Local Meat: venison stew

The son-in-law hunts and got himself a nice buck. I want him to use all the meat so he gives me some. This deer gave me ground venison and stew meat. So I made a stew.

Stews are simply soups with larger cuts of meat and vegetables and less liquid. They are super simple to make especially when using a crockpot.

  • a pound (?) or packet of meat cut into stew sized chunks
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 stalks celery cut into chunks
  • 6 small potatoes cut into chunks
  • 6 parsnips cut into chunks
  • 1 medium onion cut into chunks
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups water or more to almost cover
  • 1 Tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved

Throw all this into the crockpot and cook on low for 8-9 hours. Voila!

I served this with homemade Sally Lunn bread.

Vegetable Beef Soup and 60-minute rolls

What is for supper when I’ve used up everything in the produce drawer, the meats in the freezer are too big to thaw quickly, and I have to be at work?  It’s a cold rainy fall day so soup seems in order. But what soup to make with frozen mixed vegetables as the main ingredient? There’s not even a potato in the house!

Building a soup, as my sister says, can be an adventure in creativity.  Here’s what I found to use. I had a half a box of beef broth in the fridge. There were remains of green onions in the produce drawer. I found a bit of ground beef hanging about the fridge freezer. Earlier I had found the ground turkey and mistook it for an Italian sausage, hubby had made sausage and peppers a few weeks before, so it was still in the freezer waiting for a use.

  • Beef broth, enough to cover the ingredients in the crock pot, about 2-4 cups;
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • White ends of two green onions, sliced
  • One garlic clove, minced
  • 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes, these had basil, oregano, and garlic seasonings
  • ¼ pound ground beef
  • ½-3/4  pound ground turkey
  • Fresh herbs, parsley and spicy oregano

I sautéed the onion and garlic with the ground meats until the meats were browned. I used a bit of olive oil in the pan as well. I put this and the rest of the ingredients in the crock pot and covered with the beef broth. I set this on low and let it cook all day.

Sixty minute rolls are a staple from the Fleischmann’s Yeast bread book my Mom gave me eons ago. These are a tasty dinner roll that does not take hours and hours to make.

  • 3 ½ to 4 ½ cups of flour
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 packages yeast; I use instant yeast which is 3 teaspoons plus a scant bit more.
  • 1 cup milk; I did not have milk of any kind in my refrigerator so I opened a can of evaporated milk
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ stick butter  = ¼ cup

Mix 1 ½ cups flour and next three ingredients in the mixer bowl. Heat the milk, water, and butter until very warm (120-130 degrees F). Gradually add to dry ingredients and beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Add ½ cup flour and beat at high speed for 2 minutes. Stir in enough additional flour to make soft dough and knead until smooth and elastic. I do all of this in the KitchenAid with the dough hook. Place in greased bowl and cover; let rise 15 minutes.

At this stage I read that that first rise is to be done by placing the dough bowl in a pan of hot water.  This is news to me! I have been making these rolls forever and have never done that. One thing about making bread and knowing how it works, I apparently mostly read the ingredients, skim over the directions, add up the rising and baking times, and just go about the business of baking bread. So this time I did put the bowl in a pan of hot water mainly because it was a cold and rainy day.

After rising, turn dough out on lightly floured board and shape into rolls as you like. The recipe gives directions for Curlicues and Lucky Clovers. I decide on Lucky Clovers. Divide dough into 24 pieces, shape into balls, put in greased muffin tins, cut crosswise into the top of the dough almost to the bottom.

Cover and let rise for another 15 minutes. Bake these in a 425 degree oven about 12 minutes or until done. Remove from pan and cool on wire racks.

Dinner is served!

French Onion, White Bean Soup/Stew

Every once in a while I get to reading books on food for health. I am looking for that magic dietary change that will cure what ails me. And I don’t want to give up too much. I enjoy food. I enjoy baking. I enjoy my glass of wine and a cocktail or two at times. I enjoy bread and cakes and pies and cookies. Like I said I’m looking for magic! I got my hands on an anti-inflammatory diet crock-pot cookbook. There are some really good sounding recipes in here. I’ve already made the Spanish Rice and am now trying a soup recipe. I am calling it a stew so Hubby will like it, and adding some meat.

This is my variation of the White Bean & French Onion Soup from The Anti-Inflammatory Diet Slow Cooker Cookbook by Madeline Given (the italicized ingredients are my own addition or changes).

