Monday, April 27, 2015

Burgers with poached egg, FFF

Earlier in the week we visited the Spotted Trotter's location in Krog Street Market and bought some of their special secret burger blend. We used this to make patties with for the grill.

They wouldn't say exactly what was in the blend but I'm pretty sure it's ground beef with some pork blended in. There was lots of flare ups from grease. I just had to watch it extra closely. They came out fantastic.

We used eggs from our own chickens and poached them to put over the burgers. We didn't use any bread at all just some Dijon mustard. It was very simple but very delicious.

Krog Street Market is a very happening new market on Krog Street, home of the scariest tunnel in America. Not cookie cutter and not overrun with posers yet it's a cool place to visit.

I even paid $10 for a chocolate bar from Xocolatl! It was good but I'm not sure how anything that has thousands of embodied food miles can be labeled sustainable.

And by the way, Ford Fry's newest restaurant Superica ain't bad either!

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Yesterday about ten thousand new arrivals showed up.


In February we attended a beekeeping class and ordered some bees. They let me know they were ready and I drove over there yesterday and picked them up. It's about an hours drive out in the country.

I'm beginning to think that the apple trees didn't get pollinated and I'm positive that's the case for at least one of them. Hopefully having bees on the property will mitigate that. (I should have done it by hand though)

Transferring frames from the nuc
The bees came in what is called a "nuc". So they were bees that already had a queen and had been together. I drove them home in the floorboard of the truck, per the beekeepers directions. They were taped in with a piece of screen. They came with five frames that already had honey and brood.

Today they were coming back loaded with pollen that was bright yellow. I don't know what it is but it might be poplar because I see them going up.

These bees are adjusted to this climate since they are from very close by so hopefully they will do fine. As far as I can tell there aren't anymore honeybees nearby so they have pretty much free reign right now.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Food movies

We've watched a couple of good documentaries lately about food. Eating Alabama and Urban Fruit. They are both available on Amazon Prime.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Friday's Foraged Food

Friday's meal with all local ingredients was awesome!

Duck breast over sauteed pokeweed and hostas with poached egg and goats milk cheese.

Pine Street Market had duck breast in house on Friday and I picked up a couple. I also used their bacon in the sauteed greens.

I always pick up goat's milk cheese from Capra Gia every Thursday at the Tucker Farmers Market.

The eggs came all the way from the side of the house, around 30 feet. Zero food miles.

Rounding out this dish was pokeweed and hostas plucked from the backyard. It was a variation on a Fried Poke Sallet recipe that I got here.

I didn't have as much pokeweed as I needed because it is just now beginning to come up. The hostas have already gotten pretty big so I substituted them for what I lacked in poke.

You are supposed to boil the pokeweed in two changes of water before you eat it. But I don't really think you need to do that with very young pokeweed. You only harvest the leaves. Mature pokeweed that is red can make you sick if you don't boil it first. It tastes like spinach to me.

I boiled the poke and then I sauteed that and the hostas in the bacon grease with garlic and soy sauce. The soy sauce was not locally sourced. The hostas wilt down very quickly kind of like radicchio. It eats just like a lettuce. It is very popular in Asian countries.

I sauteed the duck breast skin side down on high heat for a few minutes, starting with a cold pan. This allows the fat to render out. Flip it over and then put it in a 200 degree oven for 6 - 8 minutes. It's best when rare.

Poached eggs are incredibly simple. Bring water to a boil. I like to swirl it before dropping in the egg. Then just crack the egg into the water and let it boil for 4 minutes. Remove it to a bowl of water.

This dish came out seriously good, better than I expected. It's the first time I've cooked pokeweed. I had no idea hostas were eatable until very recently and the yard is full of them. They come back every year whether you want them to or not. Poke salad was a staple not that long ago. Now it's been deemed poisonous by the internet and is fatal to even look at. But I don't buy it. Something so ubiquitous as to have a song written about it can't be that bad!

Thursday, April 16, 2015


I've been essentially "paleo" for about three years. I don't really worry about adhering to letter of it at all, I just know when I don't feel good and when I do. So it's really been a case for me of cutting out most carbs. No bread, potatoes, rice or pasta. I've also discovered that cream really knocks me down flat. The longer you stay off of carbs the more sensitive you become to them, in my experience. In the beginning I could eat a sandwich with a bun and it didn't affect me much but now it does more so.

