Thursday, April 18, 2019

Many things ( NOT shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax— Of cabbages—and kings)

Being a long time docent at St. Mary’s City, “specializing” in the reconstructed brick chapel of 1667, I often talk about the  the long history of the Chapel.  Well, when the colonists constructed it, in the (late) 17th century, Notre Dame had stood tall for almost 500 years.  Fortunately, we were able to visit it a couple of times and what a calamity for not just Christians, but mankind in general.  Reports of what was lost continue to roll in, hopefully some of the irreplaceable items may have survived. 

So, despite an undertone of insignificance, we’ll plunge into mundane Feeder topics..

Eggs live on

People have been asking about expanding my egg repertoire beyond Turkeys and Exotic Chickens.  Particularly eggs from Ducks.  Okay, well another educational experience for the feeder ensued.  I had thought I would have to find a cute little boutique farm with a gentleman farmer harboring his loving brood (mixed metaphor there) of ducks producing delicate, perfectly formed restaurant quality eggs.  Well, in response to some inquiries, I got several “well, you ninny, they are sold at the farmer’s market at Hermanville Road and 235!” (so much for bucolic searching) and a friend volunteered to get me some. 

Duck lesson one: Duck Eggs are not hard to come by.
Lesson two came when I received a half dozen of them.  My city boy perception of duck eggs were that they would be smaller than the chicken variety.  Well, here’s a side by each:

Which is Daisy’s and which is the hen’s product?

Duck Lesson two:  (These) duck eggs are at least the size of Chicken eggs; go figure.

Lesson three: the crucial taste test…. Another throwdown!

Again ducky on the lefty
Fried up in Mr All Clad

Followed by brother chicken

And plated both

Neither MFO nor I could notice any marked difference in mouthfeel (love to use that word), color, or taste.  Both pretty good.  I was preconditioned to give the duck a “Ptooie” after another good palate reported she had to pitch hers into the woods as being inedible.   Hope hers was not “just bad”.

Duck Lesson three: there is no significant culinary difference in Duck and Chicken (Or turkey for that matter!)

So I’m afraid that I have to pretty much give an across the board “okay” to Chicken, Turkey, and now Duck eggs.  Take what is easy.  Comments welcomed.

The Aliens have landed! flesh eating growths on the loose!

Nope. here’s the status of the Moody Mushroom Farm:

Day 10

Oh, Beans!
a close out for the long, long, time readers with a good memory (and sports junkies):

Remember what this signifies?

Yep, it is my traditional “Final Round of the Masters” snack.   Salted (yes menu breaker) and jelly beans.  The beans are authentic Brach’s, but the peanuts are NOT the Planter’s Cocktail Nuts from the blue can, rather Whitley’s Virginia peanuts.  Still a great pairing (ha ha)

(please skip freely)

Well, while the snacks were semi-traditional, the golf tournament was anything but.  Alert (Sports oriented) readers will know that after N years, it is believed all is forgiven for Tiger and he’s now larger than life in his quest to “Return to Glory”.  A snip from the San Francisco Chronicle:

“Everyone, even the president, needs a pal. President Trump is so pleased for his golf buddy Tiger Woods that he wants to give the comeback winner of the Masters the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the land.

Ugh, for several reasons. Save it for true cultural and social leaders. Give it to those who are morally inspiring as well as accomplished, meaning not Tiger. Hand out fewer to heighten the power of the award. Skip your friends and think of the nation”

The feeder has to make a (rare) politically oriented observation (although alert readers may sense my leanings): Everything our President does these days is with the sole purpose of building a voter base for 2020, you think honoring T has ulterior motives? 

I have never been a “Tiger Fan”.   I do make a distinction between his ability with a golf club and the man.  He is a phenomenal golfer with skills never seen before, and deserves all the credit for his play (GOAT??), but not (IMHO) his personality.  Many people seem to believe he is entitled to win a major for what he’s overcome medically. Show me the score, man; go earn it!

Anyway, the heads will change their tune from “will Tiger ever win (a major) again?” to “will Tiger now “Catch” Jack?” 

Okay enough for today

Despite the last entry hope everyone has a joyful Easter season

DFD, and don’t forget NMMJ!

Addendum and in the hopper:
what in the Hell is a Maryland Crab Cake?
what's different about these "burgers"?


Thursday, April 11, 2019

Bring it on!

