Slow Cooker Pork, Rhubarb, Apple/Asian Pear Stew

There are other vegetables and things in this stew as well, I just list the less usual in the title.

It’s… Rhubarb Season!  (We may be passing the peak, but rhubarb is still out there…)

recipe, paleo, Whole 30, stew, pork, rhubarb, savory, slow cooker

This savory pork and rhubarb stew also involves Yukon golds, celery, onion, apple, Asian pear, and seasonings.

Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum) is a northern North American thing, one is hard pressed to find rhubarb in anything in the South.  (You can hardly ever find grits in the North, so perhaps this balances out??)  I bought a pound, and used one half of that on a dessert that sounded very intriguing…  a Rhubarb Oat Crumble… I love oats!  But it turned out way too sweet for me (otherwise great), so I dropped it off at the local community center to share with people who DO like things sweet!


Chunking up the rhubarb

Rhubarb is indeed a very tart perennial vegetable, and most uses involve adding sugar to fight the tart.  I can’t blame the concept; it was just a little too too much in the recipe I used.  Rhubarb is also often combined with strawberry in dessert endeavors, for instance, the almost-cliched Strawberry Rhubarb Pie.

However, now, with the other half of my rhubarb, I’m going after a savory stew.  There’s some pork neck bones and meat in my freezer… (From a local farmer…)  

Several years ago, I found a recipe for stew made with rhubarb, and decided to make that — I enjoyed it, but didn’t keep the recipe.  No idea what I did then (I think it was with  beef), so I am flying by the seat of my pants this time!  And, yes, it worked.

recipe, savory, rhubarb, pork, paleo, whole 30, stew

After browning the pork, and with celery, waiting for liquids and such to be added to the slow cooker.

To balance out the tartness of the rhubarb, I’m adding some stone fruit.  I love what the juicy Asian pear does to Korean food, so one of those.  And a regular organic apple that happened to be sitting around my kitchen, wanting to be included.  If you can’t find Asian pears, use TWO apples.  They won’t complain!  I’m working with these fruits and seasonings that complement pork, so that’s part of this picture, too.

paleo, whole 30, apple, Asian pear, recipe, savory, rhubarb, stew, pork

An apple, and an Asian pear. I already had the apple to hand, so I didn’t mind the mix and match. Do two of one, or one of each…

PS:  The leaves and flowers of the rhubarb plant are toxic.  The stalks are fine.

Prep Time:  15 minutes prior to slow cooking, about 15 more during cooking.
Cook Time:  4 hours
Rest Time:  Not essential.
Serves: I got about 4 meals out of this.  
Leftovers:  Yep.  Nuke ’em, most efficient.  

Slow Cooker Pork, Rhubarb, Apple/Asian Pear Stew

  • 1.5 – 2 pounds bone-in pork neck, in chunks.  (Mine were large chunks.)  The only thing I would do different is use 1.5 pounds bone-in pork neck chunks PLUS 0.5 pounds boneless pork stewing/braising meat, cubed.  A better meat ratio.)
  • 0.5 pounds rhubarb stalks, about 5 stalks, cleaned and sliced in 1.5-2 inch lengths.
  • 3 celery stalks, cleaned and sliced in 1.5-2 inch lengths.  
  • 1 large onion, chunked
  • 2 cups low sodium veggie broth, divided (meat-based broth okay)
  • 1 cup white wine (use water with a splash of apple cider vinegar if you don’t use wine). Dry vermouth would also be nice.  I suspect this might be the best choice, if you have it to hand…
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon mild smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 2 lightly minced large cloves of garlic
  • 2 apples, or 2 Asian pears, or one of each:  cored and diced.  Peeling is optional.
  • 2 or 3 medium sized Yukon gold potatoes, cleaned and chunked.  You can keep or remove the peel, but remove any eyes or green bits.

Add the celery and onion to a slow cooker.

Lightly salt and pepper the pork.  Brown the meat in a skillet, using ghee, butter or cooking oil, medium heat, about 3 minutes a side.

Add the pork to the slow cooker.

