Friday, February 18, 2011

Hidden Gifts in the Garlic Patch...

Stardate: Friday, 18, February...

So I laid in bed last night, not falling asleep, listening to my bunkie snore.

Naturally, I began thinking about the obvious thing: chickens.

I thought about how I wish I had a few running around the back yard so I could go out and pick fresh eggs in the mornings for the famous House Special Breakfast known in these parts by anyone who has ever lodged here at Big Diamond Motor Lodge and Garlic Boutique. In between thinking about how to keep the chickens from getting eaten by all the local stray cats that hang out on my front porch, I was chewing on what to blog about today. Oh, the pressure. ;o) Not really, but having never been at a loss for thoughts, it is quite a competition about what gets released from the brain archives.

Speaking of cats, glancing out my window just now, I see it is breakfast time for flea infested strays, Itchy and Scratchy, more commonly referred to as No Tail Kitty and Baby Kitty, by the resident cat lovers here. They are a father/daughter pair of cats that have adopted us for our kitty kibble buffet, left out daily for their enjoyment. Quite often shared with the raccoon family and the occasional opossum, they all manage pretty well to navigate the food and water. I must admit I am not pleased when the raccoons wash their feet in the water bowls, but you can't blame them for wanting hygienic conditions.

And so, chickens! I had chickens when I was a kid and loved them. I remember going in the chicken coop when I was little, smelling the sweet hay and hearing the little humming clucks of the 7 chickens that lived there. It was magical to me then-amazing egg laying machines. Leaving little egg presents for us made every day like Easter morning. I remember thinking it was even better than playing Huckle Buckle Beanstalk, because I could never find what my siblings hid, but when I looked for eggs, I was always a winner!.... (Go ahead and google Huckle Buckle if you have no clue what I am talking about!) There weren't many games I won at, since I was the youngest. It felt good to go in there every day and come out with a basket full of fresh eggs.

So thinking about it last night, here it is a *few* years later, and I still want to get chickens. I have a book upstairs packed away about how to raise and keep them. A great glossy picture filled book of poultry know how. I was very close to getting some winged critters prior to our southern relocation. In the back of my mind, when the renovation is complete, there may very well be a petite flock in our backyard. Act surprised. Of course, we will name them after garlic varieties.

In between snores, I began thinking, if I get chickens, and was having great success with them, what if I began the Great Chicken Initiative? What if I went door to door on my street and spread the word about chickens and fresh eggs and more people decided to have chickens in their back yards. They would tell more people and so thing you know, people are investing in slow healthy real food, becoming more mindful about what goes into their bodies, sharing recipes, a community of chicken lovers is born, (and I'm not talking about those fried chicken fans), neighbors begin talking, people begin to share eggs with their neighbors who don't have chickens, the number of bugs in the area (MOSQUITOES) decreases, as those little peckers love to eat bugs....there could be an actual sense of COMMUNITY....all because of a little egg....All good, All good...

Eventually I ran out of thoughts on The Great Chicken Initiative, because by then, I was getting hungry. Naturally, I began obsessing about breakfast foods and bacon and once you think about bacon, let's face it, there's no getting away from that. Finally, I side barred over to using eggs to make quiches for dinner...ignoring the rumblings from my stomach, which was not far off from the decibel levels of the snoring going on. I started inventing a new quiche recipe in my head, full of garlic and bacon, cheese and herbs....sleep finally came...

Thank goodness, you say.

I heard that.

By the way, in my dreams, I am not quite sure why Madonna was dressed like a space alien in a cardboard box covered with tin foil, while putting on a bb gun show for children and needing me to find as many pennies as I could for her to shoot.

Hmmm. Just another normal night in dream land.

And speaking of garlic....Can't say enough about the deeeelights of roasted garlic and how it creates this incredible layer of flavor to any dish it goes into. After peeling most of the outer skin off and lopping straight across the top of the garlic bulb, using the biggie gigantor butcher knife, opening the tips of the cloves up, set upright inside foil, drizzle a good amount of olive oil down inside all the crevices, wrap foil closed tightly, place in over proof dish and bake in oven 350 degrees for 45 to 1 hour. If they are soft to the squeeze when you take them out, they're done. It will smell like heaven in your kitchen. Whoopy!

SO now, you have roasted garlic, so you might as well take a 9inch pie plate, crisco the dish and add diced onions-1/8 cup-ish, as much roasted garlic as you want-squoze out tons-do not eat the outer peels! Crumble up 1/2 pound of bacon, (eat other half pound while preparing dish) and add a heaping heaping cup of sharp cheese. Add some feta with that, if you have it. Decide if you want broccoli in there or not-fresh or frozen. Mix together 1 1/2 cuppa milk, 1/2 cuppa Bisquick, 2TBSP olive oil (or bacon *juice*!), and 4 eggs. Add some parm cheese into the mix, along with herbage-s&p, definitely some oregano, and sure, some powered garlic-why not? Pour mixture over dish contents, and cook at least 55 minutes at 350. Use knife test to check if done. Take out of oven and let sit at least 5 minutes before cutting. Needs to cool a bit before eating, as the flavor comes out better when it is not eaten hot. The nest day, cold from the fridge? Oh man, there'll be a fight over who gets it for lunch. I usually top my quiche with thin slices of tomato, but not if I added broccoli. If I don't have bacon, I sub in any kind of sausage-precooked and crumbled or cut up in slices and layered in bottom of dish. Laying slices of pepperoni on top with the tomatoes and tossing in a bunch of basil and additional parm cheese on top makes for a pizza flavored deeeeeelight.

Wow. Is it lunch time yet?

That yogurt is not going to do it for me today.

Well, that's all from the cheap seats....

I think it's interesting how little chickie eggs are like ideas, that can birth bigger thought forms, having the potential to impact globally, positively...creating community. After all, here, we have come together today over the (writing/reading) magic about an egg. What if everyone started each morning with a new egg? Giving it a little crack to peek inside to reveal what the day's positive thought might be, to see what inspiration popped out, planting a seed to begin a search for knowledge in a new direction, new possibilities every day, when we decide consciously that we can reinvent ourselves any moment we choose. All because of a little egg.

I wonder... what's in your egg today, and more importantly, how are you going to find your egg?

Feel free to look around the garlic patch...

Country Girl Garlic Co.

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