Lentil soup and rabbit sausage

I was just going thru the pictures on my phone, trying to tidy, and came across the pictures I took of the lentil soup I made last month.  I was going to write a post on it but got busy/lazy and didn’t.  It’s the colors of the ingredients I love, and how satisfying it is to put something together that feed the eye and the tummy.  Lentils are soo good for you. My mom always used the green lentils.  I can remember her sitting at the kitchen table picking thru them for stones and other debris.  As I got older, this became my job.  Lentils come in so many different varieties, I mix several together.  The red ones break down easily and add body to the soup (without waiting the several days it took for the green lentils to dissolve) and the yellow ones have a creamy texture.IMG_2397IMG_2398 My mother made the best lentil soup.  I thought everyone did the same and I can remember with stinging clarity a bowl of lentil soup my American cousin made when we went to visit in Lincoln Nebraska.  It looked the same and I greedily took a large helping.  The first mouthful told me all lentil soups are not the same–no doubt this was a vegetarian soup, totally lacking the depth of flavour provided by a heavily smoked pork hock (or two), no meaty bone broth, and precious little flavoring.  Blah!!!  What a disappointment!!!  But a good lesson as I learned to view as suspect anything that did not come from my mothers’ kitchen.  She was truly an excellent cook.  I start with a good meaty smoked pork hock, adding smoked sausage or smoky bacon if there is not enough meat on the hock.IMG_6192  Then flavorful gelatinous homemade bone broth (in this case, rabbit broth), and the triumvirate of flavorful colorful veggies, carrots, celery and onion.  Then a couple or three bay leaves which add a certain je ne sais quoi, and a healthy grinding of black pepper.  I don’t add any salt till after the flavor has been pulled from the pork hock–there is lots of salt there already. IMG_6198 Let it simmer all afternoon.  Then if you can exercise enough self control to wait and reheat it the next day, it’s even better.  My mother always made a huge pot full and we ate it for several days, often fighting over the last bowl full.  We always added a spoonful of white vinegar at the table, a Viennese custom, but something that increases the digestibility of the lentils, and aides in pulling out all the vitamins and minerals contained in them.  Everytime I make this soup I always wonder why I don’t make it more often. And it was delicious with the potato bread I made that day.IMG_6188

Last week, during the Easter break a friend and I made rabbit sausage.  I didn’t take enough pictures during the process–I don’t know what I was thinking (the pictures here are from the first batch of sausage I made last year).   IMG_2287IMG_2293But I had lots of meat, probably 25 pounds or so.  I couldn’t find my last recipes so I pulled a few new ones off the interweb (hehe).  I made a maple/sage sausage with maple sugar I bought from the Ontario Amish harness makers (who have a side sugar bush business).  This one was very very good.  Then I made a sweet Spanish sausage with ground raisins and smoked Spanish paprika that I brought back from my Camino.  I’m not sure about this one.  We left the seasoned sausage in the fridge for a few hours for the flavors to marry, but our test patty may not have sat long enough.  It was good, but not great, though this may change with more seasoning time. The third batch was a hunter sausage that I found too salty.  My friend says the salty flavor dissipates with age so this one could become much better.  With the leftover ground pork, I made a peppery honey garlic sausage.  Again, not enough seasoning time, but lots of potential.  Then I had five or six pounds of just plain ground rabbit.  Perhaps rabbit burgers this summer?  A very productive day and many thanks to my friend for his help.  IMG_2621

EPIC SCORE!!!

I collect old Pyrex bowls.

Today I went into the Mennonite Store as I do periodically to see what treasures have turned up and, BLAM, epic score!!!IMG_6294A bowl with a cover!!!  and a pattern!!! and no chips!!!

This bowl is more of a display item for me–not that I really have any place to display my favorites…more of stash it somewhere and pull it out on occasion and admire it.  Most of my bowls are completely functional and I use them all the time.  I really should use the ones that are in the poorest shape but when I reach into the cupboard I always grab the prettiest one.  I mean, if I’m going to use it, I want to really enjoy it.  Cooking is all about the senses, and using pretty bowls just adds to the experience.IMG_6302 IMG_6299 IMG_6296Some of them are mixing bowls with round bottoms and some are casseroles with flat bottoms, meant to be put in the oven.IMG_6303 IMG_6304I think that four bowls make a set.  I have three of two different patterns.  My mother had a set of robin’s egg blue mixing bowls that we used all the time.  I think there may only be one or two of the set left.  Most of my mixing bowls have ears, one for a handle and one for a spout for pouring.IMG_6308 IMG_6309 IMG_6310My daughter and sister have brought me treasures over the years, garage sale finds.  Most are in great shape, but many have been well used and well loved.  As long as I have room in the cupboard I’ll keep collecting.  If any of you see any, especially unique ones, please think of me.  I’ll use them to make you a cake!!

Rare and Exotic day in Lloyd

Oh my goodness what an extrememly productive day.  My daughter and I have been busy making boxes for the spring auction in Lloyd.  Spring is the best time to sell–eveyone is looking for strange and unusual creatures.  Perfect timing for Mrs Rabbit and her babies to go.  She had eleven babies!!! What a good mom–three caramel, four white and four black!!! IMG_6165  They were the perfect age to leave the nest–eating and drinking on their own and looking sooo cute!! IMG_6261 IMG_6262 I got rid of the extra roosters–beautiful but too many and they were picking on the hens.  We sorted out the silkies and we  kept back everyone with blue ears.  My daughter  had some other rabbits that weren’t working with her project anymore and we packed them up too. Finally, the damn billy goat went.  Why oh why are billies such trouble to keep–getting into all kinds of trouble…I think I may have mentioned how much I dislike goats, and billies have a very special place on my list of “more trouble than they are worth” list.  We got up at the crack of dawn, literally, 5:45am and went out to box the bunnies.  The chickens we did late last night.  They were roosting anyway so a night in a cosy box wasn’t such a hardship.  We caught the billy last night.  Normally no trouble to catch except when you really want to catch him and then its chase chase chase.  How do they know?  We were loaded and on the road by 7am and made good time into Lloyd.  Unloading was easier than loading–but you would think that having had these sales for many many years they would have figured out how to process people thru faster.  If only I ran the world…  At last, unloaded and free,  we went for a HUGE breakie at Smitties.  Then back to the sale.  The administrators choose ten boxes at random to start the sale and unfortunately one of our silkie boxes was chosen.  These boxes are chosen to warm up the crowd and always go cheap–good if you are buying, not so good if you are selling.  Our second box of silkies was double the price of the first later in the sale.  Oh well.  Someone got a great deal.  We stayed thru to our entries and they did marvelous.  Then we left and did a few things, and came back to watch the large animals.  Our billy was close to the start and he went for a respectable price too.  All in all a good day.  Of course the best part was that my daughter scored a pair of Royal Purple Guineas for me.   Here’s my guys saying hello to the newbies–they are in a coop by themselves until the learn that this is home.  IMG_6289 IMG_6288   She also got two bunches of very unique peacock feathers for herself.  IMG_6290 IMG_6293 And now chores have been cut in half.  What a great day!!!