Deglaze the skillet with about 1/4-1/3 cup of the broth, and add that to the slow cooker.

Add the rest of the broth, and the wine to the slow cooker, followed by the thyme, paprika, and sage.  (If you think you need more liquid in your cooker, add a little more broth, I did not.)  Turn the ingredients so that the seasonings disperse in the liquid.

Set the slow cooker on low, for 4 hours.

After 1.5 hours, (2.5 hours left), add the rhubarb and potatoes, and continue to let it cook.

After 3 hours (1 hour left) add the apple/Asian pear, turn ingredients so they disperse.

After four hours, taste seasonings in the broth, and adjust.  (I added more ground pepper at this point.)

The pork should be easy to pull from the bones.  Serve, and enjoy, garnishing with parsley if you happen to have.  (I didn’t… supermarkets are now too far for me to go visit at whim…)

recipe, pork, rhubarb, savory, stew, paleo, whole 30

Pork and Rhubarb Stew

Check out the link parties:

Fiesta Friday

 What’s for Dinner? Sunday Link-Up! 


Posted in Cooking, Meats, Soups & Stews | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Laying Chicken Homestead News Update

The 8 broilers are waiting to go out in the yard (and will do so this week), but the layers are still too small to do so.  BUT.. the broilers are chomping at their bits!!  The yard will be tractor mowed, and I’ll get their happy homes outside, as predator proof as possible, this week.

I want to talk about egg layers today…  I think the laying birds will be ready to be outdoors in about 7-10 days, but I’ll evaluate as they grow further.   PS, they arrived here May 8th.

I am eager to name these laying birds.  So far, only two (probably three) have names.  Goldilocks, Tiny Dancer, and (when I figure out which is the rooster) Sultan.  Ideas for the others are appreciated.  Please post below!!

poultry, chickens, layers, hens, homesteading

A Buckeye pullet. These birds were developed in Ohio by a woman who was interested in both meat and eggs. This breed is not as prolific as the other egg-layer breeds I brought in, but I was intrigued. I have two of these. Original coat before feathering was golden. Photo 6/11/18

The laying birds consist of:

  • 3 buff Orpingtons
  • 2 black Australorpes
  • 2 buckeyes
  • 1 golden laced Wyandotte
  • 3 silver laced Wyandottes, one of whom is a male and will be a rooster.  I don’t know which one, although I begin to suspect.

The Orpingtons and the Australorpes are extremely mellow.  These two breeds are genetically very similar to each other, and so personalities will overlap.

raising poultry, chickens, homesteading

A buff Orpington. This seems to be the most common color pattern today, but a dark variety was ready and waiting in the past. They are good egg layers. And very mellow and not at all perturbed about being in my hand.  I have three.  Photo 6/11


Australorpes are most common in black. They are related to Orpingtons. I have two of these. Both my Orpingtons and Australorpes are very mellow and enjoy being held. All to the good!  Photo, 6/11


The Buckeyes, a little less so, but still docile as was recommended.

The Wyandottes are a bit more adventurous and less willing to be your best friend, but they are docile.  The runt of the “litter” as it were, was a Wyandotte, and she? is more friendly than her putative siblings.  She also has the most interesting markings of her fellow silver-laced Wyandottes.


This is the “runt” of the litter, as it were. A silver-laced Wyandotte, whom I am naming Tiny Dancer.  She seems eager to thrive.  Photo 6/11.

I only ordered one golden-laced Wyandotte, so she’s been named Goldilocks.  She has her own mind, but that is fine.

poultry, homesteading, chickens

My lone Golden-Laced Wyandotte… her name is Goldilocks.  Photo 6/11.

Of the three silver-laced Wyandottes, one came in as a runt, so I have named her “Tiny”, whom you see above, although she’s growing out nicely.   One of these is a future rooster (to be named “Sultan”) but I am assuming for now that it’s not the runt.






