Oh, you guys (and gals). I’m no stranger to heartbreak when it involves animals. When I was a kid, I’d cry my eyes out anytime I saw an animal ‘die’ or injured on TV, even in cartoons. That hasn’t changed too much since becoming an adult. I want to save ALL the animals. People dream of winning the lottery to buy remote islands or Tuscan homes. I dream of winning the lottery to buy an old Maine farmhouse with a good-sized piece of land to start a senior dog retirement home. Because nothing breaks my heart more than seeing senior dogs surrendered because of their age or ailments. I would take every last one with their gray muzzles, stiff joints, bad breath and all.
On Saturday, a predator got into our chicken coop by prying open stapled/nailed chicken wire (!!), killing one of my girls (Rosemary) and injuring another (Nutmeg). Two others (Marjoram and Ginger) managed to survive. I found Rosemary’s body under the porch on Saturday and cried my eyes out then, too. I thought maybe she was killed for sport by a dog since her body was left behind, which broke my heart even more.
On Sunday morning, as I was walking to the coop to tend to the flock, I got startled (out of my mind, really) when a red hawk flew from under the porch where I found Rosemary the day prior. It was a stunning bird. I wrestled with wanting to marvel at its beauty (and feeling lucky to see it) and wanting to wave an old lady fist in the air, chiding it for trespassing. It hung around all morning until Izzy chased it away. I’m hoping that’s all we see of it.
Since then, I’m nursing Nutmeg back to health in the chicken hospital – aka a firewood box – that’s in our basement. Thank the good Lord for the Backyard Chickens forums. Those people, bless their hearts, have coached me through the ordeal. It’s never a good time to deal with a dead or injured chicken but as life always has a way of testing one’s mettle, Chris was out of town when all of this went down. I had to put on my big girl pants (and construction pants and nurse pants and undertaker pants–phew, all those pants!) and deal with it all. The whole experience has made me question my connection with food more than ever before. More on that later. Needless to say, those organic chicken wings I was planning to eat on Saturday night? Didn’t happen. I ate a big bowl of brussel sprouts instead.
You may think it’s ridiculous to get so worked up over a chicken, but feeling deeply for the animals I keep in my company is who I am. It’s who I’ll always be.
Now on to the GOOD stuff!
Since Chris was away for a week, I had eggs coming out of my ears. So for that reason, you have yet another eggy recipe to feast your eyes onto: popovers. I fell in love with the cloudy puffs this fall when I visited the Jordan Pond House in Acadia National Park. A popover, fresh out of the over, slathered in butter and homemade jam is delectable; the browned, crispy outside contrasted with the airy, eggy inside is so satisfying.
The Popover Cast:
- Light and airy whipped eggs
- Sharp blue cheese
- Fragrant thyme
- Rich, nutty pecans
- Sweet, earthy honey
- Creamy salted butter
To make these extra special, I added thyme and blue cheese and whipped up some honey-pecan butter to slather on the warm eggy bubbles. These would be outstanding as a side to go with steak. And they’re outstanding by themselves, too!
- 4 large eggs
- 1½ cup whole milk, lukewarm
- ½ tsp salt
- 1½ cups all purpose flour
- 3 Tbsp butter, melted (plus more for buttering tin)
- 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- ½ cup blue cheese, crumbled fine
- 1 stick salted butter, at room temperature
- ¼ cup honey
- 14 cup chopped pecans
- Adjust oven racks so the top of whatever pan you're using is in the middle of the oven. You can use a standard 12 cup muffin tin, a popover tin, or large muffin tin. Butter the cups and edges generously with melted butter. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Place eggs in lukewarm water for about 10 minutes before starting recipe.
- Whisk together the eggs, milk, and salt until well-combined, about 30 seconds of vigorous whisking or until the milk mixture is yellow (from the yolks).
- Add the flour and beat until frothy, scraping the sides of the bowl periodically. There shouldn't be any lumps in the batter.
- Whisk in the melted butter.
- With a spatula, fold in the thyme and crumbled blue cheese.
- Pour batter ¾ to the top of a buttered tin.
- Once oven has preheated, place the popovers on shelf, making sure the pan is in the middle of the oven (see step 1). If they're too close to the top heating unit, they will brown too quickly.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Without opening the oven door, after the 20 minutes is up, reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 12 minutes until they are a rich, golden brown, making sure not to open the oven while they're baking.
- Remove and serve immediately with honey-pecan butter (method below).
- To make the honey-pecan butter, mix together the stick of butter, honey, and pecans using a whisk or hand mixer.