Sunday, September 18, 2011
It's official. Urban chicken coops are now the hot topic. It used to be that you'd read about them in Mother Earth News. Now, it's the Indianapolis Star. And, they're having a chicken coop tour here in Indy. No, I'm not sure when because I'm not going. As usual, I'll be working on Saturdays. But, I am feeling very left behind on this trend. We have a great garden. And, a dog who hunts chipmunks and other vermin who make the mistake of coming into our back yard. And, a couple of FOBs (that would be fat orange boys to the unitiated) who on occasion catch their own chipmunk. The FOBs were about nine months old and feral when I captured them. Now, they have the best of both worlds - part of the back yard constrained by an invisible fence, a fur-lined cat house on the deck and the screened porch with a regular water bowl in the summer and the super deluxe heated model in the winter. They are much happier boys than they were when they were spoiled rotten house cats. But, I have no chickens. Nor do I have bunnies to create wonderful bunny poop fertilizer for my garden. And, alas, I don't have my own crop of worms. I was feeling so good because we have a wonderful compost bin and I do compost all the waste I can. I have a great compost bowl. It's a crockery bowl that was my grandmother's. It may be nuts to have an expensive antique as my compost bowl but I think that's a far bit better than having something ugly sitting out on my counter. We recycle too. Again, pretty much everything we can. We've replaced most of our lawn with flower beds. And, we really try to avoid putting chemicals on our lawn or plants. But, no we don't have our own chickens. Annie the dog would eat them. I'm afraid the folks in the neighborhood who are already irritated by our lack of expansive lawn would be even more irritated by a chicken coop. So, try as I might to be green I guess I'm just not THAT green.
The other thing we do that's pretty green is try to eat local. It doesn't always work out. Like the evening this week when I got home pretty late and just wanted to get dinner on the table. Burgers and potato puffs from the freezer and a grilled guacamole. The only local item in the entire menu was the tomatoes. I made a more complicated version of the guacamole from one of Cat Cora's cookbooks. This was super simple. And, we loved it. One of the splurges I've found to be very worthwhile is flavored vinegars and olive oils. It doesn't take a lot so a $15 bottle of Meyer Lemon Olive Oil will last me 6-8 months. And the flavor is incredible.
Side note: I'm typing this on a Friday evening while Connie's playing bridge. I have what we lovingly refer to as the large black mosquito whining at my elbow. It is 8:24. She gets a scooby snack at 8:30 every evening. I'm usually here at the computer hooked up to the office computer about that time. Since I'm the closest to the scooby snack storage, I'm the designated bugee. Whine, nudge, look pitiful. Poor Annie just doesn't get enough love and affection. Breakfast in the morning. Go to the office and have a chase around the file cabinets with all the gals - who by the way buy her dog toys. Then, a cracker at lunch. Pets and rubs and belly rubs from all the clients. And, snacks and rubs from Tommy our wonderful UPS guy. A walk after lunch. Home for a bite of dinner. A lamb treat at 7:00. A scooby snack at 8:30. A handful of the FOBs dry food when it comes in about 10:00. Then, off to sleep on the floor at the foot of our bed. Poor, pitiful Annie. Don't you feel sorry for her? Ah, that's all taken five minutes to type. Please excuse me while I go take care of a dog's needs.
Simple Grilled Guacamole
1 avocado, peeled and halved
1 small red onion, peeled and cut into four slices
2 small tomatoes, halved
lemon olive oil
lemon balsamic vinegar
You can use any kind of grill or grill pan for this. It takes about five minutes to grill. Make sure your grill is well oiled. You'll want to use direct heat on medium. Put the onion slices and avocado halves on when you've got five minutes to go on the rest of your meal. Flip them after about three minutes. Put the tomato halves on at that time. Two minutes later, remove the vegetables to plates. Start with the avocado halves then break the onions into rings. Put the tomato halves on the sides. Drizzle with the olive oil and vinegar. If you don't have lemon flavored, I'd imagine you can substitute regular evoo, white balsamic and a splash of lemon juice. Serve.