My grandmaw that is, perhaps yours too. Read on and make that call for yourself.
First off like most people I had two wonderful grandmothers. One was Italian on my mothers side. She was amazing in the kitchen and raised me more as my mother than my grandmother in my early years. Anything that woman touched in the kitchen was pure gold. Sadly she left us way to young, the consequences of her one true vice, smoking.
My fathers mother is where this recipe came from. She was equally a second mother to me and taught me a lot about what to do and what not to do in the kitchen. Sadly both by example. She was old country Ukrainian as in actually came over in the early 1900s old enough to remember “the old country”. The woman could bake anything as though an angle cooked it and the ethinic food don’t let me get started on it, wow I miss it. Meat though? As in steak, roast beef, pork chops, etc. The woman murdered meat.
Everything was cooked to oblivion, there was a saying at Sunday dinner, “Thank God for Gravy”. This was a deep seated and irreversible consequence of her living at a time with no refrigeration. Meat was to be cooked to death to make sure death wasn’t the result of consuming it.
Her saving grace with meats? Anything deep fried. How a Ukrainian Grandmother in Pennsylvania came to this following recipie for frying chicken which is about a southern as it gets, she never told me. But last night I was thinking of her and since I just culled some of our male Texas A&M quail I decided to dust off the memory of her chicken and try it will quail. The only additions I added were I used some Keith Snow Grilled Chicken Seasoning in the Flour and I didn’t use butter milk. That makes it better, but this was spur of the moment decision and we didn’t have any. Since it was quail, I also used quail eggs vs. chicken eggs.
Here is what you do, Part the quail out into quarters. Split the breasts in half and take the leg and thy as individual pieces. Make a two station coating set up. One plate with flour, salt, pepper and any seasoning you want. This is where I added some Keith Snow grilled chicken seasoning. In the other use cracker crumbs. Saltines, you can buy them or do what I did, put some crackers in a ziplock bag and roll them with a mason jar. Just like grandmaw did.
Next in a bowl beat one egg with about an equal amount of butter milk. I used 5 quails eggs about the same as one chicken egg. Well four actually one was double yolk, poor little quail who laid that thing!
Next dip your pieces into the egg mix, then roll in flour. Now dip in egg again, and roll in cracker crumbs. Here is another deviation, my grandmother would do all this in the morning, then put the pieces in the fridge till dinner. This makes the breading really stick beautifully! You can even do this and put them on a try in the freezer. Once solid vacuum seal and you have take out and fry ready to go chicken, done this way the breading really holds up beautifully. Since it was 6PM and I was hungry I went strait to the frying pan.
Now pay attention this is important. No non stick teflon coated crap, no canola oil, none of that new fangeled crap as granny called it. You melt enough lard into a well seasoned cast iron skillet so that the lard will come up about half way on the sized pieces you are frying. Get the oil to a medium heat. Put your pieces in, for your breasts go meat side down first, ALWAYS or you get your hand smacked. I can still hear her over my shoulder saying, always the thick side first.
Fry to golden brown, turn and do the same. Now if you are doing big pieces you may need to put them in a pan with a rack at the bottom to keep them from sitting in grease and put in the oven at 350 for about 15 minutes to finish them though. For quail though they are small and done right away.
Take the pieces and set them on paper towel to drain. Grandmaw used old news paper rather than waste a “good paper towel” but we don’t really use news paper and sorry grandmaw not hip on news print chemicals. But the 1980s were a different time were they not?
Now quail are some small little birds but as you can see done this way they make a decent meal at just one bird per person as part of a full meal. Add some vegetables, some sweet potato fries and a salad and this would be bangin. That said it was late and we had been at the movies, Dorothy didn’t want any so I didn’t bother with sides and just ate all of it.
Final thoughts on what I would suggest differently.
The coating did stick really well, hot grease helps with this a lot but not too hot least it brown to fast but a day in the fridge is a good idea it will stick even better.
