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neptune
02-10-2010, 11:06 PM
neptune and Jodi, you might enjoy these two books if you haven't already: The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan contains a whole section on chicken farming and eggs that is most enlightening, and Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver also includes a section on the family's efforts to raise chickens and the young daughter's growing egg business.

Thanks for the recommendation, Jenny.



In the UK the requirements for free-range include outdoor access. Eggs from hens kept indoors but uncaged are sold as barn eggs. I'm aware it's still a mass-production system unless you seek out the small producers/suppliers, though.

Oh, you live in the UK, Jodi? Glad to know the standards are a bit better there. The U.S. seems to lag behind Europe in areas like that, unfortunately.

Allskate
02-10-2010, 11:20 PM
"Free range" eggs in the U.S. also include "outdoor access." But that "access" can be a little door that never gets used because most of the tens of thousands of chickens in the barn aren't anywhere near it and they have all their food inside.

It's pretty easy to know if you've got eggs that truly come from chickens that are grazing outside for their food. The egg shells are very hard, the whites are very thick, and the yolks are very orange.

One book I'd add to Jenny's book recommendations is Nina Planck's "Real Food." It goes into detail about the health benefits of traditionally produced foods. Barbara Kingsolver's book is definitely more of a story, though it includes quite a bit of useful information,too. Some people might find her off-putting and unrealistic, but it's an interesting book. (And her daughter, the chicken girl, sounds adorable.) She basically tells a story of her family spending a year producing most of their own food and getting the rest from within a hundred miles of their home.

neptune
02-10-2010, 11:31 PM
"Free range" eggs in the U.S. also include "outdoor access." But that "access" can be a little door that never gets used because most of the tens of thousands of chickens in the barn aren't anywhere near it and they have all their food inside.

Thanks, Allskate. I just did a Google search and also found this:

http://www.veganoutreach.org/freerange/

The free-range label applies only to birds raised for meat, not eggs. There is a cage-free label for eggs; but it is not regulated by the USDA, nor does it guarantee that the hens were provided access to the outdoors. Neither label requires third-party certification. Even for USDA Organic, the most extensively regulated label, minimum levels of outdoor access have not been set and specific rules do not apply to stocking density or flock size.


It's pretty easy to know if you've got eggs that truly come from chickens that are grazing outside for their food. The egg shells are very hard, the whites are very thick, and the yolks are very orange.

That makes sense. Quality shows.

Jenny
02-11-2010, 01:39 PM
That makes sense. Quality shows.

And it tastes good!

pat c
02-11-2010, 03:29 PM
Most of the time. I find it's best not to buy free range Aug-Sept. They can be a little strong then.

FiveRinger
02-11-2010, 05:34 PM
Are those of you who eat free-range eggs suggesting that I (someone who doesn't care for eggs or anything that tastes "eggy") taste them? What is the difference in taste between free-range eggs and the regular eggs I find at the market?

pat c
02-11-2010, 06:15 PM
Free range eggs taste fine most of the time. :) If you're buying them from a super market there won't be any change in taste. I get free range eggs from my neighbor/cousin and their chickens are definitely free range. I don't buy their eggs in the late summer-early fall because chickens like to eat bugs. The eggs can taste very strong. Super market free range eggs won't have that problem.

BigB08822
02-22-2010, 09:29 PM
I have an embarrassing question being that I have lived in Louisiana for nearly 10 years now.

I want to make Gumbo, haven't made it in years. Someone recently told me they really love to use Savoie's roux which is already made. I bought the dark roux because I figured the dark would have a deeper flavor than the light and I could always add more water if necessary.

Anyway, the jar says to add the roux to the appropriate amount of water and boil for 30 minutes then to add in all your vegetables. This seems really weird to me to just dump vegetables in boiling water. Should I cook them down first in some butter or oil? I hate to have this come out wrong, gumbo isn't exactly cheap. Here is how I figured I would do it:

I would begin by cooking down my vegetables (onion, bell pepper, celery, green onion) with a little butter. In the other pot I would have my water boiling and add my roux in as the directions say to let that boil together for 30 minutes. Once 30 minutes passes I could add in my vegetables and sausage. I could let this cook for a while to really come together. I will add some shrimp but of course those go in right at the end. I will also add garlic but probably just to the end of when I cook my vegetables as I don't want the garlic to burn and be bitter. I feel like this is just so basic, that I am forgetting something. Ideas?

