Sunday, June 27, 2010

Crepes from Lylah's Kitchen

Crepes are so easy to make.  A few years ago, while in Basque County, my daughter, Jenni and I made them.  It was a memorable breakfast - our last one in San Sebastian.

Here's the simple how to:
Melt your butter and when it's cooled down add it to the eggs, milk and water that you've already put into your blender. The recipe doesn't call for vanilla, but I add about a tsp. of vanilla. Makes a nice flavor. Blend this concoction on high and then add your flour and salt - and blend again.

Have your small crepe pan buttered and heated to a medium heat. Pour enough batter into the pan and then tilt it in a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface. It might take a few tries to get the swirling art down.

Cook the crepe until it starts loosening from the sides of your pan. Loosen it with a spatula - turn it over and very briefly cook the other side.

In advance - prepare little bowls of fillings such as fresh strawberries, blueberries, apples that have been cooked down in lots of butter and cinnamon. Cherries and diced bananas are also yummy.

What's also amazing is to add pieces of fresh chevre

Creme fraiche or whipped cream add for a nice touch. Of course drizzle the top of your crepes with Grade B Maple Syrup.

This basic crepe recipe from All Recipes.Com works just fine for me.
2 Tbl. melted butter (and more for the crepe pan)
2 eggs,
1/2 cup milk,
1/2 cup water (be ready to add a tinch more),
1 cup all-purpose flour,
1/4 tsp. salt.


Eateraz introduces the I-Crepe

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My Favorite Marinade

This is my favorite marinade....a recipe Connie gave me.  Connie is gentle and dear friend from years ago. 
You've got to try it - it's truly fabulous! And, I always triple it and freeze what’s left over. It's fabulous for chicken or beef.

Combine in a large bowl: 4 T oil, 4 T soy sauce, 2 T lemon, 1 T brown sugar, 2 crushed cloves of garlic, 1 T basil leaves.

Mix this as best you can and if barbequing chicken stick a whole clove into each boneless skinless chicken breast and then soak your meat pieces in this marinade. Add a dash of pepper to each chicken piece.

This is best prepared the day before or at least the morning of so your meat can soak up the spices. Hmmm. Let me know how you like it!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pure Style Home: Outdoor Harvest Table

I think I need this table. Don't you?  Maybe someone will make it for me? 

Pure Style Home: Outdoor Harvest Table

This Was Our First Kidding Experience - No Kidding

I'd arrived late last Tuesday evening from my trip to Portland to see Jenni and three amazing littles who aren't so little. We'd planned on heading out first thing in the morning for our "pick up Lavender and Cinnamon" trek to Snowflake.  I felt a bit nervous as the preparation with fences, gates, latches etc was behind schedule and to be honest both Michael and I were exhausted.

However, true to my husbands form, he kicked it in and completed what he felt comfortable enough with to make the trip. After all, we'd committed this block of time with David and Kathryn.

Onward hoe.

We arrived close to 5:30 p.m. with bells on our toes. It was doubling exciting when Kathryn told us of the pending kidding with this (below) first time freshner.  

Dominiska has an Audience

6/9/10  Evidently the girls like having an audience for kidding.  Possibly this is due to me writing in an earlier diary entry that it makes me nervous.  (The does do seem to "yank my chain" sometimes.)  We had some nice folks here today learning about their new BMR milkers before heading home with them tomorrow.  While we talked with them about their new goats Dom worked on getting ready to kid.  While we milked the goats Dom started stringing a discharge, while we ate dinner Dom started having mild contractions.

Around 10PM I decided to do a two-finger check to see if kidding was imminent.  I cleaned up, gloved up, lubed up, and while David held her steady, I slowly inserted my fingers into her vagina.  I could feel a bubble in there and right at the cervix I could feel a hoof.  So I got out of the way and waited for Dom to push a bit more.  She didn't, and it was getting late.  So I checked inside again and broke the kid sack.  The thick amniotic fluid gushed out, and with it gushed out a leg and a nose.  Whoosh, they were there.  I tried to find the second leg but couldn't.  Dom gave a couple of big pushes and out came a 5.0# red roan doeling.

