Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Quack like a duck.

Can you quack like a duck?

 Booorrrinnggg...Don't just speak it, "Quack." Give me a throaty, whaspy, Donald Duck, "Quaaaack!"

Eheemmmm...now can you? For me?

Oh prettyyy pleassseee.....

Okay. Dear, crazy, quacking reader, you've made not only my day, but you also gave life to my perfect blog introduction. Thanks!

To all the silent rest of you, bah-humbug! :)

To reassure all my quacking readers, hands down (dare I say, feathery wings down), our ducks would eagerly quack back,
"Quaccccck. Quack. Quahhhk!"

These birds are quite happy and self-assured with no hesitation, except when they duck-away from speeding cars that slice down our raod.

"Quack-quacking" is their way of life, really. 
Ducks do what they value - what matters is keeping up the chatter as they  splash in for a swim,  doddle towards the pasture to visit their multi-specie family (the horses, chickens, and guinea hens) across the pond and back home for the evening. 

I like to sit and watch them carry on.  They often quack a low, conversational tone. But, what I really cherish is relaxing, listening to the hum of the pond water rush over their quacky clamor. It brings type of quiet that puts me under the misimpression that my world is at peace. 
But no, I'm wrong.

 Our world is at peace. 
For now, we sit. 
Just a girl. With her dog. Watching her ducks. 
Sharing what life has to offer.

Spring came, and these ducks are quackin' happy and laying! Hmmm, what to do with those delicious eggs?

Bake chive parmesan popovers! Well, I'll get to that. 

 Let's start by highlighting the prolific chives!

a gentle onion flavor
Look for: 
Chives resemble a hollow blade of grass. 

Match Chives With...
bacon, lemon, lime, garlic, oregano, parsley, soy sauce, tarragon, tomatoes, thyme, vinegar (in vinaigrettes or gazpacho), sharp cheeses (parmesan or blue cheese), really any dish that invites onions.

Simple Chive Dishes:  

  • Feature a finely chopped topping of chives on soft, scrambled eggs. Or, fold them into eggs before cooking omelets. Even keep them cold in an egg salad.
  • You can salt and pepper baked, mashed or smashed potatoes with chives. Why not try them in your picnic potato salad?
  • Add punch to salads or coleslaws.
  • Garlic bread makes chive greens pop! 
  • Swirl them into soup right before serving.
  • Chopped chives, mixed with a stick of butter, slathers perfectly on morning toast. For the long term, you can roll chive butter back in parchment paper to freeze! Thaw and butter your biscuits when the time's right.
  • Have at make-ahead chive oil. Try it out with fresh- squeeze lemon atop fish, chicken, even steamed rice (or other grains quinoa, barley, or faro).
  • Fried in butter and generously salted chives deepen the flavor of fresh tomato slices. 

Storing Them Fresh: 
Handle the fragile chive grass delicately. Dampen a paper towel, place onto it a single layer of chives. Roll the towel, and slip it in your fridge. Chives short-lived, about one-two days fresh, three at most. 

It is a perennial herb (growing back two or more years). Often, it dies back in the cold months but rallies back to life with the cool, spring weather's return. Pesky bugs steer clear of its pungent odor. Chives like full sun, about 6-8 hours is best. Light shade is okay too, making them perfect to grow on your windowsill. We harvest our chives by cutting them at their base, about 1 inch from the ground; they'll grow back from a bulb underneath the soil. 

Fresh or Dried Chives?
1 tsp. of dried chives = 1 tablespoon of chopped chives. The dried versions don't give the same tang as fresh.  

The chart comes from this site.

Recipe: Chive Parmesan Popovers
I combined chives mild flavors with flour, salt, pepper, parmesan, soaking it all with a little bit of butter. 

And, thanks to our ducky friends....

We mixed duck eggs into this recipe! 
It sounds strange, I know. 
Most people twist their face when I tell them about these spring treats.
But, before you reign judgement, gage these delicious eggs.
They're quite similar to the chicken eggs you're used to... 

...except for their larger size and volume, richer flavor, lighter shell-coloring. 

The duck eggs' bigger, more supple yolks lend to a fluffier texture for cakes and other baked goods.  I think they imbue a more decadent flavor.

They also gave way for the airy texture of my chive-parmesan popovers topped with a caramelized onion, mushroom, thyme, balsamic sauté.
Puffed underneath, you can tell the popover lived up to its name.

Makes: 12-24 popovers. It's really dependent on the size of your muffin tins

Microwavable container for butter
A brush or towel to grease pans with butter
2 medium mixing bowls
Fork or whisk to mix ingredients
Scissors or knife to chop chives

Two, twelve well muffin tins


  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely snipped or chopped chives
  • 1 and 1/4 cup milk, at room temperature (I used low-fat or 1%.)
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature (Duck or chicken will do!)

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Grease your muffin pans with about 1 tablespoon of melted butter. I coated a little bit of the surface of the pan above the wells, just in case the popovers POPPED over the rim.
  • NOTE: I used buttered muffin tins for mine. I had no problems freeing the popovers from the pan. Oil for greasing or non-stick muffin/popover tins would do the same.  
3. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, pepper, parmesan, and chives.
4. In a second bowl, break the yolks of the eggs, and whisk them for about a minute. Add milk and the rest of the melted butter. 
5. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry. Mix until just combined. Don't worry if some lumps remain. 
6. Fill the muffin tins half full. Or, leave at least a quarter of an inch below the rim of the pan. 
7. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes without opening the door.
8. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. 
9. Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the popovers are completely puffed, golden, crusty.
10. Use a knife around the edges of the popover to release them, thats if they're sticking to the sides of the tin.  They should slide right out!

The popovers taste perfect without anything, maybe a dab of butter. But, if you're feeling adventurous, try this caramelized onions, mushroom, thyme, balsamic topping! Yummo...It's a goodie! 

Large saute pan
Knife for chopping veggies
Cutting board

  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons of olive or canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons thyme
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • a pinch of salt and pepper to taste

1. Timing is key when making two recipes at once! Before mixing any of the popover ingredients, slice the onions to a desired thickness. Drop them in a sauté pan. Keep the heat wayyyy low. And, as you prepare the popover ingredients, regularly toss the onions. You don't want them to stick, so add oil as needed. Low, slow, low and slow, baby!
2. After prepping steps 3. and 4. in the previous popover recipe; clean and cut the mushrooms, and add them to the onions. Mushrooms soak in liquid; sprinkle more oil to stop them from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
3. Return to your popovers!
4. Continue turning the veggies as the popovers cook.
5. About 5-10 minutes before the popovers are done, pinch the thyme leaves off their woody stem (or try 2 teaspoons dried thyme, instead) and into the vegetables. 
5. Sprinkle in the vinegar, garlic powder, salt and pepper. 
6. Turn up the heat slightly
7. Let the vinegar simmer as you stir the ingredients. Do this for two-three more minutes. 
8. Then turn off the heat. 
9. The onions should show off their caramel brown hue and the mushrooms will be fleshy and pillowy. 

I LOVED bedazzling my sliced popovers with this oniony goodness!
I also paired my breakfast with fruit and yogurt. 

Don't you wish you were in sniffing distance?