Monday, January 2, 2012

It's Monday and Maggie Day

      Maggie has continued to show small signs of adjusting to home and farm life. Maggie had been staying away from the kitchen counters so she was gaining trust in this area.      
       But let's digress a little here. Dogs like eggs. Dogs like eggs in a shell as well. Eggs in a shell make a nice crunch. This was known from previous dog encounters.   So why were goose eggs left on the kitchen counter of a known counter-surfing dog?
     Goose eggs, about 20, were on the counter waiting to be blown out.  Now these eggs were old, quite possibly turning rotten, but there was a chance to save hopefully at least ten. 
     Picture a peaceful evening, a fire glowing, faithful dog guarding the home,  a foul order wafting through the room. A slight crunch sound heard.  No, it couldn't be.  Well, yes it could.  Maggie had found the eggs.  Could she have chosen one that was not rotten?  That would have been a 50 percent chance.  Apparently not.  
     Now there are many things with a farm and animals that can just creep you out, but a new limit was reached.  Maggie had an egg, slightly cracked in her mouth.  What is known about a really rotten egg?  There is not just the smell.  This is everything a really rotten egg is not. It is no longer a soft, yellow sphere floating in clear liquid. Nor is it any bit partially solid.  Picture thick, yet fluid, slimy, yellow and gray black swirls.  How do I know this? Maggie did not want to give up her prize possession and she had to be stopped.  Not stopping her would have the rotten egg all over.  No time to do anything but snatch the foul fowl prize bare handed from her mouth. Do rotten eggs make a dog sick? Oh, the potential for an even worse mess. (Luckily they do not.)
 Lesson learned - don't leave anything within her reach. 
It is a lesson that should have been learned from a previous Maggie
adventure, but now it has really been learned.  
Luckily, Maggie is a good companion and fun to play ball with -
she still has a home.
Tortellini with Italian Sausage, Fennel, and Mushrooms  5*
1 Tbs olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed, halved through core, thinly sliced lengthwise
         (about 3 cups), fronds chopped
1 lb spicy Italian sausages, casings removed, coarsely crumbled
1 8-ounce package sliced fresh crimini baby bella) mushrooms
4 large garlic cloves, pressed
1 Tbs fennel seeds, coarsely crushed
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup or more) low-salt chicken broth
1 16-ounce package dried tortellini with pesto filling or fresh tortellini
        with 3-cheese filling
1   5-ounce package fresh baby spinach leaves
 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese plus additional (for serving)
1. Crush the fennel seeds in a plastic bag and pound with meat mallet (or heavy skillet)
2. Heat oil in  skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced
fennel bulb, sausage, and mushrooms; sauté until sausage is brown and cooked
through and fennel is almost tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Add garlic and fennel
seeds; stir 1 minute. Stir in cream, then 1 cup broth; boil until liquid is
reduced and very slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, cook tortellini in large pot of boiling salted water until
just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain tortellini;
return to same pot.
4. Add sausage mixture to tortellini in pot. Toss over medium heat until
blended. Add spinach; toss gently until spinach wilts. Stir in 1/2 cup
cheese; add more broth by 1/4 cupfuls to moisten if dry. Season with salt
and pepper, sprinkle with chopped fennel fronds, and serve, passing
additional cheese.
Adapted from Bon Appétit Test Kitchen

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