...Growing, Building, Cooking, Preserving, Crafting...

2006 began our urban homestead when I broke ground on a garden, which now includes perennial fruits, flowers, & many vegetable varieties. We dream of solar panels, keeping bees and hens. Until then we'll continue growing and preserving our own fruits and vegetables, building what we can for our home, cooking from scratch, and crafting most days.


More snow yesterday and possibly more this week.  Just when I thought it was going to thaw for the season.  Yeah right.  We still have many cold and snowy days ahead, but I have hope.  I seeded some annuals last week, Goldstick flowers.  I usually don't plant many annuals, but I couldn't resist the look of them.  Hopefully they will brighten our home in a cut flower arrangement this summer.

I received some hopeful news this morning that pertains to one of my urban homestead dreams.  Apparently Ben's got the inside on the Milwaukee Food Policy Council goings-on so he quickly forwarded me the e-mail about an upcoming Backyard Chickens class that the UW-Extension is offering.  I signed up without hesitation; I'm so excited.  First step is to learn about it, next step...we'll find out.  I'm already eyeing which section of the backyard garden I can sacrifice for a coop and chicken run.  And don't think I'm not picking out names for these ladies already.

Last night I made one of Ben's favorite meals--Smoked Trout Quiche.  This dish has a history with us.  I like to tell people that this is what I served Ben to win him over and make him fall in love.  In exchange for some Radiohead concert tickets in the late summer on 2003 I agreed to make breakfast for all of the concert-goers crashing at our friends' East Troy homestead after the show (an amazing show at that!)  I bought some locally smoked trout from a nearby trout farm, local eggs and cream cheese, added some tarragon and prepared a homemade crust.  After using a heckuva lotta elbow grease half the morning juicing multi-colored local carrots to mix with orange juice then speeding down the street from where I roomed to the site of the hangover breakfast before the carrot juice oxidized and lost all the desired effects, it was the moment of truth.  Everyone, especially Ben, truly savored the al fresco locally sourced breakfast.  It was worth the trouble.  The rest is history.

Smoked Trout Quiche
Serves 6-8
9-inch pie crust (preferably homemade)
1 smoked trout fillet, flaked
4 oz. cream cheese in small pieces
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 T. lemon juice
1/2 c. heavy cream
2 t. fresh tarragon, chopped (or 1 t. dried tarragon)
9-inch pie plate, greased

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  On a floured surface roll out the crust to about 1/8-inch thickness.  Invert the pie plate on top of the crust and cut with a rotary cutter about 1-inch beyond he edges of the plate.  Remove plate.  Fold the crusts gently into four quarters to more easily transfer it into the pie plate.  Gently tuck it down into the pan, do not press.  Create a decorative edge if you wish.  Dock the bottom of the crust with a fork and bake for about 10 min. or until just lightly golden.  While crust is pre-baking mix the eggs, lemon juice, cream, and herbs.  Remove from oven.  Put flaked trout and cream cheese chunks into the bottom of the pan.  Pour in egg mixture and return to oven.  Bake 20-30 or until set.  Enjoy warm or cold with a small salad, roasted potatoes, or a side of fresh fruit.

Vera has been given many beautiful handmade toys from creative people we know--a taggie and cloth stacking toy from Grammy, hand cut and sanded classic blocks from our friend Dan, a teddy bear sewn by my first cousin once removed, and "Herb Hoppe" the green bunny knit by mommy when Vera was in utero just to name a few.  As I've mentioned, I get excited about upcycling and breathing new life into old materials.  I was beginning to get backlogged on the Euro cloths we use in the kitchen.  Once they've been sanitized and sterilized I didn't see why I couldn't use them as fabric.  Vera caught one out of the laundry basket the other day and loved the texture of it.  So this week I made onto into a soft block using wool as stuffing.  It might be a bit radical for homemade toys, but it was fun to create and find a way to finally use those cloths.


  1. Texture is one thing babies are so attracted to. Being a grandma I experience this everytime I am with my grandson, Logan. Annie your amazing! Can we buy your homemade toys! Thanks for sharing your blog with me! I especially like the recipes. I will definitely share it with Tamara.

  2. Yum that quiche looks delicious! My husband and I do a lot of fishing and end up with tons of trout so I'm always looking for new ways to cook with it. Thanks for the inspiration!