Thursday, February 7, 2013

Google Stew recipe

Last night I decided to make beef stew for dinner.   I cut up the bone-in beef shank and got it to boiling when jimmy came in with his computer  tablet and started 'googling' recipes.  At first I was annoyed because really  ...I had it handled.  Mostly, to be belligerent, as he read each recipe  out loud,  I  started throwing in  ingredients from each one  that I  hadn't already added.  Poor Jimmy, when he realised what I was doing, he  almost panicked when I dumped in the  paprika.  Then he got into the spirit of the thing and said  "Cool! We're gonna make Google Stew.  And so it was named.  We stayed away from all recipes that were made by jumbling up pre-made processed food stuffs (for example one called for adding a can of tomato soup and many  said to add corn starch for thickening).  The result was the best stew I've ever made.  so, here in all its glory is  the recipe for  Google Stew.  It was made in an 8 quart stock pot.  Only one pot was used.

Google Stew

In an 8 quart stock pot:

Brown 2 pounds cubed beef shank in olive oil.  (do not drain off oil)
Then add water slowly to fill pot and bring to a boil. Let boil for  about 45 minutes or until beef is tender.
While boiling add:
a chopped onion
1 bay leaf
a couple of cloves of chopped garlic
1 diced tomato
about 1 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon each: rosemary, thyme,tarragon,parsley, vegetable bullion, beef bullion (real bullion not 'flavor' cubes)
Let all this boil together for the 45 minutes then add:
2 or 3  sliced large carrots. Let them  cook for about 15 minutes then add 4 or 5 peeled, quartered medium sized potatoes.  Let cook about 1/2 hour or until potatoes and carrots break down and stew begins to thicken.

Serve with fresh hot homemade french  bread! ( that's what I did but,... I guess you could BUY bread, if you were in a time crunch)

An even simpler version of this recipe is : boil everything together for about 45 minutes or so and then  add your carrots and potatoes.....cook til done.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

# Vertical garden # hydroponics garden, # gardening with chickens, # composting with chickens

We have SPROUT sign! The self watering window  boxes I put in a couple of weeks ago have born fruit.  Ok ...not fruit.... but definitely lettuce, chives,cilantro and chamomile.  I'm still waiting for the basil to pop up. Jimmy thinks its a temperature issue.  If they haven't sprouted by  this coming Tuesday,  I'm going to pick up one of those  heat mats to go under them.  Jimmy showed me  a nice window sill sized version at our favorite, locally owned, hydroponics store.  We were at the hydroponics store because Jimmy  converted one of the  self watering window boxes into a hydroponics   planter.  This should be interesting to  vertical garden upstairs, in the kitchen, with soil and natural light vs his hydroponics garden,  with  grow lights, downstairs in his man cave.   If either attempt is successful we should have a nice selection of vegetables all year around! 
Now we go outside! Chickens and gardening!  What a great combo.  They have already cleaned out and turned over what will be  the 2013 potato bed.   They have feasted on the weeds  and delighted in the snails and beetles. They have also been diligent about Jimmys  strawberry  bed.  When we first moved in we couldn't keep up with weeding that bed.  The girls have done a fine job of aerating and  de-weeding while leaving the strawberry plants in place.  They have treated the herb garden the same way.  While I don't expect a miracle, considering how snail infested this place was when we moved in...I cant complain about their effort.  They even uncovered a previously  existing  bed that was so overgrown that I had no idea it was there.  I have had them working around the base of the pear tree for the last couple of weeks.  To direct their labors, all I need to do is throw some scratch in the area I want them to work in.  Once they get the ground broken they keep coming back on their own to  dig for chicken treasure.  They have also created a  nice compost pile that  will be great for soil amendment.  I will be using it in the potato bed  and where ever we put the tomatoes. 
I'm hoping they will help with the next project which is a special bed for decomposing all the cardboard we have in the barn.  I'm also considering making a worm bin to help with  the cardboard and  excess paper-y things.  I don't really like to  think about the barn. Its a chaotic mess in there that needs to be  cleaned and organised...blechh!
So... we are standing on the edge of readiness... According to  Puxatawny Phil, spring will be here early this year.  I'm ok with that.... I'm ready for something besides dreary and dark and cold and rainy.