Posted in Cooking | 3 Comments

Breakfast: Pork Sausage Patties: Apple, Fennel Seed, Smoked Paprika, Sage

I’ve been wanting to make my breakfast pork sausage patties for the blog for a while.  Hey, I’ve been wanting to make them for me again!

recipe, pork sausage, breakfast, apple, sage, fennel

Breakfast pork sausage, with apple. Seasoned with fennel, sage, and a mild smoked paprika. A little nutmeg.

Lo and behold, in random surfing, I came upon this recipe:  Apple, Sage & Fennel Breakfast Sausage.   While I am already quite happy with my own recipe, adding in actual apple sounded intriguing.  I already use lots of fennel and sage… this could only up the ante some!  Apples definitely marry well with pork.

recipe, breakfast sausage, apple

Dicing apples.  Some caffeine in the background.

I’m using the above linked recipe as inspiration for the apple parts.

For the ground pork, I am using pork obtained from a meat share.  I am looking forward to buying a meat grinder now that I have a kitchen with storage room in it, so I can grind my own cuts of meat.  Such a grinder will also have a link-stuffing function, if you do have one, I’m sure this sausage would be also good made into links (just cut the apple even finer).

recipe, pork sausage, fennel, apple, sage, smoked paprika, Paleo

A pile of spices and seasonings on top of the future pork sausage…

Prep Time:  Say, 15 minutes.
Cook Time:  About 6 minutes for the apple, 10 minutes for the patties themselves.
(Times will take longer the first time around if you have to adjust seasonings)

Rest Time:  5 minutes
Serves:  4 to  6 
Leftovers?:  Discussed below.

Pork Sausage Patties: Apple, Fennel Seed, Smoked Paprika, Sage

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 tart apple, skin on or peeled.  Cored and diced small.
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, toasted as below.  
  • 2 teaspoons sage
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika (I used mild, you can use hot, or mix it up)
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt 
  • Cooking oil, avocado oil is recommended

Toast the fennel seeds in about half a teaspoon of oil for 2-3 minutes on a medium heat.

In a bowl, place the meat, and add all the seasonings on top.

In the same skillet you used for the fennel seeds, cook the diced apple for about 6-8 minutes until soft, stirring occasionally.  (If you need more oil, add a little, possibly a couple teaspoons…)

Remove from heat, and let stand for about 5 minutes until cool enough to work with.  Add to the bowl with the meat and spices.

Using your hands, mix the entire thing together.

Drop about a teaspoonful of your mixture onto your hot skillet and cook that for a few minutes… taste.  Adjust spices as needed.  (The above list is what I ended up with after adjusting.)

Shape into patties of your preferred size, and cook on the skillet – these were about 1/2 inch or so in thickness and about 3 inches  in diameter.  At medium heat, I cooked them about 6 minutes on one side, 5 on the other, with about 30 seconds back on the original side.  You want them well done – it’s pork.  And ground pork will remain moist.  But judge by your own range.

Garnish with whatever you wish (I had watercress to hand), and let rest for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, I took their photos, and fried an egg to join them…

Eat, and enjoy!

I reserved the leftover meat in the fridge.  If your pork didn’t come frozen as mine did, you can shape up the patties, tightly wrap with plastic cling wrap, and freeze raw and ready for a future date.  Or, you can cook them all and freeze.  If you store the meat in the fridge, I’d cook them within a couple of days.

recipe, pork sausage, apple, fennel, sage

Your cohosts this week are Lizet @ Chipa by the dozen and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook., at Fiesta Friday‘s weekly Link Party.  Drop on by!  Add your own recipe!  Visit others!

And, likewise shared with What’s for Dinner? Sunday Link-Up!
Visit, have fun, eat and eat!









Posted in Breakfast, Cooking, Meats | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Salmon Sous Vide with Asparagus & Mushrooms

I’ve been wanting to do a seafood recipe with the sous vide for awhile.  This is actually pretty simple, and I enjoyed the results.  But then again… I’m of the opinion that asparagus goes with near everything…)

recipe, sous vide, salmon, asparagus, mushrooms

Salmon, asparagus, cremini mushrooms… and a dash of lime.