Though the coating held up well it crumpled a lot when eating the breast pieces, you have to contort those little things a lot to get the meat off the bone. I would take a few moments to bone the breast pieces next time. The leg quarters, work just fine though.
This was really good but saltine crackers are not that flavorful. I did it this way as a tribute to grandmaw, if you are going to do crackers, butter crackers or ritz style have more flavor.
But what about Paleo Jack
While it is true this was NOT paleo it was not that bad as a once in a while treat and hey, grandmaw deserves to be paid tribute to at times. In the end it was not a lot of carbs really but yea higher than something I would eat often.
Fear not though my caveman and cavewomen followers, my paleo version is coming. Not yet but I will leave you with these ingreedents,
Hard Parmesan Cheese
Honestly this will taste better and be about 2 carbs per piece of quail. If you just get creative I bet you can figure out exactly what to do but my official recipe will come soon.
If you really want to make this a forget healthy eating for a day and just have a glorious treat, mix a butter and flour roux with some of the lard, add salt and course cracked pepper and make white gravy! When you work hard all the time you can treat yourself to such things from time to time and not feel bad about it.
Cracking quail eggs is a bit different than cracking a chicken egg. You can do it with a knife if you are really skilled but given this tool does it perfectly every single time and only costs about 9 dollars, it is the way to go. You can get one here, http://amzn.to/1PhA4fE
While I did this video to show you how this little tool works today I am scrambling my eggs with left over skirt steak, a bit of salsa and cheese. Yum!
We should be offering quail eggs to our customers in another week or two. With that in mind we are going to put a few videos about using them so that every customer knows what to expect and has a great experience with these fantastic eggs. Right now frankly since the ducks are not laying enough, I am hording our first quail eggs for my own breakfast and snacking.
Today we discuss how to make quail eggs either sunny side up style of over easy. It is a simple life hack, re-purposing a mason jar ring for an egg ring. Sure you can spend money on a official egg ring but to me that doesn’t really make much sense.
Quail eggs are tiny but that isn’t the only thing that makes them different. They tend to easily have whits and yolks seperate. This is no problem for scrambled eggs or boiled ones but if you are trying them sunny side up or over easy, it can be.
What you end up with is often long strung out thin whites on one side of the pan and lonely yolks on the other. The solution is called an egg ring. Now you an buy a set for 12 dollars or more or do what we do and just use a mason jar ring. A large ring is perfect for 5 eggs, a small mouth ring works well for 3.
Next time we will talk about cracking quail eggs and why you will really want to get the tool you see me crack and egg with at the beginning of this video.
As you might imagine as local small farmers that also try to buy what we don’t produce from other local producers we live a very healthy food centric life. That leads to my other passion cooking. I love to cook even more I think than to eat what I cook.
Another thing I enjoy is cooking out doors. We do this with grills, smokers, in a fire pit, with rocket stoves and portable stove tops.
I recommended the one pictured above, The Ranger II by Camp Chef. It is a phenomenal stove and I recommend it for many reasons. First if your stove is electric you should have a back up way to cook. This stove is the most flexible one that still has full sized stove power I have ever found. It is absolutely safe to use indoors as well if the power is out and it is cold outside. Next though if you are stuck with an electric stove, you will find yourself wanting to cook with this stove frequently and likely outside. The best part is it sells for just under 100 bucks and ships free if you have Amazon Prime.
A Combination Unit that May Not Be the Best Option.
Anyway a person who listened to my podcast, asked about this stove/oven combination. Made by the same people so I am sure it is absolutely top quality. So hey why not add an oven. The issue is the stove top itself is only a 7000 BTU burner set vs a 17000 BTU burner set and the stove with the over costs over 100 dollars more.
Also while the oven is nice, it isn’t very flexible, and it isn’t very large either. Next the unit is a lot bigger so it is less convenient to just whip up some sausage and eggs on the deck on a sleepy Sunday morning with.
Some really like “all in one” type things well my take is a bit different. Again we have two goals when we add items to our on farm cookware.
