Wednesday, February 13, 2008

February Winter Goes On and On

More snow, sleet, and freezing rain here. If it were colder and all snow, we would have had a heck of a blizzard. It's the kind of day you just want to stay inside all day - which is what Julia and I did with the exception of feeding the chickens and trying to lure in the elusive guinea fowl which just don't want to be back in the coop. I have a feeling there may be some kind of bird territorial issue going on and these three have decided it's easier to stay outside.

Thanks for all the comments and interest in the "lard project." This weekend, I did a pizza rustica recipe from Nigella's How to Be a Domestic Goddess book. It's similar to this one here on her website. I've never been very good at rolling out pie dough and Sunday was the same. The thing was a mess - broken pieces everywhere. So I just patched it up and placed it in the springform pan. I used half lard, half butter. The top looked like a nightmare when it went in. I sloshed some eggy-watery mixture on top and in about an hour, the disaster transformed itself into a beautiful golden pie. I swear it was the lard. It was an amazingly flaky and light pie crust.

But boy, was it rich. Luckily, we had picked up some blood oranges and grapefruit for fresh squeezed juice. The tartness of the citrus set off the richness of the pie. And you can't beat the color for the winter doldrums.

I've got so much of the lard though that I'm trying to give it away to local friends. So far, I've only found one friend, Maggie who is a chef at our favorite local restaurant Hope and Olive, who is interested. I'll deliver her a pint and I'm sure she'll do something magical with it. I think everyone else thinks they will gain 10 pounds just by looking at it and having it in their refrigerators. If all else fails, I know my chickens will love it mixed with their daily rations.

The other day, I told you how I fed the chickens the leftover bits from the lard making project. It's basically pure fat and with the winter they have been through, I knew they could use some. I hadn't gotten an egg since early December and darn it if I got three the next day. Must have been just what they needed, along with the longer days, to get them going. It was killing me to have to buy eggs at the grocery store. They're back in production mode.

I'm off to Minnesota in the morning. I hope to meet some of you there either Friday night at the Textile Center or at the Mall of America over the weekend. Here's a priceless picture of Julia on our walk the other day just as a snow squall was beginning to fall quickly around us.


Meghann said... rustica! One of my fav recipes...though I will admit to using the store-bought roll-out type pie crust:)

Knitlee said...

I think I have gained 10 pounds by just looking at pictures of the lard. How wonderful to have it for pies! Your finished product of the pizza rustica looks fabulous. Safe travels and I hope you have much success! My dreary rainy day has been spent finishing up my flower fingerless gloves- nothing like a little embroidery to bring some sunshine.

Anonymous said...

By the way, lard. Here in Austria there's a traditional winter snack: lard (with or without greaves) spread on a slice of dark sourdough bread, salted and topped with chopped or sliced onions! Lovely on a cold winter day!

Anonymous said...

Love the picture of Julia!!!
My name is Patty and I do so enjoy your blog!! Had to comment today tho, was wondering if the Blood oranges (aka Moro's) and the grapefruit were from California?? We pack and ship these varieties...grapefuit we are shipping are call Oro-blancos or Melo Golds..
other citrus varieties we are shipping are Navels, Cara-Cara's, Pummelos,and Minneolas...son to follow will be Valencia's and Star Rubies.