David cleaned her up, our visitors were enthralled.  Once she was clean, Dom, who had been standing up and licking her first born, started pushing out a bubble.  I saw that inside the bubble was a head and one leg.  As I was about to break the sack to help the delivery, Dom decided that she didn't like what was happening and ran to the other side of the pen.   I finally caught up with her, calmed her a bit, then helped the 5.7# black and red doeling slid on into the world.  She, too, was a big hit with our guests.

Both kids are healthy and strong and lovely.  First freshener, Dom, is easy to milk and made enough colostrum to feed these hungry young ladies. 

These kids are For Sale.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cooking In Lylah's Kitchen

I love to cook and a year ago, I invited some younger moms (one darling daughter included) to join me in my kitchen (then at the Dreyfus house) to make a mess in the kitchen and put together my very favorite chicken pot pie.

I invited BreAnna, Molly and daughter Candace to join me  for some good ole' fashion home town cookin'. And, they did. Comfort food was on my mind and therefore we chopped, diced, chased children, stirred, whisked, rolled, cut, laughed and baked Creamy Chicken Potpie with Rosemary Crust for the evening meal.

All three moms have baby boys. Each one is about eight weeks a part with Molly's little fellow due any time.
I found these small casserole dishes just perfect to make individual portions that freeze well. It's easy to pop one out of the freezer and then re-bake it to heat it up.

For some reason, the crust and I weren't getting along - I did re-do this one.

Monday, June 14, 2010

My First Try At Making Chevre'

I'm so excited that I had to share with you my chevre'. The only thing I'll do next time is add salt and find some fun herbs in the garden to kick it up a notch.  If you want to buy totally amazing chevre' my friend Rhonda Crow is the woman to see. She's hard at working milking a wonderful herd of Nubian dairy goats at  Crows Dairy in Buckeye, AZ.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

My Goat Song: The Bleating of Goats

It's Sunday and the clock says it's 4:53 p.m. In the distance I hear a sweet sound. The baby monitor echos to the family room that a few goats - Lavender and Cinnamon are calling me to get ready to come with the milking pails so that their evening milk can be milked.

I am thoroughly enjoying the time with them.

I milk Lavender first and it's a joy to watch her go straight to her stantion and gingerly climb on placing her head straight away in the head lock.  She's a gem to milk - no problems and patient with me as my forearms gain strength.

I am concerned though - she's not eating her grain like she should and her milk supply is greatly reduced.  I did, at Kathryn's advice, take her temperature last evening and this morning. It seemed within limits.  I took Cinnamon's too. Nothing like putting a digital thermometer up the rectum of a goat. Interesting for sure.  I took both to compare.

I am learning (relearning) the ways of goat.  They - like us - when stressed out and with changes - get upset stomachs.  When their stomachs get upset and they don't eat it's because their rumen isn't working like it should.  The rumen isn't producing B vitamins necessary for carbohydrate metabolism and normal digestion activity.

I worry. I suppose I shouldn't, but I'm like a new mom or something.  These girls have been in my heart before they even arrived here Wednesday at the farm.

I am seeking advice. I've spoken with Kathryn and will most likely call her again this evening. I've also emailed this vet by the name of Austin Ayars.

In the meantime, I'm spending moments - many with them - sitting and watching and praying and asking Creator for wisdom as to what to do. I'm also researching all I can on the internet.

On a happier note, I took the second gallon of milk produced and made my first batch of Chevre cheese. Today it's just about done and I had to take a sample. Not bad if I say so myself.

Goat Soap and It's Benefits

The other day, I was reflecting on a time in my life about twenty-five + years ago when I raised a few dairy goats on a little "farm" in North Texas. And, now that the dream of having a small herd is a reality I spend a bit of spare time reading everything I can about goats including Brad Kessler's book - Goat Song (really recommend this fluid read) and blogs like Mary's at Annie's Goat Hill

One of the things that I have enjoyed about Marry and her blog is her small goat soap adventure where she makes and sells goat soap and lotion.  I've purchased quite a bit and everyone I've given the gifts to has thoroughly enjoyed the product.  In time, I intend to try my hand at this craft...but until then, Mary's my source and btw, she sends out your order immediately. 

