The Egg Project – Day 1

1 03 2009

day1-incub

We, in our infinite insanity, have purchased a few hatching eggs.  We have Cochin chicken and Pekin duck eggs.  Today is day 1 in the incubators.  The two eggs have different requirements, so we have to use 2 different incubators.  One is ours, the other we borrowed from the school I work for.  If we achieve a hatch, we may let classrooms adopt some babies.  It’s only fair.  We adopted one classroom’s duckling project last year.

After quite a bit of Googling, we know that chicken eggs require 60% humidity and a temp of 99.5º for 18 days, then we raise the humidity to 80% and stop turning them for the last 3 days, or until hatched.  There are a couple of times the eggs are supposed to be checked for viability, so those will be big post days.

Wait…stop the presses.  The directions on the incubator lead us to believe it’s possible to keep both eggs in the same incubator…  Ok.  Works for us.  Add 6 Pekin duck eggs to the mix now, and we’ve got a much more full incubator.

If this works…I really want to raise pheasants to return to the wild here.  Kind of a 50-50 thing.  Free to come and go, but always welcome to come in.  We’ll see.  I tend to get “mother-ish” with the critters. LOL!

We have several varieties of hen chickens (roosters – no), two different breeds of ducks (a Rouen and what looks to be a runner-cross), but they’re both drakes.  At one point we had 7 ducks, and all 7 were drakes.  Someone explain the law of averages on that one, please!  Rather than take my chances at the local feed store, or have to buy 25 straight run of any one breed, I bought a couple smaller clutches of eggs on eBay.  We’ll see how well this works.  It’s early enough in the season that I can buy from either the feed store, or any number of other sources.

We’ll keep you posted.





Class 22: Pintadeaux au Chou

1 03 2009

Class 22 Les Volailles – Poultry
Part 1: Pintadeaux au Chou ~ Guinea Hens with Cabbage

conish-hen-w-cabbage3a

That sure doesn’t say much imply that there’s going to be a flavor party on your plate.  But that’s exactly what’s going to happen…  We all subbed Cornish Game Hen for the guinea hens, because guinea hen just isn’t marketed much, at least not in the US.  I wonder how many of us have actually seen a guinea hen, much less tasted the meat?  It’s really too bad, as guinea hen is darker meat and would have been luscious in this dish.  Game hen is more white meat these days, which is much drier in texture.  Nevertheless, this was a wonderful dish, especially for a cold, wet night!

conish-hen-w-cabbage1

The recipe (found in Le Cordon Bleu at Home) was easy enough to follow…loads of pans again.  I did my steps out of order and managed to save using 2.  I had lots of bowls on the side instead.  *Ü*  If I make it again (and I probably will…), I’d use a large, deep casserole dish…5 to 7 qt.  I was using my 4 inch deep cast iron pan, and I barely fit everything in.  I’d start my game hens upside down and turn them after 10 minutes, to breast up.  Other than that…the game hens were flavorful, the vegetables were so tender and full of flavor!  And the sausage managed to fill in all the corners providing a richness that was heavenly.  You wanted a bit of everything on your fork…  It did make an awful lot of food for 2 people though.  Next time, I’ll try to cut the recipe in half…

conish-hen-w-cabbage2a

And then again, maybe not.  The left-overs worked into an incredible soup.  I don’t have the faintest idea why this is so doggone yummy, but it surely is.  I sliced some potato quarters about 1/4 inch thick and cooked them in a little butter and olive oil.  Next,  I added 1-1/2 cups of chicken broth, the white of a leek (sliced) and the remainder of the cabbage that I didn’t cook the night before.  I brought all that to a boil, reduced the heat and simmered the mixture for about an hour.  I boned the hens, and added the meat to the soup, then cut the remaining sausage into bites and set it aside until I was ready to add dumplings to it.  Oh my.  Pure comfort food on a rainy night!

One last thing…we’re supposed to tail our post with our favorite plates…

fav-plates

I love my black plates.  I don’t have a set, I have individual plates, different sizes, different angles…  It started as a sushi thing.  The quarter round plates are ideal for sushi handrolls.  I have a rectangular plate too.  I think I have a pair of round salad plates too, but maybe not.  *Ü*  I love these plates for photography.  They’re great to help colors POP!  Yes, I confess…I occasionally buy plates for their photogenic qualities.  If it looks good in a photo, it’s going to look just as good on a buffet table!

Until next time…Happy Whisking!