Sunday, December 30, 2012


I love mustard. I sometimes stand in the refrigerator door eating mustard by the spoonful. Grey Poupon Country Dijon is a favorite. It's from Kraft Foods? Who knew! While it's a favorite I do find it a little salty for my liking. So I often mix it with other mustards which gives it greater depth of flavor as well.

So it's no surprise I'd eventually get around to... making mustard!

It's easy!

So for my very first homemade mustard I used the Basic Country Mustard recipe from this page and minutes later I had this:

I used cold white wine and for the mustard seeds I used 1/3 black and 2/3 yellow. My mustard is ferociously hot and I think very very good. Kind of a grainy Dijon with a generous spot of Chinese restaurant mustard.

Funny I didn't like mustard much until I starting using it in glazes. Honey mustard on ham? Obvious! Then there's honey mustard chicken with sesame seeds. Chicken in creamy mustard sauce with tarragon. Those are all wonderful flavors together.

And maple mustard dill glazed salmon. Try that sometime.

But the one recipe that really hooked me is this Mayo Clinic potato salad recipe.

I even use that dressing on roast chicken instead of gravy.

There are countless prepared mustard recipes out there not to mention what I might make up along the way. I'll probably never buy prepared mustard again!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Cozy mouse house

I was out trimming some thorn bushes on our little obstacle course and I come across...this:

A fleece lined bird's nest!

For years now the fleece gets nibbled from our saddle pads. We try to keep them in bags or boxes but it's hard when the pads are all sweaty and you need to leave them out for a day or two. We'd blamed the mice. And then I come across this bird's nest in the brush. Lined with fleece!

What, the birds have been picking our fleece?! They come in through the windows at dawn? Stranger things happen! From where I stood it could have been milkweed. I couldn't tell.

So I picked a (generous..) pinch out and...sure enough, it's nice cushy (*real* sheepskin) fleece!

I went back to get a better picture of this nest and...

A mouse!

Apparently this ambitious little mouse had moved in to the abandoned bird's nest. And fluffed it all up with fleece!

This nest is a good 70 or 80 yards from the barn. This mouse really worked its butt off fluffing up that nest. I felt pretty bad having messed up his (or her) little nest. What's done is done, as they say. So I carefully put the fleece back near the nest. I scared the mouse and he took off.

The next day I saw the fleece was all gathered up and tucked back into the nest. I didn't disturb this little mouse too much after all.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A happy accident

I love it when this stuff happens.

Stuffed Quahogs

I love stuffed quahogs (pronounced "cohogs"). I've messed with stuffed quahog recipes for years and I make a pretty good stuffed quahog. It's basically chopped clams mixed with some breading, packed into big clam shells and baked. Oh, I add some olive oil and clam juice and Old Bay and usually serve with a pinch of paprika.

I had planned to stuff some quahogs the other night but my timing was off and decided I'd do them another time. I had smeared some skewered chicken with gremolata and olive oil to have over some pasta for dinner. It's kind of like a parsley/garlic/lemon zest pesto. It's great on chicken. I had a ton of this mixture left over and I just hate throwing stuff away.

So I decided to go ahead and do the stuffed quahogs and, as my stuffing, I'd just mix up chopped clams and bread crumbs with the left over gremolata mixture. I added some clam juice until the stuffing had a "sandy" texture. I packed it loosely into some clam shells and baked them for about 15 minutes in a 350° oven. Just to heat them through and brown the bread crumbs a little bit.

Turns out they were hands down the very best stuffed quahogs I've ever had anywhere.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Crudo at home!

Salmon crudo

I typically don't fix crudo at home. Things like sashimi, ceviche, carpaccio and so on I think are best left to professionals.

Then a few weeks ago I was having something Italian for dinner. I don't remember exactly what but I *really* wanted to start with crudo. Then I had an idea! I stopped at a sushi place on my way home from the barn and I got some tuna sashimi to go. Fresh fish of the highest quality with no other preparation at all. Of course. I can fix crudo with that!

  • Get some sashimi to go. Halibut and scallop crudo are my favorites but you don't see either one as sashimi in the sushi restaurants around here. Tuna and salmon are much more common. Both make very good crudo.
  • Lay the fish pieces out on a chilled plate
  • Squeeze on some lemon juice
  • Dribble on some nice olive oil
  • Finish with salt and pepper. Lightly scatter your favorite herbs over the plate. I like chopped green onions.
You want to serve your crudo within 10 minutes or so I think otherwise the lemon juice might "overcook" the crudo.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Deconstruction Zone

Sometimes I really just don't know what L is thinking.

Here's her nice shiny new stall wall. You see those 3 new boards there? The 2 inch thick ones? They're 8 inches wide. She chewed through those 3 boards and tore them down. In one *night*.

Our barn manager was plenty mad! First thing Friday morning, there's L and her little sister P, cheek to cheek over what was left of the wall. With this "what" look on their faces. Very funny. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera (a rare occasion!) at the time.

You know, it might be a seasonal thing. She chewed a hole in her wall just about a year ago.

Repairs were made by the time I got my camera but here, here's a close up view of her handiwork on the top of the bottom board. In case anyone wants to know - TMJ doesn't keep a horse from doing things like this!

And here. Also note the results of the careful footwork there to the lower center right.

Yup. Couple kicks ought to get through that easy enough. By the way. Mares tend to be "busy". Just something to think about when you're picking out a horse. Oh. And do try to keep them from being bored!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Fool me once

shame on...shame on you..fool me..You can't get fooled again. Or something like that.

I'm probably over-reacting I'm sure.

I always keep a little thing of Andes chips in the refrigerator. A generous pinch usually satisfies a pressing need for chocolate. Which can happen almost anytime. So I see these a couple weeks ago while I'm shopping.

Who doesn't love Reese's Peanut Butter cups? The "perfect combination of peanut butter and chocolate". I figure that's brilliant. Little tiny peanut butter cups! I think it over and I a bag.

Imagine my shock when I opened the package and found...peanut butter chips?!

Yes. Peanut butter chips!

Excuse me? If I was paying attention I would have noticed that...

Really. Reese's is peanut butter and chocolate. Would I have expected an orange bag with the signature yellow "Reese's" logo to have been a bag of say, chocolate chips? No, of course not. I wasn't expecting a bag of peanut butter chips either.

Here. To the gaze of a busy shopper this even implies there's some chocolate around here somewhere!

So Hershey's. Shame on you. I'm not gonna buy your bag of peanut butter chips again. And if those peanut butter cups weren't so good I wouldn't buy them anymore either!
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