I'd sent my mother some soap from my Annie's Goat Hill stash and I'm hearing that she loves it.  Now, my dad just hinted that since it's Father's Day coming up, he'd like a supply of his own. So, guess what? I'm order some to be shipped to dear dad for Father's Day. 

On a side note about the benefits of goat soap and lotion:
Did you know that goat milk is the only milk that contains capric-capryllic triglyceride, which helps moisturize the skin and contributes to the softness of the soap? And, did yo know that goat milk contains over 50 nutrients, minerals, acids and enzymes that serve to nourish and revitalize dehydrated skin? No joke - it does!

According to my new goat magazine "people have been using goat milk for centuries to improve skin and enhance beauty. The ancient Egyptians considered a milk bath the ultimate in luxurious living and Cleopatra regularly bathed in pure milk. Modern science has discovered that goat milk soap has a pH similar to that of human skin and regular use of goat milk soap will maintain a moisture balance that results in smoother, softer skin." 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Call Us Crazy

This is how we spent a bit of time while drinking an after dinner cup of French Press. What did you do?

Comfort Food For The Soul: Chicken Pot Pie with Rosemary Crust

Mom was all about comfort food for her family of six and indeed one of Mom's comfort food growing up was her Chicken Potpie. When I found Chef Amy Barnes of the Sweet Basil Gourmetware's recipe, I just knew I'd have to make it for the fam.

Indeed -  it's lovely comfort food.

Comfort Ingredients:
4 Tbl. butter
1 onion diced
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon or paste [NOTE: I swear by Better than Bouillon paste -probably found at a Whole Foods]
1 cup water
3/4 cup half and half
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary [NOTE: I use fresh from my garden. It's so easy to grow, at least here in the desert.]
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 Tbl.sherry [NOTE: I used cooking sherry.]
2 carrots diced [NOTE: I used 3.]
3 stalks celery, diced
3 cups or about 1/2 pounds cooked diced chicken [NOTE: I used 3 large chicken breasts that I cooked verryyyyyyyyyy slowly in a frying pan with a touch of garlic salt.]

1 cup flour
1 Tbl. rosemary, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup Crisco [NOTE: Yes, I admit,I used Crisco and it's the first time in at least seven years.]
3 Tbl. ice-cold water

Start your crust prep by chopping your rosemary - really fine.

Then . . .
In a big bowl (for some reason I LOVE glass bowls) add your flour, salt and finely chopped rosemary.

Then add your Crisco . . .

And cut in the Crisco with a pastry blender (a fork will do fine) or with two knives (even better than a fork) until this mixture is fairly course,but uniform.

Sprinkle the cold water with a table spoon, a little at a time and work this into the dough making a nice firm ball. Put this aside and start on the comfort part.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and then melt your butter in a large skillet over medium heat.

Dice your onions, dice your celery and dice your carrots. Melt your butter and then add your diced onion and cook this until soft. Whisk in the flour; cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes.

Next, add the chicken bouillon or paste (again, I LOVE the above mentioned paste), add your water, the half and half, your rosemary and the salt and pepper. Mix this up and then . . .

Stir in the sherry (I added an extra tablespoon -because I wanted to). Add your carrots, celery and the chicken that's been cooked and diced.

You'll note that my carrots weren't diced - just sliced. Diced is better. Simmer, covered until the vegetables are tender - about 8 minutes. I cooked it a bit longer, added about 1/2 cup of the broth from cooking the chicken breasts. I think doing this made everything moist and added a bit more flavor (to which darling daughter and husband and one 6 year old grand son could contest too!)

Now, return to your crust - On a lightly floured board roll the dough to a circle - about 1/8 inch thick. The recipe calls for a 1 quart size backing dish (round would be fun), but all I had available was a 1.5 square quart sized baking dish - so, that's what I used and it was just fine.

Fill your baking dish with your comfort ingredients and blanket the dish with your rolled out dough - sealing and crimping the edges.

