We were scheduled to meet up with a gaggle of friends in Newport, many of whom were from out of town. Back when I was first reading up on chickens, I read about a freaky flesh-eating disease that killed a chicken. I'm panicking, because I think Spicy is going to die of the same thing. I offer to skip Newport and take Spicy to the vet. My reasoning is something sophisticated, like "We can't just let her die."
But neither of us know what is wrong with her, or if it's serious. Spicy has a bare butt and the coop was filled with her feathers. The feathers had fallen out through the night, by the handful. She's a smaller bird, so missing all of those feathers, she looks cold and pathetic. To make matters worse, we've already had our first snow and it's been wet and chilly.
Maybe she's stressed or has separation anxiety? For the last two days Coach had been in the garage in her cage for two days, while we broke her of her broodiness. Since chickens are very social, maybe the separation is making Spicy anxious? And yet, when I pick her up, we find spikes sticking out of her skin where she lost the feathers...as if she sat on a small porcupine.
Horrified, I grab my books and Chris googles "chicken feather problems," "chicken skin problems," and "chicken skin spikes". I suggest he check "molting." I had read about molting--chickens losing their feathers and getting a new "coat"--but didn't know how it looked. I finally read in my master chicken book a passage that says after molting, new feathers grow in through "tubular shafts." Amazing.
So she's molting. And when she started losing feathers on her wings, the "tubular shafts" turned out to be blue. We went to Newport.
While the birds have cut back dramatically on their egg production, for the winter, it was only a few weeks ago that 3 dozen eggs overwhelmed the fridge. Egg recipes are very much on my radar. This new quiche became an instant favorite over the last two months. I've found three occasions to make variations on it: one with less quinoa, and another with arugula. You can change the cheeses, or throw in different greens, but this weekend I'm going back to the kale-original. The recipe came from Hilarybee and is perfect just as it is.
Preheat the oven to 350 and prepare a 9″ pie dish (either butter the dish thoroughly or spray with baking spray). Rinse the quinoa. Combine the quinoa and water in a pan. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat and then reduce to a simmer. This will take about twenty minutes. Set aside.
Meanwhile, start to caramelize the onions. Heat the olive oil in a large saute on medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the onions. Slowly cook until the onions are soft and browned.
Remove the onions from the pan, and place them in a large mixing bowl. Add the kale into the hot onion pan. On medium heat, cook until the kale is wilted and bright green, about two minutes.
Allow the greens to cool. Squeeze out any extra liquid using a sieve or a clean dish towel.
Add the kale, quinoa, garlic, cream cheese and cheddar to the mixing bowl. Stir the ingredients so that they are evenly distributed.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs so that they are well combined. Pour over the quinoa/kale mixture. Stir until the egg clings to the greens. Add salt and pepper.
Pour the mixture in the prepared pie dish. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the top is golden and the pie has started to pull away from the edge of the baking dish. This dish is delightful hot, but even better at room temperature.