My sister Alli has a way with animals. I wouldn’t go so far as to say she’s a horse whisper – anyone that knows her knows she’s been bucked, thrown, broken a foot, dislocated a shoulder, suffered a concussion and had to undergo wrist surgery due to miscommunication with these four-legged friends. I guess that’s what you get for growing up an equestrian rider.
Her relationship with chickens, on the other hand, has been a mutually beneficial. Alli adopted three her third year of Vet school – Johnny Cash, June Carter and Carolina Herrera. They’re free to roam her backyard and have access to a warm coop while she has freshly laid eggs each morning. Sounds pretty nice.
Well after 10 years in different cities Alli accepted a job in Dallas starting this fall. I am finally going to be roommates with my best friend again (this time not under Mom and Dad’s roof)! There is just one minor disagreement… she wants to bring the chickadees along. As the old saying goes, when you get bucked off get right back on again. It’s Alli’s persistence, which I both admire and loath, that has turned this whole “having chickens as roommates” topic into an ongoing debate between the two of us.
The funny thing about chickens is each city has regulations on owning one as a pet, and Dallas is conveniently OK with it. In fact, D Magazine contributor Leslie Halleck just wrote about having these feathery friends in her latest blog post, In The Garden: Want Backyard Chickens?
A few weeks back we were staying at our family ranch, located on the outskirts of Manhattan, (a.k.a. The Little Apple) Kansas. Alli took it upon herself to provide the ingredients for a wholesome country breakfast. Front and center was a basket of freshly laid eggs, compliments of June and Carolina.
I had just met Georgia Pellegrini, author of Modern Pioneering, the previous week. I was on a DYI and hunter-gatherer high (and maybe a mimosa in). I made the mistake of saying I wanted our first dinner party in Dallas to be hunter-gatherer themed, which meant everything we served would be our very own. This was her chance to strike a win. With our family as her witness Alli convinced me fresh eggs were essential to the menu, and I agreed to let to let the chickadees into our new home. Anything for a proper dinner party, right?
Wrong. Turns out it’s a no-go for apartment dwellers in our Uptown Dallas neighborhood. Thank goodness! Though I am not fully convinced the chickens won’t find their way into her U-Haul and make the 500 mile trek across Kansas, I do think we can manage our breakfasts without them. Eggs continue to be a staple in my fridge, even if they don’t come from my backyard…
One of my absolute favorite ways to prep for the week is with a classic baked egg dish. It’s an excuse to clean out the fridge (throw in leftover meat, vegetables, cheese) before my grocery store run. It also keeps well in the fridge so you have a week’s worth of zap-able breakfasts. I like to pair it with my homemade yogurt and granola or Ezekiel bean bread.
Even if I don’t have pet chickens, Alli is about as unpredictable as they come. So along with her beloved dog, Zebra, I may welcome a pet mouse, lizard, who knows, into our house. Those I will not turn into a recipe. I promise.
- 5 large eggs
- 2-3 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (I used basil)
- 2-3 cups chopped fresh vegetables - peppers, mushroom, zucchini, onion (anything on hand)
- Bacon, sausage, ham, cheese, spinach, kale (anything on hand)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 7x11 casserole dish with olive oil or non-stick spray.
- Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped vegetables and sauté until tender.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and seasonings. Add the sautéed vegetables and pour the eggs in the casserole dish. Sprinkle the fresh herbs on top.
- Bake approximately 25 minutes, or until the edges turn light golden brown.
- Serve warm with salsa on top.
- The eggs will keep in the refrigerator for a week and can be reheated in the microwave.
- The ingredients can be subbed for what you have available. Get creative cleaning out your fridge!