~ One – Enhance our quality of life, give ourselves more fun options and when it comes to outdoors stuff, that includes options for camping or tail gating too.
~ Two – Improve our ability to deal with disasters and power outages if we need a back up cooking method.
So when asked about this I think a lot more about flexibility, adaptability and functionality along with good old fashioned frugality. In fact I have a slogan, always be frugal but never be cheap.
Here is the solution I put together.
Say I am happy to spend 213 bucks to up this part of my lifestyle and preps at the same time. Instead of buying a weaker stove, I would do this.
It is only 30 bucks! It also folds down when not in use to be only 2 inches high. You can put it on your cook top, put it on a grill, use fire coals from a camp fire, you are not restricted just to gas. It is cheaper, works just as good, has a little bit more interior space and is dramatically more flexible.
Also a heck of a lot lighter.
Now I now still have 85 dollars!
So I go get myself a nice 6 quart dutch oven with a rimmed top, like this, http://amzn.to/1PpuuSL for 60 bucks shipped free by the way on Amazon Prime.
I still have 15 bucks left over! I can get a good dutch oven lid lifter tool with it for 11 bucks. Or if I don’t need one I could buy some food to get started cooking with my new stuff.
I now have the best small cook stove I know of, a camp oven that I can cook with and a dutch oven that I can use as an oven or make something like pot roast, stew or chili. If camping I can camp fire cook and still bring my stove and make eggs with that or say fried potatoes. I am not relying on just one thing that can break I am now sitting with three options. On top of it all my stove itself is more convenient so I am going to use it more.
So what does this all have to do with being a small farmer?
As a small farmer this is how you have to think about everything you do. We have to function stack our feeding, our egg collection, etc. for efficiency. Our new quail aviary will not just produce quail but grow food for the quail to cut our feed cost while improving product quality and it will also grow food for people too. On top of that it will produce compost all while giving the quail the freedom to really be quail they way they most like to be. Room to run, play and fly. Something we can show our customers that justifies the premium local food sells for.
The days of the giant farm in my opinion are coming to an end. Too much damage to soil, the product quality has been in decline steadily for over 50 years. Less nutrients in our food, less flavor too. The food may visually look good but it doesn’t taste to me like it did even back in the 80s.
We are encouraged daily by people that want to do business with us because they want more quality. What is even more encouraging is people doing it themselves and we see it daily. People asking for advice and getting started, some with just a small personal flock of chickens or quail and others doing far more then we do on our little 3 acre duck farm.
The key though is you have to THINK as a small producer. There is an often stated claim that small farms can’t be profitable, there is some truth to that, because many are not. But you can be viable if you work hard to make one thing do many things, or use the same investment to get multiple redundant solutions. To us this is the way forward for small farms. The systems are disinterested in our success, the corporations of the world want big food, big pharma, big everything. To succeed as small farmers we need more than big dreams and big ideas, we need efficiency and agility. This type of thought process is how we get that done.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, well in this case it sure is. People ask us all the time about the difference between chicken and duck eggs, well you can see it below in color and richness alone.
Recently we did a class for about 50 students and staff members who were at our farm for four days. We served them a full breakfast two mornings. As out demand is so high for our eggs we could not feed 50 people eggs from our ducks two days in a row. So for the first time in a very long time I had to buy eggs. The eggs on the right are top quality organic chicken eggs. See the beautiful deep yellow orange in the bowl on the left, those are our pastured duck eggs.
This is why I often say while duck eggs beat chicken eggs no matter how you cook them try them sunny side up, poached, basted or say over medium with soft yolks. They will simply blow you away. When cooked over medium the yolks are almost like yolk butter, they are that rich and wonderful.
When you produce 30 plus dozen eggs a week like we do at NineMile.Farm you end up with plenty of eggs for your own use beyond what you sell. Now I love bacon and eggs a great deal but you can’t just eat the same thing every day. I decided to try shrimp and eggs though I had never done so before, I can tell you it will not be the last time.
