Thursday, October 7, 2010

- A walk on the wild side: Hill Country fliers

Generally speaking, we much prefer two- and four-legged critters, but we have exempted the moths and the butterflies from our current campaign to discourage visits from anything with six or more legs ... or worse, anything with no legs at all. Besides, with wingspans in excess of four inches, these guys are more like birds than insects anyway.

Of course, we have deer in abundance, though fortunately they're far more skittish than their Garrison Trail kin. And one of our first drives into the neighborhood revealed what we thought to be a grey fox, but we've since decided it was more likely a coyote. Turkeys roost in the trees as the sun slips below the horizon and one late-night return from Gruene Hall featured a skunk, very much alive and well. I also got my first good look at an armadillo as I drove slowly through the low water crossing. It looked like nothing so much as an armored opossum and judging by his (or her) rather casual saunter across the road, it's no wonder that most of them end up rigor mortised.

Food continues to be a revelation ... and we're fortunate that the Sol de Mexico right up the road has local eggs for $3 a dozen. I've learned a thing or two about eggs since my clueless postings a year ago, not the least of which is that bright yellow yolks are not necessarily a good sign. Indeed, chickens that are able to eat what they can scratch out of the ground (grubs and bugs for the most part) produce pale yellow yolks. And the thin watery egg whites that surround the yolks are an equally good sign. When they're this fresh, the end products are exceptional: light airy popovers, tender cookies, and creamy scrambled eggs are givens. Not to mention the recent news of salmonella in factory farms which pretty much clinches the case for locavore eggs, IMHO.

Since I ran out of eggs yet again, Don picked up some more this afternoon. So 
in addition to the usual New York Times and Austin American Statesman, my morning-off breakfast tomorrow will feature leftover steak, scrambled eggs, pico de gallo, tomatillo salsa, and fresh grated Cotija on flour tortillas. Tomatillo salsa? Another revelation.

Tomatillo Salsa (see April 29, 2012 post for a better version)

  • 6-8 tomatillos 
  • 1 small onion 
  • 2-3 garlic cloves 

Remove the tomatillo husks, rinse and quarter. Peel and quarter the onion. Leave the garlic cloves in their paper skins.
Place the vegetables in a small baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
Oven roast at 400 degrees until the onions begin to brown around the edges.
Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes.
Squeeze garlic out of skins and  place with onions in a food processor. Pulse several times until roughly chopped.
Add the tomatillos, skins and all, to the food processor and finish with 2-3 more pulses.
Serve warm over whatever leftovers you choose to wrap in tortillas and serve for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

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