Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Clams, Salsa, and Chicken Feet!

I have never eaten clams before (not even chowder), but they were wild caught and looked interesting.  I bought 4.  Anyone who regularly eats clams, probably thinks me silly, buying 4 clams for a full family dinner.  I wasn't sure they would go over well.  I decided to make my own clam chowder, only to discover the recipe I found called for about 14 clams.  Mine did not have 14, but was chowder and it contained clams.  My children enjoyed watching the clams pop open when steamed, and have added the shells to their "nature" basket.

Fermenting salsa.  I almost didn't buy the non-seasonal tomatoes, because they always disappoint me, but we have several Latin American themed meals coming up, and it just seemed like something we might need.  The colors were a good reminder that the growing season IS upon us.  I am thinking about CSA's, are you?




Since we moved back down to Eugene, I no longer have a good source of chicken feet.  However, the farm where we get our real milk and pastured eggs DO kill some chickens from time to time, and I have requested that when they do, they freeze the feet for me.   This means I have to prepare them myself (throw in boiling water for a little bit, pull out, and peel, you could also clip their nails off, but I don't).  Right now, this foot (and several others...though not an even number....hmm?) is simmering in a chicken broth to be the labor drink for a friend's impending labor.  Nothing says let's get ready for a new baby like peeling chicken feet.

Also, my husband was supposed to have a picture from his guys weekend of what they ate for dinner, something about rare steak, butter sauteed mushrooms over french-ed beans, and buttery scallops.  I was so jealous, and all the other guys were worried their wives would be upset to know they ate such "bad" food.  My husband was adamant that I would have been proud (and did I mention, jealous!)

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14 comments:

  1. Oh, we get whole chickens, with feet, all the time and I've never known what to do with them. Now that I know I'm not sure I want to do that with them. The peeling and clipping toenails, my my. It's all I can do to finish defeathering the bodies.

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  2. You get whole chickens with the feet all the time!! That is awesome. Do they have the heads too? Heads can go in broth as well (though I have never had that pleasure). Even the prepared chicken feet I used to buy from a local farm outside of Portland left the nails on. I think the concern is just making sure they are nice and clean. I think that is the main reason for peeling the feet too, as the skin is the dirty part.

    De-feathering sounds pretty intense to me. I think I peeled 7 feet last night, and that was about my limit. Soren and I had a good science lesson about the human body (skin, fatty tissue, muscles, tendons, bones, veins, etc).

    Save your feet! Also, Andy Weber told me that chicken feet is a delicacy...somewhere...I don't think I'll be preparing them for eating anytime soon (or just any time ever).

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  3. We have had chickens for 3 years. When we first processed our chickens I had no idea what to do with the feet. I very nice man from Poland taught me how to toast the feet over an open flame. The outer skin peels off very easily. I just held the foot with tongs over the fire and the outside toasted - almost black in places. Once cool, the skin peeled right off. The broth made from the feet is thick as knox blox - you can literally pick it up with your fingers and giggle it. I freeze it in ice cube trays and add a cube or two to every pot of soup for added nutrition throughout the year. This way I only have to deal with the feet once in a while. It is not the most pleasant of tasks, but I'm always glad when it is done and the broth is in the freezer. I enjoyed your post.
    Connie
    theprairiemom.com

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  4. How timely! I just got several packages of frozen chicken feet last Saturday, for the first time ever. Everyone thinks I'm nuts!! I got some of them on the stove this morning to begin making stock. The reactions around here are pretty funny, so I hope it turns out great! Thanks for the great info!

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  5. Connie - Thank you for the fire tip for peeling chicken feet! I will keep that in mind for next time. I think, when you boil them, you kinda want to peel them right away, thus dip them in the boiling water one at a time. It was a little bit time intensive, but I agree that the amazingly jiggly broth is SO worth it.

    Cathy - Let me know how your broth turns out! Adding chicken feet is the only way I get good gel, and good gel makes for amazing sauces. Just wow them with some good gravy. I think they'll be sold on chicken feet =)

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  6. Connie - Another question, do you think it would also work to broil the feet in the oven for a couple minutes? I am thinking that many people might not have a great place for an open flame with toasting chicken skin.

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  7. Don't tell you're husband you don't clip off the nail because he just got done telling me about the chicken feet. The story ended with ... "It was gross. At least she clips off the nails." Ha ha.

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  8. Oh Jen! That is so funny. I suppose I'll have to take it to the next level next time, for husband's sake! =)

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  9. I am already feeling so blessed about the broth and I haven't even had it yet! Watching you peel chicken feet for me and my boy was amazing. You are a TRUE friend.

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  10. Meg - I am just so excited that you feel blessed by it and not grossed out! Truly, it is an honor to give you good labor fuel!

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  11. and Anita was SOOOO excited about the prospect. She wants to add it to her "list of food during labor" paper.

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  12. I feel lame posting a question after such a lovely exchange, but ...
    If I cook good broth and produce a good gel, about what percentage of the initial liquid should I have left?

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  13. Meg - Awesome. I should start a brothal (a borrowed term) and market to pregnant women!

    Jen - No worries =) I would guess I probably lose up to 1/3, but I don't pay close attention because I usually pour off into a large bowl and then start using it so fast I've never really measured.

    Perhaps one of the other women in this comment dialog could comment?

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  14. uh
    *looks back and forth at everyone else here*
    don't look at me, I'm just going to eat/drink the stuff.

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Questions and Comments welcome! If you would prefer to contact me privately, please email mariannescrivner (at) gmail (dot) com.

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