Sunday, March 21, 2010

Eggs to Chickens

Now isn't that the natural progression?  The cyclical question for me is quite easy.  The egg ALWAYS came before the chicken.  It all started here:

Eggs on toast is my absolute favorite homemade breakfast.  If I could have two eggs, sunny side up and a piece of whole wheat toast for breakfast every morning I swear I would be the most productive, alert broker there ever was.  Punching the clock at 6:30 am leaves little room in my morning schedule for breakfast, let alone one that's pan-fried, so I have resigned myself to every Saturday and Sunday morning making a pretty looking breakfast for myself.  Either like this one above or this one here or the ones here, it's a must to keep my early morning habits consistent and healthy.

The breakfast above is a particularly memorable one.  This winter, I finally visited an old friend from college whose side hobby had been an intriguing point for quite some time:  he owns two little Rhode Island Reds that live in a coop, outside his apartment in Lincoln Square. After greeting the ladies, watching them poke around in the dirt and brick patio for the better part of an hour on a chilly grey January Saturday morning, we ventured back to the kitchen where he retrieved from his freezer three lovely brown eggs.  "Here" he said, "I've got much more than I know what to do with."

Sometimes when you see someone else doing something that looks crazy and impossible, something clicks in your mind and makes it seem like you yourself could actually do it too.  Didn't you ever get into something you never dreamed of because someone that you knew was already doing it and that somehow took some pressure off?  I will not be so naive or foolish to pretend that I'm the first one ever doing this (puh-lease people have been raising chickens for centuries!) nor even the first in Chicago (check out this lovely google group for more info), though I may be the first in Old Town... 

4 little peeping chicks, nay, squawking chicks were delivered to my doorstep on Tuesday morning.  They had been injected with a LOT of electrolytes and packaged up with some heat packs and straw in a box and shipped overnight from a hatchery in Naperville. I believe they were born on Sunday, which would make them exactly one week old today.  Here is Paprikash on her first week birthday with daffodils that just bloomed today:

So here's hoping that you're along for this adventure too, and prepared for many an egg recipe come October.  In the girls honor, I threw a petit "wine and chicks" evening for some girlfriends.  What's better on a dreary Friday night in March than a little red wine and chirping hens (human and gallus families).  And what better dessert should one have with Easter heavy upon us, than coconut cupcakes.

Thanks to Ina Garden for always knowing precisely what I should cook for parties and having the best cupcake recipes there ever were.

Chickadee Coconut Cupcakes
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, at room temp
1 1/2 t pure Mexican vanilla
1 1/2 t pure almond extract
3 c flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 c buttermilk
14 oz sweetened, shredded coconut

For the frosting:
8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 t Mexican vanilla
1/4 t almond extract
2-3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 350.
Cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer on high until light and fluffy as a little 1 week old chick.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating slowly between each add.  Add vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

In a separate bowl, whisk together, flour, powder, soda, salt.  In threes, add the flour mix and buttermilk to the sugar & butter mix, in shifts.  Mix just until combined.  Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.

Line a muffin tin with paper liners, fill liner to the top with batter and bake for 25-30 minutes.  Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

While cakes are baking, cream together cheese, butter, vanilla and almond with an electric mixer on low.  Add confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth.

Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with remaining coconut.


  1. Awesome post! I hope to be able to pop by sometime and try an egg! Paprikash is adorable!


  2. Thanks Shannon! The girls won't quite be laying until well into September but you are WELCOME over for an omelet then!

  3. I love that breakfast!! My mom would always make it for me when I was home "sick" from school. :):)