Tag Archives: chard

This Moment

{This Moment}

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{This Moment} This Moment:  A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember via Soulemama

Homestead Happenings: out with the old and in with the new

Greetings from 6512 feet where our teeth are flecked with wild meat and our skin has taken on a strange green color, sort of like this:

Okay. I promise I’ll stop talking about zucchini for a little while, but I think many of us are rowing the same zucchini boat and maybe we can throw each other an oar from time to time. Here’s two oars for you this week: this recipe’s for zucchini chips which I’m gearing up to make, and this one’s for creamy corn, zuke and lime pasta, which I made last night for company, embarrassing myself with my frequent, corn-in-my-teeth outbursts of “this is soooo good,” which it was.

All meals start with this


Dan and I had a meeting last night at our freezer, where we rummaged through the rag-tag remains of our meat supply. Tis the season to discover the previously passed-over packages like “buck liver,” “elk heart,” or “scrappy, lower leg stew meat.” I am famous for opting out of the more gnarly cuts like the semi-digestable, sinewy lower leg, which Dan chews at for whole August evenings, farting and defending his meal, as if someone was talking trash about his Mama.

The elk heart I nibble on, enjoying the insanely rich flesh before my mind interrupts my tongue and gives it too much information. The kids, having scant experience building their prejudice files, know organ meats simply as foods that occasionally appear on the table, and can get quite ravenous around a lightly fried elk heart. (Apparently their mental files also do not include “male business attire” because they spotted our neighbor Sage in a tie recently and wondered why he was wearing “a scarf around his neck”).

Also found in the depths of the freezer were bags of frozen elk pee. For reals. (Sorry Aunt Jan, I know you’re here to read cute stuff about the kids). Dan read an article in one of his bow hunting mags which suggested traipsing off to the woods, digging up piles of elk pee and freezing them until hunting season at which time you thaw and douse clothing to camouflage your hunky man-scent. Of course I support going natural and cost-free, but have you ever smelled a musky spray of ungulate urine? It’s not something you want mingling with your frozen applesauce and chimichurri. We’re still negotiating on this one.


In other news on the homestead I had a morning to myself in the garden yesterday, and it’s crazy what I can accomplish without having to rescue Dandelion the Buff Orpington hen from getting dunked in a water bucket or reminding a certain young lady that “we don’t put screwdrivers in our butt, okay honey?” But what is more remarkable is what I’ve accomplished this year with the kids around, which is everything, because as you may remember, my kid-free time is strictly spent hiding out with my secret lover.

Please don’t think for a second that as I’m yanking bindweed from the squash patch that Col and Rose are turning the compost or consulting their list of garden chores. As I zoom around the garden, getting one minuscule task done, the kids are often swirling mint leaves into the chickens’ water bowl or systematically dragging everything out of our shed. Within minutes Rose is naked and Col, mud-splattered. I race against the clock of harassed chickens and unearthed spiders, gritting my caffeinated teeth and sighing like it’s an olympic sport while the kids go feral under the influence of sun, sky and dirt. But deep down I know it’s good, their curiosity, their independence, their partnership, their ability to see a wilderness in our 1/8 acre city lot.

Skinny-dipping in the bird bath, mingling with mosquito larvae!

The garden is pumping out goodies and as we get to the bottom of our elk and deer supply, I’m starting to fill the freezer back up with pesto, gooseberries, and roasted squash dip. Out with the old and in with the new.

Migrant farm workers somberly snipping cilantro leaves.

Those cucumbers I transplanted to the greenhouse all died a slow, withery death, so I replaced them with chard, little 4-leaved plants I found crawling out from under the shady bustle of zucchini skirts. In fact, I transplanted 15 little chardians, stashing them around the garden like a junkie hiding little fixes. You can almost feel the first frost snaking down the mountains and I’m putting my money on chard.

Why yes, I do love it so much I want to marry it.

The monsoon rains are bold this year. Stepping out of their prescribed afternoon cloudburst, they’re showing up in the morning, or rumbling all the night long. And I tell you, rain is an event here in the Southwest. At the first smattering of rain, we applaud and dance around like the heavens were spitting gold, which really, they are.

Still seeking zuke recipes y’all. XO,



By chard:

And potatoes:

With all your wonderful potato ideas I can’t believe no one came up with the ingenuious recipe Col and Rose are currently engaging in: (no knives or hot stoves involved) Stuff as many potatoes as possible down your pants and try to walk! Endless comedy!

