Friday, November 17, 2023

Friday Food: Taking the Show on the Road


Short version: Elk spaghetti, steamed broccoli and carrots

Long version: I had taken two bags of elk stew meat out of the freezer, but it didn't thaw very quickly. Instead of trying to hurry it along, I just cut some of it off--still partially frozen--and then diced it up and browned it, adding a chunk of caramalized onions from the freezer, roasted tomato puree I had made in the morning, two cubes of pesto from the freezer, and garlic powder. 

Most of this went over spaghetti for the children. A. had his with a piece of bread.


Short version: Elk stew, garlic bread

Long version: The rest of the meat made into stew. Elk meat (and almost all wild meat) needs added fat. I didn't have any rendered beef tallow left, but I did have some suet (the unrendered beef fat) out to grind with bull meat. So I sliced some of that up and rendered it in the pot before I added the meat pieces to brown.

I'm not sure what it says about me that I render tallow before making stew.

And then my brain apparently short-circuited, because I actually added the carrots and potatoes (and onion, garlic, pureed tomatoes, Worcestershire and soy sauce)  to the pot as soon as the meat was done browning.

Elk meat takes like three hours to get tender. By which point the vegetables would have been mush. So I had to pull all the solids out and then pick out the meat to put it back in.


And then, when I did add the vegetables back in, I decided there wasn't nearly enough, so I added three more potatoes and two more carrots.

This wasn't my most organized attempt at stew-making, is what I'm saying.

It all worked out. The stew was good.

I had made the garlic bread the day before and just warmed it up in the microwave for dinner.


Short version: Bull 'n' bean enchilada casserole, steamed carrots and broccoli, chocolate pudding with cream

Long version: Since we have thirty more pounds of three-year-old bull meat in the freezer, I thought maybe I should continue working through the prepared (pressure-canned and food-processed) bull that was already in my freezer.

Also, I hadn't made the enchilada casserole in awhile, and it's always popular as long as we haven't had it recently.

Alsoalso, I had all that tomato puree in the refrigerator from roasting tomatoes a few days prior, which meant it was easy to make the enchilada sauce.

I made the pudding because one child had a bad sore throat. That seems to be a feature of our fall this year.

Anyway, I used this recipe for the pudding, except I didn't have quite enough cornstarch. I did, however, have a single egg yolk that had been languishing in the refrigerator since I made spiced nuts last week. So I finally got to use the egg yolk up, which was very satisfying.


Short version: Leftovers

Long version: Same casserole, different night. It's a Monday!

Random photo break:

Crazy sunrise. In real life, it was an apocalyptic red color, but that sort of thing rarely comes through in photos. At least, not with my terrible phone camera.


Short version: Elk steaks, chicken-y rice, frozen green peas

Long version: I mostly made the rice (cooked in chicken stock) for the child with an iffy stomach, but it was appreciated by everyone else, too.


Short version: Mexican-ish skillet food

Long version: I realized in the morning while I was getting breakfast for the children that this was a First Communion class night, which meant I wouldn't be getting home until 5:30 p.m. and would need something very fast for dinner.

Luckily, there were still a couple of uncooked elk steaks in the refrigerator, so I cut those up small and put them in a marinade. Then, when I got home, I fried those, added some canned pinto beans, leftover rice, frozen cooked onion, salsa, and shredded cheddar, and called it good.

It was pretty good, actually.


Short version: Chicken soup at home, chicken sandwiches on the road, chocolate chip-oatmeal bar cookies

Long version: I had one package of giant chicken breasts in the freezer and one child who wasn't feeling well. The chicken went in the stock pot (still completely frozen), where I poached it until I could pull the meat off. I used the poaching liquid and some of the chicken--and other things, of course--to make a chicken and rice soup.

Some of the poached chicken I sliced, seasoned with some mustard vinaigrette and salt, and used for sandwiches along with some bacon left over from breakfast. I made these because we have a new basketball player in our house, and he had a tournament game an hour away. I had the younger two with me at the game, so I made the sandwiches and brought them along in my insulated lunch bag so as to avoid the concession food.

I do not like spending twenty dollars for hot dogs and Frito pie.

The younger children ate their sandwiches during the game. The basketball player ate his in the car on the way home. They all ate the bar cookies in the car, too. Everyone enjoyed their dinner, and no money was spent.

Much better than hot dogs.

Okay, your turn! What'd you eat this week?

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Growing Food: It's Garlic Time!

Did you know that garlic is actually planted in the fall? It is! And we did it! Let's talk about that, shall we?

First, I have to tell you that El Rey de Ajo has been dethroned. Due to many events of an unfortunate nature--most recently a filthy thieving (literal) rat that carried away every single bit of A.'s garlic seed stock--we didn't have any of our own garlic to re-plant this year. So I bought some, and we're going to start over.

The heads of seed garlic I bought ended up giving us about three dozen cloves to plant. That's a very small planting for us, but the nice thing about garlic is that each of those cloves will produce an entire head of garlic next year. That means that every year, garlic at least quadruples itself.

A., as always, did all the shovel work for our planting.

Well, this is actually the hoeing part, which he also did.

It had been some time since this bed had gotten a good application of manure, so he also added layers of horse manure to each row. He put it both underneath the garlic cloves before they were covered, and then on top of the whole bed.

The garlic was much more obvious in real life than it is in the photo.

We also had a dozen shallots that I think A. brought home from the MiL's garden. We planted those, too. And then we covered up the whole deal with cattle panels, because the dogs and chickens just love freshly dug soil and would almost certainly dig all of that bed up without some kind of deterrent there.

One nice thing about gardening here is that the ground never really freezes. At least, not in the sunny parts of the garden. The sun is too strong and the soil is so light and dry that it just can't really freeze hard. This means that we can plant all winter if we want to.

We might put in some potatoes next. We never get very many to harvest from our potato plantings, but they're fun to grow anyway.

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Snapshots: Just a Few

I was at school all last week, subbing on my days off for a sick teacher. When I was in her classroom on Tuesday, I noticed she had this cube that had different sayings on each side. The one on Tuesday was "But first coffee." (I know, the lack of punctuation bothered me, too.) 

When I was there again on Thursday, I saw that the cube had been moved and this side was now facing me:

Preach it, cube. (And still lacking punctuation. Annoying.)

That very night, the tiny cheerleaders were cheering at our last home volleyball game of the season. Each of them presented her parents with a flower as a token of appreciation for our support this year. I myself feel very accomplished that I have learned how to get the giant hairbow on a ponytail without it being upside down or crooked.


My table had been looking sort of bleak without any floral options outside, so I was happy to have this very nice, very bright, pink carnation to put there. I even changed out the candle stubs to proper long candles in celebration.


And last, I thought I was almost through all the bull meat from the animal we helped our neighbors butcher, um, three years ago. Until the neighbor lady sent A. home with her last remaining box of bull meat.

It's like that game hot potato, but with meat.

Anyway again.

We have concluded that the best way to deal with the bull meat is to grind it, so that's what we did. Poppy wanted to help me label the freezer bags.

Kinda looks like "grand bull," which is not the best descriptor, but is pretty funny.

There you have it! My life, (minimally) snapshotted.