The Salmon:  I’ve been waiting a while to find good quality salmon… it’s more difficult here on the western end of Massachusetts, so I imagine those far more inland are also prone to difficulties.   I did find “sustainably-raised on the Faroe Islands” Atlantic salmon, and went with that for this meal.

The Asparagus:  I won’t have a goodly crop of my own immediately, but this is indeed asparagus season.  Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables, though I don’t seem to write it up much.   You can steam, pan fry, sauté, nuke, bake or boil it.  You can add it into other things.  Thin stalk tips are even great raw in salads.

I chose pencil-thin asparagus — I like them both, but since for ages I’ve mostly seen the pencil-thin in my supermarkets,  I’ve done best by them in the kitchen.  (If you have the thick stalks, just cook a little longer.  Although I’m not sure how they’d hold up in the pan sautéed situation I used in this recipe.)

The Mushrooms:  They were here.  Why not?  Everything’s better with mushrooms… Maybe not ice cream or chocolate…

In the interests of re-using pans, I opted to pan fry my veggies, to be followed by the searing of the salmon post-sous vide in the same pan.

The Sous Vide:  One good thing about sous vide is that one can be a bit more flexible on the timing of how the elements of your meal come together.  Once you figure out your personal best temperature for your salmon (or your meat or otherwise of choice), you don’t have to be worried about that sudden phone call, or the cats getting into mischief, throwing your schedule off.  There’s a narrow zone between IT’S RAAAAAW and dry and overdone when it comes to fish.  Although with fish you don’t want to wait TOO long to retrieve your supper – there’s a point where it will turn into mush, and I’m not interested in sous viding my cats’ food!

That being said, it’s not going to be worth your while to sous vide thin fillets of fish, especially if you want them browned or seared.  Might as well just do that to begin with!

The recommended water bath temperature for doing salmon is between 105 F/41 C and 130 F/ 54 C, according to Serious Eats.  The lowest of these gives you something like warm sushi…. while I love sushi, I’m not preparing it today, and besides, warm sushi?  No.  It’s supposed to taste chill.   The highest looks the driest, and for me I’m not so interested in that, either.  But this may well work well for you.  I chose something in the middle, and based my choice on Internet photos and discussions, and personal predilections.  I don’t like my salmon all whitish inside quite so much (it’s drier, for one, but a good sauce can go a long way…)  My choice for this meal, and it worked out excellently for me, was 120 F/49 C.  Your mileage may vary.

One could actually sous vide the asparagus, too.  However, all recommended temperatures for most vegetables are at a high enough point that I’m not comfortable setting food in plastic bags, even BPA-free plastic bags, at those temperatures.  Not happening at the Goats and Greens household.

Prep Time: 10 minutes.
(Getting your
sous vide bath to temp will depend on your unit and the volume of water to be heated…)
Cook Time: 35-75 minutes plus 3 minutes searing max.
Rest Time:  Not really needed, but give it a couple minutes.
Serves:  1 happy soul!  (Scale up for family/friends!)
Leftovers:  Fine.  I’d put any leftover salmon (WHAT?) in a salad.

Salmon Sous Vide with Asparagus & Mushroom

  • 1 reasonably thick piece of salmon fillet (say, 3/4 inch or 2 centimeters more or less), skin on.  Slice or buy 0.65  pounds / 295 grams or thereabouts per person. 
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 4-5 ounces / 115-140 grams of asparagus (hey, how much do you think, by eyeballing it, you want?  Use that!)
  • 4-5 ounces / 115-140 grams of sliced Crimini (or other) mushrooms (ditto)
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter 
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil (divided)
  • 1/2 teaspoon tarragon
  • The juice of one lime (or 1/2 lemon, I simply have a surfeit of limes here after Cinco de Mayo…)
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Note:  feel free to make a special sauce for the above.  This time, the recipe about the sous vide and incorporating it into a full (yet Paleo – no grains tonight) meal.  I do feel salmon can certainly stand on its own without a sauce if one so desires.

Get the sous vide water bath up to temperature, I chose 120 F / 49 C.

