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Archive for March, 2015

All Bees Welcome

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After a very long winter (by Texas standards), Spring has finally arrived!

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The bulbs … Tulips, Narcissus and Hyacinths

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Irises

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Front bed — Betony and Lantana. Nestled up against the house, this lantana bloomed all winter

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Bluebonnets — mine are a little late, but coming along

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Wisteria

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My first Mountain Laurel bloom ever!

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Yucca Bloom

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The veggies — tomatoes and peppers are planted. A few winter veggies are still going, and I’m letting things bolt for the bees

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Citrus

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Even the chickens know it is spring. Here are two sitting on eggs. One is using an old rabbit nesting box. We’ll have to keep an eye on her, as she’s about  feet up in the air.

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Tonight the usual winter fare just wasn’t cutting it. Maybe it was the fact that I planted my first batch of tomatoes after work this evening, so excited! I still have a few jars of canned crushed tomatoes and some frozen tatume squash, so I whipped up a super-easy family favorite.

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For the sauce …

Cook onions and garlic until soft. Then add in crushed tomatoes, 1 small jar of tomato paste ,and zucchini, fresh would be fine here too, I would just slice it a little thinner so it cooks through. Also add salt, pepper, and any other seasoning you would like. Cook on medium heat for 15 minutes or so, until the sauce thickens up.

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Slice kielbasa type sausage, I had some Venison Garlic on hand. Cook on med-high heat until both sides are crisp and sausage is heated through.

Cook up your favorite pasta or rice and combine.

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Twice a month we play cards with some friends of ours. We take turns making dinner and dessert. They are foodies like we are, so everybody wins!

Tonight I busted out the prime cut of Venison, backstrap. I marinated 2 backstraps in bourbon,  honey, canola oil (olive oil would have had too much flavor), salt, pepper, and crushed reds. I then precooked the bacon in the oven for 10 mins so it wouldn’t be too soggy. I wrapped three slices of bacon around each backstrap and put them in the oven at 350 for about 25 mins.  I should have done 20 as it came out medium, and I would have preferred medium-rare. It was still delicious though.

I roasted some potatoes, coated with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and fresh rosemary from the front garden bed. I also steamed some asparagus with lemon, and finished it off with butter, salt, pepper, and a little more lemon juice.

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I got 3 meyer lemons from my tree this year. All that effort for three lemons, you have to do something special. I made lemon curd tart. I got the recipe from Alice Waters’ “The Art of Simple Food”, pages 183 and 199. I highly recommend it. I had to add a little more moisture to the tart dough, but other than that, worked really smoothly.

 

 

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This past year we added Muscovy ducks to our existing flock. Muscovy’s are known to be great meat and laying ducks, along with excellent insect eaters, especially flies.

My first attempt at cooking Muscovy didn’t turn out too well. The Muscovy is actually a very different breed than your typical domestic ducks.

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The huge layer of fat that you find on a Peking, does not exist on the Muscovy. I tried cooking it low and slow, which you typically due to render the fat. Instead it ended up being overcooked and a little dry.

This time, Eric found me a great website www.honest-food.net

Here is the specific link to the roasting wild water fowl. I roasted mine at about 500 degrees for around 30 mins until it reached just over 140 degrees internally.

http://honest-food.net/2013/12/24/roast-wild-duck-recipe/

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While the duck cooked, I grabbed some fresh kale from the garden and cooked it up with olive oil, onions, garlic, salt, pepper, and crushed reds.

I also cooked up a 50/50 mix of yukon golds and russets. I mixed in some butter, fresh goat milk (from a friend of mine), salt and pepper.

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Although there wasn’t a huge amount of leftover fat, there was enough to make a quick gravy. I used duck fat, beef stock, salt, pepper, and a generous squeeze of lemon. The duck fat made it so rich.

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Dinner is served! I love Sundays, which we have turned into “Comfort Food Day”.

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