no difference between them). I have seen estimates of 28% to 45% INCREASE in egg prices overt the past few months to a year.

Do you usually buy factory farmed eggs or the organic or cage free “upscale” ones? What is the differential in your store from today’s prices and those a year ago?

I can’t tell you what eggs go for here in central Massachusetts because its been so long since I bought them. I can tell you that milk is simply astronomical (closing in on more than $4.50/gallon I think). This milk price coupled with the massive gas prices and having a baby who is tolerating cow’s milk now has pushed us to buying the milk at our convenience store where it is sold as a “loss leader” at just under $3.00/gallon. The gas is something like $3.40/gallon.

Soon we will be getting our milking doe and so we will be unhooking from the factory teat.

Kids, I have to tell you one last thing. Do you remember that car accident I had and all seemed well? Not so fast. My lovely car is moribund and not safe to drive on my commute. So now I am faced with getting another car. I am working this week to reach out to local restaurants to see if I can get their non-hydrogenated frying oil.. and then I think I am going to convert a diesel (VW?) to a grease car for my commute. In any event, I am going to have to find the money to get another car, this seems like an opportune time to take this plunge.

Do not forget to drop me a comment or email about your egg price point for local sourced farm fresh free range eggs.

Lofty Love in the Kingdom of Pancakes

April 10, 2008 in recipe

Whole wheat yogurt pancakes with blackstrap molasses

(Whole wheat yogurt pancakes with blackstrap molasses)

Recently, I have not been able to cook during the week due to going back to work full time. I am very fortunate to have a husband (and more and more these days an older child) who is the main cook. This is good because when I get home, I simply can not endure the thought of cleaning the kitchen and then cooking. The cleaning part is always an integral component of cooking because, just like you, I do not have a maid but I do have 3 kids and a stay-at-home dad, all of whom have never been to maid-school.

I do repair enough energy-wise and psychologically by Sunday to face the mess and also to cook. I have been cooking fine Sunday dinners. I also have been able to do fantastic Sunday morning breakfasts which seem to always be in the pancake category! What can I say, cold dreary rainy snowy early spring in New England, while the sap is flowing and the sugarshacks are boiling, pancakes are obligatory.

For this reason, the past two weekends I have tried two different pancake recipes, both using whole wheat flour, that came out spectacularly. The thing is, the key attribute of these amazing pancakes was their loft and you would think that they would be similar in terms of their ingredients but they were quite different.

One was complicated and had expensive ingredients I do not usually have on hand (fresh buttermilk, 3 CUPS of it) and the other was super easy, not fussy, and less expensive to make.

I am going to share both recipes, recommend the easier one, and share photos of the easier one (didn’t shoot the other recipe).

Flavor-wise they each are fantastic and quite distinct from one another. I suggest giving them both a try. I used our freshly laid free range eggs that were literally still warm from the nest. I am not sure if that would make the recipe taste hugely different than if you are using factory-farmed eggs. The goodness of fresh eggs is easiest to tell in a sunny-side up egg.

I snuck some powdered chocolate into a bit of the mix in a few pancakes, you might be able to tell in the shots that I alternated white and chocolate pancakes. I love using blackstrap molasses (instead of, gasp, maple syrup) because I crave this sort of molasses. Its a very strong flavor so use what you prefer.

Remember the cardinal rule in pancake-land – do not over mix!

If you do make these pancakes, let me know how it goes for you!

Whole wheat yogurt pancakes with blackstrap molasses

(Whole wheat yogurt pancakes with blackstrap molasses)

Easy Recipe:

Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1/2 cup Yogurt

Directions:

“Sift dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg, milk and yogurt together then add to dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Fry pancakes on a hot greased griddle, turning once. Makes 6 pancakes.”

More fussy and expensive recipe:

AllRecipes.com Buttermilk Pancakes II

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 eggs (from our own hens)
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted

Directions:

“In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together buttermilk, milk, eggs and melted butter. Keep the two mixtures separate until you are ready to cook.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. You can flick water across the surface and if it beads up and sizzles, it’s ready!

Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, using a wooden spoon or fork to blend. Stir until it’s just blended together. Do not over stir! Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/2 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.”

Whole wheat yogurt pancakes with blackstrap molasses

(Whole wheat yogurt pancakes with blackstrap molasses)

Resources:

Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

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.