Hey Bobby! You got nothing on the Feeder!  I’m doing my own Throwdown!   Could be called an egg-off but not quite the glam power.  Many of you (thank you!) have asked about the comparison between the turkey and chicken egg.  So I decided to settle it once and for all.   Okay team Turkey in spotted uniforms on the left and blue and brown uniformed players from the chicken side on the right.

Ready team Turkey? set, cook!  Listen to those cheers!
after cracking a tougher than "normal" shell, it reveals anice color, firm and big!!

After a brisk whisking (with a bit of heavy cream added) onto the heat

Getting it together
Big soft curds onto the plate for the judges

Okay Team Chicken, you're up!

Note the variation in color of the two player's yolks

Same treatment (in a clean pan so no cross contamination)

Plated and all And lined up for the illustrious judges (MFO and the Feeder)
So, what’s the verdict??
Well, the judges thought that team turkey's entry was a little more “creamier” than the competitors, but couldn’t compete on the color comparison, plus the flavor was a bit more forward.  So, the chickens carried the day!  Just as well, harder to come by the gobbler variety.  Wish I could get some Duck Eggs!

Beauty in the ‘Hood
Gathered ourselves together and took a little ride around “the Farms” to enjoy the spring’s offering of the trees..still a bit early for redbuds and dogwoods so mostly Pears with maybe the odd Cherry
There’s just something classic about lanes and gates, especially closed… what’s back there?  where does it lead?

And it’s always a pleasure to see trees that have the room to express themselves

Even up close, they’re pretty

For some reason it’s a banner year for Forsythia

Other people were out for a stroll

Sometimes you have to look close to see more beauty

Even after they treat us on the tree, they can make a nice monochromatic mosaic on the ground

Well, this may close out the egg-a-thon, time to move on to other culinary mysteries like:
“Where’s the Beef?”

Almost time to

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Time marches on, Chickens lay eggs, and Recipes punish you

Before we do more (than you want to know??) about eggs and chickens, a story which definitely belongs in a Food Blog, especially mine:

Soon after we moved to St. Louis in 1965 to work for Boe….McDonnell Dougla… McDonnell Aircraft Company(!), I began my journey with good food, cooking, and wine. We wanted to have a celebratory dinner at a great restaurant, I don’t remember the occasion, but I know it was special because we chose Tony’s considered one of, if not the finest restaurant in St. Louis.  At that time, it was located on N. Broadway, on the north side of town in an old brick building (still) common in St. Louis.  So I was (what is now called DFD) in my finest sport coat and tie.   We entered the restaurant somewhat nervously, and were greeting by a person in a tuxedo:  “Good evening Mr. Moody, welcome to Tony’s, please follow me to your table” and we headed for a carpeted stair way to the “upstairs”.  I was astonished to see him facing us, walking backward up the many stairs, holding on to…….. nothing.  Wow.  Quite special.

To be truthful, I don’t remember the table nor setting but was most likely elegant, and settled in.  Nor, do I remember what we drank if we did, but I DO remember that I ended up ordering “double veal loin chops”.  You know the cut, like a rack of lamb, but served in chops with two rib bones.  Trying to be elegant, I used my knife to get the meat from the “eye” or lollypop, which was excellent.  I left the rib bones on the plate of course.   I was about finished when a gentleman appeared over my shoulder, exclaiming “you’re leaving the best part!”, whereupon he reached over my shoulder, grabbed a chop and proceeded to separate it with bare hand sit into two ribs with meat attached neatly replacing them on the plate.  “That’s how you enjoy double chops!”; that was my introduction to Vince Bommarito and Tony’s.  I will never forget that evening. 

So it was bittersweet when heard of his passing a week or so ago at the age of 88.  An era was closed with him.  He set the standard for classic fine dining in St. Louis for years. We ate several times in the new location on market street. A model of a traditional fine dining restaurant, front waiters, back waiters, food served simultaneously under plates with silver domes, all to be revealed with a “Voila” in unison.  Vince would move from table to table, eyeing the food, adjusting the position of a fork here and there, chatting if seemed appropriate.
Times have moved on, and I suppose there are restaurants that rise to Tony’s level, but there will always be a special place in my heart for Vince Bommarito.