Follow the instructions for cooking sous vide on your machine.  Seal up to two of the above sized fillets into each plastic bag, along with the olive oil and the thyme sprig.  Move the oil around so it coats the fish – or, easier, vice versa.  You can do this through the bag, using your fingers on the outside to manipulate.  This supposedly keeps the fish from sticking to the plastic, but I haven’t verified what the lack of oil might do…  At any rate, either vacuum seal or water-immersion seal your bag.  I describe this latter technique back at my chicken breast sous vide post.

Dunk your bag (or bags!) into the water bath, making sure the fish is submerged, not taking on water like a sad ship, — and relax a bit before prepping the veggies.

While the fish is cooking, do any veggie preps you need:  slice mushrooms, snap off the tough asparagus bottoms and either: discard or save for a future veggie stock in your freezer.

For the veggies, I used the butter and two tablespoons of cooking oil in a skillet, tossed them in with the tarragon, salt and pepper, and let them cook until the mushrooms were soft and the asparagus was au dente but not soggy, nor still crispy.  I’d say test at five minutes, and let them go further if needed.  Stir regularly.

You have leeway on the salmon.  You can let fish sit in the sous vide bath for up to 1.5 – 2 hours, depending on the source you read (and the fish).  I brought mine out at about 45 minutes, and I wouldn’t go sooner than 35, unless you have a really THIN fillet.

Set the veggies aside, but keep the burner for the skillet on and add the final teaspoon of oil to the skillet, chill down the still-bagged salmon in ice water (I used really cold tap water).  UP the temperature on the skillet to medium high.

GENTLY pull the salmon fillet(s) out of the bag.   Pat dry with a paper towel, both sides.  Depending on the temperature you used, your fillet might have a tendency to flake (fall apart) which is both why we left the skin ON, and why we continue to handle it gently.   You want to chill this down a bit, since we will be searing, and we don’t want to overcook the fillet inside, after all this preparation to get the salmon to the consistency we may want…  (I discarded the thyme sprig.)

You may want to open windows and turn on fans and the hood vent — although you may not set off your smoke detectors on fish, just depends on sensitivity of your home smoke detectors!!  Searing fish is less of a nuisance than searing beef, pork or lamb in the house.  You can do it much quicker with fish.

Make sure your skillet is hot, hotter than you’d normally pan-fry anything… place the fish on the newly oiled surface, skin down, for 60-90 seconds.

Flip, for 30 seconds.  Gently.  At the temperature I chose, there was some desire from edges of the fish to flake off, so being gentle is critical.

Plate the veggies and the salmon, and use the lime juice liberally over the salmon.. and into the veggies.  Add more ground pepper as desired.

Serve.  Grab fork, knife, and enjoy.

This was great, and with following my precautions, my smoke detectors (which in this new home are pretty state of the art it seems) let out nary a peep! Which is more than I can say for my ventures with sous vide lamb… (Which you won’t see until I can sear it on the grill…)  It was a perfect meal, as I don’t eat grains all that often, but adapt as you please.  I apologize that I forgot to photograph a cross section of the salmon when it was served.  The skin side was properly crispy and enjoyable.

This recipe is being shared over at Fiesta Friday,  where your awesome co-host this week is  Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.








Posted in Cooking | 5 Comments

Squid Stuffed with Farro and Zucchini(contains gluten)

(I do provide gluten-free alternatives below.)  PS, I inadvertently posted something not yet ready for prime time…. So this is today’s post, instead.  Apologies!  

Squid, stuffed squid, farro, emmer wheat, zucchini, recipe

A serving of squid stuffed with farro, zucchini, using the ink sac. The ink adds a little subtle extra squid flavor.

Farro is a type of wheat derived from Emmer wheat, an ancient type of wheat that is naturally low in gluten, and contains a level of healthy proteins our standard wheat we raise in the Western hemisphere does not begin to match.  Farro has a “nutty” flavor, since it isn’t milled down.