There's been a lot of cancer around me lately, unfortunately, and no one has gotten well. They've been convinced by their doctors to undergo certain treatments that to me seem archaic at best and barbaric at worst. The whole point of growing our own food is to maintain health. If you go to the industrial food supplier you are at their mercy. Sickness is a booming business.

It isn't my job to convince people that the food they eat is making them sick, people will subscribe to whatever line of thinking they wish. I can only say what my belief is based on the information that is out there. There's cause and effect, but not everyone correlates it. I gravitate toward the school of thought that sees that we were once relatively unaffected by autoimmune disease in the recent past and then examines why that was? What changed? In my mind it's a foregone conclusion.

With that in mind, I recently stumbled upon the Caveman Doctor who's podcast I really enjoy. I thought his talk about his profession, which is a radio oncologist, was very candid.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Foraged Food Friday's

I've been kicking this idea around in my head for a while, a completely local meal at least one day of the week. Beginning this weekend I will post what our meal consists of.

The rule is everything has to either come from your yard, or has traveled for less than an a couple of hours. Nothing from the grocery store.

A strong emphasis will be placed on foraged food, hence the name. Farmers markets are probably the best way to meet the criteria.

(okay, olive oil, soy sauce, wine are exceptions to the rule)

Thinking outside the food box can be a challenge so to get some ideas there are a few forage related links posted.

Wild Food

Southern Forager

Monday, April 13, 2015


The swale berms have really greened up. In February we topped them off with some compost and seeded them. It was a mixture of mustard, clover, cilantro, nasturtium, lupine, calendula, dill, chamomile, and

You can get a good idea of the amount of slope they yard has by looking at the fence line in the background. I've only seen this swales full on a few occasions. Water used to race down to the corner of the lot and pond up there. It would stand for a day or two sometimes. It doesn't do that anymore.

The hugel beds have also begun to green up. After I applied the compost I seeded them, mostly with mustard seeds but also some other things as well. The mix contained white clover, two varieties of mustard, millet, parsnip, echinacea, chamomile, dill and cilantro.

The real important thing is to get the compost stabilized with roots so that the rain won't wash it away. The mustard seed has done a good job so far. The other things, not so much. They may sprout later on as it warms up. Squirrels took some of the seed, but I'm not sure how much. Without the straw on top birds would have gotten it all.

Saturday, April 4, 2015


I've read lots of books about designing a food forest and its all well and good when it's a diagram, but it doesn't work the way it's written down.

You can plant rye and vetch and clover everywhere in the yard but whether or not it grows where you plant it is a different story. Nature does what it's going to do. We don't control it.

Nature does everything on her own schedule. I've waited so long for seeds to germinate I forgot that I ever planted them in the first place. Nature knew to wait, I didn't.

No food forest is man-made. Nature does all the work plus another million things we can't even imagine. We're only designers and although we be feeble designers at that, it doesn't matter, not when we have the powerful ally of nature.
"If you do something right, it will do a lot more right itself." - Bill Mollison

I read a long time ago that frogs spend the winter on the bottom of ponds. I never thought there was any truth to that but that's exactly where I see them at all the time since I cleaned the pond. There are four or five that hang out there that the dog chases around, even diving in for them sometimes.
Comfrey has erupted from out of nowhere already. It's like it's not there one day and fully grown the next. Plants grow a lot at night.

The peach trees had LOTS of blossoms on them and fruit is starting to set. The asian pear tree bloomed, plum, cherry, apricot, nectarine but I don't know if they have set any fruit or not. Last year all of the cherries shriveled up and died. The birds got all of the peaches. We got one apricot out of two that grew.

There are tons of blueberry blooms. We had a decent amount last year and they grow throughout the year.

Asian pear

There were three grapevines that we put in last year that have made it through the winter. One made it to the top of the fence vertically but didn't get anywhere horizontally before winter. Hopefully, I can get it trained along the top of the fence this year and maybe get some fruit.

I also overwintered four more grapevines in the house that just got planted on the other side of the fence. They are muscadines.

We've had good luck with raspberries so we put in about ten more varieties. We've not had good luck with blackberries however. There are some wild ones in the zone 5 area but they haven't ever produced.

We've had elderberry for several years and it's grown well but never bloomed yet. Most of our gooseberries died from the heat I think. This year I sourced some closer to home that might do much better.