Monday, April 4, 2011

Is There a Chicken in the House?

Certain things you never hear while living in town.

This afternoon I was working on invoices upstairs in my room. I thought I heard clucking. I usually hear clucking, but from the window, not the kitchen.

I asked Patrick if there were a chicken in the house.

He verified that indeed there was. He removed it from the premises. Apparently the dogs pushed open a door and the hen took that as an invitation.

We have had a bizarrely warm and blustery day today. The temperatures reached 86 degrees in town. The wind is howling and the trees are swaying. Coco would not let me milk her. She danced in circles, agitated by the weather. I finally gave up, will have to milk extra early in the morning.

The warm air and sunshine brought out blossoms on the cherry tree. Sure is pretty. Makes me remember days of cherry blossom picnics.

Nora and Rose spent hours outside playing around the pond and stream. I smiled to see their camaraderie. They found an old rope and made a swing on a big branch of the willow by the pond.

Mom and Dad drove out the driveway this morning as the kids headed to school. I was sad to see them leave. But happy to know we will see them sooner rather than later. What a gift to have them in our lives, even if long distance for the moment.

I have to share Daddy's recipe for tacos chihuahua and pico de gallo. It is so good, my mouth waters, just thinking about it. This is the meal I first requested after being in Japan for two years. A taste of home.

Tacos Chihuahua

chopped bacon
chopped onion
minced garlic

Saute in a big cast iron skillet. amounts depend on how many servings. Daddy never measures. Guess you will have to improvise. I like lots of bacon! You know how I feel about fat!

Take the bacon and onion and garlic out of the pan when they are almost done.

Add a couple of pounds of raw chicken, beef or lamb, to the hot skillet, (cut in slices or cubes). We had some of our home-grown lamb last night, cut off the bone, and it was phenomenal. Brown the meat, at a fairly high temperature, and then add one or two chopped up fresh tomatoes.

Okay, you local seasonal folks, I, too, love to eat my foods in season. Fresh tomatoes and peppers taste better in summertime. However, there is a time to celebrate and compromise. Like when your Daddy comes to visit and offers to make your favorite food.

As the tomatoes cook down, stir in a chopped up jalapeno. Return the bacon, onion and garlic to the skillet, give a generous dash of soy sauce (Daddy's secret ingredient) and toss in a bruised and minced bunch of cilantro. He says that bruising the cilantro, by crushing it together before chopping, releases more of the musky fragrance. Well, he doesn't really use the words musky fragrance, but you get the idea.

By this time, your mouth should be watering, the kitchen smells sooo very good.

Tacos chihuahua are best served in warmed corn tortillas with sour cream and a generous serving of pico de gallo. They also taste great served over rice, with black beans on the side. Daddy first ate this dish at a little restaurant on the Mexican side of the border in Ojinaga, Mexico. He wheedled the ingredient list out of the waiter and it has become a family staple.

Pico de Gallo

Another thing that tastes better in July, but in a pinch, use some hydroponic tomatoes and be thankful for diversity!

Finely chopped tomatoes, two or three
1 minced jalapeno
minced onion, a sweet one is best. I like red for this treat.
a few cloves of garlic. Daddy is the best chopper-upper I know. He cuts everything into a very fine mince and it causes the flavors to meld so nicely.
a bunch of cilantro, again, be sure to bruise the leaves and stems before chopping, it really does make a difference
lime juice of at least two limes, maybe more if they aren't limey enough
sea salt

Mix everything in a bowl. Find someone to be your taste tester. Give them a bag of tortilla chips and then watch that bowl of Tex-Mex ambrosia disappear!

Daddy is the best pico de gallo maker I have ever known. He also loves to go fishing and throw a big fish fry. One of his specialties is tartar sauce made by mixing mayonnaise with the pico. Yum. We didn't get any fish fry this visit, but maybe the next. For me, that lamb with the pico was about the best thing I have eaten in days!

Daddy liked the lamb, but he thinks that chicken tacos de chihuahua are the best. I guess that the next time a hen ventures into the kitchen I will invite her to dinner. As our most honored guest!

PS My mom is a great cook, too! Just ask me about her potato rolls and pecan pie!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ginger this is a comment from your father: When making the tacos chihuahua, the tomatoes go in the very last, put the wedges in on top and when they are wilting down it is done and ready to serve.
He is very picky about his recipes.
Sure was good the other night. I thought the lamb was great.