I have a few thoughts and theories about gluten – obviously, if you have Celiacs, avoid it completely.  For those who are not, there are differing levels of gluten sensitivity, and there appear to be other triggers in standard wheat besides or in addition to gluten.  Plus, a lot of the wheat eaten is in the form of supermarket loaves or buns — just check the ingredient list on the package the next time you buy!!  And indeed, what passes as healthier “whole wheat” often isn’t… just being brown doesn’t make your grains healthy.  Or better on the glycemic scale.  I’m rather thinking that a lot (not all) of the bad reaction to wheats can be laid to the feet of some of these other ingredients.

If you eat bread, you are best off making your own or going to a dedicated reputable bakery.

In any case, farro is pretty good, even Davies, the author of Wheat Belly, who gets a little crazy on the topic, indicates he won’t dismiss Emmer wheat.

By the way, to clear something up, there is no such thing as GMO wheat.  There’s a company whose name I won’t mention, who when they proposed it, the idea was shot down by the larger grain farmers – so much of our wheat in the US is exported to countries who won’t buy GMO, that it just wasn’t going to fly economically.  No, wheat has been modified by the longer, more standard and traditional methods – going for yield per acre without much thought on nutrition per serving.

recipe, squid, stuffed squid, zucchini, courgette

Some people will peel the squid so it has a pure white hue, but I like the purple just as much . There’s no taste or textural difference, just a matter of aesthetic preference.

The squid:  When I came upon this squid, which still has its ink, I just had to plot out another stuffed squid recipe.  I figured the ink would be best absorbed into a grain, and I’m not particularly fond of stuffing rice into things (other than sushi rolls).  If you can’t find farro (try health food stores or Whole Wallet), or you can’t/don’t eat gluten, then go with the rice.  Or… quinoa!

recipe, squid, stuffed squid, zucchini, courgette

The extra stuffing happily surrounds the squid. It is now ready to be cooked.

The zucchini, or as they say in many parts of the world, the courgette:  I used this because it was in my fridge.  If you prefer a different, somewhat moist veggie, go for it.

Prep Time: 55 minutes.
Cook Time: 40 minutes,
Rest Time:  Not necessary.
Serves: 2 people – 1 stuffed squid per person.

Squid Stuffed with Farro and Zucchini

  • 2 large intact squid.  Reserve the ink if available.  
  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) farro.  (Sub in Calrose rice, or quinoa, if preferred)
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 2 scallions/green onions, de-rooted and diced.
  • Juice of one lemon (divided)
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (I am partial to Chohula).  You can use less, or more.  The 1/2 teaspoon provides a definite “tang”.
  • salt and pepper to taste (1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, here, no salt)
  • 1/3 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium tamari (or, coconut aminos).  
  • About 1-2 tablespoons butter, sliced into pats.
  • Optional cilantro (coriander leaf) garnish. Or, parsley if you prefer.

Soak the farro for half an hour in hot water to cover, stir once or twice.  Hot tap water is fine.

Meanwhile, clean your squid… reserve as much of the ink as you can.  (My bag leaked, I lost some, but!)  Basically, follow the instructions on one of my earlier posts, set the tentacles aside (they can remain inky) then wash the big tubes.  Cut off the fins, and put them with the tentacles.  Dice up the veggies, the tentacles and fins, place in a bowl.  Get that squid ink in there, if you can.

Pre-heat oven to 375 F / 190 C.

Add the juice of half that lemon, the Chohula, the salt and pepper.

Drain the farro, add in and mix, I found using my hands most effective.

Stuff the squid bodies / tubes.  I discovered that there seems to be a block before the stuffing reaches the bottom of the tubes… using my non-dominant hand, I’d squeeze the stuffing down the tube until it reached the bottom, and with the other hand, continued stuffing.

There will be a surplus of stuffing.  But hey, fun eating!

Arrange the stuffed squid in your baking pan – yeah, I cheated and went with disposable, this was an unexpectedly hectic day…

Drop the remaining stuffing around the squid.

Squeeze the rest of the lemon juice over the pan’s contents.

Top with a sprinkling of garlic powder  – if desired, add more.

Scatter a tablespoon or so of tamari/coconut aminos over the excess stuffing.

