The shabby chicken coops of Old McDonald’s farm might look out of place in the city, but thanks to architect Traci Fontyn, owner and founder of Bothell’s Kippen House chicken coops (kippenhouse.com), urban dwellers can still enjoy fresh, organic eggs from their own small lots. These cool coops combine chicken housing with human gardening for a fully sustainable system that not only looks sleek (we love the modern, Scandinavian design), but is simple to maintain. Standard coops ($875 fully installed) are 3 feet by 6 feet 7 inches by 4 feet, and made from outdoor-tough cedar, local fir and pine. (Custom-designed coops are also available.) Each includes space for a garden (on the roof of the coop or as a vertical garden down the side), wall panels made from your choice of material (wood or wire), and a locked nesting box to keep those eggs safe. The best part? The self-sustaining mini ecosystem created by the design: The garden feeds the chickens, the chicken manure helps the garden grow and—provided you feed and water them like a good farmer should—both the garden and the chickens will feed you, too.
Excerpted from Fresh Pantry, Skipstone Publishing
MAKES ABOUT 2 DOZEN
1 cup water
6 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¾ cup all-purpose flour
Zest of 1 lemon
3 kale leaves, blanched, squeezed dry, and finely chopped (about ½ cup)
2 green onions, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large saucepan, bring the water, butter, salt, and nutmeg to a boil over high heat. Remove the pan from the stovetop and stir in the flour until well combined. Reduce the heat to medium-high and return the saucepan to the stovetop. Mix the dough, continually and vigorously, until it comes together in a smooth, sticky mass and starts to pull away from the sides of the saucepan, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and immediately add the eggs, one at a time, by beating quickly with a wooden spoon, until all the eggs are incorporated. Stir in the zest, kale, and green onions until well combined.
Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a large 1/ 2-inch tip. You may also use a plastic bag, with the corner cut off to form a small hole. Pipe rounds of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, about 1-inch wide (make sure their edges don’t touch). You may also drop small rounds of dough using a small spoon. Bake the gougères until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
If not serving these immediately, freeze rounds of dough on baking sheets and, once frozen, store them in a resealable plastic bag in the freezer until ready to use.
PANTRY NOTE: Depending on your tastes, try these with grated cheese— sharp cheddar or Gruyère work equally well. Add a filling to these gougères for an even more delicious snack; flavored cream cheese, a smoked fish paste, or puréed vegetables make delicious fillings. Pipe in the filling of choice as if you were filling a donut and serve immediately. Leftover gougères hold in an airtight container for about two days before going stale.