Saturday, September 21, 2013

Have you met Aliki?

Portlandia's "Farm" sketch was incredibly funny, where two yuppies order chicken at a local organic restaurant that provides them with a portfolio on the chicken they're going to eat: "His name was Colin, and he was fed a diet of sheep's milk, soy, and hazelnuts".  DDF and I laughed our asses off watching it the first time.  It remains one of the funniest bits from the show.  Jason Sudeikis plays the cult leader Aliki, at the Farm, most hilariously.
When I saw the Vital Farms eggs at WholePaycheck ($6 a dozen) and they were "Certified Humane", USDA Organic, lpasture-raised, local California eggs, I thought to myself "ok, these are a $1 more than Farmer's Market eggs... but I didn't wake up early enough to go to the Farmer's Market... and... these eggs even Have Paperwork!" - there was a little certificate, inside the carton, telling all about Colin and his friends.  Well, obviously Colin didn't lay any eggs, but the hens he would have liked to have procreated with if he'd not been served to discerning restaurant customers did lay them.

The eggs were some of the darkest yolks I've ever had.  Fully flavorful, satisfying delicious.  They are not "the cheapest" eggs in the world, but they are certainly some of the healthiest & most sustainable.

Four or Five days a week for breakfast, I will typically sauté 1/4 or 1/2 an organic onion in a heaping tablespoon of bacon grease (Canadian maple cured thick strips of bacon, cast iron skittle fried, and recovered), throw on 3 or 4 handfuls of organic baby spinach (covering all the onions, and using "more than you think, it'll all reduce down" as my dear friend Ron advised), several cups of Trader Joe's  sliced crimini mushrooms (it's really hard to find organic mushrooms in California), and a handful of Costco bacon bits, on a medium flame in our new Circulon Symmetry 12 inch sauce pan until the spinach shrivels down to little strands, the criminis are all coated in the residual bacon grease, and the onions are translucent.  Then add 2 scrambled eggs on top of this tasty mixture, maintaining the medium flame.  The 12 inch pan spreads out the eggs for faster cooking and heat transfer - I like my scrambled eggs dry, not gooey, as gooey makes me want to verp as it makes me think I am eating something the consistency of snot.  The 8 inch pan would work too, it just takes longer with nearly 1/2 the heated surface area (and nearly double to the egg thickness layer).    Season with organic pepper and sea salt.  It's a tasty breakfast / brunch / sometimes lunch (when work keeps me busy all morning until 1 or 2pm).  Come to visit us, and I'll cook you some eggs as I did our friend Rick back in July and DDF's Phoenix scientist friends who've visited OC this summer as well.


  1. When will you be putting a couple of laying hens in your backyard? Is that a done thing (yet) in your neck of the woods?

  2. There is actually a state ordinance that allows sustainable, "on your property", organic farming, which is pretty cool. However, Southern Orange County has a very healthy population of coyotes, raccoons, red tailed hawks, peregrine falcons, cooper's hawks, kites, osprey, and rattlesnake. If I DID have free range hens in my back yard, I would likely not eat many of the eggs or male chickens as the natural fauna would be visiting my back yard often. Then there's the hassle of having to clean up all the poop and feathers... which I do not savor. I know the fecal matter makes Great fertilizer, but I really don't want to have to deal with it. In Highland, when I was in kindergarten, we won little fuzzy yellow baby ducks at the Calumet City fair ping-pong-ball toss, and instead of throwing the baby duckies off the ferris wheel (as many Calumet Citians did) we took them home, penned then, and raised them in our backyard until they were giant, white, 'Peking Duck' sized 18 lbs ducks. They subsisted on table scraps and corn meal in the chicken-wired pen in the back yard for 4 or 5 years, and we used to play with them in the back yard, but my goodness did they produce enormous amounts of fecal matter! And their pen drew rats, who moved in under the pallet-wooden-planking my father built - and the rats terrorized the ducks (at first we could not figure out why they kept staying on one end of the pen, then we figured out the rats were challenging the ducks for the food). Collecting, cleaning, and eating the duck eggs was an onerous chore involving lots of mucus.

    So, I've sort of "been there, done that" 30+ years ago... and don't really want to return to it. On a sad closing note on the ducks (mine was "Speedy", my older brother's duck was "Big Boy"), we took them to a Knights of Columbus in Schrerville that had a pond, and "set them free" into the pond. There they happily swam and enjoyed their release from a adolescence of caged bondage. Sadly, there was a fox who also lived near the KofC, and within a few weeks, Speedy and Big Boy were helping to nourish a hungry den of little kit foxes.

  3. Throwing baby ducks off the ferris wheel? That's horrible! Who would do that? Really seems bizarre now that there would be a live animal giveaway like that.

    An aunt and uncle have a very nice chicken setup down south. There are fox, rattlesnakes (and other snakes), various raptors, bears, wildcats, coyotes, and dogs. The dogs are both the single biggest deterrent to predators of the chickens as well as the single biggest actual threat to those chickens. I love the fresh eggs when we go there.

  4. When I was 5 and 6 years old, I didn't know what that was, and thought someone had just dropped food. Then when I was 7 or 8 (the fair came every year to Cal City, and we went to it every year, my grandmother lived 6 blocks walking distance away) and I was ON the ferris wheel, where they put it in the corner or the park every year, someone above the car I was in with my dad did that, and I remember getting so mad at them that my father reprimanded me, saying "the world is full of mean people Joey, who do mean things" - so it was an eye opener at an early age.

    Post zombie / viral / EMP apocalypse when DDF and I have escaped to rural Montana or Idaho, we'll raise chickens, lavender, and vegetables... but in Southern Orange County, there's not much room to do so.

    Come visit us, and you can fist-bump the lion statuaries around the pool =)

  5. btw... this blog posting is now over 600 hits. Interesting.


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