Add the butter over the stuffing, to help keep the farro from drying out.

Bake for 40 minutes.

Garnish, serve and enjoy!.

recipe, squid, stuffed squid, zucchini, courgette

This post is now linked at Fiesta Friday, with this week’s co-host, Antonia @  

Posted in Cooking, Seafood | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Breakfast: Refried Beans and First-Fried Egg

I held a Cinco de Mayo dinner back on May 5th, and we had a great time, and all together too much food.  The vegetarian chili was a big hit, and some of it went home with omnivores.  I plan to re-create it for the blog, as I didn’t have time to make measurements of the seasonings, but instead went by taste and aroma.  (It was slow cooked, involved three different beans, canned diced tomato, fresh onion and acorn squash, as well as the usual suspects for chili seasonings and that awesome chili taste.)

Anyhow, I’d opened up 3 cans of vegetarian refried beans, and had heated this up for a serve-yourself-taco bar catering to both omnivores and vegetarians.  With a little over a cup remaining of this, later that week (which was last week) I decided to have it for breakfast.

recipe, breakfast, egg, refried beans, cheese, ancho chili

A hearty refried bean breakfast, topped with fried egg and cheese.

So… this recipe was born for that Wednesday morning.  Oh, for an extra bit of zip, sub the regular refried beans with those black bean refried beans.

Prep Time: 5 – 10 minutes
Cook Time: Egg maybe 5 minutes, refried beans & cheese, 2.5 – 3 minutes if nuked – microwave while the egg cooks.
Rest Time:  You may want it to cool a bit before a bite
Serves:  One, you may want a late lunch…

Egg, Cheese, Refried Beans

  • About 1 cup ( about 240 mL) of refried beans (if vegetarian, check the label on your can as some canned refried beans are made with pork lard)
  • 1 egg
  • A splash of cooking oil (I prefer avocado)
  • An ounce (28-30 grams) or so of Monterey Jack, sliced thin (Cheddar or Pepper Jack would be great, too).
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Ancho chili pepper.  (You can punch this up with a hotter chili — but this is breakfast!)
  • A wedge’s worth of lime juice. 
  • Ground pepper to taste (I used Trader Joe’s Rainbow Peppercorns)
  • Cilantro (fresh coriander leaf) for garnish

Lay out the refried beans in a microwaveable dish.  (Or you can do this in an oven-safe dish and do the same procedure in the oven, it will just take longer to cook through.)

Mix in some ancho chili powder.

Lay some thin sliced cheese in a circle on top, making an indentation in the center where the egg will go.

Squeeze on some lime, mainly on the beans.

Fry up an egg in a medium-low heat skillet.  Cook to your preferred style and level of done-ness, but about two minutes before ready, put the beans in the microwave and cook there for 2.5 minutes, on the high setting.

When the egg is done to your liking, remove skillet from heat.

Remove beans from microwave, and gently drape your fried egg in the center of the bowl.  Add ground pepper and cilantro.  Serve and enjoy!

Yeah, I forgot to add the cilantro until I’d started gnoshing… it was sitting out and waiting for me, but I forgot it anyway!  So, it’s not in the photo, but I did use it.  Pays to do the coffee before prepping breakfast!!

NOTE:  to make this for more people, use a casserole dish.  You will probably want to make this an oven dish in that case, so prepare to bake this at 350 F for 20-25 minutes.  You can also cook the egg(s) IN the casserole dish in this case — but for my purposes, the egg comes out overdone on top (I’ve done this in the past).  YMMV.

At any rate, this recipe has been posted at the Fiesta Friday link party, where I’m hosting /helping out this week.  Do drop on by!!  Read, enjoy, share your own recipes should you choose!



Posted in Cooking, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

Baby Chicks Are Thriving

I ordered two batches of day-old chicks:

8 broilers, 4 red and 4 black, arrived May 3rd, from our local look-alike Tractor Supply/Agway but homegrown independent farm and pet store.  These birds are destined for the dinner table, and are collectively named, “The Tasty Morsels”, so I don’t get any other ideas.  On May 3rd, they were a day old.  They don’t need to eat for 24-48 hours so they are shipped then.  Although the 48 hour may be pushing it.


