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annecros

eGullet Society staff emeritus
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  1. annecros

    Steven Shaw

    Condolences to family and friends. Sincere gratitude for the priveledge of knowing him. Godspeed.
  2. Back in the day, way back in the day, I waited tables. "Buspan Cuisine" is how we referred to it. I mean - young women on a date would leave like 2/3 of the prime rib on the plate! Outside of that, tuna fish out of the can with saltine crackers. A can of Chef-Boy-Ardee Beefaroni - cold, out of the can.
  3. annecros

    Urban Chickens

    Quick update on the ladies. Maybelline is laying a large to extra large egg every day. Mona lays a large egg every day or two. Lucille, our special needs chicken, lays a large egg every day or two, sometimes a medium. They free range all day, the odor is no problem because of the space I think, low maintenance/high protein. Everyone should do this. The noise is the only thing I can complain about - but it isn't that bad. The neighbors get eggs, so they don't mind a bit. Haven't found a downside, but our schedule works with theirs. Other people may not like letting them out in the early AM. Also, they are wonderful pets and so much fun! I talk to them, they talk to me, it's all good.
  4. Exactly 2% - a handful that I use regularly. The rest are just eye candy and inspiration. I realized that the Martha White cookbook that I got as a premium is my most utilized.
  5. annecros

    Composting

    Absolutely. Adds stability, and just looks neat. I wouldn't post a pic of my compost heap on the internet. There is an old waterbed mattress serving as a cover. Reduce, reuse, recycle.
  6. annecros

    Composting

    Bermuda grass is obnoxious. However, the compost heaped on top of it would in fact kill the beast. Any Bermuda grass in your compost heap would be the result of the grass going to seed and sowing itself on top. A good reason for your wife to nag you about mowing the lawn. I've given up and just mow it myself.
  7. annecros

    RIP Gourmet Magazine: 1941-2009

    This is what I think of when I think of Gourmet. And the wonderful compilation cookbooks I own.
  8. annecros

    Getting back to large eggs

    I have a recipe tucked back that calls for "butter, the size of a hen's egg" - hand written and probably dating back to the turn of the century.
  9. We use a very similar method in our sandy soils to the sheet mulching, but we call it a "lasagna bed." Our problem is that most of the real estate in this area is simply years worth of St. Augustine grass growth, and sandy. It is really sad what happens to the soil, and the depletion is heart breaking. Not an earthworm in sight! When we first moved, I laid out my beds, then a layer of broken down cardboard packing boxes (reduce, reuse, recycle)laid directly on top of the turf, a couple of bails of peat, blood meal and bone meal sprinkled on top of that, then a thick layer of compost. I actually got some for free from the solid waste authority. I then put down soaker hoses on top, and then topped it all with a layer of plastic. I kept it moist (the first watering in particular has to be a deep one to moisten the peat) and let it cook for about six weeks. Took up the soaker hoses, tilled it in, replace the soakers, weed block and mulch on top - and went to town. I don't know how earthworms do it - but they somehow can find an oasis of organic material in a sea of really poor soil! You may be able to use a similar method later in the winter right on top of your rye. The rye would be thoroughly killed by the layers on top of it, preserving all the good stuff in the rye and the dead roots will be there to channel moisture and nutrients down into the clay. I have very limited experience with clay soils, but my parents and gradparents stuff thrived in clay. They had a steady supply of livestock manure, though. I think the trick would work on clay as well - excepting maybe the peat. I use a lot of peat to hold moisture in the soil (my soil is too well drained). Composted manure is nothing but a good thing for nearly any soil as far as I know. A good population of earthworms will carry the organic materials into the soil, and of course help aerate it. Check Craigslist or something and see if there is a stable nearby that gives away compost. Composted manure and hay is tomato heaven - and usually the stables are giving it away figuratively if not literally. The lasagna bedding method I described above will catch heat at the surface and cook any weed seeds in the compost rendering them sterile. I do this in the summer over about a six week period because that is my "fallow" season - but you have several months in the winter to build your soil, and your location looks plenty sunny enough to trap enough heat to do the job. This is the third year on my main tomato bed, and when I transplanted last month it was like digging into pure worm castings! I also had the benefit of chicken manure compost from the girls, and I think that helped a great deal. The plants are off to a fantastic start! I did supplement with an organic fertilizer (TomatoTone) at transplant, but they haven't needed the usual liquid fertilizer boost I usually give them about a month in. Do consider a rotation of peas or beans in that spot in the Fall after your tomatoes are in. The only thing I know of that consistently renders better soil than it is planted in. Go get a soil test, and test it again before you transplant. It's worth it.
  10. annecros