The shrimp were “cilantro and lime” shrimp left from a big tub of them I bought for our holiday party with family. They are getting to the expire date so this seemed a great way to use them.
Here is the ingredients I used
Three eggs, really two eggs and one was a double yolk
A big handful of shrimp, I would say about 18ish but I didn’t count
Pace Restaurant Style Salsa, it is what we had any will work fine
Three jalapenos, big ones, seeded and diced
Enough shredded cheese to cover the top of the eggs at the end
Here is how it all went down, with pictures
First I broke my eggs into a bowl, this is the best thing to do with farm eggs as you occasionally get a bloody yolk (like one in two hundred but it sucks when you drop it into a pan with 5 other eggs. Note the size of the double yolk and the white egg is a BIG egg.
In the bowl I whisked up the eggs and added a little cream, you don’t have to but I find eggs get fluffier if you do.
I then diced up the peppers and began sauteing them in a bit of lard. You can use that or bacon fat, if you decide to use oil I recommend peanut oil or coconut oil, olive oil gets bitter if heated over 285.
Next I added the shrimp and salsa to the pan after the peppers were about half cooked (bright green and still firm). It helps to keep the water down by getting out the salsa with a fork and draining it well. I used about 5 fork fulls of salsa but this is not a calibrated recipe, add as much or little as you like.
You cook the salsa, shrimp and peppers for only about 1 minute on medium low heat as the shrimp were already precooked. If using raw shrimp, cook until just turning pink as to not over cook them. Now you add the whisked eggs and turn the heat up to medium and add the eggs, scramble them gently until they are firm and dry to your preference.
Then I push them to one side of the pan in a pile and add cheese, kill the heat (remove from burner if you are stuck with an electric stove), cover and let the cheese melt.
Notice how NOTHING sticks to my old Griswold Cast Iron pan that is about 100 years old and was picked up at an antique mall for 20 bucks. Old pans are the best, back in our grandparents day they were milled after casting. If you want to know more about awesome cast iron cooking, what to look for and why to buy an old pan, read this great article by my good friend Paul Wheaton in Montana. How to: Cast Iron Skillet Non Stick and Lasts a Lifetime.
Once cheese is melted cut into portions. This makes about two portions for normal people or one big portion for those of us that eat only on average two meals a day.
A Few Notes About the Above Dish
First, while this was a great way to use up the left over shrimp, I would advise unless you have a need to do the same, use raw fresh shrimp. This was good no doubt and the shrimp were not tough or really over done but from the pictures alone you can see they are past that nice bright pink color when they are perfect.
Second, I am sold on seafood and eggs! I think canned red salmon would be good done much the same way, as would nova locks added on top and just warmed though at the end. A mix of crab and shrimp would be amazing, doing that and adding sliced green onions would be wonderful.
Third, note that I don’t make omelets like restaurants do and I never will, and I advise you not to as well. Why? When you make a conventional omelet you end up with a “cooked egg tortilla” (for lack of a better word) wrapped around the goodies. By making a scramble the egg clings to the goodies and everything is enjoyed well incorporated. I can make a pretty omelet but it is a pain in the ass for no culinary gain, frankly I consider it a loss.
Fourth, finely diced and fried potatoes or jerusalem artichokes would be a nice addition to this. Also while I strive to keep my carb intake low this recipe screams out to be served on top of a lightly pan toasted and buttered piece of sourdough.
Fifth I have to make this with duck eggs! Sadly right now we are back ordered with customers on our duck eggs and until we can up production I won’t have many for my own use, the customer comes first of course.
The good news is we are adding 7 adult ducks to the flock this week and 5 are hens of laying age. These will all be Muscovy Ducks and that should give us an additional 25-30 eggs a week. We will also rear some of them as future layers and meat birds.
On top of that I have 50 dedicated layers on order from Metzer Farms, they will be here about January 14th, BUT sadly they won’t be of laying age for about 20 weeks after that.
To learn more about our farm and how you can get our awesome Farm Fresh Eggs visit NineMile.Farm