On May 7th, they started to develop feathers on their wings, little teensy things!

baby chick, red broiler, raising chickens, homesteading

Red broiler chick. The chick’s feathers have down!

baby chick, homesteading, black broiler

Black broiler, also feathering. They have white chests.

10 laying hens (currently at pullet stage) and one cockerel, arrived May 8th, from My Pet Chicken.  Pullets become hens, cockerels become roosters.   The rooster of course will never lay, but the feller will help protect the hens, because he sees them as his harem.  I’ve already named him, The Sultan of Swing (bow to the band, Dire Straights…)  Sultan for short.  No, I don’t know which one he is.

As for these birds:   this is the day after they arrived here — I figured not to pester them the first day with photography.  They needed to settle in:

Laying chicks, homesteading, poultry

3 buff Orpingtons, 3 silver-laced Wyandottes, 1 golden-laced Wyandotte, 2 black Australorps, and 2 Buckeyes.

The first mistake:  getting birds, the red broilers, that will have to be slaughtered in 12-14 weeks.  That’s the heat of August.  I could possibly push this date until September — they’re better than Cornish Crosses or even Red Rangers as far as being able to live with health.  This was admittedly the only date the local store would bring in these birds, so I had no choice of dates being that I went through them to buy the chicks.

The broilers are also hybrids, which means if I want to breed my own birds down the road, these will not breed true.  I have no such goal this first year, anyway.  But I understand these guys (I didn’t know it when I ordered them) are, like the Cornish Cross, birds that have a lessened lifespan due to how they are bred.  It’s simply not nearly as bad as the Cornish Cross — your supermarket stuffer is there at around 6 weeks of age.  By that 3 month age, Cornish Cross will start developing broken leg bones trying to support those unnatural breasts.

Regards the coop below:  it will be a mirror image.  I want the windows facing east-southeast, with the coop end up towards my house, so I can run the electric more easily.   This will be for the layers, the broilers will be in a chicken tractor.  The layers will have a long and happy life, if I can keep the predators at bay (there will be electronet fencing to help.)

chicken coop

This will be, more or less, what the laying hen house will look like. The run will be two more feet long, and there will be an electronet fence around the perimeter. Yes to a metal and insulated roof. The laying boxes will have a roof painted to not make droppings stand out so much. As that’s a steep entry into the coop, I will be building stairs and attaching grab bars so I can easily enter. The coop interior is taller than I am, making cleanout easier. There will be an epoxy floor.  

If I make any other mistakes, I’ll keep y’all posted.  I’m sure there will be a learning curve, although I’ve been doing research all along.

At any rate, follow up pics of the layers, May 15th:

Silver-laced Wyandotte, chick, poultry, homesteading

They grow up to be quite attractive, and are that way right now, too.

A silver-tipped Wyandotte.  One of the three is male, won’t know which for awhile, which is fine, as neither will he.  One of these three is also very tiny, but seems to be thriving as well as the others.

Golden-laced Wyandotte, poultry, homesteading, chick

The red glow below is from a red heat lamp. The chicks require warmth.

The lone golden-tipped Wyandotte.  I think her name is Goldilocks.  

Black Australorpe, chick, poultry, homesteading

The black Australorpe has more white than I expected. This may change?

A black Australorpe.

Buff Orpington, chick, poultry, homesteading

A docile, good layer.

A buff Orpington.

Buckeye chick, poultry, homesteading

Buckeyes aren’t the best egg layers, according to the literature, but if everyone survives, I’m fine with a couple slower layers.

And, a buckeye.

And, for completion, we return to the broilers, just to demonstrate how they’ve grown!  They really know how to eat!

Red broiler, chick, poultry, homesteading

The wings are getting impressively feathered out. This feller’s feet are getting huge now, too, even if you can’t see them.

This post is now linked at Fiesta Friday, with this week’s co-host, Antonia @




Posted in Commentary, Poultry | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments