Archives for October 2012

Our fall chicken harvest (Boo! Contains real life farm-to-table images)

On a cool, cloudy day last week, we harvested our six hens. They went from blessing us with six brown eggs a day to stocking our chest freezer with four quarts of nourishing chicken-vegetable soup and ten jars of beautiful, clear stock.

No, we don’t just keep hens as pets; yes, we use them to their full potential. This post details why and how we harvest our own birds and what works for us in a descriptive, not prescriptive way. This is not a comprehensive tutorial or chicken butchering 101, but a look at our simple cull, by request from readers and followers on Facebook and Instagram.

When I saw that this post would fall on October 31 in the editorial calendar, I thought, “What better day to share a photo essay of chicken butchering than on Halloween?” There certainly are plenty of gory posts are floating around with edible eyeballs, worms, and the like, although this is probably one of the few with actual entrails to be found.

That said, I think the images honor the chickens. And it’s not really that gross; it’s just the prequel to your classic chicken dinner. And it’s probably one of the nicer prequels, if you know what I mean: fresh air, fall leaves, scrubbed stock pots, and a bright orange apron.

Photos begin after the jump.

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Maple Sweetened Pumpkin Butter

Written by Marisa of Food in Jars.

This time of year, it is only natural that a home cook’s fancy turns to pumpkin. Between the jack-o-lanterns standing sentinel near your front door and the knobby whole pumpkins you picked up at the farmers’ market over the weekend, your world is probably filled with all things orange and squashy right now.

Thing is, pumpkins are good for so much more than decoration. They can be steamed and pureed into pie filling. For a seasonal meatless main dish, there’s nothing better than roasted pumpkin cubes stirred into sage-spiced risotto, or pumpkin mac & cheese for the little ones.

And then there’s pumpkin butter. It’s delicious on toast, tasty stirred into oatmeal and even good simply eaten by the spoonful out of the jar. [Read more…]

One-Pot Lemon Chicken and Zucchini with Rice

Written by Megan of Stetted.

My son just turned five the other day, and while that means we have yet to dive into the busy world of elementary school, I’m already having horrifying visions of homework and sports and fundraisers and PTA meetings.

OK, it’s probably not as bad as many of the parents I know make it seem (please don’t tell me if it really is that bad) but I am still trying to get a head start on planning for the future by building up a repertoire of dinners that are easy to make, don’t use a sinkful of dishes, and are family approved. One-pot meals to the rescue!

We’ve talked about one-pot meals on Simple Bites before – they can range from classics in the slow-cooker to quick stovetop dishes. But my favorite way to make a one-pot dish is to use my dutch oven.

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5-ingredient Butternut Squash & Apple Soup (sous vide recipe)


Long ago, in the kitchen of one of Montreal’s finest restaurants, I was taught that a truly fantastic soup can be made from a mere handful of humble ingredients.

What made the soup exceedingly good was the quality and freshness of the ingredients, and the method used for cooking. Over the long, frigid Montreal winters, we cooked batch after batch of sous vide butternut squash, and pureed them with a splash of cream for a velvety soup with vivid color. Night after night, I filled bowls with the rich potage, and topped it with delicacies such as seared foie gras, sauteed wild black trumpet mushrooms, and a pomegranate juice reduction. Sublime.

Today’s recipe is inspired by those upscale bowls of soup: a simple combination of apple, squash and onion, seasoned with salt, and thinned with a little cream. Garnished with diced apples, it’s fall in a bowl; and yes, it was cooked sous vide.

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Weekend links: Eat Well, Spend Less edition

The fall weather is so gorgeous, invigorating, and inviting, that we’re spending as much time outdoors as possible this weekend. Wearing sweaters and rain boots, we’re combining chores and play in an attempt to prepare the gardens and yard for winter. Today, we’re ‘harvesting’ our hens, so you can look for a post on that later, if you’re interested in farm-to-table eating.

Last week the ladies of our Eat Well, Spend Less group rallied together to bring you tips on saving time in the kitchen. We also applauded first-time-author Jessica Fisher and the arrival of her new book, Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook (NYM Series). My giveaway is closed (congratulations to the cookbook winner, Maryann!) but be sure to read my tips on saving time in the kitchen by batch cooking.

My weekend link love today highlights all the time-saving posts from the group AND many cookbook giveaway that are still open. Happy reading!

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