I am also dwarfed by a little virus bug, which has laid me out. I can’t believe how much time I’ve spent in bed in the past 24 hours (which has been just a teeny, tiny bit awesome). Col and Rose visit frequently, which fills me with joy even when it seems they are just small talking heads attached to zillions of elbows, knees and feet programmed to find my most achy spots. Rose has been singing me songs–a long string of undecipherable words much like a Jewish cantor–from a “vewy small singing book” which is actually a Verizon cell phone manual. Col has been sticking his fingers in my germy face, pledging “I love you as much as you,” which I don’t really understand but makes me smile and laugh just before I cough some little spittle-encased virus bugs all over him.   

Do you love my new banner photo?

My friend–highly talented professional photographer–Sabrina Brant came over to capture the chicken whisperer and his clan. Check out her photo blog at SAB Photography. She rocks! (see her Mother’s Day special!).

And have a lovely, green weekend!

No ducks were harmed in the making of this meal

Where gourmet meets playskool

Exhibit A: Rachel’s new pie obsession.

I can’t even remember what I put in this particular pie. I know there was elk meat. I can see chard sneaking around like the masked avenger of scurvy and perhaps some potatoes bobbing like small icebergs. Likely, there were onions and garlic, because, obviously. And I seem to remember shaking in the last glop of pinto beans from the bottom of a jar.

And this is exactly why these pies are my new favorite. You whip up a pie crust (recipe forthcoming and easy) and then you pack in every lost and lonely drifter in your fridge. Even that single carrot rolling around behind the milk is welcome. Even the tarnished cilantro – the few worthy leaves can jump in. And despite the haphazard arrangements, you really can’t fail, especially assuming that whatever is in your fridge is what your family already loves. And especially because you’re eating pie for dinner. And especially if you sprinkle a dutiful layer of cheese on top.

The Best: Chard, potato, cheese pie

This crust, which calls for yogurt, came from the abundance of yogurt we have around the house lately, which came from the abundance of local milk we’ve been buying.

Can you imagine how terrified I am of dropping one of these babies on the tile floor?

And if your family is starting to catch on to the abundance of pies and the sort of pre-compost quality they may take on (especially when you serve one with the warning “this needs to be finished by tomorrow on account of the beans”), presto chango! You can morph your pie dough into:

A gorgeous pizza!

And just because you can smorgasbord most anything into these pies, does not mean that you shouldn‘t scrawl out a special list of stunning ingredients or not toss in your top shelf goodies; you should! I made this pizza for my parents and it had broccoli, the ubiquitous chard, sauteed onions and cheese on top of a roasted garden tomato/basil sauce I canned last fall.

Greenhouse chard AKA why chard is ubiquitous in our house. *Plus, photos of the 800 square foot house usually feature the bathroom in the background. Can you find it?*

Yogurt Dough (makes 2 pie crusts)

(this recipe is adapted from the cookbook Nourishing Traditions):

1 cup plain whole yogurt

1 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

3 1/2 cups flour (I use spelt)

2 tsp sea salt

Cream butter with yogurt. Blend in flour and salt. Cover and leave in a warm place for 12-24 hours. Say what? Did you plan that far in advance? Me neither. I let it sit for 2-3 hours, and it works wonderfully. Roll on a floured surface and press into pie shells. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes. At high altitudes increase your heat to 375.

Mix your filling separately, pat into cooked pie shell and bake until warm through and through (approx 30 minutes).

Chard, potato cheese recipe:

I hope this recipe doesn’t read as awful as my geographical directions (go north until you see the house with the big yucca plants in the yard, turn left on the next corner and go over three potholes…).

Steam a bunch of chard (or kale, or spinach) and chop small. Bake four potatoes and chop. Saute half an onion and a couple cloves garlic. Mix together with salt, pepper and 1-2 eggs. Place in pie shell. Sprinkle 1 cup cheese on top. Bake.

Was that okay?

What would you put in your pie?

Happy Friday and may your weekend be full of tasty treats!

The Newness in the Darkness


Even in this dark time, there is newness here at the urban homestead.

The Rice Table

It’s winter at 6512 feet, which means the family is spending many hours inside, getting to know each other better and watching—through smudged windows—our four free-ranging chickens standing forlornly around their frozen water. (Everyone loves to break the thick, top layer of ice in their water bucket that forms and reforms all day long. Rose whaps a dry, limp sunflower stalk at the icy surface while Col rummages around for an antler—never far from reach—and picks a beak-sized hole through the glacier). Continue reading The Newness in the Darkness