    Getting back to large eggs

    It's my understanding the the yolk size does not vary much in the sizing as the amount of white contained in the egg. That is, the yolk would be approximately the same size in a Large egg as an X-Large egg, but the quantity of white would be bigger in the X-L. I would have to double check a reference somewhere to be sure of that. I ran across it when I was checking substitution rates when I was getting mediums from the girls. I used eggs right out of the nest box for carbonara last week, and the sauce was amazingly perfect - set and consistency. Yum. Our chickens, all the same breed and about the same age have laid everything from mediums to one X-L that came in last week. They each seem to take a day off once a week or so, and the eggs seem to get slightly smaller towards time to take a break. I think the market for smalls, and probably quite a few mediums, are in the institutional type foods - yer egg mcmuffins and such. USDA Date Standards Here's the deal with the dates: So, you can have a later expiration date, and your eggs could have still been packed two weeks ago.
  11. annecros

    Southern Peas

    I'm bringing in purple hull peas this weekend. It is nearly the only type of crop that I can grow well in the heat and humidity in South Florida in August. Great low maintenance crop - they fix their own nitrogen in the soil - and the hotter and more humid it is the better they seem to perform. They are fungus prone, so a dose or two of Daconil is in order and not handling them or walking through them while they are damp from dew or rain is appropriate. Rotate something else between pea crops, because they also attract a mean namatode. I usually go with tomatoes or squash or even southern greens - as they are from different families. I use ham stock as well on nearly all of my peas. Not that chicken stock would be bad at all. I also freeze the "pea soup" and the few stray peas that always seem to be leftover to dump into a big pot of veg soup with corn, tomato and okra. Yum. You should be able to find fresh peas in the south up until first frost. In fact, the ones right before first frost (that the farmers bring in because they know they will be destroyed) can be quite good. Usually young, and some immature snaps (that I love)! Just try them all - they are all good, and they all have their own distinctive flavor. You can also just make a big pot of snaps in broth, if the frost catches you. They sometimes act as a main at my house, rather than a side, over rice.
  12. annecros

    Urban Chickens

    sparrowgrass, I must confess I was pleased to hear that you couldn't get rid of all of them. I hope the ones you have left are doable for you. You will need the quality protein to heal properly. Do they seem to miss the rest of the flock? Mine demonstrate real emotion when confronted with a flock mate in distress. Of course, mine are the biggest spoiled biddies I have ever seen! They call me out when it is treat time! I sometimes wonder who is keeping whom. Our predator brush was entirely our fault. She's really come a long way though - and is keeping up with her sisters just fine, thank you very much! She and I bonded over her "hospital stay" on my kitchen table. I carry her around all the time.
  13. annecros

    Name that cookie

    I want some! My aunt used a pastry bag and piped her spritz. My imagination is probably running wild, but I am fantasizing that it is vanilla sugar those puppies are rolled in. What is the texture like? Tender? Butter cookie or sugar cookie?
  14. annecros

    I need to make an all-purple dish

    Ruby chard comes to mind. A savory fig tart with the skin side up could be a real show stopper, I think, and something a little different. A pomegranate glaze?
  15. annecros

    Urban Chickens

    I was concerned about the odor as well, but really haven't had a problem - and it has been a very wet summer. It may be because we only have three, and they range over the whole back yard most of the day. I do litter the run with fresh hay about once or twice a week, and that seems to sweeten things up a bit. That run, by the way, is going to be a vegetable plot this winter. Between the chicken poop and hay, they have created some beautiful soil - we are going to move them this month then turn the soil over and plant tomatoes in that spot. Mine are laying in the coop in their nest box (we had a bit of drama with them laying under nest box the first week they were laying, but we closed that off) and we get 2 to 3 eggs a day. Very reliably now that they have settled in to laying. They line up at the coop at around noon every day and take turns! They do prefer to hang out alternatively under the gardenia tree or a hedge at the far end of the lot during the day. They are coming in at 2 ounces each now, so they are Large - and definitely Grade A! I wish I had gone with 4 hens originally now. I was basing our egg consumption estimates upon what we were eating when we used store bought. We are eating eggs way more often now! The difference in quality is vast - even the 4.99 "organic/free range" are lousy impersonations of eggs to me now. I have no slugs or snails, and very few palmetto bugs in the back yard now. I've seen them eat baby lizards, and even a small garden snake that they tortured for half an hour or so a couple of weeks ago. The neighbor's are wonderful about it! The family next door greets them when they are out back, and treats them every once in a while. I need to make hubby take a couple of pics now that they are fully grown. It's a good thing they love eggs over there as well, because there is a bit more noise back there since they have matured. They certainly enjoy bragging on their mad egg making skilz! There is another flock somewhere in the vicinity that is answering them. I find the noise that they do make rather pleasant personally. Not nearly as irritating as a barking dog, and there is a mocking bird in the front yard that drives me nuts he is so obnoxious. I may ask for another couple of pullets for Christmas, or if one of mine goes broody I might order some day olds. I still want some Easter Eggers back there to add some color to my egg basket. My husband has fallen in love with pictures of the Columbian Wyandottes he's seen on the internet. He says they resemble the chickens he was familiar with in Europe as a child. Lovely black and white plumage. I doubt they are the same breed, but they make him smile, so there. I think one of the kids is making book on whether or not we will have the heart to stew them when the time comes. They really are pets and all have names - we shall see.
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