Jenny
02-22-2010, 09:48 PM
Anyway, the jar says to add the roux to the appropriate amount of water and boil for 30 minutes then to add in all your vegetables. This seems really weird to me to just dump vegetables in boiling water. Should I cook them down first in some butter or oil?

Funny you ask this, as we've been pondering the question this weekend. We have always softened veggies before adding liquids for stew or soup or sauces, and then we were watching Diner Drive Ins and Dives, and it seemed like everyone was just chucking it all together, bringing to boil then simmering. Even meat! There was one guy in particular who made his chili that way - ground meat, raw onions, etc etc all at once, simmered forever. We guessed it might be a time saving diner thing.

So we tried it with lasagna yesterday - put the raw beef, raw onions and tomatoes in all at once, with spices, then cooked it for hours. Turned out just fine - onions melted away, and beef is fully cooked (and completely crumbled).

I also did a Moroccan Meatball Stew last week, from January's Bon Appetit. They had you putting in the meatballs raw, but I was a bit nervous about that so browned them first. But all the veggies went in raw with the tomatoes and beef broth, and even just an hour stove top, they turned out great (mind you we like our carrots a bit firm still).

So, I think you might want to try it the way the recipe says and put all the veggies in raw - as long as you allow enough cooking time.

BigB08822
02-22-2010, 10:00 PM
Thanks Jenny. I actually saw that episode where the guy made his chili that way! I decided to sautee my veggies because I am getting a somewhat late start and want everything to be cooked in time for dinner. I will let everyone know how it turns out!

Jenny
02-24-2010, 04:03 PM
I'm so excited - one of my relatives has shared a copy of my great grandmother's wedding program from 1911, including the entire menu!!!

My mind is swirling as I imagine recreating this ten course (!) feast, including the music, which is also included in the program.

Christina
02-24-2010, 07:50 PM
Does anyone have a good recipe for red pasta sauce - marinara or whatever you call it? I've got just about every type of canned tomato (pureed, crushed, diced, sauce and paste) and I'd like to make a homemade spaghetti sauce for dinner tomorrow.

What's the secret, y'all? I also have fresh garlic and a pretty good spice cabinet.

emason
02-24-2010, 07:51 PM
I'm so excited - one of my relatives has shared a copy of my great grandmother's wedding program from 1911, including the entire menu!!!

My mind is swirling as I imagine recreating this ten course (!) feast, including the music, which is also included in the program.

Details, please. What was on the menu?

Jenny
02-24-2010, 08:13 PM
Does anyone have a good recipe for red pasta sauce - marinara or whatever you call it? I've got just about every type of canned tomato (pureed, crushed, diced, sauce and paste) and I'd like to make a homemade spaghetti sauce for dinner tomorrow.

What's the secret, y'all? I also have fresh garlic and a pretty good spice cabinet.

http://www.raosrecipes.com/2009/05/06/marinara-sauce/

This is from Rao's, a legendary and impossible to get into restaurant in Harlem (I think they also have other locations). It's the same recipe that they sell in jars.

We normally make our own sauces (one of hubby's specialties), but we also keep a case of Rao's on hand for meals in a pinch, and because it's just so darn good.


Details, please. What was on the menu?

Turtle soup, a German pound cake called Rehrücken (which is an odd course at this point in the meal, and it said it was with vegetables, so need to do further research!), salmon with Bearnaise sauce, goose liver pate, lobster with butter and mayonnaise, duck compote, wedding cake, cheese pastry, and finally, fruit.

Some of the dishes like the pound cake and duck compote have specific names (the menu is in German) so I can hunt down recipes, and for others like the lobster and fruit I can just wing it based on the descriptions. I'm already thinking that since it's so rich, everything should be small plates, like a tasting menu, no?

And thanks for being interested - I know few people who would find this as exciting as me!

emason
02-25-2010, 01:58 AM
http://www.raosrecipes.com/2009/05/06/marinara-sauce/

And thanks for being interested - I know few people who would find this as exciting as me!

Are you kidding? I think it's a wonderful idea to try to recreate this meal. Please let us know how you get along.