Sunday, May 02, 2010

I remember when I remember I remember when I lost my mind

 Yesterday, Owen and I went shopping for a mature milking doe. (We're getting our baby goat today and she will eventually need a companion.) We drove an hour to look at Stiletto, and fell hard. She's a lovely, mellow Nubian who gives a gallon of milk a day.  She is, however, large, about the height of a tall Doberman Pinscher. 

After this we drove another hour-and-a-half to look at Dusty, a squat, surly Nigerian Dwarf with freaky, opaque white eyes. She cringed away when we tried to pet her. She has never been hand-milked and her "sisters" give 2 cups of milk a day. No thanks. The only reason to even consider this unfriendly, underproducing goat is that she is petite, about the height of a border collie. Poor Dusty is probably just misunderstood but we don't have time to understand her.
It seems like the answer is obvious: Get Stiletto. And then change her name immediately.  
It is slightly more complicated than that, due to her size and my fears of neighbor reaction, but I think that's what I'm going to do, provided her breeder can keep her for a few weeks until our wooden fence is finished. With a wooden fence, perhaps we won't incite every passing busybody to report our illegal goats. 
You may question the wisdom of keeping goats illegally. I do. Constantly. But I am about to practice my first-ever -- and probably last -- act of civil disobedience. It strikes me as absurd and wrong that you can legally keep big, chicken-killing, barking dogs in this (or any) town but can't keep two docile, milk-giving, brush-clearing ruminants of the same size, or even much smaller. I am prepared to fight this fight, though I would prefer not to. For one thing, I might lose.
 My father came over for dinner after our big day of goat-shopping. I was shocked when he approved my illegal goat plan as he's a lawyer and usually very cautious. I served him Thomas Keller's pepper-crusted tenderloin from Ad Hoc At Home.

To make this, you poach peppercorns in oil for an hour, crush them, coat your expensive steaks, sear, then finish in the oven. Owen refused to eat his steak on account of the "bean things" on the outside, but my father and I thought they were delicious.
Nothing but the best for my lawyer.
For dessert, we had Keller's coconut cake.
Keller says his mother used to bake this cake, and the fussier steps in the recipe suggest the coconut did not fall far from the palm. You have to reduce a can of coconut milk over the stove, which struck me as too much work for what is ostensibly an ordinary layer cake. Worth it! The cake itself is springy yet dense, airy yet substantial, and you can taste the coconut right there in the crumb. 


  1. Oh she's lovely! I'm all for your illegal actions. Okay, so my copy of Ad Hoc came Friday and I moved immediately into the copycat phase. Last night we had the tarragon glazed chicken for dinner. My boy was not particularly impressed but his buddy Julian, who is 5, said "This chicken is really good! I'm going to eat all of it." Short of serving him chocolate cake, I don't think I've ever had such a warm reaction from him.
    Tonight we're doing the marinated skirt steak and I'm going to attempt the potato scallion pancakes, even though when I showed Dolan the mouth watering photo this morning he said "ugh, what's that green stuff?"
    PS. I had maybe 2/3rds the ingredients for Keller's curry powder in the house, but give me a break. I just picked up some fresh curry powder. Maybe someday a cook off to determine if there is really a difference...

  2. You must get that goat. The Man so badly needs sticking to.

    Maybe you can get a ballot initiative or referendum or whatever it's called where you get a bunch of people to sign a petition to change a law because it's stupid.

  3. Wow, I'm surprised your Dad supported it too. We lawyers are a risk adverse bunch. Can goats jump fences?

  4. No goat could jump a 6-foot wooden fence and if they did -- they'd eat a neighbor's roses? I guess they could run in front of a car and cause an accident, like a deer, with which our neighborhood is overrun.
    But that's not going to happen. I think the only risk is that we'll become attached to our goats, a fussy neighbor will complain, we'll have to get rid of our goats. That's a real risk and would be terrible. People do quietly keep goats all over the county. And goats were successfully legalized in Seattle a few years ago.

  5. I am sooo worried about your civil disobedience!!! How big is your yard?

  6. 1/3 acre, mostly hill. It is not like Wisteria Lane. I will probably have to stop writing about this because I'm giving myself a nervous breakdown.

  7. I am now in love with Stiletto too, name and all. I'm sure she has different ordinances but how does Novella Carpenter get away with it? Maybe she'll have some tips.

  8. In an interview once Novella said that she got away with what she got away with (and continues to get away with) because she lives in a ghetto, that in a suburb the neighbors would be all up in her face.

  9. do goats smell? The only concern I would have as a neighbor is a *ahem* barnyard smell traveling into my yard while I'm relaxing/entertaining. Although, I could be probably be persuaded with fresh goat milk...and cheese if you can swing it. Smells aside, I support your decision to get a goat.

    It's times like this I wish I lived in the country with Star Trek technology. I could have my privacy (and farm animals) and teleport into the city when I needed to run errands.

  10. I can aver that female goats do not, and cannot possibly, smell worse than a dog kennel.

  11. As someone who raised a goat in my younger days, all I can tell you is they are one of the most fantastic pets you can ever get! We raised ours (a beautiful caramel colored, gold eyed beauty) from just a few weeks old and he was a very devoted pet, followed my father around wherever he went, and he may have thought he was a dog. We did have one instance when he was rather young, he escaped (and proceeded to eat our entire garden and flower beds down to nothing) - my only recommendation for you is to build a high fence and place their house in the middle, not near the edge of the fence. Anything they can climb onto and get a good jump they will escape. Never fear - a goat is a great pet. We had a neutered male and I couldn't have had a more well mannered, friendly pet. To hell with the neighbors!!

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