Monday, July 2, 2012

Some more chicken talk and cake of course

As soon as I come home from work and undo the latch on my gate the ladies start talking frantically before I even get to the back yard, they both want to be the first to tell me all the exciting things that happened in the yard while I was at work, you know, things like the neighbors's cat stopped by and they stuck their tongues out at him, Thelma caught a big daddy long legs and Louise laid a monster big egg, the couple living in the condo behind us had a fight and the police came (again) you know the normal chicken stuff...they are quite the gossipers.
A few days ago I came in through the gate and no chattering....none, nothing, just silence, just like it used to be before chickens (BC). Now some bloggers would stop the story right here and keep you hanging for another week, I thought about it but that would be way too mean. I'm just not like that. 

I raced to the back to see what was going on....nothing was going on, they were both there but had nothing to say. Weird. I just finished reading Joel Stalin's book "Pastured Poultry Profits"no I don't want to start a chicken farm this is just how geekish I am. He writes that happy chickens are always chattering, when all is quiet (just like with children) something is wrong.....but what? So I grab a handful of spinach and Louise is all excited and eats from my hand but not Thelma, she just stands there and stares at me, lets me pet her but won't eat. I run to the house and get some yogurt and again, Louise is all over it but Thelma is not interested, just stares into space, every once in awhile her eyes slowly close and stay closed for about 1/2 a minute. I am worried. I suddenly think "Flax seed oil" that cures all (I believe) so I mix some with oatmeal and run back out, but Louise wants it all, I can't feed Thelma with her face in there so I decide I will have to take Thelma out of the coop, I think that a blanket to wrap her in would be nice, she is sick after all, she needs cuddling. I run back to the house  (it sounds like the house is so far away) I look around real quick for a blanket of sorts...a chicken blanket that is, I can't find one, a big rag maybe, can't find one, I see a white tea towel laying on the dryer, it was my favorite tea towel, a cousin of mine hand embroidered it and gave it to me as a gift some years ago, I notice the last time I used it it had lots of tea stains on it and I was debating whether I should try bleaching it or just use it as a rag, I hadn't made my mind up yet, it was defiantly too pretty to throw away and almost too pretty to use as a rag but perfect for cuddling a chicken,I grab it and run back out. 

I get Thelma all wrapped up and try to feed her some oatmeal and flax oil, she doesn't want any, I keep rubbing some on her beak in hopes she'll lick it off. She doesn't, just stares at me. I am so sad for her. Then I remembered that I had also read that one should give chickens a little vinegar in their water sometimes to help with respiratory problems when the temperatures fluctuates. It was blitzin blazin hot today maybe she is dehydrated. I run back to to the house and get some vinegar and try getting some into her mouth, I might have gotten some in. I am so sad. I put her back in the coop and give Louise the rest of the oatmeal mixture, she loves it but isn't talking, I guess when her sister is sick she had nothing to say to me, I guess they were talking to each other all the time and not to me like I thought. Before I go to bed I try giving her some oatmeal again and still nothing. Sadly I go to bed and hope for the best. I did put some vinegar in their water just in case that is what they need. 
Before I was even out of bed  the next morning I could hear some chattering, not loud and boisterous,but chattering I run outside in my pjs and Thelma is moving around and eating, scratching and talking a little, she dives into the oatmeal and flax this morning but her eyes still closed once in a while.
When I came home from work all seemed to be well again except there is only one egg. I have had 2 days now of Thelma holding back an egg, but she seems perfectly normal again, her usual chatty self. I am so happy she is ok, I don't even mind the missing egg.

That's the chicken talk for today, now on to some cake talk...I tried something that I have wanted too for a long time but was too afraid too. I made a Tres Leche cake, Tres Leche is Spanish meaning three milk, it is a very popular cake in Mexico and because it is vanilla and not too sweet (depending on the icing) it is a cake that I like and have always wanted to make but there is a scary component to it that and up until now I have not been brave enough to try....I did it.
The cake itself is easy enough, it is like a heavier yellow chiffon cake with 5 eggs in it, it helps if you have chickens in your backyard laying eggs every day (which I do teehee), it helps if the yolks are really really bright orange (which they are) The cake calls for white sugar and white flour, I really really don't like white sugar so I used brown but I did use white flour, because I thought using whole wheat would make the cake less yellow.....I wanted a bright yellow cake., and yellow it was, oh my it was beautiful yellow, I couldn't believe the yellow goodness and I even licked the spoon, I couldn't help myself it just happened, had not done that since the 70s.

Beautiful yellow goodness....and one happy licked spoon
Once the cake is baked you take it out of the pan and cool it and then cut the sides off (the crusts if you will), I must have heaped the baking powder on my spoon too heaping or my eggs were extra fluffy because my cake had a round top on it so I had to trim that off too to make a flat cake, then I had cut it crooked so I had too cut some more off and then some more, soon I had a plate full of delicious yellow goodness cake trimmings...hummm. Then you put it in the fridge. Now you take a can of sweetened condensed milk, a can of evaporated milk and a cup of heavy whipping cream and mix it in a bowl and put it in the fridge too, chill them both for a bit...until they are both'll know when it's chilled......when you're so anxious you can't wait any longer that's when it's chilled. is the scary part, you cut your cake into pieces (that's not scary) and poke holes in them with a shish ka bob stick it is, you pour ALL the milk ONTO the cake...oh, you put the cake pieces in a bigger pan that has a lip or a side to milk doesn't run everywhere. Yup all the milk is poured onto your beautiful yellow cake. This has always frightened me because it looks like the beautiful yellow cake will become a soggy messy soggy soupy mess. But I am telling you, I promise you it doesn't. Now you put it in the fridge to soak, yes you are putting your cake away to long? Depends on who you ask, some soak overnight, some for 4 hours, some, I decided to go halfway, I soaked for 6 hours. After 3 hours I turned all the cake pieces over to soak the other side. After 6 hours the cake had not soaked all the milk up there was still a little milk left in the bottom and I was getting nervous (about getting a soggy soupy mess) and I was so anxious to try it so I took the cake pieces out and put them in a different, here is the really really good part....what to do with this milk mixure, ah ha! I had thought about this the day before already when I was contemplating this adventure and I had a plan...oh yes. I heated it up just a wee bit and put .....are you ready? In my coffee! Genius! I whipped it (coffee and milk) in the blender for s few seconds...oh my, bliss! Pure bliss I tell you. 

I topped the cake with a wee bit of whipped cream.....because there hasn't been enough milk and cream consumption here already and some of my homemade berry sauce that I made last fall...remember when my kitchen was a berry berry big mess....ha. Seriously people this cake and this coffee will change how you look at milk and cream and the farmers chickens that you pass by on the highway. You need yellow eggs....and lick the spoon. 

Tres Leche cake and the best cup of coffee ever

There are many recipes on the world wide web for a tres leche cake and they all vary in some ways (yellow eggs are not negotiable)  I choose this one from Joy the Baker I love Joy the Baker and have been lurking on her blog for some time now, you should visit her too.
Put on some Anna Gabriel and romance your self with some Tres Leche cake and'll like it I promise.


Anonymous said...

I've said it before and I've got to say it again: I love finding you've written a new post. It's such a lovely way to start my day (the cake and coffee would be, too.)


Contessa said...

Yummy! But I am worried about Thelma. Is she back to normal now.....tell me!! How interesting that they have their own way of communicating. I guess all creatures do, if we would only take the time and patience to know them. I am proud of you!

Mary Klassen said...

Thank you for being patient Barbara. Contessa, Thelma is well again and her happy self and back to laying an egg a day. She says "thanks for thinking of her".