I am not sure it’s appropriate to move on to chickens and eggs, but my love of food furthered by Tony’s restaurant makes it okay.  I think I told you my Home Visit Nurse brings me eggs from her farm, and the other day brought a new carton

Hey! Is that thing a dinosaur egg?  Nope, they also have a couple of turkeys and it’s a turkey egg, quite understandably larger than a mere chicken’s. Speaking of which, they have three varieties (breeds?) producing eggs in a coat of many colors. 
There is a Silver Phoenix

A beautiful bird that is quite small and friendly and lays the smallest egg of the bunch (next to the Gobbler’s).  they are amenable to people and enjoy being held and petted. Their eggs are creamy white.
Of a different size is the Black Copper Maran

Which is responsible for the dark brown/coffee colored eggs.  They are not quite as friendly apparently.
Then without an exotic name is the “Easter Egger” who gives us the multicolored blues, greens and light browns

Here’s a selection of their eggs

I took a few images of the same eggs with different backgrounds (sort of a photographic experiment)
to see how it changes how the colors appear..

And a size comparison of turkey, Silver Phoenix and the Black Copper Maran.

As with any “hobby” one can become obsessed and become immersed in a different world,  I think Mr. Turkey egg will serve as breakfast tomorrow morning.

Speaking of obsessions, the egg lady’s husband has now taken to growing Mushrooms in his basement.  He was kind enough to send a kit along, trying to get me sucked in!

Just add water and watch

And lastly, a small rant to close this edition.

I often look at online recipes to get some ideas of dishes, preparations etc.  Googling (for instance) “Sautéed Scallops” gets you a sting of recipes from various sources, a lot of them from places like “All Recipes” or “So and So eats”.   Okay fine, so you select one and click on it.  The first thing that hits you is a series of ads for whatever you may have looked at lately, or wants you to download something first, or a start of the recipe broken up by any number of ads.  Not only that, at least on my machine, a little window opens informing you that “waiting for cache”; “establishing connection with a secure website”, "request sent" waiting for this and that.  Gets so frustrating I usually bail out without seeing the actual recipe.   Sigh.

On the horizon: another visit to The Cow and The Fish (which remains an enigma); following the mushroom saga, and who knows what.

Go SPARTANS, while I

RIP Vince Bommarito, you did it right

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Eggs -actly!

Dear reader: do not despair!  There is no intention of ceasing publication of the “Feeder” as long as my fingers can push keys.   There may be longer gaps between posts but the Feeder will continue to yak about stuff.  Part of the issue which I may have alluded to before is that it is difficult for me to “go to” places.  I feel bad about just regurgitating other’s articles, but I think some of them deserve your attention.  Once again, the other day, MFO said “so and so” really enjoys your blog.   That keeps me going..

Okay, that’s enough about me, let me tell you what I’ve done lately (ha ha).  One of the (few) positives of this condition is that I get to meet new folks, who come to help me.  One such is our latest “home health Nurse” who happens to live down near Park Hall and has a farm.  One of the things she does is raise chickens of varying breeds (including so-called “heritage” stock).  So what do chickens do?  Eat, s**t, and produce eggs!  She graciously offered to bring us a dozen or so, and brings them when she visits.

Here is our first dozen

Note the variations in color (top left) and size (second from top left).  Very pretty.
Enthused with a source of “farm fresh” product we have sort of increased our consumption of egg dishes.  Kind of starts at same place (haven’t tried soft boiled yet)

Then a quick whisk (with maybe a dash of cream or water) note size and color of yolks!

Then if time is precious a simple scramble is easy

Not your vapid “giant” pale yellow, but vibrant golden (isn’t “real food” wonderful!) and so tasty.  If there is more time (say, Sunday mornings), the Feeder steps to the stove, preps a filling (in this case sausage, green peppers, onions) sauteed until soft, adding a few chopped garlic cloves right at the end to prevent burning (all too easy – believe me!) and set aside while the omelet is prepared in our wonderful All-Clad stainless pan

And adding the filling on one side while eggs may be still runny on top, letting residual cooking finish the job, and roll the dish to the side of the pan and with a quick wrist (if you’re lucky) turn out a beautifully formed and cooked omelet.  Add some Romano cheese and parsley flakes.

Of course on a Sunday morning, there’s time to do it (just) right with Starbucks's coffee and a beautiful, fruity Argentinian Sparking Rose of Malbec.

Life can be good!
And we didn’t turn the camera around to let you see if we were