  • 4 onions, thinly sliced (I used 4 instead of 2 large onions because my onions were on the smallish side.)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans of white beans, rinsed and drained well
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth (Hooray for me, I made my own with carrot peels, onion peels, celery and a bay leaf. Just boil that up all together for about an hour and then strain.)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 cup diced cooked ham
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves, roughly chopped

Put the sliced onions, olive oil and salt in the crock-pot and cook on High for 3 hours.

Stir in the rest of the ingredients but not the spinach and cook on Low for another 3 hours. Add the spinach and cook an additional hour.

This makes the kitchen smell good as it cooks. For “stew-like” bowls ladle the soup with a slotted spoon into your bowls. I served this with a toasted baguette. Hubby liked it.

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Pulled Pork

I have begun to think that everyone has cooked everything possible in all variations and there is nothing new under the sun to cook or write recipes about! I’ve been blogging just about a year now and I don’t think I had intended it to just be recipes, but it seems like so. I like to read other food blogs and I do try some of the recipes. With a little tweaking. Not to take away from the original. But that is how I cook. I can probably count on my hands and toes how many times I have followed a recipe “exactly”. Except for baking. But…even then…sometimes…?

So what to write about? Back a few years ago, almost 6 to be exact, my nieces cooked pulled pork for the family gathering after my Dad’s funeral. Dad was dad! I miss him. I wish I had been more patient/tolerant of conversations with him about social issues and politics. Theology and religion we could discuss til the cows came home, but not social issues and politics.

The pulled pork was delicious. I think my niece told me that she cooked a pork roast (I have no idea what cut) overnight in the crock pot on a layer of onions with a can of ginger ale. Then in the morning, she shredded the pork and returned it to the crockpot with a bottle of barbecue sauce. It cooked again for the day and was ready to eat. Yum.

This is not that recipe!

I have made pulled pork in my crockpot several times and I don’t think I have ever done the same way twice, much like barbecue sauce! I generally put the pork loin roast in the pot and make up a sauce with tomato ketchup (or is that catsup?), vinegar or Worcestershire, brown sugar or honey, chili powder or hot sauce, some garlic powder maybe, and let it cook all day. This is not that recipe either, but sort of.

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I cut the 3 pounds from this 10 pound chunk of pig!

  • 3 pounds of pork loin
  • 1/2 cup leftover homemade barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup tangerine limeade seltzer water

I put this in the crockpot and cooked it on low all day while I was at work. 8 hours later I came home and found that the liquid was simmering away quite briskly. I removed the meat and shredded it, draining the liquid. I put the meat back into the pot. I made a sauce from ketchup, sriracha, Worcestershire, and apple cider vinegar. I poured that over the shredded meat and let it cook, again on low for 2 hours until Hubby came home.

I served this on bakery Portuguese rolls; Hubby cooked up some mixed vegetables; and we ate our dinner without me taking a picture of the plated product. Oh well!

While waiting for the pork to cook up with the sauce I was reading blogs and came across this one: Chelsea buns by Basil&Co. So I ran inside and made them! They are good! And easy! And rich! Go check it out!

Special Sauce

There are two young women out there who will know what this is about. I’m not naming names but you know who you are but it is not my story to tell! (ooh, how mysterious!)

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We use ketchup for cheeseburgers and hot dogs, although Hubby doesn’t understand why one would put ketchup on hot dogs, only mustard and onions, and maybe relish. I grew up putting mustard (the bright yellow variety), ketchup, and pickle relish on my hot dogs. Sometimes I would buy chili dogs but I don’t remember having them at home. I love a good hot dog with good chili, cheese, and onions. My aging belly is not always happy about that though! 😦

Now that I am reading ingredient lists I have found that there is High Fructose Corn Syrup in a lot of ketchup and pickle relish. So I wondered how easy it might be to make my own. I saved this recipe after reading the book and blog of 100 Days of Real Food:  http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/.  This recipe is from a cookbook that I may just have to buy, NOT that I need another cookbook! http://www.freshstartnutrition.com/?s=ketchup (Just want to be sure the proper people get the credit for the recipe.)

I gather my ingredients and mix the spices. This way I can put everything in the crockpot in the morning and have homemade ketchup for cheeseburgers that evening.

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As the day wears on the house is filled with the aroma of tomatoes and then, a distinctly ketchup fragrance. It even tastes like ketchup! I am not sure why I am surprised by this, but I am. Now what container should I use to store this homemade concoction?

On our burgers…

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So now I am wondering if I should make our own mustard? Naah…I’ll just buy the whole grain variety when I can find it again.