|Trout Muniere for breakfast|
Steve and I really believe in the whole notion of letting chickens have their winter off from production because that is what they do naturally. Aside from it allowing them to still be able to lay later in their lives, it saves on the energy and infrastructure costs to run a line out to the coop to keep a light on. The opposite side of course, is a lower feed-to-egg ratio because you still have to feed them, but we still think this is the humane way to keep chickens. So knowing that they are going to be shortly laying off laying, we've been saving eggs against the day when they quit altogether for the season. We're trying more and more to eat seasonally, and even eggs have a season. So- Steve found a very old article from the seventies in the Mother Earth News where they'd done the experimenting on saving eggs and found that the best way to keep eggs for the long term is to keep unwashed eggs in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They found that eggs kept this way will be good up to six or seven months. I don't want to keep them that long- just long enough to see us through to when the girls start laying again, and if memory serves, that was near the end of January (I think). During the winter we don't have eggs for breakfast- they get used in dishes where you need one egg, like pancakes or other baked goods, and the occasional jar of mayonnaise. It's all part of that seasonal eating thing, like I mentioned before. So- replacing eggs for breakfast becomes something of a challenge because, frankly, I like eggs for breakfast. I can also become completely bored with hot cereal. Last winter I added a lot of tuna cakes into the mix because we had so much canned tuna, which I can still do, but I have far fewer jars of it and it also requires mayonnaise, which requires eggs, which kind of defeats the purpose.
However, I really like the idea of fish for breakfast. This morning we had Trout Muniere made from some of the trout we caught on Sunday. The hardest part was scaling and butterflying the fish, largely because I found conflicting information and instructions on YouTube. I mean YouTube worked well enough for learning some knitting tricks but it's less successful with processing fish. Everybody seems to do it one way or the other, and the presenters each had different levels of expertise as well. The first guy I watched seemed to make a hash of his trout, and mine are considerably smaller. I don't have that much fish to waste. What I need, it turns out, is someone with a great deal of skill to show me how to do it, and then watch over my shoulder to correct me as I attempt the job. Let's face it- picking up a skill on your own, particularly one fraught with finesse, can be really, really difficult. I think probably scaling, gutting, and filleting or butterflying fish is something at which you get good only by repetitive action.
Which means I have to get good at fishing.
I don't have any plans to do any more fishing this year because the way the fishing licenses work in the state of Oregon is that they are good for a year, based on the calendar. I am just cheap enough to not want to waste forty bucks on a license I'm only going to be able to use another three months; I don't see myself getting good enough in that much time to make it worth the expense. So at the beginning of next year, I'll go get my fishing license and get started. I've already leafed through a couple of regional map and availability books, plus bought one on beginning bait casting that will make good reading for the interim.
And I'm really hoping that I can get good enough to justify buying the salmon gear so that I can try for a spring salmon next March or April.
For now though, I need to go finish butterflying and freezing the rest of the catch, and then digging the offal into the garden.* One way or the other, I am going to make this pay.
* I learned from my neighbor who learned it from his mother who was a full-blooded Native American (Creek) that the way to successfully dig fish guts into the soil is to dig a hole, add the guts, and then add a good layer of wood ashes over them; it keeps the raccoons from digging them back up.