Bake, uncovered for about 30 - 45 minutes until the gold brown. Makes 4 to 6 servings for hungry little boys and hungry big men.

Friday, June 11, 2010

My Husband is a Goat Herder - Now

After I laughed and wept through pages of Goat Song by Brad Kessler, I just had this crazy, funny feeling that it would be my husband the philosopher, the musician, song writer and pastoral husband who would be the one drawn from the heart to the song of the goat.

This morning.     I know.      I am right. 

Michael's first time try at milking Lavender while up at Black Mesa Ranch.

Morning came early for both of us at 4:40 a.m. and it was my now goat herder husband who flew out of a deep morning sleep at the sound (via a baby monitor) of Lavender and Cinnamon's cries - which loudly communicated in that blood curdling cry of a goat in distress, "Where are my peeps." 

O.K. . . keeping it real - much of the 4:40 a. m. adrenaline dump was concern that our neighbors might find their new alarm clock more than a bummer or that they might think someone was in pain or dying (their sounds make you think that).

Special pre post note:  It's 11:30 a.m. and two Scottsdale PD cars just barreled down to the farm gates. Our dear neighbor behind the goat yard called the pd because they thought someone was being hurt. Great! Hello neighbors - nice to meet you.  One officer asked to look around. They other one said, "That's a lot of milk in there."  Me: Would you like some fresh raw goats milk?  Officer: No, I'll pass.

I've never seen Michael race out of bed so quickly. Obviously, I knew where he was headed and I knew what he'd do when he got there. I couldn't quite go back to sleep to get some needed extra rest because I couldn't help but laugh at the scene in my mind. 

He'd probably kill me if I posted the picture I took of him sitting under the shade cloth surrounded by a few bales of hay along with Lavender and Cinnamon (new to the farm) our Nubian dairy goats. 

Just picture this: one gray haired man, sitting on a white plastic chair, having his regular morning quiet time watching the sun rise, surrounded by bales of hay and Lavender and Cinnamon - in this old raggedy pale blue bath robe that should have been long gone made into rags.  

For some reason I'm finding even deeper reasons to love this man of mine.  

I'm wondering, now, how frequently I'll find him in the wee morning hours communing with His Creator - out in the goat yard - surrounded Lavender and Cinnamon.

They say, it's the goat that trains you and not you the goat.

I'm also wondering how much his life will change through the bond this is already happening between this man and his goats.  

I'm also wondering what his goat song will become and what his Creator God will teach him of His ways and His love through the life and love he will grow to have because of them.  

I also wonder what new lyrics and melody will resonate from his creative masculine soul - just because goat herder is in process of becoming part of who he is naturally.

In light of our simple farm and life here on Cactus Road, besides what's for sale at the farm, I'll begin chronicling a few of the tales of Lavender and Cinnamon and Michael over at The Simple Farm.  

Yeah! Got milk!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Goat Song

My daughter, Candace, makes regular runs to the library and periodically brings me books that she thinks I'll find interesting. Lately they've been on gardening and farming. Um, I wonder why?

Of all the books that she's brought me - this one: Goat Song written by Brad Kessler, absolutely captured my heart. I just about couldn't put it down.

Goat Song is Brad's journal about he and Dona's (his wife) fresh experience in the world of farmsteading acquiring a few Nubian dairy goats.

It's a journal that involves food, culture and language says Mark Kurlansky and he (Brad) seduces with words.

I couldn't agree more.

"An urban dweller drawn to the land starts a pastoral life with goats on a small farm in Vermont. Wonderful descriptions of how people from many different cultures have both a spiritual and a poetic connection with being a shepherd" writes Temple Grandin.

I think that's why, in this season of my life, I was drawn and continue to be so. There's nothing so special as sharing a good read with the one you love and as I read portions to my pastor husband we had moments where we laughed and cried and pondered a bit more deeply - through Goat Song.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

One of My Favorite Older Posts

Fresh out of the oven! Lemon tarts. Lemons from the neighbors trees. This year? Lemons from my trees.

My recipe is {here}.